After broadcasting for less than a year, the Fusion cable network has decided to go in different direction with its coverage of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Instead of talking heads and scowling journalists, the pop culture and comedy network is going to review the SOTU with a show hosted by puppets and a live human comedian.
This year, Obama’s State of the Union speech will be covered by comedian Paul F. Tompkins and the puppets from Fusion’s No, You Shut Up!
“The cast of Fusion’s 9:30 p.m. satirical program,” Variety reports, “includes Yerd Nerp, a one-eyed alien who champions immigration reform; Star Schlessinger, a conservative red squirrel; the simian Professor Cornelius Nougat; and Hot Dog, a garrulous Frankfurter.”
The one real-live human, comedian Paul F. Tompkins, is known for his style of offbeat humor and hosts his own podcast, “The Pod F. Tompkast.” Tompkins’ podcast was rated by Rolling Stone as the number one comedy podcast in 2011.
Fusion claims that the puppet team will not interrupt the President’s speech, and viewers will hear every word he says. Quips and commentary will only occur, Mystery Science Theater-style, during times when Obama pauses as he delivers the speech.
“ABC’s ‘State of the Union’ is more or less the same as CBS and NBC and CNN, so we don’t see any particular reason to throw our hat into the exact same ring,” said Billy Kimball, senior vice president and chief programming officer at Fusion.
Kimball says that if this episode is successful, Fusion may offer more of this sort of programming where Fusion’s characters will “watch along with the audience.”
“That’s a genre that I think we’d like to explore a little bit more here,” the cable chief said.