Megan Mullally joins the talk show fray; a few “kinks” in a new Playboy book; hot for teacher; and more for September

Oprah, Ellen, . . . Megan?
“We may [spoof] reality TV shows like Survivor. Three grizzled crew guys have to live on the set for a month and wear my clothes.” This is the sort of bit that Will & Grace vet Megan Mullally could trot out for her new daytime talk show, premiering September 18th at noon on NBC-5. “It was kind of a blessing in disguise that there was already a show like Ellen out there,” says the Chicago-trained actress-comedienne.”It forced me to think outside of the box.”
Must-have item of the month:
Concealer by Amazing Cosmetics, a business between friends Sue Katz and Lisa Thurman in Libertyville. Now celebs Nicole Kidman, Teri Hatcher, and Naomi Watts swear by the product. Retail locations at
Let’s talk about . . .
From “How do you select interesting cheeses to serve at a party?” to queries about G-spots, orgies, and Amazon fetishes, Playboy senior editor Chip Rowe encountered no shortage of material for Dear Playboy Advisor (Playboy Press; $16.95), a book based on his responses to readers’ letters. His favorite read? “The Kinks chapter. A foot fetish doesn’t do it for me anymore. But every month I get something even more offbeat, like a guy who [likes to] watch women pick their noses.”
“Three and seven are usually my lucky numbers. But I will think about adopting four. And maybe five,” says Christopher Durang, the darkly funny playwright-parodist, of his sudden popularity among Chicago storefronts. Spanning his career spectrum, five of the Juilliard prof’s works appear this fall: through September 17th Oracle Theatre performsThe Actor’s Nightmare and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You, written in his early 30s (773-244-2980). In November, Next Theatre (847-475-1875) tackles his most recent work, Miss Witherspoon , written in 2004. Chemically Im-balanced Comedy (773-865-7731) and Infamous Commonwealth Theatre (312-458-9780) also get into the act, with The Vietnamization of New Jersey (through October 8th) and Betty’s Summer Vacation (through October 1st), respectively.
Back to school drool:
Tim Cole logged on to RATEMYPROFESSORS.COM to see how DePaul students rated his class. Instead of constructive criticism, the communications prof was mystified to see a chili pepper signaling “hotness” by his name. “I was never attracted to my professors, so I can’t relate,” says Cole, 40. Shanita Akintonde, an advertising prof at Columbia College, viewed the site after a student informed her about her pepper. “I think the vanity in me made me go and see,” admits Akintonde, 35. The “hotness” designation is superficial, but Cole lauds the sentiment behind the site: “Students share their feelings, vent, gossip, and feel connected. But I don’t pay much attention to it with respect to feedback on my teaching.”
Cole (top), Akintonde (bottom)
Where’s the beef?
Tallgrass beef, from the hormone-free, grass-fed cattle  ranch run by local TV producer BILL KURTIS, is making cameos on menus all over town. Says FOX & OBEL chef Jason Handelman: “You can definitely taste the difference. It has a certain earthiness to it.”  Even SWEDISH COVENANT HOSPITAL has gotten into the act: the Swedish meatballs, made with Kurtis’s beef, might finally dispel hospital food’s bad rep.

Photoillustration: John Ueland (Ellen Mike Guastella, Oprah Kevin Mazur, Megan Jack Guy)