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GH’s Executive Producer Frank Valentini Talks: Jason/Sam/Drew, Tamara Braun Return, The Havoc Of Faison, and Anna & Finn’s Burgeoning Romance!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

The action on General Hospital this week is must-see TV as Faison (Anders Hove) is back with his reign of terror on the citizens of Port Charles.  Add to that, the continuing story of the complex relationship between Drew (Billy Miller), Sam (Kelly Monaco), and Jason (Steve Burton), and a host of other front burner dramatic relationships that could solidify or fall apart, and viewers of the ABC daytime drama series are in for a ride as the show gets set to celebrate its 55th year on the air come April 1st.  Quite the milestone.

On-Air On-Soaps recently caught up with GH executive producer, Frank Valentini at the ABC TCA (Television Critics Association) cocktail reception to get his thoughts on some of the latest on-screen story developments, and more.  Here’s what he had to say. 

Please note: This interview was conducted prior to the news of Genie Francis (Laura) being taken-off contract by the show.  In addition, it is GH and ABC’s policy not to comment on actors’ contract status when we reached out for comment. 

The “Jasoning” story of Drew and Jason played out as one of the best stories of 2017, and continues to be intriguing in 2018.  Steve Burton’s return was also orchestrated so well.  At what point in the process did you know that this story would work?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

FRANK:  From the first phone call I had with Steve Burton (Jason); I knew it was going to work.  You can’t go wrong with these actors: Billy Miller, Kelly Monaco, and Steve. They are all fantastic, and you know it’s going to be dynamite.  They are all beautiful people.  You want to see what they are going to do, and you want to see how they are going to react.  There is intense chemistry between Billy and Kelly.  They are an on-screen present-day family with a daughter (Scout) together, and they have been through so much.  Drew came into her life when she really needed somebody, and it’s that versus the history, the love, and the legacy of Jason and Sam.  It’s all an equal match made in heaven. 

I think both Steve Burton and Billy Miller stepped up to the plate with this story, and are both delivering some of the best work of their careers as the story propelled forward.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

FRANK:  The writers set it up and the architecture of the story is just all there. The only thing that surprised me was how many different iterations of the return that the writers came up with.  I thought it was great, because you never thought the story was stalled.  You always felt that there was another layer to it that was just as satisfying to watch, since you want it to come to a conclusion, or a resolution, but you are still excited about every single beat.  I think that is a testament to the writers and the actors.  This story won’t stall for another couple of months, if ever!

Were you aware of the social media bashing that was going on between fan factions of the two pairings (Drew and Sam, and Jason and Sam) and derogatory comments hurled at the actors who portray them? 

FRANK: In regard to the Drew/Sam vs. Jason/Sam fans, I love that there is a rivalry and I love that there is a passion there for them, but I don’t like when it gets personal.  I don’t think that’s fair.  I think the audience has to understand there are many, many reasons we go into whatever directions we go to story-wise.

There was originally an outcry of “injustice” by some fans, when Steve came in and took back his role as Jason, and they were concerned how that would affect Billy.  Now as Drew, Billy is creating a whole new character with a completely different back-story.  Yet, both remain viable long-term love interests for Sam.  What are your thoughts on how the romantic part of the story is structured? 

FRANK:  The fans can get into this thing where it’s got to be this, or it’s got to be that.  It doesn’t have to be either or.  Sam can feel love for both of these men. There are people in the world who have been in love with two people at the same time.  As much as those guys seem like they are similar, they could not be polar opposite.  We stacked the deck, and we took 51 cards and gave it to Drew, and one card and gave it to Jason, because that’s how the balance needs to work within our storytelling. 

Tamara Braun was brought back to GH in the newly created role of Dr. Kim Nero.  Were you at all concerned with her return when she previously played Carly, now played by Laura Wright?

Photo Courtesy: TBraun Instagram

FRANK:  No. It was my idea to bring her back, and we have created this wonderful character of Kim. Right away we have her identity, we have her issues, and we have how she will fit into the canvas.  We always like to strengthen up the hospital, because the show is called, “General Hospital”.  So why wouldn’t you like to have a terrific doctor on staff?  Kim is a connection to Oscar (Garren Stitt), and a connection to Josslyn (Eden McCoy), and has connection to Carly (Laura Wright), Sonny (Maurice Benard), and already has a built-in connection to Drew, which is really important. 

Where do you see the character of Kim going? Good girl, bad girl?  Tamara always brings this edgy and dynamic performance to all of her work.

Courtesy/ABC

FRANK:  I can’t imagine Tamara being anything but edgy, but she also has a feisty and smart point of view.  I have always liked Tamara’s work.  I have a total professional crush on her.  I think she is also really good on-screen with Garren Stitt, who plays her son.  He is very good!  Garren is very genuine and comes off on-screen as very charming.  It works with Josslyn, because Josslyn is a little bit like her mom, and a little headstrong, and Oscar is somewhat more passive, which is kind of nice to see in a young man, who is not so incredibly aggressive.  Now, understanding that he was raised by Kim makes it make sense, and it all kind of fits.

Jessica Tuck, who previously played Megan Gordon Harrison on One Life to Live, was brought in to play Cassandra on GH.  People loved her, and did not want her to exit the show.  She was just getting started as a viable villain, and let’s face it, she is one of the finest actresses that has ever been in the genre.  What can you say about Jessica?

FRANK:  Jessica is one of my best friends.  She was written-off for a short time.  She is awesome.  When this part came up the writers said, “You know … what if he could get someone like a Jessica Tuck to play Cassandra?”  I said, “Well, what if we got Jessica Tuck?”  They were like, “Great!”   Jessica has a lot of fans out there.  I have to say Jessica is one of the most loved actors to ever cross any daytime stage.  The crew loves her.  She keeps everybody laughing, and she has got such a great sense of humor.  She is a kind person, interesting, smart, and went to Yale.  I cannot say enough good things about her.

How do you like how the romantic pairing between Michael Easton’s Finn and Finola Hughes’ Anna is playing out on-screen?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

FRANK:   I love it.  It was my idea.  Remember when he was John McBain and he used to work for Anna Devane? They had so much chemistry and that’s where I got it from.  The story is all the writers, and I just said, “What if we put those two together?”  The writers just came up with these brilliant situations.  There is real conflict between the two characters, but there is also a lot of love underneath.  Anna leads a very dangerous life.  Finn is a healer, and she is someone who plays on both sides of the law, and he is recovering from an addiction.  There is lots of energy that can be explored between those two characters. 

After several different incarnations on General Hospital, what do you think about how Michael Easton has shaped and portrayed, Dr. Hamilton Finn?

FRANK:  I love what Michael has done with this role.  I think he came in and really owned it. The best part is the character has a sense of humor that is very realistic in a way that is not goofy like other characters on the show that can be humorous like: Franco (Roger Howarth) or Scott (Kin Shriner), or Maxie (Kirsten Storms).  Michael’s humor fits in with who his character is, and what his character’s occupation is really well.

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Jordan (Vinessa Antoine) and Curtis (Donnell Turner) are a definite couple that brings the hotness to GH.  What does the future look like for these two?

FRANK:  Vinessa Antoine is incredibly beautiful, talented and a great dancer, and you may see her dancing in the future.  You just have to stay tuned.  Her relationship with Curtis will continue to be very intense, but very confrontational at times. 

O.K. let’s talk about Aunt Stella! (Vernee Watson).  Why is she so obsessed with her nephews?  

Courtesy/ABC

FRANK:  First of all, Aunt Stella came in and blew us all away.  She wasn’t supposed to be around as long as she has been, but that is how good Vernee is.  She is also an important part of this family.  Jordan and Curtis need someone to anchor them as a family, because we don’t get to see enough of TJ (Tequan Richmond).   She is obsessed with her nephews that is true, but I think it’s more important that she is not their mother, and that she is so involved with them.  In story, Curtis had already said his mother had passed away; otherwise Vernee would have played his mother.  I think it’s much more interesting that Stella is someone who doesn’t have a blood interest, and that almost makes her more passionate about the situation.  She sacrificed to raise children that were not her own, and that is as bigger sacrifice as you can get.  You can honor any mother making sacrifices for their child, and it’s almost expected, but it’s not expected for an Aunt to make those sacrifices for her two nephews.  You can see she genuine loves TJ and Curtis when she hugs them, and that is a testament to Vernee as an actor.

Viewers are watching the return of uber-villain Cesar Faison. What can you say to watch for this time out when he wreaks havoc on Port Charles?

Courtesy/ABC

FRANK:  It’s big stuff!  I feel like each part of the canvas is affected by his return. We have had the Jason/Sam/Drew/Kim/Oscar set-up, and that was our big disruptor, and all of those stories are playing out in full force.  Now, bringing back Faison and having him re-enter the world that affects: Jordan, Dante (Dominic Zamprogna), Lulu (Emme Rylan) Nathan (Ryan Paevey), Maxie, Anna and Finn, and so many parts of the canvas will make for riveting story on General Hospital.

The mystery of Cesar Faison’s second son is something that GH fans are weighing-in on.  Some have been guessing Griffin Munro (Matt Cohen), to Peter August (Wes Ramsay), and then some.

FRANK:  Who is the second son? The viewers will soon find out. 

You promoted Chris Van Etten to your co-head writer.  He has done an excellent job as a counterpart to your other co-head scribe, Shelly Altman.

FRANK:  I love Chris Van Etten.  He used to be my assistant at One Life to Live, and my last assistant, Donnie Sheldon, I just made him a script writer.  These guys know the show so well, which is great.

What can you tease for Franco and Liz (Rebecca Herbst)?

Courtesy/ABC

FRANK:  Their relationship is heating up, and when things heat up, all the secrets come flying out, and that’s never good.  Did you love the Jedi Challenge game Franco was playing during one of our Christmas episodes? We put it in, because it is really fun toy, and it’s a way for us to show that side of Franco that Liz really loves.  So, it had a two-pronged purpose to it. 

What is Franco so tormented about?  Will this finally be revealed?

