Fall TV Preview: Can Matt LeBlanc’s ‘Man with a Plan’ prove to be a winner?

Man with a Plan -

It’s fairly clear why CBS would want to pick up a show like “Man with a Plan.” If there’s ever a show in the wheelhouse of what they’re trying to do at present with family sitcoms, this is it. You’ve got an established veteran of the genre in Matt LeBlanc playing a goofy dad trying to find his way with his kids, and you’ve got it on a night in Mondays that have been very good for comedy in the past.

What’s actually been the most interesting storyline of the summer with this show has been the swapping out of the female lead. Per The Wrap, Jenna Fischer (“The Office”) was originally playing the wife of LeBlanc’s character, but was cut over what were apparently concerns over fit. Liza Snyder has since replaced her.

You can see below our full take on the show, at least based on what we know right now, in the latest chapter of our Fall Preview series.

Premiere Date and Timeslot Competition – Monday, October 24 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. The show is not starting until after CBS wraps things up in terms of its Thursday Night Football plan, so you’re going to be waiting for a while for this one. In terms of competition, there’s a lot of it in between “The Voice,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Gotham,” and “Supergirl.” The good news is that none of these are comedies.

Logline – “MAN WITH A PLAN stars Golden Globe Award winner Matt LeBlanc in a comedy about a contractor who starts spending more time with his kids when his wife goes back to work and discovers the truth all parents eventually realize: Their little angels are maniacs. Adam feels fully equipped to take on more parenting responsibilities while his self-assured wife, Andi, returns to the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for 13 years. However, Adam is blindsided by how tough it is to wrangle three messy kids who can’t live without Wi-Fi. Their preteen daughter, Kate, is a master manipulator and initially thrilled that ‘Daddy Fun Times’ is taking over, middle child Teddy can’t seem to keep his hands out of his pants despite constant reminders, and their precious youngest, Emme, is nervous about starting kindergarten under the stern supervision of Mrs. Wannamaker. In the midst of it all, Adam’s older brother and business partner, Don, enjoys giving him terrible advice about how to run his family. But, with Andi’s encouragement and advice from a couple of equally stressed parents, Marie and Lowell, Adam takes charge of his brood, lays down the law and discovers he’s going to ‘nail’ this job.”

Cast – Matt LeBlanc, Liza Snyder, Jessica Chaffin, Matt Cook, Grace Kaufman, Hala Finley and Matthew McCann.

Trailer – Well, there is no current one because of Fischer’s departure, but we’ve seen the original version and it’s fairly run-of-the-mill when it comes to sitcom family fare: You’ve got a clueless dad trying to figure things out with his kids. There are a couple of laughs, but many of them feel done already on “Last Man Standing” or “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Legendary director James Burrows had actually filmed the pilot, so that does give you a sense of the history present there.

Overall Take – This show feels ironically like something that would have been on CBS competing against “Friends” at the time that LeBlanc was on the show. If this was 15 years ago, we’d argue that this was an almost-immediate hit. However, our main concern now is that there’s not enough of a unique angle, and that could be a tough sell for viewers with so many options.

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