Cougar Town Boss Bill Lawrence on Show's Move to Cable: 'TBS Is Not Doing This Rinky-Dink'

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Cougar Town Season 4Cougar Town lives on… but at what cost?

In the wake of TBS’ official acquisition of the underdog ABC comedy, co-creator Bill Lawrence rang up TVLine to answer some burning questions about the show’s move to cable. Namely, will the budget have to be cut? And will the title change? And does Ellie’s acid tongue now have the freedom to spit out four-letter words? Read on for the answers…

TVLINE | Does the move to TBS mean that ABC was for sure going to cancel the show?
No. You have to remember, Paul Lee is both the president of ABC network and the president of ABC Studios. And Cougar Town is worth money in syndication — that’s also why we got a 15-episode order. The best possible episode order we would’ve gotten from ABC is 13, and even then it would be a midseason replacement and it would be, at most, a utility player. And TBS came at the show hard and passionately and is really looking at making it a flagship show for them.

TVLINE | There was talk of a two-season pickup. What happened?
It is a two-season pickup with an option after the first year — TBS’ option. If the show is a disaster for them — which I doubt — that means they can get out of it. But we did the deals for a two-season pickup. And I would wager that as long as we continue to produce the same quality show, it’ll become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because if the show syndicates, TBS benefits as well.

TVLINE | Will the budget have to be cut?
We haven’t done the budget yet but I can tell you that TBS is paying the exact same license fee that ABC paid. We will have the same cast, the same size writing staff… TBS is not doing this rinky-dink. They’re doing a big-time marketing [push] and really rallying around the show creatively.

TVLINE | Does the move to cable mean you can curse?
I don’t know enough about TBS to answer that, but I would love somebody to ask that question at [next week]‘s TBS Upfront so I can find out what their rules are. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Have you spoken to the cast? What has the reaction been?
We like making the show. Everybody involved in the show likes being on it. And the reason the cast had to be in on this whole [TBS] thing early on was that part of the edict that we got from TBS was they weren’t looking for everybody to float in in the fourth year and phone it in. They’re risking a lot both financially and professionally, so they needed to know that all the actors would treat this like what it is for TBS — a first-year show that’s their big comedy priority.

TVLINE | Is a title change back on the table?
Whatever TBS wants. But I doubt it.

Comments (47)

  • Woo! Abc did not advertise this show enough. I hope TBS will!

    Comment by Babybop – May 10, 2012 05:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • If they advertise it as much as the Big Bang Theory repeats, the show will do well.

      Comment by Bob – May 11, 2012 12:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • so the show is going to move from 10 total viewers to 1? good for her!

    Comment by PhillyWings – May 10, 2012 05:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Go be a d-bag elsewhere.

      Comment by Hojana – May 11, 2012 02:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • You took the words right outta my mouth! CougarTown forever!

        Comment by Sloan – May 11, 2012 07:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Lol, d-bag is right!
      Cougarton Abbey 4ever!

      Comment by DevilsPreds – May 11, 2012 11:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love Cougar Town, love Bill Lawrence, love TBS. BEST DAY EVER!

    Comment by Liz – May 10, 2012 05:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope CITY TV in Canada still picks it up

    Comment by Kevin – May 10, 2012 05:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agreed. Don’t get TBS.

      Comment by tripoli – May 10, 2012 06:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Bill Lawrence tweeted last night “Yes, Canadians, we will get that shizz on-line for you non TBS havers…”

      Comment by Newo – May 11, 2012 06:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Ha ha – that’s hilarious. Did he actually tweet “shizz”?

        Comment by cinephilactic – May 11, 2012 09:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • He’s mistaken. The TBS website requires that you watch videos through an American carrier which Canadians cannot access.

        Comment by TV Gord – May 11, 2012 01:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am so happy Cougar Town got picked up by a network that is actually going to appreciate it. I just wish I had cable so I could watch! This is one show I might shell out the money for a season pass online for.

    Comment by Ari – May 10, 2012 05:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So exciting! Cannot wait!!!!!

    Comment by tvaddict – May 10, 2012 05:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love it, its gonna be great

    Comment by Juan – May 10, 2012 05:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great! I love the show and will continue to watch.

    Comment by Bobby Milford – May 10, 2012 06:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So happy!!! I love this show so much!

    Comment by Mari – May 10, 2012 06:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope they don’t change the title! I love the little things they write about it every week!

    Comment by Lindsay – May 10, 2012 06:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Completely agree Lindsay. At this point, the bad title is as much of a character of the show as the actual characters!

      Comment by Tenney – May 10, 2012 07:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • same. their little title comments make me happy every week!

      Comment by airhead – May 11, 2012 01:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thank you TBS – best comedy on TV!!!

    Comment by Pat – May 10, 2012 07:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is great news! I love this show and am amazed Friends fans have not embraced it more. So looking forward to it’s return yay!

    Comment by Liz – May 10, 2012 07:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Officially a fan of TBS now. Such a bold move from that network, I applaud them.
    Also hope CityTV continues to air it here in Canada…if not, I’ll have to buy a iTunes season pass.
    I hope they don’t change the title; I love the stuff they add to it each week and its just such a ridiculous title, I kinda love it

    Comment by mia – May 10, 2012 07:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I was happy to see that TBS picked up “Cougar Town”

    Comment by nickp91 – May 10, 2012 08:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If they keep the name I want to see sooo badly the title card for the first episode on TBS… It’s bound to be hilarious!!!

