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Jonathan Jackson Talks Avery’s Love Quandary, Saying Goodbye To ‘Nashville’ & If He Would Return To General Hospital

Photo: JJacksonInstagram

With just three weeks before the series finale of CMT’s Nashville, Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson) finds himself in a major conundrum.  The woman he has loved and had a child with, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panetierre) has returned home after escaping a cult compound, just as Avery has opened himself up to the start of a new relationship with Alannah (Rainee Blake).  After not hearing from Juliette, added to the many times he felt she abandoned him and their child, will a betrayed and hurt Avery want to find a way to patch up their relationship … or try to keep Alannah by his side?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with five-time Daytime Emmy winner, Jonathan Jackson to get the lowdown on what transpired over the last few episodes and how it may end for Avery, as we inch closer and closer to having to say farewell to the Music City drama.

Since Nashville wrapped its sixth and final season a few months back, General Hospital fans have been wondering and hoping, if now is the time that Jackson would return to his role as the beloved Lucky Spencer, the son of Luke (Tony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis). Jackson originated the role in 1993 and stayed with the series till 1999.  He next returned in 2009 for a few years, then left again, and was cast on Nashville.  Jonathan made a special return in 2015 to appear in a storyline that reunited him on-screen with Geary one final time, before the soap icon retired from the show.  In this interview, Jackson addresses a return, some of his favorite moments of all-time on GH, what he learned from Tony and Genie, and more.

Those that follow Jackson are aware that his talent knows no bounds.  He is also focused on his music career, and his band Enation, which has been building on its success, playing recent sold out shows in Europe, while Jackson also had been on the final Nashville tour performing with the cast.  So, buckle up!  The next step in Jackson’s career will be one to watch.  Now, check out our insightful and heartfelt conversation below.

Avery is caught in a compromising position by Juliette, when she walks in while Avery is making out with Alannah, who has just has taken her top off.   What goes on in Avery’s mind at that point?  Is it, “Oh, no! I’m busted!” (Laughs)

JONATHAN:  It’s all sorts of things.  There is the visceral reaction, and then in his mind trying to figure what to do.  It’s sort of awkward, because they are in her house and her photos are everywhere (Laughs).  However clumsily and strange it is, he is trying to move on and get a life together with someone, and yet deep down he still has feeling for Juliette, which is mixed with anger and all of that.  He is having all different confusing conflicting emotions, all at the same time, and for Alannah as well.  It’s kind of a mess!

Courtesy/CMT

By the end of this week’s episode, viewers saw Avery and Juliette start to talk, with Avery letting her know just how he feels about her leaving him, and that he has decided to move out.  All Juliette is asking is that he keeps talking to her.  As Nashville moves toward its conclusion, the big question for the character of Avery will be … who is he going to end up with, if anyone?  I would assume many longtime fans would be rooting for Avery and Juliette, because they have gone through so much together.

JONATHAN:  Yes.  However, I have been receiving messages from fans, and talking to fans on tour, and they are slightly conflicted, too.  There is a lot of love for Avery and Juliette, but there is also frustration around the whole thing, and that they want Avery to move on and be happy. 

Courtesy/CMT

Where is Avery at with his relationship with Alannah?  He was getting close to her, and now she is attempting to put distance between them since Juliette resurfaced.

JONATHAN:  It’s difficult to pinpoint where Avery is at right at this moment.  There is a lot going on, and a lot of it is rooted in the fact that he went to Bolivia to try and bring Juliette home, and when she refused him that was so devastating for him.  The Alannah relationship snuck up on him. In some sense his heart is still attached to Juliette, but his mind is telling him it’s over, and that she is gone.  Avery and Alannah are connected to each other on a certain level.  It surprised both of them.  I think he has genuine feelings for her, but it’s also him pushing himself to move on from Juliette, which is something he has not been able to do.

Without Alannah, the band flounders with Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Avery, and then there is the health situation with Will (Chris Carmack).  Alannah’s presence really put a kink in Gunnar and Avery’s friendship.  She stared out with one guy, and was on her way to being with another.

JONATHAN:  Gunnar and Avery are really good friends and care about each other a lot, and it is certainly an awkward moment in their friendship.   In terms of the band, they lose Will who has been through this health crisis, and then Alannah.  The music components are kind of imploding and they are just trying to hold on to their friendship, and not have that implode along with the band.

Courtesy/CMT

Brad (Jeff Nordling) is making advances towards Alannah, and she originally tells Avery about it.  What does he think of the situation?  Now, she may do whatever Jeff wants her to do to get ahead in the music biz, since Juliette came back into Avery’s life.

JONATHAN:  I think Avery is trying to be supportive of Alannah.  It was a little bit of a blow for her to leave the band, but he generally wants to support her.  Avery has this instinct to be protective, as well.  He kind of has to hold himself back a little bit and not complain too much. He knows Alannah is an independent person, and may not want his help.  With the situation with Brad, Avery is aware of it, but she is walking into that in her own way.  It’s a moment for Avery to sort of step back and trust her that this is how she wants to go about her career.

Did you know Rainee Blake was going to be your potential love interest this season? Did you screen-test with her?

JONATHAN:  We did not screen-test together.  I think relatively earlier on I heard that this might happen, but it is one of those things were you never really know.  Often times, the writers and the producers bide their time and see how things develop as a couple, and how the audience responds to the on-screen chemistry.  You never really know if it’s going to materialize.  I actually did like how Avery and Alannah started to connect on the tour bus several episodes ago. The audience got a tease of a different side of Alannah, and Avery kind of brought that out.  Rainee was great to work with.

