[01/17/07 - 09:59 AM]
NBC Orders Six One-Hour Episodes of Improvisational Comedy 'Thank God You'Re Here' from Fremantlemedia North America, the Producers of "American Idol," Featuring David Alan Grier and Dave Foley
Jennifer Coolidge, Bryan Cranston, Joel McHale and Wayne Knight guest star in the pilot.

[via press release from NBC]


Television's Most Popular International Comedy Format Drops Celebrities Into A Live Sketch Without A Script.To Hilarious Results

BURBANK - January 17, 2007 -- NBC has ordered six one-hour episodes of "Thank God You're Here," a new improvisational comedy series from FremantleMedia North America, producers of "American Idol."

Hosted by David Alan Grier ("In Living Color"), and presided over by judge Dave Foley ("News Radio"), each episode of "Thank God You're Here" showcases the improvisational skills of a group of fearless celebrities as they compete in a battle of wits and laughter to outdo each other's performance in various unexpected situations. The announcement was made today by Kevin Reilly, President, NBC Entertainment.

"This series is basically every adventurous performer's dream and we think the viewers can vicariously enjoy how they respond to their unforeseen predicaments," said Craig Plestis, Senior Vice President, Alternative Programming, Development and Specials, NBC Entertainment. "It has a daring, seat-of-your pants feel that's proven to be a big hit in its original Australian version."

Launched at MIP-TV in 2006, "Thank God You're Here" has swiftly become the most popular comedy entertainment format in less than a year. FremantleMedia currently produces versions of the hit series in 10 territories, including The Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Sweden, The UK, Portugal, Belgium, Norway, Israel, Denmark and Australia.

"This format has proven a comedic phenomenon in many countries both on-air and online, where clips from the show are frequent popular downloads," says Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of Fremantle North America. "We're very excited to be working with NBC, David Alan Grier and Dave Foley in bringing this highly-successful, irreverent comedy format to American audiences."

Originated in Australia by Working Dog Productions, where the show earned blockbuster ratings and is now in its third season, "Thank God You're Here" is based on a simple premise: challenge celebrity guests to enter a door into their own comedy sketch they know nothing about. Whether it's an operating room, an Egyptian tomb, an executive boardroom, a far-flung starship or any other scenario, the only thing each celebrity can count on is their quick wit and a desperate greeting upon their arrival, "Thank God you're here!"

At that point, each celebrity must individually improvise their way through a comedy scene along with a talented ensemble cast in front of judge Dave Foley and a 'live' studio audience. Jennifer Coolidge ("American Pie"), Bryan Cranston ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Joel McHale ("The Soup") and Wayne Knight ("Seinfeld") star in the pilot episode. Production on the remaining episodes is expected to resume in February.

"Thank God You're Here" is produced by FremantleMedia North America. Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia North America, is executive producer. Fax Bahr and Adam Small ("The Jaime Kennedy Experiment," "Mad TV") are executive producers. David Alan Grier is producer.

FremantleMedia North America (FMNA) is a division of global media giant FremantleMedia, one of the largest international creators and producers of program brands in the world. Based in Burbank, California, FMNA currently produces some of the most innovative and highest-rated entertainment on television, including Emmy-nominated musical/reality phenomenon "American Idol" for Fox, "America's Got Talent" for NBC, "American Inventor" for ABC, "The Janet Dickinson Modeling Agency" for Oxygen, "Property Ladder" for TLC, the daily syndicated "Family Feud," and the longest-running game show in television history, "The Price Is Right" for CBS.

FremantleMedia is the production arm of the RTL Group, Europe's largest television and radio broadcast company. With interests in 34 television channels and 30 radio stations in 11 countries, RTL Group is a division of leading integrated media and entertainment company, Bertelsmann AG.

  [january 2007]  


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