The Ausiello Files

The Ausiello Files for November 7, 2008

EW's TV scooper talks ''Melrose Place,'' ''Grey’s Anatomy,'' and more

Melrose returns: Should Heather?
Heather Locklear, your comeback vehicle has just pulled up.

Almost immediately after the news broke that The CW was contemplating a 90210-esque reboot of the original's spin-off, Melrose Place, the buzz turned to the actress formerly known as Amanda Woodward. Would she? Could she? Should she?

Perhaps because her tumultuous personal life has been extra public lately, Locklear declined to be interviewed for this story. But a top Hollywood talent agent sees little downside in her slipping back into the man-eater's trademark miniskirts: ''It certainly wouldn't hurt her to do it.'' Even a high-ranking exec at a rival net is excited by the prospect of seeing Aaron Spelling's old good-luck charm back in action. ''She should wait and find out what the actual concept is,'' says the suit. ''But if it involves her running [her old Melrose ad agency] D&D à la The Devil Wears Prada, she should jump at it.''

Besides a decent premise, Locklear should also hold out until the series has someone decent in charge. Or someone, period. Darren Star, who created the original, has apparently passed. Now CW president Dawn Ostroff is looking internally for a boss, sources say. (One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn is one name being bandied about.)

One person who definitely won't be taking on the job is Josh Schwartz, who has his hands full with The CW's Gossip Girl and NBC's Chuck. But he can still dream, can't he? ''I would make the apartment complex a retirement home and have it star Rue McClanahan, Betty White, and Bea Arthur,'' he jokes. ''That way you get two hit shows in one.''

Grey's has a new kind of doctor
Grey's Anatomy will break new ground Nov. 13 when Battlestar Galactica's Mary McDonnell checks in as a celebrated cardiac surgeon with Asperger's syndrome. And now for the groundbreaking part: She'll get through her first day without having sex with any of her co-workers!

''So far, I don't see any romance,'' McDonnell says of Dr. Virginia Dixon, brought in to boost Seattle Grace's slumping national ranking. ''That's the furthest thing from her mind.''

What could be more important than getting it on in a supply closet? Trying to assimilate in a new (and highly dysfunctional) professional environment while suffering from Asperger's, an autism-related disorder characterized by eccentric behavior and general social awkwardness. (Kind of like Emily Deschanel's Brennan on Bones.) ''Everyone's caught off guard by her difficulty communicating,'' explains McDonnell, who's committed to appearing in at least three episodes. Meanwhile, the final 10 eps of BSG begin Jan. 16: Will her cancer-stricken president Laura Roslin survive? McDonnell won't say, but confirms Roslin won't appear in the two-hour BSG telepic airing after the series ends. Uh-oh.

Originally posted Oct 31, 2008 Published in issue #1019 Nov 07, 2008 Order article reprints