EXCLUSIVE: The popular radio show/podcast Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! is headed to television. NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s Wilshire Studios has teamed with Storied Media Group to develop a TV series based on the long-running NPR program.
Hosted by Peter Sagal, NPR’s weekly news-themed radio panel show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! is a funny and fast-paced game of provocative questions and snappy answers about current events. It features celebrity guests, which have ranged from Jordan Peele, Stephen Colbert, Guy Richie, and Greta Gerwig to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The TV adaptation will stay true to the original while delivering bigger, visual and variety-themed games that can’t be captured on the radio. It will be an hour-long current events trivia game featuring three celebrity panelists who will compete in a series of comedic challenges, earning points as they correctly answer questions about the week’s news. The panelist who earns the most points will earn a cash prize for the charity of his or her choice. A host for the TV version has yet to be announced.
“We are delighted to be adapting the iconic Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” said Dawn Olmstead, President, Wilshire Studios. “The series, radio show and podcast, working in tandem, will allow us to expand the audience across multiple platforms. We look forward to working with our partners at NPR and Storied Media Group on growing this timely franchise.”
Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! has nearly 7 million weekly listeners and in 2008, it won a Peabody Award.
“Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! is one of our flagship programs, so we are especially excited to bring it to Wilshire Studios, part of the NBCUniversal family, to develop for television,” said Michael Lutzky, VP of Business Development for NPR. “We are thrilled that one of the longest-running and most listened to radio and podcast franchises in history will now entertain television audiences with a fresh and fun look at the week’s news.”
NPR previously teamed with CBS in 2008 for a Wait Wait TV adaptation, which filmed a pilot but did not go to series. The radio program also was imitated/parodied as “Wait Wait … Don’t Lie to Me,” a popular segment on pre-politician Al Franken’s Air America radio show in the 2000s.
Wilshire Studios, which focuses on original unscripted programming, produces USA Network’s Real Country, Netflix’s The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, Oxygen’s Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers and Mysteries and Scandals, E!’s Busy Tonight hosted by Busy Philipps, and E! People’s Choice Awards. Storied Media’s current series includes Insatiable on Netflix, Modern Love on Amazon Prime Video and The Oath on Sony Crackle.