“Gong Show” fans (there have to be some of you, right?), your day has come. The Hollywood Reporter has just announced that Mike Myers is “believed to be” the host of of ABC’s upcoming reboot of the game show, which aired 501 episodes between 1976–89. There’s a twist to Myers’ duties, however: He’s being named in promotional materials as “Tommy Maitland,” suggesting the “Austin Powers” star will be in character while hosting the show.
Chuck Barris originally hosted “The Gong Show,” serving in that capacity from the series’ beginning until 1980. This new iteration will feature a rotating panel of celebrity guests who will judge contestants’ talents, including Will Arnett (who’s also producing), Jack Black, Elizabeth Banks, Zach Galifianakis, Alison Brie and Andy Samberg.
“When Will Arnett came to me and asked me to host ‘The Gong Show,’ I said, ‘I’m honoured at the request, but I’m retired,'” Maitland said in a statement. “Then he told me how much I was being paid, in U.S. dollars, and I said, ‘I’m still honoured, but no longer retired.'”
“I’ve been a huge fan of Tommy since I first saw his stand-up in the U.K. while traveling as a teenager. He was so funny and original. I had the good fortune to cross paths with Tommy a few years ago and ever since we’ve talked about working together,” said Arnett. “I tried for years to come up with a vehicle that was suitable to expose his immense talent on a bigger stage, and ‘The Gong Show’ is the perfect fit.”
According to Maitland’s totally-not-fake biography, he was born on July 7, 1944 and has been active in showbiz on the other side of the pond for much of his life. We’ll all have a chance to learn more about him when “The Gong Show” premieres on June 22.