Neil Patrick Harris hypes variety show ‘Best Time Ever’ as ‘game-changing’

Neil Patrick Harris and Siobhan Greene participate in the "Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris" panel at the NBCUniversal Television Critics Assn. summer press tour Thursday.

Neil Patrick Harris and Siobhan Greene participate in the “Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris” panel at the NBCUniversal Television Critics Assn. summer press tour Thursday.

(Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP)

If Neil Patrick Harris’ new show’s title hasn’t hyped it up enough, the host and his co-executive did their best to get viewers pumped about the variety show on Thursday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour.

The “How I Met Your Mother” star will host NBC’s live “Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris” this fall, which will feature A-lister appearances, stunts, comedy skits, performances, sing-alongs, mini game shows, audience giveaways and hidden camera pranks.

So just about everything you’ve ever seen on a variety, game or talent show ... and more. Live. As Barney Stinson would say, it’s going to be legen-wait for it-dary.

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“I think it’ll be fun and hopefully a little game-changing because it’s essentially showing audiences six or seven shows simultaneously,” the Emmy- and Tony-Award winner said.

“My hope is that you’ll get to see a bunch of cool ... and it’ll be live so you’ll only be able to reference it the day after you see it,” he added.

NBC’s superlative-filled series is a take on British export, “Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway,” which is produced by Siobhan Greene overseas. She also serves as executive producer with Harris on “Best Time Ever.”

The eight-episode run kicks off live on Sept. 15 and Greene did not hide her enthusiasm about it.

“I literally cannot wait for it because everybody is gonna get to see what’s been so difficult. Whatever we tell you, you’re not gonna know until you see it -- everybody says that -- and when you see it you’re going to think it’s unbelievable. Forget unbelievable, it’s next level because it’s in America.”

Full coverage: Television Crtitics Association press tour 2015

Ever the showman, Harris said the anticipation has been the most difficult aspect. That and keeping so much of it under wraps to preserve the element of surprise.

“I’m part ninja,” he quipped, saying he had to take extra care in making sure as few people as possible knew about some of the antics.


He’s also hoping to attract an audience of all ages and backgrounds, but the piece de resistance would be targeting the “Sarah Silverman and Louis C.K.” comedian demographic.

“We have to write specific content for all these variables -- gaming, live entertainment, award show writing, comedy writing -- so they can all be effective for the segment itself with overall sense of humor,” Harris said of the show’s staffing. “I want this show to be filled with fun stuff but I also want it to be funny and clever.”

Incidentally, the show comes on the heels of Fox yanking Ryan Seacrest’s at-home quiz show “Knock Knock Live” after two episodes last July.

“I didn’t even watch or know it was on. I did not know it was on or happening,” he explained in earnest. “What they did was ambitious but it’s a hard conceit to do those things as a new idea.”


Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad.


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