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Liza Minnelli Hoping for a Showtime 'Arrested Development'

Mar 8, 2006

You'd better believe Liza Minnelli is keeping an eye on the reports swirling around that Showtime is making a deal to pick up Fox's acclaimed "Arrested Development" for 26 new episodes.

"Oh, I hope they do. Everyone on it is so good!" cries Minnelli, who's demonstrated just how hilarious she can be in her recurring role as Lucille Two, the society woman rival of Lucille (Jessica Walters) on the Emmy-winning, yet ratings-deprived show.

"Of course I'd love to go back on. It was so funny. I love doing comedy. It was Ron Howard who knew I could do it," she adds, speaking of the filmmaker/mogul who is one of "Arrested's" producers as well as its narrator. "We've known each other since my father (Vincente Minnelli) directed (the 1963) 'The Courtship of Eddie's Father,' and he was, you know, Eddie. So we've known each other for a long time, and he knows I'm funny. He called and said, 'How would you like to do something really wacky?'"

In fact, right now Minnelli's having a great time with comedy, having recently made the independent feature "The Oh in Ohio," which is premiering Monday (3/13) at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. "My friend Parker Posey is in it, and she called and said, 'Hey, do you want to play a sex therapist in this movie?'" Liza relates.

Of course, whether or not Showtime becomes the new home for "Arrested Development," viewers will be seeing the legendary performer on the cable channel come April 1. That's when they're premiering the fully restored and remastered "Liza With a Z" -- her landmark 1973 special, which won a slew of awards and boasted creative giants at the top of their games: Minnelli, Bob Fosse as director/choreographer, music by John Kander and Fred Ebb, and costumes by Halston.

SUGAR AND TOO MUCH SPICE:

Actress Jurnee Smollett reports that being the only woman on the set of The Rock's upcoming big-screen "Gridiron Gang" had its ups and downs -- mostly ups. "There was a whole lot of testosterone on that set," says the young beauty. "And I'm from a family of five boys, but that was just like a little much. Every single body, the crew Everybody was a guy doing manly things, hitting each other, playing basketball, football, sweating It was rough, but you know what? I ain't gonna lie. I really enjoyed it."

She adds, "I guess I'm the femme relief" in the fact-based film that stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as a former football player-cum-detention camp officer who teaches the kids discipline and teamwork. Despite that she says even from a woman's perspective "Gridiron Gang" has "got that heart. I've seen a couple of versions, and even though I'm in it, it's such a moving film it hits me every time."

LOOK OUT FOR CRAZY GIRLS:

Tonight marks the new season of "America's Next Top Model," and judge J. Alexander tells us it's going to be "crazy because you have a bunch of new crazy girls that are willing to do anything to become 'America's Next Top Model.'" Alexander, who also serves as the show's runway guru, says he's pleased with what he has to work with. "I love this season's crop of girls because many of the girls are tall, which is very helpful for me for the catwalk."

As for how he and the rest of the judges got along? "Sometimes I feel there's a battle between Nigel [Barker] and I about who's going to get the point across. I think I'm the one wanting to come up with the sound bites or one-liners because I'm cuckoo that way," notes Alexander. "But I get along fine with everybody because I don't take myself too seriously. Hello!? I'm sitting there with how many different hairdos and false eyelashes?" The one person he does miss, though, is the infamous Janice Dickinson. 'I think if Janice was sitting next to me, that would be really great TV. She added a whole different dynamic to the show. She added excitement."

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW:

Andy Dick, whose "Danny Roane: First Time Director" film gets unveiled Saturday (3/11) at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, says he'd like to do more filmmaking. He'd also like to plot comedy shows for cable, try acting in other people's independent films, and more. However, "I really can't do anything until we know about the fate of 'Less Than Perfect.'" Things are certainly less than perfect for the show, which was expected to return this month, but has yet to be scheduled. The network does plan to put on the episodes, according to reps, but there are no predictions as to when -- and the longer it goes, the further from anything like perfect the situation gets.

"We have 13 episodes we've already shot," says Dick, "so hopefully it goes well when they air."

(With reports by Stephanie DuBois and Emily Feimster)

 

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