The former "The King of Queens" star has a development deal with the network, and ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee asked her to be part of the comedy, which airs at 8:30 p.m. tonight.
Then Remini's mother weighed in.
"She said, 'Who's in it?"' the actress recalled. After hearing the cast included J.K. Simmons ("Juno," "The Closer"), Remini's mom replied, "He's a real actor, Leah. You should do it."
"As opposed to me," Remini said, wryly. "He's real, he does drama."
Remini has made her career largely in comedy but her mom still can brag about her. Besides the 1998-2007 run opposite Kevin James in CBS's "King of Queens," Remini has worked steadily in a string of sitcoms including "Cheers" and "In the Motherhood."
She was a co-host on "The Talk" for a year and is venturing into reality TV production with her husband, actor Angelo Pagan.
In "Family Tools," Remini plays Terry, sister to Tony (Simmons). When the irascible Tony faces a health crisis, Terry forces him to bring in his flighty son Jack (Kyle Bornheimer) to help run Tony's handyman business.
Edi Gathegi, Johnny Pemberton and Danielle Nicolet co-star in the sitcom based on the British comedy "White Van Man."
Remini said she and Simmons represent "the grandpa and grandma of the show," the seasoned actors.
"Kyle and Edi and everyone are going over their lines, rehearsing scenes with each other, very actorlike. And J.K. and I are ... 'What did you do last night?"' she said.
"Family Tools" airs at 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays on CBS.
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