9:58am PT by Kate Stanhope
History Taps Dan Harmon for Late-Night Comedy Block
History is diving into late night.
The channel will launch a new slate of short-form originals under the banner Night Class with talent including Dan Harmon, the cabler announced Thursday.
Premiering Feb. 25 at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT, the block will kick off with Great Minds With Dan Harmon. In the series, the Community creator invests in a time machine and is subsequently visited by history's greatest minds. He then discusses their lives and brings them out into the modern world. The show's performers include Jack Black (School of Rock) as Ludwig Van Beethoven, Sarah Silverman, Jason Sudeikis, Dana Carvey, Aubrey Plaza, Kristen Schaal, Nick Kroll, Scott Adsit as Ernest Hemingway, Andy Dick, Ron Funches, Paul F. Tompkins, Thomas Middleditch and Robert Smigel.
Harmon, Richard Korson and Jay Peterson will executive produce the Matador series, along with History's Tim Healy and Paul Cabana.
The second series, Crossroads of History, hails from creator Elizabeth Shapiro and shines a light on largely unknown moments in history that have shaped the world. Fun, and yes, historically accurate facts, include how President Lincoln’s alcoholic bodyguard, John Parker, chose the wrong night to leave his post at the Ford Theatre and how rejection from art school set a young artist, Adolf Hitler, on a very different career path.
Lou Diamond Phillips, Brian Baumgartner, Angela Kinsey, Keir O’Donnell, Jack McBrayer, Wayne Knight, Lloyd Ahlquist and Paul Scheer are among the talent lined up so far.
Trium Entertainment and Maker Studios will produce the series. Shapiro will exec produce with Mark Koops, Eric Day, Anthony Samadani, Bonnie Pan, Rhoades Rader, George Woolley and History's Healy and Cabana.
How to Lose the Presidency rounds out the trio. The project showcases real clips of embarrassing moments and mistakes from Howard Dean's infamous scream to Rick Perry's time of forgetfulness to even moments from the current presidential campaign. Red Marble Media will produce, with Kevin Fitzpatrick, Stephen Dost, Jonathan Santos and History's John Verhoff attached as exec producers.
“History is excited to forge new territory in the late-night landscape with compelling and bold content that will speak to a new audience,” said History executive vp and head of programming Paul Cabana. “Night Class is rooted in real fact, yet full of razor-sharp humor and wit.”
History is the latest cable network to throw its hat into the late-night ring. TBS has Conan and new entry Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Comedy Central has Chris Hardwicke's popular @midnight and Bravo has been in the space for several years with Watch What Happens Live.