Neil Patrick Harris by Cliff Lipson/CBS, Brett Butler courtesy Brett Butler Neil Patrick Harris by Cliff Lipson/CBS, Brett Butler courtesy Brett Butler

It wasn't easy, but How I Met Your Mother has finally located the middle-aged woman with whom Barney lost his virginity many moons ago. Veteran character actress Stephanie Faracy - whose most recent credits include episodes of Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy and Will & Grace - has landed the plum part. She replaces onetime sitcom star Brett Butler ( Grace Under Fire), who showed up for work on Wednesday but was quickly let go after it was mutually decided that the role wasn't a good fit. (That explains why, as astute Ausiello Report readers can attest, a story I had announcing Butler's casting was quickly yanked from TVGuide.com late yesterday.)

Butler's miscasting was just the latest wrinkle in producers' exhaustive search for Barney's "first." As Neil Patrick Harris revealed to me at TV Guide's Emmy After Party last month, producers originally approached Kirstie Alley to play Mrs. Robinson to his Benjamin Braddock. But for some unknown reason, the ex- Fat Actress declined. Perhaps she was too busy with umer someone help me out here. That paved that way for the hiring of legendarily volatile Butler. Speaking of which, if you're curious what Butler's mental state is these days, check out this open letter she penned to Britney Spears. I think it speaks volumes.

The episode featuring Alley Butler Faracy airs Nov. 26.