This doesn’t happen everyday, even in Hollywood: The co-creator and showrunner of a current sitcom–on ABC–wants to change the title of the show for next season, partly to draw more viewers to the show.
In an interview with Alan Sepinwall on HitFix.com, Bill Lawrence (who was also the creative force behind "Scrubs") says he’s been considering changing the name of "Cougar Town."
"I’d like to (change it), and the studio has been talking about it for three reasons: One, partly as a result of common sense and partly from their research, they find too many instances of testing of people saying they would never watch a show called ‘Cougar Town’ – ‘I don’t want to see some show about a 40-year-old woman nailing younger guys" – and then they screen an episode, and people go, ‘Oh, I would watch this show.’ Second point is simply what you already said, which is you would be hard-pressed to watch the last three episodes of the show and asked anyone for titles – I doubt anyone would say ‘Cougar Town.’ Third, in a world where ABC and Steve [Mcpherson, ABC’s entertainment chief] are looking to promote "Modern Family" and capitalize on it to promote all their new shows next fall, anything you can do to create some kind of dialogue about your existing show is smart and savvy. The reasons not to do it I think solely come down to business reasons."
When asked what he’d change the name of the show to, Lawrence told HitFix: "I always joke that the show should be called ‘Friends and Neighbors,’ but the ‘Friends’ part should be written in the same font as [star Courteney Cox’s] old show. But I don’t want to put ’em out there yet. It’s tough, man. I always own up to mistakes. It’s a great hindsight mistake. If you had showed me an episode of the show back when I wrote the pilot, I would say, ‘There’s no way that’s the same TV show [as we have on-air now].’ I have never been on a show that changed so much creatively so quickly."