×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Little Big Shots’

With:
Host: Steve Harvey

Bill Cosby’s name is tarnished these days, but it’s hard to watch “Little Big Shots” – a new NBC series hosted by Steve Harvey – without thinking of him. That’s because Harvey basically channels Cosby’s version of the venerable TV format “Kids Say the Darndest Things” in an unscripted program that weds those attributes with “America’s Got Talent.” Culling participants from YouTube videos and tailored to the generation weaned on those vids, think of “Little Big Shots” as a reality show that’s intended to make viewers go “Aww,” which is certainly preferable to “Eww.”

Thankfully, NBC has stripped any competitive element from this talent showcase, so the kids are just being brought out to demonstrate what they can do – and perhaps make other parents a trifle envious – not to win money. As a bonus, that eliminates any chance of Harvey replicating his infamous pageant performance and putting a crown on the wrong kid.

The unhurried nature of the series is predicated on having the children (all under age 8 in the premiere) chat with Harvey before showing off their skills, which for the most part are pretty impressive. In the premiere, they include a 4-year-old boy with a knack for making shots from alarming distances on his toy basketball hoop, a 6-year-old spelling whiz, a dancer, singers and a boy who can meticulously replicate Bruce Lee’s nunchaku-whirling artistry in “Game of Death.”

Harvey can be an acquired taste, but he’s well suited to this slight vehicle – which he produces with Ellen DeGeneres, among others – providing the requisite reaction shots at obvious moments, like when the budding basketball star asks, “Where are your balls?” Granted, one can quibble about talking to a 7-year-old about “going viral,” or consider that parents potentially are exploiting their tots in some of these instances, but for the most part, this is reminiscent of the talk-show staple of bringing on gifted tykes, and lacks the “ick” factor associated with fare like “Toddlers & Tiaras” or “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

NBC has scheduled “Little Big Shots” on Sundays after the obligatory post-“The Voice” preview, and it certainly feels reminiscent of programming that used to be scheduled that night, aimed at reaching the whole family.

Obviously, viewing has fragmented considerably since those days, as mom, dad and kids scatter to their respective screens. Yet – at the risk of mixing sports metaphors – while this isn’t a case of swinging for the fences, as such shots go, this one takes pretty good aim in its attempt to connect with everyone.

TV Review: 'Little Big Shots'

(Series; NBC, Tue. March 8, 10 p.m.)

Production: Produced by East 112th Street Prods., A Very Good Production and Warner Horizon Television.

Crew: Executive producers, Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Harvey, Jeff Kleeman, Gerald Washington, Robin Ashbrook, Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner, Mary Connelly; co-executive producer, Alison Holloway; director, Russell Norman; supervising casting director, Kathleen Erangey. 60 MIN.

Cast: Host: Steve Harvey

More TV

  • Russian Doll

    TV News Roundup: Natasha Lyonne's 'Russian Doll' Sets Netflix Premiere Date

    On Friday’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for “Russian Doll” and Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Brexit” film has a premiere date on HBO FIRST LOOKS Showtime has released a new teaser for the upcoming comedy series, “Black Monday,” which will premiere Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The series stars and is executive produced by Don [...]

  • Vanity Fair Review

    TV Review: 'Vanity Fair'

    There’s something comforting about the predictability of a period piece novel adaptation in the Masterpiece Theater tradition. Knowing the story, or even just the rhythms of the genre, there are rarely many surprises. The women will toss off witticisms and cry careful, pretty tears; the men will steel their jaws and declare their love, ideally [...]

  • FILE - In this April 5,

    CBS Claims Commitment to Ending Harassment. Its Actions Say Otherwise (Column)

    At this point, a new breaking sexual harassment case at CBS isn’t exactly a surprise. Over and over again, powerful CBS company men from producers to executives to the ex-CEO himself have made headlines for propagating decades of harassment and abuse, with dozens of witnesses affirming that the pattern was business as usual. But as [...]

  • Willow ShieldsVariety Portrait Studio, Beautycon Festival

    'Hunger Games' Alum Willow Shields Joins Netflix Drama Series 'Spinning Out'

    Willow Shields has been cast in a series regular role in “Spinning Out,” the upcoming ice skating drama series at Netflix. She joins a cast that also includes Kaya Scodelario, who was announced as the series lead on Thursday, taking over the role originally held by Emma Roberts. Shields will star as Serena, Kat Baker’s (Scodelario) [...]

  • Adam Levine Cardi B

    Maroon 5 and How the Super Bowl Halftime Show Became Music's Least Wanted Gig

    Who would have thought that the Super Bowl Halftime show, an American institution watched by more than 100 million people, would become the least wanted gig in music? But thanks to the ongoing controversy concerning the NFL’s stance on a player’s right to protest, brought to the forefront by football’s top conscientious objector Colin Kaepernick, [...]

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    James Corden's Fulwell 73 to Develop Sci-Fi Drama at CBS (EXCLUSIVE)

    CBS is developing a drama series that hails from James Corden’s production company, Fulwell 73, Variety has learned exclusively. The series is titled “Embody.” In the series, after a mission gone wrong renders her permanently blind, a special agent volunteers for an experimental government program that can temporarily transfer her consciousness into someone else’s body, giving [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content