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Executive Producers David Michaels & David Parks Chat On The Moments That Made The 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Ceremony

Photos: JPI Srudios?NATAS

The 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards are in the record books, and with it came surprising victories, emotional tearjerker moments, and a show that ended up with more heart than the fluff we often see within many entertainment award shows.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Daytime Emmy show executive producers, David Michaels (who also serves as the SR. VP Daytime Emmy Awards for NATAS) and David Parks to gain some insight on how they pulled off some of the major moments of the evening including: a surprise appearance by Amy Poehler, Kathie Lee Gifford’s daytime TV send-off, Shemar Moore’s touching tribute to the late Kristoff St. John, and of course, that Emmy-winning acceptance speech from Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek, who is currently battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

On the soap opera side, there was the long overdue win by GH’s Maurice Benard (Sonny), former GH star Hayley Erin (Ex-Kiki) receiving her Younger Actress award from her idol, none other than Alex Trebek, and B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy) receiving the Lead Actress trophy in a tough category of industry heavyweights.

In a year that was tumultuous for the producers and for NATAS with a threatened boycott by the network soaps, requests for more rule regulations and transparency, and the ongoing situation where the Daytime Emmys have not returned to be televised on cable or network TV, but have found success on streaming and social media platforms, we checked-in with Michaels and Parks for a Daytime Emmy post-mortem, and to get the lowdown of their thoughts on daytime’s biggest night of the year. Here’s what they shared.

Photo: NATAS/Getty

Let’s talk about some of the big moments that happened throughout the Emmy ceremony and how you pulled them off.  One, of course, is the Amy Poehler surprise as the presenter of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Judge Judy that nobody knew about.  How did you find out that Amy was a Judge Judy fan, and how did you keep her appearance a secret?

DAVID MICHAELS:  I want to just say that what a great job our co-host, Sheryl Underwood did in announcing it, because she saw the name on the teleprompter for the first time during the live show.  I was going to tell her that morning, but as she said, “If I was a bucket, I couldn’t hold water.”   So, very, very, very few people knew.   All through the scripts in the rundown, Amy was listed as “Presenter X.”   What happened was, the day after the press release about Judge Judy came out, Harlan Boll (NATAS publicist) forwarded me an email from a publicist that I didn’t know saying that he wanted to talk about his client presenting on the Emmys.   I called him, and he claimed to be Amy Poehler’s publicist, and I didn’t know him.  He said, “Amy Poehler is Judge Judy’s biggest fan.  She wants to present the award.”  The only stipulation is that it has to be a surprise.  Then, I went on IMDB-Pro, and checked him out, and he was indeed Amy’s publicist and for a lot of other celebrities, as well.   I called Judy’s people, and I said, “You’re not going to believe this,” and they went to Judy, and she just loved it.  I don’t even know why Amy wanted it to be a surprise, but we had to honor it.  It obviously would have done us more good pre-publicity-wise if it wasn’t a surprise, but we honored it.   We actually kept a secret in Hollywood!  I mean, David Parks knew, and maybe four other people.  I think that maybe what I am proudest of … keeping the secret.

Photo: NATAS

David Parks, did you think it would really happen?

DAVID PARKS:  You know, I am often a naysayer about things, but I actually did.  There was something legitimate about it once David vetted the manager.  There was really never any scare or anything that was like, “Oh, all of the sudden she’s busy.  All of the sudden she’s been offered this other thing.”   It was kind of like, it got arranged, and we didn’t have to do anything until that week, and then, we had to figure out the best place to drop her off and how to get Amy inside the venue with as few people as possible seeing her.   She could not have been nicer about it all too.  I mean, we got her to the closest spot, and nobody on my team knew.  Like David said, it was “Presenter X.”  Everybody kept asking.   I was like, “Not going to tell you.  Then, you don’t have to worry about keeping the secret.”

DAVID MICHAELS:  I was just very taken with how gentle and kind Amy was.  She looked me in the eye and actually thanked me for letting her do this.  She was so gracious and sweet.  The whole thing was just a great experience.

Courtesy/NATAS/Getty

Another memorable moment occurred at the end of the night, when Shemar Moore (Ex-Malcolm, Y&R and now S.W.A.T.) honored his dear friend and former on-screen Y&R brother, the late Kristoff St. John (Ex-Neil Winters) before announcing the winner in the Outstanding Drama Series category. Were you aware that Shemar was going to go off-script and talk about his love and respect for St. John?

DAVID MICHAELS:  Obviously, to this daytime community, Kristoff was very special.   I made him last in the In-Memoriam segment, which obviously was the most I could do as a producer, because there were over 30 other people who passed as well. Before he took the stage, Shemar came to the producers table and he said, “Are you sure?”  This was in regard to him saying a few words about Kristoff.  I said, “Shemar, as long as you say that you’re going off the script,” because he was.  There was nothing in the script.  I just said, “If you go out there and speak from the heart, I will have no problem with it, and I think that everybody will have no problem with it.”  He went out there, and he just killed it.  He was brilliant. I was sitting there at the producer’s table crying.  He destroyed me.  I think everybody really appreciated it, and I thought it was the perfect way to go into the final award.

DAVID PARKS:  I thought it was very genuine.  You can still feel his pain.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Next, you were able to get Kathie Lee Gifford to attend the Daytime Emmys to honor her.  How did that come together?  I assume she did not have a speech written when she addressed the crowd.  Kathie Lee is all about being “authentic”.

