Chris Hardwick's podcast-turned-television-special "The Nerdist" is headed to a full season expansion, courtesy of BBC America.
After cutting his teeth on the airwaves hosting AMC's popular "The Walking Dead" aftershow "The Talking Dead," Hardwick is eager to bring the affable, laid-back comedy of his podcast series to viewers.
"We did a handful of specials that were sort of an inflated version of the podcast, and then when we started talking about what would it look like as a series, we said, 'well, you know, we sort of experimented with a slightly a turbo version of the podcast, but let's make it more like a hangout show, more like a talk show, more like a variety show,'" Hardwick said of the show's structure.
The host hopes that his new series will serve as a launching point for stand-up comedians struggling to make their presence felt in today's television landscape. "When you think about the comedy boom in the 1980s, every channel had five Caroline's Comedy Hours," he said. "Your job as a stand-up is to get your voice in the world so people know if they should come see you perform, that's what fills up clubs and that all went away. The comedy boom died in the '90s. No more comedy boom. And even now, there's not that much standup comedy on television."
Hardwick points to "The Nerdist" podcast, as well as others like it, as a necessary means for comedians to reach out to audiences. "Podcasting is a survival mechanism. We, as comedians, just needed a way to express ourselves in the public in a way that would let people know this is who we are. Podcasts are just like a nonstop comedy album, I guess."
Hardwick states that the new series will stay away from the traditional talk show format of celebrity interviews hyping their latest films, instead sticking to the geek culture he knows so well. "You could never pitch nerd culture shows 10 or 15 years ago. They would have laughed in your face and wedgied you and kicked you out. But now, you know, we realize that there's so much power in nerd culture," he said. "I mean, if you all look around at the warm artificial glow of light that's reflecting off your face right now, jocks did not build those. So maybe they actually had to do the manual parts of it, but the nerds told them what to do. So there's a lot of power in our culture, in video games and films. There's Doctor Who shirts in Hot Topic for crap's sake."
Mark your calendars, "Nerdist" fans -- the new series will premiere March 30th on BBC America.