Hollywood Fox Hunt
But bright-eyed, bushy-tailed star eludes testy critics

Winnipeg Sun

The Adventures of Shirley Holmes star Meredith Henderson got her first taste of Hollywood babble-on this week, in a line-up with Baywatch babe Donna D-Errico and former Detroit Pistons star John Salley fot the Fox Family Channel's debut press conference in Pasadena.

But media mogul Rupert Murdoch's new channel got a bumpy ride from critics who questioned how ultra right-wing evangelist Pat Robertson's daily rant on The 700 Club fits in with its much-hyped "fun attitude" and slate of cartoons and kids' shows. Time ran out before Henderson could make an appearance, which is probably lucky given the contentious mood.

Besides, the 14-year-old Toronto actress didn't mind missing the working portion of her three-day stay in L.A., during a break from the series now shooting its third season in Winnipeg. While the assembled critics piled on to a bus, a stretch limo was at her service to chauffeur Henderson and her mom from the luxury hotel in Pasadena to a cable networks party thrown at a nearby "chateau" and attended by British actor Nigel Hawthorn, Nikita star Peta Wilson and members of the original Star Trek crew.

Entertained by a roaming fire-eater, a clown on stilts, jugglers, caricature artists and a trio of tarot card readers and clairvoyants hired for the guests' amusement, Henderson was just enjoying the ride.

"I'm in Los Angeles! I didn't think that would happen till I was about 23," she said.

Chances are, she'll be back before then. Shirley Holmes' first season begins airing on Fox Family Channel's first broadcast day in the U.S. Aug. 15.