Donnie Wahlberg's television image as a family man has worked very well for him.
Besides executive producing (with brother Mark) and appearing in A&E Network's "Wahlburgers," which has been renewed, the actor is wrapping up his fourth season and heading for a fifth on CBS' Friday drama "Blue Bloods."
In his role as NYPD detective Danny Reagan, Wahlberg is at the crux of the episodes much more often than not ... as in this week's story, revolving around the murder of an undercover cop in Danny's precinct. Such continual prominence has given Wahlberg, who recently made his directing debut on the show, a comfortable home-screen home.
"Tom Selleck and I had a talk after the show first got picked up," he tells Zap2it, "and we both were kind of happy about Friday nights at 10:00 (ET). We thought that might give us a chance to find our viewers, because if we came into one of the prime slots on all those nights where there's a lot of pressure, we might not have gotten the patience of the network."
Also, notes Wahlberg, "People started staying home on Fridays. The economy went south, and people weren't going out as much, and more were tuning into television. We sometimes think or talk about what it would be like to be on a Wednesday where maybe we could grow, and we all say, 'Nah.' I think we're happy where we are, because we really have surprised everyone."
Typically, "Blue Bloods" draws the most viewers of any series on Fridays, and the January story directed by Wahlberg - who is newly engaged to "The View's" Jenny McCarthy, and is set to reunite with the other New Kids on the Block in July for four 30th-anniversary concerts in Las Vegas - gave the series its biggest audience since its 2010 premiere.
"We all took the show because we believed we had something special," he reflects. "I really think that if 'Blue Bloods' isn't the best show on television, it's one of the better shows on television."
Photo/Video credit: CBS