Seeso has set the cast for There’s … Johnny!, its eight episode comedy series set behind the scenes at The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Tony Danza (Don Jon, Taxi) stars along with Ian Nelson (The Hunger Games, Teen Wolf), Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe, Suburgatory), and Roger Bart (Desperate Housewives). Also joining are T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (In Living Color), Nate Smith, David Hoffman, Daniel Strauss and Andrew Schulz.
Danza plays Freddie de Cordova, the executive producer of The Tonight Show. He’s old-school Hollywood (think martinis and cigarettes) and the reigning authority — the bearer of good news and certainly bad news. Danza has a special connection to the role. He was a frequent guest of Carson’s on The Tonight Show and even guest-hosted multiple times.
Nelson will play bright, sweet-faced, innocent Andy Klavin. An average kid from Valentine, NE, who, along with his mother and father, is a huge Johnny Carson fan. To make his beloved dad proud, Andy gets himself to Burbank and on the set of The Tonight Show, mistakenly believing he has a job there. He’s thrust into an exciting new world he’s barely even dared to dream about — and to his surprise, he quickly finds he might have a place there.
Levy is Joy Greenfield, the assistant talent coordinator for The Tonight Show. While Andy initially is smitten with Joy, she feels more like a big sister toward him, guiding and mentoring him through this strange new world.
Bart will recur as Angelo, the show’s affable wardrobe guy who subtly serves as the moral compass for the rest of the Tonight Show crew.
Written by Reiser and David Steven Simon (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Mad About You), the coming-of-age story is set in 1970s Los Angeles, when The Tonight Show first moved from New York to Burbank. Reiser and Simon executive produce. David Gordon Green (Red Oaks, Vice Principals) directs.
Danza has been pursued aggressively lately by networks with several projects eyeing to mark his return to television. He starts shooting There’s Johnny this week and will complete filming in time for pilot season this year. He has no exclusivity or commitment to future seasons, so he will be free to do a network show if he chooses. Last year he starred in NBC/CBS Studios half-hour comedy pilot Sebastian, exec produced by Greg Garcia. He most recently starred in the critically praised Broadway musical comedy Honeymoon in Vegas and also co-starred in indi hit Don Jon. Danza is repped by CAA and manager Dan Farah.
Nelson’s credits include The Deleted, The Boy Next Door and The Judge. He’s repped by UTA, 3Arts, Jordan Gill and Morris Yorn.
Produced in conjunction with the Carson Estate and with unprecedented access to the full Carson archives, the comedy will intertwine live action with authentic footage of Carson and his guests on screen. The series will focus on the people behind the scenes of the legendary late-night show, while Carson will be portrayed as a looming presence. Carson’s nephew Jeff Sotzing also will executive produce.
The series will premiere in 2017, 55 years after Carson’s first Tonight Show appearance and 25 years after his last show. He died in 2005.
Executive producers include Paul Reiser, David Steven Simon, Brian Volk-Weiss, Michael Pelmont, Cisco Henson, and Matt Ochacher. Seeso’s Evan Shapiro and Kelsey Balance will also Executive Produce the series, and Craig Knizek will serve as Producer. The series will be co-produced by Nuance Productions, Comedy Dynamics, and Rough House, in partnership with the Carson Estate.