Television variety shows were in their heyday in the 1950s-1970s with programs like The Ed Sullivan Show, The Carol Burnett Show and Donny & Marie. That was a time before cable and digital channels fractured the media landscape. Audience expectations have changed along the way.

Is there a place for variety entertainment in the new landscape?

Stu Newmeyer is convinced there is. Newmeyer is the executive producer and cohost of The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour, which is coming soon to Pop TV. “Classic entertainment formats have been revived and modernized for decades,” he said. “That’s what we are doing in bringing back the beloved variety show and updating it for today.”


George Johnsen designed this eye-popping visual effect for Jennifer Lopez’s performance on American Idol

One way he plans to update the format is with spectacular visual experiences. And he has brought in one of the top digital producers in the entertainment business to lead the way. “We are so excited to announce that George Johnsen will be our visual effects director on the show,” Newmeyer said. “He has done pioneering digital visuals in television, film, theme parks, and concert performances. He will bring a lot of ‘WOW’ to our production.”

Johnsen is the founder of MammothVision, Inc., a groundbreaking digital production company based in Burbank, Calif. He was co-producer of the hit sci-fi TV series Babylon 5, where he set new industry standards in the creative use of digital video and audio in television production. His approach to visual effects on The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour will be to focus on the audience experience.

“We don’t to want start out thinking about which effects we want to use in a show,” he said. “We want to focus on how visual effects will enhance the story and have an impact on the audience.”

Audiences will see most of the visual effects in stage sets and costumes. “You might see singing or dancing acts where we use digital effects and animation to interact with the performers,” Johnsen said. “Or you might see stage sets that envelop the acts in an immersive virtual reality-like production. The visual effects will even extend beyond the stage into the studio audience.”

This video of George Johnsen’s digital production highlights will give you a preview of the visual effects you will see on The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour.

Newmeyer and Johnsen are keen on the prospects for a variety show revival, starting with The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour. “The format, with its short segments and fast pace, is very well suited for how people consume entertainment today,” said Johnsen. “It’s like a live version of the internet.”

Newmeyer agrees. “We are reimagining the visual experience of variety. And we are reimagining how brands interact with TV viewers by integrating brand segments into the flow of the entertainment instead of interrupting them with ads.”


About The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour

The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour is a classic variety show updated for today. Its star-studded family entertainment is designed to bring the generations together. The program features big-name musical guests, sketch comedy, magic acts, spectacular dancing numbers, stand-up, and games and giveaways that appeal to the Boomer and Millennial demographics.

It is also the first television show to completely integrate branded entertainment into the programming to replace TV advertising. Brands can connect with TV viewers in more relevant, meaningful ways through sketches, songs, product placement, demos and other storytelling techniques. For more information on promoting your brand on The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour, contact John Gregory Olson at 888-328-3830.

Image: Valeria Andersson