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Paul Reiser had the unfortunate experience of being trotted out on stage before the Los Angeles press corp. mere minutes after the ratings for his return to television came through with a dud.
The comedian’s self-titled series, The Paul Reiser Show, drew just a 1.1 rating in the 18-49 demo (3.3 million viewers overall) Thursday night, delivering the NBC’s lowest rating ever for an in-season comedy premiere.
But if you were looking for a sulking actor, you wont find one in Reiser. The man who had little interest in returning to television after 12 years out of the spotlight is at peace with the results because, as he sees it, it was out of his control.
“Listen, this was shortest ramp up in the history of television. Literally 20 days ago [NBC] said, ‘We’re putting you up,’ and we said, ‘OK, great,’ ” he told The Hollywood Reporter at NBC’s Summer Press day in Pasadena.
“To me, this is a show about the long range, which is why we wanted to do seven shows as opposed to just a pilot,” he added. “This is a show that’s going to be on hopefully for awhile and the audience will get a chance to hear about it – when you have 20 days, its hard to get the word out.
If you believe the long-time comedian, he didn’t read any (of the particularly poor) reviews. And while the Emmy-nominated actor is aware of how much the landscape has changed since Mad About You went off the air more than a decade ago, he says his process has not.
“The ability for people to weigh in and talk about and Twitter has changed,” he told THR. “But the actual act of making a show hasn’t changed. You’ve got to get great people and great scripts and you have to see it through. So I kind of like to shut everything else out and just work on the show. “
In this case, he was particularly attracted to the “sane” and “casual” pace of the production, two words infrequently used in the TV business. He says he was able to write all of the scripts and flesh out where the seven episodes would go before shooting.
As for the show’s title, that was NBC’s idea. What would he have preferred?
“Seinfeld,” he quips, “Figured it had a built in audience.”
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