LeBlanc’s “Joey” Set For 2004-05

It looks like Friends fans will not be saying goodbye to the popular character Joey Tribbiani when the hit NBC sitcom airs its series finale in May 2004. NBC and Warner Bros. TV have greenlighted Joey, a spin-off sitcom revolving around Matt LeBlanc‘s soap opera actor character.

The project’s executive producers, Scott Silveri, Shana Goldberg-Meehan and Kevin Bright, plan to focus on the new series once production on the final episode of Friends wraps in January–and they are looking at the pilot episode of Cheers spin-off Frasier for inspiration.

But Silveri and Goldberg-Meehan said they will not be introducing elements of the spin-off into the Friends series finale.

“We want to keep it completely separate,” Goldberg-Meehan told Variety. “We don’t view Friends as a launching pad for the other show. It won’t have anything to do with the Joey show.”

And don’t expect to see Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Ross and Phoebe visiting their good buddy Joey–at least not yet. Silveri added that although he would welcome any cameos, there have not been any discussions.

“Obviously if any of those guys would be interested down the line, that would be great. But it’s so down the line,” Silveri said.

LeBlanc, who recently starred in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, struck sitcom gold as part of the twentysomething ensemble series in 1994. In 2002, he received a Globe nomination for best actor in a Comedy/Musical for his role as Joey Tribbiani, a Screen Actors Guild nomination for outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series and an Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series in 2002 and 2001.

TV viewers can expect to see Joey on NBC for the 2004-2005 season.