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Veronica's Closet aired from September 1997 until June 2000 on NBC.



Ronnie Chase ( Kirstie Allie) was a model for women everywhere-a successful businesswoman, head of trendy mail-order lingerie and book company Veronica's Closet, and author of The Guide to a Fairy Tale Marriage. Unfortunately her own husband, womanizing Bryce ( Christopher McDonald), had run off with a dippy sexpot named Pepper ( Ever Carradine) and her famous figure ( a feature of her catalogs) was beginning to sag, leaving Ronnie to vent her frustrations on her long-suffering staff in this workplace comedy. Olive ( Kathy Najimy) was her chubby, wisecracking top executive, who gave her moral as well as professional support; Josh ( Wallace Langham), her fussy sexually confused assistant who was constantly denying he was gay ( "Oh please!"); Perry ( Dan Cortese), her handsome publicist, a former underwear model; and Leo ( Daryl "Chill" Mitchell) her insecure, harried marketing manager. Huggable Pat ( Robert Prosky) was her soused dad, who worked as her chauffeur. At the beginning of the second season wealthy Alec ( Ron Silver) bought a controlling share of the company, leaving Ronnie in charge of creative matters while he managed the business side. Sharing an office, they sparred constantly, and a mutual sexual attraction soon followed. Ronnie published a new book, When Love Goes, this one about surviving divorce.



Yet another change took place in the third season as Alec died in a bizarre accident ( he fell into a volcano while on vacation) and left his interest in the company to his new blond-bimbo wife, June ( Lorri Bagley), who sparred with Ronnie for the next year. As the series run on NBC came to a close, Josh was about to marry Chloe ( Mary Lynn Rajskub), but at the last minute decided he really was gay and took up with boyfriend Brian ( Alan F. Smith). NBC canceled Veronica's Closet before the series ending episodes could be shown. They were later seen in syndication, and in them Olive made $20 million in a business deal, bought out June ( who it turns out killed Alec for his money), and became Ronnie's new partner.





An Article from Entertainment weekly
Published on September 12, 1997



Cover Story
CLOSET CASE
RETURNING TO PRIME TIME AS A LINGERIE EXEC IN VERONICA'S CLOSET, KIRSTIE ALLEY SLIPS INTO TV'S MOST COMFORTABLE SLOT--RIGHT AFTER SEINFELD
More
By Jess Cagle



VERONICA'S CLOSET NBC, 9:30-10 PM STARTS SEPT. 25



''Let's go, people,'' bellows Kirstie Alley during a rehearsal for NBC's Veronica's Closet. ''I have a birthday party to go to!'' Costar Kathy Najimy's baby is toted off the set by a nanny as Najimy and Alley take their places on a sofa. A man in headphones says, ''Ready,'' but in the few seconds of silence before ''Action,'' Alley breaks character and -- apparently seized by some impish muse -- blurts out an unscripted claim: ''I have a d -- k!''



Alley finds great humor in male genitalia (remember her 1991 Emmy acceptance speech, in which she thanked husband Parker Stevenson for giving her ''the big one''?), so nothing new there. No, the Big News is that Kirstie Alley, 42, is back in a series. And not only is she back -- after a self-imposed four-year hiatus from sitcoms since Cheers closed its doors -- she's back in the fall show that's most likely to succeed. ''And why shouldn't we?'' Alley asked at a recent press conference. ''Have you seen the other shows?''



Veronica's Closet does have the best pedigree. Alley's got the hottest of writing teams (Friends creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman); a pilot directed by sitcom guru James Burrows (one of the brains behind Cheers); a Must See NBC time slot to die for (right between Seinfeld and ER); and a stellar supporting cast, including Najimy (late of the Sister Act films and still the voice of Peggy Hill on Fox's King of the Hill), Wallace Langham (who also plans to continue in his role as head writer on The Larry Sanders Show), Daryl ''Chill'' Mitchell (The John Larroquette Show), and MTV hunk-turned-actor Dan Cortese. And of course, there's Alley -- a woman so comically gifted she once fell in love with a pig on Cheers and made us weep with both sympathy and laughter.



Here, she plays Veronica, the aging model/mogul behind a lingerie mail-order business who, in her day, graced the cover of her catalog, Veronica's Closet (yes, Victoria's Secret is already in a tizzy over the similarities). Her fancy, foofed-up Manhattan offices stand in contrast to the proprietor's considerable but crumbling ego. In the pilot, her philandering husband (a recurring character played by Christopher McDonald) gets caught; Veronica suffers public humiliation; and the stage, says Alley, is set for ''this woman who's pursuing true love.''



