Comedy Central’s "Roast" specials have proven to be some of the network’s most popular programs in the last few years. There’s something about seeing iconic figures like William Shatner and David Hasselhoff being simultaneously celebrated and mocked that never fails to draw in audiences. And so it makes perfect sense that longtime roaster Jeff Ross is now set to get his own show.
Variety reports that the half-hour series, titled The Burn with Jeff Ross, will feature a panel of comedians poking fun at the latest happenings in the world of pop culture. Ross will serve as both host and executive producer on the project, which will be preceded by an hour-long special - Jeff Ross Roasts America - on August 11th.
Ross has been a regular fixture on the network’s original celebrity roasts since the late 1990s, way before "winning" tributes to the likes of Charlie Sheen became required viewing. The next installment (which centers on Roseanne Barr) airs August 12th.
If the concept behind The Burn sounds familiar to longtime Comedy Central viewers, that’s likely because it bears a striking similarity to the network’s Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, which ran from 2002 to 2004. In fact, Comedy Central has made several attempts at recreating the success of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (both of which were just renewed) by introducing series such as The Showbiz Show with David Spade (2005-2007) and David Alan Grier’s Chocolate News (2008) that relied on topical news items to provide continuously fresh content.
This is just smart business for Comedy Central. These shows are far cheaper to produce than more conventionally scripted series, as they don’t rely on costly sets, effects or ensemble casts. It’s a strategy that its sister networks MTV and VH1 have relied on for years. Anyone remember Best Week Ever?
However, if anyone is qualified to have a show like this, it’s Ross, who has spent much of his career at Comedy Central riffing on celebrities and pop culture in general. His prominence there will likely maximize the show’s performance with the network’s hardcore viewers. Will you be watching?
The Burn with Jeff Ross premieres August 14th @10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.