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Jenna Elfman tries again for TV comedic success

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/10/2017
Jenna Elfman speaks at the "Imaginary Mary" panel at the Disney/ABC portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Jenna Elfman speaks at the "Imaginary Mary" panel at the Disney/ABC portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Jenna Elfman is taking aim again at finding comedic success on television.

Patrick Osborne, from left, David Guarascio, Doug Robinson, Adam F. Goldberg, Jenna Elfman, Stephen Schneider and Rachel Dratch appear at the "Imaginary Mary" panel at the Disney/ABC portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Patrick Osborne, from left, David Guarascio, Doug Robinson, Adam F. Goldberg, Jenna Elfman, Stephen Schneider and Rachel Dratch appear at the "Imaginary Mary" panel at the Disney/ABC portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

The actress best known for her hit ABC show "Dharma & Greg" that ran from 1997 to 2002 is back on the same network with "Imaginary Mary." Elfman plays a woman dating a man with children. Her character relies on an imaginary friend voiced by Rachel Dratch of "Saturday Night Live" fame.

Elfman has had starring roles in six comedies since 1996-97. Only "Dharma & Greg" lasted more than a single season.

"I'm always looking for writing I feel I can express myself in a true way," she told the Television Critics Association winter gathering on Tuesday.

Her latest role presents challenges similar to what Elfman faced in the 2003 movie "Looney Tunes: Back in Action."

Back then, she was acting against a green screen. Now, she rehearses with a life-sized puppet and another actress on set who does Dratch's lines since she's based in New York and the show is shot in Los Angeles.

The puppet is removed for filming, when Elfman is interacting with Stephen Schneider, who plays her boyfriend, and his children. The boyfriend doesn't see or hear the imaginary friend.

"It was actually a really great challenge," Elfman said. "I liked the challenge of maintaining all these things. I felt super-engaged on set all the time."

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