How Talking Dead Host Chris Hardwick Avoids Dropping Spoilers

Nerdist founder also shares his current TV obsessions


Specs
Age 43
Claim to fame Host of Talking Dead (Sunday nights after The Walking Dead on AMC) and @Midnight With Chris Hardwick (Monday through Thursday at 12 a.m. on Comedy Central); founder, CEO and creative head of Nerdist Industries
Base Los Angeles
Twitter @hardwick

What’s the first information you consume in the morning?
I check my email because that immediately tells you what pieces of business you have to deal with before you can go to the bathroom in the morning [laughs]. Twitter’s the next piece of business—just scroll through, see what’s going on, make sure no one’s shouting at me for a reason I’m unaware of—then Instagram. For the last few days, there’s also been about 20 minutes of Animal Crossing.

What is that?
It’s a game I play on the Nintendo 3DS. You have this town and you have to keep it up, which basically means running around and pulling up weeds. It’s so ridiculous.

Who are your favorite people to follow on social media?
Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols has the most amazing Instagram feed. He puts on, like, a devil mask and plays guitar in the shower. He’s such a delightful weirdo.

What TV shows do you watch?
Well, of course, Dr. Who. I watch The Flash. I just watched a British miniseries called Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell that was really good. And there’s a show that my fiancée and I are hooked on right now called Homicide Hunter with Joe Kenda. This guy was a homicide detective in Colorado Springs and in each episode he walks you through a case, how they solved it, how the leads came in, but also the weird human aspects of being a homicide detective. He seems so perfectly written as a character, but he’s a real guy.

How far ahead of time do you get to watch new episodes of The Walking Dead?
I usually watch it around 2 p.m. the day the show airs. I actually get the episodes as soon as they’re edited, but I don’t like to watch them too far ahead for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it’s for my protection and the audience’s protection because I don’t ever want to be in a position where I might accidentally spoil something. I also want everything to be authentic, so if I’m speculating, I want that to be real. I mean, when I say I don’t know what’s happening with Glenn, it’s because I honestly don’t know. Plus, if I watch it early, it’s not like I can talk to anyone about it [laughs].

Have you ever accidentally let any spoilers loose?
No! There was only one thing I knew about ahead of time. I was down at the set a few seasons ago, and I turned a corner and saw Sarah Wayne Callies all bloody, and then I knew that they killed [her character] Lori. I had to sit with it all summer long and for the first four episodes, and it was really, really hard. So it’s better for me to just not know what’s coming up.

What’s your stance on binge-watching?
Binge-watching obviously has its advantages because as consumers we’re voracious and it’s fun to satisfy our hunger for a new episode of something the second we’ve watched the previous one. But I also think that binge-watching kills conversation. We watched Daredevil all in one weekend, and we adored it, but after that weekend, we didn’t talk about the show much, because we had seen it. With Walking Dead, it’s really fun to take the journey every week. It creates community.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 16 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.