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Hollywood Exclusive: Tony Shalhoub Talks About Bitty Schram’s ‘Monk’ Return

hollywoodexclusive1Tony Shalhoub reports that his one-time "Monk" costar Bitty Schram is due to make her much-talked-about return to the USA Network series in early September, and "We're all looking forward to that. We're all excited to see what the writers have cooked up."

Fans of the show were upset back in the midst of its third season when Schram was suddenly let go under the official line that the "Monk" creative team wanted to "go in a different direction." Later reports revealed that she'd been among the supporting players in a renegotiation wrangle with the network, which chose to take a hard line against her. Her Sharona Fleming character was replaced by Traylor Howard's Natalie Teeger.

"It will be great for the audience to have her back," Tony feels. "We'll see how that character has changed, what the dynamic might be between Sharona and Natalie. Something tells me they'll be really good friends." Both, of course, have had to deal with Shalhoub's obsessive-compulsive detective character's idiosyncrasies in an up-close and personal way.

Will it be awkward for the cast having Schram back? "Oh, no. I don't think it will be awkward at all. I've spoken to Bitty through the years, especially around the time Stanley Kamel passed away," Tony says, referring to their costar who died last year. "She was close to him, too. There's no bad blood. Nothing but good."

FROM THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT: Corey Reynolds, who is currently starring on TNT's "The Closer," admits he misses working on Broadway, but the perks of television are just too good to pass up for the time being. "I have a tremendous desire to get back to the stage. I received a Tony nomination for my work in 'Hairspray,' which was my Broadway debut. That was a lot of fun, but now I'm kind of in that stage where I'd like to win, so the right project would have to come along at the right time," says Reynolds. "I will say this — the paychecks aren't even close to what you get paid in television. It is a deterrent for a lot of my friends. I was just talking with my buddy Matt Morrison, who was in 'Hairspray' with me. He's now starring in the new show 'Glee.' We were reminiscing about how different life is as a working New York actor compared to what it is as a working L.A. actor. We can both breathe a little easier for the time being."

For now, Reynolds is focused on his work in "The Closer," where he tells us he's trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible. "I'm the young guy of the bunch, and I've had the least experience in the business. It's been so great working with so many seasoned actors. I didn't go to college, so these guys are kind of like my professors. I'm just trying to get that kind of longevity myself," he says. "Luckily, I landed on a very supportive show. G.W. Bailey has told me many times that it's a blessing and a curse that this is my first experience on a television series because he reminds me often that they're not always like this."

WEB BITS: Heidi Montag's recent Twitter tweets include this bold declaration: "we have the right to bare arms! this is america!!!!! FREEDOM!" Do you think she wrote about that 'cause it's summer and long sleeves can be hot? Probably not, since she linked to a story about citizens surrendering guns.

In fact, knowing that our readers are a literate lot — and that as such, you probably grimace, as we do, over the widespread mindless mangling of grammar and spelling on the Internet — we invite you to point out egregious examples made by folks in the public eye. Go to the Celebrity Gaffes section of BeckSmithHollywood.com to post your comments.

Nice to see news that Robin Williams will top off his September-launching comedy tour with an HBO special at year's end — especially considering it's only been four months since his surgery to replace an aortic valve. Williams shows off his scar and re-enacts his bike ride with Lance Armstrong last March, just three days before his hospitalization, on the video he and the cycling legend made on Armstrong's bus between legs of the current Tour de France. "Lance, wait! Lance," Robin wheezes, "wait for me!" And Armstrong notes that it's lucky Robin didn't die that day. No doubt Robin's years of being an avid bike rider have helped him bounce back from his operation. The video, posted on Livestrong.com, also demonstrates that Williams is back in fine comedic form, as he cracks up Armstrong, mocking his compression socks and otherwise acting up in various character voices.

With reports by Emily Feimster.

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH
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