How do you launch a new TV comedy series (oh, let’s say like “Ted Lasso” on Apple TV+) that becomes a fast hit with audiences (98% score from viewers at Rotten Tomatoes) and TV critics (90% score) and now enters the award derbies with strong odds in top races (see latest predictions at Gold Derby)?
In our fun chat (watch above), “Ted Lasso” co-creator Bill Lawrence reveals the hectic, hilarious and oft-terrifying tale of how and he and Jason Sudeikis launched their hit new show just months after it was green-lit by Apple TV Plus. Lawrence had previously created popular programs like “Scrubs” and “Spin City,” but “Ted Lasso” presented new challenges that tested the talent chops of everyone involved in the creative and production processes.
First off, how did it all begin?
“This started with me chasing Jason Sudeikis because I wanted him to be in a show that I had written. He liked it,” Lawrence notes, but Sudeikis seemed more interested in teaming up with him to create a different series that was somewhat based on a comical character named Ted Lasso who Sudeikis performed for a while in TV commercials promoting NBC’s Sports’ coverage of the Premier Soccer League. Sudeikis noted that he was often more widely recognized in public for the Lasso role than his other, impressive career work.
Lawrence and Sudeikis took up the challenge, but they realized they faced some major problems. In order for Lasso to become a popular TV character, his nature needed to be less bombastic and cocky. Furthermore, they were only given four months to launch the show after Apple approved the pilot episode. “Suddenly, we were concurrently writing all 10 episodes while we were trying to staff it and cast it in a country (the U.K.) that’s generally gray, rainy and cold,” he recalls. “It was rough, but it was fun.”
Watch the full interview to learn more about the fun, the challenges and terror that Lawrence, Sudeikis and the rest of the creative team endured while launching a show that’s already been green-lit by Apple for a third season.