Will Jimmy Smits win The West Wing's upcoming fake Democratic presidential nomination? We're guessing that's pretty much a yes, though NBC's making viewers wait until the sixth-season finale on April 6 for full confirmation. But more importantly, do Smits' fans — who by then will have enjoyed him for 18 of this season's 22 episodes — need to worry whether he'll return for WW's seventh (and possibly final) year?

"All of us players who have been involved this season will be part of next season, in some form or another," Smits confirms. Regarding his chances of beating out Alan Alda to succeed Martin Sheen as the prez, he says, "My hiatus will be a little bit like, 'Hmm... I wonder, wonder, wonder.' I'm OK anyway it goes. The way [executive producer] John Wells set it up, there's so much fodder for story lines that could happen, and we're all up for that."

Smits' fans everywhere just let out a collective "Phew!" But what does this mean for his series-development deal with ABC? "It's definitely in place," Smits says. "I've got my offices at Touchstone. The deal is comprised [sic] in such a way that it doesn't kick in until after The West Wing is over."

The 49-year-old actor plans to spent his aforementioned WW hiatus meeting with various writers and producers about prospective star vehicles for himself. So has he any good post-Wing TV projects ahead of him? "There's a couple of things that really look good," Smits teases, "but you know I'm not gonna talk about them."