A TV Addict walks into a bar with a singular purpose. That purpose? To ask beleaguered COUGAR TOWN co-creator Bill Lawrence what it’s going to take for him to cast off the shackles of Network Television following countless years spent watching his beloved shows get treated like second class citizens.
“Back when I was doing SCRUBS I used to whine about it being mistreated,” admitted Lawrence during his recent self-funded unofficial COUGAR TOWN cocktail party held at the Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena California. “And then my dad once said, ‘The show’s been on for seven f–king years so far and I think you should shut up, it’s time to stop complaining’.”
In other words, despite our best effort to convince Lawrence to take a page from Louis C.K.’s playbook that recently saw the popular comedian harness the power of his own loyal following to self-publish an online comedy concert to the tune of a million plus dollars and counting, Lawrence wasn’t nearly as receptive to our idea as we might have hoped for.
“I like my job and I’ll tell you why: With Network television you still reach more people than see any movie. The greatest creative experience of my life was SCRUBS, it was so fun and I’ve also reached the point career wise that people leave me alone,” said Lawrence. “Creatively ABC has been the best partner I could have ever asked for. They like what I do, they don’t ‘note’ me to death, they trust me to keep it cheap and are very respectful. I still believe that this [COUGAR TOWN] is a success story. You’ll get a different interview with me if I’m in New York with you and my show gets canceled. Then I’ll say — with another one of those in my hand [pointing to a drink] — I’ll never be doing network TV again!”
And while it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the immensely popular Producer isn’t exactly
jumping at the chance to turn his back on the system that has earned him a much-deserved spot amongst the country’s 1%, we just couldn’t help but wonder, well… what if? What if Lawrence took the sizeable chunk of change he’s spending on bar tabs and parties across the country to promote COUGAR TOWN to, at the very least, start developing his own show online? Is he really not the least bit curious to see what could happen if he decided to harness his own fiercely loyal following to create a popular television show outside of the traditional studio system?
“In my heart of hearts — and I could be wrong — but I still consider myself a very young guy in the business and you’re tapping into a conversation I have with my wife all the time But it’s not generally the conversation I have with reporters right when I’m starting a new deal.”