We here at Zap2it noticed something a little strange in looking at the resume of TV legend James Burrows (“Taxi,” “Cheers,” “Friends”) Wednesday morning (May 16) following the CBS upfronts announcement of their new 2012-13 lineup: “Partners,” a new comedy for which Burrows directed the pilot, is already on his list of credentials — a sitcom from 1995 also named “Partners.”
And there are more similarities than just Burrows as a director. CBS describes “Partners” as “two life-long best friends and business partners whose ‘bromance’ is tested when one of them is engaged to be married.” The lead characters (played by David Krumholtz and Michael Urie) are architects, and Krumholtz’s fiancee is named Ali.
The 1995-96 comedy from FOX is described as “Best friends Bob and Owen work together as aspiring young architects on the rise, their relationship complicated by Owen’s recent engagement to Alicia.”
Weird, right? Disappointingly, co-creator David Kohan‘s real-life wife is named Blair and not Alicia or Ali.
The CBS description also says their “Partners” is “based on the lives of creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick,” who have worked together throughout their Hollywood careers — “Dream On,” “Boston Common,” “Good Morning Miami,” “Will & Grace,” “Four Kings” and “$#*! My Dad Says.”
The FOX “Partners” was not created by Kohan and Mutchnick, but by Jeff Greenstein and Jeff Strauss. Greenstein previously worked on 132 episodes of “WIll & Grace” — which was created by Kohan and Mutchnick. However, they didn’t all work together on “Will & Grace” until years after the FOX “Partners” went off the air.
There is one major difference between the 1995 “Partners” and the 2012 “Partners” — one of the friends in 2012, Louis (Urie), is gay and in a relationship with a male nurse (Brandon Routh). In 1995, both male friends on the show were straight.
However, that could really be chalked up to these times, they are a-changin’. And in real life, Mutchnick is openly gay.
There’s no reason to think that CBS’ new comedy “Partners” is not based on the lives of Kohan and Mutchnick. But we wonder if perhaps Jeff Greenstein put their story on the air years before they thought about doing so? Perhaps Kohan and Mutchnick unconsciously made their new show similar to its predecessor?
Updated to add: Greenstein actually added one more similarity in a tweet, “My God. The new Partners even has the old Partners’ time slot.”
And just in case you’re curious, the 1995 “Partners” starred Tate Donovan and Jon Cryer. And the woman whose engagement shakes up their relationship was Maria Pitillo then, Sophia Bush now. The opening credits sequence for “Partners” circa 1995 is below.