Nick At Nite To Produce Original Sitcom Based On Network′s First FUNNIEST MOM IN AMERICA WINNER Nick at Nite has secured celebrity comic and writer Carol Leifer (SEINFELD, THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW) to pen and executive produce the sitcom pilot for Darlene Westgor, who won the chance to develop her own show with the network when she was named Nick at Nite′s FUNNIEST MOM IN AMERICA in 2005. The pilot, tentatively titled DARLENE, is based on Westgor′s real life as a single, divorced mom living and working in Minnesota. The pilot is expected to go into pre-production immediately with plans to shoot in Los Angeles in May. Gil Junger (ELLEN, HOPE & FAITH, 8 SIMPLE RULES) will direct. Sal Maniaci also executive produces on the project and TV Land′s Marco Bresaz is executive in charge of production.
Set in the Minneapolis suburbs, Darlene focuses on the ins and outs of Westgor′s life as a single parent raising two teenagers while managing her job at an Urgent Care Center. Darlene responds to these everyday situations with the wit and sarcasm that made her the hands-down winner of the first Funniest Mom in America contest.
"We are thrilled to have Carol, Gil and Darlene working together to bring this show to life," states Sal Maniaci, Senior Vice President of Development and Original Production for TV Land and Nick at Nite. "Carol′s extremely funny and has a keen ear for Darlene′s voice. Gil is the perfect guy to nurture talent and help build a show around this premise. The caliber of talent on this show is phenomenal. We definitely hit the trifecta."
"The minute I saw Darlene perform I knew she had a hysterical and unique take on being a single, working Mom today" said Carol Leifer. "She reminds me of Roseanne when she first started out - a completely relatable act to millions of women out there."
Carol Leifer is an Emmy-nominated writer/producer (SEINFELD, THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE) who has also written and produced five of her own stand-up comedy specials, the most recent being for Comedy Central. She continues to tour around the country as one of the opening acts for Jerry Seinfeld. She will be appearing as a guest star on WILL & GRACE on May 4th.
Having worked on over 600 episodes of television, Gil Junger is a veteran producer and director. Directing credits include HOPE AND FAITH, 8 SIMPLE RULES, ACCORDING TO JIM, DHARMA AND GREG AND BLOSSOM. Additionally, Junger was nominated for an Emmy and Director′s Guild Award for directing the episode of ELLEN in which the lead character, played by Ellen DeGeneres, reveals that she is a lesbian. Gil has also directed feature films including 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU.
Darlene Westgor was selected to be a part of Nick at Nite′s first SEARCH FOR THE FUNNIEST MOM IN AMERICA contest and in May 2005, performed before an audience and a panel of celebrity judges - one of whom was Carol Leifer. The judges decided that Westgor was "The Funniest Mom in America." As the winner of the competition, Darlene received a development deal with the network as the top prize. Darlene is the mother of two boys and now has started a career in stand-up comedy.
Back for a second season, Nick at Nite′s SEARCH FOR THE FUNNIEST MOM IN AMERICA 2 kicked off on the network on April 4. Darlene Westgor, last year′s winner, makes a cameo appearance in the show when she attends a party with the moms and ends up being a voice of encouragement and inspiration. Hosted by actress Katey Sagal, this five-part reality series will culminate with an hour-long finale on Tuesday, May 9 from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (ET/PT) in which judges Mario Cantone (BROADWAY′S LAUGH WHORE, SEX AND THE CITY), Alfonso Ribeiro (FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR, ALL OF US) and Carol Leifer select the winner for 2006.