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Gay Year in Soaps: Chappell Soap Newsmaker of the Year!

Thom Bierdz

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

With its high drama, convoluted plots, and beauty and brawn, gay men and women have followed daytime soap operas for years, but it was 2009 that truly changed the soap landscape for the LGBT community.   Five network soaps featured same-sex storylines, and each in its own way (some more successful than others) brought the issues of equality, coming out, same-sex marriage, and tolerance to the forefront: As the World Turns continued telling the relationship of Luke and Noah.  One Life to Live told us the coming out story of Officer Oliver Fish, with openly gay actor Scott Evans in the role. They also gave Fish a love interest, Kyle, and the duo became known as Kish. The Young and the Restless brought back Thom Bierdz 20 years later as Phillip Chancellor.  Bierdz, also openly gay, returned to the series for the chance to play a gay version of Phillip, who returns home to confront family and friends with the truth of who he is after living in self-exile. The number one soap also introduced us to gay legal eagle Rafe Torres, who gets seduced by the machinations of “straight” man.

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Courtesy/ABC

But what’s ahead for the boys in 2010?  One Life’s head writer, Ron Carlivati, spoke to us exclusively about Kish. “2009 was all about introducing this couple and getting them together. It will culminate by New Year’s Eve, when they have sex!  As we go into 2010 with the couple solid and committed to each other, it’s about integrating them into one of our bigger mainstreams stories, which is Stacy’s baby, and the audience knows that Fish is the biological father!  Anything can happen once that baby is born and they are an important part of that.”  Carlivati feels the Kish storyline exceeded his expectations. “I always say without a Luke and Noah, I could not have done a Kyle and Fish.  We did a coming out story, and got to touch on the issue of gay marriage and do it with sort of a fun twist with Dorian.  I am glad the audience seemed to respond to it.”  Speaking of Luke and Noah, brace yourself… because the end is near for this beloved duo. It was announced a few weeks ago that As the World Turns has been cancelled as of September of 2010.  But until then, we are told there is plenty on the horizon as we move into the New Year.  Luke and Noah’s relationship continues to be tested.  Noah is still blind, and Luke is pulling out all the stops to get him the help he needs, at all costs.  So, enter Dr. Reid Oliver.  Could the new doc be gay and a spoiler for the boys?  Watch, starting January 19th.

Crystal Chappell

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

On the ladies side, All My Children wrapped up the misfired Bianca and Reese storyline, which at its center had featured soap’s first same-sex wedding ceremony, and Guiding Light gave us Otalia, who became the most popular soap couple of the decade.  The plot: two women previously heterosexual fall in love… with each other.  It was this journey that captivated gay and straight fans around the world.  And even though they never were allowed to kiss, up until Guiding Light went off the air this past September, the duo played by Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia had become a cult phenomenon.

Chappell, knowing that the legions of gay fans she had cultivated were ripe for something more than one could show through daytime network television, created Venice, a web-soap which as its core features a same-sex love story. Venice premiered earlier this month, and can be seen via subscription on the series website www.venicetheseries.com, with a new episode posted every Friday.  Venice had over 24 million hits since September.  It is so popular that the series needed four additional servers to handle the web traffic!  It is because of her unwavering commitment to tell people our story, and her tremendous mainstream media profile that has brought awareness to same-sex issues, that Frontiers-IN LA has named Crystal, Soap Newsmaker of the Year. In this special year-end Q&A, Crystal previews Venice in 2010 and discusses her return to Days of our Lives, where she has stepped back into the part that made her soap-famous in the first place, Dr. Carly Manning!

To download the print version of this Frontiers-In LA feature click here.

Going into the New Year for Gina on Venice, what can web fans look forward to?

Crystal Chappell:

Gina will meet somebody new… Kit Tracy played by Lesli Kay.  She is from London and it’s somebody Gina had met before and she takes a shine to her.  Then there is Ani, who has met somebody, Lara.  But the two of them are still connected, and still coming together and trying to figure out what their relationship is.  They have not completely broken things off.  Also, you will meet Gina’s father.  In the New Year that is what you will be seeing; the reason why Gina has the enormous intimacy issues that she has, and the reason she can’t be with Ani.  The part is played brilliantly by Jordan Clarke. Season one should play out through mid- February, and hopefully, when we shoot season two, we can get it out sometime in mid- March.

Do you hope that, we the audience, root for Gina and Ani to get together, as the LGBT audience rooted for Otalia on GL?

Crystal Chappell, Jessica Leccia

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Ani and Gina have that connection that only happens once in awhile.  It’s easy and they get each other flaws and all.  It’s very accepting and very loving.   It’s other things that are keeping them apart.  In some ways, it’s bittersweet that something broken in one person can stop something beautiful from growing.  Obviously, Ani gets tired of waiting around so she moves forward, too, and it’s the journey of it. I think people will have to watch and see the different dynamics between these couples and see what strikes them.

