Bob Saget is reuniting with producer Vin Di Bona and ABC for a clip-show series, but this time the content will be decidedly more adult-oriented than the family-friendly tone of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
“Videos After Dark” will feature Saget offering his comedic take on clips harvested by Di Bona’s “AFV” team over the years that were too risqué for airing at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Saget hosted the first eight seasons of ABC’s enduring unscripted franchise, concurrent with his run on the ABC family comedy “Full House.” The half-hour “Videos After Dark” will air in a 10 p.m. slot when it premieres next year.
In addition to greenlighting “Videos After Dark,” “AFV” has also been renewed for two more seasons, through its 31st frame. “AFV” ranks as one of TV’s longest-running entertainment franchise, having bowed as a special in 1989. “AFV” exec producer Di Bona has been at the helm since its inception as an adaptation of a format from Japan’s Tokyo Broadcasting System.
” ‘AFV’ has been a fixture in households across America for decades, and we are so happy that this show still resonates,” said Rob Mills, ABC’s senior VP of alternative, late-night and specials. “And now the generation that grew up with the hilarious Bob Saget as the host of ‘AFV’ is old enough to stay up past 10 p.m. to see him on ‘Videos After Dark.’ ”
Saget and Di Bona have kicked around the idea of fielding an edgier take on the “AFV” vault for some time. ABC executives approached Di Bona a few months ago with a similar idea. Saget came on board quickly. “I called (Saget’s) agent to ask him about his interest in the project and he said to me ‘Bob’s already in makeup,’ ” Di Bona told Variety.
“Videos After Dark” will not have the contest element of “AFV,” which awards prize money each week and builds to a grand prize winner at the end of each season. “Videos After Dark” will not have any on-air branding tied to “AFV” in order to protect the latter’s image as a family-friendly show, Di Bona said. Saget is known for his penchant for working blue in his standup appearances and TV specials, in contrast to his beginnings as the star of a G-rated “TGIF” comedy.
Di Bona said the show will be a blend of Saget material punctuated by a generous serving of clips. The “AFV” team has plenty of material to draw on, Di Bona promised.
“We’ve been collecting them since day one,” he said.
“Videos After Dark” will aim for a nightclub-style feel with a studio audience. The show will lens in the Manhattan Beach studios of “AFV.” Saget, Di Bona and “AFV” veteran Michele Nasraway are executive producers of “Videos After Dark.”
“The show is basically built around Bob and his sensibility, his jokes — the one we know we’re going to be able to get on the air,” Di Bona said. “We’ve already had meetings with (ABC’s) censors already, showing them the clips we have and for the most part we’re getting their blessing.”
As for the “AFV” deal, Di Bona said he is gratified by the early two-season pickup.
“We’re very pleased we can manufacture a show that still works after 29 years,” he said.
“AFV” has seen a nice uptick in viewership after the host baton was passed from Tom Bergeron, who was frontman for 15 seasons, to Alfonso Ribeiro in 2015. “He’s brought us about a million more viewers each week,” Di Bona said.
Di Bona noted that the big trend in the hundreds of hours of clip submissions that roll in each week via the “AFV” website is the prevalence of video shot on smartphones. “We’ve seen a move away from the video camera,” he said. “I’d say 70 percent of our clips now come from cell phones.”
The quality of most smartphone video is fine for broadcast TV, Di Bona said, but there is one drawback: most clips are shot at a vertical angle, because that’s how many people typically hold their phones. Those clips require some tweaking and graphic “curtains” on either side to play well on TV, Di Bona said.
“If I could be out there with America every day I’d be the guy on the sidelines telling them ‘shoot horizontally,’ ” Di Bona quipped.