Same show, more nudity.
One year after ABC’s programming chief told TV critics that he’d slashed “Cougar Town’s” episode order — and that he’d delayed its third-season debut because the network loved the show — TBS opened this TV Press Tour with a Q&A session for its new comedy series: “Cougar Town”!
Hardly anything will change on the series as it migrates from broadcast net ABC to cable net TBS for its fourth season, promised creator Bill Lawrence and TBS programming chief Michael Wright.
Except, more skin.
In one episode, newlyweds Jules (Courteney Cox) and Grayson (Josh Hopkins) will celebrate Naked Day, to keep their relationship interesting — based on a real-life experience of the show’s new exec producer, Ric Swartzlander.
“It was sexy for about five minutes, and then it was just two middle-aged people standing around naked,” he confessed.
And Cox has declared this “The Year of Her Cleavage,” Lawrence promised.
“You will not see one scene where I don’t show my boobs,” she assured appreciative critics.
“I’m getting older, and the plan is less focus on the face. . . .By the time I’m much older, I’ll be absolutely nude,” Cox added.
“I don’t know if you guys have seen them, but there are commercials for the show now — it’s insane!” Lawrence marveled of TBS’s commitment to the show.
A year ago, Lawrence held a news conference in a bar to mock ABC’s lack of commitment to the show, and to say that he wasn’t going to migrate to cable because broadcast pays “the premium dough.” He also said that cable networks don’t pay well and that his wife likes expensive clothing.
“I’m so happy,” Cox chimed in about the move to TBS. “It feels like a brand-new show that hasn’t changed.”
“People are always looking at us to take pot shots at ABC ... but they’re still the owners and producers of the show. And I think they’re doing a great job!” Lawrence joked.
TV critics, who can’t seem to let go of Lawrence’s “campaign” to change the show’s name — which has been one of his many publicity stunts over the show’s run — wondered why he didn’t change the title when the show moved to cable.
But, of course, that would damage the show’s viability in syndication. Which, at long last, someone explained to the critics, who might have listened.
“We’re buying ‘Cougar Town,’ ” Wright explained.
“We wear it as a badge of honor,” Lawrence said of the name — which was as close as he was going to come to admitting that it would hurt him financially to change the name. “ But I still enjoy mocking it. . . .Being filled with self-loathing is a characteristic of 90 percent of comedy writers in the world anyway. It’s part of the game for us now. It’s an amazing title! I’d do it again!”
In syndication, it’s not a good thing if viewers see a jolting difference between seasons — like a name change.
Or, as Lawrence put it: In an ideal world, “eventually, when they’re watching reruns, [viewers] can’t tell the third season from what’s in the fourth.”