Looks like Dionne Warwick's not the only celeb with psychic friends! Ted Danson portrays his pal — spirit medium James Van Praagh — in CBS's Living with the Dead (airing on Sunday and Tuesday at 9-11 pm/ET). Surprisingly, the Becker star didn't think he was the right actor for the job.

"I had no desire to be part of [the miniseries] at all," the 54-year-old admits. "I said, 'No, there's my life, my private life and my thoughts... and then there's acting. I really didn't want to mix the two."

Danson — who's previously consulted Van Praagh for readings — was reluctant to have his metaphysical work distorted by TV. "When you dramatize something and Hollywood gets a hold of it, it can easily go wrong," he says. "It can become trite. It can become simplistic. It can be all of these things that make people go, 'Ugh,' and turn it off. And that would be a shame. I found that too scary to be a part of."

The Cheers alum changed his mind when another friend, Stephen Gyllenhaal, agreed to direct the four-hour mini. It features Danson as a psychic loner who solves a series of grisly murders.

"My experience with James is very, very powerful — like a two-by-four across the forehead," he declares. "I won't tell you specifics about my [personal] experience talking to James before, but I will say it involved my father, who had died six months beforehand." In this case, the medium wasn't solving a murder, merely healing an emotional rift between Danson and his late dad. "I absolutely had a powerful experience with James," he declares, "and have seen a couple dozen people have the same kind of experience."