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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For former "The X-Files" star David Duchovny, the television show's slogan "The Truth Is Out There" had extra meaning during his final year on the Fox network playing an FBI agent tracking space aliens on Earth.
"The truth" meant finding an opportunity to portray a character grounded in real life, while "out there" meant the realm of cable television, where Duchovny's new program, "Californication," airs on Showtime.
This Sunday "Californication" will compete for a Golden Globe award for best television comedy or musical after just one season on the air, and Duchovny is up for best actor in a comedy or musical.
"I was really happy for the show and everyone involved," Duchovny, 47, told Reuters. "The thing about any award show is it's about exposure bringing new people to our program."
"Californication" tells of the everyday life of novelist Hank Moody (Duchovny), who lives in Los Angeles and is divorced from his wife. Yet, Moody remains in love with her and they share duties raising a teen-age daughter.
In its first season, Moody was in a writer's funk because his best-selling book had been turned into a silly Hollywood movie that became a hit. He finally produces a new novel only to have it stolen by a young girl who seduced him.
Not surprisingly, "Californication" covers sexual material, shows nudity and uses obscenities, all of which can be done on cable networks but not broadcasters like Fox that are held to stricter content standards on public airwaves.
Duchovny said that toward the end of the ninth and final season of "X-Files" in 2002, he had grown tired of hearing critics laud cable shows such as "The Sopranos" because of their use of street language and real-life situations.
"I used to kind of bemoan the fact they were cheating. They had the richness of the English language and we did not. Now that I get to, it's fun," Duchovny said.
Duchovny shot to stardom in the early 1990s as Fox Mulder, the plain-spoken FBI agent who probed strange cases of aliens visiting Earth. It was a huge hit, earning many awards and nominations for the show and Duchovny.
When it ended, Duchovny kept working but not on network television, as might have been expected from an A-list star.
He took a small role in HBO's "Sex and the City," worked in some low-budget and art movies such as Steven Soderbergh's "Full Frontal" and wrote and directed "House of D," a coming-of-age story about a boy living in New York City.
"The fact that I was in a very mainstream (television) hit was never by design in any way," he said.
Before "X-Files," he won acclaim for offbeat roles such as a transvestite on the television series "Twin Peaks." He also was the narrator for erotic series, "Red Shoes Diaries," and in two decades as an actor, he has shown his talent in a variety of dramas and comedies.
He said Moody appealed to him because the character has a dual nature as a deeply flawed man who also is charming, likable and armed with a sharp wit.
"I've been saying for years, 'I'm funny,"' Duchovny said.
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Xavier Briand