We are celebrating your achievements as a heterosexual woman who has done so much for the gay community in the past year, and the awareness you have made of our issues.  You have really been one of the celebrity newsmakers of the year for us. What do you feel about that, as the year is coming to an end?

I have always considered this as a privilege.   I believe in love.  I believe in equality, and to me it was a wonderful opportunity to show the world that we are all the same, and to be able to do it in a creative way that is fulfilling.  It’s been amazing!  I am happy to represent their voices, and it continues to be important to do that.

When you returned to DAYS and decided to revisit the character of Carly, has it been all you had hoped for?

I try not to create too many expectations.  I like to be present and open to the experience and certainly this is very different, because I am much more comfortable as an actress than I was 16 years ago.  They brought Carly back with flaws, which is so much more fun to play, and I am not afraid to play them anymore.   As a younger actress, for fear of being disliked, I would not just go for it.  Now, after ten years of playing Olivia on Guiding Light, I was like, “Well, what else could they throw it at me?”

So, all the times back in the 90’s as Carly, when you were emoting all over the place, that was tough for you?

It was very hard for me!  I did not feel comfortable in my own skin, as a person and as an actress.  So it became very technical for me.  My experience over the years as an actor (now that I have gotten older and wiser, hopefully) is to find a more authentic kind of performance. You have to live with these characters you play, and be comfortable with them… the good and the bad.  So on GL, when Olivia was trying to run down Ava with her car, I had to justify her reasons to do that, and you have to go to those dark places.  Olivia taught me a lot about being open to all choices.  Coming back to DAYS, I felt very excited and free to take on this new Carly.

Crystal Chappell, Peter Reckell

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

What can we look forward to from Carly in 2010?

There is so much that happens in 2010.  And that is one of the things I love about this show. You have to watch or you are going to miss it.  Eventually, she does get reconnected to a few people… the father of her daughter, and she gets closer to Bo and that takes an interesting turn, and Vivian is still trying to kill her!

I hear there is a horrible thing that Vivian is going to do.  Last time she did something dreadful.  She buried Carly alive!

It will happen at the beginning of February sweeps. The bottom line is, Lawrence wanted the child dead and Vivian is in Salem to carry out his wishes to make Carly suffer!

Did you know when you signed on to play Carly you would have an older daughter?

Yes, I knew.  Gary Tomlin (DAYS Co-EP) told me that back in June or July.  So they had this pretty well thought out.  I don’t mind being a soap mom, I really don’t.

Well, ATWT’s Eileen Fulton (Lisa) had a clause in her contract that she could never become a soap grandmother!

I get that to a point; you know how it is in soap land.   People are 8 years old one day and 25 the next.  So what difference does it make?  (Laughs)

Crystal Chappell

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How is flip-flopping in the romance department; making out with a girl on Venice and being hot and heavy with a guy on DAYS?  Any difficulty with that?

I can kiss just about anything! (Laughs).

What would you say is one of the top ten reasons to watch DAYS and Venice?

DAYS –It’s action packed drama, and it moves and it’s exciting.  Venice– It’s sexy and romantic.

What is husband Michael Sabatino, saying about your double duty on DAYS and Venice?

“Where the hell is my wife?” God love him.  He has been so patient.  He knows how much Venice means to me and he is a supportive person, but on occasion he has looked at me and gone, “I am lonely.”   He knows it’s important for everyone involved, and the fans that have been waiting for it.  This has all been the preparation for it, and I am really thinking season two of Venice can go much smoother and we will have a little more time for our family.  God willing!

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Sabrina
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Sabrina

awesome post. love Crystal and hope Michael will be less lonely but we still get what we luv to see on Venice going strong!

OtaliaRocks
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OtaliaRocks

Crystal has been fantastic this year, and she is a great person to have on our side. One thing though.. Days.. Hmmm.. I’m watching to support her (although being from Team International I am not having any effect on the viewing figures) but, I have to say the quality of writing, acting etc is nothing compared to Guiding Light. I am glad she is having a good time being back there though, and lets face it, in this day and age, employment is good!!

kelltwomyn
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kelltwomyn

Thank you, Michael, for the wonderful interview! Crystal deserves many honors for all of her hard work and dedication..and that’s just the fan aspect! She works hard in all areas of her life and we really appreciate that. Bless Michael S. and their boys for being patient.

Valluv1
Guest
Valluv1

Crystal always gives a good interview and i love that she’s not afraid to speak up for equality for all. She has worked really hard this year and with episode 3 of venice out her hard work is showing. I thank her husband and children for lending her to us for a while and if i was him i’d miss her to.