FRANK:  It’s a big secret, and there is something.  There is a real reason why he is so tormented.  You saw his connection to Drew when they were kids.  They were good friends, and Drew did really live with him, and that’s all true.  Again, it’s about doubling back and making connections: Drew/Sam involved with Liz/Franco is all really good for story.

As we head into February, what can viewers expect for the big February Sweeps ratings period? 

Courtesy/ABC

FRANK:  Every day is sweeps on General Hospital.  This February will be extremely exciting for viewers, I will say that.

So, what did you think about Frank’s comments on the Drew/Sam/Jason story? Having Tamara Braun return to GH? What do you think will happen over the next few weeks with Faison’s returns and his two sons? What do you think of the relationship between Anna and Finn? Thumbs up? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Dan
Dan

All due respect Michael, I don’t care to read anything Frank Valentini has to say, nor to watch the show that I’ve loyally watched for 25 years, until they rectify the despicable way they treated Genie Francis. Plain and simple, I’ve had enough. This was a breaking point for me. Keep shoving new characters down our throat, which apparently they have room in the budget for, while getting rid of the beloved fan favorites that are the very fabric of General Hospital. It was a slap in the face to Genie, and a slap in the face to the loyal fans that are the reason this show is still on the air.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

I couldn’t have said it better, Dan. I don’t care either–and did not read interview.

Tori
Tori

I’m with you Dan & feel the same way. The actor who plays Peter who happens to turn out to be Faisons other son is actually the real life boyfriend of Laura Wright who plays Carly. Unbelievable, FV hires his pals boyfriends now! With him it’s pay the men unbelievable amounts of money but the women are treated with so much less! The way he treated Genie & the Laura*Kevin romance & her running for mayor are solidy fan favorites but are totally left out of what should be front burner story because he’s scared someone else may get some attention & ratings for #GH other then his pet pals! We want Laura*Kevin front & center with Laura having her mayor storyline back! Fans are so sick of The mobsters storylines & of Sonny be shoved into everyones storyline. Laura was affected by Faison as well. He held her son Lucky captive leading her to believe he was dead. FV has got to go,he’s not treating our favorite characters fairly & the fans are sick and tired of it and won’t take it any longer!

Carrie
Carrie

Here, here!

Carrie
Carrie

oops I mean Hear Hear! 🙂

Kay
Kay

Totally agree. So sick of all of Frank’s pets getting airtime while true GH characters get the shaft and only prop his newbies. The way Genie Francis was treated was deplorable. Fans were excited she was finally getting a story instead of babysitting Spencer and Frank yanked it and let her go. He needs to go for ruining GH. His “vision” is not the GH fans have loved for years!

Elaine
Elaine

100% agree

Mary
Mary

If Tony Geary were still with the show Frank would be doing everything possible to give him the best story lines. Genie has no importance in Frank’s mind.

davleestev1
davleestev1

Agreed on Genie Francis. I have britbox for my UK soap fix but I am MOST DEFINITELY on an can’t miss DAYS and Y&R kick. OUR most enjoyable easy to binge soaps. And while I’m at it SHOCKER. .I’m binging the new DYNASTY. .the show is highly entertaining. PERIOD!

Sassy Duck
Sassy Duck

Dear Frank. As a fan of GH since its inception. I grew to love the characters and storylines, especially those written for Genie Francis. Watching her grow into a formidable actress and story character was one of the highlights of tuning into the show each day, throughout the years. She is TRULY the heart and soul of GH. It saddens me to say, Frank, you seem to have no historical love or appreciation for GH, and I find that so hard to comprehend. It has been disheartening to watch the gradual demise of a once stellar show. Your talents were so apparent on OLTL, another soap I started watching in the early 70s. But, your disrespect for General Hospital’s legacy, and its iconic characters, I find difficult to fathom. The show is now glutted with new actors whose stories have taken away from the legacy families – the Hardy’s, the Spencer’s, the Scorpio’s and especially, the Quartermaine’s – that are now a shadow of their former selves. There has been no “family” continuity for years, as there has been with other soaps. The exception is the Corintho’s family, whose mob storylines are now passe and dull. This is GENERAL HOSPITAL, not ‘Mobster’s Inc.”. Beloved characters have been ‘killed’ off’, fired, or put on ‘recurring’ status. And, iconic actors such as Mac, Felicia, Kevin, Scott, Lucy, and especially, Genie, have all but been shoved to the back burner. When you say that Kelly is a fantastic actress, I have to disagree, at least right now. From what I have seen with her character development over the years, if she is such a great actress, then the writers need to step up to the plate and really showcase her talent. Her character, once a bad-ass, and fun to watch, is now passive and boring. I haven’t been able to get into her storylines, including the current one with Drew/Jason, for the past several years. True, her character is a now a mom, but the tiger in her still needs to be let out and written into the scripts. You’ve done it for Carly. Why not for her? Also, Sam’s monotone vocalizing, as well as walking around with a perpetual rain cloud hovering above her for years, is part of the reason I’ve lost interest in the character. As to the chemistry between Sam (Kelly) and Drew (Billy), I again, have to disagree. He is a far superior actor, and I love and appreciate how he is re-inventing himself into his new character. There are unique and very deep layers evolving as he finds his footing. Billy is unbelievably talented and needs to be paired with someone his equal. I loved Jessica Tuck’s character on OLTL. She is a force to be reckoned with, but her current and brief stint added nothing to the show. I fault the writers for that. Again, disrespect for another multi-talented actress. I’m also weary of all of the ‘beefcake’, too. The storylines are shallow and offer no… Read more »

Cathy
Cathy

I am in total agreement! As a fan who has watched since the first episode, I share the same feelings of loss for veterans and core families being ignored or killed off one by one!
Putting Genie on recurring was the straw, Frank! All the ignorance you have provided for GH was nothing compared to the disrespect you have shown to Genie and fans.
Stop patting yourself on the back bud, you don’t deserve it. Bring back Genie and give some love to core families and GH’s rich history or you might be looking for work soon. GH cant last with your kind of vision.

Debra m
Debra m

You expressed yourself so beautifully and I agree with all you said. I feel so bad for the way Genie has been treated. She is an icon, it was both Luke and Laura that saved GH years ago . I doubt they ever would have treated Tony Geary like this. I don’t think I ever saw a story dropped so quickly and a performer instantly off a show. I think us viewers deserve an explanation. I am sure there is alot more to the story. If is a money issue, why were other actors issues resolved (William De Vry). Genie deserves the respect, for all the years she’s given to the show.

Sherri
Sherri

Could not have said it better!!

Patrick
Patrick

@Sassy

it’s with wonderment that i’m reading a lot of excellent “feedback” on the tenure of thee “Frank Valentini” ( and shelley )

they are now engulfed and aflame… in all the consequences allegedly darting in and around … and permeating our existence

what a SHOW.

ANSWER

have to gavel and showcase : Billy Miller and Kelly Monaco… END THIS

OKAY – we ALL KNOW this – Billy Miller is one of if not thee… HOTTEST imagination trigger. in a heartbeat yeah. without question … it’s my turn

WHEW ! how could things go so wrong

GAVEL TIME : per @Sassy eloquently puts

He is a far superior actor, and I love and appreciate how he is re-inventing himself into his new character. There are unique and very deep layers evolving as he finds his footing. Billy is unbelievably talented and needs to be paired with someone his equal ”

BRAVO – thank you for sharing ! he’s so damned gosh danged it … the best

OK – I just read on Yahoo.com… please God give me this… a thread stating… Y&R is … bringing Michael Muhney back ! the other bigger than life

OK – when you have the ultimate feast of mega watt HOT w/ acting talent. YOU DO NOT SQUANDER

you do not lose your canvas with lost writing. with lost production

Frank Valentini ( and Shelley )

woah… your tenure is most definitely in question

Harry
Harry

Oh Sassy Duck, your letter to Frank is a thing of beauty.
Thank you.
I appreciate the interview, Mr Fairman. And I understand this interview took place before word got out that they were putting Genie Frances on reoccurring status. So, there is some degree of hindsight injected into my perception of this interview. Not one word about Laura running for mayor? This tells me Frank knew this was coming and had not bothered letting the writers know first. As I recall, the new head writer Mr Fairman interviewed last month spoke of honoring legacy characters and he specifically mentioned how excited he was about Laura running for mayor.
What happened to Genie didn’t surprise me as I felt unsteady about her job security for quite some time. You know why? All the contract characters have their own set. Sonny, Alexis, Anna, Carly, Lizzy, Franco, Sam, Drew, Lulu, Dante, Maxie, Dante, Valentin, Nina, Ava, and hell, even the brand new character Kim has her own set. But no set for Laura. This is why she had to move in with Lulu and Dante after Valentin kicked her out of Wyndemere. Then she marries Kevin, and still, no set for Laura. What happened to Kevin’s very cool Lighthouse? I loved that set. But they must have dismantled it and never thought Kevin and Laura deserved that set to be rebuilt for them.
I don’t pretend to know what transpires behind the scenes of soap operas, but I do know that when a contracted actor plays a character without their own set, that they are not valued by TPTB. Genie deserved better—the fans deserved better

Mary
Mary

@ sassyduck

In complete fairness, Anna Lee (Lila Quartermaine) died in 2004. John Ingle (Edward Quartermaine) died in 2012. Stuart Damon (Alan Quartermaine) was let go from the show in 2007. Jane Elliott (Tracy Quartermaine) has left the show. AJ Quartermaine was killed by Sonny. There is no one left in that family. I agree with everything else in your post. I want them to bring back Alexis.

becca
becca

i love sam and drew. she just needs to find her spunk again and be the wife he needs. Billy Miller is awesome actor and deserves to be onthe big screen or primetime permantly. hes my favorite. i have loved Genie ever sence luke and laura and still miss those days. shes got a lot more to bring to that role and its a shame it is not being seen.

Jacquie Rivera
Jacquie Rivera

On point! I was just thinking the same thing. Valentini needs to address the Genie Francis situation that is the elephant in the room.

