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Tuning In

- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 5, 2007

New 'Housewife'?

When it comes to Dana Delany and ABC's "Desperate Housewives," perhaps it's the fourth time that's the charm.

The actress turned down the role of Bree (played by Marcia Cross) three times back when the prime-time soap was but a gleam in Marc Cherry's eye, but she may finally plant roots on Wisteria Lane after all.

Sources on the "Housewives" set told TVGuide.com that the "China Beach" Emmy winner is in advance talks to become a new series regular — and her character could be Bree's long-lost sister. According to the casting breakdown, the character of Katherine is a "conservative Republican with an all-American wholesomeness and a mastery of passive aggressiveness."

Katherine also is a former neighbor who is coming home after an absence of more than a decade with a younger man for a husband (described as "the best-looking gynecologist in town") and a 17-year-old daughter who sounds like she could assume Andrew's (Shawn Pyfrom) mantle as the show's biggest troublemaker, TVGuide.com says.

'Boston' bound

District native Taraji P. Henson is joining the cast of David E. Kelley's legal dramedy "Boston Legal" as a regular, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

The Howard University graduate — who stars with Don Cheadle in the new film "Talk to Me," opening July 13 — will portray a corporate litigator out of the New York office whom high-powered partner Carl Sack (played by John Larroquette) brings in to help wrestle more political sovereignty within the law firm. The character will be introduced later in the season.

Miss Henson recently wrapped filming on "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," which stars Brad Pitt.

No ads on ABC Web site

ABC Family is the latest cable network to take a proactive stance on retaining its audience during commercial breaks, announcing a new initiative that will reward viewers for keeping their hands off the remote.

Starting next year, ABC Family will introduce what it calls a "Tease "n" Reveal" strategy, which will couple pre-break trivia with a push to the channel"s Web site, where viewers can answer the on-screen questions for a chance at winning a prize or amassing points toward additional prizes, MediaWeek.com reports.

In addition to the trivia angle, at the top of the final commercial break for all original ABC Family programming, a sponsored teaser will prompt viewers to stay tuned for scenes from the next episode. The net also will offer movie-related trivia when it runs its acquired film titles.

Laura Nathanson, ABC Family's executive vice president for ad sales, says that in addition to the teasers, the network will boost the number of commercials that air in the A position, beginning with the 2007-08 season, devoting more of that prime real estate to commercial messaging rather than network promos.

The A-position gambit has become increasingly popular among cable networks. Advertising sales executives have come to recognize that the first spot in a commercial pod tends to get the most eyeballs, says MediaWeek.com. On that score, the Comcast Networks have been the most aggressive, devoting 100 percent of their A positions to commercials.

"We listened to our advertisers and are attempting to address their needs," Miss Nathanson said. "This is an innovative consumer loyalty plan that rewards our viewers, and as it develops, it will incorporate additional opportunities and benefits for our advertisers."

Tori troubles

Tori Spelling reportedly was a total terror while shooting promos for the second season of her Oxygen "reality" series, "Tori & Dean: Inn Love," TMZ.com reports.

Unnamed sources told the celebrity Web site that the actress and new mom was more than two hours late to the set and would not interact with other actors. Sources say Miss Spelling was annoyed by the cast because they "looked too good."

On-set sources told TMZ that Miss Spelling then insisted she shoot her scenes separately from other actors and against a green screen. The "good-looking" cast members were then forced to wait around for Miss Spelling's shoot to end so they could begin to do their scenes against the green screen.

However, a representative for Miss Spelling told TMZ there were two separate stages and "Tori was on-set at 8 a.m. The shoot was always intended to include the green screens."

As far as Miss Spelling saying the other actors "looked too good," her rep replied, "That is absolutely ridiculous."

From 'Gilmore' to 'Aliens'

Fans of "Gilmore Girls" star Scott Patterson won't have to look far to find the CW veteran this fall.

The hunky actor has landed a key role in the CW comedy "Aliens in America," says Zap2it.com, citing a story in the Hollywood Reporter.

"Aliens in America" focuses on a Wisconsin family who take in a foreign exchange student in an effort to boost the popularity of their 16-year-old son. When the student turns out to be a Muslim, it turns their world asunder.

Mr. Patterson — who starred as diner owner Luke Danes on "Gilmore" for the past seven years — will replace original pilot co-star Patrick Breen as the father of the less-than-popular American teen.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.