Jason Sudeikis' Tribute to Olivia Wilde You Missed on Ted Lasso
Jason Sudeikis and his show Ted Lasso have been dominating the Emmys since the series' inception in 2020.
The show has captured the award for Outstanding Comedy Series in each of its first two seasons, along with Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy for Sudeikis, who works as both executive producer and lead actor.
Sudeikis, as he has his entire career, has been able to nail the comedy aspect of the role, but the turning point has been his ability to change from funny to emotional at the flip of a switch. His ex-fiancé, actress Olivia Wilde, has been both a major inspiration and a driving force for the show.
It appears Sudeikis has seemed to give her a subtle nod to acknowledge her support – despite all the recent drama surrounding their relationship.
The character of Ted Lasso began as a short comedic ad for NBS Sports. That early portrayal of Ted would create millions of online fans, proving that there was something to the character – a football coach who was brought overseas to coach professional soccer.
One day in 2015, his then-partner Wilde told Sudeikis that there was more to Ted Lasso than a few funny skits.
"[She] came up to me and said, 'You know, you should do Ted Lasso as a show,'" he said. "Then after marinating on it, I thought maybe it could happen."
Co-star Brendan Hunt, who wrote the show with Sudeikis and plays Lasso's trusted Assistant Coach Beard, agreed.
"Olivia was like, 'Jason, you are doing this show,'" Hunt said. "'You're going to London, you're going to make this with your friends, and that's all there is to it.'"
"Even when we were just writing years ago without any buyers or even pitching it yet, [she] gave it a big push."
In one scene of the show, there's a shot of players' names and jersey numbers above their lockers in the locker room. Many of the names had a hidden, special meaning (Bumbercatch, anyone?), but eagle-eyed viewers pointed out one in particular.
Number 19 for AFC Richmond, the team Lasso coaches, is named Cockburn. Olivia's birth name is Olivia Jane Cockburn.
Like Sudeikis going through a rough breakup before the start of the show, Lasso is seen dealing with the fallout of a divorce. Both moved on and grieved by moving to England, where the show is set and filmed.
The subtle nod appears to give recognition to one of the most important people in developing the show, despite their separation.