Sassy Duck
Sassy Duck

Thank you all for your positive comments – Cathy, Debra M., Sherri, Patrick and Jacquie. A great deal of thought went into that letter. It’s so easy to be critical and hateful with our comments. I didn’t want it to be a ‘rant’ filled with anger, but one with sincere and authentic words that expressed my sadness and disappointment . I’ve found that people respond much better to constructive feedback when it is written or spoken with a gentler hand or voice.

Over the years, I’ve learned to temper my own criticisms as I realize that first, we are all human. We have the ability to irreparably damage others with our hurtful words. I truly believe there is compassion in all of us, including Frank. While I don’t agree with everything he said, we all deserve to be heard. The world would be a rather vanilla place if we never disagreed with each other. Civility has a place, and I would love to see that honored in these types of forums.

Mary
Mary

I completely agree with every word you’ve posted Dan.

becca
becca

you are so right Sassy duck. when you speak about and actor or actress you can do serious damage to their careers. thank you for those words. we should all realize that words can hurt.

96meimei
96meimei

I really and most sincerely agree with all these replies.

Gracee
Gracee

Frank sounds like Trump in this interview.

Everything was my idea and its going to be great.

Frank how about you let your writers write and stop interfering. Your constant brilliant casting moves are the biggest problem on this show and the writers cant keep up with the idiocy. Stop casting in parking lots and grocery stores and let the best casting guy in the business Mark Teschner do his job for which is has won numerous awards.

Ric
Ric

Well said!

96meimei
96meimei

I know right

Dawn
Dawn

That Finn & Anna answer is garbage considering what happens in a few weeks. LOL.

SpixieFan
SpixieFan

What happens? Finn is the first Micheal Easton character on GH I like Lol Please don’t tell me they kill him. 🙁

Mari
Mari

Agreed. I enjoy the characters of Anna and Finn separately not as a couple. It is forced with all the cutesy comments. I am no Hayden fan by any means but now he’s fallen for Anna? Come on even for soaps it’s far fetched.

Betsy
Betsy

Don’t care about any of this! Tired of the boring triangle. Faison is boring and clownish! I was interested in n the mayoral story until idiot Frank took Laura out if it! He needs to stop stunt casting and bringing in boring newbies like Oscar and Peter! Bring back Genie Francis!!!

Grant Putnam
Grant Putnam

Faison’s post-Christmas break return meant pushing Cassandra, Valentin, Nina, Sam, Drew and Laura off-canvas. Genie got the worst of it because she was going to contract with the likes of Bobby, Scotty, Lucy, Felicia, Mac, Kevin, Diane, Max, Mylo, Lucas, Valerie etc.

BTW, no Nurses Ball 2018 question was posed???

MB
MB

Frank is clueless as ever and continually shows who he is and what is imp’t to him.

He admits stacking the deck for Miller over Burton, because that’s how it has to be. Yes, it has to be a soap refugee and Frank hire that gets the hand over a long time Vet, one who just pulled his show out of the toilet.

He loves the Dream/Jasam fan wars, he produces a show that caters to and preys on shippers.

His main concern is employing and propping his OLTL actors Easton and Howarth. It was his idea to put Easton with Finola, needing to try and make him work yet again and we are on redemption story number one hundred for Franco because he’ll never cut his losses with Franco and let his friend go. And he thinks they’re both funny. I’m sure he does, plenty of fans don’t. Long time GH fans would like to see the GH they love, characters and actors they love, not McBain trying to be quirky and Todd doing his schtick as a new character that constantly needs to be propped up. Keeping these guys going, and yucking it up while they do their schtick, thinking there are a lot of GH fans who care about it, is just so completely clueless.

All of it is so clear when he talks about Jessica Tuck. First she’s one of his best friends. Check. She was on OLTL. Check. Then she’s one of the most loved actresses ever in soaps. So? He still thinks that actors from other soaps mean something. He has not figured anything out in six years or he just doesn’t care. Why would he? He gets to hire his friends and keep them employed. Then when they tank the show, he gets a Vet like Robin in the past, or Burton more recently to bring the ratings back up, and after that happens it’s back to his friends. So Genie is dumped and Howarth is on redemption story 100.

GH gives you blips of hope, but with Frank in charge, nothing is ever going to change. I never like to say I’m done with GH, but I just about am. I had some hope with Jason’s return, the first couple of months were very good. But as per the way Frank says his storytelling needs to go, Drew having everything, constantly being propped and Jason having nothing doesn’t work for me. And the Killy/Dream stuff is nauseating. And I’m not a shipper, I don’t care who is with who. Then we have this Franco nonsense, a character who so many dislike, who so many are sick of. And of course as I mentioned, Genie tossed to the curb. The bodies just pile up for Frank. Ian, Kanan, Thompson, Tyler and so many more Vets marginalized except when they need to pull his show out of the toilet.

Bobbie
Bobbie

You are 100% dead on the money with everything you said!
Frank needs to go!

Chrystie_Delancey
Chrystie_Delancey

I agree. I really don’t see this chemistry he is talking about with Finola and Michael. They had “friend chemistry” when they were turning the heat up on Faison literally and we need more male/female friendships not forced romances.

I think they probably promised Steve Burton the moon regardless of how many “cards” he was given. He has his single opening credit card. That speaks volumes to me.

Mari
Mari

I see friends not soul mates.

Patrick
Patrick

@MB – on so may levels… YES ! RIGHT ON !

for me to stand – your para on FV pets… Michael Easton and Roger Howarth.

especially… have to vent about , whatever HE sees… in Finn and Anna.

it’s an abomination … to do this to Finola Hughes character. never in a million years would these two connect. NEVER

we’ve seen ME Finn propped with Jane Elliott , Tracy Quartermaine. that surely would have died… had she continued on the show

he performs miracles @GH hospital. he’s the best reformed addict I’ve ever “seen”. in two years , from the time his wife died… he’s schlepped on to Hayden w/child… and now… he’s twisting and trying to turn with Anna.

what gives ? FV agenda

as for Roger Howarth. God… I DO NOT CARE what goes ON – in his – head.

from wiki: “…On May 29, 2013, Howarth’s new character on General Hospital was revealed; he was cast as Franco ”

THATS 4 1/2 years of no where… nada… done… GOD his saving grace is Rebecca Herbst.

GIVE HIM HIS MANHOOD.. a bigger schlep. if I ever have to see him flutter his eyes… looks of dismay… back and forth with his insecurity at losing Liz. GOD

seriously… this coming from the man of the hour.. who reigned @OLTL. GH.. LISTEN !!!!! he’s still got IT

I don’t know why… FV is so caught up in Sonny / Carly / Jason / Sam / Finn / Michael / Nelle / Franco

I don’t know

this is @ it’s worst

James Moya
James Moya

Why cant you ask him why Jason hasn’t found out that Sonny killed Aj. Don’t you think that is kind of important. Aj was a Quartermaine.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

YES!!!! And how ANYONE who cared for AJ (Monica, Liz, Michael) can even LOOK at Sonny! But Jason (whom I happen to like) has always been a disappointment when it came to protecting or showing any empathy toward AJ. Then they had Michael do the same. Michael got close and now doesn’t even talk about AJ; harbors no resentment. I get that he loves Sonny…but it’s okay with him that they tortured his father long before Sonny actually killed him? Hanging him on a meat hook? Dousing him with alcohol? Threatening him each time he attempted/begged to have time with his son???

It’s always been a sore spot on this show. Hated it then/hate it now.

96meimei
96meimei

this still aggravates the heck out of me

Justin
Justin

Exactly! How is that just ignored. AJ was still Jason’s brother.

becca
becca

so is drew. he lost a lot too. he didnt ask for this. he had a life.

dmr
dmr

I absolutely do; however, IF it is even mentioned, Saint Sonny will somehow be redeemed and it will be justified in Jason’s eyes.

Boop
Boop

Jason didn’t care about A.J. So, he doesn’t care.

rebecca1
rebecca1

He didn’t for the longest time, Boop. But then there was that time, not sure when but Jason went to the crypt and apologized to his brother. Said he understood now what he didn’t understand then…seemed like he regretted how he treated AJ.

But then they undid that heartfelt moment, just as they did by FINALLY having Michael hear AJ’s side, bond with him, grow to love him and then, after turning against Sonny for killing AJ…all was forgiven. As if AJ never even happened.

ALWAYS a sore point in this show!

Fanny
Fanny

And A.J. Didn’t care about Jason in the least…No relationship
good or bad is one sided.

rebecca1
rebecca1

Hi Fanny…

AJ cared about Jason. Jason rejected AJ along with every other Q after the accident, took Carly and Jason’s side against AJ, never lifted a finger to help him or defend him, and was complicit i stealing Michael away from AJ…first…by keeping Michael for himself and then when Michael was adopted by Sonny. And, still, no matter how low Jason sank, Alan and Monica stood by him, while AJ was constantly belittled. Even Emily, at some point, barely acknowledged AJ’s existance and adored Jason.

I just looked it up out of curiosity but it seems that, as I mentioned, Jason went to AJ’s tomb in 2007 to apologize for keeping Michael away from him. However, that sudden revelation seems to have gone the route of Michael’s eventual love for AJ.

Unfortunately, many a relationship is one-sided…as in unrequited love or one family member disowning another (there are families who disown children for their sexuality or marrying out of their religion, having a child out of wedlock, being on drugs, etc) …one friend growing apart from the friend who wants to stay friends, etc. It doesn’t always “take two to tango…” just one to step away.

Grant Putnam
Grant Putnam

AJ came back from the dead like the same week Jason was ‘killed off by faux-Duke’. So the real Jason does not even know that Monica harbored him for years, he came back and reunited with Michael, started a relationship with Liz all to have it abruptly ended at the hands of Sonny. There were rumblings that Mr Kanan was removed in haste due to off screen behaviour so if he left a bad taste with producers it could explain why he is never mentioned by the Quatermaine clan (although when Drew saved Sonny and was clinging for life and decided to grow a beard, Monica did say something like “if he dies, I will have lost both my son’s because of you” or something to that effect). I was surprised when Michael’s backstory was revisted by Carly and Sonny on Christmas that they mentioned AJ for the first time in years. Perfect time to address this plot point to Jason but the audience was left with a gaping hole that will likely never be addressed.

rebecca1
rebecca1

Hi Grant Putnam…

Yes, what was reported at the time was that Sean Kanan was extremely happy to be asked back and was looking forward to a good story. However, as it goes Ron resorted to “fat” jokes (he had characters reference Sean’s weight gain) and the pickle relish story. Sean (again, as reported back then) was said to have wanted a relationship in story (as he felt those were important to character) and they gave the AJ/Elizabeth a shot (which I loved at the time) and then had her completely abandon him when he was accused of murder.

