Kirstie Alley (search) will take on tabloids, Hollywood and herself in Showtime's "Fat Actress," a reality-comedy series about the life of an overweight celebrity.

Alley proposed the series to the cable channel as a "send-up of her own image as well as Hollywood's obsession with weight and beauty," said Robert Greenblatt, entertainment president for Showtime Networks Inc. (search).

The 53-year-old actress, heavier than when she starred in "Cheers" (search) and "Veronica's Closet" and films including "Look Who's Talking," has been the subject of unflattering photos in supermarket tabloids.

The series is co-created by Alley and Brenda Hampton ("7th Heaven," "Mad About You"); they and Sandy Chanley ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") are the executive producers. Episodes will be based on a story line but largely improvised.

Alley is "so willing to be vulnerable and make fun of herself," Hampton said. "She just has such a great sense of humor, is a brilliant comedian and so smart."

Hampton described the series as an "adult comedy" along the lines of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" with writer-comedian Larry David ("Seinfeld").

"But it's so different because I think women across the country will identify with her," Hampton said Thursday. "It's difficult to lose weight and find a relationship no matter where you live. It makes it all the more painful when you're in the spotlight."

The half-hour Showtime series, set to begin production this fall, will air sometime next year. Six episodes are planned, Hampton said.