Actress also directs and exec produces CBS series

Jennifer Love Hewitt may be the ultimate multihyphenate.

First, there’s her work on CBS’ “Ghost Whisperer,” in which she stars as the central character, exec produces and on occasion directs. Then there’s the 10-issue comicbook anthology, “Jennifer Love Hewitt’s The Music Box,” which was released in November, and her first book, “The Day I Shot Cupid,” due this month from Hyperion. And now she’s preparing to direct a musicvideo for the band Switchfoot.

“There are so many people who go their whole lives and never get to live one of their dreams, and I’m living all of mine,” Hewitt says. “I’m in a business that allows me to do all of the things that I love. If that doesn’t get you through a long day, I don’t know what will.”

Good thing, because most of her days on the “Ghost Whisperer” set are 14 hours or longer.

After building a resume that included co-starring roles in the Golden Globe-winning drama series “Party of Five” and the box office hit “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” Hewitt was tapped for the “Whisperer” lead, playing the owner of an antiques store who has the ability to communicate with earthbound spirits. When the series was picked up, she also signed on as producer to have a greater say in the storyline and where it would take her character.

“That was my main goal at first, but then it turned into the process of producing,” she says.

Last season, Hewitt added directing to her duties, helming the “Body of Water” episode. And at the start of the current fifth season, she joined Laurie McCarthy, Kim Moses, Ian Sander and P.K. Simonds as exec producer while also returning to the director’s chair for the premiere, “Birthday Presence,” and again for the 100th episode, “Implosion,” which airs Friday.

It has been a natural progression for the actress, whose first job was a stint on the Disney Channel’s “Kids Incorporated” starting in 1989.

“I’ve been in this business for 21 years, and you sort of evolve,” she says. “You go, ‘OK, this has been great, but I want to do something more.’”

Hewitt’s success in several arenas does not come as a surprise to Sander, who is working his eighth hourlong drama series.

“She’s the center of the show and has really taken on that mantle in many ways,” he says. “It’s a big challenge (to exec produce, direct and star in a series). I don’t think it’s an accident that very few people have done it.”

In the future, Hewitt would like to balance her projects between acting and directing or a combination of the two, and she hopes to produce them all — continuing down the path she’s been on with “Ghost Whisperer.”

“You don’t realize how hard the other jobs are that go into pulling it all together,” she says. “I now have a greater appreciation for what everyone does, and all of the moving parts that it takes to get to the point where I can walk on the set as an actor.”

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