As now with Genie (Laura) many of us were completely thrilled to have AJ return…and in the form of Sean Kanan was fantastic! (Billy Warlock had taken over the role for a long time and I actually grew to like him…thought he did a great job) but I was thrilled Kanan was back! So fun to see him in the role again and so nostalgic…

And then, he and Ron had a dispute over AJ’s story and he was fired. Name calling on Twitter ensued…with Ron insulting Kanan.

Still, that shouldn’t have affected “AJ.” If, unfortunately Ron and Sean weren’t getting along don’t kill the character, too!!! Wow! Ron just killed a Q without a blink on an eye…And talk about dropping a good story! FINALLY, there was justice! Michael finally heard his father’s side of things, finally realized how much AJ loved him and wanted to be a part of his life…finally Michael was able to hear AJ without Sonny and Carly’s poison against him that he was raised with and finally Michael distanced himself from Sonny in defense of AJ.

And then the writers set the clock back as if it never happened, Michael goes back to the loving arms of Sonny and sits there like a fool while Sonny and Carly once again blame AJ for everything (in that Christmas episode you referred to). It was a sickening moment in GH “history.” (And a ridiculous oversight or purposeful move by the writers.)

Suzie rm
Suzie rm

Don’t care anything about Frank of hi ideas. Every show needs a heart and that was Laura

They need a new producer over there

becca
becca

yes AJ the original looked more like jason than Billy Warlock.

Mark
Mark

Wow! I feel the exact same way as Dan. I took GH out of my DVR and just stopped watching once I learned the horrible way in which Genie Francis was treated. Laura has always been my favorite character. I don’t understand how other soaps can weave their veterans into great story telling but GH just seems to send their veterans to the ‘grave’, so to speak. I have been loyal to that show and have gone along for the ride no matter what story they’re telling, without a complaint. As a former loyal viewer, there is comfort in seeing the characters you know and love grow and change. That’s what kept me coming back. However, I am loyal to a fault, and if you can’t be loyal to my favorite character then I can’t be loyal to watching the show without them. Good luck to them.

becca
becca

she brought depth and reasoning to the show.

Carlee
Carlee

Poor FH having to be saddled with ME. I guess she lost the Russian Roulette spin.

Frank get a clue. Your obsession is a failure in the 900 characters you have given him and now you saddle 1 of the best leading ladies this show has ever had.

ME is totally out of his depth in every scene with FH and its not pretty to watch.

Stop sacrificing our vets to continually prop your obsessions and BFFs

Donna Jackson
Donna Jackson

I have lost all interest in watching GH when they have made it perfectly clear that they have not one ounce of commitment to the LGBT community and LGBT representation. By sending Kristina and Parker away Frank and Nathan have shown repeatedly that only their favorites are important not the fans of GH. Then Frank fires the woman who was one half of the greatest super couple in daytime television who might I add saved GH from being cancelled it just continues to reinforce my belief that Frank and Nathan have every intention of having GH cancelled.

Steve
Steve

Since you were talking about storylines, the mayoral campaign and Charles Street weren’t discussed?

christy
christy

Great move to bring back GH’s golden boy, the one the only Jason Morgan!! Now let’s have a JaSam reunion and all will be right in Port Charles.

Mari
Mari

Yes, Jasam do belong together.

Elaine
Elaine

No on all levels.Time to retire the one trick pony

becca
becca

no. tired of sam being last in his life. jason is married to the mob and Sonny. plus all they going to do is put Liz back in the mix before its over with. Sick of it. With Drew she is first. never liked the way he threatned her years ago. hes the reason she did te things she did. she loved him with all her heart. for what? he left her after she was shot and couldnt have babies. that was just wrong for him to do. he let Alexis tell him what to do. Think for yourself Jason.

Carrie Nauseda
Carrie Nauseda

Sadly this interview only confirms why Gh is losing so many fans. They have a blind man sitting in the drivers seat. I hope tptb fix this mess soon before GH is with AMC and OLTL. He has no idea what fans want only what he wants. They have had wonderful opportunities with great s/l’s and fabulous actors yet our great vets are left dormant. He continues to blow up the cast with actors and unneeded characters. What he has done with our Gh vets is ridiculous!

Carrie Nauseda
Carrie Nauseda

Where are all our great actors?? Tyler, Theresa, Bradford, Jackie Rick ,Ryan .Perry Sonya Derk Drew Christina, John York etc… Not to mention what was done to Steve, Tyler, Jason. and now our beloved Genie??? Gh needs to wake the hell up!! Fans are fed up with Frank!

becca
becca

but everyone seems to think that Steve Burton an save it all byhimself. no he cant.

Chrystie_Delancey
Chrystie_Delancey

Sorry, don’t see the chemistry between Kelly Monaco and anyone OTHER than Michael Easton and Greg Vaughn when he played Lucky. There was never a hotter costar than when she was on Port Charles as Livvie and Michael as Caleb … never!

When he played John McBain, before all the hoopla with Prospect Park (thanks for nothing!) they had a great thing going the way he pulled her into a kiss on the docks. They were hot. I just don’t see it with Billy Miller, but he was great with Amelia Heinle.

Just because two actors are beautiful and have gorgeous bodies, does not mean they have “chemistry.”

Elaine
Elaine

Billy and Kelly have amazing chemistry together.

becca
becca

billy and kelly are awesome together. Nothing there with Michael.

Harry
Harry

Perception of couple chemistry is entirely subjective. That said, Billy and Kelly bore me to tears.

Chrystie_Delancey
Chrystie_Delancey

Please, the Jedi Challenge Game was put in because parent company, Disney, needed more promotion and product placement. Sony does the same. Watching that episode was like a commercial — putting Disney toys in the Toys for Tots bin. Come on.

aria
aria

I don’t know what to say about FV, i was a fan, but now i don’t know, the things i’ve been hearing about from daytime confidential to soap central don’t put him in a good light, and now w/ this interview where he basically takes credit fort everything from jasons return, to jesica tuck casting, to finn and annna pairing, if he’s going to take credit for all those, then he can also take credit for genie francis demotion, to the show heading back to being about only 4 characters(sonny, carly,jasn and sam) everyone else is relegated to supporting characters. lets hope things get straighten out soon, i’m hanging in there.

Denise G
Denise G

Really hope this triangle has some type of resolution in the near future. I love the Drew and Sam pairing but I’m not interested in Drew being the doting husband while his wife daydreams of another man.Give him a woman that’s in love with him and him only please. Thanks

becca
becca

sam needs to appreciate a man who loves her and puts her first. jason done said he wasnt fighting for her. she doesnt need anyone who doesnt feel she not worth the trouble. Drew loves her. shes everything to him.

John
John

Could care less what he has to say after letting Genie Francis go and honestly how many times do they have to recycle Faision ???

JLH
JLH

I was interested in what he had to say about Jessica Tuck and Tamara Braun but Genie was the big elephant in the article. The departures of actors usually don’t affect me much but this…

Phyllis Fontaine DeMarco
Phyllis Fontaine DeMarco

I wish GH would take advantage of this killer flu epidemic- it is certainly timely, GH is a hospital-also could inform people how to protect themselves-and what a way to trim the huge cast. I was not thrilled to hear of Burton’s return-but him smashing through that window-excellent- and I have enjoyed seeing him and I think he is a good actor. I tend to dislike new characters-mostly because I want to see my favorites and have been unhappy with the ones that have been let go-but I loved Cassandra/Jessica Tuck and from this interview does that mean she might return? Hope so. I did find it glaringly odd that the huge needle that did her in landed squarely in the center of her left breast and just pointed right out. I did not want to like Dr. Kim, but she does-to me-seem to effortlessly fit right in and enjoy seeing this character. Nelle is such an odd bird-I really thought she would be killed off or receive some kind of punishment-but I guess she is the character destined to be the one we love to hate. I do wish she would shoplift and dine and dash at the Metro Court.

Patrick
Patrick

Chloe Lanier – Nelle

btw- love your last line… may as well give Nelle some quirk and oddity

I do not like her any more. my loitering days are over… I had hoped.. even tho I knew it was impossible..to see Nelle some how out of the Corinthos’ orbit. she’s saddled with Carly and Michael. how dull is that ? there’s not one reason to challenge herself . God … what the actors must feel. about sidling up to the “first” family. Sonny / Carly / Michael / Josslyn BLECH

Michael and Nelle. oh my GOD the sacharinly sweet sweet child. is going to be a father. his righteousness … his staunch manhood at running ELQ and being on the hospital board… all because he’s the love child of Carly Sonny and the Quartermaine

GOD… what a trying circumstance to have to dance with “him”.

HE HAS NO PERSONALITY ! because of his birthright… FIRE HIM

get another actor WHO HAS SKILL SET. Nelle just looks at him mystified and bewildered that she has to partner and “spar” WHAT?

all the changes going on right now.. with Nelle… her one chance at any life in Port Charles is Michael baby. otherwise she’s done… and I dont’ care … if it means one less dullard. so be it.

Ashland22Cripton
Ashland22Cripton

I think that Finn could be Faison’s son!

Melissa
Melissa

After reading this article, I now understand why the show is SO awful! What a hot frickin’ mess!

K/kay
K/kay

All due respect this interview could not have waited to be printed a couple of weeks after the fiasco with Genie? What was the rush??

