Grill, Gossip, Gripe About All Things TV

You'd think it was a matter of national security the way the folks over at NYPD Blue, Ally McBeal and ER are guarding the secret lives of their new characters. But I've cracked the code--and I've got your first taste of the fresh blood that's about to pump some action into all three shows.

Now, as you know, Rick Schroder (who by the way told me personally it is okay to call him Ricky) is moving to everyone's favorite precinct to fill the chasm Jimmy Smits' exit will create. (Simone takes his final bow in the sixth episode of the season.)

But exec producers Steven Bochco and David Milch have been very tight-lipped on exactly who the former child star will be playing--until now. I'll pass on the scoop this Monday.

As for Ally, she's about to encounter some blonde ambition in the form of Portia De Rossi. (Remember, she's the sorority gal from Scream 2 who uttered the profound line, "Hi--and I mean that.")

Both De Rossi's people and the show's people are being very hush-hush about the whole thing, but as always, I know what her presence is gonna mean for our fair (okay, neurotic) leading lady. And Georgia's not gonna get off scot-free, either.

And over on ER, we all know Kellie Martin will be joining the chaos...but as what? Carter's new love? Someone to wreak havoc for Doug and Carol? Come chat this Monday at 6 p.m. ET to find out.

Plus, there're some changes on the horizon for Spin City, and I've got a sneak peek at what you won't be seeing on Fantasy Island that I did.