‘All In the Family’ with the nutty Portokaloses

Allison Corneau

One of last year’s largest grossing films is coming to television for the February sweeps period. “My Big Fat Greek Life,” based on the film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” aired its premiere episode on Feb. 24 and will now be featured as part of the Sunday primetime lineup on CBS.

Actress Nia Vardalos, the mastermind screenwriter behind the film, teamed with actress Rita Wilson to turn the show into a reality. Vardalos currently stars in and serves as co-executive producer of “My Big Fat Greek Life.”

Most of the original film cast returned for the small screen version, minus lead actor John Corbett, who played Nia’s husband, Ian.

Corbett declined the role to star on the FX network’s new show “Lucky.”

Instead of Ian, the character will be named Thomas, and instead of Corbett, Thomas will be played by Steven Eckholdt of “LA Law.”

The TV cast is rounded out by “St. Elsewhere’s” Lanie Kazan, playing Maria Portokalos, Michael Constantine, playing Nia’s father Gus Portokalos and Andrea Martin’s popular character Aunt Voula complete the cast.

Vardalos’ idea came from her own experiences living in a Greek family. The show is framed around newly-married Nia, who tries to bring her old fashioned Greek parents and family into the 21st century, convincing them to accept her non-Greek husband, Thomas.

Viewers can relate to the sitcom, dealing with the couple’s overbearing parents and in-laws, as well as their interactions as a married couple.

The birth of the couple’s first child will also be seen on the show, a continuation from the end of the film version.

Vardalos said in an interview with “Entertainment Tonight” that the underlying storylines in the film will be expanded for the television audience.

“We’re going to try and go for character interaction humor (rather than jokes),” she said. “Some of us are stage actors, so we’re going to enjoy the live performance aspect of having an audience. And hopefully, we won’t have to sweeten it with a laugh track.”

Fans of the oddball Greek romantic-comedy can follow the sitcom each week at its new time slot after “60 Minutes,” at 8 p.m. on CBS.