Matt LeBlanc to Get New Joey Costar

06/09/2004 at 08:00 AM EDT

Matt LeBlanc to Get New Joey Costar
Matt LeBlanc
Bert Sanchez/StarGaze
All is not running smoothly in Joey Tribbiani's new neighborhood, after all.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, despite the strong word of mouth following a private press preview last month of the premiere episode of the Friends spinoff Joey, the new NBC sitcom is undergoing some major fixes prior to its debut this fall.

Gone will be actress Ashley Scott, who played the Matt LeBlanc character's sexy new neighbor in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, no replacement has been announced, as creators of the series, Shana Goldberg-Meehan and Scott Silveri, reportedly tweak the concept for the character and recast it.

This sort of musical chairs has happened before. Originally, Lisa Kudrow was to have played radio sidekick Roz Doyle on Frasier 11 years ago, until the creators decided to go a different route, and recast the role with Peri Gilpin.

Things worked out for Kudrow, however. She joined LeBlanc on Friends.

As for last month's preview of Joey, the word was positive. The crowd of advertisers and TV journalists inside New York's Radio City Music hall were said to have laughed plenty of times.

New York Daily News TV critic David Bianculli applauded what he considered the new series' strong supporting cast, which includes recently whacked Sopranos costar Drea de Matteo, who plays Joey's tough-acting and talking sister. (Sample dialogue from Joey to his sis: "Chandler and I are not a gay couple!")

Bianculli suggested that de Matteo is so funny on Joey that she raises the quality bar on the entire enterprise.

But, says the Reporter, test audiences were not properly responding to Ashley Scott.

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