On Fox's new fall sitcom The Grinder, actor Dean Sanderson (Rob Lowe) finishes a long run on a legal drama and returns to Boise, Idaho, to visit his family, where his brother (Fred Savage) and dad (William Devane) run a real-life law practice. Once he gets there, Dean decides his "experience" from the TV show qualifies him to join the family firm. Comedy ensues.
Here are some of the laughs we had during its TCA panel:
1. It satirizes super-serious legal procedurals. As any lawyer will tell you, legal TV shows aren't exactly true-to-life. The Grinder riffs on how Lowe's bloviating character perceives things versus how they really are.
2. The cast knows about the Grindr gay dating app. In fact, Savage said the cast has discussed creating its own app. "Our idea ... was we could find Rob Lowe anywhere and have sex with him," he said. "Rob Lowe is 500 feet away."
3. Lowe comes from a family of lawyers IRL. His dad, at 75, still practices law, and one of his sons is in law school now. (The other co-stars on The Grinder.) "I'm not smart enough to be a lawyer," Lowe joked, "only smart enough to play one on TV."
4. Fred Savage will not direct. Though Savage has developed a second career directing episodes of shows like Two Broke Girls, Modern Family and The Goldbergs, he's going to stick to acting on The Grinder. When he's pulled double-duty in the past, he says, he's "done a good job at neither."
5. Rob Lowe and John Stamos used to date. In a great press tour moment, a reporter asked Lowe if he and John Stamos knew each other. (Stamos was slated to come on stage next to talk about his new show Grandfathered.) Lowe said, "Well, for years there's been a rumor..." Stamos suddenly yelled from the back of the room, "Rob, tell the truth! We've dated for years!" "This is what journalism has come to," Lowe sighed. "Anyone can get credentialed here."
The Grinder premieres Sept. 29 on Fox.