QI to be broadcast in America

Friday 30th January 2015, 8:31pm by Ian Wolf


QI. Image shows from L to R: Alan Davies, Stephen Fry. Copyright: TalkbackThames.QI will finally be shown on US television, starting on the 19th February.

The long-running panel show, hosted by Stephen Fry and co-starring resident panellist Alan Davies, will first be broadcast as a triple bill on BBC America.

The news follows attempts over many years to bring the intellectual comedy series to the United States. However, in the past, broadcasters have been put off from televising the show because of cost.

This is largely due to the images displayed on the screens behind the panellists, many of which are in copyright and so costs must be paid for the right to broadcast them.

Alan Davies has previously explained: "They're not allowed to show it in America because they can't get clearance on all the images that are used in the background. It's one of the most ridiculous things I've come across yet in my career. There's no way of coming to some agreement - image by image they have to clear it and pay someone."

Some of the more recent series have been released on streaming site Hulu, and the QI books have been published in the USA, however until now there have been no US TV broadcasts for the format, which was created by Blackadder producer John Lloyd in 2002.

Entertainment magazine Variety revealed the breakthrough today, news of which will no doubt please many US fans. In the past, various petitions have been set up calling for a US network to air the series, with one such petition in 2010 attracting over 10,000 signatures.

QI. Image shows from L to R: Sandi Toksvig, Danny Baker. Copyright: TalkbackThames.It is not yet clear which series will be shown on BBC America. In the UK, the 12th series - Series L - has just finished.

A number of meetings between QI's researchers (known as 'Elves') to prepare for the forthcoming Series M have already taken place. The next series will take the show to the half-way point in its alphabetical commissioning.

The Elves themselves are also soon to present a series of live dates to record episodes of their award-winning podcast No Such Thing As A Fish. Taking place at the Soho Theatre in London, the first recording will take place on the 23rd February.

Fans of the show may be interested in British Comedy Guide's vast and detailed QI guide, which includes, episode-by-episode, details on all the facts revealed by the show. One of which is that, strictly speaking, there is no accurate term to describe someone who comes from the United States.

Here is the trailer BBC America is using to promote the programme:

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