On July 30, Ted King will make his B&B debut as Jack Finnegan, dad to Tanner Novlan’s Finn, marking King’s first appearance on CBS Daytime after roles on four ABC sudsers (ex-Danny, LOVING/THE CITY; ex-Luis/Lorenzo, GH; ex- Tomas, ONE LIFE TO LIVE).
The gig came about “fairly simply,” to hear him tell it. “The casting office called my representative and asked if I’d be interested and they put it by me, and ironically, I had been jealous of the daytime actors over the last year who’ve actually been able to work when the rest of us were not able to work. I did do a pilot in October in Colorado, which was fantastic, but under extreme circumstances of Covid testing and it was complicated. But other than that, we were all at home with the rest of the world and home-schooling our kids [Ava, 10, and Vivienne, 8, who he shares with wife Maya] and doing a lot of Zooming. And I was able to see some of my friends on daytime and watch their work — and they were doing great work — and I was jealous for sure … I like to create new characters all the time and when that gets cut off, you feel like a limb has been cut off; you’re not exercising your creativity enough.”
While B&B’s call came at the perfect time, the actor admits to feeling “a lot of trepidation before I started” — which quickly abated thanks to the warmth of his new co-stars. “The cast has been amazing and so welcoming since day one,” he enthuses. “They just made me feel so at home, which is so nice. I knew some of the actors, like Thorsten [Kaye, Ridge et al]. We both started in New York years ago, and obviously Scott Clifton [Liam; ex-Dillon, GH] I knew from GENERAL HOSPITAL, and so that was nice for me, to know a few people when I got there. That helped as well. And then, as I said, people like Thorsten and John McCook [Eric] just welcomed me immediately and we’re cracking jokes, making the set so easy to work in and on and that just makes an actor’s job so much easier, especially when you are first starting. They were just amazing, and asking me if I needed anything and what do I need to know and of course, I didn’t even know where to find my dressing room at that point. I was like, ‘Where do I park? Where’s my dressing room? Where do you guys eat?’ I ran into another actor I know, too, Jason Thompson [Billy, Y&R; ex-Patrick, GH], in the hallway, he was shooting next door, and that was my first question to Jason: ‘Where do you guys eat? When’s lunch?’ ”
Getting the lay of the land from his colleagues proved especially helpful because King’s character hits the ground running. He sums up, “I’ve had big scenes with a lot of people in them, so it’s been a bit of a whirlwind!” Forging a connection with his new on-screen son came easily, though. “Tanner has been fantastic,” King praises. “He is just extremely easy to work with and have conversations with. We were thrown into a situation immediately playing father and son and I was try- ing to figure out the dynamic: ‘What kind of father is he to Finn?’ We are still figuring that out, but we exchanged some physicality with one another, which I think helps show what the relationship is like.”
King is also a fan of Naomi Matsuda, who has been cast as Jack’s wife, Lo. “She’s been a total pro. I think her first words to me were, ‘Hello, Husband,’ and I said, ‘Hello, Wife’ — and then you actually have to go and be those people! But she’s ready. Of course, we’re getting new scripts all the time and realizing, ‘Oh, this relationship is a lot more complicated than we thought it was when we first started,’ and that will play out as they write more.”
The actor notes that he narrowly missed being subject to the in-scene social distancing that B&B had been practicing since it returned to production after its Covid hiatus. “The mask-wearing is constant when you are not shooting, but they told me that they just started close proximity between the actors about two weeks before I got there. I’m grateful that I got there when I did, because it’s great to be able to touch another actor on the shoulder or get close to them so you can look into their eyes.”
While the mask-wearing is new, his experience on the B&B set reminds him of his past daytime homes. “It’s a format that hasn’t changed a lot in a very, very, very long time, though I think THE CITY tried to do that a long time ago,” he points out. “Of course, the speed of the whole process has changed dramatically since I first started, but that’s the same across all the shows, from [what I hear from] all my friends that I speak to who are doing other shows. But other than that, it’s very similar. When you’re working with the actors, it’s exactly the same.”
King, who appreciated the positive reaction online to news of his hiring (“It’s always a nice feeling; it’s always great when people appreciate what you are doing”), has just one request of B&B viewers: “Please be patient while I figure this man out!” he smiles. “Hopefully day 30 is not going to look like day one. As the audience is getting to know him, so am I. I’m trying to bring a lot of different colors to the character. The character is very young for me, so every day I show up and I’m trying to bring new levels to the character.”