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Erika Slezak Interview – One Life to Live Farewell

In her final video interview with On-Air On-Soaps as a cast member of One Life to Live (taped at the series final press junket) six-time Daytime Emmy winner and the star of the series, Erika Slezak chats with Michael Fairman in a heart-tugging and emotional interview as Erika prepared to say goodbye to her 40 year run as Viki. In addition, Erika explains why she had decided to lend her name to the Prospect Park online project that ultimately fizzled, and what she will miss the most from her time in Llanview.

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Webbie
Webbie

ES is a class act, all the way. I guess this interview was done before PP pulled the plug on their plans. I hope that she finds another place (soon!) that will appreciate and utilize her incredible talent. She’ll be missed.

jcs1956
jcs1956

I saw the interview and got all excited when i heard ES say we will be going on the internet! I thought we all had our Christmas wish 🙁

Lori
Lori

She also mentioned “cable”????? Ok.. so P.P fell through… could we be looking at the surprise from The View to be cable… PRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Barb
Barb

Yes, we are still waiting for our Christmas Wish to come true! ES is a class act as well as all those who have entertained us on this Soap! OLTL is on fire and has been for a long time – I just can’t believe it is over! We can still fight for this genre! They just have to give it back to us. It can’t be over! 🙁

Susan M.
Susan M.

Erka Slezak is talking about going on the internet in your interview with her.. And that she agreed to do it.. I’m confused??????????? I read that wasn’t going to happen now…………. Am I WRONG????? Did something change????? Should I get my hopes up or not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Please let me know……I Love you Erika Slezak (Viki) & everyone else.. I am heart broken & so upset!!! Im recording the last five episodes nt. wk. Please answer my QUESTIONS!!! I need to know !!!! Also is Michael Easton going on GH & any others of OLTL???? I’m Curiou about what Ms. Slezak was talking about again, going on the internet jan. 16????? Again please answer all my question… I want to know it really matters to me!!! ONE LFE TO LIVE FAN FOREVER(love all those guys on OLTL)…PLEASE ANSWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Susan M.
Susan M.

Michael Fairman answer comments for SUSAN M. Shes waiting for the answers to all her questions….

Susan M.
Susan M.

Can’t get past that special code to send you a message,,, To contact you on your site.. This is the only way I could do it… Question if Michael Easton (John) is going on GH…What about Melanie Archer (Natlie) & baby Liam, will they be joining him as well? They are a family now… Please answer my question.. Waiting for your reply.. This is very important to me!!!! Thank you so much Mr. Fairman

Jeanette Viti
Jeanette Viti

See, for a second I thought there was hope but now I see there isn’t. I just hope theres something, “We the fans” can do to help. I just can’t understand how there wasn’t enough ratings, ” as they claim.” I just don’t believe that. I have read somewhere that Brian Fronz yanked the show because he had a personal problem with soaps and he felt that the fans can be “retrained” to like new shows, such as The Chew and The Revolution. Now I read this online, around the time I first heard ABC was pulling All My Children and One Life to Live. I’m sorry Mr. Fronz, but you can’t “Retrain” the fans into liking anything, and you can’t force the fans into watching what you want us to watch. You have no idea, Mr. Fronz how much you have messed up, by canceling All My Children and One Life to Live. Everyone is not into your so-called self help shows and cooking shows. And I am italian, I love italian food, but putting Mario Batelli on The Chew will not make me watch the Chew, I will watch something else if I really want to eat italian. By you canceling “Our Soaps” many fans, like myself will be cancling you and ABC.

teresaseckel
teresaseckel

im sorry that oltl is going off the air as long as it is on the internet then thats fine and i love erika she is such an awsome person i was just wondering if she is a religous person if i could get that information then that will be good please send me an email on that if it is possible thanks to u viki for the wonderful entertainment u hv given me ilv u and may god bless u

WOWZEM
WOWZEM

I will not View, I will not Chew, my soaps are gone, what will I do? It’s unbelievable, inconceivable, ratings will be irretrievable. I hear Oprah wants to grow, easily done, just pick up our show!!

Jim
Jim

ES is grace and class. She better be writing a book about her time on the show. If Lucci can do it, darn it, so can she.

david
david

Fine interview, but so depressing the show is not continuing, which Erika didn’t know at the time. Hard to watch, at times, knowing her hopes for the future of OLTL didn’t materialize.

Cindy
Cindy

yes, it was hard to watch, and wondering what she would have been saying had she known this was truly the end. So sad.

david
david

She probably would have said what she said in a recent TV Guide interview: “This is pure fantasy and the audience loves it. They know it’s outrageous. They know it’s not real. It’s just fun. What really annoyed me about our cancellation was the reason we were given. We were told the daytime audience doesn’t want entertainment anymore and that they just want information. Well, that’s the biggest load of bulls–t. People always want entertainment! I’ve had so many emails from people who are really upset that soaps are being replaced with reality shows. They don’t want to watch food at one o’clock in the afternoon and weight loss at two o’clock. They want to sit down, put their feet up and relax and enjoy for a bit.”

david
david

Cindy – Or Erika would have said what she said in another recent interview with Smashing Interviews where
she rightly criticizes ABC and The Chew: “I’m not too pleased with ABC. ABC has let so many people down by cancelling these two shows. It’s all about money. I understand that. But, how much money are they going to make with The Chew and The Revolution? I don’t know if anybody is watching The Chew. The problem is they’re all trying to be television personalities. They scream and laugh and they talk over each other, and it makes it impossible to watch. I’ve said this to one of their producers. I asked, “Can’t they just speak one at a time?” He said, “No, no, no, they can’t do that. They have to show enthusiasm.” But, you can’t understand them and you can’t hear them.”

Petra
Petra

Erika is one Beautiful Graceful Lady .. God Bless

leanne
leanne

very upset that i lost all my children but to loose oltl too is a shame.i have been watching this since i was a child with my mom .its a shame that abc is doing this to fans

natt t
natt t

i was so sad today.i have been watching one life to live since i was eight.and you watch them for so long that they become part of your daily rutine.the show is great and so are the actors.i wish they would of changed there minds and at least let the show continue online.all i can say is so many people do not want to watch the shows that are going in place of one life to live.best of luck and and hope some day they bring the show back. sincerly one of your biggest fans.

Jessica
Jessica

This is heartbreaking to watch. Seeing her excitement of Prospect Park and then knowing that it’s going to be shattered. I wish there was something to be done especially putting it on cable.

iluvssw
iluvssw

I am with you Jessica, this really breaks my heart. I feel the absolute love in her words. Thank you Michael, wow!

Heather
Heather

Thank you for all the memories Vicki. Hope to see you again in the future in your own primetime sitcom Erika “Vicki” Slezak .

RIP OLTL (1968-2012)

MEG
MEG

MY HEART IS BROKEN

Susan M.
Susan M.

so is mine!!!!!!!!!!

Brian Greene
Brian Greene

Thanks So Much Erika–We Love You!! 😀 😀

Susan M.
Susan M.

Miss you ERIKA ALREADY!!!!!

patti j jackson
patti j jackson

i love u (Vicki) and all the rest of OLTL TEAM. Im still in shock that after 43 wounderful yrs Abc is taking it off the air.if it wasnt 4 the soaps i wouldnt even have local channels. when i got dish network i told them i had to b able to watch my soaps or i didnt want satellite at the time i got dish charged me $5 extra.id be willin 2 pay extra now 2 watch them.If the soaps cost 2 much 2 air why in the world didnt abc ask us if we where willin 2 pay 4 them?i love u all n wont say good by

Jacob
Jacob

I have been watching OLTL since summer 2010 (i am 15 yrs old) and i can really say i will miss it. There is not character on that i did not like (yes at some points i didnt like what they were doing but liked them). I love all the Buchanans, Balsoms, Cramers, and Lords love them all. Erika next to Jeanne Cooper you are my favorite show matriarch and you will be missed. I hope one day you will continue on the internet if they change their minds and do it or you get picked up by another station like CBS or NBC or maybe you and other members can move on to other soaps. Y&R, Days, and GH could always use a new character to twist things up and i believe you can do that. You, Kassie, Kristen, anyone of y’all could do it. LOVE YA

liz
liz

Thank you Michael for the wonderful interviews. Words cannot express the sadness I feel. I have watched both OLTL & AMC since the beginning.

It feels like a whole branch of my family got on a bus that is going to crash and kill them all. The worst part is that I know in advance that they are going to die and I’ve know for months but can’t do anything to stop it.

I am very thankful for the great storylines that will take us to the end but sometimes the sadness is just too much to bear. I have been crying since the day before Thanksgiving and need some light in my life again.

OLTL, you have always been there for me. You have been the one constant in my life. No matter what was going on, I could escape from my miserable existence for an hour every weekday.

Thank you, OLTL and Agnes Nixon for all you’ve meant to me.

