Fran Drescher hopes to cash in with new NBC comedy ‘Indebted’

Entertainment

Fran Drescher returns to television with new NBC comedy “Indebted. (Photo courtesy of NBC/Universal)

PASADENA, Calif. (KGET) – A pair of two-time Golden Globe winning actors return to television Thursday night as former “Nanny” star Fran Drescher stars in the new NBC comedy “Indebted.” Later in the evening, Edie Falco, who starred in “The Sopranos” and “Nurse Jackie,” takes on the starring role in the new CBS police drama “Tommy.”

“Indebted” looks at what happens when young parents Dave (Adam Pally) and Rebecca (Abby Elliott) are ready to reclaim their life after spending years dealing with diapers and sleepless nights. The diaper days are over but there will be more sleepless nights as Dave’s parents (Fran Drescher, Steven Weber) show up unannounced. Even worse, they are broke and need a place to stay.

These boomerang parents aren’t great with boundaries and the question of who is parenting who quickly becomes the big question.  

It has been 26 years since Drescher starred on “The Nanny” and she had one short-lived series in “Happily Divorced” that borrowed liberally from her life. Returning to a network situation comedy was no problem for Drescher.

“It’s the same machine, and I’m very used to it. It happens to be a wonderful group of people, and that kind of lifts me in a way that makes me very grateful to be with this company, so it’s fun. It’s exciting,” Drescher says. “Physically it gets a little harder, I think, on me. But I don’t need to have a life outside of work, so I go home, I lie down with my dog, and that’s about it.”

The task at hand for Drescher and the other actors is to find a way to keep the broke parents still likable despite their continued antics that make their situation even worse. Drescher stresses that through the first 13 episodes ordered by NBC, her character gets more grounded.

After the financial woes are dealt with in the opener, the show will settle into real issues that face families who must handle situations like these.

“I think that, as with all new sitcoms, it has to find its voice. It has to land somewhere. Sometimes the pilot spins a little broader because they are trying to, in 22 minutes, explain everything and get to know all of the characters and make you laugh and make you want to come back for week 2, and so that is always a challenge,” Drescher says. “I think this is probably a better pilot than a lot of pilots, but in fairness to the series, I think that, over the course of the next 13 episodes, it lands and becomes a little more connected and a little more grounded, and as we meld together as a family too.

“I think it’s there and will only keep moving in that direction, because that’s a legitimate concern. Keeping characters likable even when they get in their own way is a razor’s edge, and writing has to be very careful to accommodate for that.”

Falco will deal with a completely different kind of character when “Tommy” launches. She’s playing a former high-ranking New York Police Department officer who becomes the first female chief of police for Los Angeles. Abigail “Tommy” Thomas brings her New Yorker approach that includes unfettered honesty and hardball tactics to keep social, political and national security issues from hindering effective law enforcement in the Southland.

The role is the first for Falco where she gets to play the person in charge and not someone who must answer to a killer husband or controlling doctor. Despite the character being the top person, Falco made no changes to how she approached playing the role.

“It is joyful, in a way, I have to say, because, I mean, who doesn’t want to play a character that’s complicated? And I’ve been lucky enough to have some real complicated ones. And it’s not that Tommy’s not, but we’re focusing less on that than on the fact that she’s got a very solid moral compass,” Falco says. “I think she really wants to do the right thing. She really wants to do her job and to do it well.

“She has a feeling of wanting to serve the people she works for. It’s easier said than done, because there are so many variables and stuff. I won’t get too far into this, but in the time that we’re living in now, to have someone at the helm who really is guided by something larger than them, it’s a huge relief.”

Both of Falco’s past series shot in New York and that made it easier for her because she was close to home. “Tommy” is set in Los Angeles but will be shot in New York. Falco laughs and says the production company has a truck loaded with palm trees that they unload when shooting on location to create the look of the West Coast.

Both new shows start Thursday with “Indebted” at 9:30 on NBC and “Tommy” at 10 p.m. on CBS.

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