Good news, Ray Romano fans! Or more specifically, those Parenthood fans who loved the actor as occasionally grumpy photographer Hank in the NBC drama. Romano has signed on to return to the series for Season 5, which means there may be hope for Sarah and Hank yet!
Deadline reports that Romano has locked in a deal to return to Parenthood for the approaching fifth season of the family-focused drama, reprising his role as Hank, who was Sarah's boss and more when he recurred in the fourth season.
The last we saw of Hank, he was leaving the West Coast to move to Minnesota to be near his daughter. That came after Sarah broke it off with Jason Ritter's character Mark to be with Hank. In the end, she made her choice and ended up alone, which isn't such a bad thing. In fact, TVLine quotes Parenthood executive producer David Hudgins as saying Sarah's Season 5 storyline will focus a bit less on her love life than we've seen in the past, saying:
“There is a very conscious effort on our part to set Sarah on a path that will really let her shine,” he said. “And in conjunction with that, she may still have some love interests.”
I like the idea of Sarah having the chance to shine, but I don't hate the idea of Sarah and Hank reconnecting. There was an interesting chemistry between the two characters that likely comes - at least in part - from Graham's and Romano's demonstrated abilities to blend humor with drama. The actors clicked really nicely in Parenthood, but with Sarah's relationship with Mark worked into the story, her relationship with Hank was always a little bit too complicated for comfort. Sarah and Mark are over, and Jason Ritter already has a new series lined up with a different Gilmore girl, so the path might be clear for Sarah and Hank to start over, assuming Romano's return means Hank's moving back to town.
Deadline says Roman's return to the show has to do with the "great relationship" he developed with Parenthood developer Jason Katims. It's actually interesting to hear that, as I'm sure many Romano fans would love to see the actor back on television in a starring role. Who knows what this great relationship between him and Katims could yield down the road? But that's thinking ahead. For now, we can celebrate the news that Hank will be returning when Parenthood does. And from the sound of it, we'll be seeing quite a bit of him as he's set to appear in as many as 12-15 episodes of the season, which is about on par with what he did in Season 4. Of course, Parenthood is an ensemble show, which splits its focus among the various branches of the Braverman family tree, so everyone's screen time is a bit divided.
NBC has Parenthood set to air on Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. next season.