Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Matthew Perry’s last shot at sitcom stardom, ABC’s Mr. Sunshine in 2011, didn’t work out so well, lasting less than a season. Undaunted, he’s back again — and at the scene of his greatest success, NBC — for Go On, produced by Friends writer-producer Scott Silveri and starring Perry as a sports talk radio host and recent widower who reluctantly joins a grief counseling support group. “I gravitate toward broken characters who try to be better people”, Perry said this afternoon at TCA. He added that Mr. Sunshine, too, was about such a character but believes, “This is a much better setup”. He added of his Mr. Sunshine character, “That guy was sort of in a bad mood and no one really knew why”. When it was pointed that a lot of people in the room liked Mr. Sunshine, Perry was befuddled. “This is the room”? he quipped. I wish I’d just stayed in this room all year”. He even tried today to stress, clearly in jest, that this new role is the best he’s ever had. “It’s either this or The Whole Ten Yards”, he concluded. But Perry later reflected on what made Friends such a blockbuster success. “Friends was just great chemistry, great writing, great lighting, great acting — and a little bit of magic thrown in”.
One of the critics asked panel members if they had the power to force a colleague into therapy, if they had experienced any situations where they would have done it. That inspired exec producer Todd Holland to note:, “I did The Larry Sanders Show, so I’ll leave it at that”. But series regular Julie White was able to top that. “It’s not therapy like maybe in an asylum”, she noted, “but I did four years of the Brett Butler Show. The room erupted in knowing laughter.
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