See where 'The Detour' takes you in season three

It’s been a banner year for TBS, and one of the shows leading the way is “The Detour,” also known as cable’s #1 scripted comedy among total viewers. What’s led to the enormous success of the show? What’s it like working with Samantha Bee and Jason Jones? And how did the Parker family end up in Alaska? We sat down with Billy Wee, VP – Original Programming, TBS, for answers, and boy did we get them.

Hi Billy, thanks so much for speaking with us. So, let’s talk “The Detour.” How and when did you get involved, and what drew you to this project?
I became involved with the show when I joined TBS in July of 2016. It was my favorite show on TBS. Joining at the top of season two was a great time to be engaged with the show, because season twos are usually so hard. It has to be the same, but different, and you want to embrace all the things that worked in season one while giving viewers another chapter of that story, and showing them another side of these characters. It was a fun time to join up with the show, and now, with season three, in some ways it’s a similar reinvention.

What was it like working with Jason Jones and Samantha Bee, the creators of “The Detour”? How has their vision propelled this show?
I think that their voice is so central to what makes this show work and what makes it so funny. The heart that they bring is what allows the comedy to be so big, and that's Jason and Sam. A lot of the stories that we tell on the show, we jokingly sort of say it's like well-intentioned bad parenting.

These parents had great intentions but find themselves in situations you wouldn't want to be in with your kids. Jason and Samantha tell those stories so well that that's a big part of the appeal of the show. I think their comedy and the authenticity that they bring to these characters and these relationships is really what makes the show so special.

How has “The Detour” grown and evolved in the seasons that you’ve been involved?
I think that it's interesting to see the evolution of the kid characters from season to season. Especially in season three, I think Delilah has an interesting story this season and so does Jared. I think that the evolution of Nate and Robin has been really interesting to track across seasons two and three. It's only natural on a show like this that you get deeper into those relationships as you get further into the show.

I think Jason and the producers have done a really nice job of deepening those things and exploring those relationships, while also staying true to the heart and comedy at the center of the show.

Why does this show fit with TBS’ brand?
I think “The Detour,” “Full Frontal,” “Angie Tribeca” and “Wrecked” were really sort of the tip of the spear of the TBS rebrand. They were the first shows out of the gate when we did the rebrand in 2016. When you talk about how they fit into the brand, I think in some ways they helped redefine it. Shows that followed, like “People of Earth,” “Search Party” and “Guestbook,” have all been tremendous and have continued that brand evolution. I think what all those shows have in common is their heart and optimism.

Season two of “The Detour” ranked as cable’s #1 scripted comedy among total viewers. Does that create more pressure to keep raising the bar?
It does and it doesn't. You want to keep that audience, grow that audience, but when it comes to telling new stories and what's the next chapter of the Parker family adventure, I don't know if total audience and thinking about viewers is helpful to someone like Jason when they're sitting down and thinking, "Okay, what is Alaska and what are the kind of adventures, what are the kind of stories we want to tell in that season?"

I believe that for all the reasons people really enjoyed season two, they're going to love season three. People really enjoy this “The Detour” for its authenticity and optimism. That's what allows us to get away with some of the show’s crazier comedy.

Okay, so how about a little insider tidbit about season three? Come on, we won’t tell anyone.
There's more hockey in season three. You’ll see Delilah, Jared and Nate out on the ice again which is awesome.

But seriously, Season 3 has the Parkers looking for a fresh start in Alaska. What can we expect in the upcoming season?
More vehicular comedy, for sure, which expands the list of vehicles that Nate has ruined over the course of the series. The relationship between Nate and Robin will continue to be tested, and we’ll explore the things that a family will do for each other to stay together, but it's definitely funny. It's a breath of fresh air, so to speak, to be out of the city, and I think viewers of the first two seasons who love the Parker family will really love this season.

Season three of "The Detour" premieres Tuesday. January 23 at 10:30/9:30 p.m. central on TBS.