For anyone who fears that the recent plummet of Saturday Night Live‘s ratings (largely due to quality, of course) will impact their ability to understand politics satirically, fear not–MadTV is coming back.
The CW announced today that after nearly a decade since its cancellation, the late-night comedy sketch show MadTV would be revived for eight hour-long episodes, Deadline reports. David E. Salzman will also see a kind of resurrection as well, reprising his old role as executive producer for the series, which will climb out of its old spot in the bowels of the night into a primetime slot.
The show, in its heyday on its old network, Fox, was familiar in style; a cast of relatively-unknown actors performed in skit after skit mocking the current events of the day, both in pop culture and in the governmental world. Fox had designed the show as a weapon against its own nemesis, NBC, and its comedy-skit monopolizer, Saturday Night Live, but though the two came head to head every weekend on Saturday nights, SNL obviously emerged victorious; fans of the latter can remember that back in 2009, SNL was coming off the ratings highs the Obama-McCain electoral race gave it.
Now it seems that even seven years after MadTV lost its fourteen-year battle against SNL, they may not have lost the war. After the CW aired a 20th anniversary special for MadTV early this year, the network got a glimpse at what this old, defeated show could give it; the special pulled 1.7 million people to watch. For the CW, which regularly limps far behind network juggernauts like CBS, ABC, and of course, NBC, in overall ratings, 1.7 million for one special about a show that no longer even existed was clearly too exciting to pass up.
While eight episodes is hardly as long of a season as SNL, it might just be the beginning. Depending on the crowd MadTV draws, maybe even the headlines it sparks, or the views on YouTube–which was still a toddler of a website when MadTV went off the air–its skits pull, the show may quickly be renewed for another, much longer season.
Numerous members of the old MadTV cast dropped by for the 20th anniversary special, and there’s talk that these cast members might in some way make cameos in the revival as well. That potential list, then, includes but is not limited to Ike Barinholtz (who now regularly stars on The Mindy Project as Morgan Tookers), Alex Borstein (whose voice is forever immortalized in the undying Family Guy as Lois Griffin), and Keegan-Michael Key (who alongside Jordan Peele, another MadTV graduate, created Key and Peele).
Like SNL, MadTV launched the careers of many into the stratosphere, but that does not mean that MadTV was just a lesser version of the former; it held its own. The show collected five Emmy awards in little over a decade. Said Michael Darnell, president of Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative TV, who is backing this revival, “In my opinion, it was always an underrated show that rivaled the best sketch comedy on television. I am thrilled to see it come back to network TV — and in primetime — thanks to The CW, and I feel lucky to have David Salzman and his team back at the helm.”
There is no word yet as to when the new MadTV will air.