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If you’ve been a fan of Craig Ferguson for a long time – and there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the case for everyone – then you know the comedian and host often thinks outside the box where bringing the laughs is concerned. His newest project is a definite sign of that, as Ferguson has been tapped as a lead in NBC’s comedy/game show hybrid pilot titled Crunch Time, which has also added former My Boys cast members Kyle Howard and Kellee Stewart. Yes, that hybrid thing is real.
Crunch Time, should it make it to series, will bounce back and forth between a real game show and a scripted behind-the-scenes workplace comedy that will focus on the problems an on-the-rise producer has in trying to corral his show’s difficult host. As you might have guessed, Ferguson will play that host, Toby. A successful stand-up comedian, Toby has seen his acting career take a nosedive, which led him to hosting the game show as a way to reach the next stage of his career. But he’s not quite as comfortable doing it as his genial attitude might imply. He struggles, man.
Having been at the forefront of The Late Late Show for over a decade, as well as boasting an even longer career as a stand-up comedian, Craig Ferguson seems tailor-made for this gig. He hasn’t been a regular on a primetime comedy since The Drew Carey Show, but he’s made guest appearances over the years on shows like Web Therapy, Hot in Cleveland and Sean Saves the World, so he’s definitely no stranger to the camera in either a real life or a scripted sense.
Meanwhile, Kyle Howard will star as Jake, the head writer on Crunch Time who also happens to be a total hipster and playwright. This is a job he does almost completely for the money, as well as being good friends with the as-yet-uncast showrunner Emily. But don’t expect to see him chummy with Toby, as Jake doesn’t like him in the least, according to THR.
Kellee Stewart will play Marcelle, who is Emily’s best friend and the ear for all of Emily’s worries and secrets. On Crunch Time (the game show within the show), Marcelle is in charge of getting the contestants together, and she is apparently great at her job.
Crunch Time was created by Betsy Thomas, who also created My Boys, making that pair of castings all the more understandable. Thomas wrote the pilot and is executive producing for Universal Television. The game show/comedy concept was created by TV vet Philip Gurin, who is also executive producing.
It’ll presumably be a while before NBC makes a decision on Crunch Time. But until then, you can check Ferguson out on the syndicated game show Celebrity Name Game, as well as the History panel show Join or Die with Craig Ferguson.