Neil Patrick Harris — child star, Broadway star, Tony hosting star, and oh, TV star — is trying out something new again. Taking a break from the grind of filming a show every week for a full season of TV, he’s now bringing “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris” to NBC for eight weeks of live shows.
The program is a little hard to categorize, but Harris says he won’t be doing too much of the Broadway style singing people have expected in the past. “I would say more in the host, Ed Sullivan-y game show host world. There’s prizes to give away,” he explains. “It’s seven or eight different shows all happening simultaneously, but I thrive on compartmentalizing things and being able to show an audience fun things that I think are authentic and enjoyable.”
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There will be all kinds of talents and competitions on display from celebrities to unsuspecting participants. “We have people in the audience that don’t realize that they’ve actually been a part of the show for months. We’ve been following them, they don’t realize it, and we’ll bring them up onstage, and explain to them what’s been happening and then give them a trip somewhere,” he explains.
Stalking aside, it’s going to make for a very unusual show every week. “No week will be the same,” Harris promises. “We’ll have certain things we do every week, but we’ll have certain things that we do every other week. We’ll always end the show with something called “The end of the show show” which is a big giant performance piece, by a big, I don’t know what. A double dutch competition and I’ll come in in the middle of that and I’ll double dutch. We’re not doing that, but it sounds like fun.”
A few different celebrities have been announced as participants at this point, with both Ricky Martin and Reese Witherspoon’s names being mentioned in connection with the show, and Harris says that a big thing they’ll be doing with those big names is “putting a celebrity in an uncomfortable situation and then forcing them to interact within it.”
Harris, at this point, is well known for his hosting capabilities, from the Tonys to the Disney Christmas parade, which he promises us was very fun. “I hope that with that reputation of positivity, people will then want to come and set their remote down and be able to enjoy an hour of the show,” he says.
One thing Harris was particularly excited about was the authenticity of the show. “We are in a weird world because oftentimes the audiences now are coached on how to react to things. So when you cut to an audience reaction and they’re cheering wildly, they’ve been told by a guy that’s standing right off camera holding his hands really high to say ‘cheer really loudly right now,’” he says. “What we’re doing is creating a show where the audience really may be in the show.”