‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ Improv Comedy Series is Returning

Published 2 years ago by

whoselineisitanyway cast title Whose Line Is It Anyway? Improv Comedy Series is Returning

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:

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.


Source: The Wentachee World [via ComingSoon], Twitter, The CW

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  1. Very, very good news. :)

    • You guys want to look up the original British version, it’s a true classic – still has many of your American stars like Proops, Stlyes, McShane ect but it has some great Brits in too like Slattery, Lawrence and the great John Sessions. I love American movies, but where there is an original British TV show version of a TV show it’s always better in my opinion. Yep I’m from the UK – not bragging just offering some friendly advice. UK Whose line is it anyway (from 1988) is incredible.

  2. Great! Absolutely love the show. If they can snag all the main people from the show then this will have been the best news I’ve heard all day!

  3. Lana is hosting Who’s Line is it Anyway? I have no idea how that’ll turn out but I’ll watch it regardless.

    • I think you mean Luna. If you’re referring to The Boondocks, that is.

      • Nah, he means Lana, a character from Archer whom Aisha Tyler voices. And just like Whose Line, it’s a great show

  4. WOW… this is great news! we used to get this show back in the day in the uk. i think it originated here but then moved to america, cant remember exactly. they were the same guys too, different host

    Ryan, Colin and Wayne were the best and will be great to see them all again. to bad that green screen show failed but at leased they are returning to the original and i cant wait.

    not sure how i feel about drew not being host but we shall see how it is.

  5. It was way funnier with Clive Anderson back in the day. By the time Drew Carey came along it had gotten tired. Not to mention the winner won a chance to do a skit with an un-funny Drew Carey.

    • Yeah, I didn’t get the point in that prize. Just an excuse for Drew to get in on it I guess.

    • Actually, the winner got to sit out while the losers played with Drew. That’s the prize.

      Drew may not have been the funniest performer on the show but his antics often led to Collin or Ryan doing something even funnier – usually because Drew messed up.

    • Drew. i noticed got a lot funnier over the years. Got better at the improv. Seeing the difference between him in Whose Line, and Drews Improvaganza was a big one to me. Still not as good as the others obviously.

    • I agree. Clive was better than Drew

  6. I hope it airs over here too then.

    I pretty much grew up with the original show with Clive Anderson hosting and the cream of British comedy appearing with Colin and Ryan pretty much being the only regulars then I saw the US version and enjoyed that too.

    They should try and get known big name improv people like Will Ferrell and Steve Carell to help boost the show a little more early on.

    • They used to play the UK version on Comedy Central. Good stuff.

  7. awesome news.

  8. Our prayers have been answered. This summer will be one to remember :D

  9. YES.

  10. The original Drew Carey version had Steven Colbert, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams, all pretty big names.

    • I saw the Richard Simmons one on the “Best of” set. HILARIOUS! :)

  11. whose line was so funny great news its coming back

    oh nad not being picky… well i guess i am but this part “Thank God You’re Here (also based on a UK show)” is wrong its based on an Australian show.

  12. Yes now im excited for a tv show besides the Marvel tv show

  13. Its gotta know its limits. That’s why those other shows didn’t do so well. They were too big, ambitious, and intimidating. Being on cable didn’t help either. Keeping it small and good guest stars is the way to go. The show is a minimalist, keep it that way

  14. Fantastic! Great news! Just no more hodown (is this how it’s spelled?) please. I believe even Drew was plain sarcastic when he used to say at the end of some episodes : “As for us, we’ll be playing our most favorite game in the whole wide world…HODOWN!” and then Ryan’s shoulders seemed to just fall to the floor.

  15. This is the greatest thing that could have ever happened!

  16. “Improv isn’t exactly held in the highest regard by some comedians” Then they are fools. What Wayne, Ryan, Colin, and Greg do is the most amazing comedy. I don’t know of any secretly scripted material, but the things they did in the original show should have won them all Emmys more than once.

    • “Secretly scripted” is a really, really bad way to put it. The show was completely, 100% improv but the performers performers had a vague idea of what to expect beforehand. Games like Scenes From A Hat or Sound Effects, those were all improvised. For other games like Song Styles, however, they would be given basic information such as the genres they would choose from, so they could be at least somewhat prepared.

    • “Secretly scripted” is a really, really bad way to put it. The show was completely, 100% improv but the performers sometimes had a vague idea of what to expect beforehand. Games like Scenes From A Hat or Sound Effects, those were all improvised. For other games like Song Styles, however, they would be given basic information such as the genres they would choose from, so they could be at least somewhat prepared.

