LeBlanc's 'Joey' to Make New 'Friends'

07/25/2003 AT 10:44 AM EDT

It's official: Matt LeBlanc will be on NBC next season, playing his "Friends" character Joey Tribbani. He'll have his own show -- but he's going to need some new friends.

On Thursday, Jeff Zucker, the president of NBC Entertainment, likened the planned sitcom -- a "Friends" spin-off to be called "Joey" -- to the network's spinning off the Frasier character from "Cheers" 11 years ago, reports The New York Times.

Financial terms for LeBlanc, 35, have not been disclosed. Currently, the actor and his five "Friends" costars -- Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer-- earn about $1 million per episode.

"He is over the moon" about the new deal, Zucker told reporters gathered for the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Reuters reported. "Needless to say, so are we."

The Times notes that the TV exec Zucker did not confirm that that "Joey" would inherit the timeslot "Friends" has occupied for the past 10 years, though Reuters reports that "Joey" will premiere Thursdays at 8 p.m. come fall.

On the show, Joey will move from New York to Los Angeles, where the dim but affable soap-opera actor will attempt to expand his career. Three members of the "Friends" creative team -- executive producers Kevin Bright, Scott Silveri and Shana Goldberg-Meehan -- will have their hands on "Joey," says Reuters.

Last October, the actor said he would contemplate starring in a spin-off once "Friends" ended its run next May.

"There could be six spin-offs," LeBlanc told TV's "Extra" at that time. "I would consider it."

He also told Zap2it.com: "If it was done correctly and the idea was right, and I trusted the writers and the people running the show, the show runners, absolutely I would consider it. It allows me to have dinner with my family every night, it allows me to sleep in my own bed every night, I can see my dogs, I can drive my own car. You have some semblance of a real life."

To say nothing of a healthy paycheck.

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