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Neil Patrick Harris is going to be one busy man.
The Gone Girl star and newly minted Oscar host has been tapped to host a 10-episode variety show for NBC.
An adaptation of U.K.’s long-running Saturday Night Takeaway from ITV, the show would be based in New York — where Harris is based. It will feature comedy sketches, musical numbers, mini game shows, hidden-camera celebrity pranks and appearances by A-listers. The U.S. version, filmed in front of a live audience, will also adopt a new title (currently it is untitled). It will likely not air on Saturdays, as Vulture first reported, though no premiere date has been set.
“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. “Nothing like this has been done before, and its unique structure fits right into my random skill set. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and have some fun!”
“All of us here at NBC have been dying to work with Neil, as we’ve watched him brilliantly host the Tonys and Emmys,” said Paul Telegdy, president of alternative and late-night programming at NBC Entertainment. “This series will suit his extraordinary talents perfectly. He is a versatile and thrilling talent for us to welcome into the NBC family.”
The U.K. version, which debuted in June 2002 on ITV, was influenced by previous Saturday night shows and often pays homage to Saturday night TV of the past. It was created by Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly and won two BAFTAs this year. The format is popular in several countries, including the U.K., Germany, Portugal, Italy and Belgium.
“The Saturday Night Takeaway format is already popular in many countries, including the U.K., Germany, Portugal, Italy and Belgium. We are delighted that its expansion to the U.S. includes the multi-talented star Neil Patrick Harris,” said Paul Buccieri, chairman of ITV Studios U.S. Group and Global Entertainment.
Orly Adelson, president of ITV Studios America, added: “We are excited to be launching this series with NBC as the series represents the perfect marriage of an incredible talent with the right format to create the ultimate variety show.”
The How I Met Your Mother alum has been vocal about wanting to add a variety show to his repertoire, telling Howard Stern in a recent interview of his career desires.
“I think if it’s weekly and people really want to see it, and you trust that there’s a lot of really great shit on there, then you’re gonna get the guests to want to come on there,” Harris said at the time.
Harris’ timing couldn’t be more opportunistic: He has a supporting role in potential Oscar contender and box-office performer Gone Girl, finished a Broadway run as the title character in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and was recently tapped to host the Academy Awards, a gig he wrote at the bottom of a lengthy “to-do list” in a Twitter video announcing the news.
Harris, Adelson, Siobhan Greene, McPartlin and Donnelly will executive produce. CAA and WME brokered the deal.
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Tracee Ellis Ross