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How 'Great News' creator Tracey Wigfield got the inspiration for her new hit show

Tracey Wigfield and her mom, Kathy
Photo courtesy of Tracey Wigfield
Tracey Wigfield and her mom, Kathy

As a writer for shows like NBC's "30 Rock" and Hulu's "The Mindy Project," Tracey Wigfield has spent her fair share of time with comedy's most talented women. However, her most regular source of inspiration is her mom, Kathy.

"The idea of writing a show about my mother was kind of a thing I always wanted to do," Wigfield tells CNBC.

"My mom does funny stuff every day. Yesterday we were having a very serious conversation about something on FaceTime, and she couldn't stop eating a piece of pizza really close to the screen. Every day she does things that I'm like, 'This would be so funny if a character did it on a TV show.'"

With "Great News," which premiered last month on NBC and was picked up for a second season earlier this week, Wigfield has the opportunity to mine those daily experiences.

Though she maintains an appreciation for larger-than-life TV moms like Marie Barone (Doris Roberts) on CBS' "Everybody Loves Raymond" and Sylvia Fine (Renée Taylor) on CBS' "The Nanny," it was her own mother's frequent visits to the sets of shows that Wigfield wrote for that was the basis for "Great News."

Andrea Martin plays Carol, who becomes an intern at the dysfunctional daytime show where her daughter is a producer.

The show, Wigfield says, is not just about a mother who can't let go of her grown daughter, but about the duo's mutual, loving "obsession" with each other.

While her mom wasn't involved to the point of developing plot-lines or working on scripts, they tossed around ideas for who might play Carol. "I had to take her opinions with a grain of salt," the writer tells CNBC. "Often she was like, 'How about this hot woman from my soap opera?' and I was like, 'I think you and I have different goals.'"

Still, she added: "The character is drawn is very lovingly. Carol is beloved in the office and, despite her flaws, is often right and is loved by everyone."

As for Kathy, Wigfield said she offers "constant unsolicited career advice," including suggesting, before the show had been renewed for a second season, that Wigfield forward all positive reviews she received to the president of NBC.

"All her advice," Wigfield says, "stems from a place of confidence in me and unwavering belief in me and my show."

Disclosure: NBC is owned by Comcast, the parent company of CNBC.

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