Lisa Kudrow’s Web Therapy has not had a typical trip to television to say the least. The series, which finds Kudrow playing Fiona Wallace, a not-so-accredited therapist who conducts sessions online, already has three seasons worth of three- to seven-minute webisodes available for viewing. But tonight marks its Showtime debut, where the show takes on a half-hour format, with the episodes comprised of the webisodes and material formerly available only via mobile devices.
“I like to say I’m busy enough,” says the actress, who juggles the production of Web Therapy‘s fourth online season with work on the third season of her heritage-tracing series Who Do You Think You Are.
EW caught up with Kudrow to talk about Web Therapy‘s interesting trip to television, her star-studded guest cast, and pitch our fantasy crossover ideas. (Hint: We love Friends!)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can you tell me about the transition Web Therapy is making from online to Showtime? Did it come as a surprise to you that they picked it up even though the content was online?
LISA KUDROW: No. They felt like the tone of the show was a fit, and we completely agree. The surprise to us is that a half-hour of this is still interesting to watch. That was our only concern because they were designed to be no longer than seven minutes per piece, but putting the pieces together, it still works really well. So it’s great. We had already built in narratives — each client has a story arc. So we can split them up over different episodes, and it makes it serialized, and it’s great.
Are all the first episodes that we’re going to see on Showtime comprised of online content that already existed?
It’s mixed. About half of the stuff was on a mobile platform but was not on L Studios’ [website]. So that’s spread throughout the [Showtime] series.
If you all get picked up again, are you going to be filming new material for that?
We got through web seasons 1 and 2. So 3 is out there, and we’re about to shoot 4. But we’ll see what we have to do if we are lucky enough to do another Showtime season.
So you’re continuing to produce for the web even though you’re on Showtime?
We had a deal with Lexus; they had an option on a fourth season. And Showtime only bought 10 episodes. I hope it works out because who would have thought that two people talking on webcams — just a series of singles and two-shots — could sustain a half-hour of TV? It’s really great for character stuff and story development. It’s kind of thrilling, I have to say.
You have such a great list of guest stars and co-stars — Jane Lynch, Victor Garber. What’s it like improvising with all of them?
Victor Garber is a great actor. I believe a great actor can do anything in the world — comedy, drama, and can improvise. He’s been great. We had Meryl Streep do three webisodes, and she’s the greatest actress that ever lived, so, of course, she’s a fantastic improviser. Also, what people will probably see for the first time on Showtime is Lily Tomlin, and that’s just…don’t get in her way [during a scene]. Just let her go. She’s so funny. She plays this very uptight, buttoned-up Bostonian woman, and we can see why Fiona is the way she is. Then that person just devolves. She completely disintegrates before our eyes, and it’s really funny.
People tend to disintegrate before Fiona’s eyes.
But usually at the hands of Fiona — just on her own, she falls apart. [Laughs] Or does she?
What can you tell me about season 4? What kind of guest stars are we going to be seeing on the web part of the show?
I would like to wait until we’ve actually shot them to make sure everybody shows up — but they should because it takes, like, a half a day. It’s not a huge commitment. We have some fantastic people.
Now that you’re network-mates with Matt LeBlanc, are there any chances of a cross-over with Episodes?
That’s a good question. I hope so. He is so great, so funny. I hope he’ll have time. He has to go off and shoot another season of Episodes.
Have you had a chance to catch Episodes yet?
Oh, I haven’t missed one. I love it.
He was nominated for an Emmy for it.
I know! So deserving, too. I think he’s fantastic.
There are so many people on his show that are in need of web therapy, so I think it would make a fantastic cross-over.
Well which character on Showtime wouldn’t need web therapy? [Laughs]
(Lanford Beard contributed to this report)