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Latifah, Minnie Driver Go the TV Route

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Queen Latifah, who will be seen as the prison matron in the Christmas movie release “Chicago,” and Minnie Driver, Oscar nominated for 1997’s “Good Will Hunting,” are taking their talents to the small screen — separately.

First, Latifah: The Hollywood Reporter says that rap’s first lady, 32, has signed a deal with CBS to develop and star in “Mali Anderson,” a drama series based on Grace F. Edwards’ popular “Mali Anderson Mystery” books about a Harlem-based private investigator. Anderson also takes care of her orphaned nephew. Latifah (real name: Dana Owens) will also be executive producing.

No series premiere date has been announced.

As for Driver, also 32, NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker announced Thursday that the London-born actress will appear in a series for the 2003-2004 season, though it had yet to be determined whether it will be a comedy or a drama.

A network spokesman tells the Associated Press that the Driver deal was simply for her to star in a show and did not extend into production or development of other series beyond her own.