Courtesy/CMT

You have gotten the opportunity as Avery to tug on the heartstrings, as a dad raising his little girl, Cadence, all by himself, with a the runaway mother who never shows up.  How was the journey working with Hayden Panetierre?  You two had to battle, bicker, fight, and had to play all these ups and downs together to make the story work over many seasons of Nashville.

JONATHAN:   It was really amazing, and for me that is one of the things I will miss most about working on the show, and that is working with Hayden.  It’s such an interesting thing when you work with people for so many years, and all of the emotional ups and downs that the characters go through.  Often times, we would be doing a lot of intense and emotional scenes, but for whatever reason, we would find a way to have a lot of fun and find the humor when we are doing those.  I have a lot of love and respect for Hayden.  I think she is incredibly talented. We both started off in soap operas (Hayden was Lizzie on Guiding Light) and thus had a certain approach to our work, and our work ethic.  For me, it’s always a highlight in my career when I get to work with somebody that the scene is already great, because of the person you are working with.  We would constantly share ideas back and forth between us.  The thing about working on Nashville was the friendships we developed in the cast, especially going on tour with the cast and to experience all of that with everybody else.

Courtesy/CMT

What happened when you found out that this sixth and final season of Nashville would be its last?  Did you have any idea that this was coming down the pike when you wrapped season 5? 

JONATHAN:  No.  I don’t think anybody knew when we wrapped season 5.  We did not know till right before everybody else that this was going to be the last season.  We were in production maybe halfway through season 6.  I think that it helped having that time to adjust, and it gave us some time for reflection.  It really did help in a sense, because you know other shows they might wrap a month, or two later, and it’s over.  You don’t get to say goodbye, but we really did.  We got to say our goodbyes.

Courtesy/CMT

I can imagine that was heartbreaking.  When you think of the rollercoaster ride you and the cast had been through together which included: the cancellation by ABC, then the show coming back on CMT, only for it to be cancelled again, it’s quite a lot to deal with and not knowing if there is job security.  Do you recall your last day on the set?

JONATHAN:  I do remember it very well.  There were a lot of beautiful moments with people, and having so much love for the crew and so many amazing people that worked on the show.  We wrapped on April 10th and then we flew to the U.K. on the 12th   It was two days later that the tour started.  Even though filming was over, we were on a plane and then on a bus together, which was really good for all of us.  I know it was for me to have another ending.  In some ways, the end of the tour was even more emotional, because that really felt it was the end.

Photo Credit: CMT

Do you think there were more stories to tell on Nashville … or, do you think the series is going off the air when it should, as the stories can tend to get repetitive on any long-running series? Do you think this was the right time for Nashville to say goodbye?

JONATHAN:  I don’t know how other people’s perspectives are about it, but I know from my perspective, I think we told the story that was there to be told for these characters.  That is sort of the bittersweet reality of it.  It’s painful to say goodbye to a lot of people that I had become very close to, but at the same time, there was a sense of peace about it.  It really did feel like the right time.

What can you say tease about how Nashville concludes? The series finale airs on July 26.

JONATHAN:  One of the hardest things about being in a long form series; whether it be in the primetime format, or the daytime format, is often times the lack of resolution that takes place. You are pertually in Act 2 and in all the drama.  So, knowing that the show was over, allowed the writers to approach everything from the perspective of the end, and Act 3.  Certain storylines have resolution, and others are left open-ended.  There is a good overall balance from the writers of what the audience is going to experience with the end of the show.

Courtesy/ABC

I produced the General Hospital 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys.  I remember looking at some of your storylines and touching performances all over again that still hold up to this day.  One in particular was Lucky pulling tough love on Luke (Tony Geary) during his father’s intervention.  Lucky is such a valuable character on the canvas.  Would you consider going back to GH? 

JONATHAN:  My perspective on that is; I don’t really put that off the table.  I really don’t have plans to do that, because after coming off six years on a series, that is a lot.  I am definitely looking for other projects that have an Act 1, 2, and 3, that happen a little sooner than Nashville did.  I always have going back to GH on the table, because it’s like a family for me.  I have always said that that even when I left in the 90’s; that GH would be something I would come back to.  But, I am very committed and excited about what is happening with Enation, and excited about some other projects that are out there on the acting front. I don’t see going back to GH in the near future, but I never write it off.

When you last returned you did come back to be part of Tony Geary’s exit.

JONATHAN: Yes, yes, which I was really happy to be a part of.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Still years later, when you think of all the stories you portrayed as Lucky, is there one, or two that stand out to you among the rest?

JONATHAN:   There are many.  There were a lot of stories, and the writers wrote so much material, and that is a double-edged sword.  It’s great to have, but it was so much that I really couldn’t continue. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: ABC

I remember saying to you years ago, “You cry so well on camera. They are going to keep expecting you to cry, and they will be throwing scripts like that to you every day!”

JONATHAN:  And that is exactly what happened!   But for me, it’s the moments with the co-stars that I will always carry with me.  There are endless ones in my memory with Tony Geary. “The intervention” was certainly one of those moments.  I had those moments as well with Tyler Christopher (Ex-Nikolas, now Stefan, DAYS), and Becky Herbst (Elizabeth).  I remember having these scenes with Maurice Benard (Sonny) when scenes on the soaps were much longer.  And of course, earlier on, with Genie Francis (Laura) as well.  I feel like as an artist, I was really formed by Tony and Genie’s presence and observing them and watching how they worked.  I asked so many questions to them as I really wanted to learn.  They really protected me in so many ways, and yet gave me the freedom to try to find my own way through a whole process as well.  Those are the things that really jump out at me, as well as working through the scenes prior to filming, especially with Tony.  He and I would go pretty deep with what we were trying to figure out; what the scenes were, and what they were about, and how to approach it.  That part of the process was really memorable to me.  The unique thing I think in this industry for me was that I started at 11-years-old and got to come back to the show in my mid-20’s, and got to have that connection with another actor, and explore this father and son relationship.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I don’t think, and I really mean this, that there has been a father/son relationship on television like Luke and Lucky’s.   It was so multi-faceted.   Have you stayed in touch with Tony?

JONATHAN:  We definitely stay in touch.  Again, when I left General Hospital, I did not know if anything like that would happen again in my career where I would form sort of long-lasting friendships with people.  Most of the time you do a film and you get to know some people, and you go your separate ways, and that’s just how it is.  So I was really grateful for Nashville, because I feel like we were able to have those long-lasting relationships. I can’t really put into words my relationship with Tony.  It’s just a lot of love and gratitude, and respect that I have for him.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagram

Meanwhile, your music career is very exciting of late.  Last month, you played the Royal Albert Hall in London with your band, Enation.  How was that experience?

JONATHAN:  It was amazing.  I went overseas with the Nashville tour and then Enation did a couple of shows, and then we opened for Echo & the Bunnymen.  The last gig on that tour was at Royal Albert Hall.  I have loved Echo & the Bunnymen for such a long time, and so this was wonderful for us.

Will Enation be touring more coming up?  

JONATHAN:  We are looking to go back to Europe later this year, or the spring of next year, and are working out those details.  We are going to be touring in the United States later on this year.

Photo: JJacksonInstagram

Did your wife Lisa (Ex-Hannah, GH) meet up with you on this recent European tour?

JONATHAN: The Nashville tour ended in Ireland, and then my wife and kids came over for the last two shows there. Then, got to go around Ireland for a couple of weeks and drive around, and it was fun.

Did you notice a difference between the European music fans of Nashville as opposed to those in the U.S.?

JONATHAN:  Yes, and no.  One of the things I have noticed playing over there is that the distinction in musical genres isn’t quite as a sharp as it is in the U.S.  Over there, the radio seems to play a lot different kinds of music.  So, it was a pretty seamless transition for a lot of the people that came to the Nashville show.   We see a slight difference in the music fan base, and it mainly has to do with that they may go to a country show one week, and a couple of weeks later go to a rock concert, and not think twice about the genre.  It’s just they are looking for good music.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagramm

Hard to believe we are turning the page on another great character played by Jonathan Jackson as Nashville heads towards its finale.  What would you like to say to the fans, the #Nashies, who have loved, and have stuck with show every step of the way?

JONATHAN:  Just a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all the support, especially when the show was cancelled.  CMT saw the enthusiasm and support from the fans here and internationally, and that was a huge part for us to be able to get the last few seasons.  It has really meant a lot to us creatively to write that 3rd act, sort of speak, and have that sense of closure. I also would just say to the fans that have come out to the Nashville concerts as well, that it has meant so much.  We feel like we have had some beautiful moments with everybody, and so I am very grateful for that.

So, what do you think will happen to Avery at the end of Nashville?  Do you want him to end up with Juliette, Alannah, or by himself? Should GH try to lure Jonathan back to the his role as Lucky Spencer? Comment below!

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Jimh
Jimh

He is better off staying away from GH…doubt the would write for him anyway..GH is becoming a whole new soap…may as well write out the entire Spencer family…once Lulu is gone like her or not FV will have room for even more newbies-new character refresh the soaps and are needed but this soap goes overboard and alienates many of us long time fans…i get you got to attract younger viewers to keep the show going for many more years but you dont anger the viewers you got at the moment-plenty of room to tell stories for all ages…Prediction if FV and writers do not turn this soap around it will be cancelled in 2020!!!

James R. Poissant
James R. Poissant

I have the same thoughts you have, Jim.

Iindie
Iindie

I agree with you. I have been watching GH for 40 years. TBTB are not good to fans or vets. I LOVE JJ but the show would not do him justice with the writing. He is too talented. He won’t come back.

David
David

Bobby, Carly and Lucas are Spencer’s as well.

Jimh
Jimh

I actually meant Laura’s immediate family and not inlaws

rebecca1
rebecca1

Excellent post, Jimh! It’s true; they do need (and should) bring in younger characters but not at the expense (literally and figuratively) of losing our GH vets! They have gotten rid of so many…I think the “mature” actors should get together and publicly “question” why that is.

Jimh
Jimh

You know i watch Coronation Street-a very successful British soap…it features characters of different age groups…yound, middle-aged and older…something for everyone-our soaps should be more like that..well, Y&R does(and uses most of its vets while mixing in younger characters) and why it remains number one!!!!

rebecca1
rebecca1

Funny; that’s the one I don’t watch. Tuned in for a bit to see Justin Hartley and Jason Thompson but didn’t keep up with it. I got hooked on Days and B&B in the last, maybe, two years? Something like that. Like them both. Since I’ve only watched them a short time I don’t know if they weeded out older characters.

As for GH, it’s never going to be what it was; just too many characters and the actors that played them gone. When I see the old clips a tide of nostalgia washes over me. But, it is what it is. I’m still glad GH is on the air and get into what we do have left. It’ll be a sad day when the curtain comes down.

dmr
dmr

The show has been decimated. Jonathan is better off staying far away from Port Charles.

Gigi
Gigi

Thanks for the great interview with Jonathan!

Nancy Chandler
Nancy Chandler

COME BACK TO GH

Violet Lemm
Violet Lemm

I have loved him on both shows, playing such different parts, and would love to have him back on GH.’I wish him well, in whatever he decides to do.
I also remember watching Hayden as a little girl on GL, with her mass of curly blonde hair.

