No one will confuse the soft-spoken Megan Mullally with her bombastic alter ego Karen Walker, a part she played for eight seasons on "Will and Grace" -- the woman is smart, seems genuinely kind and has a long history in the biz. But she certainly could use some of the Karen-esque spunk to find her talkshow groove.

No one will confuse the soft-spoken Megan Mullally with her bombastic alter ego Karen Walker, a part she played for eight seasons on “Will and Grace” — the woman is smart, seems genuinely kind and has a long history in the biz. But she certainly could use some of the Karen-esque spunk to find her talkshow groove.

What began with a promising Broadway-type number fell apart once Jenny McCarthy started pulling random items out of her bra. At one point in the debut ep, which admittedly featured a funny spoof with Will Ferrell, McCarthy took over, bounding out to the audience, jumping in on the awkward silences and answering basic questions that seemed to stump the tyro host.

Several times in interviews over the first two episodes, Mullally told her guests, “I don’t even know what to say.” Mullally is clearly competent, but her comment, meant to convey admiration, was more telling of her interview style.

In the second ep Eva Mendes provided head-scratching dating tips, telling a woman who found naked pictures of other women on her boyfriend’s computer, “Take your clothes off more.”

Mullally appears far more comfortable in a performance type setting, virtually lighting up when Benji and Heidi from “So You Think You Can Dance” hit the stage. By the end of the segment, the gang does an impromptu conga line, which injects the show with some much-needed energy.

Considering that her set and her style is evocative of the old variety talkshows, Mullally may want to consider more of that type of entertainment, perhaps going a little more old school like “The Mike Douglas Show.” In her memorable opening number, sung to “Age of Aquarius,” Mullally promised, “nothing gloomy and depressing/ I’ll make out with Debra Messing/On the Megan Show.”

The writers could be of more help. Mullally was great at ad-libbing and pulling faces with pal Ferrell, who came out in his underwear, but was forced to introduce her next guest with vanilla comments such as, “Here’s a tiny little karate champ you’ll really get a kick out of.” When she chats with the host about his sport, she responds with, “Oh my gosh. Wow. That’s really neat.”

The Megan Mullally Show

WNBC, New York, weekdays, 3 p.m.Talkshow; KNBC Los Angeles, weekdays, 4 p.m.

Production

Taped in Los Angeles by NBC Universal Domestic Television in association with Curly One Prods. Executive producer, Corin Nelson; supervising producer, Liz Stanton; senior producers, Jason Kurtz, Mimi Pizzi, Daniel Primer; director, Ken Fuchs.

Crew

Head writer, Michael O'Rourke; writers, Jeff Drake, Wendy Molyneux, Ann Slichter; senior editor, Phil Favre; music, Bret Simmons. Running time: 60 MIN.

Cast

Host: Megan Mullally. Announcer: Rick Robles.

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