Meet television’s new Odd Couple. Reno 911! co-creator/star Thomas Lennon is set to play Felix opposite Matthew Perry‘s Oscar in CBS’s multi-camera comedy pilot The Odd Couple, a take on the Neil Simon classic. Co-written and executive produced by Perry, Odd Couple centers on two mismatched roommates — the messy Oscar Madison (Perry) and neat freak Felix Unger (Lennon). The Felix role was played by Art Carney in the original Broadway production of Neil Simon’s play, by Jack Lemmon in the 1968 movie and by Tony Randall in the 1970 ABC/Paramount TV series. The Odd Couple reunites Perry and Lennon, who co-starred together in the feature 17 Again. Before that, Lennon had a recurring role on NBC’s Friends, which starred Perry. Written by Perry and Frasier veteran Joe Keenan, The Odd Couple pilot hails from CBS TV Studios and studio-based Timberman-Beverly and The Tannenbaum Co.
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Sky Arts HD is getting ready for its annual Playhouse Presents series which returns to the channel this May. The showcase is devoted to one-off comedies and dramas with talent lined up this year to include Matthew Perry, Billie Piper, Ben Wishaw, Mark Strong, Jo Brand, Simon Callow, Cara Delevingne, Lindsay Duncan, Kevin Eldon, Jane Horrocks, Daniel Mays, Sylvia Syms, Ashley Walters, Jason Watkins and Richard Wilson. Previous editions have had such names as Jon Hamm, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Thompson, Idris Elba and David Tennant. This year also involves the writing talents of Oscar-winner Peter Straughan, among others. Perry, who’s prepping his Odd Couple pilot at CBS, will make his UK TV comedy debut with The Dog Thrower, the story of a man who finds fame, then infamy, when he starts throwing his dog. It’s produced by Runaway Fridge. Among the other offerings, Piper and Whishaw will star in Foxtrot from Sprout Pictures, about a gang heist gone wrong; Syms and Delevingne play unlikely friends in Timeless, a story of love, loss and hope, written by Tim Firth (Calendar Girls) and produced by Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow; and Strong will star as a tormented movie actor in the Straughan-penned Nosferatu In Love from Bonafide Films.
Dylan McDermott To Star In CBS’ Kevin Williamson Drama Pilot
By Nellie Andreeva – Hostages‘ Dylan McDermott is set as the male lead in another CBS/Warner Bros TV drama project, the untitled Kevin Williamson pilot. Read More »
Go On standout Sarah Baker is joining her NBC co-star Matthew Perry in his new pilot, the multi-camera CBS comedy The Odd Couple, a take on the Neil Simon’s classic. Co-written and executive produced by Perry, Odd Couple centers on two mismatched roommates — the messy Oscar Madison (Perry) and neat freak Felix Unger. Baker will play Oscar’s assistant Sam, who spends most of her work day on the phone apologizing to assorted high-and-mighty people who have been offended by Oscar’s latest rant. I hear the part was written for Baker, which was Perry’s idea based on the comedic chemistry the two had on Go On. Written by Perry and Frasier veteran Joe Keenan, The Odd Couple pilot hails from CBS TV Studios and studio-based Timberman-Beverly and The Tannenbaum Co. Baker, repped by Pakula/King & Associates and 3 Arts, will next been seen opposite Reese Witherspoon in The Good Lie and Melissa McCarthy in Tammy.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
Neil Simon’s classic The Odd Couple is getting closer to a primetime return with a pilot order by CBS to the multi-camera version starring, co-written and executive produced by Matthew Perry. The project, which had a script commitment with penalty, is a new take on two mismatched roommates — the messy Oscar Madison (Perry) and the neat freak Felix Unger. It was written by Perry and Frasier veteran Joe Keenan, the latter replacing original co-writer Danny Jacobson. The Odd Couple pilot hails from CBS TV Studios and two of its top pods, Timberman-Beverly and The Tannenbaum Co. It marks Friends alum Perry’s return to multi-camera comedy after two single-camera shows — ABC’s Mr. Sunshine, which he also co-created, and NBC’s Go On. Simon’s play The Odd Couple premiered on Broadway in 1965 with Walter Matthau as Oscar and Art Carney as Felix and spawned a successful 1968 movie in which Matthau reprised his role alongside Jack Lemmon as Felix, and the 1970 ABC/Paramount TV series in which Oscar was played by Jack Klugman and Felix by Tony Randall. It ran for five seasons.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
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EXCLUSIVE: Neil Simon’s classic The Odd Couple is eying a return to television, with Matthew Perry as the star, co-writer and executive producer of a multi-camera comedy project for CBS, which has received a script commitment plus penalty. The new take on two mismatched roommates — the messy Oscar Madison (Perry) and the neat freak Felix Unger — will be co-written by Perry and comedy veteran Danny Jacobson, who previously co-wrote another multi-camera couple comedy with the series’ co-lead: NBC’s Paul Reiser vehicle Mad About You. The Odd Couple hails from CBS TV Studios and two of its top pods, Timberman-Beverly and The Tannenbaum Co. It marks Friends alum Perry’s return to multi-camera comedy filmed in front of a live audience after two single-camera shows — ABC’s Mr. Sunshine, which he also co-created, and NBC’s Go On. Simon’s play The Odd Couple premiered on Broadway in 1965 with Walter Matthau as Oscar and Art Carney as Felix and spawned a successful 1968 movie, in which Matthau reprises his role alongside Jack Lemmon as Felix, and the 1970 ABC/Paramount TV series, in which Oscar was played by Jack Klugman and Felix by Tony Randall. It ran for five seasons.
