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Jon Cryer Returns to TV: Why He Said Yes to NBC’s “Incredibly Unusual” Sitcom Extended Family

The all-star cast of Extended Family open up about their new show filled with laughs, family, and Boston Celtics games. 

By Stephanie Gomulka

The stars of NBC’s new sitcom are gushing about a match — well, more specially, a divorce — made in heaven.

How to Watch

Watch Extended Family on NBC and Peacock.

Extended Family offers a new take on a non-nuclear family starring Jon Cryer (Two and Half Men, Pretty in Pink), Abigail Spencer (Suits, Timeless), and Donald Faison (Scrubs, Clueless). 

The show follows a happily divorced couple, Jim and Julia, who hilariously navigate raising two kids together. But a disruption comes in the form of Julia's new fiancé, Trey, entering the fray of parenting and everyday life. Oh, and he also happens to own the Boston Celtics, Jim's favorite sports team.

Why did the Cast want to join Extended Family?

Cryer was the first to sign on to Extended Family after hearing the pitch about the show’s unique family dynamic. 

“He set the tone,” Donald Faison said, to which Cryer jokingly responded: “I set the tone.”

Cryer then quickly gave a nod to their showrunner, Mike O’Malley, who approached him about the sitcom.

Abigail Spencer Extended Family2

“I just thought it was the combination of this incredibly unusual circumstance with this ... incredibly lovely family situation because what the show is about is an amicably divorced couple, Jim and Julia," Cryer said. 

“Hello,” Spencer said, playfully chiming in. She’s known for her roles as Lucy Preston on NBC’s Timeless and as Dana Scott in USA Network’s Suits.

RELATED: Everything to Know About Abigail Spencer's Real-Life Family Ahead of the Extended Family Premiere

“What happens is Julia meets a new guy, who happens to own Jim’s favorite sports team and it’s … about the inequalities and the power balances, but also about how these three people can try and come together to make a new family,” Cryer said.

The great premise is “coupled” with incredible comedy writing, according to Cryer, who is no stranger to a hit sitcom. 

Cryer played Alan Harper opposite Charlie Sheen, and later Ashton Kutcher, on Two and a Half Men. The beloved show lasted for 12 seasons. However, Cryer says this character is closer to him than Alan.

“I’m more like Jim on Extended Family,” Cryer said. “Alan was just, he was a guy who just never succeeded the way he wanted to in life, so there was always that little unquenchable part of him. Jim, however, lives life out loud and is much more comfortable in his skin, which is … much more who I am.”

How did the cast of Extended Family bond?

The first time Spencer and Cryer met was actually on Zoom during an audition for the show.

“We didn’t even really chat, we just kind of got to work,” Spencer said.

However, the chemistry between them was “instantaneous,” according to Cryer.

“It was undeniable and it was just like, 'Oh, OK, I can watch these people argue for years and we will,'" Cryer said. “Then, Donald came up, that was just an incredible opportunity.”

Faison, who’s played beloved roles like Dr. Christopher Turk on Scrubs, agreed with that sentiment.

“This is a dynamic that I think … everybody in this room that we’re sitting with, hopefully, all of you out there, are into this,” Faison said. “This is a dream team here.”

A scene of a family in their living room from Extended Family.

Spencer also agreed, calling herself, Fasion, and Cryer a “dynamic trio.”

“We want people to sit down with their entire family and feel seen in each one of the characters,” Spencer explained.

Catch the first episode of Extended Family on Saturday, December 23rd at 8/7c on NBC. New weekly episodes return Tuesday, January 2nd at 8:30/7:30c on NBC. All episodes will be available to stream next day on Peacock.