Violet Lemm
Violet Lemm

I have so enjoyed Nashville. Could not watch for a while after Rayna died, but am glad I started again,to see it to the end. I loved all the characters too numerous to mention, especially Deacon, Scarlett and the girls. A wonderful bonus having Ronny Cox towards the end. I’ve missed seeing him over the years, and this father, son relationship brought some tears. Wonderful cast, will miss the show.

Susan
Susan

Speaking of Nashville and GH…did anyone else think Deacon’s father reminded them of Mike, Sonny’s father?

Patti Christopherson
Patti Christopherson

I would Love to see Jonathan back on GH but that would be Selfish on my part. Only 1 Spencer left.I do have to say the one scene that Tony Geary ( Luke ) did. When he thought Lucky died. He said ” I thought I taught my Son everything, but I forgot to tell him to blow out candles. The Spencer’s will always have a place in my Heart.Which has been over 40+ Years. Looking for to hearing his band❤

Annalee
Annalee

JJ is a wonderful actor! My hope for “Avery” is he stays with Juliette 2.0 (lol…she does seem chill after the Columbia experience) especially now that she is pregnant…and they live happily ever after……. And Scene….

Tessa
Tessa

I had no idea Nashville kept going after ABC cancelled it. I would have been watching ! What station is CMT ? Is it on in Los Angeles I have Direct TV? I loved Jonathan Jackson as Avery and loved him as Lucky . Had no idea he had a band . Only time I listened to country music and enjoyed it was on Nashville and cross over country on pop stations . Would love to see finale . Last time I saw it the plane Juliette was on blew up I thought she had died . What happened how did she survive that ? Can I find the seasons I missed somewhere ?

Lee
Lee

You should be able to see the last 2 seasons on Hulu or buy them from iTunes. Nashville is on CMT on Thursday nights at 9 Pacific. You can find out more about the band at enationhq.com.

rebecca1
rebecca1

Try 327 or call your cable company. Not sure if they’ll still be showing it or if you’ll have to pay. Sometimes when series end they charge; depends on the company running it. At some point it’ll probably go to DVD and you can take it out of the library.

Denise A Daniel
Denise A Daniel

I agree with you Michael. The father son relationship between Luke & Lucky was daytime’s best. But sadly they burned everything we loved about Luke to the ground when he became a nihilistic ass. They even ruined Lucky for me too when he told Elizabeth he missed the battered girl he found crawling from the bushes & when he told her her children would grown up to hate her.
I have no desire to see either character again.

Karen McEachern
Karen McEachern

I don’t think Jonathan Jackson will ever come back to GH permanently , but may pop up now and then. He has done so much with his music and other gigs. Personally, I think “Avery” should be on his own for awhile before he figures out what direction his life should go ( Cadence will be with him or shared custody with Juliette).

Sassy Duck
Sassy Duck

I have always loved Jonathan Jackson’s character, Lucky. He played multi-levels of complexity with such ease, beginning in 1993 with making his way back to Port Charles, alone, after leaving Canada, and then reuniting with Luke and Laura. And, one early storyline had him and Emily selling composting worms to Lila Quartermaine. It was so sweet. And, then there was the amazing sensitivity that he showed Elizabeth when she was raped; sleeping on her bedroom floor so that she would feel safe. However, I have to agree with Jimh, unless the writers can really step up their game, I’m afraid that his character would be ‘dumbed’ down and we would not see his incredible acting chops being showcased. As much as I would love to see him return, I think he’s miles above the current capabilities of GH’s writing team.

Nanci Montesinos
Nanci Montesinos

I wish he would go back to GH. But he doesn’t I still think it’s time for Lucky to come home even if someone else plays the part. And bring back Ethan too. Lulu needs her brothers.

Tina Grams
Tina Grams

As a huge fan of Jonathan’s it would be crazy not to want him back as Lucky on GH because he is magic!! But I also just want him to find fulfilling work for himself. Broadway…. with that voice….enough said!!!

k/kay
k/kay

He was a great little actor his time has come and gone the Spencer family has been dissolved ! Now did George Hamilton really show up selling chicken ??! We have gone to the bottom of the barrel

Renee Quinalty
Renee Quinalty

I want Avery and Juliette to get back together and have the baby that she is pregnant with . And I want Avery and Juliette be inlove together with there daughter that they have together and the baby that Juliette has in her stomach . Avery can not leave Juliette . Jonathan Jackson aka Avery has to stay with Juliette with their daughter Cadence and the new baby and the 4 of them living together happy in love with each other asp a family forever and forever

Leslie Ballis
Leslie Ballis

I think an appearance by Jonathan Jackson on GH.and reacuring role like Diane would be a good compromise.He could be free to pursue his music and other intrests at the same time.

Timmm
Timmm

Never say never but he has his wings. Its like Justin Hartley, he is so much above and beyond daytime now, its probably going to be a no. If GH were to leave the air and all the Spencers reunited I could see JJ returning for that because of all the love and respect he has for Mr. Geary.

k/kay
k/kay

Mr Geary last appearance I thought it was Carol Channing let sleeping dogs lie! Remember the good times and let it go I think JJ was a outstanding actor on his youth I think he is a kind and gentle soul
But never come back never this show like all the others have wonderful moments but with the revolving door of writers I use that term reluctantly its time to close the door

suebhoney
suebhoney

I think that Netflix needs to pick up Nashville – such a good show, will miss all of the characters.

Misty Caldwell
Misty Caldwell

I think & hope Avery & Juliette can work things out & stay together.they are a cute & great couple together!

