America’s Got Talent: The Champions rolls on NBC Jan. 7. The competition show has long been a summer staple, but now does its thing in winter. The acts include several alumni from America’s Got Talent, and many others from franchises around the globe, including Susan Boyle from Britain’s Got Talent.
Executive producer Sam Donnelly said the idea for a Champions chapter had been in the works, and on Simon Cowell’s mind, for a long, long time. “We finally had enough great talent around the world to make a fantastic season,” he said.
The show shot for a month just after America’s Got Talent wrapped in September. Ventriloquist Darci Lynn Farmer and magician Shin Lim, who won the past two seasons of AGT, will be contestants. Other nations’ champions too will compete, as will fan favorites and others who, for whatever reason, departed the competition early. “People the judges felt had more to go,” is how Donnelly put it.
Terry Crews of Brooklyn Nine- Nine hosts, and Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel reprise their judge roles. Donnelly said Crews is a huge fan of AGT. He brings the fan perspective to the stage, along with “a lot of energy and a ton of enthusiasm,” she said. “It felt like a really good fit.”
Even the acts viewers have seen may just surprise them on Champions. “They’ve all had incredible careers on the back of being on Got Talent,” Donnelly said. “But they come back better than they were.”
Also coming back better than it was is truTV’s I’m Sorry, with Andrea Savage playing a neurotic comedy writer. Also creator and executive producer, Savage finds a fresh batch of cringe-y scenarios in season two, including a debate with her TV husband about Andrea’s theoretical market value if she was a prostitute.
Savage called season one “a big learning curve,” but added that it went pretty smoothly. The plan for season two? “Let’s just not f*** this up,” she said.
Tom Everett Scott plays Andrea’s husband, Mike, and Olive Petrucci their daughter Amelia. Amelia is a year older, as happens with children, and faces more influences from outside the house. Savage acknowledged a “bigger parenting thing” for Andrea and Mike in season two.
Executive producers include Will Ferrell and Adam McKay from Funny or Die. Savage calls the pair “incredibly supportive.”
Adam Scott of Big Little Lies and The Good Place guest stars as Andrea’s doctor.
I’m Sorry retains its quirky tone in its sophomore season. Savage calls the show “really grounded.”
“There’s the network sitcom version and the dark comedy version,” she said. “And then there’s our version.”
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.
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