In the years between Superman Returns and the announcement that the movie franchise would be going in a “different direction” that would not require his continued services, Routh’s movie career—a cameo role in Kevin Smith’s Zack And Miri Make A Porno, a glorified cameo in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, a role that was cut out of the Bret Easton Ellis adaptation The Informers—didn’t come to much, but he must have hit it off with the Will & Grace crew when he guest starred on that sitcom back in 2004. David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, the creators of Will & Grace, have cast him in their new CBS pilot Partners, Deadline is reporting. The new comedy is about a couple of friends and business partners, one of whom is heterosexual, and one of whom is—wait for it—gay! Michael Urie, who was Marc St. James on Ugly Betty, will play the latter role, and Routh will play his steady boyfriend. Playing a supporting character in a sitcom may sound like a comedown for a guy who, at 25, was handed the biggest movie role in the world, but if you’ve seen the Ben Affleck film Hollywoodland—and somebody must have—you know that, by the standards set by previous Superman actors, he’s getting off easy.
As Hitfix notes, Routh isn’t the only movie actor transitioning to the small screen so he can, in the words of Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, be gay for pay. Justin Bartha will co-star with Andrew Rannells (who appeared in Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez’s Broadway musical The Book Of Mormon) in Ryan Murphy’s single-camera comedy pilot The New Normal. Bartha is best known for his character in the Hangover movies, where he played the guy who had to keep getting himself misplaced so that Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and the sexiest man alive could get into all those wacky situations. Bartha and Rannells will play a same-sex couple who arrange to have a child through a surrogate (Georgia King), though for many people the real news is that Ellen Barkin is in the cast as the surrogate’s grandmother, making her the latest in the growing line of semi-retired movie divas who have gone through the Ryan Murphy makeover program to be turned into fabulous TV bitches. Jessica Lange was so 2011.