April 29, 2008 / 2:27 AM / 9 years ago

CBS to Britney Spears: Baby ... One more time

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For anyone wondering whether pop singer Britney Spears might soon return to prime-time television, the answer on Monday from CBS could be summed up in four words: “Baby ... One More Time.”

<p>File photo shows Britney Spears driving her Mercedes Benz as she leaves the Stanley Mosk Courthouse garage after a child custody hearing with her ex-husband regarding her two sons in Los Angeles, California October 26, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>

Weeks after she drew glowing reviews and strong ratings as a guest star on the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” Spears will return to the show on May 12 to reprise her role as a sassy office assistant named Abby.

A network spokeswoman said the episode would be shot sometime this week in Los Angeles.

In her March 24 debut on the series, Spears’ character fell for the show’s leading man, Ted, played by Josh Radnor, only to end up angry at Ted when he started dating her boss.

In her return appearance, Abby tries to get even with Ted by pairing up with his estranged pal, Barney (former “Doogie Howser, M.D.” star Neil Patrick Harris), who “pops a surprising question to Abby,” according to a CBS synopsis of the plot.

Spears’ first appearance on the show last month drew 10.6 million viewers, up sharply from the show’s season-to-date average audience of 8.1 million.

The mostly positive reviews also gave the performer a rare burst of upbeat headlines amid a torrent of highly publicized personal problems in recent years.

Spears, 26, rose to fame as a teen star with a series of chart-topping singles, starting with “Baby ... One More Time.” By 2002, she was named the world’s top celebrity by Forbes magazine after earning $39.2 million in a single year.

But her fortunes turned following the breakup of her marriage to Kevin Federline in late 2006. She passed in and out of rehab, lost custody of her two young sons and was hospitalized twice for psychiatric evaluation.

In recent months, however, Spears’ life seemed to be back on the upswing under the guardianship of her father and a reconciliation with longtime manager Larry Rudolph.

Her appearance last month on “How I Met Your Mother” sparked speculation that Spears might branch out further into acting, following a successful guest turn in March 2006 on the NBC comedy “Will & Grace.”

Reuters/Nielsen

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