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A Soap Star Whodunit And It's Not A Soap!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

As many of you heard in our premiere episode of the On-Air On-Soaps Podcast that All My Children’s Jacob Young, along with his producing and directing partner, Mark Rozzano, have launched the new Soap Star Mystery Theatre in Los Angeles, which features lesser known, yet wildly entertaining works of legendary mystery writer Agatha Christie.  I attended last night’s opening at the Writers Guild of America in Beverly Hills, where several of Young’s AMC cast mates and other soap and primetime notables headlined the reading of The Unexpected Guest. Jacob had a huge hand in casting the roles of unusual suspects for the play.  So I had to ask when he looked at AMC’s Vince Irizarry (David) for the play, did he cast him against type, or can we expect to see his evil ways?  Young responded, “He is playing his type.” (Laughs) Ah, my first hint that Vincent was going to end up being the murderer!  Adam Mayfield (Scott) plays a servant/nurse who seems to be on the shady side, too!  Then I had to ask, who else from Pine Valley would he love to see participate in a future reading.  Young replied, “I was speaking to David Canary (Adam) and hopefully we can use him down the road.”  Next, Jacob with pride and a bit of sadness also gave his views on Canary’s upcoming retirement from soaps. “He is at a point now where his home is in Connecticut.  He has been stationary out here in LA for a while and it was always the plan for David to come out to LA with the move of All My Children for just a few months.  Regardless, if he were on the east coast or here in LA, he would have probably retired at the same time. He has had such a wonderful run and is a talented man and a workaholic.  He deserves a break.  Maybe he will get restless, and knowing David as I do, he might.  And I certainly do hope he comes back.  Working with David has been such a thrill for me and he is such a giving actor.  And I think his wrap-up story is going to be great.  When I heard it, I thought it was fantastic.”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

The actors only had a full rehearsal and run through and that was about it for the Mystery Theatre reading.   It was sort of fly by the seat of your pants, which many daytimers are used to.  The star of the reading, Stephanie Powers (best known from television’s Hart to Hart) shared with me her utmost respect for the soap genre… something that is nice to hear for a change from someone on the outside of daytime television.  Powers stated, “It’s wonderful to work with all these daytime people. They are fabulous. They are absolutely ready to improvise and absolutely ready to keep it going.  If you don’t have the dexterity to change on a dime it can be tough, and the daytime stars are amazing.  What they do on a daily basis is phenomenal!”  So then I asked if Powers would be interested in stopping by Pine Valley and doing some scene work with Susan Lucci?  “Yes, but I don’t know if I could cut it. They work very fast.”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Vince Irizarry filled me in on how he has been so busy at AMC that he was on overload prior to the performances. “To be honest with you a week and half ago I was dreading tonight, because I am working so much right now on All My Children. I did eight shows last week and six the week before, and another six this week.  I have been doing it the last month and half.  However, I am happy I did this tonight, and we pulled it together.”  Vince let me know that having Constance Towers (Helena, GH) up on stage with him as one of the suspects was a delight.  And what soap fan would not want to see a smackdown between two of daytime’s biggest all-time troublemakers?  And speaking of Constance Towers, she is one of my very favorite people in the world! She stopped by to speak with me about Helena’s… Lucky Spencers!  “Jacob Young was my Lucky.  I adored him and the first time I saw him, I remember Helena had him in a limousine.  I was taking him to revisit all the places he had been with his parents by torturing him and thus torturing Luke and Laura, because I was playing with his mind.  We are in the limousine and I looked into that face and those beautiful blue eyes and blonde hair.  And the thing about Jacob is his innocence, and he was so dear to work with.  And I saw him grow as an actor and he won an Emmy!  And now to be on stage with him is fun.”  Then we talked about Constance’s current 2010 Lucky, Jonathan Jackson. “He too is one of the nicest human beings you could ever hope to meet.  He is a great father and he is clean cut, and an intense actor. You get into a scene with him and he is wonderful.  I just expect him to win another Emmy.”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Robert Newman (Ex-Josh, GL) played the inspector in the piece and was supported in the audience by Kim Zimmer (Ex-Reva, GL) who told me she is hard at work on her book that should be a doozy!  When I spoke to Robert, it was the first time I had seen him since the Daytime Emmys and several months since Guiding Light went off the air.  I asked Robert if he has finally moved past the mourning process.  “Honestly, I think I got a wave of it and then my play Sessions closed in early January, and the next couple weeks it hit me hard.  I hit a wall.  My body gave up on me for a couple weeks and that came and went.  I have been keeping busy.  I just shot a Law and Order SVU!”  So, I had to ask will Newman plays a creepy guy, like many of the guest stars on the crime drama?  “I may play a freak, and it’s a fun group over there.” (Laughs)

Robert and I went on to speak about the last episode of GL.  He stands by his opinion, that the ending was the way it was supposed to be.  “I think Guiding Light ended the way it was supposed to end.  I think it had to be Reva and Josh.  I am not sure why the kid was there?  (Laughs)  Kim and I joke about it all the time.  I think it had to be the last line of “Always” and panning up to a lighthouse. ”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Newman also looked back on how the powers-that-be handled the ending of the series with the cast and crew, and the balancing act that had to be done to finish the series long run. “In the end, I feel like we all handled it quite well and I think they gave us a lot of notice.  I have corporate friends who in that world, if they lose their jobs are told to clean their desk that day.  They gave us four months or so.  I think we just rose to the occasion.  I remember the day they told us about it and there was a lot of emotional stuff that went on.  And then we went to shoot and that phrase, “We got work to do,” constantly carried us through right till the last day of taping.”

Along with Kim Zimmer there were a few other notables in attendance.  First, one of my favorite couples, Juliet Mills (Ex-Tabitha, Passions) and her husband, Maxwell Caufield. Catching up on old times, the three of us couldn’t help but discuss the hard times the US soaps are having as compared to the British ones, especially in lieu of Caufield’s run on the hit UK soap, Emmerdale.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Caufield expressed, “British soaps are in primetime and they are only a half-hour long so they move a lot quicker.  They are able to hold on to their audience, and it’s a different vibe.  They air between seven and eight o’clock at night.  So they have a huge captive audience.  Peyton Place was one of the great American soap operas at night.  And I can’t believe the American Broadcasters and networks have not thought about re-tooling these shows to air in primetime.  I am just getting over being shot in the shoulder blades by my wife, who didn’t take kindly to having a bigamist husband. (Laughs)  It was on Emmerdale.  It was shot in Yorkshire and in a beautiful part of the country.  There is nothing like consistent work, and that is why everyone wants to jump on these soaps.  All the more reason for the networks to cherry- pick some of the vintage actors that are out there.  So it’s not all about 20 year olds who are stripping down to the waist!”   On a side note, Juliet and Max did just celebrate Valentine’s Day where they tell me it’s always a special day in their relationship!  “We actually went out and bought a bed,” laughs Mills!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Hollywood legends Jerry Lewis  and Cloris Leachman came to see Jacob’s creation and were very impressed! (See pic to right)  So how was the play you ask?  Well I have to say; Jacob Young showed another side of his award winning acting, as the mentally challenged Jan Warwick.  He stole the show, and that is hard to do with the likes of the talented performers on the stage.  Next month, The Soap Star Mystery Theatre will continue with an all-new Agatha Christie play and some more of your favorites from daytime.  If Young and company can get more LA soap actors to get in on this concept (that is their plan), and have them rotate through the proposed eight different Agatha Christie mysteries, it will be a very fun series of shows and evenings for soap fans that could be better than a good old television soap opera murder mystery!


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Michael, this is a wonderful update on what Jacob Young is doing and creating, It sounds like great fun for actors and a different spotlight. Nice comments from Robert Newman on GL and its demise. I am sure all those actors are missing that long running show. Michael, you always have such interesting articles and interviews and insights on the soaps. Good work!!


I miss GL! What happen to the person that played Raven Husband? not Josh!

All My Children

Kelly Ripa & Ryan Seacrest Remember Regis Philbin on ‘Live’, while Kathie Lee Gifford Recalls Last Moments With Him On ‘Today’

On Monday, Regis Philbin, who passed away at 88-years-old over the weekend, was remembered on morning television where he spent most of his career, by his former co-hosts.  On Live with Kelly and Ryan, an emotional Ripa along with Seacrest honored the man they had come to know

Ryan shared: “It’s been a very difficult and emotional day for all of us at Live. Kelly, I know a tough weekend for you especially because you worked with our dear friend, a friend that passed away over the weekend, Regis Philbin. A legend on television. A best friend to so many of us who didn’t even know him, across the country.”

Ripa, co-hosted Live! with Philbin for 11 years, said mentioned that she and her husband Mark Consuelos were lucky to have their children surrounding them over the weekend when they learned of Philbin’s death.

Through her tears, Kelly expressed:  “As people get older, you always know that certain things are inevitable, and passing away is one of those things, but Regis is one of the people that we all believed, I think, would somehow figure out a way around the inevitable. It was not in the cards.”

Meanwhile over on NBC, Kathie Lee Gifford appeared on the Today Show remembering her enduring friendship and working relationship with Regis. Gifford co-hosted Live with Regis and Kathie Lee for many years.

Overcome with emotion, Kathie Lee recalled her final visit with Philbin and his wife Joy during a visit to the East Coast. Gifford now lives in Tennessee.

Gifford shared how she called The Philbins and said, “Can we get together, can we have some lunch?’ So they came over about two weeks ago,  We just had the best time.”’

However, Kathie Lee noted after they said their goodbyes:“I just thought to myself, ‘Lord’, is that the last time I’m going to see my friend?’ Cause he was failing, I could tell.  I was just so grateful the Lord gave me that final time.”  She also shared moments with her talk with Joy after Regis’ passing, where Joy said,”Kathie he hadn’t laughed in a long, long time.  I was so worried about him.  The day that we came to have lunch with you was the last time I heard him laugh.”

On their on-screen partnership, Kathie Lee said of her time with Regis: “We always respected each other’s opinions so highly. You know, in all the years we were together, we never had one cross word.”

Watch below the segments from Live with Kelly and Ryan and The Today Show with Kathie Lee below as they remember and honor Regis Philbin.

Share your thoughts on the their remembrances via the comment section below.

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All My Children

TV Icon Regis Philbin Dead At 88; Kathie Lee Gifford, Kelly Ripa and Susan Lucci Pay Tribute

Sad news to report on Saturday.  Legendary TV host and personality, Regis Philbin has passed away at the age of 88.  The Daytime Emmy-winning host, was famous for is morning shows including Live with Regis and Kathie Lee for 15 years, and its later incarnation Live with Regis and Kelly,  hosting Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. beauty pageants, his night club shows with former All My Children star, Susan Lucci, and so much more.

In a statement his family shared: “We are deeply saddened to share that our beloved Regis Philbin passed away last night of natural causes, one month shy of his 89th birthday,His family and friends are forever grateful for the time we got to spend with him — for his warmth, his legendary sense of humor, and his singular ability to make every day into something worth talking about.. We thank his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss.'”

TMZ is reporting late Saturday afternoon that they confirmed with the Medical Examiner that Regis died from heart disease. He was pronounced dead Saturday at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, CT

Philbin’s accolades included: Daytime Emmy Awards wins for Outstanding Talk Show Host for Live! in 2001 and 2011 as well as Outstanding Game Show Host for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.  Regis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmy Awards in 2008.  He was nominated for 37 Daytime Emmy Awards throughout his career.  In addition, according to Guinness World Records, Regis holds the world record for most hours on US television with more than 16,700 hours clocked.

Three women who worked so closely with Regis each took to Instagram this afternoon to share their grief and memories of their dear friend, and in some cases mentor:


Kathie Lee Gifford expressed on Philbin’s passing: “There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis. I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift. We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly—a tradition and a friendship we shared up to this very day. I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he’s making someone laugh. It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace. I send all the love in my heart to Joy, to his children, to the rest of his family and to the innumerable people he touched over his legendary life. There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be.”

Photo: ABC

Kelly Ripa who took over from Gifford and co-hosted with Regis for many years shared along with Ryan Seacrest: “We are beyond saddened to learn about the loss of Regis Philbin. He was the ultimate class act, bringing his laughter and joy into our homes everyday on Live for more than 23 years. We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire everyday to fill his shoes on the show. We send our deepest love and condolences to his family and hope they can find some comfort in knowing he left the world a better place.”

Photo: NATAS

Susan Lucci, shared an emotional message: “Oh, Regis—I am so shocked and so incredibly sad to learn of your passing. Your warmth and charm and devilish sense of humor made the world fall in love with you—and all of us who had the privilege and joy to work with you adored you! Those five years we traveled the country appearing together on stage are full of some of my favorite memories. Helmut and I send our love and heartfelt sympathy to beautiful Joy and your entire family.  You were one of a kind, Rege—🎼There Will Never Ever Be Another You🎼 RIP, Regis—and thank you”

Philbin is survived by daughters J.J. Philbin and Joanna Philbin, whom he shared with his wife of 50 years, Joy Philbin. He was also father to daughter Amy Philbin, whom he shared with his first wife Catherine Faylen. Philbin and Faylen had another child, son Daniel Philbin, who passed away in 2014.

Share your thoughts and condolences on the passing of Regis Philbin in the comment section below.  


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There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis. I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift. We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly—a tradition and a friendship we shared up to this very day. I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he’s making someone laugh. It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace. I send all the love in my heart to Joy, to his children, to the rest of his family and to the innumerable people he touched over his legendary life. There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be.

A post shared by Kathie Lee Gifford (@kathielgifford) on


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All My Children

‘Strahan, Sara and Keke’ Canceled by ABC; Show Aired In Timeslot That Once Housed ‘All My Children’

No matter a network tries to do, replacing All My Children, which ran for 41 years on ABC has remained as everyone that follows the world of daytime drama knows, problematic.  Now come word via Page Six that Strahan, Sara and Keke has been canceled.

The show hosted by Michael Strahan, Sara Haines and Keke Palmer if you recall, replaced the foodie show, The Chew which ran for seven seasons and was the first show to air in the timeslot that belonged for over four decades to All My Children. 

Back in March of this year, Strahan, Sara and Keke took a break to make way for ABC’s News  Pandemic: What You Need to Know, a daily coronavirus report anchored by Amy Robach, Dr. Jen Ashton and sometimes TJ Holmes.

However, because the show did well in that two-week experimental run it morphed into GMA 3: What You Need to Know.  The new version of the show also talked about hot topics in the current news cycle, as well.

ABC’s Catherine McKenzie began producing the “GMA3” show four months ago and the network officially announced her as Executive Producer of the program on Thursday.

While ABC has yet to officially announce Strahan, Sara and Keke is over, a spokesperson told Page Six: “We’re proud of our teams at ‘SSK’ and ‘GMA3’ and how quickly they transitioned to producing a daily show to give people the news and information they need during an unprecedented pandemic, and conversations continue about how the show will evolve in the months ahead.”

It appears that Strahan, Sara and Keke won’t be returning; the future as many of their staff have transitioned over to ‘GMA 3’ with producers from ABC News Live, (the streaming division), helmed by McKenzie.

As for the futures of Strahan, Haines and Palmer; Strahan will continues to host Good Morning America, and they are all actively under contract with the network.

So, what do you think of  ‘Strahan, Sara and Kek’e being replaced by ‘GMA 3: What You  Need to Know’?  How long do you think that show will last in the timeslot once taken up by residents of Pine Valley? Comment below.

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B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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