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The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Mark Feuerstein

16 Nov

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

Today, it’s time to celebrate an actor who after fifteen years working in television and a reputation as someone whose presence predestined a show for failure is finally experiencing his biggest success of his career.

He first appeared towards the very end of daytime soap Loving in 1995, its last year, and then in eight episodes of the second season of Caroline in the City.  He played Joe DeStefano, a veterinarian who dated Lea Thompson’s Caroline (I originally wrote Tea Leoni – I have gotten The Naked Truth and Caroline and the City confused for years, but that doesn’t make it okay) and almost moved in with her before admitting to sleeping with an ex.  He appeared in a “unknown number” of Guiding Light episodes before getting his first shot as a main cast member in 1997’s Fired Up.  The series starred Sharon Lawrence and Leah Remini as a boss and assistant who, after getting fired, decide to start their own business as equals.  The show co-starred Breaking Bad’s Jonathan Banks, Thomas F. Wilson, better known as Biff from Back to the Future, Psych’s Timothy Osmundson and Feuerstein as Danny Reynolds, a bartender and Remini’s brother.  The show debuted in the prime post-Seinfeld 9:30 spot on Thursdays on NBC and lasted parts of two seasons before getting the ax.

He was back on NBC the very next TV season as part of the main cast of Conrad Bloom, a sitcom which although it aired on network TV doesn’t even have a wikipedia page.  Feuerstein starred as the titular Bloom, a New York ad man.  He co-starred with Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood fame.  It lasted one season.  He appeared in an episode of Sex and the City, titled “They Shoot Single People, Don’t They,” where he played an opthomologist, Josh, who dates Miranda, but causes her to fake her orgasms.  At the turn of the century, he was in an episode of Ally McBeal and TV movies An American Daughter and The Heart Department.  He appeared in five episodes of Once and Again as Leo Fisher, Karen’s younger boyfriend (I don’t really know who Karen is either, but if it helps, she’s Billy Campbell’s ex in the show).

He was in seven episodes of The West Wing as Cliff Calley, a Republican, who nevertheless is talked into taking the Director of Legislative Affairs job for the Bartlett White House.  He got his next starring chance again on NBC with sitcom Good Morning, Miami.  Feuerstein played Jake Silver, a producer who takes on the challenge of moving to Miami to resurrect a low-rated morning show.  His main romantic lead is Ashley Williams, best otherwise known as Victoria the cupcake girl in How I Met Your Mother and Feuerstein’s mother is played by The Bob Newhart Show star Suzanne Pleshette.  Another berth on NBC’s must see TV lineup didn’t help, as the show was largely unpopular and lasted two seasons.  He appeared in an episode of The Closer and one of Law & Order, as a suspect in season 16’s “Bible Story.”

He was in an episode of Masters of Horror and then in his next main cast role, 3 lbs.  3 lbs was a medical drama co-starring Stanley Tucci.  Feuerstein played a brain surgeon who was Tucci’s protégé.  The show lasted all of eight episodes on CBS in the fall of 2006.  Finally, in 2009, Feuerstein hit upon major success as the star of USA’s Royal Pains.  He plays Dr. Hank Lawson, a burnt out surgeon who gets fired from his big time hospital job in New York City and moves out to the Hamptons with his brother to start a concierge medical practice, going to people’s homes to treat them. “Some doctors still make house calls” goes the slogan.  The show quickly became one of the highest rated shows on basic cable and was recently renewed for its fourth season.