‘Drew’ will draw from roots

Thesp Miller to exit, Carey gets new job

Cleveland will be rockin’ to a different beat this fall.

Exec producer Bruce Helford is plotting a complete overhaul of “The Drew Carey Show,” which took a ratings hit last season and is moving to 8 p.m. Mondays in September.

Among the changes: Thesp Christa Miller is departing the skein, and Carey’s character will get a new job when the Winfred-Louder Co. is taken over by a dot-com.

What’s more, Helford plans to return “Drew” to its roots, focusing more on relationships and less on stunts.

“We’re going to go back to the early tone of the show,” Helford told Daily Variety. “In our need to be innovative and get attention, a lot of the human element was pushed to the side, (and) that’s what made the show great. We don’t apologize for what we did, but the craziness of the show is going to go away.”

Familiar femme

Miller’s exit will open the door for the introduction of a new female character, an old friend of Drew’s who pops back into his life. Helford is talking to a well-known actress about the part, but a deal has not yet been inked.

Carey said his character’s new job won’t be clearly defined.

“The whole year he is going to be trying to find out what the hell he does in this company and what his job is exactly,” Carey said.

Other plotlines expected to play out throughout the season include the following:

  • Drew will set a date in May by which he expects to meet a new girlfriend and get married.

  • Mimi (Kathy Kinney) will leave her husband and set out on her own as a single mom.

  • Several new recurring thesps will be brought in to play the young dot-com employees.

“Drew” still has two seasons remaining as part of a three-year deal ABC struck with Warner Bros. TV for the skein. Helford said it’s important for the series to get a makeover now so that the skein ends it run the way it began. “We don’t want this show to go out and be remembered for the goofiness,” he said.

Despite all the changes, one thing about “Drew” will remain constant, Helford said. “Beer consumption will remain the same,” he quipped. “As long as Drew has problems, he’ll be drinking.”

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