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‘Sons of Tucson’ a son of ‘Malcolm’

With former “Malcolm in the Middle” principals Justin Berfield, Matthew Carlson and Todd Holland exec producing a show that has a bevy of young mayhem-causing boys, upcoming comedy “Sons of Tucson” drew several questions about and comparisons to its Fox predecessor at the TCA today.

“In the 10 years since ‘Malcolm,’ comedy has evolved,” said director and exec producer Holland. “I really think You Tube and the Internet have loosened up comedy to such an extreme, ‘Malcolm’ is old news.

“It’s a little more akin to (‘The Larry Sanders Show’) in my pedigree than ‘Malcolm in the Middle.’ It’s sort of a hybrid.”

Berfield, who played No. 2 son Reese on ‘Malcolm’ but always had a precocious interest in production, has since moved behind the camera at the tender age of 23. He and partner Jason Felts brought the script by Greg Bratman and Tommy Dewey to Holland.

“I was directing ‘Malcolm,’ and I would see Justin Blackberrying between every take,” Holland recalled. “I’d say, “Isn’t that cute?’

“Tucson” stars Tyler Labine, who was still connected with CW drama “Reaper” last year when Fox came calling. But a potenially awkward situation was defused by one simple fact: “Reaper” was destined for cancelation.

“The writing was on the wall for a long time,” Labine said. “A lot of people didn’t know … but we knew it was done. I would have always returned to ‘Reaper’ if it had been picked up. That was never even a question. I was never going to jump ship; I was just being a smart actor.”

Labine has been the subject of frequent comparisons Jack Black in his career, and said he has also had to contend with people telling him to be more like Chris Farley, John Belushi or John Candy.

“I always found myself trying not to do that,” Labine said. “Whatever similarities .. it’s (part of) a sense of humor that I think you’re born with.”

“Tyler is actually an actor who’s funny – he’s not a comedian,” Holland added.  “That’s a relief to me. … I’m more comfortable letting him be broad and big, because he always grounds it.”

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