'Call Me Kat' Season 3 launches with more nods to Louisville

This week the Fox comedy series "Call Me Kat" crawls back onto our television screens for a new season promising plenty of laughs and perfectly placed references to Louisville.

"We actually tape 'Call Me Kat' on a soundstage in Los Angeles, but the writers sneak references to Louisville into the storyline as often as it makes sense," said Cheyenne Jackson, the actor who plays Max on the show. "Whether that's a University of Louisville Cardinal's hat one of us wears in a scene or a Muhammad Ali t-shirt or a reference to a Louisville business."

Before speaking with actors from the show, the Courier Journal got a sneak peak at the upcoming premiere episode of Season 3. And sure enough, the show's central character Kat, played by Emmy nominated actress Mayim Bialik, wears a University of Louisville sweatshirt in a scene where she is working out on a rowing machine.

All the subtle Louisville and Kentucky references are thanks to the fact that the show's creator, Darlene Hunt, hails from the Louisville area. Past seasons have included a wedding reception in the ballroom at the Brown Hotel, a Courier Journal reporter who interviews Kat for an article and a blind date gone wrong with the track announcer at Churchill Downs.

None of the scenes were actually shot in Kentucky, but the references are still fun to watch for if you live in the area. And although Hunt no longer works on "Call Me Kat," Emmy Award winner Leslie Jordan, who plays Phil, continues to keep a watchful eye on the Kentucky references.

"I exercised race horses before I started acting so I have spent time in Lexington, "Leslie said. "I am now into saddlebreds so I have been to Shelbyville, which is the 'Saddlebred Capitol of the World' to look at horses. But they are very expensive so I'll have to wait until the fourth or fifth season of the show before I can afford one of those."

If you've missed the first two seasons, "Call Me Kat" centers around the life of Kat, (Bialik) a 40-year-old single woman who owns a cat café in Louisville. This new season kicks off with Kat seated next to "Jeopardy!" host Ken Jennings on a flight back to her hometown after she has spent a couple of months traveling. (In her real life, Bialik and Jennings share 'Jeopardy!' co-hosting duties.)

Besides, Bialik, Jackson and Jordan, "Call Me Kat" also stars Kyla Pratt (Randi,) Julian Gant (Carter) and Emmy and Tony Award winner and Golden Globe nominee Swoosie Kurtz as Kat's mom Sheila. The cast told the Courier Journal the new season will find Kat considering having a baby, Max going through a midlife crisis and other characters finding themselves in romantic situations.

"A lot of shows don't really find themselves until the third or fourth season, and I think that's certainly true for 'Call Me Kat,'" Jackson said. "We started the show during the pandemic, which was incredibly difficult, but we've found our way through and we've all become incredibly close. It's a wonderful cast with great writers and coming into Season 3 it's something we are all extremely proud to be a part of."

There is one thing, however, that could bring the crew closer, Leslie Jordan told the Courier Journal. A trip to Kentucky the first Saturday in May.

"Since the show is set in Louisville, it makes sense to me that we should all come to Kentucky and do the Kentucky Derby thing," he said. "To have the entire cast at the racetrack and go to that big party the night before, I think that would be amazing for us and viewers."

Sounds like a perfectly good idea. What could be better than the entire cast of a show fictionally based in Louisville visiting the real city.

"Call Me Kat" season premiere episode “Call Me Ken Jennings” airs Thursday, 9:30-10 p.m. on FOX.

Reach features reporter Kirby Adams at kadams@courier-journal.com.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Call Me Kat Season 3 premiers and YES Louisville makes a cameo