AMC is expanding its unscripted slate with three new series, All-Star Celebrity Bowling, Visionaries (working title) and the Untitled Billy Corgan Wrestling Project, all slated to premiere next year. AMC has ordered eight half-hour episodes of All-Star Celebrity Bowling, adapted from Chris Hardwick’s hit web series. Hosted by twin brothers Randy and Jason Sklar, the talk/game show hybrid features two new celebrity casts from the worlds of TV, movies, sports, music and pop culture who each week face off in a bowling match for charity. Jon Hamm and the cast of Mad Men face off against Chris Hardwick and his Nerdist team in the pilot. All Star Celebrity Bowling is produced by High Noon Entertainment, with Hardwick exec producing along with Jim Berger and Patrick Jager from High Noon. The Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan stars in the Untitled Billy Corgan Wrestling Project. The eight-episode hourlong series follows Corgan in his latest undertaking as creative director of Resistance Pro, a Chicago-based wrestling league. Corgan goes behind the scenes of this fascinating world, from creating storylines to choreographing fights to managing intense post-match locker room arguments, revealing that the most dramatic stories often take place outside of the ring. Series is produced by Left/Right (Small Town Security, This American Life, Mob Wives) and executive produced by Ken Druckerman, Banks Tarver, Billy Corgan, and Ghen Maynard. AMC has ordered six half-hour episodes of Visionaries (working title), which follows the employees of Vision …
Chris Hardwick‘s dream guests on his Comedy Central show @midnight: “Jon Hamm, Tom Hanks, Mel Brooks — Joan Rivers would be great,” he answered today at the TCA Winter TV Press Tour. “They just know how to connect with an audience, they’re natural performers. It’s not comedy that drives the show — it’s comfort,” Hardwick said. @midnight uses a rotating lineup of comedians as they battle nightly for meaningless points doled out by host Hardwick, based on their take on the day’s social media and pop culture. Hardwick started his Q&A with a filibuster, walking TV critics though how the game is played — though it’s been on the air for a while now — including one full-on Buzzfeed Brown-nose, in which he asked critics in the room to guess which of three tweets he would read was a real tweet from Buzzfeed’s Kate Aurthur. The tweets also appeared on two screens in the room in letters about a foot tall. Answer: All Three! ”I hate to interrupt, but the show has been on the air for some time — some of us have seen it,” one critic snarked peevishly, speaking for the room.
2ND UPDATE FRIDAY 7:50 AM: Comedy Central just officially announced the 40-week pickup for @midnight, whose production calendar will mirror that of Comedy Central’s other late-night shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. “We’re amazed at how quickly ‘@midnight’ has resonated with our fans,” said the network’s Kent Alterman. “If the internet catches on and social media becomes a part of pop culture, we think we’ll really have something here.”
UPDATE 9:08 PM: Chris Hardwick just confirmed the pickup news on @midnight, announcing that the show will return with new episodes on January 6. “This was an experiment we did for a month, you guys watch, you join in the #HashtagWars, and we are so, so, so, so grateful,” he told the studio audience.
EXCLUSIVE 9 PM: Comedy Central‘s late-night block is officially expanding to 1.5 hours. I’ve learned that after a successful four-week trial run, which ends tonight, the network’s newest late-night entry — midnight show @midnight hosted by Chris Hardwick and produced by Funny or Die — is being given a big vote of confidence with a 40-week pickup. The renewal is not surprising given how strong the show has done in Comedy Central’s target young and male demos. @midnight has the lowest median age in late-night, 32. In Men 18-34 (237,000 through 11/10), Men 18-24 (106,000) and persons 18-24 (142,000), @midnight is the third-highest-ranked late-night show in all of television …
Comedy Central’s new daily, late-night comedy competition, @midnight, hosted by Chris Hardwick and produced by Funny Or Die, will debut on October 21 when the network’s late-night block expands to 90 minutes. @midnight, which will air at midnight following The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, is taking a week-long jump on TBS’ new late-night entry, The Pete Holmes Show, which premieres in the same time slot on October 28. @midnight features a rotating lineup of today’s top comedians who will battle nightly to determine who has the funniest take on the day’s social media and pop culture happenings and wear the crown of funniest person on Earth (for the next 23½ hours).
Comedy Central To Launch Late-Night Show Hosted By Chris Hardwick, Funny Or Die Produces, Tom Lennon & Ben Garant To Run
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy Central is expanding its late-night block with a new show hosted by comedian/producer Chris Hardwick and co-produced by Funny Or Die. The untitled show, which will launch in the fall, will air four nights a week at midnight, following The Colbert Report, giving the network a 11 PM-12:30 AM block anchored by The Daily Show. Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant will serve as executive producers/showrunners on the Chris Hardwick show, returning to Comedy Central, where they co-created and starred on the cult series Reno 911! The show, Comedy Central’s first midnight strip, will be formatted as a comedic panel show that will have a heavy social-media presence integrated throughout. It is produced by Comedy Central and Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Funny Or Die, with Brillstein Entertainment Partners expected to executive produce along with Serious Business (Alex Blagg, Jason Nadler, Jon Zimelis) and Nerdist Industries, Hardwick and Peter Levin’s production company for multi-platform genre and pop culture content. In addition to the 11:30 PM broadcast late-night talk shows, Comedy Central’s Chris Hardwick program will face another new midnight cable strip — TBS’ series toplined by comedian Pete Holmes, which also is slated to launch in the fall and air four nights a week.
