Crittenden to pen, exec produce sitcom starring host

Next on Ricki: daytime talkshow hosts and the big-time scribes who write sitcoms for them.

Writer Jennifer Crittenden (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Seinfeld”) has signed on to pen a half-hour CBS comedy starring actress and talker host Ricki Lake. Lake had previously sealed a deal with the Eye to develop and star in a laffer for fall 2004 (Daily Variety, Sept. 23).

Now that’s she’s won the Ricki lottery, Crittenden will exec produce the project, a workplace ensemble laffer starring Lake as a human interest reporter. Paramount Network TV, where Crittenden is based, is also on board.

Crittenden, who’s repped by CAA, began her career in 1991 as a writer for “Late Night With David Letterman.” She then joined “The Simpsons” as a staff writer before jumping to “Seinfeld” as a story editor.

The writer worked her way up to co-exec producer before the show left the air in 1998; she then moved to “Drew Carey” as a supervising producer. She joined “Everybody Loves Raymond” in the show’s 1999-2000 season, and later created her own pilot (“Julie Lydecker”) and last season worked on the short-lived Eye comedy “Bram and Alice.”

Lake, who’s repped by Gersh, wraps production on her Sony-distribbed talker “The Ricki Lake Show” in January. Syndie analysts have been predicting that this year will be the gabfest’s last, but the show’s future won’t be decided until later in the season.

Lake, whose feature credits include “Hairspray” and “Cecil B. Demented,” has a recurring role on CBS’ “The King of Queens.”

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