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Award-Winning Actress Ends Stint With ‘Frasier’

From Wire Reports

First, the bad news: Mercedes Ruehl has, for the moment, filmed her last guest shot on “Frasier,” alas.

“It might be fun to go back and do one or two at some point, because I enjoyed it so much,” said Ruehl.

It was her first venture in series TV and presented an acting challenge to the actress, who won a Tony for Broadway’s “Lost in Yonkers” and an Oscar for “The Fisher King.”

“When you do film, you aim your performance at a lens,” she explained. “In theater, you aim your performance at a roomful of people, but in television, you’ve got a lens and a bank of people behind it.

“You just don’t know where to aim it - and it really is a thing that has to be aimed.”

Her aim was true. As Kate Costas, boss of Seattle radio psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane, Ruehl’s character Kate was very intelligent, cultured, talented, aggressive, blunt, irritating, undemonstrative and attractive. Kate was, in other words, pure candy to the neurotic, conflicted Frasier.

Kate and Frasier’s fire-and-ice relationship reaches a decisive moment in an episode that airs in January. Stay tuned.

Now the good news: She’s developing her own comedy for NBC next year.

“I was telling them I want to do it in New York,” she said.

‘Mommies Talk Show’ planned

ABC announced plans to launch a new daytime talk show starring comic personalities Caryl Kristensen and Marilyn Kentz of the former TV show “The Mommies.” The program, tentatively called “The Mommies Talk Show,” will replace the network’s currently scheduled “Mike & Maty,” airing 10-11 a.m. by spring.

“As real-life wives, mothers and best friends, Caryl and Marilyn provide an honest and irreverent comedic point of view. Their unique appeal will bring a fresh, real perspective into the daytime talk show arena. I believe they will be a strong asset to our established daytime lineup,” said Pat Fili-Krushel, president of ABC daytime.

“The Mommies Talk Show” will combine comedy with domestic know-how and earthy compassion, according to the network. Co-hosts Kristensen and Kentz will interview celebrity guests, address real-life topics and share upbeat human interest stories.

Kristensen and Kentz, who met 11 years ago as neighbors in Petaluma, Calif., decided to pursue their dreams by joining forces and entering the entertainment world via stand-up comedy in 1990.

Julia Roberts on ‘Friends’

We already know that NBC is planning to air a one-hour episode of “Friends” after its broadcast of Super Bowl XXX on Jan. 28. Now word comes via Mr. Showbiz, the on-line entertainment magazine, that Julia Roberts will make a cameo appearance in the episode, joining other big-name stars (Brooke Shields, Chris Isaak and Jean-Claude Van Damme).

New prime-time soap

You loved Tori Spelling in “90210.” Now, get ready to coo over Tori’s little brother, Randy, in “Malibu Shores,” a spring replacement series their dad is producing for NBC.

With its hunky, young ensemble cast, it sure as heck sounds as if Aaron Spelling is going after that same coveted “Melrose Place/90210” crowd. However, “Malibu Shores” claims even richer bloodlines.

As NBC’s hypesters claim, the drama is “in the tradition of ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet.”’

What that means is that “Malibu Shores” is the story of two rival high schools with students from opposite sides of the track - the tony community of Malibu and the working-class San Fernando Valley.

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