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Kassie DePaiva and Kristen Alderson Interview – One Life to Live Farewell

In their final video interview with On-Air On-Soaps as cast members of One Life to Live (taped at the series final press junket) an emotional Kassie DePaiva (Blair) & Kristen Alderson (Starr) discuss playing the popular on-screen mother/daughter duo in the dysfunctional Manning family. In addition, they share their thoughts on working with Trevor St. John (Todd/Victor Jr.), and what the amazing fans of OLTL have meant to them personally and professionally.

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lorraine
Guest
lorraine

I am going to miss this show especially Vick and Clint. I always come home to see my favorite show and which that one day i can be a guest. Love you all guys and sorry to see it end.

Leslie Scott
Guest
Leslie Scott

I cannot tell you how it saddens me to see my favorite soap go off the air.i have gotten to know and love the cast of oltl for over 20 years and have watch the show for over 30 years.the cast and crew of oltl have become a family to me especially since i was diagnoised with stomach cancer.i breaks my heart to see the show end.

linda otey
Guest
linda otey

they are playing some of the episodes on soapnet (until soapnet goes off the air, I have heard) early in the morning 2am cst if you would like to watch them and this week in texas it will be on tues wed thurs and fri-hope that helps. Also don’t forget about 4 of the actors going to General Hospital in February, john,star todd and blair, hopefully maybe more as it continues. and nora is going to be on bold and beautiful. maybe that will help you some, and I wish the very best for you with your diagnosis. Linda Parris… Read more »

Mary
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Mary

I’m going to miss OLTL too. I love the Mannings, especially Todd and Blair. ABC, don’t you see what a huge error you’ve made?!?!

Tammy Grzenia
Guest
Tammy Grzenia

omg i was smiling just so happy to see them in the interview ,also with tears running down my face . today broke me to pieces. today i just started screaming out i hate you abc so much how could you do this to everyone.we love this show and amc .this is not fair .

Debra
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Debra

Totally agree!

gloria
Guest
gloria

Oh, me too. ABC is making such a big mistake. Why can they not SEE THAT??

Susan M.
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Susan M.

Because thet have a thick head… One thing failed with Prospect Park… They refuse to try again….. ABC won’t lift a finger to help OLTL!!! Tey will be SORRY!! The interview is sad to me because you will never see these people again!! I’m recording the last five episodes on dvd this week… Again ABC will be SORRY!!1 THE REVOLUTION will BOMB !!! I mean this statememt!!! Another show I will never watch!!!!!! Only reason I watched ABC all these years was because of ONE LIFE TO LIVE!! THAT’s the only reason.. Now I have no reason to watch ABC!!!… Read more »

MEG
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MEG

I WILL MISS THEM SO MUCH, I’M SO HAPPY TO HEAR WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT TREVOR,

karen irvin
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karen irvin

I am so sad to have to say goodbye to yet another one of my favorite shows. you were a huge part of my life for the past 40 some years. I’m 58 and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t watch One Life and All My Children. I actually mourned the loss and I’m sure I’m not alone. I wish the best to all the talented actors and especially to Kristin with her beautiful voice. Loved her song today of “One Life To Live”.

Debbie
Guest
Debbie

totally agree, I have watched OLTL from the first airing with Vicky, Meredith Larry Vince, Karen . It has been part of my life for 40 years, I am also 58 and I can’t remember a time when i didn’t watch OLTL and General Hospital. I started watching with my Grandma. The only show left to watch on ABC is GH.after that I will not watch ABC anymore, there is no reason, they have removed anything worth watching. Who needs more reality shows there is way too much information already. We are on information overload. I have vcr and dvr… Read more »

gloria
Guest
gloria

Agree, I am 51 & remember when OLTL first started. My mother watched & one day I got in trouble & put in the corner & remember sneaking down the hall & peeking into the living room when I heard OLTL coming on! I was 8 or 9. I too have gone to great lengths to keep up with all of my shows over the years. I’d be recording CBS on one VCR & ABC on another & trying to watch NBC live on a little black & white tv I had stuck under my desk at work! You said… Read more »

Debbie
Guest
Debbie

That is exactly the way I feel.. Hasn’t all of this already been covered on OPRAH. DR OZ, Dr. Phil.. and all the other talk shows, enough talking……. been there done that..
Give us back our show.. OLTL..or bring it to primtime.
and get rid of some of the junk that is on.

