Kari Lizer on ‘Mother’ of All Multicam Comedies

Call Your Mother on ABC
(Image credit: ABC)

Comedy Call Your Mother, with Kyra Sedgwick playing a mother reinserting herself into her children’s lives after they move out of the house, begins on ABC Jan. 13. The show comes from Kari Lizer (The New Adventures of Old Christine). 

Lizer had been kicking around the empty nest idea for a few years, and the notion of figuring the next chapter after the kids move out and don’t really need Mom anymore. She met Sedgwick, formerly of TNT crime drama The Closer, through their mutual agent, and penned a pilot for HBO that had Sedgwick as a nun getting on with her life after losing her faith. It was a comedy that never got made and Lizer cannot recall the title. 

Sedgwick’s film work includes Something to Talk About, Born on the Fourth of July, Singles and The Edge of Seventeen. After Sedgwick saw husband Kevin Bacon in ABC’s All in the Family reboot late in 2019, she got curious about doing a multicam comedy. 

“She said, boy, does that look fun,” related Lizer. 

Lizer sees smart multicams not so much as staid sitcoms but more like a stage drama. “They can be fresh and they can be interesting to do,” she said. 

Call Your Mother is not snarky, Lizer added, and mixes comedy and drama. “I like things that are less reliant on jokes, where people have real conversations,” said Lizer. “I’m a fan of Norman Lear comedies that make you laugh and make you cry.”

Besides Lear’s canon, Lizer mentions That Girl and I Love Lucy as influences on Call Your Mother. Sedgwick plays Jean, a woman “who is still vital and sexy, who wants romance, who wants to live life in an adventurous way,” Lizer said. 

Rachel Sennott, Joey Bragg and Emma Caymares are also in the cast. 

Call Your Mother leads out of The Conners Wednesdays on ABC. Lizer hopes the rookie comedy’s positive message connects with viewers who may be looking for such a vibe amid all the doom and gloom in the news. 

“It’s about people that care about each other, people who lost their connection with each other and want to rebuild it,” she said. “It’s a show where people want to be the best for each other, and I think people crave that right now.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.