For anything and everything else Kelsey Grammer does, he always has a soft spot for television comedy.
After his turns in the Starz drama series “Boss” and two of this summer’s movie blockbusters – “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” – the former “Frasier” star returns to weekly TV work by teaming with fellow sitcom veteran Martin Lawrence in the FX sitcom “Partners,” debuting Monday. They play very dissimilar Chicago lawyers who forge a professional bond when Allen (Grammer), booted out of his father’s firm, offers to handle Marcus’ (Lawrence) divorce settlement.
“My dream, when I was a kid, was to do just everything,” Grammer said, “drama, comedy, film, theater … to be able to have a career where you could navigate through all of it. That’s hard in America, because that’s not really the way we think about our actors. Where they have the most success is where we like to keep them.”
Meeting with Lawrence convinced Grammer that series comedy was his destiny again. “We’re not reinventing the wheel here,” the five-time Emmy winner allowed. “The real trick is putting Martin and myself in a room together, and there are some real nice people around us. This is ‘The Odd Couple’ reinvented, basically, maybe updated a little bit.”
Grammer also directed the “Partners” premiere. “I like that challenge,” he notes. “We actually front-loaded two episodes I directed, because I wanted to get Martin’s trust a little more.”
“Partners” follows the “10-90” model FX exercised on “Anger Management,” meaning the network can pick up 90 more episodes at once, based on how the initial 10 fare.
“By definition, the process has to be short, and the creative input is our responsibility,” Grammer reasoned. “In normal network programming these days, everybody’s got a say-so, and the process can be lengthy and sometimes kind of brutal. We don’t have to deal with that, and I’m actually very happy to be making snap decisions and doing a show we like. And let the chips fall where they may.”