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ABC SUPER SOAP WEEKEND – STAR INTERVIEWS PART TWO

cameron.jpgCAMERON MATHISON
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Ryan Lavery, Cameron has been a staple at “AMC” and “Super Soap” and now one of the most recognizable daytime stars anywhere in the industry. Catching up with Cameron is always fun. Read about his take on what could be next for Pine Valley’s resident hero.

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

Cameron, do you have a better side for the camera or a bad side?

CAMERON:

All my sides are bad. This is just a façade.

MICHAEL:

“All My Sides”!

CAMERON:

I have several sides. They do ask in make-up which is my bad side?

MICHAEL:

They do not!

CAMERON:

Yes, and its put on over a mask every morning and every thing is fake. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

When we last checked in with each other at the Daytime Emmys this past June, Ryan had amnesia and had kind of lost his way, and you told me there would be a clearing up of that. I mean, he did get his brain back. However, now after sort of getting back with Greenlee, Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) is exiting the show. How do you feel about that?

CAMERON:

Selfishly, I am not happy about it. I am excited for my friend, and she is taking a chance and going after her dream and I respect that. But selfishly, I am really pissed. I would say that if she were standing right there.

MICHAEL:

What then is going to happen to our Ryan?

CAMERON:

We don’t know. I think it’s interesting that Annie has done all those horrible things. She kidnapped his child, pretended Emma was in a grave, and made him dig up her grave. Now, I think Ryan has some compassion because he is like, “My God. Did I drive this woman to the brink?” Even though his heart is not here, he is not in love with her, but he wants to make sure she gets the help she needs. It is almost like a purification thing for him, and going through it with a lot of compassion for her. That will be one beat, and I think there will be stuff coming up with Kendall and Zach that people will dig

MICHAEL:

And I think, some with Kendall and you?

CAMERON:

You think so because of the whole Reese thing, and back door with Ryan, so to speak? I like that. And, I would like to see Ryan and Zach have these two camps and go head to head and sort of build up this long on-going rivalry. I think one of the things in soaps that is so successful over the years are rivalries. I remember back on “AMC”, when Dimitri and Edmund had this rivalry and other shows had them, too. So, I think it would be good for us.

JP-car1.jpgJOHN-PAUL LAVOISIER
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As Rex Balsom, John- Paul has turned in out-of-the-box performances of wit, humor, passion and drama. At “Super Soap” he hosted The Triple Play Game Show and showed off his emcee abilities. We caught up with JP to ask him some quick questions about Sexy Rexy.

MICHAEL:

As Rex, on “One Life”, you are so entertaining and interesting to watch. What is the most fun thing for you to do on the show, in terms of performances?

JP:

The most fun is they let me try anything I want. They let me be quirky, or goofy, or funny, or try to do physical comedy whether it be jumping over a desk or trying to hug Bo, and they let me fly with it. The only note I get is, “JP, you need to pull back.” I never get the note, “Do more.” I always get the note to do less.

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MICHAEL:

The 40th anniversary “Time Travel” storyline was heralded by critics and fans, and then later and at times slammed. Personally, I loved it. I thought it was so much fun to watch. In the end, what were your thoughts looking back on it?

JP:

I think the point of the storyline was what had happened in the end with Rex and Gigi connecting, and Bo finding out about his father, Asa. So, Bo and Rex came together, which was fun. It got mixed-up in everyone thinking Bo was Asa, and Rex was Bo. Eventually we separated a little bit and we went back to the future, separately. What “OLTL” head writer, Ron Carlivati, wanted to get across, I think happened. Personally, it was the best storyline I had been involved in. I had so much fun. Some fans hated it and some loved it. I could have done this storyline all year. I got to ride a real horse, and get electrocuted by a cell phone, and with the pyrotechnics, it was so much fun. I can understand some people would think, “No, they can’t be in 1968.” They may think it’s silly, but it’s just entertainment for two months, so enjoy the ride!

MICHAEL:

You and Farah Fath, (Gigi) are dating in real-life and play each other’s romantic interest on the show. How is seeing someone you work with all the time outside the show?

JP:

We bowl every Tuesday. We have a blast! Somebody said the other day that “Wait, you guys work together and you are never apart!” We are only apart when I go to the gym and go golfing. But, winter is coming so we will be together more because I won’ be golfing.

MICHAEL:

What are the fans saying to you, when you are out doing autograph sessions?

JP:

In general, they are saying, “Can I have a kiss?”

MICHAEL:

Do you give them kisses?

JP:

Sometimes. It depends on where they want the kiss.

farahfath1.jpgFARAH FATH
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As Gigi Morasco, Farah burst on to the Llanview canvas in a role tailor made for her. She tells “On-Air On-Soaps” how she nabbed the role, and how she fell into a real-life romance with her co-star.

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MICHAEL:

This role as Gigi Morasco really took off from the start. Now that you have been playing her for a while, how would you compare it to your former role as Mimi on “DAYS”?

FARAH:

Gigi is a more grown-up role for me. I started off with Erika Slezak (Viki) in the Paris, Texas storyline at the diner. So, the start of my time on the show was pretty awesome. Then, I was slowly but surely pushed into the drama we call soap opera. Now, it’s all about my son, Shane. It’s kind of hard for me to play a mom to an eleven-year-old.

MICHAEL:

Why is it hard?

FARAH:

It’s hard for me to relate to, it really is. Sometimes I read my scenes, and I go, “Shut up.” I have to always remember to tell myself I have to be sensitive to him, and I don’t know if I am playing being a mom right. I miss playing Mimi on “DAYS”, and miss my “DAYS” family, but I have my hands full on “One Life”.

MICHAEL:

So, JP was telling me you guys bowl. Who wins?

FARAH:

We bowl every Tuesday, and it’s neck and neck. The last game we played I beat him by a landslide, but he usually beats me. Anyway, he has a lot of hobbies, and I realize I did not have a lot of hobbies. So, I thought bowling would be fun because I use to do it as a kid. So, we got our own bowling balls, and mine is leopard. I started playing poker with him, too. These are my two new vices.

farahjp.jpgMICHAEL:

What about Poker?

FARAH:

Now we have things to do on our down time. We are kind on the back burner right now on “OLTL”. So, we can go bowling, and I am super good at Poker. I would love to do a celebrity poker tournament. We have played in tournaments that have lasted seventh hours. JP and I played in an 80-man tournament, and I beat him in the second tournament. He was 30th and I was 11th.

MICHAEL:

How did your romance with JP start, on and off screen?

FARAH:

JP and I just hit it off right away. We had similar personalities and we laughed a lot. I was hired solely to play opposite of him. President of ABC Daytime/SOAPnet, Brian Frons, and “OLTL” executive producer, Frank Valentini, they originally screen tested me for the role of Sarah when they hired me for the show. I think they knew they did not want me for Sarah. I think they just wanted to see me on camera. They had already written the part and had the story idea for Rex and Gigi. Brian knew of my personality from “DAYS”, and JP’s personality, and thought we would work well together. I knew of him, but I thought he is much more striking in person. I don’t think the camera does him justice at all. Every time someone meets him in person, they go, “Oh, he’s so hot,” and I go, “Yeah, I know.” At work, I was like, “Oh, wow!” Then I was like, “Don’t have a crush on him. You are not supposed to have one with people you work with. That’s trouble!”

bradford1.jpgBRADFORD ANDERSON
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Spinelli, Bradford has captured the hearts of soap viewers young and old with a quirky, offbeat portrayal of Port Charles’s lovable computer geek. But geekhood has suited him well. He is one of the most beloved actors on ABC Daytime, as proven by the reactions of his fans at “Super Soap”.

MICHAEL:

You were so great on stage performing at “Street Jam”. Have you sung in the past?

BRADFORD:

I used to sing a lot. Since I don’t sing as much as I used to, I am not always in the best singing shape. The more you sing, the stronger the voice is.

MICHAEL:

What songs did you perform?

BRADFORD:

The first song was “No One Like You” by the Scorpions, and the second one was “Happy Together” by The Turtles.

MICHAEL:

“Happy Together” you proclaimed on stage was, “More like you”.

BRADFORD:

Yeah. I would never envision myself being a rock star. So, to sing an 80’s hair band song was not really something I would have assumed I would do. It would be more like happy, lovey sixties vibe that seemed to be more my style. But, I had so much fun doing the Scorpions song. It’s such a great song, the lyrics of “No One Like You” and speaking to the “Super Soap” audience. It was very truthful, “There is No One Like Them”.

MICHAEL:

And, there is no one like you because I went to all the fan events, and the young girls had tons of Spinelli T- Shirts with all of Spinelli’s catch phrases on them.

bradfordwfan.jpgBRADFORD:

I know. There was this one girl who had everything I ever said on her shirt, and that is a lot!

MICHAEL:

I think you’re the rock star out there!

BRADFORD:

Well, thank you, I just try to bring it. When I come here I want to make sure I am in great physical and emotional shape, and to get some sleep. Every experience I have when I come here, I try to give all I can.

MICHAEL:

Kirsten Storms and you have made such an interesting pairing on “GH”. Do you think that will last? Or do you think they will try to break Maxie and Spinelli up?

BRADFORD:

I think we are very lucky that Maxie/Spinelli, established a friendship first, before the romance. It’s hard to break up a friendship because there are so many ways you can have bitterness in romance. But with the deep abiding friendship that they have, it’s harder to make sense of tearing that apart. Then of course, as soon as it turns to romance, there are always those possibilities. The show is enjoying what we are doing, and we are enjoying what we are doing. It will be fun to watch.

MICHAEL:

When you were meeting the fans at “Super Soap”, what did they say?

BRADFORD:

Same question from day one… How do you memorize all those lines? How do you talk like that? I understand that, it’s a good question. I sometimes don’t know how I do it.

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MICHAEL:

You and Steve Burton (Jason) are working constantly together. Jason and Spinelli are their own super couple!

BRADFORD:

Oh, that makes me so happy to hear you say that. (He laughs) He is the reason I am still here. I was supposed to be on the show for a couple of months, and he taught me a lot as an actor and as a person. I am forever grateful. Thankfully, he liked me at the beginning, and he said, “OK, We can keep this kid.” It’s the people upstairs prerogative, but I think having Steve like you is not a bad thing.

brandon.jpgBRANDON BARASH
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Johnny on “GH”, Brandon tows the line between bad boy gone good… or good boy gone bad…which ever way you look it. Brandon chatted about what’s next for his alter ego in Port Charles.

MICHAEL:

You wowed the crowd at the “Street Jam”, you little rocker you! What did you perform?

BRANDON:

I performed a little bit of Rolling Stones “Jumping Jack Flash”, and a little “School Daze”, by Chuck Berry. I busted out the harmonica there, and had a lot of fun.

MICHAEL:

Would you do more singing concerts if given the opportunity?

BRANDON:

I guess so. I do it when I have the chance and it’s so much fun. I would do more singing, absolutely. I could do a concert. I would sell that house and rock that!

MICHAEL:

What’s ahead for your character, Johnny Zacchara, on “GH”?

BRANDON:

Johnny is going to struggle to be or not to be. Do I become this infamous man like my father? Or, do I take ‘The Road Less Traveled’ by Robert Frost, and take the more difficult, less traveled road and go against his destiny. He is really going to take some initiative, and have a lot of inner conflict.

MICHAEL:

What do the fans say to you the most, when they meet you in person at, “Super Soap”?

BRANDON:

It’s a lot of, “Oh, you’re better looking in person!” And, I really don’t know how to take that. Do I look bad on TV? Maybe the camera adds 50 lbs to me! (He laughs) I don’t know!

jason-cook.jpgJASON COOK
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Dr. Matt Hunter, Jason Cook has begun to be integrated more into the Port Charles canvas. “On-Air On-Soaps” caught up with Jason and reminisced about his time at “DAYS” and developing his new character on “GH”.


MICHAEL:

How has “Super Soap” been for you? What are the fans asking you, for the most part?

JASON:

“Super Soap” has been great. A lot of it’s been, “Who are you going to get with on the show? Why aren’t you on DAYS? Why is Matt so much meaner than your old character of Shawn on DAYS?” Matt is kind of a jerk. They wanted him to be the biggest jerk he can possibly be.

MICHAEL:

Is that easy? (He laughs)

JASON:

No, but it’s funny. I got a lot of ‘shtick’ from my family and I really felt bad. I did not audition, because if I had to audition for the role of Matt I would never have had a job. They said be arrogant, angry and pissed off. But, you can’t be overt, or the yelling at people kind of jerk… but be a kind of jerk who throws out barbs and stuff to people without cussing. (He laughs)

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MICHAEL:

How are they developing the relationship between Matt and his brother, Patrick, played by Jason Thompson? Will they continue to be adversarial?

JASON:

They are going to develop it more. Patrick’s character is more of a straight guy who walks the straight and narrow more than Matt. He is like the brilliant neurosurgeon who is kind of like: he is getting married and has a baby, and he is starting to care about the real things in life. Matt is like, “Whatever, I don’t care.” That kind of dynamic is good, and as brothers they can razz each other, which will be great on screen and cause conflict.

MICHAEL:

Did you know from the beginning that Matt was going to be Dr. Noah Drake’s son, played by Rick Springfield?

JASON:

I did not know I was going to be Noah’s son. When they brought me on, all I knew was I was going to be involved in a counterfeit drug storyline. I don’t even know if they are writing that anymore.

MICHAEL:

All the rumors were that you were going to be paired with Kirsten Storms (Maxie), who played Belle on “DAYS” when you were Shawn on that show. So far, that has not happened. Is that just around the corner?

JASON:

It’s funny, and everyone assumed it. I get it, and it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to see that. We have worked together for so many years for like a third of our lives, and I am not quite thirty. I have known Kirsten since she was fourteen. So when you know someone for that long it helps the chemistry, and its fun to work with her. I am sure they are going to explore it at some point. Matt needs something. There was one show where Matt hit on three different women! I was like, “Can one of you pay attention to Matt for just one second?” and it did not happen.

darnell.jpgDARNELL WILLIAMS
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Jesse Hubbard, Darnell Williams returned to “AMC” in his much heralded role this year. We asked him about the reunion with Debbi Morgan, Angie Hubbard and the woman no one knew existed, Rebecca!

MICHAEL:

How did you like the ending of the 20 year Angie/Jesse reuniting storyline? I thought it was really good, but did not understand why your characters were dressed in 1890’s outfits on the train tracks.

DARNELL:

I did not even see it. But, we had fun doing it and it looked good. This whole go around, they are really wardrobe oriented. You kind of expect to see it in daytime.

MICHAEL:

When Jesse came back was wearing his leather cap!

DARNELL:

I think that was their little signature piece, to the throwback of Jesse.

MICHAEL:

How is working with Laura Koffman (Rebecca)? Will your storyline with her last for awhile?

DARNELL:

Laura is wonderful, and a very giving actor. I don’t know how quickly our story will wrap up. It’s got a few months at least, and it’s hard to say where it’s going to go.

MICHAEL:

Of course, you and Debbi Morgan (Angie) have such amazing on screen chemistry. How is working with her again after all these years?

DARNELL:

She is one of the most beautiful people in the world. And those dimples! She is one of my closest friends and I love working with her. The way we play off of each other is such a comfort zone for me.

MICHAEL:

Is there an emotion harder to play for you than others on-screen?

DARNELL:

As I have been doing it for a couple of decades now, there are tricks that have come to a different level now. They are a little more organic by nature and become instinctive to your response to anything as an actor.

MICHAEL:

Where are your two Daytime Emmys?

DARNELL:

They are home in New York, and they are in storage for a while. But I am so proud of them, and it’s a pretty statue and kind of nice.

brit-jansoning.jpgBRITTANY UNDERWOOD AND JASON TAM
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As high school sweethearts Langston and Markko starred in “One Life to Live: High School Musical” episodes, they continued their singing talents right to the stages of “Super Soap”. Their portrayers, Brittany Underwood and Jason Tam told us about all they have experienced.

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MICHAEL:

Brittany, you sang in the “Street Jam”. How was that experience in front of all those fans at “Super Soap”?

BRITTANY:

I was really nervous. I don’t think I have ever been that nervous. I sang Corinne Bailey Rae’s, “Put Your Records On”, and I love that song. I was excited that they told me I could do that song. I guess because we were performing for the fans, and we have such a special relationship with our fans, I was OK. I said to myself, “This is Ok, because we are in front of the fans that know and love us, so it will be OK.”

MICHAEL:

Jason, you’ve done a lot of singing on stage, haven’t you?

JASON:

I started out doing musical theatre and I love singing. It was a blast last night singing in front of those people on that stage, and have all that energy coming back to us, with the lights, and the band. It was a perfect venue.

MICHAEL:

What’s it like working with Robin Strasser (Dorian)?

BRITTANY:

I love her so much and she is so amazing. She looks after everyone, and always has such great ideas. If I know I am working with Robin, I know it’s going to be a good day.

MICHAEL:

Jason, what’s it like working with Brittany as your girlfriend on “OLTL”?

JASON:

Amazing! Brittany is so giving, and she is so emotionally full. She will just cry at the drop of a hat, feather, and dime.

brandon-kristen.jpgBRANDON BUDDY AND KRISTEN ALDERSON
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As Cole and Starr, emotional storylines and tough social topics are nothing Brandon and Kristen can’t pull off. Way beyond their years in acting ability, we caught up with them and found out how they felt about recent storyline developments.

MICHAEL:

You were one of the biggest hits of the “Street Jam”! Everyone loves Kristen and Starr! What did you sing?

KRISTEN:

I sang, “Journey to the Past” from Anastasia, and then “Mother’s Prayer” with Kassie DePaiva (Blair). Then I sang, “Lean on Me” with Jason Tam (Markko) and Brittany Underwood (Langston).

MICHAEL:

And Brandon, you and I were on the sidelines and you mentioned you were not singing, but making a special appearance in the song with your three co-stars. What happened? It seemed like there was a mic malfunction?

BRANDON:

I was supposed to come out on the stage and the microphone didn’t come on. The song is “Lean on Me”, so I was supposed to come out there and go, “Oh, I lost my girlfriend. My life is a mess!” and I am out there and the microphone did not work. So Kristen walked over to me with the microphone and saved it.

MICHAEL:

The scenes that have just aired where Cole sees his mom, Marty, again were so moving! Hankies!

BRANDON:

It was intense stuff. To see that your mom is not dead after a year and a half, and then to see her alive, is very intense. Cole has been through a lot.

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MICHAEL:

And Kristen, the whole dramatic turn of Starr giving birth and then believing her baby was dead was so hard to watch. Were you drained from those scenes?

KRISTEN:

I actually got physically sick! The first day we taped the delivery scenes, and the next day I had to tape a whole bunch of scenes where I found out that the baby is dead. Then, I had to tell Cole the baby is dead. The night before I was getting so sad. Taping the delivery scenes were emotional in a happy way. But then, to know I had to go there and mourn the loss of my child the next day… I was really sad just thinking about it. But, I had to hold it all in. The next day I came into work drained and not feeling well.

eden-minnie1.jpgEDEN RIEGEL
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Bianca, Eden came back to “AMC” during the tornado sequences with a shocking new storyline twist and new lover. One of soaps most beloved characters is back, and Eden professes, “There’s more to the story!”

MICHAEL:

So, you blew into town in the tornado shows! Did you like how Bianca ended up coming into the disaster, pregnant and trapped?

EDEN:

The tornado was incredible, and I loved the special effects. It was fun to be a part of it and it was like the show was saying, “Here you are. Welcome back. You’re in the rumble, you are a part of this, and you are nine months pregnant!” And they threw me right in there, in the drama of it all.

MICHAEL:

I was very concerned about this new storyline, where Bianca got pregnant with Zach’s child and the cover-up. How do you really feel about this plot device?

EDEN:

Very concerned. It is similar to what Babe did to Bianca, but not as bad. This is very out of character for Bianca. It’s hard, but it’s a fun challenge for me, especially in trying to figure out the circumstances in which Bianca would do this to her sister. I have come up with some really good justifications for it! Bianca and Reese were in this bubble of love in Paris. Everything was working out OK, and then here is Zach. I had a feeling Miranda said to Bianca, “Where is my Dad?” Zach is a wonderful male presence. I could see Bianca wanting that, and Kendall saying “No”, and Bianca listening to Zach saying, “It will be alright, I will tell her. Do it! Kendall does not need to know.” Then when it dawned on her, when she became pregnant, she thought, “What did I just do?” It became harder and harder for her to tell Kendall, and she knows Kendall is not going to be cool with it. But Bianca has always been a good person. I think it will be interesting, as an actress, to play what she goes through when she realizes she made a mistake.

MICHAEL:

What is going to happen next to you and your on-screen lady love Reese, played by the incredible Tamara Braun?

EDEN:

It’s Pine Valley! Paris was perfect and beautiful. But, back home there are stresses of the family, your sister is in a coma, there are the kids and work, and a million different things. By the way, there are more secrets coming! As couples go through conflict, when they come out the other end they are stronger because of it.

ricky-paul1.jpgRICKY PAULL GOLDIN
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Jake Martin, Ricky Paull and the “AMC” audience have kept a close eye on one of “GL’s” all-time favorite leading men. Ricky Paull explains how things are going with the adjustment to his new role and fan expectations.

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MICHAEL:

You performed in the “Street Jam”, and the crowd seemed to eat it up!

RICKY PAULL:

I sang Steppenwolf’s ‘Magic Carpet Ride”, and played harmonica. It was fun and a blast! We had a built in audience and I probably sucked, and they are still nice to you! You’ve got to love that.

MICHAEL:

How is the story coming along with you and Beth Ehlers (Taylor) now that you have been on-air on “AMC” for a short while? How do you feel its going?

RICKY PAULL:

It takes a while to get these things going. I don’t think the idea is to just grab two people from one show and put them on another, and make them do the same thing now. Beth Ehlers is a great actress, and we love what we do. If I fall in love with her character, and if the fans fall in love, that’s great. It’s like going to your parents and asking their blessing to move forward with the relationship. In this instance, the fans would be our parents, and we would ask them, “Do you approve?” If they did, we would move forward.

MICHAEL:

Ok, then do you ever say to yourself, “What if it did not work this time? What will the show do with us?”

RICKY PAULL:

We are not joined at the hip. I would say Beth would say the same thing, even if she was standing right next to me. We are not the same person. We had a great run on “GL” and a show we dearly love. There are a lot of great guys on “AMC”. She could fall in love with Thorsten‘s character (Zach).

MICHAEL:

Everyone falls in love with Thorsten’s character!

RICKY PAULL:

I am in love with Thorsten’s character! (He laughs) There are a lot of great women on the show for me to play with, too. If I have to steal Taylor away from one of those guys, let me do that. That would be fun to watch. If she wants to get my heart, and I am in love with another woman, that would be great to watch.

MICHAEL:

Every time you and Beth appear on the screen, it takes the scenes to another level.

RICKY PAULL:

It takes a while. You have to chisel away, and as soon as we came on the show they brought in a new head writer. I am more interested right now in the storyline with the Iraqi vet. The fact that we are working with real vets, that are acting, is so interesting.

MICHAEL:

How is working with JR Martinez (Brot)?

RICKY PAULL:

JR Martinez is great. He is 25 years old. I am a lot older them him, and I am learning from him every day on the set.

MICHAEL:

Do you think that story is inspiring?


RICKY PAULL:

Absolutely. The stories are real. We had whole scenes on the show the other day with a circle of real vets and those were not scripted. It’s what they experienced. They just let the cameras roll and roll.

MICHAEL:

Let’s discuss Dr. Jake Martin’s botch job of Kendall’s brain surgery during the tornado. He is in trouble!

RICKY PAULL:

That’s where the drama is. If you mess with anything to do with Zack Slater, well, he is going to crack my skull open… if I don’t fix his wife’s head. Hopefully what will happen is that they will take away my medical license and I will become some bum on skid row. I will do something to lose my license, mostly because I don’t like saying medical terms on the air. I rack my brain in the dressing room trying to make it perfect, like a mini little house doctor.

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Interviews

Executive Producers David Michaels & David Parks Chat On The Moments That Made The 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Ceremony

The 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards are in the record books, and with it came surprising victories, emotional tearjerker moments, and a show that ended up with more heart than the fluff we often see within many entertainment award shows.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Daytime Emmy show executive producers, David Michaels (who also serves as the SR. VP Daytime Emmy Awards for NATAS) and David Parks to gain some insight on how they pulled off some of the major moments of the evening including: a surprise appearance by Amy Poehler, Kathie Lee Gifford’s daytime TV send-off, Shemar Moore’s touching tribute to the late Kristoff St. John, and of course, that Emmy-winning acceptance speech from Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek, who is currently battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

On the soap opera side, there was the long overdue win by GH’s Maurice Benard (Sonny), former GH star Hayley Erin (Ex-Kiki) receiving her Younger Actress award from her idol, none other than Alex Trebek, and B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy) receiving the Lead Actress trophy in a tough category of industry heavyweights.

In a year that was tumultuous for the producers and for NATAS with a threatened boycott by the network soaps, requests for more rule regulations and transparency, and the ongoing situation where the Daytime Emmys have not returned to be televised on cable or network TV, but have found success on streaming and social media platforms, we checked-in with Michaels and Parks for a Daytime Emmy post-mortem, and to get the lowdown of their thoughts on daytime’s biggest night of the year. Here’s what they shared.

Photo: NATAS/Getty

Let’s talk about some of the big moments that happened throughout the Emmy ceremony and how you pulled them off.  One, of course, is the Amy Poehler surprise as the presenter of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Judge Judy that nobody knew about.  How did you find out that Amy was a Judge Judy fan, and how did you keep her appearance a secret?

DAVID MICHAELS:  I want to just say that what a great job our co-host, Sheryl Underwood did in announcing it, because she saw the name on the teleprompter for the first time during the live show.  I was going to tell her that morning, but as she said, “If I was a bucket, I couldn’t hold water.”   So, very, very, very few people knew.   All through the scripts in the rundown, Amy was listed as “Presenter X.”   What happened was, the day after the press release about Judge Judy came out, Harlan Boll (NATAS publicist) forwarded me an email from a publicist that I didn’t know saying that he wanted to talk about his client presenting on the Emmys.   I called him, and he claimed to be Amy Poehler’s publicist, and I didn’t know him.  He said, “Amy Poehler is Judge Judy’s biggest fan.  She wants to present the award.”  The only stipulation is that it has to be a surprise.  Then, I went on IMDB-Pro, and checked him out, and he was indeed Amy’s publicist and for a lot of other celebrities, as well.   I called Judy’s people, and I said, “You’re not going to believe this,” and they went to Judy, and she just loved it.  I don’t even know why Amy wanted it to be a surprise, but we had to honor it.  It obviously would have done us more good pre-publicity-wise if it wasn’t a surprise, but we honored it.   We actually kept a secret in Hollywood!  I mean, David Parks knew, and maybe four other people.  I think that maybe what I am proudest of … keeping the secret.

Photo: NATAS

David Parks, did you think it would really happen?

DAVID PARKS:  You know, I am often a naysayer about things, but I actually did.  There was something legitimate about it once David vetted the manager.  There was really never any scare or anything that was like, “Oh, all of the sudden she’s busy.  All of the sudden she’s been offered this other thing.”   It was kind of like, it got arranged, and we didn’t have to do anything until that week, and then, we had to figure out the best place to drop her off and how to get Amy inside the venue with as few people as possible seeing her.   She could not have been nicer about it all too.  I mean, we got her to the closest spot, and nobody on my team knew.  Like David said, it was “Presenter X.”  Everybody kept asking.   I was like, “Not going to tell you.  Then, you don’t have to worry about keeping the secret.”

DAVID MICHAELS:  I was just very taken with how gentle and kind Amy was.  She looked me in the eye and actually thanked me for letting her do this.  She was so gracious and sweet.  The whole thing was just a great experience.

Courtesy/NATAS/Getty

Another memorable moment occurred at the end of the night, when Shemar Moore (Ex-Malcolm, Y&R and now S.W.A.T.) honored his dear friend and former on-screen Y&R brother, the late Kristoff St. John (Ex-Neil Winters) before announcing the winner in the Outstanding Drama Series category. Were you aware that Shemar was going to go off-script and talk about his love and respect for St. John?

DAVID MICHAELS:  Obviously, to this daytime community, Kristoff was very special.   I made him last in the In-Memoriam segment, which obviously was the most I could do as a producer, because there were over 30 other people who passed as well. Before he took the stage, Shemar came to the producers table and he said, “Are you sure?”  This was in regard to him saying a few words about Kristoff.  I said, “Shemar, as long as you say that you’re going off the script,” because he was.  There was nothing in the script.  I just said, “If you go out there and speak from the heart, I will have no problem with it, and I think that everybody will have no problem with it.”  He went out there, and he just killed it.  He was brilliant. I was sitting there at the producer’s table crying.  He destroyed me.  I think everybody really appreciated it, and I thought it was the perfect way to go into the final award.

DAVID PARKS:  I thought it was very genuine.  You can still feel his pain.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Next, you were able to get Kathie Lee Gifford to attend the Daytime Emmys to honor her.  How did that come together?  I assume she did not have a speech written when she addressed the crowd.  Kathie Lee is all about being “authentic”.

DAVID MICHAELS:  Correct, she actually had no speech written.  I saw her right before she went on, and she said, “Well, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.”  I said, “You’re supposed to go out there and be Kathie Lee.  You’re supposed to tell the community what you think of them.”  I also added, “I doubt this is the first time you’ve improvised,” and she laughed.  The result is what you saw, because she had not seen the tribute video before we played it, and the ladies of The Talk had actually asked to introduce Kathie Lee, because they adore her.

DAVID PARKS:  It really did come off well, because there was this concern about it not being a Lifetime Achievement Award(Not that she doesn’t deserve one, but that just wasn’t what it was this year.)  We were figuring out, how do you make this moment that is special without overshadowing the Lifetime Achievement Awards?  Kathie managed to do that.  I think it was her then winning in the Outstanding Informative Talk Show host category along with Hoda Kotb that really made it one of the most talked about moments of the show.

That award was positioned after Kathie Lee’s tribute, correct?

DAVID PARKS:  Yes, and on purpose, because in the case that she doesn’t win, you don’t want her out there kind of bumming out about it.  In all of these moments you have mentioned, the serendipity of it worked out really nicely for us.  Judy got honored, and unfortunately for her she didn’t win, but it didn’t destroy the moment.  In Kathie Lee’s case, it elevated the moment.

Courtesy/NATAS

Talking about serendipity, with Amy, Kathie Lee, Shemar, and Alex, it was almost like an organic perfect storm, and the next day people were talking about the Daytime Emmys in the mainstream press more than they had in recent years.

DAVID PARKS:  You picked up on this inclination that you have to fight sometimes to entertain, entertain, and entertain.  I think this year kind of proved that you don’t have to throw out the dog and pony show. It kind of works that you honor people, and they come out and they give these heartfelt speeches, and those mean more than those extra segments – whether it’s song or dance, or jokes, and you can tell the things that we cut out this year.  I think what it’s all about is …  getting awards, giving awards, and honoring people for their achievements.

How do you feel your co-hosts, Sheryl Underwood (The Talk) and Mario Lopez (EXTRA) did this year?  You seem to like this pairing as you have had them back multiple times now.

DAVID MICHAELS:  I thought it was Sheryl’s best year.  We didn’t give Sheryl big comedy moments, but everything she did felt so heartfelt and right.  They were there throughout the show.  They got their moments.  They got their beginning, middle, and they got their end.

DAVID PARKS:  I think as producers there was a little bit of a gift in watching what happened with the Oscars this year because it actually showed, (I mean, I’m sure it’s not what they wanted initially) not having a host kind of stream-lined that show.  People were like, “Yeah, the Oscars were pretty good this year.”  We talked about that a lot.  We don’t need to over think this.  It’s already been proven what happens if we don’t give as much to our hosts.

Photo: NATAS

Let’s talk about Alex Trebek.  That was such a huge moment when he accepted his award; winning Outstanding Game Show Host, and when he took the stage to present the Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series award.  I heard he wasn’t not feeling well at all at the ceremonies, as we all knew he is battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

DAVID MICHAELS:  I know Alex pretty well.  So, I could tell he wasn’t feeling well; even though that wasn’t what he was putting forth.  It’s interesting though because Alex originally told us he wanted to stay backstage the whole time, but once he got to the ceremony that was not what he wanted to do.  So, Alex was in the audience, and he actually surprised me.  In a similar way to what I said to Shemar.  I said, “When Alex gets out there, he’s going to get a standing ovation,” which he did, and that was the moment when I said, “Alex, if you want to say something, go ahead,” and he didn’t.  I was shocked.  He just came out and presented the Younger Actress award.  So, if Alex had not won, he never would have said anything because that’s when he got the emotion in and all of that.  He definitely took a chance.

So, Alex presents ‘Younger Actress’ and made Hayley Erin’s (Ex-GH) life, because when I did my interview with her backstage, all she talked about is what this meant to have her idol, Alex Trebek hand her the award.  Talk about serendipity!  Now, when Alex accepted his award for Outstanding Game Show Host, did you have any idea what he was going to say, because coming out of the Emmys, people were buzzing about what he shared on-stage.

DAVID MICHAELS:  No, and quite honestly, I got scared when he started that speech when he was saying he didn’t want a sympathy vote, but that’s Alex.  He will totally bring it, and then turn it around.

Photo: NATAS

DAVID PARKS:  There was a side thing that you probably didn’t know about.  We got approached by a guy looking to buy fan tickets, but they had a group who needed ADA (Americans with Disabilities) seating.   It turned out be a group of cancer patients who were terminal.  The group was SayYEStoHOPE.org.  They weren’t asking for anything.  They just wanted to be able to sit together. So, we comped them all.  I’m at the red carpet, and this group is coming up the stairs, and one of the guys from the venue says to me, “This is the ‘Say Yes to Life’ group.”  So, I start talking to them, and one of the women just had chemo that day, and they were so excited to be at the Daytime Emmys, but what they were really excited about was to see Alex Trebek.  I wish there had been a way to either acknowledge them, or to let Alex know,  because they are big Daytime television fans,  but Alex meant so much to them in terms of being a cancer survivor, and a cancer patient, just like them.

Were you worried about Alex on Emmy night?

DAVID PARKS:  I thought he looked pretty good considering what I knew he had been going through.  It was actually this past week when I read about how on Jeopardy, he was doubled over in pain on the floor.

DAVID MICHAELS:  Yeah, if you saw that CBS Sunday Morning interview, it was pretty extreme, and they showed a clip from our show, by the way.  Similar to what David described with Judge Judy and Amy, Alex stood by the monitor to see if Jeopardy was going to win, which it didn’t, and Alex was just like, “Okay,” and off he went, and I got a big hug.  Just knowing him, I think he put out a lot of energy to be there, but I think he was glad to do it.

Courtesy/NATAS

Let’s move on to another amazing moment which was General Hospital’s Maurice Benard (Sonny) finally winning his second Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor.  The crowd went crazy!  What did you think about how that happened . … and the fact that Maurice didn’t have a speech prepared?

DAVID MICHAELS:  I honestly believe Maurice that he didn’t think he was going to win.  It’s been many years since he had, and I also didn’t think that any of the other nominees could complain about losing an award to Maurice, because he’s the king.  He kept saying he couldn’t cry up there, and then, he cried up on-stage.  It really was about doing the Alzheimer’s storyline with Max Gail (Mike, GH) who totally reminds Maurice of his real father, and then, to have Max win as well, I just think it was a very emotional moment for him, and it was beautiful.

DAVID PARKS:  What impressed me is that often times you think actors should be so good at giving speeches, and they’re horrible at it because it’s not scripted.  So, when somebody does give one, and it’s really heartfelt and all of that, it’s really refreshing.  It’s kind of nice, especially on such a big award.

Photo: NATAS

DAVID MICHAELS:  In addition, Kyler Pettis (Ex-Theo, Days) win for Younger Actor in a Drama Series, was one of the most emotional things I have ever seen.  For years, I have been impressed with his portrayal of the high-functioning autistic young man.  It was always very moving to me.  If you watched the show and the close-up on him when they called his name, Kyler immediately was crying.  It really moved me.  I spoke to him the next day at The Talk, and he was completely blown away.  I just don’t think he thought this was going to happen.

What went into the decision to make the opening number “Sing!”?  Obviously, a big part of that was you were celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street.  And, I hear Mario Lopez’s son got to see the Muppets backstage, up close and personal?

DAVID MICHAELS: They always say don’t work with children and animals – but we did it – children – a dog – and two Muppets!  The dog – of course was Q-Tip – the shelter dog who came on with Lucky Dog’s Brandon McMillan. The kids were mostly from a community theatre production of MATILDA – and Joely Fisher connected us.  They included one of Joely’s daughters, Rebecca Romijn’s twins and Gary Busey’s son!  It was my concept and our musical director’s arrangement.  I thought it would be a great, positive way to start the evening.  It is always a joy to work with the Muppets – and Ryan and Leslie who do Elmo and Abby are amazing.  When Mario’s son, Nico, came in, I wanted to be careful to not shatter any illusions – so I took him over to the Muppets and he stared at them and he whispered to me: “Are they real”?  I said “Of course they are – just like you see them on TV.”  Nico says, “Can they talk?” I  say, “Of course they can.”  Then, Nico says, “Does someone have to help them talk?”  Now I am nervous and I pause, “Well … what do you think?”  He says, “I think they have some help”  Then,  he walked around back and saw the puppeteers.  The most adorable sweet child on the planet!

Photo: NATAS

There was a lot of behind the scenes drama and difficulties in the months prior to the Emmys; including the independent investigation, requests for more transparency in the awards system, the four soaps potentially boycotting, etc.  When you look back at what it took to get here, how do you feel about the outcome?

DAVID PARKS:  I’ve used this analogy a couple of times already, and I’m not a woman, but I think this is kind of what childbirth must be like.  The pain of it is so great that you think, “We can’t get through this,” and “Never again,” and afterwards, you see the baby, and all of the pain goes away.  You’re like, “Hey, we did it, and it worked.  It was really good.  It was enjoyable.”  I think, as a producer, you don’t really want people to know the difficulties.  If people understand the difficulties of getting to that night, you’ve probably done something wrong.  At the same time, I’m the last guy to crave attention, but for the people who were aware of the challenges that we had this year to see what we’ve pulled off, and when they say, “Holy cow.  Your set, your show, the smoothness…”  that is gratifying. You know, the stuff people are experiencing in the audience or the stuff that they see on the screen is what ultimately matters.  You learn from the mistakes, but at the end of the day, as long as that experience is good for the nominees, the winners, and the fans, that is what really counts.

People always want to know how it goes backstage with the handling of the envelopes.  Do you have it plotted out so that nobody except the accountants knows the winners until the big moment on-stage?  How does that work?

DAVID PARKS:  So, this year we actually had two accountants backstage.  The envelope went from the hand of the accountant to the hand of the stage manager, who then gave it to our trophy people, who give it to the presenter.  We had our fancy, new envelopes which everybody seemed to like, but literally, nobody on the staff even touched the envelopes this year.

Photo: NATAS

It seems like you have built-in a failsafe to minimize any potential complaints.

DAVID PARKS:  People always can, I guess.  It’s always been completely above board, but this year it was just even another step.  It’s important because the integrity of the awards is important.  I laugh a little bit, when somebody thinks they know if they are going to win or not because they’re trying to read something into the position of a camera in the audience.  We even added steps with how we shot it.  We told our cameramen, “Hold your shot for like 5 seconds after the announcement has been made.  So, even though your person isn’t getting up, we don’t want you to relax.”  We don’t want the person to think they’re not going to win.  The worst thing that will happen is somebody thinks they’re not going to win like a half a second before the announcement, it’s not a life-altering thing, but we still want to make the experience perfect for all nominees.

DAVID MICHAELS:  Our director Greg Gelfand, I think is the best in the business.  This is all a big pain in the butt for him.  He’s just trying to direct a show, but he was totally with us.  Greg said, “Okay, you’ve got it.”  The cameramen were great, and Greg was great.   Again, I’ll say for the 8 millionth time, I don’t know who is going to win.  It was very exciting and it was very surprising.

