Reba McEntire's return to TV last week on Malibu Country was a ratings hit for ABC. On her new sitcom, Reba plays a country singer who heads from Nashville to Malibu after finding out her more famous husband has cheated. The show is rounded out by a supporting cast including the legendary Lily Tomlin and Queer Eye For the Straight Guy alum Jai Rodriguez. We caught up with Reba and the rest of the cast recently to talk about the fish-out-of water premise and their mutual admiration for each other. Check out our interviews, and catch Malibu Country when it airs tonight at 8:30/7:30 Central.
Five years after her eponymous sitcom went off the air, Reba McEntire is returning to prime time with fish-out-of-water comedy Malibu Country. Though McEntire maintains that Malibu Country is not the same show as Reba, her new endeavor has more than a few thematic similarities to her former show. This time around she plays the matron of a Nashville family who has relocated her clan to Malibu following some, er, indiscretions on her soon-to-be-ex-husband's part.
- What it's about: Reba's character, also named Reba (I'm beginning to assume this is a contractual clause), leaves her country music star husband after he cheats on her and his affair goes public. She packs up her mother (Lily Tomlin) and her two kids (Juliette Angelo and Justin Prentice) and heads to Malibu for a fresh start. Once there, she discovers a number of glaring discrepancies between Nashville and Southern California.
- Where it works: Lily Tomlin is wonderfully brash as Reba's mother, at least until the material has her turning into a pot-smoking granny. She's funny, even when the writing is not.
- Where it doesn't: Oh, let me count the ways. There are so many Golden State clichés packed into the pilot that I'd be surprised if they have any wacky tropes left for episode two. The show doesn't bring anything new to the table, because it is just like Reba, right down to the brazen airhead (Sara Rue) living next door to shake things up.
- When it's on: Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.
- You might like this show if: You're ready to bring TGIF back, complete with '90s-style sitcoms.
Malibu Country premieres on Nov. 2, but you can see pictures from the show and watch a preview when you read more
Reba McEntire is more than just a country music superstar; she's also made a name for herself as a TV star after her stint on Reba. Now she's coming back to the small screen with ABC's Malibu Country, and although she's playing another character named after herself, the cast and showrunners assured us that these are two very different comedies at the TCA this week. Here's more from the panel:
- Executive producer Kevin Abbott was the first to address the similarities between Malibu Country and Reba, saying, "It's a very different beast than the old Reba. The approaches are very different, and that's how I intend to maneuver those waters." That said, Abbott noted that he's not going to shy away from doing certain story lines simply because they might have happened on Reba.
- Reporters also couldn't help drawing comparisons between Malibu Country and Nashville, but McEntire made it clear that she's happy with the show she's on, saying, "No, I like this one better. I've been in that business true life." However, she did note that she wouldn't mind making a guest appearance on Nashville as herself.
- Sara Rue plays Kim, Reba's over-the-top neighbor when she gets to Malibu, a role that she prepared for by watching tons of reality television. Rue said, "I watched countless hours of The Real Housewives of Orange County, and that's what I based my character on." Abbott added, "Kim represents Malibu."
- Lily Tomlin plays Reba's mother on the show, and she said she joined the project because she's been "very taken with Reba for a long time." Her character is spirited and outspoken, and Tomlin joked, "I'm hoping she'll even be a bad influence on the kids." At age 72, Tomlin also joked, "This will probably be my last project before I go to the motion picture home."
Another day at the upfronts means there's another crop of new shows to check out and judge. Today, ABC took its turn to present its new shows, and the slate of comedies and dramas features a lot of familiar faces. See which veterans of shows like Lost and Desperate Housewives will be showing up come Fall, and get a peek at all of their new projects.
Photos copyright 2012 ABC, Inc.
Upfronts are in full swing, and it's time to get acquainted with the new series that'll be hitting the small screen in Fall 2012. ABC has revealed the shows it's ordered after announcing which shows it's canceling, and we've got the info on the pilots right here.
- Malibu Country: Reba McEntire plays a woman who moves with her kids from Nashville to Malibu to live with her mother (Lily Tomlin) after her husband cheats on her.
- How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life: Sarah Chalke stars as a recently divorced woman who has to move in with her eccentric parents, played by Brad Garrett and Elizabeth Perkins.
- Family Tools: A man (Kyle Bornheimer) puts his life on hold to take over the family handyman business from his father, played by J.K. Simmons.
- Neighbors: A family, which includes Jami Gertz, moves into a gated community and discovers that it's full of aliens disguised as humans.
- 666 Park Ave.: Dave Annable and Rachael Taylor play a couple who notice supernatural occurrences in the New York City apartment building they've been hired to manage.
- Last Resort: The crew of a nuclear submarine (played by the likes of Scott Speedman and Andre Braugher) has to escape to a NATO outpost after they ignore an order to fire nuclear missiles.
- Zero Hour: Anthony Edwards stars as a longtime editor of a magazine that disproves conspiracies when he's pulled into one.
- Red Widow: The widow (Radha Mitchell) of a murdered criminal has to take over his place to save her family.
- Nashville: This family soap follows two country stars, played by Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, one who's at the top of her career and another whose star is just rising.
- Mistresses: Alyssa Milano stars in this drama about the love lives of four women, which also costars Lost's Yunjin Kim.