Chelsea Handler’s semi-autobiographical new show Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea has run into some trouble. While That ’70s Show veteran Laura Prepon remains the lead, Natalie Morales, Jo Koy, and Angel Laketa have all been let go.
Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea has been ordered for a full season, but apparently NBC executives weren’t completely won over by the cast and premise. The three roles will be re-cast and/or re-worked, while the show’s premise and direction is being retooled.
The show is based on the popular 2008 novel of the same name by the stand-up/talk show diva Chelsea Handler. It follows Prepon as a somewhat fictional version of the comic in her mid 20s, waiting tables while trying to gain a foothold in Hollywood. Handler will play her own religious aunt.
Natalie Morales of Burn Notice and Parks and Recreation was set to play Ivory, Handler/Prepon’s best friend. Angel Laketa, who gained notoriety by working late in ER‘s run, was to be a guiding influence as fellow waitress, Shoniqua.
Most puzzling is Jo Koy, a close personal friend of Handler’s who worked on her previous show Chelsea Lately. He leaves behind the role of Mark the bartender/foil.
Replacements are nowhere to be seen, but the remaining cast, including Mark Povinelli, Lauren Lapkus, Lenny Clarke, are safe. The comedy was set to premiere at midseason in 2012, a date that is still presumably valid.
Even though this casting shake-up may appear to shine a negative light on the fledgeling series, recasting is a normal occurrence when a pilot is given a series order. For those looking interested in this new series, remember one thing: Prepon is not to be underestimated. Her timing was proven for years on That 70s Show and more recently Castle, and she’s recognizable for the sitcom set.
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