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VH1 is throwing its hat into the late-night space.
The Viacom-owned cable network has handed out a series order for a live weekly late-night talk show hosted by Marc Lamont Hill, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The CNN commentator will anchor the weekly series, called VH1 Live. The show, produced by Embassy Row (Watch What Happens Live, Talking Dead), will deliver pop culture spin on entertainment news and gossip. The series debuts Sunday, July 17, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
The deal keeps Hill in the Viacom fold after serving as a BET News host. The VH1 show will see the Ivy League-educated host infuse his opinions and wit with what’s billed as a “raw street savvy ” approach to the subject matter. The audience and social media also will play a role in the conversation, with Hill set to be joined by some of VH1’s biggest stars to get exclusive, behind-the-scenes buzz on the cable network’s top-rated shows.
VH1’s newly appointed reality topper Nina L. Diaz will executive produce VH1 Live alongside Trevor Rose, Jen McGovern, Tolani Holmes and Embassy Row.
The series comes as the cabler has continued to post gains under new president Chris McCarthy, with nine of the top 20 reality shows among viewers 18-34 and 18-49. Among VH1’s latest additions is a weekly talk show featuring Amber Rose and executive produced by Dr. Phil. The network has been doubling down on content of late, reviving America’s Next Top Model and handing out a straight-to-series order based on Star Jones’ saga at The View starring Vanessa Williams in addition to ordering original film The Breaks as an ongoing scripted drama series.
VH1 Live comes as the late-night landscape continues to be a space where cable networks have had trouble breaking into. Bravo has found success with Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live, while Comedy Central’s The Daily Show has struggled since Jon Stewart’s departure. VH1 corporate sibling MTV most recently attempted to enter the late-night space in 2013 with Nikki & Sara Live, which was canceled after two seasons. Other short-lived late-night series include FXX’s Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, which was dropped after two seasons (including one on flagship FX), and Comedy Central’s Anthony Jeselnik-fronted topical show The Jeselnik Offensive, which was also axed after two seasons. Netflix, meanwhile, recently entered the space with its Chelsea Handler talk show, which has been met with poor reviews.
Hill is repped by WME.
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