(Before he left to film his upcoming Hallmark movie, Beth and Maura had a chance to catch up with Ryan about his current and upcoming projects. First up is his appearance on the ABC summer program “Battle of the Network Stars.”)
By: Maura Rose
The first thing Ryan says when Beth and I mention ABC’s “Battle of the Network Stars” is an enthusiastic, “Yeah! That was tons of fun.” Followed by, “It’s to date, maybe one of my favorite things I’ve done.”
I respond with a giddy, “Yay!”
As a fan of the original show, I was super excited when ABC announced it was coming back and even more excited when I found out Ryan was joining the cast! I love it when fandoms collide. Hearing that he loved doing it makes me ridiculously happy. My 10 year old self, who loved every second of the original show, is thrilled to know that it’s as fun as it looks. And, as a current fan of Ryan, I’m so glad he enjoyed working on it. Knowing that will make it even more fun to watch.
I ask how he got involved with the show and Ryan tells us that the network approached him to appear on the show. Unlike me, because I’m a nerdy superfan, Ryan had no idea what the show was. The original was on years before Ryan was born and faded into obscurity by the mid-80’s. And because I’m a legit dork, I refer to the show as “Must See TV before there was a Must See TV.” Even though he wasn’t familiar with the show, Ryan signed on and “had a blast.”
“It was a ton of fun. The concept of having a bunch of us get together in an athletic competition? I got to run a relay race against the guy who played Hercules on TV. Kevin Sorbo, I watched that show!”
The format of the current Battle of the Network Stars is two teams, comprised of past and present TV celebrities, competing in a series of athletic competitions to determine a winner. Each team has five members and a specific theme. Ryan was placed on the second “TV Cops” team. Also on his team were Adrian Zmed (TJ Hooker), Fred Dwyer (Hunter), Roma Maffia (Pretty Little Liars), and Marisol Nichols (NCIS & Criminal Minds.) Ryan’s TV Cops face off against the “Superheroes” team featuring Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Vinnie Jones (X-Men), Jill Wagner (Teen Wolf), and Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)
Thanks to a plethora of recently released episode stills, we know a few of the events in which Ryan participates. These include the relay race, archery, the dunk tank, and the obstacle course. I need to know which event was his favorite event and he promptly responds with the obstacle course. Beth asks the follow up question of “did he win?”
It’s a fair question, to which he replies, “I can’t tell you that.”
I have a mini tantrum about not wanting to know and choose this time to employ the no spoiler rule by insisting he not tell us anything. I want to be surprised.
“Use your imagination,” he tells us.
In order to avoid the spoiler temptation, I change the subject to the other celebrities and ask if there was anyone he was excited to meet. While I dorked out over Fred Dwyer being on his team (I was a huge fan of his TV show when I was a teen oh so long ago), Ryan was excited to meet all of his fellow competitors, particularly Lou Ferrigno because of his own interests in weightlifting.
He also singles out Kevin Sorbo, because he watched his shows when he was younger, and Vinnie Jones, who he became friendly with during their day of competition. There was some good natured ribbing from Jones because Ryan managed to do well in most of the events he was put up for. Though there are some brief moments of competitive fire amongst the celebrities and teams, Ryan says it was they were mostly there to have fun.
Conversation returns to the individual events. Ryan mentions that he needs to start running more because of the relay race. He gives us a minor spoiler by telling us he had to go all out for his leg of the race just to catch up. I let that spoiler slide because I’ve seen the clip of him running in it and it’s obvious he had a hard time. It was in the first episode and fan excitement over that clip is well documented on Twitter, particularly my account.
I ask if he would do it again if it came back next year. “Absolutely,” he says without a moment’s hesitation. “I think they’re going to have to have me back too. I can’t tell you why without ruining something-”
I immediately interrupt him. “No. Nope. Don’t say it.”
Beth makes such a good guess that I 100% believe her guess is true. But I still want to be surprised so I squash the whole conversation right away. This time, I pretty much stick my fingers in my ears and chant “la la la, I can’t hear you,” to make my point. (Well not really, but itwas darn close.)
Ryan assures me he won’t say anything which is good because I absolutely don’t want him to. Like, at all. (Sorry, Beth.) Instead, he affirms that he would “love, love, love to go back.” We know that ABC dictates who is asked to be on the show but I wonder if anyone else on General Hospital would be interested or if he would recommend it to his castmates. Ryan thinks he and Matt Cohen would make a great team. I wholeheartedly concur and now I’m wishing that Ryan and Matt still shared scenes on GH.
Before moving on to a new topic, I fangirl over the show once again. Part of what I love about the current Battle is that there’s a fun mix of current and old school celebrities. I have to quit talking because I could fangirl over Battle of the Network Stars all day. I can’t help it though. I’m excited about the show and excited to see Ryan’s episode.
Ryan ends the conversation topic exactly the way we began. “It was a great experience. To this day, one of my favorite things I’ve done. Tons of fun.”
Ryan’s episode airs August 17th. For a fun preview, check out the photos in our gallery!