“Black-ish” star Jenifer Lewis has been cast as a lead alongside Vanessa Bayer and Molly Shannon on the upcoming Showtime comedy series “I Love This for You,” filling a role previously held by the now-exited Cybill Shepherd.
Inspired by Bayer’s own story of overcoming childhood leukemia, “I Love This for You” centers on Joanna Gold (Bayer) who dreams of becoming a host at a home-shopping channel. Working to shed her life-long label as “that cancer girl,” she moves away from her parents, starts a budding romance for the first time in her adult life and forms a meaningful friendship with her idol Jackie, all against the backdrop of a highly competitive workplace run by an unstable billionaire, where people play dirty to succeed.
Lewis will play Patricia, the icy, enigmatic founder and CEO of a popular home shopping network. The part was originally played by Shepherd for the comedy’s pilot, but when Showtime ordered “I Love This for You” to series in July, the premium cable network announced the part would be recast. An individual with knowledge tells TheWrap the mutual decision was based on moving in a different creative direction with the part.
“I Love This for You” also features Shannon as Jackie, the charismatic star of the network, Paul James (“Soundtrack”) as Jordan, a charming but dry stage manager, Ayden Mayeri (“Homecoming”) as Beth Ann, an ambitious insecure host, Matthew Rogers (“Haute Dog”) as Darcy, the ingratiating right-hand man to the CEO, and Punam Patel (“Special”) as Beena, an offbeat backstage producer.
Bayer co-created the series along with Emmy nominee and two-time Peabody winner Jeremy Beiler. Jessi Klein (“Inside Amy Schumer,” “Dead to Me,” “Transparent”) will serve as showrunner and executive produce along with Bayer, Beiler and Michael Showalter. Other executive producers include Megan Ellison and Sue Naegle of Annapurna, Jordana Mollick of Semi-Formal and Allyce Ozarski.
Along with her role as Ruby Johnson on “black-ish,” Lewis is known for her parts on TV movie “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square” and series “Strong Medicine,” as well as the films “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” “The Preacher’s Wife,” “Not Easily Broken,” “Poetic Justice,” “Baggage Claim,” “Think Like a Man,” “Hereafter,” “The Wedding Ringer,” “Castaway,” “Madea’s Family Reunion” and “Meet the Browns.”
She is repped by Innovative Artists.