The Chris Hardwick show expands Hardwick’s relationship with Comedy Central, where …
The upcoming season of Chris Hardwick‘s BBC America series The Nerdist is starting strong with a guest lineup that draws from nerd royalty and from Hardwick’s other steady TV hosting gig on AMC, Talking Dead. BBC America has revealed the 10-episode new season will see appearances by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, Dominic Monaghan, Elijah Wood, Matt Smith, Katee Sackhoff, Tatiana Maslany, Michael Rooker, Guillermo Del Toro, Gillian Jacobs, Robert Kirkman, Buzz Aldrin, Karen Gillan, Bobak Ferdowsi, Jenna-Louise Coleman and others to be announced. The show will also feature standup from the likes of Kyle Kinane, Matt Kirshen, Natasha Leggero, Paul Scheer Ron Funches and Rob Hubel. The Nerdist airs Saturday nights at 10 PM as part of BBC America’s ‘Supernatural Saturday’ lineup. The new season starts March 30.
EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic Channel has greenlighted a pilot for In The Name Of Science, a science-based show from Nerdist Industries, Chris Hardwick and Peter Levin’s production company for multi-platform genre and pop culture content, which is owned by Legendary Entertainment. Co-produced by Lighthearted Entertainment, In The Name Of Science is hosted by Nerdist Industries staple Jonah Ray. In it, famous experiments of the past are redone to see whether they stand the test of time. “In The Name Of Science is exactly the type of imaginative and smart programming we are looking for,” said National Geographic Channel President Howard T. Owens, adding that “a fresh look at everyday science and how it affects our contemporary lives” is something the network had been looking to explore for some time. Added Nerdist Industries CEO Levin, “’Fun science’ is a Nerdist Industries through line.” Levin and Nerdist Founder & Chief Creative Officer Chris Hardwick will executive produce the pilot with Lighthearted Entertainment’s Howard Schultz & Rob LaPlante. Nerdist has been expanding its TV profile, recently getting a series order from BBC America for comedy-variety talk show The Nerdist and signing a deal with AMC.
Diane Haitman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Chris Hardwick, host of BBC America‘s new series The Nerdist, explained today on a TCA panel how podcasts are becoming the new showcase for today’s comedians. “The podcast movement was really a creative survival mechanism for standup comics,” said Hardwick, whose show based on his Nerdist Podcast has been commissioned for a full-season order and will make its debut in the spring. “The comedy boom died in the ’90s, even now there is not much standup comedy on television. We comedians just needed a way to express ourselves in public in a way that would let people know who we are and what we’re about.” Nerd culture, Hardwick said, was just something he needed to talk about because “I was feeling suffocated in the industry.”
Part of Hardwick’s varied past is a mid-1990s stint as co-host of MTV’s Singled Out with Jenny McCarthy. He was asked to comment on that experience. “I don’t think that’s a superlative memory,” he reflected. “I remember on the first day of taping I was waiting for Jenny and she hadn’t come out yet, was she having a ‘famous’ moment?” Hardwick recounted. McCarthy finally popped out of her dressing room, frazzled, and asked if somebody had a plunger. “She spent 15 minutes trying to …
BBC America is expanding its relationship with Chris Hardwick‘s Nerdist franchise, with the network ordering a full season of comedy-variety talk show The Nerdist based on Hardwick’s hit podcast. The 10-episode season will be shot in LA and feature celebrity guests, UK and U.S.-based correspondents, and stand-up and musical performances. It will debut in spring 2013 as part of BBC America’s Supernatural Saturday block that includes Doctor Who, Being Human and new original series Orphan Black. Hardwick will also host the programming block beginning in the spring. BBA America aired a collection of Nerdist-branded specials this year; Matt Mira and Jonah Ray, Chris’s partners in the podcast, will return as contributors. The Nerdist will continue to be produced by Nerdist Industries and Comcast Entertainment Studios, with Hardwick, Alex Murray, Jay James, Gary Snegaroff and K.P. Anderson executive producing.
The Nerdist marks the latest original programming move at BBC America, joining Crash Course, Wild Things, new drama Orphan Black and the just-renewed Copper.
2ND UPDATE 11:15 AM: Legendary just sent out the announcement that it has finalized an agreement to purchase Nerdist Industries.
