TV's Campiest Mad Woman Makes a Return to 'Melrose'

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Attention, please, account directors and creatives: The most hard-driving, no-nonsense, get-it-done female ad exec is back. Shelly Lazarus? No. Cindy Gallop? Not even close. We're talking about Amanda Woodward, head of that West Coast idea powerhouse, D&D Advertising.

LOCKLEAR: Was initially skeptical about reincarnation of '90s drama but was won over after she saw it.
LOCKLEAR: Was initially skeptical about reincarnation of '90s drama but was won over after she saw it.
You might know her better as Heather Locklear, who played the microskirted ad exec on "Melrose Place" during its first incarnation on Fox from 1993 to 1999, spinning lackluster ratings straw into gold. Now she's set to return to CW's revamp as of Nov. 17 and was to begin filming last week.

On "Melrose," Amanda Woodward was hell on wheels, able to dissect a cruddy ad campaign in one moment, harass a subordinate in another, then move seamlessly into a full-on make-out session with her boyfriend-of-the-moment behind a closed office door. All while navigating the roller-coaster life as landlord of the apartment complex at the center of the series. In a word, Ms. Locklear's portrayal was, simply, camp-tastic!

The question is whether she'll be able to give this series another kick in the rear. The CW has generated mucho buzz by enlisting actors from the original versions of "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Melrose" for its remakes . Neither show has been a massive hit, and it's not entirely clear that hiring actors who have aged out of the CW's female 18 to 34 demographic will bring those viewers to the screen. Even Ms. Locklear had some doubts, according to one familiar with the situation. The actress was first asked to play the role now taken by Laura Leighton as Sydney, an original cast member who was promptly murdered in this go-round, forming the nexus of an overarching plot. Ms. Locklear demurred when offered a look at the show's first few scripts, but now, after seeing a few episodes hit the screen, she is decidedly more intrigued.

The ultimate question, of course, is whether viewers will demonstrate similar curiosity. According to Nielsen, overall viewership of the show fell in its first three weeks to about 1.5 million from 2.3 million; last week's episode did not maintain the audience built for "90210." To be fair, "Melrose" has fared much better among CW's key youngster demos than "Privileged," the program it replaced. We'll see whether Ms. Locklear's sass and brass can charm again.

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