Max Daddee
Max Daddee

I totally agree with Dan’s comment. I am fed up with the way Valentini handles things. Genie Francis being demoted to “recurring” status was the straw that broke the camels back for me. I’ll start watching the show again if he comes to his senses and corrects that situation. Dropping Rebeca Buddig was quite a mistake also.

su0000
su0000

Is it a positive that FV was the person that put Genie on recurring or did it come from above FV? I dunno ..

Steve
Steve

All the reports indicate it was Frank’s decision and not Varni’s or anyone else at ABC.

Ashland22Cripton
Ashland22Cripton

Steve, just because the reports say it,doesn’t always mean that those reports are true.

Bostonnc
Bostonnc

Sorry Michael but you need to call him back. It is not enough for the network or Frank to say they don’t comment on the contract status of actors. It’s Genie Freaking Francis! This isn’t going away. After his horribly disrespectful tweet the very day the news of Genie being fired broke — that alone requires explaining. I removed GH from my DVR and won’t watch until Genie is back on contract.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Haven’t watched a day of GH since that horrific action towards Genie–and this is a viewer who has been a faithful viewer since Genie first came on the show–wait, since Angie got burned and came into GH. NOW you know how long ago that was!
Au revoir! Bye, Bye, Caio, Adios.

jeffrie
jeffrie

What was the tweet i feel i must have missed that?

JMER
JMER

I agree. If Frank won’t talk, go talk to someone higher up the chain of command. ABC/Disney needs to understand that “no comment” is unacceptable to fans. This is a serious issue having to do not just with disrespect to the show history and the fans but the entire women’s MeToo movement. There is no way any of what’s going on can be slipped under the rug, which is apparently what they’re trying to do, when it insults their main target audience, women. Disney tweeted that most of their Board of Directors is comprised of women and minorities recently (Jan 14). Well, maybe these women would like to hear what’s going on at ABC right under their noses in a women’s genre. I am betting these women have heard of Laura and her portrayer, Genie Francis.

Maxine
Maxine

Wow Frank sounds confident in this article I personally think they jumped the shark in 2017. The writers created a story so implausible that Science Fiction wouldn’t touch. There is absolutely no purpose for a memory swapping machine and it was just created to give Burton back the role as it seems he just can’t another role. Does anyone actually believe this story? I have seen a lot of crazy television shows but this one takes first place for a story line that makes no sense. Also since they are called General Hospital I thought they would have gotten the science right on Alzheimer’s but they botched that. I am still watching the show but I wish they would just stop saying that Jason’s friends and family knew all along who Jason really was. I wish they can just forget 2017 because in the beginning it was okay but it went down hill when they brought back Burton because they came up with a crap reason on why he is the real Jason. People do come and go but not like this. They spent two years proving Miller was Jason and had everyone confirm it so no doubt would be raised and then in 2017 just say twin and then it’s explained how everyone was wrong.

Carrie
Carrie

Although I agree with you: They started jumping the shark with the 1981 Ice Princess Weather-Control machine courtesy of Mikkos Cassadine. We’ve been cursed with those damn Cassadines (except for a few nice ones) ever since. 🙂

I echo your comments about the two wasted years the supporting characters spent discussing and confirming that Billy Miller was without a doubt 100% Jason.

becca
becca

yes it was all a waste of my time. idrather they let him come on as jasons younger brother than to have this suituation now. its not fun to watch two brothers on the outs with each other over a woman. even though i love Drew ns Sam. wish it was over with. would like to see some bonding with drew and jason.

Cathy
Cathy

I think the past 6+ months of GH have been fantastic and think Chris is doing an excellent job as co-HW. Frank is brilliant for pairing Michael Easton & Finola Hughes and I’m thrilled that he loves the pairing on screen because they have A TON of potential.

Guess I’m in the minority on Genie. I watched in the heyday with L&L, but over the past 20+ years she has not been a big presence on the show, and quite honestly I have never been very interested in any of the the stories she has been in. I’m fine with her being on a recurring basis. I think contracts should be reserved for people who are leads and driving a lot of story for an extended period. I don’t think a “seniority” system works in entertainment or on soaps. Sorry, just not interested in seeing that much of Laura on my screen anymore.

Good interview MF – brave of you to stick it out given the current climate on social media 😉

Carrie
Carrie

Part of viewers’ complaints over the years was Genie was vastly underused and underwritten over the last 20 years. But, we were all just so thankful for the little scraps they gave us in the last few years and happy they finally put her back on contract. Such a shame she was just starting to gain more story and they axed it. Since you are familiar with the hey dey, you have witnessed she can hold her own and be just as superb as Finola Hughes. Laura can be just as tough and physical as Anna DeVane whenever written as such. It seems Gloria Monty was the only producer who saw it and gave her that platform. Everyone after Gloria has wanted Laura to simply be Mommie and Grandma. Any time Laura has a shot at being more than just Mommie or Grandma, the rug gets pulled out from under her. Figuratively speaking, it’s like Helena Cassadine’s curse against Laura also cursed Genie.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Yes, art reflecting realilty. TPTB at GH have certainly “cursed” Genie. So sad she endured that and yet came back time and again to, in her own words, her “famiy” where she literally grew up. Where is the compassion in this cold, cold world.? Genie, we love you, and send our comfort and compassion to you. We’ll see you somewhere else on another set where you and your talents will be loved and nurtured. (I’m still hoping, waiting for someone who appreciates your comedic and improvisational skills to develop a comedy for you !) You are strong and courageous and you will be vindicated. Hold on tight! We’re encircling you with our love.

Timmm
Timmm

Someone finally gets it! Genie WAS great as Laura. The character never grew past the 1980’s! Concentrate on front burner stars who are relevant.

Dan
Dan

The character of Laura is obviously still relevant, take a look at all the comments here and in the other stories about Genie on this and other sites. If the character wasn’t relevant, no one would have cared that she got let go. The overwhelming reaction to her being let go is proof that she is as relevant as ever. If there is an issue with character development and her not being a front burner star, that’s on Frank Valentini and the writers. The fans had been screaming out for Genie to be written for since she returned in 2015. Let’s not pretend that Laura was some relic character from the 80s that people stopped caring about.

Fanny
Fanny

@Timmm…I second that emotion, there is a time and a place……….

Sophie
Sophie

I think Jason’s return started out good. It was exciting but then it totally stalled. The writers promised a triangle & instead it’s been boring as hell. Jason refuses to fight for his wife & marriage, Sam is cold & callous to Jason while overly trying to pacify Drew and Drew is either raging or pouting. It took a nono-second for Jason to be neck deep in CarSon yet little to no thoughts of the Qs or his kids. This should’ve been a hot tempestuous triangle with longing, passionate kisses, affairs etc.. BORING.
In the end GH should’ve explored Jason/Ava. Those two had chem to burn & the fallout would’ve been insane. Plus, Maura deserves a partner who can keep up with her. Matt is still in training wheels.

The only parts of GH that truly work for me are Franco/Elizabeth, Kevin/Laura, Finn/Anna & the insertion of vets like Scott,Felicia, Bobbie,etc… Fanna has been a wonderful surprise I love their chemistry. Friz remain the best most romantic couple IMO. I friggin’ adore them.

Michael, I really wish you had asked FV about the constant adding to the cast. It simply must stop. The cast is far too large. Couple that with MB/LW/SB/KM/BM’s massive airtime (62-68% of 2017 episodes) and everyone else gets crumbs. GH needs to cut unneeded characters like Nelle, Nina, Valentin, Amy, Stella, Peter August,Kim,Oscar. The pacing would improve & the show would run tighter with characters getting more story/POV.

Patrick
Patrick

“… Couple that with MB/LW/SB/KM/BM’s massive airtime (62-68% of 2017 episodes) and everyone else gets crumbs. ”

let’s add in Michael, Nelle, Finn, Franco. that’s 9 actors out of the whole cast.

your marquee above… is all I’ve ever wanted… REFOCUS .

SusyQ
SusyQ

You really asked a question about Cassandra? A nothing character. Nothing against JTuck but come on! A better question would have been why a 20 year fan favorite like BHerbst is an afterthought in her own relationship. I really do like Liz/Franco, fantastic chemistry, but the relationship is all about Franco. She deserves more than being a +1in her own relationship.

Becky
Becky

This just highlights how, even before the straw that broke the camel’s back (not renewing Genie Francis’ contract), Valentini had little ability or desire to make decisions that would benefit the show. The fans were not clamoring for more additions to the cast or a continued lack of balance re: airtime and stories. Did he just not answer the question about the Laura vs. Ned storyline that many of us were becoming invested in, or did you not ask about it?

SPankey
SPankey

I can’t even read this article. Knowing that he had already fired Genie just makes me sick. As bad as I want her back on GH, I truly believe she it to good for TPTB and they don’t deserve having her on their show. Onward to better things Genie!!!

Carrie
Carrie

Agreed. It is GH’s loss. Not Genie’s.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Yes, Gh’s loss. Genie’s absences leaves–as it always has before–a giant, gaping void that cannot be filled by any other actor. The heart of GH had been cut out, thrown away, and stomped upon. But it still beats . . . .

Reed
Reed

I call BS on this piece and Michael needs to take a hit here. Even with the disclaimer about the timing of the interview (probably 1/8, the date of the ABC TCA), ABC’s policy, and Michael’s response to K/kay, you mean to tell me there was no question posed to Frank about the story line incorporating the majority of the cast and featuring Genie prominently? Even if recent events no longer support Frank’s response, the fans of this site still need to know that the question was asked. Since the 20th, you have upwards of 650 posts on Genie’s three threads, so this is obviously the story the fans want covered and yet there was no mention of this major story line during a one on one with Frank? I know it’s still football season, but there were some softballs lobbed up there. Can you say self-serving? Next time, let Lulu do the reporting.

Jimh
Jimh

Now lets do another one about Genie…why bring in more characters like Peter(this is costly and why he dropped Genie to recurring)-hope he isnt Faisons son..you already got Finn so make him Faisons son and causing angst in his relationship with Anna….show needs to dump Peter, Amy and a few others…

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

Hey Jimh…LOL…noooooooooo….do not make Finn Faison’s son. Peter makes perfect sense (actually, I’m starting to like the character and hope it’s not just a temporary arc.) But, Finn? First, he’s a doctor and not hell bent on revenge. Second, as we just saw, he has no clue who Faison is.

I like Finn and Anna. A lot. Also, for some reason even though Lulu and Dante are THE steady couple of the show and work so well together, I feel this undercurrent flirty nature between Peter and Lulu. Don’t know… But Peter’s a great, new, single male addition to Port Charles. Hope he stays!

Jimh
Jimh

Peter is obviously there to break up Dante and Lulu

Victoria
Victoria

Don’t care to read anything Any of these writers have to say. They have ruined this show. I’ve watched for over 30 years. They do not know these characters at all. Ruined Jason abs Dam reunion and totally ruined Sams character

FAP
FAP

I have bumped my viewing to recurring. Rehire Genie! #GenieIsGH

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Love it! Bumped your viewing to recurring. 🙂 I echo your sentiment: Rehire Genie! #GenieIsGH! Come on, folks! Let’s let that be our rallying cry!

paul453
paul453

Stopped watching this show last Friday with the news of Genie Francis being taken off contract. I was only interested in Laura and Kevin. I have no interest in what FV has to say about these other characters.

This reminds me of when Julia Barr (Brooke) was taken off contract for All My Children. The show wasn’t the same and never recovered.

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Paul, I completely agree with your sentiment, with regard to Genie Francis and Julia Barr. This producer has no clue when it comes to fans.

JasonLovesGH
JasonLovesGH

Quite frankly I don’t give a damn what this moron has to say anymore. He’s pompous and arrogant. Someone needs to hand his ass a pink slip. Pronto!

I understand why you went ahead and printed this interview, Michael. However, I think that it’s necessary for you to request a follow up interview with this fool and DEMAND to know why Genie and her story were so abruptly dropped. If you are as sensitive to this situation as you say that you are then ask for the follow up. In all likelihood he’ll refuse to discuss this mind bending decision to terminate Ms. Francis. But the request should be made of this coward nonetheless.

Yup, I’m still red hot pissed.

Patrick
Patrick

BEURGEONING “nothing” is going on between Anna and Finn

this is dead on kaput

what the effin is wrong with you ? if you see sexual chemistry… with them?

wow

Patrick
Patrick

Hammer it home… get it in the noggin, already

when you prop for another character who isn’t working… ie: Anna for Finn

PLUS – you have two obvious propping for Michael Easton in one eppi

1. you have Felicia trying to nail Finn in just admitting already that he’s in love with Anna.

EXPLETIVE. if you can’t see it… you have an agenda that is so out of touch

2. you even have Faison , as he’s pointing his gun @Finn… both at Anna’s. EVEN he’s admitting for the camera and the bludgeoned audience… that even he could see Anna falling in love with him… said it twice!

what the hell is going on here ?

blah blah blah… no matter how you cut it and dice. their is no sweeping melodrama load the libidizone… cause it’s not happening with these two.

PS: GIVE MAC and Felicia a love story… they REEL BIG.

Mari
Mari

Patrick you are so right. That scene with Felicia asking Finn to admit he was in love with Anna already, really? And then Faison as well. You shouldn’t have to hammer it home so hard..

Donna
Donna

OMG, you replaced one of the most loved icon character for Alexis frontburner..No one can stand her!! Her opinionated,selfish,critical woman that you take a shining too..Laura was from the most love character on the show..She was the 1st super couple Luke & Laura,if it wasn’t for these 2, GH, wouldn’t made it..You have had amazing couples, that was super.. Luke & Laura,their offsprings, Lucky & Liz, Lulu & Dante, Laura’s son Nickolas & Emily, Monica & Alan, their son Jason & Robin,then Jason & Sam, Frisco & Felicia, Robert & Anna, Sean & Tiffany,Edward & Lila, What makes a show is their core families..But no you want to get rid of them or pair them with different ones..You think you know what we the viewers want..But you don’t..with you messing with OLTL, what did that get you,Frank? A soap that went down the drain..you know nothing about what the viewers want..stop trying to make a movie,this is daytime!! You need to start listen to the people who matter, THE VIEWERS..WE WANT LAURA BACK, AND JASAM!!!! FIX IT!!!

dante williams
dante williams

Yes to all of this, Donna, I agree with everything you said.

Patrick
Patrick

“The “Jasoning” story” jesus Frank… “It’s all an equal match made in heaven” YES – they are beautiful people.. but that doesn’t make me want to know what they will do. you have to have acting skill at this point.. I have given up on Billy Miller. it was a fluke that he was so good on Y&R this gene pool… all of the characters in and around the Corinthos’ clan. dullard and that includes you , Frank, and Shelley. ———– I think both Steve Burton and Billy Miller stepped up to the plate with this story “…This story won’t stall for another couple of months, if ever! ” ALL one has to do and/or think.. is Kelly Monaco’ Sam as the end all be all… for either man. SB Jason hasn’t fought one iota… and Drew … never had to either… it was all Sam had to do was start renewing their marriage vows.. and pet and stroke . All is right with the world.. including a marriage. that’s the end of the story… when will Jason speak up.. profess his love.. something any thing… neither man truly fought any thing . and… if it was going to be adventurous and exciting.. we should have seen a knock out drag out fight. maybe Carly can beat the shiit out of both Jason and Drew. Sonny sure stinks —————– Tamara Braun . “… I have a total professional crush on her. ” you saved yourself… Tamara is the bees knees.. she’s amazing to watch . you see her layers unfolding and she steals the show OK – this “interview” was done 2 WEEKS AGO. ( let) no mention of the instant heat.. going on whenever Kim and Julian are on screen. LESS IS MORE when she and Oscar have any thing to do with Carly and Sonny. PUHLEASE ———— Finn and Anna . these two characters are not even in the same league. not even on the same stratosphere. just no belong. this cutesy schtick coming from .. he has a sense of humor ? Finn… and Anna reacting so out of character… near crying @the hospital when Finn was “drugged” and Anna telling Felicia how much FUN it is working with Finn. NO WAY would this work. you had gold with Paul Hornsby… you had potential with the eldest Baker brother… HECK I know love Andre.. because they danced… and hell ya… i’d give Valentin and Anna another round… because their is STEAM and simmer…. SINCE GH “writers” don’t know how to write for and give Nina meaning. ————– Roger Howarth : Franco has been shit on so many times.. and all over the place.. in all of port Charles has he not been beaten down. I GIVE UP. what’s the point… Rebecca Herbst continues to prop him. give him some backbone… since the prospect park lawsuit has been resolved.. he doesn’t have to be Todd.. just give him some direction… on his own terms… I wish Franco owned… Read more »

Carrie
Carrie

Michael, I enjoy this site and I appreciate all that you do. Hang in there during this awkward, sensitive time.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

I’ll second that, Michael! Thanks for hanging in there with us. We know how loyal and dedicated you are.

Phyllis Fontaine DeMarco
Phyllis Fontaine DeMarco

Someone mentioned Tony Jones from GH. I wondered what became of him since he was killed off and Googled Brad Maule. A really lovely piece on him from Parade magazine 2 years ago was in the top of results. Brad looks great in the pics and I don’t want to spoil the article-but he is doing well and happy and I encourage fans of Tony/Brad to read the piece.

Steve
Steve

Any good will genereated by the storylines was wiped out by Frank’s decision to drop Genie. The visceral reaction to this story would not have occurred early last week.

Not commenting on actors’ contracts is boilerplate language which is often disregarded. Frank talked about being close to terms with William deVry during negotiations. They made a point of saying Billy Miller renewed his contract once Burton returned. And Varni often spoke out during Rebecca Herbst’s last stalemate.

James
James

This is quite a toxic comments section.

Bostonnc
Bostonnc

Some asked about Frank’s disrespectful tweet so here it is. Frank tweeted this the day the news broke the genie was fired. What a jerk move! https://mobile.twitter.com/valentinifrank/status/955517718383411200

The outrage can be seen in the number of responses to it – 10 times the comments of most of his tweets and all of them very upset. We want Genie back.

Trisha
Trisha

I agree with most of these replies. Frank has just about changed the whole tone of GH and it’s obvious he has his own ‘pets’. It was clear from the first day he and RC came to GH, all they wanted to do was bring in their preferred actors and characters , while GH characters who were lead fell to the background. If they’re lucky enough to still be there, most are now just backdrop, props for newbies.

He doesn’t understand or care that most GH fans have watched GH for years for their favorites, S&C, Laura, Kevin,Monica, Felicia, Mac, any Quartermaines,etc and most of those who have disappeared since he came, AJ, Nicholas etc, make up what GH fans know as GH.

The barrage of new characters that were pushed upon GH took away much of who fans watched for and left GH a ‘dumping ground” for any character/actor that FV wanted to see. In truth, GH didn’t need most of those he brought in, but only needed a writer who knew GH and new how to write for GH and use it’s lead character vets in the manner that reflected their characters and history.

But most of this didn’t happen and we are now left to follow GH just to get a glimpse of our favorites and/or hope that maybe one day they will actually be in a story that will show why they became our favorites to begin with.

Well, he should know that we are not satisfied with GH. We watch because we want to see our favorites, not his, and it would help if he would listen to the devoted and loyal GH fans who have watched for decades and not just those who started watching because they thougt the OLTL characters were coming.

There’s a way to please everyone. Y&R does it all the time. Maybe he should take a look and see how their long running vet characters have powerful, exciting, lead stories constantly, while using any newbie to their advantage, not the other way around.

Sonny is hardly a mobster anymore and he’s in Jason’s story, not one of his own. Carly has been relegated to propping up others and having the ‘talk’ with Joss. Frank has taken two powerful and igniting characters, a power couple, and given them mundane and boring writing.

