Recent Wiz Star Grier to Host NBC's "Thank God You're Here"

News   Recent Wiz Star Grier to Host NBC's "Thank God You're Here" Stage and screen star David Alan Grier — recently seen as the title character in the musical The Wiz — will host "Thank God You're Here," a new improvisational comedy series for NBC, the network announced Jan. 17.
David Alan Grier
David Alan Grier Photo by Aubrey Reuben

NBC ordered six one-hour episodes of the show from FremantleMedia North America (producers of "American Idol") based on that company's other versions of the show airing across the globe. No airdate has been set.

According to notes, "'Thank God You're Here' is based on a simple premise: challenge celebrity guests to enter a door into their own comedy sketch they know nothing about. Whether it's an operating room, an Egyptian tomb, an executive boardroom, a far-flung starship or any other scenario, the only thing each celebrity can count on is their quick wit and a desperate greeting upon their arrival, 'Thank God you're here!' At that point, each celebrity must individually improvise their way through a comedy scene along with a talented ensemble cast in front of judge Dave Foley and a 'live' studio audience.'"

"This series is basically every adventurous performer's dream and we think the viewers can vicariously enjoy how they respond to their unforeseen predicaments," said NBC Entertainment senior vice president of alternative programming, development and specials Craig Plestis. "It has a daring, seat-of-your pants feel that's proven to be a big hit in its original Australian version."

Grier will host the show that will be judged by "The Kids in the Hall" alumni Dave Foley ("News Radio"). Stars Jennifer Coolidge ("For Your Consideration"), Bryan Cranston ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Joel McHale ("The Soup") and Wayne Knight ("Seinfeld") will star in the pilot episode. Production will resume in February on further episodes.

"Thank God You're Here" is currently produced by FremantleMedia in The Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Sweden, the U.K., Portugal, Belgium, Norway, Israel, Denmark and Australia — where it originated and currently plays in its third season. Seen at La Jolla Playhouse last fall in The Wiz, Grier appeared on Broadway in the lead role of Pseudolus in the revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. His Broadway debut came in the musical The First, as baseball great Jackie Robinson — which earned the actor a Tony nomination. He also played in the short-lived musical version of The Mambo Kings. The comedic actor is known for his roles on television in "In Living Color," "Life With Bonnie" and in the films "The Woodsman," "15 Minutes," "Return to Me," "Jumanji," "Boomerang" and "Bewitched."