4:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Leah Remini to Play Conservative Lesbian in Fox's Middle-America Comedy
Leah Remini is moving from CBS to Fox.
The actress has been tapped to star in Fox's untitled Middle America family comedy from the team behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Picked up with an off-cycle pilot order in May, the project revolves around a woman, her ex-husband and her new wife, who all work together to raise a family in Middle America. The comedy hails from 20th Century Fox Television.
Remini will play Jean, who considers herself a patriot that loves her country and firmly believes in everyone’s right to be left alone. Jean in many ways fits the stereotype of a typical conservative. However, she leads a very progressive lifestyle as she is now married to a woman, Betty. Together, they’re raising Jean’s two sons with the help of the boys’ father and Jean’s ex-husband, Richie, who lives in the garage.
Rob McElhenney and Rob Rosell will pen the script and executive produce the comedy alongside It's Always Sunny collaborators Nick Frenkel, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton. (While Day, Howerton and McElhenney star in Sunny — and Howerton toplines NBC comedy A.P. Bio — none is expected to have onscreen roles in the project.) The effort is in contention for a midseason — or beyond — order at Fox, which continues to develop off-cycle as broadcast networks look to year-round development.
The Fox comedy marks Remini's follow-up to CBS' Kevin Can Wait, which she boarded as a series regular and reunited with King of Queens star Kevin James in season two. CBS canceled the comedy in May. Remini continues to create and exec produce A&E's Emmy-winning docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. Season three will premiere in the fall, with the actress and producer expanding her collaboration with the cable network through a development deal. On the feature side, Remini next stars opposite Jennifer Lopez in Second Act. She is repped by APA, Art 2 Perform and Hirsch Wallerstein.
The Fox comedy arrives as broadcast networks are looking to program to underserved audiences in Middle America after the success of ABC's Roseanne reboot, which overperformed in the region. To that end, Fox's new strategy is to focus on broad multicamera comedies after reviving Last Man Standing, featuring conservative star Tim Allen.