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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!

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B&B’s Katherine Kelly Lang on That ‘Brill’ Kiss, 33 Years as Brooke, Her Co-Stars & International Success

Just when you think Brooke will finally score a moral victory in her vendetta with Thomas Forrester, (who’s manipulations almost destroyed her marriage to his father, Ridge), then she finds herself once again in hot water, and with a secret that in the wrong hands could cause a seismic shift to several relationships – that would he hers and her sister Katie’s – thanks to that ill-timed smooch with Bill!

But what else is new for Brooke? For 33 years, the character has captivated audiences with bold moves, questionable choices, enduring romances and plenty of gusto, all in the more than capable hands of her portrayer, the one and only Katherine Kelly Lang.

This week marks Katherine’s 33rd-year in the role of Brooke Logan Forrester, who along with John McCook (Eric Forrester), are the two original cast members since the very inception of the CBS daytime drama; which debuted back on March 23, 1987.  Now over three decades later, Lang is an international favorite. First, due to the success and broad appeal of B&B in foreign countries, but second, from her own entrepreneurship and hustle.  Always with multiple projects going on at once, Lang and her beau, Dom Zoida recently opened the American version of the Italian clothing and leather store in Beverly Hills, California, Benheart USA.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Katherine to get the lowdown on: Brooke’s line-up of nemesis’ which seems to be growing! (Yes, you can put Thomas, Quinn and Shauna on that list, for sure.) Plus, what she feels this B&B anniversary is truly about, how she and others in the cast are coping with the ‘stay at home’ orders in California during the coronavirus pandemic, the recent loss of B&B co-creator, Lee Phillip Bell, and those all-time classic Stephanie and Brooke scenes opposite Susan Flannery and more.  Here’s what this BOLD original had to share with all of you.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Brooke’s whole relationship with Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) and the tit-for-tat between them?  Brooke really stood up to him and his manipulations, and held her ground. Meanwhile, he was going to do everything he could do ruin her and cause so much trouble for Brooke’s marriage to Ridge (Thorsten Kaye).

KATHERINE: This is my feeling: she was so adamant and so trying to convince people about Thomas and that he was so out for himself;  and out for Brooke’s daughter, Hope (Annika Noelle), and very manipulative, and nobody would listen really.  Only a few people like Liam (Scott Clifton) did and her daughter finally agreed with her.  Then at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe (Kiara Barnes), it proved that Brooke was right all along.  I still don’t feel like Brooke got her due as far as what everybody was saying.

No, she didn’t!  No one really said to her in a grand way, “Oh, my God, Brooke!  You were right about Thomas all along.”

KATHERINE:  I know!  Ridge did say, “You were right,” and that’s great.  However, more people should have apologized and acknowledged her, and said, “Oh, we understand now where you were coming from,” and, “Hey!  Good intuition!”

Photo: JPI

That was must have been so frustrating to Brooke!  She knew the truth, and everybody was treating her so badly and painting her to be the bitch.

KATHERINE:  Yup!  They dubbed herthat crazy one” and the bitch.

Was all of this enjoyable to play?

KATHERINE:  It was enjoyable that it finally came out that Thomas is the manipulative person that he is, even though he is so good at it that he almost makes you feel sorry for him.  But he’s like a good sociopathThat’s why they’re so good at what they do.  They’re good at bringing real emotion into every situation and yet being very manipulative.  Kudos go to Matthew Atkinson for playing Thomas, really well.  He’s been great, and he brings something really different on to our show.

Photo: JPI

Brooke and Ridge’s relationship has been severely tested; almost tearing them apart over Ridge previously standing up for his son.  Now Brooke’s recent kiss with Bill (Don Diamont) threatens it, as that kiss was caught on tape, and landed in the wrong hands.  Is Brooke in freak-out mode yet?

KATHERINE:  I definitely think she is, and she wanted to take that kiss back from the second that it happened.  She allowed it to happen.  It’s a little bit of old Brooke resurfacing there.  Right away she was like, “What are we doing?   This is ridiculous.  You’re with Katie, and I’m with Ridge, and we’re both happy.”  Brooke has had underlying feelings for Bill, and she probably always will (and he for Brooke), but we know that’s not where we want things to be.  So, in Brooke’s mind, it’s “let’s forget about that and carry on, and don’t tell anybody.”  Of course, it comes out to some people, and it’s so embarrassing for Brooke.  Like, how does she explain herself?  I mean, at that point she can’t explain what happened … or why she did that.  She has to kind of succumb to it.

Right! And of course, Shauna (Denise Richards) and Quinn (Rena Sofer) want to take her down with this ammo.

KATHERINE:  Of course!  That’s what they live for. (Laughs)

Photo” JPI

Recently, Quinn spiked Brooke’s drink with some booze after they had quite the argument. Fans were on the edge of their seats that Brooke might start drinking again.  What did you think of the plot point?

KATHERINE:  I think it could have been interesting.  I have no idea if they will bring it up again.  That happens sometimes.  They’ll put in a little teaser and not run with it.  However, you never know if it’s going to resurface down the line, especially when Brooke is really down in the dumps for some reason.

