March 06, 2006 12:00 PM

>SOUNDS OFF

This year her pre-Oscars special airs four nights before the big event, after the March 1 Lost.

WHAT DIFFERENCE DID THE MOVE MAKE?

I didn’t have to be so Academy-centered, although we do the opening from the Kodak Theatre, where—it just so happens—my outfit matches the chairs and the background. I blend in!

WHO SAT DOWN TO BE GRILLED THIS TIME?

Patrick Dempsey, Matthew McConaughey, Mariah Carey and George Clooney. It’s a great show.

YOU GOT DEMPSEY TO OPEN UP ABOUT HIS BATTLE WITH DYSLEXIA?

He doesn’t do cold readings. He tries to get the script in advance so that he can memorize it. He told me, “It made me who I am today. I’ve never given up.”

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