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Frank Valentini & The Cast Of GH On Time Slot Change, Surviving Cancellation & The Future, and Robin's Return!

Photo Credit: MF SOAPS Inc

Photo Credit: MF SOAPS Inc

At yesterday’s ABC Summer Press Tour for the Television Critics Association, General Hospital was given a show of faith, and great opportunity at promoting the enduring soap opera by ABC, when executive producer Frank Valentini and a host of top talent from the series were invited to the panel discussions.

Lead by Frank Valentini, the reporters and journalists in the room, including On-Air On-Soaps fired questions to the cast and the EP.   On stage along with Valentni were:  Tony Geary, Jane Elliot, Jason Thompson, Nancy Lee Grahn, Maurice Benard, Steve Burton, Kelly Monaco, Michael Easton and Laura Wright.

From it’s upcoming time slot change and upcoming surprises, to it’s survival to stay on the air, to Kimberly McCullough’s (Robin) “visits” and what that all means, and so much more, read below the quotes to some of the most revealing, concerning, and entertaining questions from the panel!

Frank, if Genie Francis (Ex-Laura, GH) were to become available from Y&R, would you bring her back to General Hospital?

FRANK:  I would just say that there is rich history that General Hospital has and there are many wonderful characters on the show right now, and in addition some people we are interested in bringing back. At this point unfortunately contracts forbid us to talk about things like that, but all I will say is we are big fans of Genie, I wish her the best, but I think we are pretty solid right now.

To Tony Geary on being very emotional on his recent win for Outstanding Leas Actor at the Daytime Emmys. Were you so moved during your speech because GH had survived cancellation to live another day?

TONY:   I would say it was a little of both.  We were pretty shaky about a year ago, before Frank came on board.   We were living on death row.   I think we were all thrilled, and emotional and excited about being honored for the hard work, and the storyline that I got the award for was really important to me.  I love when the character goes to the dark side, and that was one of the darkest I have been able to go.  So it meant a lot to me to be acknowledged.

To the panel:  GH had been living on deaths door, what would you say to people as to why it important that we have soaps on the air as part of daytime programming?

NANCY:  I think everyone seems to enjoy cutting edge things or something that is the newest thing, but there is something to really be valued about tradition and something that is familiar, and something that makes people feel comfortable, and something that is generational, and that is exclusive.  Some of these people have watched GH for nearly 50 years.  I think it’s important to remember this audience paid for television for a long time. I think they are very valuable and extremely loyal.

Courtesy/ABC

FRANK:  It’s also an original American art form,   I think it’s not only about tradition, but about storytelling and the family, and the fantasy of romance, love, and friendship and those are the bedrocks of what this country is all about.  I don’t want to sound too patriotic about it, but I think people look to these shows as touchstones, in which to explore life and experience life, as well as being entertained by it.

JASON:  To me, I have been on the show for seven years.  I look down this line and I see people who have been in this business for a really long time and there is something to be said about that, let alone, GH being on for 50 years soon.   I think storytelling has changed.  Everyone is sort of into this faster pace, and also what Frank said, we believe in the stories that we tell.  We are an extended family.  And even talking about my storyline with the character of Robin, we did a storyline talking about HIV in daytime before anyone else was touching it.  And there have been many stories like that during GH’s time, and as we go forward we are constantly thinking and doing new things to bring TV to a new level. People see us in their living rooms every single day, and they get attached to you, and it is something we should celebrate!

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JANE:  I have a different viewpoint on this.  For 50 years we have been telling stories 5 days a week 52 weeks a year.  We are in people’s home during the day.  We are part of people’s touchstones when they are in the hospital with a sick parent, or when they are pregnant and they bring their new babies home. It’s people who work at night like athletes and musicians, who watch. What I like about it is that it has stayed the same, that it is this same kind of cultural anomaly. We are there family and they are family because of it

STEVE: This show is the same, but we do a lot more work in a lot less time.  When I started on the show in 1991, we did 21 scenes a day we would shoot. Yesterday we did 78 scenes. So you guys are welcome to come down and check out what we do, because it is truly amazing.  I think a lot of credit goes to our crew who works so hard. The one thing that the wrecking ball or being on death row has done for all of us is that we are united, which is great as cast.   I think it makes the work better.  Everyone is working towards the same goal.  So is the crew.  As bad as it has been, it’s been a great experience because everybody has a new energy to work and to keep the show on the air.  GH is such an iconic brand. We are not ready to let it go.

Photo Credit: MF SOAPS Inc.

NANCY:  We were kind of like the walking dead for awhile heading toward the iceberg, saying, “I just need somebody to do something!”  And they did. ABC did.  They changed everything.  I will say Frank had made an enormous difference and at ABC there is new marketing and publicity.  I have done so much already and Vicki Dummer (SR VP ABC Daytime) seems to be a pretty great broad from what I can tell.  We are now a “Yes sir. No sir,” crew.  For some jaded group here, some of us, we are invigorated, and we are willing and ready to win and stay on the air.

Frank, you came in from OLTL and began rebuilding GH. Can you explain how you took it from where it was to the amazing place it is today?

FRANK:  Maybe not rebuilding, but maybe remodeling. Being an outsider it is easier to come in and see things as opposed to someone who is already there.  I think the show was in terrific shape, but there needed to be some tweaks.  I think it’s also my taste and sensibilities for the show to go a little bit faster.  I felt there were some key characters missing.  Not in terms of who they were, but certainly archetypes that I think were important to bring on the show.  Bringing in some of the cast members from One Life to Live was a way to honor that audience, and also to create story that was good for the current cast.