It's hard to hate Veronica because she's beautiful (too many cracks in the porcelain), and it's the same with Alley, whose own good looks are offset by a ribald sense of humor and a fondness for the F-word. She's a made-for-TV Courtney Love. ''She's not one of those actory types who have to talk about motivation for five hours,'' says Najimy. ''Just do it, be funny, and go home.'' The question is, what took Alley so long to score her own show? ''Jimmy Burrows said to me, 'Kirstie, a new show is never going to be like Cheers,' and I bought that for a few years,'' Alley says, sitting in her trailer. ''Then I said to him: 'Maybe you're right. It's going to be better than Cheers.' Why can't it? Otherwise, why don't I just slit my throat?''



It was Alley's idea, in fact, to play a woman back in the dating game and severely out of practice. "She finds herself very naive to the world," says Alley, who split last year from Stevenson, with whom she has two children, William True, 4, and Lillie Price, 3. "I find myself in that position. I wasn't exposed to AIDS. I'd been off the market for 15 years when all these things went down, so it's a very different world." Alley insists, however, that the sitcom's notion of a famous unfaithful husband bears more resemblance to Frank Gifford than to Stevenson. "There was no infidelity in my marriage, on either side," says Alley, who's now dating actor James Wilder, 33. "There was no hatefulness or craziness. There was nothing other than maybe different goals in life. People look for something to make it volatile, but there's nothing there."



Indeed, during the marriage, tabloids speculated that the two were gay, something Alley laughed off. She's not laughing, however, about the terms of her pending divorce. There has been a bone of contention--and a big one, as it were. Alley recently lost her bid to go through with the divorce in Maine (where she spends most of her downtime) and not California, where community property law entitles Stevenson to half the assets. "It's been made a much bigger issue than we consider it" is all she'll say on the matter.



Kauffman recalls that when she sat down with Alley to begin refining the concept of Veronica's Closet, the star "talked about things she wanted to do that were different than what she's done on TV before--specifically Rebecca Howe." Alley wanted Veronica to be more glamorous and to have her own money, though Alley says they kept "that Rebecca bumbling thing. I mean, that's what I do. I play a victim because that's what I think is funny."



This she learned as a teenager in Wichita, Kan. "From the time I was, like, 12, until I was 18, women thought I was really snobby," says Alley. "I learned that if I just acted self-deprecating they would warm up to me.... I don't think bitchy women [on sitcoms] are funny. I think Julia Louis-Dreyfus is funny, but I don't think there are very many funny women out there." (Ask Alley what she thinks of the bitch-fest Cybill, and she responds, "No comment.")



If Alley's sense of humor translates, if she can approximate the success of Cheers alum Kelsey Grammer's Frasier--and not Ted Danson's Ink--then she stands to get very rich, thanks to her producer status on Veronica. Though one wonders if, having been on Cheers, Alley really needs more money. "I do," she says. "I don't know if Ted does...but I have big goals. I want to change the world. I believe I can change the world."



Like how?



"I want to put Scientology missions around the world," says Alley, speaking unapologetically about the controversial religion she shares with longtime pal John Travolta. She credits L. Ron Hubbard's book Dianetics with helping her remove personal barriers (notably low self-esteem and cocaine dependency) back in 1979 and enabling her to pursue a career in acting. Her first mission was built two years ago in Wichita and includes a literacy center "where anyone, whether they want to be a Scientologist or not, can come and learn to read. So when you ask me about money, I need a lot of money. Once you educate somebody, that's giving them freedom, and that's sort of where it's at for me."



She's also at an odd point in her life. Just as her new show is heating up, "I'm getting more movie offers than ever," she says. She recently finished the upcoming Tim Allen comedy For Richer or Poorer; she's getting excellent word of mouth for her portrayal of a doped-up psychiatrist in Woody Allen's December release Deconstructing Harry; and she's planning to spend her first hiatus from Veronica's Closet making a movie with Travolta.



She also notes that she always considered sitcoms a better, more sedentary and stable occupation for a married woman, and she laughs at the irony that the new show and the divorce are happening at the same time. "You know," she says, "my mother told me when I was 25, 'You have always done everything bassackwards.' I don't know. I guess life is something that you play by ear." Fortunately, she's also playing it for laughs. Big ones.



--Jess Cagle





A Review from Variety



Veronica's Closet
(Thurs. (25), 9:30-10 p.m., NBC)
By RAY RICHMOND



Filmed in Burbank by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Prods. in association with Warner Bros. TV. Executive producers, Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman, David Crane; producers, Kirstie Alley, Mark J. Greenberg; coordinating producer, Wendy Knoller; writers, Crane, Kauffman; director, James Burrows; director of photography, Mikel Neiers; art director, John Shaffner.


Cast: Kirstie Alley, Dan Cortese, Kathy Najimy, Wallace Langham, Daryl Mitchell.



