In the late 90s and early 2000s, an improvisational comedy sensation took American audiences by storm in the form of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Imported from a British program that started on radio and moved to TV in the late 80s for a ten-year run, the series showcased a handful of comedians partaking in various improv comedy games for our entertainment.
ABC aired Whose Line Is It Anyway? from 1998 to 2004 with Drew Carey as host and comedians Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles and Wayne Brady serving as regular cast members. Now the show is making a return sometime soon with production beginning in a couple of months.
News of the return started at local outlet The Wentachee World who interviewed Stiles about a current improv tour when plans of the Whose Line Is It Anyway? revival came up. Information is limited but Stiles says he returns to Los Angeles in April to shoot the series, but since Drew Carey is busy as host of The Price is Right, comedienne and The Talk host Aisha Tyler will serve as MC this time.
In addition, Colin Mochrie backed up Stiles’ revelation by updating Twitter:
Oh, by the way, Whose Line is coming back. More details later.— Colin Mochrie (@colinmochrie) March 1, 2013
Thankfully, a press release has now officially announced the official return of the series on The CW. The network has revealed that Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady will all be back for the comedy series starting this summer, though no specific date has been announced yet. The three will be joined by a special guest each episode.
In the original run of the series, Greg Proops and Brad Sherwood were the two most frequent guest stars. In fact, Brad and Colin actually had their own special called Two Man Show, which you can watch on Netflix Instant right now. Other comedians from the old season included Chip Esten and Kathy Greenwood joining occasionally. Here are some of the uncensored outtakes from the original American series which is going on 15 years old:
However, it’d be nice if higher caliber comedians and guest stars would take part like the shortlived NBC series Thank God You’re Here (also based on a UK show), which wrangled names like Wayne Knight, Bryan Cranston, Jason Alexander, Chelsea Handler, Kevin Nealon, Jane Lynch and more. Improv isn’t exactly held in the highest regard by some comedians, but it would be nice to see people like Donald Glover (Community), Casey Wilson (Happy Endings), Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live) and more relevant names.
It’s no surprise that the series is coming together so quickly. An entire season was shot in the course of four weekends at the height of the show’s popularity. After all, it’s cheap to produce since it’s mostly based on just a comedian’s words, gestures, a few props and musical accompaniment. The original series made ABC a lot of money and was one of their top rated programs at the time, so it will be interesting to see how it fares on The CW, especially in the age of so many comedy shorts and videos on YouTube, Funny or Die and the like.
In a way, the series already had a revival with Drew Carey and even more comedians on board. Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza aired on the Game Show Network in 2011, edited from tapings that were shot in front of a live audience at the Hollywood Theatre in Las Vegas earlier that year.
The biggest question is whether the returning comedy series will play it safe for families, which was the case on the ABC version of the show, or if it will get a little more edgy like Saturday Night Live. We’re also wondering if the series will try to stick to improv or will there be some secret scripted material much like the original show? The return of Whose Line Is It Anyway? is a big surprise, and we’ll be keeping our ear to the ground for more news on the series – so stay tuned.
Whose Line Is It Anyway? returns this summer on The CW.