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Donnie Wahlberg On Coronavirus First Responders: 'There's So Many People That Have Shown Their Value'

Blue Bloods will air a very unique season finale this Friday, May 1st at 10:00PM ET/PT, only on CBS and streaming on CBS All Access. Due to the COVID-19 crisis production for the current season was halted prematurely, but the Reagan family still has one more new story to add to the show's latest chapter.

CBS Local's Matt Weiss spoke to series star Donnie Wahlberg (Danny Reagan) about keeping busy in quarantine and what it means to provide viewers an escape during these trying times.

MW: Hey there Donnie, hope all's going well for you during quarantine, super excited to talk to you today. Have you been doing anything special to keep busy during this time? 

DW: You know, the first few days I was dealing with one business catastrophe after another. My family's in the restaurant business and we're shutting down restaurants left and right and dealing with a lot of fallout from that. It's kind of weighing on me a little bit and I just kind of went on Instagram Live and clicked on Club Quarantine with D-Nice one afternoon and the music just made me feel a lot better and reminded me of who I am. 

I'm not a person who gets stressed out or gets down. I always put other people before myself. That little musical experience kind of reminded me to get back to who I am. I immediately wrote a song, called "House Party" which I recorded with New Kids On The Block, Boyz 2 Men and Naughty By Nature and Big Freedia, Jordin Sparks. The song's raised almost a quarter million dollars for charity. 

Jenny and I've been doing a lot of fun videos just to keep people smiling and laughing. Doing our part in this time to help other people in any way we can. I mean we're entertainers, so we're just trying to entertain and do it in a way that's helpful to others. 

MW: Music alone is such a great way to lift people's spirits but the charity aspect adds a whole other dimension to it, really cool. 

DW: Thank you. I couldn't believe we actually pulled this all off, working with all these other artists. We had to ship microphones around the country, but I made a point when I wrote the song to reach out to friends. I didn't want a big celebrity song full of people that I don't even know just because they're famous. It's people that we have relationships with; people we have a connection with. My brother's in the video. It really is something that was from the heart and people who we have a connection with want to be part of it. I'm grateful to them for doing it.  

MW: Outside of music you also have an episode of Blue Bloods coming this week. I'm curious though, this is the season finale, was that the plan or was that altered because of everything? 

DW: It was not the plan. We had three episodes to go after this one, but ironically this episode is probably the most appropriate season finale we've ever had. It's probably the best season finale we've ever had. It's huge twists that turns the Reagan family upside down. Very heart felt and interesting to say the least because it really is going to propel the show into next season. I can't wait to hear what the audience has to say about it. 

MW: You mentioned the Reagan family, and a big thing for you guys is the big family dinner. What do you think the Reagan family would be doing during this time? They are first responders so how woul this real-life situation effect them? 

DW: I don't think the Reagans would be getting together for dinner. They'd probably be exposed to a lot of people because they'd still be up there on the front lines, doing what so many brave men and women are doing right now in the real world. Real life first responders are out there putting themselves on the line and I'd like to think the Reagans would be doing the same and they probably have to skip some Sunday dinners for everyone safety and for grandpa's safety. 

One of the great things about working on Blue Bloods is seeing just how courageous so many men and women are when it comes to first responders. I think in times of crisis like this we see and we appreciate what they do. But it would be nice if we could come through this crisis with that same appreciation.

Not just first responders but doctors, nurses, teachers you name it. I mean there's so many people that have shown their value and how critical they are to our society functioning. In people being safe and educated and taken care of. I hope that somehow one of the small takeaways from this is the big, big sacrifices so many people make for all of us.  

MW: Right it feels like when these events happen there's always a big push to say thank you and to appreciate them. Then six months goes by and it kind of fades a little bit and hopefully that's something that can stick around.  

DW: Yeah it doesn't have to be a lot. Just a dinner, having dinner with your loved ones. We grew up with our family members from the day we're born. They're in our lives and we think you're always going to be there and one day it's taken away from us. It reminds us of how precious and fragile life is. The key though is to move forward and not forget that like we so often do. Hopefully we won't this time. 

MW: The Reagans wouldn't be able to sit together, but I believe you and your castmates actually did have a Zoom dinner altogether, is that right? how'd that go? 

DW: We did. We didn't really eat dinner, but we got the crew together for a virtual gathering. I just got the idea from doing so much outreach to fans in my world of my band and stuff. Staying connected with them, I thoughtwhat better thing to do than get the Reagans together virtually? A Zoom conference is perfectly set up for a Reagan family virtual dinner, so we did it. 

It was great and it's great for the fans of the show. It was great for us as actors we got the season cut short, so we didn't get to say goodbye to each other. It was a great way to check in and re-connect. We also celebrated Bridget Moynahan's birthday which we never get to do because the shows always finish shooting by the time her birthday rolls so that was great. 

MW: Very nice and a belated happy birthday to Bridget! Last question before I let you go here, so as we kind of touched on a little bit before Blue Blood's new episode this week is the season finale. What does it mean to you be able to provide people with an escape when they tune in for this week's episode Friday night?

DW: I think a lot of ways my whole career has been spent, since I was about 14 years old, being an entertainer. Giving people an escape, an outlet toofor whatever reason, just sort of get through tough times. Blue Bloods came along at the height of the financial crisis, or just after it, people were staying home on Friday nights a lot more than they used to be. It was a great escape for people then and I think it's a great escape for people now. 

At its core Blue Bloods is a show about family and values and serviceI think at this timeit's a timely show because it just resonates. I think people are thinking about sacrifice, they are thinking about service, they are thinking about putting other people first. We all miss our familiesnobody is exempt from the ramifications of this awful time that we're living in. We're all feeling it in one way or another and anything we can do to unite even if it's watching a TV show.

MW: Alright well thank you so much Donnie. All the best and all the best to you and your family. Stay safe man!

DW: Thank you Matt, appreciate you.

Tune in Friday night for the season finale of Blue Bloods at 10:00PM ET/PT, only on CBS and streaming on CBS All Access. Check your local listings for more information. 

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