Actor Josie Bissett may be best known as Jane on 1990s TV series “Melrose Place” — a role she hopes to play again in a reboot — but in recent years she’s been a lead in Hallmark Channel’s “Wedding March” movie series, which returns for its sixth installment, “Sealed with a Kiss: Wedding March 6,” at 9 p.m. Aug. 14.
Bissett, who was born and raised in Seattle and moved back to this area from Los Angeles in 2002, plays Olivia, and fellow “Melrose Place” alum Jack Wagner is Mick. Together, the two run a Vermont inn that hosts weddings.
Bissett says they had few scenes together on “Melrose Place.” Even so, Wagner, a producer on the “Wedding” movies, recruited Bissett to join him.
“I had this familiarity and trust with him because we had so much in common as far as being on the same show for that long,” Bissett says. “He’s just so darn funny and just a very open person. And we work really well together.”
After the success of the first film in 2016, subsequent “Wedding” movies focused on other characters who got married at the inn with Olivia and Mick as the anchors. This time, it may finally be their turn to tie the knot.
Bissett says she moved back to Seattle after “Melrose Place” ended and she became a mom, because she wanted her children to grow up around family. Her youngest heads off to college this month.
“I couldn’t imagine raising them in L.A. I wouldn’t have anything against it but I never found it to be a place where I felt grounded, where families are generational,” she says. “It felt like such a transient place.”
In addition, so much TV production, including the “Wedding March” films, moved to nearby Vancouver, B.C. Bissett did star in ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (2008-13) but producers accommodated her schedule, bundling all her scenes from assorted episodes into a week when ex-husband Rob Estes had custody of their children.
“I would fly to Burbank on my week without the kids and work,” she says. “I’d get my little dose of Los Angeles and of work in the sunshine and then come back and I felt really able to be present with my kids.”
Bissett and husband Thomas Doig moved from Lake Sammamish to 5 acres near Snoqualmie recently. She splits her time between there and Atlanta, where construction executive Doig now works, when she’s not traveling to film on location.
Most recently, Bissett was in Puerto Rico, reunited with “Melrose Place” co-stars Laura Leighton and Daphne Zuniga, to film an episode of Fox’s new take on “Fantasy Island” (9 p.m. Tuesdays starting Aug. 10). The actors play a trio of friends celebrating their 50th birthdays on the island.
“Fantasy Island” executive producer Sarah Fain, who promises some “Melrose Place” Easter eggs planted in the yet-to-be-scheduled episode, says she’s long been a fan of “Melrose” and Bissett.
“She brings such vibrancy to every role she plays, but particularly to Camille [on ‘Fantasy Island’], who is having a new physical experience,” Fain teases.
Bissett grew up in the Kent/Federal Way area and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School before working as a model in Japan and then becoming a Los Angeles-based actress.
Early roles included the 1990-91 sitcom “Valerie” before she hit it big on Fox’s “Melrose Place” (1992-99), which began as an earnest, 20-something spinoff of “Beverly Hills, 90210.” The show became a hit once it spiraled into soapier suds with the addition of Heather Locklear as sharp-tongued advertising exec Amanda and a wig-wearing, back-from-the-dead Kimberly (Marcia Cross).
Bissett says she’s closest with Zuniga, Leighton, Wagner and Grant Show and keeps in more sporadic touch with Locklear.
“We’ll connect with Heather when we have things we want to talk about [regarding] the reboot,” Bissett says.
Bissett reprised her “Melrose Place” role in two episodes of a short-lived “Melrose” sequel series on The CW (2009-10) and she hopes to step into Jane’s shoes once again for a new “Melrose Place” revival.
“This is gonna be different because it’s the original cast. ‘Melrose’ is a tough show to reboot unless it’s with the original people,’” Bissett says, noting none of the original show’s writers are involved in what sounds like an attempt to remount the show by original cast members.
“I think it would be great if we all have our kids and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so we’ll go through some things with our kids that we went through on the show ourselves,” Bissett says. “I do believe there are conversations with Fox going on.”