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TORONTO – Desperate Housewives’ Eva Longoria is becoming a mother.
In cartoon form, that is.
The plot for Mother Up! for Canadian broadcaster City and Hulu has the Hollywood starlet voicing the character of Rudi Wilson, a former music exec turned hopeless suburban mom.
“She’s a crazy, irresponsible mother, that all mothers fear they are,” Longoria told the Hollywood Reporter about her character’s misguided, yet comedic child-rearing.
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“She barely keeps her kids alive with bizarre, improvised solutions to the endless challenges of parenting,” she added.
City and Hulu ordered 13 episodes of the half-hour adult animated comedy series that Longoria also executive produces.
The Canadian series was created by Michael Shipley (Family Guy, My Name is Earl), using original material from Marnie Nir and Katie Torpey.
Former Sony Pictures topper Yair Landau and Susan Purcell at U.S.-based Mass Animation also helped develop the project.
As Bardel Animation and Breakthrough Entertainment were picked as the Canadian co-producers of Mother Up!, Toronto-based executive producer Fred Fuchs (Transporter) successfully shopped the Canadian-written, produced and voiced project to City.
“It is without a doubt an irreverent and edgy series, and yet still a network friendly show,” Claire Freeland, director of original programming at City-parent Rogers Media said of Mother Up!
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City already has a primetime schedule heavy with popular American comedies like Modern Family and 2 Broke Girls, and a pipeline filled with homegrown sitcoms Seed and Package Deal.
Freeland said an original animated comedy with Michael Shipley’s comic touch and a Canadian writers room fits the City brand.
“We’re really excited about the edginess, and are not afraid to push it that way,” she insisted.
Despite its motherhood storyline, Freeland added Mother Up! will appeal to both a female and male demo, given its variety of male characters.
Greg Lawrence, who stick-handled another animated comedy, Crash Canyon, for Breakthrough, will show-run Mother Up!
Mark McKinney, Laurie Elliott, Laura Kosterski and Jenn Engels, who worked on Seed for City, are on board as scribes.
The Canadian series also stars Jesse Camacho as the voice of Dick, Gabrielle Miller as Sarah, Cle Bennett as 2Bit, Helen Taylor as Jenny, Rebecca Husain as Apple and Scott McCord as Greg.
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For Longoria, Mother Up! also marks a return to TV after starring in movies like The Baytown Outlaws, The Truth and more recently Michael Berry’s Frontera, since the curtain came down on her role as Gabrielle Solis in Desperate Housewives.
The animated comedy also allows Longoria to bring her acting chops to a Toronto sound booth.
“I always find you have so much more freedom as an actor with your voice when you’re hiding behind an animated character, as opposed to live action,” she observed.
Longoria and Landau are executive producing, along with Shipley, Purcell, Fuchs, Ira Levy, Peter Williamson, Barry Ward and Delna Bhesania.
City plans a fall 2013 debut for Mother Up!
Breakthrough Entertainment will distribute the series worldwide outside of North America.
“From an international distribution perspective, this (Longoria as star) will make the series very attractive,” Breakthrough principal Levy said.
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