The country music icon is preparing a pilot for the 2024-25 TV season.
Looks like Reba McEntire may be playing for laughs again. According to Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and other showbiz sites, the country music superstar has joined forces with the creative team behind her previous prime-time comedies — Reba (2001-2007) and Malibu Country (2012-13) — to produce a pilot for a new, yet-unnamed sitcom that might air as early as the 2024-25 season on NBC.
The logline: “Reba inherits her father’s restaurant and is less than thrilled to discover that she has a new business partner in the half-sister she never knew she had.”
The new show — which evidently is not a spinoff from either of her earlier sitcoms — will reunite McEntire with Kevin Abbott, Michael Hanel and Mindy Schultheis, all of whom were executive producers for her enduringly popular series Reba. That Emmy-nominated sitcom, which continues to attract faithful audiences on cable and streaming platforms, cast McEntire as a Texas woman dealing with the breakup of her marriage to an unfaithful husband, the pregnancy of her teenage daughter, and the persistent efforts of her ex-husband’s new wife to become her best friend.
In a 2010 interview with Cowboys & Indians, McEntire noted that, while Reba was a comedy, it offered a fairly realistic view of life in a contemporary family.
“And that’s why I took the script in the first place,” she said. “It was reality. It was handling and dealing with situations that weren’t always the most pleasant. Like your teenage daughter getting pregnant out of wedlock. But, you know, that sort of thing happens every day. The question is, ‘How does this woman handle it?’ That’s what really drew me to this situation, because that’s an unborn child there — an innocent unborn child — and I wanted to stand the ground and make the statement of, ‘I support my daughter. I support my unborn grandchild.’ Because there’s enough love in that house for everybody. That’s what I wanted to make a statement about.”
Reba proved to be popular even in overseas markets where McEntire wasn’t previously well known as a country music artist. “We were on in the Pacific Rim, Australia, England, a lot of places in Europe,” she said, adding that she was encouraged to tour in many of those markets for the first time.
Following the one-season run of Malibu Country, which had her playing a country music artist coping with life after a messy divorce, McEntire has continued to be a prime-time fixture with continuing roles in the series Young Sheldon and Big Sky, and the starring role in the 2022 Lifetime TV-movie Reba McEntire’s The Hammer. She will return next month as a coach for Season 25 of The Voice, NBC’s highly rated musical competition series, after making her red-chair debut on the show in Season 24.
In a 2023 interview with Newsweek, McEntire discussed her status as the main country music presence on The Voice after Blake Shelton’s departure.
“It's a lot of pressure, because nobody can replace Blake Shelton,” she said. “He’s a huge personality and a wonderful person. So I’m just getting in there, trying to have fun, and represent country music as best I can.”
Also on McEntire’s upcoming agenda: She will sing the national anthem Feb. 11 at Super Bowl LVIII. As she posted on social media: “I’m honored to be part of something as big and historic as the Super Bowl coming to Las Vegas for the first time!”
“It's a fitting role for McEntire,” Entertainment Weekly reported, “as ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ has played a big role in her career. McEntire sang the national anthem at the 1974 National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. That performance was heard by country singer Red Steagall, who was in the audience and helped finance her first recording, which ultimately led to her first record deal. She continued to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at the National Finals Rodeo for the next decade. She returned to those roots recently when she sang the national anthem at the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which, like Super Bowl LVIII, took place in Las Vegas.”