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‘Rick and Morty’ Writer Jessica Gao to Develop Chinese-American Comedy Series for ABC

Jessica Gao, who recently won an Emmy for her work on “Rick & Morty,” is developing a new comedy project at ABCVariety has learned.

The untitled, single-camera series has received a script commitment with a penalty attached. The series is about Janet Zhao, a first generation Chinese-American woman who struggles to set healthy boundaries with her crazy, exhausting family. When her wealthy grandmother dies and names Janet the sole inheritor, she suddenly finds herself the unwilling new matriarch of the family she’s spent her life trying to keep at arm’s length.

Gao will serve as the writer and executive producer on the series, with Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, and Samie Kim Falvey also executive producing via Imagine Television Studios. Imagine will produce along with CBS Television Studios.

This past Saturday, Gao was part of the “Rick and Morty” team that took home the Emmy for outstanding animated program. Adult Swim submitted the third season episode “Pickle Rick” for consideration, on which Gao was the writer. The episode has been hailed as one of the show’s best. Gao’s other writing credits include shows like “Silicon Valley,” “Lab Rats,” “Robot Chicken,” and “Bajillion Dollar Propertie$.” She also co-hosts the podcast “Whiting Wongs” with “Rick and Morty” co-creator Dan Harmon.

She is repped by ICM and 3 Arts Entertainment.

News of the development comes on the heels of the so-called #AsianAugust, in which a string of successful films led by Asian and Asian-American actors was released. Leading the charge was the box office hit “Crazy Rich Asians,” which to date has grossed more than $160 million worldwide. Other films released last month include “Searching,” led by Korean-American actor John Cho, and the Netflix rom-com “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” starring Vietnamese-American actress Lana Condor.

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