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MILLER REIGNS IN ‘QUEENS’

Penelope Ann Miller has agreed to star in “Queens,” a fall sitcom produced by MTM, which has been given a 13-episode commitment at CBS. The series was created by Pamela Norris, whose credits include “Designing Women” and “Mad About You,” who will executive produce along with James Burrows (“Cheers”). Burrows will direct the pilot and take an active role in the series. Jo An Kincaid also will produce.

Miller will play half of an affluent Manhattan couple who suddenly find themselves broke and in for a major life-style change. He takes the only job available to him, which is to manage a duplex in Queens in exchange for free rent. There they bond with a tenant couple from a decidedly different ethnic and social background. Judge Rein-hold is in talks to play Miller’s husband. The show has been called a contemporary “I Love Lucy.”

The deal comes after Miller had made a development pact to create a CBS series. Miller expected to wait for a creation from Sam Simon (“The Simpsons”) until “Queens” came along.

“I was approached by Les Moonves and Billy Campbell on ‘Queens,’ but at the time I was committed to Sam Si-mon,” Miller said. “The trouble was, he had commitments and wouldn’t have been able to get a show together until midseason, and Les said he wanted me on the fall schedule. So I looked at it again, and I realized there was a great chance to do a lot of physical comedy, and the chance to work with Pam and Jim Burrows.”

Her character is a former interior designer and party planner for upscale bashes who finds herself working at the local Megamart, “cleaning up and serving chili dogs.” At the same time, she schemes endlessly to get back to Manhattan and win her husband’s old job back, causing more trouble each time she attempts to help.

It is the second series foray for Miller, who began her career on the short-lived “The Popcorn Kid” before becom-ing a film star.

Last seen in the Paramount horror pic “The Relic,” Miller begins work in April starring in the indie film “The Family Bloom,” produced and directed by Craig Saavedra, president of Becker FilmWorks.

Miller also gets an introduction to CBS viewers through a starring role in the upcoming miniseries adaptation of Mario Puzo’s “The Last Don.” Her series deal was made by Jonathan Howard of William Morris.

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