The pop star will pop into the sitcom as a Christian conservative

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated February 01, 2006 08:00 AM

Britney Spears is about to be outed: The pop star will appear on Will & Grace on April 13, playing a Christian conservative sidekick to Sean Hayes’s flamboyant character, Jack, who hosts his own talk show on the sitcom’s fictional network Out TV.

In the episode’s storyline, Out TV is bought by a Christian TV network, paving the way for Spears to contribute a cooking segment called “Cruci-fixin’s,” NBC has announced.

Now in its eighth and final season, Will & Grace has boasted a long line of top-name guests over the years, including Madonna, Cher, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Douglas and Kevin Bacon, who played himself – that is, a stalking victim of Jack’s.

For her part, besides TV specials and the Britney and Kevin: Chaotic reality series costarring husband Kevin Federline that drew mixed reactions, the 24-year-old Spears is a longtime TV veteran. As a young girl she was a regular on The Mickey Mouse Club.

In other guest-star news, Gladiator actress Connie Nielsen will appear in six episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit while series regular Mariska Hargitay, 42, goes on maternity leave to have her first child. (In a posting on her Web site earlier this month, Hargitay wrote that her pregnancy was not being written into the show’s storyline.)

Nielsen will play an NYPD detective on temporary assignment while Hargitay’s character, Detective Olivia Benson, is off on a special case.

“This is an unremittingly positive situation for us,” Dick Wolf, co-creator and executive producer of Law & Order: SVU, tells the Hollywood Reporter. “I’m thrilled that Mariska is having a baby and thrilled that we have someone of Connie’s obvious talent, beauty and stature to come in for these episodes. I think she’s going to be a great addition.”