The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on July 21, 1991 · Page 80
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 80

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Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 21, 1991
Page:
Page 80
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1 1 ii m i DAVE RIIE1N Fine tuning 1 I I I 1 . 4 . Veronica' was made for me, Robinson says iy DAVE RHEEV vlitar TV Editor LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - Actress Laura Robinson knows it's a cliche, but she insists that the role of Veronica Clare was written for her. That's probably news to the producers of able's new Lifetime detective series, Veronica Clare" since they auditioned about 00 actresses for the role. "People talk about reading for a role and nowing you are going to get it. That's just what was like for me," says Robinson, the striking 'anadian actress who won the role. "I think the producers were looking for some-ody to walk in and blow them away during the udition, to be the character. And that's just 'hat happened." "Veronica Clare" debuts Tuesday at 9 p.m. as art of Lifetime's new lineup of all original pro-rams on Tuesday nights. It's a contemporary rama about an unconventional private investi-ator who also is a partner in a Los Angeles jazz lub. Two other Lifetime shows premiere Tuesday. "Confessions of Crime" at 8 p.m. is a reality ;ries hosted by actress Theresa Saldana that toks at the causes and motivations of violent rimes. That's followed at 8:30 p.m. by "The Hidden oom," a mystery series that tells stories about 'omen's innermost fears, desires and conflicts. The two-hour block of shows will be repeated aturday nights beginning at 9 p.m. Thirteen pisodes have been ordered for each show. "I looked just like Bacall for the audition," dmits Robinson. "I went back and watched bout five or six Bogart movies, like The Big leep' and To Have and Have Not.' I'm such a in of that genre." Robinson describes her character as a wman who can hold her own in a man's world. :'s a cerebral drama that's light on violence, oncentrating instead on the cat-and-mouse ame played by Veronica and her adversaries. "I think of this character as kind of a cross etween Bogart and Bacall," says Robinson. She's got the brains and the strength and the now-how that Bogey would have had, and yet f 1 V 1. M v yM III M ' - I ' ' " WVW""N ' 'Sin xm::.:x;mm ,w . . (WJi li!lllllIllii:Bs ffyy sTi W $ if II. JiffF I ' muni mh i ) mi in nir JaBaiaaaaauaBaeMBaaaMaaaBUIIiaBHaaIaaawaaaaaaaaaB Robert Beltran portrays the charismatic Duke Rado, the Los Angeles Chinatown jazz club partner of Laura Robinson, who plays the sultry, mysterious title role in "Veronica Clare." "VERONICA CLARE," one of three new Tuesday-night shows on cable's Lifetime, will be shown at 9 p.m. she has the sass and the sex appeal and the smart mouth of Bacall." Veronica also is an enigmatic sort Instead of working out of a home or office, she lives in a hotel and works out of the Chinatown jazz club she co-owns. Veronica is a loner, but don't take her soft exterior for granted. She carries a Wal-ther PPK, the same gun packed by another strong, sexy type James Bond. Robinson finds it refreshing to play a woman who can be both strong and feminine at the same time. "Playing a woman who is strong and resourceful, and also sexy and feminine and all those things is great," says Robinson. "For a long time villainesses could be strong and mouthy and quick-witted and all those things. "But now maybe it's more accepted that women can be that, and also be vulnerable and imperfect and make mistakes and all those other things you see in good characters." Robinson is best known for her recurring role in "Night Heat," the CBS late-night drama that ran for three years. She also has appeared in episodes of "Cheers" and the short-lived NBC drama, "Hardball." Her co-stars in "Veronica Clare" are Robert Beltran, who plays Duke Rado, Veronica's partner in the jazz club; Christina Pickles as a friend who owns a book store; and Tony Plana as a police lieutenant who is unsurprisingly smitten with Veronica. "It's realty fun to play this role after so many roles in which 1 played a bad girl," says Robinson. "They really give me some great lines." Hard Copy' host Frio is booted off the show iy GARY DEEB KrUi Amtrlca lyndtoM Bouquets, brickbats and other scraps from he cluttered notebook of a TV critic: Alan Frio, the laughably bouffant poseur vho's been earning $500,000 annually as one of he hosts of the sleazoid syndicated magazine leries "Hard Copy," is getting ousted. His replacement is Barry Nolan, a freelance eporter who hosted a Boston magazine show COMMENTARY hrough the 1980s and was a contributor to the rox's defunct "Beyond Tomorrow." The ashcanning of Frio is one of several noves by Paramount Television to boost the au-lience ratings Of "Hard Copy." The cheesy ughtty series has been plugging along for near-y two years with so-so Nielsen numbers far elow the similarly tacky "Current Affair" program and the generally respected "Inside Edi-ion" magazine series. , ..... Actually, Frio's "Hard Copy" anchor partner, Terry Murphy, is even more adept at chasing viewers away. For 15 years in Los Angeles and Chicago, she tried to gain a foothold with viewers by positioning herself as a sexy, devil-may-care redhead. It never worked. Dr. Art Ulene has landed on his feet. The genteel gynecologist from Southern California, fired after 15 years with NBC's morning "Today Show," just got picked up as the health correspondent for ABC's newly expanded "Home Show," which gets telecast in the late morning. Ulene's sudden switch was orchestrated by Dennis Swanson, the ABC Sports president who now also runs that network's daytime program lineup, and by Marty Ryan, the new "Home Show" executive producer who used to produce "The Today Show" (and therefore was Ulene's boss for many years). Ulene's arrival coincides with many changes at "The Home Show":, Host Gay Collins, origh nally earmarked for firing, is remaining; his new co-host is Beth Ruyak; the program's length has been increased to 90 minutes; and former CBS personal finance expert Jane Bryant Quinn has signed up as a regular. Roseanne Barr's Tuesday night comedy series, which already features a recurring gay character played by the estimable Martin Mull, is about to sign up playwright and gay activist Harvey Fierstein for several guests shots. Rer-stein last year turned in a superb voice performance as a gay male secretary on the "Simpsons" cartoon series. After an absence of four years, Deidre Hall is returning to the NBC daytime soap opera "Days of Our Lives" to play her venerable role of Dr. Marlena Evans Brady. Since leaving the corny serial, Hall has starred in the NBC drama series "Our House" and done guest roles on "Wise-guy': and,"Cplumbo." f- x ,31. Bar tm ii Ellerbee aims news at children LOS ANGELES, CALIF. Linda Ellerbee is no longer employed by a network news organization but she is keeping her hand in the TV news game with a series of specials aimed at young viewers. Nickelodeon, the cable TV service for kids, has hired Ellerbee and her Lucky Duck Productions to make three news shows for kids. These "Nickelodeon Special Editions" will follow in the foot steps of "Kids Talk About the LINDA Middle East," which Ellerbee iLLUM produced for Nick during the Persian Gulf War. "I can't tell you what a change it is to work with a network that's going INTO the news business," joked Ellerbee in an unsubtle jab at the news cutbacks taking place at ABC, NBC and CBS. The first special Sept. 22 will explore kids' efforts to have an impact on the government's environmental policy. Ellerbee was surprised how interested kids are in the environment. "We spent a day at the Statue of Liberty asking kids if they could design a news program they wanted to watch, what would be on it," she said. "The overwhelming majority of them spoke of the environment. I find it interesting when 10-year-olds start talking about the ozone layer." The show will include a history of what the government is and isn't doing about pollution. In October, "Special Edition" deals with stereotyping. "Kids are far more affected by the subtleties of stereotyping that most of us ever imagined," said Ellerbee. "Prejudice destroys self-image a tenuous thing at best in a child." The November topic is TV censorship. "I've felt for years we are wrong to censor the TV our kids watch to a great extent. The show will deal with how young viewers should look at TV and make their own decisions. It starts with the premise that you are smarter than your television." Ellerbee said the key to drawing young viewers to news is to make the shows simple, honest and straightforward. "You do it the same way you do it for adults only better." "When you are doing news for kids, stories need to have a beginning, middle and when it's possible an end. Put the subject in a context," explained Ellerbee. "I don't think what you do is just simplify the language, because I think you ought to simplify and language for adults. "Just keep in mind that you don't talk down to kids. They deserve better." In 1992, Ellerbee expects to continue her relationship with Nickelodeon by producing some election-year specials aimed at young viewers. It's clear that she finds working with Nick a refreshing change from the network news game. "These guys are fun to work with. They are so open to new ideas and they have less bureaucracy entrenched than the networks," she said. "The stakes are so high at the networks for any one program that goes on the air that decisions are made by committees and consultants. "Therefore, what you get is a fear to do anything new. Whenever you do that, what you end up with eventually is a newscast that looks like gray JeIl-0 on the air . . . "Five years from now my company has a better chance of still being in business than at least one of the three network news divisions." DesMxni Sunday Resist

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