October 19, 1998 12:00 PM

>Faith Ford

“There I am with all the eyeshadow and the Farrah hair,” says Faith Ford, describing one of the high school photos she has plastered on the set of her new CBS sitcom Maggie Winters (Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m. ET). Since she began playing the show’s title character, who was once voted Most Likely to Succeed and now is forced back to her hometown after being dumped by her husband, Ford, 34, has been drawing on her high school experience—she was voted Most Spirited—to play Maggie. But after her decade-long run on Murphy Brown and with a happy marriage to personal trainer Campion Murphy, 35, the similarities to luckless Maggie end right there. Indeed, she was offered the Winters part on the day that Murphy wrapped. “It would’ve been easy to do a small movie role,” she says, “but I wanted more to do.”

Now shooting 12 hours a day, Ford has met that challenge and still finds time to reminisce about high school and the day she discovered her comic chops as a student. “This guy whistled at me,” she recalls. “I felt something around my ankles. It was my skirt. So I just kept walking with that I-meant-for-that-to-happen attitude.”

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