Howie Mandel to Adapt Denmark's 'Celebrity Stand-Up' for U.S. (Exclusive)

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COLOGNE, Germany - Howie Mandel is returning to his stand up roots with a deal to co-produce the U.S. version of Danish comedy format Celebrity Stand-Up.  Mandel's shingle Alevy Productions and Angel City Factory will develop the format for the U.S. market.

The show's concept has celebrities revealing personal stories about their lives, which, over five days, they develop into a stand-up act. The VIPs then battle each other on stage in front of a live audience, who vote on who to send to the next round.

Respirator, a Danish production house controlled by French format giant Banijay Group, developed the original version of Celebrity Stand-Up, which premieres in primetime on Danish network TV2 on July 18.

“There really isn’t anything like Celebrity Stand-Up on air in the U.S. right now,” Mandel said, “I see it as a unique and clever spin on the immersive celebrity interview. The contestants must examine their own lives to write sketches based on their personal experiences, and challenge themselves to go outside their comfort zones. The result is celebrities exposing themselves in a very honest and raw way, giving viewers a really intimate insight."

The concept for the U.S. show, which does not have a network on board yet, will have viewers follow the celebrity stand-ups to their homes as they probe their lives for laughs and test out material on the unsuspecting public.

For Mandel, Celebrity Stand-Up represents a return to form. The Canadian-born funny man made his name in the 1980s with  a wacky brand of improvisational stand-up comedy. More recently Mandel's been a small-screen regular as the host and executive of NBC's game show Deal or No Deal and as a judge on America's Got Talent.

Mandel moved into reality TV as a producer of Mobbed, the flash-mob reality show which Fox picked up on an eight-episode order after it aired as a special after American Idol on March 31.

Banijay distribution arm Banijay International, is handling worldwide sales for Celebrity Stand-Up. Angel City Factory is a Banijay subsidiary, set up in 2009 with Chris Cowan and Jean-Michel Michenaud, the creators of reality formats such as Temptation Island, Joe Millionaire and My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé.

“We’re delighted to be working with Howie once more on Celebrity Stand-Up," said Chris Cowan, Co-CEO of Angel City Factory.  "Howie is still a prolific stand-up comedian himself as well as a well-known and experienced TV personality, so as a producer, he will really be able to get the most out of this format." 

Banijay will be shopping the Celebrity Stand-Up format to international buyers at the MIPCOM tradefair in Cannes this October.

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