Gold Derby nuggets: Laura Linney shines on Showtime | 'Big Bang' gang theories | Songbird Gwyneth Paltrow
• Three-time Emmy champ Laura Linney is the subject of a lengthy profile in this Sunday's magazine section of the New York Times. Among the highlights of the piece: when writer Frank Bruni accompanied Linney to a rehearsal for the recent Tony Awards where the nominated actress clearly was in her element. "'You just have to see this!' she exclaimed at one point, tugging me backstage. 'It’s just too much fun, all the different casts bumping into each other.'" Along the way, Bruni also visited Linney on the set of her new Showtime series "The Big C," which is set to debut Aug. 16. This first regular TV role for the versatile talent sees her playing a teacher who must learn what is important in her life when told she has terminal cancer. The paycaster has proved to be a Hollywood haven for actresses like Linney, and it is currently showcasing Emmy nominees Toni Collette ("The United States of Tara") and Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie"). NEW YORK TIMES
• The tuner "Next to Normal" -- which won this year's Pulitzer prize for drama -- welcomed three new cast members Tuesday. Husband and wife Marin Mazzie and Jason Daniely replace Tony winner Alice Ripley and Brian D'Arcy James as the couple coping with her mental illness, while understudy Meghann Fay is permanently stepping in for Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano as the less-than-understanding teenage daughter. PLAYBILL
• CBS has revealed that four of the companies to get a visit from an "Undercover Boss" in the upcoming second season are NASCAR, DirecTV, Great Wolf Resorts and Chiquita Brands. "We're thrilled with this season's new batch of bosses," said the show's creator and executive producer Stephen Lambert. They are NASCAR's senior vice president and chief marketing officer Steve Phelps; Mike White, chairman, president and CEO of DirecTV; Chiquita Brands chairman and CEO Fernando Aguirre; and CEO Kimberly Schaefer of Great Wolf Resorts. The hit show is in contention for best reality series at the upcoming Emmy Awards.
• Hanh Nguyen does a deft job live blogging the lively discussion of "The Big Bang Theory" cast and creators that kicked off the annual TV critics confab Wednesday. Among the tasty tidbits is one from Emmy nominee Jim Parsons, who said he loves Comic-Con, "but seeing the thousands of Sheldon t-shirts was a little disturbing." And when asked about the show's fans, he replied, "They're the sweetest, least psychotic bunch of people I've ever met." ZAP 2 IT
• Our good friend Mike Ausiello caught up with the "Big Bang" gang at Comic-Con last week for a video interview that was punctuated throughout with merriment. Among the subjects covered in the lively conversation were the Emmy snub for best comedy series, upcoming plot points and ongoing salary negotiations. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
• Joel Keller chats with Emmy winner Felicity Huffman on the set of "Desperate Housewives." The one-time Oscar lead actress nominee ("Transamerica") admitted, "I was anticipating doing more movies. I got a lot of movie scripts for a while... I don't really get them anymore." And she said, "Independent films have taken a dive. They're becoming harder and harder to do and somewhat extinct because there's a glut on the market, and they're just so hard to get funding. So I feel like the golden age of independent movies, at least the way they were being done, is over." TV SQUAD
• And our great pal Ray Richmond sat down with "Housewives" creator Marc Cherry, who said "he could see handing off his 6-year-old baby to someone else to run after the coming 7th season. In fact he thought it was likely, as he’s now penning a pilot for a potential new ABC series that he hopes will be up and running by next June. He wouldn't elaborate on what the pilot is about, only noting it 'will not be set in suburbia.'" Cherry also revealed to Ray, "I’ve got a contract that keeps me around ABC for a few more years. I hope (Housewives will be around) for a couple of more seasons, and my thing is I always will be executive producer and consultant on the show. It’s my baby. I can’t let go. I have control issues. They can’t totally get rid of me." DEADLINE
• Donna Hughes previews the just-released title track from the upcoming film "Country Strong." The ditty is done by Oscar champ Gwyneth Paltrow who stars as fallen singer Kelly Canter. As Donna notes, "The actress is no stranger to the music scene, having charted a hit single with Huey Lewis on a remake of 'Cruisin' from the film 'Duets' in 2000. She also happens to be married to Coldplay's Chris Martin." Country crooners Vince Gill and Patty Griffin perform background vocals on this debut single. Though the film won't be out till Dec. 22, the soundtrack is set for release on Oct. 26. While there is no word yet on the full track listing, another singing star -- Tim McGraw -- appears in the film as Canter's husband/manager. He sets out to resurrect her career with the help of a songwriter she meets in rehab. THE BOOT
• Anne Thompson thinks that "Get Low" -- the new Robert Duvall picture about a hermit re-entering 1930s society -- "should be a soft lob down the middle for Oscar voters." As Anne notes, the film, which she saw at last year's Toronto filmfest, is doing well with the mainstream critics and she planned on attending Tuesday's premiere at the academy which was chronicled by our team. THE ENVELOPE
Photos, from top: Laura Linney in "The Big C" promotional still. Credit: Showtime; "The Big Bang Theory" 3rd season Blu-Ray cover art. Credit: Warner Home Video; Gwyneth Paltrow in "Country Strong." Credit: Screen Gems.