I could see her being down in the dumps if she finally had no man in her life! (Laughs)

KATHERINE: (Laughs) That’s probably what she needs … not having a man in her life!

How is working with Rena Sofer and Denise Richards; especially when they are antagonists in scenes with Brooke?  Do you ever have a good laugh while trying to tape those scenes, as well?

KATHERINE: I think there’s a good chemistry between the three of us, and we have that rivalry going on.  So, I think it’s been working, and it’s been entertaining and interesting.  They’re fun to bounce off of.  Usually we are pretty serious when we do those scenes, especially if they’re more verbally combative.  So, we’ll just be really serious and stay in it.  Of course, sometimes things happen, and you laugh, but we sometimes don’t have the luxury to take the time to laugh and enjoy the moment, because we have to try to get the scene done in one take and move on.

Photo: JPI

There were a few months there that Brooke was slapping everybody! There were plenty of bitch-slaps that needed to go around. What did you think of those scenes?

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KATHERINE: I loved it, but then I felt like it was also maybe getting out of hand because it’s not really PC.  Nobody is supposed to hit people or slap people in anyway.  So, it worked more years and years ago in our genre, as times have changed in our world and culture.

Viewers saw this week that Donna (Jennifer Gareis) knows Brooke kissed Bill and that they have to make sure Katie (Heather Tom) does not find out, while others are out to expose Brooke!

KATHERINE:  I would imagine that everybody would want to see how Brooke unravels.  So, just keep watching!

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome another go round at a Brooke and Bill romance?

KATHERINE: Not when Bill’s with Katie and with everything that Katie’s gone through.  I couldn’t see that.  I don’t think it would be right.  That would mean that Brooke is completely selfish, you know?  There are so many other men.  Why does she have to go for her sister’s man?

Photo: JPI

In recent months, we have witnessed scenes where Brooke has been more confrontational and fighting back and not putting up with the shenanigans of others!  We have seen this in particular with Thomas, Shauna, and Quinn.  Did it seem like they ramped that up for Brooke?

KATHERINE:  Yes, because at some point it’s frustrating because nobody was listening to her.  It all started with the whole Thomas thing, and once she started fighting back, she wanted to fight back on everything.  She’s been lied to about a lot of things.  It’s not been fair.

Does Brooke still think Hope is too vulnerable to make wise decisions for herself; even after she stood up for herself at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe?

KATHERINE: Now. I think she feels much better, because there are moments where Hope is very vulnerable, but then she kicks herself in the butt, and stands up for herself and everybody else.  So, Brooke knows that Hope’s strong, but she also knows that she can be vulnerable.  At this moment, she is proving that she can handle things.

Photo: JPI

B&B turned 33-years-old this week as the show continues to remain so popular in the United States, and of course, is the most watched soap in the world. What can you say about still being with the series since its inception, and all that has happened to you in your life and career, because of playing Brooke, plus a nod to the fans?

KATHERINE: It’s been an amazing opportunity for me.  It’s been my life basically! 33 years on The Bold and the Beautiful, and the show has always kicked butt.  I mean, the show has been going strong ever since it started, and it still is going strong.  It’s just been an honor to be on the show, and remain on the show for so long as one of the original characters.  My heart really goes out to the fans, because honestly, so many of them tell me they’ve watched from day one.  We have a history with them raising their families.  Younger people come up and say, “I’ve been watching the show ever since I was little with my mom.”  So, there’s a wide range of different people who watch the show, and I appreciate them so much.  We all appreciate them so much because really, without them, there would be no show.  I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all of the fans.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Photo: JPI

Brooke is one of the most notable characters of all-time in soap operas and you are the actress playing her. That has to be a very good-feeling for you.

KATHERINE: I think there have been a lot of notable characters on soap operas, who have even been on the air a lot longer than me.  Look at Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) who just celebrated his 40th, and Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) who also reached a milestone recently.  What I have learned from all of this is; what matters is when you come on a show that your heart is in it 100%, and you come to your job and you try your hardest.  That to me is what matters and makes you an honorable person.  I’m very flattered that I’ve been on The Bold and the Beautiful for as long as I have.

Photo” JPI

When you look back at 33 years of your time on The Bold and the Beautiful, are your scenes with Susan Flannery and those epic moments between Stephanie and Brooke, the ones that still standout to you the most?

KATHERINE: Those scenes with Susan informed and formed the show and the characters for years.  I had a lot of memorable scenes with Susan.  I’m so lucky to have worked so closely with her.  She’s an amazing actress.  I learned so much from her, and just watching her.  I would hang on her every word – how she would talk about the business, how she would talk about acting, directing (because she loved to direct), and producing.  Susan was very knowledgeable, and she was very tough, but very fair, I thought.  I just loved her work ethic.

You and Thorsten Kaye have created your version of Brooke and Ridge. What do you think about working with Thorsten?  Is it fun? Challenging? How would you define it?

