May 17, 1996 at 04:00 AM EDT

London Calling The Single Guy‘s days may be numbered, but that’s not why Jonathan Silverman is on edge. The actor is in a follicle frenzy over his role as a lawyer in London Suite, a TV adaptation of Neil Simon’s Off Broadway play. ”I’m furiously growing this,” says Silverman, tugging at a newly sprouted goatee. ”It’s a psychological thing more than anything else — I just feel I’m too young to play this part.” Silverman’s costar, Seinfeld‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, promises that even though Suite is a comedy airing on NBC, Elaine won’t be checking into the hotel. ”I would say [this character] is a little less aggressive and a little more naive,” says Louis-Dreyfus. ”But funny is funny.”

Pound Foolish The folks at Chicago Hope know how to make the most of Peter Berg’s movie career. When the usually trim, 175-pound actor — who plays Dr. Billy Kronk on the hospital drama — returned from filming his role as a heavyweight contender in The Great White Hype, he weighed in at 200 pounds. But Hope‘s producers managed to use the added bulk to the show’s advantage. ”In this season’s episodes, Kronk looks like a monster,” says Berg. ”I was so big, I fought an entire marching band in the waiting room, just picking up kids and throwing them around. I felt like I could kick anyone’s ass at any time.” Fortunately, Kronk’s aggression wasn’t destined to last. ”Now that I’ve lost the weight,” he says, ”I’m mellowing out a bit.”

Legal Eagle From sex, lies and videotape to last year’s While You Were Sleeping, Peter Gallagher has played so many power-suited lawyers he should be able to ace the bar exam by now. And his three-piece days aren’t over. In the death-penalty drama Last Dance, starring Sharon Stone, Gallagher plays a former attorney-turned-political aide. ”I’m the third suit from the right,” he quips. Then there’s the proposed CBS fall sitcom called Lawyers, in which Gallagher is cast as a defense attorney. But being on the barrister beat hasn’t given the actor any power over his real lawyers. ”I never know how many I have,” he says. ”I am afraid to look at the billing statement.”

Star Player What persuaded Jack Nicholson to briefly reprise his role as a randy ex-astronaut in this fall’s Terms of Endearment sequel, The Evening Star? A hefty paycheck? Maybe. Maybe not. Costar Shirley MacLaine thinks she knows the real reason Nicholson got back in the game: ”The Lakers happened to be playing in Houston, where we were filming, so we had an edge. I think that’s one of the main reasons Jack signed on.” What about her own inducement to replay her Oscar-winning character, Aurora Greenway? ”In the sequel,” says MacLaine, ”she seduces anybody she wants.”

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