Alice Angelis
Guest
Alice Angelis

It is so sad and depressing to see our favorite soaps to be going off the air, and being replaced with more talk shows and cooking , I watched these shows for over 40 years, its very sad , its like loosing my best friends, even though its just TV, it was my daily getaway to watch my favoite soaps…… I hope they have the show on the internet. or another channel,

Shauna
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Shauna

OLTL’s cancellation is a major blunder by ABC. I must thank the cast and crew for one of the finest hours of entertainment in television. Kassie and Kristen are huge talents and I only hope they will find new ‘life’ on a TV or movie screen very soon!

hummingbird
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hummingbird

Michael, I think it is FANTASTIC that like us OLTL fans, OLTL is your favorite soap as well. It’s comforting to know in OLTL’s final hours your grieving right along with us. Thank you so much for going out of your way, to cover OLTL with honor & praise the best way you knew how. Thank you! I enjoyed all your interviews especially your latest with Kristen & Kassie.
Long live the Manning’s!

audrey
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audrey

I watched One Life to Live for years and can’t believe they canceled it.The cast will live on in my memory.There is some many ways they could have written it.I just hope they can get it on the internet with all the original casts that are currently with the show but I know better than to hold my breathe.I’d like to thank them for intertaining me all these years,it was a blast.Good Bye to all the cast and thank you for being so good at what you do.

Tonja Walker
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Tonja Walker

Great Job…

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

To one of the genre MOST BEAUTIFUL women…been watching you since GH., breathtaking. Paying Homorage. Ok: This is what WE as a soap community is doing about it. First of all (Lucille- see below on site) that is a valid point and GOOD suggestions you made about getting RID of comcast, to make sure you have NO DISNEY CHANNELS. YOU NEED TO COPY/PASTE THAT ALL OVER THIS SITE, and at abc.com. (We really have to take a stand and live up to the CONVICTIONS of it.) SECONDLY: JOIN US….. We are sending soap bars to ABC studio’s. PASS IT ONTO…this… Read more »

krktoday
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krktoday

In the past two year’s every show I love has gone. I watched ATWT’s and GL from the 50’s. I watched AMC and OLTL for all these year’s. Oprah, Desperate Housewive’s, Joy Behar, Regis, Larry King. I watched all these every time they were on. I practically dont even need a tv anymore. I will continue to watch GH but that will be the only show left on ABC worth tuning in to. I hope Cassie pop’s up on GH next. I wll really miss her. Roger too. Blair and Todd were by far my favorite’s on OLTL. Next Friday… Read more »

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

What we have to is:
We are sending soap bars to ABC studio’s, (JOIN US)PASS IT ONTO…this site and abc.com’s blog and post on Facebook, Send soap bars to abc studio’s in nyc so the new shows and abc willl be BOMBARDED with soap from peeps all acorss the united states.

krktoday
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krktoday

What is a soap bar?

barbara t
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barbara t

Thats funny ,I hope you are kidding and you know what a bar of soap is.It can come in liquid form to ,And I will say what 1loveabcsoaps ,go to the dollar store and you can get a few bars DIRT CHEEP.