FU ABC. After you kill GH, I will NEVER, EVER, watch you again! You RAT BASTARD!

gloria
gloria

WOW-I could not have said it better although I have said practically the very same words in many other posts since Nov. 23. I DREAD this Friday-I just keep thinking this is a nightmare & I will wake up from it.

You are so right about the shows being a constant in our lives-no matter what else-good or bad is going on. We could count on one thing in this life, if nothing else-our beloved shows.

I almost wish I just turned on the tv Jan. 16 & it was not there instead of knowing since April 14, then the seemingly good news in early July-oh, I was so happy till the worst news of all on the worst possible day, the night before THANKSGIVING. Just a rollercoaster of emotions for nearly a year, it is wearing me down.

All these tributes this week, even in People Magazine a great article about the show but My God, it is about the ENDING of the show!

Agree with your sentiments towards ABC. I am done with it after GH. I really don’t watch ABC now, I watch the soaps on Soapnet which we are also losing.

What a way to start the New Year.

sandy e
sandy e

Oh this is just GREAT.Another stupid food show or a bunch of Doctors telling us our liver is turning green. Leave alone and let the soaps begin.

anastasia
anastasia

I don’t understand. I was under the impression that OLTL and AMC were not going to go on as an interent series, yet these interviews were just done this week, and they seem to imply that they are?

Heather
Heather

They were done before November 23

Mariah
Mariah

Im soooo upset my mom watched this growing up I have watched this growing up & it’s just sad 2 c such a great show b canceled 4 another food show…isn’t. That y they have food network?!?!?! I mean really…

Kathi Butler
Kathi Butler

This is the saddest cancellation of ANY show in the history of television! Erika and ALL the rest of the cast of OLTL are going to be missed EVERY day. I can’t even imagine my life without OLTL in it!! I have been watching OLTL for over 40 years…I used to pretend I was sick so I could stay home from school to watch it. I, to this day, have many VCR tapes with old episodes on them…and I will probably be watching those alot in the future. I can only HOPE & PRAY that a cable network will see what a goldmine OLTL is & resurrects the show!! Even if it were an internet only show, I would be happy! Godspeed OLTL….I will miss you……

DIANE AND CAROL IN DC
DIANE AND CAROL IN DC

WE ARE SO SAD ABOUT THE SHOW ENDING, IT IS LIKE WE ARE ABOUT TO LOSE FAMILY. WE HAVE WATCHED EVERY SHOW SINCE IT STARTED. WE TAPE THE SHOW EVERYDAY IN CASE WE ARE NOT HOME.

OUR PRAYERS WITH EVERYONE OF YOU.

I HOPE SOMEHOW YOU WILL BE ABLE TO RETURN.

Vicki
Vicki

I started watching OLTL in 1968 when I was 15 because the character’s name was Viki(spelled differently) and I had never seen a TV show with the star having my name. I got hooked immediately. While Gillian Spencer(orifginal actress) was very good, when Erika Slezak came on no one else could be Viki in my mind. Not only was she beautiful, but she had chemistry with everyone. She and Lee Paterson were amazing together, and when Joe died, I didn’t think Viki could capture that chemistry again, but Erika and Clint Richie were golden. Jerry ver Dorn also has chemistry with Viki and I hope the two of them get a happy ending. I wish Erika all the luck in the world and thank her for making my “namesake” such a wonderful person.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Nicely stated. As for Jerry ver Dorn, one day (years ago) I had the show on, and wasn’t QUITE watching BUT was listening…. I heard a voice that sounded like Clint Richie’s. I thought, GEE…..has Clint come back, I thought he was retiring for good this time (I loved him dearly). Anyway, I look up and it’s Jerry ver Dorn. I though, this guy is going to FIT into this ROLE just fine with the viewer’s BC he sounds like Clint and he can act. He is believable. Strange bc he actually favors Asa in the face, and maks a Perfect brother for Bo after ALL those many years Bo (Robert Woods) spent with Clint Richie. And, Woods, Richie, and Phil Carey (Asa) use to HANG OUT TOGETHER on their time away from set. They were really like Father and Brother’s. If you Google Jerry ver Dorn, THERE IS A PICTURE OF HIM WHEN HE WAS YOUNGER that looks like a YOUNG Clint Richie, and of course he sounds like him, and looks like Aso. OTLT did some incrediable work in this recast. There are NO country boys in soaps like the Buchanan fellows. <3

Doe
Doe

Michael, how fortunate for you that you could interview Erica. There is no better actress on soaps and never will be. She has electrified us with her amazing performances, especially her many alters. She is always consistent and in control. She is the consummate actor. Just thinking of all the years that she has given us. I am sad that she as well as her fellow actors wil be gone . I do believe she will probably do Broadway. She is perfect for the stage. Also, maybe a mini-series. I will hope. Michael, you were so caring in your interview. I know you touched her heart as well as mine. Great interview,,,,,

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Ok…… Susan, Michael Fairman, Tonja Walker OR anyone else with inquiry as I.
After Prospect Park pulled out (somewhere around the 24th) after the Nov 18th, finale taping. it was a long…. fallout on the internet, and various soap sites, abc.com and the like. Everyday, I would seach all over the internet looking for an update from Prospect Park, THEN…………on December 7th , Prospect Park CAME BACK and annouced that they were still looking for investor’s…..(Keep in mind THIS was Dec 7, AFTER their announcement NOT to move forward). Also, I read the December 7th statement from PROSPECT PARK on THIS SITE. So, I am confused Michael, irregardless of what U answered for Susan. If someone COMES BACK and announce THEY ARE STILL LOOKING FOR INVESTORS, that means that it’s NOT DEAD in the sand, right? So what I want to know is, Prospect Park still looking for investors OR have they given up on this idea ALL TOGETHER…… ? Someone please.
I read these replys from people and it’s heartless. People need therapy from what they are suffering from this loss. I had tears of JOY to my eyes when I read Prsopect Park was still looking on Dec 7th. Has that changed?

Heather
Heather

Keep in mind that Prospect Park never confirmed this news coming from Variety Magazine. It may all be a rumor.

And even if this is true, the actors will never accept to work in an non-union environment (the story suggests that PP is trying to bypass the unions). Finally, virtually all the actors from OLTL have moved on to other projects after the annoucement on November 23. So it’s fair to say that OLTL will not come back.

To be honest with you, I got over the cancellation of OLTL (although Friday’s episode will be emotional). But I do encourage you guys to send these soap bars to ABC. It may be all that’s needed to do to save General Hospital from an eventual cancellation. Two years ago, ATWT fans sent soap bars to CBS studios and the network has not canceled any other soap opera since then.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Thanks Heather.
Well, I dont know about that news coming from Variety Magazine BC I read it on this site under the title Buzz, or interviews, listed on Dec 7th. Read it here only.

Heather
Heather

It was from Variety Magazine on December 7, 2011. Michael Fairman only reported the story from Variety.

The story has never been mentionned in any mainstream media (other than Variety).

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Hey Heather thanks again. Anyway, I just read from seeing it posted here, “NYC Soap Bubble Busted”, so I went on line and read it. Then I went to the store and read the NYC Post, to make sure I didn’t miss anything. which I didn’t other than the pictures posted with the article. Didn’t see the pictures on line published with the article. This has become a BIG DEAL, and very sad. I mean this site is NONE STOP ABOUT T HIS ORDEAL, along with abc.com. I can’t even clean my house and get myself ready for tomorrow. I wonder what Susan Lucci thinks of the BIG DEAL and OUTCRY over OLTL??? Yes, we rallied behind AMC, but we have taken OLTL to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY LEVEL, making it none stop in the social media, sending soap, canceling cable for the DISH, writing the other networks on behalf of OLTL. I wonder what Susan Lucci thinks about that?

barbara t
barbara t

I read this in variety to ,and have heard nothing since ,Ive searched everywhere for some glimmer of hope,but nothing.I think that prospect park should say something ,more than they did when they said the soaps were not going to the net.because it has kept me hoping that one life to live will go on ,but how can it ,everyone is leaving ,doing other projects .What hurts is we didnt loose the soaps once we lost them twice.and p.p. should, come out ,come out where ever you are ,and say it ,one life to live is over .I just wish they never got my hopes up ,these next 5 days are going to be hard on me ,Ive watched for 43 years.there is no other soap that can compare to one life to life.

Heather
Heather

Well, I wouldn’t said that OLTL was canceled twice because the show didn’t aired elsewhere than on ABC. Passions has been canceled twice, but not OLTL.

I don’t know if you guys read the interview Erika Slezak conducted on January 3, It’s worth reading. Do a google search by typing ” smashing interviews” and “Erika Slezak” and you’ll find the page. It’s a very interesting interview.

barbara t
barbara t

yes they did,we were told by prospect park there putting them on the net , they were saving the soaps. for a couple of months we kept hearing this cast member signed ,there moving or keeping the abc studio even signed for music rights,for months we were made to believe in january after one life to live ends it will continue the following week along with all my children .so we did loose them twice,Once by abc then by pp,I dont know about you but I cant in words tell you how happy I was that prospect park was going to save all my children and one life to live,canceled or were not going to do it ,same thing we lost the soaps twice.

