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Will David Tennant Be The Next Hugh Laurie?

Baxter
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Posted November 4, 2009 - By Joseph Baxter

Will David Tennant Be The Next Hugh Laurie?

While fans may be preemptively mourning the loss of David Tennant's Dr. Who, it seems that the soon-to-be former Time-Lord has already found himself another regular role. Tennant will soon be heading to the States to star in a new hour-long series for NBC called Rex Is Not Your Lawyer. (Catchy, huh?)

Tennant will soon be trading his TARDIS for torts, as he will portray a Chicago litigator named Rex Alexander. Rex seems to have issues with panic attacks and decides that actually presenting cases himself is a bit too stressful, so he takes up the practice of secretly coaching clients to represent themselves. Based on that description, the premise of the show seems to center on Rex's personal phobias (which could potentially be "Monkishly" funny) and his struggle to maintain the lie regarding his secret role of supporting the clients. (Thus, the title.)

The Hollywood Reporter makes an observation about Tennant's selection for the role as being reminiscent of another British actor's big break on American television. About 5 years ago, this particular British actor, who was best known for sketch comedy and movie bit-parts, hit huge when he landed the lead role on an American television pilot for Fox as an eccentric doctor. That actor was Hugh Laurie, and the show, of course, was House. (Although I can honestly say that THR didn't take the time to put the "Paul Harvey-like" spin on the angle.)

The show sounds a bit like Remington Steele meets Eli Stone. While it may risk drifting into the clichéd paradigm of the "lawyer who learns lessons in life," I speculate that much like what "Gregory House" would eventually become to Hugh Laurie, this series may be a good vehicle to showcase Tennant's versatility in both the comedic and (perhaps, less often,) the dramatic. As long as it can avoid falling into realms of Law & Order-like dramatics or the "psuedo-documentary" atmosphere that seemingly every NBC sitcom since The Office shares, it may be able to find a niche for itself, rested on Tennant's appeal. However, it still remains to be seen as to whether the character itself will be a springboard or crutch to that appeal.

Will David Tennant be the next British mainstay to hit big on the American television scene? I'm sure NBC hopes so, given their place in the rating wars. Tennant (unlike Laurie) would actually have the advantage of a built-in American following, going into the new show. Whether or not that demographic will translate into big numbers is the big question.

As of now, no time has been officially set for the series' debut.

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