For Perry, doing The Odd Couple has been a dream 34 years in the making. “Ever since seeing the movie The Odd Couple when I was 10 years old, it has been a dream for me to play Oscar Madison,” he said. “To be given the opportunity to develop a modern version of it for CBS has put a permanent smile across my face. I met up with a wonderful writing partner in Danny Jacobson. We both have such a passion for the source material that we have instantly become obsessed with making this great. Plus, I think it’s time for me to be in front of a live audience again. I miss that. The search for Felix Ungar is on!”
Perry and Jacobson are executive producing the project with Carl Beverly & Sarah Timberman and Eric Tannenbaum & Kim Tannenbaum. Read More »
It’s not surprising when a video goes viral for parodies to start cropping up. That is the case with Two And A Half Men co-star Angus T. Jones, whose “‘stop watching’ Men because it’s ‘filth’” testimonial spurred a string of video skits. But entrepreneurial actors who have comedy series on the air are using Jones parodies to plug their shows, as is the case with these mildly amusing videos of Matthew Perry of Go On and Rainn Wilson of The Office. Of course, neither of the shows hail from CBS or Warner Bros. TV, the network and studio behind Men.
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EXCLUSIVE: Good news for The Good Wife fans, bad news for the Florricks. Go On star Matthew Perry will reprise his guest role on the praised CBS legal drama in an episode to air in early 2013. Perry will return as Mike Kresteva, a slick Chicago attorney who clashed with Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) during a blue-ribbon panel investigation into a police shooting. Kresteva later announced that he would run against Alicia’s husband, Peter (Chris Noth), for the governorship and has taken out a series of attack ads against him. Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Matthew Perry’s last shot at sitcom stardom, ABC’s Mr. Sunshine in 2011, didn’t work out so well, lasting less than a season. Undaunted, he’s back again — and at the scene of his greatest success, NBC — for Go On, produced by Friends writer-producer Scott Silveri and starring Perry as a sports talk radio host and recent widower who reluctantly joins a grief counseling support group. “I gravitate toward broken characters who try to be better people”, Perry said this afternoon at TCA. He added that Mr. Sunshine, too, was about such a character but believes, “This is a much better setup”. He added of his Mr. Sunshine character, “That guy was sort of in a bad mood and no one really knew why”. When it was pointed that a lot of people in the room liked Mr. Sunshine, Perry was befuddled. “This is the room”? he quipped. I wish I’d just stayed in this room all year”. He even tried today to stress, clearly in jest, that this new role is the best he’s ever had. “It’s either this or The Whole Ten Yards”, he concluded. But Perry later reflected on what made Friends such a blockbuster success. “Friends was just great chemistry, great writing, great lighting, great acting — and a little bit of magic thrown in”. Read More »
And we have the first pilot from this year’s crop to make it to the schedule for next season: I’ve learned that NBC has picked up comedy pilot Go On to series with a 13-episode order. The project brings back to NBC’s primetime former Friends star Matthew Perry and co-showrunner Scott Silveri. (Will they return to the Thursday 8 PM slot?) Perry stars in and co-executive produces Go On, a single-camera project written by Silveri and directed by Todd Holland. Produced by Universal TV, it centers on an irreverent yet charming sportscaster (Perry) who, trying to move on from a loss, finds surprising solace from the members of his mandatory support group. The series hails from Holland and Karey Burke’s production company Dark Toy, which just re-upped its overall deal at Universal TV. Silveri, Holland and Burke executive produce. The cast of the pilot also includes Laura Benanti, Julie White, Suzy Nakamura, Allison Miller and Khary Payton. The early pickup for Go On will allow the show to start staffing right away and get its pick of available writers. The move may also put pressure on the other networks to start picking up pilots they believe in so they can start locking in writers too. Read More »
Friends alum Matthew Perry is returning to NBC and reuniting with former Friends co-showrunner Scott Silveri. Perry is set to star in and co-executive produce Go On, a single-camera NBC comedy pilot written by Silveri and directed by Todd Holland. Produced by Universal TV, Go On centers on an irreverent yet charming sportscaster (Perry) who, trying to move on from a loss, finds surprising solace from the members of his mandatory support group. “Scott has written a very funny, touching pilot,” said Perry, who was approached for several pilots this season both on the comedy and drama side. “I’m very excited to be working with him again. I asked him to turn this into an ice show. He said no. We have picked up right where we left off.”
