Thursday, January 18, 2007

USA Network's Excellent MONK Returns Friday For A New Run

The excellent comic detective series over at the USA Network, MONK, is set to return for a new Friday 9PM run for the next few weeks. But few know that Tony Shalhoub who has really defined the role of MONK, winning many SAG, Golden Globe and Emmy awards, was actually a distant second choice after former SEINFELD star Michael Richards dropped out of consideration for the role.

The writers and producers for the show had approached Michael Richards with the script for MONK which was specifically written for him as the lead actor. But Richards was haunted with the bad experience of his failed NBC postSEINFELD NBC comedy, THE MICHAEL RICHARDS SHOW which was really intended to be a similar concept as a comedy mystery show. After the program test marketed poorly with test audiences screened by NBC, the series was rewritten as a far more conventional sitcom, but the viewing public quickly rejected this new version of THE MICHAEL RICHARDS SHOW as well. When offered the script for MONK, the script looked all to familiar to Richards who declined any role in the proposed series.

The writers and producers for MONK were then left without a suitable lead actor. Tony Shalhoub who had some experience as the bit actor in the long running NBC sitcom, WINGS, as an Italian cab driver, became a second choice by the writers and producers of MONK.

The rest is history. Tony Shalhoub helped to really define the role and make it his own, where audiences could hardly think of a another actor playing the role. And Michael Richards made a career ruining bad choice that left him only playing small time comedy clubs.

History continues for this great series Friday, with many more great classic stories and seasons yet to be written. Cable TV excellence at it's very best.


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