I almost blew a great dinner date. I was planning to have cocktails with Minnesota native and star of CMT's upcomig sitcom "Working Class, "Melissa Peterman on Friday night, meaning I was going to skip a party hosted by the Hallmark Channel at the Tournament of Roses headquarters in Pasadena. At the last minute, Melissa and I rescheduled our happy hour leaving me free to hop on the shuttle and mingle with some classy TV veterans including Marilu Henner ("Taxi"), Doris Roberts ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), Jane Seymour ("Dr. Quinn"), Roma Downey ("Touched By an Angel"), Markie Post ("Night Court"), Marion Ross ("Happy Days") and Luke Perry ("Beverly Hills 90210").
Then there was a sitdown dinner in which talent sat randomly with writers at scattered tables. My dining companion: Sherry Stringfield who starred in both "NYPD Blue" and "ER." Quite frankly, I was a bit skeptical about the arrangement, but found myself delighted by Stringfield's Texas warmth and sharp humor. She gossiped about horrible directors, wasted youth, David Caruso and child actors who seem to be channeling 40 year olds. She even e-mailed me a website that she wanted me to check out about women in Hollywood. The only sour note came when she said she no longer fantasized about visiting India because she "didn't want to have to go to the bathroom in a hole in the ground."
Overall, a great evening that deserves a plug: Stringfield stars in the upcoming Hallmark Channel movie, "The Shunning." She also just wrapped up a pilot with "Sopranos" star Jamie-Lynn Sigler. She's optimistic that it'll get picked up. Let's hope the studio has indoor plumbing.