Vicki compton
Vicki compton

I hope jonathan and juliet get back together

CHERYL DeGirolamo
CHERYL DeGirolamo

In would like him to end up with Juliette and use their farm n music to help others n notnget back on the wheel of chaos they love each other .. Avery n deacon are truly gifted actors and I look forward to their music n acting careers wish them both and the whole cast all the best ☹️❤️

Interviews

Jordi Vilasuso Previews His New Role Of Rey On The Young and the Restless

He’s played a young man growing up in a Mafioso family, a well-respected doctor, and a brother with a questionable past and future during his daytime career, but now Jordi Vilasuso takes on a mysterious new role on the top-rated The Young and the Restless, who we only know thus far by the name of “Rey”.

When Vilasuso debuts on tomorrow’s Friday, August 16th episode of the CBS daytime drama series, viewers will start to see just how his new character unveils itself, while we get to see one of our favorites back in action.

From his roles on Guiding Light, All My Children, Days of our Lives and his primetime and movie roles, Jordi brings his unique charm, acting chops, and sex-appeal to every role he plays.

Michael Fairman TV chatted it up with Jordi for this tease of what’s to come when he hits Genoa City, what it has been like working with his new co-stars, nabbing this sought-after role, and reflecting back on the journey that got him here.  Check out what he shared below.

When the news broke that you were coming to Y&R, fans of the genre were really excited.  I thought it was a great testament to you.

JORDI:  It’s great.  I mean, the way that the show has announced me and has been pushing me… from the promo that was just released this week, to my discussions with Mal Young ((EP and head writer, Y&R).  Everybody has just been asking me if I’m good, and the network is really responding to my work.  Because, you never know, right?  You put it out there, but when you get that feedback, it’s like, “Okay.  I’m doing the right thing here.”  There’s been a lot of reassurance, which is always great for people to get in a workplace.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you feel pressure now to deliver to Mal and to the audience?

JORDI:  Of course.  I always do.  What do they say?  Innocence is bliss?  Naiveté is bliss?  I didn’t know what the hell I was doing when I first walked on to Guiding Light!  It’s such a great place to be in as a young kid.  I was just like, “I’m an actor.  I’m going to create a character…”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

And you won an Emmy!

JORDI:  And I won an Emmy … and then it’s “I’m going to go be a star, and I’m going to be in a pilot.”  I signed with a huge agency, and it was fantastic, and then reality sets in.  You get a couple of notches on your belt, and you get kicked in the ass a bit.  You learn, and then you crawl out of there, and you gain a lot of character doing that.  Really, in the last couple of years I’ve seen there are reasons for all of this stuff.  The lens that I’m looking through now is that of a father.  I just want to give them tools that can help them deal with life.  If they want to become actors, awesome.  Go for it.  I will support them.  Whatever it is they want to do, there are going to be ups and downs, and that’s all part of the journey.  For me, I think God has been molding me into the kind of man that I’ve always aspired to be.  .

From the Y&R promo this week, it looks like Rey is looking into what happened to J.T. (Thad Luckinbill)? 

JORDI:  Yes.  That has been revealed in the promo.  Rey is getting to know the heavyweights in town, and asking a lot of questions.

Speaking of heavyweights, what was it like working with Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) for the first time?

JORDI:  It was cool.  There was a little bit of that being in “awe” of him.  I never worked with him, but I always saw him on the cover of magazines.  I heard he’s very warm and open with other actors, which I got.  Playing with him on set, he kind of goes off the page a bit, which is fun.  After talking to him for about a minute, I felt like, “Okay, I get who this guy is.”  He’s very professional.

Will your new character be connected to anyone in Genoa City?

JORDI:  You never know.  It’s a soap!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I would assume if you’re on the number one soap, Rey might have a lover interest.  Who would you like to be in a romantic story with, if they should write it?

JORDI:  All of the women! (Laughs)  All of them have so much to offer from Tracy E. Bregman (Lauren), to Sharon Case (Sharon), to Melissa Ordway (Abby).  I know I may be a little bit cryptic, but I have to say, everybody has been extremely lovely to work with.

What can you say about the character in a broad stroke?

JORDI:  I think Rey knows what he wants.   He is very serious about his work, and he has a lot of ways of working through different situations.  Whether it’s a smile or knowing something about you that you may have not known… he may bring you into his orbit in that way.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

He’s a mind reader!?  (Laughs) 

JORDI:  He can really read people, I think!  He’s very adaptable.  He can be put in any situation and have a conversation with anyone.  From Victor Newman, to Sharon, to Michael… he can talk to whoever is thought of as having the most status.  He has that knack.

Is Rey street smart, or intelligent smart?

JORDI:  I would say both.  I think Rey grew up very quickly, and I think a lot of that is street smart.  I wouldn’t say he is an intellectual philosopher.  I would say he leans more towards street smart for sure.

Were you informed on what the long term trajectory of your storyline would be on Y&R? Other actors on the show have talked about how Mal Young tells them where the character is going, so it better prepares them when they are doing their scenes.

JORDI:  Yes.  I found out on a Tuesday that I got the job, and I was asked to come in on Wednesday to wardrobe, and start work on Thursday, and I did four shows that week.  I sat down with Mal for an hour.  I had only met him at the screentest and there were a lot of heavyweights there up for this part.  He told me about his history, where Rey came from.  He showed me what he was doing on the show, how he was trying to change things, and some really exciting things that he was doing.  Mal was an open book, and then he did break down what he saw as the next couple of months for my character would be, which I fell in love with. I was like, “Yes! This is so cool.  This is a meaty story.  This has roots in a lot of things that I can pull from, that I am passionate about, and that are meaningful   I felt in a sense, that it was collaborative.  Even though he is steering the ship, he was interested in what I had to say as well and very open to questions.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How does Rey stack up against your other daytime characters: GL’s Tony Santos, DAYS Dario, and AMC’s Griffin?

