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Sydney Bristow is one of TV's sexiest spies. She wears miniskirts, kicks high and punches hard.
But now, Jennifer Garner, who plays the secret agent on ABC's Alias, is expecting a baby with her husband, Ben Affleck. So tonight, as Alias kicks off a fifth season (8 ET/PT), Bristow goes from sexy spy to sexy pregnant spy.
Ads are bracing viewers for the idea, showing Sydney hearing a baby's wail. But will an adventure series based on a globe-trotting Bond-ette work with a Spy Mom-to-be star instead?
"I think women who are pregnant are very sexy," says Alias executive producer Jeff Pinkner. Besides, he promises, "there will be no shortage of miniskirts this year."
Alias, which averaged 10 million viewers an episode last season, faces stiff competition tonight as it goes up against CBS ratings powerhouse Survivor: Guatemala, Fox's teen fave The O.C., NBC's Joey and a live premiere of Will & Grace, and UPN's hot newcomer sitcom Everybody Hates Chris.
In a cliffhanger finale in May, Sydney and her boyfriend, Michael Vaughn, played by real-life ex-boyfriend Michael Vartan, were happily chatting about the future when -- bam! -- they were blindsided in what appeared to be a very bad car accident. In tonight's premiere, Sydney finds out what Vaughn was going to tell her just before the crash.
Joining the cast: Rachel Nichols as a spy, Balthazar Getty as an agent and French actress Elodie Bouchez as a criminal. The new cast members do not mean old ones are on their way out, Pinkner says. "There have been a lot of rumors, and virtually all of them are unfounded. Whatever you see on Alias is often not what it appears." Vartan, who seems to bear the brunt of the crash, "is still very much a part of our family."
Carl Lumbly says his character, fellow spy Marcus Dixon, becomes protective of his pregnant pal. "In the relationship, he has always felt a bit responsible for how she's doing personally." And now, he says, Dixon is more concerned than ever. After all, "she's spying for two."
And she's still going undercover. "The disguises start to get bigger," Pinkner says, adding that Garner has long wanted to "play a fat old man."
Garner -- referring to the baby as a "she" -- said on Tuesday's Tonight Show: "My stand-in has a little bump. My stunt double has a bump, and the other day I walked in, and my stunt double just looked a little different to me and I said, 'Did they graduate your bump?' And she said, 'Yeah, we went to a bigger bump.'"
Garner is due in December, so what about an Alias baby? "There's the possibility of babies, two or five. Or an alien," Pinkner says. But that sounds more like creator J.J. Abrams' other show, Lost.
Cracks Pinkner: "Crossover episode!"
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