KATHERINE:  He’s very fun to work with.  Thorsten is very serious, very prepared all of the time, and he’s watching everything.  He’s got eagle eyes.  He’s just so on top of it and working with people like that makes you raise your bar.  It makes you want to try 110% to be there and put in the work.  Thorsten’s also so funny, and easy to work with, and so charming, and such a dear friend.   I love working with him.  I do think Brooke and Ridge have an interesting relationship even though some people say, “Oh, they should be over,” or whatever they want to say.  I do think they have created a good banter between them, and almost an understanding without having to say anything.  Thorsten’s a delight!

Photo: JPI

What is your takeaway when you travel overseas and internationally to places such as Italy, Dubai, Monaco or Australia where B&B is so widely popular and the reaction you receive from the fans?

KATHERINE:  Just seeing the overseas reactions in different countries and how popular or how loved The Bold and the Beautiful is truly special.  The fans really do love from their hearts.  They feel a part of it, and they are, but just their enthusiasm and their passion and their love, and they give their whole heart to you and to the show.  I just found that really interesting, and like I said earlier, we owe the success of B&B to the fans who love the show so much.

Photo: JPI

You recently were in Greece appearing for a multi-episode arc on the soap 8 Lexeis.  How was that experience?  I know Greek soap star, Andreas Georgiou, also came over to the States and appeared on B&B afterwards, too.

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KATHERINE:  It was an incredible opportunity.  I love working in other countries, and seeing how other people work, and how they make different projects and things.  8 Lexeis is their top TV show on their top network in Greece, so it was really exciting to go there and work on that.  I did 15 episodes in 5 days; something crazy like that.  We worked all morning through late at night every day, but it was fun.  It was amazing to see how creative they are and how they just run with it.  Everything was really chill on the set, but they still moved really fast and got everything done, and they were all so talented and so nice.  Then later, Andreas came over and did some shows here.  He was supposed to come to visit, but then the Coronavirus happened, so he had to postpone his trip, but we’ll see him soon.

Photo: JPI

B&B is on a production break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Have you stayed in touch with your co-stars during this time?

KATHERINE: A lot of us talk on Instagram all of the time, and then a lot of people have been going live on their as well.  So, we jump into each other’s live videos!  Have you seen Katrina Bowden (Flo) and Kelly Kruger (Mackenzie, Y&R) do their little workouts together? You should check those out! Ashley Jones (Bridget) is always on, and Annika Noelle, and then our Supervising Producer, Casey Kasprzyk, started doing Zoom.  He did a Zoom with some of the B&B people.  So, we’ve all been texting and keeping in touch and making sure that everybody is okay.  I know it’s very hard times and it can be scary for all.   Hopefully, if everybody does what they should be doing, it will flatten the curve and the Coronavirus will be a lot easier to deal with.

Photo: JPI

You are one of the busiest people I know! Recently, you went to Australia, you opened your new store Benheart USA in Beverly Hills, and you appear on B&B in a lead role.  Is there ever a moment when you’re like, “I can’t do one more thing?” or do you like the go-go-go of it all of the time?

KATHERINE: I like the go-go-go, but I felt that I was going too fast and too hard, and I’ve recently been thinking of what I can take out of our lives and our schedule, and then in thinking of that, I couldn’t really think of what I can take out.  Then, this all happened with life coming to a screeching halt, which I find very interesting because life is set up to go so fast.  Nobody can really enjoy anything.  We have to get up early, we have to go to work, we have to make money to pay for this, we’ve got to take care of the family, do this, do that, maybe just try to be motivated to be successful, whatever your dreams are, you’re going after them, etc.  It’s such a driven world all around that I think with having to self-quarantine that this is a chance to take a good look at what is going on in your life.  Now, we have a lot of down time.  We have time to think, go inside ourselves.  It gives you time to be kind, slow down, think of others.  What can you do for others?  What can you do for the world?  It’s been frightening for a lot of people; especially the ones who have gotten sick, or the ones who are scared of getting sick because they are immunocompromised.  But, at the same time, we need to try to not let that anxiety get to us and try to appreciate what we have.  Like, “Why is this happening?  What is this moment trying to tell us?”  I’m always trying to find the silver lining; or what is this trying to tell us in life?

Photo” JPI

B&B and Y&R co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away at the end of February, and it was so heartbreaking.  I know you were close with Lee.  What can you share on her passing?

KATHERINE:  It was heartbreaking.  I always think, “Gosh, I wish I saw her one more time before she passed,” but she was around her family, who are so loving, and supportive, and always there for her.  Lee created an amazing life for herself and for her family, and she was a huge part of The Bold and the Beautiful, and of course, I thank her so much because she hired me.  Lee gave me my life, and this time on the show.  She was amazing.  She cared so much about the show and the people on it.  Lee was such a great mom and such a great friend.  It’s been special knowing her and spending all of that time with her that I was able to through the years.  My heart goes out to the Bell family as well.  I know this must be hard for them.

Photo: JPI

Then, it was so sad that Orson Bean died tragically before that.  Have you talked to Alley Mills (Pam)?

KATHERINE: Yes, a bunch of us went over and spent time with Alley and brought her food.  We brought her goodies, and we just hung out.  We just gave her lots of love, spent time, and that was before I had to run off to Australia as well, but she’s really strong.  That was just very tragic.  Two weeks before Orson died, we had seen them both in the play Bad Habits.  It was so, so funny, and they both had all of us who attended laughing so hard, and it was such a pleasure.

