Nathan Lane's "Charlie Lawrence" To Make CBS Debut in March

News   Nathan Lane's "Charlie Lawrence" To Make CBS Debut in March Following the disastrous "Encore! Encore!," Tony Award winner Nathan Lane is ready to tackle the TV sitcom again in "Charlie Lawrence," a mid-season replacement for CBS that will debut in March.

Lane portrays a freshman congressman in the series, which also features "Roseanne" actress Laurie Metcalf, veteran TV actor Ted McGinley and stage and screen star Anne Meara as Lane's mother. Lane's new character is 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 ended, Charlie Lawrence — then an alcoholic — had a stay at a Nevada rehabilitation center. Now a congressman for New Mexico, Lawrence is based in Washington, D.C., where he is a fish out of water. In the current interview for TV Guide's "Insider," Lane spoke about his first TV outing: "For some reason, I got it into my head that I wanted to work with those particular producers from 'Frasier' [Peter Casey and Suzanne Holmes], and I just wanted to be an actor and leave it all up to them. The next thing I knew, I was in the Napa Valley with Joan Plowright [playing my mother]." The comedic actor admits that he was "terribly naive" during his first sitcom, "so, this time around, I had to see a script. I can't just meet with high powered writer-producers, and, because we hit it off at lunch, that means we're going to do a show together." Lane also serves as a writer and executive producer for the new series.

Lane has already filmed seven episodes of the series, which he explains is "a different kind of show for CBS. People have said that this is almost risqué for [the network]." About the love life of his openly gay character, Lane says, "Of course he'll date. [His personal life] will be prominent in the sense that, like any other human, he'll want to get together with others. In fact, the first episode I go out with ["Dharma & Greg" alum] Thomas Gibson. That's a good way to begin. But it's not a show about being gay. It's not 'Queer as Folk.'"

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. Currently he can be seen in the film adaptation of "Nicholas Nickleby."