NBC orders American adaptation of ITV variety series, Neil Patrick Harris to host

NBC has been searching for a new variety series franchise for the past couple of years.

Neil Patrick Harris has been looking to front a variety series, and even talked to CBS about such a gig back in May.

NBC, meet NPH! The Peacock Network confirmed today, as first reported by friend of the site Josef Adalian over at Vulture, that it’s going to make a regular (maybe weekly?) variety series starring Harris.

Harris, who’s hosted the Tony Awards and Emmy Awards for CBS and will host the Academy Awards in 2015 for ABC, will take the reins of his own NBC series sometime next year. Harris also starred earlier this year and won a Tony Award for his leading role in the musical of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. His performance there, as well as his multiple opening and closing numbers as awards show hosts, made him an easy sell to any network.

ITV was asking the Americans to agree to an initial 10-episode order to adapt the format for ITV’s Saturday Night Takeaway, although Adalian notes the NBC version won’t have that title or air on that night, seeing as it already has its own long-running variety show that airs live on Saturday nights.

“As I watched the show, I couldn’t stop smiling. Now that I’ve seen many seasons, my face hurts. It’s a game changer,” said Harris, according to Vulture. “Nothing like this has been done before, and it’s unique structure fits right into my random skill set. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and have some fun!”

NBC’s head of alternative programming, Paul Telgedy, told Vulture: “We have a natural affinity for this type of show. It’s in our DNA.”

NBC aired a backdoor pilot in May for Maya Rudolph’s entry into the variety series field, has produced a live musical of The Sound of Music with another for Peter Pan planned, plus pre-existing series that include America’s Got Talent, Hollywood Game Night, and of course, SNL.

Here’s a look at last season’s 11th edition of Saturday Night Takeaway from ITV.

And here is NPH performing live during the Tonys as Hedwig.


Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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