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"Rent" Pays Off for "Ally McBeal" Cast Member

Aired February 26, 2001 - 2:45 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LAURIN SYDNEY, CNN ANCHOR: His role in the original Broadway production of "Rent" paid off handsomely for Taye Diggs. He's become a matinee idol and has just joined the cast of a hit TV show.

Lori Blackman caught up with Diggs on the set of "Ally McBeal" and tells us why this dashing young actor is a "SHOWBIZ TODAY" "Star of Tomorrow."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LORI BLACKMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Ally McBeal" has gone through a few cast changes this season. I'm here on one of their outdoor sets with the newest addition to the Cage and Fish family, Taye Diggs.

(on camera): So, what can you tell me about the guy that you're playing?

TAYE DIGGS, "ALLY MCBEAL": I play a -- it's good to see you, by the way.

BLACKMAN: Oh, it's good to see you as well.

DIGGS: I play a character by the name of Jackson Duper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ALLY MCBEAL")

DIGGS: I beg your pardon?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIGGS: I guess the character is kind of smooth. He's into sweeping people off their feet, and if they're not swept, then, you know, something is wrong.

BLACKMAN: You're an actor who's been working for the last couple of years pretty steadily, but the night before you come on to do a show like this, do you get a little nervous, like first-day jitters?

DIGGS: Oh, hell yes. Oh, yes. I was very, very nervous. I mean, I was watching the show before things really starter happened for me. So, it it's literally, as corny as it sounds, a fantasy come true.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ALLY MCBEAL")

DIGGS: Do you want to grab some dinner?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKMAN: If you could pick which lady on "Ally McBeal" you would romance, who would you pick?

DIGGS: I can't even say that. They are all fine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "RENT")

DIGGS (singing): The owner of that lot next door has a right to do with it as he pleases.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKMAN: Some people may not recognize this gentleman. He originated the role of Benny on the Broadway production of "Rent," the original Broadway production.

DIGGS: Back in the day, yes.

BLACKMAN: So, of course, you sing, and sing well. I'm starting to think it's a prerequisite for cast members on "Ally McBeal." Do you think they're going to have you sing? Have they as of yet?

DIGGS: I hope so. There was definitely talk of that when I met with David Kelly at the beginning of all this. So, I'm hoping that I definitely get the chance to, you know, use the vocal chords a bit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK")

DIGGS: Good morning. I would like to dance with you.

ANGELA BASSETT, ACTRESS: You can't be serious.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKMAN (voice-over): His serious moves landed Diggs opposite Angela Bassett in "How Stella Got Her Grove Back" and in hit ensemble films like "Go," "The Wood" and "The Best Man."

(on camera): What would you like to do with your career from this point forward?

DIGGS: To be honest, I'm trying to catch up with Will. I'm coming after you, Mr. Smith.

BLACKMAN (voice-over): Lori Blackman, CNN Entertainment News, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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