(L-R) Lamorne Morris, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield and Damon Wayans in Fox’s “New Girl” (Airdate: Nov. 5, 2013)
*“New Girl” co-star Damon Wayans, Jr., who returned to the show for an arc this fall, will continue on the Fox comedy for the rest of the season, reports Deadline.com.
He is expected to be in every episode but is billed as a special guest star, leaving him available for pilot season. (He is executive producing a comedy project at Fox, which he could potentially star in.)
Wayans Jr. did the “New Girl” pilot in second position to his ABC series “Happy Endings.” But when ABC surprisingly renewed “Happy Endings,” producers at “New Girl” opted not to recast his character, but instead create a new one – played in episode 2 and beyond by Lamorne Morris.
Damon Wayans in Fox’s “New Girls”
When Wayans Jr. became available following the cancellation of “Happy Endings” in May, he was invited to come back to “New Girl” for a four-episode arc, which began airing last night.
Coincidentally, last night “New Girl” had a 11% ratings spike in adults 18-49 and hit a season high in Men 18-34.
*”New Girl” Season 3 will feature the return of Coach, the character played by Damon Wayans Jr. that only appeared in the show’s pilot.
Wayans’ other show, “Happy Endings,” was unexpectedly renewed by ABC after he had shot the pilot for “New Girl,” which was in second position contractually to “Happy Endings.”
“Happy Endings” has since been canceled and the Fox series is bringing Wayans back into the fold for a number of episodes. Lamorne Morris, Winston on “New Girl,” said he was really excited for Wayans to return to the cast.
“I think we’re gonna dive into some of Coach’s backstory, maybe, to see why he left the loft, to see why we know each other,” Morris told Access Hollywood.
Wayans just wrapped a movie with “New Girl” star Jake Johnson, who told Access Hollywood he can’t wait for Wayans to return to the “New Girl” loft.
“I think he’s gonna add a lot to the show and I’m excited to see how Coach and Winston mix it up and Coach and Cece, and everybody, just to see what happens,” he said.
“New Girl” Season 3 premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.
Hanna Simone and Lamorne Morris of Fox’s ‘New Girl’
*Fox’s precious “New Girl” – so precious that the network has given it the coveted post-Super Bowl slot in 2014 – will wrap its second season tonight in a finale that includes everything from a traditional Indian wedding to Taylor Swift.
The episode, titled “Elaine’s Big Day,” finds Cece (Hannah Simone) exchanging vows with Shivrang (Satya Bhabha) in an arranged marriage, a move she sought after failing to find a suitable mate herself. “[Swift] plays a surprise guest that shows up at the wedding,” Simone told Us Magazine. “She’s incredibly funny and was such a delight. We all were laughing, she was great.”
Meanwhile, Cece’s ex – and possible true love – Schmidt (Max Greenfield), conspires with his roommate Winston (Lamorne Morris) to throw a wrench in the nuptials.
Max Greenfield, Hannah Simone and Lamorne Morris in a scene from Fox’s ‘New Girl’
We caught up with Morris and Simone, the show’s lone people of color, to talk about the evolution of their characters since shooting the pilot two years ago.
“Didn’t think she was going to end up sleeping with Schmidt,” Simone said right off the bat.
Said Lamorne: “She thought it was going to be Winston.”
“I used to get a little frustrated because I’d want to know what’s coming for my character,” Simone continued. “And then I realized, well it’s kind of like how life works.
“I was totally surprised to see that Cece, you know that girl we met in the pilot, is now exploring having children and an arranged marriage, and I mean it’s wonderful, that they kind of explore the characters that deeply.”
Below, Simone explains how the cast’s on-screen chemistry reflects their off-screen friendships.
Watch a behind-the-scenes look at “New Girl’s” season 2 finale ,”Elaine’s Big Day,” below.
“He can’t quite handle his fruity drinks. I’ll leave it at that,” Lamorne Morris said of his character in interviews ahead of Tuesday’s two-episode season premiere.
The breakout comedy stars Zooey Deschanel as Jess, a quirky school teacher who moves in with three male roommates she found on Craigslist after catching her boyfriend cheating. Morris, Jake Johnson (Nick) and Max Greenfield (Schmidt) play the roommates who grow to accept her dorkness.
In Tuesday’s premiere, Morris says, “Jess gets laid off and she starts to hang out with Nick a lot. Now as we know Nick is an alcoholic bum who just hangs out at his bar all day and drinks, or at home and drinks, and Jess is doing both with him to become drinking buddies. Schmidt gets his cast removed from his penis and decides to throw a party that has a theme which is hilarious.”
In Season 1′s finale, Morris reminds us, “My character was still dating Shelby. He overcame his fear of the dark and he was in a middle ground I guess with his job. So he had a rocky situation with his job. He hated it and he’s looking for a little bit of job advancement in Season Two. So we’ll see how that goes.
“Whatever goes up must come down and we will see that with Winston, you know. And like any bit of rubber or whatever, whatever goes down will bounce right back up. So you’ll see a lot of this in his life, you know. You’ll meet his mom, you’ll meet his sister which is great.”
Keenyah Hill plays Winston’s sister on “The New Girl”
Winston’s mom (Anna Marie Horsford) and sister Alisha (Keenyah Hill from Cycle 4 of “America’s Next Top Model”) make their debut on Tuesday’s second episode at 8:30 p.m. Below, Morris gives us the scoop on her storyline and how it inevitably intersects with Schmidt.
Greenfield, meanwhile, gave his own two cents about Schmidt’s encounter with Alisha: ”I come waltzing out of my room one day and unbeknownst to me, Alisha is at the refrigerator, and the door closes and I see this tall beauty in front of me, and decide, ‘Oh, now I’m going to have to sleep with Winston’s sister’. So that becomes my mission in the second show.”
Lamorne Morris as Winston on "New Girl" (Season 1 Episode 18)
*Fox hit the ratings jackpot with its new comedy “New Girl,” starring Zooey Deschanel as an awkward teacher with a hot best friend and three male roommates who have grown to tolerate her various quirks and irritating ways.
Lamorne Morris, who plays ex-basketball player Winston, was famously added to the series after Damon Wayans Jr. had to drop out. Without missing a beat, he has become part of the roommate chemistry critics point to as the reason for the show’s success.
And it doesn’t hurt that the Chicago-born actor has already been down the road of his character — but in reverse. Just recently, he was the lone man living with three female roommates.
“I used to talk to them about everything; relationship stuff all the time, and it’s interesting that in this show it’s kind of the same dynamic, where the guys can go to Zooey’s character Jess and just vent, and she’ll always have some sort of feedback,” he tells EURweb.
Asked if any of his roommates were quirky like Jess, Morris explains how one of them was definitely on the verge.
“New Girl” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on FOX. In this week’s episode (April 10), Lamorne’s Winston get a job at a sports radio station. Watch a clip of his job interview here.
*Tuesday’s episode of “New Girl” will be a bit different.
After its strong Sept. 22 debut (it was the highest-rated fall sitcom premiere on Fox since “The Bernie Mac Show” 10 years ago) the series continues this week with the exit of cast member Damon Wayans Jr., who had joined the series anticipating that his ABC show “Happy Endings” would not be picked up for a second season.
Only “Happy Endings” had a happy ending.
When ABC renewed the show, Wayans was forced to back out of “New Girl,” even though he had already shot the pilot. Producers at FOX decided they would keep Wayans in the first episode as Coach, one of three male roommates who take in a quirky female roomie played by Zooey Deschanel.
But in tonight’s second episode, Lamorne Morris will move back in town in as Winston, a former basketball player who owns the apartment and kicks out Coach — who had been subletting the room.
Morris says he ended up being Wayans’ replacement over “hundreds” of other actors.
“No one’s really familiar with me but I had a big commercial presence, so they were like, ‘We need to get him in.’” he told EURweb exclusively.
Before Wayans was even in the picture, producers had expressed interest in casting Morris for the pilot, but the Chicago-born actor had just booked a CBS series and was unavailable. However, in a serendipitous turn of events, Morris’ CBS project stalled and Wayans experienced a sudden happy ending.
Suddenly, Morris — the one-time host of Cartoon Network’s game show BrainRush and various BET shows — was being requested by FOX to come back and audition again for “New Girl.”
“I guess it was like a two-way thing. They really wanted me, but they wanted to make sure,” said Morris. “They pretty much saw hundreds of actors, and I had to read against all of them, but I’m here. I’m grateful.”
In the bonus audio below, Morris gives more details about his character Winston, what Winston was doing before moving back to the apartment and his relationship with the other roommates.