But producers of the new Fox sitcom SURVIVING JACK insist he was the perfect man for the job.
“This show probably would not be on television were it not for Chris Meloni,” showrunner Bill Lawrence told me during a media call on Thursday.
“He is a hugely-successful true TV star. You know, whether it be my parents or my younger cousins, everybody knows who he is and has seen him….I think there’s a lot of Chris Meloni fans out there.”
Lawrence says his show — about an ex military man who becomes a full-time dad to two teens when his wife returns to school — “needs somebody that’s not just funny but that’s a great actor,” Lawrence says.
“Whether it’s the movie 42 or years of LAW & ORDER: SVU, Chris is a fantastic actor. He does drama very well.”
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SURVIVING JACK is based on the book I SUCK AT GIRLS by producer Justin Halpern. The Jack Dunlevy character is inspired by Halpern’s real father.
“I think this show is going to work,” Lawrence says.
So far, the critics seem to agree.
What separates Surviving Jack from typical coming-of-age fair is the “coming-of-age” story isn’t solely about the children. The series is as much about Meloni’s Jack trying to learn to be the parent he needs to be, as much as it is about Frankie learning to be the man that he needs to be. Something rarely seen on television is the portrayal of parental faults. Minus the occasional NBC family-drama, few shows dare to go against the idea that parents are infallible; Surviving Jack is not one of them.
SURVIVING JACK premieres Thursday March 27 at 9:30 PM on Fox.
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