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TCA Press Tour: Matthew Perry's forecast is sunny and funny

August 1, 2010 | 12:54 pm


“Friends” always stick up for one another.

While promoting his upcoming ABC comedy “Mr. Sunshine” at the TCA press tour, Matthew Perry was peppered with questions related to that massively successful NBC show he used to star in. (Hint: it wasn’t “Studio 60.”) But one about his past cast mates had the former Mr. Bing perplexed.

“Are we anywhere near a question?” he asked.

It seemed, one reporter said, that Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston and the gang had moved on to bigger and better things, but what had happened to David Schwimmer’s career?

“I haven’t seen David in a while,” Perry said. “I would assume he’s doing exactly what he wants to be doing. He loves directing, he loves the theater ... so he’s probably doing a bunch of that lame stuff. “

That last part was a joke, as were many of the comedic actor's responses. Whether noting that ABC’s new president, Paul Lee, was his new best friend or admiring the physical appearance of his character, Perry seemed to be getting re-acclimated to timing his punchlines.

But “Friends” enthusiasts can rejoice. As if a Monica and Jennifer BFF reunion (Aniston is rumored to be set to make a guest appearance on Cox’s ABC show, “Cougar Town”) weren’t enough to make you break into song -- perhaps the Rembrandts' “I’ll Be There for You”? -- Perry offered even more to sing about when he said guest appearances by the former Central Perk loafers weren’t out of the question on “Mr. Sunshine,” which also stars Allison Janney (“West Wing”) and Andrea Anders (“Joey,” “Better Off Ted"). But his "Friends" co-stars would have to wait a while before the pay a visit.

“I want to convey to people that this is something new,” he said. “I don’t want to use them sort of as a launching pad.”

In the new series, from Sony TV and Jamie Tarses’ Fan Fare, Perry plays Ben Donovan, a self-involved middle-aged manager of an aging San Diego sports arena who has an epiphany about changing his life and becoming nicer. When asked whether he'd ever had a similar a-ha! moment, Perry was coy.

“Just pick up any newspaper from 1996,” he said, referring to his very public battle with prescription drugs and alcohol.

“They say write what you know,” he said. “That’s an interesting road for someone to go on to changing behavior to be a nice guy.”

“Mr. Sunshine” won’t be hitting the air on ABC until midseason.

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Matthew Perry as Ben Donovan  in "Mr. Sunshine." Credit: ABC


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