MTV is getting back into the late night comedy game, greenlighting a new series starring up-and-coming comedians Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer. The Nikki and Sara Show will air weekly at 11 p.m. on a night to be determined; the series is expected to launch later this year.
Glaser and Schaefer aren't household names yet, but they're developing a following online via their popular podcast You Had to Be There. Schaefer was formerly the head blogger for NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (yielding her two Emmy Awards), while Glaser was a contestant on Last Comic Standing, where she advanced to the semifinals.
For their new show, Glaser and Schaefer will tell jokes, star in sketches, interview regular people on the street and welcome celebrity guests. (Nikki and Sara will tape in the same Times Square studio that was once home to MTV's TRL.) "We've been looking for the next comedic point of view, a personality that really speaks to the Millennial audience," says MTV head of programming David Janollari. "We think we have something really special in The Nikki and Sarah Show, particularly the two remarkable comedic personalities that are both smart and hilarious."
Janollari says he's been looking at ways to launch new shows in the 11 p.m. time period, where the network launched Awkward. "I think our audience is underserved in the 11 p.m. hour," he says. "We really want to be much more present in that hour. This provides a great way to cap off the night, a fun, really breezy and hilarious half-hour."
Nikki and Sara also comes in the midst of a new boom in female TV comedians both in front of and behind the camera. "We have a huge core female fan base that watches MTV," Janollari says. "We all talk about how Chelsea Handler has made such an incredible impact in the late night space. To find not just one but two terrific young women with such comedy skill and a point of view together in this one show, we think it will really speak to our female audience.
Nikki and Sara isn't a replacement for TRL, but in success the show could become a signature series for MTV, and perhaps even expand beyond one night. "Anything's possible," Janollari adds.
Nikki and Sara enters a late night landscape that has gotten more crowded in recent months, particularly in cable. The success of no-frills, low-budget shows like Bravo's Watch What Happens Live and E! Entertainment's Chelsea Lately has spawned a whole new round of TV chatfests — including Bravo's new Kathy Griffin show Kathy and AMC's The Walking Dead-themed weekly roundup Talking Dead.
Next up, FX is about to launch the six-week show Brand X With Russell Brand, starting June 28, and the topical show Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, from executive producer Chris Rock. E! just announced a new show starring Whitney Cummings. And beyond all that, Bravo executive vice president of program strategy and production Jerry Leo told TV Guide Magazine last month that the channel is looking at launching a third talk show — but this time on the weekend (either Saturday or Sunday).