From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
sexiest newcomer
JAMES DENTON

AGE: 41
STATUS: Married, with a son
Why we'd like to see Desperate Housewives' mysterious plumber move into our neighborhood

He can fix things: "Luckily I do all of my own home improvement and renovations," he says.

He'd fit in with the commuters: He didn't begin acting until he was 28. Before that he was an ad salesman in Nashville.

He's not a showboat: "He's not like, 'Look at me, I'm here,'" says costar Marcia Cross. "He's just the opposite; he is just quiet and unassuming, with something really solid at the core and very deep".

All the excitement he'd provide: A lot more friends are saying, 'Hey, I need 12 autographed pictures for all the women at my office,' " he says. "It's mind-boggling."

sexiest import
GAEL GARCIA BERNAL

AGE: 26
STATUS: Single
IMAGINE THIS: The Mexican actor's magnetic turn as Che Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries was anticipated by the little known Latin American Revolutionary's Guide to the Movies, 1968: "If the time should come that the life of a martyr to the great cause should be portrayed in a motion picture, then he must be played by someone really sexy. This will inspire the people! If the revolutionary happens already to be sexy, as was Che, then the actor must be supersexy! His eyes should blaze with the flame of freedom! It will do well for the box office if they also blaze with the poetry of love. And if he looks good in a swimsuit, or even drag, that is not bad either." (This applies to Bernal's other major performance, in Bad Education.) Lastly, "he must be sexier than Fidel Castro, or else why bother?" Done.

sexiest spinoff
MATT LEBLANC

AGE: 37
STATUS: Married, with a 9-month-old daughter and a stepson and stepdaughter.

Think of it as a high-stakes game of The Cheese Stands Alone. All the other Friends are gone, headed off on whatever big projects their fame and clout allow (movies! HBO series! home-makeover show!), and the one left in the prime-time spotlight once crowded with Chandler and Monica and Phoebe and the rest is Joey. Dumb, lovable Joey—who you wouldn't think could carry a book on his head, let alone a sitcom on his back. But we're betting on Matt LeBlanc, whose openly handsome face allows him to play stupid without looking like a fool. You never see a light-bulb go off in his head—no, it's in his smile.

sexiest band
MAROON 5

AGES: 25-27
STATUS: All single

The Maroon 5 Commandments:

1. Thou shalt make hot videos. The steamy "She Will Be Loved" starring Kelly Preston has set the band on fire.

2. Thou shalt write what you know. Their triple-platinum Songs About Jane CD was inspired by an ex-girlfriend of lead vocalist Adam Levine.

3. Thou shalt remain grounded. "We're trying not to let it get to our heads," says Levine. "We were raised too well," says keyboardist Jesse Carmichael.

4. Thou shalt spurn groupies. "It's not appealing at all to me," says bass player Mickey Madden. "We hold ourselves to pretty high standards in terms of respect for women," says drummer Ryan Dusick.

5. Thou shalt honor thy bandmates. "The dynamic is like a family or marriage," says Carmichael. Adds guitarist James Valentine: "If we had separate dressing rooms, we'd all end up probably in the same one, hanging out."

sexiest boy to man
JASON BATEMAN

Have you made the transition from cute kid actor to handsome grown-up star? Take this two-part test!

1. Are you currently appearing on a sitcom and not as yourself in a camp cameo?
Yes. Now 35, the former teen star of 80s shows like Silver Spoons and The Hogan Family gives a terrific martini-dry performance as the only sane character in Arrested Development, FOX's groundbreaking satire about a very corrupt family business. "Most people retire after 25 years in this business. I got to start over."

2. Do screaming girls still chase you?
No. "My fans all have teenage girls of their own now—so that's a little disconcerting. I don't have any crazy fan encounters anymore. They walk now instead of run, and they're very kind."

