WhatsOnTV Chats With Courteney Cox

Thursday, Feb 3, 2011

Courteney Cox is giving up younger men in a new-look Cougar Town…

When the Courteney Cox comedy Cougar Town premiered last year, the show’s storylines centred on the romantic adventures of recently divorced 40-year-old estate agent Jules Cobb as she dated a succession of younger men.

But following negative feedback from critics and viewers, the show’s producers were forced into a rethink. Ditching the age-difference angle, they decided to switch the show’s focus on to Jules’s relationships with her fun-loving, boozy group of friends, including bartender boyfriend Grayson (Josh Hopkins) and next-door neighbour Andy (Ian Gomez).

Cougar Town’s new direction gave it an immediate boost in the US where Entertainment Weekly declared that the sitcom had been transformed from a ‘creative disappointment into one of the funniest shows on TV’.

Now it’s the turn of UK viewers to make up their minds. The series returns to Sky Living on Tuesday, February 8 with an opening episode featuring Cox’s former Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston as Jules’ unconventional shrink.

TV&Satellite Week magazinespoke to Courteney to find out more…

Was it fun reuniting with Jennifer Aniston?
“We’d been talking about her guesting for a while, but she was so busy last year that we had to find a time when she was around. She’s a big fan of the series and it was so amazing and fun to do. Working together is easy for us. We always make jokes about doing another sitcom together one day because we had such a good time on Friends.”

Is it true there were plans to change Cougar Town’s name?
“At first I think a lot of viewers were turned off by the title. It’s the worst title in the history of all television and a lot of people didn’t want to watch me with younger guys every week. That’s not what the show is about any more. It’s more about me and my unique family and friends. We’ve really changed the concept, but it’s too late to get out of the title now.”

How much are you like Jules?
“A ton. Like Jules, I say everything that is on my mind. Bill Lawrence, the show’s creator, has taken parts of my personality and exaggerated it. He has got to know me so well and he’s even interviewed my friends and family about what I’m like.”

Jules is always knocking back booze on the show. So, are you equally fond of drinking wine?
“I’m not going to lie, I do love wine and I have a fancy palate. I like French, Italian and Californian wines, but I don’t like it as sweet as I used to. I enjoy vodka as well.”

You are also an executive producer on the show. Do you enjoy your behind-the-scenes role?
“I want to be more than just an actor for hire. I really love to produce, I care about editing, and I want to be in charge of the casting. I make sure I am surrounded by nice people on the show. No jerks allowed.”

Do you still feel pressure to match the success of Friends?
“I would probably take it very personally and blame myself if Cougar Town wasn’t a success. But times are different now. There are many more channels for people to watch. We got huge ratings for Friends. It was crazy how many people used to watch it.”

Has fame changed you over the years?
“I don’t think I have changed one bit. If anything I am probably more compassionate. I speak my mind, but I think people who know me can handle it. With me, you certainly get what you get.”