’Cougar Town’ returns to TV after 9-month hiatus

NEW YORK (AP) — Courteney Cox likes being part of a team. She loved being part of an ensemble on “Friends” and feels the same way about the direction her show “Cougar Town” has taken on ABC.

It debuted with Cox’s character, Jules, as a 40-something divorcee who dated younger men and quickly moved away from that to focus on her relationship with her friends.

“I think all successful shows are ensembles,” Cox said Tuesday in an interview with co-star Josh Hopkins. “It seems like you have to be supported by somebody. You can’t just come out and do a one-man show.”

Cox, Hopkins and the rest of the “Cougar Town” cast have been on a whirlwind promotional tour for the show’s third season, which premiered Tuesday night after a nine-month hiatus.

The show wasn’t on the network’s fall schedule but snagged a time slot after “Work It,” a comedy about guys in drags, was canceled.

Cast members have been attending viewing parties with fans, making TV appearances and tweeting about the show’s return, all in an attempt to inspire viewers to tune in.

“It’s been really important for us to get out and support the show, and we have heartily,” Hopkins says.

Cox says some fans have been confused about the show’s future, mistakenly thinking it had been canceled.

“We have to remind people that it’s coming back on,” Cox says. “And we have to let people know that it’s not a show about cougars. It’s a show about adult friendships.”

In the series, Jules spends most of her time palling around and drinking red wine with her group of friends, including her ex-husband, Bobby (played by Brian Van Holt.) No one works much, which has been poked fun at in the show. “Cougar Town” also rewards its viewers with inside jokes about the cast and callback humor in the writing.

Everything the characters make fun of Jules for is something that co-creator and executive producer and writer Bill Lawrence has made fun of Cox for in real life, she says.

This season, she also channeled her self-professed obsessive compulsiveness into directing two episodes of the series.

“She’s such a good director,” Hopkins says. “It was so nice to have a shorthand. Some directors worry about offending you. She would just come up and say, ‘No. Do it like this.”’

“Let me just put it this way,” Cox says. “In my episodes, he shines!”

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Online:

http://abc.go.com/shows/cougar-town

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