‘The Odd Couple’ to pay tribute to Garry Marshall with guest appearances from Ron Howard, sister Penny Marshall, more

“The Odd Couple” has lined up a who’s who of guest stars to honor director Garry Marshall. Next week’s episode of the CBS comedy, starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon, will feature guest appearances from actors from Marshall’s famous TV shows, including Ron Howard, Marion Ross, Anson Williams and Don Most from ‘Happy Days’; Marshall’s sister Penny and Cindy Williams from ‘Laverne & Shirley’; and Pam Dawber from ‘Mork & Mindy,’ according to the Hollywood Reporter. Marshall, who died on July 19 at age 81, developed the original “Odd Couple” series starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. He played Perry’s dad Walter in an April episode, his last acting role before dying from complications of pneumonia. Next week’s tribute episode will see Oscar (Perry) reconnect with “many significant people from his father’s life when he agrees to carry out his final wish to spread his ashes behind the candy factory he used to own,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. “The writing staff and everyone on ‘The Odd Couple’ reboot was thrilled when Garry Marshall joined us as a producer because his shows were part of our TV DNA,” executive producer Bob Daily said Monday in a statement. “He was a kind, generous presence on the set, and we loved him dearly. And when we lost him, we knew we had to do something to honor his legacy — something that, like Garry’s work, was both heartfelt and zany. We are so grateful that the stars of these classic shows are able to join us in honoring him.” The episode airs Nov. 7 at 9:30 p.m. Continue Reading

Matt LeBlanc to star in CBS comedy pilot with series commitment called ‘I’m Not Your Friend’

Matt LeBlanc's newest project has a not-so-friendly message. The 48-year-old actor will star in a CBS comedy fittingly titled "I'm Not Your Friend," according to Variety magazine. The "Friends" alum, who will also serve as an executive producer, will play a contractor who struggles to raise his children when his wife goes back to work. The network has ordered a pilot for the multi-camera comedy and is reportedly offering LeBlanc a series commitment for the entire project, the magazine said. The new show will make LeBlanc even busier as the actor recently signed on as the host of "Top Gear" for BBC beginning in May. LeBlanc will be the first non-British host in the popular English motoring show’s history. However, the star's schedule may free up a bit. His hit show "Episodes" is rumored to end this year after five seasons. The Golden-Globe winning actor will join former co-star Matthew Perry on the network, who currently stars in "The Odd Couple" remake Also part of the show's production team is Michael Rotenberg ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") and husband and wife writing couple Jeff and Jackie Gilfo, who wrote the script. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER Continue Reading

In new ‘Odd Couple’ series, the slob and the neat freak reprised

As long as there are compulsive neatniks and congenital slobs, there will be a place in the world for “The Odd Couple.” And so CBS has revived one of the most enduring comic tales from the last half century. “The Odd Couple,” with Thomas Lennon as the fastidious Felix Ungar and Matthew Perry as the indifferent Oscar Madison, premieres Thursday at 8:30 p.m. The starting date and time are not random. The beginning of “The “Couple” follows the series finale of “Two and a Half Men,” which should not only give it a good-sized lead-in audience, but a compatible handoff, because “Two and a Half Men” is one of many shows that draws heavily on the premise of taking two opposites and having them live together. “It’s such an elastic concept,” says executive producer Bob Dailiyl. “The DNA of those two characters has seeped into television for four decades. I spent five years writing on ‘Frasier,’ which was basically ‘The Odd Couple’ with one Oscar and two Felixes. Bert and Ernie are ‘The Odd Couple.’ ” What may have changed more than the characters is the world around them. Garry Marshall created and produced the 1970-75 ABC television incarnation of the show, which starred Jack Klugman as Oscar and Tony Randall as Felix. He’s an “executive consultant” for the new one. “When I was doing [the original],” he says, “the network was so afraid the audience would think they were gay characters. “Every week they said, ‘Put more girls in. Put more girls in.’ “So I used to shoot little moments where Jack and Tony hugged and kissed and sent it to the network just to make them crazy.” Perry and Lennon weren’t born when Neil Simon’s play debuted on Broadway in 1965 and then was reworked for a hit movie with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in Continue Reading

CBS’s new ‘Odd Couple,’ starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon, doesn’t want to mess up tidy legacy

