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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"Pepper Dennis": Adding Spice to Your Wednesday

Television newsrooms are an easy target for TV comedies—usually a parody of the competitiveness of investigative news. But rarely do they produce as smart and sophisticated a show as “Pepper Dennis,” the new dramedy starring Rebecca Romijn.

Romijn is Pepper Dennis, the ace reporter for a Chicago TV station. She thinks she’s next in line for the anchor chair, but instead, they hire Charlie Babcock—the man Pepper just had a one-night stand with. She tries to break it off with him, but he continues to pursue her, even flirting with her on the air. Meanwhile, Pepper’s sister moves in with her after leaving her husband (at Pepper’s suggestion), turning Pepper’s world upside down, especially after she almost burns down Pepper’s apartment and gets a job at the TV station.

After Charlie uses her real name (Patty Dinkle) on the air, Pepper uses a four letter word that gets her suspended. But when Pepper gets a lead on a hot story, Charlie paves the way for her to get back on the air. Of course, Pepper decides Charlie’s not so bad, but when she goes to make her move, she finds him with the weather girl.

Romijn has found a good role here, and the show has wisely surrounded her with a great supporting cast. Brett Cullen as her boss and Rider Strong (“Boy Meets World”) as her photographer are two standouts, but I was most impressed with Brooke Burns as her sister. Seeing Burns on “Dog Eat Dog” and “North Shore” would have never given me the idea that she was so good at comedy. She almost steals the show.

Now I admit that I’ve been snowed by pilots before, but I think this one could actually be a keeper—and that’s a big story right there.

You can catch “Pepper Dennis” Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the WB.