EXCLUSIVE: Nine years after MadTV ended its 14-season run on Fox, the Emmy-winning sketch comedy series is coming back. The CW has ordered eight hourlong episodes for a primetime run. David E. Salzman, who executive produced the original series, is back as executive producer/showrunner. Telepictures is the studio.
Like the original series, which aired in late-night on Saturdays, the revival will feature MadTV‘s signature pop-culture parodies and politically incorrect humor and star up-and-coming comedy voices. The new series also will acknowledge its past, featuring special appearances from returning cast members of the original series as hosts of each episode. The names of the former cast members set to return are still TBD.
The MadTV series revival comes on the heels of the CW airing a MadTV 20th anniversary special in January, also from Salzman and Telepictures, and its digital network Seed acquiring 75 episodes of the original series. The hour-long anniversary special drew a solid 1.7 million viewers and a 0.6 among adults 18-49 in Live+same day.
“The MadTV franchise is as vibrant as ever thanks largely to social and digital media appealing to a fan base numbering in the millions that relates to the show’s brand of authentic and irreverent cross-cultural comedy,” Salzman said. “We will continue to present the hard-hitting, laugh-out-loud, wall-to-wall pop culture parody our fans expect, but in a fresh, new way.”
Salzman is executive producing the series with Mark Teitelbaum and John Montgomery.
Mike Darnell, President, Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative TV, who oversees Telepictures, has longtime ties with MadTV going back to the time when he was head of alternative at Fox. “I was extraordinarily proud to be in charge of MadTV during most of its run at Fox Broadcasting Company,” he said. “In my opinion, it was always an underrated show that rivaled the best sketch comedy on television. I am thrilled to see it come back to network TV — and in primetime — thanks to The CW, and I feel lucky to have David Salzman and his team back at the helm.”
The CW has had success with rebooting another sketch comedy franchise, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, for which MadTV would be a suitable companion.
The 19 returning series alumni for the 20th anniversary special on the CW included Ike Barinholtz, Alex Borstein, Mo Collins, Crista Flanagan, Anjelah Johnson, Nicole Randall Johnson, Keegan-Michael Key, Phil LaMarr, Artie Lange, Bobby Lee, Michael McDonald, Arden Myrin, Nicole Parker, Eric Price, Will Sasso, Aries Spears, Nicole Sullivan, Stephnie Weir and Debra Wilson.
QDE, a joint venture between Salzman and Quincy Jones, launched MadTV on Fox in 1995, utilizing Mad magazine’s irreverent brand. The show, originally designed as a competitor to Saturday Night Live, was created by Fax Bahr and Adam Small, who left after the show’s third season. It has been Fox’s most successful foray into late night to date.