Speculation has run wild for some time that David Conrad's character on Ghost Whisperer would be checking out. We chatted with him about how that rumor will work itself in Friday's episode, how it could affect his future on the show and why he watched so much Olympic swimming this summer. — Steve Pond
TV Guide: Rumors have been swirling that Jim, your character, is about to die and become one of those ghosts who constantly bother Melinda. I know you can't spoil it, but what can you tell fans about what happens to Jim?
David Conrad: I think they'll see a Jim like they've never seen before. I think he'll find out who his true self is, though it might take a long time. That's cryptic.
TV Guide: So there is some sort of event that changes his fate?
Conrad: [Thoughtfully] Well, Jim kind of blacks out... there's a strange blackout. And some-times, by forgetting, when you do re-member, you know things all the more. Like, people might say, "Oh, I forgot how much I love my wife." And then time goes by, and they realize just how much more they loved her, and at what cost.
TV Guide: As an actor, is the new story line going to be exciting to play?
Conrad: Yeah. It may bring out a muscle that I've never used before. It's going to be a completely new world for him. He's gonna wake up with new eyes — almost as if he's seeing things through someone else's eyes.
TV Guide: Have you known for a while that something big was coming?
Conrad: I was told in the first season that something big was coming for me. [Laughs] Early on, the rumor was that I wouldn't make it past Season 1. But somehow I ended up here, in my fourth one.
TV Guide: Do you have any sense of Jim's long-term future on the show?
Conrad: None, which is actually cool. Before, I saw this endless plain of being the supportive husband. And now I don't know what the hell's going to happen.
TV Guide: Jim's such a good guy, but over the years, did you ever find yourself thinking, "I'm sick of being calm and supportive — can't I be skeptical and cranky for a change?"
Conrad: [Nods] Yeah. I got really tired of that. But that's the dynamic. Maybe it's part of what's so exciting about what's coming up, because things change quite a bit. Before, it could get exhausting spending that much time doing nothing, significantly. Sometimes you think, "Hey, let's do a story about me." But, you know, the show is called Ghost Whisperer; it's not called Husband.
TV Guide: Maybe you and Jake Weber from Medium could get together for a spin-off.
Conrad: [Laughs] I'd love to. I think Jake's a great actor. I was just watching him speak German in some terrible movie about subma-rines. But he's so good.
TV Guide: Have you guys ever compared notes?
Conrad: I've never met Jake. We went to the same school, Juilliard. We're both "married" to mediums. But we've never met.
TV Guide: OK, let's switch topics. You're a former competitive swimmer. Did you watch Michael Phelps over the summer?
Conrad: [Enthused] I did — I watched endless hours of the Olympics online. And then I started swimming again before the Olympics, and I really started finding the joy again. I haven't swum competitively since high school, but it's nice, later in my life, to rediscover that.
TV Guide: How seriously are you swimming now?
Conrad: I'm thinking about trying to find a masters swimming program. What I do now is, I'll go to a public pool, and there'll be a little swim team practicing in three lanes. I'll get in the lane next to them and try to run with them. And often, the little 13-year-olds are destroying me. But once in a while I can keep up, so that's fun.
TV Guide: If this season is the end for your char-acter, what will you do next?
Conrad: Hopefully I've saved enough money to move back East and live a very inexpensive lifestyle... just stop doing things that I don't have my heart in. I hope I have the sense to just choose stuff in the remaining years of my actor life that I can really sink my teeth into.
TV Guide: During your first season on the show, you told us that at heart you were just a square from Pittsburgh, looking to settle down and have kids with a girl from your hometown. Well?
Conrad: That didn't work out. You have dreams, but at a certain point you've got to realize what you're best at, or what's most natural. Yeah, family...I don't think about it. [Laughs] Love kids, though. Still love 'em.
TV Guide: So what's the plan now?
Conrad: What I'd really like to do is just sell everything I own and travel. I don't want to own any-thing. I don't want a house, I don't want paintings, I don't want to collect anything. I really would just like to travel, and think, and write.