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Inqlings: 'Priceless' FBI art-case agent at Penn Museum

During his 20 years as a Philly-based FBI special agent, Bob Wittman is credited with recovering nearly a quarter-billion dollars worth of art. That's a lot of Monet.

During his 20 years as a Philly-based FBI special agent, Bob Wittman is credited with recovering nearly a quarter-billion dollars worth of art. That's a lot of Monet.

Wittman will return to the scene of one crime, the Penn Museum, for the first public appearance related to his book Priceless, which hits stores Tuesday. He and his coauthor, Inquirer reporter John Shiffman, will be set up at 6 p.m. next Tuesday beside the 19th-century Chinese crystal ball stolen from the museum in 1988 and recovered in 1991. It was Wittman's first art case. (Program: $10.)

Wittman, son of an antiques dealer, is due on Fox & Friends on Tuesday and Fox29's Good Day on Wednesday. Priceless will be excerpted in The Inquirer on Thursday.

At the stove

Three locals turn up under the scowl of Gordon Ramsay on Tuesday's seventh-season premiere of the Fox cooking competition show Hell's Kitchen (8 p.m., Fox29):

Edgewater Park's Ed Battaglia, 28, a cooking teacher at Willingboro's Garfield Park Academy who also coaches high school football and track at Holy Cross in Delran and is the oldest of Leon and Cindi Battaglia's three sons, says he started as a teen busboy at Laurel Creek Country Club in Mount Laurel and "kept moving up once I ran out of things to do." The Restaurant School grad says his coaching experience should give him an edge.

Salvatore Coppola, 35, who owns Coppola Pizza in Clementon, came to the United States at age 15 for vacation and ended up working at his uncle's pizzeria in New York before his father opened a shop in Cherry Hill. "I'm a big fan of the show," said Coppola, who's single, "and chef Ramsay is the greatest talent in the culinary world."

Out-of-work Rockledge-bred chef Siobhan Allgood, 27, whose resumé includes McKenna's Irish Pub and Table 31, says she learned a lot from her grandparents, who owned Chef's Market, a Northeast Philly deli. She and her husband briefly ran a casual eatery in Baja California. "I watch Hell's Kitchen all the time, and I'm fearless," she said. She's tossing around the idea of starting a lunch truck that would serve Baja cuisine.

New fields

Terry Crews and Essence Atkins, who play newlyweds in the new TBS sitcom Are We There Yet? (premiering 9 p.m. Wednesday), have the Philadelphia Eagles to thank for their respective happiness.

After being cut by the Redskins in late 1996, Crews was picked up by Ray Rhodes' Eagles for the NFC wild-card game against the 49ers in San Francisco. "We got our butts kicked," he said last week on a promotional tour. "I retired after that. Thank you, Philadelphia, for ending my football career." He's gone on to movies (White Chicks) and TV (Everybody Hates Chris).

Atkins (TV's Half & Half and Smart Guy) said the Eagles cut her husband, Jaime Mendez, a safety from Kansas State. "He ended up retiring and thankfully moving to Los Angeles," she said. "Had you guys not given him the boot, he would have stayed back here and I never would have met him."

Philly's rejects have a big advantage, Crews said. "Tell them they suck and tell them they need to get out, and they'll be[come] champions."

Oh, yes: Are We There Yet?

Crews said the series - executive-produced by Ice Cube and based on Cube's 2005 movie (Crews' character, Nick, marries Atkins' Suzanne, who has two kids) - hits a "sweet spot" between young fare like Hannah Montana and shows that are "too cool for the room, like Big Bang Theory. . . . It's a nice family show."

Ten episodes are in the can. If TBS gives the green light, 90 more are on the way, following the Tyler Perry's House of Payne model.

Briefly noted

Effective Tuesday, WURD-AM (900) picks up the new weekday talk show by Gayle King, Oprah Winfrey's pal. It airs from 10 a.m. to noon. (City Council meetings will preempt the show on Thursdays.) WURD also carries Al Sharpton's show in the afternoon.