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NBC’s ‘What About Barb?’ Pilot Casts Leah Remini, Jessica Gunning as Leads

Variety logo Variety 3/2/2017 Oriana Schwindt
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NBC has found the Barb that “What About Barb?” will be about. Jessica Gunning will play the titular character in the pilot that follows a psychotherapist who tries to cut ties with her most overbearing patient, but is unsuccessful and gains an annoying family member in the process. The project is based on the 1991 film “What About Bob?” starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss.

Leah Remini will play Suzanne, Barb’s therapist. Intelligent, put-together, professional and uptight, Suzanne is a renowned psychotherapist and a NY Times best-selling author of the book “Baby Steps” — a book she wrote to help her get over her own divorce. Remini is also behind successful A+E docuseries “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.”.

Gunning, a staple of the U.K. TV scene, was recently in “Fortitude” (which will debut its second season on Amazon in the U.S.). Her Barb is described as vivacious, enthusiastic, and wonderfully neurotic — a bull in a china shop. She’s a delightful, well-meaning, smart, offbeat woman who just says what’s on her mind, even when it’s not what you want to hear. In therapy with Dr. Suzanne Marvin, she thinks Suzanne is the best. So when Suzanne tells her that she’s cutting her loose, Barb is not one to let go easily.

The single-cam comedy hails from writer Joe Port, who will serve as executive producer with Joe Wiseman. ABC Studios is producing. Port and Wiseman have extensive experience in the broadcast comedy TV world. Their credits include “The Odd Couple” and “The Crazy Ones” on CBS, “Last Man Standing” on ABC, “New Girl” on Fox, plus “1600 Penn” on NBC.

“What About Bob?” centered around Murray, who played a psychiatric patient who follows his egotistical psychiatrist, played by Dreyfuss, on vacation. The film made nearly $68 million at the box office.
Gunning is repped by Markham, Frogatt & Irwin. Remini is repped by APA, Art2Perform, and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman.

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