Maggie Lawson is ‘Outmatched’ by kids in new Fox sitcom

Actress returns to Fox as a parent to several child geniuses

The comedy “Outmatched” premieres Thursday on Fox.

Many parents hope their children will be smarter than them, and a new sitcom runs with that notion.

Premiering Thursday, Jan. 23, Fox’s “Outmatched” teams Maggie Lawson (“Psych”) and Jason Biggs (“American Pie”) as an Atlantic City, N.J., couple whose four offspring include three literal geniuses. Fox-series alums Connor Kalopsis (“The Grinder”) and Jack Stanton (“The Mick”) play two of them, who excel at math and music respectively; the third, played by Ashley Boettcher, is a language expert. And the fourth kid (Oakley Bull) is relatively ordinary, a relief to her mom and dad. Tisha Campbell (“Martin”) also stars.

Series creator-producer Lon Zimmet developed “LA to Vegas” for Fox, and his work on that show helped draw Lawson – returning to Fox herself after her run on “Lethal Weapon” — to “Outmatched.” The friendly actress says, “This is one of the first scripts I read during the last pilot season, and I was immediately like, ‘I want to do this one.’ I thought it was such a funny idea. And I read the ‘LA to Vegas’ pilot years ago, and I loved that script, so I knew this was going to be good.”

Maggie Lawson stars in the comedy “Outmatched,” premiering Thursday on Fox.

Since her character Cay also is a casino pit boss, Lawson is having fun with a type of role she rarely plays … “very tough,” she maintains. “I usually tend to be a little more genteel, and this is not that. Jason is kind of the heart and sweetness of the show, and I’m almost bullying at times. I was excited to be seen for something like this, to show another side.”

“Outmatched” also is “a little bit of art imitating life,” reasons Lawson: “This generation of kids doesn’t know life without the Internet and the iPhone, and the show is called ‘Outmatched’ for a reason. We have kids who are so smart, they are outsmarting us (older people) all the time. That’s how it is on the set, too. The kids will be talking about something and I’ll say, ‘Wait. What? What did you say? I don’t even know what that means.’ These kids not only play smart in the show, they’re incredibly smart. And professional. And good. I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of intimidating.”

Also to be seen in the second “Psych” movie sequel when the streaming service Peacock launches later this year, Lawson continues her dedication to the nonprofit Tiger Frances Foundation, which she co-founded to match animals and youths in mutual need of care.

“We’re working on a few different things that are really exciting, both in and outside of L.A.,” she reports. “We’re trying to expand the program, and finding a lot of positive feedback and help with that.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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