9:00am PT by Philiana Ng
Fall TV Pilot Preview: NBC's 'Go On'
Matthew Perry is heading back to NBC with a half-hour comedy. (And no, it's not about six friends in New York City.)
After two short-lived attempts at hitting the television gold mine once again (ABC's Mr. Sunshine and NBC's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip), the former Friends star is hoping a show about a sportscaster struggling with loss and naturally joins a support group will whet appetites.
The Hollywood Reporter screened the pilot for the comedy -- one of seven the network picked up to series, three for midseason -- and as part of our Fall Preview 2012 have five things to know about the series before its fall launch.
1. Go On marks a Friends reunion of sorts, as the series comes from Scott Silveri, who worked on the show from 1998-2004 and its spinoff Joey. Perry, of course, portrayed Chandler Bing on the NBC sitcom for the entirety of its run. Perry's character, Ryan King, is not a Chandler clone. He is forced, by his boss (John Cho) to take part in mandatory therapy sessions in order to return to work.
2. And while the series revolves around a man who has trouble dealing with the death of his wife, several members of its cast also find themselves with a second chance. Laura Benanti, who plays the leader of the support group Lauren, starred in the 2011-12 television season's first casualty, NBC's The Playboy Club. Allison Miller, who portrays Ryan's assistant, is coming off the ambitious Fox sci-fi/family drama hybrid Terra Nova, which got axed in March. Even Everybody Hates Chris star Tyler James Williams, one of the support group participants, finds himself in his first series regular role since the UPN/CW comedy ended in 2009.
3. Because of its premise, sports play a big role. A-list athletes like football player Terrell Owens make guest appearances and basketball players like Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell are bandied about like it's part of the everyday vernacular. Perry's character even does the ultimate therapy group no-no, by concocting a sort of "March Madness"-style tournament pitting each member's sad life story against each other.
4. Taking advantage of the its coverage of the upcoming London Olympics, NBC will preview Go On on Wednesday, Aug. 8 before the show officially launches Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 9 p.m. Even at it's best it's unlikely to get Friends-like numbers (since the TV landscape has become fractured); in the 10th and final season that ran from 2003-04, the NBC hit averaged roughly 25 million viewers. Banking on what's sure to be a ratings bonanza like the summer Olympics is a smart plan, but will it pay off in the fall?
5. Is Ryan King at rock bottom? Possibly. And there are moments in the pilot that indicate that there's far more going on inside that head of his than what he's saying outright. One light-hearted development features Ryan and the therapy group as they wield swords and dress like they're living in the Middle Ages. Why? You'll find out soon enough.
Watch a trailer of the new comedy below:
NBC's Go On will air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. this fall.