Inside Move: ‘Joey’ has ‘Friends’

Spin-off skein may be fully shown at upfront

NBC’s proud as a peacock over new laffer “Joey” — so much so that the net might be ready to take the rare step of giving Madison Avenue a complete look at the half-hour on Monday.

The last time NBC showed off a full pilot at its upfront presentation was 11 years ago, when it screened all but a minute or two of another spinoff: “Frasier.” Peacock programmer Brandon Tartikoff used a similar strategy to launch “Hill Street Blues,” “The Cosby Show” and “The Golden Girls” during the 1980s.

Based on a reaction to final cut of the laffer obtained by Daily Variety, NBC execs shouldn’t be afraid to show off its new pal “Joey.”

Notable bits include a recurring gag about Joey’s sister (Drea de Matteo) and her recent breast augmentation; Joey (Matt LeBlanc) failing a rehearsal for a gig as a news reader; and Jennifer Coolidge as Joey’s brutally honest agent. The only “Friends” character mentioned (in passing) is Chandler.

As for those who’ve seen the pilot, one viewer said he was “never really a ‘Friends’ fan” but that producers “did a good job with it. It reminded me of ‘Frasier’ in a lot of positive ways.”

Another praised the “likable characters” but wondered about the out-of-work actor premise: There’s “only so much you can make fun of on the L.A. actor scene.”

Other buzzings Tuesday:

  • The WB officially picked up “The Mountain,” a family sudser starring Oliver Hudson, from exec producers McG, Stephanie Savage, Shaun Cassidy and director David Barrett. Greenlight follows last week’s pickup of “Jack & Bobby” (Daily Variety, May 4).

    WB co-CEO Jordan Levin said the early pickups are designed “to convey the confidence we feel in the ability of both ‘The Mountain’ and ‘Jack & Bobby’ to reinvigorate the WB’s drama portfolio.”

  • CBS is mulling the idea of putting one or more reality shows on Saturday. Contenders include “Fire Me Please!,” a reworking of the overseas format “Sack Race”; and “Liar,” a take on “To Tell the Truth,” hosted by D.L. Hughley.

  • Former “Friends” scribe Adam Chase is the writer-exec producer of the UPN pilot “Cats and Dogs’ (aka “Play Nice”). His name was left out of Tuesday’s Pilot Buzz.
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