DAVID MICHAELS:  Correct, she actually had no speech written.  I saw her right before she went on, and she said, “Well, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.”  I said, “You’re supposed to go out there and be Kathie Lee.  You’re supposed to tell the community what you think of them.”  I also added, “I doubt this is the first time you’ve improvised,” and she laughed.  The result is what you saw, because she had not seen the tribute video before we played it, and the ladies of The Talk had actually asked to introduce Kathie Lee, because they adore her.

DAVID PARKS:  It really did come off well, because there was this concern about it not being a Lifetime Achievement Award(Not that she doesn’t deserve one, but that just wasn’t what it was this year.)  We were figuring out, how do you make this moment that is special without overshadowing the Lifetime Achievement Awards?  Kathie managed to do that.  I think it was her then winning in the Outstanding Informative Talk Show host category along with Hoda Kotb that really made it one of the most talked about moments of the show.

That award was positioned after Kathie Lee’s tribute, correct?

DAVID PARKS:  Yes, and on purpose, because in the case that she doesn’t win, you don’t want her out there kind of bumming out about it.  In all of these moments you have mentioned, the serendipity of it worked out really nicely for us.  Judy got honored, and unfortunately for her she didn’t win, but it didn’t destroy the moment.  In Kathie Lee’s case, it elevated the moment.

Courtesy/NATAS

Talking about serendipity, with Amy, Kathie Lee, Shemar, and Alex, it was almost like an organic perfect storm, and the next day people were talking about the Daytime Emmys in the mainstream press more than they had in recent years.

DAVID PARKS:  You picked up on this inclination that you have to fight sometimes to entertain, entertain, and entertain.  I think this year kind of proved that you don’t have to throw out the dog and pony show. It kind of works that you honor people, and they come out and they give these heartfelt speeches, and those mean more than those extra segments – whether it’s song or dance, or jokes, and you can tell the things that we cut out this year.  I think what it’s all about is …  getting awards, giving awards, and honoring people for their achievements.

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How do you feel your co-hosts, Sheryl Underwood (The Talk) and Mario Lopez (EXTRA) did this year?  You seem to like this pairing as you have had them back multiple times now.

DAVID MICHAELS:  I thought it was Sheryl’s best year.  We didn’t give Sheryl big comedy moments, but everything she did felt so heartfelt and right.  They were there throughout the show.  They got their moments.  They got their beginning, middle, and they got their end.

DAVID PARKS:  I think as producers there was a little bit of a gift in watching what happened with the Oscars this year because it actually showed, (I mean, I’m sure it’s not what they wanted initially) not having a host kind of stream-lined that show.  People were like, “Yeah, the Oscars were pretty good this year.”  We talked about that a lot.  We don’t need to over think this.  It’s already been proven what happens if we don’t give as much to our hosts.

Photo: NATAS

Let’s talk about Alex Trebek.  That was such a huge moment when he accepted his award; winning Outstanding Game Show Host, and when he took the stage to present the Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series award.  I heard he wasn’t not feeling well at all at the ceremonies, as we all knew he is battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

DAVID MICHAELS:  I know Alex pretty well.  So, I could tell he wasn’t feeling well; even though that wasn’t what he was putting forth.  It’s interesting though because Alex originally told us he wanted to stay backstage the whole time, but once he got to the ceremony that was not what he wanted to do.  So, Alex was in the audience, and he actually surprised me.  In a similar way to what I said to Shemar.  I said, “When Alex gets out there, he’s going to get a standing ovation,” which he did, and that was the moment when I said, “Alex, if you want to say something, go ahead,” and he didn’t.  I was shocked.  He just came out and presented the Younger Actress award.  So, if Alex had not won, he never would have said anything because that’s when he got the emotion in and all of that.  He definitely took a chance.

So, Alex presents ‘Younger Actress’ and made Hayley Erin’s (Ex-GH) life, because when I did my interview with her backstage, all she talked about is what this meant to have her idol, Alex Trebek hand her the award.  Talk about serendipity!  Now, when Alex accepted his award for Outstanding Game Show Host, did you have any idea what he was going to say, because coming out of the Emmys, people were buzzing about what he shared on-stage.

DAVID MICHAELS:  No, and quite honestly, I got scared when he started that speech when he was saying he didn’t want a sympathy vote, but that’s Alex.  He will totally bring it, and then turn it around.

Photo: NATAS

DAVID PARKS:  There was a side thing that you probably didn’t know about.  We got approached by a guy looking to buy fan tickets, but they had a group who needed ADA (Americans with Disabilities) seating.   It turned out be a group of cancer patients who were terminal.  The group was SayYEStoHOPE.org.  They weren’t asking for anything.  They just wanted to be able to sit together. So, we comped them all.  I’m at the red carpet, and this group is coming up the stairs, and one of the guys from the venue says to me, “This is the ‘Say Yes to Life’ group.”  So, I start talking to them, and one of the women just had chemo that day, and they were so excited to be at the Daytime Emmys, but what they were really excited about was to see Alex Trebek.  I wish there had been a way to either acknowledge them, or to let Alex know,  because they are big Daytime television fans,  but Alex meant so much to them in terms of being a cancer survivor, and a cancer patient, just like them.

Were you worried about Alex on Emmy night?

