Jim Belushi has been kicking around the entertainment business since the late '70s, but not until this year has he landed on a sitcom that lasted a full season.
ABC recently picked up his new show, "According to Jim," for the spring, making it the only new comedy on the network to have been spared the ax.
"I wasn't jumping up and down with excitement," Belushi said. "I thought I would be. But I actually went to a different place: more responsibility, make the scripts better, really explore issues and people, place."
"According to Jim" is built around Belushi, who plays a lovable husband and father of three. Courtney Thorne-Smith ("Melrose Place") plays his wife.
The show launched earlier this year to so-so reviews and okay ratings, but on a network where much of the lineup is in a slump, "According to Jim" has been able to survive.
That's a far cry from Belushi's past series, none of which made it past the network's initial order of several episodes.
"We're midway through the season and still discovering. That's what's great," he said. "We're finding what works, what doesn't work. We're hoping to take it farther and father. Now we've got that opportunity."
After years of the typical actor's life, jumping from part to part and place to place, Belushi said he feels that he has found a home on the sitcom.
"I've found my place within the industry," he said.
He's also found a new maturity, something he said his wife has noted. "I'm just getting a little older," he added. "I have all the money I need to make, now I'm just having more fun."
With that maturity also comes the ability to let others share the spotlight, something he was uncomfortable doing years ago when he appeared on "Second City" or "Saturday Night Live."
Now he wants everybody to get a laugh, he said.
While he doesn't write "According to Jim," he does offer direction when it comes to issues dealing with marriage or children.
"I put the 'According' into 'According to Jim,'" he said. "They write the scripts. When I read them, we have very heavy discussions about going deeper. What is the truth? What is honesty in the story?"
Working on the Los Angeles-based series also allows him to have breakfast with his daughter and spend time with his family on weekends.
"This is the life - and I've earned it," he said. "As an actor, you go through your career and there are certain moments where everything fits together. You look for those moments. I feel that this is one. This character is perfect for who I am."
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