Well, that didn't take long. Less than a year after The Good Place delivered its finale, bringing an end to another great Ted Danson sitcom, Danson is back on NBC with yet another Thursday comedy. From the 30 Rock team of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock comes Mr. Mayor, about a wealthy businessman who decides to run for mayor of Los Angeles before figuring out what he even stands for. Originally envisioned as a 30 Rock spinoff, with the idea that Jack Donaghy would run for office in New York City, when Alec Baldwin dropped out, Ted Danson stepped in, and Danson didn't want to leave L.A. so that's where this show in now set. He's also at the center of a talented cast full of ace comedic performers and at least one truly impressive get.
Here's who's who:
Ted Danson holds a solid case for being the best TV actor of the last 30-40 years. His credits are pretty extraordinary, with a little show called Cheers at the top of the list. After Cheers, he managed to get the unheralded CBS sitcom Becker to six seasons (syndication, baby!), perhaps his most underrated accomplishment. He earned three Emmy nominations for playing shady businessman Arthur Frobisher on Damages, starred opposite Jason Schwartzman on the underrated HBO gem Bored to Death, and spent four seasons as the lead on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In 2016 he originated the role of Michael on The Good Place, which nabbed him three more Emmy nominations (giving him 18 in total for his career). He's also guested on and off as himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm, was the star of the #1 box-office film of 1987 (Three Men and a Baby), and is married to Mary Steenburgen. On Mr. Mayor, he plays Neil Bremer, wealthy businessman and the brand new in-over-his-head mayor of Los Angeles.
Tina Fey has bet right going with Saturday Night Live alumni before, which bodes well for Bobby Moynihan, who plays Mayor Bremer's aide, Jayden. Moynihan spent nine seasons as an SNL cast member, where he played the likes of Guy Fieri, Chris Christie, Fox and Friends' Brian Kilmeade, and of course Drunk Uncle. He starred in the short-lived CBS sitcom Me, Myself, and I, has appeared on Drunk History, Playing House, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and he's twice guested on RuPaul's Drag Race.
Academy Award winner Holly Hunter plays Arpi Meskimen, a local activist who takes on Mayor Bremer in the media. Hunter built her formidable reputation as a film actress, starring in such movies as Raising Arizona, Broadcast News, and Home for the Holidays. She won an Oscar in 1993 for playing a mute Scotswoman sold into marriage in New Zealand in The Piano. That same year, she was also nominated for her role opposite Tom Cruise in The Firm. After starring in several acclaimed made-for-TV movies (winning Emmys for Roe vs. Wade and The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom), Hunter moved into series TV, starring for three seasons in the TNT drama Saving Grace and last year enjoying a featured role on HBO's Succession. Hunter is also, famously, the voice of "Elastigirl" Helen Parr in The Incredibles movies.
You almost certainly know Vella Lovell best as the deadpan best friend Heather on The CW's dearly departed Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The Julliard graduate has also appeared in recurring roles on Hulu's Dollface and as a voice on She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. In 2017, she was phenomenal in a small role in the Oscar-nominated The Big Sick (which also starred her Mr. Mayor castmate Holly Hunter). Here she'll be playing Mikaela, one of Mayor Bremer's political advisors who seems especially skeptical of his political acumen.
As Mayor Bremer's chief strategist Tommy is actor Mike Cabellon. His previous roles include appearances on Orange Is the New Black and the Pete Holmes HBO comedy Crashing. He's also appeared in HBO's High Maintenance and Amazon's Modern Love.
Kyla Kennedy plays Orly, the privileged and dissatisfied teenage daughter of Mayor Bremer, who is decidedly unimpressed by her dad's new gig. Kennedy starred for three seasons on the ABC sitcom Speechless, playing the youngest (yet most fearsome) child of Minnie Driver and John Ross Bowie. Her best-known role, however, may still be as Mika on The Walking Dead, who meets a dark fate at the hands of her older sister in an episode that basically traumatized the entire TWD audience.
The producing team behind the hugely successful 30 Rock is back again. Fey of course was a head writer and former star on Saturday Night Live, then went on to star in and produce 30 Rock, before moving on to movies, American Express commercials and such. After 30 Rock, the pair went on to create Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for Netflix, and the underrated Great News for NBC. In addition to Mr. Mayor, Fey and Carlock are also executive producers on the promising upcoming Peacock show Girls5Eva, about a one-hit wonder pop group, starring Sara Bareilles, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell, and Busy Philipps.
Mr. Mayor premieres on NBC January 7th at 8:00 PM ET.
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Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, The Herald Sun, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.