By Bill Parry
Comedic actor Neil Patrick Harris is trying to revive one of the great traditions of broadcast television, the comedy-variety show, and he’s doing it before a live audience at the Kaufman Astoria Studios. The 10-episode “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris” debuts in primetime on NBC Sept. 15.
The one-hour show, based on the British hit “Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway,” will feature appearances by A-list stars, comedy skits, magic tricks, circus-type acts, mini game shows, musical performances and audience giveaways all pulled together by Harris. The former Doogie Howser has grown up to be a talented live show presenter, hosting the Tony Awards four times, the Primetime Emmy Awards twice and this year’s Academy Awards.
Live audience tapings begin Sept. 9 at Kaufman Astoria Studios and they will continue into November. The first taping is already sold out.
“Best Time Ever” isn’t the only new addition at the studio. The Marx, Kaufman Astoria Studio’s first luxury condominium, hit the market last month.
The seven-story condo at 34-32 35th St., alongside the studio complex, offers 33 homes in a mix of one- to two-bedrooms with prices under $1 million. A three-bedroom penthouse has not been priced. Construction is expected to be completed next year.
Named for the Marx Brothers, who filmed “Animal Crackers” and “The Cocoanuts” on the very spot during the Depression, the condo becomes part of the Kaufman Arts District. The 24-block neighborhood surrounding the studio includes the Museum of the Moving Image, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts public high school and the Queens Council on the Arts.
“We’re thrilled to bring even more life to this thriving and historic neighborhood,” Kaufman Astoria Studios CEO Hal Rosenbluth said. “Hundreds of professionals visit and work in our studios, and many have fallen in love with Astoria and all it offers. We’re delighted to offer homes at The Marx to our regular constituents and newcomers alike.”
The condominium has its sales office inside the studio complex where potential homebuyers can catch a glimpse of shows such as “Orange is the New Black,” and “Sesame Street”in production.
Long Island City-based brokerage firm Modern Spaces sold 20 percent of the condominium during its first week on the market. Buyers are drawn to the sleek open layouts, hardwood floors, private terraces and high-end finishes, while many are drawn to the community itself.
“The Kaufman Arts District is an established, dynamic neighborhood that gives people access to the best creative institutions the city has to offer,” Modern Spaces CEO Eric Benaim said. “Living at The Marx presents a unique opportunity to move into a vibrant Astoria neighborhood that is rich with amenities, dining and service retail to serve the families that have long called the area home.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr