'Royal Pains' Mark Feuerstein: 'I love Kelly Ripa'

kelly-ripa-mark-feuerstein-july-2012-gi.jpg Mark Feuerstein has plenty of "Royal Pains" yet to come, but otherwise, he might have thought more seriously about pursuing another job before it was filled.

The actor who plays doctor-to-the-Hamptons-wealthy Hank Lawson on the USA series -- which starts its fifth season Wednesday, June 12, with a sixth already confirmed -- has sat in as guest co-host with Kelly Ripa on the syndicated weekday program "Live," both before and after the naming of Michael Strahan as Regis Philbin's permanent successor.

It's a gig Feuerstein has enjoyed so much, he wouldn't have minded doing it more. "Doing those shows is stressful," the friendly talent admits to Zap2it, "and you always want to be good, and you always want to have fun. I love Kelly Ripa. Whatever is appropriate to have as a crush when you're a married man with children, that's what I have on Kelly Ripa.

"She is so freaking adorable, it's only because of that that I get to shine on that show if I do. And I couldn't be more jealous of Michael Strahan."

In fact, Feuerstein is happily married to writer-producer Dana Klein ( "Friends"), whose James Van Der Beek-starring "Friends With Better Lives" is among the comedy pilots being considered by CBS for next season. Feuerstein likes staying in the realm of fiction and taking on someone else's personality ... at least for the time being.

"I love acting," he maintains, "both getting to hide behind a role and expressing the best parts of myself. When that has lost its luster, which it has yet to do for me after 15 or 16 years of it, I would possibly welcome the opportunity to be a host of some kind. For now, I love that I'm getting to play a character who has comedy, drama, romance and a 'MacGyver'-like medical aspect.

"I'm not going to hang up my acting shoes yet, but should that opportunity present itself -- and it's the right one -- I would be crazy not to consider it, if it helped put a little more food on the table. And maybe allowed us to build a pool."
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