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Originally published Friday, July 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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'Eureka' returns to Syfy with a story line custom-made for pregnant actress

"Eureka," the offbeat family-friendly show on Syfy (formerly the Sci Fi Channel), stars Salli Richardson-Whitfield, whose recent pregnancy was written into Season 3, and airs on Friday nights at 9 p.m.

The Fresno Bee

On TV

"Eureka"

9 p.m. Fridays on Syfy.

Tonight in Prime Time

PASADENA, Calif. —

Salli Richardson-Whitfield showed up to film the first episode of the third season of the Syfy channel series "Eureka" with more than just her script memorized.

"Somewhere while filming that first episode, I found out I was pregnant with my second child," says Richardson-Whitfield.

Producers had the pregnancy written into the script.

Whitfield says she thinks the baby-on-board story line added a new element to the series, which normally just deals with the weird city full of super geniuses where her character is the mayor. Her husband, actor Dondre Whitfield, is keeping an eye on the child, which she carried throughout filming the season.

Because of the way new episodes of the series have aired, the first eight episodes of the third season of "Eureka" were broadcast in 2008. A new batch of episodes starts tonight, and it is very obvious a baby is still on the way.

"The good thing was I wasn't playing a character who could not get pregnant, so they didn't have to hide it. I am glad they wrote it in," Richardson-Whitfield says.

The worst thing would have been for Richardson-Whitfield's character to be written out of the episodes during the nine months. The Chicago native loves working on the program, which combines action, drama, humor and big special effects.

Her past works have not been so eclectic — from starring on "Family Law" to guest spots on "The Pretender," "The Jamie Foxx Show" and "CSI: Miami."

Richardson-Whitfield is a big science-fiction fan, and that's one of the reasons she likes this show so much. In the past, she's done the voice of Elisa Maza on the animated "Gargoyles" and done a guest spot on "Stargate SG-1."

"Eureka" is the most whimsical of all her fantasy and science-fiction acting jobs.

"Eureka" episodes tackle a wide array of science topics dealt with by the local geniuses. Those stories are often woven with tales of the city's offbeat population.

"Maybe that is why our show has become such a family show. People really like it as a family," Richardson-Whitfield says, as she casts a glance toward her husband and child.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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