'Joey's' solo run minus 'Friends' shows promise

MUMBAI: So how's Joey doing? If the numbers from Nielsen media research are any indication, then not bad, not bad at all.

Joey- a spinoff of Friends - which debuted on NBC last Thursday, was seen by an estimated 18.6 million audiences. Although the numbers are lower than any original episode of Matt LeBlanc's old series drew last season, but initial figures indicate that the spinoff would help consolidate the network's Thursday's night lineup.

Besides meriting glowing reviews from critics, Joey is reported to have gathered the largest audience among the advertiser-friendly 18-to-49-year-old age group of any other entertainment show since May. The show also fared particularly well with female viewers with a 9.3 rating, reports inform. In addition to that, the media reports tout it as the best-rated 8 pm comedy premiere for NBC in 14 years.

The new sitcom Joey sees Matt LeBlanc carry on the role of the lovable but dimwitted Joey Tribbiani, after Phoebe, Monica, Chandler, Rachel and Ross left to get married and bring up babies.

The show follows LeBlanc as struggling actor Joey Tribbiani, who moved from New York to Los Angeles to try and make it as a Hollywood star. Even before the opening credits appear, Joey is seen getting on the wrong flight to Dallas.

The show also stars Drea de Matteo as Joey's sister, Gina, who is best known for her role in the gangster drama The Sopranos and Roadtrip actor Paul Costanzo as de Matteo's son Michael.

While there is a buzz that some of the Friends cast, including Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer, have agreed to make special guest appearances on Joey, Schwimmer is also working as a director on the series.

The show's producers hope they can repeat the success of Frasier, which took barfly psychiatrist Dr Frasier Crane from hit series,Cheers, and transplanted him from Boston to Seattle to create one of the most popular TV characters of all time. But word of caution would be the experience of the stars of Seinfeld , including Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus who flopped in a succession of failed comedies dubbed The Curse of Seinfeld.

On the home grounds, the telecast rights for the last season of Friends are still open, and it is likely that Zee English -- which aired the Season 9 -- is the strong contender.

Elsewhere, Channel 4 recently lost a bidding war to show Joey in Britain to Five, who are paying an estimated ?500,000 for each half-hour episode to show the series this autumn.

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