The Real-Life Story That Inspired NBC’s New Sitcom ‘Crowded’

Crowded, Carrie Preston, Mia Serafino, Miranda Cosgrove, Patrick Warburton
Justin Lubin/NBC
CROWDED -- Pilot -- Pictured: (l-r) Carrie Preston as Martina, Mia Serafino as Stella, Miranda Cosgrove as Shea, Patrick Warburton as Mike -- (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Suzanne Martin, the creator of TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland, just needed some peace and quiet. Her two daughters had grown up and gone to college, but now they’d returned home. One day, Martin mentioned to her producing partners that, desperate to get away from their kids for a while, she and her husband had gone to a hotel. “They laughed and said, ‘That’s a show,’ ” recalls Martin.

Crowded, Carrie Preston, Patrick Warburton

Carrie Preston and Patrick Warburton

NBC agreed. The result is a new sitcom, Crowded, starring Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement) and Carrie Preston (True Blood) as the Moores, a version of Martin and her husband. When the empty-nesters’ kids, played by Miranda Cosgrove and Mia Serafino, both declare on the same day that they’re moving back in, the parents’ life is sent into a tailspin. Throw in the fact that Mike’s parents are going to be around a lot more, and you’ve got a pretty full house.

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It’s all very personal for Martin, who’s running the show. “My husband and I were so involved in the kids’ lives growing up and were so devastated when they went to college,” she says. “Then pretty soon we realized that it was kind of fun without them.” By the time they came back, everything had changed. “It kind of ruined the fun,” says Martin, laughing.

After a little online digging, Martin found out she wasn’t alone. More and more millennials were planning to move back home after graduation and stay there for four or five years. “It’s a worldwide phenomenon,” says Martin. From there, she began to think about the generational differences in parenting—how her own parents were tough, and as a result, she treats her daughters like her best friends. “What I find really interesting to explore is that no one’s a hundred percent right, and no one’s a hundred percent wrong,” she says.

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Well, except maybe the Moores. “They’re realizing they raised pussies,” says Martin, with a laugh.

Crowded, Series premiere, Sunday, March 20, 9:30/8:30c, NBC