Most critics, when we heard about Fox's fall sitcom Back To You, were skeptical about its shopworn premise -- a pompous, airhead anchorman raises havoc in a crummy local television news department. We've seen that a few hundred times, if not a few thousand. But the show's going to be a hit, and the top two reasons were on display at a Back To You panel Sunday: the stars, Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton. These two don't have to reinvent the sitcom to get laughs; they are just funny, funny people.
Heaton, for example, was asked why she took the part. "I was doing this play in New York for 600 bucks a week, and they said there's this sitcom," she replied, "and I said, 'Yes, whatever it is!''' (Interjected Executive Producer Steven Levitan, dryly: "That's very flattering, Patty.") Then someone noted to Grammer that many stars of classic sitcoms like Seinfeld and Friends get out of the genre when the shows end, saying they can't possibly top what they've already done. To which Grammer acidly observed: ""I think it might be actually accurate that they've done all they possibly could."
And finally, when a critic noted on the oddity that two of Hollywood's famously few Republicans, Grammer and Heaton, would wind up on the same show, Grammer cracked: "We couldn't find anybody else that would work with us."
Now just imagine what happens when Heaton and Grammer start working with writers.