NEW YORK -- The star who brought "Jane The Virgin" to life is back in a new sitcom for ABC. Gina Rodriguez plays a journalist forced to start over after an ill-advised romance.
The title of the show, "Not Dead Yet," indicates how far she has fallen.
As Nell tells us, "I've learned it's important to grab the reader's attention with a catchy headline: 'Local Woman Ruins Own Life.'"
The best assignment Nell Serrano can get upon her return to print journalism is writing obituaries. "Everyone has a story," her editor tells her. Trouble is...the subjects of her stories come back from the dead.
Rodriguez took her time returning to series TV after playing Jane for five seasons. She says "Not Dead Yet" was a story she really wanted to tell, in part because it hit so close to home.
"I recently, right before we started the show, lost my grandmother," she said. "I learned a lot from her you know but in the Puerto Rican culture death is celebrated because the life was celebrated, and we dance for the people that we've lost and we remember them."
In the new show, Gina's character gets help navigating her new life from her best friend played by Hannah Simone, but it wasn't just a good script that got this veteran of "New Girl" to sign-on.
"Every single person I spoke to that had ever work with Gina said like, 'run, run to work with her,' and they were completely correct," Simone said. "She is so wonderful on and off camera."
Stars of 'Not Dead Yet' talk about working with Gina Rodriguez
On camera, the pair must deal with their boss played with humor and heart by Lauren Ash.
"What's amazing is even by the end of the pilot, you start to see the cracks," notes Ash. "You start to see there is a reason she is this way which I think is so honest to humans to people. No one is ever one thing."
"Not Dead Yet" must be several different things: a workplace comedy with jokes and drama plus a supernatural twist in every episode.
"It's just like life, you know?" asks Ash rhetorically. "You can laugh at a funeral, and you can cry at a wedding. Life is beautifully imperfect."