If you answered "yes" to (1) and "no" to (2), you have succeeded. Congratulations, Jason Bateman!

sexiest vulnerable guy
MARK RUFFALO

AGE: 37
STATUS: Married
RUFF STUFF: An actor who's rumpled, crumpled and soft, yet strangely warm, strangely clinging—like some great manly gift that unexpectedly tumbled out of the drier.
ON CRITICS' RADAR: Since he played Laura Linney's troubled brother in You Can Count on Me, he was cast as a conventional romantic lead (opposite Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30), then had his heart broken—no, gently crushed—in We Don't Live Here Anymore and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in which he had a goofy, happy moment hopping around on a bed in white underwear. In life, he's strong: "A friend once said that if you dropped me in the jungle with piano wire and a toothpick, I'd come out driving a Land Rover," he says.
AN ADMISSION: He doesn't have a knack for choosing gifts. "Once I gave my wife a diamond pendant," he says, "and she started crying. Then she said, 'I'm crying because I hate it. I can't believe you would pick this out for me!' "

sexiest courtroom star
TAYE DIGGS

AGE: 33
STATUS:Married
WHAT THE KEVIN HILL TOOK SO LONG?
Taye Diggs should have had his own show ages ago. As a swinging single lawyer who inherits a baby girl, he's "definitely a television star," raved Washington Post critic Tom Shales. "If this vehicle doesn't carry him merrily to the top, then another one will." Happily, his show is boosting UPN's Wednesday night ratings, garnering him a full season pick-up.
LOVE AND MARRIAGE: Diggs wed actress Idina Menzel (Broadway's Wicked) one year ago. As for other couples, "I love to know what's going on with Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz," he says. Such candor is typical—and disarming, notes Kevin Hill costar Michael Michelle. "When five or six women are talking, he rolls right in and offers his male opinion. If you ask a question, he'll give you an honest answer. That's sexy."

sexiest critics' darling
DON CHEADLE

AGE: 40
STATUS: Father of two girls with Bridgid Coulter, his partner of 12 years. "Braiding my daughters' hair is probably the most impressive thing I've done." COMING SOON TO A THEATER NEAR YOU: He's starring in three films opening in December: Ocean's Twelve, The Assassination of Richard Nixon and Hotel Rwanda, which is predicted to land him a top-slot Oscar nomination.
SPECIAL SKILLS: "I'm both a talker and a listener. I'm the son of a psychologist father and an educator mother—so I can do both." He can do everything, if you listen to Sophie Okonedo, his costar in Rwanda: "He's the perfect man—incredibly intelligent, talented, generous and funny."

sexiest TV tool guy
TY PENNINGTON

Work order for the perfect contractor:

1. Take lanky, laid-back, endearingly goofy carpenter from Trading Spaces and make him host of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, renovating homes for needy families. "Seeing people respond to their neighbors and help out humbles me," says Pennington, 40.

2. Nail him down for Sears commercials that actually make shopping with the family look fun.

3. Plug ears. For his one-man band Barney, "I wear a suit full of Christmas lights and perform a combination of reggae, country and hip-hop," he says. "And I sing—if you can call it that."

4. Begin project. Besides girlfriend Andrea and Monty Python movies, "being creative makes me happy," says the Atlanta native, who will debut his own line of furniture this spring. "I use oils and acrylics. When my 15 minutes of fame is over, I hope to retire to a little shop somewhere and just make paintings and sculptures."

5. Hope fervently that doesn't happen anytime soon.

sexiest bloke
COLIN FIRTH

Wednesday 24 November Wild joy.
After approx. 42 months, 2 weeks and 120 hours, Colin Firth back onscreen in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason as dreamy barrister Mark Darcy. You do remember Colin, darling? That super-duper, top-notch British thesp who slums in those Bridget Jones films? You can't have forgotten that steamy wet-shirt business in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice? (v.v. good) Right, then. The no-fancying-smug-marrieds policy is in tatters. Divine C.F. is 44, already coupled, three delicious sons. But so bloody what? Even he's come round to admitting he's not so starchy as chap he plays. "I'm not so disciplined as Darcy, and he is mortified at emotional demonstrations," said C.F. "I'm not that quiet." Hmmmm. That's it, old girl. Besotted. Can antifat drug be far behind?

sexiest sidekick
JERRY O'CONNELL

AGE: 30
STATUS: Single
FORENSIC REPORT FOR: Male, Caucasian
Location of body: Detective Woody Hoyt on NBC's Crossing Jordan; soon to be everywhere else as new face of Perry Ellis campaign.

