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WITH AN EYE ON . . . : Greg Evigan’s resolve is to balance his ‘Tek’ series, music and family

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Greg Evigan is starting the new year with resolutions he’s determined to keep.

In addition to appearing in “TekWar,” a new USA series that premieres Saturday, he’s going to finish his second solo album. He also wants to follow through on planned camping trips with his wife of 15 years and their three kids.

Evigan recently moved his family from the San Fernando Valley to Toronto, where his new series shoots.

Fourteen hours a day on the futuristic show doesn’t leave much time for the rest of his life. However, Evigan says he’s balanced home life and work. “The formula,” he says from the “TekWar” production office, “is delegating your time the right way. There’s not a minute of the day I’m working on this show that I’m not concentrating on it. But I don’t work on the show, unless I’m in it. Once I’m off here, I’m off.”

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His work is cut out for him in the high-action “TekWar"--based on the William Shatner (yes, he of Capt. Kirk fame) novels, which also spawned four TV movies. At the focus are the adventures of ex-cop-turned-private-eye Jake Cardigan, released from cryonic jail and trying to clear his name and reunite with his family while battling “Tek” (drug) lords.

Evigan says Jake’s got more than a little James T. Kirk in him--a fact he’s certain Shatner recognizes. “Like Kirk, he’s the hero and makes the right moves,” Evigan notes. “That element is there.”

Shatner, from his San Fernando Valley office, responds: “Yes, I agree with him, since all heroes wear the same mask, as (philosopher) Joseph Campbell once told us. Jake’s in the mode of the classic hero fighting the bad guys, aided and abetted by trusty compatriots.

“Evigan carries with him the manliness and heroic proportions that I wished for in the book. He has that, plus an elfin charm,” Shatner adds.

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Jake’s a switch from Evigan’s most notable television characters, including B.J. McCay from NBC’s “B.J. and the Bear” and Joey Harris from his favorite series to date, NBC’s “My Two Dads,” in which he co-starred with “Mad About You’s” Paul Reiser.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Evigan says of the action series. “I do a lot of my own stunts. I don’t jump off 10-story buildings, but I enjoy it. I love action and the challenge of working in front of a screen that will appear on TV, but as an actor you have to create your own reality, since it is just screen while you’re performing. You have to trust the effects will be there.”

The show’s running theme, Evigan notes, is that “the drug of the future is technology. I’m a tek addict myself. No matter where you are, people are looking for something to tear them away from reality, challenge their state of mind.”

Shatner hopes “we can make the stories issue-oriented as well, that the best of the stories have the audience recognition of today’s issues, instead of a shoot ‘em up.”

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At home, besides his family, Evigan focuses on his music, which he dubs, “pop with R&B-ish; sound. It leans between R&B; and rock, not hard rock. It’s pop rock. I hate to say this, but it’s a mixture of Richard Marx, Toni Braxton and Bryan Adams.”

His songs “aren’t environmental statements, not about war. I put aside those messages for now. This is the best thing to do now. Love songs. You can dance to them and you can make love to them.”

With his still teen-idol good looks, it’s not surprising that Evigan got his start in Broadway musicals--"Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Grease"--solidifying his musical roots and interests.

Those interests now include writing--which he did on “Dads"--and directing. As Evigan puts it, “There’s a lot you can do in this business and you don’t get bored. That’s what’s great about it. There are a lot of hats to wear.”

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“TekWar” premieres Saturday at 7 p.m. and airs regularly on Monday s at 10 p.m. on USA.


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