[04/28/17 - 09:55 AM]
British Comedic Legend Tommy Maitland Has Been Announced to Host ABC's Irreverent Talent Competition Show "The Gong Show"
A revolving panel of judges featuring Hollywood's hottest stars praise, critique and gong contestants in one of TV's all-time great variety shows.

[via press release from ABC]


British comedic legend Tommy Maitland has been announced to host ABC's irreverent talent show competition "The Gong Show," which premieres on THURSDAY, JUNE 22 at 10:00 p.m. EDT. The show is executive produced by actor/comedian Will Arnett. Every episode will celebrate unusually talented and unique performers on a primetime stage. A revolving panel of judges featuring Hollywood's hottest stars praise, critique and gong contestants in one of TV's all-time great variety shows.

"When Will Arnett came to me and asked me to host 'The Gong Show,' I said, 'I'm honoured at the request, but I'm retired,'" said Tommy Maitland. "Then he told me how much I was being paid, in U.S. dollars, and I said, 'I'm still honoured, but no longer retired.'"

"I have been a fan of Tommy Maitland for years, and I think he is one of the most iconic British comics out there, along the lines of Benny Hill and Ricky Gervais," said Robert Mills, senior vice president, Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming, ABC Entertainment. "I think this show is a great vehicle to introduce Tommy to an American audience, and those who are familiar with the original 'The Gong Show' and its host Chuck Barris will be pleased with Tommy, who will bring the show into the 21st century with a bang!"

"When Will Arnett brought Tommy Maitland to Sony, we immediately understood why he felt Tommy would be the perfect host for our beloved 'Gong Show,'" said Holly Jacobs, executive vice president, Reality and Syndication Programming for Sony Pictures Television. "He's oozing with charm, wit and charisma, and I am certain that viewers will fall madly in love with him!"

"I've been a huge fan of Tommy since I first saw his stand-up in the U.K. while traveling as a teenager. He was so funny and original. I had the good fortune to cross paths with Tommy a few years ago and ever since we've talked about working together," said Will Arnett. "I tried for years to come up with a vehicle that was suitable to expose his immense talent on a bigger stage, and 'The Gong Show' is the perfect fit."

Born on July 7, 1944, Thomas Winston Maitland (his middle name is a tribute to Winston Churchill) grew up in Neasden, GLC, Borough of Brent, where his father was an actuary and in the Merchant Marine and his mother was in the RAF. After a failed stint as a pipe fitter's apprentice, Tommy joined the British Army at the tender age of 15. He later joined the Entertainment National Service Association (ENSA), where he got to know some of the U.K.'s biggest comedians. He played the ukulele, told jokes and drummed (though he drummed badly), and he ended up hosting the show - a talent he would later be known for. He was voted ENSA Entertainer of the Year, for which he was given a guarantee to appear on British radio. He later worked as an announcer for the British radio show, "The Whosey Whats," and got small roles in the "Carry On" films - either as the over-anxious compart at a men's club or the strict union pipe fitter. He also appeared in the TV series, "The Lord Mayor," as the cheeky mayor of a mythical town in East Anglia who struck it rich because they sat atop an oil field.

In 1973, Tommy wrote a book about his time in the British Army fighting the Mau Maus called "The Mau Maus are Revolting," and he also worked at a Butlin's Holiday Camp at the same time, for two seasons, in Anglesea, Wales and Brighton.

Hugely popular in Italy, he made four of his 11 films there. Two of the four were Spaghetti Westerns, where he played the fastidious banker, and the other two were James Bond knockoffs - "You Only Live Once, To Be Honest" and "From Russia, Luv." At the same time, Tommy continued to work the working men's clubs across England, where he received top dollar as an emcee.

In 1976, Tommy starred in "He Wore a Dustman's Hat," about an upper-class London gent who discovers that his dad (Tommy Maitland) is a garbage worker for the council in Hackney. This show played on Canadian TV at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Will Arnett saw this show in syndication on Canadian TV in 1980 and thought that Tommy was a comedic genius. Later that year, Tommy bought an estate in Kent called Serendipity, which he found by accident. Serendipity was a mega-celebrity hangout where people could escape, party, do or be anything they wanted to be, free from judgment and the prying eyes of the paparazzi.

In the '80s, Tommy hosted the British game show "Tell You What," a charades-based adventure game. He later hosted an Australian game show called "Dingo's Got the Baby," in which one contestant would be the dingo and another the baby, and a chase would ensue. In 1990 he returned to England for a series of one-hour specials, called "You've Still Got No Proof."

Tommy retired at the age of 55 but was still doing ENSA gigs. He loves comedy, so he often went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to watch young comics. Will Arnett, who was doing stand-up at one of the festivals, approached and befriended him. Desperately wanting to work with Tommy, Arnett tried for years to come up with a gig that was suitable for his immense talent and "The Gong Show" was the perfect match.

