The Unknown Future of 'Cougar Town'

No answers for Cougar Town, Paul Bettany is no longer sexy, and Downton scores big.

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The Call Sheet sifts through the day's glut of Hollywood news to find the stories even non-industry types care about. Today: No answers for Cougar Town, Paul Bettany is no longer sexy, and Downton scores big.

It was ABC's turn to do the TCAs press conference today, and two different camps are disappointed in the network. The first camp is fans of Cougar Town, the Bill Lawrence-created, Courteney Cox-starring sitcom about people drinking wine on sofas. The show has been off the air since last spring, and yet there is still no confirmed return date. ABC prez (we're gonna go with "prez" here instead of the preferred Hollywood trades term "prexy," because "prexy" sounds like the slang term for a drug you can only buy at boarding schools and country clubs) Paul Lee says that the show will be returning in March, with "a really good launchpad," but there is still no definite date in mind. So that is either somewhat heartening or not at all heartening, depending on whether or not you're a glass half-full or half-empty type of person. (Or depending on how much sweet, sweet prexy you've taken. Schuyler always has the best stuff!) We've never been huge fans of the show, but everyone involved seems nice, which is basically where we're at with assessing the merit of a show, so we say bring it back.

The other ABC TCAs newz is that when asked about the offense that GLAAD took with the new show Work It, a hilarious romp about two horrible men pretending to be horrible women in a sea of other horrible women, on behalf of the transgendered community, Lee said he didn't get it and that he still really loves Tootsie. That's what he said! "I loved Tootsie. I still love Tootsie." Which, OK, yes, Tootsie is a good movie, we're not entirely sure anyone was ever saying it wasn't, but the issue here is Work It, which actually, and this is no slight to anyone who is transgendered, is pretty offensive to just about every sentient human being on the planet. Lee stood by the show as best he could, though of course the reality of the situation is that it's a total ratings stinker and though everyone (absolutely everyone, from grandmothers in Dayton to nomadic peoples of the Sahel) is talking about it, they're really not talking about it in a good way. We'd imagine Work It will disappear from the airwaves sometime in the near future. But not because it's offensive to anyone (again, it is offensive to everyone), but because it's not financially viable. So, we guess you could say it was offensive to the idea of making money. Everyone's a critic, even money. [THR, EW]

So that's some bad TV news. Here's some good TV news! Fox has greenlit a new show from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator Rob "Mac" McElhenny. He's not going to be on it or anything, but he will be the showrunner, so his creative stamp will surely be on it. So that is good! We need more shows like It's Always Sunny, even if you probs can't do the same things on regular Fox that you can on its free-wheelin' cousin FX. Man, they get to do everything! Fox has to be all good and well-behaved like a jerk, while its cousin runs around saying swear words and looking at dirty things all day. It's not fair. Anyway, no word on whether or not McElhenny will be gaining 50 pounds for this gig too. Though, given that he'll be a behind-the-scenes television writer, the odds seem good. [Deadline]

GOOD NEWS, everyone!!! The day you've long been waiting for has finally arrived. Plans have been announced to do another sequel to Bruce Almighty!! Hallelujah! Saints be praised! Universal has seen, in its infinite wisdom, to create a third film in the franchise, this one for the first film's star, Jim Carrey. That's just great. That really is what the world has been clamoring for in these dark, troubled times. Sure an end to war would be nice. And obviously there are people going hungry right in our own cities and towns. And, yeah, it'd be nice if we'd wake up one morning to newspaper headlines reading "Cheeseburgers Declared Healthy, Become National Pastime." But really want we wanted was another Bruce Almighty movie. So thanks, movie magicmakers! Our tearful, pleading prayers have not gone unheeded. [Variety]

Paul Bettany has pulled out of Sex. Ahem. OK, sorry, we just had to get that out of the way. The news is that Paul Bettany has walked away from his planned Showtime show Masters of Sex. His reasons are unclear, though it's possible that it had something to do with a delay in finding a lady costar. So, that's too bad for Showtime. Bettany's a good actor and everything, and apparently pretty difficult to pin down for projects. Actually, that's where the most interesting bit in this item comes from. Did you know that he turned down the lead in The King's Speech?? Yiiikes. Wonder if that smarts. What with Firth's Oscar and all. Oh well, we trust he knows what he's doing. And really, did he want to star on yet another Showtime show about sex? It's best he pulled out. Of that Sex. Hilarious! [Deadline]

Rachael Ray, the creatively named daytime talk show hosted by Rachael Ray, has been renewed through 2014. So that means at least two more years of hearing EVOO and "sammies." Oh also there's "stewp," which is stew and soup. Or is it spelled stoup? Who knows. The point is, yes, more of that. (Frankly we don't mind, we've always kind of liked her, or always really liked her, we'll come out and say it, but some people get annoyed by her, so there's your downer news, ya downers. Why not take some of Mitsy's prexy and cheer up.) [THR]

The premiere of the peril-filled second season of British import Downton Abbey raked in 4.2 million American viewers on PBS on Sunday night, which is double the normal nightly average for the public broadcaster. So take that, horrible reality shows! A soapy British thing about a bunch of long-dead people has bested your Khloes and Kendras and Kyles and all of them! Sweet victory! Glorious, wonderful success. Well, except when you think about how almost two million more people watched the premiere of Work It. Then everything feels pretty rotten and stupid and sad again. Save us, Bruce Almighty! [Deadline]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.