DAVID PARKS:  I thought he looked pretty good considering what I knew he had been going through.  It was actually this past week when I read about how on Jeopardy, he was doubled over in pain on the floor.

DAVID MICHAELS:  Yeah, if you saw that CBS Sunday Morning interview, it was pretty extreme, and they showed a clip from our show, by the way.  Similar to what David described with Judge Judy and Amy, Alex stood by the monitor to see if Jeopardy was going to win, which it didn’t, and Alex was just like, “Okay,” and off he went, and I got a big hug.  Just knowing him, I think he put out a lot of energy to be there, but I think he was glad to do it.

Courtesy/NATAS

Let’s move on to another amazing moment which was General Hospital’s Maurice Benard (Sonny) finally winning his second Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor.  The crowd went crazy!  What did you think about how that happened . … and the fact that Maurice didn’t have a speech prepared?

DAVID MICHAELS:  I honestly believe Maurice that he didn’t think he was going to win.  It’s been many years since he had, and I also didn’t think that any of the other nominees could complain about losing an award to Maurice, because he’s the king.  He kept saying he couldn’t cry up there, and then, he cried up on-stage.  It really was about doing the Alzheimer’s storyline with Max Gail (Mike, GH) who totally reminds Maurice of his real father, and then, to have Max win as well, I just think it was a very emotional moment for him, and it was beautiful.

DAVID PARKS:  What impressed me is that often times you think actors should be so good at giving speeches, and they’re horrible at it because it’s not scripted.  So, when somebody does give one, and it’s really heartfelt and all of that, it’s really refreshing.  It’s kind of nice, especially on such a big award.

Photo: NATAS

DAVID MICHAELS:  In addition, Kyler Pettis (Ex-Theo, Days) win for Younger Actor in a Drama Series, was one of the most emotional things I have ever seen.  For years, I have been impressed with his portrayal of the high-functioning autistic young man.  It was always very moving to me.  If you watched the show and the close-up on him when they called his name, Kyler immediately was crying.  It really moved me.  I spoke to him the next day at The Talk, and he was completely blown away.  I just don’t think he thought this was going to happen.

What went into the decision to make the opening number “Sing!”?  Obviously, a big part of that was you were celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street.  And, I hear Mario Lopez’s son got to see the Muppets backstage, up close and personal?

DAVID MICHAELS: They always say don’t work with children and animals – but we did it – children – a dog – and two Muppets!  The dog – of course was Q-Tip – the shelter dog who came on with Lucky Dog’s Brandon McMillan. The kids were mostly from a community theatre production of MATILDA – and Joely Fisher connected us.  They included one of Joely’s daughters, Rebecca Romijn’s twins and Gary Busey’s son!  It was my concept and our musical director’s arrangement.  I thought it would be a great, positive way to start the evening.  It is always a joy to work with the Muppets – and Ryan and Leslie who do Elmo and Abby are amazing.  When Mario’s son, Nico, came in, I wanted to be careful to not shatter any illusions – so I took him over to the Muppets and he stared at them and he whispered to me: “Are they real”?  I said “Of course they are – just like you see them on TV.”  Nico says, “Can they talk?” I  say, “Of course they can.”  Then, Nico says, “Does someone have to help them talk?”  Now I am nervous and I pause, “Well … what do you think?”  He says, “I think they have some help”  Then,  he walked around back and saw the puppeteers.  The most adorable sweet child on the planet!

Photo: NATAS

There was a lot of behind the scenes drama and difficulties in the months prior to the Emmys; including the independent investigation, requests for more transparency in the awards system, the four soaps potentially boycotting, etc.  When you look back at what it took to get here, how do you feel about the outcome?

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DAVID PARKS:  I’ve used this analogy a couple of times already, and I’m not a woman, but I think this is kind of what childbirth must be like.  The pain of it is so great that you think, “We can’t get through this,” and “Never again,” and afterwards, you see the baby, and all of the pain goes away.  You’re like, “Hey, we did it, and it worked.  It was really good.  It was enjoyable.”  I think, as a producer, you don’t really want people to know the difficulties.  If people understand the difficulties of getting to that night, you’ve probably done something wrong.  At the same time, I’m the last guy to crave attention, but for the people who were aware of the challenges that we had this year to see what we’ve pulled off, and when they say, “Holy cow.  Your set, your show, the smoothness…”  that is gratifying. You know, the stuff people are experiencing in the audience or the stuff that they see on the screen is what ultimately matters.  You learn from the mistakes, but at the end of the day, as long as that experience is good for the nominees, the winners, and the fans, that is what really counts.

People always want to know how it goes backstage with the handling of the envelopes.  Do you have it plotted out so that nobody except the accountants knows the winners until the big moment on-stage?  How does that work?

DAVID PARKS:  So, this year we actually had two accountants backstage.  The envelope went from the hand of the accountant to the hand of the stage manager, who then gave it to our trophy people, who give it to the presenter.  We had our fancy, new envelopes which everybody seemed to like, but literally, nobody on the staff even touched the envelopes this year.

Photo: NATAS

It seems like you have built-in a failsafe to minimize any potential complaints.

DAVID PARKS:  People always can, I guess.  It’s always been completely above board, but this year it was just even another step.  It’s important because the integrity of the awards is important.  I laugh a little bit, when somebody thinks they know if they are going to win or not because they’re trying to read something into the position of a camera in the audience.  We even added steps with how we shot it.  We told our cameramen, “Hold your shot for like 5 seconds after the announcement has been made.  So, even though your person isn’t getting up, we don’t want you to relax.”  We don’t want the person to think they’re not going to win.  The worst thing that will happen is somebody thinks they’re not going to win like a half a second before the announcement, it’s not a life-altering thing, but we still want to make the experience perfect for all nominees.

DAVID MICHAELS:  Our director Greg Gelfand, I think is the best in the business.  This is all a big pain in the butt for him.  He’s just trying to direct a show, but he was totally with us.  Greg said, “Okay, you’ve got it.”  The cameramen were great, and Greg was great.   Again, I’ll say for the 8 millionth time, I don’t know who is going to win.  It was very exciting and it was very surprising.

DAVID PARKS:  I always tell people that if anybody wanted to have proof that we don’t know in advance, all they have to do is watch David’s reaction at the producer’s table.  We find out at the same time as everybody else, and he’s like, “Oh, my God!  They won!?  That is an upset.  You don’t understand, Dave.  That is like an upset.”

Courtesy/NATAS

DAVID MICHAELS:  I know the soaps more than David does, but I’m like a little boy back there when I see who is winning.  I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” (Laughs)  The accountants sometimes will look at me like, “Did I do something wrong? (Laughs)  Look, there’s not much more we can do.  I was very proud.  I was very proud of the presenters, and I thought it was a great mix of all of the genres and the whole industry, and everybody was great in their own unique way.  There was some new blood at the show presenting and with the winners.

DAVID PARKS:  I have to interject my half into the little bit of love fest for David, because if there is one thing I think I hammered on David more than anything else this year was that we have to shorten the show.  The difference between three hours and three and a half hours or three hours and twenty minutes, is a huge difference.  I kept pushing David to simplify, to come up with simpler ways, or less verbose ways to do presentations, and he rose to the occasion, and before the show, he was like, “I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think I could have made this any shorter,” and I went through the script and there really was so little that could have been trimmed.  David really did a great job of answering the call and writing something that got us through a lot faster than last year.  We got a lot of comments after that said it didn’t feel like three hours.  Part of that was that it wasn’t three hours and thirty minutes.  It was actually three hours.

DAVID MICHAELS:   David Parks is the perfect foil for me and me for him.  Because we are so different, we don’t fight, but we will have words sometimes, and one of us will win, but it’s always the right decision.  One of the reasons I love working with him so much is that if he is giving me a hard time about something, there is a reason for it, and I have to really consider what he is saying.  I think that is a really healthy way to work.

Photo: JPI Studios

What would you like to see happen for the next Daytime Emmy Awards presentation?

DAVID MICHAELS:  I’d love for somebody to give us a million dollars so that we can do the most lavish show in the world.  I’d love to keep the heart going.   The one bad thing about finishing a good show is that you always take a breath and say, “Now … what do we do next time?”

DAVID PARKS:  For me, it’s that you always want to keep shows like this fresh.  It doesn’t always mean completely reinventing the wheel, but sometimes, you step back, and you think, “What can we do to freshen this up so that it’s not just a repeat?”  That can have to do with the set.   You just have to look at everything and also recognize that the best moments, as we learned this year, you can’t manufacture those.  They’re just going to happen organically.  So, you just have to create a show that allows those moments to happen, and like David said, money solves problems.  We will certainly be looking for additional sponsorship, and to build on the great ratings that we’ve had this year, and the fact that we have continued to build this event up over the years.

Courtesy/NATAS

Would you ever consider, or continue to try to get the ceremony back on TV, perhaps even on daytime television, if some network would offer you a spot to do it in?

DAVID MICHAELS:  There is nothing we wouldn’t consider.   Although I will say; that if the numbers are what we think they were this year, there were probably more than three times as many viewers as the last time we were on television.

DAVID PARKS:  I’ve always said that if they were to be on TV again, if they were to be on during the day, which is when our fans are watching TV anyway, it would make sense,  However, I have to say that I think the Daytime Emmys being at sort of the forefront of digital television puts us way out in front.  Eventually, this is how everybody is going to be watching TV.  It’s not going to be like, “Oh, we’re not on basic, terrestrial TV.”  It doesn’t matter.

DAVID MICHAELS:  You’ve got to realize that this audience is worldwide.  Being on television is not.  So, when you see that people are watching all over the world, that’s pretty amazing.

So, what did you think about what David & David shared about decisions made for the Emmy ceremony and the backstage tidbits?  How would you score this year’s Daytime Emmys? What was your favorite moment within it? Comment below.

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davlestev1

And that’s why the daytime Emmys will NEVER be televised again. Two tone deaf people claiming that no fans want to see them there anymore and would rather watch on Facebook. TOO FUNNY. I remember just how important and popular the televised shows were. So popular the network that aired them each got to air a splashy nighttime episode of their most popular soap in the evening, one hour after or before. Watching Doug Marlands turn as head writer on the Doctors (retro tv) also shows the power of what our soaps used to be. Aside from those hideous scenes of Jada Rowland taking over as carolee and constantly meeting Steve Steve and nothing else for weeks on end LOL.

Cid Weinberg
Cid Weinberg

Radio to TV to Internet…when we embrace it, it’s amazing. Nothing stays the same. I get it and always thought The Daytimes Emmy’s belong on during the day too. I do not watch live TV like before & watch Online. There are other avenues, not just Facebook. The rest of the world does, can reach a larger audience. Producers can do both – produce for live TV & Online. Fantastic to be able to view old soaps & The Sopa Art Form as it matured, correct? Lucky & makes one smile doesn’t? The soaps still have power, they just don’t need to remember…not throw in the towel & challenge themselves, again.

