Producer could have ‘Wives’ in tune

Cherry considering musical episode

MARC CHERRY, producer-creator of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” wants to keep things blooming, ratings-wise on Wisteria Lane. Cherry is considering a musical episode, and Teri Hatcher, at the least, is up to the challenge. She’s done a good deal of warbling, including a Chicago production of “Cabaret” a few years back, and, recently, a slinky, semi-secret stint in a Hollywood nightspot. Those who’ve seen Hatcher in her singer mode, say she is impressive — sultry and sexy. As for the rest — Nicollette Sheridan recently sang a duet with her beloved, Michael Bolton, on his last CD. And somehow I have the feeling that the spirit of lively competitiveness will allow Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria to sing like birds when push comes to high C.

WE WONDERED the other day what our friend Nancy Sinatra was up to? Presto, we got the answer, straight from the pop legend herself. Nancy says, “I am actually a slave to the new Siriusly Sinatra channel. My show is three hours a week and it takes about five hours to research and program every hour of airtime. I don’t know how I get myself into these things.” I asked if this radio program was devoted to All Things Francis Albert Sinatra? “Well, mostly Frank — and other great singers.” She laughed, “I sneak a few of my records in now and then.” (The show airs Sundays and repeats Tuesdays and Thursdays on channel 75.) Even better news from Nancy: “I have Christmas and jazz albums in the works as well, so I’m not dead yet.” Fans should pick up her 2004 album, which is a soulful masterpiece, and includes a terrific song, “Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad.” This tells you more about Daddy than any tell-all biography ever will.

ONE OF the power name combos of NYC is simply referred to by everyone as “The Shuberts.” People in the theater talk about the Shuberts historically as if they still exist — and in a manner of speaking, they still do. The empire Lee, Sam and J.J. left on Broadway after 1963, is run these days by the powerbroker Gerald Schoenfeld and his genial aide, my cousin Phil Smith. “The Shuberts” are an awesome power. They own West 45th Street between Broadway and 8th, including the Imperial Theater and the Music Box. But now they own more of the latter famous theater than before. It seems that Sam Harris and Irving Berlin once possessed the Music Box together. And until recently, the three daughters of the late famed music man, Mr. Berlin, owned half of this theater. Recently, Mary Ellin Barrett, Linda Emmett and Elizabeth Peters sold their portion to the Shubert Organization. Thus, ended a truly famous theater legacy. Mr. Berlin lived as a kind of recluse until 1989, dying at age 101. Nobody in America who loves theater and movies will ever forget him because he wrote the great songs of the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s. I recall Frank Sinatra telling me that he telephoned Irving Berlin every day of his latter life, just to pay homage. And to give Irving all the gossip. When I began writing this column back in 1976, I hadn’t been in place long when I got a startling message from Irving Berlin, one of my heroes. It was brief: “Hey, kid, you’re doing great. Keep up the good work.” If you’d like to read a perfect story of show business and New York City in the 20th century, ask your library for “Irving Berlin: A Daughter’s Memoir” by Mary Ellin Barrett. Written in 2004, this book is contemporary pop history at its best.

(Email Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)