|MARIO LOPEZ joined the cast of The Bold and the Beautiful as Dr. Christian Ramirez.
CBS.com: How did your casting come about?
MARIO LOPEZ: Well, I was called into a meeting with [Executive Producer and Head Writer] Mr. [Brad] Bell, and he couldn't have been a nicer guy. [He was] super cool, real down-to-earth, which was surprising because of all the stuff he's accomplished and the family [he is from]. He just talked to me for a while and got to know me a little bit. He told me that he used to watch me on The Other Half, the daytime talk show I did with Dick Clark and Danny Bonaduce. So he said that he liked that and said, "I thought you were good on daytime. I know you're involved in a lot of different things. Have you ever considered doing a soap?" I said, "I never turn down opportunities. I'm willing to listen and be open to it." I liked when I did that [daytime talk] show for a few seasons and the daytime audience. He said he had this character who was a doctor, a very positive character, which is very important to me and the Latino community. He also said he would be supportive of all the other stuff I like to do because I still work for ESPN and do some boxing stuff for HBO. I love hosting. Then I told him, "This would be great in my goal to become like the male Kelly Ripa." [Smiles] I want to host. I want to act. And this show being a successful show and the big audience it has, I think it would be great. And [he was] willing to work with me to do the other stuff, it sounded awesome. With all that said, he didn't just hand it to me. I still had to come in and test and read with one of the actresses. She was great. Then that was it. We made the deal and it worked out like that.
CBS.com: So you hadn't actively been pursuing Daytime Drama?
MARIO LOPEZ: Well, I always in the back of my mind thought, "That's a cool gig." I think the audiences are good and it's great that Mr. Bell has the top shows and this one being the most watched in the world. That was cool. I love to travel and to get the opportunity to travel and do stuff abroad sounded really cool. The other shows that I've done, Saved By The Bell and Pacific Blue are big international hits as well, so to broaden your international fan base sounded great. I had thought about it before but the opportunity didn't ever really present itself. I was busy enough to where I didn't necessarily have to pursue anything before. So, this came up at a really good time.
CBS.com: How did the transition between acting and hosting happen for you?
MARIO LOPEZ: I've always done everything. I just think of myself as an entertainer, in all forms. I've hosted radio shows; I hosted sports talk shows on the radio; I've hosted sports shows on TV for ESPN; I've done boxing for ESPN; I've done boxing for HBO; I've done women's talk shows; I've done episodic; I've done sitcoms; I've done movies and I've produced stuff and now I'm doing a soap. I try to do it all. It's a tough business. I try to stay as busy as I can.
CBS.com: Sounds like you're always looking for something new to conquer.
MARIO LOPEZ: I just want to be as well versed as possible and try to stay as busy as possible. If I sat around and waited by the phone for certain things, you're not going to be too busy. So, I either try to create opportunities for myself and go out there -- oh and I've hosted animal shows. Sports, animals, women -- the whole deal. I've done it all. Game shows, too. I like people and I like getting to be myself. So, I feel just as comfortable without a script, probably more comfortable without a script than I do with. But I do love acting as well. To be able to do both is great. There are no rules so I manage to try to do everything.
CBS.com: What was it that attracted you to this role?
MARIO LOPEZ: He was a good guy and he's got no skeletons in his closet that I know of. He doesn't seem shady. [He's] very bright, a doctor, so a positive [role model] teaching Mexican kids playing doctors. Again, it's good for my community. I like that he's a positive role model and that was very appealing to me.
CBS.com: Is that always something that's in the forefront of your mind when you're choosing projects, how you are sending a message out to the Latin community?
MARIO LOPEZ: I've been lucky to play a lot of positive characters. I've played a couple shady ones. But for the most part, I like being a good guy because we have enough bad guys out there.
CBS.com: Were you familiar with the show before landing the part?
MARIO LOPEZ: I was familiar with the show. It comes on right around lunch time so whenever I'm hanging out at lunch I can watch from my dressing room on other shows.
