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‘My Life Is Sitcom’ Monday

8 families vying — are they any good? We’ll see

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HOLLYWOOD — Is real life as funny — or even funnier — than TV comedy? Maybe, maybe not.

Members of eight families get a chance to investigate that possibility in the new series "My Life is a Sitcom," which debuts Monday at 9 p.m. on the ABC Family Channel.

"It's not about winning a million dollars. It's not about falling in love and proposing on television. This is a different dream," said executive producer Bruce Nash. "This is a different type of wish-fulfillment show.

"Everybody says, 'Our life is funny enough to be a sitcom.' Well, here's they're chance to find out on this show."

Nash said he got the idea from watching a TV biography of Ozzie and Harriet. "There was a real family playing themselves on TV in a scripted show based on their lives. And I said, 'Well, could we find a family in America that could be the next Ozzie and Harriet?'"

So ABC Family solicited audition tapes, which poured into the producers' offices. From the approximately 600 submissions, eight families were selected to take a shot at sitcom stardom. One lucky family will be chosen to head for Hollywood and have their lives transformed into a sitcom — the winners will be selected by a panel that includes several sitcom veterans, including David Faustino of "Married . . . With Children," Dave Coulier of "Full House" and Maureen McCormick of "The Brady Bunch."

"Actually, there were a couple families that reminded me of the Bundys," Faustino said. "But I think what I was looking for, personally, was just who I would want to tune in every week and really watch. And who made me laugh."

"And for me it was story," Coulier said. "It was how many stories could you tell with this group of people. For me, that was the nucleus of what's going to drive this series — you have to be able to tell great stories."

"For me, a lot of it was, I was going with who I really liked the most," McCormick said.

Nash called "My Life Is a Sitcom" a "hybrid" — it's both a reality show of sorts, as the various real-life families vie for their big shot, and a sitcom when their lives are turned into one. And the winners will indeed see their lives transformed into an episode of a sitcom.

"It's going to very closely resemble their lives," said executive producer David Perler. "Their home will literally be replicated in a Hollywood soundstage, and you'll see that happen. And the characters, the dialogue, everything that you see these people going through and ultimately in the finished product, which is the sitcom, will be based on the reality show that you saw with that family."

And Faustino, at least, thinks it's going to work. "You could have followed any one of the families and just had a sitcom writers follow them and write a show after them. Their character traits and the quirkiness of these families was just mind-boggling. And really funny."

E-MAIL: pierce@desnews.com