Michael Easton, how was it coming over from One Life to Live to General Hospital, and how did you former cast mates feel about it?

MICHAEL: I t was bittersweet, but at the same time it’s been exciting to come over to GH and work with these guys and it has been a new energy for me. We were pretty aware for a year there that the wrecking ball was right outside the door at OLTL. We all worked at a very high pace to try to make that work.  And its’ been interesting to come over here and have the same feeling.   I think the only way we are going to be able to advance is to have great storytelling, and to try to recapture the audience we may have lost and bring some things that are exciting and different.  It woke me up for sure coming here.  I think I was in a stupor for the last year and I feel very fortunate.  I think the GH audience has been very kind to let the OLTL characters in.   I think they realize there is a bit of synchronicity with all the other fans of soap opera and they understand. If it went the other way, we would love having them.  I think it’s nice of them to be accepting. I think some of the One Life people are slowly coming over and they are excited to see Roger Howarth and Kassie DePaiva and some of the other people.

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Frank, Kimberly McCullough just returned or visited GH, and there was a bombshell that she is alive and receiving electro-shock therapy.  What are the plans for her and status with the show?

FRANK:   She is back for a little bit.  It’s always challenging when actors want to pursue different avenues in their personal and professional life.  I think Kimberly McCullough had made a decision to leave the show.  Having worked with her for six or eight weeks before she left, she is a really bright woman. She has been exposed to so many aspects of the business in a very short amount of time.  She is interest in being a director and so we kind of connected and bonded, because I am interested in being a director as well. I said to her “This is such a wonderful thing you have created.  Let’s try to keep it alive.”  She is open to it and we are going to try to work together. It’s also good because she lives in Los Angeles.

Photo CreditL MF Soaps Inc.

Frank, has ABC given you indication what matrix you have for survival? Since they have been clearly looking to put on cheaper programming with the cancellation of One Life to Live and All My Children?  Do you see the audience numbers significantly change?

FRANK:  I don’t think it will change in the near future that the television market that exists in the United States will ever be anything other than challenging.  All I can say is that ABC invited us here to me, that is a great sign, and the network is behind us 100%. They are very excited about the show’s 50th anniversary. We will be laying some things out between now and April.  I feel you just need to watch the show to catch the energy and the momentum we have.

Frank, GH is moving to its new time slot on September 10th.  How do you feel about the change? And, what is the show going to do to enhance tune-in and to gain more notice for the switch?  Is their a big umbrella story coming up?

FRANK:  I think the time slot change will be great.  I think it will shake-up the lineup a bit.   I like the way we are being positioned and the shows that will be surrounding us.  I know the network is doing a big push to inform the audience of the time change, and yes, we are doing a big umbrella story with lots of fun surprises. We have a lot of terrific stuff coming up!

Tony, you walked off the shot and out of frame, in the end of the very famous GH opening title sequence which featured all the men o f GH. Was that planned?  

TONY:  That was not planned. I just sort of “had it”.   I walked off and they loved it.  What I say is you sort of live two lives and I flip in to Luke Spencer at a moments notice as I know how he feels etc.  And when I’m threatened or uncomfortable he takes over, and he took over and said, “I have had enough” I was delighted that it was kept in the opening for as long as it did. I was surprised.  I said to them, “Why did you keep it? And they said, “It’s because it’s the perfect end.”

So after reading the comments from Frank Valentini and several members of the cast of GH from the panel, what do you think of GH and where it is today? Are you excited about its future and what feels like a significant nod by ABC to promote it and carry it through to its 50th anniversary?  Let us know1

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Dawn D
Dawn D

I was blown away with Ewen being in charge of doing electro shock on Robin. It was so classic soap. The changes and pace are better than ever. It’s been like mud for 3 yrs so it so great for a looong time soap watcher. This show has grown alot with Frank and Ron and I’m very grateful for bringing back the “great GH” back. Love the Q’s, Jason, Sonny and Liz for yrs as well as the newer folks Johnny, Starr the latest Micheal. There is more balance of love, family and drama. Heather is a great short term addition as well as Anthony. Do miss Cam/Jake, Alan, Emily and Georgie. Would love Georgie and Spinelli together.

Christine
Christine

Michael, a MILLION thanks for posting this. I read bits and pieces from Twitter feeds, but this is great to see it all laid out for us.

I will say, ABC better not be pulling a fast one on us again. It shows a lot of support by having GH have their own panel at the TCAs, but I hope this means they are here to support it for the long haul.

Someone also mentioned something about Katie Couric and her Twitter timeline from soap fans (hinting that she is getting a lot of complaints) so I checked it out. It is ridiculous all the topics she wants to talk about. We do not need nor want yet another talk show. GAA is not doing as well as they would have hoped, the Revolution died a horrible death. We soap fans are speaking out and making ourselves heard and, I just hope that ABC is finally listening. Just keep GH on the air for another 50 years … please!

