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Empire

EMPIRE Season 2: Can The Hit Fox Soap Opera Avoid The Sophomore Slump & Continue To Increase Ratings And Ad Revenue?

Courtesy/FOX

Courtesy/FOX

It would be almost impossible for Empire to fall that far from grace!  Fox’s hit primetime soap broke all records in the ratings in its first season.  The creative team has worked tirelessly behind the scenes bringing the drama, and the music to this already huge brand!

There are also plenty of highly-touted guest stars that will emerge this season on the canvas.  Empire returns Wednesday night beginning at 9PMEST/8CST.  But still the question remains: can the show outperform it’s record-breaking season with the network looking to increase viewership and ad revenue … or, will it take a dip?

TV Guide spoke to Empire showrunner Ilene Chaiken about any sophomore jinxes and jitters. Many a show has fallen to the dreaded sophomore slump, but could that even happen to Empire?   Chaiken related to TVG:  “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little bit of pressure. But once we sat down and started working, the only thing I feel is the need to dig deep and try to break great stories and write great stories and produce good episodes.””

In an article with ADWeek they relate on expectations for the performance of Empire’s second season:  “We have high expectations for how it’s going to perform,” said Gary Newman, co-CEO and co-chairman of Fox Television Group. “Will the show stay as hot as it was in Season 1? I think it’s inevitable that it won’t be as hot. It will perform great, but nothing remains a phenomenon for that long.  So, we have to be realistic about our expectation levels. But the material that we’ve seen so far has been great. We feel confident that we have the goods this year.”

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ADWeek also added:  “While the network feels like its marketing plan is as solid as Season 2’s episodes, one thing is out of its hands—the inevitability of some kind of backlash, which seems to follow every TV show’s meteoric rise. Already, there has been some audience grumbling about the number of high-profile guest stars on tap: Empire’s premiere episode includes appearances from Marisa Tomei, Chris Rock, Kelly Rowland and Al Sharpton, with Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Pitbull set for subsequent weeks.

However, Fox insists, that the show’s producers will be able to sidestep any land mines. “We have a lot of conversations with our creators about how the shiny object of a guest cast member should never distract from what’s going on with our characters that have connected with this audience who they love,” commented Dana Walden, co-chairman and co-CEO, Fox Television Group.

As for the key storylines – brothers Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) and Jamal (Jussie Smollett) will be at major odds as the season starts, according to Chaiken: “There’s a lot of love between them, but they go at one another. And there’s a strain created by the fact that Jamal got the throne. That’s something that Hakeem always thought he was entitled to and destined for. He has a lot to prove, some of it will be at Jamal’s expense.”

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'Empire' Fall Finale: Taraji P. Henson Reminds Us Why She Is Queen; Could Jussie Smollett Return In The New Year?

And as for what happens with Lucious (Terrence Howard) behind bars, and when he gets out and seeks his revenge for ending up in the slammer in the first place, Chaiken teased:  “I think the combination of no longer living with a death sentence, and then having faced life in prison is going to leave Lucious more ferocious, more calculating, less forgiving than before. It just reinvigorates him for the fight.”

Lucious war on his ex-wife will also put her son Jamal and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) at opposite sides of the fence!  That also will open the door for a new potential squeeze for Cookie when Adam Rodriguez makes his debut in the new role of Laz Delagado.

Finally, let’s not forget Andre (Trai Byers )and Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday)!  In the season one finale; she has a baby on the way, he has mental issues, and they are now covering up a murder! How will this play out?  Stay tuned!

So, do you think Empire will pick up where it left off with unparalleled ratings?  Do you think it will take a bit of a tumble?  What storypoints are you most interrested in seeing play out?   Share your comments beloww!

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Geoffrey-Martin Cyr
Geoffrey-Martin Cyr

I guess I am one of only a dozen people on the planet that couldn’t care less about this show; both the subject matter, musical score and content never appealed to me!! I am usually a fan of what Lee Daniels produces, but exposure to the narcissism of Taraji/Cookie turned my stomach from day one. (I was curious if it was just the character of “Cookie” or the persona of Taraji that I found so grating … but the more I saw interviews with Ms. Henson (esp. this weekend’s Emmy telecast), her need to be stroked and adored (“Look at me, look at me!”) just totally is a turn-off to me and I couldn’t stomach a series where she played such a prominent role.)

Jonboy
Jonboy

Wow! Cookie makes the whole show IMO.

Geoffrey-Martin Cyr
Geoffrey-Martin Cyr

Yeah; I guess that’s my whole point. The fact that that character/actress is so heavily spotlighted is a real testament to how television has changed to now showcase and celebrate badly-behaved, morally-corrupted ‘role models’ who are given a platform to spin-out and implode to the amusement of the greater masses. It’s where we’ve landed as a society, and I fuilly ‘get’ I’m in the silent minority on this. Until the tide shifts, we’ll continue to see more HOUSEWIVES, Kardashians and Duck Dynasty litter our screens and appeal to the basest forms of society. (I guess we’ll see if the ratings reflect their success of if viewers eventually tire of this sort of ‘entertainment’…)

Jeremy
Jeremy

yup, Cookie/Taraji IS EMPIRE. she’s brilliant. can’t wait for S2.

Jonboy
Jonboy

I hardly compare a scripted series to reality garbage.

Torqumada
Torqumada

Love this show. The cast the writing EVERYTHING.

I worry that it will suffer from too many guest stars and stunts. Great characters need room to maneuver.

su0000
su0000

An Empire fan here ! 🙂
The first season will be its’ highest ratings. Seems that is the way it rolls.
but- Empire will always be up and doing very well.
With Empire it is the younger viewers, the demo the sponsors crave.
Most older people will not be that into Empire, my grandma would not like it, not at all lol
Empire will a have high 18-40 demo.. and it doesn’t get any better than that..

Jonboy
Jonboy

Not thrilled that they feel the need for all these guest stars (Al Sharpton? Really?)

su0000
su0000

huh?
Al Sharpton? really?
that is so lame lol
twitter will let it be known ..

