Grant Show Recalls 'Scary, But Amazing' Experience Playing Jake Hanson on 'Melrose Place' (Exclusive)

The actor looks back on playing one of TV's biggest hunks on the hit Fox primetime soap.

While today’s CW viewers know Grant Show as Blake Carrington on the reboot of Dynasty, which returns for its fourth season in May, the 59-year-old actor is best known for sexing up primetime TV as Jake Hanson for five seasons on the hit Fox drama Melrose Place. That's why Show is one of ET’s Iconic Leading Men of '90s TV alongside Mark Curry, Patrick Duffy, Charles Shaughnessy and Jimmy Smits. 

“I keep waiting for someone to say they made a mistake,” Show jokes with ET’s Nischelle Turner. “I have been fortunate. The icon wasn’t me, it was Jake.”

Growing up, Show admits that he never wanted to act. “I wanted to be an astronaut. My second choice was to fly for the Air Force,” he shares of his initial aspirations before landing his first job as Rick Hyde on the daytime soap Ryan's Hope, which earned him a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Young Actor in a Daytime Drama Series. 

He also eventually caught the eye of Aaron Spelling, the mega successful TV producer behind Beverly Hills, 90210, who thought Show could be the perfect person to play Jake on the teen drama. “I knew they brought me to 90210 to create a spinoff with Melrose Place,” Show recalls, admitting it was a “scary, but amazing” time. “I wish everyone could experience it. You can’t prepare for it.”

Fox/Getty Images

Making his debut on 90210 in 1992, Jake was introduced as a carpenter and love interest for Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) before the two broke up and he moved into the titular apartment complex in West Hollywood, California. And it didn’t take long before Melrose Place became must-see TV with its edgy combination of twenty to thirtysomethings and storylines involving murder, blackmail and sex. 

“It seems quaint now, but at the time, it was cutting edge to have a gay character,” Show says, referring to Doug Savant’s character, Matt Fielding. “It was the casting, the time, a combination of things that breathed on their own. It evolved. Heather Locklear came on at the same time the writers allowed the show to become what it could be.”  

Of course, Jake, the resident hunk, had no shortage of drama -- from his bike shop burning down to his brother trying to kill him -- or choice of women. During his time on the series, he had relationships with several female regulars, including Sandy Harling (Amy Locane), Jo Reynolds (Daphne Zuniga), Amanda Woodward (Locklear), Sydney Andrews (Laura Leighton), Jane Mancini (Josie Bissett) and Alison Parker (Courtney Thorne-Smith). 

Fox/Getty Images

When it comes to Jake and Jo, it almost didn’t happen, at least according to Show, who reveals that he asked the show not to hire Zuniga at first. “Daphne and I both went to UCLA at different times. I was in New York at a restaurant ... and I went over and introduced myself and said, 'You don't know me but my name is Grant. We both went to UCLA and have a bunch of mutual friends.' And she just looked up at me like, 'No.' So I was like, I do not want this person working with me,” he recalls, before adding, “Thank God they didn’t listen to me and hired her. And I love her now.”

Last appearing on the series in 1997, Show has gone on to make notable appearances on everything from Private Practice to Six Feet Under before starring on Devious Maids as Spence Westmore for four seasons. 

Now, Show has taken over the role first originated by John Forsythe on another primetime soap, which has received love from a whole new generation likely too young to remember Melrose Place, let alone the original Dynasty, which ran from 1981 to 1989. 

“I had never watched the original Dynasty, so I watched it before I began working on it. When I saw John Forsythe, I thought that is so different from me, I’ll never be like that,” Show reveals, adding, “It relieved the pressure because I could do my own thing. I wanted this job and worked hard to get it.” 

And in the era of reboots and revivals, there has been desire to bring the Melrose Place gang back together again. “Some of the girls from the show, Laura and Marcia and Daphne, have been talking with Fox about doing something,” the actor says, revealing that he wasn’t available for CW’s 2009 reboot.

In the meantime, Show says, “I’m pretty busy doing Dynasty and I love Dynasty.”