Almost exactly two years after a well-received attempt to launch a variety hour, Maya Rudolph will finally take another shot this May, with a little help from her friends, including Martin Short and Lorne Michaels.
NBC announced Friday that Martin and Rudolph will star in a new hour variety show entitled “Maya and Marty in Manhattan,” which “SNL” czar Lorne Michaels will produce. “SNL’s” Kenan Thompson is also set to join the show. The series, which will be live, will launch May 31 at 10 p.m., after the premiere of “America’s Got Talent.”
The network said the series will originate from 30 Rock each week — studio venue not given, although “SNL’s” 8H is probably available during the off-season.
“With their cumulative expertise and experience in live comedy, we couldn’t ask for a better trio to deliver what we know will be a fantastic show,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC’s chief of unscripted and late night.
Variety is an interesting bet — certainly not a guaranteed one either. Neil Patrick Harris’s “Best Time Ever” only lasted eight episodes, although this show will have a summer run while “BTE” had to fend for itself during the fall crush.
But Michaels — you may have heard — does know how to produce live variety, including a Saturday night variation that constitutes one of the most successful franchises in TV history. And with Thompson, Rudolph and Short involved, this obviously sounds more like an ensemble comedy show that one based on a single talent.
Rudolph’s 2014 show also drew from the “SNL” talent pool and beyond — Janelle Monáe, Kristen Bell, Craig Robinson, and many others contributed. Short was, of course, a beloved and short term “SNL” cast member in the mid-’80s. Rudolph was a cast member from 2000 to ’07. Thompson has been with “SNL” since 2003.
Per NBC, “The series will feature sketches that spoof current events, celebrities and topical trends, as well as musical performances.”