Has­sel­hoff meets some­one with the ‘Same Name’

TV Week - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAY BOB­BIN

Ev­ery­body knows David Has­sel­hoff, right?

You know ... the high-volt­age-power tech­ni­cian and land­scaper from Lake Jack­son, Texas?

It’s noth­ing new for some­one who shares a fa­mous name to take a lot of rib­bing, but the not-so-fa­mous one gets to meet his or her celebrity coun­ter­part when the un­scripted CBS se­ries “Same Name” pre­mieres Sun­day, July 24. In the opener, “Bay­watch” and “Knight Rider” icon Has­sel­hoff sam­ples the world of elec­tri­cal worker Has­sel­hoff, and vice versa.

“I didn’t know any­thing about an­other David Has­sel­hoff in Amer­ica, so when they called me about this, I went, ‘Hmm, that’s in­ter­est­ing,’ ” the ac­tor says. “Then they said, ‘Well, his fa­ther is David Has­sel­hoff Sr.’ I found it re­ally in­trigu­ing, and be­cause Has­sel­hoffs by na­ture are out­go­ing and per­son­able, I said, ‘Bring it on!’ ”

How­ever, the other David Has­sel­hoff didn’t em­brace the “Same Name” idea quite as read­ily. “I was real hes­i­tant,” he ad­mits. “I am a nor­mal guy that never wanted to be on TV.” Ul­ti­mately, though, he agreed to do the show be­cause he was “ex­cited about get­ting to ac­tu­ally meet the guy (who played) all of the char­ac­ters that I got my nick­names from.

“I was prob­a­bly 8 or 9 when I first heard of ‘Knight Rider.’ I was play­ing foot­ball, and I made a tackle. Over the loud­speaker, they an­nounced, ‘Nice stop by David “Knight Rider” Has­sel­hoff!’ I wasn’t sure what ‘Knight Rider’ was, though; I was a lit­tle young for that show. The worst was boot camp. The last thing you wanted was to stand out, and how do you not stand out with the same name as (the ac­tor who played ‘Bay­watch’ char­ac­ter) Mitch Buchan­non?”

“Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent” alum Has­sel­hoff says he found the same-named tech­ni­cian “just a real stand-up guy, some­one that you and I would hang out with. And some­one who had a big mis­con­cep­tion of Hol­ly­wood. He apol­o­gized to me at least four times. The last time on the tele­phone, he said, ‘We all think of celebri­ties a cer­tain way, and I just never knew you were ... ’ And I said, ‘A nice guy?’ And he said, ‘Yeah!’ ”

In­deed, Texas res­i­dent Has­sel­hoff al­lows that he thought the ac­tor would be “pre­ten­tious, ar­ro­gant and snooty. Af­ter liv­ing in his shoes and see­ing first­hand who he re­ally is, I was ashamed of my­self for stereo­typ­ing him.”

Tem­po­rar­ily liv­ing in those shoes in­volved “cit­i­zen” Has­sel­hoff be­ing led through a con­cert crowd in Switzer­land by celebrity Has­sel­hoff, who says he wanted to give the Texan a taste of his ex­tra Euro­pean fame as a mu­sic star.

“I said, ‘We’ve got 6,000 peo­ple here tonight, and they are crazy. I’m gonna walk this guy from the back of the the­ater to the front, and I know we’re not gonna make it.’ But I wanted to show him what it’s like when you are rid­ing the wave and you’re in the mid­dle of it all, and how ex­cit­ing and elec­tric and dan­ger­ous and pas­sion­ate and wild it is.

“This guy went on­stage with me, and he froze,” per­former Has­sel­hoff adds. “I had the words to ‘Take Me Home, Coun­try Roads’ right in front of him, be­cause ev­ery­body knows that song, and he couldn’t sing.”

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