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The Insider

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Actress Linda Doucett has broken her engagement to comedian Garry Shandling. The two, who work together on Shandling’s talk show parody, the Larry Sanders’ Show, were an item for seven years. Doucett left Shandling, according to a source, because “the relationship was no longer happening. They didn’t get married. They didn’t have a family. Linda felt it was time to move on.”

No word yet on whether Doucett will return to her role on the HBO series as Darlene, secretary to Sanders’ sidekick Hank Kingsley (Jeffrey Tambor) when production resumes in the spring.

Might Shandling’s real-life love-life problems turn up on his Sanders show? “As emotionally closed as Larry’s talk-show-host character is,” says a source close to Shandling, “Garry himself is even more closed. There is definitely no way he would ever turn his breakup with Linda into a comedy sketch. No way at all.”


We’re hearing that Don Johnson will play a San Francisco police detective with two beautiful ex-wives (who are still to be cast) on his comeback TV series, for which he has a 22-episode commitment from CBS.

In the as-yet-untitled hour-long drama, Johnson’s character will have to moonlight as a private detective to make enough money to cover his alimony payments. A source close to the project tells us that the show, which Johnson is also producing, will be “much grittier” than Miami Vice, the immensely popular NBC series (1984-89) that made the actor a household name.


Producer Norman Lear is developing a television talk show for poet and author Maya Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings). A source tells us the show will lean heavily on spiritual matters and function essentially “as a platform for Angelou’s beliefs.”

As a welcome to show business, Lear recently threw a party for Angelou at his L.A. home. “She did all the cooking,” says one partygoer, adding that Angelou’s menu included such down-home specialities as ham, greens and pineapple upside-down cake. Jokes this guest “This was not California low-fat cuisine.”