AFT #137: Bill Lawrence Sits In, ‘Undateable’, ‘The Americans’, ‘The Voice’, ‘American Idol’, and More


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Paul Drinkwater/NBC
Paul Drinkwater/NBC

It’s time for another showrunner to sit in on the podcast; this time it’s none other than Bill Lawrence, talking about TV, Scrubs, Cougar Town, and the latest of his seemingly hundreds of shows:

  • We start by talking about Joel’s history with Bill, which includes the reason why Busy Phillips’ Cougar Town character is called “Laurie Keller.” We also talk about when the “bromance” (last time we use that word, promise) almost ended because of the CT/Community crossover (00:00 – 23:00),
  • Then we talk about Bill’s new sitcom, Undateable, which starts on NBC on May 29 at 9 PM Eastern. We discuss having Chris D’Elia and a group of his fellow stand-up comedians as the stars of the show, why it seems like Briga Heelan is his utility player now (she’s also a co-star on Ground Floor) and why he wanted to do a straight-forward multi-cam sitcom (23:00 – 37:30),
  • Because Undateable is a multi-cam (read: traditional studio audience) show, we talk about why it seems like single-cams are loved by critics and multi-cams are loved by everyone else (37:30 – 43:45),
  • Then Bill tells the hilarious story about how he pitched the concept of Undateable to NBC, and talks more about the premise of the show, if he’s OK with it airing in the “summer”, and what he thinks NBC’s hopes are for the show (43:45 – 53:30),
  • We then talk about what he’s excited to see among the new shows coming in the fall — he’s rooting for Mulaney – and why he thinks FOX cancelled Surviving Jack, the show he produced with Justin Halpern, and Enlisted, the show from his old Cougar Town co-creator Kevin Beigel. Then we talk about the shows Bill’s loving now (mostly Veep and Silicon Valley) (53:30 – 1:01:28),
  • After Bill leaves (and a whole day goes by, including Jason and Joel doing the TV times Three Podcast), we talk about the riveting end to the great second season of The Americans (1:01:28 – 1:17:28),
  • Then we talk about the best Mad Men episode of the season, where Peggy finally becomes Don’s peer and Pete reverts back to being an a-hole. We then talk a little about Maron and Louie because it seems like we’re just going to do that every week, isn’t it? (1:17:28 – 1:32:58),
  • Finally, we talk about the finales of both American Idol and The Voice, if both deserved to win, and if both are going anywhere. We also talk about both shows’ ratings; for Idol, it’s into “code red” territory, and for The Voice, it’s showing signs of the burnout we all predicted would happen. Perhaps NBC doesn’t care since it rode that horse to 1st place in the youth demo (1:32:58 – 1:56:00).

You can listen to the podcast above (if you don’t hear anything, fiddle with the volume slider), download it via this link, subscribe to our RSS feed, or subscribe via iTunes. You can also find us on the Stitcher radio app for smartphones and iPads. By the way, the bumper music is “Trevor Trailer Trash” from the late, great band Cropduster.

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