For four seasons, Matt LeBlanc starred opposite Liza Snyder on CBS sitcom “Man With a Plan”.
However, Snyder wasn’t the first actress cast as the wife of LeBlanc’s character; in the series pilot, Jenna Fischer played the role, and in the latest edition of her “Office Ladies” podcast (via Entertainment Weekly) she recalls being fired because the members of a focus group didn’t think that Pam from “The Office” and Joey from “Friends” were a good fit.
According to Fischer, she was preparing to head to New York for the network upfronts when she received some bad news.
“The first thing I said was, ‘Is [‘Man With a Plan’] not getting picked up?'” Fischer told “Office Ladies” co-host Angela Kinsey. “And they said, ‘It’s worse than that, hun.’ And I was like, ‘What’s worse than that?’ They said, ‘It’s getting picked up, but without you.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, I guess I’ll unpack my suitcase… Yeah, I almost cut bangs in my hair that day… You stopped me.”
“I didn’t want you to cut your hair that day,” Kinsey replied. “I said, ‘You know what? Let’s pick a different day. Let’s pick a different day to change your whole look.'”
“I got hired, I shot the pilot,” Fischer said. “While I was there, the network said they wanted more scenes with me. I was like, ‘I am nailing it!’ More scenes means you’re doing a good job. Well, I guess after we finished it, they showed it to focus groups.”
“And they didn’t like you?” Kinsey asked.
“They said — this is a literal quote, they said, ‘I don’t believe Pam would marry Joey. The chemistry doesn’t work between these two,'” Fischer said. “That was the feedback they got.”
“They could only see you as Pam and Joey?” Kinsey asked.
“Yeah,” Fischer answered. “So it wasn’t working for them that we got married and had a family.”