Melrose Again: Bloggin' about Melrose Place

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Note to Melrose Place producers: hire Jenna Dewan Tatum as a regular.

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Jenna Dewan Tatum's Kendra would make a worthy rival for Katie Cassidy as Ella.

The current commercial for the upcoming Melrose Place episodes got me thinking about ways that producers can spice things up to get the ratings to climb. Although Heather Locklear’s return as Amanda managed to give the audience numbers a bump, her presence has yet to prove as potent as it did for the original show back in the ’90s. Could it be that today’s coveted demographic of viewers ages 18 to 34 aren’t as impressed by big, bad Amanda Woodward (as Sydney would put it) or has Locklear’s material so far not been up to snuff? I vote for the latter explanation, but it may not matter if the show remains on hiatus until spring as was rumored this week in blog comments on TV by the Numbers, which has a funny index that measures the probability of a TV series getting canceled. Don’t expect me to explain it because statistics aren’t my thing, but suffice it to say the show seems to be in a tenuous position and needs to strike a collective chord among the CW target audience the way The Vampire Diaries has. I’m no script doctor (except maybe in my fantasies), but I have some ideas on how Melrose can spruce things up and I’ll share them in the coming weeks as we Melrosers make do with repeats and the umpteenth showing of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” My first suggestion picks up on a smart casting move they made to set the stage for Jonah and Riley’s breakup: the introduction of the film producer babe, Kendra, played by Jenna Dewan Tatum. On a show loaded with gorgeous girls, Jenna made a memorable impact and I think she should be promoted to regular cast member. I figure producers always planned to get Jonah together with Ella (the amazingly talented Katie Cassidy) and Kendra’s two-episode stint started the leak that broke the damn, leading Jonah to fall into bed with Ella in the last episode. This being Melrose Place, however, we can’t expect them to live happily ever after and remain interesting to watch so there needs to be an obstacle to overcome and keep things spicy. A return visit by Kendra would give Katie Cassidy, who’s a force to be reckoned with, a formidable adversary. One of the formulas for success on nighttime soaps is catfights. Not just the physical ones, although those are always fun to watch, but ongoing battles of wiles that divide viewers into camps, just like Joan Collins and Linda Evans did back in the ’80s on Dynasty.  I can see Kendra and Ella having some good bitchy confrontations over good guy Jonah and neither of them would need to play the role of villainess nor heroine. Jenna’s portrayal of Kendra was smart, sexy and self-assured and she had great chemistry with Michael Rady. Her dark-haired beauty would contrast nicely with Katie’s leggy blonde style and the fireworks would fly. Keeping their storyline in the world of movies is a natural given their respective connections to the biz (and their interest in Jonah’s career, of course). And if they end up in a lily pond a la Dynasty’s Krystle and Alexis, so be it.

Photo: copyright 2009 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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