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Scott Bakula’s Worst Christmas Ever

hollywoodexclusive1With the first season of his excellent new TNT "Men of a Certain Age" series in the can, Scott Bakula is making plans for the holidays — and remembering what goes down as his worst Christmas ever.

"It happened when I was about 17," recalls the actor, who'll be heading with his wife and four children to his St. Louis roots for year-end festivities. "It was Christmas Eve and I got into an accident with my parents' car. I came home after they were asleep and held a great debate with myself about when I should tell them about the accident ...'Merry Christmas and, oh, by the way, Dad, I smashed your car."

If his memory book retains vivid images of that unfortunate Christmas, it is counterbalanced by a flood of memories of happier yuletides.

"I've been very lucky," says the star of such shows as "Quantum Leap" and "Star Trek: Enterprise." "I grew up with much love and family around me. I still recall vividly my grandparents' car driving up to our house and my grandfather unloading presents for us all. He was such a stickler for gift-wrapping that he made all the bows and made sure the patterns on the paper lined up exactly. All the gifts were so beautifully put together that I hated to open them."

MEANWHILE: While Bakula and Andre Braugher are free from "Men of a

Certain Age" duties for the time being, their co-star, Ray Romano, is still toiling on the show about three buddies who face the challenges of middle age. As Bakula explains, "Principle production wrapped a few weeks ago, but Ray, as a writer, executive producer and star of the show, is still busy working behind the scenes." It was Romano's decision to limit the season to 10 episodes, says Bakula. "And it's easy to understand why when you realize how much of himself he puts into the show."

CRAZY TIMES: "I'm quite interested in why people have this urge to succeed and how deluded some people are about it. Some are a lot more deluded versions than others," notes British comedian Marc Wootton, whose new Showtime series, "La La Land," has him playing three wannabes – two males and a female — struggling to find fame and fortune in Los Angeles. Though his characters are fictitious, everybody else in the show is real and unaware, he stresses, that he is an actor. "It was a good way to create some new characters and expand on one that I've done before," he says of the show premiering Jan. 25.

Wootton says he had no problem convincing people that his characters were real. "We all meet freaks every day. I meet people in banks or grocery stores who are a bit nutty and strange, but utterly delicious as human beings because they're doing something different. It makes me realize that my characters aren't that big at all, but I almost think the bigger you go, the easier it is for people to swallow," he adds. "I think because the camera is following me around, too, people think I'm a part of a documentary so they sort of buy into me being weird," says Wootton. "Each character is probably tiny bits of my own personality as well. It allows me to not ever have to do therapy because I get to do these characters instead."

KEEPING UP THE DRIVE: Jessica Stroup, who plays Erin Silver on "90210," is having a creatively satisfying season on the series – as the character has faced the challenges of her mother’s death and her own romantic uncertainties. Still, she’s in the market to expand beyond Silver. "Any time I have a few hours in the morning or afternoon, I’m saying, ‘Put me in meetings, send me scripts,’" she tells us, referring to her reps. "I’m looking for a project that speaks to me and proves I can be seen outside this ‘90210’ bubble. I’ve really been pushing hard. There’s one role I’ve really wanted, but I don’t know if I’m going to get it," she says. Time will tell.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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