Gail Hemenway
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Gail Hemenway

Michael, could you please refer to acceptance rather than tolerance? Really, who wants to tolerated? To tolerate essentially means “to put up with”. I think most people would rather be accepted for who they are. To merely be tolerated still leaves one on the outside, on the fringe of humanity. Loved your interview with Crystal. I agree she has done so much. As have you.

maksam3
Guest
maksam3

I hope 2010 is an even better year for Crystal Chappell. She’s amazing to all her fans. Politicians could learn a thing or two from her.

Greetings from a Hot South Africa. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

PJ
Guest
PJ

Crystal Chappell is the best straight ally the lesbian community world-wide has ever had, and we are so grateful. She is smart, talented, articulate, and hilarious. Venice is a gift from her great big heart to ours. I am also enjoying CC playing Dr. Carly Manning on Days. She is among our most talented actresses. I’d love to see her perform with Meryl Streep! I think CC is certainly the same caliber of actress as Streep and others. I am a grateful and loyal fan.

tvcat
Guest
tvcat

Thanks for the interview with the always entertaining Crystal Chappell. She is such a wonderful actress and loves the soap world and the people that love soaps. So refreshing she reached out to her fans this year through the on line media. It was a lot of fun getting to know her at least a bit that way.

buggy
Guest
buggy

I think Crystal is a dynamic performer and extremely smart woman! However, her commitment to her fans is one of things that I personally find the most heartening about her. I wish her luck and hope she finds the right balance between her work and family.

irishgirl27
Guest
irishgirl27

Thank You Michael for sharing your Goddess with us!

Leslie
Guest
Leslie

Gotta love Crystal Chappell!!! She can kiss just about anything…lol Were is the line or do I have to take a number?? Muuaah!!

willie robinson
Guest
willie robinson

i hear about crystal chappell all time, when can i hear something about how wonderful jessicia leccia is and is is young beautiful and very talented!!!!

Amber
Guest
Amber

I certainly hope that Crystal and Michael are blessed with more time for family and each other. They deserve that. CC has been, in my opinion, the best and hardest working ally for the LGBT community this year. A wonderful and blessed New Year to Crystal and all of Team Venice.

Btw, Crystal kissing anything?…I’m with Leslie….where’s the line for that?

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

I believe this will be a big year for Crystal and her fans! Always excited to hear about what she’s doing next. All of her nominations and awards for 2009 are well deserved. ….btw CBS is the scum of the earth.

Happy New Year!

Days Of Our Lives

Daytime Stars Attend the ‘Hollywood Christmas Parade’ 2021 (PHOTOS)

Sunday night after a year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Hollywood Christmas Parade returned for its 89th edition to mark the tinseltown start to the holiday season.

Several stars of your favorite soaps were participating and riding down in cars on the parade route in front of the crowd on Hollywood Boulevard.

General Hospital’s Laura Wright (Carly) and Wes Ramsey (Peter), Tristan Rogers (Scorpio) appeared along with former cast member, Ian Buchanan (Ex-Duke).

The Bold and the Beautiful was represented by Kimberlin Brown (Sheila), Sean Kanan (Deacon), and former B&B star, Andrea Evans (Ex-Tawny).  Days of our Lives was represented by Deidre Hall (Marlena) and Judi Evans (Bonnie) on the parade route.  The Young and the Restless’ Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) and Kate Linder (Esther) also attended, as did Patrika Darbo (Ex-Days, Ex- B&B).

Photo: JPI

The Talk’s Sheryl Underwood served as grand marshal of the parade, and her co-host from the daytime talk show, Jerry O’Connell, also made an appearance.

The parade will be broadcast as a two-hour special on The CW December 17th at 8 p.m. EST.

Check out some photos from the Hollywood Christmas Parade 2021 below.

Then, let us know, who were you most happy to see getting the chance to hang out with Santa? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Y&R's Michelle Stafford along with her children, Natalia and Jameson!
Real life love-birds, GH's Wes Ramsey and Laura Wright.
Dressed in the holiday spirit ... Y&R's Kate Linder.
GH's Tristan Rogers strikes a pose with Santa!
B&B's Sean Kanan along with wife, Michele Kanan, and their oh-so-adorable dog!
Santa had no idea he is standing next to thee Sheila Carter! B&B's Kimberlin Brown with the man of the hour.
The Talk's Jerry O'Connell and Sheryl Underwood.
DAYS Judi Evans and Deidre Hall with their very special guest, Santa!
GH's Carolyn Hennesy has a new friend!
Soap favorites: Patrika Darbo (Days, B&B) and Ian Buchanan (GH, B&B, AMC).
Driving down the parade route, DAYS and Fifth Dimension favorites, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.
DAYS Deidre Hall and Judi Evans snapping some pics on their parade route.
B&B's Kimberlin Brown accompanied by former B&B star, Andrea Evans and her daughter, Kai, riding down Hollywood Blvd.
The GH car with Ian Buchanan, Laura Wright and Wes Ramsey heads down Hollywood Blvd too!
Y&R's Michelle Stafford along with her children, Natalia and Jameson!

