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John Corbett Talks ‘Tara’ Girl With Guy-In-Girl’s-Body Romance

hollywoodexclusive1Toni Collette's "United States of Tara" returns to TV tonight (3/22) with the team on Diablo Cody's unique dramedy hoping it will do the one thing it's failed to do thus far ā€” attract a sizeable audience.

"It'll probably take a month, and then Showtime will look at the ratings and see if they think it's worth bringing back for a third season," surmises John Corbett, who plays Collette's understanding husband, Max.

"At the end of the day, it's going to be a business decision. I hope people tune into it and dig it. It's happened before that really great shows haven't caught on. 'Arrested Development,' in my opinion, should still be on."

Corbett's currently touring with his country band, but that hasn't kept him from working hard to try to draw attention to the show that won Collette a Best Lead Actress Emmy. He points out that there are new wrinkles this season, which is saying a lot, since "Tara" already encompasses the title character's dissociative identity disorder, her alter egos and their stories. The new hook is a girl with guy-in-a-girl's-body romance.

"Old Buck, the truck-driving Vietnam vet, falls in love with a little bar waitress, played by Joey Lauren Adams. He falls in love pretty hard there," reports Corbett, speaking of tonight's episode. Not surprisingly, Max isn't happy about his wife's male alternate personality becoming involved with another woman. "Buck and Max used to hang out and drink beers together, but Max has to look out for Tara and protect her. Buck doesn't like him getting in the way, so they kind of go at it this season. They're not as tight as they were."

Understandable.

Corbett, who says he and Collette have become great pals, tells us that his biggest challenge on the show is keeping a straight face.

"The crew works really hard, long hours and at the end of a long day, they don't need me to come in at midnight and become the only thing keeping them from going home ā€” by laughing because Toni is doing something ridiculous. I mean, I'm basically a big clown. It's hard not to bust up when Toni's putting on an accent, trying to be Buck, saying 'I'm gonna beat the sā€”- out of you.'"

LET'S DANCE: "Dancing With the Stars" pro Louis van Amstel reports fans of "Reno 911!'s" Neicy Nash can expect to see a whole new side of the funny lady when she steps out on the dance floor tonight (3/22).

Says the ballroom dance champ, who led Kelly Osbourne to a third-place finish in the last "DWTS" cycle: "I love Neicy. It's going to be a similar story to Kelly's. Everybody knows her as a comedian. She is funny. She is hilarious. People are going to get that in abundance.

"But they're also going to get that this is a lady who had a childhood dream to dance. She was the chubby one in the back who was always being teased. When I talk to her about that, it's as if the comedian leaves her body, and she becomes this little girl, emotional. People are going to be humbled by that, identify with it. A lot of people have unfulfilled dreams, and when they see her, they're realize nothing is lost unless you say so."

Van Amstel is well aware that Nash has incredibly stiff competition ā€” including Olympic Gold Medal-winning figure skater Evan Lysacek, one-time cheerleader Erin Andrews of ESPN, and Pussycat Dolls leader Nicole Scherzinger. Not to mention Pamela Anderson, Kate Gosselin and Shannen Doherty.

However, he says, "Neicy has the talent, and she has the rhythm. It's raw, still. You will see she's not a trained dancer like some of the other contestants, but what you will see is the drive of someone who wants it so badly. You root for somebody that really wants it."

NASH isn't out for a huge physical transformation ala Osbourne. She informed van Amstel right at the outset, "'I'm comfortable with my body the way it is. I wouldn't want to lose my jiggly bits.' She's very proportionate. She's in great proportion. It's not like her boobs are big and her hips are small. I told her, 'What I will do is make you stronger and make you have more stamina.'"

WELL GROUNDED: Ben McKenzie may have found fame and fortune, but the actor, who is currently starring on TNT's "Southland," tells us he's lucky to have a family that keeps him grounded. "They were excited when 'The O.C.' started. That was a big change for all of us, but I'm still the same guy. They all give me a good teasing about it," says McKenzie of his Texas family's perception of Hollywood. In fact, he claims to not take it too seriously himself. "I try to stay out of the radar and out of the paparazzi-filled club scene. I just live my life and go about doing what I want to do and hope for the best."

With reports by Emily-Fortune 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 2010 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH

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