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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • Fox411 Exclusive: Liza Minnelli joining cast of 'Ugly Betty,' sources say

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    Fox411.com has learned exclusively that Liza Minnelli is joining the cast of “Ugly Betty” this season.

    The Broadway and Hollywood icon begins work next week and will be appearing in multiple episodes later this season, say sources.

    Our set insiders tell us Liza will be playing Lena Korvinka, a high school drama teacher at Justin’s (played by Mark Indelicato) school.

    Liza has an intense filming schedule that begins in Brooklyn on January 28th and runs until February 12th, the sources say.

    “There were massive rumors last year, then again in early January that Liza was being courted for the show, but Liza originally hadn’t planned to do the show. ‘Ugly Betty’ producers presented her with a great offer and a hilarious story and they kept coming back to her,” said our source. “She’s going to be playing an outrageous drama teacher and it is going to be fun! Liza is excited to be playing another off-the-wall character like Lucille 2 on ‘Arrested Development’.”

    Liza was going to have knee replacement surgery at the end of January, but due to the ‘Ugly Betty’ schedule, it looks like she’s put that on hold. “She’s a professional and everyone is excited for her first day!” our insider said.

    A spokesman for Liza Minnelli told Fox411.com that he had no knowledge of Minnelli’s involvement with the hit show and said she was not currently on board.

    “Liza is a fan of ‘Ugly Betty’ but I am not aware of any current plans for her to join the cast,” said the rep.

    Emails to ABC were not returned.

    “Ugly Betty” went from a weak Friday time slot to a stronger place on ABC’s Wednesday night comedy schedule at 10PM this fall. So producers, including show star America Ferrera and Executive Producer Salma Hayek, are doing their best to bring in big names.

    “Salma has her eye on the what’s happening at all times, and she’s an involved woman in the production process. I wouldn’t rule out a chance that she will be back on the show as well,” said our insider. “The cast, crew and writers of the show are working hard to regain their following after the Friday night graveyard time slot.”

    - Kelly Will

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