×

Viceland Will Relaunch Primetime With Nightly Live Two-Hour Variety Show (EXCLUSIVE)

F— it, Viceland is doing it live. The cable network will revamp its primetime lineup next month to launch a nightly two-hour live show that will serve as a showcase of sorts for all things Vice.

Vice Live” will air Mondays through Thursdays from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, starting Feb. 25, and reps Viceland’s most ambitious programming initiative to date.

“Our audience lives in the world of very live, and instant, gratification,” Viceland president Guy Slattery exclusively told Variety. “Being live is also a bit more dangerous and makes us a bit more vulnerable. People are going to see things happening in real time. They’ll be watching the show while we’re making the show.”

Vice Live” will be hosted by a panel of four up-and-comers: comedian/actress Marie Faustin, Houston-based underground hip-hop artist Fat Tony, comedian/director Sandy Honig, and writer/comedian Zack Fox. But other Vice contributors will also be seen on the show, such as Vice.com’s Dee Nasty, Eve Peyser, Lee Adams, and Taji Ameen.

Viceland has tapped executive producer Jeremy Hutchins (“106 & Park”) and director Joe Perota (“Last Week Tonight,” “The Chris Gethard Show”) to oversee the show, along with Viceland’s Nomi Ernst Leidner (“Gaycation”), Jeff Sammon (“Desus & Mero,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live”) and Catherine Whyte (Viceland’s head of production), who will all also executive produce.

By airing in primetime, Slattery said “Vice Live” will be able to recap the day in pop culture and social media, via a “Vice Guide to Right Now” segment. The show will also include celebrity guests, music performances, host-driven segments, live remotes, and pre-taped content.

“I’m sure it’s going to be very different in six months than when we first come out of the gate,” Slattery said. “The beautiful thing about live is whether things work or don’t work, you put it to bed and you get to start fresh the next day. We’ll get real feedback from the audience.”

That feedback will come via a healthy social media presence both on camera and online. But a small studio audience will also be a part of the show. “Vice Live” will even be set in the lobby in Vice’s Williamsburg, Brooklyn, headquarters, which boasts a fully functional bar (yes, guests and audience members will be served).

“We want to have people come in so it feels like a hang and provides that energy,” Slattery said. Some of the live remotes will also take place from other Vice offices in Los Angeles and around the world.

“Vice Live” fills the void left by Viceland’s previous nightly show, “Desus & Mero,” as those hosts move to Showtime. “We learned a lot doing that show,” Slattery said. “Part of that show’s success was its currency as a daily habit. This is us expanding on that idea. It’s a completely different show. We’re learning what works from our audience.”

One exception to the Vice content on “Vice Live” will be Vice News, which is handled by a different division inside the company. While “Vice Live” may touch on the headlines of the day, it will be about how the culture is responding to it.

“We want to be funny and entertaining,” Slattery said. “Culture is being affected by big political issues and I could see Trump being mentioned from time to time. But we’re not breaking news, we’re covering what people are talking about. Vice News is a separate division that does its own thing. We have a nightly news show on HBO, so news isn’t something we’re interested in doing.”

“Vice Live” might be compared to other past live signature daily shows such as MTV’s “TRL,” G4’s “Attack of the Show,” or FX’s original apartment shows, but Slattery notes that this is longer in format. “We’re not looking at other shows as models, we’re trying to do something different with this,” he said.

In success, the exec said “Vice Live” will both capitalize on existing Vice talent and properties, while also launching new show concepts and ideas into the Vice ecosystem.

“We’re creating a huge amount of content every day across the globe and this is a way to showcase it and tap into it on a daily basis on the channel,” he said. “We’ll develop new IP that we can develop into series and on other platforms. It’s a big showcase for Vice as a whole.”

“Vice Live” will also serve as a marketing platform for other Viceland series, such as “Kentucky Ayahuasca” and “Most Expensivest.” Slattery said the network wouldn’t be cutting back on originals to make room for “Vice Live”; there are 11 new series set to launch this year on the network, he said.

“It’s about doing more, not less,” he said. “We know this is going to be a great platform to promote those other shows.” And when they end their seasons, Slattery hopes to use “Vice Live” as a platform to keep talent from those series in Vice circulation.

Viceland is pulling back on one-off feature documentaries, however, in order to focus more on series content.

As for the hosts, Faustin was named a “New Face of Comedy” at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, and also hosts the podcast “The Unofficial Expert.” Fat Tony (real name: Anthony Lawson Jude Ifeanyichukwu Obiawunaotu) is a Nigerian-American underground hip-hop artist who also hosted and co-created Super Deluxe’s “Thrift Haul with Fat Tony.” Honig’s sketch group, Three Busy Debras, sold out Carnegie Hall in 2016 and recently shot an Adult Swim pilot from Amy Poehler. Fox has performed standup around the country and co-wrote and acted in the horror-comedy “Kuso,” which premiered at Sundance in 2017.

“We had a relationship with all these guys to some degree in the past,” Slattery said. “They all bring something different. We wanted core regulars on the show and then it’s a way for us to bring lots of other talent. We’ll have a revolving door of comedians, musicians, artists, influencers, chefs.”

“Vice Live” also represents the channel’s biggest programming shift since Nancy Dubuc took over as CEO of Vice Media last March. “Nancy really encouraged us to go big,” Slattery said. “That’s very much the Vice DNA, just be brave and get out there. It’s a big swing, and we’re interested to see how people react to it.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Steven Knight

    BBC Orders Steven Knight Drama Series ‘SAS: Rogue Heroes’

    The BBC has ordered “SAS: Rogue Heroes,” which is being adapted by “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight, Oscar nominated for “Dirty Pretty Things,” from Ben Macintyre’s book. The drama series will tell the story of how the British special forces unit, the SAS, came to be formed. The series is being produced by Kudos, whose [...]

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content