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BLAND WITH A PLAN

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Associated Press
Associated Press

Man With a Plan on CBS

“The network seems to be really behind the show, and I’m really proud of that.” Matt LeBlanc

By Valerie Milano

Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10/25/16 – Monday night, CBS premiered its latest makeweight sit-com Man with A Plan, which stars Friends alum Matt LeBlanc; and considering the puzzling breakout success of its stable-mate Kevin Can Wait, it shouldn’t be counted out as a possible breakout hit itself.

Man With A Plan Puts Family Front And Center At The TCAs Matt LeBlanc, his TV wife Liza Snyder, and EPs of the new CBS comedy hit the scene in Beverly Hills.
Matt LeBlanc, his TV wife Liza Snyder, and EPs of the new CBS Show

Man with A Plan is likable if not lovable. It’s breezy, but not very funny. Its premise involves the universal struggle dogging every double earner household with a gaggle of I-Phone addicted kids. Dad Adam (Matt LeBlanc) is a contractor who now gets his turn being daddy daycare while wife Andi (Liza Snyder) returns to work as a med-tech. We get familiar family sit-com archetypes: a hormonal son in full wack-off phase, a snotty teen daughter, and an ever-so-cute, ‘you-just-wanna-eat-her-up’ kindergarten princess. There’s nary a pimple in sight and mom n’ dad say all the right things – even when arguing. By any measure, Man With A Plan is assembly line comedy of the type we’ve seen many times before, only done far better.

Kevin Nealon (left) and Matt LeBlanc of CBS’ new fall comedy ‘Man With a Plan’ at the CBS/Showtime TCA party on Aug. 10 at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. Credit: Eric Charbonneau/AP Invision for Showtime
Kevin Nealon (left) and Matt LeBlanc of CBS’ new fall comedy ‘Man With a Plan’ at the CBS/Showtime TCA party on Aug. 10 at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. Credit: Eric Charbonneau/AP Invision for Showtime

Occupying the 08:30 slot, Man with A Plan doesn’t ruffle any PC feathers; unless of course, you’re a prudish fussbudget who begrudges Andi her evening Chardonnay or who blushes at oblique suggestions of the ‘reward sex’ that dare not speak its name.

Man with A Plan tries hard not to insult your intelligence, yet at the same time, it displays very little intelligence of its own. Comedic tropes such as Teddy’s masturbatory urges are revisited far too frequently. This series’ only hope is to latch on to that ever tightening circle of viewers who like their comedy dull, graying at the temples and sanitized for their protection.

THT, TCA and others recently had the opportunity to speak with Liza Snyder, Matt LeBlanc, Star/Executive Producer, Jeff Filgo, Executive Producer, and Jackie Filgo, Executive Producer Jeff Filgo talked about the premise of Man With a Plan.

JEFF FILGO:  “It became really clear, when you’re only seeing your kids at the edges of the day, you’re just getting the greatest hits.  And when you’re with them all the time, you’re getting the deep album cuts ‑‑(Laughter)‑‑ with a drum solo.”

Jackie Filgo talked about the husband/wife relationship in Man With a Plan.

(L-R) Executive producer Jackie Filgo and executive producer Jeff Filgo speak onstage at the 'Man With a Plan' panel discussion during the CBS portion of the 2016 Television Critics Association Summer Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Aug. 9, 2016 - Source: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America)
(L-R) Executive producer Jackie Filgo and executive producer Jeff Filgo speak onstage at the ‘Man With a Plan’ panel discussion during the CBS portion of the 2016 Television Critics Association Summer Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.
(Aug. 9, 2016 – Source: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America)

JACKIE FILGO:  “Well, I think the relationship between the two of them we’ve always had a really clear vision of, because I think what was important for us to show is that, after a lot of years and a few kids, that they still are really best friends and they still have a really good time together and enjoy each other. So that dynamic was really important to us.  I think it was just about finding the person that felt like should be married to Matt.”

Matt LeBlanc talked about what motivated him to return to network prime-time comedy.

MATT LeBLANC:  “Episodes, you know, we did nine episodes every 18 months basically.  And that was my first foray back at work after taking a handful of years off after Joey ended.  And I had a really great time doing that, but it kind of whet my appetite.  I wanted to work more, and I wanted to be a part of something bigger.  But also, Episodes was single‑camera, so I wanted to get back into the multi-cam format because I have a family and the hours are shorter. And I like the sort of workweek on a multi-cam. You rehearse all week, and then you shoot in front of an audience, like a play. It’s like being part of an ensemble theater company.  So I met with Jeff and Jackie, and they had this great idea. We had in common that we wanted to do something in the same sort of arena, a family show. I felt like I’m not getting any younger.  And I am a parent, so I wanted to explore what that would be like as a character. And they wrote a great script, and I responded to it. And then we started talking more, and here we are.”