Jane
Jane

Why does it need ALL the hype IF it’s floored everyone. My show is the middle to watch oh and Blood and Oil.

su0000
su0000

Empire gets the ”hype” because it HAS ”floored everyone” ..

looking forward to ”Blood and Oil” , also..
Looks like a great fall season..

((June and Ward Cleaver RIP ..

penny
penny

It delivered! I love this show and the WHOLE cast. Cookie is my favorite because Taraji is so great at portraying her. She’s the sweetest person in real life but a tigress on the show. I love how real she is in interviews. You get the real deal with Taraji not some fake persona just to please people who don’t give two shyts about you.

Anacarrie
Anacarrie

I agree, Penny. Taraji rocks!

k/kay
k/kay

I have never watched this show but I do know this when you have actors who demonstrate bad behavior think Terrance Howard beating up all his wives it tends to turn people off. When a actor or a politician or a athlete shows bad character it does it for me I am done no matter how good you are at what you do.

Geoffrey-Martin Cyr
Geoffrey-Martin Cyr

Exactly, k/kay … you hit it on the head for me: no matter how talented actresses Taraji Henson, Kerry Washington or Jane Lynch may be, their collective ball-busting, in-your-face, aggressive unpolished personas so totally turn me off, I will NEVER watch anything any of them do. JMO (I get that that group has a LOT of fans, but I ain’t one of them…)

Anacarrie
Anacarrie

I love the show and the cast. It is my weekly guilty pleasure. More, more, more!

Empire

Jussie Smollett Will NOT Be Returning To ‘Empire’ Says Fox Entertainment President

Looks like we have a definitive answer, and it comes from the top chief at Fox in the “will he or won’t he” return to Empire situation for Jussie Smollett (Ex-Jamal Lyon).

As recently as last month, Empire showrunner Brett Mahoney told TV Line that discussions were underway to possibly bring Smollett back as the series ended its sixth and final season this spring.

That came to a halt yesterday when Fox Entertainment President Michael Thorn, revealed to the outlet: “We’re not going to bring Jussie back to the show. There were a number of factors that went into the decision to not bring him back. There were many points of view about if he should come back or if he shouldn’t. As hard as a decision as that was, for us — and when I say us I mean the network, the studio and the producers — it felt like it was in the best interests of the show and the cast.

Thorn went on to say, “Our hope is that all of the controversy surrounding Jussie doesn’t overshadow the show, which we think is bigger than him.”

As fans of the series know,Smollett was written out after the fifth season following his claim that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack on the streets of Chicago.  Next, he was accused of concocting the whole attack himself to gain notoriety. Jussie was then charged with making a false police report. After additional charges were brought against him, they then were all swiftly dropped.

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So, what do you think about the final determination here? That Smollett will not return for the finale of Empire? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Michael Fairman TV Names The Best and Worst In Soaps 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, we take a look back with our annual list of the Best and Worst in Soaps!  

As it does every year, Michael Fairman TV  take this opportunity to pay tribute to the tremendous work of the talented men and women in front of the camera and behind the scenes, whose tireless efforts in the grind of producing and acting in this genre’s format is a feat in of itself.

Now, in addition to naming the best moments and performances of the year, there were several not-so-stellar moments featuring characters, storylines, and more, that get the dubious honor of some of our “Worst’s”.

So with that said; we give you our year-end review.  As you will read, we tried to dissect the calendar year on your favorite daytime dramas through our various categories.  While we know many of you have your own picks and choices, and may disagree, or agree with ours, we encourage you to let us know your thoughts as well.  And most of all, respect everyone’s opinions, as you wish them to respect yours.

Finally, we want to wish our wonderful community here at Michael Fairman TV and soap fans everywhere, a healthy, prosperous, and exciting New Year!   It is all of you with your passion and devotion to the soap genre itself, which make this such a special and unique medium that we all share, squabble, and delight over week after week, month after month, episode after episode.

So here we go … the Best and Worst in Soaps … and with that… 2019 out!

Photo: JPI

BEST SOAP – Classic and Traditional

The Bold and the Beautiful – The 8,000 episode of this CBS Daytime drama kicked-off an eight month journey that had fans anguished and throwing things at their TV or computer screens, but in the Bell tradition of storytelling it was all actually worth the wait.  After Hope was told that her baby was stillborn by Dr, Buckingham (Guest star, Wayne Brady) while giving birth alone on Catalina Island in the middle of the storm (yup), he sells the baby to Taylor (who is in the dark on his misdeeds to get out of a debt) who handles the transaction thus setting the stage for Steffy to unwittingly raise Hope’s baby.  When all was revealed, it was an epic soap moment not only for its emotion, but for the production value B&B brings to its remotes and major payoffs.  Add in a shockingly darker and twisted re-emergence of the character of Thomas Forrester, some noteworthy newcomers in Denise Richard and Katrina Bowden, and then putting back to front burner status, Ridge and Brooke, as their marriage crumbled thanks to Thomas, and B&B proved utilizing some classic soap storytelling, no matter how viewers protest at times, is still the ticket for them while focusing on families, couples, and the workplace.

BEST SOAP – Risk-taker and Entertaining

Days of our Lives – This was the year that 54-year-old-soap did something no other soap opera has ever done on daytime.  Not only did it continue to roll out plot-driven, quirky, clever and outlandish stories and moments, but it reset the show, by jumping all the stories one-year ahead in a flash-forward.  Thus, viewers now have more questions than answers triggering them to make sure to tune-in every day or you will miss something.  In addition, DAYS saw the DOOL app really take shape this year. and in addition to all the backstage and behind the scenes content, DAYS launched three new digital drama series, and one, Chad & Abby in Paris timed perfectly so that Chad & Abby’s return on the air shows matched the timing of the end of the digital series. And…. if you want have fun and look for some of those saucy soap tropes, you can find them in Salem.

Photo: JPI

SOAPMAKER OF THE YEAR

Ron Carlivati – Days of our Lives

Have to give it to the head writer of DAYS; for after pitching his idea for the time jump to both OLTL and GH, and even DAYS once before, the series had the courage to go for it, and Carlivati did not disappoint, weaving stories for some time to come that have not even scratched the surface yet on-screen.  While we know the time-jump has received mixed reviews from fans; we are only two months in since it started.  So … hold your horses!

Photo: JPI

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS

Maura West- Ava Jerome – General Hospital

This makes it two years in a row for West to take this category.  And this year, her character of Ava Jerome really went through the ringer, and in the end came back to the other side of it regaining her strength. Think of how Ava fell in love for a serial killer, without even knowing it? Then, learns of the startling revelation that she has been sleeping with her daughter’s killer!  Then, she sees her dead daughter, then, she has an apparent mental breakdown, then she is being duped by a returning Nikolas, then she is being trolled online following her cover story in Crimson, and we could go on and on.  Whatever the story required, West took it on and delivered with a classic movie star style non-compare in daytime,

BEST SINGLE PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A STORYLINE

Camila Banus – Gabi’s grief-stricken as Stefan dies – Days of our Lives

It’s amazing that you can hate Gabi Hernandez for all of her revenge-plots and then sob right along with her when she is gutted.  In the capable hands of Camila Banus this is made possible. When Gabi is sitting vigil near Stefan’s bedside, (after he is shot and brain dead) and then later at home wakes up alone missing the man she loves, who is ripped away from her, like everything else in her life, it set the stage for Gabi’s next heinous plot, and Banus delivered in all of these scenes.

Photo: JPI

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR

(Tie)

Maurice Benard – Sonny Corinthos – General Hospital

Jon Lindstrom – Ryan Chamberlin/ Kevin Collins – General Hospital

Michael Easton – Hamilton Finn – General Hospital

We are tying this one up three ways, because each of these gents from General Hospital had story throughout the year, (at times, more prominent than others) but each made an indelible impression for some time to come.  Let’s start with Maurice Benard, who coming off his Lead Actor Daytime Emmy win, continued to deliver heartbreaking scenes when acting opposite his on-screen dad, Max Gail in the Alzheimer’s storyline.  Who can forget the scene in which Mike is going to live at “Turning Woods” and move out of the Corinthos home, and Sonny has to say goodbye to his dad as he puts a photo of himself and Mike from last year’s Nurses’ Ball in Mike’s suitcase? And, speaking of the Nurses’ Ball, how about Sonny’s talk with Josslyn in her time of need; where he mentions his grief over Stone as she is reeling from Oscar’s death? These moments illustrated just how good Benard continues to be in touching and grounded scenes.  It’s nice to see Benard in these types of story points; instead of always Sonny mobster-mode.  As for Jon Lindstrom, as much fun as it was to watch all of Ryan Chamberlain’s twisted antics, you couldn’t help feel that Lindstrom was having the time of his life playing the role.  Think of: the Ava and Ryan showdown scenes, when he loses a hand, his snarky vernacular, and the fact that he was playing two roles with the addition of his twin Kevin.  Then, there was the aftermath of Ryan’s crimes, and his continued work opposite Genie Francis. Great performances from this soap opera veteran.  Michael Easton has made Hamilton Finn this quirky, loveable doctor despite himself, and as only he can do.  We can think of three instances where this was best illustrated: When Finn proposed to Anna at the Nurses Ball, when Finn cries his eyes out reading the letter that Hayden left behind that he is now left with raising their daughter solo, and has to face the difficult task of telling the little girl that her mother is gone, and then of course, the just aired “A Christmas Carol” episode which as Scrooge or Finn, Easton was pure joy to watch.

Photo: JPI

BEST SINGLE PEFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A STORYLINE.

Scott Clifton – Liam is reunited with baby Beth – The Bold and the Beautiful

There was not a dry eye in the house, when Scott Clifton delivered the most poignant and memorable moment of 2019.  It begins when Liam gets a call from the OBGYN in a Vegas hospital saying there is no record of Flo being there and giving birth, and the doctor was out of the country at the time of said birth.  It is then that the pieces start to fit for Liam after he recalls a moment with his brother says that Flo acted like she had never given birth.  It is then Liam realizes that “Phoebe” is his believed-to-be-dead daughter, Hope!  Liam runs into the baby’s room knowing that this is the little girl he believed had died! The baby says, “Dada!”  Liam says, “Yes, I’m you dada” and Scott Clifton showed us why come Emmy time he may be the actor to beat, which could make it his fourth piece of Emmy gold.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LONG-RUNNING VETERAN

Kin Shriner – Scott Baldwin – General Hospital

We couldn’t love Kin Shriner and Scott Baldwin anymore than did in 2019!  How touching was his work in GH’s 56th anniversary episode which centered around Gail’s final wish. We will always remember the end of the episode when Scott walks to the Memorial wall at General Hospital and there is Gail’s plaque.  But that was not all, Kin delivered the goods as a loving father, fighting for the return of his son, Franco (while he was Drew) and even before that story, being there for Franco and wanting to be a good father to him through thick and thin.

Photo: JPI

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LONG-RUNNING VETERAN COUPLE

Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes – Doug and Julie Williams – Days of our Lives

When DAYS wrote a story that had Julie having a heart attack, which would put her in critical condition, it would serve as the backdrop to see Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award recipients, Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes given material to act up a storm with … and boy did they ever.  Bill Hayes delivered one of his best performances of his storied career as Doug is frightened of losing Julie, but at the same time, he also must give her the will to fight.  For the Hayes’, this story hits close to home, when you have been married in real-life for as long as they have, having to portray a story like this is tough, given their undying love for one another.

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTOR

Max Gail – Mike Corbin – General Hospital 

GH did not waver in their commitment to tell Mike’s battle with Alzheimer’s and in doing so showed his decline in 2019.  Now Mike does not remember his loved ones, “married” Yvonne at Turning Woods, loses his temper, has tantrums and is confused and frightened, and all of this is brought to us through the brilliant performances of Max Gail.

