Producer/writer Wendy Kout only had to use three words to sell the concept of her new comedy series, Anything But Love (8:30 p.m., Ch. 4), to ABC: Jamie Lee Curtis.
"Sometimes success in television is just a function of who the audience wants to see," Kout said during a recent press conference in Los Angeles. "I think the audience wants to see Jamie Lee. And so did ABC."For Curtis's part, however, the return to series television (remember her in "Operation Petticoat"?) is more a function of who she wants to see: Her family.
"I do things for specific reasons," Curtis said during the same interview session. "And right now, I'm at a time in my life when I want to be home for a little while. I want to see my husband (actor/writer Christopher Guest) and my baby (2-year-old Annie) once in a while."
Working on the series will give her that opportunity. While the grind of weekly television production can be consuming, it's nothing compared to feature film production, which can keep you on the road for months at a time and burden you with 15-18-hour days. Working in a weekly half-hour series means staying in one place and being home at a decent hour most nights.
"This allows me in my personal life to have a life," she said. "Throughout my career (which has included recent films like "A Fish Called Wanda," "A Man in Love," "Trading Places" and a spate of horror films like "Halloween" earlier on) I've usually gone right from one picture to another. It's been nuts. I miss my little girl. It's time to stop."
"Anything But Love," a comedy about the professional-cum-romantic relationship of two magazine writers, should give her a good long break. Not only does it have Curtis and comic Richard Lewis going for it, but ABC is wisely introducing it in a powerful Tuesday night line-up that also includes Who's The Boss? (7 p.m.), The Wonder Years (7:30 p.m.), Roseanne (8 p.m.) and thirtysomething (9 p.m.). That's a snug, secure position for a new show to be in, and it should result in strong enough ratings to justify a return to ABC's schedule next season.
And that's OK by Curtis.
"One of the great things about doing a series is you get to feel like you're part of a team," she said. "That's something I've never had in my adult life, and I'm looking forward to it."
And to a few quiet nights at home.