First, the good news for Jason Lee, the Golden Globe-nominated star of My Name is Earl: NBC has ordered another full season’s worth of episodes of his sitcom, in which every week he works to restore his good karma.
Now, the bad news: Lee has chicken pox. How’s that for karma?
Although the 35-year-old actor’s immediate fellow cast members – including Jaime Pressly, Ethan Suplee, Nadine Vasquez and Eddie Steeples – have already had the highly contagious yet common childhood disease (which normally brings about more serious consequences when contracted by an adult), at least one other “Earl” costar said his mother “couldn’t remember” if he had had the pox.
When the show’s executive producer and creator Greg Garcia was asked this weekend about how he would write around his incapacitated – and itchy – leading man, he replied that no Lee means no show.
“He’ll be in all the episodes,” says Garcia. “We’re just shutting down until (Lee) is feeling better and is presentable to put on TV again.” NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly told PEOPLE the hiatus should last “for about three weeks.”
Asked if Lee might be even more amusing as Earl with spots, costar Jaime Pressly shook her head and said: “We’d all look funny if we all had the chicken pox. If he came, we would all be sick.”