Peter Marc Jacobson is 'Happily Divorced'


By Andrew Villagomez

Talks about new season of the TV Land hit show, coming out to Fran Drescher, gay life and dating, and how he helped save a suicidal young girl.

How did you go about selecting John Michael Higgins to play the character based on yourself?

We could not find someone to play me, and we were looking high and low, in New York and LA, testing people right and left, but they were all 10 years too young. All great actors, terrific, but Fran said it’s got to be someone my age, because that was who we were. Michael came in, the last person, and they tested together. The second they did, we knew that was him. We are so lucky to have him, he’s such a brilliant talent.

Are aspects of the character Peter true about you?

[Laughs] Yes, I’m oblivious: oblivious when people are coming on to me. When the first time I went to a gay bar, I walked in with a friend and some guy came up to me and said, 'yo daddy,' and I said, 'Why is he calling me tha?' And my friend said, 'No, that is a good thing.' I said, 'Oh, it doesn’t sound good. How did I already go to daddy; it’s my first time in a gay bar?' So they explained to me what it meant. I’m not good at the whole scene, I try though. Part of me is like a 25-year-old at 55.

Any significant relationships coming up on the show for Peter?

He’s started to date more; he’s dated me on the show at the end of first season, but slowly, as in my real life. I was dating someone for a little while, but we broke up. It’s hard to date in Los Angeles; I guess any big city it is. When I lived in New York it was too. I’m trying though, I’d like to have a relationship. I’m ready.

Can you tell us more about the new season, any more surprises for fans of both shows?

There is a big twist at the end, but I can’t say what it is. But you won’t see it coming. We have a new character that is coming in, a neighbor, played by the guy who played Charles Shaungey’s brother on The Nanny, Harry Van Gorkum. They have a very cantankerous relationship, where he’s a noisy kind of neighbor. Peter is working for Joan [who plays a version of her real self], and Fran has to fill in and gets her fired, so Peter and Fran have to get her job back.

A great show coming up for Judy. She has a boyfriend, and we’ll have a very exciting guest star for that: Cyndi Lauper plays Renée Taylor’s daughter. And Peter has been having a relationship, which he hasn't told Fran about, and that comes out. He's in a movie theater, and she sees him and says what?! He says, we are on a date, and the guy next to him says, we’ve been going out for three months, and she’s not happy about that.

Sounds like a really packed season ahead, and it is also great that The Nanny is still on the air worldwide since 1993. Anything planned for the 20th anniversary?

We haven’t thought about it, we should do something special for it. I’ll need to talk to TV Land about that. Everyone keeps asking for the fourth, fifth, and sixth year on DVD. I don’t know why they don’t put it out. The ones on TV now are cut, so they really should put out the originals, but that is Sony Entertainment. When we did that show, we were just hoping we could pay the rent for another month. We never knew it was going to turn into what it did.

There are 12 other Nannys out there in different countries; it’s the most popular show in the history of Russian television. I’m so grateful and so amazed how many people are fans of that show that made people laugh, and that was really what we were trying to do, make people laugh. They were reflections of our families. When Fran’s mother saw Renée for the first time she said, thank God you didn’t exaggerate my hair. [Laughs]

Happily Divorced returns November 28. Watch a sneak peak video from Fran Drescher and TV Land below:

The November 28 episode is also available early online until Saturday November 24, make sure not spoil the ending for any other fans.