January 05, 2013 3:07pm PT by Philiana Ng
Chris Hardwick Touts 'Nerdist' Talk Show, Shares Best 'Singled Out' Memory
Chris Hardwick touted his BBC America talker based on his popular Nerdist website and podcasts, but it was an unexpected look back at his early '90s days that was truly the highlight.
Near the end of the Television Critics Association's winter press tour session Saturday afternoon, Hardwick -- also host of AMC's The Talking Dead -- summed up his time co-hosting the MTV dating show Singled Out with a revealing anecdote.
"Day one of the first show we're taping," Hardwick began, everyone is "rushing around" and nervous. "We're wating for [co-host] Jenny [McCarthy] ... After about 15 minutes this shock of blonde hair [appears]." She had clogged her toilet on the first day and spent that time figuring out how to fix it before asking if someone had a plunger. "That really encapsulates what Singled Out was like," he said.
(Later in the afternoon, McCarthy countered Hardwick's story by offering her own: According to the new VH1 late-night host, she shared that the evening before an early taping, she burned her hotel down -- literally.)
But on to the Nerdist series, which will be in the form of a comedy/variety talk show. For Hardwick, the landscape has shifted dramatically for "nerdy" content making its way into the pop culture conversation.
"You could never pitch nerd culture shows 10, 15 years ago," he said.
Nerdist has already aired several themed specials on BBC America, with guests like Kunal Nayyar, David Tennant, Simon Pegg and Nathan Fillion, and Hardwick noted that "theming" each of those broadcasts gave it a spine and gave "the show a jumping-off point." He hopes to do the same with the new series. Some topics he says may be possible themes include special effects, '80s comedies and sci-fi.
Nerdist is like "a Snuggie for your brain," Hardwick said of his intentions.
He hopes to spotlight some of his favorite stand-up comics/comedians, as he believes there isn't much space for it on television at the moment. Some names that were thrown out included Paul F. Tompkins, Garfunkel & Oates and Natasha Leggero.
Nerdist premieres its 10-episode season in the spring on BBC America.