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OLTL's Erika Slezak and Kassie DePaiva Chat On: Roger Howarth, Kristen Alderson and Viki & Blair!

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

Two of the all-time leading ladies of Llanview, six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Erika Slezak (Viki) and fan favorite, Kassie DePaiva (Blair) took part in a One Life to Live 45th anniversary celebration kick-off with the press yesterday! Monday, One Life celebrates its big 4-5, and so we had the opportunity to pose some questions to these two women who have been a huge and integral part of the series longevity.

During our chat, we asked Erika and Kassie, what was it like having Roger Howarth return as Todd Manning, and if they had caught him in his new incarnation on General Hospital as Franco? Plus why Viki/Todd and Blair/Todd work so well together and are so beloved by the One Life audience.  And, we get their reaction to Kristen Alderson winning her first Daytime Emmy for her performance as Starr Manning on GH, and the years Erika and Kassie spent with her at One Life. Finally, we delve into why Viki and Blair have meant so much for so many years to the core audience of the series!  Here below are Erika and Kassie’s responses to our questions!

Both of you have told me in the past just how much you’ve loved working with Roger Howarth. I know it was great to have him back as Todd Manning for the time he was with you in the reboot of One Life to Live .  Can you speak to me about getting to work with him again?  Was it sad to see him leave?  There is still that palpable chemistry between Todd and Blair in their scenes, and Viki and Todd as sister and brother in their scenes.  What are your thoughts on all things Roger?

Photo Credit: Getty Images

ERIKA:  I have always been a huge admirer of Roger Howarth. I think he’s a fascinating actor and a very, very nice human being.  I have always liked working with him because he’s so interesting.  And in the very beginning when we started working together after the whole rape trial and everything, when we found out he was Todd, we had more fun because we kind of got each other.   And he would do things that were a little impromptu and I would respond immediately.  He’d come in and put his feet on the coffee table and it wasn’t in the dialogue, but I’d just go, “Get your feet off the table. This is a house. It’s, you know, it’s not a barn.”   Roger appreciated that I think. We had a lot of fun working together. When he came back this time it was double, triple, a thousand times.   Roger is a lovely actor and a lovely man and I am really glad that he came back.  And when he left …. it was a kind of a hard day.  I was not happy to see him go.

KASSIE:  Well, what can I say that I haven’t said a thousand times. You know, I  am a fan of Todd and Blair.  I am a fan of Roger. He’s a brilliant, delightful actor to work with.

ERIKA:  I feel that whatever Kassie and Roger bring to it, it just comes alive, and it’s just kind  of a magical thing that has worked over the years. Sometimes I shake my head and go, “Wow!”  Doing it’s one thing, and then watching it back even on YouTube I kind of go, “Wow! Now I kind of get why people really love these characters because they’re so complicated and they’ve been written so beautifully.”

KASSIE: But sometimes you can just put Todd and Blair in a room and the less they say the more they convey.  And I’ve loved the pairing.   It will make me very, very sad if this is the last time that you will see Blair with Todd.  I mean I hope there will be more, but who knows what’s going to happen.   I hope that this will continue.

Have either of you had the opportunity to see Roger on General Hospital as Franco?  Have you checked it out or seen it and if so, what was your impression?

KASSIE:  I have checked it out just very, very briefly. I know that he’s blonde for sure! (Laughs)

ERIKA:  I just saw him one day very briefly.  I was flipping through channels, and I  went. “Wait a minute! Who is that? ”

KASSIE:  Yes. That’s exactly what I did!

ERIKA: I said, “My God, Roger’s blonde! How about that? And playing Franco!”  But I don’t really watch a lot of other television and I haven’t watched General Hospital in a lot of years.   I used to be a devoted fan when I had the time, but I don’t seem to have the time anymore.

We’ve talked over the years about how amazing Viki and Blair are, and why you as actresses have resonated so much with the audience.  Why do you think you have touched so many people in these roles?

KASSIE:  I can comment as a fan of Viki’s!  I think Viki and Blair are great powerful women in their own right, but very different. Blair is by far more dysfunctional.  But Viki is too, if you just take in to account her alters.   But both of these women speak from the heart.  They have a voice that maybe some of the women at home don’t get to express.

ERIKA: They’re very different, but I love both of their powerful presence and voice. They both love their children. They both believe in what they stand for, and they both do things with reason, and determination, and passion.  I think they’re interesting to watch. I think they both have a lot of  great humanity about them. They are kind, and loving, and giving women, and other people really like them and that helps!

When Kristen Alderson (Ex-Starr, OLTL and GH) won the  Daytime Emmy last month for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series, did you ladies fall on the floor? Were you not excited?  What was your reaction?

ERIKA: I was backstage because I was presenting the final award and I didn’t hear it, and somebody came into the little green room in the back and said Kristen just won.  And I said, “Whoa!”  Afterwards when it was over, I ran to give her a hug. She is such a doll and I have known her since she was a  child.   Kristen  has grown into a marvelous actress.

KASSIE:  I was biting my nails. I mean it! I  was like, “Oh my gosh. I don’t know. this is just killing me.”  Then when they called her name it was like, I mean, I couldn’t have been a more proud mama, you know, if I’d been there myself.  I was very proud of her and she looked stunning!

ERIKA:  She looked wonderful.

KASSIE:  She looked beautiful.   I loved her speech.  She thanked the One Life to Live family which I was like, “Awww …  she remembered her roots,” and I love that.

ERIKA:  That’s where she learned it all.  And she was a very talented child.

KASSIE:  Oh my God, so delightful.

ERIKA: Yes and because of her mother  … this was a girl who never became obnoxious or nasty or awful or a little brat. She was always a wonderful child as is her brother Eddie.  hER mother was very careful with them and that made a huge difference in their growing up and in who they became.

 

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Gwendolyn
Gwendolyn

Aww, very sweet. I’m glad they didn’t suffer too much of “Franco” on GH, they would see Roger is tanking, love what was said about TnB, so very true. I can’t wait for Roger to return! Given how things are going on GH, I would expect it sooner tha later! 😉

It is great to see Roger and Todd where he belongs, on OLTL!

dmrjmd
dmrjmd

I love Roger Howarth and I am beginning to like Michael Easton. I’m not too keen on Roger returning as Franco; but, he is definitely putting his comedic self out there and trying to redeem the character. I am also liking Michael Easton as Silas. I think Silas will end up having a few more dimensions, other than appearing cold. I like Michael’s chemistry with Maura West as Ava.

boes
boes

Two class acts!

Dennis
Dennis

OLTL must find a way to get Roger back!

Dee
Dee

Roger hasn’t left. he is doing both shows

Dennis
Dennis

Then why did Erika say she was sad to see him go?

Bryon
Bryon

It’s confirmed that he is doing both shows. However, he will only do OLTL when his schedule allows him to do so only when he’s not taping for GH. He still has residence in NY, which allows him to do both shows. Do wish Kristen Alderson and Michael Easton could return, but they’ve relocated to CA. I believe he only taped for the first four weeks of production. I hope to see more of him because the show needs him and let’ s bring back Victor too. Love the chemistry with these two actresses, Todd & Blair have always been good together.

brigid
brigid

there have been conflicting reports on weather or not he is back. nobody knows for sure

ray hoffman
ray hoffman

He is finished at OLTL.
Working and staying on General Hospital because he is under contract to the show and to ABC, also more so because that’s where he wishes to be, he is paid far more money than the rebooted OLTL can pay him. Has far more Viewers being on the National Network.

Philip Chase
Philip Chase

I’ve so enjoyed getting a double dose of Roger … Todd on nuOLTL and Franco on GH … Earnestly hoping he’ll continue on nuOLTL but don’t want him to leave GH. Am I greedy or what? Love both Erika and Kassie on OLTL, so pleased with the TOLN reboot and want it to be a great fan success. Of the three ABC soaps, I most liked OLTL the best (and have watched since the Judith Light/Gerald Anthony days). Robin Strasser, Erika, and Kassie have played a large part in making the reboot successful … to say nothing of Roger who simply has chemistry with all his co-stars, even Robin! LOL

ray hoffman
ray hoffman

I miss the Real One Life To Live. Reboot is just not the same.

su0000
su0000

I am a fan of GH and OL. I feel Roger Howarth will not be returning to OL ..
I would love to see him on both soaps, double my pleasure, but RH has a contract with ABC and I do not see how he would be allowed to be on OL, also..

His 4 OL weeks was a prior agreement between PP and ABC, that agreement has now ended.

AJ
AJ

How do you think he got to OLTL in the first place? Howarth has it written into his contract that he can do both shows. I don’t know if Howarth has a deal with OLTL past his month of work, but that’s entirely up to him. Howarth has obligations to GH, so he can’t leave whenever he wants to. If Howarth returns to OLTL, it’ll have to be written into his GH-storyline.. don’t think ABC cares about Howarth’s role on OLTL.. so only the writes could say when Howarth MIGHT have some free time.. dont think Howarth wants to spend his vacation working.

IMO, GH will be cancelled by ABC, it hasnt been re-up for 2014 yet, despite it being an epic mistake..and they probably know its not right, but they’ve gone out of their way to say soaps are dead.. dont see them turning back now after all they’ve done. The good thing is TOLN inherits GH if it gets cancelled.

ray hoffman
ray hoffman

Roger only did OLTL reboot because he was Forced to do so by Prospect Park, he did not appreciate having to give up his Popular Character of Todd Manning on General Hospital because Prospect Park played hard ball with him and the character. GH is just fine in ratings, the reboot of OLTL will be long gone before GH!

AJ
AJ

Ray,

You’d be incorrect. Roger wasn’t forced to do PP, he did so because he could.. it was written into his contract. If PP could force people to do the show, then would have seen John McBain or Starr make appear?

How do you know Roger Howarth didn’t “appreciate” giving up his character on GH? If Howarth misses Todd so much, he can play that character on OLTL.

GH isn’t fine in the ratings, and they have been picked up for 2014. Enjoy the show while you can on network TV.

Maria
Maria

Erika Slezak always has such nice things to say about Roger. I feel Roger is right where he belongs on a network soap. It is great that Roger went back to help out with the launch on OLTL 2.0 but he might actually be where he wants to be at GH now. Roger isn’t being kept at GH against his will he keeps choosing to go back there. I love Roger as Franco. I think he is doing a great job. I was very disappointed with his return to OLTL. It seems like they just wanted him there and didn’t think very much about the storyline to keep him there. Really, what as the character of Todd done since he has been back, not much of anything so far. I really hope in the end see more from Todd than just sniffing after Blair.

ray hoffman
ray hoffman

You are right Maria. Roger wants to be on GH, not on OLTL. The reboot OLTL forced him to return briefly as Todd Manning, and Refused to allow GH to keep that character for Roger to play, so GH created a New Character for him. Happy that Roger signed contract with ABC and GH, they can pay him way better than an online reboot ever could.

Chaz
Chaz

I admire both Erika and Kassie. They bring their all to their roles, which is why their characters are so well loved.

However, one thing bothered me that Erika Slezak said: “……I haven’t watched General Hospital in a lot of years. I used to be a devoted fan when I had the time, but I don’t seem to have the time anymore.”

If she, as a part of daytime, cannot find the time to tune in then it feeds into the conception that the soap audience IS dying…especially for network shows. She has always been a huge supporter of the genre and reading this was….awkward.

monica
monica

i hate roger howarth. horrible actor and annoying as hell. kassie depaiva needs acting lessons and please kassie dont ever sing again. you are a terrible singer. erika slezak can act. erika slezak needs a face lift. she is warn out, for her age.

OLTLfan
OLTLfan

Well, you’re just nasty, aren’t you? Apparently you wouldn’t know talent if it bit you. And just so you know, it’s refreshing to see an older woman who hasn’t destroyed her face with plastic surgery (like Jackie Zeman or the woman who plays Monica Q). Erika is a beautiful woman for her age.

ray hoffman
ray hoffman

Roger , Kassie and Erika are all wonderful Great stars. Great actors. Kassie has a very beautiful voice, wish she could have stayed on GH with Roger and Kristen .

Jake R.
Jake R.

You must be the only person on the planet who has something bad to say about Erika Slezak! She’s a class act; something you, clearly, are not!

JEM
JEM

What a nasty, useless post. You hate someone you don‘t even know. Then you say an Emmy nominated actress can‘t act. Then you insult a senior citizen for looking old. You‘re just miserable and rude.

Umebear
Umebear

Erika Slezak, Kassie DePaiva and Robin Strasser are class acts and are no phonies, they are what they are and don’t put on pretences with facelifts, etc!!!! Wish more of the actors/actresses would. The previous reply from OLTL fan was right, Jackie Zeman and Leslie Charleson look terrible!

Rodd
Rodd

It was all very sweet, what they had to say. I hope they have fun on the anniversary tour. Congratulations OLTL!

Maggie
Maggie

Are you out of your mind?! Erika looks lovely and beautiful and it’s refreshing to see an actress who hasnt destroyed her face just to fix some wrinkles!

Jake R.
Jake R.

AMEN!

Becky Cloutier
Becky Cloutier

Lets get our shows back on T.V. Were they belong!!!

Fran
Fran

Nice interview hope their is a lot of press for OLTL on Their 45th anniversary like AMC & GH got but I won’t hold by breathe on that Thanks again Michael for always remembering OLTL and OLTL fans.