PASADENA — Even the people who are creating CBS's new "Odd Couple" admit they weren't always sure the world needed another one. "I thought long and hard about whether we really should attempt this," said Thomas Lennon, who plays Felix Unger in the reincarnated version that premieres Feb. 19. But Lennon told TV writers that even though "Tony Randall was a hero of mine," he also realized Randall was "already like the third Felix . . . and I'd be about the fifth . . . so there could be something new to bring to it." Among other things, Lennon's incarnation of the fastidious Unger plays the cello and has advanced skills at yoga. "Just reading a book wasn't annoying enough," Lennon said. "The cello was the right touch." Matthew Perry, who plays the slovenly Oscar Madison, will be a sports-radio talk show host this time instead of a newspaper columnist. That led someone on his panel to joke, "What's a newspaper?", which triggered some nervous laughter in the audience. But Perry said the new show will be different in other ways as well, including "much more of an ensemble cast than the original." The new version is also raunchier. In the pilot, Felix's initials become the basis of a running gag. "After 45 years, we just thought it was time for a reinterpretation," said executive producer Bob Daly. He noted that the "Odd Couple" characters are a standing presence in television lore anyhow. "I wrote for 'Frasier,' " he said, "and that was really just one Oscar and two Felixes." Daly said the new show's first dozen episodes don't simply remake the classic TV version. "We haven't recycled any plots or dialogue," Daly said. "We used some of them as jumping-off points, but we were trying to reset the show for 2015." Perry did say that he thinks the funniest joke in the pilot was a direct lift from Neil Simon, who wrote the original "Odd Couple" as a Broadway play. Perry also admitted that he was "still Continue Reading

CBS unveils fall schedule: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ spin-off doesn’t get picked up, ‘Two and a Half Men’ to end after season 12

Thursday night football is changing CBS’s prime-time game plan for the fall. Because football will consume Thursdays from Sept. 11 to Oct. 23, several shows on the country’s most popular network won’t launch their fall seasons until the week of Oct. 27, including “2 Broke Girls,” “The Millers,” “Elementary” and “Two and a Half Men.” Kelly Kahl, senior executive vice president of prime-time, put a positive spin on the new schedule, noting that when shows start later, they require fewer reruns through the rest of the season. “Once we start, it will be rolling thunder,” he said Wednesday. It will also be the final roll for “Two and a Half Men,” which CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler said will end after next season. Tassler said creator Chuck Lorre is planning a “year-long event” to end the long-running show — much the way CBS made this past season’s finale of “How I Met Your Mother” into an event. Speaking of “HIMYM,” Tassler said the network has passed on “How I Met Your Dad,” which would have picked up the “Mother” theme with a different cast. Tassler said the network asked for changes in the pilot, which the creators “did not want to make,” leaving the project dormant. CBS’s fall schedule, traditionally one of the most stable on television, will include four new dramas, two of them spinoffs from the current hits “NCIS” and “CSI,” and just one new sitcom. The dramas will be “NCIS: New Orleans,” which will be slotted on Tuesdays after the original “NCIS,” and “CSI: Cyber,” which will air later in the year on Sunday nights. Tassler called “Cyber” a “transition” from traditional crime-solving to the newer challenges of crime in the computer age. She added that it does Continue Reading

‘Community’ star Yvette Nicole Brown joins CBS’ reboot of ‘The Odd Couple’

Yvette Nicole Brown is heading back to network television. The “Community” star has joined the cast of the CBS comedy “The Odd Couple,” according to Deadline. Brown has been cast as Dani, the assistant of lovable slob Oscar Madison, played by “Friends” star Matthew Perry. The 42-year-old actress replaces Sarah Baker, who played the role in the pilot. Deadline reports that Brown’s new TV gig is a recurring role, which seems to mean she will be able to continue playing Shirley on “Community.” The ensemble comedy aired for five seasons on NBC before moving to Yahoo Screen for its upcoming sixth season. The actress’ new role on “The Odd Couple” reunites her with former “Community” writer Emily Cutler, who now writes for the CBS series. “The Odd Couple,” which also stars Thomas Lennon as uptight neatnik Felix Under, is scheduled to premiere midseason. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

‘How to Be a Gentleman’ review: Kevin Dillon and David Hornsby form TV’s latest odd couple

There's nothing to really dislike about CBS' new sitcom "How to Be a Gentleman." There's just not that much there at all. "Gentleman," which premieres Thursday night at 8:30, cooks up TV's latest odd couple: the tightly wound, ultra-proper Andrew Carlson (David Hornsby) and rough-mannered superjock Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon). Hornsby and Dillon get every laugh out of their roles. The pool just runs a little shallow. Andrew and Bert, we discover, knew each other in high school. Bert and some of his jock pals used to throw nerdy Andrew in the dumpster. Sitcoms, if you hadn't noticed, are one of the last places where bullying remains a surefire laugh. Now Andrew and Bert are in their late 20s, and Bert is a veteran of the Iraqi war who has returned to run his father's gym. Andrew writes a column for an upscale men's magazine on the lost art of being a gentleman: how to treat a lady, how to style your cufflinks, all that. Andrew's problem is that despite his clinical understanding of how to move gracefully through the world, he doesn't. He lives in isolation, avoiding most real human interaction. Then one day his magazine is sold to a new publisher who wants to appeal to a younger, trendier audience. When Andrew's editor breaks the news to him, Andrew says it sounds like the new editors "want to appeal to people who don't read." His editor says great, he obviously gets it. So Andrew prepares for the messy world of actual people. Meanwhile, his bitchy and funny sister, Janet (Mary Lynn Rajskub), expands his psychological makeover into the physical realm by giving him a gym membership. You can figure out the rest: He goes to the gym and reconnects with Bert, whom he had mercifully forgotten years ago. This is also the point where the show makes its real move. Bert, it turns out, isn't just the musclehead we and Andrew presume. He's got a whole blue-collar, workingman's philosophy - sort of like dustman Alfred P. Doolittle in "My Fair Continue Reading