    Comment by henry – May 10, 2012 08:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Does this mean that the show will still be available on Hulu? That’s the only way I have time to watch. But such great news for the cast and crew! Love this show so much.

    Comment by Lauren – May 10, 2012 08:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yayyy Cougar Town will finally be on a channel where they actually acknowledge the shows existence and market it! Awesome news!

    Comment by Gabe – May 10, 2012 09:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i really hope they change the title. it is just an awful name for this show. if TBS want to launch the show like a new flagship, please, give it a new name it desperately need.

    Comment by W – May 11, 2012 01:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I strongly disagree!! They know its ridiculous but it wouldn’t be the same without it. They use the ridiculiousness to their advantage. My favourite part of the show (along with many other people if you read other comments) is the title and the sub titles they add each week, making fun of their own name. Great way to start the show, already laughing. Many of us look forward to seeing what they are going to do with it each week and as ive already said it really just wouldn’t be the same if they changed it.

      Comment by Amber M – July 11, 2012 11:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope it’s still going to be available on Hulu and Netflix. Otherwise, I’ll just be getting the DVD when it comes out.

    Comment by Garrett – May 11, 2012 03:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • wine time would be a perfect title.

    Comment by Peter – May 11, 2012 05:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well now the title is a running joke and it’s getting attention, so I bet TBS will want to keep it so people will know it’s the same show. I’m so happy that CT gets to live on!

    Comment by Mikael – May 11, 2012 08:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Awesome news!!!

    Comment by Christy – May 11, 2012 09:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m really excited that Cougar Town will live on! I’ll definitely be watching!

    Comment by Mike – May 11, 2012 11:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Such good news! I wish other networks picking up dropped shows would start to happen more often. As long as the show is on my DVR will find it no matter where they move to! Now if someone would just pick up Awake….

    Comment by Kristoffer – May 11, 2012 02:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Good luck on that one happening… since it was CANCELLED!

      Comment by KevyB – May 12, 2012 02:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • um, Kristoffer means “someone” as in “another network”…like how TBS took CT from ABC.

        Comment by flutiefan – May 13, 2012 07:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Evening, I have watched “Family Guy”3 hours tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Have a T-shirt on right now with Stewie on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!We have watched-”The Simsoms”for years!!!!!!!!!!Did truelly LOVE that video with Mick Jagger-”Dancing In The Streets”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Would totally LOVE the email address to vote on these shows,PLEASE?”Family Guy”.”Simpsons” & ALL of these others that Im crazy for!!!!!!!!!!!!! Debbie Gore

    Comment by Debbie R Gore – May 28, 2012 08:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am so excited that Cougar Town has gotten picke up by TBS. Rock on Cougar Town & TBS.

    Comment by Darrius Centeno – June 4, 2012 06:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i loveeeeeeeeeeee them:)

    Comment by dule – June 8, 2012 02:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 1. Glad to see this show is going to keep going. I don’t know why people don’t watch it, I think it’s hysterical. I laugh out loud, by myself, at least twice a show, and that’s my bar with comedies.
    2. Changing the name would be stupid. Remember when it started and was totally something different and then it morphed into what it is now, complete ridiculousness based on this blended friend family? The name sums all that up, yeah, we had this concept, that didn’t work, we started tweaking and next thing we knew we weren’t taking ourselves too seriously. The messages every week are like the opening of the Simpsons, must stay.
    3. Nice one TBS. They are not satisfied being a mid-tier second comer, I like how they are charging after being a player, especially in comedy. I’m really surprised no one else has jumped on some of these shows or gone after some people who aren’t working right now to develop a comedy slate, especially with NBC shutting down most of their stable of brilliance for Lord knows what…

    (TBS throw money at Parks & Rec and/or 30 Rock. Thanks so much.)

    Comment by Jeff Fahey – June 13, 2012 09:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love love love this show. My bf and I can’t wait for season 4! Even on the look out for a new huge wine glass. Big Carl, Big Joe…! My favorite show and wish there were more episodes. I would watch re-runs all day! Cougar town is awesome!

    Comment by ym – July 18, 2012 06:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am happy that it’s getting a new life, just wish it would air in Canada! I will be upset if it doesn’t air

    Comment by Pete – August 31, 2012 09:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love this tv show! It’s so funny! If it airs in Canada I will be ecstatic! I hope they’ll be more season after this one! They’re should be more advertisements about this show though I relly think it will boost up Cougar Town’s popularity with viewers.

    Comment by Ashley – September 26, 2012 07:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Really hope it airs in Canada! And so glad that Cougar Town lives on, such an amazing show! The characters, actors, plot…everything, just fabulous! <3

    Comment by Nicole – January 8, 2013 11:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • TBS requires that I have a subscription to a cable or dish service, so this show is now dead to me. ABC allows free viewing. No restrictions. Get with the program TBS.

    Comment by A Cable and Dish Free Household – March 23, 2013 08:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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