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Last Updated: Friday, 25 July, 2003, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
LeBlanc signs for Friends spin-off
The cast of Friends
LeBlanc as Joey (top left) has become a TV favourite
Matt LeBlanc has signed up to star as Joey Tribbiani in a spin-off from the popular sitcom Friends, NBC has confirmed.

The global hit series Friends will end its 10-year run on NBC next year.

LeBlanc was until Thursday reported to be only in talks with the network about getting his own show.

Now, NBC has said LeBlanc will star in a new half-hour programme called Joey.

It is expected to begin in the US in autumn 2004 in the Thursday evening slot now occupied by Friends.

NBC President Jeff Zucker announced the new series at a gathering of the Television Critics Association on Thursday.

"He (LeBlanc) is over the moon. Needless to say, so are we," Mr Zucker said.

Movie deal

He added that LeBlanc was the only member of the Friends cast to be offered his or her own show, adding that Joey Tribbiani has become the public's favourite.

"Joey has emerged as the character America roots for and loves," said Mr Zucker.

He did not give details of the series' storylines, admitting they were not fleshed out at this stage.

Three members of the Friends creative team - executive producers Kevin Bright, Scott Silveri and Shana Goldberg-Meehan - will also work on Joey.

LeBlanc's new contract also includes plans for him to star in two feature films made by Warner Bros Pictures, makers of Friends and Joey.

Joey will mark the first NBC comedy spin-off since Cheers gave birth to Frasier 11 years ago.

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