When news leaked out that “Cougar Town” star Josh Hopkins was being cast in a new NBC pilot called “Lady Friends,” did the co-creator of his current show, Bill Lawrence, get upset? Far from it; in fact, in his Twitter feed, Lawrence mentioned that he’s encouraging all his stars to get “second position” deals, which is industry-speak for a role that serves as a backup plan in case the actor’s current show doesn’t get renewed.
“Heard Josh Hop got a pilot. Congrats @MrJoshHopkins : I look forward to them having to replace you. (Either way you win – psyched!),” Lawrence tweeted last night. When Lawrence’s followers scratched their heads about why he’d be so happy about that — it pretty much means that “CT” is on the bubble — Lawrence replied by saying “Guys – still think the odds of Cougar Town coming back are the same – but if it’s coin flip, don’t want actors to be jobless/cashless.” He also wrote, “Doesn’t change anything – just want friends to have safety net. We come back, then the other show is screwed.”
Lawrence wants Hopkins and his other stars to have a back-up plan, and he cited what happened to Damon Wayans, Jr. last year as an example of what can happen in the business. If you recall, Wayans was shot the pilot for “New Girl,” but went back to “Happy Endings” when the show got a surprise pick-up for a second season.
It’s the latest in an aggressive stance Lawrence and his co-creator Kevin Biegel have taken in promoting “Cougar Town” this season, which has included paying for viewing parties out of their own pockets, encouraging fans to throw their own viewing parties, and releasing spolier-filled clip reels and other videos. They both insist that the low Nielsen ratings the show is getting — and they’re lower now than they were last season — don’t tell the entire story, and they’re probably right, given how many people watch the show on DVRs and online.
But Lawrence seems to be pretty confident that the show is coming back, mainly because ABC owns it. It’s just interesting that he’s publicly letting people know that while he still likes the show’s chances, he knows nothing is a given in the TV biz.
Watch last night’s episode of “Cougar Town”: