TV

Greg Evigan on 'Battle of the Network Stars' and turning down 'Knight Rider'

Greg Evigan, the genial star of shows like “My Two Dads” and “B.J. and the Bear” from the '70s and '80s, was among the old faces of TV participating in the rebooted “Battle of the Network Stars.” The New Jersey native, who is now a married father of three, spoke to Fox News about his long career:

FOX NEWS: A lot of people would remember you from 'B.J. and the Bear.' How did that role come about?

EVIGAN: I was ready to leave Los Angeles. I had my short stay out there and said, 'It's not New York.' I was all packed. My agent calls me and says, 'I know you're leaving, but there's this one thing that came up. Can you go up?' I said, 'What is it?' He said, 'He's a truck driver. But there's one thing, he's got a chimp.' 'What a chimp?! I don't know.' So I figured, why not? I went in and did an audition with the truck. My attitude was, 'I don't give a damn about this now, I'm out of here.' And that attitude was exactly what they were looking for. By the time I got back to the house, my messages were filled. My agent was like, 'Call me you got this!' I couldn't believe it. It was a life-changer... half the country watched us.

Everything changed. I couldn't go anywhere without being recognized. It was phenomenal. When you're popular, for one part, you get typecast and I really did get typecast. After doing the show it was really hard to get the next thing. And then, after the show, [creator] Glen Larson called me and said, 'I've got this show for you. Will you do it?' I said, 'Well what is it?' He said, 'Well this guy's got this car and he talks to the controls of the car and it's called 'Knight Rider.'' I said, 'Oh man, talks to a car? I've been talking to a chimp for years. I'm not going to talk to a car!'

FOX NEWS: So you turned down 'Knight Rider'?

EVIGAN: I turned down 'Knight Rider.'

FOX NEWS: Does that kill you?

EVIGAN: Not really because not too long after I got 'My Two Dads,' which gave me a chance to do comedy. I'd never really gotten the chance to do comedy and be taken seriously in that way. It hurt a little, but not that much. David [Hasselhoff] got his break and that was his break.

FOX NEWS: 'My Two Dads' was very popular. What was it like working on that?

EVIGAN: Yeah that was great. That was a whole new thing, working with Paul Reiser was a great experience. To be able to work with him and keep up. It was an exciting time for me. I used to smoke a little weed and I remember when I was with those guys I thought, 'Man I'm not going to do anything. These guys are so sharp. I've got to be on my game.' And I dropped everything, whatever I was doing. 'My Two Dads' was the thing that got me really clear. I realized the clarity that these guys had. I know some people who can't perform unless they're high, but for me too much paranoia would creep in. I realized quickly if I want to keep up with these guys, I've got to get myself together and get high on the work.

FOX NEWS: So what are you doing now?

EVIGAN:  A lot of things. I'm on 'Battle of the Network Stars' and I started writing. For two years I said, 'I just want to write my own scripts.' I did a little producing on the side. Now I'm getting back into the music. My son, Jason, is really big, he took off. He asked me to do a favor for him. He'd lost his keyboard player and asked me to fill in. Who would turn down being in your son's band? I ended up doing it for three years. It was fun. He ended up stopping the band and he hit it big with the music. He did Nick Jonas' album, that song 'Chains.' He wrote it and produced it and Demi Lovato's 'Heart Attack.' He's got so many songs out there, it's insane. He's writing and producing.

So now he took one of my old songs 'Chromeo' and worked on it. It's going to be one of the singles on his new album. I've always tried to get music going. Theater and acting have paid the bills, but music is my passion. I'm building a new studio. As an artist, I love to perform, but I love writing and I'm so happy to see my son carrying through. Anybody out there, there's hope for what you're working on.