Matthew Perry Wins Decisive Battle in the War of the Friends

Chandler's new show premiered last night where Monica's old-new show should have been, and it blew it out of the water. Also today: lots of pilot casting news including TV roles for movie people, an interesting idea for The Office's future, and a scintillating blind item.

  • Ahh, the war of the Friends! It continues on. While Jennifer Aniston has clearly won and David Schwimmer has clearly lost, the rest of the Friends in the middle are still duking it out for second place. Lisa Kudrow is currently in the position, as she's fun and wonderful and does things that people respect. Matt LeBlanc has risen to second-to-last, as the horrible Joey-stink is slowly washed away by his surprisingly appealing turn on Episodes. So that leaves Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox to battle it out in the middle. Cox made an early surge when her Cougar Town got renewed for a second season, something Perry's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip failed to do. But now Perry is ahead once more, as his Mr. Sunshine premiered last night in Cougar Town's slot to some 10.6 million viewers, besting Cougar's numbers by over 30%. Boom shakalaka, Cox. Your move. If Scream 4 is a hit, she might pull ahead. But Kudrow is a distant second place, so Cox still has miles to go. Place your bets, everyone! [EW]
  • Pilot season continues apace with some big names climbing aboard small screen projects. Minnie Driver is in talks to take a lead role in the NBC pilot Free Agents, an adaptation of a British comedy set in a talent agency's office. They've moved from London to Hollywood, obviously. It would probably be better for someone of Driver's vast talents to take a job on cable rather than a network, but what can you do. Meanwhile Amanda Peet is close to signing up for another NBC pilot, this one a comedy called Bent, about gay prisoners at Dachau a suburban "Type-A" mom who has the hots for the "surfer-dude" who's redoing her kitchen. Aha. Sounds... Yeah. Kind of fun to think about who will play the surfer dude, though! I say go against type and cast Ben Whishaw. Why the hell not? Go a little crazy with it. [THR]
  • More pilot castings! Remember House Arrest? Of course you do. Remember the little dweeb who played Grover? Naturally. Well that little wimp is all grown up and is named Kyle Howard and was on My Boys and dates Lauren Conrad and now he's been cast as the lead in a pilot called Smothered, about a young couple whose parents, y'know, whatever. So yet another relationship drama from network TV. And with Grover to boot! Terrrrific. Meanwhile, Henry Ian Cusick, aka Desmond the lost lover from Lost, has signed on to the Shonda Rhimes pilot about crisis management that, we learned yesterday, will star Kerry Washington. Nice to get work. Wish it was different work. [Deadline]
  • Aha. Jesse Metcalfe, the wayward cock-and-balls who starred long ago on Desperate Housewives as a sexy-type gardener and then sorta flailed for a while, has landed a role on TNT's remake of Dallas. He'll play the adopted son of Bobby and Pam Ewing. So, good for him? I'm not sure what this Dallas reboot is really trying to accomplish. Who cares about Dallas? Now, a Swan's Crossing remake? There's something I could get behind. [Deadline]
  • Ricky Gervais apparently had a meeting with NBC recently about, among other things, The Office, and he suggested that they hire Will Arnett to replace Steve Carell, who is leaving at the end of the season. Not a half-bad idea! I don't know if Arnett would really want to join the show in its eighth season, but you never do know. May I also humbly suggest Lisa Kudrow as a new lady boss? Maybe just for a few episodes? She'd be wonderful! [THR]
  • There's a rumor afoot that one-time Hollywood A-list screenwriter turned redeemed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director Shane Black might be reteaming with Robert Downey Jr. to direct Iron Man 3. That'd be fun. I dunno. I feel the same way about Iron Man 3 as I do about Dallas. It's all a very big Fred Armisen-as-Joy Behar "Who cayuhs?" [EW]
  • Oohh, let's end with a fun TV blind item. Self-styled TV guru Michael Ausiello has a hot one:

    An imminent episode of a hit series will find a popular gay character wondering whether he might actually be - gasp - bi!

    The question of sexual disorientation arises after the confirmed bachelor has an encounter with a pivotal member of the opposite gender. (A close encounter, I'd imagine!) Afterwards, he's forced to consider the possibility that he swings both ways.

    The curve ball is sure to spark controversy, as well as perhaps a little disappointment. But on the flip side, at least the show will be giving hope to the hetero female viewers who've long wished the character played for their team.

    Commenters on his site are guessing Blaine from Glee: A Tragedy, but "long wished" and "confirmed bachelor" don't sound quite right for a teenage character who's only been on the show for a little while. Who else might it be?? My guess is some fool from Brothers & Sisters. There's a gay on that, right? Oh, but he's in a couple, isn't he. Hm... Oh! Someone also suggested Lafayette from True Blood. Do the ladies like him? Anyway, guess away. [TV Line]

[Photo via Getty]