Look what he did to Genie F. All were excited about her getting married to Kevin, another vet, and getting a story where she could become mayor and now she’s gone.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

Most of these interviews are to promote the show…and the timing of this article comes out just at the time the show needs it the most with the controversy over Genie Francis being demoted. Like with anything people disagree. Two camps. Others in between. When producers budget their stories and make their decisions, they look at the numbers and base how characters fit into storylines and how much the actors will cost and go from there. I like a lot about GH these days: I’ve liked every second of Steve Burton’s return. I think the pacing has been great and the story compelling. The flashbacks with Kelly/Sam have been greaet to watch, as well. I like how they’ve set up such emotional angst for the three. Jason having to sacrfice his own heart so that Sam can move forward with Drew in a safer life. Drew knowing, deep down, that Sam never got over her love for Jason, living with doubt as to who he is and if she truly loves him, Sam loving both and torn apart inwardly…struggling to choose one man/one life over the other when her heart lies in both. Good drama which probably isn’t done. And that’s why it’s a soap! I love seeing more of Monica. And Felicia. I love Anna and Finn. Between Anna losing Duke, mourning for quite the time (understandably so), feeling conflicted over shootng Carlos, then coming down with an illness…her character has been saddled with a darkness/dreary demeanor. I DID see a ray of light with Andre and thought they had chemistry but the show took a turn. Now, with Finn, Anna has the opportunity to use not only her WSB skills (which sort of lost its charm since there’s no other WSB agents in town!) Bring back Scorpio and Frisco, bring Mac back in on the action! These are vets that are still vital enough and popular enough to draw viewers and be incorporated into frontburner stories! Back to Finn. I think, at his point, he and Anna are great together. He has the looks, the intelligence, the professionalism and just the right amount of humor and snark to bring Anna back to life. Fun coupling. If I was to change anything about Finn I’d make him less “goofy.” He’s always appeared that way to me and that’s not sexy. Might be cute/charming…but not “hot” as Michael Easton played as Caleb and as John McBain. It’s great that as an actor he can go from serious/intense to silly…but I think his character needs more balance, which I think we’ve been seeing more of lately. I liked his heart-to-heart with Alexis; I loved his fearless attempted take-down of Faison with wit/ridicule…I liked seeing his possessiveness and protective nature as he clenched his fists in frustration, tied to the rail while Faison menaced Anna. Finn is manning up! And together, Anna and Finn are bringing each other back to life. Frank…what are you and your writers thinking? In what universe would… Read more »

rose
rose

Hi Rebecca1…I have also mostly liked GH recently…Jason/Drew/Sam triangle, Anna and Finn, Ava and Griffin even though I think there could be real or Ava-invented problems here. And even Amy and ManLanders. They can’t all be “A” category stories. Then there was the promise of Faison carrying on in the true tradition of the Cassadines. But did not like the Cassandra story at all and how it ended for Jessica. And then there’s Lulu.

I can handle some conflict, but am distressed with what tptb traded for the potential Genie story/mayor/Kevin/Spencer for what we got on Friday. Certainly not a time-out, love, adventure in the afternoon soap.

What do we get instead…An ugly Faison (needs a shower,etc.) who terrorized anyone in his way. and ends up shooting his own son. Predictable…we’ve seen this before with Sonny and Dante. Another way tptb found to make Sonny an unnecessary focal point of this story by having him interfere. Carly at the end of another gun yet again. And shootings and guns. Great way to end the week.

JK
JK

REBECCA…………YOUR ONE LINE SAYS IT ALL…..THEY ARE RUNNING A BUSINESS……AND THEY DONT CARE WHAT WE THINK OR WANT…ONLY RECOURSE IS TO TURN IT OFF!!!!!!!!!!!! SAD….

mike
mike

Frank is the best EP ever on daytime. He works hard to give us the most with a small budget. You can tell he loves the show and its history. He made a mistake with Genie Francis, he can keep her on recurring but give her much more than 12 shows a year.

dan
dan

I understand the timing of the interview did not allow for discussion of Genie’s dismissal. Unfortunately, there is nothing the show or Frank can preview right now that would compare to hearing Genie will be back with a good story and the respect the character, the actress and the fans deserve.

dmr
dmr

Valentini has no regard or respect for the legacy or history of Port Charles. The Mayoral race could have been interesting. It brought Laura back into the fold, Kevin, Ned (hopefully, The Quartermaine’s), and Laura’s backstory of when she returned to Port Charles in the early 80’s-Luke was the Mayor (and he was beloved).
I don’t agree with Valentini that Kim Nero is a “wonderful character” or that all of this air-time and dedication should go towards Kelly Monaco who mumbles her lines through her tears. I am 37 years old and don’t care to see teenage “romance” between Oscar and Joss, or precious air-time given to his new characters that have no known legacy to the show: Wright’s boyfriend, Peter August (Faison’s other son), Aunt Stella, Cassandra, nuAmy, etc. etc. etc.

Breaking News

Brandon Barash Replaces Tyler Christopher At DAYS

According to reports from Soap Opera Digest and Daytime Confidential, former General Hospital favorite Brandon Barash has temporarily replaced Tyler Christopher, in the role of Stefan DiMera at Days of our Lives.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Brandon played mobster Johnny Zacchara on GH from 2007-2016.

Because DAYS tapes well in advance; look for Barash to hit the air sometime in early 2019.

What are your thoughts on Brandon as temp replacement for Tyler as Stefan O? Comment below.

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Breaking News

GH’s Maurice Benard Takes On Role Of John Gotti In Upcoming Lifetime Movie

Who better to use their mobster experience playing the iconic role of Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital, and put it to good use, when taking on the role of a real-life mobster than Daytime Emmy winner, Maurice Benard?

As revealed over the past weekend, Maurice Benard is hard at work filming a Lifetime Movie based on the life of Victoria Gotti called “The Victoria Gotti Story”.

Sharing the news via his social media, Benard expressed: “Thank you lifetime and everyone involved 4 a Beautiful opportunity.”

Recently, John Travolta played the notorious New York mobster in the movie Gotti released earlier this year.

The infamous Gotti, had a wife and a daughter both named Victoria.  So as to which point of view the film is focusing on is yet to be released.

So what do you think of the casting of Maurice as John Gotti? Intrigued to see the Lifetime Movie when it debuts? Comment below

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Max Gail Opens Up On Portraying Mike’s Battle With Alzheimer’s & Making A Difference In People’s Lives

“What happens the day I wake up, and you guys are the strangers,” says Mike to his son, Sonny and his wife Carly (Laura Wright). “I left you before to my everlasting regret, but it’s going to happen. I’d do anything if I didn’t have to do it again, but it’s going to happen – one way or the other.  At least this way I could leave some good feelings, instead of disappearing before your eyes.”  Those words were said during a gut-wrenching scene on Friday’s episode of General Hospital, as Mike tries to come to terms with his deteriorating mental state in his battle with Alzheimer’s, and the hard realization that he may be better off in a care facility, instead of at his son’s home.  These scenes, as all the scenes in this storyline, have been exquisitely played by Max Gail (Mike) and Maurice Benard (Sonny).

When Max Gail arrived on the GH canvas as the recast Mike Corbin in a role made soap-famous by Ron Hale, viewers did not know what to initially expect.  What they did know was that Max is an accomplished actor with a body of work from primetime dramas and comedies, film, and the stage, and that if he is coming to GH, he must be coming on board for something major.  Before GH, suffice to say, Gail is most remembered for his role as “Wojo” on the ABC sitcom Barney Miller that aired from 1975-1982.

In story on GH, Mike, who abandoned Sonny as a child, once again re-enters his son’s life, but soon we learn that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and that the soap is tackling a story that is an important medical, social, and familial issue of our time.

Gail has been a revelation in this role.  A clear frontrunner for an Emmy, playing the facets, the levels, the characteristics, and the heartbreak of a person who is slowly losing everything they know near and dear to them, as in the end they are ultimately stripped of their dignity from this most horrific of diseases.

On a personal note, and as part of this conversation with Max, it was important for him and for me to share, that I lost my mother at the end of April of this year to Alzheimer’s.  So his work hits close to home, this story hits close to home, as it has also resonated for many viewers who have shared their stories on social media and when Max makes personal appearances.

Here now is this very special interview for Michael Fairman TV with an actor whom we can all agree is touching all of our lives.

You’re portraying a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and play the progression of the disease.  Do you feel pressure as an actor to get it right for those who have loved ones, or person’s afflicted with it?

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  It’s more like an urge, or a calling to find some kind of truth in it that I can connect with.  One of the things I’m inclined towards showing is someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia often just drifts off somewhere else.  “Where am I going?”  This has happened to me many times in life.  For instance, when I was a youngster, I can remember getting in my car, and I’d driven a long way from some party or something like that, and I’d been drinking, and I didn’t remember it.  I knew I’d gotten home somehow.  So, it’s not out of my realm.  I’ve learned that there are no set behaviors really… other than that it usually ends up being really difficult for caretakers, and seemingly really painful for many, if not most people suffering with Alzheimer’s, and losing connection and losing the ability to just function.  We are kind of on the cusp of that in story at GH.  I think it was originally proposed that I would play the part for just a few months, and to give me an out if it wasn’t working.  Maybe, there was a placeholder idea to ship Mike off to a home or something, but the storyline has touched so many people that it has been continuing.

The story has been so effective.  You’ve done such an amazing job, and the fans love Mike and what you’re doing with the character, and they’re on board on this journey.  It’ll be interesting to see how far they will take this with Mike.  Will we actually see him not being able to communicate anymore?  How far will the writers go to show the horrific aspects of Alzheimer’s? 

MAX:  I’m not sure.  You know, I’ve had times where I’ve got the scene, I get the writers, and I get the heart of it.  Other times, I find where that transition is from where Mike is lucid and clear, and other times what that state of mind is and that switch is, and what that is in behaviors and energy level.  I think there’s an ongoing downturn for Mike, and for me as an actor finding something in the moment and finding how it works with things that he does remember.  They’re trying to find a place for Mike within all of the interwoven drama of General Hospital.  I, frankly, had no idea how complex the range of storylines was.  Mike doesn’t really have control over his story.  I don’t want that as an actor.  Mike has some intentions that are really important to him.  I’m trying to find that balance where there are times when he has a pathetic, very sad remorse about what he has missed.  I think that underlies his feelings for his son, who he never could quite reach, because of his own failings as a father.  Sonny’s formative experiences growing up were then with his abusive stepdad.  Finding all of that is really important to do in a way that doesn’t make Mike just this sweet older man with Alzheimer’s.   It’s a wonderful challenge to be presented with.

Courtesy/CBS

You brought up that Mike is seemingly very sweet in his demeanor now.  My mother, who I shared with you died a few months ago from Alzheimer’s was a strong-willed, feisty woman.  As the disease took hold of her, she became very sweet.   She became almost childlike.  The fire had gone out of her eyes.  You knew she didn’t know who you were, and so, all of that, as you know is so tough to witness as her son.  In terms of Mike and his ultimate care, everyone says they love him and want what is best for him, but that he needs to be taken care of because he gets confused, doesn’t know where he is sometimes. etc.  Sonny has been grappling with putting him in a care facility to be looked after, or to keep him with the Corinthos family under their roof.  However, Mike has come to a realization that he may need to be in facility all on his own, and doesn’t want to burden his son by living with him anymore.  That was a poignant moment, and another one of the best scenes has been when Mike couldn’t remember that Sonny was his own son. 

MAX:  Right and he doesn’t know if he’s around friends or around enemies.  This can be true of Alzheimer’s patients.

I had that happen with my mother when she came out to Los Angeles to see me for the last time.  She was out of her element, she was confused, and she broke down and cried in the hotel room.  She asked my father, “Why did you bring me here?” and he told her, “We came to see our son.”  It was heartbreaking.   Later, she had a moment of clarity and realized more of what was going on.  I think it’s those in-and -out moments that you portray so well on-screen.  I feel that they are very realistic to what I, and others, have experienced.

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  I appreciate that and sharing that with me, because you never know as an actor.  That place of “Where am I?  What is this?” makes me think of that “Summer Wind” moment from the Nurses’ Ball when it wasn’t just, “I’m embarrassed.  I don’t remember the words.”  It was, “I don’t know where the f**k I am.  I thought there was a band there, but there’s not.”  So, in a way, I just had to be there on this big soundstage and just feel this big space around me.  I could barely see that there were people out there.  It’s kind of a terrifying thing to a lot of people, but I think Mike has something in him that makes him want to be okay with all of this.  He doesn’t have to freak out and get accusatory.

Courtesy/ABC

What has it been like working with Maurice Benard as your on-screen son?  Do you watch back your scenes together and ever go, “Oh, that was great!?”

MAX:  Yes, there have been a lot of those!  There are some scenes that are so emotionally focused, and we get a lot of delight in each other.  He has been playing this character in this situation for so long, so it’s just kind of in him.  Maurice has presence.  I think when I went in to read for the part of Mike, I had gone through pilot season and had gone in for some interesting pilots.  I didn’t feel like I was really connecting in the readings, because most things are by tape these days, anyway.  When this part came up, a soap hadn’t really been on my radar.  I knew I’d be going in to read with the actor, so I said, “Okay,” and I looked at the material, and then I checked out Maurice on IMDB.  One of the things that got my interest was that he has been diagnosed and takes medication to deal with bipolar disorder, and that’s become a part of his life, and it’s become part of his character.  I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting.  This is a survivor, and he’s risen to something that takes a certain kind of balance and courage.”  I watched some clips, and when I went in for the reading of this kind of an amalgamation scene of what the story elements were going to be, I felt like we connected before we’d even started the dialogue.

Well, Maurice certainly loves working with you! He has been very supportive and vocal about that.

MAX:  It’s mutual.  We can take really little simple moments, and we can find something deeper in it, and it doesn’t have to be an, ‘I’m going to start crying now’ moment.  Although, I would love for Mike to have a moment of self-observation where he goes, “Gee.  I cry a lot more than I used to.”  I think there are people who are like that, and it’s okay for certain people to cry, and for other people it is not.

Courtesy/ABC

There was a part of my mom that knew something was wrong.  She’d go, “Why am I crying?  I don’t know why I’m crying.”  She got confused as to why she was feeling that.  She couldn’t connect it all, and at times she kept saying, “I don’t understand.  I don’t understand.”  Those were the things she would try to express.

MAX:  I have a feeling that Mike has those moments too, but he finds a way for it to be okay.  There may be a point where someone with Alzheimer’s can’t pull it off anymore, but how we find those and those specifics, I don’t know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Working on a classic sitcom such as Barney Miller is vastly different than working on a daytime soap opera.  While now being at GH, have you found any commonality within the experience?

MAX:  If I can take a moment and reflect on Barney Miller, because it was a great experience and one that I found was not so easy to find again over the years.  One of the things that really resonates is that when we started shooting the studio audience laughed too easily.  We would end up retaking the scenes.  Sometimes, we didn’t have the end of the show written, because they tended to let certain things start to show up in the earlier parts of the script.  Danny Arnold who was the writer, creator and producer of Barney Miller would always take over the way Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) does in a way … looking to be respectful of the director, but still seeing things on his own.  Frank has a really wonderful eye.  He’s much more connected into the overall storylines, the motivations that went into the writing, and what he sees in the moment.  I always welcome him on the set because the directors, who have a range of talents and sensibilities, are tasked with coming up with a whole lot of shots to cover, a whole lot of tricky angles, and all of that.

Courtesy/ABC

Vernee Watson has been amazing as Stella, who is also Mike’s social worker.  Does Mike have romantic feelings toward Stella?

MAX:  Vernee is wonderful.  I didn’t know Vernee had been on the show when I came on board.  She won an Emmy, and I’m not surprised.   She is so present and so specific, and she’s very bright and gets what all of these elements are, and so, I think they have a connection.  For whatever ways Mike has lived in his like, there isn’t some strange, exotic draw that she is black, and Mike is white.  I like that because both my first and late wife, and my second wife, with whom I’ve had children (and we’ve been separated for awhile, but have a great relationship) are African-American.  So, in my world that is not a big deal.   I think there’s an affinity there between Mike and Stella.  You know, he’s alive.  He’s old, but he’s not dead.  There’s an ease with women he likes.  I think there are a whole lot of reasons for them to not get involved.  One is just professional, and she’s a social worker.  We just shot something where I say something to somebody else about, “back when I still had all my marbles,” you know, he’s in another stage of life, which many people go into gracefully, while many don’t.

 

What do you think about how Mike knows about who was buried at Charlie’s Pub?  He was trying to keep the truth about Charlie Delaney from coming out, which turned into a gas leak that blew up the bar!  This storyline ties in to Sonny’s mobster dealings as well.

MAX:  Well, this is where they put this effort in the storytelling to connect Mike in some way and be intertwined with Sonny.  Of course, it reveals certain things about Mike that he’s never revealed to anybody before.  So, that’s kind of cool.  I think when he knows what and how much sometimes is not clear.  That’s why I started talking about Barney Miller because the other thing was a lot of times when we go together for the table reads, they didn’t have the end of the story.  They had a first draft, maybe. Dan would talk about it, and they’d say, “Next week, the main story is going to be this man in his fifties who is coming to terms with the fact that he is gay,” or whatever those underlying themes may be with the different characters reactions.  So, we knew elements going into it and that sometimes I  didn’t know what the writers are really intending.  In terms of Mike, he’s kind of back and forth in certain moments.  I have to resist the idea that they trap me by just being careless.  I’ve learned that just trying to fix the script often gets you into a place where you “rehearse yourself out of it,” as they say.

Courtesy/GoodDayLA

You appeared on the morning show Good Day LA  a few months back with Laura Wright (Carly), and Maria Shriver, who has founded the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.  What was that like meeting Maria, and helping get the word out about the effects of this disease and the work Maria is doing?

MAX:  It was great to do.  Maria had sent out a tweet that is was wonderful what was going on, on General Hospital.  On Good Day LA, she talked about her work, particularly focusing on the fact that more women are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men.  So, then Laura and I sat down and did an interview alongside Maria.  We actually had a nice conversation before.  They did a web interview also as a follow-up.  That was very cool, because Maria is very smart, and I’d never met her, but it was great to see what she was doing.  Whatever we are dealing with in the show is sort of my opportunity in the real world to bring awareness and shed light on the subject.  I’d love to see an ongoing conversation online amongst people who can share their stories with each other.  That’s a lot of what they’re doing.  They’re raising money for research, but people need to be able to talk to each other when you’re a caregiver.  Coming out of the early sixties and early seventies when I was playing a cop on TV, I never was a fanatic activist.  I certainly got the behavior of the Chicago police at a certain time in terms of the energy and conflicts of the time.  There was something to think about, but at the same time, I had opportunities to kind of share that all cops aren’t bad, just look at the show, Barney Miller.

Courtesy/ABC

You were my favorite character on Barney Miller as Detective Wojciehowicz!  I think for many who watched the show you were, too!

MAX:  I think “Wojo” ended up being the heart of the show.

Max, you’re helping people through your beautiful performances including me.  Congratulations on that.   I’ll continue have to have a box of Kleenex handy as I watch how it all unfolds for Mike.

Photo: IMDB

MAX:  Well, I really appreciate your questions.  I’m just planting that seed.  That is really what I would like to do after talking to you and so many people.  That’s something I’d like to put out there.   We each have our own domains and responsibilities and all of it overlaps, and you can kind of get in touch with that; if you just go around the circle and share it, and then go around again.  I’m looking to help people out there in the world who are watching and are looking to share in the conversation.

So, what did you think about the heartbreaking scenes on Friday’s episode of GH between Mike and Sonny?  What have you thought of Max Gail’s performance throughout his GH run?  Have you experienced the loss, or are watching someone you love, or care about slip away from Alzheimer’s?  Share your thoughts via the comment below.

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Video du Jour

This weekend we mourn the loss of General Hospital’s beloved Susan Brown who played Gail Baldwin. Here is her final scene from 2004 when Gail and her husband Lee (the late Peter Hansen) showed up at Lila’s funeral and had an exchange with Alan and Monica. Share your thoughts on Susan’s passing via the link below. Leave A Comment

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