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Who's making deals in the week of Jan. 14, 2005

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TELEVISION Ricky Gervais could quit tomorrow and retire as a comedy king, thanks to The Office and his peerless funny-sad performance as David Brent. But apparently he’s decided to press on. In a brilliant — as the Brits say — but odd move, he’s opted to write an episode of The Simpsons, which will air next season. He’ll also guest-star on the episode, but not as David Brent.

MOVIES Samaire Armstrong — who played quirky Anna on The O.C. last season and whose Gaelic first name means ”dawning sun” or ”the birth of a new light” — will star in an as-yet- untitled project, which features Lindsay Lohan as, Armstrong says, ”this funky, smart young businesswoman” who’s got it all until ”the tables kind of turn.” Eighteen-year-old Lohan as a businesswoman? ”It’s called acting,” teases Armstrong, who’s also on HBO’s Entourage. Saw-MEER-ah (be sure to roll the r) plays ”Lindsay’s best friend, kind of a quirky girl — oddly enough,” she quips. Yeah, Armstrong gets the quirky-girl scripts, but she’s cool with it. ”I look at myself in the mirror and I’m wearing my house slippers and leg warmers and sweat shorts cut to my knees and a tank top with a T-shirt over it, and I’m like, Yeah, maybe I am kind of quirky. But,” she counters gaily, ”I also polish up pretty nicely.” And, no, Anna’s not coming back to The O.C., she says. But has she been watching the show this season? ”I tried to set my TiVo for it, but it wouldn’t take for some reason,” says Armstrong, one of EW’s Breakout Stars of 2004. ”I don’t think I could watch it. It’s pretty sad — like your high school is still going on but you’re not there.”

STAGE ”Second prize — a set of steak knives! THIRD PRIZE IS YOU’RE FIRED!” That’s Alec Baldwin in the best supporting-actor performance of all time, in the Glengarry Glen Ross movie. Now the David Mamet play is being revived on Broadway in May. Liev Schreiber, Alan Alda, Jeffrey Tambor, and Tom Wopat are in the cast — not in the Baldwin role, which was created for the film. ”PUT THAT COFFEE DOWN!”… In other news, Jessica Lange will play Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie on Broadway in March. ”HIT THE BRICKS, PAL!”

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