Megan Mullally considers talk show after <I>Will & Grace</i> wraps (15922)

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Megan Mullally considers talk show after Will & Grace wraps

It looks as if Will & Grace star Megan Mullally will stay in the NBC Universal family after the end of the acclaimed NBC sitcom, moving from prime time to daytime as host of her own talk show. Sources said the openly bisexual Emmy-winning actress is in final negotiations with NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution to host a show aimed for 2006. The lucrative pact, said to be in the mid-seven figures, will accommodate Mullally's commitment to Will & Grace, which was recently picked up for an eighth and probably final season. In case the comedy returns for a ninth season in fall 2006, Mullally is expected to do both the talk show and the sitcom, which is produced by corporate sibling NBC Universal TV Studio.

Meetings are under way with potential producers for the talker, which will showcase Mullally's personality as well as her comedy and music skills. Sources said NBC Universal's syndication division has been aggressively pursuing Mullally in the past few months, with NBC Universal Television Group president Jeff Zucker considered instrumental in making the deal. Reps for NBC Universal declined comment on the deal Monday.

NBC Universal has a history of keeping its prime-time talent in the family with its syndicated shows. This season it bowed talker The Jane Pauley Show, hosted by the former Dateline and Today anchor, but the high-profile entry failed to gain traction with viewers and isn't returning for a second year. In addition, Martha Stewart, who is set to be featured in a spin off version of NBC's The Apprentice next season, is prepping with NBC Universal and Mark Burnett a lifestyle show titled Martha, set to launch in the fall.

Mullally's deal marks one of the first for a talk show aimed to bow in 2006. Another personality who has already thrown her hat in the talk-show ring for next year is Suze Orman, whose show from Twentieth Television originally was set to bow in the fall but has been pushed back by the distributor, citing a lack of available time periods. In addition to the five Emmy nominations and one win in 2000, Mullally's role on Will & Grace as Grace's sarcastic, booze-loving assistant, Karen Walker, has earned her three individual SAG Awards. (Nellie Andreeva and Kimberly Speight, via Reuters)


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