January 14, 2014 9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Malcolm in the Middle's' Jane Kaczmarek Boards USA's 'Playing House' (Exclusive)
USA Network's upcoming Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair comedy Playing House is adding a seven-time Emmy nominee to its ranks.
Malcolm in the Middle alum Jane Kaczmarek has joined the network's second original scripted comedy series for a multi-episode arc, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Kaczmarek will portray Gwen, Emma’s (St. Clair) perfectly coiffed and extremely opinionated mother who finds herself in the midst of a midlife renaissance -- writing beat poetry, wearing open-toed sandals and discovering the joys of frozen yogurt. Now that Emma is back in town, they must navigate their self-imposed estrangement and figure out if they can make their relationship work.
Playing House is a buddy comedy that looks at what happens when two best friends come back together, just when they need each other most. Much like the short-lived NBC series Best Friends Forever, the single-camera half-hour is inspired by the ultra-close friendship between St. Clair and Parham. Here, when mother-to-be Maggie (Parham) discovers that her husband is having an online affair with a muscular German woman, Emma gives up her burgeoning business career in China to stay in their hometown and help Maggie raise her baby.
Meanwhile, as Maggie prepares for the birth of her first child and the fallout of her marriage ending, Emma must confront the past that she abruptly left behind 13 years ago -- her first love, local cop Mark (Keegan-Michael Key), her prim-and-proper mother and a small town that she's never felt comfortable in.
St. Clair and Parham executive produce the Universal Cable Productions entry alongside Scot Armstrong (Old School, Hangover 2), Judah Miller (King of the Hill) and Ravi Nandan (Hesher) of American Work.
In addition to her Emmy nominations, Kaczmarek also scored three Golden Globe nominations for her co-starring role in Malcolm. Her recent credits include Fox's short-lived comedy Us and Them, which was canceled before its premiere. She is repped by ICM Partners and Greenlight Management.
Playing House will premiere in the spring on USA Network.