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CATCHING UP WITH... REBA

THE 14-TIME ACM HOST DISHES ON RETURNING TO TV SITCOM STARDOM

Singing, touring and managing a fashion empire aren't quite enough for Reba. Since the demise of her self-titled sitcom in 2007, she's been itching to get back on TV. "I didn't want to leave in the first place," she says. "I guess I'm pretty greedy!" She has her chance with Malibu Country, a sitcom about a jilted singer who moves from Nashville to Malibu to revive her career. Expected to air this fall on ABC, the show fell into Reba's hands after its unlikely creator, former Eurythmic Dave Stewart, sat next to Reba's stepson Brandon Blackstock on a flight. Stewart told Blackstock about his idea for the show and lamented that he didn't have a leading lady. "What about Reba?' Blackstock asked, and a sitcom star was reborn. "I'm really excited," Reba says. "I love the L.A. weather and the sitcom process; you have weekends free to tour." The downside? "Memorization. Songs rhyme and there's a melody, but with TV there's a new script every week, and just about when you have your lines down, they change them on you!" And while it's her second sitcom role as a spurned wife, she says art is not imitating life. "Oh my gosh, there's no correlation! [My husband] Narvel and I are having a blast! He manages Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and our son Shelby's racing career. I'm having the time of my life."



7 THINGS WE LOVE

GOOD DEEDS, GOOD READS AND MORE STUFF WE'RE RAVING ABOUT NOW



No.1 The Ultimate Country History Book

From forgotten legends to country's current crop of superstars, this 626-page tome ($65) will mesmerize any true country fan.

GO TO: countrymusichalloffame.org



No.2 HOLLY WILLIAMS'S WITTY BLOG

Hank Jr.'s daughter shows off her foodie side and her passion for fashion.

GO TO: theafternoonoff.com



No.3 KELLIE'S KITTY CRUSADE

Kitty Sweater $35

Animal lover Pickler created this banjo-playing "Kitty Crooner" sweater ($35) with designer Geren Ford to benefit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Check out the green sequin bling on the banjo!

GO TO: aspcaonlinestore.com



No.4 STARS FIGHTING HUNGER

Look for Rascal Flatts and Big Machine labelmates like Reba and The Band Perry on General Mills products in their Outnumber Hunger campaign. Buy a box, enter a code online to donate five meals to a local food bank, and score a download. Jewel offers a download through ConAgra Foods' Child Hunger Ends Here program, which donates one meal to Feeding America for each product code entered online.

GO TO: outnumberhunger.com and childhungerendshere.com



No.5 BEYOND THE HITS VOL. 1

After MidNite host Blair Garner shares 20 favorite album cuts from Kenny, Toby, Lady A and more. A portion of the profits from the CD ($9.99) goes to charity.

OUR FAVE PICK

"Better Than This" by Brad Paisley

GO TO: iTunes.com



No.6 THE HITS OF BAKERSFIELD

A new exhibit at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum explores the West Coast's answer to Music City. The rocking Bakersfield sound brought us Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Dwight Yoakam, and influenced everyone from the Eagles to the Grateful Dead. Open through 2013.

GO TO: countrymusichalloffame.org



No.7 Zac's Sauce

This bourbon-infused barbecue sauce ($10) benefits Zac's Camp Southern Ground for kids with special needs.

GO TO: zacbrownband.com



BUDDY SYSTEM!

NEAL McCOY'S NEW CD GETS A BOOST FROM PALS BLAKE & MIRANDA

He's the guy Blake and Miranda turned to for a honky-tonking good time at their wedding last year, so when veteran country star Neal McCoy decided to cut his first CD in five years, the couple wanted in. "I couldn't believe it. They jumped right in sending me songs," says McCoy of their work coproducing XII, his 12th album. "They're at the top of their game and have so little time, so for them to help me get going again was humbling." Lambert, whose Texas hometown is a short drive from McCoy's, even lent her harmonies to a couple of tunes, including the first single, "A-OK." "They're good kids, and you understand why they're so successful," says McCoy, who met Blake more than 15 years ago when Shelton was new in Nashville. "They can goof off, but, boy, when they flip that switch, they're ready to go."



DAVE HAYWOOD'S ENGAGED!

The Lady Antebellum singer popped the question to music exec Kelli Cashiola on Dec. 19. Haywood, 29, escorted his blindfolded girlfriend to her house after picking her up from work, and when they arrived, Cashiola, 30, opened her eyes to see a string of Christmas lights spelling out "Will You Marry Me?" The couple will marry later this year, and Haywood confesses he's embracing his inner wedding planner. "I'm enjoying all the details."



TRACE ADKINS'S TMI TWEET!

While in the hospital being treated for kidney stones, the singer decided to flaunt his badonkadonk to Twitter followers. "I wasn't doing it to shock anybody," says Adkins. "If I wanted to do that, I would have turned around."



PASSAGES

MARRIED

Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles, 37, and former model and entrepreneur Justin Miller, 31, wed Nov. 26 in an intimate ceremony at a Tennessee chapel in the Smoky Mountains. Miller has called Nettles "the kind of woman you have crushes on growing up."



EXPECTING

Earlier this year Jay DeMarcus, 41, announced that he and his wife, Allison, 35, are expecting a baby to join big sister Madeline Leigh, 1. On Feb. 28, the Rascal Flatts' musician tweeted "Ali and I are having a baby boy!!! ... Gonna have a house full!"

• Joe Nichols, 35, and his wife, Heather, 35, have something to celebrate. "After trying to have a baby for so long," said Heather, "we are thrilled to announce that I am pregnant." The little one will join Ashelyn, 13, Nichols's daughter from a previous relationship.



BABY

"1,000 Faces" singer Randy Montana, 26, is a dad. On Feb. 27 his wife, Montgomery, gave birth to daughter Sullivan Mae. "The whole experience has been amazing," said Montana.

• Justin Moore and his wife, Kate, both 28, welcomed daughter Kennedy Faye on Nov. 21. According to Moore, their daughter Ella Kole, 2, "loves" being a big sister.

• Randy Houser, 35, and his wife, Jessa, 30, are first-time parents, welcoming son West Yantz Houser in Nashville, March 6.

• George Strait, 59, and wife Norma became first-time grandparents Feb. 2, after son Bubba and wife Tamara had son George Harvey Strait III.

• Ronnie Dunn, 58, and wife Janine also welcomed their first grandchild. Huxton "Huck" Wayne was born to Dunn's son Jesse and his wife on Feb. 26 or, as Dunn pointed out on his Facebook page, Johnny Cash's birthday!



ENGAGED

Wynonna Judd, 47, got engaged to boyfriend, musician Cactus Moser, 54, on Dec. 24. The couple, who are currently touring together, have not yet revealed a wedding date. This will be Judd's third marriage.



LEGAL MATTERS

A Tennessee judge ruled on Feb. 8 that singer Rodney Atkins, 43, will not be prosecuted for a misdemeanor domestic charge stemming from his alleged assault of wife Tammy Jo, 42. She filed for divorce in November.



AWARD

On March 6 the Country Music Association announced that Garth Brooks, Connie Smith and musician Hargus "Pig" Robbins were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.