After stumbling a bit after the mega-success of “Friends,” Matthew Perry finally landed a smart and promising comedy that suits his talents. Unfortunately that was “Mr Sunshine,” which only lasted nine episodes before cancellation.
Perry’s back in an NBC sitcom, as if you didn’t know, since they’ve been hyping the heck out of it at every opportunity of the Olympics coverage. In fact, they’re hoping to showcase the fall sitcom even further with a mid-games “sneak preview” of “Go On” (NBC, 11:04 p.m.).
Putting it at that hour has it avoid the ratings scrutiny of primetime but it also lets the cat out of the bag way too early at what little is offered by the show.
In it, Perry plays a sports talk radio host forced to go into group therapy after his wife died (laughing yet?). There, he meets various standard loveable nuts in a sitcom setup perfected by “The Bob Newhart Show” and recently re-enacted again in Charlie Sheen’s “Anger Management.”
While there are some mildly interesting personalities at play, it mostly seems as if Perry’s stuck in a situation he’s trying to get out of; and viewers will recognize the feeling.
The actual premiere date is Sept. 11, when it will begin, presumably, with this very same episode.
“I gravitate towards sort of broken characters who try to be better people, and that setup is just much better here,” than in “Mr. Sunshine,” Perry told reporters at the TV Critics Association summer press tour last month.
“That guy was sort of in a bad mood and no one really knew why. And this guy has had some very dramatic things happen to him, and he’s in denial when you meet him. So it’s a sort of built-in excuse to be really funny.”
“You certainly want to play a guy that people can get behind and root for, and I think that this character does have that,” Perry says.
Perry says he loosely based his sports talk character on radio personalities like Rich Eisen, Jim Rome and Colin Cowherd.
And while the action will be divided between the therapy group and the sports radio studio, Perry said, “It’s really fun for me because we’re going to be able to invite famous athletes to be on the show.
“Terrell Owens is in the first episode. And whenever I come across a famous athlete, I’m shameless. I’ll just ask them to be on the show,” he said. “And to my face they’ve all said yes so far.”
People still bring up his most popular show and he’s still asked what made it so special that it’s still syndicated daily worldwide.
“ ‘Friends,’ it was just great chemistry,” Perry said. “It had great writing. It had great directing. And it had really, really great acting. So a little bit of magic happened there. And you never know when and how that’s going to happen. All you have you just want to surround yourself with funny, talented people, which I certainly have done here with this group. Couple of exceptions.”