It was a tall order literally finding the right man to play opposite statuesque Jenna Elfman on CBS' Courting Alex, which makes its Wednesday-time-slot debut tonight at 8:30 pm/ET. In the end the sitcom opted to pair Josh Randall, the man formerly known as Ed's Dr. Mike, with the woman formerly known as Dharma. Here, Randall speaks with TVGuide.com about his alter ego's certain swagger and weighs in on how Alex avoided the grim fates suffered by Emily, Jake and that familiar Monkey.
TVGuide.com: Jenna is 5'10" and you're over 6 feet tall. I have to think that Courting Alex's casting office looked like basketball tryouts.
Josh Randall: [Laughs] You know, I happened to come in at a time when there wasn't anybody else waiting, but I imagine that was part of the criteria you had to have some height.
TVGuide.com: In what ways are you and your Courting Alex character, blue-collar Scott, the same? In what ways are you different?
Randall: I had a sort of similar route in life in that I have tried different things and tried not to lock myself into one particular path, and that's kind of the route he has taken, having worked in the corporate world and then as a firefighter in Montana, and now has come back to run his grandfather's bar. He and I are both open to what life brings you.
TVGuide.com: Are you as much a jeans-and-T-shirt kind of guy?
Randall: Not to the degree that he is. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: I like the certain "swagger" they've given Scott. For example, he knew from the get-go that Alex wanted him but she just wouldn't come out and say it.
Randall: The character had to have a certain degree of confidence to be able to match up to Jenna, who is so confident and smart and beautiful. He had to have some moxie to make their relationship work. But there is a fine line between having that and being cocky or arrogant, and I've been trying to find the balance there.
TVGuide.com: Seeing what happened to Heather Graham's (Emily's Reasons Why Not) and Tom Cavanagh's (Love Monkey) own mid-season series about the dating life, were you worried about what this TV season might have in store for Courting Alex?
Randall: Tom [the star of Ed] is a great friend of mine and I was sorry that his show wasn't given more of a shot, and Heather Graham's show, I was really surprised to see them take something off the air after one episode, but....
TVGuide.com: I mean, it's Heather Graham, for chrissake.
Randall: Yeah, it's Heather Graham, exactly. However, those shows were different in trying to kind of mine new territory in ways that we are not. As big a [film] star as Heather Graham is, Jenna has a built-in TV audience, which I think was to our advantage. As is having [sitcom vet] Dabney Coleman [playing Alex's father] all he has to do is walk onto the set to get laughs.
TVGuide.com: How did you react to the time-slot change?
Randall: I wasn't quite sure what to make of it at first, but I'm convinced, as many people are, that it's for the best and that it's a vote of confidence from CBS that they believe the show is working well enough on its own, that it no longer needs the swanky [Monday] time slot to get its audience. They must believe that we, along with Out of Practice (airing at 8 pm), can resurrect the Wednesday-night comedy lineup for CBS.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of Wednesdays... dude, you totally got your neck snapped as one of the tailies on Lost!
Randall: Yes! It's still sore.
TVGuide.com: You had to be stoked to dip your toe into that phenomenon, if only for just for a few minutes.
Randall: Yeah, it was great. I don't actually watch a whole lot of TV, but that's a show that I do try to catch, so it was really cool to be a part of it. In addition to being such a good show, it's a great atmosphere in which to work. It's [filmed in] Hawaii and the cast and crew are all easy and fun people. It's funny, when I went away to do Lost, it was a little while before we started Courting Alex, and I got a call at the end of my stay on Lost from [executive producer] Rob Hanning saying, "Where are you?! We need you back. We're about to start!" And then we just jumped into it, and we've been working steadily [ever] since.