Wednesday, September 30, 2009
SHOWTIME PICKS UP NEW MATT LEBLANC COMEDY
Released by Rick Porter/Zap2It
This is not a story about the long-rumored, not-really-happening "Friends" movie/TV reunion/whatever. It is a story about Matt LeBlanc and "Friends" co-creator David Crane teaming up for a series that will feature LeBlanc playing a version of himself.
Showtime has picked up a comedy called "Episodes" that will tell the story of a British TV show's journey across the pond and the inevitable problems of translation. Showtime and the BBC are co-producing the series, created by Crane and Jeffrey Klarik ("The Class"), which will air both here and in the U.K. next year.
The six-episode "Episodes" will mine some of the same territory as Ricky Gervais' "Extras" did for HBO. It will follow a British couple who have produced a hit show in the U.K. and come to the United States to oversee its remake.
They're excited at the prospect -- until they discover that the American network execs have a few notes, including replacing the witty lead actor with the archetypal American sitcom star, Matt LeBlanc.
"Jeffrey and David have a great idea -- I love it. I'm really excited to be working with Showtime and the BBC," LeBlanc says. "And I am so glad I got the part. Seeing someone else play Matt LeBlanc would have been devastating."
Klarik and Crane will executive produce "Episodes" with Jimmy Mulville ("Worst Week," "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"). The show is scheduled to go into production during the winter and premiere on Showtime and BBC Two in 2010.