Sacha Baron Cohen in Talks With Showtime for Comedy Interview Series (EXCLUSIVE)

Sacha Baron Cohen is eyeing a return to the type of TV that made him a star.

Baron Cohen is in talks with Showtime to distribute a new series in which he will star, sources tell Variety. The format is said to be similar to Baron Cohen’s “Da Ali G Show,” which aired on Channel 4 in the U.K. and HBO in the U.S. Baron Cohen teased the project on July 4, releasing a cryptic video via social media that said, in part, “He’s back as you’ve never seen him before.”

The video also featured real footage of Donald Trump insulting Baron Cohen and ends with the logo of the now-defunct Trump University. Other than Trump, Baron Cohen could also be targeting other celebrities. He was reported to have filmed a stunt with O.J. Simpson in his Las Vegas hotel room in February.

Details of the project beyond Baron Cohen’s involvement are still sketchy. It’s believed that at least one or two episodes have already been produced or at least roughly assembled. Showtime declined to comment. Reps for Baron Cohen could not immediately be reached for comment.

In “Ali G,” Baron Cohen played three characters: wannabe gangster Ali G, Kazakh reporter Borat Sagdiyev, and gay Austrian fashion reporter Brüno Gehard. He would interview real celebrities and government officials in character, asking them outlandish and absurd questions.

Each of the three characters from “Da Ali G Show” eventually got their own movie, with the most successful being “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” Baron Cohen has said that he has retired all three characters, as they had become too familiar to people, meaning they will likely not appear in the new series.

The prospective Showtime series marks Baron Cohen’s second television project in recent months. In April, it was announced he has been cast in the lead role of the Netflix limited series “The Spy.” He will play real-life spy Eli Cohen, who performed espionage for Israel in Syria in the early 1960s.

Baron Cohen has primarily worked in film since the end of “Da Ali G Show.” In addition to films like “Borat” and “Bruno,” he has starred in comedies like “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” the “Madagascar” franchise, and “The Dictator.” He also had roles in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and “Les Misérables.”

Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.

More TV

  • Steve Stark

    Steve Stark Named President of Newly Formed MGM/UA Television

    The newly formed MGM/UA Television label has found a president in Steve Stark, who previously served as MGM’s president of scripted television production and development. MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman Mark Burnett made the announcement late Friday, adding that Stark has extended his contract with the studio as part of his new role. “We are [...]

  • Bad Education

    TV News Roundup: HBO Sets Premiere Date for Hugh Jackman's 'Bad Education' (Watch)

    In today’s TV News roundup, HBO Films set the premiere date for “Bad Education” starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney and “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” tapes Chris Harrison and Sage Steele as hosts. CASTING “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison will host “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” alongside co-host Sage Steele of ESPN, ABC announced. [...]

  • Randall Park Ed Helms

    Randall Park, Ed Helms to Host Hybrid Alternative-Scripted Series 'True Story' for NBC

    Ed Helms and Randall Park are attached to co-host a hybrid scripted-alternative series titled “True Story” at NBC. The hour-long show has received a six-episode order. It is based on the Australian series “True Story with Hamish & Andy.” In the series, everyday Americans sit down with Helms and Park to share their most extraordinary [...]

  • Annie MurphyGlamour Women of the Year

    'Schitt’s Creek' Star Annie Murphy Cast as Lead in AMC's ‘Kevin Can F— Himself’

    “Schitt’s Creek” star Annie Murphy has been cast as the lead in AMC’s upcoming series “Kevin Can F— Himself.” The dark comedy centers around Murphy’s Allison, Kevin’s wife, who escapes her confines and discovers her rage. “Kevin Can F– Himself” probes the secret life of a type of woman we all grew up believing we [...]

  • Vudu

    NBCUniversal in Talks to Buy Walmart's Vudu

    Comcast’s NBCUniversal is looking to add some Vudu into its streaming-video mix. The media conglomerate is in talks to buy Vudu, the Walmart-owned entertainment rental, download and free-streaming service, sources confirm to Variety. It’s unclear what the terms of the pact would be or the timing. News of NBCU’s interest in Vudu was first reported [...]

  • Friends reunion

    'Friends' Cast to Reunite for Exclusive HBO Max Special

    It’s happening: The “Friends” cast is reuniting for an exclusive untitled unscripted special on HBO Max. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer will return to the original “Friends” soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank to celebrate the long-running series, which ended its run [...]

  • Regina King Watchmen

    HBO Reclassifies 'Watchmen' as a Limited Series, Including 'Possible Future Installments'

    In the ongoing saga of whether HBO’s “Watchmen” will continue after its initial, acclaimed season late last year, the pay cable network announced on Friday that it is reclassifying the show from a drama series to a limited series, including for “any possible future installments.” The move aligns HBO’s awards season campaign for “Watchmen” with [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content