How much clout does Lauren Graham have over at Gilmore Girls these days? You'll find out in the opening minutes of tomorrow night's episode, when the Emmy-shunned actress receives a perk that has long eluded her: a producing credit.

Warner Bros. and the CW declined comment, but one of my deeply imbedded Stars Hollow moles confirms that Graham will be listed as a producer beginning with Tuesday's episode. My spy says the promotion was most likely a precursor to formal contract-extension talks with Graham. (Her deal with the show ends this season.) "It's a step in the right direction," says my source.

In an interview last June, Graham made no secret of her desire to see her Gilmore role expand. "I would like to be a producer on the show, but that's not anything [Warner Bros.] is gonna let me do," she said at the time. "I think, at this point, any request [might lead to a] 'Well, if you want something then we want an eighth season' kind of thing."

In that same Q&A, Graham also said she'd "never" do the show without TV daughter Alexis Bledel by her side. But what if Bledel were to drop in during, oh, say, November, February and May? As I reported in Ask Ausiello last week, that's one of several life-sustaining Gilmore scenarios the network and studio are said to be throwing around should Bledel nix a full-time commitment.

The wild card in all this? Scott Paterson, whose deal also expires in May and is rumored to be angling for a hefty raise. Suddenly, last year's ill-fated Team Palladino negotiations are looking like a walk in the park with Paul Anka.