Working Moms Are Writing Your Favorite TV Shows & It Shows.
Sometimes, change is a catalyst for fearlessness. For Kari Lizer - creator and executive producer of the hit series "The New Adventures of Old Christine" taking a gamble by leaving a hit sitcom so she could create a television series of her own, proved to be the best change she's ever made in her career.
Becoming a writer was not Kari Lizer's lifelong dream. This former child star had been acting since she was 11 years old and had her heart set on making it big as an actress. But her flare for quick-witted comedy writing got the better of her and her career took off in an entirely unexpected direction. Back in the early 90's, Lizer wrote a play called "Late Bloomers" which she planned to use as a vehicle to showcase her acting prowess. Following the show's opening, Kari wasn't deluged with casting offers, but instead, picked up her first writing gig for the comedy series "Empty Nest," when she was given the opportunity to write an episode in which she also appeared in as a guest star. While Kari says she continued to "slip scripts" to the "Empty Nest" writers, she eventually landed her first full-time writing job for the USA Cable Network series "Weird Science."
"Weird Science turned out to be the best job because it made me realize I was more than an actress who could write monologues for herself," Lizer recalls. "It turned me into a real writer because I had to write about things that weren't close to home."
When Kari became pregnant, she says "it became very clear that it was a beautiful thing to be a writer and not an actress." Had she still been acting, Kari would have become obsessed with every ounce she gained during her pregnancy. Not only was she able to gain weight, but at one point, Kari says she broke her arm and was hobbling around the office. "If I was an actress, I would have been out of work for that period of time but I continued to write up until I delivered the twins and then after that. That was really an epiphany for me of 'Thank God that I was a writer.' I realized how fortunate I was to have made a transition."
After giving birth to twins, Kari continued to hone her craft and soon joined "Will & Grace," where she spent four years as a writer for the Emmy award-winning comedy series. While at "Will & Grace," Kari says she had a manageable schedule where she worked a few days a week and had great balance in her life with her three children. Creatively, though, she was ready to take on a new challenge.
While she was now proficient at writing about a life that wasn't necessarily her own, Kari returned to what she knew best and crafted a concept for a series that was loosely based on her own life. Lizer recalls when her children were in preschool, 15 of the 18 families that she had met were all married. By the time their children were entering 3rd grade, 12 of those couples were divorced.