Executive producer Jennifer Lopez is bringing some lesbian realness to her new ABC Family drama, “The Fosters.”
Actress, comedienne and former daytime talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell will guest star in a recurring role when the series, which follows the travails of two female partners and their adopted children, returns in January.
O’Donnell will play Rita Hendricks, who’s described as “a tough yet compassionate woman who works in the foster-care system and becomes a mentor to a member of the Foster family.”
The producers apparently learned on Twitter that O’Donnell, an out lesbian with five adopted children of her own, is a fan of the show and decided to reach out to her.
“Having witnessed her support of foster children and blended families, we knew she would be a perfect fit for the show,” said the show’s creators and executive producers Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg in a joint statement.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful, heartwarming show. My kids and I never miss it,” O’Donnell confirmed.
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O’Donnell’s acting is best remembered for film roles in “A League of Their Own” and “Sleepless in Seattle.” Her most recent TV credits include Showtime’s “Web Therapy,” HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva.” Her talk show on OWN was canceled in 2012 due to low ratings.
Produced by Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions and Prodco, Inc., “The Fosters” stars Teri Polo,, Sherri Saum, Jake T. Austin, Hayden Byerly, David Lambert, Maia Mitchell, Danny Nucci and Cierra Ramirez.
In July, ABC Family ordered 10 more episodes of “The Fosters” after canceling “Bunheads” and “The Lying Game.” Production resumes in October.
O’Donnell is represented by WME.