Television

'Joey' to replace 'Friends' next fall

MUMBAI: Fans of Friends star Joey have reason to cheer and jig the Friends way. Friends may be packing up for now but Joey is staying - in a Friends spin-off called Joey.

With the comedy sitcom Friends closing it's last season by next May, NBC wants to redeem its Thursday nights with another comedy that'll cull back the audience it has lost to CBS.

Moving on without Friends



NBC has confirmed plans of debuting the much-speculated series Joey next fall. So come September 2004, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) will be moving from New York to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career.

Though none of the other Friends cast members will be in the new series, NBC hasn't ruled out possible guest appearances a la cameos by former Cheers stars Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson on Frasier.



Longtime Friends writer-producers Scott Silveri and Shana Goldberg-Meehan have been signed up for writing Joey. They are also expected to executive-produce the series alongside director and executive producer Kevin Bright.

Joey - over to LA

But why Joey? LeBlanc, has been the obvious choice after top candidate Jennifer Aniston expressed zero interest in continuing with a Rachel spin-off. Recently nominated for his second consecutive Emmy, LeBlanc has also spiralled high on popularity charts of late.

The spin-off is being pegged at a cost of around $ 2 million an episode, which is expensive by new-sitcom standards but way short of the $ 10 million that NBC is shelling out for the final year of Friends.

This also means a significant pay hit for LeBlanc from the $ 1 million per episode that he's making on the final season of Friends. Though, he won't be a producer as with other star-driven series, he's expected to chip in for the casting and earn a greater share of the show's profits if it is successful.

The idea of coming up with a spin-off reportedly stemmed from the success of Frasier that was spawned from Cheers. However, for every Frasier, there are several M*A*S*Hes that quickly faded.

The big question now is whether banking on Joey will take NBC laughing to the bank or not.

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