Here it is, the sitcom that gets to inhabit the Dom Perignon of timeslots, the one after "Seinfeld" and before "ER." In other words, "Veronica's Closet" will be a hit. And as primetime's first series revolving around a lingerie mogul , it may even wind up deserving to be.



Kirstie Alley is that mogul, and she plays Veronica "Ronnie" Chase --- owner of the Veronica's Closet book and undergarment mail-order catalog --- with a saucy, overreactive vulnerability. Alley knows how to do the scatterbrained-yet-controlled grande dame thing. She had plenty of practice as Rebecca on "Cheers." And this promising comedy catches her in top form.



Yet what's initially missing in this ribald, in-your-face comedy from the "Friends" team of Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane is any sense of cohesion in the ensemble. It's like batters waiting on the curveball while Alley's firing fastballs.



The talented supporting cast includes Wallace Langham (the jaded head writer Phil from "The Larry Sanders Show") as Veronica's wiseacre assistant, Dan Cortese (the muscled pretty-boy from MTV) as an underwear model-turned-company publicist, Kathy Najimy as the hormonal top executive, Daryl (Chill) Mitchell ("The John Larroquette Show") as a marketing manager and Robert Prosky ("Hill Street Blues") as Veronica's huggable daddy and chauffeur.



Opening half-hour finds Veronica's husband (Chris McDonald) getting caught holding a foreign bra before the opening credits roll. Alley spends the rest of the episode binging on sweets, cursing lithe models, coming on to her personal trainer, driving her staff nuts and telling her philandering hubby what he can do with the horse he rode in on, as stalkarazzi monitor her every move.



The papparazzi angle is an unfortunate one and, of course, something the producers could never have foreseen would become such a sensitive issue. In this context, it also isn't particularly funny and doesn't move the story anywhere.



Of the co-stars, Langham fares best. He's glib and self-assured and not at all forced, unlike the overly animated Najimy. The pilot script from Crane and Kauffman does a solid job of introducing everyone and playing to Alley's brassy strengths while painting Veronica as an intriguing, ego-depleted antihero.



With this show's pedigree, and pilot director extraordinaire James Burrows in charge of the opener, "Veronica's Closet" feels as if it should be much funnier. Perhaps it will be. For now, it will have to settle for the dreaded cliche: it has terrific potential.



More importantly, though, it has Thursday night at 9:30 on NBC. Life doesn't get much better



An Article from the LA Times


Alley's 'Closet' Has Slot to Cheer For
September 21, 1997|ROBIN RAUZI | TIMES STAFF WRITER



All eyes are on "Veronica's Closet" as the new TV shows leave the blocks.


The series certainly has the comedy pedigree to go the distance. Its star, Kirstie Alley, spent six seasons on "Cheers" and has won Emmys for both comedic and dramatic roles. Its executive producers--Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane--have credits including HBO's "Dream On" and NBC's "Friends."


But the pressure is on. "Veronica's Closet" is stepping in as the final leg in NBC's powerhouse Thursday-night sitcom relay--right after the top-rated "Seinfeld."


"We're extremely thrilled to have that time slot," said Kauffman, who created the show with Crane. "On the other hand, there's a lot of pressure that goes with that. Now we have to perform. If it doesn't do well, it's entirely our fault. We can't say, 'Hey, we got a lousy time slot.' "



Spotlight | THE SURE THING
Alley's 'Closet' Has Slot to Cheer For
September 21, 1997|ROBIN RAUZI | TIMES STAFF WRITER


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All eyes are on "Veronica's Closet" as the new TV shows leave the blocks.


The series certainly has the comedy pedigree to go the distance. Its star, Kirstie Alley, spent six seasons on "Cheers" and has won Emmys for both comedic and dramatic roles. Its executive producers--Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane--have credits including HBO's "Dream On" and NBC's "Friends."


But the pressure is on. "Veronica's Closet" is stepping in as the final leg in NBC's powerhouse Thursday-night sitcom relay--right after the top-rated "Seinfeld."


"We're extremely thrilled to have that time slot," said Kauffman, who created the show with Crane. "On the other hand, there's a lot of pressure that goes with that. Now we have to perform. If it doesn't do well, it's entirely our fault. We can't say, 'Hey, we got a lousy time slot.' "


No kidding.


By tucking the show between "Seinfeld" and "ER," NBC is guaranteeing "Veronica" a huge audience. But with that gift comes the expectation that they won't drop more than a few viewers.


"You can't let it get in your way," said Crane. "The goal is: Let's just be as funny as we can."


Alley, 46, stars as Veronica "Ronnie" Chase, a woman whose slick public persona is at odds with her chaotic real life. She is a self-proclaimed romance expert who sells lingerie through Victoria's Secret-style stores and catalogs. As the pilot opens, she's also hawking her book, "The Guide to a Fairy Tale Marriage."


Her husband (Chris McDonald), though, is no prince. Finally fed up with his philandering, Ronnie dumps him and tries to reassemble her life.


(Art will imitate life to a certain extent in the early episodes that focus on Ronnie's divorce. After 13 years of marriage, Alley and husband Parker Stevenson announced that they were splitting up last November.)


The show was created specifically for Alley, who made Crane and Kauffman promise that she wouldn't be playing Rebecca Howe--her character on "Cheers"--all over again. Ronnie does seem to have more luck with business than Rebecca did, but even less luck with love.


"We were in agreement the second we started," Alley told TV writers recently. "We said we wanted sort of an edgy woman who's on the brink of a nervous breakdown. And that was me."


Certainly that's one of the qualities that she was known for on "Cheers." Other similarities between Ronnie and Rebecca--a good dose of physical humor, a certain neurotic vulnerability--stem from Alley's comic style, Crane said.


"You walk a fine line--how much to take advantage of what you know and what America knows they do well, and at the same time wanting it to be fresh," Crane said. "I think a lot of shows go wrong by trying to do something 180 degrees different from what they did before."


"Veronica's Closet" represents Alley's first venture back into series television since "Cheers" ended its run in 1993. While she found commercial success with three "Look Who's Talking" movies, her other films didn't do as well. The upcoming "Deconstructing Harry," in which she plays one of Woody Allen's ex-wives, received positive reviews during the recent Venice Film Festival.


Alley successes lately have come from her dramatic work. In 1994, she won an Emmy for the CBS telefilm "David's Mother," and this year was nominated for her supporting role in the CBS miniseries "The Last Don."


Comedy, drama, big screen, little screen--none of that makes a difference to her as long as the project she's working on is high-quality, Alley said. "I sound sort of shallow when I say this, but I truly mean it: The real thing that is important to me is that I'm having a good time in my life."


Apparently it was "Veronica's" barrel-of-laughs set that lured in Kathy Najimy. She agreed to play "Veronica's Closet" chief executive, Olive, for the pilot only, but had such a good time she stayed. Best known as Sister Mary Patrick in the film "Sister Act," Najimy has also won numerous awards for her comedy shows with Mo Gaffney.


Olive, Najimy said, is the only person in the office "who has any sense at all." In an arena of slinky underwear and anorexic models, Olive is an outspoken feminist--an aspect of her character she asked the writers to beef up. "I think it's a necessity," Najimy said. "Let Olive be the one at least to say, 'She's not fat,' or 'No, she shouldn't stay with a husband who cheats on her.' "


The office staff is filled out by an assistant (Wallace Langham) who protests too much that he's not gay; an underwear-model-turned publicist (Dan Cortese); and a frazzled young marketing manager (Daryl "Chill" Mitchell). Ronnie's tippler father, who is also her chauffeur, is played by Robert Prosky.


The ensemble, with all their different hang-ups, gives the show a lot of directions to go. In some ways, Crane said, it's like "Friends," where there are six people's neuroses to deal with as they each search for some kind of happiness.


The character flaws, however, do lead to some dark humor. Adultery and divorce, for example, are not typical prime-time fodder. Nor is a chauffeur who's sometimes too drunk to drive.


"That's one of the things we liked about it," Crane said. "We're able to have something very real, a little dark and a little painful ... but because [Ronnie] is triumphant in the story, you're able to take the journey with her."


"Veronica's Closet" airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.





A Review from The New York Times



TELEVISION REVIEW; Mixing Sex With Satin And Sugar



By CARYN JAMES
Published: September 25, 1997



There is a reason every show nestled between ''Seinfeld'' and ''E.R.'' becomes a hit. During that half-hour, an evil wizard takes control of your television, sending out bad-taste waves and making you think your arms are too heavy to lift the remote. Before you know it you've watched ''Fired Up.'' You have a better explanation?



The latest sitcom to get that foolproof slot is ''Veronica's Closet,'' but here's the surprise: this sophisticated, bold yet warm series deserves every bit of its good fortune. Satirizing issues that most sitcoms treat with reverence (namely sex, marriage and fidelity) ''Veronica's Closet'' is the one consistently funny new comedy of the season. More than that, it promises to become the kind of enduring show that is still funny on the second or third viewing.



Even the most casual viewer might already have a hint of its long-term prospects because ''Veronica's Closet'' has been relentlessly promoted on NBC. The premise is probably familiar by now: Kirstie Alley is Veronica, a former model who owns a hugely successful lingerie catalogue company. Though still flashily glamorous, she is not as thin as she was 15 years ago.



A scene played often in promos is one of the show's funniest. Veronica, in her office, hears about a tabloid newspaper report. ''Your husband was spotted coming out of a hotel room with a blonde,'' she is told.



''Josh!'' she yells to her assistant, who races into the room carrying two pizzas and a box of doughnuts even as she speaks. ''I'm way ahead of you,'' he says. (For total realism there should have been conspicuous chocolate on the menu, but nothing's perfect.) With its basis in truth and its exaggerated but perfect timing, the scene remains funny after a half-dozen viewings. And if it seems that women are more likely to identify with this humor than men, at least the series has a calculated sense of fair play, trotting out plenty of lingerie models for men to ogle.



Ms. Alley's successful yet insecure Veronica, called Ronnie, is a broader version of Rebecca, the character she played on ''Cheers.'' Ronnie is married to a chronic adulterer for whom she finds endless excuses. For the next catalogue, the marketing department wants to put her head on the body of a younger woman. Ms. Alley is expert at balancing Ronnie's dry wit (''There are M & M's out there; maybe the three of you could share one,'' she says as several anorexic models leave her office) with her flailing uncertainty about whether to leave her husband.



Though the series was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, the team behind ''Friends,'' ''Veronica's Closet'' is closer to ''Cheers'' in the way its characters' flaws and neuroses become endearing. The ensemble around Ms. Alley matches her sharp delivery. Kathy Najimy is her top business associate. Wallace Langham is Josh; everyone knows Josh is gay except Josh, who wishes Ronnie and his mother would stop telling him he is. It doesn't work that Ronnie's father is her chauffeur, but Robert Prosky has a gruff appeal. As her husband, Bryce, Christopher McDonald makes you wonder what she ever saw in him, perhaps more than the show intended. It is typical of the series' sophistication that Ronnie and Bryce stage a bogus romantic dinner to delude reporters into thinking the marriage is working.



''You look beautiful tonight,'' he tells her on the way to the restaurant.



''Thank you, philandering scum,'' she replies calmly. Her defiant actions at the end take ''Veronica's Closet'' in a smart direction. Here is a series that deserves to share real estate with ''Seinfeld'' and ''E.R.''



VERONICA'S CLOSET
NBC, tonight at 9:30
(Channel 4 in New York)



Created by Marta Kauffman and David Crane; written by Greg Schaffer, Steven Joe, Sherry Bilsing and Ellen Plummer. Kevin Bright, Ms. Kauffman, Mr. Crane and Rob Ulin, executive producers; Mark Greenberg, producer; Eric Weinburg, John Fink, Don Payne and Sarah Dunn, co-producers; Ira Ungerleider and Alexa Junge, consulting producers. Produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.



WITH: Kirstie Alley (Veronica), Kathy Najimy (Olive), Wallace Langham (Josh), Dan Cortese (Perry), Robert Prosky (Pat) and Christopher McDonald (Bryce).



An Article from The New York Times



COVER STORY; Kirstie Alley's Comedy Mines the Humor in a Messy Divorce


By JILL GERSTON
Published: September 28, 1997



A SUCCESSFUL woman in the throes of a messy public divorce from a philandering husband hardly seems the humorous stuff that sitcoms are made on.



Yet ''Veronica's Closet,'' the new NBC comedy series starring Kirstie Alley (Thursday, 9:30 P.M.), takes the premise and mines it with such hilarious enthusiasm that viewers can't help finding it more sunny than bleak.



''We knew there was a risk in a show that at its core is about the dissolution of a marriage,'' said Warren Littlefield, president of NBC Entertainment. ''But we had confidence that the writers could make the journey of a woman, successful in her work life but struggling to find happiness in her personal life, a delightful one.''



Marta Kauffman, who with David Crane created the series, added, ''There's plenty of comedy, although it's a little dark.''



As Veronica Chase, Ms. Alley plays a rich, famous former lingerie model and entrepreneur whose racy lingerie catalogue, self-help tapes and best-selling advice books have earned her the title Queen of Romance. Surrounded by a hip, loyal staff (Kathy Najimy, Wallace Langham, Daryl Mitchell and Dan Cortese), Veronica keeps her career on track while her marriage to womanizing Bryce (Christopher McDonald) unravels.



''People buy my stuff because they think I know what I'm talking about,'' Veronica wails. ''Who is going to buy my lingerie when the message is, 'Wear this and your husband will sleep with a 20-year-old bimbo?' ''



The series is a big, shiny gift to Ms. Alley, for whom it was specifically written.



''Her voice was in our head,'' said Ms. Kauffman, who with Mr. Crane created the NBC hit ''Friends.'' ''If it had been someone else, and someone else's voice had been in our head, my guess is it would be a very different show.''