ABC, CBS, NBC gamble on fall Friday viewership with new dramas with Tom Selleck, Dana Delany

The old Big Three broadcast networks cordially invite you to begin watching television again on Friday nights this fall. CBS, ABC and NBC haven't launched an official "Fridays Are Back" campaign. They've done something even more striking. For the first time in years, each has scheduled a serious drama series with a well-known and presumably well-paid star on Friday. CBS is firing up Tom Selleck's "Blue Bloods" at 10 p.m. Fridays, starting Sept. 24. Selleck plays New York Police Chief Frank Reagan, whose whole family works in the law and order game. ABC has Dana Delany in "Body of Proof" Fridays at 9 p.m. (the premiere date has not been set). Delany plays a medical examiner who is brilliant at her work and has trouble with people who are still alive. NBC rolls out a Jimmy Smits series, "Outlaw," at 10 p.m. Sept. 17 after a sneak preview Sept. 15. Smits plays a Supreme Court justice who resigns so that he can serve justice better than he did from the bench. Fridays aren't getting a full-court press yet. They still include newsmagazines, shows like "Smallville" that are winding down, and several modestly rated shows that networks would like to keep on the board. Moving CBS' "Medium" and Fox's "Human Target"/"Good Guys" to Friday means they won't need the ratings they weren't getting on their previous nights. Still, it's been a while since the networks launched three big-name shows on a Friday, making this fall a modest gamble. "We're taking a swing to see if we can get audiences back," says NBC entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin. "There's certainly no great competition or no great options on television Friday nights." Maybe that's not the strongest vote of confidence, and Selleck similarly tempers his optimism."If it's good, they'll probably watch," says Selleck. "I got the same question a long time ago for 'Magnum P.I.,' because Thursday nights were one of the lowest viewing nights when 'Magnum' started. So that's a good Continue Reading

CBS renews ‘The Good Wife,’ ‘Hawaii Five-0’; cancels ‘Stalker,’ ‘The McCarthys’ and ‘Battle Creek’

It’s Christmas in May at CBS television, which on Monday renewed virtually its entire prime-time lineup. Only "Stalker," "The McCarthys" and "Battle Creek" got the ax, which was a lower percentage of casualties than is common at broadcast networks. Pretty much everything else on CBS was renewed except for the original "CSI," about which no announcement was made. There have been unconfirmed reports CBS will cancel the long-running crime series and wrap up its story with a two-hour movie. CBS's news, which sets the stage for its annual advertiser "upfront" presentation Wednesday, will please fans of several shows that were potentially on the ratings bubble, including "Hawaii Five-O," "The Odd Couple," "The Good Wife," "Blue Bloods" and "CSI: Cyber." They were all renewed, along with "Person of Interest," "Elementary," "NCIS: Los Angeles," "NCIS" and "Criminal Minds." Continue Reading

CBS unveils 2015-2016 primetime schedule: ‘Limitless,’ ‘Supergirl,’ ‘Code Black’ among new shows announced

CBS wants to tiptoe into a successful future without disrespecting its successful past. The most popular and strongest of the broadcast networks unveiled a 2015-2016 schedule Wednesday that courts a new generation of viewers while not blowing off its large current audience. It has cancelled “CSI” after a remarkable 15-year run, but will give it a farewell salute with a two-hour finale Sept. 27. Original stars William Peterson and Marg Helgenberger are among the alumni who will return for the movie. As an added bonus, current “CSI” star Ted Danson will move to the spinoff “CSI: Cyber,” which will air on Sunday nights. CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler also offered reassurance to fans of “The Good Wife,” saying CBS would love to carry the show for as long as producers Robert and Michelle King want to keep creating it. Meanwhile, CBS has joined NBC in downshifting on sitcoms, which with a few exceptions have not thrived in recent years. Starting in November, CBS will have just one two-hour sitcom block in its prime-time schedule — Thursdays, with the returning “Big Bang Theory” and “Mom” plus newcomers “Life in Pieces” and “Angel From Hell.” MORE: SWAN SONG FOR 'AMERICAN IDOL' PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON 'EMPIRE' AS FOX'S PIVOTAL SHOW While “Big Bang” and “Life in Pieces” will temporarily reside on Mondays until CBS’s Thursday Night Football series ends in November, that Monday slot will then go to the new drama “Supergirl.” CBS Senior Executive Vice President Kelly Kahl said this will be the first time since 1949 that CBS has not had comedies on Monday night. Three existing sitcoms will return at an unspecified date in midyear: “2 Broke Girls,” “Mike & Molly” and “The Odd Couple.” While Continue Reading