Heather
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Heather

A bar of soap

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

A (soap bar) is a bar of soap. I would get on you for that BUT since we are in this same quest together, and the stress of the matter, I’m going to show some love behind it. LOL Get them at the dollar store if you dont have any extra’s in the house OR favorite brands of yours that you dont want to send off. That way (at the dollar store) you can send ANY OLD KIND- and send more than 1 since you can get up to 3 for dollar. I sent 6 bar’s. $2. Lol Let abc… Read more »

sheila
Guest
sheila

i am so sorry but i think they are so wrong for taking our shows from us this is all we have to watch i am a stay home mom and this was no where right to do this they need to put this show back on now what am i going to do with my day now nothing bc they took it
sheila

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

What we have to is:
We are sending soap bars to ABC studio’s, (JOIN US)PASS IT ONTO…this site and abc.com’s blog and post on Facebook, Send soap bars to abc studio’s in nyc so the new shows and abc willl be BOMBARDED with soap from peeps all acorss the united states. Do this: And PASS THIS ON

iluvssw
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iluvssw

All I have to say is Thank You, Michael, Kassie and Kristen!

lucille mason
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lucille mason

since the soaps will soon be gone,there will be no reason to watch abc or soapnet anymore.for christmas we have boycotted all disney products, since we have new baby now, thats quite of bit of money we spent elsewhere. and we are seriously thinking of getting rid of comcast. thats another 165 month,can get dish alot cheaper, we don’t need any disney channels now.

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

First of all Lucille, that is a valid point and GOOD suggestions you made about getting RID of comcast, to make sure you have NO DISNEY CHANNELS. YOU NEED TO COPY/PASTE THAT ALL OVER THIS SITE, and at abc.com. (We really have to talk a stand and live up to the CONVICTIONS of it.) SECONDLY: JOIN US….. We are sending soap bars to ABC studio’s. PASS IT ONTO…this site and abc.com’s blog and post on Facebook, and ALL the other soap sites you know of. Send soap bars to abc studio’s in nyc so the new shows and abc willl… Read more »

Julie
Guest
Julie

I’m a nurse and mother of two. I looked forward everyday to watching OLTL. I DVRd it and watched it every evening. This will be a big void. No more ABC for me

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Julie, go above your comment (and the one above that one) in THIS reply and read what Lucille decided to do and what ” WE” as a soap community is doing about it……

cloakes
Guest
cloakes

Can anyone tell me how to get a copy of the song that Kristen sang today. I thought it was absolutely wonderful. I have tried looking on Amazon but have had no luck. I thought it was titled OLTL. Thank you to everyone for the 40 + years I will miss the show greatly.

Nancy
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Nancy

I thought OLTL would be seen on the internet, where and when??? I do not want to miss a single episode!!!

M
Guest
M

Unfortunately, One Life To Live will not be continuing on the Internet. The company couldn’t raise enough money to do it.

Heather
Guest
Heather

It’s not happening anymore. That interview was probably made before Prospect Park scrapped the project in November.

Lisa Boring
Guest
Lisa Boring

I am soo sad. OLTL never got old. It was the high light of my day, every day. I’m in a wheelchair & at home all the time. I get very bored. Now I have nothing to look forward too. I have been watching OLTL for so many years. I remember when Vickie had a sister named Meredith. I think the show was in black & white! I hate reality shows. ABC sold out for the almighty $$. I thought Soaps would be around forever. I thought someday if I ended up in a nursing home at least I’d have… Read more »

Heather
Guest
Heather

OLTL is the best soap out there. I do regurarly watch the other four soaps because I don’t want them to suffer the same fate as OLTL, but it’s just not the same as OLTL.

RIP OLTL (1968-2012)

gloria
Guest
gloria

I thought soaps would be around forever too. You are so right-about someday maybe being in a nursing home but at least having your soaps. That’s the thing about soaps, they are (were) constant, always there day in & day out-you could count on that. I don’t have a large family anymore. My older relatives have died & the younger ones are scattered around. I particularly enjoy the holiday episodes on all the shows, it give you the chance to experience family holidays that you might not have anymore! So upsetting for me too.

