The project, which received a 10-episode straight-to-series order from DirecTV over the summer, is being billed as a gritty family drama set against the backdrop of a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym in Venice, California. The series, coincidentally, has drawn comparisons to FNL, which completed its five-year run on the satellite giant.
Another coincidence? The character Lauria is playing shares something in common with his Parenthood alter ego — they’re both named Ryan.
Navy St.‘s Ryan is a former three-time All-American wrestler at Arizona State and an ex-Olympian. This is the guy that, when he walks down the street, guys are intimidated by and every girl wants to go home with. Five years ago Ryan was on top of the world — UFC light heavyweight champ, cocky, invincible – he had money, fame and a spiraling addiction to Ketamine that ended in him going to prison. But when he shows up at Alvey’s (Grillo) gym, he is a changed man, humbled. Except his ex, Lisa (played by Kiele Sanchez) sees right through him. He’s a manipulator, always playing an angle. But Alvey sees dollar signs because Ryan is just the kind of superstar that can change the fortunes of a struggling gym.
Lauria, meanwhile, is set to reprise his role as The Other Ryan in the final two episodes of Parenthood‘s current fifth season.