On October 3, I wrote about the PEOPLE cover story on Meg Ryan: Inside Her New Life. I looked for it a few times at the grocery store but didn’t find the full print edition, but it doesn’t matter anyway because, as I suspected at the time, it was just a precursor to Meg easing back into the spotlight.
It was indeed. Meg has just confirmed a comedy pilot for NBC. The role is like one of her 80s rom-com characters all grown up: “sunny, devoted and desperately non-confrontational single mom who decides to return to her New York publishing house where she was once a brilliant editor.” It’s pretty much perfect in many ways: it’s network, which means a broader and slightly older demographic than cable (exactly the demo that would watch a Meg Ryan comedy), it’s about a comeback (who doesn’t love a comeback!) and it’s autobiographical enough to be relatable but not so close to the bone that it’s uncomfortable for anyone.
And you know what Meg proved with her PEOPLE/pilot strategy? That, even though the story was simple and transparent, familiarity is welcome with audiences. She didn’t have to join Twitter or do a reality show, all she had to do was have her publicist call up an editor and the story wrote itself: happy single mom in the city, committed but not married, totally over the Hollywood BS. It’s not radical, but it is certainly is (almost) relatable.
And for +50 actors, it’s also proof positive that going away doesn’t mean it’s over… because there’s always TV! Meg will have some creative input, a steady schedule, and more control than she would with film. It’s less risk, too: if it flops, she wouldn’t have committed months of filming and promotion time. And a cancelled TV show is much easier on a reputation than a box office bomb - bad TV shows don’t’ “flop,” they just kind of go away. If it’s good, it’ll be her comeback, and if it’s bad, it will be quickly forgotten. Hard to lose with TV.
When it airs, I’m making a 3 episode commitment. I just have too much nostalgia for Kathleen Kelly to not watch it, you know? Meg Ryan has turned me into NBC’s target market with one PEOPLE cover and a pilot. Not bad.
(Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)