Tag Archives: Matthew Perry

Bill Cobbs’ Talks About His ‘Go On’ Blind Inspiration

            Will Matthew Perry’s new “Go On” be a hit show for the former “Friends” star at long last?  Bill Cobbs tells us that NBC is “giving us the feeling that, hey, we love you and we want to see you do well and make this a good show.”

Cobbs plays George, the blind member of Perry’s “life transitions” therapy group in the tragi-comedy, premiering in its regular timeslot tonight (9/11), in which Perry’s a hotshot sports radio show host whose wife recently died.  The beloved 78-year-old actor of “Night at the Museum” and “The Muppets” fame has a string of movies on the way, including “Oz, the Great and Powerful.”  But he’s happy to be focusing on “Go On” and his recurring role, “given the great cast and the way they’re writing this.  It’s quite different, quite a different thing, which is great.”

The series also happens to mark the third time Cobbs has played a blind character.  He drew inspiration from writer James Stovall, who penned the best-selling The Ultimate Gift, which was made into a film with Abigail Breslin, Drew Fuller, James Garner and Cobbs among the cast.  Stovall “is blind, but when you meet him, you have no idea that he is blind.  He looks right at you.  And you can sit and talk to him for awhile before your realize he is blind,” Cobbs relates.  “He has a marvelous spirit and great take on humanity.  I thought about that in terms of George, and I was very touched that the writers paid attention to what I had to say about that.  They have been really great about incorporating ideas that you bring and talking about things.  We have this great cast, and I think it’s the same way with all of us.”

Viewers will find out a lot more about George and the other group characters as the show, created by former “Friends” executive producer Scott Silveri, continues on, says Cobbs.  “In the beginning, it seems like just a single joke, but now the characters are really developing along the lines of what the writers envisioned.”

Matthew Perry’s Upcoming Series Marks Big Change for Tyler James Williams

            It’s a very different Tyler James Williams we’ll be seeing in Matthew Perry’s forthcoming NBC series, “Go On.”  The former “Everybody Hates Chris” lead is playing a member of Perry’s therapy group — a guy whose brother is in a coma.

According to him, the series that has Perry as a sportscaster attempting to deal with his psychological woes is “one of those comedies where, ha ha it’s funny — but it’s actually very sad.  It’s really dramatic, and you have people dealing with real issues, and yet it’s funny and you laugh.  There’s always that one point in the episode where we have to get really serious.”

“The show is going to be a surprise,” Williams believes.  “I think you’re going to see a lot of dramatic sides from people who you’ve just seen doing comedy in the past.”

And it marks a leap to a more mature character for the 19-year-old multi-talent, who last month starred in the Disney Channel’s “Let It Shine” hip hop musical — that became the No. 1 TV movie among kids and tweens this year in the ratings.

His leap into maturity “was part of the game plan,” he says.  “We wanted to open up the audience a little, although I’ve had somewhat of an adult audience through most of my life.”

Williams acknowledges that “Go On” is “a little risky,” but that’s part of the excitement.

‘Mr. Sunshine’ Gives Allison Janney Lots of New Challenges

Allison Janney, Matthew Perry, James Lesure, Andrea Anders, Nate Torrence ABC photo

With 13 episodes of Matthew Perry’s Feb. 9-debuting ABC “Mr.Sunshine” series already in the can, it’s a waiting game for the “Sunshine” troupe.  That includes Allison Janney, who’s been having a ball playing Crystal, Perry’s mercurial, self-aggrandizing boss — the owner of the lower-tier sports arena where the action is centered.

“She definitely has redeemable qualities.  You hate to love her,”  finds the one-time “West Wing” actress.  Crystal not only gives Janney the chance to show off her comedic skills, but lots of other skills as well.

“I had done ‘9 to 5’ on Broadway in 2009, but I hadn’t sung for a year.  Suddenly they told me James Taylor is playing my ex-husband on the show and I’m going to be singing a duet with him.  I said, ‘Are you guys kidding me?!’  It’s the kind of thing you’d never have dreamed for yourself — I’m going to sing a duet with James Taylor on a TV show when I’m 50.”

Janney, a promising ice skater as a girl — until an accident in which she fell through a glass door ended her dreams — also skated for “Mr. Sunshine.”  “They knew I used to be a figure skater, but I haven’t been since I was 17 years old.  They saw me skating around when we were shooting on an ice rink and they said, ‘Oh, my God.  We have to have Crystal skating somehow!’  I was terrified before we shot it, but it was a nice chance to get back on the ice,” she says.

Week to week, Janney says, she began to wonder, “‘What are they making me do this time?’  Every episode there’s something — using a child as a shield was another one.  There’s a stripper’s pole in Crystal’s back office.  At least they saved me from that.'”   For now, anyway.

Of course Janney is hoping “Mr. Sunshine” will do well and get an order for more shows.  The actress notes that she now has three dogs — two of which she adopted as rescues while shooting the upcoming big screen “The Help” in Mississippi last year — and would like to stay in one place to work for awhile.  There’s also the fact that she’s finding her new series team a pleasure, starting with Perry, who created the series, cowrites and coproduces it in addition to starring.

He’s handling multiple jobs with aplomb, to hear Janney tell it.  “I met him for the first time when he came in to do a ‘West Wing’ character with us.  He’s a genuinely funny, quick-witted human being.  I love to be around people like that,” she says.  “I tried to get him to do a play with me — ‘The Front Page’ — I thought it would be so much fun to act with him.  But that didn’t work out.  Now I get to do those kinds of scenes with him in this show,” she adds, referring to their fast-paced dialogue and physical humor.  “He works so quickly on his feet.  We’ll be working on something and he’ll say, ‘I don’t like it any more. This isn’t working.  Let’s do this instead.’  He’s been working 24/7 on his job, but he’s been juggling it all pretty well.”