Heather
Heather

I agree with 1loveabcsoaps that most of the backlash comes from the cancellation of OLTL rather than AMC. For every AMC fan who is angry that their show is canceled, they are two OLTL fans that fell the same that their show is being canceled.

But I will give AMC and Susan Lucci their due. All My Children is probably the most popular soap opera outside the soap opera community. If you ask someone who doesn’t watch soap operas if he knows about One Life to Live or The Young and the Restless, chances are the answer will be “no”. But everybody knows All My Children. Lucci has brought mainstream attention to this show ever since the 1970s. All My Children probably had the highest heterosexual male audience among all soap operas. People on the NFL and the NBA watched All MyChildren. Charles Barkley even lamented the demise of AMC this past December on Conan O Brien’s show.

All My Children is without a doubt the most well-known soap opera even though (during its final years) the show was not exactly … well you know … good. And I agree that most of the fan outcry comes from OLTL rather than AMC. Still, AMC has its fanbase and it is shame that this once great show is now a thing of the past.

ethel
ethel

i ahve been an oltl viewer since viki was married to joe riley & yes eriika slezak is the heart & soul of oltl – she is an awesome actress & she has 6 emmy’s to prove it!

Colleen Kaleta
Colleen Kaleta

I realy hope something good happens and this great cast and show will be up and running again in good hands instead of the hand at ABC,,They have a good thing and dont even appreciate how good it is.. I will miss OLTL along with My mother who is 72 my son who is 27 we have watched it for years,,and now more family members have started to watch..it breaks our hearts..

Lisa
Lisa

I’m heartbroken that OLTL will not contiune. These final episodes have been fabulous. I have enjoyed every second and can’t wait to see what else they have for us. ABC why oh why… I would send in money today if I thought it could help!

Brian Del Piano
Brian Del Piano

I AM NOT LOSING HOPE. I have NO CLUE why a cable network will not PICK UP OLTL. The cost to run the show, and pay the actors…..CHARGE A SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE TO THE “SOAP OPERA NETWORK” and YOU WILL HAVE THE MONEY, THE SPONSORSHIP…..Apparently the AUDIENCE is ALIVE AND WELL. GIVE THE MILLIONS of OLTL FANS THEIR SHOW!! GIVE US OUR DAILY SLEZAK FIX!!

Susan M.
Susan M.

Dear Michael
I watched the last episode of ONE LIFE TO LIVE today….. I was Not happy with the ending at all!!!!!!!!! It was an abrupt ending…Some stories in part were kind of resolved….What happen with Natlie & John??? They just got back together and what else? ABRUPT with this story line!! And Victor is ALIVE!!! and todd is going to jail for a crime he didn’t COMMIT!! Another ABRUPT ENDING!!! Clint just proposed to Viki…And Matthew & Destiny are parents to a baby boy!!!! ANOTHER ABRUPT ENDING!!!! The writers left you HANGING!!!! It’s not a ending , but a beginning which would lead into more stories, more OLTL!!! We were ripped off!!!!!!! Short changed!!!!!!! Im VERY UPSET!!!! It just can’t end there…..So much more stories to go!!!! Again not happy at all with how the writers ended OLTL!!! I could cry!! How dare Mr. Frons cancel OLTL!!!!!

Susan M.
Susan M.

Michael PLEASE REPLY To above comments about OLTL last episode (1/13/12 )Please answer my e-mail above!!!!! I’m very upset!!!!! I will be waiting for your response about all the comments I made.. PLEASE REPLY!!!! OLTL FAN FOREVER!!!!!

Carol
Carol

I have been watching OLTL and AMC since the beginning…these people became part of my family…I love them so much I don’t know what I am going to do without them…ABC really screwed us big time….how can they replace such class acts with these two stupid shows and how could they say that the ratings went down…OLTL I will miss each and everyone of you terribly but I wish you all the best of luck as you continue your careers elsewhere…Your fan for 43 years…

Robin
Robin

I just finished reading everyones posts from above and agree with it all! My grandma watches ABC soaps and my mom watched all 3 when I was younger but as far as I know just watched OLTL and GH in recent years. I am 35 and grew up watching ABC soaps from childhood (grew up with “Robin Scorpio), though I really only ever watched OLTL and GH. I too, like someone mentioned above, would play sick throughout the school year to catch up with what was happening, since it was before VCRs and DVRs, then would watch to my heart’s content when summer vacation came. My little brother, though he didn’t like to admit it, would even ask me what was going on with certain characters, since he didn’t want to seem uncool and watch it all of the time with me. I now have an 8 1/2 year old son, who has also watched since he was a baby and is extremely sad as I am that the show is over. When he was a toddler, he’d dance to the opening music of the show and knew every character’s name. I thought OLTL had been saved until I’d started seeing the previews for the crappy show that’s taking it’s place and realized the time slot sometime in December. It’s litterally brought me to tears multiple times this week and even as I’m typing, because again as someone else mentioned above, no matter how low you’re feeling in your own life, your soaps are kind of like your family and a constant to take you away for a little bit 5 days a week.

To ABC: YOU SUCK! We do NOT need or want any more talk shows or reality tv! We watch to escape our own sometimes miserable realities! Anytime you have come up with a good show, it doesn’t last but a season or so, if that, then it’s cancelled and replaced with shit tv! Defying Gravity, The Gates, V – just the first 3 that popped into my head among many, were good shows! The Bachelor, again, really? How many info talk shows do you want us to swallow back to back no less? Well cancelling soaps that people have enjoyed for longer than I’ve been alive is taking it too far. Don’t you care that you’ve pissed off millions of women in this country and probably some men too? Well, when no one is watching the crap you’ve put in it’s place, maybe you’ll have the balls to admit you f’d up and do what’s right, but I’m guessing that won’t happen.

linda otey
linda otey

It is 6:26am on Saturday 1-15-12 and I am just now listening to these interviews ,and it is so much sadder to me (and I have been sad enough all week) but, now to know the cast wanted so much to continue the story online. I hope something changes and they can still do this. I am sick about it. I have loved the show for so long but have never gotten to know the actors from any other venue, and now after these interviews I know I was right when I thought they were special. Thank you ,Michael for conducting these interviews. I hope you will do more ,and I will never forget these actors and the many wonderful hours they have given to their audience. Please come back,and I will never watch anything that moves into the time slot of One Life To Live. I wish the very best to all of you. Linda Otey

Deanna
Deanna

Thanks for the interviews with Viki Lord Riley Buchanan and her daughters. Man, if all the people who claim they will not watch ABC after this Sept., actually follow through as promised. We might make the powers that be wish they had never hired that jackass egomaniac, Fronz. But I think it is a little late to save anything at this point. GH, just like the two valient shows before it, will be toast and, if we are not careful, so will the genre. I was thinking, while watching, that it was a shame that all the soap mags, interview shows and any other soap related people and projects, didn’t get on board with pp. Hell, maybe even some of the soap actors that made a few bucks over the years. Or at least help Maria Arena Bell save her two shows, if nothing else. Because, if they don’t help save them, what will they do once the genre is as dead as the old radio programs? What will you do when there is no more Viki Lord Riley Buchanans to interview? How many times can you interview Jeannie Cooper, Jane Elliott and Anthony Geary, or Maurice Bernard? And, yes, there may be one less TV channel, if former fans have their way, but I have my doubts it will be replaced by a much needed soap channel, unless someone has the guts to point out the way. Any takers, big guy? Just give it some thought. Is there really anything left to lose that fans haven’t already. So many want to do something. Is there, logically, anything we can do to save the last four of these great shows?

Judi
Judi

Viki, I still miss OLTL! I have to watch these taped interviews with Michael and it hurts ….. I tried so hard to keep OLTL on air so did millions of viewers! I tweeted, fb, emailed, sent letters, to ABC to please not cancel OLTL to no avail… Shame on the CEO”S OF ABC!!! becasue they didn’t and still don’t listen or seem to care about the viewers and fans. The people that make them money!!!!! One soap left!! GH!! hard to believe as I said to others here, I have watched OLTL for years and years.. I am in my 40’s now and I use to run home everyday after work and watch OLTL as I taped it … and I would call my family, friends, co-workers and we would talk about the characters and what was going on… life family.. that is how OLTL still is to me… Sometimes I catch an actor of OLTL doing a commercial .. Shame on ABC for letting actors so talented go!! I believe some where down the road some people with alot of money and a brain will breath life back into OLTL.. and realize,,, Hey they already have a fan base,, so lets just make some money!!! a no brainer… I asked Oprah on her OWN network along with so many others on twitter and fb,, but her shows are geared toward interviews and spirituality…. I tried… I miss you Erika ( Vicki) I still see you with that smile when they are playing the beginning of the song and showing everyone and they saved you the best for last and that smile… Good luck sweetie.. I still won’t give up and I thank Michael for keeping us all informed .. I know if Michael Fairman had the backup he would have a network of soaps, could even change that name to Llanview!! Hugs!

General Hospital

Dominic Zamprogna Speaks Out On His Decision To Leave GH, His Final Scenes With Emme Rylan & How Dante Exited The Canvas

A few weeks ago, General Hospital fans watched as one of the series beloved stars, Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) exited the show in scenes opposite his longtime on-screen love interest, Emme Rylan (Lulu).  For nine years, Zamprogna brought authenticity, emotion, and heart to the son of Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero) to life.  While Dante’s journey started out with a bang, literally (thanks, Sonny!), over the years it appeared he was taking a backseat in meatier storylines.  All the while, Dante and Lulu remained one of the more popular duos with the viewers.

After much reflection, Zamprogna decided it was time for him to walk away from a place that became his second home.  His desire now shifted to play different characters in different projects, but it was not without taking many things into account with his life-changing decision.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Dominic to glean more insight into: if there was anything GH could have done to make him sign on the dotted line again, what went down to make those final scenes seem so rushed, how it was to say goodbye to his co-workers in front of the camera and behind the scenes, if he would consider a return at some point, and how would he feel if GH now planned on recasting Dante, and much more.

For us; we recall meeting Dominic for the first times just six months into his time at General Hospital for our first interview together.  We were instantly struck by his sincerity, humor, and his eagerness to learn from some of the best in the business.  Now exiting as a “soap vet“, per se, it is a full-circle moment that we had the time to conclude his GH journey with this conversation.  Here’s what Dom had to say about it all.

What were the factors that contributed to your decision to exit GH?  Was there a pivotal moment where you were feeling, and recognizing, that you were underutilized that you felt you needed to make a change? 

DOMINIC:  When you named me the “Most Underutilized Actor of 2017!” (Laughs) Well, my plan was never to stay forever.  But half-way through my second contract,  Emme Rylan (Lulu) and I were approached by our producer on set, who said words to the effect of: you guys have been on the sideline, time to get you into the game.  That led to the Dante cheating storyline, which gave us story for about a year … which was great!  But as that ended, so did any subsequent storylines, it seemed.  In the year that followed, I started entertaining thoughts of leaving.  By the next year, I started talking about it with my wife, Linda, who had started to notice that maybe I wasn’t happy anymore, and I wasn’t.  That’s not a good feeling, especially if you’re bringing that energy home with you.  Then, I made the mistake of going on social media, which is a terrible place to go sometimes.  But fans were saying the same sort of things I was feeling.  Was it all due to story or lack-thereof?  No.  I was starting to crave playing other roles, and that’s hard to do when you’re under contract.

Were discussions even had with Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and the powers-that-be about your feelings of dissatisfaction over not being utilized more in storylines?

DOMINIC:  The discussions happened late.  Not until the negotiation process, actually.  I’m no squeaky wheel I guess, but I also don’t feel it’s in my job description to be one.  I did put out a few ideas here and there, but they didn’t happen.  I know other actors have tried the same and it didn’t lead to anything for them, either.  I was a creation of Bob Guza (former head writer, GH), and maybe I was spoiled by the amount of great writing I received while he was there.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

There had to be some sadness in walking away from GH.

DOMINIC:  Oh yeah… it was sad.  I built that character, and now here I was walking away from it, and essentially my second family.  That’s been the hardest part.  Lifelong friendships were made, and memories.  However, it’s been over a month and a half since I’ve been at GH and I feel happy.  I’ve been up in Canada shooting Tin Star, which has been a great experience.  I’ve stayed in touch with everybody and I miss everybody, in fact, I just spoke to Mo (Maurice Benard) yesterday, and I’m in class with Emme (she won’t leave me alone).  But, I feel like I made the right choice for me at this moment.

To clarify; were you actually trying to work out a deal to stay put, but both sides just could not hammer things out to a satisfactory conclusion?

DOMINIC:  We did try to work out a deal.  After more talks and conversations, I felt maybe we were going to get things done.  I was being told things would change and maybe shift things in the direction we wanted to go.  But at the end of the day, it’s gotta be in writing.  I feel like I’d been told similar things in the past which hadn’t come to fruition.  I was also reminded that it was me who needed to sign my name on that dotted line and live with that decision, and I chose not to do so.

If someone would have said to you: “We have an “A” story for you, and you are going to be driving it,” would you have been more apt to stay?   

DOMINIC:  There was talk about us sitting down and talking about storylines, but that didn’t end up happening, not sure why.  And even if it did, I don’t know that it would’ve changed my mind about leaving, anyway.   But just to be clear: I have no anger towards anybody.  It’s all a business at the end of the day.  Both sides did what they felt was right.  For me, I just felt this chapter had come to an end.

Photo: ABC

When, and how did you tell on-screen scene partner, Emme Rylan that you were leaving?  Was she happy for you and your decision?

DOMINIC:  Emme knew really early on.  Once January rolled around I was like: “I have been thinking for the last six to nine months that I am going to go.”   I wanted her to know, because we have been a couple for five years on the show.  Emme was very happy for me.  I went, “Wait a minute!  Don’t be this happy.  I’m leaving.” (Laughing)  

What happened when you told your on-screen mom, Lisa LoCicero ?

DOMINIC:  She was sad, but she is also said, “You’re in your prime, go see what’s out there!”   I wouldn’t have done this move if I did not get support at home.  My wife is the rock and the one that makes this household go.  Some things outside the show were starting to happen; I had a nice screen-test for a pilot, and then I booked these four episodes of Tin Star.  When you have choices in life; you have power and control over your future.  I think Emme and Lisa as actors realized that.  That’s what made them happy for me … for the future.  The last nine years were exciting.  However, when you can have a little bit more say in what you are doing on a day to day basis, that is empowering.  So, in saying, “no” to something, and saying, “Thank you, but that’s not what I am looking for right now,” that can feel good.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

It was a shame that through all the regimes that they rarely wrote any scenes between Dante and his father, Sonny.  What was Maurice Benard’s reaction when you told him you were leaving?

DOMINIC:  It has been pretty publicized that he and I were dissatisfied at the lack of  storyline, or scenes together.  Maurice asked the powers-that-be, “Why aren’t we working together more?”  We never had a clear answer as to why.  He didn’t know from one day to the next what was happening with my contract talks.  Mo saw me smiling one day and asked, “So does that smile mean you’re staying?”  And I said, “No, that smile is because I’m leaving.” (Laughs)  I said that more to mess with him, and make him sad.  He said, “As long as you are good financially, then I am all for anybody getting out of here and seeing what else is out there.” Really, Mo talks people into leaving so he can get more screen-time. (Laughs)

Let’s talk about the final airshow, and the story that came out of left field to facilitate your exit.  Was that written quickly to accommodate a shooting schedule or contract completion?  It felt rushed to the viewing audience.

DOMINIC:  Left field is right!  I still had a week and a half left of work when they found out I wasn’t going to re-sign, and within twelve hours I had six exit scenes written.  So, it wasn’t done to facilitate anything but a set (Lante’s house), I think.  My final tape date was May 18th, and Emme and I had scenes on the Wednesday or Thursday before that.  I guess they wanted my last scenes that aired to be with Emme, and that might have been the only scheduling day that worked for the set and the actors, and maybe that’s also why it felt so rushed.  All I could assume is that they didn’t think I was really going to leave so they didn’t plan for it, or they chose to protect themselves in this way, by not making a big deal about it.  I had another week of scenes in the PCPD with Chase (Josh Swickard) and Michael (Chad Duell) that was shot afterward.  But they had nothing to do with Dante’s “secret mission!”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I thought, “Wait!  Is that it?  Is this Dominic’s final show?  Dante doesn’t say goodbye to his mother… his father … or his son, Rocco?

DOMINIC:  Yeah, that was tough for me.  After 9 years you think you’re going to get a little bit better of a send off.   You also, hope they’re going to honor the character.  Dante wouldn’t leave to go to the 7-eleven without saying goodbye to his mother and kids.   Maurice and I talked about that.  He said, “I guess, they don’t want people to feel really sad.  You and me doing some goodbye scenes, people are going to be devastated.”   I agree with that.  However, I also think it’s a soap and that’s what fans want … good, ole drama.  I would have loved to have had scenes with Sonny, Olivia, and Dante’s kids, but when you make a decision like this, how you leave on-air is not up to you.  Both parties are going to handle it how it’s best for them.   I was very grateful they gave Emme and I something to seek our teeth into. 

They were very sad scenes.  You are one of those actors that can take the material and connect with it while delivering it in a very subtle and heartfelt way.  How was Emme after your final scenes?

