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O’Donnell: ‘I’m Ready To Get Back To Work’

hollywoodexclusive1Chris O'Donnell is back in the limelight with the new CBS spin-off series "NCIS: Los Angeles," premiering Sept. 22, and he tells us much of the reason he joined the show is because of his family.

"I had been interested in doing television just as a general idea. I think it's an exciting format. There's some great stuff being done," notes O'Donnell. "On a personal basis, it worked well for me, too, the idea of being in one city. I've got five kids now, which is a reality of my life that I had to consider. I gotta work. I've got a lot of mouths to feed and they eat a lot."

O'Donnell admits it had also been too long since he was really pounding the pavement. "I like being busy to set an example for my kids. I came out of college and was working nonstop. Then I stopped for a while and had a bunch of kids," he recounts. "Then all of a sudden I'm sitting at home and my kids are looking at me like, 'What are you doing?' I'm like, 'I don't know what I'm doing. I think I'm ready to get back to work.' I've been real busy the last couple of years and it feels really good. I hope this show works out and we can do it for many years to come."

In the show, O'Donnell stars as a lead agent who specializes in undercover work, alongside LL Cool J, Peter Cambor and Daniela Ruah. "I'm having fun running around shooting people and driving these cars and that sort of thing. You kind of laugh that you're getting paid to do that aspect of it," he notes. "Plus, so much of being an actor is going long stretches in between projects. It gets to be boring as hell. The creative juices really start flowing when you're at it every day and you're trying different things. It's a very satisfying experience."

O'Donnell tells us he's not the least bit concerned that the show will at one point go toe to toe with the mega hit "American Idol." "I don't think they start till January or February, but I can't even begin to worry about something like that. That's something I can't control," he points out, but then jokingly adds, "You know, Paula Abdul has just joined our cast."

FROM THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT: HBO chief Richard Plepler recently made it clear that although "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" garnered less-then-spectacular ratings and isn't presently on the cable channel's schedule, they're proud of the show and intend to find a place for it down the line. CCH Pounder, however, points out that the wait has to do with more than numbers.

The show's star, Jill Scott, "has had her baby, and she wants the baby to be at least a year old before she travels, which makes all the sense of the world," says Pounder, referring to Scott's 4-month-old son with ex-boyfriend Lil John Roberts. The "No 1 Ladies'" dramas are taken from Alexander McCall Smith's popular novels about the first and only female private eye in Botswana, so travel is a must, Pounder says. "There simply is no visual substitute for Botswana. You just cannot transfer to Valencia (outside Los Angeles) that easily."

Fans are clamoring for more "No. 1 Ladies,'" and Pounder isn't surprised. "In a fun sense, they are these really, really great books, a series to love, like 'Harry Potter.'"

Pounder has more than enough on her plate in the meantime. Soon to begin shooting Fox's "Brothers" comedy, she is currently being seen as the mysterious Mrs. Frederic on Syfy's weirdly engaging "Warehouse 13." That's the series dealing with a top-secret place where the government keeps things that are too supernatural and inexplicable for the general public to know about. Pounder's husband, anthropologist Boubacar Kone, happens to be the founder of the Boribana Museum in Dakar, Senegal — a man who knows a thing or two about housing fascinating items. So we asked what he thinks about the show. "He isn't one to say, "'Oh, that will never happen,'" according to the actress. "In terms of artifacts, they are so accustomed to seeing the unusual, it doesn't transfer as really weird."

AT LONG LAST LUCK: Mark Feuerstein finally has a hit on his hands after being on the verge for years. In July, his USA show, "Royal Pains," was picked up for a second season consisting of 16 episodes. The actor tells us he's relieved to have found a show that really works. "I was on a show three years ago called 'Three Pounds' on CBS. While the show was incredibly ambitious and smart, it was very serious," recalls Feuerstein. "It was about the brain. You had to care about the nuances of the cerebral cortex in order to care about the show. Not all of America was that fascinated and that happens," he notes.

"The thing is, when you're on a network, you're going to have to service the procedural aspect a little more. On USA, they just want to make a good show. I get to act a drama, a comedy, and a romantic comedy every week. Plus, the characters are really interesting. The network's motto is 'characters welcome,' and it's true."

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


2 Responses »

  1. So happy to hear of the possibility of #1 Ladies Detective Agency back in Season 2. The show is so well done. I have DVR'd it and watched it so many times that my husband knows the shows. I am buying the DVD, and I don't want to hurry Jill Scott and the "precious" time she needs to be with her son, but I can't wait for his first birthday.......but in the meantime tell her to enjoy every moment of every day with her son. They grow so fast. Also, the show with CCH Pounder was superb, yet difficult for any mother to watch. Congrats on Ms. Pounder's nomination.

  2. Chris O'Donnell looks the best he has in a long time. He's lost weight from last year's "American Girls" movie when he was looking pretty chubby