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EW.com report: Can James Franco save daytime?

james_franco.jpgJames Franco’s first tape day out of three was yesterday October 30th at General Hospital and EW.com’s Lynette Rice’s new feature on if Franco’s appearance can revive the soap genre’s ailing perception and numbers is analyzed.  Here is an excerpt!

“It’s always nice to hear some good news about the ailing genre: James Franco is finally in the house – or in the medical ward, rather. ABC has confirmed that Oct. 30 was Franco’s first day on General Hospital, a gig we’d like to think he agreed to because he wants to see daytime soaps survive just like the rest of us (though it might have simply occurred because he shares the same manager as GH’s Steve Burton). The Golden Globe-winning actor will play a mystery guy who comes to Port Charles and gets up in the grill of Jason Morgan (Burton). His role will play out over a two-month period that starts airing Nov. 20, but Franco’s only contracted to shoot three days on the sudser’s Los Angeles set. No matter: any kind of star-studded appearance from a star like Franco should do wonders for the soap world. Or can it?

Make no mistake, something has to be done to keep daytime dramas relevant. Viewer averages for soaps on the three broadcast networks have dropped 23 percent versus 10 years ago, and it’s even more dire in the all-important women 18-49 demo, which is down 41 percent during that same period. Going entirely on location with hand-held cameras isn’t the answer – just asking Guiding Light nor is cutting expensive though immensely popular stars like Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn  from Days of Our Lives (though an NBC insider insists that by lowering salaries and by cutting the show’s rich license fee to something south of $1 million per week, it managed to save the sudser). So is it the right idea to lure film stars like Franco? “I suspect if you talk to the network people overseeing these shows, they would say they innovate until the cows come home,” says one veteran TV executive with deep roots in daytime. “Come on… One Live to Live did a Grey Gardens musical number! The trouble is, these shows no longer have the reach or cultural influence where a stunt or even the return of a character can be heard above the din of regular life. Frankly, the last frontier may be changing the form of five hours a week. That’s going to have to be addressed.”

General Hospital

Harrison Wagner, Son of GH’s Kristina Wagner and Jack Wagner, Cause of Death Determined

General Hospital’s Kristina Wagner (Felicia) and former GH and B&B star Jack Wagner (ex-Frisco, ex-Nick) have been mourning the loss of their beloved son, Harrison Wagner, since he passed away this past June at the age of 27.

Harrison was found in a parking lot and his cause of death was initially deferred.  Now, according to a report from PEOPLE.com, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner officials have updated Harrison’s death as an “accident,” with Fentanyl and Alprazolam (the generic name for Xanax) as the official cause.

Courtesy/HarrisonWagnerIG

Following his passing, Kristina and Jack created the Harrison Wagner Scholarship Fund to assist other young men who battle addiction to be able to afford getting into a recovery community.

Just a few days ago on December 1st, Kristina remembered her son on what would have been his 28th birthday with a touching Instagram post. It included a video clip of Harrison dancing along with the words: “Sometimes I feel like a pinned butterfly. There’s no second chance. There’s no see-him-again. There’s no nothing. He’s not coming back. It’s final. But life goes on. How do I spend the rest of my own without Harrison in it? What does it mean to be ‘all right’ after the death of your child, your blood? The pain will never go away. Today is Harrison’s birthdate. I had the privilege to know him for 27 incredible years. Harrison was larger than life, but beneath his commanding presence was vulnerability and compassion. He understood his own defects and worked hard to turn them around, to strengthen his positive attributes. He was a good listener and stood up for others when they couldn’t speak for themselves. He is missed. Happy Birthday, Harrison. To all bereaved parents: May you find peace. Let’s stick around and see what’s in store for our extraordinary lives.”

Photo: KWagnerIG

Jack and Kristina have two sons together, the late Harrison, and their eldest son, Peter (age 31).  The actors were previously married from 1993 to 2006.

We continue to offer our condolences to Jack, Kristina, and Peter through this difficult time, and hope that from Harrison’s passing, that the scholarship fund in his name, will help others.

Share your thoughts on the closing of the case on Harrison Wagner’s death, and send your continued condolences to Jack and Kristina via the comment section below.

The Harrison Wagner Scholarship Fund notes that if you have a loved one that is in need of help with their substance abuse, please give them call at 888-977-4549 to learn more about the recovery options available.

