The Office Star Jenna Fischer Lost Role In Matt LeBlancs Man With A Plan Pilot Because Focus Group Said, Pam Wouldnt Marry Joey
For Jenna Fischer, playing “Pam” for nine seasons on The Office was apparently a blessing and a curse.
In the latest episode of her Office Ladies podcast, Fischer finally split the tea on why she was recast after shooting a pilot for Man with a Plan, a show featuring Friends star Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey Tribbiani on that long-running sitcom.
According to Fischer, she lost the role as LeBlanc’s wife when test audiences couldn’t get past that they were watching Pam and Joey. They didn’t “believe Pam would marry Joey.”
Fischer claimed that network executives initially asked for “more scenes” with her. But the pilot and the focus group’s reaction sunk that opportunity.
“They said — this is a literal quote, they said, ‘I don’t believe Pam would marry Joey. The chemistry doesn’t work between these two,’” Fischer told her Office Ladies co-host Angela Kinsey. “That was the feedback they got.”
“They could only see you as Pam and Joey?” asked Kinsey, who played Angela Martin on The Office.
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“Yeah,” Fischer said. “So it wasn’t working for them that we got married and had a family.”
The network broke the news to Fischer just before she was headed to New York for upfronts.
“The first thing I said was, ‘Is [Man with a Plan] not getting picked up?’ And they said, ‘It’s worse than that, hun.’ And I was like, ‘What’s worse than that?’ They said, ‘It’s getting picked up, but without you.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, I guess I’ll unpack my suitcase.’”
Man with a Plan ran for four seasons from 2016 to 2020 on CBS, with Liza Snyder starring opposite of LeBlanc.
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