‘Blue Bloods’ Star Donnie Wahlberg Pens Message to New Kids on the Block Fans, ‘Blockheads’

by Jennifer Shea

“Blue Bloods” star Donnie Wahlberg is getting pumped for his upcoming New Kids on the Block concert in Fenway Park. The show, which will take place on Aug. 6, requires a lot of preparation. But it also requires a lot of devoted fans to show up in the midst of a waning pandemic. And it was to that aspect that Wahlberg turned his attention this morning.

“Dearest Blockheads,” the “Blue Bloods” star tweeted to NKTOB fans Saturday morning. “Thinking of you. You are loved. Be sure to love yourselves too. You deserve nothing less. Miss you lots. As Always — Your Man, Donnie.”

‘Blue Bloods’ Star Joined Boy Band In 1986

New Kids on the Block got their start in 1986. But their first hit album was 1988’s Hangin’ Tough. Per Billboard, their breakout album established the “Blue Bloods” star, Jonathan Knight, Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood as a smoothly harmonizing, slightly edgy boy band that had what it takes to top pop charts.

Seven albums and three Hot 100 No. 1 songs later, the NKTOB are still playing to stadium crowds, as their Fenway show attests. And a 14-year hiatus does not seem to have dimmed their fans’ enthusiasm.

In fact, the reconstituted boy band is looking to capitalize on their resurgent popularity with a new line of merchandise. It draws its inspiration from the NKOTB bedsheet pattern that decorated many teen girls’ bedrooms in the 1990s, according to People. The new line of merchandise will include products like coffee mugs and blankets. And it will feature designs such as autographs, portraits and hand-drawn doodles by the band members.

“The line is really inspired by the fans,” Wood told People. “Over the years, we’ve watched as they’ve taken those old bedsheets they had as kids and made them into dresses and jackets. During the pandemic, one girl even turned those sheets into face masks and donated all the money from the sales to my foundation, which helps breast cancer patients. The guys and I have always leaned into the nostalgia of the New Kids so we said, ‘Let’s embrace this and do our own products with that nostalgic feel.'”

In the Early Days, NKOTB Lost Control of Their Image

Now older and wiser, the band, including “Blue Bloods” star Wahlberg, has made a concerted effort to corral the profits being made off their image. That wasn’t always the case. When they first hit it big, the merchandising explosion got away from them. Back then, they weren’t necessarily seeing all the money from products sold to fans.

“We were young guys in our 20s and people were making so much money off our faces and our name and we didn’t even know certain products were in the store,” Wood told People.

“The tipping point for me was when they started selling these stuffed [plush] dolls that were supposed to look like us but they looked like murder dolls,” he added. “They were so creepy. Mine and Jordan’s had horrible rat tails. Donnie’s had a little mullet. We only found out about them when we walked into a Toys R Us and saw them there.”

Fortunately, the band has now got the merchandising piece under control, and their new collection of products is evidence of that. And fans can only hope to see some of those new products on sale at their upcoming stadium shows this summer.