Nick at Nite to Produce Original Sitcom Based on Network's First Funniest Mom in America Winner
Celebrated Comedian and Writer Carol Leifer to Scribe and Executive Produce
NEW YORK, April 19 -- Nick at Nite has secured celebrity
comic and writer Carol Leifer ("Seinfeld," "The Larry Sanders Show") to pen
and executive produce the sitcom pilot for Darlene Westgor, who won the
chance to develop her own show with the network when she was named Nick at
Nite's "Funniest Mom in America" in 2005. The pilot, tentatively titled
"Darlene," is based on Westgor's real life as a single, divorced mom living
and working in Minnesota. The pilot is expected to go into pre-production
immediately with plans to shoot in Los Angeles in May. Gil Junger ("Ellen,"
"Hope & Faith," "8 Simple Rules ..." ) will direct. Sal Maniaci also
executive produces on the project and TV Land's Marco Bresaz is executive
in charge of production.
Set in the Minneapolis suburbs, "Darlene" focuses on the ins and outs
of Westgor's life as a single parent raising two teenagers while managing
her job at an Urgent Care Center. Darlene responds to these everyday
situations with the wit and sarcasm that made her the hands-down winner of
the first "Funniest Mom in America" contest.
"We are thrilled to have Carol, Gil and Darlene working together to
bring this show to life," states Sal Maniaci, Senior Vice President of
Development and Original Production for TV Land and Nick at Nite. "Carol's
extremely funny and has a keen ear for Darlene's voice. Gil is the perfect
guy to nurture talent and help build a show around this premise. The
caliber of talent on this show is phenomenal. We definitely hit the
"The minute I saw Darlene perform I knew she had a hysterical and
unique take on being a single, working Mom today," said Carol Leifer. "She
reminds me of Roseanne when she first started out -- a completely relatable
act to millions of women out there."
Carol Leifer is an Emmy-nominated writer/producer ("Seinfeld," "The
Larry Sanders Show," "Saturday Night Live") who has also written and
produced five of her own stand-up comedy specials, the most recent being
for Comedy Central. She continues to tour around the country as one of the
opening acts for Jerry Seinfeld. She will be appearing as a guest star on
"Will & Grace" on May 4th.
Having worked on over 600 episodes of television, Gil Junger is a
veteran producer and director. Directing credits include "Hope and Faith,"
"8 Simple Rules," "According to Jim," "Dharma and Greg" and "Blossom."
Additionally, Junger was nominated for an Emmy and Director's Guild Award
for directing the episode of "Ellen" in which the lead character, played by
Ellen DeGeneres, reveals that she is a lesbian. Gil has also directed
feature films including "10 Things I Hate About You."
Darlene Westgor was selected to be a part of Nick at Nite's first
"Search for the Funniest Mom in America" contest and in May 2005, performed
before an audience and a panel of celebrity judges -- one of whom was Carol
Leifer. The judges decided that Westgor was "The Funniest Mom in America."
As the winner of the competition, Darlene received a development deal with
the network as the top prize. Darlene is the mother of two boys and now has
started a career in stand-up comedy.
Back for a second season, Nick at Nite's "Search for the Funniest Mom
in America 2" kicked off on the network on April 4. Darlene Westgor, last
year's winner, makes a cameo appearance in the show when she attends a
party with the moms and ends up being a voice of encouragement and
inspiration. Hosted by actress Katey Sagal, this five-part reality series
will culminate with an hour-long finale on Tuesday, May 9 from 9:30 p.m. to
10:30 p.m. (ET/PT) in which judges Mario Cantone (Broadway's "Laugh Whore,"
"Sex and the City"), Alfonso Ribeiro ("Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "All of
Us") and Carol Leifer select the winner for 2006.
For more information about Nick at Nite's originals line-ups, visit
http://www.nickatnite.com. Nick at Nite and all related logos and titles
are trademarks of Viacom International, Inc.
Nick at Nite Originals was created in 2003 to develop original
programming that meets what the network refers to as the "Four F's"
criteria: programming that is Family-Friendly, Funny and Familiar. Nick at
Nite Originals produced "Fatherhood" (June 2004), a show based on Bill
Cosby's best-selling book of the same name. Nick at Nite also produces
"Hi-Jinks," the network's hidden- camera series in which adults play
good-natured pranks on kids of all ages, which returned to the network in
its second season in February 2006. And last May, Darlene Westgor was
crowned "The Funniest Mom in America" when the network aired Nick at Nite's
"Search for the Funniest Mom in America," which returned for a second
season in April 2006.
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SOURCE Nick at Nite
Web Site: http://www.nickatnite.com/