November 07, 2011 2:09pm PT by Jethro Nededog
Holly Robinson Peete Talks the Irony and the Blessing of Landing CBS' 'Mike & Molly'
There’s a bit of karma in the fact that Holly Robinson Peete could be so unceremoniously booted from CBS' The Talk only to find her spirits lifted soon after by a show on the same network.
“If you told me last year that I wasn’t going to be on The Talk and I was going to be on Mike & Molly, I would have said, ‘What the hell you talking about?’ So, you just never know in this business,” Peete, 47, tells The Hollywood Reporter.
On Monday, Peete's first appearance on the CBS comedy airs. She plays a love interest for the romantically challenged Carl (Reno Wilson). He has had his fair share of loose women, so to speak, and he’s ready to find someone to settle down with.
“She’s a single mom,” Peete says of her character. “She’s kind of no-nonsense and she knows exactly what she wants and she’s not trying to date a player. The dynamic between her and Carl’s grandmother [played by Cleo King] should be interesting, because she wanted Carl to go out and do his thing. But when it actually happens, there may be some remorse there.”
Peete says that she has been a fan of the show for a while and remembers telling stars Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell when they appeared on The Talk right after both shows debuted last year that she’d love to do a cameo on the show. Showrunner Chuck Lorre (who’s also behind the network’s big hit, Two and a Half Men) ended up having bigger plans for her and his timing couldn’t have been better for the recently unemployed actress.
“When everything went down, I was just as surprised as everyone else, but I was so happy,” she says. “Chuck has been such a supporter. And I can’t remember the last time I was on such a humble set. I mean these guys are a stone-cold TV runaway hit. That Melissa McCarthy is a megastar. They could be such jerks if they wanted to and they’re not.”
“It came at a time when – I’m not going to lie – when I was a little bit down,” she also says. “It really lifted me up. It’s just a recurring part, it’s not a serious regular or anything, but I’m just thrilled. It’s great and it’s been a blessing.”
Peete says that part of the blessing of being cast is that she knows the series has done some great things for diversity on television. Not only does it have two show leads who aren’t the typical body types to head up a series, but it also has three African-American actors as show regulars. And she points out that the coupling of her character and Carl will represent one of the few, if not only, African-American couples on network TV this season.
“TV is not as diverse as it needs to be and certainly on the big four networks,” Peete points out. “We need a little bit more.”
Mike & Molly airs Mondays at 9:30 p.m. on CBS.
Note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly referred to Two and a Half Men as "Three and a Half Men."
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro