Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Matthew Perry

NBC/Art Streiber

When Matthew Perry met with a room full of reporters to promote his new series, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, he told them: "I'm here because of how good this script is and how bad The Whole 10 Yards was." Clearly, he hasn't lost his comedic edge. But mind you, Studio 60, which goes behind the scenes of a sketch comedy series, is actually a drama, and Perry's new small-screen alter ego--a serious, successful TV producer named Matt--is a far cry from Chandler Bing.

Your Studio 60 role is such a departure from the one you played for more than a decade. Did that take some adjusting?
It is different. It's a completely different side of my personality. My fallback position used to be to try to be funny at all costs, try to deflect, deflect, deflect, deflect. But I get to be a little more real here, which is cool. 

How does it feel to be back on NBC?
It's very surreal. We are shooting Studio 60 five feet away from the Friends stage. You can fit maybe one car in between the two stages. I'm very happy to be back, but I'm especially happy to be back on something I'm really proud of.

It seems like every couple of weeks or months, we keep on hearing about the inevitable Friends reunion or holiday special. What's the latest on that?
There's never been any talk about that, whatsoever. 

Are you and your Studio 60 [and Whole Nine Yards] costar Amanda Peet ever going to do anything without each other again?
I hope not! I really have fun working with her. 

With Entourage and now 30 Rock and Studio 60, do you think there's a trend of behind-the-scenes shows?
I know people do get into Hollywood stuff. That's why it's always funny for me when they are worried about [Studio 60] being too inside, when everybody's watching Entertainment Tonight and all these gossip shows. Hopefully, this show will be as real and dramatic as possible, 'cause I know I love watching those kinds of shows.

What's your favorite TV show?
I'm addicted to Lost. I absolutely love that show.

 When you weren't on TV, did you miss working?
It's not just me--I think most actors begrudge whatever it is they are doing right at the moment. So, when I'm out of work, I'm wishing I had a job, and when I have a job, I'd kill for some free time. They say the best day in an actor's life is when they get the job and when they finish the job. However, I feel this experience may prove contrary to that. 

What was the highlight of your break from TV?
I did this movie up in Vancouver, and that was a really interesting experience. I had a fun time doing that, a little independent movie called Numb--I have high hopes for it. And I've been building a house that should be ready soon--just in time for me to be back in that Burbank studio 18 hours a day.

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