Tali Smith
Tali Smith

I hope GH continues on TV, I’ve watched off and on for 35 yrs. The last 3 yrs I’ve only watched OLTL and was so sad when it was cancelled. I watched GH again because of OLTL characters coming over, six months into the show I’m pretty disappointed. Killing of Cole & Hope, Tea’s baby and JOLIE breaking up, I feel like OLTL ending is being raped for GH. The s/l are old OLTL storylines I’ve already seen just with different actors-not liking it! When Jolie is officially broke up so am I with GH. OLTL was cancelled and the ending destroyed for GH. Should have brought over the actors as different characters. My only idea – 2 hrs of GH and more OLTL characters to be added and please NEW storylines!.

Joe
Joe

I gave up on GH years ago when it when so far off the rails. It became the Mob/Sonny show and it was terrible and boring! The producers lost site of what made GH great and ignored its rich history and INCREDIBLE cast. Now, since Frank and Ron took over, GH is better than ever! It hasn’t been this good in about 20 years….probably since the days of the introduction of Nicholas and Helena Cassadine…another great example of using the shows history! Frank and Ron KNOW better than anyone about show history and how to use it. They made OLTL the best in the lineup and they’ve done it again AND brought OLTL to PC! How great…now if they just brought a couple more characters on from Llanview, I’d be the happiest fan ever:)

Matt
Matt

GH sucks

Christine
Christine

Terribly inappropriate and immature.

Sara
Sara

Love, love, love GH. Miss OLTL terribly……

David
David

GH’s storylines have improved. Love the vets, particularly Anna and Heather. The budding romances are what makes soap operas GREAT! I like how the OLTL cast are being folded into the storylines. Initially I thought the babyswitch was going to be another boring repeat but surprised thus far. The DDSwhatever is so reminiscent of OLTL — I did not care for it then. So far it’s tolerable, but what gives it traction is the actress who portrays Kate/Connie, and the storyline of long lost/abandoned son. In sum, if I had to grade GH, it would get a B+.

Patrick
Patrick

OMG! OMG. OMG? I haven’t been cliff-hang’ed… in such a long time.

GH. Tues. 7/24.

Heather, in the Port Charles, police station… sequestered… under scrutiny… “telling” Anna…. Robin’s ALIVE.

Patricks – induced “brain freeze”… visions of Robin… THANK GOD.. that kiss with Lulu, was just that.

1. Heather, shooting of Luke… i was so hoping she wasn’t being written out or in a corner… it looks like she’s still top shelf. HOOT! CAMP. BEACON OF OLE SERIAL.

2. Patrick. this love story… twosome. is stellar stuff. Jason Thompson… is Manning up. He naturally, emotes… sensitive… masculine… fatherhood…. familial… friend… co-worker… you name it. he’s delivering the goods. Jason and Sonny could take lessons from him. I put, Johnny, Todd, EJ from DAYS… heck, even Jack from Y&R. These guys tear up… well.

Patrick
Patrick

GH – Patrick “talking” w/Robin.

“Everywhere is EMPTY.”

“The Bedroom…” et. et…

mind boggling – the writing – Kudos! Standing O’vation.

Lucky Larou
Lucky Larou

Nice piece – good to hear the read on things from various cast members. One thing Jane’s forgetting – it’s not just nite people that watch GH. There are plenty of us that work during the day and watch in the evening on SoapNet or via DVR. I’ve been watching since I was a teenager, 40 years ago. Thru H.S., college and adult life. Did the same for AMC and OLTL – shows I just miss. I’m surprised not one AMC cast member was picked up by GH. Would love to see more from OLTL migrate inbound also. How about Roxy? They could use a hair salon in Port Charles with a little funk!

SZima
SZima

We have enough OLTL people, but I agree it would be nice to get some AMC actors on the show…just 2 or 3 like with OLTL.

kay/kay
kay/kay

Ok I give up what was with Tony Geary’s pants??? LOL Maxie would not approve!!!

Dan
Dan

Lol, I guess when you win 7 Emmys you can get away with wearing yellow pants! 🙂

SZima
SZima

Hey, he’s stylin’!
Don’t you know that colored pants–red, green, yellow, etc.–are all the rage right now?
LOL

Jeffery
Jeffery

I’m impressed with the work Frank and Ron and all of those involved have put into remodeling GH in the past several months. There is much more to be done, however. At present, the show has as much going for it as it does working against it. Here are some random (mostly minor) gripes: The “Mob Princess” reality series story plays like an after-school special. It’s also an insult to loyal daytime drama fans who choose to watch this soap opera over reality shows competing in the same time slot, and it’s especially demeaning to those who still feel burned by ABC’s replacement of GH’s sister shows with lackluster factual entertainment… The introduction of the now recast Kristina to Port Charles has been a complete fumble. GH has shown absolutely nothing endearing or redeemable about this character since her return… The coupling of Starr and Michael comes across as forced, just like most teen-oriented story arcs of soap opera summers past… The D.I.D. story line is underplayed. At first it started off at full boil, then suddenly it fizzled into a subplot to sustain a larger mafia-related story that nobody really cares about full of characters that nobody really cares about: Joe Scully and his secret son, Trey, and the murder of John McBain’s sister, yada yada yawn. I thought daytime’s version of The Sopranos left the building along with the previous executive producer. What gives?… While I like their friendship, I just don’t see any romantic chemistry between Anna and Luke. Ditto regarding John and Sam. .. Jane Elliot as Tracy is so delicious to watch, so why is she practically M.I.A.? She should be on at least four days a week! Here’s what does work for me: Robin Mattson’s Heather always has my eyes glued to the screen. I can’t take my eyes off her for a second or else I’ll miss something! She is a girl gone wild and then some. I just hope GH is smart enough to keep her around long term. Admittedly, I’ve felt slighted greatly by the tease of veteran actors and their classic characters returning to the show in what later turn out to be mere cameo turns. Sorry, ladies and gents, but don’t bring back Emma Samms as Holly and have her leave just as fast as she arrived! That’s criminal. Thankfully, we have Finola Hughes as Anna back in PC front and center. Finola is an incredible actor in a league of her own and surely pure joy to the writing team. I hope those same writers feel the same of Kelly Sullivan as Connie/Kate (I like street-wise Connie much better than boring Kate). She is nothing short of amazing in expressing this fractured character’s vulnerability and versatility. Lisa LoCicero, Laura Wright, and Nancy Lee Grahn further the notion that GH enjoys an embarrassment of formidable female actors as much as it does their equally impressive male counterparts in the likes of Roger Howarth, Jason Thompson, and Brandon Barash, etcetera… Read more »

