It’s the comedy game where the questions are made up and the points don’t matter. has returned to American network television after a six year absence with a new host.
I checked out if this new version lives up to the old and track down the show’s very different start. A panel of four comedians must create skits or songs on the spot using impro comedy. The series was created by British producers Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson.
Some sketches may involve props or a band, but each is performed cold with the performers having no idea in advance of what the scene will be, often at the audience’s suggestion. The original radio series lasted six episodes with Clive Anderson as host.
It’s not television, but radio we have to thank for giving Whose Line? The show was a hit for Channel 4 lasting for 10 series and 136 episodes.
Most episodes were taped in London, while some were taped in New York, and the entire last season was shot in Hollywood.
Reruns of the show were aired in the US on Comedy Central, although some were edited to remove or rearrange scenes that would be confusing or offensive to American audiences.
In the late 1990’s, comedian Drew Carey brought the show to the attention of the ABC television network.
Carey’s hit show, The Drew Carey Show, gave him some pull at the network, and one of his show’s co-stars, Ryan Stiles had been a performer on the British version for years.
Carey convinced ABC to air several test shows to see how it would perform.
With the low-cost nature of the production, ABC gave the show a green light, and episodes began airing in the US on August 8, 1998.
Carey would take over as host for the American version and would participate with the performers in a final sketch on the show.
Ideas for the random skits the comedians would perform often came from the audience.