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Back to...work: Kelsey Grammer lands new sitcom

by Allison Waldman, posted May 24th 2008 2:03PM
KelseyIt didn't take long for Kelsey Grammer to bounce back from his Back to You flop stint. The Fox sitcom, a high profile one at that with Emmy-winner Patricia Heaton as his co-star, was dumped by the network recently. Kelsey was so bummed out that he even tried to get other networks, CBS in particular, to pick up the news room comedy. No dice. Back to You was a dead shark.

Now, less than two weeks later, Kelsey Grammer has been cast in a new ABC sitcom called Roman's Empire. This is big news for a big star and he's the emperor in the title. He's playing Roman.

Roman's Empire is not a three-camera, traditional sitcom, which has been Grammer's playground since Cheers. Frasier may have been one of the best three-camera sitcoms ever. As an actor, Kelsey's accustomed to having an audience watching him work. Empire is a single-camera comedy -- like The Office or My Name Is Earl or Samantha Who? -- and revolves around a nice guy named Leo (Nick Thune), who's dumped by his heiress-like girlfriend (Christine Woods), but remains connected to her crazy family, the Prettys. That's especially true of Roman Pretty, the family patriarch, an outspoken, outrageous character.

The show is a joint venture between CBS Paramount and ABC Studios. Perhaps Kelsey's call to Les Moonves hooked him up with this project? Al Higgins is writing the pilot, and Ashton Kutcher is one of the executive producers (he's everywhere these days, have you noticed?)

Like so many other pilots these days, Roman's Empire is based on a British comedy of the same name. It ran in 2007 and starred Neil Dudgeon in the Roman role. According to those who've seen it, Roman's Empire is similar to Arrested Development. In fact, it may be a case of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery since it came out after AD. Of course, the trick for this show, if it runs, will be to figure out how to be as good as Arrested Development without getting canceled for low ratings.

One thing regarding Kelsey coming on board; in the crowded batch of 17 pilots ABC still has under consideration, he tips the scales in the direction of the network giving it a pick up at some point.

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mateo096

"Back to You was a dead shark."

Yeah, and nobody watches American Idol. BS.

May 26 2008 at 11:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Willmore

I watched 10 minutes of the original, and those are 10 minutes of my life I will never get back. Not even Kelsey Grammer will force me to repeat that mistake.

May 25 2008 at 3:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Said

OMG!!!!
i cannot believe the good news, albeit in an american adaptation, i was amongst the dozens that watched it on bbc2 and actually found it funny, the joy was shortlived when news came round that the bbc had axed it but it will still live on in my house when i get the dvd on monday
i do hope that the american version is as good as the original and with a name like kelsey grammer, its sure to live,
im still shocked that back to you was cancelled.

May 24 2008 at 3:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RR

If you want to know what Roman's Empire was like, check out this "highlights of episodes 1-4" video on youtube. It was an awesome show and I can't believe it wasn't picked up for a second series. If you like Arrested Development, then you're a candidate for liking this. Just try to not compare it:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_WQLzgO5tlg

May 24 2008 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RR's comment
Mark "The Hobo" Watson

Back to You could be backed off in favor of Roman's Empire - too bad FOX Broadcasting could've have a
Kelsey Grammerian sitcom flop that dominated Cheers
26 years ago. What a deadly shame!

However, Ivan Tors had developed a number of animal-
themed program - Sea Hunt, Daktari, Last of the Wild,
etc. What about Malibu Run, Primus and Flipper?

Please let me know this Sunday.

May 24 2008 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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