In her decades-spanning career, actress Meg Ryan is arguably most synonymous with the romantic comedy subgenre, thanks to her work in modern classics like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. She is far less known for her work on the small screen, in any genre, but that will likely change very soon, as Ryan has signed on as the lead in the half-hour TV comedy Picture Paris, which has been scooped up by the growing cable network Epix.
For what would be her first regular TV role since 1985 - and what would probably be her first regular TV role that anyone can recall easily - Meg Ryan would portray Picture Paris' suburban mom who pictures an idealized vacation to France with her husband after their kids have moved out of the house. But when that time finally comes and they're able to head to Paris, it's discovered that it's a lot harder to have that dream realized than she thought.
Not the most unprivileged thing in the world to realize your Paris trip is so hard, but this could be great, depending on the comedic tone. I suppose we'll know once the husband is cast. If they get somebody like John Hawkes, you know it's going to be nuanced and genuine. If they get somebody like Rob Riggle, things will be broad and ridiculous.
We do have an indication of what to expect from an episodic Picture Paris, as it was originally a 2011 short film from writer/director Brad Hall, in which the lead female role was played by Hall's wife, one Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (I guess she was already busy being the funniest woman on TV on that other show.) Hall will be behind the Epix version as well, as he'll both write and direct.
Picture Paris hasn't got all of its dots connected just yet. Epix landed the deal in a competitive situation with two other networks, according to Deadline, and it's reportedly being considered for a quick turnaround to head into production if a series order is made. And should that order go through, the production is indeed supposed to happen in France, so we don't have to worry about many green-screen shots of Paris in the background.
This is the latest potential winner from Epix on the television series front. The premium cable network launched its small screen original side last year with the political comedy Graves, which earned star Nick Nolte a Golden Globe nomination. The network then ordered an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Get Shorty, with Ray Romano and Chris O'Dowd, and there's also the espionage drama Berlin Station yet to premiere.
Still this early in Picture Paris' existence, it's hard to gauge how quickly things will come together, if they do, but Meg Ryan's involvement will likely grease all the necessary wheels. She's had winning turns on series such as Web Therapy and Curb Your Enthusiasm in the last decade, so she is primed for a TV comedy breakout. In the meantime, head to our midseason premiere schedule to see what is definitely premiering in the near future.