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Who's that familiar face on ''Once and Again''?

EW Online talks to David Clennon, the actor behind TV’s cleverest crossover stunt

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Randy Holmes

Don’t be alarmed if the appearance of Rick’s arrogant new client Miles Drentell on Monday’s episode of ”Once and Again” (ABC; 10 p.m.) sparks a state of déjà vu. Drentell (played by veteran actor David Clennon) is the Zen-loving, pompously tyrannical advertising exec who employed Michael and Elliot on ”thirtysomething,” ”Once” creators Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz’s hit 1987-1991 drama.

On ”Once,” Miles has become a powerful corporate-image consultant who hires Rick’s (Billy Campbell) architecture firm to build a Donald Trump-size building in downtown Chicago. Clennon, 56, tells EW Online that Zwick and Herskovitz resurrected Drentell because he was the character viewers most loved… to hate: ”He’s a villain, but he’s very smart, and it’s hard to predict what he’s going to do next. He’s the kind of person who adds a bit of cayenne pepper to the stew of a show.”

Alas, the ”Once and Again” gang is quick to discover Drentell’s obnoxious MO. ”Miles gives Rick and his friend a really hard time. But by insulting and manipulating them, he challenges them to give him their best, even if they hate his guts,” says Clennon. And don’t be surprised if Miles pops up again on the show. ”The door is definitely open for him to come back, if they have time to work him in,” Clennon explains. ”There will be people who enjoy the corporate political story lines more than the domestic romantic ones, so we’ll see.”