Kelsey Grammer 'Partners' with Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence (left) and Kelsey Grammer have an "Odd Couple" vibe as lawyers in the new FX series "Partners."
Martin Lawrence (left) and Kelsey Grammer have an "Odd Couple" vibe as lawyers in the new FX series "Partners."
Posted: August 05, 2014

* PARTNERS. 9 and 9:30 tonight, FX.

TWO DECADES ago, Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence were playing very different broadcast personalities on very different hit shows.

Tonight, the stars of "Frasier" and "Martin" join forces in a new FX sitcom, "Partners," as very different Chicago lawyers.

"We sat down in a room about two years ago and just fell in love," Grammer said of the otherwise unromantic-sounding process that led them back to TV.

"Partners," which shares a name with at least two previous sitcoms, is the latest cable comedy to be sold on the "10/90" model, in which a network orders 10 episodes, whose ratings performance may trigger an order for 90 more, as it did with Charlie Sheen's "Anger Management."

Grammer and Lawrence "actually do have the same agent, but that was not part of the reason we got together," Grammer said in an interview last month at a Fox Networks party at West Hollywood's Soho House.

At the time, "Martin was in development on a 10/90 at Lionsgate and [Starz's] 'Boss' finished and I spent awhile just relaxing and spending time with my new baby and my wife [Kayte, with whom he welcomed a second child last week] and things were wonderful."

Then, he said, he got a call asking what he'd think about "maybe doing a comedy with Martin Lawrence. And I said, 'You put those two things together, comedy and Martin Lawrence, and I'm interested.' I would not be doing this if it weren't for Martin."

After deciding they had chemistry, Grammer said, "we met with a whole bunch of writers over the next year-and-a-half or so and finally Bob [Boyett] and Robert [Horn] came in to the office and pitched us this idea. And we were very cool, very calm and they left and Martin and I turned to each other and said, 'What do you think?' And it was agreed upon that [theirs] was the best idea."

"So we're a couple of lawyers who have completely different backgrounds and completely different motives. And Martin is Felix and I'm Oscar," he said.

Well, technically Lawrence's character is Marcus and Grammer's is Allen. (CBS has an actual "Odd Couple" remake in the works starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon.)

The "Partners" meet when Marcus is going through a bad divorce, and Allen, who's just been fired by his father's law firm, helps him with the settlement.

Divorce isn't in the cards for Grammer's character.

"I made a deliberate choice" on Allen's personal life, he said.

"I can't distance myself from 'Frasier,' because I'm the same actor, you know, I mean it's the same voice, it's the same looks [but] . . . I did deliberately say I don't want" this character to date on the show.

"Because Frasier went to first base with 300 women over 11 years and enough already," Grammer said, laughing.

"I just don't want to see me do that again. So Martin will do that. My guy is married and has a wonderful marriage and a great relationship with this beautiful woman - and we never see her. So it's perfect."

Grammer's still disappointed that Starz canceled "Boss," the drama in which he starred for two seasons as a manipulative Chicago mayor with a degenerative illness.

"There was a story that we didn't get to tell. . . . It was just so fun and the whole idea was so good. I still haven't seen it on television. And I'm still mystified as to why we didn't stay on the air," he said, adding with a chuckle, "But so I'm mystified - so what?"


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