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Current Updates | 'This is sad and frustrating' 10/16/01 | New focus, new tone for Joan 10/1/01 | Cusack's learning curve 10/1/01 | 'Joan' Is Her Comfort Zone 10/2/01 | *Cusack bucks odds with 'Joan' 7/26/01 | *WAJ Zap-IT 8/6/01 | Hey, what's not to like about Joan? | From the Seattle Times | GET A GRIP, JOANIE | 'What About Joan': A Bouquet of Neuroses | CHICAGO STYLE GAL | Name That Show, Part II | Joan Cusack's WHAT ABOUT JOAN To Premiere On ABC (3/27/01) | BECAUSE SHE'S WORTH IT | WAITING IN QUEUE FOR CUSACK | CUSACK PUTS CHICAGO ON THE LAUGH TRACK | The Joan Cusack Show
New focus, new tone for Joan 10/1/01

New focus, new tone for 'Joan'

By Gary Levin
USA TODAY
Octobet1,2001

What About Joan, Joan Cusack's first TV sitcom, returns for a second season on ABC Tuesday with a few changes and plans for the star's brother, John, to appear in an upcoming episode."We kind of came to the realization that the more realistic it was, the better," Cusack says, adding the series will be less jokey but more "relatable," focusing on teacher Joan Gallagher and her romance with investment-banker Jake Evans (played by Kyle Chandler of Early Edition). "The goal was to make it a more sophisticated show. We didn't want it to be a cynical, negative comedy."New executive producer John Levenstein says Joan's tone also will shift: "There was a lot of her spinning out and freaking out last year, and everyone else supporting her." Now, "the supporting characters are all a little quirkier, and Joan is more grounded."Other changes in store for the new season, which bows Tuesday (8:30 ET/PT): Jeff Garlin plays Steinie, a new bar-owner pal for Jake. Jessica Hecht, who played Joan's friend, has left the show.