Lifetime Television Orders 13 Episodes Of New Comedy Rita Rocks

Nicole Sullivan Photo 
Marking a significant expansion of original programming, Lifetime Television has ordered 13 episodes of the half-hour comedy, "Rita Rocks," from MRC, it was announced today by Susanne Daniels, President, Entertainment, Lifetime Networks. Premiering this fall, the series stars Nicole Sullivan ("The King of Queens," "MADtv"), Richard Ruccolo ("Joey," "Two Guys and a Girl") and Tisha Campbell-Martin ("My Wife and Kids," "Martin").

In the series, Sullivan stars as Rita Clements, unfulfilled by her harried life as a married working mom, regains her identity by recreating her glory days as a musician in a garage band. The series will premiere this fall as part of a one-hour comedy block with the top-rated "Reba."

In making the announcement, Daniels said, "For our first original primetime comedy series in a decade, we've assembled a fantastic team, in front of and behind the camera. The gifted and simply hilarious Nicole Sullivan leads a phenomenal cast, produced by our wonderful partners at Media Rights Capital." Adding, "Our loyal viewers are fans of our comedy programming and we know they will think Rita rocks too!"

"Rita Rocks" has found the perfect home at Lifetime," said Keith Samples, President, MRC Television. "We could not be happier with being in business with Lifetime. It's a terrific place, with terrific people and we look forward to doing lots of good work together."

"Rita Rocks" joins an array of original programming airing on Lifetime this fall, broadening the Network's leadership in all genres, including Original Movies, Original Series and Reality Series. Lifetime Original Movies are the #1 rated among women. Beginning in September, the star-studded slate of original movies includes: "Sex & Lies in Sin City" starring Mena Suvari and Matthew Modine; "Coco Chanel" starring Shirley MacLaine, Barbara Bobulova and Malcolm McDowell; "Living Proof" executive produced by Neil Meron, Craig Zadan and Renee Zellweger, and starring Harry Connick, Jr.; "Killing Mr. Kissel" starring John Stamos and "Flirting with 40" starring Heather Locklear.

Lifetime's most-watched series in its history, "Army Wives," will return with original episodes in November, including a special two-hour season finale. And premiering this November, the hit reality competition series "Project Runway" with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn comes to Lifetime.

In "Rita Rocks," Sullivan stars as Rita, an overworked wife and mother in the middle of a full blown identity crisis. Trying to maintain romance with her husband Jay (Richard Ruccolo), juggling the demands of her nine-year-old daughter Shannon (Kelly Gould), disciplining her defiant, teenage daughter Hallie and her ever-present boyfriend Kip (Raviv Ullman), and being passed over for a promotion at work; Rita is at her wit's end. In search of "youthful" Rita, she dusts off her old guitar and forms a garage band with her nosey postal carrier Patty (Tisha Campbell-Martin) and unemployed neighbor Owen (guest-star Ian Gomez), in the hopes of putting that spark back in her life.

Nicole Sullivan most recently starred as Holly in the CBS sitcom, "The King of Queens." She is also well-known for her work on the FOX sketch comedy show, "MADtv," in which she starred from 1995-2001. Her numerous television guest appearances include such shows as "CSI," "Scrubs," "Law & Order: SVU," "Monk" and "According to Jim." In addition, Sullivan lends her voice talents to the animated television "Kim Possible," "Family Guy" and "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command."

Richard Ruccolo is best known for his role as Pete Dunville in the ABC comedy "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place," later renamed "Two Guys and a Girl." His television guest-starring roles include "Reba," "Less Than Perfect," "Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Joey," "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "The X Files." Ruccolo has appeared in the feature films "Obsessed," "All Over the Guy," "The One," "Anacardium" and "Available Men."

Tisha Campbell-Martin starred in the sitcoms "My Wife and Kids" and "Martin." Her feature film credits include "School Daze," "Another 48 Hours," "House Party," "House Party 2," "House Party 3" and "Boomerang." Campbell has made numerous guest appearances on television shows such as "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," "Roc," "Blossom," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "A Different World." She appeared in the television movies "Heart and Soul" and "Moe's World." Campbell's first television series was "Rags to Riches" for NBC in which she starred in 1987.

Raviv Ullman led the cast of the Disney Channel's "Phil of the Future" as main character Phil Diffy. He recently starred in the feature film "Prom Wars" with Alia Shawkat. His other television credits include "Cold Case," "House," "Big Love" and "That's So Raven." He can soon be seen in the feature films "The Trouble with Cali" and "Spring Break '83."

Kelly Gould was a regular on the HBO series "Lucky Louie" in 2006. Her other television credits include "Cold Case," "Ghost Whisperer," "Hannah Montana," "Jake in Progress" and Lifetime's "Strong Medicine." She appeared in the 2007 feature film, "Blades of Glory" starring Will Ferrell. She co-stars in the feature film "The Rebound" with Catherine Zeta Jones, scheduled to be released next year.

"Rita Rocks" is produced by Media Rights Capital for Lifetime Television. Stan Zimmerman and Jim Berg ("Gilmore Girls," "Roseanne"), Jeffrey Hodes and Nastaran Dibai ("Hope & Faith, "According to Jim") are executive producers. Franco E. Bario ("That '70s Show," "Grace Under Fire") is producer.