When Friends ended in 2004, most predicted that Jennifer Aniston would head out into the bright lights of a film career, but no one knew how the other “friends” would fare when it came to landing more work. Matthew Perry has been a semi-steady presence on the small screen, starring in the Aaron Sorkin-penned NBC drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, though it only lasted two seasons. He then co-created ABC’s Mr. Sunshine, though that too was canceled, this time after only one season. Most recently he returned to NBC for Go On, a sitcom somewhat unfortunately focused on grief counseling, but again the network pulled the plug at the end of season 1.
Perry’s post-Friends shows obviously had their problems, but through his work on them and numerous other guest roles he’s solidified his role as an actor who’s great on TV – that is, when given the right project. Thankfully, he may be headed back to television once again
Variety is reporting that he’ll be starring in the recently ordered CBS pilot rebooting Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple.
Perry wrote the pilot with Frasier scribe Joe Keenan and will executive produce along with Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Carol Beverly and Sarah Timberman. The Odd Couple originated as a theater production which was then adapted into the classic 1968 film starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. The story revolves around two mismatched roommates – messy, recently divorced sportswriter Oscar Madison and high-maintenance, Type-A Felix Unger. Perry will be taking on the role of Oscar.
It’s clear that Perry needs to find himself a good project and get himself back on television. He’s always had these subtle, charming qualities that made him a great actor for both wacky sitcoms and quieter dramas alike. It’s in those more dramatic roles where he really thrives, as in his guest spots on The West Wing or The Good Wife, so his return to the sitcom format – and a multi-camera one at that – might not be the best choice.
Then again, The Odd Couple might be just the kind of project where Perry could bring back some of his Chandler Bing comedy chops, as long as they choose the right actor to play Felix. Matt LeBlanc’s out of the question, not only for being completely wrong for the part but also because Episodes has been renewed by Showtime for another season.
Who do you think they should get to play Felix? Let us know in the comments.
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