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Kassie DePaiva – Eve Donovan – Days of our Lives

Eve schemed and did her damn best to hold on to Jack Deveraux, but that damn Jennifer Horton always seems to come out the victor, much to the chagrin of Eve.  But through it all, soap vet, DePaiva plays “bad girl with deep emotional pain” so well, that when she is on the screen she delivers time and time again, no matter what the circumstance.

Photo: ABC

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE DUO IN A STORYLINE

Maura West and Genie Francis – Ava and Laura – General Hospital

When Laura had to tell Ava at the bridge that she has been sleeping with Ryan and not Kevin, it set the stage for these two powerhouse leading ladies to come together in the most unique and heartbreaking way.  Ava crumbled at the realization, and Laura was there to pick up the pieces and help her through it, even knowing how both of them were completely duped in the process.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE DUO IN A STORYLINE

(Tie)

Wally Kurth and Chandler Massey – Justin and Will – Days of our Lives

Wally Kurth gave the monologue of the year when Justin visits Will in prison.  There, Justin talks about losing Adrienne and how he hates what has happened, but that he will always think of Will as his “son” and he tells Will to not give up on life.  Kurth was brilliant and we bet he will receive an Emmy nod for his work, and Chandler Massey is always stellar and always good, so this was the perfect set of scenes.

Roger Howarth and William Lipton – Franco and Cameron – General Hospital

“Tell your mom, I love her and I will be back” those were the most memorable and heartbreaking words at the outset of the mind-mapping story (that showed promise at the beginning) with this gut-wrenching scene played to perfection by Howarth and Lipton.  Franco saves Cameron from being mind-mapped by Dr. Cabot and Shiloh, and switches places with him as Cameron watches in horror.  Great performances and Howarth is always good no matter what is asked of him in story.

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BEST PODCAST EPISODE

Soap Nation Live’s Tribute to Kristoff St. John with Guest co-host, Daniel Goddard

Yes, we are giving this episode to our own broadcast, because being a part of it and listening to it back months later, it was the most riveting, raw and honest podcast, we have ever heard where co-stars speak about a man they loved and missed amidst a terrible tragedy.  Daniel Goddard was the perfect co-host and guests ranged from: Bryton James, Eileen Davidson, Joshua Morrow, Victoria Rowell, Christel Khalil, Mishael Morgan and more.  There were tears shed and we will never forget this as much as we will never forget our dear friend, Kristoff.  You can listen to the replay here.

BEST SOAP OPERA PLATFORM

The DOOL App – Days of our Lives

In its first full-year, the DOOL app brought fans backstage content that any superfan of the series would enjoy from interviews, games, auditions, behind the scenes. the making of, tributes and more, but also added the app added three new digital dramas to it– Last Blast Reunion, Chad & Abby in Paris Chapter One and Chapter Two.   Soaps need to evolve and this is the next evolution for watching, viewing, and being connected to your favorite stars, and for content you won’t see anywhere else.

BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE

Neil Winters Memorial Service – The Young and the Restless

Y&R brought all of its viewers to tears with this send-off for Neil Winters; which in turn honors the late Kristoff  St. John.  The eulogies delivered with such emotion, sadness and heart by Eric Braeden, Bryton James, Christel Khalil, Daniel Goddard, Peter Bergman, and Shemar Moore were heartbreaking.  As we watched Genoa City mourn, we mourned, and the cast mourned through this cathartic and heartbreaking experience.

Photo: JPI

BEST VILLAIN, FEMALE

Camila Banus – Gabi Hernandez – Days of our Lives

OOOH she is so bad.  But, we can’t think of anyone who did it better in 2019!  First, she has this horrific revenge plot for Abigail, and then she has a horrific revenge plot for Julie and Lani.  Through it all Camila brought the soapy villainy of Gabi to these scenes, making her one character you do not want to cross!

BEST VILLAIN, MALE

Matthew Atkinson – Thomas Forrester – The Bold and the Beautiful

Thomas returned to Los Angeles, as a sneering, constantly shirtless, manipulative sicko and yet, we couldn’t turn away.  B&B needed an uber-villain pronto, and turning Thomas into one fit the bill. For those who say they don’t like Matthew Atkinson’s performance, I say think again, maybe you hate this new Thomas so much, because Matthew is just that good and being bad.

Photo: JPI

BEST YOUNGER ACTOR

William Lipton – Cameron Webber – General Hospital

He can act, he can sing, and he was front and center stage in key scenes.  We already honored him for his work with Roger Howarth, but remember when he learned Oscar was dead and how Cam went into the hospital elevator and weeped alone, so one would know how devastated  he was at the loss of his friend? Or, when he sang at the Nurses’ Ball? Or Franco and Liz’s reception? And then there is his ongoing relationship with Josslyn.  Lipton is a young talent on the rise.

BEST YOUNGER ACTRESS

Olivia Rose Keegan – Claire Brady – Days of our Lives

That little fire starter! Olivia Rose Keegan received some juicy material and played it to the hilt when it was revealed that Claire had set the cabin fires, and was all whacked out!  Keegan made it all work brilliantly!

BEST SCENE-STEALER MALE

William Utay – Dr. Wilhelm Rolf – Days of our Lives

You’ve got to admit … whether its concocting serums to bring people back from the dead, implanting brain chips, being comical (we loved the scene where Rolf thinks Kristen wants him to get her pregnant) or vindictive (when he turned Hope into Princess Gina, he blames Hope for shooting his beloved Stefano), William Utay can make you pay attention to any scene he is in, with anyone …and speaking of fun German accents…

Photo: JPI

BEST SCENE-STEALER FEMALE

Kathleen Gati – Liesl Obrecht – General Hospital

….Our female scene-stealer also has a German accent on her show, GH.  That’s right! Kathleen Gati, who can go from comedy, belting out a tune, evil, or heartbreak, has been able to keep Liesl Obrecht on the canvas, because so many fans can’t wait to see what she will do next.  Kudos to Gati for always bringing her A-game.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A WEDDING BREAK-UP

Lamon Arcbey and Sal Stowers – Elani Wedding – Days of our Lives

The scenes that followed Lani walking out on her wedding to Eli (thanks to Gabi’s blackmail) were so poignant, because Archey and Stowers made it so.  The devastation on Eli’s face as Lani tells him she does not love him anymore was picture perfect. Best work of both Lamon and Sal’s career to date.

