Comedy Central is finally expanding its late-night block.
The Viacom-owned cable network is set to offer a midnight panel show hosted by comedian Chris Hardwick, which will be co-produced by Funny or Die, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The half-hour effort will launch in the fall as a four-night-a-week entry behind the network's one-two ratings punch of The Daily Show and Colbert Report.
In an interview with THR in 2011, MTV Networks boss Doug Herzog acknowledged that there was "a real opportunity" from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., noting that Comedy Central had yet to tap the potential that that last hour offered. The delay has been financial, he said: "We're looking at it, trying to figure out how you extend it and not go broke doing it at midnight on basic cable."
It is worth noting that Comedy Central's The Jeselnik Offensive star Anthony Jeselnik was at one time considered to fill the slot, as he revealed in an interview with Grantland this year. "We did, and it killed, it was great. It was going to be a monologue, a short piece, and the rest of it was panel," the star, whose 10:30 p.m. weekly show just completed its first season, told the site. "They said they loved it, but then the budget changed, and they decided not to do a midnight show."
For his part, Hardwick will serve as a producer on the still untitled nightly show, with Reno 911! co-creators Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Grant tapped to run the series. The project extends the Nerdist founder's relationship with Comedy Central, where he fronted a standup special late last year. He has a relationship with AMC, too, where he hosts The Talking Dead.
Hardwick is repped by CAA, Brillstein and Sutton Barth; Grant and Lennon, who co-stars in NBC's hopeful comedy pilot Sean Saves the World, are repped by CAA, Principato Young and Jackoway Tyerman.
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose