Entertainment

‘Boy Meets World’ star Maitland Ward returns to TV from porn

Former “Boy Meets World” actress-turned-porn-star Maitland Ward is making her return to TV after embarking on a career in the adult film industry — and has big plans to straddle both worlds.

Ward, 44, is starring in and producing a new comedy series called “The Big Time,” centering around a “world-famous adult superstar” — which, as an award-winning skin flick star, she certainly knows a thing or two about.

“The Big Time” marks Ward’s return to the small screen after her leap into the porn industry in 2019, nearly 20 years after “Boy Meets World” ended. Though her next project will be an unprecedented shift from mainstream to porn and back again, this babe is not saying goodbye to the X-rated scene any time soon.

“I want to slay both industries,” Ward told The Post. “I love and embrace both. Me being bold and free in my sexuality and so out there with it has really given me that power. When I was like this innocent flower, I was letting everyone else dictate what I should do or what I should be.”

While some may stick their noses up at her day job, the redheaded bombshell says it unleashed passion within herself — not just passion for the cameras.

“When people always say, ‘Oh porn’s going to ruin you. You’ll never be seen by mainstream again. Nobody will ever want to hire you and porn will ruin it,’ ” she said, “it’s given me my acting career back. It really has.”

Ward, far left, says that although she's been treated better in porn than in the TV industry, she still loves her former "Boy Meets World" co-stars.
Ward, far left, says that although she’s been treated better in porn than in the TV industry, she still loves her former “Boy Meets World” co-stars.
Walt Disney Television via Getty

Beyond playing Rachel McGuire on the beloved ABC show, which wrapped in 2000, she’s done several pilots and an “indie” movie or two, but her last role on TV was in 2007 on “Rules of Engagement” as a sexy siren alongside David Spade.

“It was a long time ago, I had left the television world behind,” she said, citing the reason as being constantly labeled as the girl “from that kids’ show.”

“If I wanted to be sexy, I’d hear, ‘Oh, no, you’re too hot for that.’ And in a lot of auditions, they would only see me as this ‘Boy Meets World’ type of person and they wouldn’t see me any way else,” she said. “I love doing comedy. I just got tired of being typecast, and only seen for certain kinds of roles when I wanted to do so much more.”

Ward, 44.
Ward, 44.
SplashNews.com

Now, she’s getting to fuse both loves. Her new passion project, which is in development with Leaving Normal Productions, caught Ward’s eye for being not only “sex-positive,” but also an example of art imitating life. Brett Azar of NBC’s “Young Rock” is also set to co-star in the show, which will begin shooting in May in New York.

“The writers came to me with the idea,” Ward said. “When I read their concept and everything in their original script, it was so sex-positive and fun. My character was based on me really because … it’s just my kind of persona.”

The show follows Ward’s character who, after a successful career in X-rated films, has been tapped to “save a waning film studio on the brink of collapse.” In an “Odd Couple”-like pairing, she teams with a “nerdy aspiring writer and mama’s boy” who will provide a new perspective on her “steamy” scenes and help fluff the struggling studio’s image.

“It’s going to have nudity, but it is going to be light-hearted,” Ward said. “It’s not going to be like, bubblegum.”

The show is being written by “Leaving Normal” duo Mikey Rodriguez and Zerelda Nothnagel, who said Ward brings “invaluable insight and authenticity to a subject that is often misunderstood.”

Ward says she's prepared to dominate both porn and TV.
Ward says she’s prepared to dominate both porn and TV.
WireImage

In fact, Ward believes there has been a shift in what people desire to watch on the screen beyond formulaic sitcoms thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix, which struck gold with “Bridgerton” — a successful show that embraces and showcases nudity as well as diversity.

“I think people want to see all different stories and they don’t want to be boxed into the old and beholden to the studio system,” she said. “We were relying a lot on an old system where the network executives made all of the decisions about who would get jobs, who would become the stars, what storylines, shows, everything.”

In the 18 months since Ward transitioned to adult acting, she has won five Adult Video News (AVN) awards — which are akin to the Oscars for porn — and six XBIZ Awards.

She may even have a “Boy Meets World” parody “situation” in store for her true fans.

“I’m writing a few things,” she said, declining to share the dirty details. “But it definitely is going to have the audience very excited.”

Though she’s spoken at length about how porn has treated her better than Hollywood, Ward says friends and former mainstream colleagues — including her former “Boy Meets World” co-stars — have been supportive of her X-rated career, too.

“I had lunch with Trina [McGee] just a little bit ago,” she said of the actress who played Angela Moore. “She’s really been very supportive the entire way.”

Matthew Lawrence and Maitland Ward in their "Boy Meets World" days.
Matthew Lawrence and Maitland Ward in their
“Boy Meets World” days.
Walt Disney Television via Getty

As for Will Friedle, who played her roommate Eric Matthews on the show, he’s not one of the millions drooling over her sexy movies.

“I had run into Will at a Comic-Con and he was so funny,” she recalled. “His first comment was like, ‘Are you happy?’ I said yes, and he’s like, ‘That’s all I care about but I’m not watching any of your movies!’ “

Ward thought it was hilarious. “It’s like saying you don’t want to see your sister,” she laughed, “but you know what’s happening. You don’t want to watch the sex parts.”

But her experience in the adult realm is helpful for a show centering around porn, and as a producer, she’s been advising about the realities of set-life so the show gets it right. One such instance may shock the uninitiated but is an ordinary occurrence as an adult film actor.

“Everybody will be naked and hanging around the food table and talking — but naked. It’s like it’s a total normal experience on a porn set,” she explained. “You’re not like thinking anything sexual. You’re just eating your lunch.”

In addition to silly moments, Ward said “The Big Time” will shed a light on the “family environment” in the adult industry, which is “a tight-knit community.”

“Everybody really cares about each other, and I think that’s going to be something that people don’t expect from a relationship at a studio for porn,” she said.

She’s also been on a mission to take away the stigma from pornography. In addition to several films for high-end adult film giant Deeper and Vixen Media Group, she has an OnlyFans account dedicated to making connections with fans — of the “Boy Meets World” variety and beyond.

But for followers of her raunchy videos and features, she’s not going anywhere. After she posted about the show on social media, Ward said fans already approached her wondering if she is leaving porn. The fiery babe assured them that she is not.

“I said, ‘Wait a minute, guys, do you really think that’s the kind of person that I am? I’ve been trying to bridge these industries,” she said. “I’m not somebody who is just going to leave it behind because I want to do mainstream more now.”

In fact, Ward said she will definitely consider any projects that arouse her interest — be it porn or not.

“I want to embrace it all,” she said. “People think ‘Oh, you can’t do both,’ and I hate that. I really want to change that perception. You can do both.”

Maitland Ward at the 2020 Adult Video News Awards — and in "Boy Meets World" back in the day.
Maitland Ward at the 2020 Adult Video News Awards — and in “Boy Meets World” back in the day.
Getty Images; Walt Disney Televi

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