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They Really Like Her... in Sitcoms

Sally Field may be poised to return to her sitcom roots. The Oscar-winning actress, who starred in the 1960s ABC comedies "Gidget" and "The Flying Nun," is eyeing a half-hour project for the network from writer Holly Hester and Conan O'Brien's Conaco production banner.

Separately, Hester has teamed with Molly Shannon for another comedy as part of Shannon's rich talent deal with Fox, 20th Century Fox TV and Brad Grey TV. The Field project centers on a middle-aged woman who suddenly decides to make a change in her picture-perfect family life, gets divorced and gets a job.

Sources said that Field has expressed interest in the project, which is being written for her, but will not commit to it until she reads the script. Field is repped by CAA and manager Judy Hofflund. Hester, whose credits include ABC's "The Drew Carey Show," is repped by Endeavor.

New 'Nirvana'

There is a new leading man on NBC's comedy pilot "Nearly Nirvana": Ajay Sahgal, the creator of the series about a guy of Indian descent and his white fiancee. After extensive casting and recasting of the lead role, Sahgal is stepping in to star in the new pilot for the NBC Universal TV project, slated to shoot Friday.

Actor Arj Barker had been lined up for the lead when NBC opted to shoot a second "Nirvana" pilot, but the decision to have Sahgal step into the spotlight was made after a table read with Barker last week, sources said. Judy Greer remains in the role of his fiancee.

"Nirvana" is a co-production of NBC Uni-based untitled Burke/Tarses project and David Schwimmer's Dark Harbor production banner. Sources indicated that the show's producing team, including director/exec producer Schwimmer, have taken a pay cut to make the production of the pilot possible.

While it was originally developed for NBC, it's unclear whether the project will remain active at NBC or be shopped to other networks. A rep for NBC Uni TV declined comment Wednesday.

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