When we last left the Suarez clan of ‘Ugly Betty‘ in December mucho drama was afoot: Betty (America Ferrera) and her sister Hilda (Ana Ortiz) were sweating dual pregnancy tests, lovers were coming and going including papa Ignacio (Tony Plana) courting new paramour, pharmacist Jean (Faith Prince). Chaotic as that all seems, behind-the-scenes was even scarier as the normally ratings resilient series suffered throughout the fall from a serious case of the Friday night death-slot.
But with the demise of ‘Eastwick,’ ABC has moved “Ugly Betty” to a brand new night and time, Wednesday at 10:00 p.m., anchoring its red-hot line-up of ‘Modern Family‘ and ‘Cougar Town.’ Excited about their new lease on life, cast members Tony Plano and Ana Ortiz gave Fancast the exclusive dirt on what’s coming in the second half of the season.
First off, ‘Ugly Betty’ has always done so well but this year it really got lost in the sauce on Fridays. Does this move to Wednesday nights feel like a second chance for you all?
Ortiz: We couldn’t be more excited. I think we did get lost in the sauce and it’s just a testament to our fans – and I can’t say thank you enough to them – for finding us and watching us. Because of their support ABC has moved us to a really great comedy night.
Plano: We’re back on prime time! It’s family comedy night and I think we belong there. We are a comedy; we are a family. We’ve also never had this kind of lead-in before. We are an 8 o’clock show and we didn’t have a strong lead-in on Friday nights, so we are happy to be on Wednesday and the finale for a wonderful night of comedy.
At the end of the last episode, “Be-Shure,” it was revealed that Hilda was repeating history with another unexpected pregnancy…fifteen years after her firstborn, Justin (Mark Indelicato). I guess Hilda’s older, but not so much wiser?
Ortiz: Yeah! Hilda is definitely older but I don’t know how much wiser she is. She’s always mixing it up and I think is the sort of person that jumps in without thinking.
Plano: Really? (Laughs)
Ortiz: Yeah, tonight [in “The Passion of The Betty”] she announces it publicly but doesn’t mean to, so it’s a really funny scene.
Plano: I don’t think wise is in her vocabulary. Spontaneous? Yes. Impulsive? Yes. Funny? No question about it.
Ortiz: But isn’t her new boyfriend super cute?
Absolutely, but is Bobby Talercio (Adam Rodriguez) going to be good for her? She’s got a terrible track record with men.
Plano: I’m doing a background check on him!
Ortiz: (Laughs) I think Bobby could be good for her. We have yet to see but I think his heart is in the right place and he’s really into her.
Plano: He’s changed from the guy that Ignacio didn’t like a long time ago. I think he’s starting to grow on me. As the season progresses we start to develop an interesting relationship.
Speaking of matters of the heart, Ignacio has his new girlfriend, Jean. What does she bring into Ignacio’s life?
Plano: Lox in my huevos rancheros, basically. (Laughs) She’s played by Tony award winner Faith Prince. She’s amazing. We are getting such amazing talent from the Broadway stage.
Ortiz: We have another Tony winner Christine Ebersole [as a gallery owner]…
Plano: Liza Minelli is coming!
‘Betty’ has never had a shortage of stellar guest cast. Who are you most excited to work with?
Plano: Faith Prince is a dream come true for me. We had wonderful chemistry in the episode we did together and we hope to do more.
Ortiz: I don’t know. I would love it if Bette Midler came on the show. We have these New York divas coming through now which is really exciting.
Plano: Can she be my girlfriend?!
Ortiz: Oh, you know what? Vanessa Williams’s brother, Chris, is coming on the show playing Wilhelmina Slater in drag [as Wilheldiva Hater].
Plano: He’s a female impersonator and he does a pretty good job with his sister.
Ortiz: Oh my god. He really has her number! (Laughs)
Getting back to Hilda’s pregnancy, despite her poor choices there’s no doubt she’s a great mom to Justin. What is a new baby going to mean for the family?
Ortiz: It’s hard to say where they are going with the storyline. I think you are right, the one thing that Hilda does well is parent. I think for Justin he is going through his own trials and tribulations and that’s actually a fantastic story.
It sounds like we can look forward to some great momentum for the Suarez clan then?
Plano: This season for “Betty” is a special season in general. She’s been promoted. She has a new hairstyle and is getting the braces off and taking off on a whole new adventure so it’s going to be an incredible rest of the season for us.