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Say, isn’t that guy...? Being recognized is his new adventure (sarah michelle gellar mention)

Danny Hooley

Friday 17 March 2006, by Webmaster

Clark Gregg is the classic example of the "Hey, isn’t he ...?" type of character actor that people spot on the street and can’t quite place.

Gregg plays the ex-husband of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character on the new series "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (CBS, 9:30 p.m. Mondays).

"Believe me, it’s my life," Gregg says. "Sometimes, lately, people will recognize me from some movie or something. But for years, it’s just been, people think they went to high school or something with me."

Unless they went to Chapel Hill High School in the late 1970s — nope. And if early reviews and ratings for "Old Christine" hold true, name recognition won’t be a problem for Gregg for long.

Gregg, 43, moved to Chapel Hill when he was in seventh grade. He graduated from Chapel Hill High in 1980.

Then he moved on. He learned acting at New York University from teachers such as Pulitzer Prize-winning writer David Mamet ("Glengarry Glen Ross") and William H. Macy. His classmates included Felicity Huffman ("Desperate Housewives") and Kristen Johnson ("3rd Rock From the Sun"). Members of that circle founded the off-Broadway Atlantic Theater Company in the 1980s, and Gregg remains active in it.

He has amassed numerous non-leading film credits, including "State and Main," "In Good Company" and the upcoming "The Air I Breathe," a noir thriller with an impressive ensemble cast that includes Sarah Michelle Gellar, Andy Garcia, Brendan Fraser, Kevin Bacon, Forest Whitaker and Julie Delpy.

His father, Robert Gregg, is an Episcopal minister and historian who taught for a while at Duke Divinity School.

Having moved around a lot as a kid, Gregg stayed on the move as an adult. He did the play "A Few Good Men" on Broadway from November 1989 though January 1991, and he says it was the longest-running job he has had by a good seven months.

Now that he is in his 40s and the father of a 4-year-old girl (and husband of actress Jennifer Grey), he likes the idea of job longevity.

He may get it. "The New Adventures of Old Christine" — which features 10-year-old Raleigh resident Trevor Gagnon in its cast — is off to a good start. The Village Voice, The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others, have weighed in with positive reviews. And preliminary overnight Nielsen ratings for Monday were promising.

A special 8:30 p.m. pilot premiere of "Old Christine" came in second with a rating of 7.9. The winner in the 8 p.m. hour was NBC’s game show "Deal or No Deal" with a 9.3 rating.

The next hour, CBS took the No. 1 spot with "Two and a Half Men," followed by another episode of "Old Christine" at 9:30 p.m., its regular time slot. The show held on to the No. 1 spot with a 9.8 rating. No. 2 in the 9 p.m. hour was the hourlong Fox hit "24," with a 8.0 rating.

So does Gregg think "Christine" may get people saying his name when they see him in the street, instead of just "It’s that guy"?

"That would be nice," Gregg says, then thinks about it for a second. "No, actually, I kind of like ’it’s that guy’-ness."