Monty Brinton/CBS
Natalie Abrams
January 12, 2015 AT 07:09 PM EST

Matthew Perry is taking another swing at multi-camera comedy with CBS’ The Odd Couple adaptation, which comes after years of starring on mostly critically acclaimed, but low-rated series, including Mr. Sunshine, Go On and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

“They at least aspired to be something different, which was cool,” the Friends alum told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s winter TV previews of his short-lived shows. “But the hours were just insane.” Hence, Perry returning to the format that put his name on the map. “I forgot the hours on a sitcom are actual normal hours. You can actually have a normal life. It’s really fun to be in front of an audience. I hadn’t done that since 2004.”

Though, Perry joked that the real truth of his return to TV: “I’m doing The Odd Couple because my attempt at being a movie star failed.” His last film was Zac Efron’s 17 Again in 2009, though viewers may recall 1997’s Fools Rush In or 2000’s The Whole Nine Yards, followed by its sequel in 2004.

As for his new series—a modern-day take on Neil Simon’s 1965 Broadway play—Perry plays the easygoing Oscar Madison opposite Thomas Lennon as uptight neat freak Felix Unger. “I think this show is just as good as Dances with Wolves,” he deadpanned. “What’s cool about this show is it’s just trying to be funny. We’re just trying to make people laugh. It’s based on chemistry and we’re really lucky that Tom and I have great chemistry.”

The Odd Couple premieres Thursday, Feb. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

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