Christine
Christine

“I just don’t see any romantic chemistry between … Ditto regarding John and Sam.”

Whoa, Jeffrey, are you watching the same show I am? Ha! Ha! My goodness Michael Easton and Kelly Monaco are ELECTRIC every time they are together and always have been. And the way the smooched on the pier, stood up, turned around all while holding hands, and then he just pulled her into him. Gosh! That is sexy!

I think MOB PRINCESS is ending very soon, but you have to remember it is summer and that is the “teen” time. Hooray for it ending soon!

I agree with everything you said about Heather. 🙂

I’m not sure what you are getting at regarding Lisa LoCicero, Laura Wright, and Nancy Lee Grahn, though.

I agree about Starr and Michael, but they have potential.

Trey reminds me of Stifler from AMERICAN PIE, but hopefully this character has some legs.

I don’t think they can just wipe out the mob in one day. It is like weight gain – it didn’t happen over night, you can’t get rid of it overnight.

I guess I see it more positively because this show has me hooked every night whereas it would put me to sleep when they brought Brenda back the last time (and wasted her) and when they misused Sarah Joy Brown as Carly 2.0, I mean Claudia.

Patrick
Patrick

@Jeffery.

Olivia – Lisa LoCicero. floored me… with her “girl from the bronx”… Nutting Up on LSD. Way to go Lisa… You go girl. For Reals.

It’s something… to see a character/Actor… really step outside themselves… and reel scene stealing show. I was so used to her… as Dante’s mother… and Steven Lawrence’ girl.

Michael
Michael

I am impressed that, with a nod to the traditions of teens in the summer, GH still has the main story lines focus on cross generational stories (and the best threads for the vets in years, years, years). Starr and Michael are really quite sweet–nice (along with Mollie and TJ) to have teens with some happy, infatuated moments rather than all murder mystery, serial killer, angst all the time. While Mob princess is a little cringe worthy, some attempt to poke on what’s creepy and exploitative about reality tv is worthwhile–and it allows another frame of reference to comment on the mob without the “bad guys with the hearts of gold” absurdity that has dominated GH for the last decade. That along with both Sonny and Jason suffering some consequences for their actions within their families and personal relationships (alienation of sonny’s kids and the notion that using your thug clout for your kids gain might not be what they want; the possibility that jason’s sending goons after John contributing to Sam’s son’s death–even if the big reveal is that the baby is alive, there was still a several month period that jason, and the audience had to think that roughing up your opposition might bite you in the ass). And as for putting the rooting for bad guys crap fully to rest, how better to accomplish that than to have kick ass, take no prisoners Anna Devane in charge. (and if cartini can figure out how to accommodate Jonathan Jackson’s desire to not be all tragedy all the time, they might be able to bring him back to a competent port carles police department and not just as a nod to eliaeth lucky fans as the show is cancelled) And while cartini have carried on the tradition of dead babies and rapes far too much, I can see why they wanted to free Starr up to be a young romantic lead in terms of story lines (and ratings). It would be nice to have Hope pop up with David Hayward part of a larger mind control, organ harvesting, body resurrection plot line but Cole (like each of erica kana’s earlier husbands, did eventually have to go). of course AMC’s resurrection plot lines were absurd, as was the two Todds final twist with OLTL. But certainly no more than the ice princess and other nut job plots with GH–and they are all terribly wonderfully and absurdly soapy. Such plot twists (the old west and 1968, going to heaven, what three or four times, and even eterna) were part of OLTL’s charm. And if that chutzpah can be brought to bear to have David Heyward, Helena, and Irene Manning part of a three soap (two posthumously) crossover to bring back Alan, AJ, some worth additional soul from All My Children to wind up that cliffhanger, and maybe Nash so Jessica could have her happy ending (even if totally off screen) from OLTL–so be it. And I like the idea that these… Read more »

aria
aria

i’m excited but i hate the new opening, lol, that really needs to change, theres other stuff too, but then this email would be too long, overall i’m happier now then i was a year ago when GH was under the dark shadows of Phelps and Guza but i still think that FV and RC could tone it down with the cheesyness. I’m not a fan of cartoon villians, split personality but they won me over the minute they brought back Finola Hughes.

SZima
SZima

I don’t mind the short new opening…what’s the point of a longer one? Just takes more time away from the show and who really watches it anymore anyway? I record the show and FF through it every day.

Teresa
Teresa

I have not been THIS GLUED to my GH TV set since Luke and Laura. This storytelling is SO fantastic. I’m still in shock about Ewen being behind Robin’s kidnapping. I agree, total classic soap storytelling. This is what got us hooked oh so many years ago and this is what will keep us hooked and entertained for many years to come. Thank you, everyone at GH!

donholley77
donholley77

I have watched gh since Laura killed David Hamilton.i couldn’t agree more with ur comments.

Kent
Kent

Thank you for asking about Kimberly McCollough’s status on the show. I am a Robin fan, too. I am glad Frank is as well and want to work with her to keep Robin a part of the show.

General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Lucas Gives Wiley To Michael; While Willow Learns the Devastating Truth

Friday’s episode of General Hospital, brought the highly-emotional moments viewers had been waiting for all-week long; following the year and a half reveal that Nelle (Chloe Lanier) and Brad (Parry Shen) engineered a baby switch with Willow’s (Katelyn MacMullen) dead baby, Wiley being passed off as Michael (Chad Duell) and Nelle’s newborn, Jonah, and Jonah being raised by Brad and Lucas (Ryan Carnes) as Wiley.  Now with the truth out, it was time for two of the heaviest beats of the story to be played out.

When Willow comes to at the hospital with Chase (Josh Swickard) by her side, needless to say she is dazed and freaking out that Nelle took Wiley.  Chase tells her he has some things to tell her and it’s not going to be easy to hear. Willow braces herself and then Chase tells her the story of the baby switch and how her baby died a SIDS death while at Brad and Lucas’ and then how the babies were switched.

Photo: ABC

In a heartbreaking and powerful performance from Katelyn MacMullen (yes, she is our pick for “Power Performance of the Week”), Willow struggles to come to grips with the truth and starts to realize all of Brad’s machinations, as she thinks back to herself how could she do that to her son … to trust him with Brad, only to have the little infant die.  The devastation played by MacMullen, whose Willow, now must realize her baby never lived the full and happy young life she thought, was gut-wrenching.

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Meanwhile, in yet another top-notch performance, William deVry (Julian) showed the pain and the need to unburden himself as Julian talks to his sister. Ava (Maura West) and spills what happened.   He goes so far to admit to Ava that he knew what Brad had done. Ava cannot believe he did not go to Sonny (Maurice Benard) right away with this Intel, but Julian just could not do this to his son, Lucas and rip the baby from his arms.  Julian says he will face-off with Sonny and not leave town, if it comes to that.   Ava says they have to come up with a way to silence Brad … before Brad gives up Julian’s part in the whole baby cover-up.

Photo: JPI

And in yet another masterful performance, we have to give it up to Chloe Lanier.  Who can play Nelle and spin stories and the tears so well, that if you did not know this pathological liar you would think she is telling the truth. When in opposing holding cells at the PCPD, Nelle lays it on about Brad so that the guard can hear them. She blames Brad for being the instigator in the baby switch and taking advantage of her – a distraught new mother, confused and dazed on the route where the baby switch happened.  It works! Brad is moved to a different cell and thinks look very grim for him.  Nelle smiles through her crocodile tears!

Photo: JPI

Then, in what we all knew had to happen, and even so, was still as heartbreaking as ever; Lucas spends his final moments with Wiley as his father in the kitchen at the Corinthos’ along with Bobbie (Jackie Zeman) and Carly (Laura Wright).  Lucas starts to tell his mother and sister, all the things Wiley needs and likes, such as having a story read to him.  All of this brings the tears as they know Lucas has to give the child back to Michael; who has been robbed of a year and half as the baby’s rightful father.

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Michael tells Lucas they will work this out, so Lucas remains a constant in Wiley’s life. He also tells Sonny and Sasha (Sofia Matteson) he feels so badly for Lucas, but they tell him to be happy for this chance to have the son he grieved for.   In the end, a tear-filled Lucas hands Wiley to Michael as everyone watches on in sadness for one father … and joy for the other.  Ryan Carnes was poignant in the scenes; as was Chad Duell.

Courtesy/ABC

So, what did you think of the performances from Friday’s GH featuring Katelyn, Ryan, Chad, William, Chloe and Parry? Comment below.

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Michael Blasts Brad As The Truth About Wiley Comes Out

FINALLY! On Wednesday’s episode of General Hospital, Lucas (Ryan Carnes) memory is jogged just enough that he clearly remembers Brad’s (Parry Shen) shocking words before their car crash; where Brad confessed that Wiley was Nelle (Chloe Lanier) and Michael’s (Chad Duell) biological son.

At the Corinthos home, Lucas stands up and announces to Michael that Wiley is actually his believed to be dead son, Jonah. Carly’s (Laura Wright) mouth drops and then she takes over getting to the root of the truth of the baby switch.

Brad is cornered and left with no choice but to fess up. He explains how Wiley died when he was no longer breathing, and how he was driving with him, when he ended up on the route where Nelle left Michael to die in the car he was driving (Michael recalls this bit of Intel in a flashback).

Then, Brad explains how Nelle appeared with her newborn baby and claimed the whole thing was engineered by Nelle …  and how he was so upset and panicked, that he went along with her plan.

Michael lets Brad have it for all of his lies and machinations, and the pain it has inflicted on so many people for over a year and half.  How on earth could he do that? Carly also lays into him.

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Meanwhile, Sasha (Sofia Matteson) has urgently called Chase (Josh Swickard), who leaves “Wiley” and Willow (Katelyn MacMullen) behind, and heads to the Corinthos’ where he hears the whole sad truth about the baby switch.

With Chase gone, Nelle goes looking for “Wiley” who is with Willow, and the two get into a major throwdown catfight.  Nelle comes out the victor and goes to get her baby ready to leave town with her son.

So, what did you think of how the truth finally came out?  What did you think of Michael’s tirade on Brad? What do you think will happen next? Comment below.

Continue Reading

General Hospital

GH’s James Patrick Stuart Talks on Valentin’s Downfall and Potential Rise to Power

After all his bravado, machinations and lies to keep the woman he loves, and believing he was the rightful heir to the Cassadine fortune, suddenly it all came crashing down for Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart) on recent episodes of General Hospital.

Payback can be a bitch, but for Valentin; who’s past has been fraught with numerous physical and emotional tribulations since his childhood, he now finds himself at the lowest point in his life; losing Nina (Cynthia Watros) who’s now taken up with Jax (Ingo Rademacher), realizing he is the biological son of the evil Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers), and not Mikkos, and having all his best laid plans and misdeeds backfire.  (Remember, he shot and “killed” Nikolas, and set up the ruse that led Sasha to pretend she was Nina’s bio-daughter.)  Now, enter Nelle Benson (Chloe Lanier), who could very well hold the ticket, to Valentin’s rise to wealth and power all over again.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with James Patrick Stuart to get the lowdown on: those heavy and emotional scenes opposite Constance Towers, working with Cynthia Watros as his newest Nina, if Valentin might really kill Jax the next time he thinks about it, and what about a potential relationship between Anna (Finola Hughes) and Valentin?

Not many can play bad as good as James in this industry.  He does it so effortlessly and still brings out the humanity in the guy that has t-r-o-u-b-l-e written all over him.  Here’s what James had to share about all of Valentin’s recent dramatic moments, a tease of what’s to come, and much more.

Photo: JPI

Valentin’s world has imploded at the moment.  When did you initially find out that he was going to turn out to not be a true Cassadine heir?

JAMES:  Well, there were some clues dropped by Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) back when we did the gallery auction where Helena’s portrait went up in flames.  Frank looked at me and goes, “Hey, Jack Nicholson it up.  Have some fun!  You’re not going to be feeling pretty good for a while.”  (Laughs)  I’m like, “Oh … what are the plans?”  He pulled me aside and goes, “Yeah, you’re going to lose Nina, but you’re going to try to take over ELQ.  That’s when I started to go, “Wait a minute!  That sounds to me like Valentin’s losing his money.”  (Laughs)  With the character of Nikolas (Marcus Coloma) coming back; it’s pretty great.  I think the writing was on the wall there.  I put it out on twitter the other day.  I said, “Look what they’ve done to my boy.”  Somebody chimed in, “They gave him a storyline!” (Laughs)

Who doesn’t love to see you, James Patrick Stuart, play tortured soul?  They audience loves to see you get the opportunity to go to those depths in your performances.

JAMES:  It’s been really interesting for me.  I’ve had a lifetime of playing bad guys because the line was always shorter. (Laughs)  Everybody wants to be Tom Cruise, but the Alan Rickman’s of it all, to me, were what was so interesting.  Early on, you play one dimensional kind of twisting of the mustache, tying a woman to the train tracks.  After a while, you start to watch the truly great actors.  They start to take you on a ride.  If you’re paying attention, you start to feel what it would be like to be that damaged, and that’s why you do it.  Then you start to see the vulnerability. To me, I thought, “This is a great time in my life because I’m ready to do that.” A lot of people say, “I don’t understand.  I feel like that makes no sense. because why would I root for a person who behaves like this?” and that to me, I feel is the greatest compliment of all.

So much happened recently to Valentin in one fell swoop; he overhears Nina telling Ava (Maura West) she kissed Jax, then he envisions shooting Jax and then he is drinking himself into oblivion and he gets a “visit” from Helena!  But … the scenes between Valentin and Helena really summed up the bitter truth for him, wouldn’t you say?

JAMES:  Yes.  In the “Helena” scenes, it all basically is revealed.  It all comes down in a moment where he “sees” her.  I think he realizes with the DNA test; he’s not the person he thought he was, but he certainly had no idea that he had her blood in his veins.  The truly tragic moment of the evening is when it dawns on him that he has a daughter with Helena’s blood in her veins.  Now, he would kill her a thousand times over in that moment.  He can’t do it.  He’s fighting phantoms.  That’s the bottom below the bottom, and things got worse than he ever thought they would get.

Courtesy/ABC

Does Valentin have any idea then, who his biological father could be?

JAMES:  I don’t think so.  I don’t believe so.  I know I don’t.  I think once he realizes that Helena is in fact the mother, I think he’d rather just go into oblivion.  I think at that point, he’s out of answers.  Enter Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) …which is wonderful because I think the world of Nancy, and she saves the day.   Alexis basically talks him out of hurting himself, telling him to count his blessings that he is not a Cassadine, etc, which was a really sweet moment.

I assume, when you have this kind of material to play, it must be exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time?

JAMES:  I think that’s exactly right.  As an actor, I think you want to do this stuff.  Maura West and I compare notes all the time.  I think it can be kind of emotionally draining.  You do feel it, and I felt it when I had spent a lot of time with Nina and Valentin, and when the actresses changed, and we brought Cynthia Watros in.  I worked twice as hard to make sure that Cynthia’s landing was as easy as possible, and I really grew attached to the Nina and Valentin connection.  So, when Jax steps in, Cynthia’s love life means nothing to me, I don’t care about that, but Nina’s love life means a lot to me!  And it bums me out, and I don’t know that I’ll actually be watching any future love scenes between them as much as I love them both!  I have a deep attachment to the Valentin connection to Nina.  So, the lines get burred because we just play these characters so long.

Photo: JPI

What was it like sharing those tough scenes with Constance? No one can play icy, evil villainess like her … and yet in real life, she is such a gracious and kind-hearted woman.

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GH's James Patrick Stuart Talks on Valentin's Downfall and Potential Rise to Power

JAMES:  In real life, Constance is such a sweetheart, and she’s so grateful to be there.  She was so ready to work, and rehearse, and play, and find the stuff, and she was great.  I’d been in scenes with her before.  Last time, we didn’t really talk to each other.  I was with the hump.  I was being Valentin pre-surgery.  It was some sort of moment in a graveyard, but this time we actually got to interact with each other.

You look at Valentin, and he’s not had the greatest life.  Do you bring his entire back-story into your performance; such as when he was deformed with the hump and how he had to literally reconstruct his life both in the physical and in emotional ways for many years?

JAMES:  Absolutely.  It’s the brokenness that he’s making choices from.  He was never truly and authentic person to begin with which is why his love fell apart.  He’s always been faking.  He’s always been putting on a show.  That’s not sustainable in matters of the heart.  It was unbelievably easy for Jax to swoop in, because it was inevitable that things were going to fall apart.  Of course, that anger and that brokenness were what lead him to want to kill Jax.  There’s no question.  He was prepared to do that.  If you look in the eyes in the fantasy sequence in the shooting, he just wanted to watch him die.  He wanted to watch the light go out in Jax’s eyes.  He was so furious … and even more tragic is … that was all he could think of, and somehow, he realized in that moment that wouldn’t work, because he’d lose his daughter.

Photo: JPI

Anna and Finn (Michael Easton) just kind of busted up.  Do you think Anna and Valentin will hookup? There is a connection and a history between the two of them whenever they seem to be in proximity of one another.

JAMES:  Personally, I’m waiting for that.  I hope so!  There is a finesse and elegance to that woman, and not only that, there is an effortless to the connection between Valentin and Anna, if one can say that about one’s own coupling.  I love to look at it!  I think we go together like a wink and a smile.  I just find that chemistry really great.  I think that’s mostly Finola, though.  She can probably have chemistry with most anything.

Valentin was going to leave Port Charles with Charlotte (Scarlett Fernandez), after Nikolas revealed all and the fallout began.  Interestingly enough, it was Anna who came to Valentin’s side and tried to talk him down from fleeing with his daughter and showed such compassion for him!

JAMES:  Wasn’t that great?  She was the one who got him.  She was the one who was able to calm the beast.  There was no one else he would have listened to.  In the moment in the police station, after Charlotte had been kidnapped, and there is that moment where Anna has that bruise, I thought it was such a tender moment.  I just said, “If I kiss my finger and touch your wound?” and she’s like, “Do it.”  It was just this moment where we had been bitter rivals and enemies for so long, but he just adores her so much it’s undeniable that he sees her wounded and wants to make it better.  It’s floating out there waiting to be done.  I know that everybody knows it.  It’s just a matter of what the right away to go about in the writing would be.

Photo: JPI

So, you’ve worked opposite two acting dynamos in the role of Nina – Michelle Stafford and now, Cynthia Watros.  Was the transition difficult for you when Cynthia came to GH?

JAMES:  It wasn’t.  It was scary because Michelle Stafford wasn’t just one in a million, I mean, she is one of a kind.  The last thing in the world that I would ever want to consider doing myself was recast that actress.  So, my deal was (and I’ve said this to Cynthia) I said, “I have no control over this.  All I can do is make the landing as easy as possible for Cynthia.”  We did a lot of photoshoots together, and I had flowers waiting for her, and I did everything possible to make sure that she knew that she had a friend and that she had somebody that was going to make it as easy as possible.  It was rough because a lot of the trolls on social media were just awful to her… just brutal, and she goes, “I have thick skin.  I can take it,” and then a week later, she goes, “I’ve closed all my social media accounts!”  (Laughs)  It’s been fun to watch those guys turn around and go, “You have a really special person.”  That wedding stuff was just incredible!  She came so prepared and she knocked it out of the park.  Cynthia has been wonderful.  I love them both.  I love her the reddest, and I love Michelle the bluest, and together I love them the purplest.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s interesting that all the women in his life such as Anna and Nina, all have a soft-spot for Valentin; even though they don’t necessarily want to be with him.  These ladies are just drawn to this dysfunctional guy.

JAMES:  Don’t you think?  Is it that you want to help him, you want to fix him, you see the potential, you want to help him despite himself?  I think that’s what it is.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think Valentin’s still going to try to win Nina back, or is that done? 

JAMES:  I don’t know.  I do know that the Valentin I know will never shake Nina, and when he loves, he loves forever.  He can be simultaneously in love with Anna whenever she’s near.  I don’t believe he ever truly got over Nina hearing his story and his brokenness and still loving him twice as hard.  Years ago, there was a moment where he said to her the stuff that he’s never said, and Michelle beautifully kissed my tears away and said, “You’re beautiful” to me.   I think in that moment his fate was sealed.  I think he knew that this was his woman forever.  So, I just don’t think that that goes away.  I think he will always carry a torch for Nina, for sure.