Photo: JPI

CHARACTER WHO DESERVED THE BIGGEST BITCH-SLAP

Gabi Hernandez – Days of our Lives 

Get in line! Let’s see who should slap this biotch – Lani, Eli, Julie, Doug, Abby, Chad, should I go on?

CHARACTER WHO DISHED OUT THE BEST BITCH-SLAPS

Brooke Logan Forrester – The Bold and the Beautiful

All of a sudden Brooke became “slap happy” and after being provoked by a nasty Thomas and a manipulative Shauna, she lay the smacketh down upon them.  We love seeing feisty Brooke back in action!

Photo: ABC

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A PRIMETIME SOAP MALE

Lincoln Younes – Danny – Grand Hotel

The emotional heart of ABC’s summer soap, Grand Hotel (which unfortunately was cancelled after one season) was former Home and Away star, Lincoln Younes.  His character of Danny comes to Miami and goes undercover by getting a job as a waiter at the hotel to discover who killed his sister Sky … and in the process falls for the owner’s daughter, while having a life and a woman back in Chicago.  Complicated, but Younes made us root for the guy.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A PRIMETIME SOAP FEMALE

(Tie)

Robin Givens – Stephanie – Ambitions

Elizabeth Gilles – Fallon –  Dynasty

In OWN’s Ambitions, Robin Givens gives us a sexy, back-stabbing, vixen reminiscent of the classic daytime divas,  while on Dynasty, Elizabeth Gilles steals the show as the ultra rich Fallon, but snobbery and all, she is still a heroine we root for.

Photo: CW

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMER IN A PRIMETIME SOAP

Rafael de La Fuente – Sammy Jo – Dynasty

He has the best one-liners on primetime soaps, and Rafael delivers the comedy, the drama, the romance, and has become the heart and soul of CW’s Dynasty as Sammy Jo.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PRIMETIME SOAP

Essence Atkins – Amara – Ambitions

Stephanie needed a rival, and Amara fit the bill … and she has been played with a fierceness and ferocity by Essence Atkins.  And, oh by the way, Atkins is one helluva an actress.

BEST PRIMETIME SOAP

Dynasty

Soapy, over the top, goodness. Yes, it’s a train-wreck, but we kind of love it for that.

Photo; JPI

BEST PERFORMANCE MALE IN A DIGITAL DRAMA SERIES

Van Hansis and Kit Williamson – Thom and Cal – EastSiders Season Four

The fourth and final season of EastSiders gave fans of the series closure for the journey of Thom and Cal.  Van Hansis (Ex-Luke, As the World Turns), brought the depth, reality and made us love imperfect Thom, who through all the open relationship sexcapdes and having a commitment phobia, finally realized he had what he wanted all along, and so too, did his longtime partner, Cal played by series creator, Kit Williamson.  Their performances kept us in engaged for four seasons over the seven year journey of the LGBTQ-themed continuing drama

BEST PERFORMANCE FEMALE IN A DIGITAL DRAMA SERIES

Kate Mansi – Abigail – Chad & Abby the Series Chapters 1 and 2

Let’s just say Kate Mani is a lioness! She always gives a 100% every time, and in key scenes; after Abby kissed and flirted with Austin and realized how her marriage to Chad could down the drain, and later stood up to vixen, Juliette, who tried to wreck her marriage, it all showed just how good Mansi is at playing all the beats required, and then some, to make the scenes work.

Photo: JPI

BEST COUPLE

Ben and Ciara – Days of our Lives

#Cin was IN throughout 2019, and if you weren’t on the #Cin train you were missing out.  This was the year that Rob Scott Wilson and Victoria Konefal cemented themselves as the star-crossed lovers to root for, and that they are the hottest duo on daytime,

MOST TORTURED COUPLE

(Tie)

Hope and Liam – The Bold and the Beautiful 

We don’t know how Annika Noelle continued to play all of those emotionally tortured scenes throughout this storyline!  Hope and Liam were put through the ringer with machinations gone wild from Thomas, cover-ups, and more, all leading to the truth that the daughter they think died at birth was alive and being raised by Steffy!

Will and Sonny – Days of our Lives

Anguish x 10: Will having a brain tumor from the serum he received to get his memory back, getting rid of Leo Starke who tried to come between them once and for all, and now the worst of all, Will is in prison for killing Sonny’s mother and they are divorcing!  What next?

Photo: JPI

MOST BORING COUPLE

Kyle and Lola – The Young and the Restless

The fact that these two got married already, makes us already bored, and they are in essence, two good characters who found love, although some of Kyle’s sketchy past came into question, but did anybody care? Snooze.

BEST RECAST MALE

Brandon Barash – Stefan Cassadine – Days of our Lives

Tyler Christopher is one of the best actors ever to be in the soap opera genre, and earlier in 2019 before his departure at DAYS, he turned in riveting work.  Enter Brandon Barash, who had the task to make Stefan O DiMera all his own … and he did! Barash was key to developing the love story of #Stabi with Camila Banus, and thus they became a popular on-screen duo of 2019, before the characters demise.

Photo: JPI

BEST RECAST FEMALE

Cynthia Watros – Nina Clay – General HospitaL

Taking over from Michelle Stafford in the role of Nina Clay on General Hospital, would be no easy feat, but it just might work if you are the one and only, Cynthia Watros.  In short order, Cynthia has made her Nina quite different, complex, and original.

