Last week, DC's Legends of Tomorrow star Nick Zano took center stage for an episode that centered on the Cuban Missile Crisis, and we spoke with him briefly about that. During that conversation, we got to talking a little bit about how the departure of Dominic Purcell means that Nate Heywood (Zano) is now one of the two longest-serving Legends, behind the final original-generation Legend and current captain of the Waverider, Sara Lance (Caity Lotz). It's an interesting place for Zano to be in -- not only becuase it doesn't seem so long since he was the new guy, but because he has never before been the grizzled veteran, hanging out for dozens of episodes and watching turnover.
The good news? It's exactly what he wanted. Fresh off the cancellation of Minority Report, Zano joined Legends of Tomorrow, and he tells us that one of his goals -- he wanted to be on a show that ran for 100 episodes -- lined up with the studio expectations.
"It's so difficult to launch something -- something to stick around, and something that's given air to grow," Zano told ComicBook. "We live in an era where it's got to work right now, and if it doesn't work right now, we have to replace it with something else. As far as Minority Report went, that was something where creatively we were like, 'Oh, it's not this thing we thought. It's this thing about the PreCogs.' But unfortunately we figured that out Episode 4 or 5 out of 10. That's late in the game. That was a bummer, because the people, creatively, were a fantastic team. But that goes to show you even the best of teams, nothing is guaranteed and opportunity is opportunity."
"I've taken every opportunity I've ever been lucky enough to be part of and I try to maximize that opportunity," Zano continued. "I don't dwell on whether it goes or doesn't go, or how long it goes for. I enjoy and do my part of it. I can't control anything else. I can only control myself. So as far as growing into Legends, I always wanted 100 episodes of something. That was on my bucket list of TV acting. 'I just want to get to 100 episodes." When I first negotiated this deal with Peter Roth at Warner Bros., we did it directly. He was like, 'I need a 100 episodes of this.' I was like, 'Well, that's funny because I always wanted to do a 100 episodes of something.' To his credit, he retired this year, but we will do 100 episodes."
Zano actually appeared on another beloved cult show that reached 102 episodes: Cougar Town. But Zano was not a significant part of the show beyond his memorable run in the first season, meaning that when they hit 100 episodes in their final season, he wasn't there for it.
100 episodes used to be a bigger deal than it is; before streaming, and prestige TV, and all of the developments in TV over the last decade and change, 100 episodes was the number shows had to hit in order to be sold more easily into syndication. Daily reruns, after all, get old fast if there's only 20 or so episodes and you're repeating them basically every month.
By the end of the current (sixth) season of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, the series will hit 97 episodes. Next season's episode count has not yet been finalized, but it's likely to be somewhere between 13 and 18, as is the norm for Legends. The show's first season, in which Zano didn't appear, accounts for 16 episodes, so if the show gets an eighth season, it's entirely plausible that Zano himself could appear in 100 episodes of Legends before it's over.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow airs on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.