Monday, March 05, 2001

Louis-Dreyfus to star in NBC sitcom

Television Notebook

        LOS ANGELES — Former Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus will be singing a new tune in her own sitcom.

        NBC has ordered a pilot about the life of a lounge singer to star Ms. Louis-Dreyfus. Her husband, former Saturday Night Live cast member Brad Hall, will serve as producer.

        There's a twist: The show will take place in “real time,” with each episode focusing on about a half-hour block of the character's life. The untitled series is intended for next fall.

        Ms. Louis-Dreyfus played Jerry Seinfeld's ex-girlfriend, Elaine Benes, on Seinfeld, the hit NBC comedy that aired from 1990-98.

        The network has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to recapture the glory. Michael Richards, who played Kramer, returned last year with The Michael Richards Show, but NBC canceled the low-rated comedy after two months.

        More Temptation: Fox will try to tear apart more couples with a second season of Temptation Island.

        “Temptation Island has proven to be compelling television,” says Gail Berman, Fox entertainment president. “We're pleased it's such a hit with our viewers, and we're scouting locations for the next adventure.”

        So far, no location, production schedule or possible premiere date has been set.

        By the way, Mandy Lauderdale from Temptation Island has refused to be tempted — again.

        Ms. Lauderdale, 22, best known for her funky (orange) hair styles, has turned down a $1.5 million offer to pose for Playboy, she revealed on the Howard Stern Show last week. Ms. Lauderdale said she wanted to focus on her singing career and didn't want to be associated with the men's magazine.

        Two-time Playboy cover girl Jessica Hahn, the former church secretary whose adulterous affair with Jim Baker made headlines in the '80s, was on hand to encourage the reality show cast member to “just do it.”

        Ms. Lauderdale also said that she turned down a Capitol Records recording contract offer because she was afraid that the company would made her sound like Britney Spears.

        “It's one of those things when they say you have all creative control and you find out your music's all changed around and it's "pop-y,”' she said.

        Taye Diggs has signed on for the remainder of the season of Ally McBeal. Mr. Diggs, who made his first appearance on the Fox series Feb. 12, will appear in four additional episodes for a total of 10 episodes.

        He plays Jackson Duper, a new lawyer at Cage/Fish Associates. Although Duper has doubts about staying with the firm because of the firm's unusual antics and a one-night fling with Ling, he decides to get to know the Boston lawyers a little bit better.

        Comedy honors: Will & Grace received five nominations and Friends followed with four for the 15th Annual American Comedy Awards, says George Schallter, executive producer.

        Sarah Jessica Parker and Saturday Night Live's Will Ferrell each received two nominations.

        In movies, Best in Show nabbed four nominations, followed by Almost Famous with three.

        Viewers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite finalist of the Viewers' Choice Stand-Up Comic Award during Comedy Central's The American Comedy Award Viewers' Choice Special on Saturday, April 14 at 9 p.m.

        The 15th Annual American Comedy Awards will air on Comedy Central at 8 p.m. April 25.

        Another Hometown: Another collection of Joe Webb's delightful Hometown features has been repackaged into a prime-time special today (8 p.m., Channel 9). Pieces include St. Peter's Cathedral downtown, the Davis Electronics' train shop in Milford; the Van Melle candy company that makes Airheads in Boone County; Buddy LaRosa; artist Frank Duveneck; the blizzards of 1977 and '78; and the Tyler Davidson fountain.

        Gilmore move: WB's delightful Gilmore Girls family drama begins airing twice a week today, with repeats from fall at 9 p.m. (Channel 64) starting with the October pilot. New episodes will continue to air at 8 p.m. Thursday opposite Survivor and Friends.

        WB executives have said they would test the show in a new time slot this spring. At 9 p.m. Monday, it will be paired with 7th Heaven, another family show and WB's highest-rated series.

        Roswell will return with new episodes for May sweeps.

        Catching Clooney: George Clooney, who attended a Cincinnati Reds try-out camp while living in Northern Kentucky, will talk about his love for sports On the Record with Bob Costas Wednesday (11 p.m., HBO).

        The Associated Press, John Kiesewetter and contributed to this report.


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- Louis-Dreyfus to star in NBC sitcom