To follow Tommy on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, go to @MrTommyMaitland.

"The Gong Show" will be produced by Den of Thieves, Electric Avenue Productions and Principato Young Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television and will be taped in front of a live audience. "The Gong Show" is executive produced by Will Arnett, Evan Prager, Jesse Ignjatovic, Conrad Green, Peter Principato and Marc Forman. Jared Morell, Jordan Barrow and David Bohnert will co-executive produce.

  [april 2017]  


[03/23/18 - 01:06 PM]
Oxygen Media's "Aaron Hernandez Uncovered" Becomes Highest Rated True Crime Program in Network History with 1.05 Million Total Viewers
Oxygen further spins the numbers for Saturday, March 17 and Sunday, March 18.

[03/23/18 - 11:26 AM]
New Season, New Way to Watch "Wheeler Dealers" - See It First on MotorTrend.com and the Motor Trend App
Starting Wednesday, April 4 audiences can catch the premiere on MotorTend.com and the Motor Trend app one week before it debuts on Velocity Wednesday, April 11.

[03/23/18 - 10:40 AM]
Reggie Watts Is the "Taskmaster!" Comedy Central Game Show Series Premieres Friday, April 27 at 11:00 P.M. ET/PT with Two Back-to-Back Episodes
The series, whose format originated in the U.K., requires individuals to use ingenuity and creativity to complete unusual challenges.

[03/23/18 - 09:16 AM]
FremantleMedia North America Set to Bring World's Largest Population of Superheroes and Supervillains to Television in New "Astro City" Series
The live action drama series is being produced by FremantleMedia North America, with its pilot episode being written by Kurt Busiek and Rick Alexander.

[03/23/18 - 09:13 AM]
"Fahrenheit 451" Debuts Saturday, May 19 on HBO
The drama is based on Ray Bradbury's classic novel of the same name, depicting a future where the media is an opiate, history is rewritten and "firemen" burn books.

[03/23/18 - 09:04 AM]
Video: Showtime(R) Unveils the Full Trailer for Season Two of "I'm Dying Up Here"
The series takes viewers behind the curtain of the comedy scene that birthed the careers of legends such as Richard Pryor, Robin Williams and David Letterman, showing there's truly no such thing as an easy laugh.

[03/23/18 - 08:19 AM]
Thursday's Broadcast Ratings: CBS, NCAA Hold Off Push from ABC, NBC
The Peacock's "Chicago Fire" edges the Alphabet's "Station 19" in the firefighter drama showdown.

[03/23/18 - 06:32 AM]
HBO Launches "Silicon Valley: Inside the Hacker Hostel" Virtual Reality on HTC's Viveport, March 25
The captivating, interactive VR experience will provide one-on-one encounters with Richard (Thomas Middleditch), Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani), Gilfoyle (Martin Starr), Big Head (Josh Brener) and Jian-Yang (Jimmy O. Yang).

[03/22/18 - 11:13 PM]
Development Update: Thursday, March 22
Updates include: Neil Flynn bound for "Abby's" at NBC; Lilla Crawford, Will Kindrachuk snag roles on Bobby Bowman's ABC pilot; and Kearran Giovanni tapped for NBC's "Suspicion."

[03/22/18 - 12:09 PM]
Smithsonian Channel(TM) Reveals the Inside Story and Untold Events of a Deadly American Tragedy in "Waco: The Longest Siege"
The film provides an intimate portrait of a young Vernon Howell (later renamed David Koresh) and his Branch Davidian followers, who came from around the globe to join the Pied Piper-like figure.

[03/22/18 - 10:35 AM]
Video: "Pose" - Peek Teaser - FX
"Pose," FX's new original series from Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals, premieres this summer.

[03/22/18 - 10:31 AM]
Video: Viceland Premeries Trailer for New Series "My House" About NYC Queer Ballroom Scene
"My House" is an insider's guide to New York City's hyper-competitive underground queer ballroom scene.

[03/22/18 - 10:05 AM]
CMT Elevates Morgan Selzer to Senior Vice President of Program Development
"Morgan is a seasoned and savvy development executive who crafts compelling stories across multiple formats and genres," said Keith Cox.

[03/22/18 - 10:00 AM]
All-New Two-Hour Special "Meghan Markle: An American Princess" to Air Friday, May 11, on FOX
The two-hour event will focus on Markle's life and potential legacy as the first American to marry into the British royal family since 1937.

[03/22/18 - 10:00 AM]
CBS Announces Season Finale Airdates for 2017-2018
"Scorpion" will now kick off said finales on Monday, April 16.