We don't want to jinx Eric Close, but it looks like the Without A Trace star finally is free of that pesky Nielsen curse. This FBI missing persons drama is his seventh TV series, and it's holding steadily in second place against ER on Thursday nights. Thus, it's faring far better than his other six shows — none of which survived past season one. In his latest tête à tête with TV Guide Online, the deliriously sweet smell of success has Close spewing clichés left and right!

"Patience is a virtue," he beams. "Good things come to those who wait. None of [my other shows] were bad projects. People liked them. They had followings, but there are so many factors that go into a show's [success], and I think one of the biggest things that's helping us is our timeslot.

"When ER goes off the air, we'll beat them," jokes the Now and Again alum. "They've been around for a really long time. But people are obviously showing us that there's a desire for something new."

Trace isn't the TV stud's only gig. For Steven Spielberg's miniseries Taken — airing weeknights on Sci Fi Channel — Close revisits the alien-invasion genre that made him a fan fave on NBC's short-lived Dark Skies. This time, though, he's on the other side of the extra-terrestrial divide, playing an alien who's out to cross-breed with earthlings. Kinky!

"The aliens have the ability to take on all sorts of different forms to lure people into their lair," he explains. "[My character] John, for example, becomes the image of this drawing on a romance novel that Catherine Dent's character is reading — and that draws her to him." So, of course, we're dying to know how the invaders would lure him in. "Who would my alien be?" Close repeats, blushing. "She would... Oh, never mind!"