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Leoni Online: The Articles — Entertainment Weekly 1997

Can NBC do for Téa Leoni what ABC couldn’t? The best time slot on TV doesn’t hurt, but fans of the saucy starlet say her revamped sitcom is a bad fit. Has The Naked Truth been stripped of its charm?

They are the three sweetest words in network TV, and Téa Leoni can’t stop saying them. “Right after Seinfeld! Right after Seinfeld! Right after Seinfeld!” It’s a mantra that’s been carrying the 30-year-old star of NBC’s mid-season replacement sitcom The Naked Truth (airing – well, you know when it’s airing) through months of frenzied script changes and staff upheavals. And now, 12 hours into a rehearsal for the third episode, Leoni is once again calming herself with thoughts of her new neighbors: Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer on one side, and the good doctors of ET on the other. There’s just one nagging concern: “Please, Lord,” says Leoni, “don’t make us the Thursday night dog-walking show.” If that happens, it won’t be for lack of grooming. Since last summer, when NBC stole the The Naked Truth from ABC, the Peacock net has spent the requisite millions performing its usual voodoo on a favored child. Much like its efforts for Brooke Shields’ Suddenly Susan at the start of the fall season, the network’s hype machine has flooded prime time with high-energy promos flaunting Leoni’s screwball allure. What viewers don’t see are the machinations that go into turning a promising, if flawed, sitcom into one worthy of a Must See slot. “We had the deluded fantasy that coming from ABC, we weren’t a freshman show anymore,” says Leoni. “That lasted about 10 minutes – until we realized NBC was changing everything.”