Look out, Memphis, Missouri! You're about to see a whole other side of hometown girl Adrienne Wilkinson when UPN's new dramedy As If premieres tonight at 9 pm/ET.

"The character I play is quite racy," the Midwesterner tells TV Guide Online of materialistic manhunter Nicki. "My grandmother is already prepped. She's like, 'Now you're just acting, right? Right?'"

Well, Gram can relax. In real life, Wilkinson is as sweet as Nicki is trampy. "I'm such a mother hen," she admits. "I take care of everyone obsessively, to the point where it's not even my business!"

Perhaps that's why the actress, best known for her role as Eve on Xena: Warrior Princess, is more at home in Missouri than Los Angeles. "There is just the smarmy factor of Hollywood," she sighs. "There is the constant second-guessing of anything anyone says to you because everybody is trying to make a deal all the time... That's why I go home so often, just for a breather."

Come tomorrow morning, Wilkinson and her As If colleagues will be holding their breath in anticipation of the overnight ratings — praying the American version will prove as big a hit as the British series on which it is based. To that end, they'll be sending positive vibes to A.C. Nielsen and co. tonight. Grins Wilkinson: "We're all getting together [to watch the premiere] with popcorn — and hope!"