Mr. Littlefield described NBC as the ''marriage broker'' who brought Ms. Alley together with the creators and their producing partner, Kevin Bright.



''We put together a deal with Kauffman, Bright and Crane and Kirstie before we even knew what the series would be,'' he said. ''We felt it was a good gamble.''



Ms. Kauffman said that after the idea of the main character as a diet guru was rejected (''too one-jokey''), the series quickly evolved into what it is now, with some minor tinkering.



Veronica's publicity agent was originally a woman, but when Ms. Alley told the creators that she felt she was funnier playing off men, the role was switched to that of a hunky former underwear model (Dan Cortese).



And when Ms. Alley said she would love to have a father in the show, a tippling chauffeur who ferries his daughter around town (Robert Prosky) was added to the cast.



Jamey Sheridan, who played Ms. Alley's husband in the pilot, was replaced by Mr. McDonald, who reshot Mr. Sheridan's scenes in the premiere episode, shown last week.



''Chris was someone we had in mind from the beginning,'' Mr. Crane said. ''He wasn't available when we shot the pilot, and then when he became available we decided to make the change.''



From the outset, everyone agreed that Veronica Chase had to be a much different character from Rebecca Howe of ''Cheers,'' the role for which Ms. Alley won an Emmy.



''We didn't want to do Rebecca again, someone whose work life was a failure,'' Ms. Kauffman said. ''We wanted Veronica to be successful and have money and wear great clothes. Veronica is truly on top in business; it's just her personal life that's a mess.''



The only similarities between the two characters are that they're both vulnerable and very funny, Ms. Kauffman said. ''Kirstie is just so good at playing vulnerable,'' she said. ''We wanted to put her in situations to use that along with her physical comedy, which is also very strong.''



Mr. Crane said the thrust of the first half of the season would be Veronica's ''big, ugly public divorce.'' One episode involves the custody battle over the couple's ancient bulldog; another deals with Veronica's re-entry into the world of dating.



Supporting characters, like Josh (Wallace Langham), Veronica's assistant, who is struggling with his sexual identity; Leo (Daryl Mitchell), her beleaguered marketing director, and Olive (Kathy Najimy), Veronica's strong, smart-mouthed top executive, will also be in the spotlight.



''There's great chemistry between between Olive and Veronica,'' Ms. Najimy said. ''I didn't want Olive to be another dysfunctional person. I wanted her to be smart and funny and feminist because, frankly, feminist and funny is what I do best.''



Originally, Ms. Najimy had agreed to do only the pilot. But timing -- she didn't want to take her eight-month-old baby on location for film shoots -- and rapport with the show's writers made her change her mind.



''They were open and responded to my concerns,'' she said. ''There's nothing about the writing of this character that I don't feel comfortable with.''



When it came to naming the show, Mr. Littlefield said it was a tossup between ''The Kirstie Alley Show'' and ''Veronica's Closet.'' He said, ''Kirstie said she felt it was best to sell the character and not her.''



Although the title calls to mind the well-known lingerie catalogue of Victoria's Secret, Ms. Kauffman said there was little similarity, other than the rhythm of the words and having both names start with ''V.''



''Veronica started out as a lingerie model and she has a lingerie catalogue, but her business is romance,'' she said.



Mr. Littlefield, who described it as ''pinch me time'' when he watched a run-through of the show in April, said he had given the series the top time slot (sandwiched between ''Seinfeld'' and ''E.R.'') because ''it's our goal to build hits.''



'' 'Frasier' sat in that time period for one year and then went out and helped us bring Tuesday night to life,'' he said of the network's strategy. ''We want 'Veronica's Closet' to become a stand-alone hit show so it can go and do whatever is needed.''



On the other hand, receiving a much-coveted Thursday night slot, along with a wave of positive advance publicity, has led to great expectations for the show.



''They say you can't miss, but you can, which makes the pressure so high,'' Mr. Crane said. ''But you know what? We can't focus on that. We just have to write things that make us laugh and hope that other people share our sense of humor.''





An Article from The New York Times



TELEVISION; An Unsubtle One Bursts (What Else?) Back



By JAMES STERNGOLD
Published: October 5, 1997



ONE OF THE MORE striking things Kirstie Alley does in her performance as a dentist turned tooth fairy in the new movie ''Toothless,'' to be broadcast tonight on ABC's ''Wonderful World of Disney,'' is to act on several occasions, quite contentedly, all by herself.



Alone on camera, this high-energy prima donna of an actress, who insists she is at her best flirting with a room full of men, fiddles with her magic wand or dances crazily, cutting up without any need to play off another actor or her audience. She comes across as a hip, fearless middle-aged woman exploring her unexpected role as a tooth fairy in search of love -- without the slightest touch of self-consciousness.