Patrick
Patrick

David Michaels : “you” are completely – OUT – of your mind.

Maurice Benard is not an every day player any more. his role and character are continually in question by the fan mindset. by your wanting to showcase a humane streak in him with “ALTZHEIMERS” has not swayed the audience one bit. GOD he’s old and showing it. NOW that the “RULES” of submitting have changed… MAURICE BENARD , WAS ABLE TO GIVE A STORY ARC , 20 MINUTES LONG. lets cap off this submission with a song from Frank Sinatra with dear old dying daddy.

WHICH if you knew the history.. has not changed one bit of history with this father/son estrangement. he nutted up before ONE iota or semblance of any kind of relationship surfaced. NOT ONE IOTA of emotion real made it to reel.

even with the powerhouse performer Max Gail is… who propped his fellow castmates at ever whim . still

we got nothing , of communication of any kind… that was relatable. Sonny was always the reactor.. and just drew blank. camera fade.

HOW CAN YOU SAY : that his fellow nominees … would slight themselves and just give a wasted acknowledgment away ???? are you that daft ? of course you are scrambling for credibility. OH MY GOD… Jon Lindstrom / Tyler Christopher / Billy Flynn / Peter Bergman… I watch these shows 365 days a year… for decades… yeah, fault the non entity. Whomever : the emmy panelists… NEED to be in question… just like in best lead actress… the emmy panelist voters SUCKED THE LIFE OUT OF THE EMMY .

Interviews

Knots Landing’s Joan Van Ark, Michele Lee & Donna Mills Share Backstage Memories, Watch Back Classic Scenes & Remember the Cul-De-Sac On Its 40th Anniversary

The primetime soap that lasted longer than them all was not Dallas, Dynasty or Falcon Crest, but Knots Landing! The series about the lives of the people of the cul-de-sac at Seaview Circle in Southern California ran on CBS from December 27th, 1979 till May 13, 1993.

Throughout Knots’ run, the show centered on the lives of female characters; most notably Joan Van Ark as Valene Ewing, Michele Lee as Karen Fairgate MacKenzie and Donna Mills as Abby Cunningham Ewing (yes, there were several other married names too!).

What made Knots Landing so special was its more ‘grounded in reality’ storylines (than over-the-top on the other primetime soaps), while also delivering the soapy goodness and those riveting cliffhangers and those gut-wrenching performances that had millions of fans tuning in every week on Thursday nights.

Who can ever forger the 3-year story arc of Val having her twins taken from her at birth, or Sid’s death that left Karen a grieving widow, or the moment we saw Abby’s other side as mother lioness with her children, trying to deal with her daughter Olivia’s drug problem.  These were only some of the unforgettable moments and portrayals by these three women.

To commemorate Knots Landing’s 40th anniversary. Michael Fairman sat down with Joan, Michele and Donna at Donna Mills’ home for this very special deep-dive conversation for his You Tube channel, The Michael Fairman Channel. 

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During their conversation the ladies share: what they thought of it each other the first time they met … if there was any competition between them, their thoughts on the leading men on the show that included: Ted Shackelford, Don Murray, Kevin Dobson, William Devane and more.   In addition, they dish on the wealth of talent that came through the show including: Alec Baldwin, Julie Harris, Howard Duff, Halle Berry and so many more.  Plus, if there were a reboot of Knots’ just where would Val, Karen and Abby be now!

In some of the most heartfelt and touching moments contained within the interview. Michael had chosen several clips from ‘Knots’ to play back to the women to get their reactions and thoughts to those fan favorite moments.   A must-see for all die-hard and longtime  “Knots” fans.

We won’t spoil anymore, but suffice to say, we hope you check out the full interview below featuring Joan, Michele, and Donna.

Then, let us know what were your favorite moments contained within the interview … and share your favorite ‘Knots’ memories during its run via the comment section.

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Sean Kanan, Tristan Rogers & Timothy Woodward Jr. Talk On The Making Of New Digital Drama ‘Studio City’ & Respect For Soaps

Just as we closed out 2019, the world of digital dramas saw the debut of a riveting new show, Studio City.  The series initial season can be binged watched in its entirety on Amazon Prime, which follows the life of Hollywood actor Sam Stevens and the cast of “Hearts on Fire“, America’s number two daytime drama, as they navigate the chaotic world of soap operas and their own messy personal lives.

Studio City was co-created, executive produced, and stars longtime daytime favorite, Sean Kanan (Ex-AJ, General Hospital, Ex-Deacon, B&B).  In it, Kanan plays Sam, who plays a doctor on the soap-within-the show, and whose life off the set provides the back-drop for much of the drama and heart and soul of the series.

Kanan has surrounded himself with quite the acting company which includes: Carolyn Hennesy (Diane, GH), Sarah Brown (Ex-Carly and Claudia, GH, Julia, ATWT, Madison, DAYS and Agnes, B&B), Patrika Darbo (Ex-Nancy, DAYS and Ex-Shirley, B&B), Scott Turner Schofield (Ex-Nick, B&B) and the one and only, Tristan Rogers (Robert, GH, Colin, Y&R).   In addition, feature film director, Timothy Woodward Jr. (who turns out to be a soap fan and appreciates the genre), is the man behind the camera directing the story and the cast through the ups, downs, laughs and tears of the story in Studio City,

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Kanan, Tristan Rogers, and Woodward to find out: how Studio City all came together, what their hopes are for it in the future, and about the tears (those who have watched the series have shed in episode 6) and pivotal moments portrayed by Sean, Tristan, and Patrika Darbo that have helped create a buzz for the show.  Check out what these gents had to share below.

