Apple TV Plus’ “Ted Lasso,” starring executive producer and writer Jason Sudeikis, was years in the making, he and executive producer and writer Bill Lawrence said in a conversation with Variety deputy awards and features editor Jenelle Riley.
The sitcom, also co-developed by Joe Kelly and Brendan Hunt, is based on a character of the same name that Sudeikis first portrayed in a series of commercials for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Premier League in 2013. The show follows small-time football coach Ted Lasso as he is hired to coach a professional soccer team in England, despite having no experience with the sport.
“All my fears were erased really quickly because Jason had much, much more in his head already than I usually have when I go pitch a show,” Lawrence said. “The voice was so specific that I immediately knew A) it was a show that I wanted to be involved in and B) that one of the only obstacles to getting to make it would be that other people would have the same kind of closed-off assumptions that I had, just from seeing those old promotional videos before you really listened to Jason and what he was kind of picturing as the show in the world.”
For Sudeikis, the success of the show comes from the collaborative efforts of the team behind it: “The collective wisdom of the show is housed within the people who make it … that magic comes down to your fellow writers, that magic comes down to the people you cast in that part. And that magic comes down to the audience and to the costumer and to the prop master. Each person, the more they put a little bit of themselves in it, the more it’s a little bit of all of ours.”