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS OF OUR LIVES: Julie Stands Up to MarDevil; Susan Seaforth Hayes Reminds Us Why She is Soap Royalty

Friday’s episode of Days of our Lives brought with it, let’s just say, not your typical Turkey Day episode in Salem.  It also moved the story along with MarDevil being exposed!

At Julie’s (Susan Seaforth Hayes) Thanksgiving, Doug (Bill Hayes) shouts that Marlena (Deidre Hall) is the devil. However, Marlena still insists that Doug is delusional and needs to be locked back up.  It is then that Julie stands by her husband.  Julie is on to Marlena and wonders if she should call “Marlena,” who she truly is at the moment, “Satan”.

Courtesy/NBC

Shawn (Brandon Beemer) and Belle (Martha Madison) also believe something is terribly wrong.  Marlena tells them this is ridiculous, but Belle wants to hear what else Doug has to say.  Then, Shawn handcuffs Marlena to take her down to the station for questioning.  Julie doesn’t believe for one second that handcuffs will restrain the devil, and she was right! MarDevil breaks the cuffs and flings Shawn across the Thanksgiving dinner table complete with food-a-flying, leaving him unconscious.

Now with yellow eyes and lights flickering, MarDevil goes after Doug and Julie, but Julie stops Satan in his tracks professing “Not today, Satan!” Just then, MarDevil grabs a knife and in a counter move, Julie holds out her rosary saying love is the power and that the God of love is stronger than the devil! Julie defiantly tells MarDevil that the truth is out and Satan’s reign of terror is over! But MarDevil turns the tables and sneers, “It will never be over!”

It was in these scenes opposite Deidre Hall, that Susan Seaforth Hayes shined as she has done for decades given the material, as Julie went the toe-to-toe with the devil and Susan made us believe that love can win out over everything, especially the love of Doug and Julie.

Photo: JPI

In another touching moment in the episode, Susan Banks (Stacy Haiduk) tells EJ (Dan Feuerriegel) from her hospital bed, how she used herself as a human sacrifice for the devil to keep John alive and to protect her son.  An emotional EJ can’t believe that Susan was willing to die for him. However, Susan explains that a mother always protects their child and she would do it all over again when faced with that decision.  Haiduk and Feurriegel also delivered in these scenes.

Photo: JPI

With John (Drake Hogestyn) freed by Anna (Leann Hunley) and Tony (Thaao Penghlis), he eventually makes his way into the Horton house to confront MarDevil, but Satan is gone.  Instead, John finds Shawn with Doug and Julie and they inform him that MarDevil had left to fulfill her true purpose.  Just then, Marlena arrives at Ben (Rob Scott Wilson) and Ciara’s (Victoria Konefal). We fade to black.

Now below, check out Susan Seaforth Hayes in a scene from Friday’s episode as Julie fends off the devil.

Then, let us know, what did you think of Susan’s performance? What do you think MarDevil will do next to Ben and Ciara and “their” baby? Did you enjoy the Susan and EJ scenes? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Days Of Our Lives

(WATCH) Days of our Lives Extended Winter Preview Promo

As has been tradition, NBC has dropped their extended bombshell-filled Days of our Lives winter preview for everyone following the annual Day of Days event.

DAYS fan know that on Monday, the second annual virtual edition of the fan fest had its premiere and streamed here, and with it, came this promo of what’s to come in Salem through the holidays and into the new year.

Look for: a shocking return from Eric Brady (Greg Vaughan) that fits perfectly into the MarDevil  (Deidre Hall) repossession storyline and you’ll see why, Brady (Eric Martsolf) being seemingly arrested for the murder of Phillip Kiriakis (Jay Johnson), and Ava (Tamara Braun) becoming unhinged, and Sami (Alison Sweeney ) walks in on EJ (Dan Feuerriegel) and Nicole (Arianne Zucker) between the sheets!

Meanwhile, the annual Horton family Christmas has taken a devilish turn, and Eileen Davidson appears some more as the OG Kristen delivered by Satan.

Check out the preview below. Then let us know which story are you most excited to see via the comment secton.

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Video du Jour

DAYS head writer, Ron Carlivati talks with Michael Fairman on the creation and the making of the limited-series “Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem” currently streaming on Peacock. Leave A Comment

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