DOMINIC:  She was kind of crying the whole time, going “Damn you! Damn you.”   I was having fun with it, because I love making Emme cry.  It’s not a very difficult thing to do.  (Laughs).  We were both pretty teary-eyed, actually.  Then, when we finished the scenes and I looked over and I saw how upset the crew was, that’s what really got me.  Barbara, one of the camera operators actually jokingly apologized; suggesting that if my last shot was blurry it was my fault!  As an actor, when you make the crew feel something it kind of gives you some extra good feels. That was always the best feeling, talking to Craig (our stage manager), or Donna (head of makeup department) after a scene to get the honest truth on how you did.  I’ll miss them.

Courtesy/ABC

Viewers, watching Dante have this flashback about the guy who was responsible for Lulu going overboard the Haunted Star a few years ago, probably needed a moment to connect the dots.  Some viewers were going, “What?  Dante is going after the guy that tried to drown Lulu from two years ago?”

DOMINIC:  When I read that in the script even I went, “What?” Who’s that?”  I had no idea, either. (Laughs)

Then there was this:  Dante was so hard on Lulu for her pursuing her dream as a journalist and how it inadvertently got Nathan killed.  Then all of a sudden in your final scenes, Dante has a line to Lulu in which he says something to the effect of: I understand now – you got to do, what you got to do.  In story, prior to these scenes it was leaning more towards Dante and Lulu were going to break-up over what had recently transpired.

DOMINIC:  Which, who knows?  If Dante had stayed in Port Charles it could have been the direction they were going in.  It certainly looked like they were building toward conflict, conflict, conflict, but with me leaving it was much sweeter to leave on the note that we left on, instead of Dante leaving, because he can’t deal with being around Lulu. This all leads me to believe that they didn’t want to do anything too permanent to give them time to make the proper decisions.

Courtesy/ABC

What was the last day of shooting like for you?  Was it hard to get through?

DOMINIC:  It felt like a regular day, and my final scenes were up towards the end of the tape day. They had a cake afterwards.  Frank briefly spoke and introduced Maurice; who said a bunch of sweet words.  That meant a lot to me.  I said “goodbye” to everybody and took some photos, and that was it.  I already had my room packed up.  Once you’re ready to go, you’re ready to go.  Afterwards, I went out with Ryan Paevey (Ex-Nathan) and Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Ex-Carlos) for some beers and wings at the bar down the street.  It wasn’t until everybody came back after a two-week break that it felt real, because then I was receiving text messages from people saying, “We’re back.  Why the hell aren’t you here?”

The door has been left open for Dante to return.  Would you ever come back?

DOMINIC:  Of course, at some point.  But it might not be my choice, they might recast.  They told me they won’t, but who knows what’ll be done.  Do I think you can just recast a role?  No, I think it’s always a tough sell, but they’ve done it with bigger names/characters than mine.  I would be a little surprised, only because there hasn’t been much story for Dante in the last three years.  For me, as of now, I’ve moved on, and I’m very happy with my decision and my life.  It’s sad in other respects, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve read things that people have said on Twitter, and I want everyone to know I’ve seen it all and it means a lot to me.  People have been beautiful to me.  I’m truly overwhelmed by the love.  I thought there would be more of, “Who cares?” when fans found out I left.   I must have done something right during the years I was at GH.

Did you think when you made the decision to leave they would kill-off Dante? 

DOMINIC:  No, not at all.  I don’t think killing off Dante would be a good idea, especially after they killed Nathan, and also because of the climate we live in with police involved shootings and violence, in general.  In a perfect world as an actor, you crave the opportunity to have one last moment with the other characters that have been important to your character over the years.  That’s all I would have wanted for myself, and Dante.  I’ll take what I got though.  It was extremely meaningful because of what Emme and I had and built.  I feel we got to the heart and soul of those two characters in a pretty short amount of time in our scenes.

Courtesy/ABC

Speaking of Nathan, I think thus far those funeral scenes, which you were wonderful in, and the story arc revolving around his death, are GH’s best bet for an Emmy in the Drama Series category next year. 

DOMINIC:  I agree.  It was so well-done.  We’d all would like to go out like that!  Tragic, but it made for great TV and great soap.  It was phenomenally well-acted across the board.  Lots of Emmy reel stuff for Michelle Stafford (Nina) and Kirsten Storms (Maxie), and Kathleen Gati (Liesl), and hopefully for our directors and crew, also.  They did an amazing job bringing that to life.

This now leaves Josh Swickard as the lone cop now by default on GH.   he PCPD is notorious for being the worst cop shop in the history of soaps! (Laughs) They can’t ever solve a crime.

DOMINIC: (Laughs) I know!  What is Josh is going to do?   Maybe between Chase and Jordan (Vienssa Antoine) they will solve crimes.  Maybe, they’ll bring on a new cop.  Josh is a great guy and I enjoyed working with him.  At the beginning, we had that contentious relationship between the two guys.  That would’ve been fun if it lasted longer, where they had this continual real dislike for one another.  Who knows?  With Dante gone, maybe they will start solving some crimes! (Laughs) Maybe now the PCPD will be the greatest police unit in the USA.

Courtesy/ABC

Over your nine years at GH, would you still consider that your best storyline was coming on to the show and then having Sonny shoot Dante, only for it to turn out that he just shot his own son?

DOMINIC:  Yes, I think you have to.  That was my intro.  They had this story planned eight months before they even cast the role.  To get to that moment, was a classic soap cliffhanger.  I grew up watching soap operas with my grandparents, and if they had been alive for that scene they would have lost it, because it was something that ‘old school’ soap fans would really dig.  For me, doing that story felt so special.  ABC also pumped it with the promotion, and the promos, and the TV spots, and amped it up.  I didn’t feel it disappointed.  It was actually the audition scene that I had to perform to get the part!  Then six months later you get to say these lines that got you the part, and you hope you don’t whiff on the softball.

While putting together and producing the GH 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys, I included that moment between Sonny and Dante.  I remember watching the complete scene before editing it and the dialog was so good.  It still holds up to this day.

DOMINIC:  My manager was at the Emmys that night, and said what a great moment that was.  I meant to thank you for that, because I really appreciated it being in there.

Courtesy/ABC

Are there any other scenes that come to mind that you are most proud of?

DOMINIC:  I also really loved the scenes with Max Gail (Mike). He is a special guy.  There was so much in our scenes; where Dante finds him with Avery in the stables.  Those moments are going to stick with me for a long time.

On June 28th, the airdate of your last episode, you posted a tweet to the fans that read: “The love you guys have given me over the years and continue to give is overwhelming.  It is I that must thank YOU!”  I thought that was extremely touching and very appreciated by the fans.

DOMINIC:  I was thinking, “Man, I have to thank you, because I would not legitimately be here if you hadn’t liked this guy, Dante.”  It was bringing tears to my eyes reading what people were saying, and seeing how much love I was receiving.

Tell me about your role in the British-Canadian production of Tin Star?

DOMINIC:  It’s a recurring role,  I’ve been working on it since March.  It’s something very different from what I’ve been doing the last 9 years.  Can’t give much away, but I play a hired gun type of guy.  There are some great scenes and moments, and I was lucky enough to work with Christina Hendricks, John Lynch, and the legend, Tim Roth.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you feel now that you have had some time away now from GH, and have been playing another role, that the thought of playing Dante for you at this point is like: “Been there. Done that?”

DOMINIC:  I would never say Dante is done forever.  Right now for me, he is.  They left it open, hopefully they left it open for me, but every actor hopes that.  We want our cake and to eat it too!  I want to leave right now, but I want you to want me to come back some day.  No one wants their role to be recast.  But it’s an important character, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  Who knows what the future holds.  I left on good terms.  Just so everyone knows; I didn’t spring something on GH on the last day of my contract.  It’s important that I let people know that I didn’t just wake up one day and say, “See ya”.  This also wasn’t about money.  Sure, we want to be paid what we believe we’re worth.  But this in no way was about me asking for the moon, or I was going to leave.  It was a very, very difficult decision.

So, what do you think about how GH wrapped up Dante’s story for Dominic’s exit? Would you like him to return to GH sooner than later?  Do you think the role of Dante was problematic to write for?  What were your favorite scenes of Dom’s during his time at GH? Let us know via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Jonathan Jackson Talks Avery’s Love Quandary, Saying Goodbye To ‘Nashville’ & If He Would Return To General Hospital

With just three weeks before the series finale of CMT’s Nashville, Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson) finds himself in a major conundrum.  The woman he has loved and had a child with, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panetierre) has returned home after escaping a cult compound, just as Avery has opened himself up to the start of a new relationship with Alannah (Rainee Blake).  After not hearing from Juliette, added to the many times he felt she abandoned him and their child, will a betrayed and hurt Avery want to find a way to patch up their relationship … or try to keep Alannah by his side?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with five-time Daytime Emmy winner, Jonathan Jackson to get the lowdown on what transpired over the last few episodes and how it may end for Avery, as we inch closer and closer to having to say farewell to the Music City drama.