CBS.com: You used to watch soaps?
MARIO LOPEZ: Oh yeah. When I did my show ESPN Hollywood we did a whole segment on athletes who love soaps. You'd be surprised how many watch it. And they get into it. I used to get into them. They're very addicting. But then it's hard when you're working during the day, but sometimes if you're lucky enough to have a lunch break, that's what's on.
CBS.com: I often hear that this genre affords you a sort of set schedule so that you can pursue other things. Was it that schedule that also appealed to you?
MARIO LOPEZ: I want to be busy doing other things. So that was attractive, not so much that I want to go ride my bike or do another hobby, but I wanted to have the opportunity to do other stuff.
CBS.com: Tell me about how your first day went.
MARIO LOPEZ: The first day was cool, everybody was very nice, very professional. I was lucky enough to work with Susan Flannery [Stephanie].
CBS.com: Was that nerve-wrecking at all? She's an icon of daytime drama.
MARIO LOPEZ: She was cool. I was really lucky to have most of my scenes with her, as a matter of fact. She's a great lady and obviously a wonderful actress. I'm lucky to have most of my stuff with her.
CBS.com: Your character is brother to Lorenzo Lamas' character Hector. What's their relationship like?
MARIO LOPEZ: We've only had a couple scenes together and I think they are close, tight brothers. And he's just busy. They have their own careers and so [my character's] been gone for a while. So, they reunite and try to pick up where they left off.
CBS.com: Was this the first time you'd met Lorenzo Lamas?
MARIO LOPEZ: No, I'd met him before. He's a good guy.
CBS.com: You've held every job in entertainment practically. Is there anything that you still want to do?
MARIO LOPEZ: I want to host my own daytime talk show again. I like that we had kind of like a male format of The View. I'd like a crack at something like the Live with Regis and Kelly format with another female and eventually my own [talk show]. That's something I really want to work towards. Hopefully this audience will get me familiar with the viewers. I think the daytime audience is already familiar with me through all the other stuff I've done, especially with the other show being on everyday. But I'd love to definitely make that happen.
CBS.com: Would you say that the experience you had with The Other Side was your favorite?
MARIO LOPEZ: It was an experience that kind of helped me realize that that's a good niche that I found there. I've always hosted different things so that I really feel very comfortable, very much at home and I think I can contribute a lot to that.
CBS.com: That show dealt with a lot of women's issues. Do you understand women more?
MARIO LOPEZ: I get asked that a lot. I don't have one specific thing. Not really. [Women] are like medicine. They're a constant study. But I just learned to appreciate that we're just different. And you don't need to figure them out, just appreciate the fact that we're just different species. If you keep that in mind and you're patient then you'll be a lot better off then to kill yourself as a man to try to figure out why they do this and why do they behave like that. You got to keep reminding yourself, "They're women."
CBS.com: What are your hopes for the future of your character?
MARIO LOPEZ: I'm just getting in there, getting my feet wet with everything. But I hope to stay busy and show different layers and see what comes with the storyline. Hopefully I get to work with a lot of the different actors. I've only gotten to work with two or three so far. Hopefully I'll get to work with a lot of the cast and get into some good drama.
CBS.com: A lot of times we hear that the pace of daytime is the biggest transition for actors coming from different genres. Has that been something you had to get used to?
MARIO LOPEZ: Yeah, that tripped me out. That is something I had to get used to but I like it because I like moving quick. I'm a hyper guy, on the go, so I appreciate that pace.
CBS.com: Do you have any hobbies?
MARIO LOPEZ: I got a lot of hobbies. I like exercising. Fitness is important to me, so I box. I box a lot for work and pleasure. So I know what I'm talking about when I'm talking about these fighters for the [ESPN] show. I like to dance. I spend time with my family visiting. I love to eat. I love movies. I love being in [Las] Vegas. I love gambling. I love going out and having a good time.