Matthew Perry

John Sciulli/WireImage.com

Matthew Perry is getting gabby.

After a short-lived season on NBC's defunct Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, the Friends alum is rebounding to cable, coming aboard to executive produce and star in The End of Steve, a dark comedy series for Showtime chronicling the ups and downs of an afternoon talk-show emcee.

Perry cocreated and will cowrite Steve with veteran tube producer Peter Tolan, the mastermind behind HBO's The Larry Sanders Show and FX's Rescue Me and screenwriter of Analyze This.

The half-hour pilot centers on the titular character (Perry) as he tries to balance his professional life, in which he's viewed as a likeable, funny guy on his chatfest, and his personal life as he struggles over a love affair with the station's morning show host.

Meanwhile, in other casting news:

  • Janet Jackson wants her MTV. The diva will front a reality contest in which she mentors a group of wannabe singers and dancers in advance of her world tour, which launches Sept. 10. The goal is to find the next big R&B star.
  • That '70s Show's Wilmer Valderrama is joining forces with Fox again to headline the comedy pilot The Emancipation of Ernesto, which he will also executive produce. The hourlong series revolves around a Forrest Gump-like innocent on an epic journey to find his father and a long lost love in Los Angeles, with a tone said to be similar to Steve Martin's The Jerk.
  • Sopranos veterans Lorraine Bracco and Jamie-Lynn Sigler are set to reunite in the indie comedy Son of Mourning, playing a mother and love interest, respectively, of a resentful ad copywriter (Joseph Cross), who's mistaken for a spiritual savior. Heather Graham costars.
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