Since Nashville wrapped its sixth and final season a few months back, General Hospital fans have been wondering and hoping, if now is the time that Jackson would return to his role as the beloved Lucky Spencer, the son of Luke (Tony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis). Jackson originated the role in 1993 and stayed with the series till 1999.  He next returned in 2009 for a few years, then left again, and was cast on Nashville.  Jonathan made a special return in 2015 to appear in a storyline that reunited him on-screen with Geary one final time, before the soap icon retired from the show.  In this interview, Jackson addresses a return, some of his favorite moments of all-time on GH, what he learned from Tony and Genie, and more.

Those that follow Jackson are aware that his talent knows no bounds.  He is also focused on his music career, and his band Enation, which has been building on its success, playing recent sold out shows in Europe, while Jackson also had been on the final Nashville tour performing with the cast.  So, buckle up!  The next step in Jackson’s career will be one to watch.  Now, check out our insightful and heartfelt conversation below.

Avery is caught in a compromising position by Juliette, when she walks in while Avery is making out with Alannah, who has just has taken her top off.   What goes on in Avery’s mind at that point?  Is it, “Oh, no! I’m busted!” (Laughs)

JONATHAN:  It’s all sorts of things.  There is the visceral reaction, and then in his mind trying to figure what to do.  It’s sort of awkward, because they are in her house and her photos are everywhere (Laughs).  However clumsily and strange it is, he is trying to move on and get a life together with someone, and yet deep down he still has feeling for Juliette, which is mixed with anger and all of that.  He is having all different confusing conflicting emotions, all at the same time, and for Alannah as well.  It’s kind of a mess!

Courtesy/CMT

By the end of this week’s episode, viewers saw Avery and Juliette start to talk, with Avery letting her know just how he feels about her leaving him, and that he has decided to move out.  All Juliette is asking is that he keeps talking to her.  As Nashville moves toward its conclusion, the big question for the character of Avery will be … who is he going to end up with, if anyone?  I would assume many longtime fans would be rooting for Avery and Juliette, because they have gone through so much together.

JONATHAN:  Yes.  However, I have been receiving messages from fans, and talking to fans on tour, and they are slightly conflicted, too.  There is a lot of love for Avery and Juliette, but there is also frustration around the whole thing, and that they want Avery to move on and be happy. 

Courtesy/CMT

Where is Avery at with his relationship with Alannah?  He was getting close to her, and now she is attempting to put distance between them since Juliette resurfaced.

JONATHAN:  It’s difficult to pinpoint where Avery is at right at this moment.  There is a lot going on, and a lot of it is rooted in the fact that he went to Bolivia to try and bring Juliette home, and when she refused him that was so devastating for him.  The Alannah relationship snuck up on him. In some sense his heart is still attached to Juliette, but his mind is telling him it’s over, and that she is gone.  Avery and Alannah are connected to each other on a certain level.  It surprised both of them.  I think he has genuine feelings for her, but it’s also him pushing himself to move on from Juliette, which is something he has not been able to do.

Without Alannah, the band flounders with Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Avery, and then there is the health situation with Will (Chris Carmack).  Alannah’s presence really put a kink in Gunnar and Avery’s friendship.  She stared out with one guy, and was on her way to being with another.

JONATHAN:  Gunnar and Avery are really good friends and care about each other a lot, and it is certainly an awkward moment in their friendship.   In terms of the band, they lose Will who has been through this health crisis, and then Alannah.  The music components are kind of imploding and they are just trying to hold on to their friendship, and not have that implode along with the band.

Courtesy/CMT

Brad (Jeff Nordling) is making advances towards Alannah, and she originally tells Avery about it.  What does he think of the situation?  Now, she may do whatever Jeff wants her to do to get ahead in the music biz, since Juliette came back into Avery’s life.

JONATHAN:  I think Avery is trying to be supportive of Alannah.  It was a little bit of a blow for her to leave the band, but he generally wants to support her.  Avery has this instinct to be protective, as well.  He kind of has to hold himself back a little bit and not complain too much. He knows Alannah is an independent person, and may not want his help.  With the situation with Brad, Avery is aware of it, but she is walking into that in her own way.  It’s a moment for Avery to sort of step back and trust her that this is how she wants to go about her career.

Did you know Rainee Blake was going to be your potential love interest this season? Did you screen-test with her?

JONATHAN:  We did not screen-test together.  I think relatively earlier on I heard that this might happen, but it is one of those things were you never really know.  Often times, the writers and the producers bide their time and see how things develop as a couple, and how the audience responds to the on-screen chemistry.  You never really know if it’s going to materialize.  I actually did like how Avery and Alannah started to connect on the tour bus several episodes ago. The audience got a tease of a different side of Alannah, and Avery kind of brought that out.  Rainee was great to work with.

Courtesy/CMT

You have gotten the opportunity as Avery to tug on the heartstrings, as a dad raising his little girl, Cadence, all by himself, with a the runaway mother who never shows up.  How was the journey working with Hayden Panetierre?  You two had to battle, bicker, fight, and had to play all these ups and downs together to make the story work over many seasons of Nashville.

JONATHAN:   It was really amazing, and for me that is one of the things I will miss most about working on the show, and that is working with Hayden.  It’s such an interesting thing when you work with people for so many years, and all of the emotional ups and downs that the characters go through.  Often times, we would be doing a lot of intense and emotional scenes, but for whatever reason, we would find a way to have a lot of fun and find the humor when we are doing those.  I have a lot of love and respect for Hayden.  I think she is incredibly talented. We both started off in soap operas (Hayden was Lizzie on Guiding Light) and thus had a certain approach to our work, and our work ethic.  For me, it’s always a highlight in my career when I get to work with somebody that the scene is already great, because of the person you are working with.  We would constantly share ideas back and forth between us.  The thing about working on Nashville was the friendships we developed in the cast, especially going on tour with the cast and to experience all of that with everybody else.

Courtesy/CMT

What happened when you found out that this sixth and final season of Nashville would be its last?  Did you have any idea that this was coming down the pike when you wrapped season 5? 

JONATHAN:  No.  I don’t think anybody knew when we wrapped season 5.  We did not know till right before everybody else that this was going to be the last season.  We were in production maybe halfway through season 6.  I think that it helped having that time to adjust, and it gave us some time for reflection.  It really did help in a sense, because you know other shows they might wrap a month, or two later, and it’s over.  You don’t get to say goodbye, but we really did.  We got to say our goodbyes.

Courtesy/CMT

I can imagine that was heartbreaking.  When you think of the rollercoaster ride you and the cast had been through together which included: the cancellation by ABC, then the show coming back on CMT, only for it to be cancelled again, it’s quite a lot to deal with and not knowing if there is job security.  Do you recall your last day on the set?

JONATHAN:  I do remember it very well.  There were a lot of beautiful moments with people, and having so much love for the crew and so many amazing people that worked on the show.  We wrapped on April 10th and then we flew to the U.K. on the 12th   It was two days later that the tour started.  Even though filming was over, we were on a plane and then on a bus together, which was really good for all of us.  I know it was for me to have another ending.  In some ways, the end of the tour was even more emotional, because that really felt it was the end.

Photo Credit: CMT

Do you think there were more stories to tell on Nashville … or, do you think the series is going off the air when it should, as the stories can tend to get repetitive on any long-running series? Do you think this was the right time for Nashville to say goodbye?

JONATHAN:  I don’t know how other people’s perspectives are about it, but I know from my perspective, I think we told the story that was there to be told for these characters.  That is sort of the bittersweet reality of it.  It’s painful to say goodbye to a lot of people that I had become very close to, but at the same time, there was a sense of peace about it.  It really did feel like the right time.

What can you say tease about how Nashville concludes? The series finale airs on July 26.

JONATHAN:  One of the hardest things about being in a long form series; whether it be in the primetime format, or the daytime format, is often times the lack of resolution that takes place. You are pertually in Act 2 and in all the drama.  So, knowing that the show was over, allowed the writers to approach everything from the perspective of the end, and Act 3.  Certain storylines have resolution, and others are left open-ended.  There is a good overall balance from the writers of what the audience is going to experience with the end of the show.

Courtesy/ABC

I produced the General Hospital 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys.  I remember looking at some of your storylines and touching performances all over again that still hold up to this day.  One in particular was Lucky pulling tough love on Luke (Tony Geary) during his father’s intervention.  Lucky is such a valuable character on the canvas.  Would you consider going back to GH? 

JONATHAN:  My perspective on that is; I don’t really put that off the table.  I really don’t have plans to do that, because after coming off six years on a series, that is a lot.  I am definitely looking for other projects that have an Act 1, 2, and 3, that happen a little sooner than Nashville did.  I always have going back to GH on the table, because it’s like a family for me.  I have always said that that even when I left in the 90’s; that GH would be something I would come back to.  But, I am very committed and excited about what is happening with Enation, and excited about some other projects that are out there on the acting front. I don’t see going back to GH in the near future, but I never write it off.

