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Stars grace flower show...and local ones hit the big screen

In town to tout vodka, 'Blues Brother' pledges donation to slain Philly cop

DAN AYKROYD ducked out from under the cover of his security detail Friday to literally stop and smell the roses at the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, his handlers told me over the weekend.

The 62-year-old actor and screenwriter was in town Friday for the Flower Show and to promote his Crystal Head vodka, which enjoyed a booth next to the PA Wine & Spirits table inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center (1101 Arch St.).

It was no surprise that a seemingly endless line of people snaked around the perimeter of the grand ballroom inside the convention center - each guest waiting patiently to meet Aykroyd and for him to sign a vodka bottle.

What may have come as a surprise to some was Aykroyd's unsolicited pledge Friday to make a donation to the family fund of slain Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III, who was killed Thursday in the line of duty.

Other big names spotted at the Flower Show were Ethan Wayne, son of Hollywood great John Wayne, and singer-songwriter Christina Milian, who signed bottles of her Viva Diva Wines collection.

Jersey girl in the 'House'

It may not be the same as interviewing the leader of the Free World, but my coverage of the past two mayors in Philadelphia was enough to get me excited about Netflix's "House of Cards."

The show, while overly dramatized, is certainly reminiscent of some interactions reporters can and do have working in City Hall. For that reason I want to commend Michelle Kosinski, CNN's White House correspondent, for playing herself in several episodes of the show.

"I love my job, but for some reason doing a pretend version of my job was hugely nerve-racking," said Kosinski, who originally hails from Cinnaminson, N.J.

"Covering the White House is a lot less scary than pretending to do it on 'House of Cards' . . . I was like a fish out of water."

The 2005 Rolling Stone "hot reporter" now joins the ranks of several other CNN journalists who have played themselves on TV, including Ashleigh Banfield, Dana Bash and John King.

Serious face, funny role

Speaking of Netflix and local reporter connections, Robin Rieger, formerly of CBS3, will be playing a news reporter in several episodes of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," which launched Friday.

The comedy series created by Upper Darby's Tina Fey and her "30 Rock" producing partner, Robert Carlock, chronicles the title character's escape from an underground doomsday cult and her attempt to start life over in New York City.

Rieger plays reporter Carla Tuesday, who sometimes asks unusual questions of her subjects but provides good material for a laugh.

Asked if she saw any similarities between herself and her character on the show, Rieger tells me, "They're both curious, although Carla may ask questions that are odd, though she poses it seriously."

"I would do that, too, when I work - the same way Carla does," she said.

"I thought when I left TV news back in April 2013 - what will I do next?"

Rieger says this is the second reporter role she's gotten. She played one in September at the end of an episode of ABC's "How to Get Away With Murder."

On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN