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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.

To go back to read SSW Interviews Part One  click here:
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Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Talks on Decision to Make Days of our Lives 15000th Episode About Doug’s Funeral, and Previews Chances for WGA Award

This week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode. In of it itself, that is an incredible accomplishment for the long-running soap opera currently streaming on Peacock.

However, this on set gathering was a bit different. Though the show is celebrating their achievement, they are also in the middle of taping scenes surrounding the death and the funeral of Doug Williams, played by the late Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th of this year at the age of 98.

As previously revealed many longtime favorites are back to honor Bill and the character of Doug including: Gloria Loring (Liz), Melissa Reeves (Jennifer), Matthew Ashford (Jack), Maree Cheatham (Marie), Victoria Konefal (Ciara) and Stephen Schnetzer (Steve) to name but a few.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV was in attendance and spoke with Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati to gain some insight into how the 15,000 episode was crafted and the decision to honor the character of Doug Williams and Bill Hayes as its epicenter. In addition, Ron weighed-in on this Sunday’s April 14th WGA (Writers Guild of America) Awards, where he and his writing team are facing off with General Hospital for the daytime drama prize. Here’s what Ron shared below.

Was this your idea to make the 15,000th episode centered around Doug’s funeral and passing?

RON: It was. When you’re looking at it, and laying out the calendar for the whole year and you see 15,000 is coming up, we’re like, “What are we going to do?” And then, we got the news that Bill had passed away and something kind of clicked. I was like, “We should honor Doug on that show.” So then, we started to kind of build around that … when does he pass away? How does he pass away? Who could come back? You know, it’s a lot.  I’m very pleased with the returns that we got as there’s so much that you could do. We wanted everybody we could get. So, we put together a wish list and Janet Drucker (co-executive producer, Days of our Lives) made it happen.

Photo: JPI

You have Melissa Reeves back as Jennifer, when the role was last played by Cady McClain. What has it meant to have Missy back for these shows?

RON: It was so nice to see Missy Reeves. I think Cady has done such a good job, but on the 15,000th episode to see Missy as Jennifer, it’s a big deal. So having her was great, and overall, the milestone was a big undertaking, because you want to live up to it. You want the 15,000th episode to be good. Now, it has a lot of real emotion that you’re playing. because for the cast and the crew they’re honoring Bill Hayes just as much as we’re honoring Doug Williams.

Photo: JPI

Was it hard for you and the team to write this episode?

RON: Yes. I’ll tell you why it was hard to write.  When I wrote, for example, Asa’s (Phillip Carey) death on One Life to Live or Victor’s (John Aniston) on DAYS, Asa is a different type of character. Like, you could have characters going, “Oh! I’m glad he is dead.” You could have different points of view, but with Doug, you’re not having that. Every person loves this man. No one had a bad relationship with him. So, you’re challenge as a writer is how do you make it that not everybody’s saying the same thing and doing the same thing. And so, we tried to find ways to make the episode about all the familial relationships and yet, how do you make it about Doug and yet broaden the scope.

Photo: JPI

I had spoken to Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), a week after Bill’s memorial, for an interview. She said that she felt very fortunate that you did include her on discussions of how you would tackle Doug’s passing. How did that conversation go?

RON: First, I attended Bill’s funeral, which was incredible. I said to so many people it was an emotional service, but it was hard to be sad at this. The guy had an incredible life and it was an incredible celebration. And so, you’re sitting there watching this knowing that you now have to write something similar. And how do you write something that lives up to what you just witnessed? I wanted to talk to Susan to get her thoughts about, you know, how much do you want this to be about keeping Bill separate from Doug. How comfortable are you sharing your grief. She was incredible to talk to. It was a great chat.

You’re in the middle of taping these major scenes for the 15,000 episode to air in December. How do you think it’s going? Have you seen any of the scenes?

RON:  I haven’t seeing anything. I mean, we were still making changes to the script up till this morning!

Photo: JPI

The Writers Guild Awards are this Sunday, April 14th and once again this year there are two daytime drama nominees, General Hospital and Days of our Lives. How are you feeling about your chances this year?

RON: It is often just GH and us in the category. I’ve won three years in a row, so I’m kind of feeling like it’s their turn.

Photo: JPI

What episodes did you submit for contention? If I recall, they had to do with Victor’s memorial.

RON: The episodes we submitted were centered around Victor’s funeral. I think one has story with Vivian. We had some fun stuff, we had some emotional stuff at Victor’s death, and I am pretty sure that our submission was three episodes right around that time.

Did you make the decision to go with those episodes because there was a mix of humor and drama?

RON: I like to have some humor, but it was also the funeral, then there’s Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) giving birth, and then Vivian’s (Louise Sorel) crashing the reading of the will. So, we had a lot of fun and it’s hard sometimes to pick three that tell a story, as opposed to submitting for the Daytime Emmys, where the writing team only submits two shows.  So, we shall see how it goes on Sunday.

Courtesy/Peacock

So, are you looking forward to the emotional 15,000th episode of Days of our Lives? Do you think DAYS will take home the WGA writing award for daytime dramas for the 4th year in a row? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

(INTERVIEW) Eric Martsolf Previews DAYS Stars on ‘Weakest Link’, How He Fared in the Game, Plus Welcoming New Tate, Leo Howard

Tuesday night on NBC’s Weakest Link (9 p.m. ET/PT), the stars of Days our of Lives test their knowledge, and try to win big money for the charity of their choice on the newest season of the popular game show hosted by Jane Lynch. In case you miss it, you can also catch the episode on Wednesday streaming on Peacock.

The question on everyone’s mind is … who will be revealed as Salem’s weakest link? Who will be left standing at the end of the game? DAYS favorites: Eric Martsolf (Brady) Brynn Dattilo (Lucas), Galen Gering (Rafe), Martha Madison (Belle), Victoria Konefal (ex-Ciara), Zach Tinker (Sonny), Tina Huang (Melinda) and Lindsay Arnold (ex-Allie) play while literally having the task of throwing their co-stars under the bus. The contestant who receives the highest number of votes leaves the game throughout, as Lynch declares their exit with the now iconic phrase, “You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.” 

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric Martsolf, who daytime fans know is great as a host in his own right and oh-so-fun at playing any trivia game you throw at him. Martsolf gave us the inside scoop of what it was like to be on the set and backstage in a rather nerve-wracking environment, and trying to come off as smart while Jane Lynch roasts you at the same time!

Photo: NBC

In addition, Eric shared his thoughts on the new Tate, as Leo Howard takes over the role of his on-screen son from Jamie Martin Mann on the April 5th episode of Days of our Lives, plus working with Emily O’Brien as Theresa, and the loss of the legendary Bill Hayes. Check out what Eric had to say below.

Did you know about the game before? Had you watched the original version of the Weakest Link, or this latest incarnation?

ERIC: I was very, very familiar with the game because I found, as someone who enjoys hosting, that has to be one of the best hosting gigs out there because they just have extreme liberties in belittling the contestants, and it’s all done in jest of course, but it’s great. Jane Lynch is a master.

Did you get to meet Jane Lynch before she hit the stage for the taping?

ERIC: I don’t think any of us met her prior to being on the set. So, we’re standing there behind our podiums and these cyber lights just point all in one direction. At one point when we’re out there, it was kind of a hurry up and wait thing. We’re just like, “When is this going to start?” Then, here Jane comes and in all her glory in a beautiful navy-blue suit. She just prances onto stage and just glares over at us, and starts making fun of a silly soap opera actors like you wouldn’t believe. It was just great. I’ll let the public see what how she crucified us. But it was all done in fun.

Photo: NBC

Did she crucify you?

ERIC: I don’t think anybody got out unscathed to be honest with you.

For those that don’t know the game, you try to eliminate those that are the weakest in answering questions.

ERIC: Correct, and therein lies the problem. Historically, I think the Weakest Link is comprised of contestants that don’t really know each other, and in this case, you have not only coworkers, but almost family members because we all know each other very, very well. It’s a tight circle and even more so when you’re on the same show. So, we all went in into it pretty nervous because the premise of the game is to expose the inadequacy of people’s knowledge of general facts and information. So, essentially, you’re voting each other off because you don’t think they’re as smart as you are and that they’re the least smart in the group. So, I mean, that in itself is pretty, pretty tough to swallow. It was really hard, because you have to look at your friends in the eye and go, “yeah, I don’t think you’re going to get the next couple questions. You’re not the smartest, you’re not the crispiest chip in the bag. I’m going to let you go. ”

Did you feel bad about some of the eliminations?

ERIC: At one point, without giving away any spoilers, I voted off someone that without a doubt, has more smarts and education than I do. I just felt silly. But, you know, the way the game was going, I just felt it was the right. There is a bit of strategy involved. I’m worried about the airing of this particular episode because I did fumble some questions that people are going to turn their heads and go, “Really? You didn’t get that one?” It’s so much easier to answer these questions at home in your pajamas than it is, you know, looking at Jane Lynch in the eye with 6,000 lights at your face in front of cameras. Your brain tends to wander. So yes, we all had had some answers that we couldn’t believe we didn’t get at the time!

Photo: NBC

Did it get very competitive?

ERIC: There was little competition there. If I recall, it’s Galen and Bryan that went at it a little bit and had some laughs. But again, I can’t stress this enough, it was all done with fun. At the end of the day, every one of us wanted to win. I think the smartest person did actually come out victorious.

Now in the game, for those that have never seen it, you’re on your podium, and then Jane gives a question, right?

ERIC:  It’s a firing squad of questions. You only have a certain amount of time to answer. If you get the correct answer or the wrong answer, you immediately, go to the next contestant and you have a certain amount of time. And then, at the end of that line of questioning, everyone gets to vote as to who they believed was the biggest dummy in the group. (Laughs) Some questions are simple. You know, “What color is Santa Claus’ suit?” And then, the next question is “What is 648,000 times 14?” or what’s the population of some obscure country? So, that was the biggest challenge. Someone else might get, “What is the main ingredient of a banana split?” And my question could be like, “How much is 9,430 times x 59 million?” There’s an intimidation factor that Jane Lynch brings to it when she’s staring you down.

Photo: NBC

When the cast finished the entire game, what happened backstage?

ERIC:  The best part was there were these post interviews that the Weakest Link conducts where you have to go into a dark black room. I think my first question was, “How did you feel about that wrong answer?” They don’t let up. They just keep jabbing at you. “Did you feel ridiculous getting the wrong answer to that fourth-grade level question?” (Laughs) There was also a lot of trash talk with that happened after the show. It got so competitive. If I recall, we were all supposed to go out together and get a meal with everybody, and that never happened. They’re like, “I’m not eating lasagna with you right now. You just voted me off!” Now, even the first person that gets voted off, you’re going to be shocked, because I thought this person would probably win it. In the game, you want the best people to remain on the panel because that’s what drives up the money.

Photo: JPI

Later this week on DAYS, we will see the debut of your new on-screen son, Leo Howard, taking over from Jamie Martin Mann as Tate.

ERIC: How about that?  I just did a post on Instagram, because I saw that Jamie Martin Mann had liked and hearted a post about Leo Howard coming on the show. I just thought that was so classy of him. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, “This is the new guy. Embrace him. He’s good. I’ve met him. He is a good guy.” It’s about handing off the character baton sometimes, sort to speak. I was really proud of those guys. I reached out to Jamie. He just wants to go to college and be a student. I understand that. That’s important.

Photo: JPI

Is that challenging for you as an actor since you’ve built this relationship with the one guy as your son, and now you’ve got to pivot and create a different kind of energy with someone else taking on the part?

ERIC: Leo Howard has been in the industry for a while, with some very good credits to his name. He brings a certain charisma to this role that I think people are really going to love. And yes, he’s older, but he plays younger, and he has that ability and he’s pulling it off brilliantly. I can’t wait for people to see him, but of course I miss Jamie. Emily O’Brien (Theresa) and I really grew to love him very quickly because the storyline got so deep, so quickly, with the drug intervention and then him getting beat up in in prison. I mean, as a father, that’s the kind of stuff that you have nightmares about, you know, your kids being in pain.

Photo: JPI

I still love the fact that Emily O’Brien is still noticeably wearing a blonde wig as Theresa. What are your thoughts on how the transition has been for you, and for her pivoting to a completely different role?

ERIC: I hadn’t worked with Emily much before, because Gwen and Brady never really crossed paths. We all saw the transition that she had to make. When I became Brady, the character hadn’t been on the map for three years.  When she became Theresa, she walks out one gate and comes through the other as Theresa. We all had a good giggle about it. That’s hard to ask an audience to go,  OK, I’m Gwen, now I’m Theresa.” I was scrolling through X (formerly Twitter) and I saw a couple posts from fans that said how they were really weary, at first, about accepting Emily O’Brien as Theresa. But after today’s episode, they shared, “I’m loving her as Tate’s mom, and the chemistry she has with the family.” I texted Emily and I said, “I just want to let you know that you’re just bringing it home really brilliantly, and people are starting to come around.” I think they’ll do that with Leo Howard too.

Photo: JPI

What had it been like without the iconic Bill Hayes (Doug Williams) coming to work and being part of the Days of our Lives cast since his passing?

ERIC: You really do miss that presence in the hallways. He was a song and dance guy and I am a song and dance guy. as well. I kind of find myself the lone singer in the makeup room sometimes, but I could always count on Bill. He’d be humming some old tune from the sixties. I’d start humming along and he’d just kind of lean over and take a look at me, and give a little smile. Everyone else was probably irritated at us, but we just kept singing along. and it’s like 6:30 in the morning. I think Bill was a lot like the late John Aniston (ex-Victor), in the sense that I don’t really feel like he felt he was working. He was just always having fun right up until the end. That little number he did with his wife, Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), and Dick Van Dyke (guest starring as Timothy Robicheaux), where he was singing along, he was just living it. It was so cute and so adorable to watch.

Photo: JPI

Your final tease for the Weakest Link tonight is, “Fans should watch because …”

ERIC: Fans should watch it because if they thought we were smart before, wait till they see the show.

You can check out the cold open for tonight’s Weakest Link “Days of our Lives special” below.

Now let us know, will you be watching Eric and his co-stars, past and present, attempting to showcase their knowledge on the ‘Weakest Link? Intrigued to see Leo Howard and Eric in scenes as new Tate and his father, Brady? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Interviews

The Young and the Restless’ Michael Damian On Christine/Danny/Phyllis: “It’s a Fun Triangle Story That They’re Having Us Do, Because It’s Very Retro”

This week on The Young and the Restless, while Danny (Michael Damian) and Christine (Lauralee Bell) hit the sheets, and Phyllis (Michele Stafford) sets off an alarm as payback (literally!), the top-rated CBS soap opera continues to weave the tale of these three characters decades later, finding themselves in very familiar territory with each other.

We know that Christine and Phyllis are basically, mortal enemies, while Danny, who has been the man in the middle, has had a past with both women. However, it is Christine who has been, for all intent and purposes the love of his life.  But, will Phyllis’ machinations make it near to impossible for Danny and Christine to be together? Stay tuned.

Last week, Michael and his real-life wife, Janeen Damian visited the Michael Fairman Channel promoting their #1 streaming film on Netflix, Irish Wish starring Lindsay Lohan. The film was produced by the Damians, while Janeen directed it and co-wrote the romantic story. Michael is featured on the Irish Wish soundtrack performing his track, Wild Irish Heart.

Photo: Netflix

During the conversation, Michael shared what it has been like revisiting the Christine/Danny/Phyllis triangle years later. Damian addressed the fans on the livestream, who inquired. “It’s a fun triangle story that they’re having us do, because it’s very retro. And I think it’s fun to bring that nostalgia, retro thing back.”

Photo: JPI

Recalling a tender moment between Danny on the piano alone with Christine (during the standalone episode which honored Lauralee Bell’s 40th anniversary with Y&R), Michael expressed, “I think what they’re doing is so smart, and they’re reconnecting a lot of the fans to a lot of the story. I mean, we’re talking years and years of story.”

Photo: JPI

The longtime Y&R fan favorite, added, “I’m really glad they did the thing on the piano because people have been asking, ‘Why are you not doing any music? Why are you not singing? Where’s your band?’ You know what I mean? Janeen is asking the same thing, ‘Why aren’t you singing something on the show?’ The last time I sang on the show was when we thought Phyllis was dead. So, you know, that didn’t count. (Laughs)

One of the funniest moment in the revisiting of the triangle occurred when Phyllis and Christine were arguing over Danny, and he was right there in the room with them. The two women got so engrossed in their fight, they forgot he was there, and thus he walked out of the room.

Photo: JPI

Michael revealed, he liked that scene too! “They’re fighting. They’re arguing and Danny’s like, ‘Listen, I’m over here. Please stop it.” And then they don’t stop,” Damian recalled. “And so Danny just grabs his coat, picks up his sheet music, because he was working on a song. He goes to the door. In the scene, I even look back to see if they are even noticing me leave, and then I just left. That one was pretty funny. I’ll be honest. I was laughing out in the hallway when I left. I was thinking, ‘Should I slam the door? But then if I slam the door, they still have dialogue.’ They’re still talking and they would’ve turned, and then it would’ve ruined it. So, I just gently closed the door and left.

Photo: JPI

During the livestream, Damian teased he has some upcoming scenes with longtime Y&R co-star Beth Maitland (Traci), “I just worked with Beth Maitland actually the other day, and that was really fun. I can’t wait for people to see that show.”

Check out the the Michael Fairman Channel chat with Michael and Janeen Damian below.

Now, let us know, are you rooting for Danny and Christine? Do you think Phyllis will continue to be a disruptor in this relationship and somehow worm her way back into Dannys good graces? Share your thoughts in the comment section. But first check out this sneak peek for this week’s Y&R featuring the trio.

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Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

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