Life was not always rosy during the heyday of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

In CBS’ “Martin & Lewis,” Jeremy Northam and Sean Hayes portray the pair as having incredible chemistry on stage but a real disdain for each other away from the crowds.

Critics responded favorably to the telepic, specifically pointing out the authenticity that Northam and Hayes brought to their roles.

Helen Verno, exec VP of movies and minis for Sony Pictures Television, says it’s a credit to exec producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan for choosing the leads.

“A key element to its success was the casting,” Verno says. “Craig and Neil have the best eye for the perfect actor.”

Hayes did extensive research to prepare for the role but had no intention of contacting Lewis (although the two would later speak). He also adds that the comedian’s legacy isn’t always appreciated by today’s younger crowd.

“To really sit down and study him, he was an incredible genius and is still responsible to this day for many of the comedic aspects of cinema that we now know,” Hayes says.