Lane's "Charlie Lawrence" Debuts to Low Ratings

By Andrew Gans
18 Jun 2003

Ratings for the new sitcom "Charlie Lawrence" featuring Tony Award-winning Producers star Nathan Lane were quite low.



Variety reports that the new CBS sitcom, which premiered June 15, "bowed to historic-low timeslot ratings" with a 0.9 rating and a 3 share in the advertiser-friendly 18-49 year-old demographic. Overall, the show had a 3.5 rating, which translates to roughly 3-1/2 million viewers. Though the numbers are small for television, a year in The Producers the St. James has a seating capacity of 1,700 translates to just 707,200 theatregoers.

Lane portrays an openly-gay freshman congressman in the series, which is scheduled to air Sundays at 8:30 PM ET for the next several weeks. The comedy also features "Roseanne" actress Laurie Metcalf, veteran TV actor Ted McGinley as well as Stephanie Faracy, T. R. Knight, Steve Stapenhorst, Misha Henson, Shannon Cochran and Anni Long.

Lane's newest 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 premiere episode, Charlie was sworn in as an elected official.

Despite mostly favorable reviews, the future of "Charlie Lawrence" remains in doubt. The series was not on the recently announced CBS fall schedule, and it appears that the show's actors have moved on to other projects.

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. He was also recently seen in the film adaptation of "Nicholas Nickleby."