US network CBS has dusted off the iconic sitcom The Odd Couple for a remake which will star former Friends actor Matthew Perry.
CBS has ordered a pilot episode from Perry and Frasier writer/producer Joe Keenan.
Based on Neil Simon’s 1965 Broadway play of the same name, The Odd Couple is about two mismatched male roommates – one a slob, the other excessively tidy – who share an apartment in New York.
In the Broadway production, Walter Matthau played the the slob Oscar Madison while Art Carney played the excessively tidy Felix Ungar.
Matthau returned for the 1968 film adaptation, in which Jack Lemmon replaced Carney.
A television adaptation followed, airing between 1970 and 1975 and starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall as the mismatched roommates.
Plans to revive it for television first surfaced in December when Perry and CBS started talking about the possibility.
“Ever since seeing the movie The Odd Couple when I was 10 years old, it has been a dream for me to play Oscar Madison,” Perry said.
“To be given the opportunity to develop a modern version of it for CBS has put a permanent smile across my face. Plus, I think it’s time for me to be in front of a live audience again. I miss that.”
The role of Felix Ungar has not yet been cast.
A number of attempts to revive or re-imagine the concept have been attempted over the years, notably a sequel to the 1968 film with Matthau and Lemmon which was produced in 1998 and another sitcom, The New Odd Couple, which was produced in 1982.
In 1985 Simon wrote a female version of the play, The Female Odd Couple, in which the characters of Oscar and Felix were changed to Olive and Florence.
Two notable productions of that play have been mounted – a 1985 production in New York which starred Rita Moreno and Sally Struthers, and a 2001 production in London which starred Jenny Seagrove and Paula Wilcox.