'Megan' on the Move

Megan Mullally is making waves. NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution has cleared The Megan Mullally Show, which debuts next fall, in two more major markets and announced the show's first executive producer: Rosie O'Donnell Show veteran Corin Nelson.

Megan has added WHDH Boston and WDIV Detroit and is cleared in more than half the country. The deals are the first with stations owned by Sunbeam Television Corp. and Post-Newsweek Stations Inc., respectively. It has also been cleared on several NBC O&Os, including WNBC New York, KNBC Los Angeles, WMAQ Chicago and KNTV San Francisco. The show is also licensed to KTVK Phoenix, KARE Minneapolis, WISH Indianapolis, WBAL Baltimore, WISN Milwaukee and WLKY Louisville, Ky.

Nelson, who won five Emmy Awards while with Rosie, joins Megan following the August expiration of an overall development deal at Warner Bros.' Telepictures, during which she produced several pilots and presentations, including this season's The Tyra Banks Show. Her entrée came in part through O'Donnell, who appeared in Grease with Mullally on Broadway and plugged Nelson to her. Although Nelson was talking to two other syndicators about their projects, she says a September dinner with Mullally clinched the deal. “I'm really excited about her,” Mullally says. “She's a perfect fit.”

Nelson is faced with the challenge of getting audiences to accept a host who is different from the saucy Will & Grace character they know. “I think there is an awareness of [Mullally] because she has always been a go-to guest for talk shows and has always been good for ratings,” Nelson says. “But there is certainly a lot of marketing, planning and awareness-building to let people get to know who Megan is.”

Mullally knows she has to sell both the program and herself. “On Will & Grace, Eric [McCormack] and Debra [Messing] were really responsible and could handle all that, so Sean [Hayes] and I would just roll around on the ground in the background and feel each other up,” Mullally says. “I like doing a show better than selling it, but that's part of it now.”

Mullally says she's involved in “every single element” of the show: “I have had comments from people saying, 'We've never had a host who has been as remotely as interested in all the aspects of the show.' I don't know if they are saying, 'Please God, go away,' or if that is a good thing.”