‘Blue Bloods’: Here’s Who ‘Ghostbusters’ Star Ernie Hudson Played on the Series

by John Jamison

Did Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddemore pursue a career in education after his ghostbusting days were through? The actor appeared in a recent episode of “Blue Bloods” as a New York high school principal. Unfortunately, despite the opportunities provided by a shared setting, Hudson’s character on the hit CBS crime drama was not Winston. “Blue Bloods” just isn’t that type of show. But that doesn’t mean Hudson was anything less than great as Principal Darryl Ward.

Ernie Hudson, who portrayed the fourth member of the iconic supernatural sleuths in the classic “Ghostbusters” franchise, has led a prolific acting career. He has been active since the late 1970s and boasted an impressive resume even before “Ghostbusters” came along in 1984.

But the “Ghostbusters” franchise put him on the map. And despite the consistent movie work he pursued in the years following the blockbuster, Hudson never left TV behind completely. The majority of his roles took the form of one-off guest spots on network shows. Well, in 2018, he kept to that tradition in his appearance on “Blue Bloods.”

Ernie Hudson as Principal Darryl Ward on ‘Blue Bloods’

In a Season 8 episode of “Blue Bloods” titled “School of Hard Knocks,” Hudson’s Principal Ward did his best to raise school awareness of gun violence. Let’s just say he took it a step too far.

The high school in question happened to be a hub for gang-related activity. After a teacher was attacked, the school cracked down on security at the behest of Danny Reagan, Maria Baez, and the NYPD. Metal detectors were introduced, and the school seemed more secure. That is until Ernie Hudson’s Principal Ward brought a gun to a classroom.

He held the students’ hostage in an apparent “Scared Straight”-like attempt to highlight the danger of guns. Naturally, he’s seen as a major threat by police. They were prepared to do anything necessary to protect the students. Fortunately, in true “Blue Bloods” fashion, Donnie Wahlberg’s Danny Reagan was able to defuse the situation without any violence.

The Winston Zeddemore Role in ‘Ghostbusters’ Could Have Been Eddie Murphy’s

Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis, who play Ray and Egon in “Ghostbusters,” also wrote the classic comedy. Winston Zeddemore as the fourth member of the squad was supposed to be a proper lead role. Originally, the character had a whole backstory that was fleshed out, and he was part of the group from the beginning of the movie.

Ernie Hudson has heard rumors of why that was the case and why the part changed so much. He talked to Entertainment Weekly about it in 2014.

“Now I’ve heard, over the years, that the part had been written for Eddie Murphy—all of which Ivan Reitman says is not true. But it was a bigger part, and Winston was there all the way through the movie. After a long audition process, I finally got the part and made the awful mistake of letting it be known that I really, really wanted it,” said Hudson.

He goes on to say that the studio reduced his role to let Bill Murray’s comedy shine.