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The former Fuse and TruTV half-hour interview/game show is being revived as a web series consisting of eight episodes. Each shortform episode is expected to be about a third of the half-hour run time of its previous five seasons, though that could change. The eight episodes will feature some of the biggest names in pop culture, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tiffany Haddish, Kate McKinnon and Emma Stone. Additional guests will be announced later.
The move comes after Eichner and TruTV parted ways after a two-season run that resulted in an Emmy nomination for best variety sketch series (Billy on the Street lost to Saturday Night Live). After splitting with TruTV, Eichner opted to focus on acting with roles in American Horror Story and upcoming parts as Timon in Disney’s remake of The Lion King and Christmas feature Noelle, both due in 2019. Eichner also has his first comedy special currently in development at Netflix.
“I’m back to heal the country…and the world! After five seasons of the TV series, I knew I wanted to set the show aside in order to create some time in my schedule to pursue other projects,” Eichner said Wednesday. “Now that those are taking shape, I’m truly thrilled we’ve found a way to bring Billy on the Street back that makes so much sense for this particular show. As we all know, this is a very divisive, anxiety-ridden time and I hope these new segments — featuring the most stunning roster of guests we’ve ever had — give people a small burst of joy in their timelines while allowing me to comment on culture and the world at large in the unique way this show allows me to.”
Funny or Die will continue to exec produce the retooled Billy on the Street, which has added Lyft (yes, the ride sharing company) as a producing partner.
“Funny or Die is proud to be producing the return of Billy on the Street with our partners at Lyft, a company that understands how comedy can bring people together, which is brilliantly showcased in this popular series,” Funny or Die CEO Mike Farah said. “The comedy and connection that Billy is able to create on the streets of New York City is truly extraordinary and these first videos may set the highest bar yet.”
The web-only episodes will be distributed in their entirety on all of Eichner’s social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook), on Billy on the Street‘s YouTube channel, Funny or Die’s social media platforms and FunnyOrDie.com. A premiere date or release schedule (be they all at once, weekly or monthly, etc.) have yet to be determined.
Billy on the Street, which was inspired by sketch comedy live show Creation Nation that Eichner did in New York, ran for more than 50 episodes over five seasons, the first three of which were on niche network Fuse. The comedy collected TruTV’s first-ever Emmy nomination. The show also was recognized in 2015 with an Emmy nomination for shortform entertainment for a segment in which Eichner appeared with then-first lady Michelle Obama (watch that, above).
UTA, which represents Eichner, Funny or Die and Lyft, brokered the deal.
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