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Will Matthew Perry's 'Mr. Sunshine' Officially Break the 'Friends' Curse? (VIDEO)

by Maggie Furlong, posted Feb 7th 2011 7:00PM
Matthew Perry, 'Mr. Sunshine'Matthew Perry has a new show called 'Mr. Sunshine' (premieres Wed., Feb. 9, 9:30PM ET on ABC), but is it destined to fail before it even premieres?

It took about eight years after 'Seinfeld' ended for star Julia Louis-Dreyfus to land another hit series ('The New Adventures of Old Christine') and for people to stop referencing the unbreakable 'Seinfeld' curse.

But it takes more than one ensemble cast success story to prove a curse wrong ...

Now seven years after 'Friends' said goodbye -- with his former TV wife Courteney Cox thriving in primetime yet again with 'Cougar Town' -- will Matthew Perry's new show 'Mr. Sunshine' be the one to end suspicions of a similarly unlucky post-'Friends' streak?

Sure Jennifer Aniston makes a lot of movies, David Schwimmer has moved behind the camera, Lisa Kudrow's single season of 'The Comeback' has become a cult favorite, and Matt LeBlanc has made headlines lately for playing himself (sort of) on Showtime's 'Episodes,' but the success of a long-term TV show is a lightning that often seems to strike only once.

When asked why he's choosing to return to TV now -- after only a one-season run for his last series, 'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip' -- Perry joked, "I wanted to do a show because I had spent about three years in a row playing the same video game."

And while that's obviously a stretch, considering he's co-writing, executive producing and starring in 'Mr. Sunshine,' this will be the first time we've seen him on TV in over three years. When the show premieres this week, we'll get to see if it was worth the wait, or if audiences are disappointed that he's not playing Chandler Bing.

'Mr. Sunshine' follows Ben Donovan, the manager of a mid-tier sports arena who's trying to get his life in order at age 40 while a cast of crazies surrounds him in an already bizarre work environment. "I thought that would be really a funny place to put a show," Perry says, "because one night you have Bruce Springsteen coming in, the next night it's lingerie football, and wrestling and all the weird shows that happen there."

Mr. Sunshine
I caught up with Perry (check out the video, above) to hear all about the new show, his costars -- including Allison Janney, Andrea Anders, James Lesure and Nate Torrence -- and how it's never too late to become a better guy.

Fun facts: Perry previously worked with Janney on 'The West Wing' and both Torrence and Lesure on 'Studio 60,' while Anders starred with another of Perry's famous 'Friends,' Matt LeBlanc, in his ill-fated spinoff 'Joey.' Maybe this reunion of sorts (albeit not the one 'Friends' fans would love to see at Central Perk) will be a happy one afterall.

So TV fans: Are you excited to have another one of your 'Friends' back with a new show? Will you watch?

Follow Maggie on Twitter @TheTVShowGirl

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No plot, very boring. I turned it off about half way through. Its a miss.

February 10 2011 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sorry to say, we did not enjoy the first show. The plot was so contrived. The talent was there, but the script was not good.

February 10 2011 at 10:52 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

It was like watching a car wreck. Everyone seemed confused about what they were doing there. Absolutely horrible. As another poster said, if the premier is terrible, why bother to watch again. And he really is annoying, always was.

February 10 2011 at 10:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I did watch last night with high hopes based on the strong cast but OMG it was bad! When your premier is that weak why would we want to see more. What a waste of great talent (not talking about the lead either)

February 10 2011 at 9:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

watched the first episode and it is a great show with a great cast.

February 10 2011 at 9:48 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

He did not break the curse. Watched and it was not funny. His character is annoying but the supporting cast was ok.
Maybe they should look at Modern Family and they will see what is funny.

February 10 2011 at 9:19 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Lloyd D. Domres

From the previews I've seen I think it sucks. But what do I know? He still comes off as annoying.

February 09 2011 at 5:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

WTF? Putting right in that last half hour of "Criminal Minds" is sheer idiocy!! Sorry Mr. Perry, but I gotta stick with one
of my favorites shows-see above.

February 09 2011 at 2:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Richard Keller

I don't know if 'Friends' has the same curse as 'Seinfeld' did for their actors. Taking Anniston and Schwimmer out, Courtney Cox had a successful FX series, 'Dirt,' before 'Cougar Town.' And while Kudrow's 'The Comeback' wasn't a mega-hit, her web series 'Web Therapy' is quite popular and moving to Showtime while 'Who Do You Think You Are?' which she produces, is in its 2nd season at NBC.

February 08 2011 at 12:08 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Richard Keller's comment

I agree. The success of Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox as well as Lisa Kudrow still being somewhat relevant as well certainly proves that there isn't a FRIENDS curse. Although the guys have had a tough time at it, there really can't be a curse when 50% of the cast is still very popular and doing plenty of things.

What has Jason Alexander and Michael Richards done since Seinfeld ended? Julia Louis Dreyfuss did alright with "Christine", but that was after a number of unsucessful attempts. Seinfeld and Seinfeld's great great grandchildren don't have to work if they don't want to, but Seinfeld has tried with that Bee Movie and the horrible "Marriage Ref" show. The Seinfeld curse is full blown, the FRIENDS one doesn't exist. Even if "Joey" failed and Schwimmer has been MIA for years, the cast as a whole has found sucess after FRIENDS.

February 08 2011 at 3:53 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Maggie Furlong

But none of them - with the exception of Cox in 'Cougar Town,' which is doing OK in its 2nd season - has had real success *ON TV* since 'Friends.' That's the curse, as I explained above: "the success of a long-term TV show is a lightning that often seems to strike only once."

'Dirt' was not a success by any stretch, just as 'Joey,' 'The Comeback' and 'Studio 60' weren't either. It just proves that it takes a while for TV viewers to wipe away expectations set by iconic characters (a la 'Friends' and 'Seinfeld') and embrace the actors in new roles.

We'll see if 'Mr. Sunshine' can prove that the 'Friends' cast is welcome back on TV, or if Cox will remain the exception to the rule...

February 08 2011 at 12:04 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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