DROP DEAD DIVA. 9 p.m. Sunday, Lifetime.

THERE'S ALWAYS been a place for girls with big curves in Hollywood.

Usually, it's just behind the female lead.

Wisecracking best friends don't need to be scary-skinny: Think Rosie O'Donnell in "Sleepless in Seattle," Lisa Nicole Carson in "Ally McBeal," Valerie Harper - pre-weight loss - in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

But what if Mary had been killed in a car accident and woke up in Rhoda's body?

That's the premise - sort of - of Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva," in which Brooke Elliott stars as Jane Bingum, a brilliant lawyer whose body is essentially snatched by a "Price Is Right" model wannabe named Deb (Brooke D'Orsay).

Deb's not a particularly grateful recipient, though the discovery that Jane's brain comes along for the ride (and that that ride's a Porsche) does slightly lessen the humiliation of discovering that she's now a not very well-dressed Size 16.

The old Deb may have been hopelessly shallow, but she seems to have been genuinely loved by at least one person - and when her bereaved boyfriend, Grayson (Jackson Hurst), joins Jane's firm, emotional complications naturally ensue.

The improbable transformation of ditzy hottie to hot-shot lawyer isn't new, though at least "Legally Blonde" didn't require Reese Witherspoon's character to die and go to (the gates of) heaven.

Neither are shows with guardian angels, though no one's going to mistake Fred (Ben Feldman) for "Saving Grace" 's Earl (Leon Rippy) anytime soon.

What freshness exists in Sunday's premiere is largely due to Elliott, who's playing a character whose head(s) and heart(s) aren't yet fully synchronized.

She's adorable.

And as a full-fledged lead, she's been issued her own sidekick in standup Margaret Cho, who plays Jane's loyal secretary, Terri.

Cho picked up lots of material during her one season as ABC's "All-American Girl" 15 years ago, when her weight - never particularly high - apparently became something of a fixation for network executives.

Though still not very big, she'd otherwise seem ideally suited for the wisecracking best friend role, but so far she mostly just seems, well, supportive.

Not to mention surprisingly subdued.

For Cho, at least.

Amusingly, the press kit for "Drop Dead Diva" includes approving blurbs from representatives of a variety of women's groups and one "author and self-esteem expert."

As if anyone ever watched Lifetime because it was the politically correct thing to do.

A tired


There's never been anything politically correct about HBO's "Entourage," which returns for its sixth season at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, after the latest episode of "Hung."

But it at least used to feel somewhat current.

There's nothing like having Vince (Adrian Grenier) appearing on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" to scotch that.

Given how long it's been since NBC announced the transition from Jay to Conan O'Brien, you'd think a blooper like that might have been avoided, but it's hardly the only problem with the new season, which finds Vince and his posse (Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara) largely repeating themselves.

Eric (Connolly) is even nosing around his ex, Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui). Again.

The one character who might be ready to move up - or even move on - is Lloyd (Rex Lee), whose ultimatum to his agent boss, Ari (Jeremy Piven), seems destined to end in, if not heartbreak, at least hijinks.

30.9M+ watch memorial

Tuesday's live coverage of Michael Jackson's memorial service was watched by an average audience of more than 30.9 million people over the course of about three hours, reports Nielsen, which counted viewing on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, Telefutura, Telemundo, Univision, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Headline News, BET, E!, MTV, VH1, VH1 Classic, TV Guide Network, TV One and MUN2.

In terms of U.S. live coverage of similar events in recent years, Jackson's memorial ranks behind only the burial of President Ronald Reagan (35 million) and the early-in-the-U.S. funeral for Britain's Princess Diana (33.2 million), according to Nielsen. *

Send e-mail to graye@phillynews.com or sound off during today's TV Chat at noon at go.philly.com/tvchat.