New TBS sitcom 'Are We There Yet?' triples filming pace

Terry Crews and the rest of the cast of the new TBS comedy “Are We There Yet?” have done what many thought impossible.

Since the early days of TV, it’s been accepted that it takes a week to film a sitcom episode. That thinking might change with “Are We There Yet?” filming three episodes a week.

“For years everyone in Hollywood said this kind of schedule was impossible. But we did it. I do have to admit, it’s really not as hard as you think. But it takes a lot of coordination,” Crews says. “Our thing was ’It’s comedy. Relax.’ We aren’t doing Shakespeare.”

Crews plays the father in a blended family who’s just trying to figure out his role as new husband and stepfather. The series is based on the feature film of the same name.

Crews likes the quick pace because there’s less time to reshoot scenes. He’s found that too many attempts can grind the spark out of a joke.

A lot of the jokes come from his character’s former career selling sports memorabilia. That’s familiar turf for Crews, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 11th round of the 1991 NFL Draft. Crews played professional football for six seasons with the Rams, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins.

He spent most of his pro football career on the bench, but has one claim to fame: During a “Monday Night Football” game between the Rams and Colts, Crews made such a brutal tackle on a kickoff, he knocked himself unconscious for about 30 seconds.

“The Colts have that horseshoe on the side of their helmet. When I got up I couldn’t understand why they had a U on their helmet. I thought we were playing Utica,” Crews says.

The Michigan native gave up his sports career in 1997 to go into acting. He played T-Money on the competition series “Battle Dome,” and appeared in the films “Friday After Next,” “Idiocracy” and “White Chicks.” He can be seen later this summer in the Sylvester Stallone action film “The Expendables.”

The highlight of his TV career has been playing the miserly, workaholic dad on the much-heralded “Everybody Hates Chris.” Fatherhood is something he knows; he and his wife of 20 years, Rebecca, have five children. He wasn’t necessarily looking to play another dad, though.

He just wanted to act.

“As an actor, you act. If I was a welder, I would have found a new house to weld,” Crews says.

In this case, he would have welded three houses in a week.

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ARE WE THERE YET?

9 p.m. Wednesday

TBS

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