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Do you see Valentin becoming darker and darker now that he had found out he is Helena’s offspring?

JAMES:  Well, yes and no.  I remember watching these scenes and we’ve done a lot of this stuff, and you know how easy it is to sort of go, “Let’s go dark, let’s go dark, let’s go more dark,” and after a while, I go, “You know, maybe he does learn something.  Maybe there’s hope for this guy after all.”  Of course, more bad stuff will happen to him, and he will do more bad stuff, because that’s just who he is.  A leopard can’t change his spots, and those are his survival instincts, but there are some new colors, and it’s all a direct result of all of just these horrible things that have happened to him… mostly learning that he is part Helena and he can’t undo that.

Photo: JPI

We saw that Nelle (Chloe Lanier) called and then goes to see Valentin, because she wants to sell her shares of ELQ.  So, obviously he has the potential to become really rich here which is what would give him his power back.  How do you think that will go over with the rest of the Quartermaines? (Laughs)

JAMES:  (Laughs) A lot of the Quartermaine actors have been asking me that in the hallways of General Hospital!  Isn’t that interesting how he’ll just sort of switch families? (Laughs)

Of all the people, just as Valentin’s life is in the gutter and he is at his lowest, who should show up with a sort of lifeline, Nelle! How will he go about attempting to gain control of ELQ?

JAMES:  Valentin knows he has to get the majority shares to gain a control of the company, and he has to do it fast before people see that he’s doing it.  So, that’s where Michael E. Knight (Martin Gray) has been.  He’s gallivanting the states rapidly accumulating shares.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s been so fun seeing you and Michael Knight on-screen and on a daytime soap together again, as so many remember you as Tad Martin and Will Cortlandt on All My Children.  How has it been getting the chance to work with Michael?

JAMES:  My God, are you kidding me?  He taught me!  He’s the guy who taught me.  I didn’t know how to do this.  Nobody instinctively knows… this is a very unique art form.  It’s more Jazz than anything else, and he showed me how to do it!  Walt Willey (Ex-Jack, AMC) showed me how to do my hair, and Michael Knight taught me how to break down a script!  And, what’s so funny is he is still doing it.  In a scene on GH, when he threw in that line, “From now on, you pay in advance,” I just about fell on the floor!  I thought, “There he is!  That’s the Michael I’ve always known and loved.”

Photo: JPI

Who would have thought that you guys would get to share scenes like that again on soaps?  You just never know in this life who may be wind up back in your orbit.

JAMES:  It’s incredible.  That’s what we say all of the time… “Who would have thought?”  You could never plan something like this and that we’d still be doing it at this point.

Now with Lulu (Emme Rylan) learning that Valentin is not a Cassadine, and Nina apparently moving on to a relationship with Jax, what do you think it will mean for their relationship in raising their daughter, Charlotte?

JAMES:  I think in the short-term, Valentin’s shelved any ideas of getting her out of Charlotte’s life.  He’s sort of putting out the fires in his own personal life.  Charlotte needs a mother in her life, and he’s quite willing to share custody as they always have been.  She seems to be looking at this as an opportunity to paint him as an unfit father, and she wants full-time custody.  So, we’re back to that again.  It looks to me like Lulu is kicking Valentin while he’s down.

Photo: JPI

It was so nice to see you, and some of your GH co-stars such as: Steve Burton (Jason) and Maurice Benard (Sonny) show up for Y&R’s Eric Braeden’s (Victor Newman) 40th anniversary on set celebration at CBS.  It was quite the event; speakers galore, and so many from our industry and beyond in attendance.

JAMES:  It was pretty profound.  Eric has always been kind to me.  I only worked with him on one movie, a western, called The Man Who Came Back, and that was probably 12 years ago.  He has been so complimentary of me in interviews and in his book.  So, if he does that with me, I can only imagine how many dear, dear friendships he has.  So, the fact that everybody showed up like that from the president of CBS Entertainment to local councilmen, and that they were willing to do be there for 2 hours was really proof of how much they love him.  Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I don’t even think was working that day, came in for it and spoke at the event. There was so much respect shown for Eric and what he has meant to this medium.

Photo: JPI

Your album The Apple Tree was so well-received, and everyone always loves seeing you get the opportunity to sing on General Hospital as well.  Will you continue to put out more music in 2020?

JAMES:  Yeah, that’s the plan.  I have another one that I’m working on.  I have a bunch of songs.  I’m in no rush to get it out.  Unfortunately, I lost Glen Roven, who wrote the cello part for Book of Love, passed away right after the Nurses’ Ball where I played Book of Love, which is really heartbreaking, and then, Michael Sherwood, who helped me with a number of songs on the record passed away right after The Apple Tree came out.  So, I’m a little gun-shy.  But, I’m planning on having something out by December for Christmas.

In closing, what would you say the fans should look forward to in the weeks ahead from Valentin?

JAMES: Look forward to that moment where Valentin is so low that there’s nowhere to go but up!  The comeback is going to be one for the books.

So, what do you think of how Valentin’s life hit rock bottom?  Do you think he will ever win Nina back? Do you think he will takeover ELQ? Share your thoughts on James’ recent performances and his thoughts contained in this interview via the comment section below.

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