Nathan Lane's new sitcom, originally titled "Life of the Party," has been renamed "Charlie Lawrence." The CBS series, a mid-season replacement, casts the Tony-winning Producers star as an openly gay actor-turned-congressman. A CBS spokesperson said that Lane plays a former actor who achieved fame through a fictitious television program called "Do Unto Others," similar in style to CBS' "Touched By an Angel." When the television series ends, Lane's character — then an alcoholic — went to a rehabilitation center in Nevada. Now a congressman for New Mexico, Charlie Lawrence is based in Washington, D.C., where he is "a fish out of water."
"Charlie Lawrence" also stars "Roseanne" actress Laurie Metcalf, veteran TV actor Ted McGinley and stage and screen star Anne Meara as Lane's mother. There is speculation that the show will premiere in January 2003, replacing the Sunday spot held by the recently canceled "Bram and Alice." CBS was unable to confirm any broadcast dates.
In addition to his Tony-winning roles in The Producers and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Nathan Lane has starred on The Great White Way in Present Laughter, Merlin, The Wind in the Willows, Some Americans Abroad, On Borrowed Time, Guys and Dolls, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Love! Valour! Compassion! and The Man Who Came to Dinner. The actor has also been featured in such films as "Addams Family Values," "Mousehunt," "Love's Labour's Lost" and "The Birdcage," scoring a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the latter. His first sitcom, "Encore! Encore!," was short-lived.