Joey is an American sitcom, which stars Matt LeBlanc reprising his role as Joey Tribbiani from the sitcom Friends. It premiered on the NBC television network, on September 9, 2004, in the former time slot of its parent series, Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. Midway through the second season, the show was placed on a hiatus by NBC but returned on March 7, 2006, in a new timeslot of Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. One episode, "Joey and the Snowball Fight", was shown on a Tuesday at 8:30 p.m, but was pulled by NBC when it was overshadowed in ratings by American Idol. NBC canceled the series in May 2006 and did not broadcast the remaining episodes.
The pilot episode was released in screener for test audiences and members of the entertainment industry to preview the show and drum up business. The screener was subsequently leaked on the Internet and thus has received a much wider critical review process than initially conceived. There were few differences between the unbroadcast pilot and the version that was broadcast. Ashley Scott played the role of Allison in the unbroadcast pilot, she was replaced by Andrea Anders and the character name changed to Alex.
The series did well in the Nielsen ratings in its first season (2004–2005) and was subsequently renewed for a second season (2005–2006). In the second season, Miguel A. Núñez, Jr. was added to the show as a series regular. Also, Jennifer Coolidge had a more prominent role.
The show was pulled from its Thursday-night timeslot in December 2005, and NBC returned the show in a new timeslot (Tuesdays at 8pm) on March 7, 2006. Due in part to being in competition with American Idol, Joey was the lowest-rated prime time program of the week for NBC. The network pulled the series after the first Tuesday broadcast and its cancellation was announced on May 15, 2006. The remaining episodes have never been broadcast by NBC, but have been shown on various other networks around the world.
After the series finale in 2004, LeBlanc signed on for the spin-off series, Joey, following Joey's move to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. Kauffman and Crane were not interested in the spin-off, although Bright agreed to executive produce the series with Scott Silveri and Shana Goldberg-Meehan. NBC heavily promoted Joey and gave it Friends' Thursday 8:00 pm timeslot. The pilot was watched by 18.60 million American viewers, but ratings continually decreased throughout the series' two seasons, averaging 10.20 million viewers in the first season and 7.10 million in the second. The final broadcast episode on March 7, 2006 was watched by 4.1 million viewers; NBC canceled the series on May 15, 2006 after two seasons. Bright blamed the collaboration between NBC executives, the studio and other producers for quickly ruining the series: On Friends, Joey was a womanizer, but we enjoyed his exploits. He was a solid friend, a guy you knew you could count on. Joey was deconstructed to be a guy who couldn't get a job, couldn't ask a girl out. He became a pathetic, mopey character. I felt he was moving in the wrong direction, but I was not heard.—Kevin S. Bright on the reason for Joey's cancellation.