While “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member Kim Zolciak landed a reality show spinoff on Bravo, her former friend NeNe Leakes has been making a heavy push into acting.
She’s had a well-received recurring role this season as a tough-talking swim coach on Ryan Murphy’s “Glee.” Now Murphy has tapped her again for another recurring role on his NBC comedic pilot “The New Normal” about a blended family of a gay couple and their surrogate, according to Deadline.com. She plays a character named Rocky, though the article provides no details of what that entails.
Broadcast networks are shooting pilots across the country for the 2012-13 season (including two in Atlanta: J.J. Abrams’ Revolution” and an untitled Kevin Williamson project starring Kevin Bacon). On average, network pilots have about a one in three shot of making it on air the next season. “The New Normal” has the pedigree of Murphy, who has also created FX’s “Nip/Tuck” and “American Horror Story.” And NBC needs hits – badly.
Style Network last week aired an episode of “The Amandas” featuring Leakes getting her master closet remade. She scared Dionne Warwick and La Toya Jackson last year on “Celebrity Apprentice.” Recently, she made appearances as herself on BET’s “Let’s Stay Together” and “The Game.”
UPDATE: Wednesday, March 29, 3:32 p.m. EST. In an earlier version of this entry, I made a presumption that NeNe’s work in Los Angeles is making her need to stay on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” increasingly unlikely. But her attorney Darrell Miller, in response to a text query, said she is staying with the show, just “adding to her plate.” I can only guess Bravo feels it still needs her on the show and NeNe still feels a need to cash what is probably a very nice six-digit paycheck.
She has been increasingly checked out and disengaged from the other cast members, especially Kim. From a creative standpoint, what more can she do with these other ladies? Obviously, they are bringing in at least one (if not more) new members that could shake things up.
There are two more original episodes and two “reunion” episodes, where NeNe will likely engage in a fair amount of eye rolling and looking bored.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk