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    Pepper Dennis on WB

    It’s been on at 9p.m. on Tuesday nights with Rebecca Romijn (pronounced ‘romaine’ like the lettuce) starring as the title character. The male lead is named Josh Hopkins and although he has credits in many other television shows, I don’t remember seeing him in anything else myself.

    The premise of the show is that Pepper Dennis is a television reporter in Chicago (irritatingly referred to as “Chi-town” on the show) and Josh Hopkins is her competitor for news anchor who is also a secret admirer. Dennis doesn’t return the feeling, and therein lies the first problem of unrequited love.

    But the real problem is that the writers seem unsure whether they want a comedy, drama, or mix of both in the vein of Boston Legal. It’s never quite funny enough to be comedy, or serious enough for drama. In other words, its typical WB fare aimed at pre-teen awareness.

    David E. Kelly, producer and writer for Boston Legal, is a hard act to follow for another series and Gretchen J. Berg shouldn’t try it, in spite of writing credits with Beverly Hills 90210. The problem is trying to empathize with former model and aspiring television personality Romijn (who as an actor, seems to have the range of her character more defined in the Mystique character of the X-men series, although I haven’t seen any of the series, not being an action movie fan).

    I’m not sure I can really recommend the show, as I’ve seen it just the once and it holds no appeal for me to watch it again. One of the characters on the show I watched was Henry Simmons from NYPD Blue where he played Detective Baldwin Jones. I can’t say enough about NYPD Blue (remember, I don’t even like action shows), but this show captured your interest with it’s characterizations in a way Pepper Dennis doesn’t. So the most interesting character, Simmons, who wasn’t even a regular, played a Mayoral candidate for Chicago and becomes a love interest for Romijn’s character.

    According to TV.com, Simmons was an exceptional athlete, who “pursued his business degree while attending college on a basketball scholarship. After graduating, he accepted a position at a prestigious Fortune 500 company, and it was only a short while later that he decided to pursue acting full-time. Simmons began his acting career while doing odd jobs to support himself, and often spent nights sleeping on a friend's couch or in the back room of the theater in which he was performing.

     Later, Simmons joined the cast of ABC's long-running and critically-acclaimed series NYPD Blue. Although Simmons' role as Detective Baldwin Jones wasn't supposed to become a permanent character, executive producer Steven Bochco became impressed with Simmons' acting skills, personality and physique and allowed Simmons to gain regular cast member status.”

    As for Pepper Dennis, I assume it will fall into the forgettable category and not be renewed unless some big changes in writing and directing are made. In fact, as this goes to press I just read that it’s been cancelled.

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com