Netflix recruits kids for new family sketch series
James R | On 03, Aug 2017
Netflix is one step closer to bringing its new family sketch series to the screen – and it’s recruiting kids to bring in the young viewers.
The Who Was, first announced earlier this year, is a historical comedy show inspired by Penguin Workshop’s bestselling Who Was? biographies. Not unlike Horrible Histories, the show aims to introduce children to major historical figures, and get them to laugh in the process.
Rather than rely on adult comedians to bring the funny, though, the streaming service isn’t afraid to think small: Haley Tju (Bella and the Bulldogs), Adam Hochstetter (The Kicks), Lilla Crawford (Into the Woods), Bentley Green (Fat Camp), Zach Timson and Kirrilee Berger will star in the programme, playing themselves at “Who HQ” in a show-within-a-show format that will see them prepare to play famous characters from yesteryear. Andy Daly from Comedy Central’s Review will play a meddlesome tv executive in each episode, with other celebrity cameos to be confirmed.
“We went on a cross-country casting search and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the six amazingly talented cast members we discovered. We feel we’ve struck comedy gold,” Executive Bob Higgins said in a statement, “and Andy Daly agreeing to join us is an embarrassment of comic riches… we’re unbelievably lucky and thrilled to have them all on The Who Was? Show.”
The show will span 13 half-hour episodes that will feature live action, animated shorts, improv, music and sketches. You can expect it on your screens in 2018.
The Who Was? Netflix orders family variety series
15th May 2017
Netflix is entering the family TV game in a whole new way next year, with a new variety show based on the Who Was? books.
The Penguin-published series of bestsellers, which spans almost 200 titles, covers notable historical figures, such as Ben Franklin, with millions of readers around the world. While that might not seem like the starting point for a TV series, it’s a sign of how versatile and diverse the streaming giant’s thinking has become when it comes to original content. While the subsection service has so far mostly tended towards scripted programming, for adults and for kids, it is now stepping up its unscripted and reality plans.
Enter The Who Was? Show, a half-hour variety format, which will combine comedy and history. Deadline reports that it will “feature key leaders, innovators and creative trendsetters while placing historical figures into context for today’s children”. Each episode will consist of both live-action and animated sequences (courtesy of Bento Box Entertainment – Bob’s Burgers), alongside improv, sketches, musical numbers and guest stars. Think Horrible Histories, but with a bigger budget.
Comedy producer Rich Korson has been tapped as the showrunner, with exec producers including Bob Higgins, Jay Peterson, and Francesco Sedita. Conan O’Brien veteran Brian McCann is on writing duties, alongside head writer Elliott Kalan (The Daily Show), Eric Gilliland (Roseanne), Delaney Yeager (The Daily Show) and Tami Sagher (Inside Amy Schumer). The project is developed by Penguin Workshop and produced by FremantleMedia Kids & Family, with Matador Content also producing.
The show will premiere in 2018.