Sarah Chalke, <I>Maneater</i> Sarah Chalke, Maneater

Summer is around the corner, so it's time for some fun and frothy fare to liven up the tube. Filling that bill this weekend is Maneater, a two-part Lifetime miniseries airing Saturday and Sunday at 9 pm/ET, and based on the Gigi Levangie Grazer's New York Times best-seller.

Starring as the titular minx is Sarah Chalke, who traded in her scrubs for dazzling (mini-)dresses and come-hither bikinis. Can her shallow socialite, Clarissa Alpert, develop a deeper appreciation of what matters in life? Chalke surveyed her character's journey, as well as offered updates on her How I Met Your Mother and Scrubs runs. I have to say, you're looking absolutely terrific in Maneater.
Sarah Chalke: Thanks, dude! It's all pretend — smoke and mirrors and hours and hours in the hair-and-makeup trailer at 4:30 in the morning. Crazy. How much notice did you have to look your best?
Chalke: Oh, none! I got the script in, like, November, and then you have the Christmas holidays... [Laughs] and then it was time to leave for Scottsdale. But it was definitely more warning than I used to get on Scrubs, where you'd open a script and the next day you're in just a bra and underwear. You're like, "Really?" I'd do three sit-ups in my dressing room, thinking that'd make a difference. When they first pitched you this movie, did they have you at "maneater"?
Chalke: Yes! I read Gigi's book in like one sitting, and I loved it. I read the script right after, and I loved how it was funny and heartbreaking. I thought it would be fun to, over the course of four hours, go from being this gold-digger who thinks all that matters is her hair and clothes, to kind of realizing that what's really important. Have you personally known anyone like Clarissa?
Chalke: Oh, I think we've all run into a few gold-diggers-slash-maneaters in our lives. None of my close friends are like that [Laughs], but..... You've got some fun gal-pal costars here — including Judy Greer (27 Dresses) and Marla Sokoloff (The Practice). You must have had a blast on the set.
Chalke: We. Had. A. Blast. And I've kept in touch with them since. When you have this group of girls who are supposed to be best friends, we got lucky that we all got along. And Paul Leyden (As the World Turns) is nothing to sneeze at either. I once had a male coworker who thought Paul was quite the tall drink of water.
Chalke: Well, everyone at Maneater thought the same, of both Paul (an Australian) and Phillip Winchester (Crusoe). I mean, anyone with an accent, c'mon. C'mon. They were terrific. Turning to your run on How I Met Your Mother: Are you glad to have the "Is Stella the mother?" question behind you?
Chalke: I had the best time working on that show. It was only supposed to be a week — I replaced another actress who couldn't do it, at the last second — and then it evolved into more. That show is just so well-written and the scenes are so fun to play. I would go back there whenever they ask me. Were you ever led to believe that Stella would turn out to be the mother?
Chalke: That question is out there with every guest star they have on there, to keep people guessing. But no, nobody ever told me that that was how it was going to play out. A year ago, would you have ever imagined we'd be talking about Scrubs getting a ninth season?
Chalke: No, every year since Season 4 we thought would be the last one. In a way, that kept everyone grateful, and it never settled into some situation where people are like, "Oh, we've got this gig for a long time." It kept it really fun. There's talk, though, that it might return in a "different" form.
Chalke: [Scrubs creator] Bill [Lawrence] always said that if the show ever came back after the eighth season, after that finale, it would be in a different incarnation. Some argue that we have already seen J.D.'s future with that film montage at the end. But that I took that to be a vision of what could be.
Chalke: Exactly. That's how I took it, too. And as far as who besides Zach Braff might return....? [Contrary to one trade report, Chalke has not signed on for Season 9.]
Chalke: That will just depend on how it plays out for everybody, with regards to their lives and what they're now doing. 

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