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As a young heartthrob on The Partridge Family in the '70s, David Cassidy, 59, was the epitome of a squeaky-clean teen. Four decades later his daughter Katie, 22, is set to steam up the CW as a vixen publicist in a new version of the hit '90s soap Melrose Place. But David approves—in fact he's feeling good about things, what with landing his own new show, ABC Family's Ruby & the Rockits, in which he plays ... a washed-up pop star turned dad. The father-daughter duo talked with PEOPLE's Blaine Zuckerman about the family business.

What's the best advice you've passed on to Katie about show business?

DAVID: Do not work for money. Do not work for fame. Work for the work. And if you get a great role and they offer you nothing, take it.

KATIE: That's all he's said, and I've taken the advice.

In Ruby & the Rockits, David plays a caricature of himself. How far is that from the truth?

DAVID:(Laughs) Not far!

KATIE: No, it is! It's an exaggerated, heightened version.

DAVID: It's the first time I ever really laughed at myself.

Your brother Patrick plays the more straitlaced Rockit.

DAVID: He's totally a jock. He's in the gym 2½ hours a day. I haven't been in 15 years, and I hate it. I used to go six days a week.

KATIE: I'll put you in training.

DAVID: No, you won't. If Patrick can't get me to do it, you can't get me.

KATIE: Come on. Don't be a wimp!

DAVID: It hurts. I'd rather play my guitar and be a hippie.

What's having a teen-idol dad like?

KATIE: Well, every 40-year-old woman is falling at my feet and telling me crazy stories about how they had your haircut.

DAVID: I know, I know, the haircut ...

KATIE: It haunts me, not you!

DAVID: She once called and said, "I'm watching Oprah with my girlfriends, and one went, 'Your dad's hot!'"

KATIE: That's true. I was like, "Excuse me?"

DAVID: I love that.

Your role on Melrose Place is pretty steamy, Katie.

KATIE: We don't talk business, so I've never told him this before. In the pilot I make out with a woman.

DAVID: I like that. Why not?

KATIE: I had to sit in casting to pick the girl I was going to be making out with. It was so bizarre.

DAVID: Did you kiss them all?

KATIE: No, but some of them were trying to hit on me, like, "I've kissed a girl before." I was like, "Okay, you're not getting the job."

Katie, you were raised by your mom, Sherry, and physician stepdad Richard Benedon. Did you always feel you and your dad would stay close?

KATIE: To be able to go to someone I'm genetically linked to, tell them anything and know that they're not going to judge me—it's unbelievable.

DAVID: Because I didn't raise her, I didn't have to parent her. I'm always here and totally nonjudgmental.

KATIE: It's nice when your dad can be your friend.