EXCLUSIVE: Grace and Frankie may have suspended production on its seventh and final season because of the coronavirus crisis, but the Emmy-nominated Netflix comedy is back this week with a special live treat for fans and a spotlight on seniors in need during these troubled times.
The series starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin will host an online table read Thursday to help the Meals on Wheels COVID-19 relief program, I’ve learned. You can make donations right now via the link here.
While other shows have taken a similar digital approach in recent weeks, the long-running series co-showrun by Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris is adding some originality of its own to the process. The April 9 presentation will feature an episode from the yet-unaired seventh season, as well as a live Q&A afterwards moderated by Kauffman.
Along with Oscar winner Fonda and Oscar nominee Tomlin, fellow G&F cast members Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, June Diane Raphael, Brooklyn Decker, Baron Vaughn and Ethan Embry will participate in the reading the episode, “The Fallout,” which was penned by Kauffman and Morris.
Starting at 5 PM PT/8 PM ET, the whole shindig can be seen live and direct on the Netflix is a Joke YouTube page.
“While we’re sitting here afraid, unsure and isolated, we wanted to come together and do some good,” Kauffman told me of the decision to take the show online in a new form and with a peek into the future.
“All we’ve got is time on our hands and technology at our fingertips,” the Friends co-creator added as production on Season 7 was temporarily suspended late on March 12 as restrictions on large gatherings tightened in the City of Angels. “So we decided to use both of those assets to raise money for Meals on Wheels, which brings food to food-insecure and isolated seniors. They are among our most vulnerable right now and need our help.”
“Our cast is all in and super excited,” Okay Goodnight founder Kauffman also says of her superstar-packed team. “And Netflix and Skydance have been particularly supportive. As far as giving the fans a peek into Season 7, we figured more people would tune in to new content and it would, hopefully, be a draw for fans of Grace and Frankie. The hope is: more eyes, more money raised for Meals on Wheels.”
Produced by Skydance Television and launched in 2013, Grace and Frankie was one of the first original series for Netflix. Though in a pause period right now like everyone else, the seventh and final season is still set to premiere next year, which will make the series the longest-running comedy in the streamer’s history.
As of last night, there are 6360 confirmed case of the coronavirus in L.A. County and 147 deaths. Worldwide, the death toll has exceeded 78,000, with more than 1.38 million cases.