Original Story by: Kate O’Horn
Submitted by: Mr. Sevens
After playing a holographic doctor for seven seasons on UPN’s “Star Trek: Voyager,” now Robert Picardo is giving Dr. Atkins and Dr. Phil a run for their money with a guest role on the Sunday, June 19, episode of “The 4400” on USA Network.
In “Weight of the World,” written by series producer Scott Peters and directed by Oz Scott, Picardo plays Trent Applebaum, one of the 4,400 people who were abducted over the course of decades and returned suddenly to Earth, as part of a plot from the future to save mankind.
Like many of the 4400, Applebaum returned with an extraordinary power — his saliva accelerates human metabolism and weight loss.
“I’m the first person to commercially market my special ability,” Picardo says. “But I do not lick people on the show. That’s in the European version.”
Picardo has some interesting connections to “The 4400.” Scott Peters’ co-creator on the show, Rene Echevarria, worked on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and one of its current executive producers is Ira Steven Behr, who worked on the same two shows.
But their common lineage in “Trek” spin-offs didn’t mean that Picardo got a pass in the casting process.
“I had to read just like any other actor,” he says. “They just lumped me in with people whose work they didn’t know for seven years.”
In a further turn of events, Natasha Gregson Wagner is doing a multi-episode stint on “The 4400,” which shoots in Vancouver, where she previously filmed the short-lived Fox series, “Pasadena.” In that, she co-starred with Dana Delany, who co-starred with Picardo in “China Beach.”
“That’s another Kevin Bacon-ism that I don’t know,” Picardo says, “and I pride myself on Kevin Bacon-isms, or Bacon Bits, as I call them for short.”
Asked if he’s a good weight-loss guru or a bad one, Picardo says, “I am a good guy. I am a little self-centered and a little self-deluded. I am most concerned with taking care of myself and my daughter first. Then when I’m given the opportunity to rise to the occasion and be much more selfish, I come through in a very nice way.”
And, who knows, maybe Trent will return — someday.
“There are only 4,399 returnees left now that we’ve exposed my identity,” Picardo says. “If you take 4,400 and divide it by the number of episodes they do a season and count it out, I’m thinking that by the year 2041, I’m going to be back on, and maybe sooner. I told my wife, and she went out and spent the money today.”
Having just left Vancouver, Canada, after doing his stint on “The 4400,” Picardo is returning to do an upcoming episode of Sci Fi Channel’s “Stargate SG-1,” which launches its ninth season on Friday, July 15.
He’s reprising the role of Richard Woolsey, who has appeared in two previous episodes of the series about a U.S. military team that travels between alien worlds via alien portals.
“Richard Woolsey’s kind of a military think-tank guy,” Picardo says, “who stared out as a villain to threaten the leadership at Stargate Command. If they didn’t shape up, they were going to be replaced. The second time I was on, I was involved in this giant scheme engineered by the evil Sen. Kinsey. When I realized I was being manipulated, I turned on Kinsey, took a huge risk, and basically spilled the beans on something Kinsey was involved in.
“So I went from being this hatchet-man jerk to being totally redeemed. That’s my stock in trade now. I come back again as a short of the hatchet-man jerk, and I’m redeemed this time in the same episode. I’m hoping to get to the point where I’m so good I can do both extremes in one scene.”
Picardo has guest-starred on many shows, from “Kojak” to “The West Wing,” but one opportunity has eluded him.
“I would like to be on ‘The Simple Life’ with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, but it’s gone, isn’t it? I waited too long.”