USA Network has given a series order to comedy pilot Benched starring Eliza Coupe and Jay Harrington.
The single-camera project hails from ABC Signature, marking the first series for ABC Studios’ boutique division.
“Benched is one of those unique series that creates an immediate connection with the audience,” said USA Network president Chris McCumber.
“The lead is played brilliantly by Eliza Coupe, who has undeniable chemistry with Jay Harrington’s character.
Benched is a half-hour courtroom comedy that focuses on Nina (Coupe), a dedicated, career-driven corporate attorney who has a very public nervous breakdown after getting passed up for an expected promotion, and finds herself working as a public defender.
Harrington stars as Nina’s new colleague, Phil, a tall, dark and handsome, if not a little scruffy, public defender and avid gambler.
With Happy Endings alumna Coupe, Benched brings to USA a piece of the cult comedy series that USA came close to acquiring last year following its cancellation by ABC.
Benched was written bySNL alumna Michaela Watkins and Damon Jones who executive produce with Party Down co-creator John Enbom and Mark Gordon Co.’s Mark Gordon and Andrea Shay.
Benched is part of USA’s push in original comedy series. The first show to come out of that effort, Denis Leary’s Sirens, debuts March 6.
Eliza Coupe to Star in USA Network Pilot “Benched”
Oh Happy day: Eliza Coupe is once again bringing her comedy chops to TV.
The Happy Endings aluma has been tapped to star in Benched, a single-camera project that received a pilot order from USA Network on Wednesday.
From executive producers Michaela Watkins (Trophy Wife) and Damon Jones (The Groundlings), as well as Mark Gordon (Grey’s Anatomy) and Andrea Shay (Family Tools), the sitcom centers on a career-driven attorney who loses out on a promotion, suffers a nervous breakdown and rebounds as a public defender.
Party Down creator John Enbom will serve as showrunner and executive producer.
Coupe — who most recently co-starred on ABC’s ill-fated Happy Endings and portrayed Will Arnett’s ex on CBS’ The Millers — will next recur on Season 3 of Showtime’s House of Lies.
Happy Endings fans, rejoice! Eliza Coupe will be back on your TV this fall.
The actress has been snagged by CBS’s forthcoming comedy The Millers, EW has learned exclusively. She will recur on the show as the ex-wife of Nate (Will Arnett) and first appear in the Oct. 24 episode.
Coupe’s addition to The Millers, which also stars Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges, rounds out a supporting cast that already includes Gleestar Jayma Mays, who will play Nate’s sister Debbie, and VEEP‘s Nelson Franklin, who will play Debbie’s husband.
Meanwhile, Coupe is not the first Happy Endings cast member to land a post-cancellation gig. Adam Pally and Damon Wayans Jr. have secured spots on The Mindy Project and New Girl, respectively while Casey Wilson landed a network deal at ABC.
‘Happy Endings’ star Eliza Coupe dons sexy monokini for Esquire
“Happy Endings” star Eliza Coupe is showing off her fantastic figure and her sharp wit in the April issue of Esquire.
The funny woman, 31, shows off her curves in a sexy black monokini for the magazine’s “Funny Joke from a Beautiful Woman” feature.
“A man races into a bar, sweating and visibly shaken. He turns to all the patrons and starts yelling, ‘Does anyone own a 6-foot penguin?’” the comic started.
“All the patrons shake their head. The guy says, ‘Damn, I hit a nun,’” the actress quipped.
Coupe, who stars alongside Elisha Cuthbert and Casey Wilson on the ABC sitcom, opened up about her upbringing. Coupe may look like the height of femininity these days, but in her childhood, she enjoyed brawling over a hockey puck with her two brothers.
“I was basically raised as a third son,” the star confessed. “But I’ve girlied out.”
Coupe also admits that she’s still sweet on her childhood celebrity crush, Jim Carrey. She even had a run-in with the “Ace Ventura” star.
“I was in the back at this awards show and kind of got pushed off to the side and backed into something I thought was just a bench,” the actress explained. “I looked over my shoulder, and there’s Jim Carrey sitting on a crate. My butt was in his face.”
Alas, Coupe didn’t grab the opportunity to meet “The Mask” comedian.
“I could have said anything. Like, ‘How’s it going? I’m attracted to you,’” Coupe recalls. “But I just said sorry and walked away. That was me.”
Along with fellow CalArts’ School of Theater alumnae Alison Brie (“Community”) and Cecily Strong (“Saturday Night Live”), Eliza Coupe is making a splash in the world of comedy. She stars in the recently released romantic comedy, “Shanghai Calling,” and can also be seen on the ABC ensemble sitcom “Happy Endings.”
During a recent phone interview, we talked to Coupe (Theater BFA 06) about her work on Shanghai Calling, her acting career and advice for the graduating class of actors who are heading east for the New York Showcase on Monday.
Shanghai Calling was shot in six weeks in Shanghai and required Coupe’s expat character to be fluent in Mandarin. Coupe said she had about two weeks to immerse herself in the pinyin (phonetic) system before leaving, practicing two hours each day with a teacher here in LA.
“I think it’s hilarious, but when I got the call about this film, I was actually coming back from a French lesson,” she said. “I thought learning a language is like learning a language…no it’s not. Learning Chinese was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’m not a mathematical person, and Mandarin is incredibly mathematical.”
Coupe said the learning was an important part of the process. “As an actor, it was important to me to actually act and not just mimic, so I needed to know what [my character] was saying.” The hard work paid off, with the film and Coupe getting good notices from Variety and the Los Angeles Times, among others.
While her comedy career’s now in high gear, Coupe is the first to admit that the road wasn’t easy. “I took a class at the Groundlings and was not asked to move forward,” she said. “In their defense, I was not in a place where I could actually take in what I was learning. I needed to grow up a little bit…I wasn’t ready for it, and it showed.”
She retreated to her family’s New Hampshire home before making the move to New York, where she worked as a waitress and bathroom attendant in Times Square. In New York, Coupe said that she’d buy one ticket to either the Upright Citizen’s Brigade or the People’s Improv Theater and watch the sets from opening to last call, breaking down what the players were doing.
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