Gary Susman
July 24, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Looks like Joey Tribbiani’s acting career is taking off, sending him to Hollywood. That’s the likely gist of the 2004 ”Friends” spinoff being planned for Matt LeBlanc, the details of which NBC is expected to announce Thursday, USA Today reports.

According to the paper, ”Joey” will send LeBlanc’s character to California, where he’s likely to meet an ensemble of new friends, including a love interest. Don’t expect any of the other Central Perk regulars to show up; NBC rejected the idea of a buddy comedy that would reunite Joey with old roomie Chandler (Matthew Perry), and Jennifer Aniston didn’t want to keep playing Rachel, according to USA Today.

There’s no script yet for the show, but ”Friends” vets Kevin S. Bright, Scott Silveri, and Shana Goldberg-Meehan are on board to produce and write the show, which would debut in fall 2004, after ”Friends” wraps its upcoming 10th and final season. Presumably, it would air in ”Friends” current Thursday timeslot.

Unlike ”Friends,” which now costs NBC $10 million per episode (including $1 million apiece for each of its six stars), the Joey show will cost only $2 million. LeBlanc will have to take a big pay cut from his current salary, but he could make it up later, since he’ll own a piece of the profits. And people keep thinking Joey’s the dumb Friend.

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