Home > Vulture News > Producer Of ‘Cougar Town’ Thinks A Name Change May Be The Key To The Show’s Survival

Producer Of ‘Cougar Town’ Thinks A Name Change May Be The Key To The Show’s Survival

Anybody remember The Seinfeld Chronicles, These Friends of Mine or Valarie? Probably not — because they were later re-titled Seinfeld, Ellen and The Hogan Family, respectively. The general rule of thumb for sitcoms is that they take about six episodes to get warmed up, to find the proper footing. And, once in a great while, the original title no longer fits the show (in rarer cases, even the original cast members no longer fit, as was the case with Valarie). That’s exactly why producer Bill Lawrence (Scrubs) would love to scrap the name of his hit ABC sitcom, Cougar Town, which stars Courteney Cox as the boozy forty-something at the center of a wacky group of family and friends.

The show premiered last fall to solid ratings and, along with its sister hit, Modern Family, has helped turn ABC Wednesday night into, well, a lineup viewers actually want to watch. Such is the dilemma that has sprouted up since then. The show’s stuck with a gimmicky, cornball name. Lawrence tells Hitflix:

The studio has been talking about [a name change] for three reasons: One, partly as a result of common sense and partly from their research, they find too many instances of testing of people saying they would never watch a show called Cougar Town – ‘I don’t want to see some show about a 40-year-old woman nailing younger guys’ – and then they screen an episode, and people go, ‘Oh, I would watch this show.’ Second point is simply what you already said, which is you would be hard-pressed to watch the last three episodes of the show and  asked anyone for titles – I doubt anyone would say Cougar Town. Third, in a world where ABC and Steve are looking to promote Modern Family and capitalize on it to promote all their new shows next fall, anything you can do to create some kind of dialogue about your existing show is smart and savvy. The reasons not to do it I think solely come down to business reasons.

As for his idea for a new name:

I always joke that the show should be called ‘Friends and Neighbors,’ but the ‘Friends’ part should be written in the same font as Courteney’s old show. But I don’t want to put ‘em out there yet. It’s tough, man. I always own up to mistakes. It’s a great hindsight mistake. If you had showed me an episode of the show back when I wrote the pilot, I would say, ‘There’s no way that’s the same TV show.’ I have never been on a show that changed so much creatively so quickly.

Maybe they could just call it Modern Family: Miami.

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