The actress, who rose to fame as Pam in the long-running workplace comedy, was set to star in the CBS series opposite Matt LeBlanc, who famously starred in Friends as the lovable — if not so bright — Joey.
While two sitcom superstars may seem like an ideal match for a new comedy, Fischer explained on the latest episode of her — which she co-hosts with fellow The Office alumni Angela Kinsey — that it was her and LeBlanc’s previous characters that derailed that plan.
After shooting the pilot, Fischer explained that focus groups were brought in to evaluate the episode.
“They said — this is a literal quote, they said, ‘I don’t believe Pam would marry Joey. The chemistry doesn’t work between these two,'” Fischer told Kinsey. “That was the feedback they got.”
She said she was surprised when her agent called her to say she wasn’t moving forward with the project.
“The first thing I said was, ‘Is it not getting picked up?’ And they said, ‘It’s worse than that, hun.’ And I was like, ‘What’s worse than that?’ They said, ‘It’s getting picked up, but without you,’” Fischer shared. “And I was like, ‘Wow, I guess I’ll unpack my suitcase.'”
Man With a Plan ran for four seasons from 2016 to 2020. Liza Snyder replaced Fischer in the role
Fischer previously spoke on Office Ladies about how she felt her character received sexist criticism over the course of the show’s nine seasons. She explained how Pam’s love interest, Jim — played by John Krasinski — did not get the same blowback Pam did when making very similar choices.
“When Pam went to art school for only three months when she was not yet married and didn't have children, people came down real hard on her because of Jim's feelings," said Fischer. “Then, when Jim invested in a business without telling Pam, and left his family, and left Pam alone to care for their two children while he chased his dreams, people came down on Pam again for not being supportive enough of Jim.”
She continued, “So in both of these instances I just want to say I noticed a lot of hate for Pam. Do I want to call it sexist? I do.”
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