Comic on yak pack track

Cusack close to deal with Buena Vista Television

Comic thesp Joan Cusack could be headed to daytime TV.

Buena Vista Television — the Disney division that develops and produces programming for ABC Daytime, syndication and cable — is close to signing the former star of ABC laffer “What About Joan?” to a series development deal.

Project would be a Cusack-led hourlong strip with a comedy format; it’s targeted for a potential fall 2003 debut. Taped from her hometown Chicago, skein likely would take the form of a hybrid of various daytime styles, with celebs and real people involved in the show.

Insiders familiar with the negotiations, however, said the skein would not look anything like a talkshow.

Although openings in the daytime arena — with such vets as Rosie O’Donnell and Sally Jessy Raphael exiting the syndie scene in May — are on the horizon, Cusack is the first big name to surface on syndicators’ 2003 development slate. She’s also one of the few projects to pop up for next year, period.

King World chief Roger King has mentioned he’s aiming to take out a yakker in 2003 as a possible companion for the upcoming “Dr. Phil.” But no host is attached yet.

This would be the second major TV attempt for Cusack, known primarily for her film work in pics such as “Where the Heart Is,” “High Fidelity,” “In & Out,” “Grosse Pointe Blank” and “Addams Family Values.” She also starred last season, and briefly this fall, in the ABC laffer “What About Joan?”

First meaty roles for Cusack included a turn in John Hughes’ “Sixteen Candles” and a season on “Saturday Night Live” in the mid ’80s.

Cusack is repped by UTA, which packaged the Buena Vista deal. Her attorney is Cliff Gilbert Lurie.

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