BEST NEWCOMER FEMALE

Denise Richards – Shauna Fulton – The Bold and the Beautiful

Richards, who has been a primetime and reality series star previously, has breathed life into Shauna, who easily could have just been this interloper in Brooke and Ridge’s relationship, but her complex past and her love for her daughter, Flo, make her portrayal intriguing and fun to watch; especially in scenes opposite Katherine Kelly Lang who needed a new nemesis.

BEST NEWCOMER MALE

Mark Grossman – Adam Newman – The Young and the Restless

Talk about hitting a home run and out of the park   Y&R found gold when they cast Grossman as the nuAdam following Justin Hartley.  Grossman has fit in nicely with the cast and has handled everything they have thrown at this misunderstood, bad guy, black sheep of the Newman clan. Kudos to Mark for an outstanding job well-dine.

Photo: JPI

BEST RETURN BY AN ACTOR IN A LIMITED RUN

Dominic Zamprogna – Dante Falconeri – General Hospital

When Dominic Zamprogna came back for ten-episode stint on GH, viewers learned just how troubled Dante had become since his time in Turkey.  Now feeling he was a danger to his fanily and himself, and haunted with horrible bouts of PTSD, and about torture, Dante left to get healed and deprogrammed by the WSB or so we hoped.  His final scenes with Lulu were heartbreaking.   Great work by Dom Z in a storyline that has some holes and loose ends in it to tie up, but what do you do when you are no longer under contract with the show?

BEST RETURN BY AN ACTRESS IN A LIMITED RUN

Jessica Tuck – Cassandra Pierce – General Hospital

Soap veteran, Tuck takes villainy to a whole new level, with her know-it-all, drug-lord, Cassandra Pierce, and her no-one-can-take-her-down attitude.  Trouble is … now the character is supposedly dead!

MOST DISAPPOINTING RETURN

Rebecca Budig – Hayden Barnes – General Hospital –

This was not disappointing because of the actress, but because all of a sudden Hayden made a hasty exit out of Port Charles, thus leaving her daughter, Violet with Finn and us wanting more of this potential family dynamic.  It was disappointing in that that we did not get to see this play out more with all parties involved.  Maybe …. Budig will be back?

Honorable Mention:

Karla Mosley –  Maya Avant – The Bold and the Beautiful

They said Karla and her character Maya were on her way back to the show, but I guess, blink and you missed her! What’s up with that?

READ MORE
'Empire' Fall Finale: Taraji P. Henson Reminds Us Why She Is Queen; Could Jussie Smollett Return In The New Year?

MOST CONFUSING CHARACTER RETURN

Nikolas Cassadine (now played by Marcus Coloma)General Hospital

Is Nikolas now a vengeful, bad guy who just won’t tell his beloved mother or sister that he is alive? Confused.

Photo: ABC

BIGGEST WASTE OF A TALENTED CAST

The Young and the Restless

All the big returns have not amounted to a storyline that has riveted the viewers or given the talents of the likes of: Michelle Stafford, Melissa Claire Egan, Doug Davidson, Mishael Morgan, Greg Rikaart, and Elizabeth Hendrickson, something to really sink their teeth into.  Here’s hoping something juicy emerges for all of these outstanding performers in 2020.

BIGGEST WASTE OF TALENT

Tamara Braun – General Hospital

She is a Daytime-Emmy winning actress (Ava, DAYS) and at one time Carly Corinthos on GH, and has a soap resume any actress would kill for.   But somehow the character Braun was portraying, Dr. Kim Nero, became so unlikeable that fans wanted the character off the canvas and it didn’t matter how great Tamara was in performing her heart out with the material she was given.   Kim’s grief over losing her son, Oscar had the character acting out in very unsettling ways – drugging the original Drew, so she could rape him and get pregnant by him again, then having sex with her good friend’s Elizabeth’s husband, Franco while he was mind-mapped as Drew.  Things could not have sunk lower for the character; even though we tried to understand her grief,

MOST UPSETTING GOODBYE

Dante says goodbye to Lulu to get help from his PTSD/torture – General Hospital

“Don’t go Dante”, yelled all of us at the TV, while Lulu was devastated that her husband was leaving her a second time!

Photo: CBS

BEST STANDALONE EPISODE

Jack walks down memory lane – Peter Bergman 3oth anniversary episode – The Young and the Restles

Y&R gave Peter Bergman a 30th anniversary salute that featured some excellent retrospective clips; several which we do not see often, which made it all the better. Watching Bergman’s reactions to Jack’s life story, and Bergman in the retro clips, makes you realize why Peter is a giant in this genre in a fulfilling special hour of soap.

Runner-up:

 “A Christmas Carol” – General Hospital

The performances led by Michael Easton, the costumes, the sets and the supporting cast made this a fully realized episode from top to bottom just in time for the holidays.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A STANDALONE EPISODE

Jason Thompson – “Billy Battles His Demons” – The Young and the Restless

It was great to see stalwart Thompson, get a standalone episode all his own on Y&R. This time the gum-chewing alternate personality of Billy’s tried to fight for control of him. Billy went down this rabbit hole once Adam resurfaced and opened the old wound of Delia’s death.  In this special episode, Thompson shared scenes with Peter Bergman, Jess Walton and Michelle Stafford where the characters were dishing it out to Billy and bringing up all of his failings, in the end, he wanted to do better for Victoria, and the children.  Good one won out that time.  Great performance.

Photo: JPI

BEST WRITING

Days of our Lives

Soap twists, doppelgangers, serums, brain chips paternity pickles, cabin fires, might on paper sound like, “How can this be the best writing on a soap” But, under head writer, Ron Carlivati somehow all these things come together making for the most entertaining soap opera of the year, love it, like it, or hate it.

