‘Drop the Mic’: Celebrities dropping knowledge

What started as a hilarious segment on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” has become one of the hottest new shows on television. “Drop the Mic” pits stars from the world of entertainment against each other in head-to-head rap battles where only one can emerge victorious (season two premieres April 15th at 10:30p.m. ET/PT on TBS).

We spoke with Michael Bloom, SVP – Unscripted Series & Specials, TBS/TNT, to get the scoop on the world of celebrity battle rap and what makes this show so special. Word.

To learn more about “Drop the Mic,” check out the site.

Turner: Now I know we covered this in the interview for “The Joker’s Wild,” but for those who may not know, tell us what you do at Turner?
Michael Bloom: I oversee non-fiction for TBS, TNT and specials. And my job is to create franchises, businesses and content that are based on unscripted, hybrid or documentary IP (intellectual property).

T: So, let’s discuss “Drop the Mic.” It’s an incredibly creative concept. How did this show come about?
MB: The basic idea for the show was born within James Corden's “Late Late Show.” And they were smart enough to know that it was an entertaining format that they could sell. Late the summer of 2016, they brought it to market, and we bought this pitch in the room. Their tape was good, and they had a clear vision for the show. And with James at the helm executive producing, along with his partner Ben Winston, it was something we couldn't say no to.

Together they create so many genuine moments that come through in the audience reaction.

TN: The show found some very impressive success pretty early; didn’t it?
MB: Absolutely. “Drop the Mic” was the top new unscripted cable comedy in 2017 and is a social media juggernaut. Currently, we have over 250 million organic views of our battles from season one, and the number of minutes that they watch is off the charts. There were times last fall that “Drop the Mic” was the number one show in all social media for prime-time comedies that aired new episodes.

Over the last two years all of TBS’ scripted series achieved that success trifecta: viewers, critics and advertisers. We knew going into this that the network also wanted to score just as impressive a streak in the arena of unscripted entertainment. Ultimately, we had a ‘drop the mic’ moment of our own with this breakout success of this show and we couldn't be more proud. We look forward to bigger and better things for season two.

T: How much work goes into prepping the celebrities for their rap battles, and what’s that process like leading up to the actual show?
MB: They come in and work on it for a couple days. They work with our writers to hone their battle-rap skills. Together they create so many genuine moments that come through in the audience reaction. The fun and energy creep up to such a high level, the stage managers often have to step in and calm everyone down.

He adds an incredible level of legitimacy and authenticity to the experience, and he’s also a master showman.

T: What celebrity that isn’t a hip-hop artist surprised and impressed you the most?
MB: You're not going to believe this, but it’s Jerry Springer versus Ricki Lake. They were both really surprising, and Jerry Springer was incredible. That's all I'm going to say. You’re going to have to watch.

T: Tell us about hosts Method Man and Hailey Baldwin. What’s it like working with them?
MB: Method Man is like Snoop, a true icon in hip-hop and rap. And we are privileged to have him helm this show. He adds an incredible level of legitimacy and authenticity to the experience, and he’s also a master showman. Remember, this guy has been on stage for 25 years. He knows how to work it. Hailey is just starting her career, and they turned out to be a great pair. We were so impressed with Hailey's progress and evolution that we asked her to host the “I Heart Music Awards” this year. She did a great job.

T: Does Method Man coach any of the celebs, or are they pretty much on their own?
MB: Well, he is the ultimate judge. He has a say at the end. He's there for moral support for sure, but he's got to remain impartial as much as possible.

T: How are your rap skills? Ever take the mic for fun?
MB: Dude, you calling me out?

T: Maybe I am.
MB: Anytime you wanna’ go, I’m ready. I like the stakes... all-or-nothing. 

Season two of “Drop the Mic” premieres April 15 at 10:30 p.m. ET / PT on TBS.