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Past meets present
Central grad lands lead in TV series
Kelli Giddish cast shot
Forsyth Central High School graduate Kelli Giddish has been cast in the lead role of a new television series, "Past Life," recently picked up for an entire season by Fox.

Forsyth County native Kelli Giddish has felt the warmth of the spotlight, but she's soon to experience the glow of fame on a whole new level.

The 1998 Forsyth Central graduate has been cast in the lead role of a new television series, "Past Life," recently picked up for an entire season by Fox.

"It was such a relief because [creating a TV show pilot] is such a long road," Giddish said. "You've done all this great work with all these great people and then you just to wait and see what happens."

Giddish landed the "Past Life" role earlier this year and shot the pilot episode for the supernatural drama in March in Baltimore. She learned in May that Fox had picked the series for its 2010 midseason lineup.

According to Internet reviews, the show focuses on a team of investigators who use people's past life experiences to solve current crimes.

Giddish portrays Kate McGinn, a psychologist who uses regression therapy to help patients suffering from present-day problems caused by past-life traumas.

"Past Life" is scheduled to premiere sometime in March, airing at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays after "American Idol."

The show also stars Nicholas Bishop as Price Whatley, a former New York Police Department homicide detective who teams up with Giddish's character to solve past life crimes.

Giddish, who earned a degree in performance arts from the University of Evansville in Indiana, has appeared in guest roles in several well-known television series, including "Law and Order," "Without a Trace," "Life on Mars" and "Damages."

She also worked for two and a half years in the role of Di Henry on the ABC soap opera "All My Children."

"She learned on May 14 that Fox had picked up [Past Life] for an entire season, an entire 13 episodes," said her mother, Nita Giddish, former long-time principal of North Forsyth High School. "This one [role] is definitely different from being a guest star."  

Kelli Giddish said she's enjoying her new role as a leading lady.

"You're there [on set] almost every hour of every day," she said. "A lot of the mood, tempo and the rhythm of the set is determined by me, so it's very exciting.

"It's also really nice to work so closely with the director and producers."

Kelli Giddish said filming of the additional 12 episodes of "Past Life" will begin in August. And much to her mother's delight, the series will bring her closer to home than New York, where she has lived since 2002.

"They're filming in Atlanta," Nita Giddish said. "This means for the first time in 11 years, since she left for college, she'll be close to home. I'll enjoy having her close by for more than two or three weeks."

The younger Giddish also is looking forward working a little closer to home.

"I could not be more excited to be coming back to Atlanta," she said. "I'm so happy to be back here in Georgia where I know what the weather's like, not like in Manhattan in the winter, and I know a lot of people.

"It's great being so close to home. My family's just 45 minutes away, just a hop, skip and a jump away."