  17. YYYEEESSSSSS!!!!!!!! Friggin love whose line!

  18. Great news! I’ve been wanting for a revival for years!

    The only thing that makes me nervous is a new host. I’m just saying, the original UK series was hard for me to sit through because of the bland host. But, I still can’t wait for the show to come back.

    And who knows, hopefully this will FINALLY get a release of the entire original US series on disc :D

    • That’s because Clive Anderson has always been a sort of a sarcastic person whenever he appeared on comedy shows or had his own talk show.

      US audiences don’t really seem to understand sarcasm so they actively avoid having it in tv shows. I think that’s why Graham Norton’s US show was a failure while over here, he’s one of the big names in chat shows now.

      America wouldn’t allow Alan Carr Chatty Man to air either because of the bad language used, sarcasm and the fact that he always offers his guests a choice of alcoholic drink before the interview starts.

      • I actually do like sarcastic comedy. It’s just that I watched a few episodes of the UK version several years ago and didn’t like it. But I was surprised to see how many people here loved him as the host so much.

        What the hell, I’ll probably give it another shot at some point.

  19. Drew wasn’t that always funny of a host, but a lot of the best humor came about from the friendly insults he and Ryan (and Colin, some of the time) would throw at each other. So that’ll be missed. I’d love it if they could work him in as the 4th guy for one episode. Of the other recurring guests, Chip was always my favorite, so I hope he comes back for an episode or two.

  20. I give this article +115 points…but, then again, points don’t matter.

    • Lmao good one man god that joke never gets old

  21. Is show is my absolute favorite show ever and m not kidding I absolutely love this show beyond compare andim am soooooooooooooooooooooo f****** glad it’s coming back and ryan Wayne and Colin are all returning but at the same time I’m so upset that Drew Carey wont be back:( Drew was one of my favorites if he end up returning later on in the series’s will be more thrilled Thani already am. This is great news to me

  22. Why?? That show was so stupid. Improv isn’t funny unless you’re Larry David. Not one of those “comedians” is actually funny. At least it’s on CW.

    • Improv is the hardest comedy to do and the fact that Colin Mochrie, Ryan Styles, Steve Carell, Will Ferrell, Bill Murray and others made their names off improv (and use improv in tv shows and movies they feature in such as Ghostbusters, The Office, Anchorman etc to great effect) says a lot about the genre.

    • Yeah, you say that. But what you don’t realize is that, on Curb, they will do 6 or 7 takes on any given scene. They don’t do that on Who’s Line. It’s basically a one shot deal. I bet even you could do 7 takes of a scene, and have it be funny.

  23. Wayne Brady makes Bryant Gumble look like Malcolm X

  24. Both versions had some incredibly funny moments, so this is good news. drew Carey is a profoundly unfunny person and unwanted presence, so ditching his contribution is great, but giving it to that acerbic lady with the big mouth sounds like a risky move. The host has been a distracting annoyance, jealously clamoring for undeserved attention. I miss the English guy Clive. He was dry, but genuinely funny, and stayed out of the way of the sketches. Also Wayne has many talents, singing, dancing, impersonating and such. He always brought energy to the show, but after seeing him on a roast lately he seemed like an arrogant prick. I hope his ability to entertain hasn’t changed, cuz the last I saw him funny was Chappelle Show. I hope they ditch those god-awful hoe down segments that made the last act so consistently unwatchable too. The best games are consistently funny, like the party guests and sound effects.

    The article says there were scripted bits, but what I remember was just the expected use of individual talents. No shock that Wayne got to use an impression he knows and Colin got to be a dinosaur, since those are their strengths, but I don’t recall actual scripting. Looking forward to it!

    • The point of them doing the hoe down segments so much was because ALL of them HATED that game. That’s why they were so funny (and some times pretty bad), and they spent more time insulting and making fun of each other than any other game in that one, that’s why a lot of people thought they were really funny.

  25. I’m gonna miss Carey on the show. But glad that Wayne is coming back. However, I don’t think I’ve ever watched the CW, so I may not even know it’s on.

  26. I may be the only person on these comments who loved the hoe down segment as much as I loved others (Scenes From A Hat, Party Guests, Sound Effects and the props round in particular).

    • Don’t worry, I loved the hoe down segments too. But my favorite game was definately scenes from a hat :)

  27. glad it’s coming back,it was really good