Photo: Studio City

Sean, in the stellar cast are many daytime notables including: Carolyn Hennesy, Sarah Brown, Patrika Darbo and Tristan. Did you reach out to them individually… and tell them what you had cooking with Studio City?

SEAN:  (Laughs) Did I reach out to them?  I had to beg them.  When you do a project like this, nobody is getting rich yet.  This really was a favor and a labor of love.  Patrika and I have really worked on more projects together than I can count.  Carolyn was on my radio show.  There was nobody else I wanted for their parts then Carolyn, Patrika, and Sarah. The idea of Tristan came a little bit later because I had written the character, but the character was actually very different.  He was actually a homeless guy.  He was a guy who had been a doctor and had been strung out on Vicodin, and had had a mishap in the operating room, and lost his license and then became homeless, but he was sort of this homeless sage poet who was giving Sam these bits of wisdom.  Ultimately, through meetings and compromises, it evolved into what it is now, and then, once that happened, I was like, “There’s no reason Tristan can’t play that,” and everyone signed on after a lot of coaxing, but they all did it for me.  I’m so grateful for that because it wouldn’t be what it is without those wonderful people in the series.

TRISTAN:  What happened was he said, “Will you do this part?”  I said, “Yeah.”  Sight unseen.  I figured Sean is an actor with relatively good taste (laughs) so he’s not going to give me a piece of s**t to do.  (Laughs)   Then, he sends me over some copy, and the copy is really good.   So, we set the week up, and that week turned out to be three weeks from hell for me because of my schedule!  I was doing General Hospital.  Then, I had Young and the Restless come in on top of that.  Then, I was doing The Bay, and somewhere in all of this I was doing Studio City.  So, I’m trying to figure out how I am going to do all of this.  In the meantime, Studio City said, “No, we’ve got to do it at a particular time because of the location.  We can’t get it at any other time, but these times…”  I said, “Okay,” and I’m thinking to myself, “God, how the hell am I going to make this work,” because I wanted to do everything, and I didn’t want to have to cancel anything.  I wanted to do it all because all of the projects were so good.  The Young and the Restless project was just an absolute joy to do working with Jess Walton (Jill).  We got Y&R all done in one day   So, I liked that.  After I finished that, was the day I started Studio City, and we were shooting  in a high rise where Sean and his wife Michele were living at the time.  They shot in a vacant apartment next door.  Right away, I was totally impressed with what was going on.  The level of production was really high.  I got the dialogue as I walked on set, and I had to sit down quietly because it was about a page and a half monologue, and I had to think, “Okay, what am I going to do with this guy?  How am I going to play him?”  Timothy Woodward is just fantastic.  He came along, we had a chat together, and he sort of said, “What are you going to do?” and I told him how I was going to play it, and he said, “Okay, go.”  We got it all in one take.  Bang.  I love that.

Photo: Studio City

SEAN:  There was a lot to do obviously, but we shot Studio City over five days.  We literally shot this at almost a soap opera pace.   I don’t think too many other actors; except for daytime actors could have pulled this off.  So, we were really blessed to have a bunch of pros.

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TIMOTHY: Every one of them were extremely talented in their roles.  Patrika blew my socks off.  Tristan did what he did, I mean, he’s amazing.  Sarah was great.  Carolyn Hennesy was great   I do a lot of feature stuff, and you know, we are shooting only 4 or 5 pages a day.  Sometimes 6.  So, it’s not often that I am handing someone a 7-page scene and saying, “Hey, go,” especially the day before, and they’re nailing it every single time and being able to deliver every single time, and hitting their marks, which makes the editing process so good.  They’re able to do it, especially when you keep the writing grounded on the side of it that’s about behind the show, but it still has dramatic moments.  You’re giving the actors a lot to chew on, but they all performed the material so well.

Tristan, in story, you play Sean and Sarah Brown’s step-father. There is a major scene in episode 6 between Patrika and Sean where Sam learns about his biological father, and then there is a scene with you and Sean in the aftermath of that.

TRISTAN:  Yes, they are my adopted kids.   Sam is going through a low part in his life, and my character has to kind of sit him down and go, “Listen, kid.  You’re a good guy.  Don’t ever be told that you’re not a good guy.  You’re my son, and I love you, and there’s not a day that goes past that I don’t love you.”  When you’re on the set at the time, it was an extremely emotional scene.  Very, very emotional, and the fact that we got it right the first time, made the intensity better.  If I had had to go back and do that again, it would have been slightly different. That’s the way I work.”

Photo: Studio City

Had you worked with Sarah Brown before; given you both have worked on General Hospital in your careers?

TRISTAN:  Never.  That was a great thing.  I had two scenes with her, and I loved them both, and I thought she was terrific,  What Sean and Timothy have done is  put together a really interesting bunch of people to totally dig and are part of the daytime scene, who are totally familiar with it, and know what it is all about, and make it different.  The only other show I can compare this to is GH: Night Shift.   We were never allowed to develop it, but that was where we were at.  I think we are making the same kind of broad steps here that we were doing back then.  Hopefully, we are given more of a chance to develop the concept of it. 

