Cristela Alonzo’s new sitcom is part of ABC’s much-touted push for more diverse programming on its primetime schedule. Her series, Cristela, about a Latino family, joins the new show Black-ish and the upcoming Asian-immigrant comedy Fresh Off the Boat.
In Alonzo’s series, she plays an aspiring lawyer living with her sometimes supportive family. The show is loosely based on the life of its creator, who also grew up in Texas and had larger aspirations than her family thought appropriate.
But the show almost didn’t happen. ABC bought the script for Cristela, but the network never ordered the show to pilot. In a last-ditch effort to save it, Alonzo and her producer decided to shoot the pilot on their own, using the penalty fee from ABC. That pilot, shot with a borrowed set and crew, airs on ABC on Friday, October 10.