Meg Ryan to Star in NBC Comedy Because TV Is The New Place for Former Movie Stars
When Harry Met Sally fans, rejoice; Meg Ryan is making a comeback. According to Deadline, the '90s star is planning a return to the spotlight, and to the medium that gave her her start: TV. Ryan is set to star in an NBC comedy, a single-camera show focusing on a single mom (Ryan) juggling work, teenage kids, an ex-husband, and a neurotic boss. The untitled project, now in development, will be written and executive produced by Marc Lawrence (Miss Congeniality), along with Ryan and her manager, Jane Berliner.
It's a curious career move for Ryan, who, just last week, appeared as the subject of a People magazine cover that detailed "how the '90s superstar traded fame for a very private life in New York." The article discussed Ryan's decision to leave Hollywood and begin a new, non-famous life across the country, far from the movies and money that made her "America's Sweetheart" back in the '90s. In the years since her last hit, 1998's You've Got Mail, the actress has chosen to do only a handful of movies a decade, none of which received anything near the kind of attention as her famous romantic comedies.
Despite these setbacks, it would seem that if Ryan wanted a comeback, the movies, the medium that made her a household name, would be her best bet. Surprisingly, though, returning to television might actually be the smarter choice. TV is in its prime right now, with dozens of high-quality, critically beloved shows spanning every network. Few movies are garnering the same devotion from fans upon release that shows like Breaking Bad and Scandal did and do on a weekly basis, and critics have hailed this the golden age of television. So it's no wonder that Ryan wants in — and she's not the only former movie star to give it a shot.
Just last week, it was announced that Halle Berry would be starring in a new drama for CBS. The actress has been a constant presence in the tabloids over the last decade or so, but her film career has received considerably less attention. She made some waves last year with Cloud Atlas and The Call, but otherwise, Halle Berry: actress came second to Halle Berry: paparazzi favorite. A return to TV, though, could change that completely, and propel Berry, whose career flourished in the early '00s with X-Men and Monster's Ball, back into the stardom.
Katherine Heigl, too, recently revealed that she is returning to TV as the star of an NBC procedural drama. While Heigl was never in the same movie star league as Ryan and Berry, she did have substantial success back in the mid-'00s with movies like Knocked Up and 27 Dresses. In the last few years, though, the movies she's starred in have majorly decreased in quality, and weren't bringing in the nearly the same type of box office success as her earlier films. So it's no wonder that Heigl, too, is moving back to TV.
There's no telling whether these actresses' decisions to switch mediums will be good ones. Plenty of TV shows starring movie stars never get past the first few episodes; for every Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock, there's a Dustin Hoffman on Luck. Still, you can't blame the women for trying. Who knows, maybe Meg Ryan will be the next Heisenberg.