Hey look, another TV remake! That’s hardly news anymore, but the show being remade — “The Odd Couple” — and the star attached to it — Matthew Perry — make this one a little more intriguing.
Perry will star as Oscar Madison in the new version, which is in development at CBS. He’s also co-writing the pilot script with comedy veteran Danny Jacobson (“Mad About You,” “Two Guys and a Girl”).
“Ever since seeing the movie ‘The Odd Couple’ when I was 10 years old, it has been a dream for me to play Oscar Madison,” Perry tells Deadline. “To be given the opportunity to develop a modern version of it for CBS has put a permanent smile across my face.”
Neil Simon’s 1965 play about two divorced guys — fastidious newsman Felix Ungar and slobbish sportswriter Oscar Madison — who move in together has birthed a number of previous adaptations, beginning with the 1968 movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. A 1970 TV series with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman followed; there was also a short-lived “New Odd Couple” in the early ’80s and even a mid-’70s cartoon featuring a dog and a cat.
If Perry is going to play Oscar in the new version, the obvious question is who should play Felix? The equally obvious answer is Perry’s “Friends” co-star David Schwimmer, who was at times extremely Felix-esque as Ross Geller. Here are a few other ideas:
– Neil Patrick Harris. He’ll be coming off “How I Met Your Mother” and could easily pull off Felix.
– James Lesure. Perry’s “Mr. Sunshine” (yay) co-star had good, antagonistic chemistry with him on that show but is currently committed to “Men at Work” on TBS.
– Jim Parsons. He’s rather busy at the moment, alas.
– Michael Urie. At the very least, he deserves something better than “Partners.”
– Joshua Malina. Also not available, but it sure would be funny. And they could swap Aaron Sorkin stories during downtime.
– Debra Messing. What was “Will & Grace” really, if not a take on “The Odd Couple”? Plus, an easy marketing hook with the Must-See TV reunion angle. (Potential problem with a female Felix: Too much will they-won’t they expectation.)
– John Cho. Because A) we still haven’t gotten over “Go On” being canceled and B) they worked really well together.