By Kate O’Hara
©2003 Tribune Media Services Ins.
OFF HER DUFF ... Although her Disney Channel series, "Lizzie Mc-Guire," has come to an end, Hilary Duff’s teen star continues to rise. Duff was recently on the cover of Vanity Fair with other young female stars. This came on the heels of her big-screen successes in 2003 with "The Lizzie McGuire Movie," and the ac-tion-comedy "Agent Cody Banks," with "Malcolm in the Middle" star Frankie Muniz. Now, Duff will star in two, hour-long music specials on The WB Network during the 2003-2004 season.
The first special, with the working title of "Hilary Duff Birthday Cele-bration," will air near the actress’s 16th birthday on Sept. 28 and the release of her debut CD this fall. The show will feature musical performances by Duff and guest stars.
The second special is planned to be a Christmas event.
"We’re thrilled to be starting a relationship with the Duff family," said Jordan Levin, the WB’s president of entertainment.
"Hilary is at the forefront of the next generation of Hollywood talent, and The WB is the perfect place for her and her fans."
Duff is also expanding her brand from acting to music. In Aug. 2002, Duff released a single, "I Can’t Wait," on the "Lizzie McGuire" soundtrack CD from Walt Disney Records. She followed up with a Christmas-themed album, to be released this year, also on Walt Disney Records. That album includes duets with R&B-pop artist Christina Milian and hip-hop artist Lil’ Romeo, now the star (with dad and rapper Master P) of his own Nic-kelodeon sitcom, "Romeo!"
TVBites ... ABC has ordered a midseason comedy called "The Big House," starring Kevin Hart, with characters loosely based on his own family. Hart plays a wealthy, pampered African-American from Mali-bu, who moves to Philadelphia to live with his working-class relatives after his father loses all his money. ... ABC has also ordered a midseason drama from Christopher Keyser and Amy Lippman, the creators of Fox’s "Party of Five." Set in New York’s Upper West Side, it follows the wealthy residents of a posh building, and their nannies, housekeepers and other em-ployees.