Neil Patrick Harris Returns To TV With The Hectic-Looking Variety Show ‘Best Time Ever’

Earlier this week, former How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris released an NBC promo for his upcoming show, Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris.

The show has been described as a variety show. That description suggests it would be in the same vein as the wildly successful variety shows from television’s days of old such as The Ed Sullivan Show or The Lawrence Welk Show. Such shows have fallen out of television network schedules in the 21st century because, with the wide selection of options offered by cable and satellite TV, a show contained to a single stage fails to capture large enough audiences to make the shows profitable. The new promo video, however, shows that Harris’s Best Time Ever is going to be more diverse than its variety show ancestors.

The exact nature of the show as it is portrayed in the trailer is difficult to describe in words, because it seems to be a wild potpourri of different elements, from Borat-style hidden camera sketches starring Neil to onstage dancing performances to game show-like competitions involving audience members. Patrick Harris himself describes the eclectic nature of the show in the promo.

“It’s essentially seven shows happening simultaneously. It’s a party.”

It seems likely that Neil Patrick Harris, who is also co-producing the show, took this extremely diverse approach to the show’s content in order to appeal to the documented shortening attention spans of modern-day viewers.

One of the few unifying themes that the show seems to have (judging by the preview) is the tendency to try and get viewers to watch when it airs instead of DVR recording it and watching it later. Harris comments on that fact in a report from QC Times.

“TV, especially network television, finds itself in a bit of a rut now. Because of the overabundance of DVRing and binge-watching of shows, you don’t have to sit down and watch at a specific time. The fact that our show is live – and you’ll want to talk about it the next day – you need to be watching when it’s on.”

“I was drawn to this show because it’s a game-changer,” Patrick Harris says in the promo. “People need a reason to watch TV when the show’s actually happening. You have to see it live, that’s why you want to watch TV, and why you want to watch our show.”

It looks like Harris and his fellow show-runners will further enforce this live viewership principle in the structure of the show by incorporating elements like the one they show in the preview where they call upon “unsuspecting” viewers watching at home during the show to participate in on-screen activities.


The aspect certainly draws more of a line between Harris’s Best Time Ever and older variety shows that would get viewers all around the country to gather around their TV sets when the shows aired.

As Neil likely anticipated, it also has the potential to make the show very commercially successful, as more live viewers translates into more viewed advertisements, which, in turn, equals more money for the network from ad corporations.

Give the promo below a watch and let us know what you think of all this. Will you be watching when Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris premiers at 10 p.m. on September 15? Do you think the show’s scattered structure will make it a hit or a flop?

[Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images]