JORDI:  Man, it’s so funny, because somebody actually had sent me some clips of Tony the other day, and I was like, “Oh my God, that was crazy long ago!  Look at the clothes!  It was so mafioso,” but it was so cool and so fun.  There only will ever be one Tony Santos.  Then you go to Griffin Castillo who was a doctor and just starting to open up to Kendall (Alicia Minshew) and get that whole romance kicking on All My Children.  And as for DAYS Dario… God bless Dario … that poor guy.  What can I tell you about Dario?  He just couldn’t seem to make it work in Salem.  He couldn’t find his way, so he said, “You know what?  I’m going to run away!”  So, he just ran away, and who knows maybe he’s in Mexico running from the law, where I guess he resides now.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You were recently at the All My Children and One Life to Live reunion event.   What did the fans say when you got to inform them that you were coming on to The Young and the Restless?

JORDI:  They were so happy for me.  There was a lot of joy and a lot of happiness.  That was the one thing that I got from it.  I think they get what the business that we are in, which I really appreciate.  It’s such a hustle.  You wait for that other gig to come down, and when you get it, it’s a great moment to share.  They get it.  A lot of that empathy was shared from the fans, and I really, really appreciated that.

Your former AMC co-star Rebecca Budig (Ex-Greenlee) was there, too.  How was it seeing her again?

JORDI: I did see her, but just for a second!  I think she was so caught up with seeing everyone. She’s beautiful!  She hasn’t aged.

When do you think viewers will know what Rey is up to in Genoa City?

JORDI:  Sooner rather than later.  We have very good pacing for his entry on to the canvas.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

We are wondering if Rey might be an adversary to Nick.  Did you know Joshua Morrow (Nick Newman) before you came to Y&R?

JORDI: I wonder of Rey and Nick will be nemeses too!  But no, I didn’t know Joshua.   He’s such a dude’s dude.  From the get go, he said, “Do not look at me when you’re on set, and are you ready for my breakfast order?”  (Laughs)  I kind of bowed down and said, “You know, you’ve been on this show for twenty years.  Are you a vegetarian, or can I throw some ham in your omelet?”  (Laughs)

So, are you excited to see what goes down when Jordi debuts tomorrow on The Young and the Restless?  Do you hope Rey is on the right side of the law? Which woman in Genoa City do you think would make a good romantic pairing for the guy? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

Executive Producer Frank Valentini Talks Returns, Exits, And Previews The Drama This Fall On General Hospital

Surprise returns, a wedding, a heartbreaking social issue storyline, romance, and heavy drama are all ahead this fall on General Hospital.

Executive Producer Frank Valentini sat down with Michael Fairman TV during the ABC TCA 2018 Summer Press Tour All-Star Reception to answer our rapid fire questions throughout the bustle of the industry event.

Valentini previewed what’s ahead in and around Port Charles for several characters and duos as the summer comes to a close, and a new season marks new beginnings.  He also addressed the recent cast exits that have seen fan favorites departing the ABC daytime drama series.

Now, as viewers will witness this week, there is some major distress ahead for several key characters that will play out over the next few months.

Here’s what the showrunner had to say about some hot topics that fans have been buzzing about, and more below.

Genie Francis (Laura) is coming back to the show, after all the uproar and demand for her to return.   You said there will be major story for her when she is back.  Is that true?

Photo: ABC

FRANK:  Yes, and we are very excited that she is coming back.  And yes, we have actually two big stories for Genie, and there is a little bit of overlap in them. When she comes back she jumps right into the big story, and the audience will know what the story is when they see her return. 

Chloe Lanier (Chloe) just wrapped up an incredible run on the show.  How do you feel about her departure from GH?  Did you know she was only planning on staying for a few years? 

FRANK:  We all knew that it was for a limited time. Nelle has sort of wreaked havoc on anyone she possibly could, and left in a big way and helped kick-off another big story with some other fan favorites including: Michael (Chad), Lucas (Ryan Carnes) and Brad (Parry Shen), and Bobbie (Jackie Zeman) and Carly (Laura Wright), and the Corinthos family.  So, that’s another fun thing to look forward to.  Chloe is just a tremendous young actress.  We all remember her from the 52nd anniversary episode, which was the Luke (Tony Geary) episode, which revealed the origin story. Chloe just really stood out to us, and we brought her back.  Everyone loved working with her and she is a great friend. 

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Did you have any trepidation about doing another baby switch storyline?

FRANK:  Never, never!   This one has a twist on a double twist.  It’s a triple-axel! It will be gut-wrenching, for sure.

Then, Dominic Zamprogna (Ex-Dante) left GH.  How do you feel about him deciding to leave the show?

FRANK:  I love Dominic.  In fact, we just had dinner together a few weeks ago.  He is a great actor, but he wanted to try some other stuff.   We wish him all the best.  And you never know … the door is always open. 

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Fans on social media have been commenting how the Drew/Sam/Jason triangle featuring: Billy Miller, Kelly Monaco ,and Steve Burton had started, and then was just kind of dropped and has not been playing out on-air.  Have you made the decision to not play that triangle?

FRANK:  No, we are definitely playing it.  There are many iterations:  Drew and Sam are connected through their children, and their love, and the history that they have.  And as well, Jason and Drew being brothers, and that Jason and Sam have their own history, as well.  There’s way more to come! 

Fans have commented, “What happened to this story?”

FRANK:   It’s a big show with a big cast.  Everyone takes a turn stepping forward, and then stepping back.

Courtesy/ABC

You brought on Elizabeth Hendrickson (Margaux) as a potential love interest for Drew?

FRANK:  Yes, and I knew her work from All My Children and The Young and the Restless, and she is a phenomenal actress and we are really lucky to have her.  Margaux has got the flash drive with Drew’s memories on it and that is an important piece of information to have.

Peter August aka Henrik Faison (Wes Ramsey) is still on the canvas.  Is your plan to have Peter create more havoc in Port Charles?

FRANK:  Wes Ramsey is a phenomenal actor.  I think he did a phenomenal job when Peter was kidnapped and tied-up.  It’s not easy to be in scenes where you are tied-up for almost four weeks, and to act, and to stay present in the stage of being a hostage.  I just though he knocked it out of the park  He is Robin’s (Kimberly McCullough) brother, he is Anna’s (Finola Hughes) son and with whatever is going to happen with Maxie, they are connected.  He is Maxie’s brother-in-law and baby James’ uncle.  There is a lot of story there.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Finola Hughes is back after taking some time-off.  Now, Anna and Finn’s (Michael Easton) relationship will be further explored as they now fight a common enemy.  What can you share about this duo?

FRANK:  Finola had a mini-vacation. She is incredibly hard-working, and we try to make sure actors’ have enough time in their personal life to have fun, and go on vacations, and be with their family. This was something we were able to work out story-wise.  But also, Hamilton will be involved with his family and there is some story there and also as you see, when Finola came back we launched into a big story with them.  There is so much to explore in their relationship. For Anna, she has only had two great loves in her life, Duke (Ian Buchanan) and Robert (Tristan Rogers).  So for her to open up her heart to someone else is a big deal, and we will explore that as well, and what that means.

Michelle Stafford (Nina) has been delivering in scene after scene as the grieving sister, following the death of her brother, detective Nathan West.  What is in store for her Nina and her relationship, Valentin (James Patrick Stuart)?

FRANK:  Valentin and Nina are separated right now, and that is never going to sit well with Valentin.  He is going to do everything in his power to try and win her back.  That will not only be fun to watch, but it will be interesting and full of twists, as well.

Courtesy/ABC

Chase (Josh Swickard) and Maxie seems like they could make for an interesting pairing. Will you explore that at this point?

FRANK:  There is a lot of potential with Maxie, but I don’t think Maxie is ready to be in a relationship.  She has tons of story with Lulu (Emme Rylan), and as well with her parents, and there will be lots of other fun things going on with her, but I don’t see a romance right now being front and center in her life.

Daytime Emmy winner, Lexi Ainsworth (Krstina) is coming back to GH.  Fans had been calling for her return.  Why the decision now to bring her on to the canvas?

FRANK:  We love Lexi!  Her parents are two of the most important people on the show, Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn).  It just seemed like a no-brainer, and she was available. We have a really fun story for her, as well.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, there is no Parker (Ashley Jones) in Kristina’s life, right now?

FRANK:  We will see as we go along, and we will uncover the truth about that relationship, as well. 

You brought one of the finest actresses in Tamara Braun back to GH.   Do you plan on utilizing her more … and will Kim be driving story?

FRANK:  Kim is going to have a very big story this fall.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

What can you share on the future of Julian (William deVry) and Alexis?

FRANK:  They will be part of the Kim story as well, and their own story.  Alexis is going to be involved in different stories that will culminate in a story of her own, as well

Patricia Bethune was great as Nurse Mary Pat as Carly’s nemesis at Ferncliff.   She is an amazing character actress.  Did you plan on keeping her around as long as you have?

FRANK:  She is just a great actress and we really lucked out.  She played the balance of very deadly serious and dangerous, and also with a sardonic and sarcastic sort of comedic bent to it.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Let’s talk Liz (Rebecca Herbst) and Franco (Roger Howarth).  Is there a wedding? And if so, will it go off without a hitch?

FRANK:   There is a wedding coming in the fall.  And how could a wedding between Liz and Franco be anything but explosive and hilarious?  How funny was Roger Howarth in the remote scenes where they save Carly at Ferncliff, and he is sitting in the car and he says, “You knocked over my art supplies.”  I mean, that is pretty great stuff. 

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You recently had OLTL fan favorite Patrick J. Gibbons (Ex-Sam Manning) on GH, in role of Wyatt … the scout who tripped upon Peter being held hostage in the cabin.   How was it working with him again after your time together in Llanview?

FRANK:  Patrick and his family are very good friends of mine, who I have always had a connection with. When the writers came up with the part of Wyatt, I thought Patrick would be perfect for it.  He was wonderful.   Patrick has the right amount of innocence. He has grown so much as an actor, and he is still only 11.  I thought he was phenomenal. He played the wonder and the dedication to the scouts and trying to figure it out in fear of Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).   I thought he did such a nice job,   He is a lovely kid.  I was so happy to reconnect with him.

You have recast Vinessa Antoine’s role of Jordan Ashford with Briana Nicole Henry. Vinessa has gone on to be the series lead in the upcoming Canadian TV drama, Diggstown.  Isn’t it always hard to recast a role?

FRANK:  It’s always hard to recast and we never take it lightly.  We always want to make sure we bring in somebody good.  Curtis (Donnell Turner) and Jordan are in a position in their story where it’s important to keep them on the canvas, and write –off the character of Jordan for a frivolous reason. We would not want to do that to the audience.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

The Alzheimer’s storyline is one of the important social and medical issues of our time to shed a light on.  Through Max Gail’s (Mike) performances, it has resonated so much to the audience.  Do you plan on continuing taking the viewers through the most difficult and tragic moments in the journey of someone who cannot escape this illness, and the toll it takes on its loved ones?