Photo: JPI

BEST EPISODE

Kristen is unmasked at John and Marlena’s Anniversary party episode – Days of our Lives

Yes, it was high camp, and yes, it was one of the most preposterous plots of the year. but it was still a riveting romp, especially when John ripped that “Nicole” mask right off of Kristen’s head.  Thank God! How Kristen got away with this charade for as long as she did, and duped Brady in the process, and wandered around Salem was so far-fetched, but this reveal was deliciously fun and everyone in the cast delivered!

BEST TEARJERKER

Oscar’s death and the aftermath – General Hospital

Yes, you can argue, that so much attention was given to a character who was not on the air that much.  However, the episodes in which Oscar finally passed on, and was escorted by Lila and Edward to heaven, and then the aftermath, which saw bravura performances by: Garren Stitt, Billy Miller, Wally Kurth, Eden McCoy, Tamara Braun, William Lipton, and more were pretty hankie inducing.

Courtesy/ABC

BEST STORYLINE

“Phoebe” is Beth – The Bold and the Beautiful

One thing that The Bold and the Beautiful does better than any other show in the genre is those big sweeping, majestic pay-offs, after months of fans tearing out their hair hoping that the truth will finally be revealed.  But when it does, it’s a watershed moment; which usually brings the audience to tears.  B&B did just that, bringing the climax of the story to its conclusion following Thomas and Liam duking it on out on a rooftop, which led to Liam’s headlock on Thomas (with a confused Hope standing there as the men try to kill each other).  In the process, Liam got Thomas to admit to Hope that he knew Beth was alive.  Since Thomas did not dispute it, Hope knew it was true! Then, next step, Hope is finally reunited with her daughter! Then, the story takes another turn on how to tell Steffy and get custody of her biological daughter that was sold to … Steffy!  8 months of torture, led to a satisfying conclusion. We only wish Dr. Buckingham would have got his comeuppance on screen instead of off-camera.

Photo: JPI

MOST SOCIALLY RELEVANT STORYLINE

Mike’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease – General Hospital

The fact that GH has continued to show the decline of Mike Corbin with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease should be commended.  Often times on soaps, the shows will start a storyline about a medical or socially impactful story, and do one arc of it and be done with it and drop it.  Not this time, the performances and the writing have been excellent in this story.

Photo: JPI

WORST STORYLINE

Haley’s immigration deportation storyline –Days of our Lives

With chants such as “Send her back” about a character none of us cared about, it just didn’t make for an engaging, riveting, socially-relevant topical storyline that DAYS had hoped it would be.

Runners-Ups:

Dawn of Day – General Hospital

Franco Becomes Drew – General Hospital

Katherine’s will contested– The Young and the Restless

BEST TWIST DAYTIME SOAP

Flo is the daughter of Storm Logan – The Bold and the Beautiful

Katie has basically no vital organs of her own anymore! And it all goes back to when Storm Logan (Will deVry) shot himself and his heart went to Katie in the process! Since then, she has has health crisis after health crisis.  Now as Katie needs a new kidney to live, it is revealed that Flo Fulton is actually a Logan and daughter of Storm and can be a donor.  It was an interesting, if not cliché soapy way, to add some needed oomph to the Logan family tree.

Photo: JPI

BEST TWIST PRIMETIME SOAP

Alexis’ new face is that of Fallon – Dynasty

After Nicolette Sheridan made a quick exit as Alexis Carrington, the show had to come up with a plan to keep the character alive. So, what does it do? It has Adam push Alexis face first into a fireplace.  Later, after plastic surgery she emergences with the same face as Fallon! The plot was so juicy! Problem is, the show in its current season recast Alexis with another actress so it looks like the doppelganger story for Elizabeth Gilles was dropped.

MOST PREPOSTEROUS PLOT TWIST 

The “Nicole” mask – Days of our Lives

Does a voice alternator, prosthetic mask, and taking tats off of you make you a dead-ringer for another woman! Don’t try this at home! Because on DAYS, Kristen, got away with it.  What we did not understand was how no one noticed that it was a mask when people were intimate with her … or two inches away from her … when they were speaking with her.  But in the end, Arianne Zuker and Stacy Haiduk were so fun to watch in this that it made it work through this suspension of belief drama

MOST PREPOSTEROUS CHARACTER TURN

Dr. Shah goes from good doctor to obsessed psycho with a mother problem – Days of our Lives

Out of the blue, Dr Shah becomes the key catalyst to jogging Jack’s memory.  We can be thankful for that, but turning this seemingly nice doctor who liked Jennifer into a psychopath out of the blue was a little jarring, but at least we got our JnJ back!

Photo: JPI

MOST UNDER-UTILIZED CHARACTER 

(Tie)

Eva LaRue as Celeste Rosales – Y&R

Vincent Irizzary as Dr. Jordan Armstrong – B&B

We were thrilled to hear that former All My Children stars, Eva Larue and Vincent Irizarry were returning to daytime, only, they were hardly seen, in the case of Irizarry, or used properly, in the case of LaRue, on either of the CBS Daytime shows they were recurring on.

BEST ‘SO GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN’ CASTING

Robin Strasser – Days of our Lives

In a bold move, DAYS recast the role of Vivian Alamain with OLTL icon, Robin Strasser.  When Louise Sorel was unavailable they turned to Strasser, who came in for a limited run and still delivered the goods as Vivian. And, it was nice to see La Strasser, back on our screens.

MOST POLARIZING CHARACTER

Peter August – Wes Ramsey – General Hospital

Two years running, fans seem to be at impasse with the character of Peter August. They either love him, or hate him.  Since Peter was revealed to be conspiring with Helena Cassadine, and involved in the original Drew-napping … and then trying to stop the mind-mapping where Franco would be restored to his former self, at times he is evil and a bad guy, and then all of a sudden he has a moral compass.  Will GH settle on a direction for the character?

MOST ANNOYING CHARACTER

Wyatt Fuller – The Bold and the Beautiful

While we absolutely love Darin Brooks, Wyatt’s flip-flops between his relationships with Flo and Sally make the character an indecisive guy who at any given moment will chose one women over the other pending the latest circumstances.  Now it seems Wyatt is becoming much like his brother, Liam in the love department. Oh-no! Make it stop!