What can you say about working with Timothy? He obviously loves the soaps too!

TRISTAN:  He’s a good guy.  I mean, they couldn’t have gotten a better person to do the directing and put that side of it together.  He was the perfect choice: having an understanding of the background of daytime and basically liking it for what it is.  He was ideal!

Photo: Studio City

Timothy, you were a fan of The Bold and the Beautiful, correct? How did you come into Sean’s orbit?

TIMOTHY:  Yes … when Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) was with dad, Eric (John McCook), or something right before that. (Laughs)  That’s how long ago that was.  I started telling Sean all that stuff, and he sent this cookbook to my mom, and then, he called me.  We stayed in contact and started talking about a few things, and then he contacted me about being in the book he was doing, Success Factor X, and he wanted me to be in the book, so I said okay.  So, we just stayed in contact, and then, I called him about another project. Later, Sean said he had an idea for a show and he’s been working on it for a while, and said, “Here’s the idea.  What do you think?”  I said, “I think it’s something that I could be interested in,” (because I’d always watched soaps back in the day, and it’s something that my mom is a huge fan of) and you know, I could get down with doing it.”  So, we kind of met, shook hands, and said, “Let’s make it happen.”

Did you tell your mom you were working with Sean Kanan?

TIMOTHY:  I did!  She loved it.  Sean actually sent her a video to her phone wishing her a merry Christmas last year.

SEAN:  This guy is a feature-film director. Tim was like, “I think that would be a really interesting challenge.  I’d like to do a digital series,” and then it comes to pass that this sort of tough-guy film director from North Carolina, is a total closet soap freak! (Laughs)

Photo: Studio City

Timothy, in Studio City, when Patrika Darbo has this very emotional monologue about what happened to her and about Sam’s father.  Sean also delivered a powerful performance in the scenes, just through his reactions to her heartbreaking story. I just thought the way he played it was so moving.  You obviously did a great job directing that scene.

TIMOTHY: I said, “Sean, I’m seeing behind the camera.  I’m telling you man, you’re telling so much with your eyes.  You don’t have to say anything.  Don’t tell her it’s okay during the scene,” because his initial reaction was, “It’s my mom.  I want to tell her it’s alright.”  I was like, “No.  Don’t.  I don’t want you to do anything.  You need to absorb this; you need to be in that moment of where you just don’t even know what to say.   You feel for her, but you also have this self-inflicted pain yourself, and you just need to listen.  Just listen to her.  Zone out of everything else and listen to her.”  That’s what he did, and he did it really well.

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SEAN:  I remember that Patrika was incredibly generous because once we got her take; she was willing to go through all of that pain again so that my reactions would be as informed as it was.  Honestly I would like to tell you that it was me reaching into my big bag of actor tricks, but all I had to do was shut up and listen.  How can you not be moved by hearing that?  So, I just sort of shut up, didn’t have to hit my mark because I was sitting, and listened, and she did all of the driving on that, and she was just terrific and Timothy captured it beautifully.

Sean, when you envisioned the part of Sam for yourself; were you pleased about how it came across on screen?

SEAN:  Listen, the character is very close to who I am.  This guy is sort of a heightened version of me, but I am very much playing myself in this.  I’m playing myself in some situations that I have never had to deal with.  I was like, “If this is going to succeed or fail, it’s going to happen with me being my most authentic self, and it’s not someone else’s idea of who I am.  I’m going to show you who I am in this.”

Photo: Studio City

Trans actor, Scott Turner Schofield also appears in Studio City.  In part of his story, you are tackling a timely social issue of the plight of African-American trans individuals who are being murdered.  How did you come to the decision to include this arc in the series?

SEAN:  I felt it was important that we told a story that was LGBTQ and trans-centric.  I wanted Scott to be a character on the show that everybody knew was trans.  I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but maybe the character Scott plays is going to have a conflict with production and say, “Listen, I’ve got to be a trans character on the show because I need to sort of be a beacon to all of those people out there.  I’m living that life off-camera. ”  When you see him in his group and everything, and I think he is going to kind of stand up for himself, and that’s going to probably alter his story.  I thought it was important to be like, “My character knows he’s trans.  He’s my buddy who happens to be trans,” you know what I mean…. rather than it being this huge big thing.”

Was the goal to get Studio City released right at the end of 2019 to quality for Daytime Emmy consideration in the Digital Drama categories? 

TIMOTHY:  It was definitely something we think could get more eyeballs on the show, more attention to it if you will, in order to get it to the next level.  So, I think that’s important. Do this and get it even bigger … make more episodes and make them longer.  Sean keeps saying this series, is a love letter to soaps, and that’s what he told me he wanted to do.  You know what Sean is talking about.  There is somewhat of a disrespect level in our industry of, “Well, he’s on a soap,” and these people are so talented.  I mean, some of these daytime soaps have better ratings than a lot of the primetime shows.  You just read mainstream media or something about soaps, and you may think, “What?  There’s nobody watching it,” and then, you start looking at ratings and two and a half million viewers during an episode?  This is every day.  That’s a fan base.  There are dedicated people watching it.

