Ethel Merman

Zooey Deschanel is the 'New Girl' in Fox's comedy lineup

Zooey Deschanel

Maybe "New Girl" could have been made without Zooey Deschanel, but it's hard to imagine.

Virtually no other current performer so perfectly embodies the kooky, endearing quality required by the Fox sitcom that debuts Tuesday, Sept. 20.

"I would like to think it was written for me, but I don't think it was," says the "(500) Days of Summer" actress who's helping to give Fox a family acting dynasty: Sister Emily is starting her seventh season on the mystery series "Bones."

In "New Girl," Deschanel is Jess, who becomes the roommate of three buddies (Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris) after she breaks up with her...