Returning to television for his first regular series role in 12 years, former Seinfeld co-star Michael Richards will join Cheers veterans Kirstie Alley and Rhea Perlman in a comedy pilot for TV Land entitled Giant Baby.
As part of TV Land's strategy to populate its original shows with popular stars from yesteryear, Giant Baby will unite the long-time stars of two of the most beloved sitcoms in the history of television. Created by Marco Pennette, the new show stars Kirstie Alley as Madison "Maddie" Bank, a Broadway star who experiences a major upheaval in her life when her long-lost son attempts to connect after his adoptive mother dies.
An original cast member on NBC's Cheers from 1982 until 1993, Rhea Perlman will portray Maddie's long-suffering assistant and best friend named Thelma, who encourages her boss to form a relationship with her son.
Although not much is known about the character beyond his occupation, Richards will play Maddie's limousine driver, which immediately causes one to think that he could easily fall back into a whacky Kramer-like role.
Theater actor Eric Petersen will play Arlo, the son that Maddie gave up years ago.
It was also announced that Gilles Marini — a Brothers & Sisters alum who was recently promoted to regular status on ABC Family's Switched At Birth — will guest star as Maddie's chef, with the potential to become a recurring role.
Forever known as the hipster doofus Kramer on NBC's Seinfeld, Richards won three Emmy Awards for the role, but when the show ended, so did his luck professionally. His solo comedy series, The Michael Richards Show, was canceled within two months of its debut on NBC in 2000 and he continued to work as a stand-up comedian, which led to an infamous 2006 incident caught on tape in which Richards hurled racial epithets at a heckler in the audience. The last time he appeared in a TV series was in 2009, portraying himself as part of a Seinfeld reunion on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm.
In a recent poll conducted by 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair, Seinfeld was voted the greatest sitcom of all time out of a list of seven shows. Cheers placed fourth behind The Honeymooners and Friends, but ahead of Arrested Development, Mary Tyler Moore, and 30 Rock. For an entertaining and comprehensive retrospective of Cheers, travel back with our own Adam J. Langton in the TV Time Machine!
I would watch Giant Baby based on the title alone, but they've assembled quite a cast for the pilot. It will be interesting to see Michael Richards in a regular TV role again, and despite the ever-present Seinfeld reruns, perhaps enough time has passed for him to create another memorable sitcom character.