Colin Mochrie has been a staple of American television comedy for 25 years now as an original cast member on the improvisational series “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Mochrie, Ryan Stiles and Wayne Brady have headlined the show since its 1998 launch on ABC, and they all returned for The CW’s reboot in 2013 after a six-year hiatus. Fans received mix messages last fall when Mochrie tweeted the show would be ending after its upcoming 20th season. The CW called the news “not accurate.” So what is the truth?
In a new interview with Vulture, Mochrie clarified his remarks about the show coming to an end. The actor said that while the network has not axed the series, the original cast is viewing the 20th season as its last hurrah. “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” started filming new episodes in January, with Season 20 set to debut sometime on The CW later this year.
“Everyone at the show — producers and actors — are calling this the last taping,” Mochrie said. “The short answer is that if it comes back, it probably won’t be with this cast. There is a complicated relationship with the show. The cast loves each other, and the actual shooting is always fun. We are all grateful that the show gave us a showcase and allowed us to be able to tour. The downside is that we never received fair compensation for the success of the show.”
“We provide the content but don’t get paid as ‘writers.’ We never received residuals for a show that’s been shown around the world since its inception,” Mochrie continued. “Seeing announcements about the sale to the show overseas or to HBO Max can get irritating… I hope I don’t sound bitter, because I learned long ago that this business is not fair, and being bitter about it gets you nowhere.”
Mochrie also called out the strange lack of promotion the show receives, saying, “I also find it odd that any publicizing of the show comes through our social media. Every day a tweet shows up: ‘You guys should bring that show back!’ Every season for the last nine years we’ve had to remind folks that we are on. So the short answer is, as of now, this is the last season with this cast. The longer, more vague answer is that it’s like the Mafia: It keeps pulling us back, so who knows?”
A spokesperson for SAG-AFTRA indicated to Variety that residuals are being paid on this show. For episodes of the show that were produced in the UK, they would not have been covered by SAG.
When The CW relaunched “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” for its ninth season in 2013, original host Drew Carey was replaced by Aisha Tyler. The show has aired 168 episodes so far in its run on The CW.