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE 9:30 AM: Legendary Entertainment heading into Comic-Con has set a new deal with multiplatform fanboy outfit Nerdist. My sources say huge comic book fan Thomas Tull will be stepping up his existing early investment in Nerdist and actually making an all-out acquisition. But co-owner Peter Levin (my pal) wouldn’t do a deal that stripped him and the other co-owner Chris Hardwick of autonomy for the editorial business. Now they will report to Legendary Entertainment COO Tim Connors. The strategy is that the addition of the Levin and Hardwick digital prowess would add more firepower to the Tull war-chest. Hardwick and Levin will continue in their current roles within Nerdist, and will also take on the roles of Co-Presidents of Legendary’s digital business with Hardwick serving as Co-President Digital Content and Levin functioning as Co-President Digital Strategy. They will work closely with Legendary’s executive management team on event management and comics-related operations. The deal calls for Nerdist to maintain complete editorial autonomy and operations, while benefitting from Legendary Entertainment’s resources and platform as the company continues to offer up quality fanboy content to audiences around the world. Nerdist was founded in 2008 by Hardwick — a comedian, author, podcaster, new media personality and AMC’s The Talking Dead host. In 2011, Nerdist and Levin’s GeekChicDaily merged to form Nerdist Industries with Hardwick serving as Founder and Chief Creative Officer while digital media entrepreneur Levin became CEO of the new company.
AMC is launching Talking Dead, the network’s first live after-show that will discuss AMC’s series The Walking Dead. The half-hour program, produced by Michael Davies’ Embassy Row and hosted by Chris Hardwick, will premiere Oct. 16, immediately following the encore presentation of The Walking Dead. Then beginning on Friday, Nov. 4, the series premieres after The Walking Dead’s encore presentation at 11 PM. The project was originally piloted last month. “Fans of The Walking Dead are incredibly engaged with every aspect of the show. They tweet, blog, and post comments in very large numbers, and we wanted to give them an opportunity to interact with the show in a way that they don’t currently have — a kind of live water cooler,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s SVP original programming, production and digital content.
Talking Dead will feature Hardwick talking to fans, actors, producers and TV enthusiasts, recapping the most recent Dead episode and taking questions and comments from viewers. “As an enormous fan of both The Walking Dead comic and television show, I pretty much begged for this job,” Hardwick said. “Dissecting the moves of Rick Grimes and the remaining survivors after every episode is something I would be doing with my friends anyway, so the fact that AMC is actually paying me to do so is a bonus.”
How effing hot is Chris Hardwick as an emerging name/brand in the nerd-geek footprint? Sizzling. First BBC America signed comedian, writer, and web personality Chris Hardwick to host the channel’s new Saturday night comedy block launching June 18th, Ministry of Laughs, and committed to a pilot/special based on Hardwick’s Nerdist podcast. Now Hardwick is selling 50% interest in his Nerdist Industries to Peter Guber’s and Peter Levin’s GeekChicDaily in a deal announced today. The pop culture newsletter will be investing in blowing up the platform and cross-leveraging their respective audiences. Nerdist Industries consists of a wildly popular blog at Nerdist.com; a top five comedy/popular culture podcast on iTunes (recently named as one of the Top 10 best comedy podcasts by Rolling Stone), a following of 1.4 million Twitter fans, and a book, “The Nerdist Way,” to be published on November 1st by The Penguin Group. Nerdist Industries is also the production company behind the animated pilot Hard N Phirm’s Musical Time Hole at IFC and is producing the Nerdist pilot for BBC America. GeekChicDaily’s investors and partners also include Legendary Pictures, Joe Roth, Bob Pittman, Seattle venture capitalist Mike Slade, Machinima CEO Allen DeBevoise, and Japanese media juggernaut Yoshimoto Kogyo. “I envision a Nerdtopia where video games are free, Cheetos are currency, and robot concubines sate our sexual thirsts. I am confident that Peter Levin, his brain-trust of genius partners and their combined business acumen will provide the infrastructure to help me accomplish this,” …
BBC America has signed comedian, writer and web personality Chris Hardwick to host the channel’s new Saturday night comedy block, Ministry of Laughs, and has committed to a pilot/special based on Hardwick’s Nerdist podcast. The pilot, a panel talk show hosted by Hardwick and featuring celebrity guests talking about their nerd obsessions, will be a BBC America original. Hardwick will executive produce alongside K.P. Anderson and Jay James for Comcast Entertainment Studios. Additionally, Hardwick will emcee the Ministry of Laughs when it launches Saturday, June 18, featuring the latest season of the BAFTA-winning comedy The Inbetweeners, the new project from Little Britain creators and stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams, Come Fly With Me, and the UK’s biggest talk show, The Graham Norton Show.
This seems like Flip This House for the new economic reality: Spike TV has picked up six episodes of a new half-hour unscripted series, Flipping Foreclosures. The series stars the young, entrepreneurial duo of Utah-based Doug Clark and Mike Baird, who constantly roll the dice by buying and flipping foreclosed property. The series, executive produced and created by Dave Broome (The Biggest Loser) and 25/7 Prods, will debut in the fall.