Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shades of `Dynasty' in Malibu Joanna Cassidy Is the Hotel's Grande Dame in a New CBS Series

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shades of `Dynasty' in Malibu Joanna Cassidy Is the Hotel's Grande Dame in a New CBS Series

Article excerpt

The only thing that's "Malibu" about "Hotel Malibu" is an occasional background shot of the Pacific Ocean. The hotel's actual exterior is situated in Hermosa Beach. The interior is a movie stage 15 miles inland.

But "Malibu Hotel" makes its debut Thursday (9 p.m. on Channel 4) for a six-week run on CBS to determine whether it has the legs for the regular series season.

Since there's no major hotel in Malibu, a seaside resort in nearby Hermosa Beach sufficed.

Publicity releases say the series has "romance, comedy and offbeat family drama." A large order, but the creators are licensed pros - producers Bernard Lechowitz and Lynn Marie Latham ("Homefront," "Knots Landing," "Second Chances") and co-producers Dianne Messina and James Stanley ("Homefront").

The central figure of "Hotel Malibu" is Joanna Cassidy, playing a plucky widow who has built a roadside stop into a major hotel. Shades of "Dynasty" - her son (John Dye) wants to sell the place. But her daughter (Cheryl Pollak) sides with her.

Not too long ago, the cast was back at the CBS Studio Center, once the corral of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers and more recently home of dozens of TV series such as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Hill Street Blues."

The stage was a honeycomb of hotel corridors and rooms. In one room, Cassidy and Pollak performed a lengthy, dialogue-heavy scene, working through it letter-perfect four times before director Stefan Scalni called a final "cut!" The camera crew quickly began setting up for closeups, and Cassidy had a chance to chat.

"How much rehearsal did you get?" she was asked.

"None, zero," she replied.

"How many pages was that scene?"

"Three."

"That's an average day's work in a feature!"

"That's right. And I have four more big scenes today - 13 to 14 more pages."

She can handle it. Cassidy brings with her a wealth of experience in the series world. …

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