Ed Helms hoped to reclaim the phrase “fake news” with his new satirical show, The Fake News with Ted Nelms.
The Father Figures star, who previously served as a Daily Show correspondent, portrays the titular “bad newscaster” in the hourlong special for Comedy Central. “I hope that it is a really clear line [between news and fake news], honestly,” Helms said during a discussion on Entertainment Weekly: The Show. “There are definitely efforts to muddy that line and that to me is very scary, but that was part of the reason why we decided to call this show Fake News.”
Helms clarified that his persona, Ted Nelms, is a fictionalized character and that everything he reports is made up. Because, he said, the climate surrounding media has been “getting a little murky,” Helms and his Fake News team “wanted to reclaim that term to mean what it is which is made-up news.”
“Fake news takes many forms — it can be malicious, it can be comedic — but it’s still made-up stuff,” he said, “and that’s why we just wanted to kinda, I don’t know, try to reclaim it a little bit and make sure the world is agreeing what fake news is.”
Elsewhere on EW: The Show, Helms discussed his role opposite Owen Wilson in Father Figures, a film about two brothers in search of their biological father. He and Wilson had never met before making the film together, but Helms was always a fan. “We never sort of like crossed paths,” he said. “We have a lot of friends in common and I’ve obviously been a big fan of his since [the 1996 film] Bottle Rocket. I mean, I think he’s a genius. He’s so effortlessly funny. And I was really happy when we met to realize that that’s really who he is.”
Father Figures opens in theaters this weekend, while Fake News premiered on Comedy Central on Dec. 13. Watch EW: The Show‘s chat with Helms in the video above.