Malcolm's mom may play Danson's wife

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It could be a very short hiatus for Jane Kaczmarek, who might play another TV wife on a prime-time comedy series next season.

Kaczmarek, who has portrayed hard-nosed mom Lois on the Fox comedy Malcolm in the Middle for seven seasons, did a guest spot on the ABC comedy pilot Help Me Help You, playing star Ted Danson's estranged wife. The project, an ensemble comedy about a disparate group of people connected through therapy, was picked up to series by the network this week.

While Kaczmarek doesn't have a deal beyond the pilot, sources said there is an intention to make the role recurring and bring the actress back for future episodes.

Kaczmarek's husband, The West Wing costar Bradley Whitford, also is segueing to a new series, "West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Kaczmarek and Whitford's current series will end their respective runs on Sunday.

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