CINCINNATI -- Lots of kids have imaginary friends. Green Township native Patrick Osborne wondered what it might be like if an adult had one.
The Oscar winner is co-creator and producer of "Imaginary Mary," a half-hour sitcom premiering at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday on 9 On Your Side.
"I had a meeting with Doug Robinson, who produces 'The Goldbergs,'" Osborne said. "We sat down and talked about what we liked and things we thought would be cool to have on air now."
Their creation follows the love life of a public relations exec, played by Jenna Elfman, when she gets a blast from the past.
"She's basically someone who didn't think that she was ever going to be involved with kids," Osborne said. "And when she does make that decision to engage, the imaginary friend shows up to try and talk her out of it at first, and is eventually convinced as well."
Mary, a fully animated character who falls somewhere between Teddy bear and Muppet in terms of design, would have been a technical and budgetary impossibility in the TV landscape of 10 years ago, Osborne said. Now, the network is able to render her realistically interacting with its human cast without breaking the bank.
Previews have gone well so far, he said.
"And it's been a really nice response, and people have loved it -- people who love 'The Goldbergs,' and it's mostly the same people plus me."
Imaginary friends aren't unfamiliar territory for Osborne; he had one growing up.
"I think my little brother did -- he had two, Doodo and Joffy. I had one called Red Light Green Light -- but I may have just made it up to have one like my little brother," Osborne said.
Osborne, who graduated from St. Xavier High School and has worked as a Disney animator, won a Best Animated Short Oscar for his 2014 film "Feast." He was nominated again at this year's Academy Awards "Pearl."