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'The Client List': Lifetime goes for sex appeal

Jennifer Love Hewitt and the network are unapologetic about their new drama’s happy ending(s)

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If you think there’s only one show on TV that makes hay of the phrase ”happy endings,” think again. Lifetime is set to debut the Jennifer Love Hewitt drama The Client List, about a single mom in Texas who takes a job as a massage therapist at a spa that offers, ahem, extended services to high-paying clientele. The concept behind Client isn’t entirely unfamiliar to Lifetime viewers: In 2010, Hewitt starred in a telepic of the same name, which became the year’s second-most-watched original-movie premiere on cable. But the decision to develop the racy feature into a series marks a sea change for the usually earnest network, whose highest-rated scripted program is currently the military drama Army Wives. ”There is not another show out there like it,” says Robert Sharenow, Lifetime Networks’ executive vice president of programming. ”It’s absolutely a part of our legacy to unapologetically show all aspects of being a woman.” Hewitt acknowledges that her character, Riley, is pretty ”sexed up” on the drama — which costars Cybill Shepherd as her doting mom, Linette, and Grey’s Anatomy‘s Loretta Devine as her ambitious boss, Georgia — but she insists that The Client List is really just about a woman trying to make ends meet…by working at a place called the Rub. ”The happy endings are just a provocative vehicle to keep the story interesting,” the 33-year-old actress says. ”She’s just a mom suffering from a broken heart. Her husband walked out on her.” That said, the drama hopes to be an equal-opportunity exploiter — meaning Hewitt won’t be the only one prancing around in her Skivvies. ”You will see a lot of shirtless guys,” the actress promises. ”That’s never a bad thing.”