News broke last night that Comedy Central’s Twitter-fueled game show, @midnight, will air its final episode this August, wrapping up after four years and on its 600th episode.
Hosted by Chris Hardwick, @midnight is a Funny or Die production that launched back in 2013, under executive producers Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (a frequent guest on the show, Lennon was originally slated to host). It’s since served as a platform for up-and-coming comics to gain unprecedented, immediate exposure to millions of potential fans. Through a series of headline-inspired games — like “Sweet Emoji” and “Hashtag Wars” — comedians compete to craft the most cutting one-liners commenting on whatever weird stuff Hardwick and his team of researchers uncover online — from weird Craigslist offerings to photos of depressed Etsy models.
Originally airing, natch, at midnight on Comedy Central, the show moved to an 11:30pm time slot earlier this year, after the cancellation of The Nightly Show leading up to the election.
Comedy Central president Kent Alterman told Deadline the decision to end @midnight was difficult but ultimately the right choice for the network and Hardwick:
“We took a big macro look and we started having conversations with Chris… We feel incredibly proud of the show, we think it’s had an amazing run. How many shows can say that they’d hit 600 episodes? It was a little bit of the audience telling us over time, and we mutually thought, ‘You know what, maybe we should walk away holding our heads high and proud, full of appreciation and gratitude’.”
Said Hardwick himself:
“@midnight has meant the world to me these last four years… It has been a dream to come to work 600 times to make inappropriate jokes about the Internet with my fellow comedian friends. I could not be more proud of this show, staff and crew and at the end of the day, I think we accomplished everything we wanted to accomplish. Spiritually it just feels like it ran its course — I’m not sure we had many more hashtag games in us (which may actually be a relief to anyone whose Twitter feed gets overrun every night).
I owe such a huge debt of gratitude to Comedy Central and Kent for taking a chance on the show, always being great partners and allowing us to exit mutually, which is rarely a gift you are given in this business. I will certainly miss awarding POINTS! to people nightly, so please understand if you see me randomly shouting it at strangers in public after August 4th.”
While there’s no news on Hardwick’s next move, or what show will shift into @midnight‘s time slot, producers are apparently open to exploring a “reformatted,” likely an all-online (or totally social, ie. Snapchat-based) version of the show in the future.