Neil Patrick Harris takes hosting talents to NBC variety series

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 27, 2014 8:59 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - With the Emmys and Tonys under his belt and his first Oscars hosting gig lined up, actor Neil Patrick Harris is turning his talents to anchor a new NBC variety show, the Comcast Corp-owned broadcast network said on Monday.

Harris, 41, best known as the womanizing Barney Stinson on long-running CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," will host the new primetime series, which will feature live comedy skits, musical numbers, game shows and hidden camera pranks on celebrities, NBC said in a statement.

The format of the yet-to-be-titled series is based on the popular British ITV show "Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway," which has already been adapted in numerous European markets including German and Italian versions.

NBC has ordered 10 episodes of the U.S. series from ITV Studios America, which will be filmed in front of a live audience. No air date has been scheduled yet.

The show is the latest on Harris's portfolio after it was announced earlier this month that he would be the host of the 2015 Oscars.

The actor recently won a best musical actor Tony award for his Broadway stint in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," and co-starred in David Fincher's hit thriller film "Gone Girl."

The new variety series follows NBC's push towards televised event spectaculars, trying to draw people to watch live rather than delayed or on-demand programs.

After the success of its live "Sound of Music" event with country singer Carrie Underwood last year, NBC is hoping to draw viewers to this year's "Peter Pan Live!," with actress Allison Williams in the title role.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Mary Milliken and Ken Wills)