The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Wednesday, July 24, 1996              TAG: 9607240034
TYPE: Column 
SOURCE: Larry Bonko 
DATELINE: PASADENA, CALIF.                  LENGTH:   88 lines


HELLO, HEATHER. Hello, Rob. Adios, Daphne.

Heather Locklear, seen lately in a made-for-television film (``Shattered Mind'') and having recently completed a feature flick (``Money Talks'' with Charlie Sheen) is not quitting ``Melrose Place'' to become a movie queen.

Hardly. She signed for another two years on the Fox nighttime soap which she admits ``jump-started my career.''

Said Her Heatherness when she schmoozed with TV writers here this week: ``I've decided that I shouldn't quit my day job. I like playing Amanda. I like doing `Melrose Place.' It feels like home.''

The Heather fashion watch: She wore a lime-green pants outfit that was bare at the shoulders. Her hair needed a touch-up. Black roots were showing.

Otherwise, Locklear looked smashing.

She's staying at 4616 Melrose Place, but Daphne Zuniga is leaving behind the role of Jo. ``The producers and I agreed it was time to move on,'' she said. Meanwhile, four new cast members will come aboard when ``Melrose Place'' begins the new season on Sept. 9.

(There is some good news for you Zunigians out there. While Daphne won't be in any new shows, you'll be able to catch her on E! Entertainment Television starting Aug. 5 when the cable channel begins airing reruns of ``Melrose Place,'' beginning with episode No. 1 from 1992. She also recently shot a made-for-TV movie for NBC called ``Pandora's Clock'' that's destined for a fall airing.)

The three incoming hunks are familiar faces - Rob Estes, formerly of ``Silk Stalkings,'' David Charvet, who's coming over from ``Bay-watch,'' and Greg Evigan, who starred in ``My Two Dads'' and ``B.J. and the Bear.''

Estes' wife is Josie Bissett, who plays fashion designer Jane Mancini on ``Melrose Place.'' It's not likely the husband and wife in real life will be smooching on this series. But, you never know.

Estes joins the cast as Taylor McBride, who is married to a character played by Lisa Rinna, formerly of ``Days of Our Lives.'' The Fox tease on these two: ``They stir up troubles for newlyweds Amanda and Jack when they move into Melrose Place.''

Charvet is aboard to stir up trouble for Locklear's Amanda. His character (Craig Field) fights Amanda for control of D&D Advertising. Evigan is cast as a doctor who runs a drug rehab center.

Craig Field is yet another character who wants to make life miserable for Amanda at D&D. Locklear says she doesn't mind.

She's been all over the acting landscape in portraying Amanda, who is bitchy-mean one moment and pillow-soft in another. In a tender mood, she married Peter (played by Jack Wagner) when he was down in the dumps in jail.

Locklear said it's partly her fault that Amanda's personality changes so often. ``I figure the writers will make her tough again this season. When that happens, I go to them and ask, `Why is she always so angry?' And when they make her softer, I ask, `Why is she such a baby?' I just don't know about Amanda.''

Marshmallow-soft or rock-hard in attitude, Amanda and the others on ``Melrose Place'' went way over the top last season, transforming the series from campy to outrageous. It ended with a ripoff from the film ``Carrie'' - a hand shooting out from a freshly dug grave.

``I understand we won't be getting packed off to prison and sanitariums as much this season,'' said Locklear.

``I'm not complaining, but we went a little bit wild last year. Some of the storylines could have been better. But that's what makes watching `Melrose Place' fun.''

Locklear had hurried from the set to meet the TV press, then hustled back to work. It's a hectic time: The cast will do 34 episodes this season, at times working on two shows at once.

As always, executive producer Aaron Spelling is there to oversee the details no matter how busy he is elsewhere. In the next few months, Spelling will develop a daytime soap opera for NBC, tentatively called ``Sunset Beach.''

Locklear said she will miss working with Zuniga. ``I didn't have a lot of scenes with Daphne's character, but I will miss having her on the set.''

Zuniga said she's leaving ``Melrose Place'' for a couple of reasons. ``There is nothing more for my character to do. How often can she be used and abused by men? She has no family. No career. It's time she packed off to Bosnia. And it's time in my career that I take risks. I feel good about leaving.''

For viewers who have not seen enough of Jo's trials, the ``Melrose Place'' reruns, to be aired weeknights at 7, will begin soon enough. The run begins on Aug. 5 with episode No. 1, when Vanessa Williams and Amy Locaine were cast regulars. Remember them?

E! also is scheduling the 30-minute ``Melrose Place This Week'' on Sundays at 4:30 p.m., when host Todd Newton delves into plots, hairdos and Amanda's love life. Also, at 9 p.m. Sunday, Traci Lords hosts a special, ``The Seven Deadly Sins of Melrose Place.''

That would be lust, wrath, envy, greed, pride, gluttony - and dressing in poor taste, of which Sydney (Laura Leighton) is most guilty. by CNB