Nathan Lane to exit The Producers and enter new sitcom
Out actor Nathan Lane, who won a Tony award for his portrayal of duplicitous Broadway money man Max Bialystock in The Producers, will leave that show March 17, along with costar Matthew Broderick. The New York Times reports that British actor Henry Goodman, who won an Olivier Award last year for his portrayal of Shylock in a Royal National Theater production of The Merchant of Venice, will take over for Lane and that actor Steven Weber (Jeffrey, TV's Wings) is a front-runner to replace Broderick. Producers of The Producers offered Lane and Broderick lucrative deals to stay with the show--whose success is thought to rely, in part, on the chemistry of its two stars--but both declined, with Lane citing health concerns and Broderick having prior commitments to films.
One new commitment for Lane will be the CBS series Life of the Party, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Lane will star as a one-time TV star who lands a seat in Congress; the new sitcom is from writer-producer Jeff Richman. Richman is an Emmy-winning writer who was a co-executive producer on Stark Raving Mad and supervising producer on Frasier. Lane's last attempt at series television was the short-lived Encore! Encore! which ran on NBC in the 1998-1999 season.