'Sopranos' Star Makes Good with 'Joey'

03/29/2004 at 10:26 AM EST

Call it "How you doin'?" meets "fuhgeddaboudit."

"Friends" star Matt LeBlanc has found a sibling for his character Joey Tribbiani on the upcoming sitcom "Joey," a spinoff of NBC's long-running series. Drea De Matteo, one of the stars of HBO's Mob drama "The Sopranos," has signed on to play Gina, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Unlike "Friends," which was set in New York around a large cast, "Joey" focuses on the relationship between Tribbiani and Gina, after Joey has relocated to Los Angeles. Joey and Gina reportedly share some similar traits, including a knack for hitting it off with members of the opposite sex.

But Gina, a hairdresser who lives with her son, is portrayed as a smart, strong character. That's a change from the role of Adriana that De Matteo plays on "The Sopranos." As the fiancee of Tony Soprano's cousin Christopher (Michael Imperioli), De Matteo is a naïve and needy woman who falls into a trap as an FBI informant.

De Matteo's role of Gina will not interfere with the sixth and final season of "The Sopranos," which has yet to be filmed, says the Hollywood Reporter.

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