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General Hospital

GH’s Charles Shaughnessy On Victor’s Villainy: “He’s Just Making Trouble for All of the Fan Favorites! He’s Just Making Their Lives Miserable”

In pretty short order, Victor Cassadine’s re-emergence in Port Charles, and now played by daytime vet, Charles Shaughnessy, has caused plenty of havoc on ABC’s General Hospital.  Shaughnessy, who was much beloved as Shane Donovan on Days of our Lives, debuted on GH back in September of 2021.

You can look at the body count, or the people Victor has under his thumb, to know the impact he is making on the canvas.

In a new interview in the latest issue of Soap Opera Digest (on newsstand now), Shaughnessy weighs-in on being the treacherous Cassadine.

 

Charles shared: “I mean, he’s just making trouble for all of the fan favorites! He’s just making their lives miserable.  He’s the guy who killed Luke Spencer.  He’s the guy who put Anna in jail and tried to break up her relationship with Valentin.  He’s just miserable to Holly. He’s just dreadful! But it’s such great fun, I mean, the more dreadful the better, really. He’s the villain you love to hate.”

Photo: ABC

So, how and just when Victor will get his comeuppance is on everyone’s mind in the viewing audience as well as for characters such as: Laura (Genie Francis), Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), Lucy (Lynn Herring), Holly (Emma Samms), Anna (Finola Hughes), Ava (Maura West), Selina (Lydia Look), and many more.

Victor’s evil deeds seemed to reach new heights during the Holly Sutton storyline. Now the question is, who will he go after next, given what would seem to be his quest for the necklace containing diamonds from the Ice Princess?  Stay tuned.

What do you think of Charles’ portrayal of Victor? Who do you hope takes down Victor? Comment below.

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Felicia, Robert & Holly’s Masterplan Revealed Featuring Heart-Tugging Moments from Tristan Rogers & Emma Samms

Wednesday’s General Hospital began where the previous episode left off, with an on-fire, Holly Sutton (Emma Samms), literally! As the action picks up, Robert (Tristan Rogers) covers Holly with blankets to try and douse the flames.  The paramedics announce Holly has suffered second-degree burns over 75% of her body.

When the ambulance takes off, Robert goes with it. Meanwhile, Jordan (Tanisha Harper) and Mac (John J. York) are looking for evidence from the cabin fire … and wonder where the necklace has gone?

Courtesy/ABC

Later, the ambulance pulls over to the side of the road, and one of the drivers is none other than paramedic Felicia Scorpio (Kristina Wagner)! Felicia reveals herself as does Holly, who is perfectly fine, and Robert, who was in on the entire ruse to get Holly safely out of the country and away from Victor Cassadine (Charles Shaughnessy).

Viewers learn in flashbacks how this trio worked together to pull this off: Felicia showed up at the cabin with fire retardant clothes for Holly to wear and revealed how she planned to set the stove to start the fire.  We then learn that Holly and Robert staged Robert’s drugging and mugging, in order for Holly to steal the necklace and leave it inside the cabin for the PCPD to find.  It was Holly’s plan to ensure that Victor would have no further use for her.

Next, Robert gives Holly the keys to a car that can’t be traced; as she is to drive to Canada with a new ID and completely disappear.  Felicia adds that records will show that Holly was taken to a burn facility halfway around the world, freeing her to find out just where Victor is holding her beloved son, Ethan.

Courtesy/ABC

Holly has a surprise in store for Victor on her departure! In a flashback, Holly meets up with Selina Wu (Lydia Look) on the pier and gifts her with one of the jewels from the necklace in exchange for poisoning Victor for her. Holly tells Selina she won’t find her son alive and well if Victor is dead, and assures Selina the poison will not kill Victor, but will be payback.

As the episode comes to a conclusion, and if you are a longtime fan of GH, you probably reached for the hankies in touching and beautifully-played moments between Tristan Rogers and Emma Samms.

Courtesy/ABC

In the story, Holly apologizes to Robert for all the trouble she has caused, but the two share a passionate kiss before they say their final goodbyes. BUT .. you didn’t think Holly would try to get away without one last scheme? She had the necklace in her pocket the whole time, begging the question … was she  going to take it with her? However, Robert knew Holly had the necklace and asks her to hand it over to him, which she does.

For her final moments, Holly walks off into the fog, which could only signify that this guest star turn for Emma Samms has come to its conclusion.

So, what did you think about the twists on today’s episode? Did you think Robert, Felicia and Holly were in cahoots? What did you think of the final scenes between Tristan Rogers and Emma Samms? Comment below.

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