Comedy Central said would this summer launch a new weekly series in late night featuring actor and comic Jim Jefferies, the latest hint by the Viacom-owned outlet of what it might do for a wee-hours lineup that has been one of the most scrutinized in the TV sector,.
Jefferies, who created and starred in the FX series “Legit” for two seasons, will host a ten-episode half-hour series that is currently slated to premiere in the summer. Comedy Central did not provide details about when it might air and on what day of the week. The show, currently untitled, will take on culture and politics, the cable network said, and will show Jeffries traveling around the world to take on the top issues and most controversial stories of the week. “It’s always been a dream of mine to do a show in this arena and I can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve got planned,” said Jefferies in a prepared statement.
Comedy Central parent Viacom has in recent weeks begun to emphasize its global presence, a nod to a strategy being articulated by its new chief executive, Bob Bakish. The executive, who ran Viacom’s international operations for several years, has been eager to demonstrate how programming concepts can be utilized across the company’s various holdings. During a presentation to advertisers Thursday, the company’s kids-focused Nickelodeon unit ran a video vignette showing how its properties were available in countries like India. Executives at Comedy Central have long touted the distinctive view offered by “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah, who hails from South Africa.
Comedy Central has long boasted of one of TV’s most popular late-night lineups, but it has yet to replace “The Nightly Show,” an acerbic half hour hosted by comedian and producer Larry Wilmore that tackled topics of race and culture that was canceled last year. Since the demise of “Nightly,” Comedy Central has run the Chris Hardwick-hosted program “@midnight” a half-hour earlier than the show’s title, right after its long-running “Daily Show,” but has not added another regular half-hour of programming to that lineup. The network has also been working on a late-night concept with Jordan Klepper, a “Daily Show” contributor.
Jefferies “has a huge comedic voice on the global stage,” said Kent Alterman, Comedy Central’s president, in a statement. The network said in a brief notice that it expected Jeffries to “cue the laughs and cut through the bulls–t” with his program.
The new series will be executive-produced by Jefferies, Scott Zabielski, and Brillstein Entertainment Partners’ Alex Murray and Tim Sarkes. Jason Reich is co-executive producer and head writer.