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British invasion

BEVERLY HILLS -- NBC has so many Scottish and British actors starring in its new series that you practically wonder if you stumbled into interview sessions here for the BBC.
Kevin McKidd, the Scottish actor who starred in HBO's "Rome," is the lead in the new time travel series, "Journeyman." Damian Lewis, who starred in HBO's "Band of Brothers" plays a wrongfully-convicted cop who returns to the force after being released in "Life." And Michelle Ryan ("EastEnders") is the new "Bionic Woman." They all use American accents in the shows.                                                            

I'm guessing they might owe Hugh Laurie of "House" a thank you. In interviews, the NBC stars all talked in their native tongues. The one American lead in a new NBC series is Zachary Levi, the star of "Chuck," a series about a computer nerd who becomes a secret agent.
Levi illustrated that he was an All-American boy by winning a "Singing Bee" contest at a NBC party here. Amazingly, he knew the lyrics for seven straight songs.

* Zach Gilford of NBC's "Friday Night Lights," wasn't hiding the fact that almost all the actors on the show are old enough to drink legally. Gilford, who plays junior quarterback Matt Saracen, arrived at an interview session wearing a mustache and a thin beard. He's 25. The only regular cast member who is a teen-ager is Aimee Teegarden, who plays the coach's daughter. She's 17.

* What's in a name? At the NBC party, I had to ask Minka Kelly, cheerleader Lyla Garrity on "Friday Night Lights," how she got her unusual first name. I mean how many Minkas do you know? "My mom made it up," said Kelly. Mystery solved.

-- Alan Pergament

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