Lizzy Caplan is back in business with Sony TV and studio-based producer Jamie Tarses – she has signed on for a guest shot on their new ABC series Mr. Sunshine starring Matthew Perry. Caplan famously stepped in at the last minute to play a lead on the Sony/Tarses pilot for CBS Mad Love as a guest star and helped the pilot score a midseason order but she also caused a holdup in the deal as the network and the studio first tried to persuade her to stay on and then had to find a replacement when she declined. (Judy Greer was eventually cast in the role.) Mr. Sunshine stars Perry as Ben Donovan, the sports arena manager for the Sunshine Center, a second-tier arena in San Diego. Caplan will play a woman with whom Ben has a romantic interlude and then is surprised to see her showing up at work the next morning … as his boss’ (Allison Janney) new assistant. Caplan joins other recently booked guest stars on the show, including Nick Jonas, Jimmy Connors, James Taylor and Jorge Garcia. Caplan, who recently starred on Straz’s comedy Party Down, is developing a comedy at HBO with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. The project, based on Julie Klausner’s memoir I Don’t Care About Your Band, which is eyed as a potential starring vehicle for Caplan.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At ABC’s TCA panel on his new show Mr. Sunshine, which he stars in, executive produces, and co-writes, Matthew Perry was in fine form. He was sardonic about everything, even his own well-publicized problems with Vicodin addiction in the mid-1990s that made him something less than a Mr. Sunshine. Perry made clear that his character, Ben Donovan, who’s the manager of a second-tier sports arena in San Diego and in Perry’s words a “selfish jerk, was not-so-loosely based on himself. “The reason that my character has only thought about himself is I knew somebody for whom that was the case for a long time.. I’m much nicer now.” Perry, now 40, was asked whether anything specific changed him for the better. “I would say if you want to find out the answer to that, just pick up any newspaper from 1996 or look at any magazine cover.” Perry cracked. “They say, hey, write what you know. I knew if I wrote something, I would like that to be a component of it.”