- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 12, 2006

Familiar faces

Dylan McDermott is leading a group of TV favorites hoping to come back to the tube this fall.

Mr. McDermott, best know for his starring role on “The Practice,” is joining ABC’s drama pilot “A House Divided,” which explores the conflict between a Midwest farming community and the U.S. government, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. McDermott, who won a Golden Globe for his starring role as an ethically challenged attorney on “The Practice,” starred in the CBS drama pilot “3 Lbs.” last development season.

In other pilot casting news, “Family Law’s” Julie Warner won’t have to stretch much when she appears in ABC’s one-hour pilot “Women in Law,” a comedy-drama about women working at a law firm.

Lizzy Caplan of the WB’s “Related” has landed a role in CBS’ comedy series “The Class,” about eight former third-grade classmates who are reunited as adults after years apart. Miss Caplan will play one of them, a jaded, attractive and sharp-tongued photographer.

And Annie Potts, best known for her work on “Designing Women,” has joined Fox’s comedy pilot “Julie Reno, Bounty Hunter,” which centers on a single mom-turned-bounty hunter (Erin Daniels). Miss Potts will play her mother, a former stripper. The actress most recently had a recurring role on CBS’ “Joan of Arcadia.”

Gervais’ forget me not

Ricky Gervais doesn’t want to be forgotten, and with so many projects under way there’s little fear of that happening any time soon.

The writer-performer who immortalized the understimulating workplace in the British TV comedy “The Office,” is developing a second series of his sitcom, “Extras,” and has written an episode of the U.S. version of “The Office.” He appears in Christopher Guest’s forthcoming ensemble movie, “For Your Consideration,” and wrote and starred in an episode of his favorite show, “The Simpsons,” AP reports.

That doesn’t even include his weekly Podcast, which just entered Guinness World Records as the most-downloaded ever, and his life as a children’s author.

Might the 44-year-old Englishman be just the slightest bit driven?

“Everyone wants to leave their mark on the world, I suppose,” Mr. Gervais told AP. “This is mine. It’s the modern, slightly more sophisticated equivalent of me writing on a wall, ‘Ricky Gervais woz ‘ere.’”

Mr. Gervais’ latest project is “More Flanimals,” his second children’s volume, published this month in the United States. A sequel to the best-selling “Flanimals,” the book explores the cuddly, funny, yet cruelly Darwinian world of sprot tumblers, splunges, clunge amblers and other colorfully named creatures.

The notion of a legacy is important to Mr. Gervais. The man who maintained a student’s frugal lifestyle into his mid-30s is now so hot he finds himself turning down wildly lucrative offers. He said no to a part in “Mission: Impossible III” and recalls with amazement being offered $1 million to film a liquor commercial.

At the moment, he’s proud of his “Simpsons” episode, which sees Homer and Marge participating in a “Wife Swap”-style reality show.

Mr. Gervais considers “The Simpsons” the greatest show on television, and writing for it “was the most daunting thing I’d ever done.”

“It’s the only thing I’m a nerd about,” he said. “I’m Comic Book Guy for ‘The Simpsons.’”

Will’s new ‘Girl’

Eric McCormack will soon leave Debra Messing for another woman.

Mr. McCormack, star of the long-running “Will & Grace,” will segue from that show’s finale this season to a starring role in Neil LaBute’s new play “Some Girl,” the Reuters news agency reports.

He’ll take over a role played in London last year by another well-known U.S. television personality, “Friends” star David Schwimmer.

Mr. McCormack, who plays Will Truman in the NBC situation comedy about a homosexual man and his best friend (Miss Messing), will play “Man” in the play, about a soon-to-be-engaged man who pays a last visit to four ex-girlfriends.

The play is set to open for the first time in the U.S. on June 8 at the off-Broadway Lucille Lortel Theater. It will be directed by Jo Bonney, who also directed Mr. LaBute’s critically acclaimed “Fat Pig” in New York in 2004.

The play about a man who reluctantly falls in love with a fat woman but is embarrassed by her size is currently in production at Washington’s Studio Theatre through March 26.

Mr. LaBute, whose film directing credits include “Nurse Betty” and “Possession,” is best known for his 1997 film “In the Company of Men,” the raw story of two men who plot to humiliate a naive deaf woman for fun.

The “W&G;” series finale is due to air on May 18, the day after Mr. McCormack starts previews of the new play. The actor appeared on Broadway in 2001 in “The Music Man” and the following year made several cameo appearances in “The Play What I Wrote,” directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Compiled by Christian Toto from wire reports.

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