When promoting its fall schedule to cranky critics, a TV network always aims to come off smelling like roses. So last week, ABC hosted a schmooze-o-rama at Pasadena's lush Tournament House, an Italian Renaissance-style mansion that was once owned by chewing-gum pioneer William Wrigley Jr., but now serves as the hub for the Tournament of Roses Association. At this evening's sweetly-scented soirée, TV celebs pressed flesh with the press, hoping we'll tell you lovely things about their shows. Nevermind that rubbish — let's hear all their juiciest dish instead!

"I'm trying to find Camryn Manheim," whispered NYPD Blue's gay secretary, Bill Brochtrup. "She promised she would join my bridge club. She is a cardshark, I am told. It's a well-known fact that she got her job on The Practice by beating David E. Kelley at cribbage. Ask her about that!"

Thanks, Bill. Love your curly new summer 'do, but I've got more urgent questions. Such as: Will Kelley's increased involvement improve next season's Practice, which took a critical beating this year? "I haven't heard any of that," Manheim hedged. "I'm not surprised to hear you say it... but honestly, look, we're going into our seventh year. What do you want for free [TV]? I'm so proud of the 100 some-odd episodes we've done, each and every one of them." That said, this diplomatic diva adds: "But it's very exciting when we get a script and it has David Kelley's name on it."

Elsewhere amongst the roses, romance appeared to be blooming for Andy Dick, who co-stars in Popular grad Sara Rue's fall series, Less Than Perfect. When last seen, Dick was following this cute waiter — a shy Josh Hartnett lookalike — all around the flowerbeds. Run for your life, kid!

Then again, who can blame Andy? The hired help at Hollywood parties are always younger and prettier than most celebs. That's because they're all wannabe actors themselves! (Except for Blue's Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Alias stud Michael Vartan, who both looked handsomer than ever.)

Less lucky in love was Kaley Cuoco — she's John Ritter's offspring in 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. As a fellow guest confided to Party Boy: "Kaley just broke up with her boyfriend, who is a professional tennis player on tour right now, but she would not name him. It was her first real boyfriend and her first heartbreak, she said. I have not seen her with anybody else tonight, except the bartender — which is interesting because she's only 16."

Honestly! Some old gossips have such depraved minds. I am sure Kaley was drowning her sorrows in nothing stronger than a ginger ale. Chin up, honey, there's no shortage of eligible bachelors in Hollywood.

Speaking of which, someone should've fixed her up with Ryan Merriman. This 19-year-old sweetheart stars in Veritas — as an archeologist's adventuresome son — and currently can be seen in Halloween: Resurrection. "I'm Miles, the hero with the palm pilot — I don't die," he grins. "Halloween 1 and 2 were very scary, but not the latter ones. The series redeems itself in this one. It's way better than H20. Way better!"

In this garden of stars — and Hollywood hopefuls — the buds blossom brightly, but not humbly. Ah well, every rose has its thorn...