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Like Family aired from September 2003 until April 2004 on The Wb.
Maddie ( Diane Farr) was a divorced single mother who was afraid that the long hours she put in on her Manhattan job , which kept her away from home a lot more than she liked , were having a negative effect on her fun-loving son , Keith ( J. Mack Slaughter). After she told her friend Tanya ( Holly Robison Peete) about her concerns, Tanya suggested she and Keith move in with her family in New Jersey. It certainly made an interesting blended family, since the Hudsons were white and the Wards were African-American. Maddie and Tanya had been best friends since they were kids and had always been supportive of each other. While Maddie was still working, Tanya had taken leave from her legal career to spend time at home with her family. Her husband, Ed ( Kevin Michael Richardson), who owned a landscaping business, had a bark much louder than his bite. While their young son, Bobby(B.J. Mitchell), welcomed the houseguests, hoping Keith would be like an older brother, his sister, Danika ( Megalyn Echikunwoke), had reservations about the living arrangements , since she and Keith had been competetive for years. Also living in the Ward home was Ed's flamboyant father, Pop ( J. Anthony Brown), an active senior citizen with an eye for the ladies.
Things did not always go smoothly. There were constant adjustments to one another and compromises in parenting styles, particularly since Maddie was much more tolerant with Keith than Tanya was with Danika. In February Pop began a relationship with a much younger Ethel ( Tembi Locke) and later in the year Keith started dating Danika's arch nemesis, Lauren ( Ashleigh Ann Wood).
An Article from Variety
WB will treat Farr 'Like Family'
Thesp appears in two other pilots this season
By MICHAEL SCHNEIDER
Thesp Diane Farr ("The Job") has joined the cast of the upcoming WB sitcom "Like Family," starring opposite Holly Robinson Peete.
Farr will play Maddie, a newly single, down-on-her-luck mother who winds up taking her 16-year-old son and moving in with the family of her best friend (Robinson Peete). Farr replaces Amy Yasbeck, who played the character in the show's pilot.
Farr is coming off a busy pilot season, having booked two projects and developed a third. The actress starred in NBC pilot "The Ripples," in which she and Adam Arkin played a couple that have been married for 4,000 years.
She also appeared in the CBS pilot "Harry's Girl," playing the best friend of Christine Taylor's character. She also developed a project for ABC, through Warner Bros. TV, based on her experiences growing up with a multi-ethnic crew in Brooklyn.
Beyond acting, Farr is also working on her second book. Farr previously authored "The Girl Code: The Secret Language of Single Women on Dating, Sex, Shopping And..."
Farr's varied resume includes her two seasons on "The Job" alongside Denis Leary; recurring roles on "Roswell" and "The Drew Carey Show"; and a two-year sidekick gig on MTV's "Loveline."
Farr, who's repped by WMA, Steven Fenton and Todd Rubenstein, has also served as a columnist for magazines including Cosmopolitan.
Beyond Robinson Peete and Farr, "Like Family" also stars Kevin Michael Richardson, J. Mack Slaughter, J. Anthony Brown, Megalyn Echikunwoke and B.J. Mitchell. Laffer comes from Warner Bros. TV.
A Review from The New York Times
TV WEEKEND; Playing Race For Laughs
By VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN
Published: September 19, 2003
With colloquial racism deemed no longer noxious but rebellious and plain fun -- especially by comedy writers eager to forsake stale Seinfeldisms and show off their harsher material -- two sitcoms have cartwheeled into prime time to have a ball with race.
WB calls its effortful ''Like Family,'' which makes its debut tonight, a crossover comedy, suggesting there is a Jim Crow line running through television audiences that the network bravely plans to breach.
''Like Family'' passes time in a New Jersey bathroom, a windowless mauve affair the size of an urban kitchen, with two slammable doors that ensure heavy traffic. Enter a chipper white lady, primping; a tenderhearted black boy, cavorting; a white underachiever, complaining; a fat black man, ambling. This last guy has a newspaper. It seems he plans to stay, and that's one big gag.
As the underachiever, Keith (J. Mack Slaughter), puts it on the second episode, ''Good morning, my multigenerational, multiethnic family.''
This madcap race-mixing happens because Tanya (Holly Robinson Peete), who is black, has unaccountably agreed to put up her best girlfriend, Maddie (Diane Farr), and her son, Keith. The chipper Maddie is an implausibly juvenile single mother, in the ''Gilmore Girls'' tradition, while Tanya is tough and hot, the kind of woman about whom other women might say, ''I don't know how she does it.''
What Tanya does, as it surfaces, is set up jokes for her husband, Ed (Kevin Michael Richardson), the man with the newspaper; Bobby (B. J. Mitchell), her sweet son; and Pop (J. Anthony Brown), Ed's father. As an old black man on a sitcom, Pop can naturally be identified by his fedora, pocket square and cigar.
In the show's first episode, Ed doesn't want to take in Maddie and Keith, but Tanya begs.
''The boy needs a strong male influence,'' she says.
''Tell him to watch Dr. Phil,'' Ed replies, and it's clear that Maddie and Keith will be sent out, only to return to this house -- and its bathroom, where they'll become like family.
Good thing, because the show depends on Keith, catnip for the Teen People set: he's a looker with a gunky thatch of hair. Seemingly on loan from an all-white show, Keith is here to be hazed. Tanya's daughter, Danika (Megalyn Echikunwoke), nicknames him Poopy. Ed has him test-drive a toilet seat. Little Bobby, who bunks above him, seems poised to soak him in urine. That's what he gets for crossing over.
For more on Like Family go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Like_Family
For Holly Robison Peete's MySpace page go to http://www.myspace.com/hollyrobinsonpeete
For The Diane Farr Picture Gallery go to http://www.watt-up.com/j_gallery/Diane_Farr/Diane_Farr.html
For The Official Website of J Anthony Brown go to http://www.janthonybrown.com/
For a Review of Like Family go to http://www.entertainyourbrain.com/likefamilyrev.htm
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Keywords: Like Family Cast