PALM BEACH POST

“I love that there are no blondes on our show. You see so many shows with so many blondes, and isn’t everyone sick of that?” asked dark-haired Teri Hatcher, Lois Lane of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Lois has always been a feminist, a go-getting gal who put her career as ace reporter for the Daily Planet ahead of everything, except in the presence of one handsome gent with crime-fighting flying ability.

Hatcher’s Lane is no exception: She’s tough, hyper-competitive, energetic and beautiful. An East Coast kind of woman, perhaps. Maybe it’s that Hatcher herself is beginning to feel more at home in New York City than in California. A San Francisco native, the 29-year-old actress lives north of Los Angeles while playing the smartly dressed reporter and love interest to the Man of Steel – Clark Kent – played by fellow Californian and former Princeton football player Dean Cain.

Like reporter Lane, ABC’s Lois & Clark has got to be competitive, pitted as it is in a tough Sunday night slot against CBS’s ratings winner, Murder, She Wrote, and NBC’s seaQuest DSV.

The series gets a fresh episode this week, although Lois & Clark goes on production hiatus Sunday, but Hatcher said the cast and crew assume the show will be renewed. “What we always thought was ABC wanted us to be beating seaQuest,” she said. “Out of the last 10 shows, we’ve beaten them all but one, I think. So I think they’re happy.”

Although she resembles the original Lois Lane character from the comic-book series more than Dean Cain resembles past versions of Clark Kent, Hatcher found the casting process a bit of a mystery. “Dean and I read together for literally two minutes in a room. And nobody knew that we were going to have that on-screen chemistry that we ended up having, which I think is one of the reasons that the show really works – the relationship between Lois and Clark.” That’s the basis of the show after all, she said. “People want to see us together.”

In the two-part season finale, scheduled to air April 24 and May 1, the dashing but sinister Lex Luthor (John Shea) will ask Lois to marry him. Series creator and writer Deborah Joy LeVine explained why Lois hesitates, despite Luthor’s ardent and expensive wooing: “She’s someone who’s basically saying to him, ‘I already have a family, and that’s the Daily Planet.”’ Lois has never seriously considered romance with her Daily Planet colleague, the mild-mannered Clark Kent. But as he and Superman are one and the same, the way she treats Kent affects Superman’s response to Lois. “It’s really between Superman and Lex Luthor,” said LeVine, who also is executive producer of the series. “And when Superman says no to her, he sort of pushes her into Lex Luthor’s arms, and that’s how the first part of the season-ender ends.” (Watch the conclusion May 1 to see what happens.) If Superman and Lois Lane do get married, LeVine will script that for the series finale, which she hopes will be several seasons from now. The casting of Cain, who commanded so much media attention when the series premiered, may have overshadowed that of Hatcher.

Whereas Cain came to the show fresh out of college with less acting experience, Hatcher had been working in the business for years, ever since she took a break from her college studies – in math. While an undergraduate, she also took acting classes at the American Conservatory Theatre. She’s gotten work consistently since she dropped out of school nine years ago, she said. And Lois Lane is “a part that has given me an opportunity to show more of myself, to challenge my abilities more, and I’m finding a lot of people in the industry are saying, ‘Oh, I didn’t know she could do that, too.’ They never believe that you can do anything until you do it.” LeVine views this characterization of Lois as “a little different, in that she’s more able to take care of herself than any of the other previous Loises. I think she’s somebody who doesn’t wait around for Superman to save her. She’s career oriented, a young woman in her 20s.”

When Superman finishes taping this month, Hatcher has plans outside Hollywood. She is engaged to actor Jon Tenney (Equal Justice, Dirty Dozen) and eager to marry, but finding it difficult. “We’re both so darn busy,” she said. They want to marry in New York, where Tenney has an apartment. And they’re discussing staying there during Superman’s hiatus.

Hatcher said she prefers the pace of the East. “I’ve just felt more at home there,” she said. “I don’t know why. And I think of Lois as sort of more an East Coast girl, too.”

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