Matt LeBlanc is reteaming with "Friends" veteran David Crane for "Episodes," a series spoof of the American sitcom industry to be produced by Showtime and the BBC.
Crane and Jeffrey Klarik ("The Class") created the series, a single-camera half-hour that explores what happens when a British husband and wife’s hit UK comedy is transformed into a "dumbed-down American sitcom" starring LeBlanc. LeBlanc will play a version himself.
Jimmy Mulville of Hat Trick Prods. will also executive produce. Hat Trick’s "Worst Week" and "The Kumars at No. 42" were both imported to American broadcasters. CBS got decent reviews but no ratings for "Worst Week," while Fox’s take on "Kumars" ("The Ortegas") was deemed so awful, it was pulled from Fox’s schedule just before the start of the fall season and never aired.
"Episodes" will behind production this winter in both London and Hollywood. It will premiere next year on Showtime and BBC Two.
Showtime Entertainment President Bob Greenblatt said Crane and Klarik will "satirize what they know best: the making (or un-making) of art. We jumped at the chance to get involved with this cock-eyed look at network television told through the eyes of unsuspecting British producers who don’t know what hit them when they enter the lion’s den of Hollywood. And Matt LeBlanc — wryly sending up his own image — is icing on the cake."
Added LeBlanc, in a statement: "I am so glad I got the part. Seeing someone else play Matt LeBlanc would have been devastating."
This is not the first time a former "Friends" star has spoofed Hollywood.
Lisa Kudrow starred in HBO’s critically loved comedy "The Comeback," playing a washed up star trying to get back on the A-list. And before this season’s "Cougar Town," Courteney Cox was in "Dirt," an FX series which looked at America’s tabloid culture.
Crane and Klarik’s most heartbreaking recent experience with a failed sitcom was CBS’s "The Class." Despite some strong critical reaction, the series — a favorite of some Eye execs — was killed after one year.
Further adding to the life imitate arts nature of "Episodes": Like the British couple in the show Klarik and Crane are also in a long-term relationship.