Whoopi Goldberg is returning to the world of scripted television. The current View co-host has reportedly been tapped to star in Delores & Jermaine, ABC’s comedy pilot based on the life of comedian Jermain Fowler.
Co-written by Daniel Chun (The Office) and Fowler, the developing series follows Jermaine, a millennial with grand ideas but very little ambition, who moves in with his estranged grandmother after he’s kicked out of his house. Though the two couldn’t be more different, his grandmother, a strict, football-loving former D.C. cop, soon finds she needs his youthful enthusiasm as much as he needs her old-school style of discipline.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Goldberg has signed on to play the character of Jermaine’s grandmother Delores following prolonged negotiations with the network. Delores takes in Jermaine after leaving the police force for a safer job and becoming a sports-loving recluse. With her grandson’s encouragement, she once again starts leaving the house and becoming more social.
In addition to starring in the comedy, Goldberg will serve as an executive producer alongside her producing partner, Tom Leonardis. Fowler and Chun will also executive produce, as will 3 Arts’ Michael Rotenberg and Avi Gilbert.
Should the project move past the pilot stage, Delores & Jermaine would mark Goldberg’s first full-time series gig since her short-lived eponymous sitcom that aired for one season on NBC from 2003 to 2004. She also recently held a recurring role on Fox’s Glee and lent her voice to characters on Suburgatory, Robot Chicken, and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
Her participation in the pilot begs the obvious question: Where does that leave The View? The host still has another year left on her contract with the daily talk show, which has been struggling with declining ratings and has seen drastic changes in hosts over the past several seasons. Goldberg has been involved as a moderator on the show since 2005 and was the only co-host to return from prior seasons during the show’s latest run. Recently, one of the newest additions, former co-host Rosie O’Donnell, announced her exit.
As of now, though, it seems The View won’t have to fill Goldberg’s spot. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the pilot isn’t expected to have any effect on Goldberg’s duties on the talk show. Delores & Jermaine will film in New York, as does The View, which means the TV personality could juggle both projects, should the show get picked up to series. Specific scheduling details for the talk show are already reportedly being worked out to accommodate for the pilot’s filming dates.
Delores & Jermaine is one of a slew of comedy pilots that ABC currently has in the works. The network is developing two other semi-autobiographical comedies: a still-untitled sitcom from Johnny Knoxville and Family Fortune, based on the family life of comedian Fortune Feimster. Also in the developing comedy pilot slate is an untitled NBA project starring Skylar Astin, a small-screen remake of the 1989 flick Uncle Buck, and the “anti-romantic” rom-com, The 46 Percenters, among others.