BY: Lynn Elber
AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES – Ellen DeGeneres is bringing variety back to TV with the help of Kabuki Expert and Flag Man.
They’re among the performers in DeGeneres’ fourth variety special for TBS, ‘Ellen’s Somewhat Special Special,’ which taped at the Chicago Theatre on Wednesday for broadcast later this month.
“I’m really excited about the acts this year,” DeGeneres said before the show, which was to include a Q&A session with the audience and “different things.”
Asked if that meant she would take part in some of the daring stunts, the comedian said it was possible, adding, “Coincidentally, I signed a big insurance policy.”
Others appearing in the special include Lady Antebellum, Australian magician James Galea, Catwalk Acrobats and Nick Cannon. They join Japan’s Kabuki Expert, creators of the clever Matrix Ping Pong video seen online, and Dominic Lacasse, an acrobat known as Flag Man.
Between sitcoms and before launching her daytime talk show, DeGeneres starred in a TV variety pilot that didn’t make it onto a network schedule. Variety has largely fallen out of favor with viewers, but the comedian and ‘American Idol‘ judge won’t give up on the concept.
“It just depends on how it’s done,” she said, citing the success of ‘America’s Got Talent,’ the Simon Cowell-produced show on NBC. “You can’t say an entire genre is obsolete.”
‘Ellen’s Somewhat Special Special’ is set to air 9 p.m. EDT Sunday, June 27, on TBS.
It’s one of several shows being taped at the five-night Just for Laughs Festival staged by TBS in Chicago, which opened Tuesday and features more than 100 comedians, including Cedric The Entertainer, Denis Leary, Rob Corrdry, Aziz Ansari and Andy Richter with members of Conan O’Brien’s writing staff.
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