Jerry Seinfeld did not have to look far to find someone to host his first primetime TV series post-Seinfeld. Tom Papa, who has opened for Seinfeld for several years on the road, will be front and center when NBC's The Marriage Ref debuts in spring 2010 after the Winter Olympics. Papa did have to audition, but he already has plenty of solid jokes about his own life as a husband and father to draw upon when he helms the six-episode order in front of a live studio audience in NBC's 30 Rock building (reportedly the SNL stage). They taped a couple of test shows there last month, but OCA says you'll be able to get tickets to 2010 tapings in Hollywood. The Hollywood Reporter wrote about this last night, although close observers of this site will know that we knew all about this for months, and were told that it wouldn't be official until January. Welcome to January! (Don't worry. We know it's November)
Papa, seen on big screens this fall in The Informant, also has appeared in episodes of The New Adventures of Old Christine, helped write Seinfeld's animated Bee Movie, and, in 2004, had his own short-lived NBC sitcom called Come to Papa. Speaking of The Informant, we hear that Papa made such a good impression on director Steven Soderbergh that Soderbergh is wanting to put Papa's stand-up act onto the big screen, too! So, double congrats!!
Here's a clip of Tom Papa on life, marriage and kids, appearing on The Jay Leno Show:
More about the show, you say? Certainly! Read on, after the jump.
NBC jumped at the idea for The Marriage Ref, which is being executive produced by Seinfeld, Ellen Rakieten ("Oprah"), Nick Emmerson and Jennifer O'Connell ("Real Housewives of NYC" and "Supernanny"). And they've penciled it in for spring 2010 in a good time slot, 8 p.m. Sundays between Dateline NBC and the next Celebrity Apprentice. Although who knows what hours will be open in the Peacock's schedule by then?!
The show will take real-life married couples with actual disputes, go to their homes, film them, then get celebrities to comment upon and ultimately judge who's in the right and who comes up short. Essentially, it's a souped-up funny ha-ha version of Dr. Phil meets The People's Court meets celebrities. Or something like it.
And if you and your spouse want to have your disputes settled on network TV, well, you're crazy. But you can still talk to casting people for this show. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact info, photos and a paragraph about why you and your spouse should be on TV, or watch this video.