AMC has had astounding success with genre hit The Walking Dead, a series so popular that a talk show focusing on each episode has also racked up impressive viewing numbers for the network. Talking Dead, hosted by comedian and famed nerd Chris Hardwick, lets viewers interact with cast and crew from the zombie drama as they dissect every facet of the episode that's just aired.
With viewers ready and willing to watch people sitting around talking about TV shows, it seemed a no-brainer to give Kevin Smith his own unscripted series on AMC as well. Since 2012, the writer/filmmaker has hosted installments of Comic Book Men in his own New Jersey comic shop, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. Now the network is planning to give Smith an even bigger platform to discuss every obsessive corner of entertainment and fandom.
The late-night show, with the working title Geeking Out, will be hosted by Smith and Heroes franchise alum Greg Grunberg. The half-hour episodes will, according to the official synopsis, "take a timely look at pop culture through a fanboy lens." Like a conventional talk show, it will feature celebrity interviews and preview clips of their latest projects. There will also be fan discussions and "out-of-studio" segments.
While Talking Dead and Comic Book Men have a more specific focus, AMC is hoping to cast a wider net with this latest offering. Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV, promises the hosts will be bringing an insider view to the entertainment world that should appeal to both casual and hardcore fans.
"Kevin and Greg are both true fans of this content, and share a deep passion for talking about it, and engaging other fans about it. But it is their natural chemistry as hosts that really brings this idea together."
Smith began his career with a homemade film set at his convenience store job and starring his friends. That circle of friends expanded with each movie, with films like Dogma featuring longtime collaborator Ben Affleck along with Matt Damon, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Alanis Morissette, George Carlin, Linda Fiorentino, and Alan Rickman. Discussing the new show, Smith expressed extreme excitement about the new celebrity hook-ups his co-host was going to provide.
"I can’t wait to lose fluids on the airwaves of my favorite channel over the genre gems we’re gonna get insider access to due to gregarious Greg’s bonafides! And to make it even more of a family affair, Geeking Out lets me work with the Weinsteins again -- the two guys who started my career 22 years ago! I’m lucky to be working at all, let alone working with friends and family on a dream show where all we do is talk about all the media that makes us moist!"
Grunberg, seen recently on the big screen in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, has appeared in a slew of TV shows including Heroes Reborn, Masters of Sex, Criminal Minds, and The Mysteries of Laura. He also produces the web series One Question Interviews, which features a wide variety of celebs promoting their latest projects before answering a completely random question from host Rick Yaeger. Grunberg promises that Smith's anticipation isn't unwarranted, because he's going to take advantage of every connection he's made in Hollywood.
"I am going to get every single genre-based writer, director and actor I know to come on our show and geek out with us. And they’re going to thank me for it. I love how Kevin Smith smells and we fit together like two hibernating fan-bears. Thanks to AMC and the Weinsteins, the rest of the world is going to get to see what’s inside our dark, dank geek cave. It's going to be a fun 30 minutes, if I can just get Kevin to stop talking and smoking."
Smith can be an engaging storyteller, and has proven in the past that he isn't afraid to tell the industry's darker secrets to an eager audience. As long as the show doesn't get too glossed-over in its attempt to reach that more "general" audience, Geeking Out should be fannish dream for everyone who loves a geeky insider view of Hollywood. From Smith and Grunberg's statements on the show, it sounds like they'll be keeping it weird, which is the best way for this series to please its target audience.
Geeking Out is expected to premiere with a special episode covering Comic-Con International: San Diego in late July, with eight more episodes to run weekly starting in late summer.