July 07, 2003 12:00 PM

ORLANDO JONES

The actor and former 7-Up pitchman, 36, hit the late-night circuit in June with the half-hour chatfest The Orlando Jones Show, airing weeknights at 11 p.m. on FX.

ON HIS LATE-NIGHT LEAP: “Believe me, I had some fears when somebody said the words ‘talk show.’ I felt late night was a guy sitting behind a desk with a cityscape behind him. [The show’s music producer] Dallas Austin said, ‘Why don’t we do what’s really happening in your living room every day?’ It’s me here, and then Gwen Stefani drops by because [Dallas] is producing her, or Denzel [Washington] is here because he’s a friend…. That’s not uncommon in my house in the course of a week.”

ON HOW HE’LL CHANGE THE GENRE: “I watch Leno, Letterman, Conan—all of them have been cool to me. [But] there’s a vast number of interviews where it’s clear those guys don’t have a clue who they’re talking to. They talk to 50 Cent because they’re told that he’s sold a bunch of records. I heard his album months before it came out—that’s the world I live in.”

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