EXCLUSIVE: NBC is going to fuse comedy with shocking real-life stories in True Story, a hybrid alternative-scripted series hosted by Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover) and Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat, Always Be My Maybe). The six-episode series, based on the Australian show True Story with Hamish & Andy, hails from Warner Horizon Unscripted Television.
In True Story, everyday Americans sit down with Helms and Park to share their most extraordinary and unbelievably true stories. The stories get heightened, dramatized re-enactments of cinematic proportions by a cast of top comedians and actors. Each hourlong episode will feature two real-life stories.
“I can’t wait to bring True Story to American audiences with my buddy, Randall Park,” said Helms, who also executive produces the series. “It’s an incredibly warm, hilarious and kind-spirited show that celebrates the lost art of laughing at ourselves … with a little help from epic reenactments.”
Park and Helms previously worked together in an episode of The Office in 2012.
“I’m so excited to be a part of a show that combines three of my favorite things: great stories from real people, my pal Ed Helms and couches,” Park said.
The original show, created by local producer Radio Karate, has been a hit for Nine Network in Australia. Warner Bros International Television Production has been repping the format internationally and Mike Darnell, Warner Bros.’ President of Unscripted and Alternative Television, attached Helms and took it out to the U.S. market. NBC landed the project in a competitive situation with three networks pursuing it, sources said.
“True Story is the perfect combination of heart, humor and ingenuity that has become synonymous with the NBC Alternative brand,” said Meredith Ahr, President, Alternative and Reality Group, NBC Entertainment. “We believe that truth can be stranger (and funnier!) than fiction, and Ed and Randall are the ultimate duo to help real people bring their incredible stories to life.”
Casting has begun for the members of the public who can apply to get their stories featured on the show here. In one notable tale from the Australian version, a woman recalled how she went through an operation after feigning sickness to get out of a work assignment.
“True Story is an entirely new kind of funny television, it’s very clever television. It’s something you’ve never seen before, but is very relatable.” said Darnell. “Ed and Randall are innovators on the comedy circuit making them the perfect combination to headline this show for NBC.”
In a recent interview with Deadline, Darnell noted that True Story was “almost Drunk History” in tone. The Comedy Central show features comedians getting inebriated and recounting history, with actors performing the story. “We have one or two stories we can tell people that almost feels like they didn’t happen — just insane tales,” he added.
True Story is executive produced by Tim Bartley, Hamish Blake, Andy Lee, Ryan Shelton, Ed Helms, Mike Falbo and Nicolle Yaron, who will also serve as showrunner. The series is produced by Warner Horizon in association with Pacific Electric Picture Co. and Universal Television Alternative Studio.