One thing you can say about John Henson he's got some serious eyebrows to fill. ''I can only raise one eyebrow,'' moans Greg Kinnear's Talk Soup replacement. ''They sent me to training school, and it's grueling. My forehead kills when I get home at night.'' Anyone unsure why Henson is training his face must not have been watching Soup, E!'s daily recap of highlights from the Rickis and Montels of the tube and the guilty pleasure of choice for anyone with a day job.
Now that brow master Kinnear has taken his six expressions to NBC's Later and the big screen (he will star opposite Harrison Ford in Sabrina next summer), Henson, 27 (yes, he knows he looks 14), a stand-up comedian, will guide viewers through the murky waters of overweight lesbian stripper sisters, ex-cons stalked by ex-lovers, and satanic influences on schoolyard games. Whereas Kinnear was the silent, sarcastic type, Henson, who looks and sounds like Jim Carrey's kid brother, has added a dash of wide-eyed excitement reminiscent of schoolboys who shoot frogs out of model rockets.
''People either haven't heard of the show or they're reeeeally into it,'' says Henson, who got hooked on Soup during a segment that explored whether women who hang out in bars are sluts. Luckily for him, Soup nuts are popping up in the right places. He landed the gig after a jury official who happened to be a Soup fan let him out of serving so he could guest-host the show. ''I got a national TV show,'' he says. ''I could have been on jury duty.''