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Wellesley’s Linda Keenan keeps an eye on ‘Suburgatory’

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / September 24, 2011

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Linda Keenan wouldn’t normally get excited about a TV show. Having worked in the business, most recently as a writer for CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Keenan is kind of jaded. But she’ll be watching “Suburgatory’’ when it premieres on ABC Wednesday, and she wouldn’t mind if you watched it, too. “I’m not really interested in promoting the show, but it’d be great if it does well because I’m financially connected to it,’’ says Keenan, who lives in Wellesley. The show, starring actress Jane Levy as a teenager forced by her father to move from the city to suburban New York, is based on an idea of Keenan’s. A few years before, she’d shopped a book proposal about a suddenly suburban, stay-at-home mom who’d previously worked as a TV writer and producer. It was satirical and edgy. The book didn’t generate much interest among publishers, but the proposal caught the eye of folks at Warner Bros. “Out of the blue, I got an e-mail saying, ‘Great news, they want to buy it’,’’ Keenan says. “What they bought was the concept and the title.’’ (Her book, which is also called “Suburgatory,’’ will be published by Globe Pequot Press a few weeks after the TV show debuts.) Keenan says the TV show is quite a bit tamer than her book, which deals with racism, sexism, and the anti-“other’’ sentiment she finds increasingly prevalent in suburbia. “To me, the success of (the children’s book) ‘Go the F**k to Sleep’ shows there’s an appetite for this kind of humor,’’ she says. So where will Keenan be watching the show Wednesday? “I have a lot of offers, but I think I might just want to eat a Hot Pocket and sit in my fuzzy slippers at home.’’