Partner Benefits

After an acclaimed turn on the stage, Michael Urie returns to series television with Partners, a sharp new comedy from the creators of Will & Grace.

BY Ari Karpel

September 14 2012 3:00 AM ET

"I'm waiting for my life to start," Michael Urie says expectantly. Not that he’s dramatic or anything but, the actor admits, “You caught me on a weird day, I guess.”

Only two days earlier, Urie had moved back to Los Angeles to star in a new TV show, CBS’s Partners. He’d been living in New York since Ugly Betty — the show that put him on the map for playing flamboyant editor’s assistant Marc St. James — relocated there in 2008. In the years since, Urie’s had an impressive run of roles on the New York stage, as real-life fashion designer and Mattachine Society cofounder Rudi Gernreich in The Temperamentals, AIDS-stricken protagonist Prior Walter in Angels in America, and arrogant Bud Frump in the Broadway musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

But Urie’s leaving all that behind for now. And if he’s feeling anxious and a little bit lonely, perhaps it’s understandable. Production on Partners starts in just over a week, but he has yet to read any scripts for it since shooting the pilot a few months back. “They said they had six scripts written. I’m like, ‘Can I read one? Can I just look at one?’ ” But that’s not how it works in TV.

Plus he left his boyfriend behind on the East Coast. “He’s an actor, a writer, and a student,” Urie says, explaining why Ryan Spahn, his partner of four years, can’t just pick up and head west with him.

Urie might be resigned to spending his first week in his reclaimed Hollywood apartment doing mundane tasks like hanging curtains, but before he knows it he’ll be thrust into the throes of television production, working long days with his new TV “family.” On Partners, Urie plays Louis, a gay man who runs an architecture firm with his straight best friend, Joe (Numb3rs’ David Krumholtz). Louis has a boyfriend (Brandon Routh, of Superman Returns) and Joe has a girlfriend (One Tree Hill’s Sophia Bush).

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