Entertainment Weekly is on the scene at ATX in Austin, Texas. Go inside the TV festival with all our coverage, available here.
Could The Comeback make a comeback? Yes, according to co-creator and star Lisa Kudrow.
“There’s always a possibility,” Kudrow said Sunday at the series’ panel during ATX TV Festival in Austin, Texas. “If [season 2] was a possibility, if this happened, yeah.”
Co-creator Michael Patrick King supported the idea of a third season, using a water bottle promoting a television show to illustrate what Valerie Cherish’s (Kudrow) next chapter might look like. “There’s so much aggressive sales needed, it’s like a perfect humiliation trap,” he said.
King noted Kudrow’s desperate yet lovable actress could get “lost” in the abundance of “small shows that you’ve never heard of” on networks and streaming services “you can’t even find,” suggesting she would become the “Where’s Waldo of television” should HBO greenlight a third season of the cult classic.
The Comeback has already been revived, of course. In 2014, HBO debuted season 2 of the series nearly 10 years after its premiere in 2005. Kudrow and King were able to secure the return of the series’ major characters, including executive producer Dan Bucatinsky (Billy) and Janes (Laura Silverman), who were also at the panel Sunday.
Getting the whole gang back together again is not a possibility for a third season, though: Robert Michael Morris, who played Valerie’s doting hair stylist (Mickey), died at age 77 in late May, weeks before the cast’s scheduled appearance at ATX on Sunday.
“He died on a Tuesday, and on Monday he called me,” King said of his last conversation with Morris. “The reason he called me is to let me know, from the hospital, that he wouldn’t be able to make it to this festival.”
As the audience spontaneously said “aww” in unison, King continued: “And he didn’t want anybody to be disappointed. He actually said, ‘I don’t think I’m going to be able to make it.’ And he died the next day.”
King described his “very long relationship” with Morris, who was his college theater teacher long before King and Kudrow cast him in a role King knew was perfect for his mentor. “The reason we wanted Michael, the reason it worked, is because he was retired from acting,” King said of the late actor. “And he actually is such a personality, it felt like somebody who wandered in from a reality show. That was our whole goal: to not have acting visible.”
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Kudrow recalled how Morris gave her a necklace from QVC at his network audition, revealing the actor was just as thoughtful as his character. “It immediately felt like a good luck charm,” she said. “And he was fantastic [at the audition]. There was no debate from HBO even.”
Morris’ performances alongside Kudrow can be seen in the first two seasons of The Comeback, which are available for streaming on HBO NOW and HBO GO.