Matt LeBlanc, however, opted to try all of the above.
Within months of the Friends finals, he was back on screen as Joey Tribianni again in the spin-off Joey, where the character had finally quit New York to take on Hollywood.
When that (possibly ill-advised) experiment failed after just two seasons, LeBlanc took a long hiatus, just enjoying life before jumping behind the camera to be executive producer of the supernatural action film Jonah Hex.
After that, it was back to television playing a play a hyper-real version of “Hollywood star Matt LeBlanc” in the series Episodes, a role that earned him a Golden Globe award for best actor, television series musical or comedy, his first despite being nominated four times for Friends and Joey.
From there LeBlanc continued playing himself (and let his car-loving side loose) hosting the American version of the worldwide motoring series Top Gear and making a side trip back to comedy to support to former Friends co-star Lisa Kudrow by guest starring in the improvised series she created, wrote and starred in, Web Therapy.
Next up was another film – this time starring in the indie film Lovesick and now, in a project that seems to have borrowed its title from its leading actor’s quest to just keep working, LeBlanc is back again as the co-executive producer and star of comedy series Man With A Plan.
Playing a role tailor-made for the now-51-year-old actor and father, he is Adam Burns, a dad who takes on the role of stay-at-home parent when his wife goes back to work and finds it’s the toughest job he’s ever faced.
It’s the first multi-camera comedy and the first project recorded in front of a live audience LeBlanc has done since Friends and a great chance for him to enjoy exactly what his character Adam is trying to avoid – time with his own family.
“Episodes was a lot of fun, but that was single camera, so now coming back and doing a multicamera show in front of an audience—in a way I feel like I’m home again,” LeBlanc told Entertainment Weekly when Man With A Plan premiered.
Having taken five years off between Joey and Episodes – and with Episodes only nine episodes a year (down to just seven in its fifth and final season), LeBlanc said he felt like he’d really only been working part-time, but it was enough to “wet my whistle again to work”.
“I miss working, so I wanted to have more work, so I thought, ‘I really enjoy doing multi-camera.’ The schedule is good if you have kids. I’m home for dinner every night. I can help my daughter with her homework.”
After two seasons on the air, Man With A Plan proved the right mix for LeBlanc and American broadcaster CBS, coming in as the second-most-watched comedy on its laugh-heavy Monday night schedule and in May 2018 the series was renewed for a third season to air in 2019.
And that’s fine by the star.
“When I met with Jackie and Jeff (Filgo, the series creators), I had an idea that I wanted to play a family guy. I haven’t done that before. I’m almost 50. It seems like the right time to shift gears into that.”
Check out Matt LeBlanc in award-winning style in Episodes here: https://www.stan.com.au/watch/episodes
And take a look at Matt the family man in Man With a Plan here: https://www.stan.com.au/watch/man-with-a-plan
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