One of the fun aspects of “Go On” is the fact that since Matthew Perry’s character, Ryan King, is a sports talk radio host, for its storylines, the series doesn’t just have to use actors as guest stars, but it can realistically incorporate some top-name athletes as well.
In a call to talk about his new NBC series, Perry revealed that his dream team of athlete guests would include Wayne Gretsky, David Beckham, who has already given the idea a thumbs up, and Jimmy Connors.
“I was lucky enough to have my favorite athlete of all time on ‘Mr. Sunshine,’ but maybe we can have him come back on ‘Go On,’ too, which is Jimmy Connors,” Perry says. “So my hope is we get Jimmy Connors to come back and work with me again, which would be a dream come true.”
Before that happens, though, Bob Costas and NFL Network journalist Rich Eisen — both who play themselves — will drop by for an episode in which Costas calls Ryan and says he is a big fan of his radio show and asks if Ryan would be interested in trying out for a national TV job.
“I do get my shot with Bob Costas,” Perry says. “You can imagine, given that it is a comedy that it does not go that well.”
Eisen plays a competitor of Ryan King in that episode, and he will be back for another go-round on “Go On.” Also coming up are Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh, who has a cameo, and Olympic Gold Medalist Misty May-Treanor.
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“It is really fun because we get to have these athletes come on,” says Perry. “Across the board, it has all been great, which makes me think that acting is easy … and it makes me sad.”
One non-sports person who will also be making a guest appearance in an upcoming episode is “Parenthood” star Lauren Graham, who will be Ryan’s first love interest since the death of his wife (Christine Woods).
“[Lauren] plays a character named Amy, who was an old college buddy of mine,” says Perry, who is also a longtime friend of Graham’s in real life. “There were some sparks back in college, but then my character got married. Now that things have changed in his life, Amy comes back… and there are some sparks there, which is the first time that Ryan has had any kind of feeling like that in a long, long time.”
The episode featuring Graham will be an interesting contrast to the Oct. 2 episode, in which Ryan’s late wife Janie turned up as ghost to encourage Ryan to move on.
“I thought it was really interesting to show Janie, so you see what this guy has lost,” he says. “I get to play a whole different level in those scenes. That character obviously has to be used very sparingly, but I’m glad that it’s part of the show.”
Graham’s episode is tentatively scheduled to air in November sweeps and it could open the doors for stories in which Ryan heads into the singles’ scene. After all, he has his wing man in his boss Steven (John Cho), who recently broke up with his girlfriend.
“I think just like any other human being, he’s going to evolve and move forward and start to get into that [singles] world, for sure. And Lauren Graham — you couldn’t ask for a better person to come on the show and jumpstart that.”