It’s almost summer and that means that cable has new seasons of Burn Notice, True Blood, and other summer fare on tap while the broadcast networks go into semi-hibernation because they figure that viewers are busy. The CW is no different, but this summer they’re hoping that there are enough improv comedy fans to help propel their Whose Line is it Anyway reboot toward success, and now we’ve got our first look at the show with this clip that is heavy on both 90210 fueled corporate synergy and funny.
As you can see from the video (above), little has changed from the version of Whose Line that ran from 1998-2006 on ABC with Drew Carey as moderator and the original version of the show that ran in the UK from 1988-1998. Even the show’s stars – Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie (who have each done more than 250 total episodes, UK & US) – remain and they’re joined by Wayne Brady, who was the runaway star of the ABC version, and appeared briefly on the British original.
It’s not known if any other former favorites from the show’s past like Tony Slattery, Greg Proops, Mike McShane, and Nashville star Charles “Chip” Esten will re-appear for the show’s return voyage, but the series is injecting some star-power with new host Aisha Tyler, who takes the mantle that Drew Carey once took from Clive Anderson. If more star power is needed, Whose Line does have a history of letting guest stars as diverse as Stephen Fry, Jerry Springer, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Stephen Colbert, Richard Simmons, and David Hasselhoff in on the fun, so the potential for more of that surely exists.
What potential exists for the longevity of this third iteration of the show, though? That much is unclear. On one hand, the CW – which typically aims their programming selections at 18-34 year olds – seems demographically incompatible with an improv comedy show with roots that go back further than many CW viewer’s first breaths, but the show does have the potential to court nostalgic fans that grew up with the ABC version or the US re-airs of the original, and it can be both mildly topical and a springboard/proving ground for young comics, much in the way that it was for Brady back in the day.
So, while some people may roll their eyes at the notion of improv games on TV and a series on The CW with stars that are in their 50s, there is a reason why Stiles, Mochrie, and the rest have made this show a success in the US and the UK for 25 years – funny is funny.
Whose Line is it Anyway premieres on July 16th @8PM on The CW