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The guys of 'Traffic Light’ want you to stop and tune in

February 8, 2011 |  2:21 pm

Ms_18-bar-group_2812C_LY Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha had their time. But in the relationship department, sometimes a male perspective is needed.

At least that’s what Fox is banking on.

In “Traffic Light,” which premieres Tuesday, three thirty-something (male) best friends — Mike, Adam and Ethan — find themselves navigating different stages in love and life: Mike is married with a son; Adam just moved in with his girlfriend and Ethan is the free-roaming bachelor.

“I’m scared because they show a lot of my moves on the show,” said Nelson Franklin, who plays Adam.  “It’s going to be hard to pull stuff off on dates.”

It might also be hard to distinguish the show. Romantic comedies are quickly filling the primetime grid — CBS’  has “Mad Love,” NBC has “Perfect Couples” and soon “Friends with Benefits;” ABC has "Better with You" and the upcoming "Happy Endings."

“I think our show is so much different,” said David Denman, who plays Mike. “Women will like it because it definitely unveils the curtain of what guys think about and talk about. And guys will like it because it’s real.”

They’re also hoping the show’s head-scratching title will help set them apart — but in a good way. FX’s “Terriers” already demonstrated how a poorly titled show could contribute to a show’s struggle to find an audience. “Traffic Light” previously had the more romantic comedy-friendly title, “Mixed Signals.” But the show’s producers ultimately decided on renaming it “Traffic Light,” the literal translation of the Israeli show on which it’s based, “Ramzor.”

Ms_04-blue-nelson-franklin_0968LY Ms_01-blue-david-denman_0146LY “Honestly, I think the name of the show is terrible,” Denman said. “I don’t think anyone loves the name, but it is what it is. It does represent the show fairly because it’s a romantic comedy told from the guy's perspective at three different stages in relationships: Mike being the red light, married and very happy. Adam being yellow, in a relationship; and Ethan being green, free to do anything with anyone.”

Titles asides, the show is in good company in its Tuesday night time slot, with Fox’s freshman hit “Raising Hope” as its lead-in. Not to mention those plucky singers of McKinley High over on “Glee,” who start out the night. It can only lead to good things, right?

“We’re optimistic,” Franklin said. “We finished shooting in November, so we’ve been sitting on our hands for a while here.”

They just hope not to tread in the footsteps of “Lone Star,” which got the axe from Fox last fall after just two episodes.

“The good news is, we’ve already shot our third episode, so they may be more inclined to air a few more than they did with ‘Lonestar’ … I hope,” Denman said.

Should Denman get his wish, perhaps a crossover with one of its Tuesday siblings could help bolster viewership.

“Both of the girls on our show could sing; it’d be great to have them on Glee,” Denman said. “I don’t think any of the guys ..."

“I actually sang a lot in high school,” Franklin said. “We had to transpose everything an octave lower; it was not pretty. Maybe I can take over the glee club. ‘Raising Hope,’ though, is slightly more in the same universe. Maybe Mike’s kids could be in the same daycare as Hope.”

Or maybe Ethan could have a fling with Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman)?

“Yeaahhh!” Franklin said. “But, you know, we share the same bar set as ‘Friends with Benefits’ …  wouldn’t that be interesting?” 

To read Mary McNamara’s review of “Traffic Light,” click here.

--Yvonne Villarreal

Photos: (Top) The cast of Fox's new comedy "Traffic Light:" Pictured (left to right): Nelson Franklin, Aya Cash, Kris Marshall, Liza Lapira and David Denman. Credit: Joseph Cultice / FOX

(Bottom, left to right): Nelson Franklin and David Denman. Credit: Joseph Cultice / FOX