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Ben Karlin Ponders ‘Future’ of Television

Ben Karlin is in the new issue of Multichannel News, talking about his new show Future Man, which debuts on Hulu November 14. The series walks that fine line between comedy and genre. Karlin is hoping the show, which stars Josh Hutcherson as janitor Josh Futturman, who travels through time to save humankind, appeals to both camps.

“In a perfect world, we hit that sweet spot,” he says. “People who appreciate Marvel movies, Terminator, James Cameron, and people who appreciate weird comedy like Rick and Morty and Nathan For You.”

Future Man is executive produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg as well as Karlin. Karlin says he’s a bit hesitant to call it “experimental comedy,” so weird comedy will just have to do. “It’s not Kevin Can Wait,” Karlin adds.

Karlin’s resume includes The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and Modern Family. Count him among those who love Rick and Morty on Adult Swim (and Hulu, for that matter). “For my money, it’s the best show on television,” says Karlin. “I’ve been devouring it.”

He’s not watching much Daily Show anymore. “Part of me died when Trump was elected,” he says, adding that mixing news and comedy, as Daily Show so deftly does, simply isn’t appealing to him these days.

The idea of a whole season being issued at once is a new one for Karlin. He says Future Man is set up well for those who wish to ingest multiple episodes in one sitting. “The show rewards a binge experience,” he says. “The episodes end in a cliffhanger way.”

He doesn’t have a whole lot planned for premiere night on Tuesday. “I’ve seen the pilot several times, so getting together to watch it seems a bit anti-climactic,” says Karlin. “It’ll probably be something last minute, involving drinking, with the show on in the background.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.