12:15pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
Matt LeBlanc on Returning to Network TV: "I Wanted to Work More"
Matt LeBlanc says Showtime's Episodes "whet his appetite" for series TV after a period of self-imposed exile following the failure of Friends spinoff Joey.
LeBlanc stars in the upcoming CBS comedy Man With a Plan, a broad multicamera sitcom about a father who suddenly becomes the primary care-giver to his three children. The show, which will air Mondays this fall, is somewhat antithetical to the current trend of dark, brooding comedies on cable and streaming services. But it is very much in keeping with the comedy DNA at CBS. And LeBlanc noted Wednesday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour that he was attracted to Man With a Plan for that very reason.
"On Episodes, we did nine episodes every 18 months," said LeBlanc. "I had a really great time doing that. But, I wanted to work more."
LeBlanc earned critical praise for his role on Episodes for playing a thinly veiled version of himself — a narcissistic American sitcom star trying to mount a comeback. But the actor noted that the subject matter of Man With A Plan dovetails with his own life as a parent. Because it was a single-camera comedy, Episodes required a much longer production schedule and LeBlanc admitted that he welcomed the shorter days of a multicamera sitcom: "I have a family and the hours are shorter. I like the work week of a multicam; you rehearse all week and then shoot in front of a live audience. It’s like being part of an ensemble theater company."
His former Friends co-star Matthew Perry also is on CBS in the returning sitcom The Odd Couple, but LeBlanc said there have been no discussions yet of a crossover or guest stint. And he also said that he'd like to return to the BBC's Top Gear, but he appeared to be in the dark about future prospects for the controversy-plagued program.
"I’m not sure what’s happening with Top Gear just yet, but this is my priority," said LeBlanc, referring to Man With a Plan. He said he would like to do more Top Gear before adding, "There’s nothing officially happening yet. Call the BBC."