Indeed, Ms. Alley herself is a hip, fearless middle-aged woman (the sultry sexpot of ''Cheers'' is now 42 and a single mother of two), one at the peak of her sometimes bumpy career. And suddenly she is everywhere. Four years after the demise of ''Cheers,'' she is emerging form a string of disappointing films (including ''It Takes Two,'' in which she starred with the Olsen twins, and John Carpenter's remake of ''Village of the Damned'') and from a contentious, made-for-the-tabloids divorce into the kind of season many successful actresses can only wish for.



As has been much remarked upon since the fall schedule was announced last spring, Ms. Alley is the star of the most widely anticipated show of the fall television season, the NBC sitcom ''Veronica's Closet'' (Thursday night at 9:30), about the successful head of a lingerie company who must deal with an expanding waistline and a philandering husband. She has two major films opening later this year: ''Deconstructing Harry,'' Woody Allen's latest exploration of guilt and angst, and ''For Richer or Poorer,'' a romantic comedy with Tim Allen about an affluent couple fleeing the Internal Revenue Service. A third film, in which she will star with John Travolta, is expected to begin production next year.



More important, those who work with Ms. Alley say she is calmer than in her ''Cheers'' days, when she had a reputation as difficult to work with. Which is not to say she does not make her distinctive presence felt strongly on a set, according to people who work with her. She is still demanding and a font of wild energy who might say anything at any time.



''She is crazy most of the time, and I mean that in the best sense of the word,'' said Marta Kauffman, a creator and an executive producer of ''Veronica's Closet.''



During a conversation on the set of the show, Ms. Alley described herself as both eager to succeed and willing to try anything. ''I fully intend to have a good time when I'm at work,'' said Ms. Alley, who was wearing a slinky crushed-velour dress and conspicuously ignoring several leggy models sitting a few feet away. ''You know, just on the edge of out of control. On the edge is where I'm at.''



David Crane, another executive producer and creator of ''Veronica's Closet,'' agrees with her assessment of herself: ''It's really true: she's not self-conscious. She's game. She'll do lots of things that another kind of actor would balk at.''



In fact, Ms. Kauffman characterized Ms. Alley as a sort of Lucille Ball for the 90's: a comic who stumbles through relationships the way Lucy once stumbled through her household duties and her efforts at getting into show business.



Like Ms. Ball, Ms. Alley is apparently happy to do a pratfall that makes her look ridiculous or to play an insecure, vulnerable character, as she does in the new series. In fact, though Ms. Alley has been long seen as a sexy tease, with her striking green eyes and mane of chestnut hair, she is proving herself adept at physical comedy, as critics have already noted.



That doesn't interfere with her love of sexually charged wordplay. When a reporter excused himself for a moment to speak with a female producer on the set, Ms. Alley sniffed, in mock dismay, ''You mean you're talking with another woman?''



''She's a flirt; she's provocative,'' said Mr. Crane. ''But, you know, she's outrageous more than she's a flirt. You know I'm going to take it back. She's not coquettish. She is what she seems, really.''



Talking to Ms. Alley these days can be a challenge. Before the premiere of ''Veronica's Closet,'' she turned down numerous interview requests for various reasons, including a previous engagement at the Venice Film Festival. Now that the series is on the air (to many favorable reviews, as expected, although a few have questioned its tastefulness), she is making herself more available.



Many people in television also describe Ms. Alley as focused and disciplined. Those qualities surfaced in connection with one potential problem, which Ms. Kauffman described as ''possibly very icky.'' It began when Ms. Alley asked if James Wilder, her boyfriend, who is an actor, could read for a part on the show. He auditioned but did not get the part.



''Yes, we were nervous, but there was very little discussion about it,'' said Kevin Bright, also an executive producer. ''She handled it well. It was very professional.''



Ms. Alley's life might never have led her to a position requiring such professional behavior. She grew up in a Roman Catholic family in Wichita, Kan., where, she said, her favorite person was her grandfather, a lumber-company owner she considered her soul mate.



She attended Kansas State University but dropped out and became an interior decorator, then developed an addiction to cocaine, a part of her history that has been well publicized. She ended up moving to Los Angeles to enter Narconon, a rehabilitation program affiliated with the Church of Scientology.



And being in Los Angeles, she also took up acting, making her film debut with pointy ears as a half-Vulcan, half-Romulan lieutenant in the 1982 film ''Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.'' In 1987, she replaced Shelley Long on ''Cheers.'' Her six seasons as the perky but perpetually disappointed Rebecca Howe in that hit sitcom established Ms. Alley as a star, and she eventually won two Emmys (one for ''Cheers'' and one in the title role of ''David's Mother,'' a CBS movie).