Photo: JPI

In closing, what are your hopes for Brooke moving forward into the future?

KATHERINE: I’ve been saying that I hope she’ll spend time by herself and be alone for a while and focus on her family.  I’ve said that for so long, but I don’t know what’s going to work for her! (Laughs)  However, I’m just so curious to see what will happen next for her.

So, what do you think of Brooke’s latest predicament after her kiss with Bill? Do you hope that Ridge and Brooke stay together? What have you thought of the more recent version of a feisty Brooke who fought back when no one believed her about Thomas? And finally, share your congrats to Katherine for 33 years as Brooke and let us know some of your favorite all-time scenes via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Eric Braeden Talks On 40 Years Of Life In Soaps As Victor Newman

Back in February, Eric Braeden added another milestone to his illustrious career – that of portraying the one and only Victor Newman for 40 years on the top-rated daytime drama, The Young and the Restless.  And boy was he celebrated!  First, there was a one-of-a-kind on set celebration at CBS Television City which was quite the star-studded affair.  That was followed by special episodes of Y&R, where Newman Enterprises turned 50 with a gala that also proved emotional with speeches and retrospective clips.

When you talk daytime dramas to anyone, you would be hard-pressed for the general public to not know the name “Victor Newman”- and that is because of the powerhouse performances and nuances that Braeden brings to his soap opera alter-ego.  For it was Y&R co-creator Bill Bell and Braeden who really shaped what viewers have come to know, expect, and love, forty years later.

Those who know Eric understand he can be at times outspoken, has a heart of gold, stands up for what he believes, can bring the drama, the suspense, the tension, the romance and the tears in any given scene when it is called upon, and that throughout the years he has earned the respect from his peers for an impressive job well-done.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric to take a look back at all that had gone down recently in his honor, and to get his thoughts on some major moments in time through over 40 years in Genoa City, and where things are at now.  Check out our special conversation below.

Photo: JPI

When I attended and saw you at your 40th anniversary on set celebration at Y&R last month, I cannot tell you what a special event that was.  I have never seen that for anybody else!  The amount of people who attended, and the love they showed for you, was so special. When you were sitting in that chair on the soundstage and watching and hearing what was being said about you, what was going on in your mind at that point?

ERIC:  Well, first of all, it was the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me in 40 years on that show, and secondly, in moments like that, you try to stay focused on who is giving the speeches, because if I then look around and see all of the people who I have known for so many years, it’s emotional.  There’s a saying in German, “he’s close to the water,” meaning it’s very moving.  I saw my son and my granddaughter there and obviously everyone else, and my old coach and players, and so many others that have been a part of my life.

Photo: JPI

There were some very special guests and speeches.  I loved that Justin Hartley (Ex-Adam, Y&R and now Kevin, This Is Us) came.  I thought that was sweet and cool, and also that ESPN sports personality, Stephen A. Smith was there calling you one of his good friends.  There were so many moments.  You knew who was going to speak, right?

ERIC:  Yes, I did.  We kept it to just family, and in other words, Y&R family, etc.  I want to thank Matt Kane (Publicist, Y&R), who had a lot to do with putting the event together.  I also wanted to thank Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R). The Y&R art department and David Hoffman (Production Designer) also did a fantastic job with those pictures they had created that was part of a set.  Thinking back on it, again, I would without a doubt say, that the celebration was the most moving moment in 40 years in the business and on that show.

Photo: JPI

A few weeks ago, Y&R and B&B co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away.  Obviously the late Bill Bell (co-creator, Y&R) and she were instrumental for you being at Y&R in the first place, and the creation of Victor Newman.  What can you say about Lee? 

ERIC:  We invited Lee to the event, and she apologized and said she was not in a position to attend, and then, shortly thereafter she passed.  In a sense, I’m glad Lee wasn’t there because when I would see her on some occasions, I just am moved to tears.  I would have not been able to really hold it together for long.  Obviously, she was co-responsible for a lot of stuff that happened on Y&R. co-responsible for that show still being number #1, and my heart goes out to her.  I know what I owe them, and she had a lot of influence on the storylines.  Lee was an incredibly smart and bright lady.  Her son, Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) did speak at the 40th event and I appreciated it enormously.

There were a lot of retro clips shown of you show in celebration of your 4oth anniversary from when you started on the show back in 1980 till now.  Did you remember all of those moments?

ERIC:  First of all, they put that together so beautifully.  That was done so extremely well.  When I see it, it comes right back, or in other words it evokes precise memories, but if I weren’t seeing it, it’s all a blur.

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Y&R brought Meg Bennett (Ex-Julia) and Robert Parucha (Ex-Matt), for the on-screen episodes celebrating Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary.  Was it nice having them back and seeing them, or is it kind of weird, because it can be such a long time in-between since you have all been together?

ERIC:  It is both.  It is very nice to see old colleagues obviously, and very touching, but look, we are in a weird business.  When I saw Meg, you suddenly realize how the show has evolved in many ways.  So, I’m always very grateful to see those who I started out with on the show and of course, doubly grateful to those who are still there.  I think of Melody and Doug Davidson (Paul) for example.  Doug has been there for longer than I have, and what a great job he did emceeing the 40th anniversary event, and as for Melody, that her and my relationship still endues after all of these years is amazing.

