Rico Rodriguez

I stopped by a couple of charity benefits last week where I picked up some fun scooplets. My thanks to the folks at the Alzheimer Association's Night at Sardi's Fundraiser and The Humane Society's Genesis Awards for the red carpet access — and the salad, entrée and dessert.

ABC's Modern Family is ending its second season by adding a new series regular. The name of this pretty young new character: Bridgette. Who is she, you ask? "We're getting a French bulldog for me to hang out with," reports Rico Rodriguez (Manny). "She'll probably be in the last three episodes of the season and then in multiple episodes next year. She's a very good listener and has fit in very well." We'll have to see if Bridgette can deliver the same bark Ed O'Neill's previous canine co-star, Buck, brought to Married... With Children.

Army Wives' March 27 episode is not to be missed. "A soldier's death will be revealed that will rock everyone," promises Sally Pressman, who plays Roxy. "It's the best episode we've shot in all five years." Sally tells me the killed-off actor was informed of his fate before the rest of the cast was clued in. "It was sad, but we had a going-away roast for the person and tried to treat it with humor," Sally says. Expect no such laughs on screen, where the friends will gather for a teary funeral. Previews Sally, "You see the funeral happening, but won't find out until the middle of the episode who is in the coffin. It's raw emotion that will be felt for many episodes to come."

All four Hot in Cleveland ladies — Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick and Jane Leeves — turned up at both fundraisers and clued me in to some disastrous dates ahead for their zany characters. "Last year Victoria dated this guy Chester with man boobs, and now I get set up with Siamese twins [played by Richard Burgi and Patrick Fabian]," previews Wendie. "Victoria's not interested in them physically, but she's fascinated by how it all works and plugs them with questions." Jane's Joy "asks to be set up with someone who is a combination of Pacino, DeNiro, with a little bit of Sean Connery and Jerry Seinfeld," she says. "So my date ends up being Frank Caliendo, who is a real-life Las Vegas impressionist." No word on who Valerie's Melanie lands, but Betty White's Elka will be juggling a pair of 70-something studs: Jane's Frasier co-star John Mahoney and Steve Lawrence (of Steve and Eydie fame). "Steve comes in as this gorgeous millionaire who Elka tries to snare by becoming a bimbo," says Wendie. Adds Jane, "The scenes between John, Steve and Betty are just heaven." (Almost literally!)

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