Nick Cannon Discusses Bringing Back ‘Wild ‘N Out’

XXL: So what made you want to bring the show back after all these years? Did MTV come to you and say, “We want to do this again?”
Nick Cannon: Well, they never wanted it to go away. And funny enough, they tried to put the new version on MTV proper, but I didn’t want to because it wouldn’t work on regular MTV. MTV isn’t the same MTV it was when we had [Wild 'N Out] on the first time. So I was like, “Nah,” because they got certain parameters on MTV. Their audience is 15-year-old girls, but I want to be able to push the envelope and that’s what MTV2 was doing with shows like Guy Code. It feels like MTV2 is the hip-hop version of MTV.

Right, and they’ve got the Mac Miller show…
Yeah, so I was like, “This really might work.” And then just based off social media, every time they would rerun the show, fans would start Facebook campaigns and it would be trending on Twitter, so I was like, “I guess they really want it.” But I told [MTV], “I don’t want to do it at MTV. I’ll do it at MTV2.”

So what was your thinking when the show first ended? I know you got super busy after that.
It was that, and the money. I got too expensive. [Laughs] I was just like, “Yo, I’ma need this if you want me to stay,” because everybody else was offering me opportunities to host network shows and it really took off. But it wasn’t…it never felt like one of those things like, “Oh, it’s over.” It was more like I’ll do it again when I have time because when I created this show it was out of fun. I wanted to create a show for my friends to get some exposure. Honestly, when we started, I thought it was gonna be like a special or something.

Like a one-time thing?
Yeah. I actually shot it with my own money and I was like, “This is something cool we can do every once in a while.” Then MTV was like, “No, it’s a hit, you gotta keep going!” So we went for four seasons and even when we stopped I knew I wanted to do it again eventually.

So how’d you find the time to shoot the new season?
We shot a whole season in a week. We had to work. We were shooting two episodes a day and it was…intense. It was like ultimate fighting; everybody’s in a cage fighting for their time onstage, fighting for jokes and everybody’s battling to get as much as you can get in. The stuff happening behind the scenes was just as intense as the stuff going on on camera.

How do you keep everyone sharp and funny when you’re shooting for 12 hours straight?
I just lead by example, you know what I mean? I make sure everyone’s having a good time, and it’s beautiful. Women are running around and it’s like a party environment, so even if you’re tired you don’t want to leave. Like, we would work 16 hours, then go to the club and I’d be DJ’ing there or something, we’d get no sleep then we’d wake up and do it the next day. It was just a party the whole time.