‘Plan’ has worked out this season for Stacy Keach

Rick's Reviews

Matt LeBlanc and Stacy Keach star in “Man With a Plan.” (Photo courtesy of CBS)

(KGET) — Golden Globe Award-winning and Emmy-nominated actor Stacy Keach and the rest of the cast of the CBS comedy, “Man With a Plan,” were disappointed when the network opted not to put the show on the 2019-2020 fall schedule. The fourth season would be held as a mid-season replacement.

That’s tough on a cast and crew because the show doesn’t get all of the new season hype that happens in September. There’s traditionally not been much fanfare or attention given to a program that starts in April.

This is not a traditional year though. Families staying home because of the pandemic have been watching more TV and looking for something new.

“Who knew this is the best thing that could have happened to us,” Keach says. “We are getting a much bigger sampling than we would have in a normal year and that means the chances of us getting a fifth season are greatly increased.”

The show viewers are getting to see at 8:30 p.m. Thursdays stars former “Friends” star Matt LeBlanc as an old-school guy confronting the modern challenges of parenting, marriage and family. His life is made more complicated by his self-assured wife, Andi (Liza Snyder) and his politically incorrect father, Joe (Keach).

He also manages a family owned construction business with his quirky brother Don (Kevin Nealon) and unlikely friend, Lowell (Matt Cook).

Even the move to Thursday nights has ended up working to the advantage of the show. “Man With the Plan” now airs behind the CBS hit comedy “Young Sheldon” and that is bringing additional attention to “Man With a Plan.”

This has been a very unusual situation for Keach. He knows that because the 78-year-old Keach has more than 200 professional acting credits spanning more than 55 years. Keach laughs and says that he has done so many different productions that he will often see himself on television and wonder when he did that job.

When asked what his favorite project has been, Keach always replies “it’s the next one.”

Since appearing in the TV series “Channing” in 1964, Keach has gone on to play a variety of dramatic and comedy TV, film and theater roles. The diversity has all been part of his acting plan.

“My father (Walter Stacy Keach Sr.), God bless him, was in the business. He told me that I didn’t make it by the time I was 27, I should just forget it,” Keach says. “He said what I had to do to get there was to do comedy and drama with equal alacrity.

“You have to do voiceovers and theater. I said ‘What else dad?’ He said ‘That’s it. Just do it all then maybe you will be able to survive.’”

Keach did exactly what his father had told him to do. His credits include “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean,” “The Long Riders,” “Nice Dreams,” “Prison Break,” “Titus,” “Ray Donavon” and “Two and Half Men.” He’s best known for portraying Mickey Spillane’s fictional detective Mike Hammer in a variety of TV films and series.

All of those acting jobs translate to working with a lot of talented people and casts. Keach has never worked with anybody who has shown such a skill for handling comedy as he has seen with LeBlanc.

“He is a very generous actor with a very healthy ego. Everyone just loves coming to work because it starts at the top and goes down,” Keach says. “And Liza Snyder is just amazing. She has so many colors in the landscape of her character.

“She is just great fun to watch.”

Keach is also getting to work with longtime friend Swoosie Kurtz. The pair met when they were in drama school in the ‘60s but had never had the chance to act together until “Man With a Plan.’

Keach isn’t just happy the show is such a joy to do and is getting good ratings but also is taking great pleasure in how the comedy is providing a reason to smile in a time of perpetual bad news.

“I think everybody needs a little levity in their life given the circumstances,” Keach says. “Our show is a wonderfully old-fashioned sitcom.

“I just hope we can get back to work by the end of the year.”

Until regular production resumes, Keach is staying busy in the acting world. He’s looking at doing an online version of “King Lear” on April 23 playing the central figure in the work by William Shakespeare. Money raised will go to buying food for the homeless.

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