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REAL-LIFE HUSBAND AND WIFE STAR IN STYLISH ROMANTIC MYSTERY SERIES

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Tim Reid is back with his wife, Daphne Maxwell Reid, in a new CBS television show that for the first time he can say is really his own.

He and his wife not only star in the stylish romantic mystery, "Snoops," but he helped create it. As co-executive producer, he also controls every aspect of the show.One thing he wanted was a racially mixed crew.

"Rarely in this town do people have an opportunity to work in an integrated environment," Reid says. "When I did `Frank's Place,' 45 percent of the people behind the camera were black. This will probably be more than that.

"We have blacks at every level. We have black writers and black directors and I especially made it a point to find a black woman writer with experience. People keep telling me you can't find experienced blacks. I found them. My job is to find qualified people in areas of production closed to women and minorities."

Reid says it's necessary to find enthusiastic people to make a show a success.

"In the pilot I remember there was no way we could get one shot," he says. "But I saw people pull together and go the extra mile. In television, you have to give 150 percent to get a show on the air and keep it on the air. It has to have a special spark."

In "Snoops," Reid and his wife play Chance and Micki Dennis, an offbeat professional couple in Washington that always seems to stumble upon a murder. He's a criminology professor at Georgetown University. She's chief of protocol at the State Department.

The sophisticated, crime-solving couple and their clever repartee are in the mold of "The Thin Man," "Mr. and Mrs. North," "McMillan and Wife" and "Hart to Hart."

Reid, when he is asked about the comparison to "The Thin Man," says, "I hope so."

His wife and co-star adds, "We talked about that concept. We loved Nick and Nora Charles and the fact that these things happened within their lives. They didn't go out looking for things. We loved their repartee. It will be stylish. I think it's in tune with the times. Families and romance are back."

Daphne Reid, a former fashion model who was the first black woman on the cover of Glamour magazine, will be attired in the latest fashions for her job and for the many diplomatic parties they will attend. Reid's character is described as an "eccentric conservative" who will wear vests.

"Snoops" will be the first time a black woman has starred in a one-hour drama since Teresa Graves was in ABC's "Get Christie Love" in 1974-75. If the series goes past 22 episodes, it will be the first time a drama with a predominantly black cast has been renewed.

Reid was on several television shows in the 1970s, including the short-lived "Richard Pryor Show," but it was his role as disc jockey Venus Flytrap on "WKRP in Cincinnati" that made him famous. After that, he was detective Downtown Brown on "Simon & Simon," then in "Frank's Place."

"Frank's Place" was one of the best shows of the 1987-88 season, but it was moved frequently on the schedule by CBS and never caught on with the audience. In that show, Reid was a New England college professor who inherited his father's Creole restaurant in New Orleans. The show was called a "dramady," a mixture of drama and comedy.

"Hugh Wilson, who created `Frank's Place,' is doing a more commercial show this season with `The Famous Teddy Z,"' Reid says. "I'm doing a more commercial show with `Snoops.' It'll have more mass appeal and the stories will be lighthearted. You have to entertain. I think `Frank's Place' forgot that."

Daphne Reid says, "We want to portray a black family because we are one. We want people to see a black family and have something for the community to root for. What the world knows of black families is what they see on television. We want them to see all aspects."

Reid will also be seen this fall in John Frankenheimer's "The Fourth War," which also stars Roy Scheider, Harry Dean Stanton and Jergen Prochnow. He had previously worked with director Frankenheimer in "Dead Bang," starring Don Johnson.

Reid says he will have a segment on each show featuring a Washington street kid. "I want him to do something positive," he says. "We had some difficulty finding one for the pilot because every kid we auditioned was middle class."

Despite the resemblance to "The Thin Man," Reid says there will be no dog. "We won't drink as much, either," he says. "I will also do anything I can to avoid a drug story. If we do anything at all it will be about rehabilitation."

Reid created the show with writer Sam Egan.

"We were looking for an occupation for Daphne's character, something stylish and glamorous," he says. "We went on vacation to the Bahamas and ran into two sisters, Dickie and Fuzzy. Dickie worked for the State Department and that's how we came to make her head of protocol. Then when we filmed the pilot we picked a house in Georgetown and it turned out to be only a few doors from Dickie's house."