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‘Psych’ Rolls On, Roday Works Acting Chops

hollywoodexclusive1James Roday must be feeling like a bit of a split personality at the moment — balancing his larger-than-life TV star activities with preparations for the off-Broadway unveiling of "Extinction," the play critics have deemed a surprising reminder that he's got range beyond the loveable scamp he plays on his series.

On Monday (1/25), Roday and fellow "Psych" star Dule Hill co-host "WWE Raw" as a prelude to their own winter midseason premiere on USA Network Wednesday (1/27). "John Cena, who is like the single biggest wrestling superstar today, did our show — he's on the premiere — and now Dule and I are going to do his show," explains Roday. "We don't really know what to expect, but I think it will be a lot of fun."

And then it's going to be back to the labor of love Roday is enjoying to the max these days, "Extinction" — which opens Feb. 13 at New York's Cherry Lane Theatre. He and Michael Weston of "House" play womanizing best buddies entering a dark zone in their relationship in the play by Roday's one-time NYU theater classmate Gabe McKinley. Hill is a producer on the show. Roday initially planned only to produce it for his L.A.-based Red Dog Squadron theater company, but eventually the pieces came together for him to star. "I was so glad I went for it because it was really a wonderful experience that I think I needed to have," he tells us.

"I have one of the greatest jobs in the world in terms of doing what I want to do. On 'Psych,' they've allowed me to explore all my different interests — writing, directing ... I will be indebted to them for the rest of my life. But when you're so caught up in doing a television series, playing the same character for four years, I think you lose sight of some things. To step away and do something that is so completely different — onstage, no less — you're a completely different animal. You think, 'Wow, I wasn't working every muscle like I'd convinced myself I was.'"

That said, Roday is quick to note that "Psych" starts up fifth-season production around the end of April — and he's psyched about that.

FROM THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT: Kathy Bates, who's in Garry Marshall's forthcoming "Valentine's Day" ensemble comedy, has a formidable list of directing credits on big screen ("Have Mercy") and small ("Oz," "NYPD Blue," "Everwood" and "Six Feet Under," among other shows). But she's put down her viewfinder for now. "I'm always open to it, but I haven't found a project lately that I feel I just have to direct. It takes up so much time to direct a feature," she notes. "For me, it's a question of the time commitment versus making your nut every year. Acting is where I make my money," adds the "Misery" Best Actress Oscar winner. "'Six Feet Under' worked for me because it was close to where I lived."

AMPED UP: "It's sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll — without the sex and without the drugs." That's how former "Crossing Jordan" actor Steve Valentine describes his new Disney XD "I'm In the Band" 'series — about a boy (Logan Miller) who joins up with his idols, a group of down-on-their-luck, old school, big-hair rock gods he wants to push into a comeback. Valentine is having a blast parading around in skintight rocker gear as the egomaniacal Derek Jupiter, and no wonder.

"For some reason, I know a lot of rockers," he says. "One of the first things I ever did was an Aerosmith video — 'Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees),' directed by Michael Bay. A three-minute video, and the production values were incredible. I filmed a bunch of music videos for a while, and then I stopped doing them because they didn't pay any money."

Valentine reveals that he and his band mates from the faux Iron Weasel group "secretly gather in a rehearsal studio and we try and actually jam together in the hope that, one day, we will be able to do a live performance. We lock the door and pretend to be a real band. We'll be like the Monkees five years from now." At the moment, though, although Iron Weasel looks great on TV, they're, well, not good.

"I'm a frocker — a fake rock star," is how he puts it. "For me, as soon as the wig goes on and the eyeliner goes on, I feel like I'm Derek."

FOR LAUGHS: Brian Posehn of "The Sarah Silverman Program," which returns for a third season Feb. 4, wants us to know "The chemistry is better than it's ever been" on the Comedy Central show. "I know I have more fun now because as we've continued, we've become better and better friends. We just laugh all the time, especially Steve (Agee) and I because we work together so much," says Posehn of his onscreen love interest. Silverman, who's known for pushing the envelope, certainly won't be holding back. "I wrote an episode this year with them and they don't say no to anything, or I haven't seen them say no to anything. Even if we're really pushing it, if it makes sense, they let us do it, but they don't let us be dirty just to be dirty," he adds.

While the comedian is grateful for the creative freedom, he knows he's got to enjoy the unique opportunity it while it lasts. "It's awesome, but it's tough, too. I've worked on other shows where you get that freedom. Like when I worked on 'Mr. Show,' we had the same freedom because it was HBO," recalls Posehn. "They never came to the set and never went, 'Hey, don't do that.' Then you get spoiled so when you finally move on to a network show — hopefully, not until after like eight seasons in this case — I'm going to be going, 'Oh, I miss the Sarah show.'"

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.



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