LOS ANGELES: Neil Patrick Harris and producer Siobhan Greene brought some much-needed energy to the last day of the Television Critics Association summer press tour as they previewed the upcoming live show Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris.
Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, which Harris said is “a little difficult to explain,” will be a mix of live variety fun, pre-taped sketches, celebrity guests, stunts, audience participation, and more. He will have a sidekick, a mini version of himself, and guest announcers who are all celebrities — Reese Witherspoon will be the first of the series.
“I love variety and I was interested in the notion that I can show people at home, or an audience, cool and interesting things that are clever. I love the magic. I love the circus. I love the juggling,” said an enthusiastic Harris. “My hope: That you’ll get to see a bunch of cool shit, and it will be live.” Of the workload, Harris admits that he didn’t anticipate how much work is involved in the production of a live variety show. “It’s essentially producing six or seven shows simultaneously,” he said, listing off a few aspects: game show elements, celebrity pranks, involving the audience in the series, etc.
Best Time Ever will heavily emphasize audience participation; Harris specifically referenced one segment in which he photobombed a wedding and the couple still doesn’t know. This includes both the in-person audience of the show (who “will have no idea that they’re going to be part of the show” but will be followed by the cameras for weeks, if not months) and the viewers at home. During a Don’t Forget The Lyrics-ish segment, the show will cut to people at home and give them the opportunity to finish a popular song lyric to win money. During the panel, Harris revealed a small spoiler: Ricky Martin will be involved in one of these segments, singing “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”
“I’m not the host of this show to perform for the audience. I’m the host to show you as an audience all the cool things that we’re doing, that we’ve done, and that you’re going to be a part of,” Harris continued, also specifying that he’s trying to go after the “Sarah Silverman, Louis C.K.” crowd. He also revealed that the season will be eight episodes in a row because “I think something like this deserves to be an event.”
Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris premieres September 15 on NBC.