You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NBC Revives Variety Show Talks With Maya Rudolph in Live Programming Push

NBC hopes to bank on the sizzle of live programming next season, as sources say discussions have been revived with Maya Rudolph for a program that is seen as a possible companion for Neil Patrick Harris’ upcoming variety show.

Sources said talks with Rudolph and exec producer Lorne Michaels have been stepped up in recent weeks, though it’s not clear if the project will be ready for unveiling at NBC’s upfront presentation on Monday. Rudolph, the “Saturday Night Live” alum, hosted an hourlong special for NBC last May that was seen as a test drive for a series or an ongoing series of specials.

NBC declined comment.

Harris is already lined up to host a still-untitled variety series, based on the ITV hit “Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway,” that is expected to get a big push at the upfront presentation. Sources said the show is expected to be on NBC’s fall schedule, though as always scheduling plans are subject to change on a dime in the days leading up to the upfront.

Harris’ series is set to be shot live before a studio audience. NBC sees live, or nearly live, programming as one means of counteracting the fragmentation of viewing and drawing premium sponsorship dollars to shows with more urgency.

On Tuesday night, the Peacock’s sitcom “Undateable” mounted live two hourlong productions of an episode, one for the Eastern and Western time zones. The ratings didn’t take a big leap, but the show undoubtedly drew more attention on social media than it otherwise would have received with a standard episode.

NBC will unveil its 2015-16 season plans on Sunday, followed Monday by a formal upfront presentation to advertisers at Radio City Music Hall.

More TV

  • Kevin BarnettFOX 'Rel' TV show panel,

    Comedian Kevin Barnett Dies in Mexico at 32

    Kevin Barnett, the comedian behind Fox comedy series “Rel,” has died while on vacation in Mexico of unknown causes. He was 32. Barnett’s New York City-based comedy career was just taking off at the time of his death, having recently executive produced and co-created Fox TV series “Rel” alongside comedians Lil Rel Howery and Josh [...]

  • Can't We Talk About Something More

    Roz Chast Memoir ‘Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?’ to Be Adapted Into TV Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Famed New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast is taking her sardonic wit to a television screen near you. Her best-selling graphic memoir “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” is being adapted into a half-hour television series by Shivani Rawat’s ShivHans Pictures and Ken Kwapis’ In Cahoots, Variety has learned. Emmy-winning writer Sheila R. Lawrence (“The [...]

  • Jesse Redniss Variety Entertainment & Technology

    WarnerMedia Debuts Content Innovation Lab Fueled by AT&T Tech

    WarnerMedia is launching an incubator meant to “combine emerging technologies with content from across its operating units to create new and innovative consumer experiences and businesses,” the company announced Tuesday. Led by Jesse Redniss, Turner’s executive VP of data strategy and product innovation, the WarnerMedia Innovation Lab is looking to integrate its intellectual property and talent [...]

  • Ilha de Ferro - Dante (

    NATPE: 5 Takes on Brazil’s Globo and Its 2019 Lineup

    MIAMI  — In hallowed tradition, Brazilian TV giant Globo unveiled its NATPE line-up on the first day of the Miami trade fair. With scripted and non-scripted promos playing to a thundering soundtrack Jerry Bruckheimer would have been proud of, this was, as ever for Globo, a polished and powerful presentation. But it also said much [...]

  • Live+7 Ratings for Week of Dec.

    Live+7 Ratings for Week of Dec. 31: 'Masked Singer' Premiere Grows by 40 Percent

    The series premiere of “The Masked Singer” continued to pay dividends to Fox in the delayed viewing numbers. In Live+7 for the week of Dec. 31, “The Masked Singer”–which already had the biggest Live+3 gain of any unscripted premiere ever–rose 40% from its Live+Same Day haul in adults 18-49 to a 4.2 rating. In total viewers, [...]

  • Paula Kaplan

    Viacom Digital Studios' Paula Kaplan Expands Role to Oversee Talent for Nickelodeon

    Paula Kaplan, the executive vice president of talent and development at Viacom Digital Studios, is expanding her role to new include overseeing talent for Nickelodeon. Kaplan’s new title will be executive vice president of talent and development for Viacom Digital Studios and EVP of talent for Nickelodeon. Kaplan will report to both Brian Robbins, president [...]

  • THE MAGICIANS -- Pictured: (l-r) Trevo

    'The Magicians' Renewed for Season 5 at Syfy, Adds New Co-Showrunner

    Syfy has renewed “The Magicians” for a fifth season just ahead of the fourth season premiere. The show has also promoted Henry Alonso Myers to co-showrunner for the fifth season. “‘The Magicians’ raised the bar at Syfy and has gained momentum season after season, attracting a new audience to the channel. We are proud of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content