Furthering TV Land’s expansion into the original sitcom landscape, the network announced today that it has signed several popular television and film actors to star in its three upcoming pilots. Fran Drescher (“The Nanny”), Tichina Arnold (“Everybody Hates Chris”), John Michael Higgins (“Best in Show,” “Kath & Kim”), D.W. Moffett (“Friday Night Lights”), Rita Moreno (“West Side Story”), Valente Rodriguez (“George Lopez”) and Robert Walden (“All The President’s Men”) will star in “Happily Divorced” based on Drescher’s life; Donald Faison (“Scrubs”), Wayne Knight (“Seinfeld,” “Hot in Cleveland”), David Alan Basche (“The Starter Wife”) and Kristen Johnston (“3rd Rock From The Sun”) will headline an untitled Mark Reisman sitcom; and Christine Taylor (“Zoolander,” “Arrested Development”), Barry Watson (“Samantha Who?,” “7th Heaven”) and Sherri Shepherd (“The View,” “30 Rock”) will star in a comedy pilot by Terri Minsky tentatively titled “Rip City.” Anne Meara (“The King of Queens”) will guest star in Minsky’s show. All three pilots, which were previously announced in January, will be multi-camera and will tape in front of live audiences in February.
“TV Land is very dedicated to finding the next great sitcom for viewers in their 40s,” said Larry W. Jones, president, TV Land. “With the successes of ‘Hot in Cleveland’ and ‘Retired at 35,’ we feel that we are really honing in on what our audience craves – sitcoms with a classic feel with funny, relatable and contemporary story lines.”
Based on Fran Drescher’s real life, “Happily Divorced” centers around how Drescher deals with dating after finding out her husband is gay. The show focuses on how she juggles her relationship with her current boyfriend and ex-husband post-divorce. Rita Moreno and Robert Walden will play the main character’s parents, and Tichina Arnold will play the main character’s best friend. John Michael Higgins, D.W. Moffett and Valente Rodriguez have also signed on for the pilot.
Faison, Knight, Basche and Johnston will star in this yet-to-be-titled Mark Reisman project. Created and executive produced by Reisman (“Frasier”), the multi-camera sitcom revolves around three divorced men who live in an apartment building together in which the landlord is a smart and sexy female divorce attorney.
Terri Minsky’s project (working title “Rip City”) stars Taylor, Watson and Shepherd and is a multi-camera office comedy taking place at Rip City Cola, a regional beverage manufacturer and distributor. When an Ivy League-educated female takes over as the boss, the entire office is shaken up, particularly a beloved executive at the company who long ago decided to forgo college in favor of working his way up the ranks at Rip City. Anne Meara (“The King of Queens”) is also slated to guest star in the pilot. It is written by Terri Minsky (“Less Than Perfect,” “Lizzie McGuire”) and executive produced by Michael Hanel (“Rita Rocks,” “Retired at 35”) and Mindy Schultheis (“Reba,” “Retired at 35”).
TV Land currently has two hit sitcoms on the air. The network’s first original sitcom, “Hot in Cleveland,” stars beloved actresses Valerie Bertinelli (“One Day at a Time”), Jane Leeves (“Frasier”), Wendie Malick (“Just Shoot Me”) and Emmy® Award-winner, Betty White (“The Golden Girls”). White most recently won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series at the 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® for her role as Elka Ostrovsky on “Hot in Cleveland.” “Retired at 35” is TV Land’s second original sitcom and stars veteran actors George Segal and Jessica Walter and newcomers Johnathan McClain, Josh McDermitt and Ryan Michelle Bathe. Both shows are currently in premieres on Wednesdays at 10 and 10:30 pm ET/PT, respectively.
(Source: TV Land)