Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Story of "Akron Man"

Welcome to the blog. I'm still getting some bugs out, and working on other elements like adding pictures. But in the following posts you can see the kinds of items it will include.
Feel free as well to suggest other items in the comments section of this and other posts. But we'll start this morning with a section from my 1995 Beacon Journal story about Drew Carey, then about to launch his own sitcom -- and a failed TV idea called "Akron Man." (Consumer advisory: While the blog includes other things I've written for the Beacon Journal, this is not an official ABJ blog but my own side project.) And so to "Akron Man" ...

Carey had a series deal with the Walt Disney Co. and expected to be working with Matt Williams, a writer-producer best known for launching Roseanne and Home Improvement. When Williams was unavailable, Carey was forced into what he calls a shotgun marriage with Michael Jacobs, a top producer for Disney despite an unremarkable series record (Dinosaurs, The Torkelsons, My Two Dads, Boy Meets World and other shows).
"Michael Jacobs came up with the idea for Akron Man," Carey said. "I said, 'Why can't it be Cleveland?' He said, 'It's funnier if it's in Akron.' I thought, 'Oh, God.' ...
"It was about a married guy with three kids, and I lived in Akron. I painted fine china. That's what you think of when you think of Akron, don't ya? And I lost my job when they decide to stamp the china in the Philippines, and I'm really mad about foreigners, and I call a talk-radio station. And what I say is so great, they give me a job on the radio and I'm known as the Akron Man.
"Isn't that brilliant? That was the idea, and I'm so glad it fell through the floor."
But when the pilot did not sell, Carey said he got the blame. "It ruined me at Disney for having my own show. They didn't blame Michael Jacobs, their big-star, $20-million-deal writer for not coming up with something. They said, well, Carey's a comic, he can't act, he doesn't have the chops to be a lead in a show.' "
Carey then tried to rebuild his reputation. He took a supporting role in The Good Life, a situation comedy starring John Caponera. The 1993-94 series didn't last, but Carey got good notices and, now, his own sitcom.


  1. I'm an avid reader of your ABJ blog and I'm looking forward to a recap of "Hickory Hideout," and not just because Wayne & Cassie read one of my jokes on air.

  2. I have posted some notes about "Hickory Hideout" above.