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Chris Engen posts message about departure from "Y&R"!

engan_smile.jpgChris Engen speaks or shall we say, writes.  The departed Ex-“Y&R” star who left the show last week under suspect circumstances, posted an entry on his myspace page addressing the accusations and his fans. Read below.  But did he really say much of anything here?

Good Day. This is the first time in my life that I address an audience so vast and varied. There are a number of heated topics that have become entwined with my recent decision to quit my job, and I feel there are a number of truths that deserve to be stated, a number of untruths that deserve to be rectified, and a few of my own ideas that, by way of circumstance, I am compelled to inject into the debate.  This is the only statement I intend to make regarding this subject. I would like first to apologize, as I feel I owe a great many of you at least that. I know that a choice like this appears weak and impulsive. Honestly, it was the last thing I ever thought I’d do – the absolute LAST thing I ever wanted.

The job has been a great challenge, and my hat is off to all my fellow actors who have mastered it so gracefully. I know a great many of you have endured far worse than what you perceive to have been my circumstance, but I do not believe that just because you have suffered a particular injustice, so too must everyone else in order to understand that injustice. I want to apologize to any of my fellow actors who I may have disappointed. I would also like to apologize to those of you who feel slighted by this choice, as I have been branded a “homophobe” by several members of the press. This is, of course, absurd and many of my dearest friends are homosexuals who would be more than happy to speak on my behalf. My decision had nothing to do with religion, or anything I learned at Bishop Montgomery High School. Bishop is a great institution of learning that encourages tolerance and acceptance of others. I do not ascribe to any one religious ideology but do value the truth that exists in them all. I think the unfortunate assumption that has been made is that Catholics are intolerant of homosexuals on the basis of their Catholicism. Intolerance of anything is a product of one’s underlying belief system as an experience of limitation. It is the line we intellectually draw within ourselves that prevents us from understanding those things we reject, because it defines the boundaries of who we are as individuals. We are what we are, but we are also NOT what we are not. Intolerance is a natural reaction that, I believe, we must understand in order to defeat. It is not a fire to be stomped out by an angry foot or extinguished by a inundating stream of media exposure. Homosexuality is a quality of beingness: one of many qualities that make up the rich diversity that humanity expresses.

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True — I was not comfortable with many of the challenges they presented before me, but I put my head down and did my job. The fact that I had an opportunity as ostensibly attractive and lucrative as this, particularly in difficult economic times and with so many talented actors and industry professionals out of work was, of course, more than reason enough to be grateful. I considered it part of the challenge and within my job description to do the best with whatever storyline was being written for me, as I was very fortunate to be getting a storyline in the first place. I understand that the writers have a very difficult task. They accomplish more in a week than what other shows do in over a month. I never stormed off the set, nor have I stormed off any set in my 18 years of struggle as an artist. I felt generally unhappy about my contribution to the show, and had greater and greater difficulty making any sense of the challenges they were asking me to face. If that makes me a limited actor, then so be it. I was allowed ONE meeting with Maria Bell, and I called in sick ONCE in my 16 months on the show. In the end, I didn’t feel that decisions were being made in my best interests, personally or professionally.

I learned a great deal in my time there and I am eternally grateful for the challenges that enriched me as an artist and as a man. As a single father, with sole custody of a 10 year-old boy, this was neither a practical decision, nor was it an easy decision to make. I believe that as an actor, and as a human being, I deserve better than to be forced to do something that I don’t feel is right on many levels, and that should have nothing to do with the choices that other people make. My visage and my craft were being utilized to tell a story that I wasn’t inspired to tell. I have a great deal of respect for the show in general and all those hard-working people who make it possible, and it is out of respect for them and a sense of duty toward them that I asked to be removed from my duties. I know this doesn’t conform to contract stipulations and it is regrettable that my personal feelings came into conflict with that precedent, although I don’t think that would have ever been the case if what was being requested of me was not unprecedented. Ultimately, the producers were very understanding and amenable and I, in fact, worked until they told me they didn’t need me anymore. I am sure that more of my colleagues would speak on my behalf if they too weren’t afraid of the possible consequences, and I don’t blame them for that. It has been a difficult journey for me, and many others, on the road to understanding the nature of artistry and what it takes to succeed. Strength is measured by what we are willing to stand for, not by what we are willing to lie down and take. I want to thank everyone who has voiced such tremendous support and encouragement. Much love and gratitude to you all. God Bless. Namaste

