John Laroquette Says He Turned Down a ‘Night Court’ Spinoff in the ’90s

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NBC’s upcoming reboot of “Night Court” sees John Laroquette returning to his iconic role of Dan Fielding, the egotistical prosecutor whose love of berating his colleagues was matched only by his obsession with chasing new sexual partners. Laroquette’s presence on the show is one of the main draws of the reboot, as many fans will undoubtedly be thrilled to see Fielding returning to the courtroom.

As it turns out, Laroquette had the chance to reprise his role as Dan Fielding years ago, but the opportunity just wasn’t right. Speaking to the media at Sunday’s Television Critics Association winter press tour, the actor revealed that he was asked to play Fielding in a “Night Court” spinoff that would have aired on NBC after the original series wrapped its run in 1992.

But while the opportunity to keep playing such an iconic role would be tempting to any actor, Laroquette eventually came to the conclusion that Fielding worked best as a supporting character and that centering a show around him could spread his comedic appeal too thinly. Laroquette added that he ultimately sees himself as an actor who works best as part of an ensemble, and that he is at his happiest when he can nail a joke or two before handing the baton to someone else.

Laroquette won four Emmy Awards for his performance on “Night Court” (and a fifth for his guest spot on “The Practice”), but don’t expect him to be an ardent award campaigner during his second run as Dan Fielding. The actor explained that he got bored of the awards game after racking up four consecutive Emmys, and eventually stopped submitting himself for nominations. While he’s not sure if he’ll be allowed to withdraw his name from consideration this time around, he says he’s still perfectly happy to cede awards to younger actors who need the recognition more. Plus, he’d love to skip the hassle of attending award shows.

“I wasn’t going to put on a tuxedo and then sit for the rubber chicken after the broadcast,” he said.

“Night Court” premieres on January 17 at 8pm on NBC.

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