Photo: JPI

Let’s talk about those Newman Children.  I thought Joshua Morrow (Nick) gave a hilarious speech and even Mark Grossman (Adam) spoke so sincerely from the heart to you.  You get a sense that the Newmans are a fun group to work with.

ERIC:  I obviously love working with Joshua.  Same for Amelia Heinle (Victoria), I adore her, and Melissa Ordway (Abby).  They all have a great sense of humor, and Mark Grossman, I think is doing a damned good job.  And there is Peter Bergman (Jack).  Peter has been a great nemesis for all of these years.  Of course, Peter was very funny in his speech, and Joshua was very funny, and Ed Scott’s (Producer, B&B) was very good.  Tony Morina also shared a very funny little antidote!

Photo: JPI

What came across loud and clear is what we already knew.  Everyone knows the name “Victor Newman”.  You know when they go, “Victor Newman … Y&R!”  It’s so synonymous, right?  I don’t know what it must be like for you knowing the public has that reaction to you … and you’re that guy.

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ERIC:  I’ll tell you very honestly, I have an ambivalent relationship to that fact.  I deny it on one hand, don’t want to know about it, don’t really want to know about it, and on the other hand, when I hear about it, I say, “Yeah, very happy to hear about it, but is it true?”  I am sort of strange that way.  I have not had a picture of myself or anyone else in my dressing room for these 40 years.  It’s barren, as you know.  I don’t have any pictures hanging up of me; there’s nothing.  Now, I was talking about taking the one picture that David Hoffman had designed beautifully, and I have it on one wall.  I thought, “I’ll be damned,” because the picture includes Melody and some scenes that went on.  I’ve always been funny that way with praise.  Do I like it?  Of course, but …

There’s an uncomfortableness about it, right?

ERIC:  Yes, but I’ve seen too much in this business.  I’ve seen too many extraordinary stars, where you wonder, “Where are they now”?  I take this business with a grain of salt.  I really do.  It’s so easy to succumb to it.   I’ve known many people, including on our show, who used to say, “Well, without me, this thing would go down the drain,” and I said, “Yeah?  No s**t,” and they’re not there anymore.  You have no idea what happens to some actors when they see themselves on the cover of soap magazine.  They go crazy.  I’ve seen it, and the worst thing you can do is to believe in that, and I’ve always been skeptical of that, very skeptical.  Get back to what counts in this business:  do a good job … do the best you can … and where is the money?  I mean really, let’s call a spade a spade, and that’s it.

Photo: JPI

I was just going to say, the one person I so wished was at your 40th celebration was Jeanne Cooper (Ex-Katherine, Y&R).   I wish she could have been there with us, because she would have loved it.  I know she loved you.

ERIC:  She would have spoken, trust me!  She would have said, “Alright, you son of a bitch.  Alright, macho man let’s see what you’ve got!” and then she would grab me by the balls.  The first scene I ever had with her, Jeanne did that.  Absolutely hilarious!  Jeanne and I could not do a scene without laughing.  I’m serious.  We had to pull ourselves together.  She had such a great sense of humor, and we both looked at this, obviously, with an enormous grain of salt, because we’ve been there.  We’d seen it all.

set

Photo: JPI

Through the years, you obviously have been vocal on social media where you will call out things as you see them and as you truly feel, especially through various regime changes, or if there is a noticeable shift away, or focus, from core characters. What are your thoughts on what ultimately makes Y&R, the iconic soap that it is?

ERIC:  Let me put it very simply: the show is based on the comradery and enmity between the Newmans and the Abbotts, and I’ve included on that a go-between, if you will, a Chancellor … Jeanne Cooper.   That was sort of the plan, but the major triangle was sort of the Montagues and the Capulets in Romeo and Juliet.  That is what legendary stories are based on.  It’s family rivalries, and within those rivalries, we tell all kinds of fantastic stories.  It’s father-son, father-daughter, husband-wife, love affairs, disloyalties, ruthless business competition, and it goes on and on.  The scenes with Peter Bergman and me over the years have been legendary, wonderful, and they’re great scenes.  Now, to suddenly bring in whole new characters that no one knows about, which previously happened on our show, you have to ask, “What are you not getting?  You want to reinvent the wheel?”  Go with what is working.  It doesn’t often happen that you have the right cast and the right story.  That is what makes a show successful.  Imagine taking Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) out of Seinfeld.  You couldn’t.   It wouldn’t work.  In other words, when you have the right actors and the right storyline, you have a hit.  We’d been number #1 for over 30 years because of it

Photo: JPI

When you get a script, have there been those moments in the 40 years where you will say. “My character would never do this.  I’m not playing it!?”

