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Matt LeBlanc Talks About Playing Himself on Showtime's 'Episodes' - TCA Report

by Kelly Woo, posted Jul 29th 2010 5:30PM
Matt LeBlancWith the new comedy 'Episodes,' Showtime seemingly has a potential hit a la 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' on its hands. But instead of 'Seinfeld' creator Larry David playing "Larry David," 'Friends' star Matt LeBlanc will be playing "Matt LeBlanc." Sort of.

"It's not really myself. It's a character that David [Crane] and Jeffrey [Klarik] wrote that happens to have the same name as me," he said. "There are some similarities, but for the most part it's a fictitious character."

LeBlanc, Crane, Klarik joined stars Tamsin Greig, Stephen Mangan, John Pankow, Mircea Monroe and Kathleen Rose Perkins, as well as co-producer John Mulville, to answer questions from TV critics about their new show.
The show, which will debut in January, centers on a British husband-and-wife screenwriting team who attempt to create an American remake of their hit show about a distinguished boarding school. But when they land in L.A., the project takes a few twists and turns. First, the boarding school becomes a hockey team. Then, the title is changed from 'Lyman's Boys' to 'Pucks!' And finally, the role of the wise headmaster? The network wants to turn it into a hockey coach to be played by ... Matt LeBlanc.

Welcome to Hollywood! The writers then have to work with the fictitious LeBlanc to make the show happen.

As Mulville wryly noted, "The journey of taking an English show to America -- believe me, things can go wrong." (He should know; he experienced remaking a show with 'Game On' in the '90s. It did not end well.)

Some highlights from the panel:

- There will be seven episodes in season 1. "We're still editing it," Crane said, explaining why critics hadn't received screeners, "so that's why we don't have episodes to show you."

- As for whether it's too "inside baseball" about the television industry, the panelists mentioned the success of 'Entourage.' "It's sort of about show business like 'I Love Lucy' was," they said. "The story is really about the three of them and about their dynamic."

- How did LeBlanc win the part of "Matt LeBlanc"? "Schwimmer said no," he joked.

- And of course, the inevitable question came up: Will any 'Friends' stars appear on the show? Definitely not in season 1, as it's already in the can. Maybe in the future ... (nobody seemed to be psyched about it, though).

- Greig on her character's adjustment to the Hollywood machine: "Steve's character sees the glass as half full. Beverly sees the glass as an idiot."

- The real Matt LeBlanc might want to claim at least one major similarity to the fictional version. In the trailer, Mangan's character says "LeBlanc" has a package of "Jules Verne sea creature" proportions. Was this perhaps a factor for the real LeBlanc to do the show? "Well, yeah," he joked.

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This is the funniest thing on T.V. since Friends and Seinfeld.

February 24 2011 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kelly MacKenzie McNe

This is the smartest comedy yet. Love Weeds, gone wacky... loving Shameless..... You seem to be the fore runner in new series. This series takes the cake. Love the British humor, so dry and subtle, added with the experienced Matt, who finally plays a grown up, and the wonderful right hand woman to the exec... she is WONDERFUL... How could you get a better mix. I had my daughter sit down and watch all episodes ( no pun) today on on demand... she was laughing as much as I. This is a huge HIT! Think Entourage (before corruption), think Sopranos (before too many hits)... I WANT MORE! Please don't go to South as you did with weeds. Subtle, as the British are, is where all of America really is.... be there for them!

February 22 2011 at 2:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aaron Kling

I know this is only a trailer too. This "new" character seems the same Joey Tribiani that I'd seen before on "Friends" and "Joey". He is older, and a little more mature, but this seems like the same character. I did like the sitcom "Joey" when it was on, and of course I like "Friends" always.

December 27 2010 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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