Silveri wrote the script for Perry without actually intending to. “When I started writing the character, no matter who I was thinking of at 9 AM, by 10 AM I was writing with Matthew’s voice,” Silveri said. Despite doing it subconsciously, writing for Perry felt natural. “Writing for him (on Friends) was one of the great creative experiences of my life,” he said. Needless to say, when NBC picked up Go On to pilot, Silveri’s first choice for the lead was Perry. “Thank god he was open to it,” Silveri said, adding, “Matthew is a mightily talented actor and one of our great comedic voices. He and I worked together for eight wonderful years on Friends. I’m thrilled for this opportunity for him to learn my name.” Read More »
Matthew Perry’s recurring role on CBS’ The Good Wife begins March 25. He will play a Chicago attorney tasked with heading up a blue-ribbon panel investigating a police shooting. When Alicia (Julianna Margulies) is assigned to the panel, she begins to questions his actions as chairman. Perry has been no stranger to TV since Friends. In addition to numerous arcs, he starred on NBC’s Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, which lasted one season, and co-created and starred in last year’s ABC midseason replacement Mr Sunshine, which was not brought back.
Matthew Perry, Dean Cain, Kristy Swanson and Dominique Swain have joined Kevin Sorbo, Stelio Savante and Jeffrey Vincent Parise in the romantic comedy based on Deb Norton’s play. Perry and Cain will appear in cameo roles in the project which begins shooting late this month in Los Angeles. The Whole Banana revolves around struggling artist Fran (Swanson) who is unhappy with the men in her life. For help, she prays to Greek god Hermes (Sorbo). Enraptured by her appeal, Hermes enters Fran’s life and sweeps her off her feet. However, Hermes can only stay on earth for two weeks. Swain plays Swanson’s best friend and confidant and Savante portrays Swain’s long suffering husband. The indie comedy is from Magik Shoppe Pictures, and Stephen Wallis (Rain From Stars) will direct and produce. Also producing are John Bennett Perry, Stelio Savante and Tom Fox.
Swanson, the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer in the 1992 feature film, recently appeared in the indie What If. She is repped by David Shapira and Inphenate. Sorbo starred in last year’s biographical drama Soul Surfer and is repped by Innovative Artists and Marsh Entertainment. Swain, repped by Buchwald/Fortitude and Leverage is best known for roles in Lolita and Face Off. SAG nominee Savante recently appeared in the play 110 Stories and South African film A Million Colours. He is repped by Buchwald-Fortitude and Elevate Entertainment.
This trend of comedies at 10 PM seems to be catching on quickly at the broadcast networks. Right after NBC announced that it will expand its 8-10 PM Thursday comedy block to 11 PM in midseason, ABC is doing the same with its Wednesday 8-10 PM comedy block. Beginning April 13, the network will air midseason comedy Happy Endings at 10 PM, followed by Modern Family reruns branded as “fan favorites” at 10:30 PM.
ABC will start warming up the Wednesday 10 PM slot with comedies this month by pulling canceled legal drama The Whole Truth earlier than previously planned and replacing it with Modern Family and Cougar Town repeats. Before that, from February 9 through April 6, ABC’s other midseason comedy, Mr. Sunshine, will take over the network’s plum post-Modern Family slot at 9:30 PM to give the Matthew Perry-starring comedy the best possible launching pad. One Friends alum, Courteney Cox, will make room for another, Perry, as Cougar Town, which airs in the 9:30 PM time period, will go on hiatus, returning on April 13. With the time off, Cougar Town now has 20 of its 22 episodes scheduled, with the remaining 2 expected to get a berth too, either replacing a Cougar Town rerun or in a different spot on the schedule. As previously announced, anchoring the Wednesday lineup at 10 PM from Feb. 9 through April 6 will be the new medical drama Off the Map. With … Read More »
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.” Read More »