Charlamagne Tha God is headed back to television: The host of the massively successful radio franchise The Breakfast Club is getting his own talk show on Comedy Central, Vulture has learned. Details are still being worked out, but the new series will be a weekly half-hour with a focus on current events and cultural issues. There’s no firm timetable for when it will premiere, but the goal is to get it in production by November’s election.
The deal with Comedy Central reunites Charlamagne with Chris McCarthy, president of the Entertainment and Youth Group at Comedy Central parent company ViacomCBS. The duo first worked together nearly a decade ago, when the exec ran MTV2 and Charlamagne was a regular on the network’s breakout hit Guy Code. Charlamagne later went on to host two talk shows for the network, Charlamagne & Friends and Uncommon Sense. McCarthy, who revealed his deal with Charlamagne Tuesday in a story about his larger effort to reinvent Comedy Central as a multiplatform brand, said he was glad to be back in business with his longtime friend. “Charlamagne’s voice is very right for today,” he said. “It’s fresh and real and resonating in a way that very few can do.”
Charlamagne told Vulture he and McCarthy started talking about doing a show together late last year, right around the time McCarthy was given oversight of Comedy Central. Given the past history and close relationship between the two men — “Chris was at my wedding,” he says — getting to an agreement was a quick process. Charlamagne was already hosting Breakfast Club on New York radio when he landed at MTV, but he says McCarthy saw the TV potential in him long before he was a national success. “Giving me a TV deal, almost ten years ago, didn’t really make any sense,” Charlamagne says. “I was a radio guy. It’s easy to say, ‘You know what? I think Charlamagne Tha God needs a talk show’ now. But almost ten years ago for him to have that vision, that did a lot for me. A lot of my success right now is because of those looks that I got on MTV2 and Viacom at the time. And none of that would’ve happened if it wasn’t for Chris.”
While Charlamagne didn’t want to get too deep into the format for the show just yet, he says it will have a cable news feel and borrow some elements from other weekly topical shows now on the air. “I love John Oliver every week, I love Bill Maher every week. There’s something to be said about sitting back and being able to observe everything that happened in a week and then come in say, ‘You know what? This is what I want to touch on,’” he says. “But I’m not going to be on here trying to rehash the whole week. Like, no. That’s not what I’m here for. I want to talk about the things that can actually impact somebody’s life, in a real way — the things that can actually help move the culture forward.”
Charlamagne says that while the main focus on the show will be “talking about the issues that are going on in the world” through his point of view, there will also be guests and interviews. But as with The Breakfast Club, he is promising the conversations won’t feel like a typical TV talker. “You have a lot of people on these news shows and these talk shows who do a lot of asking answers, instead of asking questions,” he says. “Meaning, like they’ll say things like, ‘Is coronavirus a global pandemic?’ Duh. You know what I’m saying? Or, ‘Is Donald Trump doing a good job?’ Uh, no. Like don’t leave any room for something to be manipulated. I’m not in the business of asking answers. I’m in the business of asking the tough questions, and getting actual statements on how I see the world. And you can choose to agree or disagree. But a conversation will be started.”