The hopes and rumors are almost true! Damon Wayans Jr. is reportedly very close to a deal to return to New Girl for a major arc in the series' upcoming third season. It's hard to imagine what New Girl would have been like, had Happy Endings been cancelled after its first season and Damon Wayans Jr. stuck around for the Fox series beyond the pilot. We'll never know, but it's safe to say that things worked out for New Girl regardless. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for Happy Endings. The ABC comedy was cancelled back in May after its third season, and there was hope that another network - possibly USA - would save the series, much in the way Cougar Town was rescued by TBS. Alas, it was not meant to be.
We learned last last month that the Happy Endings' cast's options expired, which meant the clock ran out on saving the show. If there's a silver lining to that situation, it's that Damon Wayans Jr. is now free to pursue other projects. And there's already a role waiting for him to reprise at New Girl. Wayans appeared in the pilot episode of the Fox comedy a couple of years back, but his commitment to the show was in second position to his role at Happy Endings, so when the ABC series was renewed for Season 2 and New Girl was ordered to series, Wayans returned to his original show and Lamorne Morris' Winston was written into New Girl, filling the room vacated by Wayans' character - but not the role, which means there was always the chance that Coach could return, and according to TVLine, it's very close to happening.
The site reports that Wayans is close to a deal to return to Season 3 as the fitness-loving Coach for a significant arc. Though there's no confirmation from Fox that this is happening, TVLine says Jake Johnson spoke enthusiastically about welcoming Wayans back to the loft, saying "I would be surprised if he doesn’t come back for a while. There would be such funny episodes with the Coach seeing what’s happened in the past two years since he’s [been] gone.”
Hopefully the deal goes through and we see Coach returned. It'll definitely be interesting to see how he fits into the story after his extended absence.
Here's a great Coach moment from the New Girl pilot.
"I'm not mean I'm trying to help you! I'm trying to help you!"
If you want to watch the pilot episode of New Girl, it's now available streaming on Netflix.