How Joel McHale Landed His X-Files Gig

Fans of The X-Files have been waiting a long time for the return of the franchise to the small screen, and the tidbits of news that have been dropped ever since the announcement of a continuation have been tantalizing. While the most important casting decisions were definitely going to revolve around who from the original show would be returning for the Fox miniseries event, one of the most curious bits of news was of the casting of comic actor Joel McHale in a key role. Well, the truth behind the casting is out there, and the truth is…kind of surprising. In a look ahead at the upcoming miniseries, The X-Files executive producer Chris Carter was eager to explain:

I cast Joel after seeing his appearance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which was hilarious. He had exactly the quality I was looking for.

Joel McHale is known most for his role on Community and his hosting duties on The Soup. He’s a funny guy with great presence on screen, but The X-Files is hardly a comedy. Still, Chris Carter had the magic touch when he cast the unknown Gillian Anderson to co-star with David Duchovny on The X-Files way back in the 1990s; perhaps Joel McHale will be perfect for the role.

The role will be of a character named Tad O’Malley. O’Malley is the host and anchor of a conservative internet radio show who finds himself becoming a rather unlikely ally for the decidedly non-conservative Fox Mulder. The character certainly sounds like an intriguing addition to The X-Files; he just doesn’t sound terribly funny.

Still, McHale landing the role after his remarks at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner explains a lot. According to a report from The Washington Post, it was McHale’s roast of President Obama that combined jabs at everything from politics to the media that convinced Carter that he’d be perfect for the part of Tad O’Malley.

Learning the background behind the casting of one of the new characters of the continuation of The X-Files is certainly helpful in getting even more excited about the upcoming premiere. For a few more sneak peeks, check out this look ahead at the miniseries:

The continuation of The X-Files premieres on Fox at 8 p.m. ET on January 24. For a look at when all of your other favorite shows will be returning to the airwaves in 2016, check out our schedule of midseason premiere TV dates.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).