‘Cougar Town’ Co-Creator Talks Grass Roots Campaign & Raising ‘Awareness’ For Season 3

The cast and creators of “Cougar Town” want the world to know their show is still alive and coming back for Season 3 on ABC, even if they don’t have an airdate or time slot just yet.

Continuing their self-financed publicity campaign, the show’s creators — Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel — and cast members, including Courteney Cox, Busy Philipps and Christa Miller, took over a hotel bar in Pasadena, Calif. on Monday night, as they met with journalists in town for the Television Critics Association Press Tour to promote the comedy.

To find out what spoilers Courteney and Christa shared about the show, CLICK HERE.

“We’re just doing it because, part of the fun — it’s not philanthropic, because you guys know as well as I do that news stories generate out of Courteney over there talking about whatever the hell Courteney talks about,” co-creator Bill said in response to a question from AccessHollywood.com at the event. “A small cult show — this is how you hopefully raise awareness that you’re gonna be back on.”

With 12 episodes of Season 3 already in the can (out of 15), “Cougar Town” is ready to come back to ABC, but as yet, the show — about a group of eccentric friends living in sunny Florida, has no set return date.

While they wait for word on a premiere date, to promote the upcoming Season 3, and aim to get more fans on board, Lawrence and members of the cast have been traveling across the U.S., hosting screening parties in locales including Chicago, Atlanta, and San Diego, offering a first look at some of the new episodes.

Lawrence said he hopes their grass roots effort at creating a buzz will help lead to a bump up in viewers. They also hope the faithful “Cougar Town” fans convince the yet-unconverted to watch the quirky comedy centering around family, love and friendship.

“I don’t think a network can turn out a number for you anymore,” Lawrence told reporters. “I think the days of them running commercials that say, ‘Hey, make sure you check out this show next Wednesday.’ I don’t think that works… So I’m actually trying to do some of this grass roots stuff and see if it works.”

“Cougar Town’s” Season 2 finale – which was set in Hawaii, and saw Courteney’s Jules chasing after her son Travis (Dan Byrd) – aired in May 2011 and Lawrence said all the months that have passed are a hurdle to retaining viewers and bringing in new ones.

“The… biggest mountain to climb is the sheer amount of time that it’s been off of television,” Lawrence said. “The only way to beat that system at all, because I don’t think networks can turn out [an] audience the same way, is to have fan and public awareness when the show does come back on — that it still exists — and the only way to do that is to still talk to and give access to the people that have championed us and been really nice to us.”

On Tuesday, ABC, “Cougar Town’s” network will be rolling out TCA panels for its upcoming shows, and some of its current roster – like the exiting “Desperate Housewives” – but Lawrence and Co.’s pop up session was to allow the co-creator to stay true to himself.

“I’m respectful and I think if I was on an ABC panel, I would feel disingenuous when I was pretending about how happy I was,” he said.

“I didn’t want to sit up there clapping and handshaking like I’m a fun part of the family, because I’m not,” he added later.

During the event, Lawrence also revealed that despite renewed banter, there will not be a “Cougar Town” name change.

“I can’t. We screwed up,” he told reporters. “We had it changed the second year. It was gonna be titled ‘Sunshine State.’ They picked up a show called ‘Mr. Sunshine’… and we backtracked, and by now, you know, if I’m gonna go down, I’m going down in flames. I make one giant mistake on every show… One of the cool things about this process, is you realize your mistakes and they never stop. It’s like parenting. It’s like now I got it.”

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