Soap Opera Digest: You’ve been quite busy.
John O’Hurley: I’ve got a lot of plates spinning right now, but it’s tough to hit a moving target, I guess.
Digest: Tell us about your GH gig.
O’Hurley: This happened very quickly. Brian Frons, the head of ABC Daytime, just asked and thought it would be a funny practical joke if I showed up as an extra. He’s a dear friend, so I was certainly glad to accommodate him. It
took me all of about a half hour. And I had never been an extra before.
Digest: What can you tell us about your character, Officer Bates?
O’Hurley: Actually, I was flying without a script, without a character, but it was fun. I didn’t have any lines, but in my dressing room, there was a
copy of the Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog and the Victoria’s Secret
catalog, so I was just trying to work with the available material, really
[laughs]. That’s all I had to deal with. I’m a resourceful actor.
Digest: And dancer. Were you expecting a rematch after DANCING WITH THE STARS concluded?
O’Hurley: Not at all. I was just as surprised by it as anybody else, and I’m sure I was as surprised as Kelly. I think there was enough audience response
to the fact that the last show really didn’t matter because the audience
wouldn’t get to vote for it, and that basically the results had been decided
before the final episode. I think there was enough feedback where ABC said,
“We need to design a new voting template. Let’s put this one up and see if
this one works.”
Digest: What do you have to say about reports in the media pitting you and Kelly against each other?
O’Hurley: My relationship with Kelly is wonderful. This is ballroom dancing, not the WWF [World Wrestling Federation]. If they’re going to play on a
rivalry, then fine, let’s have fun with it. But there was no backbiting.
Truly, we were a ragtag militia back then. We had no idea what we were doing
when we started this whole thing in mid-April. We were all just bozos on the
bus, so everybody was supportive of everybody. We’re not good enough to know
how to compete [laughs]. If certain camps lean in one direction and certain
camps lean in another, then that’s fun. It’s healthy, healthy competition.
Digest: Are you training hard?
O’Hurley: Oh, gosh, yes. We’ve been in training for three weeks already, seven days a week, six hours a day.Digest: Did you have any idea DWTS would be as successful as it was?
O’Hurley: I knew it was going to be successful because I knew that this was the No. 1 show in England, in Australia, New Zealand. Anywhere they put this
up it has been the No. 1 show. It’s very unusual on television right now in
that it offers something for everybody, from grandparents to parents to
teenagers to little kids. They can all sit and have a vested interest in the
same television program … I think the most beautiful thing that two people
can do is attach at the hip and then move as one.
Digest: How has the show changed your life?
O’Hurley: It has brought up a lot of opportunities. I trained classically as a singer. I trained classically as an actor. What was the one thing I forgot to learn? You guessed it. I just think of it as God’s great practical joke,
that all of a sudden I’m considered a dancer…. So, it has been a big shift
for me in that respect.
Digest: Apparently. We hear you’re working on a new reality series about your life.
O’Hurley: That’s in development right now, but I wouldn’t say it’s a reality series. It’s more like a [CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM] Larry David-style show. I
call them alternative programming because they’re scripted, but they appear
Digest: And you have a new CD that’s out.
O’Hurley: That’s doing real well. It’s called Peace of our Minds, and this has taken me 18 months in the studio to put together. It’s all of my piano compositions from the last 25 years, layered in with the top electronic
cellist in the world. Of all the things I’ve done, DWTS, SEINFELD, it’s the
thing I’m the most proud of because it’s something that truly represents the
most private, personal part of my core as a performer. It took me a long
time to get this out the way I wanted it, but it has been out since the end
of June and it has been a top seller on the Internet, at
Digest: And you’re going to Broadway as well?
O’Hurley: We are in negotiations right now to go in to Chicago this winter, so hopefully that will all work out. [Billy Flynn is] one of the classic roles on Broadway and something I have wanted to do for a long time. My wife
has wanted to live in New York for a bit, just for the fun of it, so we
thought this would be a perfect time and take a few months and go back there
and do it.
Digest: Whew! Anything else in the pipeline?
O’Hurley: As a matter of fact, I have a book deal that I just signed. I host THE NATIONAL DOG SHOW, so it’s a collection of observations on human
behavior. Basically, the concept of the book is everything I ever need to
learn in life, I’ve learned from my dog. The book is entitled, It’s Okay To
Miss The Bed On The First Jump, and that will be out in 2006.
Digest: How do you manage to juggle all of that?
O’Hurley: Just keep dancing!