It's been nine years since MadTV went off the air after a 14-season run on FOX. Most of the cast reunited for a 20th anniversary special earlier this year, though that special aired on The CW instead of the FOX stations that the original series appeared on. It appears that this special isn't all that will appear on The CW, either.
Apparently, The CW has ordered eight hour-long episodes to serve as a MadTV revival series. Not only that, but the run will appear as a primetime event instead of trying to compete against SNL as the late-night sketch comedy like it did on FOX.
According to Deadline, the MadTV revival will feature a new cast of up-and-coming comedians with one member of the original cast returning in each episode and serve as that episode's host. The show will maintain its focus on politically incorrect sketches and pop-culture parodies, and will see original series executive producer David E. Salzman return as executive producer and showrunner. Referring to the new episodes and the type of comedy that fans can expect, Salzman commented:
“The MadTV franchise is as vibrant as ever thanks largely to social and digital media appealing to a fan base numbering in the millions that relates to the show’s brand of authentic and irreverent cross-cultural comedy. We will continue to present the hard-hitting, laugh-out-loud, wall-to-wall pop culture parody our fans expect, but in a fresh, new way.”
No former cast members have been specifically announced as returning, though notable names who returned for the 20th anniversary special (and who therefore may be open to returning as a host) include Artie Lange, Phil LaMarr, Nicole Sullivan, Will Sasso, Ares Spears, and Debra Wilson.
Part of the reason for the revival is likely the positive reception that the 20th anniversary special received. For a show that's been off the air for nearly a decade, the special pulled 1.7 million viewers (for reference, season 10 of Supernatural on The CW averaged around 2.2 million viewers per episode). CW Seed also recently acquired broadcast rights to 75 of the show's 321 episodes, which will likely enjoy a boost if the new series proves popular.
There is no telling whether or not the new series will hew closer in tone and content to the later seasons of MadTV than the early ones. The Spy vs. Spy shorts and appearances by Mad magazine mascot Alfred E. Newman were always fun little ties to the magazine the show got its name from, even if the show and the magazine were essentially unrelated otherwise. It would be great to see some sort of balance struck there, with the series largely focused on the more edgy comedy it's known for but with a few Spies and Mad magazine ties mixed in to help break up the sketches.
It will be interesting to see how MadTV fares in primetime, especially since it focused on comedy that worked a bit better late at night. A lot has changed in the past nine years, though, and what was once risqué is now fairly tame. MadTV might wind up being a big comedy hit for The CW, which could lead to it starting another run to rival its first.
MadTV is coming to The CW as an eight-episode limited primetime event, though an airdate has not yet been set. ScreenRant will keep you updated as more information becomes available.