The Society of Overworked Cable Stars just booked a new member.
Olivia Munn, co-host of G4’s “Attack of the Show,” also stars on NBC’s upcoming sitcom “Perfect Couples,” which scored a midseason pickup last month. And the actress/comedian/TV-host/model/author is contributing to Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” as well.
Munn joins fellow Comcast Entertainment star Joel McHale — who continues to host E!’s “The Soup” while starring in the Peacock’s “Community” — in the Overworked Club. And it now seems like charter member Ryan Seacrest handles every third job in Hollywood.
Welcome to the new TV star economy: More is more. It’s not enough for in-demand stars to focus on one gig. These days, they’re holding down several full-time gigs spanning both cable and broadcast (and multimedia).
Multi-tasking stars are nothing new: ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” host Tom Bergeron also emcees “America’s Funniest Home Videos” for the net along with other shows. Meredith Vieira anchors “Today” when she’s not hosting the syndicated “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” And Sherri Shepherd recently juggled “The View” with her Lifetime sitcom stint (and recurring role on “30 Rock”).
But Comcast has been more accommodating than most congloms when it comes to letting its stars moonlight outside the company.
“When I got here, we had it in our contracts with talent that we can stop most of this, that we have exclusivity,” says Comcast Entertainment Group president/CEO Ted Harbert. “But I threw all of that out. It benefits the company to get the exposure for these people on all these platforms.”
In an early move, Harbert agreed to let “E! News” correspondent Samantha Harris take a second gig co-hosting ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”
“If she was on ‘Dancing,’ we thought it would be good for ‘E! News,’?” says Harbert, who admits, now that Harris is no longer on either show, “it didn’t work out for her here or on ‘Dancing.’?”
But for the most part, the exposure has given Comcast stars wider exposure — and, in turn, given E!, G4 and Style a stable of bigger luminaries.
Coincidentally, McHale and Munn both star in Peacock sitcoms on the eve of the NBC/Comcast merger, which will make the crossover easier.
The logistics of loaning out talent, Harbert admits, are “ridiculous.”
“It’s difficult,” he says. “It takes my management team a lot of time to pull this off.”
Among Comcast’s other stars, “E! News” co-anchor Giuliana Rancic stars in a Style reality show with her husband, while latenight talker Chelsea Handler tours the country on a weekly basis.
There are limits, however. Munn will have to take a break on “Attack of the Show” while “Perfect Couples” is shooting, but will still co-host on days when she’s available.
Munn recently told the Daily Beast that she’ll rely on her obsessive-compulsive disorder to survive the onslaught.
“It means I’m ridiculously overprepared for everything, but especially work. I work really hard and a lot of hours,” she told the online journal. “I also have the urge to clean a lot.”