‘Motherhood’ stars tell how they busted into their roles

LOS ANGELES — In the Motherhood was born on the Internet but gets to grow up on network television.

The Web version of Motherhood was a series of five-minute features that starred the likes of Chelsea Handler, Leah Remini and Jenny McCarthy. Each webisode was based on a true-life story of motherhood.

ABC has turned that idea into a 30-minute Thursday night comedy starring Megan Mullally, Cheryl Hines and Jessica St. Clair. It premieres at 8 p.m. Thursday.

So why the change in cast?

"They told me it's because they thought those people were bad. Should I have not said that?" a wickedly sarcastic Mullally told a group of TV critics.

St. Clair's response is equally sarcastic. She suggests the recasting has to do with the size of a certain part of a woman's anatomy. She brags the current cast's are bigger.

Series executive producer Alexandra Rushfield scolds both actresses: "Sarcasm doesn't work in print. You can't be sarcastic. They told us not to be sarcastic."

It is hard to tell whether Rushfield is being sarcastic. It is more obvious that she's serious when she explains the change was made because the online actors were not available to be on the series.

The leap from the Web to TV took other adjustments. "A lot of the webisodes were inspired by users' experiences. And we have also used those and been inspired by those. We had to add more story arcs, emotion, things like that, because they're very short. But they were absolutely inspirational to us," Rushfield says.

The end result is a comedy that looks at friends Rosemary (Mullally), Jane (Hines) and Emily (St. Clair).

The oft-married Rosemary believes in as little work as possible in raising her son. Recently divorced Jane is juggling a career and motherhood. Emily sees herself as a stay-at-home-supermom.

Hines is the only one of the three stars who has children. Her advice to moms is to not take themselves too seriously. "And when you do really screw up, which we all do probably," she says, "you have to let it go and move on, because your kid's probably not sitting around thinking about it as much as you are."