EXCLUSIVE: It was revealed tonight during Deadline’s Emmy season virtual screening of Comedy Central’s Drunk History that the Derek Waters-Jeremy Konner series will not be moving forward with a seventh season, originally ordered last summer.
The series’ sixth — and now final — season, which wrapped its run on Aug. 6, 2019, is up for three Emmy nominations, Outstanding Variety Sketch series, as well as Outstanding Costumes and Production Design for a Reality/Variety/Competition series. Drunk History, which is getting a strong push by ViacomCBS in its farewell awards season, has been nominated in the top variety sketch category every year since the category was launched in 2015.
Drunk History will continue to air around the world in various local formats. Waters, who delivered the news that the series has ended on Comedy Central, has a first-look deal with the network and will segue to working on new projects.
Season 7 of Drunk History was in pre-production and taping some of the comedian narrations when the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to all film and TV production activities in mid-March.
Unrelated to COVID, ViacomCBS’ Entertainment and Youth Group over the past several months has been reevaluating the programming strategies for all brands, charting a new path for Comedy Central.
As part of that, the comedy-centered cable network has been pairing down its live-action slate while shifting its focus on adult animation, tapping into IP across ViacomCBS to build an original animated slate around stalwart South Park. In the past couple of months, the network has greenlighted Beavis and Butt-Head and The Ren & Stimpy Show reboots as well as Daria spinoff Jodie.
We hear the high costs of producing Drunk History, which features period reenactments, also played a role in the decision not to proceed with another season. With the veteran sketch comedy ending and The Other Two and South Side recently relocating to HBO Max, Comedy Central’s only remaining original live-action series is breakout Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens.
During its six-season run, Drunk History racked up 17 Primetime Emmy nominations, including a win Outstanding Costumes in for a Variety Program or Special in 2015 for costume designer Christina Mongini and costume supervisor Cassandra Conners.
Drunk History began as a web series on Waters’ YouTube page then moved over to Funny or Die. The concept from the start entailed an inebriated narrator, often a burgeoning comedian or UCB sketch artist, who regales an obscure historical tale which is then reenacted by famous stars. As far as reenactments, the series attracted a laundry list of guests including Tiffany Haddish, Winona Ryder, Maya Rudolph, Seth Rogen, Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, Tessa Thompson, Vanessa Hudgens, Colin Hanks, Quest Love and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the latter who did an episode devoted to Alexander Hamilton.
The season six Emmy-submitted finale “Bad Blood” directed by Konner stars Aubrey Plaza and David Wain in a tale about Cleopatra getting overthrown by her 11 year old sister Arsinoe as Julius Caeser arrives into Alexandria. Ironically that episode, which aired months before the pandemic, also featured a story about Typhoid Mary (played by Betsy Sodaro) being the first asymptomatic patient.