Today, The Bold and the Beautiful aired it’s milestone 6,000th episode. And to mark the occasion, the daytime series that of late has been doing an extraordinary job of tackling socially relevant issues of the human condition, added another thought-provoking and informative episode on lung cancer. If you missed it, you can view it here at CBS.com. At its center is Susan Flannery whose Stephanie Forrester has been dealing with stage four lung cancer, and Jack Wagner as Nick Marone, who recently found out he had a spot on his lung. Throughout the episode real life cancer patients and survivors are brought into the mix as sort of an intervention for Nick, and we hear about the emotional and physical toll this disease takes on people from all walk’s of life.
On-Air On-Soaps was at CBS this morning on the set of B&B for their 6,000th episode celebration which was streamed live on the Internet, and had the opportunity to speak with Jack Wagner regarding this important story and where he would like to see Nick head in the future. Here is our “quickie” interview with Jack!
When they said they were going to give your character Nick possible lung cancer, and thus making Nick and you a big part of the 6,000th episode, what went through your mind?
JACK: That my two sons and I have to go out and apply for jobs at Carl’s Jr.! Because when you get a spot on your lung on a soap opera, it’s kind of curtains (laughs). So we are now all working at Carl’s Jr’s… kidding!
Were you given much of a heads up by B&B head honcho, Brad Bell that this was going to be the story he was planning on telling for Nick?
JACK: I did get a heads up about it, but I did not know where they were going to go with it, of course. I was really grateful to be selected to drive this storyline with Susan Flannery. Today’s episode, episode 6,000, had no script. So it was really ground-breaking in that Susan and I were in character, but the people who were interviewed with cancer for our group therapy session that we were trying to put together, they were themselves, and we were in character with no scripted show at all!
It was really a Nick intervention spurred on by Stephanie that seemed to drive the show…
JACK: Exactly, but it wasn’t really set up for that. Ultimately, it turned out to be that and it was a nice bond between the Stephanie character and the Nick character. They really meet at this level of; from the heart and are kind of there for each other. It was very different from what I have done on this show previously, in terms of babies behind my back, or a whose baby is it type of storyline.
Do you feel the 6,000th episode, and Nick having a spot on his lung, showed or allowed a more sensitive side to Nick’s character?
JACK: I think what it showed and what I was happy about was the part about the process of recovery. I have been around that for quite a few years now and the dynamic that people face; the real tough battle of trying to quit something you know is legal. It’s not like you are drinking walking around the streets. So this is smoking, which gives you some relief for three or four minutes, and it kills you. And when you try to quit anything that is an addiction it’s hard. You know, Nick was able to go through all the different phases which were (1) This isn’t happening to me (2) The denial of, “Well I don’t have a problem” (3) “Wow, this is really a possible problem” (4) The reality and acceptance of, “You know what? My kid could get sick.” And, by the end of it, acceptance.
And the cigar smoking, do you Jack smoke cigars?
JACK: I will smoke one cigar a month or something like that, and maybe one or two cigarettes a month. And even after I do it, I still have that taste of going, “Well, that wasn’t quite as good as I thought it was going to be.” But it still kind of lingers there, you know.
Was Nick’s cigar smoking just brought in at this point for the purpose of this story?
JACK: No, he actually smoked from the beginning of his time on the B&B canvas. When Nick came on the show, he was a drinker, smoker, with a beard and all of that, and then slowly tapered off and went into the fashion world where they cleaned him up a little bit. Then CBS Standard and Practices did not want the smoking anymore, but then when this story came along they wanted him to start smoking again. Nick has always been very clear that he was a cigar guy on his boat.
What would you like to see happen to Nick in the next phase of his life on B&B?
JACK: You know, I have got to be honest. There is always that unanswered question with Nick and Brooke and it really was hit upon with the last baby and the insemination and all of that. I think to revisit that somehow for the Brooke/Nick fans would be great.
There is something electric and fun to watch with you and Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) on-screen together. You are both very strong, sexy performers!
JACK: That is kind of it, to revisit something with Brooke and Nick, where it’s something that has some real sexual energy to it, not just a small story arc. But it would need to be something to bring back that chemistry that people seem to love. Maybe that will be down the road.
With all your amazing list of television credits and that you’re a household name, why have you continued to stay with B&B all these years?
JACK: One of the reasons I came back to daytime was that my boys were where they were in their lives, and I was going through a divorce. You know I was married once, now divorced once. I really made a commitment that I would put my boys in a lifestyle that is the best for them. So I did kind of make that commitment. So, I am not going to now start to jump out of it and start auditioning. I like having security in my life. So it really was about my family. I have a boy who has two more years in high school, so I will be here for sure at least that long, I hope. And that was my commitment, to do the best I could to make this role as interesting as possible, and really fulfill my commitment as a father.
What makes Susan Flannery so amazing to work with, and what made this episode so special that aired today? She was so real in it.
JACK: You know that is the best part of Susan, she is really very real. It is a kind of a developed quality from a mature actress, and it is spontaneous. But yet, she is well rehearsed and at the same time you feel like you are challenged. I feel like I am challenged with Susan. Lesley-Anne Down (Jackie M), same thing.
And speaking of Lesley-Anne Down, that mother/son bond between the two of you has gone on for years and is still so interesting and enjoyable to watch because of the dynamic you bring together on-screen.
JACK: Thank you. It’s weird to have someone so close to my age, maybe five or six years older than me, and you would never guess that. I sort of revert back to this child or boy when she is around. (Imitating Lesley-Anne as Jackie) “You know, Nicky.” And then it kind of gets to that banter that tends to work with us and you take the dramatic license and believe we are truly mother and son, at least I think.
Coming up in a few months is your fifth Annual Jack Wagner Celebrity Golf Classic. What can you tell us about it?
JACK: It’s going to be held this year on Monday April 18th. It’s a one day event for Leukemia Lymphoma, and that will be at the Valencia Country Club, in Valencia, California. We are hoping to break the million dollar mark. That is what we are looking to do!
PROGRAMMING NOTE TO SEE MORE JACK! Make sure to also catch Jack this Wednesday, February 9th when he is the guest on an all-new episode of the hit TV Land comedy series, Hot in Cleveland! It all happens at 10PM EST/9CST!