How CBS’s ‘Ghosts’ Sitcom Combines Misfit Spirits and Well-Being Charm

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LOS ANGELES – The title seems like a dead giveaway, but there’s more to the new comedy “Ghosts” than stuff bumping into the night.

“We totally think of this show as meeting ‘What We Do In The Shadows’ and ‘Ted Lasso,’ said producer Joe Wiseman.

Replace misfit spirits with predatory vampires and a lovable young couple with upbeat Ted, and you’ll get a feel for what Wiseman and his collaborator Joe Port have in mind for the CBS sitcom (9 Thursdays EDT / PDT; airing on Paramount + ).

“Ghosts” stars Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar as Samantha and Jay. She’s a freelance journalist, he’s a booming chef, and they live the life of a big city. Next, she inherits a mansion in New York’s Hudson Valley and, on a whim, enlists a reluctant Jay to renovate it into guest rooms.

Samantha (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) turn a dilapidated country estate they inherited into a bed & breakfast, but find it is inhabited by the spirits of the deceased residents who now call it home in the comedy from CBS “Ghosts”.

It turns out, however, that it’s already inhabited by deadbeat customers with deep emotional ties to the property – they died there – and who are scared to share their digs with the living.

Among them, the strange eight: a Viking explorer, circa 1000 AD (Devon Chandler Long); an early 20th century lounge singer (Danielle Pinnock); a hippie from the 1960s (Sheila Carrasco); a 1980s financial shark (Asher Grodman) and a 16th century native man (Román Zaragoza) with superb comedic timing.

A near-fatal accident gives Samantha the opportunity to see and interact with the deceased, who are far more eccentric than threatening. The series, based on the famous BBC series, is filming in Montreal as a replacement for New York.

“When I read the pilot’s script, it was one of the first times in a long time that I was laughing out loud. And I love working in TV comedy,” McIver said.

She doesn’t know why “interacting with the afterlife has been a huge part of my career,” as she put it, with CW’s “iZombie” and “The Lovely Bones” among her TV credits and At the movie theater. “I’m not particularly looking for it. I don’t know if it’s something in my skin tone,” she said, funny.

Brandon Scott Jones, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Sheila Carrasco, Rom & # xe1; n Zaragoza, Rebecca Wisocky, Rose McIver, Devan Chandler Long, Asher Grodman and Richie Moriarty in CBS '

Brandon Scott Jones, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Sheila Carrasco, Román Zaragoza, Rebecca Wisocky, Rose McIver, Devan Chandler Long, Asher Grodman and Richie Moriarty in CBS’s “Ghosts”.

Ambudkar, who says he was reluctant to join the show for reasons such as pandemic constraints that have delayed production, credits his co-star’s exhortation to helping him change his mind.

“Rose kept calling and texting, like ‘Dude, what are you doing? We have to do this show together.’ She was very persistent, “says Ambudkar (” Blindspotting “,” Never Have I Ever “).

The project’s clever premise, what he calls a new take on “dysfunctional family comedy” and its alternate take on the three-camera sitcom format with a laugh track, allayed his concerns about his joining a series of traditional networks.

“I watched five minutes of the BBC show,” Ambudkar recalls, and “saw the level of humor that was being used, and I said, ‘It could really work no matter where this will. Sometimes you just have to trust the product itself, not where it lands. “

The two actors eagerly exchange compliments. “We call it a comic weapon,” says McIver. Drawing on her improvisational experience, “Utkarsh always brings something surprising. We have developed a very good relationship to determine where our strengths are and to pit each other against each other.”

“Rose is really dedicated to her craft,” and to her cast mates, says Ambudkar. “She does all of her work off camera at the same energy level as her in front of the camera.… It’s really good when your # 1 is also there and invested in everyone’s success.”

McIver says the prospect of getting down to work on the series was “a beacon” that has helped her overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. “And in return, we hope it will bring joy to the audience after such a brutal year,” she said.

The dynamic Emmy-darling “Ted Lasso” on Apple TV + is seen as that kind of antidote, with the added cachet of being part of a streaming universe that is rapidly capturing the television industry and viewers.

But producers Port and Wiseman push back against the idea that networks can’t broadcast series equal to those online – while noting that “Ghosts” has a foot in both worlds, thanks to CBS’s brother Paramount +.

It wasn’t that long ago that aired comedies won awards: ABC’s “Modern Family” landed its fifth best consecutive Emmy comedy series in 2014, with cable and streaming entries dominating since then.

In addition, “the line between what is streamed and what is broadcast is a bit blurry,” says Port. “Ted Lasso,” for example, “isn’t the boldest show. It’s a feel-good show and something that, aside from a few parts here and there, could easily be a broadcast show.”

The Apple TV + comedy is a “traditional, well-done, single-camera sitcom,” he says – a description that hauntingly resembles “Ghosts.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: CBS Comedy “Ghosts” Combines Misfit Spirits with a Charm of Well-Being


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