When you last returned you did come back to be part of Tony Geary’s exit.

JONATHAN: Yes, yes, which I was really happy to be a part of.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Still years later, when you think of all the stories you portrayed as Lucky, is there one, or two that stand out to you among the rest?

JONATHAN:   There are many.  There were a lot of stories, and the writers wrote so much material, and that is a double-edged sword.  It’s great to have, but it was so much that I really couldn’t continue. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: ABC

I remember saying to you years ago, “You cry so well on camera. They are going to keep expecting you to cry, and they will be throwing scripts like that to you every day!”

JONATHAN:  And that is exactly what happened!   But for me, it’s the moments with the co-stars that I will always carry with me.  There are endless ones in my memory with Tony Geary. “The intervention” was certainly one of those moments.  I had those moments as well with Tyler Christopher (Ex-Nikolas, now Stefan, DAYS), and Becky Herbst (Elizabeth).  I remember having these scenes with Maurice Benard (Sonny) when scenes on the soaps were much longer.  And of course, earlier on, with Genie Francis (Laura) as well.  I feel like as an artist, I was really formed by Tony and Genie’s presence and observing them and watching how they worked.  I asked so many questions to them as I really wanted to learn.  They really protected me in so many ways, and yet gave me the freedom to try to find my own way through a whole process as well.  Those are the things that really jump out at me, as well as working through the scenes prior to filming, especially with Tony.  He and I would go pretty deep with what we were trying to figure out; what the scenes were, and what they were about, and how to approach it.  That part of the process was really memorable to me.  The unique thing I think in this industry for me was that I started at 11-years-old and got to come back to the show in my mid-20’s, and got to have that connection with another actor, and explore this father and son relationship.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I don’t think, and I really mean this, that there has been a father/son relationship on television like Luke and Lucky’s.   It was so multi-faceted.   Have you stayed in touch with Tony?

JONATHAN:  We definitely stay in touch.  Again, when I left General Hospital, I did not know if anything like that would happen again in my career where I would form sort of long-lasting friendships with people.  Most of the time you do a film and you get to know some people, and you go your separate ways, and that’s just how it is.  So I was really grateful for Nashville, because I feel like we were able to have those long-lasting relationships. I can’t really put into words my relationship with Tony.  It’s just a lot of love and gratitude, and respect that I have for him.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagram

Meanwhile, your music career is very exciting of late.  Last month, you played the Royal Albert Hall in London with your band, Enation.  How was that experience?

JONATHAN:  It was amazing.  I went overseas with the Nashville tour and then Enation did a couple of shows, and then we opened for Echo & the Bunnymen.  The last gig on that tour was at Royal Albert Hall.  I have loved Echo & the Bunnymen for such a long time, and so this was wonderful for us.

Will Enation be touring more coming up?  

JONATHAN:  We are looking to go back to Europe later this year, or the spring of next year, and are working out those details.  We are going to be touring in the United States later on this year.

Photo: JJacksonInstagram

Did your wife Lisa (Ex-Hannah, GH) meet up with you on this recent European tour?

JONATHAN: The Nashville tour ended in Ireland, and then my wife and kids came over for the last two shows there. Then, got to go around Ireland for a couple of weeks and drive around, and it was fun.

Did you notice a difference between the European music fans of Nashville as opposed to those in the U.S.?

JONATHAN:  Yes, and no.  One of the things I have noticed playing over there is that the distinction in musical genres isn’t quite as a sharp as it is in the U.S.  Over there, the radio seems to play a lot different kinds of music.  So, it was a pretty seamless transition for a lot of the people that came to the Nashville show.   We see a slight difference in the music fan base, and it mainly has to do with that they may go to a country show one week, and a couple of weeks later go to a rock concert, and not think twice about the genre.  It’s just they are looking for good music.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagramm

Hard to believe we are turning the page on another great character played by Jonathan Jackson as Nashville heads towards its finale.  What would you like to say to the fans, the #Nashies, who have loved, and have stuck with show every step of the way?

JONATHAN:  Just a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all the support, especially when the show was cancelled.  CMT saw the enthusiasm and support from the fans here and internationally, and that was a huge part for us to be able to get the last few seasons.  It has really meant a lot to us creatively to write that 3rd act, sort of speak, and have that sense of closure. I also would just say to the fans that have come out to the Nashville concerts as well, that it has meant so much.  We feel like we have had some beautiful moments with everybody, and so I am very grateful for that.

So, what do you think will happen to Avery at the end of Nashville?  Do you want him to end up with Juliette, Alannah, or by himself? Should GH try to lure Jonathan back to the his role as Lucky Spencer? Comment below!

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Interviews

Y&R’s Peter Bergman Talks On: Jack Finding His True Biological Father, His Co-Stars, And If He Would Like A New Love Interest

On The Young and the Restless turns out Ashley (Eileen Davidson) is not the only child raised as an Abbott; whose father is not John.  As viewers learned back at the end of March, Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) is not the biological son of the Abbott patriarch, either!  This has sent Jack on a pursuit to find out who he truly is, and who he truly belongs to, because being John Abbott’s (Jerry Douglas) son meant everything to him.

Once again, this story has given multi-Daytime Emmy winner, Peter Bergman an opportunity to play the complex layers of one of daytime’s best characters.  Recently, Jack had gone through his mother Dina’s (Marla Adams) old diary, where there was a key page missing out of it.  He then located a photo, which led him to believe that none other than late Phillip Chancellor II (played by the late Donnelly Rhodes) is his real father.  Is Jack a Chancellor?

Hell-bent on exhuming the body for DNA proof, Jack is getting massive pushback from just about everyone on Genoa City.  It is not helping the situation that Dina is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and her recollections of what transpired years ago when she had an affair, may not be accurate.  Now this week, Jack has a plan that may backfire and ends up involving his son, Kyle (Michael Mealor) in the process.  Will these two work together to get the proof of the truth?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with the actor’s actor, Peter Bergman to get his take on: the surprise story twist he never saw coming, if Jack has the purest of intentions, or if he is just chomping at the bit get his hands on Chancellor Industries, if he would like to see Jack have a new love interest, and more.  It’s always a treat to speak with Peter.  Here is what he had to say about Jack’s latest inner-turmoil.

Jack is not John’s Abbott’s son.  He is searching for the answer of who is his biological father.  Now, Jack believes he has found the answer in the photo he found that included Phillip Chancellor II, and then went to Dina to confirm the answer, even knowing his mother is battling Alzheimer’s disease.  Don’t you think he jumped on this notion of Phillip being his dad all too son?

PETER:  Jack has stumbled upon evidence that this is for real with the photo he found.  He went to Dina on what was a very lucid day for her, and she was pretty damn clear.  So, therefore it wasn’t just the ramblings of a lost woman.  Jack is very eager for an answer.  Could it be argued that he jumped on this as a possibility? Yes, and for a number of reasons.  First, he feels somewhat utter-less and needs to be connected to something, but he also knows his family, and the history of this family, and “Oh, my God” could that be a way out of this untethered feeling that he had.  So he is really grabbing on to this pretty quickly.  Second, it is not lost on Jack that part of inheriting all of Phillip’s traits might also bring him part of the Chancellor estate, which would belong to Jack and perhaps he could pick-up at the corporate level where he left off.  So that is exciting, but certainly not central to his thinking.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Everyone thinks from Cane (Daniel Goddard) to Jill (Jess Walton), to Billy (Jason Thompson) , that all Jack truly wants is to stake claim as an heir and to try to take control of Chancellor Industries.  Are they that far off from the truth?

PETER:  How honest is Jack being with himself?  We will find out!  He would want to stake his claim … and maybe a little bit more!

What was your reaction when you learned that Jack would be revealed to be the son of Phillip Chancellor II, when for decades you have been playing so much of what drives your character that he is the son of John Abbott?  Were you like, “What!??” (Laughs)

PETER:  I have been doing this much too long, to go “Why?”  I, quite frankly ask, “Where do you want to go with this?  Where do you want to take me?” The things that I have done in the past that I have fought the most have usually been the things that really led me somewhere.  I tell the story all the time of John Abbott dying.  They decided to bring him back as Jack’s conscious, and he would appear in scenes with Jack and talk to him.  I thought “C’mon. This is The Young and the Restless, and I am doing a ‘ghost’ storyline?”  I fought it and I didn’t like it, and I was wrong.  It was fantastic, and it worked great, and the audience liked it.  I learned from it.   I don’t go, “Whaaat?” that much anymore.  There have been a few of those including: the whole doppelganger story, while it confused me at times, and I thought this had gone a few steps too far, but it led us to Billy/Phyllis/Jack story. It was a direct line to that, and one of the most dynamic storylines I have ever been in.  So, I see this current story, and I go, “That is an interesting turn.”  Then, as an actor, I dig into it.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Jack wants to exhume Phillip’s body and everybody from Jill to Cane is objecting.  Esther (Kate Linder) is worried Mrs. C. will roll over in her grave if he does this move.  As we will see, Jack does not take “no” for answer.

