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Liza Minnelli plans sitcom debut. She'll play a bitchy socialite on Fox's new ''Arrested Development''

Fox's new sitcom ''Arrested Development'' is rife with bad marriages and dysfunctional family dynamics. So Liza Minnelli should feel right at home when she begins a multi-episode guest arc on the show, marking her first TV work in eight years. She'll play Lucille, a bitchy socialite who's the nemesis to Jessica Walter's family matriarch -- also named Lucille -- in at least two episodes. She'll also develop a crush on Walter's son, inept cartographer Buster (Tony Hale), on the series, which premieres in November.

Minnelli's last TV job was opposite Shirley MacLaine in the 1995 CBS movie ''The West Side Waltz.'' She and fourth husband David Gest (the couple filed for separation in July after just 16 months of marriage) were supposed to have their own dinner-party reality series on VH1 last year, but the show fell through before it ever aired, dissolving in mutual breach-of-contract lawsuits between the couple and the network. The two parties reached a settlement two weeks ago, the terms of which were undisclosed. At least ''Development'' will give her a chance to prove that fiction can be stranger than truth.

Originally posted Sep 29, 2003