Kris Marshall is a month away from his comedy series’ debut, but already, he knows what it’s like to follow “Glee.”
Perhaps best-known as the office pastry-peddler who comes to America in the 2003 movie “Love Actually,” the British actor plays one of several pals wedded to their respective driver’s seats in “Traffic Light,” FOX’s Americanization of an Israeli show premiering Tuesday, Feb. 8. Earlier that night, “Glee” resumes new episodes, and Marshall has had impromptu training for that positioning.
“When we were at the FOX upfronts in New York, they had a meet-and-greet, and we were right behind ‘Glee’,” he tells Zap2it from Australia, where he’s filming the movie “A Few Best Men” with Olivia Newton-John. “That meant we had to wait a while to meet anyone, because we were absolutely unknown, and we were right behind this huge hit.
“Of course, everyone wanted their picture taken with the ‘Glee’ guys. They just wanted to Gleek out. When we finally got up there, this one guy came up, and he had watched the original Israeli version of our show. And he just went on and on, saying, ‘This is my favorite show.'”
Fate, if not the FOX programming department, played a hand in partnering “Traffic Light” with “Glee.” Marshall reports that “originally, we were due to follow ‘American Idol’ … which is obviously huge. We loved that idea, then ‘Idol’ was pushed to Wednesday and Thursday, and Tuesday became comedy night.
“We are the right bedfellow for that post-‘Glee’ slot, but ‘Idol’ will still get enormous figures, even though Simon Cowell has left. We were hoping to get a little of that action.”
In any event, Marshall is satisfied with the way things have turned out: “This is a slot where we can grow. We’re not right in the glare, and we fit after ‘Glee’ and ‘Raising Hope.’ If you’re after ‘Idol,’ you have to pull in some of those 20 million viewers or whatever they get, but we’re protected here. It’s my belief that this show grows as you watch more of it.”