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Leah Remini Admits ‘The Talk’ Is Harder Than She Thought

Leah Remini's happy with the progress of "The Talk" — what with CBS already renewing the fledgling chat show on which she is featured along with Julie Chen, Holly Robinson Peete, Sharon Osbourne and Sara Gilbert. However, the admittedly self-critical funny lady is quick to say, "It's still a work in progress. We stay after the show and talk about where we can improve. We've only been on since October," she reminds.

Asked how it is to do the show compared to how she thought it would be, Remini admits in her charmingly convoluted style, "What I thought at first about what it was, it was going to be not as hard. It is hard to do a live show every day. I thought I'd be able to just walk in and go, 'Hi, what are we talking about?' 'Let's go home now.' There is much more mental work in preparing than I expected."

Yes, she's felt burnout. "Holly and I sit in her room and go, 'Wow, man.' You're just drained. But the next day, we're good again," she adds. "We're talking about something fun, or something in the news we have a take on, or something we really want to share with people — and we're re-energized by that."

She's enjoying the company of her "Talk" show mates and their fun chemistry — a big plus. She feels their celebrity interviews "are still missing something" — a small minus.

"I can't put my finger on it. I'm glad that we always get something more, something different, from them besides whatever the thing is they're there to promote," she says.

Remini acknowledges it's not easy juggling the show's demands and her family life with 6-year-old daughter Sofia and husband Angelo Pagan. Sofia has come to the set, and will come when Justin Bieber guests.

"I think I'm just going to call the school and tell the truth. I can't make her stay away when she has a chance to meet him."

Remini's "The Talk" deal called for a new sitcom to be developed for her at the network, but there've been hitches. Obviously, working eight hours per day on "The Talk" doesn't leave much time for other professional pursuits.

"I'm up at 5:30 to be at work by 7:30. It's not an easy day, but when I'm finished, the sun is still out. There is time for another show," she says. "But maybe I don't want to be a series regular. Maybe I want to be a recurring character on another show. I need to have some time with my daughter."

The actress lets us know her maternal duties now include being "a chauffeur and a chef. When my daughter's home from school, it's like, 'Where is my play date?' It's only going to get worse from here on. She'll get to be a teenager and say, 'Mom, I don't want to hang out with you,'" Remini predicts.

Also, "I feel a real loyalty to 'King of Queens,' to Doug and Carrie. When I read the scripts they send, I go, 'I can't be married to this guy.' It's weird, right? I feel like I'm actually married to Doug," she says, referring to Kevin James' character. She ends up saying, "'Oh, I know who'd be good for that,' and I pitch them ideas for other girls."

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: Andrea Anders, who plays Matthew Perry's love interest, Alice, on his new "Mr. Sunshine" sitcom, enjoys the fact that the show's setting, a San Diego arena, opens the way for all kinds of top-name guest stars.

"There's like a character every week that is coming through, and we have some big names," she says, referring to guests the likes of James Taylor, Jimmy Connors and last week's celeb, Nick Jonas. "I always enjoy that, their limelight personality. To get to work with them is fun."

But as for the most fun she had while filming the first batch of "Mr. Sunshine" installments, well, it was in an upcoming episode which Alice gets schnockered.

"That was a lot of fun to do. I kick over a big bowl of popcorn. I'm not sure when that will air," says the beautiful blonde, who is the real-life girlfriend of Matt LeBlanc. "I actually got to do that on 'Better Off Ted' and got drunk on 'Joey.' I don't necessarily want to be a drunk, but it's great to play."

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: With James Denton telling "Access Hollywood" last week that negotiations are "tenuous" for "Desperate Housewives'" stars to renew their contracts for next season, you just have to know that creator Marc Cherry is enjoying working on his "Hallelujah" series pilot all the more. Cherry has no less than director Michael Apted at the helm of the production, slated to go in March with Jesse L. Martin as star. The prospective new series deals with the forces of good and evil battling it out in a small town, and major roles include the upstanding diner owner; the unscrupulous, bullying millionaire; and the mysterious newcomer. All guys.

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.


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