As one-third of the scene-stealing Lone Gunmen trio on The X-Files, Tom Braidwood has spent eight seasons lurking in the background. But that's all about to change now that the actor and his fellow super-sleuths, Dean Haglund and Bruce Harwood, have been spun-off into their own Fox series — aptly titled The Lone Gunmen.

"It's really interesting to have to focus on it day in and day out," Braidwood tells TV Guide Online of going from a bit player to a full-fledged series regular. But the actor — who originally joined The X-Files as an assistant director — admits he's prepared if his career as a thesp doesn't blast off with Gunmen. "If they run the series and it doesn't get picked up, I'm quite certain I'll simply go back to focusing on directing and producing," he says. "But I would probably also make an effort to do auditions."

Premiering March 4 in The X-Files's Sunday at 9 pm/ET timeslot (where it will air for three weeks before being relocated to another night), The Lone Gunmen finds the three leads playing like a misguided Mission: Impossible team. And although the central characters were first introduced to viewers on The X-Files, Braidwood doesn't view Gunmen as a spin-off.

"The way the comedy has been happening and the direction the show has taken, it's really not a spin-off," he admits, referring to the show's differing tones. "It's sort of like what we do in our life when we're not helping out Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson)... And this is what we do, this is our life, which is very different than The X-Files life."

Well, one thing both shows have in common is that they both have very attractive leads — although it didn't start out that way. To beef up the babe quotient, Gunmen producers tapped comely newcomers Zuleikha Robinson and Stephen Snedden to round out the ensemble.

Braidwood, however, isn't offended by the notion that the core threesome weren't attractive enough to carry the show. Jokes the actor: "Us three are really ugly."