The Fox TelevisionStations have picked up NBCUniversal’s new show, Harry, to launch next fall, said Ed Swindler, president, NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution and NBC Broadcast Operations.
The show, hosted by Harry Connick, Jr., will air on Fox owned stations in 17 markets covering 37% of the country. Connick Jr. is a familiar face to Fox viewers, since he’s appeared as a judge on American Idol for the past two seasons and will judge the show again in its 15th and final season starting in January.
With the musical Connick at the helm, Harry will be a daytime variety show, offering comedic man-on-the-street interviews, live musical performances, stunts and surprises for the live audience. No daytime show currently offers variety, although Warner Bros.’ Ellen often features music, dancing and singing.
Harry also is being sold to other station groups across the country. Justin and Eric Stangel, former head writers and executive producers of CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman will serve as executive producers.
That Fox is picking up Harry comes as a surprise, as most industry insiders thought the program was in development for the NBC owned station group. That group’s afternoon line-up is currently composed of NBCU’s Meredith, NBCU’s Steve Harvey and Ellen, but in its season year Meredith is averaging a hard-to-sustain 0.9 in households and isn’t widely expected to be renewed for a third season.
In addition, Fox ran tests of both Warner Bros.’ Ice and Coco and its own Boris and Nicole this summer. Picking up Harry indicates that neither of those shows are likely to go forward on Fox, although a Fox source says “everything is still on the table.”
Harry is the first new show to get picked up for next fall. Debmar-Mercury is out in the market with T.D. Jakes and Dr. Phil and Jay McGraw are developing a magazine strip based on the UK's Daily Mail.
"I'm a lucky guy. I get to be a husband to a wonderful wife, a father to three incredible daughters, and an entertainer to the most amazing fans. And now, I’m honored to be able to put smiles on people’s faces on a daily basis,” said Harry Connick, Jr., in a statement.
“We could not be more excited to partner with Harry Connick, Jr. on this multi-faceted entertainment show. We believe Harry will emerge as daytime TV’s most distinctive, talented, relatable, and consistently funny hosts,” said Swindler, also in a statement. “The Stangel Brothers’ distinguished writing and producing achievements are second to none. They will add an engaging, upbeat, and comedic energy to this multi-layered program.”
Besides the Stangel Brothers, Connick, Jr. and Ann Marie Wilkins are also executive producers. Harry is produced and distributed by NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution.
Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.
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