The news bug that NYPD Blue castmember-turned-anchor Andrea Thompson caught is apparently contagious. Current Blue star Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon — who plays ADA Valerie Heywood — confesses that she's jonesing for a career in journalism, too.

"I always wanted to be a reporter," she tells TV Guide Online. "That didn't happen, but that's always been what I wanted to do."

As a fellow news-lovin' thesp, Beauvais-Nilon cops to harboring a little bias toward Thompson — who raised eyebrows when she was tapped by CNN last year to anchor its newly-revamped Headline News despite her limited broadcasting experience. Critics groaned that she landed the high-profile gig because of her notoriety, not talent.

"Honestly, of course [the recognition factor] helps," Beauvais-Nilon says of Thompson, who recently left CNN for Court TV. "People already knew who she was — she was on a hit show. I don't understand why she wouldn't have gotten the job because of that.

"I think the criticism was harsh," continues the onetime star of The Jamie Foxx Show, who, ironically enough, plays a CNN reporter smitten with Chris Rock in the new comedy Bad Company (opening Friday). "But people see you one way, and if you try to branch out, they freak out! But good for her. She wanted to do something different and she followed that dream."

Unlike Thompson, Beauvais-Nilon — who's married and has a 10-year-old child — has no immediate plans to quit Blue to become the next Barbara Walters. "Maybe one day if and when we have more children and I want something a little bit more 9 to 5," she says, "or just [a schedule] that would be more conducive to having a family."