Rosie O'Donnell Joins ABC Family's 'The Fosters'

The casting comes five years after the comedian-actress starred and produced Lifetime's original movie about the foster care system.
Dan Steinberg/AP
Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O'Donnell is heading to ABC Family's The Fosters.

The cable network announced Tuesday that the comedian-actress will recur on the second half of the family drama's freshman season. O'Donnell, who is a foster and adoptive mother, will play Rita Hendricks, a tough yet compassionate woman who works for the foster care system and becomes a mentor to a member of the Foster family.

She'll appear in three episodes when the second half of the show's freshman season returns in January. Production will resume in October.

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"When Rosie O’Donnell tweeted that she loved The Fosters, we knew we had to reach out and try to snap her up! Having witnessed her support of foster children and blended families, we knew she would be a perfect fit for the show," creators/EPs Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg said in a statement announcing the news.

The Fosters revolves around a multiethnic family mix of foster and biological kids being raised by lesbian parents. The series won the Teen Choice Award for breaking TV show and hails from EP Jennifer Lopez.

"I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful, heartwarming show. My kids and I never miss it," O'Donnell said.

For O'Donnell, the casting continues her advocacy for the foster care system. In addition to starring and executive producing Lifetime's America -- which centered on a boy who aged out of the foster care system -- she protested against adoption agencies, particularly in Florida, that refused adoptive rights to gay and lesbian parents.

O'Donnell is repped by WME.

ABC Family expanded the order for The Fosters in July.

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