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TV Faces to Watch This Fall

September 17, 2008

By Neal Justin

Faces to watch this fall

Christian Slater on “My Own Worst Enemy”

The new character(s): Mild-mannered suburbanite Henry Spivey and trained assassin Edward Albright, who happen to share the same body on this new show, premiering 10 p.m. Oct. 13 (NBC).

Why you know him: Pulled off a dead-on impression of Jack Nicholson in the cult classic “Heathers.”

Why we love him: Not positive we do yet. “Enemy,” like many new offerings, was unavailable for review — although Slater got more exposure during the Olympics than the whole table-tennis team.

On why he’s right for this role: “I don’t think of myself as having a split personality. I’m able to separate between acting and reality, but I’ve put my feet into many different shoes, and on this show I get to try on two different pairs.”

Little-known fact: He claimed that “Boston Legal,” his drama’s most daunting competition, is one of his favorite shows.

Simon Baker on “The Mentalist”

The new character: Patrick Jane, an investigator who pretends to be a psychic, but really just has superhuman powers of observation and uncommonly sexy hair (9 p.m. Sept. 23, CBS).

Why you know him: CBS made him as a leading man in “Smith” and “The Guardian.”

Why we love him: The Aussie export is as dark, salty and mysterious as a vegemite sandwich.

How he wound up in “The Devil Wears Prada”: “I’m uncannily bad at choosing films, generally. I’m going to give my daughter credit for that one. She was 11 at the time. She said ‘do it’ because she was sick of going to see me in movies where I die or have sex with someone.”

Little-known fact: As a teen, he excelled at surfing and water polo.

Lucy Liu on “Dirty Sexy Money”

The new character: Nola Lyons, a supersmart go-getter who wants the superich Darling family to show her the money (10 p.m. Oct. 1, ABC).

Why you know her: Got shout-outs from Destiny’s Child for kicking tail in “Charlie’s Angels” and OutKast for shaking tail like a Polaroid.

Why we love her: When it comes to backbiting and manipulation, she’s J.R. Ewing in high heels.

On kissing and telling: “I hope (Nola) will be romantically paired with everyone in the cast, including the women.”

Little-known fact: She can play the accordion.

Angela Bassett on “ER”

The new character: Catherine Banfield, new chief of staff on the final season of “ER” (10 p.m. Sept. 25, NBC).

Why you know her: Flexed her biceps — and acting prowess — in “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”

Why we love her: If anybody can get this aging show’s groove back, it’s this tough-as-nails, powerhouse performer.

On what she brought to the role: “I think the only thing I changed really was her name. It was supposed to be Catherine Bancroft, but it was hard for me to say it, so I just changed it to Banfield. It was a tongue thing.”

Little-known fact: She turned down the lead role in “Monster’s Ball,” a movie that earned Halle Berry an Oscar.

Elizabeth Reaser on “The Ex List”

The new character: Bella Bloom, a florist trying to figure out which former boyfriends love her, and which love her not (9 p.m. Oct. 3, CBS).

Why you know her: Starred in the Minnesota-made film “Sweet Land” and stood out last season on “Grey’s Anatomy” as a patient with severe cases of amnesia and lovesickness for Dr. Alex.

Why we love her: Anyone home alone on date night will find her better company than the other options: “Supernanny” or a gallon of ice cream.

On her breakout role: “It was exciting, but interesting. Nobody knows you as an actress and then you finally get to be on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and you’re disfigured.”

Little-known fact: Has a juicy role in the upcoming adaptation of the smash novel “Twilight.”

Dan Patrick on “Sunday Night Football”

The new character: Dan Patrick, a sports-aleck commentator working with the equally caustic and clever Keith Olbermann (7 p.m., NBC).

Why you know him: He was a sports-aleck commentator with Olbermann on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”

Why we love him: By the end of a full day of games, we crave someone who doesn’t take the game — or his partner — too seriously.

On being part of an all-star team: “It’s sort of like joining the ‘Oceans 11′ crew. This is the ‘Bob Costas 11′ and I’m Elliot Gould or Carl Reiner.’

Little known fact: He played a cop in “The House Bunny,”"I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry” and “The Longest Yard.”

(c) 2008 Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.




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