Chris Engen

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‘Tracker’ Starring Justin Hartley Renewed for Second Season by CBS

Justin Hartley’s (ex-Adam, Y&R, ex-Kevin, This Is Us) new series Tracker, which has only aired four of its episodes, has already received a second season renewal for the 2024-2025 season from CBS.

The early renewal isn’t surprising given the drama series boffo numbers for its recent episodes. In addition, Tracker has become the most-watched new series since Young Sheldon in 2017-2018 and the most-watched new drama since 2014-2015 season of Empire.

Tracker, which debuted on February 11th following the Super Bowl, has now been seen by 30 million multi-platform viewers and is Paramount+’s #1 show in February. Since its post-Super Bowl debut, Tracker is averaging nearly 16 million multi-platform viewers. In more impressive numbers, Tracker has improved its regular Sunday, 9:00 PM time period by +83% year over year.

Photo: CBS

Amy Reisenbach, president of CBS Entertainment shared on the renewal, “Tracker kicked off our premiere week with a ratings bang and has kept the momentum going. We knew we had something special when we saw the very first cut of the series and the overwhelming audience response confirms it. We couldn’t be more grateful to Justin, the talented cast, the incredible writing and producing teams and our partners at 20th Television for such compelling episodes. And, of course, we’re also so thankful to the millions of viewers tuning in each week.”

The series stars Justin Hartley as Colter Shaw, a lone-wolf survivalist who roams the country as a reward seeker, using his expert tracking skills to help private citizens and law enforcement solve all manner of mysteries while contending with his own fractured family. The series is based on the bestselling novel The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver.

Photo: CBS

Hartley, Ken Olin, Elwood Reid and Ben Winters serve as executive producers. Tracker is off this coming Sunday likely due to the Oscars airing on ABC, but returns with an all-new episode on Sunday, March 17th. Check out a promo for the episode entitled “St. Louis” below. Be on the lookout for the sixth episode called “Lexington” when Hartley’s real-life wife, Sofia Pernas (ex-Marisa, Y&R) appears.

So, excited to hear Justin’s series is getting continued life with a second season? Comment below.

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General Hospital

Steve Burton Confirms ‘General Hospital’ Head Writer Switch Changed Jason’s Comeback Storyline

General Hospital viewers will see today, Monday, March 4th, the beginnings of the return storyline for Steve Burton and his character of Jason Morgan.

Just how did the recent head writing regime change at GH alter the plans for story for Jason’s comeback? As had been rumored, seems plenty. Back on January 22nd, it was revealed that Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor had been replaced by Patrick Mulcahey and Elizabeth Korte. At that time, Burton had already signed-on to return to the daytime drama for the first time since being let go towards the end of 2021.

Speaking with Soap Opera Digest, Steve confirmed that what we will see on-air is from the new head writers and that the direction of the story changed, “So apparently there was a whole different story planned and then the head writer switch happened and then they kind of rebooted (the story arc). I know Patrick (Mulcahey, one of the new head writers) a little bit, but I really know Elizabeth Korte (who was promoted to co-head writer).”

Photo: JPI

Burton added, “There’s no one in the building that loves that show, knows the history of the character, and is invested in it 100 percent than Elizabeth. There has never been a more deserved promotion, ever. Once I know that she was (one of the head writers), I was like, ‘Oh, this is gonna be good! I cannot wait.’ And it has been exactly that. Everything has been amazing.”‘

Photo: JPI

In addition, during an Instagram live on Monday with his podcast and comedy show partner, GH star, Bradford Anderson (Spinelli), Burton also commented on the upcoming story arc which brings Jason back to Port Charles. Steve expressed, “The story is not going to disappoint. The scenes are super deep. Frank (Valentini, EP, GH)  and the new head writers took some time to really think this out.”

Burton, being a longtime veteran of the soaps, said Jason’s return is not just isolated to be about him. “Great story on daytime should involve a myriad of people across the board and where it effects everybody,” he shared. The popular fan favorite feels that this story delivers on all levels.

So, what do you think about the head writer change and how it prompted the plans for Jason’s return? Comment below.

 

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Days Of Our Lives

Jason Cook Recalls Landing His Soap Roles as DAYS Shawn-Douglas Brady and GH’s Matt Hunter

Daytime fans remember Jason Cook when he became wildly-popular as Hope (Kristian Alfonso) and Bo’s (Peter Reckell) son, Shawn-Douglas Brady on Days of our Lives from 1999-2006. He later made a brief return in the role in 2015 for the series 50th anniversary.

After departing DAYS, Cook was offered a role on General Hospital as Dr. Matt Hunter, the younger brother to Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) from 2008-2012. However, during his time on the soaps, and after, Cook has been focusing on his behind the scenes roles and passion as writer and a director of feature films.

Last week, the Michael Fairman Channel welcomed Jason, along with two of the stars of his latest film, Four for Fun, Brytni Sarpy (Elena, Y&R) and Jacob Young (ex-AMC, B&B, GH). During the conversation, Cook revealed his continued admiration for the soap medium and the actors who work in it, and how it came to pass that he landed his parts on Days of our Lives, and then on General Hospital.

Photo: JPI

Cook spoke on becoming the on-screen son of soap opera’s most iconic couples, Bo and Hope: “I auditioned for Fran Bascom. She was the Days of our Lives casting director at the time. I was never a great auditioner, I don’t think. She made me feel really comfortable. I remember that screen test. And then, I remember when I got the part, I was actually working at a company at a desk job. I got the call at work and I just screamed, and at the time I didn’t quit my job. But then, I got that contract when I was 19-years-old and it totally changed my life.”

Photo: JPI

But, was Jason aware how key to the show being Bo and Hope’s son would be? “Yeah, my older sister was a fan of the show. She definitely let me know that I better not mess it up, because I was gonna ruin her favorite couple,” he shared. “I remember she printed out the family tree and it looked like a physics diagram. It was so complicated. A lot of detailed work went into it. But, I was excited.”

After being a known entity with a large fan following, eventually Cook made his way to a new role on General Hospital. Jason explained, “GH was fun. That was a situation where Brian Frons (ex-ABC Daytime President) brought me over there. I just told him I didn’t want to be like or want to do Shawn. He’s like, ‘Well, what do you wanna do?’ I said, ‘How can I screw things up around here and shake things up?'”

Photo: JPI

From that conversation things began to formulate. Cook revealed, “We started talking about the TV series House. I think in soaps, there’s an assumption if you’re going on a show that everybody wants to be the hero. I was like, ‘I don’t want to (be). I want to screw everything up.’ And then, they wrote it in that Matt Hunter burns the hospital down within like six months. I was like really proud about that. The other part that I loved about that character is that Matt, and his older brother Patrick (Jason Thompson), were both neurosurgeons. And if you (an actor) resigned your contract (with the show) you go to Patrick, you see Patrick. And if you don’t resign your contract, you see my character, because my character was going to kill you every time.”

For more on the interview, make sure to check out the replay of the livestream conversation below with Jason, Brytni Sarpy and Jacob Young.  Now let us know, did you enjoy Jason as Shawn-D and Matt on GH? Do you hope someday he might return on-screen to the soaps? Let us know in the comment section.

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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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