Bill Engvall’s Latest Comedy Series Efforts Yield Mixed Results

bounty hunters animatedBill Engvall is enjoying the positive response he’s getting to his fun new CMT “Bounty Hunters” animated series with Blue Collar Comedy cohorts Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy – but he isn’t holding out much hope for his latest live action sitcom effort.   That’s Engvall’s “Do It Yourself” TBS pilot, and he says, “I’m counting it as out, because I haven’t heard anything.”  Adds the comic and actor, whose “Bill Engvall Show” ran on TBS for three years, “It’s kind of sad because it was a really fun pilot, and it came out really well.”

The pilot, shot this spring, could still get picked up elsewhere, he acknowledges, “which would be great.  It has a great cast and storyline, and I think it could really be successful.”  The premise has him and Ben Rappaport (“Outsourced”) playing a one-time Circuit City executive and a laid-off math teacher, respectively, who find themselves working side-by-side at a big box store – certainly a relatable situation for all too many in this downsized, post-recession economy.

“That’s what I thought, and everybody seemed to like it,” he says.  “But that’s just business.  You never know.  I never count the check until it’s in the bank.”

Bill EngvallMeanwhile, he’s got plenty on his plate.  There’s his ongoing string of stand-up commitments.  There’s another project he has in the works at TNT.  And there’s “Bounty Hunters,” which allowed him and Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy to work together again, despite the fact Jeff’s in Atlanta and Dan’s in Lincoln.”  (Larry the Cable Guy’s given name is Daniel Whitney.)  “We recorded them separately, but you’d never know it.  It would have been nice to have done it with all of us in the same room.  Maybe we can if we do more,” he says, and laughs.  “Try to get those guys out of their comfort zone.  It’s a fun little cartoon.  It came out funny.  You always worry about that – if the script is going to come across.  I think it did.”

Engvall would like to see “Bounty Hunters” springboard him into more voiceover work.  He’s done episodes of shows including “Family Guy” and says, “I enjoy the process.”

He’d really enjoy being back in the live action sitcom game.  “I love doing the stand-up but TV allows me to be home,” he says.  And as for whether he needed time away to recharge after “The Bill Engvall Show” ended, he says flatly, “No.  If they’d have said, ‘We’ve got another one for you starting next week,’ I’d have been there.  I love acting.”

SAD STORY:  As the “Glee” company struggles to come to grips with the heroin death of 31-year-old Cory Monteith, we can’t help remembering just four years ago when the charismatic young performer was new to fame and awash in excitement over his big break.  He could hardly believe he was getting the chance to sing on television, since, as he told this column, “I’ve had zero training whatsoever.  This is the first thing I ever did with singing.  I’ve been a drummer all my life, so I have played music,” he added.  Monteith admitted that the demands of his role – which included more acting than he had originally thought – were a little intimidating at first.  However, even a few weeks in, he said he could tell a big difference with his performing.  “What you feed grows.  What you work on improves,” he noted.  “It’s just gotten better and better….

“For me to now have this platform and to have the opportunities that this show is presenting me is a dream come true.”  What a tragedy that his dreams have been cut short.

janine turnerHELLO, AGAIN:  Janine Turner has wrapped work as Sir Anthony Hopkins’ wife in the 2014 supernatural thriller, “Solace” with Colin Farrell.  The actress, who rose to fame on “Northern Exposure,” has been pouring her energies into writing and political activities in recent years, so it’s nice to see her back before the cameras.  She loved working with Hopkins, whom she found “a brilliant and generous actor as well as a man of great character.”  He plays a retired civilian analyst for the FBI who has psychic abilities and who – of course – gets drawn back into his old world when called upon to help solve a string of murders.  Sharon Lawrence, Abbie Cornish and Jeffrey Dean Morgan also star.