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Friends with Benefits aired from August until September 2011 on NBC.

From Oscar and Emmy winner Brian Grazer ("A Beautiful Mind," "Arrested Development"), "Friends With Benefits" is a half-hour comedy revolving around a group of twentysomething singles as they navigate the difficult, sometimes rewarding, often confusing world of dating. Loyal and devoted to one another, these friends are never too busy to help a member of the group who might be in need. In fact, their companionship often extends into a more intimate setting - the bedroom.

Ben Lewis (Ryan Hansen, "Party Down") is on the hunt for the perfect woman who meets his impossible set of high standards, while his best friend, Sara Maxwell (Danneel Harris, "One Tree Hill"), a busy young doctor, is just looking for a nice, compatible man to settle down with and raise a family. Ben and Sara have fallen into the habit of turning to each other for moral and physical support as they wait for Mr. and Ms. Right to arrive. Their friend Aaron Greenway (Zach Cregger, "Miss March") a successful tech genius, is not quite sure what to make of Ben and Sara's complicated friendship, but he, along with the smooth ladykiller Julian "Fitz" Fitzgerald (Andre Holland) and the gorgeous, free-spirited Riley Elliott (Jessica Lucas, "Cloverfield"), are all distracted with their own dating trials and tribulations.

Brian Grazer is executive producer for Imagine Television. Ira Ungerleider ("Friends") serves as executive producer and show runner. Also serving as executive producers are David Dobkin ("Wedding Crashers") and Jeff Kleeman. The show was created by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber ("(500) Days of Summer"), who served as writers and executive producers for the pilot. David Dobkin directed the pilot. "Friends With Benefits" is a production of Imagine Television, 20th Century Fox Television, and Big Kid Pictures.

A Review from The New York Times

Television Review
Like Ross, Rachel and Company, but With Faster Hook-Ups
Published: August 7, 2011

Some television shows get buried. “Friends With Benefits” was shot in the back of the head, driven to the Meadowlands and dumped in a ditch.

Two years after it was first announced, “Benefits” surfaced last week on NBC — in August, on a Friday night, on the heels of a feature film with the same title. As if that weren’t bad enough, the network also declined to screen the show in advance for critics, making it less likely to draw attention than a private eye’s notebook in a Scotland Yard evidence locker. A prime-time series has not been treated this way since, oh, two months ago, when NBC did something similar to “Love Bites.”

All of which may be evidence that the new ownership at NBC Universal has some taste. The “Benefits” back story is more interesting than the actual show, which, based on the two episodes shown on Friday, is an attempt at a wised-up 21st-century “Friends” with all the emotion and most of the laughs scoured out.

Focusing on a five-member ensemble — three bumbling, grating men and the two attractive, relentlessly energetic, sexually pliable women, who mysteriously choose to hang out and hook up with them — it combines a single-camera, mildly absurdist style and raunchy humor with stock sitcom situations. It’s the kind of show in which a lamely suggestive joke about a vajazzled woman — one with a bejeweled genital area — giving birth (“The kid came out looking like a disco ball!”) is followed by reaction shots of everyone in the scene laughing. That’s what you do when you’re too cool for a laugh track but too insecure to let the jokes speak for themselves.

That it opens with the two main characters, Ben (Ryan Hansen) and Sara (Danneel Ackles), having sex could be seen as a comment on “Friends,” its more innocent predecessor, which took 39 episodes to get Ross and Rachel together. It could also be seen as prudent, since “Friends With Benefits” isn’t likely to have that much time.

Circumstances have worked against it from the start. Set up at ABC in 2009, with a script by Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter of “(500) Days of Summer,” it moved to NBC a few months before the announcement of the complex Comcast-NBC Universal merger. Shortly after it was listed as part of NBC’s 2010-11 season, one of its executive producers, David Nevins, was named entertainment president of Showtime. All three of the male roles were recast, and Mr. Hansen and Ms. Ackles took roles in new pilots this spring.

“Friends With Benefits” has managed one distinction, though. Originally announced as one of NBC’s five new comedies for the current season, it’s the last one standing: with a month to go in the season, “Outsourced,” “Perfect Couples,” “The Paul Reiser Show” and “Love Bites” have all been shown and canceled. Sometimes being forgotten has its benefits.


NBC, Friday nights at 8 and 8:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 7 and 7:30, Central time.

Produced by Big Kid Pictures, the Ungerleider Company and Imagine Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Created by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber; executive producers, Mr. Neustadter and Mr. Weber (pilot only), Brian Grazer, Ira Ungerleider, David Dobkin and Jeff Kleeman.

WITH: Ryan Hansen (Ben Lewis), Danneel Ackles (Sara Maxwell), Zach Cregger (Aaron Greenway), Andre Holland (Julian Fitzgerald) and Jessica Lucas (Riley Elliott).

For a Website dedicated to Danneel harris go to

For a Website dedicated to Jessica Lucas go to
� Date: Mon December 5, 2011 � Filesize: 52.1kb � Dimensions: 500 x 375 �
Keywords: Friends with Benefits


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