Kathie Lee: Fearless

05/01/1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

Former "Live!" star Kathie Lee Gifford, 47, returned to morning TV on Monday to chat with "Today" show host Katie Couric about Gifford's upcoming E! Channel made-for-TV movie, "Spinning Out of Control." In it, Gifford plays a drug-addicted sitcom star who is one nasty piece of work. Asked by Couric whether or not she feared for her image in playing such a witch, Gifford replied, "Katie, you asked me four months ago if I was afraid that my album wouldn't sell." (Not that Gifford even acknowledged that her album of pop songs, "Heart of a Woman," did not sell.) "Don't you know by now," Gifford continued, "I'm not afraid of anything?" As for playing mean, "I didn't leave a show where I was myself for so long in order to go play myself." The actress-singer also denied reports that the character she plays in the film, which also stars Howie Mandel, is based on ex-sitcom star Brett Butler, who had personal battles of her own. "Not one thing in this movie ever happened to Brett," said Gifford, who did say that one incident was based on a sitcom star, a male. "But I can't say who that was."

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