For over 30 years, Scott Baio has been captivating audiences in shows such as Bugsy Malone, Charles in Charge, and of course as the iconic heartthrob Chachi Arcola in the legendary television series Happy Days. Scott is lighting up the small screen again in Nick at Nite’s new family comedy, See Dad Run, premiering Sunday, October 14.
Scott opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about returning to TV in a character “very much like” himself, his adorable daughter Bailey who has appeared in two episodes of his new sitcom and has “definitely caught the acting bug,” and his foundation that raises awareness and money for children with metabolic disorders.
CBS: Tell us all about your new Nick at Nite family comedy, See Dad Run. What’s it all about?
SB: “The show is about a father who has been a celebrity for a long time and he just came off of a very popular television show where he was America’s #1 dad. He comes home and his wife goes back to work on a soap opera that she worked on before.
She leaves him with the kids, and he doesn’t really know them. He spent a little time with them before, but he doesn’t really know how they work, what they want, and what they need. He is sort of starting from square one with his kids and dealing with the situation of raising a family. You see how he deals with it and how he is unprepared for it.”
CBS: We hear you play a semi-retired actor who turns into a stay-at-home dad. Can you relate to the character?
SB: “Yes, the character is very much like myself, as he has been an actor and celebrity for a long time. When that happens, there are a lot of things out of your domestic capabilities. You’re a little bit selfish, a little jaded, and you look at the world a bit differently. I understand a lot of that completely. My character still has to realize that it is not about him. His new life turns out to be a lot of fun.”
CBS: It’s been years since we’ve seen you on the small screen. Is it nice to be back? Was it easy to fall back into the routine of acting and TV?
SB: “Yeah, I forgot how much I love doing sitcoms, and the people I work with are fantastic. It’s a great time! I get to work on the old Happy Days soundstage, which is very romantic in a way. So it’s all good stuff.
In regard to whether it was easy to fall back into the acting routine, it kind of took me a little bit to get used to…like a week or two. I mean, it was sort of like riding a bike after being off the bike for a while. For the first few days, I was sort of in a limbo…I didn’t know quite where I was. Then it sort of kicked in again and we did great.”
CBS: Does everyone still call you “Chachi?” If so, do you think playing that role was a blessing, or a curse? Have you kept up with any of your old costars?
SB: “Not that many people call me “Chachi” anymore. The role was definitely a blessing, as it put me on the map and made me who I am. That television show gave me everything after that, so I don’t know how I can look at it in a negative way. I’ve not been pigeonholed and I’ve been working ever since. So that role was amazing.
In regard to whether I have kept up with any of my old co-stars, I just worked with Henry on Arrested Development. But other than that, not really. If I see them, it’s a hug and a kiss, but other than that not much. It’s like moving from one neighborhood to another. You say you’ll keep up and you do for a little while, but then you make new friends. It’s just like life.”
CBS: How’s your daughter Bailey, nearly 5, doing? What is she into these days? What does she do to make you laugh?
SB: “Bailey is doing wonderfully. The foundation that bears her name is doing great too. Bailey is in preschool and she’s into everything [laughs]. It’s Halloween time, so she is pretty into skeletons right now. She is a huge SpongeBob fan and coincidentally a big Nickelodeon fan.
She also loves shoes, doing Bollywood dancing, and playing golf. She’s a very active little girl.
Bailey has a great sense of humor. She says and does funny things, and she looks at me in a funny way. Everything she does pretty much makes me smile and laugh.”
CBS: Does Bailey visit you on the set of See Dad Run? Do you think she’s caught the acting bug? Would you allow her to enter showbiz?
SB: “Bailey does visit me on the set quite a bit. My wife brings her down on Thursdays and Fridays, which are our long days. I don’t have a chance to miss her all that much, which is a good thing. The three of us are going to New York tomorrow, so we spend a lot of time together.
Bailey has been in two episodes and she’s definitely caught the acting bug. She always wants to be in the show, and I don’t know which way to go with her right now. It’s difficult for me. She loves being around a soundstage; it’s a fun atmosphere for her and there are kids on the show that she is friendly with. I just don’t know.”
CBS: Does Bailey already have her Halloween costume picked out? Does she plan on going trick-or-treating?
SB: “Yes. Bailey got a witch Minnie Mouse costume that has orange and black polka dots, and we will go trick-or-treating up in our neighborhood. There are hundreds of kids that come up here, so it is a lot of fun.”
CBS: You were once known as quite the ladies man in Hollywood. Now that you’re happily married with a child, do you dread the day Bailey learns to google? Do you think Bailey needs to know about your past?
SB: “Not really. I can explain a lot of things to her so I’m not worried about that. I don’t necessarily think that Bailey needs to know about my past.”
CBS: Tell us about the Bailey Baio Angel Foundation. Tell us how the foundation began and how it has changed your life.
SB: “The foundation is to bring awareness to and raise money for children with metabolic disorders. Bailey was falsely diagnosed with a very rare metabolic disorder, and once we started getting involved in that world for about three or four months, my wife realized how this disease was very unsexy and uncool, if you will.
We started a foundation that helps bring awareness to it, and she’s raised a lot of money and we’ve provided a lot of things for people who are not well. That’s it in a nutshell.
The foundation hasn’t changed our lives…it’s enhanced our lives. We had a rough time with our daughter for the first three months of her life, so that changed us dramatically. It’s made us more appreciative, and we forgive and don’t overlook certain things. You just try to live day to day.”