A teenager in 2013 might be forgiven for having no idea that Jessica Simpson was once a singer and actress. In recent years she’s been way more famous for having babies, struggling with her weight, and, oh yeah, running a billion-dollar fashion empire. Now, however, she’s getting her own “Curb Your Enthusiasm-style” sitcom about her own life, and her producer is comparing her to Lucille Ball.
Nick Bakay, who wrote the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop, is writing the pilot for Simpson’s show, which is being created by NBC, Universal Television, and the production company that produces Fashion Star, Electus. Potential story lines, according to Electus chairman Ben Silverman: Jessica “running a fashion empire to wrangling her public image as a new mom.”
Anyone who scoffs at this is underestimating Simpson, who has steered her career with incredible savvy over the last decade. A New York magazine cover story called her “the $1 Billion Girl” in 2011; her Weight Watchers deal was reported to be worth $4 million, and her first baby pictures brought in $800,000. Girl knows how to monetize!
Simpson came close to starring in a sitcom when she participated in the reality show Newlyweds with her now-ex Nick Lachey. That show saw Jessica wondering whether Chicken of the Sea is made of chicken, failing at housekeeping, and generally personifying the “likable blond sitcom ditz” character. She was hilarious — and yes, intentionally so (OK, at least in part). She’s also had roles in That 70s Show, the 2005 movie The Dukes of Hazzard, and a few other projects, including a 2004 ABC sitcom pilot that never made it to air. A sitcom of her own seems like a natural next step, especially since so much of her current popularity is tied up in the twists and turns of her personal life. Did I mention she has almost 6 million Twitter followers? Haters are gonna hate. That’s what they do! But I predict Simpson laughs all the way to the bank. That’s kinda her schtick.