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THE WB '8 Simple Rules' actress charms her way onto show



Published: Fri, July 29, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The actress plays a new witch whom the cast takes in.

By DAVE MASON

SCRIPPS HOWARD

Kaley Cuoco didn't have to cast a spell to become the newest witch on "Charmed." She didn't even have to audition.

The WB was already enchanted with her work on "8 Simple Rules."

With magical timing, the producers and The WB offered Cuoco a new starring role after cancellation of the ABC sitcom.

Cuoco will join stars Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs and Rose McGowan, who play witches Phoebe, Piper and Paige, respectively. "Charmed" begins its eighth season Sept. 25 and will continue to air at 8 p.m. Sundays.

"I had never seen an episode," Cuoco said.

That might help her in portraying the newest character for the Aaron Spelling drama.

"She can come into it without any preconceptions," said WB entertainment president David Janollari.

"I play Billie, a new witch the girls take in. They help her to learn the ropes. She has no idea what's she doing," said Cuoco, 19.

"We were looking to cast this young witch who is about her age," Janollari said. "She was on the list of available actors. We loved her work on '8 Simple Rules.' She was interested. It was that simple. She's young and spunky and sassy, and she will give the show another voice."

Adding characters has boosted ratings for "Charmed," Janollari said. Besides Cuoco, Jason Lewis of "Sex and the City" will join the show in a six-episode role as Dex, a romantic possibility for Phoebe.

Other endeavors

Cuoco also continues to work her magic in movies and animated shows. She said she's the voice of an evil twin on Fox's new cartoon, "Bratz," based on the dolls. And she continues to voice Brandy, a young girl on the Disney Channel cartoon, "Brandy & amp; Mr. Whiskers" (Mr. Whiskers is a rabbit.).

Cuoco talked about the cancellation of "Rules," in which she played oldest daughter Bridget Hennessy, after three seasons.

"When John [Ritter] passed away, it was hard to keep the show going," Cuoco said, but added that "[new cast members] David Spade and James Garner did a great job.

"You do a job; your show gets canceled. You get used to it," Cuoco said. Before "Rules," she appeared for one season on the low-rated CBS sitcom "Ladies' Man."

Cuoco, who started her acting career at 6, also appears regularly on talk shows, and her movie appearances include "The Hollow," "Lucky 13," "Picture Perfect" and "Virtuosity."




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