TRIALS AND TRIBBIANI ”Friends” is leaving at the end of the 2004 season, but Joey may still be hanging around Central Perk a while longer. Variety reports that NBC quietly approached Matt LeBlanc and ”Friends” producer Warner Bros. Television last fall about the possibility of doing a ”Frasier”-like spinoff after ”Friends” ends. The talks were tabled during the negotiations that led to the show’s renewal for a 10th season, but now that the May 2004 end date is firm (”Even I acknowledge that,” NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker said last weekend. ”The door is not open after that.”), might the spinoff talks proceed? Variety speculates that NBC will resume negotiating with LeBlanc and the ”Friends” creative team about a Joey show that would debut in ”Friends”’ timeslot in fall 2004. However, NBC is refuting the Variety report. ”There’s no legitimacy to this story,” NBC spokesperson Rebecca Marks told E! on Tuesday. Still, given LeBlanc’s film career (from ”Ed” to ”All the Queen’s Men,”), he’s the Friend most likely to prosper if he sticks to TV. Read EW.com’s suggestions for ”Friends” spinoffs here.
GLOBE TROTTERS The ”Friends” family showed what troupers they are at Sunday’s Golden Globes. Despite the recent fateful encounter with an ottoman that left Jennifer Aniston with a broken right toe, she bravely hobbled to the podium to accept her award for Best Actress in a TV Comedy. Brad Pitt smiled bravely for the cameras as Aniston neglected to thank him in her acceptance speech. And Matt LeBlanc (who lost the Best Actor in a TV Comedy prize to ”Monk”’s Tony Shalhoub) and Matthew Perry bravely made do during a power outage at InStyle magazine’s afterparty that plunged the festivities into darkness. ”I knew what that plug was to,” LeBlanc joked to USA Today as he and fiancée Melissa McKnight took advantage of the blackout. ”It was our cue to make out.” He also took the opportunity to pinch Perry’s ass, saying ”I can’t get enough.” Perry returned the affection, saying, ”I love Matty. I think he should have won tonight. He’s a very giving kisser.” Um, maybe you guys are a little too friendly.
COOL AS A CUCUMBER Is David Schwimmer a Spinal Tap fan? He’s coproducing and starring in ”Turnaround,” a play opening Wednesday at West Hollywood’s Coast Playhouse, for which he’s earning about $999,995 less per performance than he does per episode of ”Friends.” In this labor of love, he plays Jeff, a desperate and unscrupulous screenwriter who’s an alter ego of director/playwright Roger Kumble (”Cruel Intentions”). It’s a role he played in Kumble’s play ”d girl” in 1997 and that Jonathan Silverman played in Kumble’s 1993 drama ”Pay or Play.” Silverman, a Beverly Hills High School classmate of Schwimmer’s (and his onetime Thursday-night stablemate on NBC’s ”The Single Guy”), is part of the ”Turnaround” cast, where his prankish spirit was apparent during rehearsals. While preparing a scene that required an actress to grab Schwimmer’s crotch, ”Johnny calls me backstage and presents me with this giant cucumber, freezing cold, from the market across the street,” Schwimmer told the Los Angeles Times. After he stuffed it down his trousers, à la Derek Smalls, Schwimmer said, ”We got to the point in the scene when she grabbed me for the first time, and she just had this complete look of shock and bewilderment, and then she burst out laughing. And then I got it out of my pants because it was freezing and, um, had the opposite effect than was intended.”