Josie Bissett & Jack Wagner Look Back on ‘Melrose Place’ Almost 30 Years Later
The 30th anniversary of the series, which aired for seven seasons on Fox beginning in 1992, is coming up, and people are still talking about it. That just proves that it’s “such an iconic show,” says Bissett (who played Jane Mancini) while discussing the latest in the Wedding March series, Sealed with a Kiss (premiering on August 14).
Wagner (who played Peter Burns) isn’t the only former costar she’s working with lately. She, Laura Leighton (Sydney Andrews), and Daphne Zuniga (Jo Reynolds) reunited for Fantasy Island on Fox (premiering on August 10). “I was sitting with the two of them and was like, ‘You guys, look at us. This is amazing — 30 years ago, we started something and the whole cast of Melrose has just really stayed grounded and successful and look great,'” she recalled. “And that’s really rare.”
For both Bissett and Wagner, the series holds a special place in their hearts, they told TV Insider. “It was my first nighttime series,” he said. “That was a big jump for me, given that I had been on General Hospital, so my whole goal on that show was to make an impact. ‘How am I going to take this character and make it big, [make] as much of an impact as I could?’ That, for me, was a big stepping stone. I look at it as a big career move for me in terms of being able to move from daytime to nighttime and create a character that had an impact on the series.”
Bissett was only 21 when the series (her second) started and had just moved to Los Angeles. “I don’t remember a lot,” she admitted. “I’ll look at photos or videos, and I can’t remember even being there. I was a girl from a small town, and I was super driven. There wasn’t a lot that scared me, but I was so green and so young and Melrose was such a huge success that I think I sort of had to stay in a little bit of a box. I was like, ‘This is my life.'” As she noted, it was easier to maintain a bit of privacy back then because of the lack of social media.
“Part of me wishes that I could redo it and have some of those days back and just be more present,” she continued. “It was such a fantastic show and such a great, smart group of people that I wish I could have done it like a little bit older. I would have appreciated it a bit more, had more fun. I was just all work.”
Wagner noted that at the time it aired, Melrose Place was considered “racy. It was the thing that you had to get permission from your parents to watch.” That’s changed with the way television has evolved, but he does think that it was the “kind of nighttime soap…that has fed and helped create reality TV.”
It also came out before people could just set their DVRs to record it. “People actually had to get together,” Bissett said. “What I hear most is, ‘Oh, my whole dorm got together,’ or ‘we all met at [a friend’s] house.’ That is what I think also made that show what it is and so special…it brought people together, which we don’t get the same [way] anymore because you can watch anything anytime you want.”