The former Daily Show correspondent is the creator and star of the family sitcom, set to bow in April, about a road trip gone wrong. The hour-half is just one example of the new brand of hard-hitting comedy that TBS and TNT president Kevin Reilly plans to usher in as he attempts to transform the basic cable channel.
Co-created by Jones’ wife and former Daily Show colleague Samantha Bee (whose late-night talk show Full Frontal premieres next month on the same network), The Detour is inspired by the couple’s own experiences with family vacations, as Bee and Jones have three children.
The 10-episode season follows Nate (Jones), who loads up the car with his wife Robin (Natalie Zea) and kids Delilah (Ashley Gerasimovich) and Jared (Liam Carroll) for an adventure to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from their home in Syracuse, N.Y.. Along the way, their journey is fraught with disaster as they encounter one unexpected calamity after another.
“The core of it is how I speak to my children, which is in a very honest and blunt fashion. I don’t see that on television a lot,” said Jones on stage at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour of the concept for the show, adding, “When you throw in a close, cramped quarters on a trip, it gets even more open and honest.”
Jones went on to give an example of his and Bee’s parenting style. When a question about sex arose with their kids at a very young age — they thought eggs were planted in foreheads and came out of “mommy’s tummy scar,” Jones explained — the 42-year-old dad felt compelled to have a mature conversation with his children. “I couldn’t live with my kids being that dumb,” he said to laughs in the audience.
The Canadian-born Jones also shut down comparisons to the 2015 Ed Helms-Christina Applegate film Vacation. “It’s nothing like [that] movie. It starts out that way, but it goes off on a … detour. It’s one journey that becomes something very different as it goes along,” he said, hinting that his character may have a Walter White-like secret and that he wouldn’t be disappointed if someone called the series “Breaking Bad: The Comedy.”
When asked later in the show’s half-hour in front of the press about the balancing act of being both Bee’s co-worker and spouse, Jones shrugged off the question with a joke: “I’m actually just a terrible husband and a terrific exec producer. We just actually stay together for our careers. We look to the Clintons.”
The Detour is set to premiere Monday, April 11, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on TBS.