From L to R: Ryan Stiles, Aisha Tyler, Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady
From L to R: Ryan Stiles, Aisha Tyler, Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady

Whose Line is it Anyway?: Tuesdays at 8p.m. Eastern on the CW

2013 has been an interesting year in terms of canceled shows getting dragged out of the mothballs. Arrested Development made it’s return on Netflix, Cougar Town found second life on TBS, NBC found room to resuscitate The Sing-Off after a year away, and even 24 is getting a handful of new episodes in as the paradigms of terror and security change around us. The most surprising return of the bunch, however, was CW picking up Whose Line is it Anyway?

Whose Line is it Anyway? introduced short form improv to the broadcast airwaves 15 years ago when it debuted as a limited run summer on ABC. The show ended up becoming a surprise hit, launching the career of Wayne Brady, solidifying Carey’s role as both ABC’s headliner and future game show host (of CBS’s The Power of 10 and his current gig on The Price is Right), and introducing Colin Mochrie and Greg Proops to mainstream American audiences. This incarnation had a respectable seven year run followed by a lengthy second run on ABC Family.

The new version looks to hold pretty true to the format of the prior series: a series of short improvised games where the points don’t matter and winner gets the prestigious responsibility of reading the credits in the style of the host’s choosing. Additionally, we get the returns of regular panelists Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and Wayne Brady to anchor every episode, a smart call as those three (plus Brad Sherwood) were the true anchors of the ABC series. The fourth seat is held by a rotating panelist that will change every show.

Speaking of changes, the major change is in the host’s chair. Drew Carey will not be back to host this incarnation (maybe he got a little too expensive? I doubt it’s contract related seeing how fellow CBS host Brady appears in every episode). He will be placed by Aisha Tyler, who is no stranger to comedy (playing Agent Lana Kane on Archer and having a stint as host on E!’s Talk Soup). This feels like a fairly minor change, as the host plays a more minor role on Whose Line than on many other shows and should create interesting new dynamics for our cast.

Tuesdays and especially the 8 p.m. slot on that night have been pretty quiet this summer. While it’s mildly surprising that the CW would put this relaunch up against the opening of the MLB All-Star Game (at Citi Field, home of my beloved New York Mets even!), it’s in a great spot to thrive and works as safe, fairly guaranteed entertainment on a network that struggles with comedy.