FX has taken the first steps in expanding their programming schedule by bringing British actor and comedian Russell Brand (Get Him to the Greek) on board to host a string of late night, unscripted specials early next year.
While the network and Brand have not yet settled on an exact format, early reports are that the program will be taped in front of a live audience, with Brand essentially performing an extension of his stand-up routine, which is basically commenting on various aspects of current events, media and, of course, politics. Word is that Brand will interact heavily with the audience.
This will be old-hat for Brand, who, as mentioned, got his start doing stand-up, which then led to hosting gigs for programs like the British version of Big Brother as well as various duties on MTV. Following his star-making turn in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Brand was further introduced to American audiences by hosting the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, at which the comedian made more than a few controversial statements regarding Britney Spears and the Jonas Brothers – which he later apologized for.
Brand’s style of comedy will likely do well with fewer restrictions in regards to language on FX. Nick Grad, the network’s executive vice president of original programming says that letting Brand do his thing is the series’ main objective.
“We’re very excited to add Russell Brand’s bracingly funny, original, and honest voice to the FX comedy line-up. We look forward to supporting Russell and his partner Troy Miller’s ambition to strip down the hosted comedy format to its most fundamental elements and to create something daring and unfiltered for the FX audience.”
Meanwhile, Brand commented on the deal in his typical cheeky fashion by saying:
“I am so excited I’m on the point of climax, in fact I will put the “O” into FX, which spells FOX, which is actually the channel’s real name. That’s the only thing that worries me about all this to be honest. At least I’ll be able to have a Christmas drink with Bill O’Reilly.”
As it stands now, FX and Brand are committed to doing six episodes, with each clocking in at the 30-minute mark and likely debuting sometime next spring. Given the success FX had with their comedy line-up of Wilfred and the critically acclaimed Louie, one wonders if FX might not be planning to eventually add Brand’s program as a sort of nightcap to that particular block of programming.
For FX, this will mark the second time the network has placed a comedian and actor in front of a live audience, as they attempted more of a straightforward talk show format with the short-lived program The Orlando Jones Show in 2003.
In the meantime, Brand is preparing to work on a new project from Young Adult and Evil Dead remake writer Diablo Cody, and will be seen on the big screen next year in Rock of Ages alongside Tom Cruise.
Look for Russell Brand’s late-night series to premiere on FX sometime in the spring of 2012.