Xin
Xin

I’m love Roger as Todd but I’d follow this man to the ends of the earth. Great actor. I love his style and he’s pretty easy on the eyes. He has my heart and always will. So the fact I get to see him twice in a day “its as if I’ve died an gone to heaven”.

Terri
Terri

Loved what was said about KA and I was so impressed when she thanked her oltl family. I admi both these actresses and am so grateful for the time that we get RH I hope he comes back once in a while.

Scott
Scott

Yes it did.Perhaps she doesn’t want to watch the show that is in her former time slot,or she just doesn’t like it anymore.

Annick
Annick

Thanks, I have read several 45th anniversary interviews and they have given me perspective. I never left the show during the good, bad, & meh days. When my favorites departed, I hung in there. When they recast my favorites, I hung in there. When I thought a story was plain bad & cringeworthy, I trooped it out. When actors were screwed over to bring back favorites, I unwillingly accepted it. For over thirty years, I have cried, laughed, got angry, & excited watching OLTL & after this press bonanza, I am ok with my decision to step away with my loyal viewership and support. The characters of Viki & Blair were/are an integral part of the show but they are not my beloved characters and their voices are not powerful and their presence showed me weak women who I would never let speak for me. I feel Dorian, Karen, Tina, Nora, Tea, Delilah, Megan, Gabrielle, Natalie, Jenny, Marty, Sarah, Cassie, Samantha, Alex, Kate, & ect had powerful voices and presence as characters. These women were flawed, bad, made stupid decisions, & had hard life lessons but they dealt with their issues and took the fall downward but they got back up and faced the next obstacle. Vicki has hid behind her alters for years now and after seeing the Jessica fiasco repeat itself by having Niki & Tess interact then I finally realized that Viki is a weak woman and is just like Jess; she let her alters out to terrorize those who wronged her. Entertaining, yes, but powerful voice, no. I remember as a child asking my mom why Viki was not locked up after keeping Dorian in that secret room & the response was, she needs help. Fast forward to history repeating, my kids asked me same question about Jess after she admitted it to Natalie & I gave same response but my kids says no wonder criminally insane defense is so popular, her mom has been beating the system for years, why not keep it in the family. Viki loves her kids but she irritate me to no ends with seeing good in everyone. As a mom the likes of Kelly & John could not say two words to me. Kelly slept with both her sons, had a baby by grandson, and slept with her daughter’s ex and she is zen about it, no respect or loyalty; this is just one scenario. Yes, she let kids know they are wrong but where is the outrage at least? Oh, she reserve that for Natalie or saves it for the alters to act, not powerful it very weak. I loop Blair & Kelly together. They along with the B&B Brooke Logan are the vilest most pathetic women on soaps. They started out as good love to hate characters twenty or so years ago but have been in the same hit and pass rut for twenty or so years ago. It is not a powerful voice or presence, it is… Read more »

mark
mark

I fine it a little insulting the Ms. Slezak can not fine 25 minute out of her day to support daytime by watching GH. She wants us to support her show(which I have for 43 year). Someone please teach her how to use a DVR.

Lisa Z.
Lisa Z.

Do you think that maybe ES and KDP were trying to be tactful in the way that they said that they don’t watch GH? Three front burner actors were taken from OLTL and put on GH. ABC has gone to great lengths to keep these 3 actors. It almost seems like a bit of sabotage to OLTL. Why should these 2 ladies watch GH? I wouldn’t if I were them. Why should they support ABC when their show was dumped by ABC? Anyway, great interview, Michael, and I think OLTL is getting better every week.

Jewels
Jewels

Omg,, so excited that OWN network picking up AMC AND OLTL..Fans of OLTL begged Oprah to pick up these 2 soaps…Lets all thank her as her netwirk is getting great ratungs..Watch out GH!! Fans of OLTL..will be watching OWN..I hope Tood, Star and of course McBain will be joining..as themselves..The had to change characters on GH because of contracts….with PP…Welcome back my fav family OLTL!!!!!!!

Doe
Doe

Great article, Michael.I have never read so many different opinions on the soaps and their stars. If you have been a long time fan and watcher of OLTL, you should be grateful that the show is still doing what they do best, even if they have lost a few actors. I say Full steam ahead!

Joshua
Joshua

This interview was rather tame and G-rated. Couldn’t they have discussed the entire drama that happened with Prospect Park and the “One Life to Live” characters crossing over? I feel I wasted 5 minutes reading this because I learned absolutely nothing.

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