PEOPLE & ENTERTAINMENT

The Baltimore Sun

Seinfeld's TV show won't have comic in it

Jerry Seinfeld is returning to NBC as producer of a comic reality series where celebrities and a referee try to help squabbling couples make peace.

But Seinfeld said he has no plans to step in front of the cameras for The Marriage Ref or, for that matter, to ever star in a television series again.

The hour-long episodes will introduce the couples through filmed reports and show them fighting. A panel of celebrity guests will weigh in to offer advice and observations before the final arbiter, a "ref" who hasn't been selected yet, will settle things.

Seinfeld, 54, who has three children, said that with his family and standup comedy career, he didn't want to make the time commitment to act in another TV series.

Quick clicks

* Fox has given a two-season pickup for The Simpsons, Variety reports. The deal will take the animated family comedy into its 22nd season, and give it an episode tally of 493.

* The episode that returns George Clooney to ER will air March 12. A show insider tells People that Clooney will reunite with Julianna Margulies in a storyline that also features Susan Sarandon making her ER debut. Although executives of producer Warner Brothers and NBC, ER's network, have been coy about Clooney's return, ER's executive producer John Wells did say Wednesday that the March 12 episode will be a memorable one. "If you're a fan of ER, you won't want to miss this one," he said. ER's two-hour finale will air April 2.

Booked at Starbucks

A memoir by Isabel Gillies, who plays Kathy Stabler on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, will be the next book featured at Starbucks coffee shops around the country.

Gillies' Happens Every Day, which tells of the collapse of her marriage to DeSales Harrison, will be published March 24 by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Gillies, 39, is now married to Wall Street Journal reporter Peter Lattman.

A cottage mystery

The English holiday home where Agatha Christie spent her summers and entertained guests with readings from her thrillers is opening to the public for the first time.

Craftsmen have worked for two years to restore the house, Greenway, to gleaming 1950s condition. The rooms remain much as they were when the mystery writer lived there, complete with books, papers, boxes of chocolates and flowers.

Christie bought the house near Dartmouth in southwest England in 1938.

TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS

Actress Joanne Woodward, 79.

Actress Elizabeth Taylor, 77.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, 75.

Actor Adam Baldwin, 47.

Singer Josh Groban, 28.

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