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LOS ANGELES (AP) – The title seems like a dead giveaway, but there’s more to the new comedy “Ghosts” than things that happen overnight.

“We totally think of this show as’ What We Do In The Shadows’ meets’ Ted Lasso,” said producer Joe Wiseman.

Replace misfit spirits with predatory vampires and a lovable young couple with an upbeat Ted, and you’ll get a feel for what Wiseman and his collaborator Joe Port have in mind for the CBS sitcom. It airs at 9 p.m. EDT Thursday and airs on Paramount +.

“Ghosts” stars Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar as Samantha and Jay. She’s a freelance journalist, he’s a booming chef, and they live the life of a big city. Next, she inherits a mansion in New York’s Hudson Valley and, on a whim, enlists a reluctant Jay to renovate it into guest rooms.

It turns out, however, that it’s already inhabited by deadbeat clients with deep emotional ties to the property – they died there – and who are scared to share their digs with the living.

Among them, the strange eight: a Viking explorer, circa 1000 AD (Devon Chandler Long); an early 20th century lounge singer (Danielle Pinnock); hippie of the 1960s (Sheila Carrasco); a 1980s financial shark (Asher Grodman) and a 16th century native (Román Zaragoza) with superb comedic timing.

A near-fatal accident gives Samantha the opportunity to see and interact with the deceased, who are far more eccentric than threatening. The series, based on the famous BBC series of the same name, is filming in Montreal as a replacement for New York.

“When I read the pilot’s script, it was one of the first times in a long time that I had just laughed out loud. And I love working in TV comedy,” McIver said.

She doesn’t know why “interacting with the afterlife has been a huge part of my career,” as she put it, with “iZombie” and “The Lovely Bones” among her TV and movie credits. “I’m not particularly looking for it. I don’t know if it’s something in my skin tone,” the actor said, funny.

Ambudkar, who has described himself as reluctant to join the series for reasons such as pandemic constraints that have delayed production, credits his co-star’s exhortation to helping him change his mind.

“Rose kept calling and texting, like, ‘Dude, what are you doing? We have to do this show together. She was very persistent, “said Ambudkar (” Blindspotting “,” Never Have I Ever “).

The project’s clever premise, what he called a new take on “dysfunctional family comedy,” and its alternate take on the three-camera sitcom format with a laugh track, allayed his concerns about his joining one. traditional network series.

“I watched five minutes of the BBC show and saw the single camera format,” Ambudkar recalls. “I saw the level of humor being used and I said, ‘This could really work no matter where it goes.’ Sometimes it’s enough to trust the product itself, not where it lands.

The two actors eagerly exchange compliments.

“We call it a comic weapon,” McIver said. Drawing on his improvisational experience, “Utkarsh always brings something surprising. We have developed a very good relationship to determine where our strengths are and to play against each other.”

“Rose is truly dedicated to her craft,” and to her cast mates, Ambudkar said. “She does all of her work off camera at the same energy level as her in front of the camera.… It’s really good when your # 1 is present and invested in everyone’s success.

McIver said the prospect of getting down to work on the series was “a beacon” that has helped her overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. “And in return, we hope it brings joy to the public after such a brutal year,” she said.

The dynamic Emmy-darling “Ted Lasso” on Apple TV + is seen as that sort of antidote, with the added cachet of being part of a streaming universe that is rapidly capturing the television industry and viewers.

But producers Port and Wiseman push back against the idea that networks can’t broadcast series equal to those online – while noting that “Ghosts” has a foot in both worlds, thanks to CBS’s brother Paramount +.

It wasn’t that long ago that comedies that aired were rewarded with awards, Port said. ABC’s “Modern Family” landed its fifth consecutive Emmy Best Comedic Series in 2014, with cable and streaming entries dominating since then.

Also, “the line between what is being streamed and what is being broadcast is a bit blurry,” Port said. “Ted Lasso,” for example, “isn’t the boldest show. It’s a feel-good show and something that, a few parts here and there, could easily be a broadcast show.

The Apple TV + comedy is a “traditional, well-done, single-camera sitcom,” he said – a description that hauntingly resembles “Ghosts.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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