SALT LAKE CITY — Have no fear, “Studio C” fans.” Matt Meese, Mallory Everton, Whitney Call, Jason Gray and the rest of the crew have more comedy up their sleeves in the form of an online, family-friendly comedy network.
“Whereas we were doing one show with ‘Studio C,’ now we’re going to be doing many shows,” Meese said in an interview with the Deseret News. “If it’s family-friendly and comedy, we want to get our hands in it.”
The network, called JK! Studios, is scheduled to launch in January 2019 with a mix of five to seven shows of varying types, including sketch comedy, sitcom, improv and podcast, all performed and created by the 10 original cast members of BYUtv’s sketch comedy show, “Studio C.”
“We’re really going to run behind that mantra of creating wholesome content for the world,” Stacey Harkey, another of the 10 original “Studio C” cast members, said in an interview with the Deseret News. “We might be leaving one show, but we’re going to give you many, many more.”
Meese, Harkey and the others announced in early August — just weeks beforefilming the show’s season nine opener in New York City with “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kenan Thompson — that they were all leaving the show to start a new project. “Studio C” will continue on, with Tori Pence, Aaron Fielding and Dalton Johnson, who joined the “Studio C” cast in the eighth season, and new as-yet unknown cast members. BYUtv is currently conducting a search for “Studio C” cast members and writers to replace the departing 10 original members.
“Even though we’re leaving (‘Studio C’), we’ve left with very positive feelings,” Harkey said. “We might do some guest appearances, we’re not sure yet, but we’re really excited for BYUtv and the direction they’re going in.”
Up until the January launch of JK! Studios, Meese and Harkey said they will post teasers, a few sketches and behind-the-scenes snapshots of the creation of the new comedy network
“But then once January hits, it’s just going to be all content all the time,” Meese said. “Lots of content.”
“Content for days,” Harkey said with a laugh.
“We won’t sleep for days until January but it will be ready,” Meese added.
“You couldn’t escape us if you tried,” Meese said.
Among the content debuting in January will be two sitcoms — one with episodes approximately 5-7 minutes long and the other a little bit longer at 10-15 minutes per episode.
“(Sitcoms are) one of the things we’re most excited about because … we’ve always wanted to be able to take characters and spend more time with them than sketch comedy allows,” Meese said. “We want to be able to see the progression of different people in a sitcom setting go from one adventure to the next and see their growth and their interactions with each other.”
“What you love in our sketches, you’ll see that and more in our sitcoms,” Harkey added.
JK! Studios will also maintain a Patreon account, which allows fans to pay a subscription for behind-the-scenes content and experiences, to help fund the project. Fans who subscribe to JK! Studios’ Patreon will be able to access exclusive merchandise, early access to content and video chats with the cast, Meese said.
Although the purely online nature of the group’s content is a deviation from how they’ve done it in the past, both Harkey and Meese sought to reassure their fans that the change is good.
"We aren’t going anywhere. We are here making more stuff for them that they are going to love — stuff that is familiar to them and stuff that is new that we’re very excited to introduce too,” Meese said. “They’re going to get a little bit of the best of both worlds. They don’t have to give up our sketches to enjoy the new stuff. They get both. They get everything.”
“I think Matt nailed it,” Harkey added. “As Hannah Montana says it, it’s going to be the best of both worlds.”
“We’re really basing our business model off of Hannah Montana,” Meese joked.