Everybody’s favorite “Banana” is back on TV screens as he is the host of a new late-night talk show series, Celebrity Sleepover, premiering April 3rd on NBC stations in the United States.
Following Saturday Night Live, seven-time champion of MTV’s The Challenge Johnny Bananas will speak with musicians, actors and personalities during a four-episode series, airing weekly in April.
Celebrity Sleepover isn’t like any other late-night talk show, Bananas told Heavy in a recent interview. The show features multiple different segments, including food challenges, ghost stories and cocktail perfecting. The show was filmed remotely from the guests’, and Johnny’s, respective homes.
“We’ve taken a lot of the concepts from your traditional late-night talk show hosts and we’ve added our own spin,” Bananas told Heavy. “It’s a talk show, but it’s also a sleepover slumber party at the same time.”
“We’ve all been spending a tremendous amount of time during COVID in our pajamas, in our sweat pants, on Zoom,” Bananas continued. “And we’re like, why don’t we take all these things people are so familiar with, celebrities included.”
The video telecommunication application Zoom is something many people have used since the beginning of the pandemic. And it helped create a new opportunity for a show like Celebrity Sleepover, where the celebrity guest can be interviewed while in the comfort of their home.
“We wanted to give them an opportunity to do a talk show in a different format that’s a little more playful, you’re able to kind of let your hair down, relax,” Bananas said. “With the scene that we’ve provided, the elements that we provide, it really goes a long way to helping them disarm a little bit and bring forth a more authentic, real playful version of themselves.”
“And we can say one thing that those other talk shows can’t and that is Celebrity Sleepover is PJ-rated,” he said.
Watch a clip of Bananas doing a food dare with Saved By the Bell’s Tiffani Thiessen on Celebrity Sleepover:
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‘Celebrity Sleepover’ Is Banana’s Second Hosting Gig With NBC’s LXTV
As fans may know, Bananas is also the host of LXTV’s 1st Look, which also produced Celebrity Sleepover. However, since 1st Look is a travel-based show and a lot of travel has been halted due to COVID-19, there were a lot of extra resources available to create a show like Celebrity Sleepover, Bananas said.
Bananas said producing Celebrity Sleepover was a big undertaking for LXTV as they were “exploring a new space.” And Bananas believes that because of the work he’s done with the TV company to create three seasons of 1st Look, he was a prime candidate to get the Celebrity Sleepover hosting gig.
“They know what I bring to the table,” Bananas said. “So, I think they just had faith and belief in me that I was the man for the job.”
Celebrity Sleepover was a massive opportunity for Bananas as it allowed him to dive into a new avenue that he was interested in.
“It’s definitely out of the realm of what I had done in the past, you know, obviously having a reality television background, and then doing travel hosting,” Bananas said. “This, more like the sit down late-night talk show format, is obviously something that I’d always been curious about doing and excited about doing.”
“So yeah, my house has basically become a production set and I’m not mad about it,” Bananas said.
Here’s another clip with Bananas and Thiessen:
On ‘Celebrity Sleepover,’ Fans Will See Sides of Bananas That They Haven’t Seen on ‘The Challenge’
Bananas has spent well over a decade working as a reality TV star and developing himself as the biggest character on The Challenge. “A lot of the persona that I’ve developed over the years is a much more, kind of tongue in cheek, over the top, colorful while in your face, boisterous, TV persona,” Bananas said.
“A lot of that is because that’s what reality television is, [it’s] all about absorbing all the oxygen in the room. Being that, being the center of attention and keeping people at a distance.”
However, as a host on Celebrity Sleepovers, Bananas was able to dial back the persona he’s created and show his layers. He teased his upcoming interview with TV personality Cynthia Bailey on the show, saying that they get into “some pretty heartfelt, amazing topics.”
“A lot of people haven’t seen the more serious or more vulnerable side of me,” Bananas said.
Fans will also see sides of Bananas that made him the star that he is. In another tease, Bananas said, “Sammy Hagar, who is the lead singer of Van Halen, may or may not have got his big start as the frontman of Van Halen, as a result of an encounter with extraterrestrials, and that all comes out in our interview.”
Celebrity Sleepover premieres on April 3rd, following Saturday Night Live on NBC channels nationally.