SHE REMAINS A SPOKESWOMAN for Narconon and said she was now using her own money to finance construction of Scientology missions around the world. Of the church, which some have labeled a cult, Ms. Alley said: ''It answered a lot of questions for me. I was a pretty able person. I wasn't looking for something like that. But I wanted to get rid of the barriers keeping me from what I wanted, to be an actress. It's just part of my life.''



The only time during an afternoon of conversation that she expressed a touch of hurt was in how her divorce had resulted in her spending less time with her children. She and her ex-husband, the actor Parker Stevenson, have joint custody of William, 5, and Lillie, 3, both of whom are adopted. ''I had not been away from my kids for more than two days before this,'' she said, her throaty voice suddenly a little quieter. ''It was the hardest thing.''



That is why, in part, she decided to undertake the new television show, she said. Television series, as opposed to feature films, usually offer something near a normal work schedule.



''It's the best life style,'' Ms. Alley said, pointing out that she will get about four months off every summer. ''Movies are so intense. When you have kids, you don't want to put in all that time.''



On the other hand, she said she had no intention of remaining idle in the off-season. ''I cannot be one of those babes who does one movie a year, you know,'' she said. ''I'd go crazy. I just have too much -- God, I would scream.'' As she said this, she pulled strips of Scotch tape from a dispenser, wrapping it around her fingers and at one point plastering a strip across her lips.



Ms. Alley seems to like playing with her image. She said she hoped to use the show to toy with the popular view of her as a great success.



''It's always strange when people think you have it all,'' said Ms. Alley. ''That's the way they seem to see me. So I'm doing this character who is such a great success in business and such a disaster in her personal life. I like that conflict. You know, what I do best is a woman under the influence, anything that's out there, on the edge of what's appropriate. I hope Veronica gets to do that.''



Here is Ron Silver's Obituary from the Guardian



Ron Silver, star of film, television and theatre, dies aged 62
He made well-reviewed appearances in such films as Reversal of Fortune and Ali, but was probably best known for playing campaign adviser Bruno Gianelli in TV's The West Wing


Mon 16 Mar 2009 07.48 EDT
First published on Mon 16 Mar 2009 07.48 EDT





Ron Silver, the controversial stage and screen actor who re-cast himself as one of George W Bush's few Hollywood supporters, died yesterday at the age of 62. A longtime smoker, Silver had been battling cancer of the oesophagus for nearly two years.


Silver was a noted stage performer who won the Tony award for his performance as a shark-like Hollywood producer in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow in 1988. In later years, however, his theatre work was often overshadowed by both his recurring role in TV's The West Wing and by his Damascene conversion from liberal activist to neocon cheerleader in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York.


A one-time registered Democrat, Silver would later refer to himself as "a 9/11 Republican". In 2004 he was booked as a guest speaker at the Republican national convention and narrated the film Fahrenhype 9/11 – a rebuttal to Michael Moore's award-winning Fahrenheit 9/11. Silver was no fan of the tub-thumping, liberal film-maker, describing Moore as "a charlatan in a clown suit".


Born on 2 July 1946 in New York City, Silver made his film debut in the 1976 ensemble comedy Tunnel Vision. Other notable screen credits include Silkwood and Ali, and he won rave reviews for his performance as lawyer Alan Dershowitz in the Oscar-winning drama Reversal of Fortune.


Silver's political shift occurred during his long-running stint on The West Wing, where he played Bruno Gianelli, the campaign adviser to the left-leaning President Jed Bartlett. "Often when I walked on to the set of The West Wing some of my colleagues would greet me with a chanting of 'Ron, Ron, the neocon'," he would later recall. "It was all done in fun, but it had an edge."


Silver reportedly died in his sleep in the early hours of Sunday morning. "He was a talented actor, a scholar and a great believer in participatory democracy," said Robin Bronk, executive director of the Creative Coalition, the political advocacy organisation that Silver co-founded in the late 1980s. "He was an activist who became a great artist and his contributions will never be forgotten."


To watch clips of Veronica's Closet go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=veronica%27s+closet+full+episodes



For more on Veronica's Closet go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veronica's_Closet


For a Website dedicated to Veronica's Closet go to https://web.archive.org/web/20010211061458/http://www.iusb.edu:80/~rpowlen/vc.html


For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20020211001115/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/veronica.html


For some Veronica's Closet-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/veronicas-closet


To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-edvH9WB70 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbSpCI5nDq4
Date: Thu June 26, 2014 � Filesize: 43.4kb, 262.6kbDimensions: 1170 x 1600 �
Keywords: Veronica's Closet Cast (Links Updated 8/4/18)

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