Lisa Kudrow's The Comeback Could Make A Comeback At HBO

By Kelly West 2014-03-21 13:41:52 discussion comments
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If ever there's a show that needs a comeback, it's The Comeback. And from what's being reported, HBO may be up for making that happen. Word is, the premium cable network is in talks with Lisa Kudrow and Michael Patrick King to bring the underrated comedy back for a limited series, which is -- in this humble Valerie Cherish fan's opinion -- exactly the right approach for a concept like this one.

Deadline's sources says HBO is in discussions with series creators/executive producers Michael Patrick King and Lisa Kudrow to bring the show back for what could be a limited/event series. This news follows EW's report that Kudrow and King had "a couple of lunches" to talk about where Valerie might be now.

For those who haven't seen it, the original series consisted of a single season before HBO cancelled it, though it did earn Kudrow a much deserved Emmy nomination for the lead role. It centered on Kudrow's character Valerie Cherish, a 90s sitcom star who was probably somewhere on the B-list during her run of fame, after which she faded into obscurity. The series centers on her efforts to ride the then-relatively-new wave of reality TV toward a second brush with fame as she attempts to land and keep a role in a new sitcom.

The series is set up as a docu-style comedy, presenting itself as if we're seeing the raw(ish) footage of the reality show that's in production. There's also a very formulaic CBS-toned multi-camera sitcom "in production," which is where Malin Akerman and Kellan Lutz's characters factored in, among others. They were the hot young up-and-comers and Valerie found herself cast as sort of the older, less appreciated but more experienced veteran actor. Lance Barber played the excellently unlikable writer Paulie G, while Scandal's Dan Bucatinsky -- who also executive produced the series -- played Valerie's occasionally unstable publicist Billy in a few episodes. And those are just some of the great cast members from the original series.



Kudrow's performance as Cherish is one of the reasons The Comeback is such a gem. Cherish is constantly aware of the cameras and often suffers from severe tension over how she's going to be presented in this eventual reality show. She's a good person, but her occasional insecurity makes for some great humor and Lisa Kudrow just nails it every time. The series was great, but HBO wasn't having a whole lot of luck with comedies back then, and The Comeback was no exception. Fortunately, Season 1 actually stands on its own really nicely. You can watch it from beginning to end and while you'll want more, it leaves off in a relatively good place, despite all of the hilarious drama that ensues to get it there.

An event series would be the perfect way to bring the character back. Given that it's been nearly a decade since the original series aired, Valerie could actually be due for another comeback, assuming her last one has run its course. Or maybe she's still going strong and this'll be an update on where her life is a decade later. Deadline says Kudrow mentioned last summer that they'd love to have Valerie on a Bravo show, so perhaps she'll be the star of her own Real Housewives-type series. Regardless of what story they go with, the shorter format for this comedy's comeback might also allow for more of the original cast to return, as it wouldn't require a long-term commitment. Malin Akerman, for example, is currently starring on ABC's Trophy Wife.

Specifics on when the series might air and who might return from the original cast are slim, as it sounds like they're still working out the deal, but hopefully this report leads to confirmation of the series' return. And it would be great if they could get as many of the original cast members to appear as possible. I'd especially love to know what's going on with Laura Silverman's character Jane. Has she furthered her career in TV production, or did her experience working on Valerie's "Comeback" result in her switching careers? And is Paulie G a big-time TV writer or has he fallen off the radar? These are questions I'd want answers to, but mostly I just want to hear Valerie tell us, "I don't want to see that!"

I want to see that. And I need to know that I'm being heard.
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