WEtv announced today that it had ordered a new series that depicts the life of comedian Sinbad and his family, called Sinbad's Family Affair.
The six one-hour episodes will premiere at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12.
“Sinbad’s story is one of second chances. It’s remarkable and heartwarming, but not without its drama, conflict and chaos,” said John Miller, senior vice president, original productions & development, WE tv and Wedding Central. “This is a Modern Family that’s reunited and they’re dealing with the emotions and issues that come along with that. It’s what viewers will see more of on WE tv, and women will be able to connect with this story and this family, either from their own experiences or those of people in their life.”
Meanwhile, in that same time slot currently on the network, WEtv has taken Tammy Pescatelli's series, A Stand-Up Mother, off the air after only two episodes. Pescatelli and her fans have gone online to try to rally support to bring the show back. In its place, the network is airing repeats of the Joan Rivers series, Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best? On its Facebook page, WE tv reps wrote just minutes ago: "Hey Everyone! Thanks for all your comments about "A Standup Mother". We hear you, and we want the show to come back soon too! The show is currently on hiatus and will be back later this year. Go WEtv.com for exclusive clips and extras until then!"
“Sinbad’s Family Affair” will be produced for WE tv by Thinkfactory Media. The series is executive produced by Leslie Greif, Adam Freeman and Adam Reed. Sinbad, Vernetta Jenkins, and Chuck Vinson are co-executive producers. Executive producers for WE tv are John Miller and Kate Farrell.
If you want to know why some comedians go overboard in asking fans and followers to vote for them in Comedy Central's annual "Stand-Up Showdown," then just look at the recent record. Jeff Dunham topped the vote in 2008 and finished runner-up in 2009, and got himself a ventriloquism sketch series on Comedy Central. Last year, season two Last Comic Standing finalist Tammy Pescatelli vaulted to the top. And that helped her launch her own hourlong reality/sitcom on WEtv.
A Stand-Up Mother premieres tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific following the debut of the new Joan and Melissa Rivers series.
Pescatelli spoke with me recently over the phone. But first, let's take a peek at the series. Roll it!
So that's the skinny. She's from Ohio, her husband is from Brooklyn, and they picked up and left Los Angeles for Meadville, Penn. -- "The good thing about it is that it has nothing to do with show business," she says -- to live closer to her parents and other relatives.
Each segment of the hour, however, opens with a small bit of Pescatelli on the road performing stand-up.
Walk me through this -- which came first, moving to Pennsylvania, or getting the TV show? When I met you in Las Vegas in 2008, you were still in L.A., right?
"I got pregnant, the writer's strike hit, and we got out of L.A. We were back and forth," she said. "Things started to get clearer and clearer that the baby didn't belong in Los Angeles."
What does that mean? "He couldn't figure out his gang affiliation. His favorite color is green. No. He didn't have family out there. My job is going on a plane and going somewhere. Telling jokes is second. There was only one of us at home with the baby."
Pescatelli said she had bought a house in Meadville years ago. "Ever since Last Comic," she said. "I had hoped my parents would retire here." But she, her husband Luca, and son little Luca could have ended up in another big city entirely. "We actually got a place in New York. It was in Brooklyn. And a house means a body-length away from my mother-in-law, so no." That wasn't going to happen."
You'd lived on camera before for Last Comic Standing, in a house even, but your family hadn't. Did you have to train them or prep them beforehand for living in front of camera crews?
"That's why I'm the creator and the executive producer of the show. My son is not talent. It's not like I'm Kate Gosselin making my kids get on camera. It's not his job to propel my career. He was minimal. You'll see clips of him, but he was minimal. My husband is an actor. He gets it. My parents and my mother-in-law I tried to shield, but they ended up being in it because they're bigger personalities.
"Granted, this is a reality sitcom and that was a competition show, but I know the burden and reality of editing. Shocking, that I'm exposing the reality of TV. American Idol is fixed!"
"It's not a documentary. They can't follow you around for 24 hours for five months. And I had two friends die while we were (filming), and we couldn't follow me around to funerals. That wouldn't be fun."
I don't claim to know a lot of people working at The Hollywood Reporter, so I have no idea why, when or how that trade publication lost all meaning of the word "EXCLUSIVE." The other night, THR published an "exclusive" about Jon Stewart making a joke about Rick Sanchez -- at a televised event for Comedy Central attended by thousands and Tweeted by me (and probably others) hours before it published its report. Late this evening, THR has another so-called "exclusive" about WEtv, ordering a six-episode series following the real-life of stand-up comedian and single mom Tammy Pescattelli.
If only they had news we hadn't heard before. Tammy Pescatelli herself Tweeted the news to her followers almost a month ago on Sept. 9.
And the Erie Times-News interviewed Tammy Pescatelli two weeks ago, and she talked at length about her upcoming WEtv series. It takes place in Meadville, Penn., south of Erie, where Pescatelli moved to from Los Angeles to be closer to her relatives after having a son, Luca Jr., now 2. She told them:
"It's showing all the facets of me living in a town where my entire family is, and dealing with my wacky husband. It's like 'I Love Lucy' except I'm Desi and he's Lucy trying to get into the act. It'll be filmed right here in Meadville, right here in my house, in my chaos."
Also, THR: Your facts are wrong. Production already has begun on her series. And it's Meadville, not Meadeville. Oh, and she's married, not single. Other than that, enjoy your exclusive!