SEAN:  It always bothers me when I see that; treating soaps like that because we work really hard, and there’s a lot of talented people involved with it.  It doesn’t always need to always be that whenever you see soap operas represented in “main series” projects, that they’re kind of the butt of a joke.  I was like, “That’s not going to happen because that’s not what they’re about.”

Photo: Studio City

Sean, you make things happen for yourself doing various projects whether it be: stand-up comedy, acting, books, etc and are one of the hardest working guys I know. Why do you think you have continually come back around, and in front of the daytime soap community all of these years?

SEAN:  I envy guys who have been on daytime consistently for 10, 15, 20 years, and there are times that I wish I were there and doing that, but I don’t necessarily know that if I were that guy that I would have had the wherewithal to write the books I have written.  I think I may have gotten comfortable, and you know, God bless.  I am in no way disparaging that because there is a lot to be said for that longevity on a series. I feel like on daytime I have always been kind of a hired guy.  I get brought in, I get let go, I get brought in, I get let go.  I never sort of maintained a sense of terra firma.  I always felt that it was probably going to be temporary, and I’d better figure out what else I’m going to do, which has given me opportunities that I have created to do projects that I am really passionate about like this one.

For more on Studio City, visit their website here.

Have you checked out Studio City on Amazon Prime yet?  If so, what do you think of it and the performances? Excited to see Sean and Tristan in different roles? Comment below.

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Interviews

‘The Bachelor’ Peter Weber Opens Up About Hannah Brown, Hannah Ann & Being Emotional In Front Of The Camera

While viewers watched how the emotional conversation that they “had to have” came to its conclusion (or did it, even?) on Monday’s episode of The Bachelor between Peter Weber and the women he fell for in her season of The Bachelorette, Hannah Brown, several other new “storylines”kicked off” such as”champagne-gate” between contestants Kelsey and Hannah Ann, and then the social media ‘Bachelor Natio’n frenzy over a shot included in the episode featuring a bottle of maple syrup popping up out of nowhere (later explained to be a supply that contestant Mykenna was going to use when having some alone time with Peter, presumably).

But while it looks for now that Peter is going to try to move past his lingering feelings for Hannah B. and be all-in to find love with one of the women in the running on his season of “The Bachelor”, Michael Fairman TV along with several members of the media spoke with Weber at the ABC Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour on some subjects we wall wanted to know his answers to.  Check them out below.

Photo: ABC

When asked if he watched back the premiere episode and what went down with his chat with Hannah Brown, Peter told us: “The Hannah stuff wasn’t easy for me to watch.  It wasn’t easy as a viewer.  You go on hiatus, like a lull, and then you relive it as it airs back.  So, that wasn’t easy, but you’ll see what that all means. I think you kind of see that there were true, genuine feelings that were still there in that episode, and it left me really confused.”

As to if he was prepared to be seen as so open and vulnerable in the process of finding love while having cameras on him all the time, Weber expressed: Yeah, that was one thing I took from Hannah.  I remember the beginning of her season, that first night, that first speech, it was all about being vulnerable, raw, and open with us, and I made that a big theme of mine, and I wanted to set that theme early on with the women.  You’re going to see me be that the entire time.”

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Knowing the intensity and spotlight it puts on him, Weber says he was all-in for being The Bachelor this season: “I was so excited.  What an amazing opportunity, and I knew it worked.  So, why would I say no.”

There is obviously a major stunning moment that the series is pushing that happens in the finale that appears to potentially change the course of Peter’s quest for love, or confuses it. Weber would only tease that:  “I tell everyone that is was the most beautiful experience (being on  “The Bachelor”) but the hardest of my entire life.  That last week, was the hardest week of my entire life.  It literally doesn’t stop until the last second … just a lot of unexpected stuff that I couldn’t predict, but I took it, and I feel like I’m stronger coming out at the end, but it was hard.  If I told you, then I’d give it away! I didn’t expect what happened to happen.”

Weber also weighed-in on if he feels his love life coming out of the series is set, sharing: “You guys will definitely enjoy this journey and feel it.  I can’t comment on that right now.”

Pilot Peter revealed that he has also apparently gone back to work at Delta: “I went back to work like a week after I finished filming (The Bachelor). I never actually took a leave.  It’s really nice being a pilot because the schedule is really flexible.  So, I just ended up dropping my trips and having friends pick up trips.  So, I’m really lucky that it all worked out.”

Photo: HutchinsPhoto.com

Over the course of filming, Peter was involved in a freak accident that will be shown that leaves him with a scar on his forehead: “I think it’s badass.  (Laughs) Listen, it was a freak accident, and it is what it is.  I wasn’t going to let it keep me down or bum me out too much.  I was in the middle of this whole journey, and you know, it’ll fade.  I didn’t lose my eye, so that’s like the biggest thing.”

Photo: ABC

Many are comparing Peter’s like of two women named Hannah! Both from the south and both had competed in beauty pageants, Hannah Brown and this season’s Hannah Ann, to which Weber played up the irony: ” I know!  Lots of Hannahs!   A lot of girls from Alabama.  That was a big theme, too.  I feel like I don’t have type now, but maybe I do.”

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So, what did you think of the conclusion of the chat between Hannah Brown and Peter on last night’s episode of The Bachelor? Do you think Hannah Ann is a frontrunner for that final rose of Peter’s “champagne-gate” and all?  What do you think will happen come the ending of the season as teased by Weber and what you have seen thus far in the first couple of episodes of the new season of the reality-competition series? Comment below.

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

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