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EntertainmentColumnistsVerne Gay

ON TV: It'll be hard not to join this 'Entourage'

THE SHOW "Entourage"

WHERE|WHEN Season premiere, 10 p.m. Sunday on HBO

REASON TO WATCH Nothing else worth watching on HBO anymore.... Ari Gold

(Jeremy Piven).... No more "Medellin" story line.... How many reasons do you

need?

CATCHING UP At the end of the fourth season, "Medellin" - Vince's

long-aborning indie flick - is stillborn at Cannes, and the film's rights are

sold for $1.

WHAT SUNDAY'S EPISODE IS ABOUT Vince (Adrian Grenier) has an "Ishtar" on

his hands with "Medellin," in which - as Richard Roeper in his TV review notes

- the headliner is dressed in a "fat suit with bad makeup that makes him look

like the love child of Jiminy Glick and a case of Twinkies." But the star, with

Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), is roughing it on a beach in Mexico, where for $79 a

day they lead an existence that makes the word "sybaritic" feel inadequate.

Meanwhile, Eric (Kevin Connolly) and Ari are worried, while Drama (Kevin

Dillon) is obsessed with an ongoing virtual relationship with Paris-based

Jacqueline, whom he met at Cannes. A slasher pix producer calls Ari with an

"offer-pending-a-meeting" to get Vince for his newest movie, "Danger Beach," on

the condition that he and Vince have lunch the following day in L.A. Ari, Eric

and Drama head south where Ari explains that "an 'offer pending a meeting' is

what happens when you make an -- movie." E prevails on a reluctant Vince, and

the star is at a table the next day with the producer.

BOTTOM LINE "Entourage" - at least in original episodes - has been off the

air for one solid year, but when that title song from Jane's Addiction kicks

in, it's like an old friend calling - only this time, the friend seems

worthier, and his stories more interesting. Vince in adversity is, in fact, a

more absorbing character than Vince as king of the world (a little like Ari in

the first and second seasons). As they say in Hollywood, and maybe new-age

therapy, he has to relocate his "core," and this season, that journey of

self-discovery is a blast.

GRADE: A.

FIFTH-SEASON CAMEOS AND GUEST STARS Bow Wow, as Charlie, aspiring actor and one

of Eric's only clients at his new management firm; NBC-Universal entertainment

boss Ben Silverman; and, in other episodes this month, Leighton Meester as

Justine Chapin, although onetime Vince girlfriend looks nothing like Blair

Waldorf of "Gossip Girl"; and Fran Drescher and Kevin Pollak, aka the Levines,

who book a struggling Vince to sing at their daughter's Sweet 16 party. Oh,

Tony Bennett and the cast of "The View," too.

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