Q. Lisa Rinna is the greatest thing to happen to "Melrose Place" since Laura Leighton's character Sydney was killed. What can you tell me about Rinna before "MP"? And what is up with her lips? - J.W., Dallas, Texas
A. The pouty-lipped actress started out on "Days of Our Lives" playing Billie Reed Brady (1992-95). She joined Melrose as Taylor McBride after fellow soap star Tylo Hunter was rejected for the part because she was pregnant. Now Rinna's announced she'll depart "Melrose" at the end of 1998. She and hubby Harry Hamlin are expecting a baby.Q. Is the Fox network planning to rerun episodes of "Party of Five"? I missed the entire first season and would like to see how it all started. - J.M., Sacramento, Calif.
A. Lifetime cable has just purchased the off-network rerun rights to "Party of Five." Look for a Monday-Friday run to start in the fall. Meanwhile, non-cable syndicated rerun rights for weekend broadcast are still on the bidding block. "Party of Five" finishes shooting season 4 in April. Look for series star Scott Wolf to host "Saturday Night Live" on March 7.
Q. My sister-in-law and I love to watch "In the Heat of the Night." Both of us want to know if Alan Autry (Bubba Skinner) is any relation to Gene Autry. What is he doing now? - J.F., Tampa, Fla.
A. Autry claims a distant kinship to the singing cowboy/California Angels owner. After his run on "In the Heat of Night," Autry, 45, played opposite Brett Butler for a while on "Grace Under Fire." Now he's on the spring tryout sitcom "Style & Substance" with Jean Smart ("Designing Women") and Nancy McKeon ("The Facts of Life"). Before turning to professional acting, Autry, then known as Carlos Brown, was a star football player in college and a backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers (1975-76). He recently formed his own film company, Dirt Road Productions, and will soon release its first film, "Punchers' Chance." When he's not working in Hollywood, Autry lives in Fresno, Calif., with his wife and three children.
Q. What happened to that TV show called "Jenny" starring Jenny McCarthy? Will it ever come back? - S., Kent, Wash.
A. The MTV/NBC blonde bombshell's first sitcom effort just didn't fire. NBC has tried placing "Jenny" in various time slots throughout the season, but viewers still aren't biting. Look for the show's official cancellation.
Q. My favorite actress is Ann-Margret. How can I write to her? - K.W., Phoenix, Ariz.
A. The actress is set to star in her first TV series, premiering Feb 24 on CBS. She'll share top billing in "Four Corners" with Sonia Braga. The two will play women living in the Southwest who struggle with the problems of their twentysomething children. Try writing to her c/o CBS at 7800 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90036.
Q. I enjoy watching Amanda Burton on "Silent Witness." Is she related to the late Richard Burton? - R.D., Latham, N.Y.
A. The Welch-born actor had three daughters: Kate and Jessica from his marriage to Sybil Williams, and Maria, whom he adopted with wife Elizabeth Taylor. Kate Burton is an actress, seen on television as Susan Alexander on "The Practice." There's no mention of a relationship to Richard in Amanda Burton's biography. The "Silent Witness" mystery series is seen on A&E.
Send your questions about TV to: The Dallas Morning News, Communications Center, P.O. Box 655237, Dallas, Texas 75265. Sorry, no personal replies.