Meet the Hilarious Real-Life Inspiration Behind NBC’s Great News: Creator Tracey Wigfield’s Mom Kathy
No, that isn’t beloved comedienne Andrea Martin in the video above sitting next to Great News creator Tracey Wigfield, though you’re forgiven if you made the same mistake as we did.
Rather, it’s the woman who inspired Martin’s character in the new NBC comedy—and the series itself—Wigfield’s own mother, Kathy. And the resemblance is hilariously uncanny. Great News tells the story of Katie Wendelson (Briga Heelan), a producer on a national cable news show, whose overly-involved mother Carol (Martin) decides it’s never too late to follow your dreams and, after 30 years as a stay-at-home mom, lands herself an internship—on Katie’s show.
“I kind of got the idea because I was a TV writer starting in my 20s—I wrote on 30 Rock and The Mindy Project—and my mom used to come visit set all the time and just love being on set and meeting people and hanging out,” Tracey told E! News about the project, as her mom nodded emphatically in agreement. (Can you blame her? We’d kill to spend some time around Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling!) “So, I sort of just thought wouldn’t it be a funny, fertile ground for comedy if a mom came to her daughter’s work and just never left.”
And while Kathy may never have gone so far as to score a gig working alongside Tracey like her fictional counterpart, that doesn’t mean her daughter isn’t consistently mining her delightful mother for inspiration at every step of the way.
“There is a line that got cut that we didn’t end up using but we have to use in season two where she was like, ‘I don’t know if I have enough saved for retirement. I gotta think of an invention,” Tracey said, laughing.
“I say that all the time!” Kathy confirmed.
“I mean, she has a million of them all the time, but she’s such a hopeful dreamy person that the idea that oh, if you don’t save enough for retirement, just make an invention,” Tracey continued. “What a bad plan!”
For more from Tracey and Kathy, including what the writer’s learned from her lengthy professional relationship with Fey (who, alongside Robert Carlock, serves as executive producer on Great News), be sure to check out the video above.
Great News also stars John Michael Higgins, Nicole Richie, Adam Campbell and Horatio Sanz. The new comedy premieres with back-to-back episdoes on Tuesday, April 25 at 9 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)