PETER:  Jack eventually all but gives up, but then a door opens slightly for him to look at this a different way   Jack reluctantly walks through that door.

Do you think Jack has ever thought of the possibility of: “What if I am the son of someone from the circus … or the former pool boy at the country club?”

PETER:  I have thought it’s amusing when I have met people who have explored their past lives. They have always been a prince or a princess. They were never menial laborers.  I think he looks back and is kind of curious.  I think Jill points it out to him that he is not at all suspicious that he is the pool boy, or the golf pro’s offspring?  He knows the tryst happened at the country club, and so the first person you think of is one of the elite of the country club. 

Courtesy/CBS

It would be such a huge devastating fall for Jack if something like that turned out to be true!  Jack so wants to belong to a family that has wealth and prestige that goes along with their name.  I wonder what it would be like if he had to say, “Yes. It’s true.  I am the pool boy’s son!” (Laughs)

PETER:  I don’t know how that would fit Jack.

How is working with the latest Kyle, you’re on-screen son, played by Michael Mealor? The part had been recast multiple times and the actor didn’t stick.

PETER:  I cannot say enough good things about Michael.  This is an extremely disciplined, very talented, and very professional guy.  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him.  I think he is doing a great job.  Michael gets looser every show.  He likes to take big chances and try a lot of things.  We have had a lot of young actors on the show and what they do is try to project that they are cool.  They don’t go outside of the, “I’m going to be cool, and honest, and real.”  They say, “I am going to be solid, and make simple choices.”  Michael takes big chances doing large stuff, and going overboard  That’s scary do to as an actor, but I watch him in scenes with Hunter King (Summer) where he is trying to appear cool, but just her physical prescience gets to him.  You can see it in his performances and it’s wonderful to watch.   It’s lovely to see in a 26-year-old and it’s fantastic.  I have high hopes for Michael.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

This version of Kyle seems to be a bit of a chip-off-the-old-block.  He can play dirty just like his dad!

PETER:  As far as where Kyle is at … he is like Jack Abbott.  He is not a good guy, nor a bad guy.  Kyle is a bit of an opportunist with a heart, who wants to feel a part of things, but he also takes advantage of the situation, in a way that sometimes works against that. 

We saw Jack stumble and drink again as he fights his addiction when learning the news that John is not is biological father.  Do you see him stumbling again, and going back to popping pills and booze, if Phillip Chancellor II were not to wind up being his dad?

PETER:  I don’t know if he will see him spiraling, but it is worth saying for someone who is a constant and has a had guiding light of  ‘what’s right, and what’s wrong” and that now has been taken away from him essentially when John Abbot goes “Jack!”, that is a game-changer.  What we can expect from Jack now may change.  Jack isn’t as bound by “what would dad do” as he once was.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, we may be surprised with a turn in attitude from Jack?

PETER:  You may be surprised.  So much of his life, and certainly so much of what I play is that Jack has spent his whole life trying to be like John Abbott, because John Abbott is his father.   Now that is not so. So, how much effort should Jack be putting in to being like John Abbott?

Good point!

PETER:  It will be interesting to see where that goes!

We have seen many actors in the soaps portray drug and alcohol addiction. When Jack’s played itself out originally, it was one of the most harrowing to watch.

PETER:  He got to a dark place very fast.  It was out of control.  It was an important part of the Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) and Jack story, because he honestly did not have the strength to do it by himself, and he had somebody to help him through it   As it turned out, it was a formative experience for Jack and for Phyllis; one that they carry with them for the rest of their lives. They know things about each other that the rest of the world does not know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Billy recently read Jack the riot act, when Jack told his brother about being Phillip Chancellor’s son.  Having had it with Jack, Billy threw him out of his office.  Where do you think the relationship stands between the brothers at this point?

PETER:  It’s really hard for Jack.  He is still on the board at Jabot.  He has family ties there, and he still gets the checks, but it feels so weird for him, it really does.  He is trying to be a bigger man and let Billy do what Billy is going to do.  Deep down inside Jack has known Billy for a really long time, and when Billy sort of combusts, boy, does he go! Jack hates that Billy is holding the reins of Jabot, if things fall apart for Billy.

Viewers are seeing Billy turning to gambling again.  What would Jack do if he finds out what is happening to his brother?

PETER:  I don’t know what he could do.  I am not sure what he could do to stop the CEO of the company as things currently stand.  It’s hard for Jack to relax around Billy. It’s not a promising situation.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you think the Jack and Bill will ultimately be there for each other when the chips are down moving forward?

PETER:  Jack has a soft place in his heart for addicts for reasons we both know, and a soft spot for family.  It will be interesting to see how well Jack’s patience holds up, if Billy should go down that particular rabbit hole.

Do you think Jack might visit Chancellor Park and have a chat with the late Katherine about the revelation about Phillip and Dina?

PETER:  I think Jack is really trying to be realistic about all of this.  It could clearly be proven, but he is impatient.  He could wait for Chance and Phillip III to come back from their Himalayan trip, but he does not want to wait.  It’s just so easy if everyone would be practical about this, and get some fragment of Phillip’s remains, and there would be a DNA test.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Jack’s nemesis, Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) is having a lot of issues, too.  This includes his mysterious health diagnosis …

PETER:  Oh, damn! (Laughs)

How does Jack feel about Victor these days and the plight that he is in?

PETER:  Jack has such contempt for Victor.  However, Jack can occasionally see that Victor is important to some people, but Victor to Jack is everything that is wrong in the world.  As to the fact that he is struggling right now, does Jack wish bad physical health on him, or anybody?  No. However, if things didn’t go easily for Victor, Jack would not lose any sleep over it.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Don’t you think it’s time for Jack to have a real, honest-to-goodness, love interest?

PETER:  Jack should have a new love interest.  I think the writers and the producers of The Young and the Restless are paying me a lot for half of what I do.

Jack should find true love.  Someone who will be with him and whom he loves with all his heart, and someone who loves him back, flaws and all.  A romance where he is not manipulating her, or she is not manipulating him, for financial or corporate gain.   Do you think at this point that is even possible?

PETER:  I think that would be a swell thing, but that would be a daytime show investing in an actress that is over 40-years-old.  They have done it, but it’s a rare thing.  But yes, I do feel like we are seeing two-thirds of Jack.  There is another third of him that is completely unexplored and that’s a shame.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

We saw those heartbreaking scenes that aired last year where Jack had to admit to Ashley that his mother has Alzheimer’s.  How is he going to continue in his relationship with Dina knowing she has had multiple affairs throughout her life, and when married to John?

PETER:  This is a real difficult place for Jack.  Obviously, he has his mother back in his life in one sense, but his mother has been responsible for pretty much everything that has gone wrong in his life over the last two years.  It’s just one thing after another.  Had his mother been faithful to John, Jack would not be in this situation.  Had his mother not returned, we could have gone on with life as it was, and now all this mess is in part Dina’s doing.  Now, Jack has moved out of the house and so his mother is slipping away by the minute, and Jack is not around for it.  He keeps visiting, and he keeps stopping by, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough.  Jack struggles with that a lot.  He should be more in Dina’s life and be around for that, but being around for that means being in the Abbott house.  Everywhere he looks are reminders that he is not who he told himself he is for his entire life.

One of the more endearing moments came at this year’s Daytime Emmys, after Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R) took to the stage to accept her award for Outstanding Lead Actress.  She thanked you while you were in the audience.

PETER:  This is in keeping with my new plan for the Emmys each year,  What I do is: I try to get a nomination so that I can sit in the audience after I have lost and hear the winner for Lead Actress thank me personally. (Laughs)  I am two for two in the last two years! (Laughs) Gina Tognoni had won that category the year prior.  Eileen Davidson is the greatest, and she has been for all intent and purposes my leading lady on Y&R.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Now, Eileen Davidson has announced, and made the decision to leave her role as Ashley.

PETER:   I can’t say enough things about her.  I adore her … I adored working with her. She is every bit as good as everybody thinks she is.  She comes to work prepared   She never needs hand- holding or spoon-feeding.  Eileen is the real deal; had she been one of Jack’s lovers that would have been over a long time ago.  The fact that she is his sister is fantastic.  Now with her exiting the show, I will miss her terribly.

In closing, viewers should watch for Jack’s next move?

PETER:  Jack is not leaving any stone unturned.  He has to figure out who he is, and desperate times call for desperate measures.

So, do you think Phillip Chancellor II is truly Jack’s biological father?  If not, who do you think is?  What have you thought of Peter Bergman’s performance in the storyline? Would you like to see Jack have a new love interest?  If so, who would you like to see the series bring onto the show to play opposite him? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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This week, a shocking move leaves Victor stunned! What will happen when the mystery around J.T. is revealed, and the fallout from it begins? Check out this explosive promo from Y&R. Leave A Comment

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