Ray finds a new 'buddy' in Bertinelli


Valerie Bertinelli has signed on as a "celebrity content buddy" for CBS Television Distribution's daytime talk show "Rachael Ray."

The actress and Jenny Craig spokeswoman will develop segments reflecting her personality and interests as a mom and working woman, starting with a trip to New Orleans for a "girls' guide to the gridiron" at a "Monday Night Football" game. The segment will air Oct. 23, with Bertinelli also visiting Ray in the studio to make Louisiana gumbo.

Terry Wood, president of creative affairs and development at CTD, said Bertinelli will make appearances on "Rachael Ray" throughout the season.

"We spent a lot of time getting to know her here, and we felt she was a really good fit for the show," Wood said. "She's very relatable — there's no topic she can't do. She also is very comfortable being herself on-camera, and that's a unique talent."

She added that Bertinelli and Ray "get along like sisters."

Asked if the syndicator might look down the road to develop a separate project with Bertinelli — like her own talker — Wood would say only that "we invest in people and work with them on exciting propositions and see where it goes from there. We find great topics and see how the audience responds. … Anything is possible for Valerie because of her great relationship with the audience."

Added executive producer Janet Annino: "Our viewers relate to Valerie's life, from raising a child to divorce to weight issues. … She'll continue her successful acting career and even take us on the road with her."

Bertinelli recently starred in the Hallmark Channel telefilm "Claire" and is set to co-star in Lifetime's upcoming tele "True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet." She is repped by Innovative Artists, managers Jack Grossbart and Marc Schwartz and attorney Jaime Mandelbaum.