By Noah Michelson
If you happen upon Debra Messing flitting across your television screen with a gay BFF in tow, fear not! You probably haven't fallen through a wormhole into an alternate universe where late-'90s sitcoms still rule the Nielsen ratings. Instead, it's infinitely more likely you've tuned in to USA's new series The Starter Wife, based on the 2007 miniseries of the same name.
Messing stars as Molly, a freshly minted divorc'e attempting to navigate the choppy post-marriage channels of Hollywood's upper crust aided by her plucky friends -- Rodney (Chris Diamantopoulos), an interior designer with a thing for his hunky, wealthy new client (who has an excruciatingly straight persona); and the gruff-around-the-edges, charmingly neurotic Joan (Judy Davis, reprising her Emmy award'winning role), who's headed back to rehab but this time with her name on the payroll.
'Rodney and Joan are like the angel and devil sitting on Molly's shoulder,' explains Diamantopoulos, who modeled Rodney after a mix of several of his gay friends and fashion phenom Tom Ford. 'They often switch roles, but in both instances they really have Molly's best interests at heart.'
As for the inevitable comparisons to that other show that previously touted Messing as the fairest of the fruit flies, Diamantopoulos responds, 'I have nothing but respect for Will & Grace, but the only similarities between Will and Rodney are that they're both a best friend and they both happen to be gay. When people see The Starter Wife they'll realize this show is a whole other ball of wax.'
The Starter Wife premieres October 10 on USA.