Rosie O’Donnell Joins Showtime’s Comedy Pilot ‘SMILF’

Showtime is setting the cast for their comedy “SMILF,” which is based on Frankie Shaw’s short film that won over the Sundance Film Festival last year. The project will star Shaw who is writing, producing and directing the autobiographical pilot.

“SMILF” takes a raw look at a single, 20-something, Bridgette (played by Shaw), whose desires for relationships, sex, and a career collide with the realities of young, single motherhood.

Rosie O’Donnell has joined the cast as a series regular, and will play Tutu, Bridgette’s mother, who is unapologetically herself and completely oblivious to social convention. Despite her troubled upbringing in the projects of Southie, she shows up for her daughter and grandson as best as she possibly can — which isn’t always up to Bridgette’s standards.

The project marks O’Donnell’s major TV return. She exited “The View” in early 2015, and recently has had a recurring role on Freeform’s “The Fosters,” plus guest roles on CBS’s “Mom” and Fox’s “Empire.” Up next, she will appear in ABC’s gay rights mini-series “When We Rise.”

Aside from O’Donnell, “SMILF” has set a few guest stars, including Tony Award nominee Alex Brightman, newcomer Kyle Vincent Terry and “Quantico’s” Graham Rogers.

Brightman will guest star as Jesse, who went to high school with Bridgette and has always carried a torch for her, and when they reconnect, he jumps at having a second chance with her; Terry will play Ben, who flirts with Bridgette at a public basketball court and there’s some genuine chemistry between them; Rogers has been cast as David, an eager film student who won a competition to direct a PSA.

Previously announced cast members are Samara Weaving (“Ash vs Evil Dead”) and Ismael Cruz Cordova (“Ray Donovan”). Cordova will play Rafi, a 28 year old man-child and recovering addict trying to navigate the new world of being a good ex-boyfriend to Bridgette and baby daddy to his 2-year old son Larry. Weaving will play Nelson Rose, a recent college graduate with a burgeoning career as a sportscaster, who has fallen in love with Rafi and looks at him as her new pet project.

“SMILF” hails from ABC Signature as a co-production with Showtime. Along with Shaw, exec producers are Michael London, Lee Eisenberg, Gene Stupnitsky and Janice Williams.

O’Donnell is repped by WME; Brightman is repped by UTA and Brookside Management; Terry is repped by Gersh and Authentic; Rogers is repped by CAA and 3 Arts.

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