NBC and Neil Patrick Harris have pulled the plug on “Best Time Ever,” the ambitious live variety show hosted by Harris. But the network and Harris are committed to working together on new projects through NBC’s deal with Harris’ Prediction Productions.
“Best Time Ever” came to NBC with much fanfare in the fall. It was based on the long-running U.K. series “Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway” and was part of NBC’s push to add must-see live TV to its schedule.
As with the original ITV series, the hourlong “Best Time Ever” served up a raucous mix of stunts, taped segments featuring Harris pulling pranks on everyday people, and celebrity guest appearances. But the series never quite gelled for NBC over its eight-episode run that began Sept. 15. The live format made it an expensive undertaking for the network and an exhausting regimen for Harris.
NBC execs and Harris gave considerable thought to bringing “Best Time Ever” back with major changes to the format but ultimately both camps decided it made more sense to start from scratch with a new project. With the benefit of “The Voice” lead-in for most airings, the show delivered a respectable 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 in Nielsen’s live-plus-7 ratings.
“We are extremely proud of the work Neil and the producers did on ‘Best Time Ever,’ ” Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of late-night and alternative programming, told Variety. “People rewarded us for taking the risk of trying something different. It was an incredibly complicated and sophisticated form of television to put on a live show on a weekly basis. We’re proud of Neil for giving it his all and we have steely resolve to work together on something new.”
“Best Time Ever” was produced by ITV America. Siobhan Greene, showrunner of the U.K. series, temporarily relocated to the U.S. to steer the production based out of New York City.
NBC and Harris have not settled on a firm idea for the next project, which could be scripted or unscripted. Harris and the heads of his production banner — Shea Martin and Zoe Chapin — are expected to convene with NBC brass in the new year.