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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Exclusive! Wendie Malick spills on "Cleveland," Betty White and "Just Shoot Me!"'s loveable lush Nina Van Horn

Where would Just Shoot Me!'s boozing floozie supermodel-turned-fashion editor Nina Van Horn be today? Well, after intensive rehab, it looks like she's landed in Cleveland. Her portrayer, the always-delicious Wendie Malick, is calling on Nina's self-absorbed soul as inspiration for the actress's new character, fallen soap diva Victoria Chase, in TV Land's buzzworthy original sitcom Hot in Cleveland.

Malick's new, less vacuous character finds herself at home in the cable network's ensemble comedy about three L.A. transplants (Malick, Valerie Bertinelli and Jane Leeves) rediscovering their sexual prowess and youthful verve in Ohio's bustling blue-collar metropolis. Rounding out the cast as caretaker of the ladies' new house: Saucy sitcom stalwart and SNL hottie Betty White.

Hot premiered to record ratings for TV Land--about 5 million people watched the June 16 premiere--while garnering inevitable comparisons to Sex and the City and White's 1985-92 TV classic The Golden Girls. But those parallels are fine by Malick. The still-sexy actress, 59, has enjoyed lengthy success in a host of ensemble sitcoms, including HBO's Dream On and NBC's Frasier. Here, the actress-turned-animal activist and environmentalist recalls her road to Cleveland while analyzing TV's multidimensional impact.