Professionally speaking, Kevin Connolly is occupying two worlds at once.
The former “Entourage” co-star is reprising his Hollywood-agent character Eric “E” Murphy in the now-filming movie sequel to the 2004-11 HBO series. At the same time, he’s ramping up for his premiere in the CBS sitcom “Friends With Better Lives” following the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” Monday, March 31.
“We wrapped ‘Friends With Better Lives’ in November,” Connolly tells Zap2it, “and ‘Entourage’ just started this week, so I’ve had the time to separate the two. Then again, it’s been 10 years of ‘Entourage,’ so it’s something you can almost do in your sleep at this point — whereas with ‘Friends With Better Lives,’ you’re still challenged and still learning things about who these characters are.”
Connolly says reuniting with “Entourage” cronies Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara, plus Jeremy Piven — who won three consecutive Emmy Awards as maniacally driven talent agent Ari Gold — is “amazing. We’ve been off the air for about two-and-a-half years, but we had long hiatuses between seasons, so it’s not really that different.
“It’s like having extended one of those breaks. Everybody’s exactly the same and up to the same tricks, so not much has changed. If anything, the people are grateful to be back, and I think everyone realizes it’s a special opportunity. I mean, how many shows have done eight seasons and a movie? Few can say that, so everybody’s locked in and enjoying the ride.”
“Friends With Better Lives” gives Connolly what he considers his “first adult role,” with Majandra Delfino (“Roswell”) as his wife in an ensemble cast that also includes James Van Der Beek and actress-model Brooklyn Decker. Some might say the show’s basic premise echoes that of “How I Met Your Mother,” but Connolly hesitates to make that analogy … for now, anyway.
“I wouldn’t want to put that kind of pressure on us, or disrespect them in that way,” he maintains. “Having said that, I believe the target audience is similar — and maybe five years from now, or sometime down the road, it would be fair to make that comparison.”
“Friends With Better Lives” premieres on CBS on March 31 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.