Diana Maria Riva is looking at the sunnyside of life…
The 49-year-old Dominican American actress has been cast opposite Kal Penn in NBC’s comedy pilot Sunnyside (formerly Untitled Kal Penn/Matt Murray).
Riva joins a cast that includes Kiran Deol, Moses Storm, Samba Schutte, Poppy Liu, Joel Kim Booster and Tudor Petrut.
Co-written by Penn and Matt Murray, Sunnyside is named after the neighborhood in the historically diverse Queens borough of New York where the show is set. It centers on former New York City Councilman Garrett Shah (Penn), who finds his calling when faced with seven recent immigrants — five of them played by immigrant actors — in need of his help and in search of the American Dream.
The single-camera comedy is being executive produced by Penn, writer-producer Murray, The Good Place creator/executive producer Michael Schur and Universal Television.
The seven recent immigrants are Jin Hao, played by South Korea-born Booster; Mallory, played by UK-born Deol; Mei Lin, played by China-born Liu; Drzen, played by Romania-born Petrut; Hakim, played by Africa-born Schutte; Griselda, played by Riva, a first generation Dominican; and Brady, played by Storm.
Directing the pilot is another immigrant, Oz Rodriguez. The ensemble was put together by casting director Allison Jones who also has worked with Schur on his other shows, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place.
Riva was last seen in the CBS sitcom Man with a Plan and NBC’s Telenovela. She’ll next appear in the Netflix series Dead to Me and the Appledrama series Morning Show.