Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Surf's Up for `Malibu'; `Waikiki' Is Exposed

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Surf's Up for `Malibu'; `Waikiki' Is Exposed

Article excerpt

IF YOU couldn't go to the beach for vacation, CBS wants to help out. Two new short-run series making their debuts tonight are set in holiday hot spots, populated by beautiful people and rife with romance and intrigue. One is as refreshing as a splash in the surf. The other, unfortunately, may make you feel as if you're going under for the third time.

My pick for summer fun is "Hotel Malibu" (9 p.m. on Channel 4), a lively screwball soap from the creators of "Homefront" and "Second Chances."

In a gorgeous Southern California setting, we meet the Mayfield family: matriarch Ellie (Joanna Cassidy), a spunky broad whose spirit was sapped when her husband died; heir apparent Jack (John Dye), a beady-eyed womanizer who'll stoop to anything to get his hands on his inheritance - now; and high-minded Stevie (Cheryl Pollak), who's having trouble finding herself.

Jack wants to sell the hotel to a developer who plans to raze it. Lie to his mom and sis? Sure he will. Cheat his partner, bribe a commissioner, ignore a body in the penthouse suite? Yup. Burn down the whole hotel? What do you think?

Ellie and Stevie, meanwhile, are distracted by love. Ellie has re-encountered her high school beau, Sal Lopez (Pepe Serna), whose straitlaced daughter, Melinda, is the hotel's new assistant bartender. (If the Lopezes seem familiar, it's because they were lifted in their entirety from "Second Chances." And hang on: Another important "Chances" character shows up in Episode 3.)

For her part, Stevie is falling for hunky bartender Harry (Harry O'Reilly, Charlie on "Homefront"), after spending an evening with him in an elevator - stuck between Upstairs and Downstairs, as it were.

The Lucy and Ethel who bring much of the comedy to "Hotel Malibu" are angel-faced scam artist Nancy (Romy Walthall, Eli's rich girlfriend on "Civil Wars"), who returns to wreak havoc on the life of her brother, the aforementioned Harry.

Harry knows Nancy all too well; when she pleads, "I need help," his response is, "Call 911. …

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