ERIC:  Of course.  Not that I’m not playing it, but I will make certain adjustments here and there.  I always have, by the way, from the very beginning.  Bill Bell agreed with most of it.  I know my character, and I have and instinctive feel for what is emotionally touching and what is not.  Look, I have always said that I admire writers.  I don’t envy their job.  I really don’t.  I think it is the hardest job in the business, and writing for soaps is even harder.  So, I have great respect.  So therefore, I don’t even want to know who wrote what.  I don’t ever want to be in the position of insulting a writer because I know how difficult it is.  As in everything in this business, it is a cooperative business.  There are very few writer/directors who have earned the right (I’m talking about Martin Scorsese, I’m talking about Ingmar Bergman, I’m taking about a handful) to write and direct their own stuff.  Even they rely on the cooperation of their lead actors.  That’s what is so wonderful about this business in that it’s this precisely cooperative thing.  However, when there are some people who simply don’t listen to those of us who have been around for a while and we know, we really know, then, they’re being foolish.

Photo: JPI

Y&R taped the Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary gala, which was in essence, your on-screen 40th anniversary episodes.  That was another amazing part of this.  I love that they would go to a clip, and one of the characters would say something in speech, and then, they’d go back to a shot of you reacting.  Were you, you, or Victor at that point, because it seemed so genuine and emotional?

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General Hospital's Johnny Wactor Talks 'Being Brando Corbin'

ERIC:  You know, look, one thing sort of blends into the other.  I loved that show by the way.  It was brilliantly done, and they could have easily screwed that up, but they didn’t.  I thought Josh Griffith (head writer, and Co-EP, Y&R) did a hell of a job, and Tony Morina did a wonderful job, they really did.  So, I really can’t say enough about that.

Photo: CBS

When you look back on the enormity of scenes you have performed as Victor Newman; the ones that and you and I always come back to are the scenes between you and Dorothy McGuire as Victor’s mother; and the scenes with you and George Kennedy as Victor’s father.  Do you still consider those your all-time favorites?

ERIC:  I always think about them.  They are my top favorites, plus one other.   No question about it; because the scene with Dorothy McGuire laid the groundwork of what Victor Newman is all about.  That summarized all of his subsequent moments of anger, and upset, and mistrust, and etc.  It was the seminal scene for Victor Newman … period.  One other scene that one of my favorites was the one with Melody, on Christmas Eve where Nikki keeps on bugging Victor to tell her about his past, and he finally does.  It was about that orphanage experience, etc.  Actually, those two scenes early on were responsible for my really wanting to stay and realizing that now I had a chance to play some real emotions, some real feelings, some real conflict.   I remember after Victor told Nikki that story, a moment when I went to my dressing room, I called home, and I said, “Now, I’m going to stay.”  No two ways about that.  I called my wife, and I said, “I’m staying,” because I wasn’t sure if I was going to.  It happened because I had talked to Bill Bell and I said, “Bill, I’m so tired of playing bad guys.  I’ve done it for too many years.  I’m empty.  I’m burnt out.  It’s too dehumanizing.  Let’s imbue this character with a background,” and he did, brilliantly, and that’s the reason I stayed, and that’s the reason I’m here 40 years later, truly.

So, when you were feeding rats to Nick Benedict as Michael Scott, were you ready to leave? (Laughs)

ERIC:  Well, that was a little different story, but I looked at that, and I said, “Are you kidding me?” (Laughs)  Back then, I knew little about what works on soaps … and people still talk about it!  They loved it.

Photo: JPI

The scenes opposite George Kennedy were so emotional … and heavy-duty, too.  It was so sad watching Victor’s father reject him.

ERIC:  It was sad.  It was really, really sad, and George played it wonderfully.  I cannot say enough about that because here is an actor who comes from the outside of our genre.  George lived in Boise. Idaho and he traveled all the way by car to LA with his grandson to do the scenes He wouldn’t take a plane.  George was so damn prepared that we did those scenes in one take!  It’s stunning!  I can’t talk enough about him.  I just so admired and respected him.  George passed away about a year ago, but that’s why I had him in my film, The Man Who Came Back.

Photo: JPI

As a leading man, Victor has had many women in and out of his romantic life for years and of course, his constant, Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott).   You’ve been fortunate to work with so many wonderful actresses such as Eileen Davidson as Ashley.  Which standout to you? 

ERIC:  I have to say obviously Melody, but I have to also say the scenes with Eileen – they meant a lot to me.  I regret that she and I did not have more storylines together.

Photo: CBS

So, the coronavirus is shutting down the world, life in America, and has shut down production on the soaps.  How is everybody dealing with it at the show, and how do you feel it’s being handled?

ERIC:  Well, originally I wanted to continue working, but I said only if everyone was fully supplied with the proper wipes and antiseptics all of the time.  In other words, from the makeup department, from the props department, to someone wiping down all of the handles and all of that, but I completely understand now from a company point of view, they had to shut down because what if you work and someone gets sick because of it… and it goes on and on.  It’s a terrible thing, but I was willing to continue working.  Yes, perhaps stupidly so.  It’s going to be tough when we come back because a lot of work has to be made up, but I understand why we stopped.

What would you say to the fans who have stayed so invested in Victor Newman, and you, even 40 years after your Y&R debut? 

