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e're not going to say it's easy to be great on a

e're not going to say it's easy to be great on a good show, but, well, having a good show certainly helps. Give it up for Stockard Channing, then, who was undeniably great on CBS's Out of Practice, a show that never quite jelled the way it was supposed to. As Lydia Barnes, the arch ruling matriarch of the series' contentious family of doctors, Channing delivered punch lines with obvious dry delight, treating every word with precision and care. Some of her finest moments came thanks to the awkward situation between Lydia and her ex-husband, Stewart (Henry Winkler), and his bimbo girlfriend, Crystal (Jennifer Tilly). The episode in which Lydia throws a party just to show how much she's over Stewart showcased Channing playing the character to the hilt and loving every minute. With each scene, the actor mined preening, divaesque inner strength from Lydia's neuroses, giving us at least one reason to watch this single-season wonder. Channing has 12 previous Emmy nominations, winning in 2002 for both The West Wing and The Matthew Shepard Story.

—Sarah Kuhn

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