Samantha Bee’s ‘Full Frontal’ Renewed by TBS Through 2017

Brian Steinberg
Variety

Samantha Bee will be on hand to needle the nascent presidency of Donald Trump throughout 2017. Time Warner’s TBS said Wednesday that it picked up her scathing comedy program, “Full Frontal,” for a second season, which will start next year. The show will move to Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m., moving from its present roost on Mondays at the same time.

“Of course we’re picking up the show,” said Thom Hinkle, senior vice president of original programming for TBS, in a prepared statement. “In less than a year, Sam has become one of the most talked-about personalities in all of television and ‘Full Frontal’s’ audience continues to grow.”

The decision speaks to the rise of comedy programs that have a serious purpose at their core: Analyzing and investigating the news. Bee, John Oliver and Bill Maher have all thrived with programs that dig deep into hot political and cultural topics. Seth Meyers, host of NBC’s “Late Night,” has seen attention to his program grow after adopting a newsier bent for his opening segments. And Comedy Central is continuing to burnish Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show” as a voice for millennials who want to poke at politics and national issues with comedy.

Bee and executive producer Jo Miller have infused “Full Frontal” with a take-no-prisoners attitude. The show opens with a montage of Bee entering an arena, ready to take on the Statue of Liberty and Jesus Christ. The host eagerly incorporates wicked profanity into her monologues on politics, culture and gender. “We do a show to please ourselves,” said, Bee, in an interview with Variety earlier this year. “This gives us an opportunity to say the things we want in the exact way we want to say them.”  According to both Bee and Miller, the internal emails sent between producers and TBS’ standards and practices team about the language and graphics used in the show’s segments are voluminous enough to fill a very large book.

Over the course of its first season, “Full Frontal” has examined the horrifying effects of a national backlog of rape-kit evidence, and made use of  a graphic showing an elephant being sexually penetrated by a cross. President-elect Trump, Jimmy Fallon and Matt Lauer are among the people who have been unable to escape the program’s sharp elbows.

“Full Frontal’ currently reaches an average of 3.3 million viewers per episode across multiple platforms, according to TBS, which noted the show’s reach among adults between 18 and 49, the demographic coveted most by advertisers, had risen 37% for the quarter to date.

Executives decided to renew the program in the early fall, according to people familiar with the situation, but wanted to wait until after the presidential election to make an official announcement. The move to Wednesday was made to help production and some of the creativity behind the program, according to a person familiar with the matter. Producers at the show have often had to work furiously over weekends to update the Monday-night program to accommodate the latest developments in what has recently been a punishing cycle of news about politics, mass shootings and other events that draw outsize attention.

“I am only sorry that this renewal leaves me unavailable for a cabinet position in the new administration,” Bee said in a statement. “I will, however, be available to host the White House Correspondents Dinner, seeing as I already bought the dress.”

“Full Frontal” is executive-produced by Bee, Miller, Jason Jones,  Miles Kahn and Tony Hernandez. It will begin to air regularly on Wednesdays starting January 11.

 

 

 

 

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