'Home' thesp gets 'Strong' role as Turner exits

Former “Home Improvement” star Patricia Richardson is checking into Lifetime medical drama “Strong Medicine,” while Janine Turner is set to check out of the highly rated series.

Richardson will make her return to series television in “Strong Medicine’s” third season, which preems on Lifetime this summer.

In the show’s first two seasons, Turner and Rosa Blasi have starred as two very different femme M.D.s running a women’s health center together.

Turner will appear in the first six episodes of the third season, with storylines revolving around her character’s desire to become pregnant, utilizing fertility treatments she provided to many of her own patients.

After Turner’s departure, Richardson will join the cast as a former Army doctor, wife and mother, who joins the med center to fill the position vacated by Turner’s character.

In real life, Turner cited personal reasons for leaving the show. “Because I am a single mother, I felt the need to spend more time with my daughter and now we can be with our extended family in Texas,” Turner said in a statement.

Richardson said, also in a statement, “I’m so excited to be working with a creative team of women such as (exec producers) Whoopi Goldberg, Tammy Ader and (co-star) Rosa Blasi, and especially about being involved with a dramatic show that helps to educate women on health issues.”

“This character has many similarities to my own life,” Richardson added, “yet is quite a departure from my experience on ‘Home Improvement.’ ”

Richardson, who has family members in the military, is best known for her Emmy-nommed work on ABC’s long-running comedy “Home Improvement.”

Richardson’s deal for “Strong Medicine” was negotiated by her lawyer Mark Gochman and William Morris Agency. Turner also is repped by William Morris.

“Strong Medicine” airs at 8 p.m. on Sundays, anchoring Lifetime’s highly rated drama series block. Series was last season’s highest-rated original drama on basic cable. “The Division,” whose second season preemed in January, follows “Strong” at 9 p.m. “Any Day Now,” which ended its run in March after four seasons, has aired at 10 p.m. Lifetime has two new drama pilots in contention for that 10 p.m. slot.

Columbia TriStar Domestic Television produces “Strong Medicine.” Whoopi Goldberg and Tammy Ader are the show’s exec producers.

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