‘Office’ Alum Jenna Fischer Talks About the Fallout After Getting Fired from Matt LeBlanc’s ‘Man With A Plan’
Jenna Fischer of The Office will most likely always be known as Pam Beesly, the other half to the lovable Jim Halpert on the NBC sitcom. Though the actress has never complained about being stereotyped, her infamous character may have prevented her from landing other roles.
The Office star revealed that when she was about to embark on a show with Friends alum Matt LeBlanc, she didn’t test well with audiences since they couldn’t envision Pam from Dunder Mifflin getting hitched to Joey Tribbiani of Friends fame.
Pam and Joey? Married?
Apparently, Fischer was hired for the pilot of the CBS sitcom Man With A Plan and proceeded to film the episode with LeBlanc, which was then sent out to focus groups and network testing. That’s when things went south for Fischer, where she revealed that many people considered the coupling completely unfathomable.
“I guess they did not fare well. More than one person said ‘I don’t believe Pam would marry Joey. … They’re not a couple,’ ” Fischer shared in an Off Camera with Sam Jones interview. “I had that same thought. I’m like, ‘Joey and me?’ “
Despite her reservations, Fischer felt that her solid rapport with LeBlanc would win audiences over. “The script was really funny and we had a wonderful comedic chemistry,” she told Jones. “He was very warm and friendly and fun and all that. And then they offered me the job.”
Jenna Fischer gets fired
Yet even as they were playing their roles for the pilot, The Office alum sensed some naysaying. “So we shoot the pilot and as we’re shooting it, I feel like people are like… [mimics whispering],” Fischer recalled. “Then the focus groups happen, and then I get this phone call.”
At first, Fischer thought she would be told the entire show wouldn’t be going into production, but soon found out that she was the one left behind.
“I said ‘It’s bad news, isn’t it,’ and they said ‘Yeah,’ ” the actress shared. “And I said ‘We didn’t get picked up,’ and they were like, ‘No, it’s worse. The show got picked up it’s going to be moving forward without you.’ And I was like ‘ I got fired?’ And they’re like, ‘You’ve been fired.’ “
‘The Office’ alum deals with fake news and self-doubt after firing
Fischer went on to reveal that on top of being terminated from the show, the gossip mill began churning out false headlines of her and LeBlanc being at odds.
“What was really hard about that was there were all these tabloid stories that Matt and I didn’t get along, and that we were fighting,” the sitcom star said. “It started to give me a complex.”
“Did you have that fear that everyone knows something you don’t?” Jones asked.
“Yes!” Fischer exclaimed, adding that the rumors made her fear for her career. “I was like, ‘What’s happening?’ Like this alternate reality story was being told.”
Jones asked if Fischer felt like her entire reputation was at stake. “Like, does everyone know my career is over but me?” he posed to Fischer.
“Yeah, exactly! All of it!” she agreed emphatically. “I was like, ‘What is going on?’ And they’re saying it’s focus groups, but I’m like, ‘Did I actually suck?’ And then they were like ‘No, we’ll send it to you and you can watch it.’ “
After viewing the pilot for herself, Fischer felt relieved that her performance was spot on but then understood why the match of her with LeBlanc wasn’t resonating with audiences.
“I watched it and I was like ‘Oh, I thought I was charming and cute, and it was great,’ ” she said. “But I think I saw what the focus groups saw which was, yeah, we didn’t seem like a couple. We kind of seemed like two people doing good performances and they were both quite good shows, but they weren’t the same show.”
Though Fischer may have lost out on Man With A Plan, she can take pride in having created a character that will live in infamy.