TCA: 'Raising Hope' And Taming Cloris

The title of the show might be Raising Hope, but the panel for the upcoming Fox comedy turned to The Cloris Leachman Show as the veteran comedienne almost hijacked the proceedings. After complaining about the seating arrangement and switching seats around, she fielded questions by asking each person asking the question to stand up.

Some of her answers: On why she chose to do the pilot, about a guy (Lucas Neff) and his family who have to raise a baby, the result of the guy’s one-night stand with a girl that turns out to be a wanted felon. “It’s funny, brilliant, f**k. Great cast, a baby.”

On whether she is looking to compete with Betty White for “it” girl status. “I’m so sick of Betty White, never liked her. We have a movie together coming out called You, Again.”

On whether she wants to win more Emmys as she currently holds the record for most wins by an actress, 8.You bet your life. If I don’t get an Emmy for this show, I’m leaving.”

Creator/executive producer Greg Garcia was asked about the fact that the show kicks off with the baby’s mother getting executed. “It’s dark but I thought it was an interesting way to give this family a baby, so I said: go for it,” prompting Leachman to chime in, dryly, “That’s sort of dark, isn’t it?” The show will share a lot of similarities with Garcia’s previous single-camera comedy My Name Is Earl in the way it’s shot and in terms of style, he said. “I like to do a little movie every week.”

After the panel, Garcia said he is still upset over the way NBC cancelled Earl but has largely moved on and is looking to prevent such a scenario with Hope with a Lost-style plan. “By 2027, we’re ending the show. It is a 17-year plan, we have it all worked out, and we are going to go out on top.”

Two other tidbits from the session. Here is Neff’s answer to a question about how it is working with infants. “They don’t ever break character.” And the show’s original title, Keep Hope Alive, was changed to Raising Hope over concerns for possible copyright issues with Jesse Jackson.

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