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Retro bleak: Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence are 'Partners' in groaners

In 2012, CBS premiered a new show about two odd-couple male pals. It was called Partners, and on the surface, it seemed to have everything going for it—a prime slot following How I Met Your Mother, a great pedigree courtesy of two ’90s sitcom wizards (it was created by Max Mutchnick and David Kohan of Will & Grace fame), two charismatic stars (Michael Urie and David Krumholtz). Even so, Partners failed to gain traction. Critics griped that its old-fashioned jokes were tired rather than appealingly retro; just a few weeks into the 2012-2013 TV season, it became one of the first shows to get the ax.

Clearly, those who don’t pay attention to TV history are doomed to repeat it.

FX’s newest offering, like the CBS series, is a lowest-common-denominator comedy with a laugh track. It was also created by two men whose careers peaked in the ’90s—Robert Horn produced Living Single and the short-lived CBS sitcom High Society; Robert L. Boyett’s last name will be familiar to anyone who grew up watching Miller/Boyett family comedies like Full House, Family Matters, and Step by Step. It, too, stars two veteran actors, albeit ones significantly more seasoned than Urie and Krumholtz: five-time Emmy Award winner Kelsey Grammer and ex-Martin star (and onetime Big Momma) Martin Lawrence. Like that other show, Partners is also called, uh, Partners.

Most importantly: Both are stereotype-laden throwbacks to a simpler time when multi-cam sitcoms ruled and no joke was too broad. And both are, well, not that good. READ FULL STORY

'Hot in Cleveland' taps 'Ugly Betty' alum Michael Urie for guest spot -- EXCLUSIVE

Although his show Partners was cancelled back in November, Michael Urie has found work on another comedy. EW has exclusively learned that Urie — who used to star as the beloved Marc St. James on ABC’s Ugly Betty — will guest star on the next season of TV Land’s hit Hot in Cleveland.

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Michael Urie talks new CBS show 'Partners,' the evolution of the gay sitcom

ABC’s dramedy Ugly Betty was memorable for innumerable reasons, but one in particular stands out: Michael Urie. The actor played the ever-colorful and ever-bitchy fashionista Marc St. James, who stole scenes with a band of robbers including co-stars Becki Newton and Vanessa Williams. Although he won’t be with his old Betty cronies, Urie is returning to TV tonight at 8:30 p.m. in CBS’ sitcom Partners, playing one-half of a pair of friends — one gay, one straight.

EW recently caught up with the actor to talk about his return to TV, playing opposite (a former) Superman, and which old co-star he wants to play his mother.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Welcome back! Were you looking to get back into TV?
MICHAEL URIE: Not really. But when I read this part, I was like, Okay, this is a part I could get and I have to get. I have to hustle. I have to make this happen because it could be my only chance for a great leading role in a TV show.

Are you excited or nervous about doing a traditional sitcom?
I’m like a kid in a candy store, since Partners mixes everything that I love about television and theater. The difference between Partners and Ugly Betty is this awesome live audience, so in that respect, it’s like doing a play. The audience is ripe. But also, they’re honest. They won’t laugh if they don’t get the joke.

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'Partners' creators take heat for title, silmilarities to Fox sitcom of the same name

Remember a show called Partners that aired on Fox back in the 1995? So do the creators of CBS’s upcoming fall comedy, Partners. And they are unfazed by the coincidence.

“I obviously knew Jeff [Greenstein] had done a show called Partners, but I wasn’t very familiar with it,” said executive producer David Kohan today during the show’s panel during the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles.

Greenstein, who co-created the Fox show Partners, previously worked as a writer on Will & Grace, which Kohan and fellow executive producer Max Mutchnick created.

The Fox sitcom centered around two architects (Jon Cryer and Tate Donovan) and Donovan’s character’s fiancee. The CBS comedy follows two architects and lifelong friends (David Krumholtz and Michael Urie) and their respective lives with their significant others. It is based on Mutchnick and Kohan’s friendship, and they said they felt the title was a “perfect” fit for their show.

“[Greenstein] is a great writer. He worked for us for a number of years. It was a wonderful experience. I’m not really sure why [the similarities are] interesting,” Mutchnick said. “It’s just such a different world. I actually never saw Partners.”

Greenstein seems less than enthused about the similarities, tweeting “Gee, how’d THAT happen?” in response to a tweet that claimed the two shows were “eerily similar.”

Star Krumholtz, meanwhile, had hit own take on the matter: “Is it an ‘unfortunate coincidence’ that my character’s name is Tate Donovan?” Mutchnick had previously used the phrase “unfortunate coincidence” to describe the situation, but later redacted.

CBS fall posters released: 'Elementary,' 'Vegas,' more

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched?

CBS just unveiled its official marketing key art for its four new fall shows: Elementary, Vegas, Partners and — going all crazy with a three-word title — Made in Jersey. The first few ads all features characters intently staring into your soul, eyeballing you into submission, while the cast of Partners has fun amongst themselves. Check out all the posters below and let us know what you think: READ FULL STORY

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