Lisa de Moraes: Lauren Conrad Needed Coaching for 'Big Words' on 'Family Guy'

Lauren Conrad says she had to master lots of "big words" for her voice role in "Family Guy." The episode, in which Conrad plays a genius, airs May 3.
Lauren Conrad says she had to master lots of "big words" for her voice role in "Family Guy." The episode, in which Conrad plays a genius, airs May 3. (Fox)
By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"The Hills' " heroine (and most boring character), Lauren Conrad, will take on her most challenging made-for-TV role a week from Sunday, when she guest-stars as a genius on the Fox animated series "Family Guy."

But in reality, Conrad confessed that she needed an acting coach to get through her lines, which contained -- as she explained to bloggers and journalists during a phone group hug call yesterday -- "a lot of facts and a lot of big words."

In the episode, Conrad plays herself as she captures the eye of Brian -- he's a dog -- who is looking for a quick fling to mend a broken heart after he learns his true love (voiced by Drew Barrymore) is getting married.

"I had to say it as if it was coming to me very easily," Conrad said during the phoner, which was attended by The WaPo TeamTV's "Hills" correspondent, Emily Yahr.

"I had to research some of [the words] because the acting coach I worked with told me if I really understood what I was talking about, it would come through a little more true."

And for anyone concerned that LC might bog down "The Hills" with her newfound knowledge, don't fret: Conrad assured reporters such facts have since "left my head."

Before the call began, a Fox publicist warned reporters that questions should be "Family Guy"-themed only. But one intrepid journalist bravely asked the pressing Speidi question:

"Everybody's talking about the Speidi [co-stars Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag] wedding. . . . Do you think you'll go?" a clearly off-guard Conrad was asked.

"Probably not," she said, then quickly added, "I was invited."

Strangely, no one on the call thought to ask Conrad about the irony of being cast as a genius.

On the other hand, the press was keen to know which "Family Guy" character she thought she most resembled. That head-scratcher gave Conrad pause -- a really, really long pause -- and she finally went with Lois, the mom.

* * *

It's time for the Spring Shuffle -- that happy time of year when the networks test their current series in different time slots. Serious students of television always pay close attention, knowing that the new time slots could become those series's homes next season.

CBS, for instance, aired "The Mentalist" at 10 last night in the "CSI: Miami" time slot, and will air an original episode of "Criminal Minds" Wednesday at 10 in the "CSI: NY" time slot. Looks as though CBS might be considering a move for one of its "CSI" spinoffs.

Tonight, CBS will push both "NCIS" and "The Mentalist" forward one hour, to 9 and 10 p.m., respectively. So don't be shocked if the latter gets moved to 10 o'clock Tuesday next season. NBC is getting out of the 10 p.m. drama business next season, so there will be no "Law & Order: SVU" at 10 that night. And since ABC can't get arrested in the hour, it would give "The Mentalist" -- this season's only bona-fide hit -- a clear field at that time.

CBS's "Without a Trace" now airs Tuesdays at 10, but it's unclear whether the show is coming back next season. "WAT" is one of this spring's "bubble series": shows whose ratings don't justify their cost.

While CBS is checking out "The Mentalist" at 10 tonight, ABC will be testing its new cop show, "The Unusuals," in that time slot to see whether it can get some ratings traction after "Dancing With the Stars." ABC hopes "The Unusuals" will do better than its "Cupid" remake, which has proved that a series worth canceling once is worth canceling twice.

Meanwhile, Fox has been sprinkling "Bones" around its prime time. Last week it aired at 8 on Wednesday and Thursday. This week it's airing at 8 on Monday and Thursday. This suggests that President Obama likes to stage news conferences and speeches on Thursdays at 8, which has left Fox with two spare episodes of "Bones."

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