Hollywood Center Studios is currently providing stage and production facilities for @midnight, the talk show/game show hybrid hosted by Chris Hardwick and produced by Funny Or Die for Comedy Central.
The show, which airs Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central, is shot before a live audience on Hollywood Center Studios’ historic Stage 2 and Stage 2A. Stage 2 is where I Love Lucy was originally shot. Many episodes of the show have been produced on the lot to date with 70 more planned for the show’s first season. Hollywood Center is also providing office space for production and postproduction staff.
Episodes are shot in afternoon sessions for broadcast later the same night. In order to accommodate the quick turnaround, a multi-camera control room adjacent to the stage was refurbished with HD gear including a Ross Video switcher that connects both to the stages and to the show’s editorial and graphics departments. That allows graphics to be added live and permits editors to cut the show in real time. Two hours after the show is shot, an edited master is delivered directly from Hollywood Center to Comedy Central’s New York headquarters via high-speed fiber.
“Hollywood Center Studios is one of few stage facilities with the ability to deliver shows via fiber on a daily basis,” said @midnight co-executive producer Jim Ziegler. “We cut as we tape, then feed it out. We don’t have time to drive to a post facility.”
Hollywood Center Studios supplies the show with a variety of other resources ranging from work space for its team of writers to dressing rooms for its stars, to parking spaces for staff and guests — all immediately adjacent to the stages. “The quality of the services we receive and the cooperation we get from the studios’ technical and support staff is very high,” said Ziegler. “They help us keep our budget in line.”
@midnight incorporates social media into a live talk show format. The show has done especially well among the coveted young adult demographics, ranking third among late-night cable talk shows among adults 18-34 according to Nielsen.
“We’re very proud to be associated with this show,” said Hollywood Center Studios director of television sales, Jerry Cole. “It’s cutting-edge comedy. It’s also taking a cutting-edge approach to production, one that allows them to deliver quality quickly and cost effectively. We believe it’s established a model a lot of shows could benefit from.”