Jurnee Smollett Jurnee Smollett

Whether she's suited up as stripper-turned-lawyer Lisa Tyler on The Defenders (Wednesday, 10/9c, CBS) or submerged in teen angst as the East Dillon Lions' equipment manager Jess Merriweather on Friday Night Lights (Wednesday, 9/8c, DirecTV), Jurnee Smollett makes multitasking look good.

TV Guide Magazine: What's it like having two shows on at the same time?
Smollett: It's pretty cool. Especially because the characters couldn't be more different in age, style, demeanor. It's an opportunity to stretch. I feel so honored to have been able to jump from one to the other. I started The Defenders two days after I finished Friday Night Lights.

TV Guide Magazine: Who are you more like, Lisa or Jess?
Smollett: I'm not either one of those girls, but I think there's a common inner strength and determination that I have.

TV Guide Magazine: How is working with Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell on The Defenders?
Smollett: It is criminal how much fun we have. Sometimes it's just us laughing, and then we start improvising. 

TV Guide Magazine: What can you tell us about Friday Night Lights as it heads toward its series finale?
Smollett: People will get to see some original cast members. It's definitely bittersweet, but I think people are going to be blown away.

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