While “Mr. Sunshine” is a vehicle for Matthew Perry, it’s been a standout role for Alison Janney as a demanding and loopy arena owner who in the first episode throws children at clowns who frighten her with axes and requests a bedroom session with the visiting John Mellencamp.
“I spent seven years being politically correct on ‘The West Wing,’ and now I get to just be completely wrong on so many levels,” Janney told reporters at press tour last year.
It’s a big switch from her “West Wing” role as press secretary C.J. Cregg.
“I see her nothing like C.J., just the opposite,” Janney says. “And I’m so excited to be politically incorrect and sexually inappropriate, have a prescription pill problem. I just find it all fascinating, and I’m so happy to get to go this far with a character.”
To get the role, she had to relinquish one in Showtime’s “Shameless” – a role now played by Joan Cusak.
”I envisioned myself running from one stage to another and changing costumes and, you know, sort of that thing that Laura Linney did on Broadway doing two Broadway shows. And I thought it would be really fun. It just turned out that ABC wanted me all to themselves. It was like a boyfriend who didn’t want you to go out with another guy. So they said, ‘You can have her for three dates, but that’s it.’
“Ultimately the people at ‘Shameless’ decided they wanted that character to have sort of a bigger arc and that it wasn’t going to work out. I’ll regret that decision, but I’m happy where I am. And I hope I get to do a guest star on it or something because I’m a big fan of that show. It’s a great thing.”