ERIC:  I’ve said it before, and I will happily say it again:  I am deeply grateful to the fans everywhere.  Without them, you and I would not be talking.  That’s really the long and the short of it.  The fans have really everything to do with it.  I’m glad that I am on social media because I am engaged with quite a few people very gladly, and I hear some interesting stories, and some very touching stories.  Y&R has taught me to really not look at that as a sort of nebulous audience.  I put faces behind it because I’ve seen them.  I’ve seen them in the last 30-odd years in public appearances.  I don’t forget them.  I don’t forget what it means to me.  It’s deeply touching.  I’m not at all anesthetized to it, no.  It touches me deeply, and whenever I do a PA, and receive the people’s reactions, I say, “Whoa,” and now I know why I’m in the business.

Courtesy/CBS

In closing, fans have been watching what looks to be another showdown brewing between Victor vs. Adam for control of Newman Enterprises.  Do you think still after all these years; Victor has it in him to out maneuver his black sheep son, as he has done in the past?

ERIC:  Hell, yes.  What do you think?  Bring him on, man.  Bring him on.  Victor’s still full of piss and vinegar.  Okay?  What people don’t know is that I’m a feisty son of a bitch.  I don’t give up.  I fight to the last.  I mean it.

So, what has been your favorite all-time Y&R scenes featuring Eric Braeden? What do you hope happens next for Victor and the Newman clan? What do you think about the sentiments shared throughout our conversation on Eric’s 40th anniversary celebration? Comment below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Johnny Wactor Talks ‘Being Brando Corbin’

This week on General Hospital, viewers saw that Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) has set Port Charles newcomer Brando Corbin (Johnny Wactor) up with a mechanics garage for a place of business, that has left Brando concerned, but also thankful.

Brando came onto the scene when he saved Carly (Laura Wright) from gunfire. The once believed-to-be-dead son of Gladys Corbin (Bonnie Burroughs), has a checkered past, but has been trying to remain on the straight and narrow.  Sonny had previously put into motion protection for teenaged Dev (Ashton Arbab), that he will continue to be passed off as the biological son of Brando to keep him safe.  That, along with a back-story that includes: the Iraqi War, prison time, drug use, PTSD, familial issues, mob wars, and more, has loaded the deck for actor Johnny Wactor to show his acting chops and more within the daytime drama arena.

Since making his debut in the recurring role of Brando back in January of this year, in a short amount of time, Wactor has already displayed that he has solid leading man, and soap anti-hero potential, something that always serves one well amidst the romance, intrigue, and suspense of the genre’s storytelling.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Johnny to get his thoughts on becoming part of the iconic GH and where he hopes Brando’s journey goes from here.  Check out what he had to say below.

Photo: ABC

What do you think about your character’s name being “Brando”? Did GH tell you where the idea for the name came from?

JOHNNY:  Oh, I love it.   No, they didn’t tell me why, but I assume it was in some relation to Marlon Brando; when back in the day he was in a leather jacket … because I come onto the scene wearing a leather jacket as a badass!

What’s your experience been like coming onto a show like GH?  Previously, I know you’ve done a lot of primetime roles and series.  Were you shocked at the pace of shooting a daytime drama?

JOHNNY:  Oh, yeah.  I was made aware of the pace beforehand by my manager, as well as my buddy, Mark Grossman (Adam Newman) who works on The Young and the Restless.  He’s kicking ass over there.  In this genre, you get one rehearsal and one take pretty much, and then, they move on.  It’s definitely been a learning curve, and I’m still getting used to that at times where I’m just like, “Ah, I want one more take!”  I can get a bit obsessive and I’m a perfectionist.  It definitely has been challenging, but I enjoy it.  It’s fun to work at a fast pace.  It’s a lot like working in the theatre.

In story, Johnny is pretending to be Dev’s father.  Did you know that would be part of Brando’s story when you took on this gig?

JOHNNY:  I did not.   I didn’t know that until I read the first script that they sent me.  I’m like, “I also have a son?”   It was a lot to take in, but that’s where the imagination comes in.

What’s great for you, I would think, is that you’re getting to play in scenes with Maurice Benard and Laura Wright and major players who are a part of that core group.  What’s it been like working with them?

JOHNNY:  It’s been a Godsend, really.  Being my first time on a daytime show, for one, anytime you come onto a new project and one that’s been going on for some time, and you’re a newcomer, there’s always that concern like, “What will this set be like?  Is it like a familial atmosphere?  Am I going to be welcomed?”  They’ve made it super easy.  I’m just so lucky that I have people who have so much experience on this show and just daytime shows in general, where they’ve kind of taken me under their wings and are super helpful.  Anytime I have questions, they’re patient.  I’m sure I annoy them sometimes, but they don’t let on to it.   I’m grateful that they’ve sort of “teamed” me up with them to kind of ease me onto the show.

READ MORE
Y&R's Eric Braeden Talks On 40 Years Of Life In Soaps As Victor Newman

The fans are seeing a spark between Brando and Carly.  Is Brando into Carly?

JOHNNY:  I’d like to say that he rescued her because she was a beautiful blonde, but that’s not what that was and why he did it … even though I’m not denying that she’s a beautiful blonde.  I think there’s something there, but how far Brando pursues that, I don’t know!  Sonny sets Brando up with the garage and a pretty sweet deal at that.  So, does Brando want to screw this up?  However, not everyone makes logical, levelheaded decisions.  We’ll see.  I’m not ruling it out as something that could possibly happen.

