BEVERLY HILLS — On both the large and small screens, Anthony Anderson has done the broadest of comedies (“Me, Myself & Irene,” “Kangaroo Jack”) and the most serious of dramas (“The Departed,” “The Shield”). This season he tackles fatherhood on the Wednesday night NBC sitcom “Guys With Kids.” We chatted with Anderson about his new show, his time on “Law & Order,” and slimming down.
Q. You’ve mentioned that you had a crush on your new TV wife, Tempestt Bledsoe, when she was on “The Cosby Show.” That’s interesting, most guys crushed on Lisa Bonet.
A. She was too avant-garde. That’s what everybody wanted. I don’t conform to the norm, I like earthy. (Laughs.)
Q. When you see people from other eras and versions of “Law & Order,” is there a kind of fraternity?
A. There is, from all three shows. I never knew [“Law & Order: Criminal Intent” star] Vincent D’Onofrio personally, but I was in his neighborhood one day visiting a friend, and he’s walking down the street and there’s this instant kinship because of our association with “Law & Order.” Wherever we see one another it’s like we’re family. I think I was the 26th cast member of “Law & Order,” and they did a retrospective while we were filming one day, and it had Angie Harmon and a bunch of the guys and girls back from the earlier shows. And it looked as if they picked up right where they left off from the last time they saw one another.
Q. You look terrific. What did you do?
A. I became a type 2 diabetic. So I got serious two years ago — more serious — and just changed my eating habits: eating half of what I would normally eat, eating healthier, in the gym. And now I’m also a spokesperson for the FACE campaign: Fearless African-Americans Connected and Empowered. [R&B singer] Angie Stone and I go around to black health fairs in the inner city and educate people about type 2 diabetes, what to do to avoid it, what to do once you have it, how to live with it and not die from it, and we give our own personal testimonies.
Q. There are few family shows and fewer still that feature black families, except on cable. Do you feel it’s important to have one on a network like NBC?
A. The world has always looked like this. It’s great that we’re on cable, but we need to be on broadcast network television telling our stories and showing these positive images.Interview has been edited and condensed. Sarah Rodman can be reached at srodman@globe