USA Orders Celebrity Impression Comedy Competition Series with Dana Carvey

dana carvey first impressions
Gregory Pace/BEI

USA is bolstering its comedy slate with a new unscripted competition series, “First Impressions,” Variety has learned.

The half-hour reality show, described as a battle of impressionists, will feature “SNL” alum Dana Carvey as an expert mentor to contestants.

Hailing from Renegade 83 and Gaspin Media, “First Impressions” pits America’s best amateur impressionists against each other in a weekly battle of celebrity impression. Each week, viewers across the country will vote on a winner.

Carvey will be joined by celebrity guests and will mentor the impressionists, while also participating in game play. In addition to his on-camera duties, the “Wayne’s World” star will also serve as an exec producer.

“There are so many great impressionists and ‘First Impressions’ gives them an opportunity to showcase their talents,” said Carvey. “Besides, I’ve always enjoyed watching an impressionist nail somebody — as in capture their voice. Now I get paid to watch.”

EVP of original programming at USA Network, Jackie de Crinis, commented: “There is no better talent to mentor these contestants than the master of impressions, Dana Carvey. The expertise and humor that he will bring to the series is unsurpassed and we can’t wait to have his world famous celebrity impersonations on our network.”

Along with Carvey, Jeff Gaspin, David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe will exec produce the series.

“First Impressions” is the latest addition to USA’s alternative content, which includes breakout family docuseries “Chrisley Knows Best” and the upcoming satirical Donny Deutsch series “Donny!” Both shows premiere on Nov. 10 with “Chrisley” returning for the latter half of its third season.

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  1. Terri McGough says:

    I’m watching First Impressions right now and really enjoying it. I would just suggest that the producers show the pictures of the people the contestants are impersonating (when possible), so we can always know who’s being who. Sometimes the contestants will impersonate a celebrity I don’t know and a picture would help keep my interest and make it all more fun if I at least recognize the face of the celebrity.
    What a great idea this show is. It will be a big hit!

  2. cadavra says:

    Exactly how is this going to work? Are the contestants going to attempt impressions of current stars who lack distinctive voices and can’t be imitated, like Affleck, Pitt and Damon? Or are they going to fall back on classic-era stars like Bogart, Cagney and Gable, whom most people under 50 have never heard of? Either way, I don’t see much chance of success here.

    • Dennis Burton says:

      Harsh, but true; and the greats did political satire and farce, too… Nixon, Kennedy, LBJ, and Regan. Alas, much of today’s audience wasn’t even born during their era (for better or worse, politically speaking!)

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