Physical evidence:
•"I've seen him in his underwear, and it is very impressive," says costar Jill Hennessy.
•Dating actress-model Rebecca Romijn.

Analysis:
•Is thinking about "settling down," O'Connell says. "Next up is kids."
•Close examination reveals "warm manner and sense of humor," says Hennessy.

Conclusion: Perfect specimen. "I'm not medicated," he says, "and I really don't get into bad moods."

sexiest hipster
ANDRE 3000

AGE: 29
STATUS: Single. "What's cooler than being cool?" That's the question Andre 3000 asks on the hit single "Hey Ya!" Answer: "Ice cold." With ensembles that include platinum wigs and ski boots, the taller half of the Grammy Award-winning rap duo Outkast has become one of the best—and most conspicuously—dressed men in the world.

A few basics on getting started: He loves..."Hats and silk scarves. I have a couple from the '60s and '70s.... I like to spend money on socks and boxers. Because socks are like a cool little detail that make an outfit fun. And boxers—because they look cool and you feel great when you take your clothes off and you have on cool boxers...." And on a woman? "Pretty, cute panties. And boots. Boots are always sexy. Right at knee length—above-calf boots."

But ultimately he's not sure that "ice cold" cuts it. "I gotta learn the heart lessons. I have a great appreciation for women's anatomy, but it's the deeper stuff that I gotta learn. It's the same in songwriting. It's easy to write a jam that people want to dance to. The hardest songs to write are the deep, beautiful, pretty songs."

sexiest savior
JIM CAVIEZEL

AGE: 36
STATUS: Married.
He starred in the greatest story ever told and the most controversial movie ever made, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, in which he was brutally flogged, kicked and tortured on the road to crucifixion—a boyish, good-looking star reduced to a repulsive carcass of ripped flesh. The box office prophets foretold flop, but the movie's worldwide gross to date is upward of $600 million. "Everyone was thinking it was going to be a bust. I felt redeemed." And met the Pope. "I still put my pants on the same way," he says. "I still walk on my pool twice a day. A woman in Mexico wanted me to heal her. But I can't heal anybody. I just put my hand on her and said, 'Thank you for seeing the film.' "

sexiest overachiever
ZACH BRAFF

AGE: 29
STATUS: Single. He's 6 feet and beanpole gangly and refuses to believe he's sexy. "I laughed when I saw the list of names for the People's Choice Awards. And the nominees are Brad Pitt, Jude Law and...Zach Braff.' Very surreal."

THIS YEAR ALONE: Wrote, directed and starred in the surprise indie hit Garden State—yes, he grew up in New Jersey—while juggling bedside consults as Dr. J.D. Dorian on NBC's Scrubs. Impressive!

SO WHAT IS SEXY? The Eiffel Tower? "Is it? No, more, uh, romantic." Heather Graham? This season, he says, "I directed my first episode. Fortunately for me, there was a scene involving my character making out with her. I ordered many, many takes and retakes."

sexiest stitcher-upper
JULIAN MCMAHON

AGE: 36
STATUS: Divorced, with a daughter. As dashing plastic surgeon Christian Troy on FX's Nip/Tuck, he's made graphic procedures must-see TV. Next year he'll star as Doctor Doom in the Fantastic Four. This is a man who treasures a teddy bear given to him by his first girlfriend, and yet, says McMahon, "women are very intimidated by me. They believe I'm Dr. Troy and I'm going to come back with a response like, 'You know, honey? You really need a nose job.' "