EXCLUSIVE: Comedy Central’s daily late-night program The Opposition with Jordan Klepper will end its run after one season but Klepper is staying on the network with a new weekly half-hour series. Tentatively titled Klepper, it will feature the comedian out in the field, traveling the country and speaking to people.
The Opposition‘s last episode will air on June 28. Klepper just shared the news with the show’s staff. Development on the new show will start right after, with pre-production slated to begin in the fall and a premiere eyed for early 2019 in the 10 PM-11 PM time period.
The timing of the decision stems from the fact that The Opposition was wrapping its first season, with a slew of contracts for people in front and behind the camera coming up for renewal for another year.
“That added into the accelerated pace of the decision but it was mostly driven by excitement about the new show,” Comedy Central president Kent Alterman said. “We can’t do both obviously so we are winding down The Opposition in accordance with gearing up Klepper.”
Joining Klepper on the new program will be The Opposition executive producer Stuart Miller and co-executive producer Kim Gamble. All three will executive produce along with Trevor Noah, who co-created and executive produces The Opposition with Klepper and Miller. Other staffers from The Opposition also will likely move to the new series, those decisions are currently being made. “I couldn’t be more proud of the staff that we have at The Opposition, and the new show is going to have people from The Opposition and the talent that we have there is going to help build this show as well,” Klepper said.
The Opposition has been a companion for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, following it Monday-Thursday at 11:30 PM. There will be no immediate replacement, with The Daily Show as the only late-night strip show on Comedy Central for the near future. “We will be looking at other possibilities, we will dive into that quickly,” Alterman said about finding a successor.
Klepper may get an on-screen team on the new show similarly to the citizen journalists on The Opposition. “We would imagine it would be Jordan and maybe couple of other contributors on-screen,” Alterman said.
As part of ongoing dialog between Comedy Central and its talent about the direction of their shows, the network brass and The Opposition team had been discussing the changed landscape since the election and the series’ place in it.
“The show was anticipating the Steve Bannons and Alex Joneses of the world to be front and center, and the truth is, it’s really Trump front and center,” Alterman said. “It was a combination of looking at how the landscape has changed a little bit differently from what we anticipated but also, we’ve never wavered on Jordan as talent, we’re such big believers in him, and we’ve been thinking where he is at his strongest. He is so strong in the field, being out in the real world with real people. He has done such fantastic work in his own special, Jordan Klepper Solves Guns, and as a correspondent on The Daily Show.“
The idea for The Opposition actually originated from the field pieces Klepper filmed for The Daily Show at Trump rallies “as I started to talk to the supporters of Trump during his campaign and realizing that they were getting a lot of their information from these far-right fringe sources,” he said.
“So as we were building the show we wanted to satirize that point of view and this sort of fake news world, the world of Steve Bannon the world of Alex Jones, We were surpassed by the speed with which the world of conspiracy and paranoia caught up with the real world, we thought it would maybe take a few years to get here. Donald Trump was someone who was a birther and stoking the flame of conspiracy, right now we are In the middle of spy gate and an attempt to delegitimize news altogether, and you see Sean Hannity now turning practically into state-run media.”
Klepper and his team talked to Alterman about “ways to do something new, exciting and fresh.”
“I definitely miss being out in the field,” Klepper said. “This idea of not speaking though a character but speaking more from my own perspective and commenting on the effect of all that chaotic news cycle has on real America and placing me out in real America; we started to build a show out of that.”
According to Alterman, “we always anticipated to have Jordan more in the field than it proved to be practical on The Opposition”. He noted Klepper’s filmed pieces with Parkland students, at the CPAC convention and in Puerto Rico following the hurricane.
“They were a reminder of Jordan at his absolute strength,” Alterman said. “How great it would be stripping it down to Jordan, his essence and who he is and if it was a weekly field-based show? Liberating him from doing a character and just be more himself even if it’s an exaggerated, comedic version of himself like we saw in his work as a correspondent on The Daily Show and in his special. That.would be a fruitful vehicle for him to shine, he is so smart and funny and likable.”
Klepper called the video he did with Parkland activists on a shoestring budget with a small staff “a turning point.”
“We did a pop-up show in a student’s living room because they were hosting other families and students for the big march (in Washington DC). I interviewed Sen. Cory Booker on a 10-year-old’s bed. To me that was us going to the story, experiencing the story and being out in the real world and it was exciting and invigorating.”
Gun control is a topic Klepper has been passionate about and his extensive coverage of the issue helped him find his voice and stand out in the crowded late-night field. Here is his interview with Booker:
As for what kind of stories the new show will cover and whether it would be topical, “what’s exciting about a weekly show is that you have more time to curate and choose the stories as opposed to chase the stories,” Klepper said. The goal for the new series is to be “telling the stories that don’t get told; we already on The Opposition get to do a lot of fun pieces, so a little bit more in-depth, and go to the people who are making the stories. I think we are going to look to be part of the conversation so there will be elements that are topical, covering how people are reacting that week.”
Klepper and his writers are now planning the final two weeks of The Opposition, and the focus will be on Klepper, the persona that hosts the show. “We are excited to see this character wrap things up,” Klepper said. “He is a fringe character, a hot head who thinks people are out to get him. We are starting to build to what that final two weeks is going to feel like, to see the journey the character is going to go on.”
How does Jordan Klepper, the character, feel about his show ending? “He feels that everybody is out there to get him so if anything ends, it’s definitely the globalists, the corporatists the big wigs at Viacom, the mainstream media, the elitists the liberals. So he is not going to go out without a fight.”
Closing the chapter on The Opposition, “I’m incredibly proud of the work that we did,” Klepper said. “I think our show was able to pack smart commentary day in and day out with a ton of jokes I think we painstakingly worked to fill each little space with joke, a visual an attitude and a character and I hope people enjoyed us playing around in the muck that we are living in every single day.”
Moving to a weekly format, Klepper would not rule out returning to daily grind of a strip in the future. “The daily grind of a show that is on each night is exciting and exhilarating and exhausting,” he said. “I loved that experience but I am excited to have a little bit more time to formulate ideas, to add some depth and to have a little bit of a life.”