Courtesy/ABC

MOST ANNOYING PLOT POINT 

Kim decides to rape Drew – General Hospital

When a grieving Kim cut the circuits at the Haunted Star and then followed Drew to the fuse box and pulled out a syringe and injected him with something, fans were shocked. Next thing you know, she becomes creepy and gets him into bed with the hopes of getting pregnant. To make matters worse, the man she supposedly loves, Julian, happens upon the scene, and says he understands that her grief is making her do these out-of-character things.  Fans were outraged, and from here, Kim’s fate was probably sealed. Months later she would be written off the canvas.

BIGGEST SHOCKER IN SOAPS

Phyllis Switch – The Young and the Restless

Gina Tognoni was let-go from The Young and the Restless in the pivotal role of Phyllis Summers, a part that she made her own over the last five years, in order for the series to bring back another powerhouse, Michelle Stafford to the role she made soap-famous.  It was surprise move since Stafford was over at GH killing it as Nina Clay. Y&R wanted to reset the show and bring back many fan favorites and in bringing Stafford back many fans were rejoicing; while others were upset that Tognoni was shown the front door.

Photo: JPI

BIGGEST SOCIAL MEDIA FIRESTORM

Jussie Smollett – “Hate Crime” – Empire

When Empire star Jussie Smollett was reportedly the victim of a homophobic and racist attack in the early morning in the streets of Chicago, everyone including cast members and politicians came to his defense.  Then, in a shocking turn from the Chicago PD, they alleged that Smollett arranged for the attack on himself to gain more notoriety.  The whole series of events led to Smollett being dropped by the series for the conclusion of its season.  Then, Smollett was exonerated of all charges, although the city of Chicago was suing him.  Now as we enter the New Year, it looks like Smollett may be back as Jamal Lyon before the series finale of Empire.  This case had many weighing-in on the controversy via social media with all its twist and turns throughout 2019.

BEST PROPS

Billy’s Chewing Gum –The Young and the Restless

Masks Are Us:  (Lucha Libre, Nicole) – Days of our Lives

So, when it comes to props for 2019, Billy’s chewing gum was a key to watching his alternate personality come out and play. No one chewed gum like Billy Abbott!  And as for masks, well DAYS used this as quite the prop from Xander’s Lucha Libre mask to that “Nicole” mask which caused much havoc for a good deal of 2019 in Salem

BEST “FALLING AND I CAN’T GET UP” OR SO THEY THINK!

Thomas Forrester – The Bold and the Beautiful

How many times can a guy fall and get back up unscathed?  Following over railings, cliffs, and even into a vat of Hydrofluoric acid, Thomas still came back with a vengeance. But doesn’t his back or head still hurt? What’s up with that?

Now below let us know if you agree with our picks, or have picks of your own for the Best and Worst in Soaps 2019 via the comment section below.  

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Empire

‘Empire’ Fall Finale: Taraji P. Henson Reminds Us Why She Is Queen; Could Jussie Smollett Return In The New Year?

If you caught Tuesday night’s fall finale of Fox’s music biz soap opera, Empire, you witnessed a bravura performance by Taraji P. Henson in the pivotal role of Cookie Lyon.  In it, wanting to end her marriage officially once and for all to Luscious (Terrence Howard), she pulls a gun on him, demanding he sign the divorce papers … now! And in true, ‘Empire-style’, the scene does not wind up being just Luscious who is staring down the barrel of a gun, but Cookie too, when a revenge-filled, Tracy (Amanda Detmer) shows up with a gun ready to kill them both!

The episode entitled “Cold Cold Man” saw the final minutes feature Henson’s Cookie pinned to a table by Luscious who pleaded with her that their angst-ridden, twisted relationship is still about love, and that deep down she loves him.  Though she protests, you can see through her anger, tears, and frustration that she still loves Luscious … even after all the woman he has slept with, all the backstabbing, and all the hurt he has caused her and their children.

As viewers of the series know, there has been a flash-forward sequence that had been teased all season long of Cookie and Luscious’ demise. That sequence is different than the ending of the fall finale, leaving viewers to believe that obviously the two survive the fall finale, and then face what looks like certain doom by the end of the series finale, when the show returns for its last episodes in 2020.

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In another shocker in the fall finale, Andre (Trai Byers) was revealed to have a duel personality in Kingsley (A.Z, Kelsey)! And, Kingsley is the one who is telling Andre to do all the terrible things he has been doing, which includse being physically and emotionally abusive to women.

However, the emotional high-point of the episode came when Empire’s first trans character, Melody Barnes played by trans actress, Alexandra Grey took to the stage and delivered a powerhouse vocal performance and then following it was questioned in a press conference where she reveals publicly that she is transgender.  Following the airing of the episode, Grey tweeted: “Hope you guys enjoyed @EmpireFOX I love getting to play #Melody thanks for all the love!!!! I can’t believe my life! A black trans woman singing on prime time television!! Wow!!!! Thank you.Hope we’re making a difference!”

Photo: Foc

Meanwhile in other key developments behind the scenes, Empire showrunner Brett Mahoney told TV Line that discussions are underway to potentially bring back Jussie Smollett as Jamal before the show wraps its sixth and final season this spring.

Mahoney offered up: “It would be weird in my mind to end this family show and this family drama of which he was such a significant part of without seeing him.  It’s fair to say it’s being discussed, but there’s no plan as of yet to bring him back. There’s been no decision made.”

Photo: Foc

Smollett landed in a mass of troubling PR and scandal following the incident in Chicago in which he reported he was involved in a homophobic and racist attack on him.  Later, it turned out that police said that Smollett arranged for the attack on himself.  Still later, all charges were dropped against Smollett.

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So, what did you think of the season six fall finale of Empire? Would you want to see Jussie back for the final moments of Empire when it ends its run? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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