How are you playing Brando right now? Is he a good guy … or, are there secret ulterior motives going down that the audience may not know about, yet?

JOHNNY:  In my opinion, he is a guy who has got a good heart.  I don’t think he is infallible.  I think he is someone who is determined to be on the mend and make up for his decisions and his past, because he is someone who has made poor decisions.  I don’t think you can rule him as a good person who will never make a mistake, or won’t get into trouble, or won’t make some bad decisions.  “Does he have ulterior motives?”  Maybe, but I think that if he does, they might be a little unconscious.  I think he is a genuine good guy.

Photo: ABC

Are the fans swooning over you on social media now that you’ve made your GH debut?  When you get the, “Oh, he’s hot,” do you take those compliments well, or, is it uncomfortable for you, and you deflect that?

JOHNNY:  It’s always flattering to get those compliments.  I think when I was younger, like 22, first getting into this business; I was definitely pining for those compliments and put more weight into it.  I will say; it’s always good to have someone say something positive about you.  I will take, “Hey, he’s good-looking.”  I love the comments.  It’s great.

So, what would you love to see happen with Brando?  Is there anything that you’re seeing with your character that you wish you could do …or get to have the opportunity to be able to drive the direction in which he goes in?

JOHNNY:  That’s a great question.  I love when the writers put Brando on the scene and planted some seeds early on when he was revealing a little of his background to Carly.  He reveals he has PTSD and spent time in prison.  Brando also has got issues with drug addiction.  I would love for those to kind of resurface somehow.  Maybe Brando has a relapse and gets back on the sauce, or drugs, or maybe has some kind of other issues with PTSD, because those are the real things in the world that people deal.

Photo: ABC

What’s great about it is that they kind of loaded you up with a back-story that they can fill in, so that as a viewer, you ultimately root for the guy

JOHNNY:  Absolutely.  Yeah, nobody wants to root for the guy who has everything and just has the perfect life.  We’ve all made mistakes.  So, alright, he’s trying to get back on the horse and make a good life for himself.

READ MORE
General Hospital's Johnny Wactor Talks 'Being Brando Corbin'

Did you get any pointers from GH vet Steve Burton (Jason), who you have also shared several scenes with since coming to GH?

JOHNNY:  The most pointers I’ve gotten from Steve are about preparation for the scenes.  Every time we have scenes together, he’s just always willing to work with you, and make sure that you’re prepared, and he’s prepared, and the scene is going to be the best that it can be.  Also, he’s been really invaluable with giving me more of a crash course on the background of these characters.  This show has been on for decades and it’s tough to get caught up in the short amount of time between when you find out you have the job, and you start filming, to really know who everybody is.  So, he explained to me who Jason is on the show and who the Corinthos family is and what they represent … these are dangerous guys!

Photo: ABC

Take me through what happened when you learned you got the part of Brando, and were joining the cast of General Hospital?

JOHNNY:  I was at my apartment.  I think it was probably two days after I went in for the producer’s session.  They brought in 4 or 5 guys to read in front of the producers, (at least that I saw) and I felt strong about my reading.  Then, I just kind of tried to forget about it after I left so I wouldn’t get all into my head about whether I got the part, or not.  Then the next day, I didn’t get a phone call.  So, I’m like, “Man, really?  I thought that might have been it.”   But the next day, I was with my girlfriend at the time and my agency was calling.  My manager was on the phone as well, and they shared with me that I got the part, and it was exciting.  It was a relief and an affirmation.  It’s always exciting when you book a job and then to book a major recurring role on a show with a character whose name is “Brando Corbin”, needless to say, was really cool.

Photo: ABC

I think it’s very apparent that you have the “It” factor.  You already have a shown a strong presence on the show and have a very bright future ahead of you.   I have seen a lot of actors come and go, and who launch their careers on daytime over the years, and I think you are going to be one to watch for quite some time to come.

JOHNNY:  First of all, thank you so much for saying that.  That’s really kind of you.  It’s really high praise.  Coming from someone who knows that show and who is a fan of it that means I passed the test!  Thank you, Michael!  I really appreciate that affirmation.  It’s good to get validation from someone whose opinion really matters.

Photo; ABC

Could you see a love interest for Brando coming up in the future?

JOHNNY:  I could definitely see a love interest for him coming up.  Maybe multiple love interests!  Who knows?

I think there are a lot of single ladies in Port Charles.

JOHNNY:  Yeah!  But, why do they have to be single?

Right! Or, they could be married!

JOHNNY:  It’s Port Charles!

Photo: ABC

So, have you been enjoying Johnny’s performances as Brando Corbin thus far?  Who do you hope he becomes involved with romantically on GH? Do you want to know more about his back-story and see what happens next now that Sonny has set him up with a garage? Comment below.

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Knots Landing favorites: Joan Van Ark (Valene), Michele Lee (Karen) and Donna Mills (Abby)  chat with Michael Fairman in honor of Knots Landing’s 40th anniversary. Leave A Comment

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