Mar 7, 2005  •  Post A Comment

For a good time, check out star-creator-executive producer Kirstie Alley’s “Fat Actress,” which debuts at 10 tonight on Showtime, which is unscrambling its signal for the occasion.

Industry types are sure to get a kick out of NBC Universal Television Group President Jeffrey Zucker’s Game Boy-ish appearance as “Himself.” Ms. Alley’s collaborator, “Actress” creator-executive producer Brenda Hampton, said Mr. Zucker so effectively nailed the over-the-top and underhanded alter ego in his first take that his role was expanded. Seeing Ms. Alley hangin’ with a sexy new Mr. Cooper played by Mark Curry also is fun. (Mr. Curry, who starred in the former ABC series “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,” portrays a character on “Actress” named Max Cooper.)

Everyone will see that Ms. Alley-who made a dramatic entrance at the New York premiere in an upscale-peasant ensemble that included a Missoni-ish Jean Paul Gaultier knit top-and her TV ensemble have an easy and appealing chemistry. And that John Travolta can even cut a rug on sod.

Cinephiles will find the homage to the “91/2 Weeks” fridge scene a hoot. It sets up a scene that starts out soooooooo sexy and dissolves into exquisitely timed slap-happiness. The Insider, no spoiler, will say only that it is inspired by a device that Ms. Hampton’s adopted daughter began to covet soon after she arrived from Vietnam nearly a decade ago (and still has installed in her room), a device Ms. Alley told The Insider she hates. That scene is a hoot and a half.

Today’s Fightin’ Words

The e-mail to “Today” staffers from executive producer Tom Touchet last week was headlined in capital letters: “BOX OFFICE RESULTS IN!! TODAY A SMASH HIT! OR … HEY ABC-TAKE YOUR STINKING OSCARS AND STICK ‘EM”

The occasion: Despite weeks’ worth of Oscar preamble on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and the fact that roughly 41 million viewers fell asleep with their TVs tuned to ABC for the Oscars, “Today’s” day-after Oscar coverage attracted some 7 million viewers. That was 350,000 more viewers than watched morning-after “GMA,” according to Nielsen Media Research data cited by “Today,” or 290,000 more viewers, according to Nielsen data from “GMA.” (Puhleeeeeeeze don’t ask The Insider to explain how both shows can use conflicting numbers and still speak the truth. She is working on her last nerve and is deep into brain-cell deficit.)

The bottom line: The Feb. 28 viewership was “Today’s” best after-Oscar Monday in seven years.

P.S.: One apparently would have to go back to 1997 to find the last time “GMA” beat No. 1-ranked “Today” the day after the Oscars, and that was by a sliverlike 20,000 viewers.

The Insider, who adores a good dissing match, applauds Mr. Touchet’s intent to rally his troops and crosses her fingers that next year the morning shows’ Oscarpaloozas will include dueling purse-cams.