DAVID PARKS:  I always tell people that if anybody wanted to have proof that we don’t know in advance, all they have to do is watch David’s reaction at the producer’s table.  We find out at the same time as everybody else, and he’s like, “Oh, my God!  They won!?  That is an upset.  You don’t understand, Dave.  That is like an upset.”

Courtesy/NATAS

DAVID MICHAELS:  I know the soaps more than David does, but I’m like a little boy back there when I see who is winning.  I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” (Laughs)  The accountants sometimes will look at me like, “Did I do something wrong? (Laughs)  Look, there’s not much more we can do.  I was very proud.  I was very proud of the presenters, and I thought it was a great mix of all of the genres and the whole industry, and everybody was great in their own unique way.  There was some new blood at the show presenting and with the winners.

DAVID PARKS:  I have to interject my half into the little bit of love fest for David, because if there is one thing I think I hammered on David more than anything else this year was that we have to shorten the show.  The difference between three hours and three and a half hours or three hours and twenty minutes, is a huge difference.  I kept pushing David to simplify, to come up with simpler ways, or less verbose ways to do presentations, and he rose to the occasion, and before the show, he was like, “I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think I could have made this any shorter,” and I went through the script and there really was so little that could have been trimmed.  David really did a great job of answering the call and writing something that got us through a lot faster than last year.  We got a lot of comments after that said it didn’t feel like three hours.  Part of that was that it wasn’t three hours and thirty minutes.  It was actually three hours.

DAVID MICHAELS:   David Parks is the perfect foil for me and me for him.  Because we are so different, we don’t fight, but we will have words sometimes, and one of us will win, but it’s always the right decision.  One of the reasons I love working with him so much is that if he is giving me a hard time about something, there is a reason for it, and I have to really consider what he is saying.  I think that is a really healthy way to work.

Photo: JPI Studios

What would you like to see happen for the next Daytime Emmy Awards presentation?

DAVID MICHAELS:  I’d love for somebody to give us a million dollars so that we can do the most lavish show in the world.  I’d love to keep the heart going.   The one bad thing about finishing a good show is that you always take a breath and say, “Now … what do we do next time?”

DAVID PARKS:  For me, it’s that you always want to keep shows like this fresh.  It doesn’t always mean completely reinventing the wheel, but sometimes, you step back, and you think, “What can we do to freshen this up so that it’s not just a repeat?”  That can have to do with the set.   You just have to look at everything and also recognize that the best moments, as we learned this year, you can’t manufacture those.  They’re just going to happen organically.  So, you just have to create a show that allows those moments to happen, and like David said, money solves problems.  We will certainly be looking for additional sponsorship, and to build on the great ratings that we’ve had this year, and the fact that we have continued to build this event up over the years.

Courtesy/NATAS

Would you ever consider, or continue to try to get the ceremony back on TV, perhaps even on daytime television, if some network would offer you a spot to do it in?

DAVID MICHAELS:  There is nothing we wouldn’t consider.   Although I will say; that if the numbers are what we think they were this year, there were probably more than three times as many viewers as the last time we were on television.

DAVID PARKS:  I’ve always said that if they were to be on TV again, if they were to be on during the day, which is when our fans are watching TV anyway, it would make sense,  However, I have to say that I think the Daytime Emmys being at sort of the forefront of digital television puts us way out in front.  Eventually, this is how everybody is going to be watching TV.  It’s not going to be like, “Oh, we’re not on basic, terrestrial TV.”  It doesn’t matter.

DAVID MICHAELS:  You’ve got to realize that this audience is worldwide.  Being on television is not.  So, when you see that people are watching all over the world, that’s pretty amazing.

So, what did you think about what David & David shared about decisions made for the Emmy ceremony and the backstage tidbits?  How would you score this year’s Daytime Emmys? What was your favorite moment within it? Comment below.

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General Hospital

Steve Burton Interview – General Hospital – 46th Annual Daytime Emmys Red Carpet

On the red carpet at the 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, General Hospital’s Steve Burton (Jason Morgan) chats with Michael Fairman.

During their conversation, Steve weighs-in on the nominated scenes of Laura Wright’s which also featured him, and the friendship of Jason and Carly, plus how he told Maurice Benard (Sonny) that he had to submit himself in the Lead Actor category; an award in which Maurice won that night.

Later, Burton laughs as Michael reveals that in his recent interview with Coby Ryan McLaughlin (Shiloh), the actor said that he can and wants to take down the character of Jason; to which Steve rebutted here that it ain’t going to happen.

Finally. Steve talks on the success of his road show and podcast with buddy and castmate, Bradford Anderson (Spinelli)

Watch the interview below. Then let us know, do you like the scenes between  Jason and Carly? Do you want Shiloh or Jason to have the upper hand in their rivalry? Comment below.

For more red carpet and backstage interviews from the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards visit the Michael Fairman Channel here.

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Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Interview – Days of our Lives – 46th Annual Daytime Emmys Red Carpet

Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati chats with Michael Fairman on the red carpet at the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Carlivati and his writing team were nominated for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series; an award they won last year.

Ron reveals to Michael that the reels submitted in the writing category were different than those submitted for Outstanding Drama Series; with the writing submissions centering around Marlena (Deidre Hall) and John’s (Drake Hogestyn) wedding and her shooting … and then the aftermath in the hospital where Marlena’s children and John have to say goodbye to her fearing she will not pull through her medical crisis.

Later, Carlivati discusses how he has become more firmly entrenched in the land of Salem after being an ABC Daytime guy for most of his life; following writing for One Life to Live and General Hospital.

Watch the interview below.  Then let us know, what did you think of Ron’s choice for the writing award? Should DAYS have toppled Y&R on the strength of those reels? Comment below.

For more 46th annual Daytime Emmy Red Carpet and backstage interviews visit the Michael Fairman Channel here.

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