Will Arnett: Why 2017 is the perfect time to reboot 'The Gong Show'

"We're here to combat all the negativity for an hour a week," he said.

ByLesley Messer
June 22, 2017, 6:32 AM

— -- Audiences were first introduced to "The Gong Show," more or less a televised talent show with absurd prizes, in 1976, when it was hosted by Chuck Barris.

Last year, however, it was reported that ABC has revived the popular series, and executive producer Will Arnett said it couldn't have come at a better time.

Though reboots and revivals are a trend in film and TV at the moment, Arnett said that he intended to recapture the happy feeling the show always gave him rather than simply trade on nostalgia.

Given the news cycle at the moment, the actor said in an interview with ABC News that his pitch to the network involved a reel "that highlighted what a bummer it is to live in the world right now," with "The Gong Show" serving as the antidote.

"We're gonna have a collective nervous breakdown at this rate and we do need something. Even the talent shows that we've become accustomed to have taken on a negative vibe because the judges are fighting and each contestant is pitting themselves the other contestant. Enough. Can't we just have a good time and have a laugh?" he said. "We're here to combat all the negativity for an hour a week. It's not about somebody winning at somebody else's expense."

Arnett, 47, will also appear as a judge on the show, which is hosted by British comedian Tommy Maitland and premieres tonight. Though Maitland is believed to be actor Mike Myers wearing extensive makeup, ABC has not confirmed that. In fact, the network created a lengthy bio for Maitland, and Arnett said that he's been "a fan and admirer for many years."

"When we were putting the show together, [we thought], we've got to have somebody fun and have an original feel to it," he said. "Tommy was always our ultimate wish-list get."

Arnett also recognizes the pressure that comes with rebooting a beloved show. However, the process, he said, has been exciting.

"I want to protect the legacy. I'm really carrying someone else's torch," he said. "I want to be sure I do it in a respectful way that doesn't tarnish the image."

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