Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Michael Boatman have joined the Nickelodeon family to star in NickMom’s first scripted comedy, "Instant Mom." Premiering Sunday, this Mom-centric, primetime program is built around Tia Mowry-Hardrict’s character, who becomes an "Instant Mom" after inheriting her new husband’s three children.
"Instant Mom" is NickMom's first original scripted comedy -- what does that mean to you? Does being the pioneers of NickMom's first comedy add extra pressure on the show?
Tia: It's funny that you ask that, because with my career, I have always helped launch networks: "Sister, Sister" helped launch WB, "The Game" helped launch CW, and then "The Game" left CW and helped launch BET. Now, with "Instant Mom," we're helping launch NickMom. So, for me, there is no added pressure because this has been my life; I am actually excited about it. The only thing I am nervous about is promotion -- you have to really promote a show for the show to do well.
Evidently, the title of "Instant Mom" refers to the quick inheritance of three children. However, pulling deeper from the show's title, do you think that there is something to be said about an "instant maternal connection" to your children -- whether they are biological or inherited?
Sheryl: (Laughs). We haven't really even thought about that! But, yes; instantly, the family that becomes blended has to come together because of all of the different variables that take place within a family. Plus, you have folks who instantaneously become parents; and they have to learn everything right away.
Sheryl, you are both a stepmother and a mother, how is the relationship of a stepmother different from the relationship of a biological mother?
Sheryl: The relationship of a stepmother is very different from the relationship of a biological mother. The biological mother gets first say on everything. If you are not that child's biological mother, you have to keep your mouth shut! You have to learn your place; don't force yourself on the kids. You have to tip-toe well.
Tia, how would you describe your character's transformation in the show?
Tia: Stephanie trades in Cosmos for carpools. She likes to drink and have fun, and can be a little irresponsible. However, conflict enters, as the biological mother of the children must go away, and Stephanie is no longer just a "weekend mom" -- she becomes an "instant mom." Stephanie becomes a fish out of water. She loves these kids though, and is very passionate about being the best mom she can be -- she is very genuine with her approach. Stephanie is cool because she is a contemporary mom. Stephanie is relatable, and stays true to herself. As a new mother who strives to be a "hot mama," I find that I have similarities to Stephanie.
Michael and Sheryl, what are the most challenging and the most fun facets of playing each of your characters?
Sheryl: The most challenging part of playing my character is very obvious: hearing someone call me Grandma! Nobody can call me Grandma until I'm 90! The great thing about playing Maggie is that she is fun, crazy, strong and sexy.
Michael: What I find the most challenging about being Charlie is playing a dad, and finding the relevance as a dad. The world now is embracingly more female-dominant. I ask myself: "Is he relevant and present with his children?" For me, it's about trying to be the guy that people can watch and say: "I wish I had that kind of dad." So, it's fun trying to find how to play that character because I want Charlie to be a real dad, not a set piece.
There has been some controversy in the media regarding whether it is appropriate to air Mom-centric content on the same channel that children watch -- what are your opinions?
Sheryl: (Laughs). They've got a whole lot of nerve! If we weren't mothers, there would be no children. How dare you cut me out of television!
Tia: That's what I find so awesome about NickMoms. All day, every day, it is about my son -- and if you're a wife, it's also about your husband. You're constantly catering, catering, catering, and you really forget about yourself. With Nick Junior, moms are able to sit in front of the television with their kids. But, after they put them to bed, mothers want to sit down, unwind, have a glass of wine, and watch good television. That's what is so special about this show. We are the first, original, scripted show for this network that is catered to moms, where moms can sit down and watch a great show about being a mother and being a wife -- and finally cater to herself for once. It's very rewarding.