Donny Deutsch has been around the block enough times to know what people are thinking when they hear that he has a new sitcom on USA Network.
“‘What? You f–king kidding me?’ If there was any other reaction, I’d be surprised,” Deutsch, the former host of CNBC talk show “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” recently told Business Insider.
Regardless, he is the star of a new sitcom on USA called “Donny!.” Co-created with Angie Day (“Made,” “The Rachel Zoe Project”), “Donny!” is being called “soft-scripted” by the network, which means it leaves room for improvisation. The show has the former advertising executive playing a talk-show host, a fictitious version of himself emphasising more clueless and obnoxious personality traits.
Aware that TV networks may not take him seriously on a scripted show, Deutsch decided to take a different route in putting “Donny!” together.
“If I had just gone into USA or any other network or studio fresh and had said, ‘Hey, I want to write a scripted comedy, and I want to star in it,’ they would have said, ‘You’re insane. There’s the door, we’ll see you soon.’ So, I knew I had to put a little bit of money where my mouth was and with Left/Right Productions, actually go out and shoot a pilot and show people.”
USA, which has been trying to build a comedy slate off the success of its “Modern Family” reruns for a couple years, liked the independently made pilot.
But what about the acting part? Deutsch said that he has never wanted to act and doesn’t really consider what he’s doing on the show acting.
“Let’s wind back the clock and if two years ago, Dick Wolf called me and said, ‘Hey, we want to cast you as a district attorney in ‘Law & Order,’ I would have no interest,” he insisted.
He sees “Donny!” as another form of content creation.
“I don’t think I’m acting,” he said. “I’m playing a hyper, much more idiotic version of myself, which isn’t that hard to do actually. I’m the butt of the joke, so I don’t see this as I’m going from being a CEO or a talk-show host to an actor. I see this as the same way I created ‘The Big Idea.’ This is another program I’m creating, another concept that is all about connecting people in some way, shape, form.”
“Donny!” premieres Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. on USA Network
Watch a preview below:
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