FRANK:  I think that Max Gail, like Vernee Watson (Stella), took us by surprise at how amazing they are. The Alzheimer’s story is very near and dear to all of our hearts.  We want to tell it in a way that is very realistic, but to also emphasis the hope and the family connection, and the love that is that family. Sometimes in the face of tragedy, it brings out the best in human beings.  There is something very uplifting about that, even though we are telling a very sad story.  Mike realizes that this family loves him, even though he has made mistakes. There is a tremendous amount of forgiveness and a tremendous amount of empathy and sympathy, and reconciliation in moving forward.  I think the relationship between Max and Sonny is played beautifully by Max and Maurice Benard.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

What is ahead for Ava Jerome (Maura West), now that the secret is out that the man she thought she could trust and who loved her, Griffin Munro (Matt Cohen) slept with her daughter, Kiki (Hayley Erin)?

FRANK:  Ava explodes over the next couple of weeks and has a major, major story. Maura West has never been better!

Photo Credit: JPI Studips

What is ahead now for Carly?  She holds the clue that there has been a switcheroo at Ferncliff involving her “therapist” Kevin Collins (Jon Lindstrom).  Will she be the one to figure it out? 

FRANK:  Carly will definitely be dealing with the repercussions from Ferncliff, and also some family situations, and also something big coming up with Sonny. She will also be helping Michael through his difficult time, because she is a good mother.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what story are you looking forward to seeing play out?  Are you excited for the return of Genie Francis? What did you think about the EP’s thoughts on the departures, the returns, and the plans for the characters in Port Charles this fall? Comment below.

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General Hospital

Val Chmerkovskiy Talks On Judging DWTS Juniors & How GH’s Kelly Monaco Changed His Career!

When ABC’s Dancing with the Stars: Juniors premiere with a two-hour series premiere on October 7th, three notables will be behind the desk judging the competition as celebrity kids battle it out, and show their dance moves along with the pros they are paired with.

The show has cast: “DWTS: Athletes” champion and Olympic figure skater, Adam Rippon; professional dancer, Emmy-winning choreographer Mandy Moore, whose credits include “DWTS,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and “La La Land,” and professional dancer and “DTWS” pro Val Chmerkovskiy. to critique the competition.

This week at the ABC Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour All-Star Cocktail Reception, Michael Fairman TV caught up with Val to ask him about flipping the scenario, where this time he is a judge and not in the competition on the ballroom dance flooor, how he hopes to impact the kids in the running for the Mirror Ball Junior Trophy, and of course, for General Hospital fans, recalling his most memorable season and dance partner, Kelly Monaco.

As viewers remember, the duo lit up the dance floor when Kelly returned to the show (she won the 1st season) in 2012 for season 15.  That was the “All-Stars” season where she was paired with Val.  They took home third place.  Their friendship and chemistry was always much talked about, but it was Kelly who has had a great impact on Val as he notes below.  Here is what he had to share about his new gig and his time in the ballroom with Ms. Monaco!

How do you feel about being in the judges’ chair for the first time?

VAL:  I feel a great deal of responsibility.  I will be honest with these kids, and treat them with respect, and give them feedback that will better give them the ability to not just become better dancers, but better people.

At what age did you start dancing?

VAL:  I started dancing at 7-years-old against my will.  My brother, Maksim, started first.  We moved with my parents to America when I was 8.  They just didn’t have time to drive us to different places.  They were like, “Look, we’re going to work, so you go with your brother.” So, I started tagging along and it changed my life.  I thank my parents every day for that.

Courtesy/ABC

Between yourself, Adam Rippon and Mandy Moore, do you see yourself as the one being the critically hard judge on the kids?

VAL:  I think the approach to this is a little different.  Those that are judging are very passionate about the opportunity, and the last thing we want to do is patronize the kids, as well.  We want to tell them the truth.  I think people got it wrong with trying to shelter kids from honesty.  You can shelter them from dishonesty and brutally, but you can be honest with them.  Ultimately, my job is to give them constructive criticism. That is what I will do, and am currently doing,

With all the amount of seasons you have been on Dancing with the Stars, is it difficult to keep it fresh in the choreography and come up with new routines for partner, after partner?

VAL: Yes!  It is difficult. There are many times you to fall back into redundant type of choices, but ultimately that individual is that that new palette and new color that I get to paint with. So, every time I get a new dance partner, that partner provides me with all the inspiration I need to come up with something fresh.

Courtesy/ABC

What is your takeaway from your season dancing with General Hospital’s Kelly Monaco (Sam)?

VAL:  My takeaway is that she broke me into the mainstream.  She was my breakout season of Dancing with the Stars.  Kelly taught me a lot.  It was my third season on the show and I was really fresh to this industry and this town.  She always told me to, “Know your audience” and to know who you are talking to and you will always know the right thing to say.

Kelly is such a hard-worker and she really gave it a 110% in the competition with you learning the dance steps and battling it out with the other couples.  She’s a fighter who always perseveres. 

VAL:  She is from Philly and I am from New York.  I think there was that east coast connection between us.   Kelly is an incredible person.  We are great friends, and she taught me a lot, and I also in return, through dance, and through this show, was able to change her life in a lot of ways as well.

So, what did you think about the sentiments shared by Val on his former dance partner, GH’s Kelly Monaco? What do you think about the concept of DWTS: Juniors? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Monday night who will Becca choose … Blake or Garrett in the season finale of The Bachelorette? Watch the emotional season finale promo and then make sure to vote as to who you think will win Becca’s heart! Leave A Comment

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Chloe Lanier as Nelle

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Airdates: 7-30- 8/3 2018

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