NBC has made it official, to the surprise of absolutely no one. Friends may be over come May, but the end will mark just another beginning for Joey Tribbiani, aka Matt LeBlanc, who'll headline the most significant TV spinoff since Cheers begat Frasier 11 years ago. When Joey premieres a year from September, no doubt in Friends's current Thursday time period, will it be a repeat of Frasier's unexpected success, or will it launch a "Friends curse" on the order of the sorry track record of Seinfeld alums Michael Richards, Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus? It's way too early to tell, but only a complete curmudgeon would wish Matt or Joey anything but good luck. Spinning off Joey makes perfect sense to me, both creatively and realistically. It will be hard to say goodbye to this show and its phenomenal ensemble, but the bitter will be sweetened by the foreknowledge that Joey will still be around to amuse us.
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