Brian Greene
Guest
Brian Greene

Thanks So Much, Kassie & Kristen!! 😀 😀

BARBARA J
Guest
BARBARA J

Wow Kassie I am sure gonna miss watchin you on the show.Who would have ever thought as you were in the high school play Passionella that you would end up on a soap opera.Congradulations on a great career and your fans in Union County Ky look forward to see where you go next! Best wishes.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

I will miss Pne Life to Live !I am deeply saddling that the show is coming to an end and deeply disappointed that the channel that has carried the show for years is canceling the show .Will miss you all kassie

Susan
Guest
Susan

I’m still in disbelief that OLTL only has 5 more episodes. I am 51 and I’ve been watching since I was 17 yrs old. I used to tape it on VHS and now I DVR it everyday. Theses people are like my second family, how do you say goodbye to them? I am in mourning already. ABC made a huge, huge mistake! I give these crap replacement shows less than one to be cancelled. I vow NEVER to watch anything on ABC ever again, including primetime. Boy did they get this wrong thinking we don’t want entertainment. I am a… Read more »

gloria
Guest
gloria

Gosh Susan-agree with every word! I am 51 too & could have written your post. My sentiments exactly. I manage a law firm but also manage to keep up with my soaps. They keep me sane!

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Go Gloria, you are a POWER woman!

candace bigleman
Guest
candace bigleman

Love our Daytime!

barbara t
Guest
barbara t

This is so sad,abc let alot of people down,Looks like you watched these soaps for as long as I have,tuning into the abc soaps have been a very big part of my life,every day 5 days a week,started watching with general hospital,from the beginning ,do you think we can sue abc for mental distress?because loosing one life to live will be the hardest to let go of.abc put alot of people out of work ,that means more families going without.Never would I believe that abc would screw the soap fans and all the people involved with the soaps over money… Read more »

gloria
Guest
gloria

Mental distress is right. I have been just sick over this since Nov. 23 when the announcement came that the show was not going online. I have had trouble sleeping & just feel very angry at ABC & SO resentful of these awful replacement shows. I cannot stand to see the promos for them. On New Year’s Eve I was sitting there enjoying OLTL with tears in my eyes one minute, laughing out loud the next when suddenly in the corner of the screen it says “Coming January 16, The Revolution” I nearly died. Does ABC actually think that ANYONE… Read more »

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

As someone stated aboves on this site, get rid of your cable (that takes care of paying for any Disney Channels stu), and get a Dish to get your channels., and send bar’s of soap tp the ABC studio’s in NYC, and let abc be BOMBARDED with soap coming in from all over across the U. S. They will surelly get the part. We are all doing it. Join us, and pass this along across any and all soap opera web sites, especially abc,com comment/blog area after the OLTL commentary. This had to be a JOINT effort.

Lisa H
Guest
Lisa H

I’m still in denial that OLTL is going off the air in one more week. I’ve watched all the ABC soaps off and on for about 40 years (since I was a little girl watching with my mom), and OLTL has always been my very favorite. I cannot believe that another station or cable network hasn’t snapped up OLTL and AMC. I’m still hoping and praying that one will come to its senses and that our beloved “friends” will come back to us… because that’s what the soap characters are to me… friends whose lives I’ve followed for most of… Read more »

Susan
Guest
Susan

Ditto, except I’ve never stopped watching OLTL. I gave up GH a long time ago (early 80’s) and AMC about 10 yrs ago but I’ve NEVER stopped watching OLTL. To me it has always been the best of the 3 and always the one thats been so under rated compared to the others. I am also holding onto a glimmer of hope that someone can save OLTL. I call it denial, because I have read the executive producer Frank Valentini has been asked to go to GH and he has already accepted that offer.

amy cornell
Guest
amy cornell

Kassie & Kristen, I will so miss you both. I wish you both all the best. i’m so sad OLTL is ending. I’ve been wathcing it for years.

Angela Riddell
Guest
Angela Riddell

What a beautiful interview! Michael, thank you for the interviews you’ve conducted with the fabulous actors from One Life To Live. Kassie and Kristen, I will be following your future endeavors as you are both brilliant! Bar none, OLTL has the most talented cast ever. ABC has lost many, many viewers as of Jan. 16, 2012, excepting General Hospital. What a huge mistake they made…thank you all for the years in Llanview…

mary jane berry
Guest
mary jane berry

This is truely killing me that the show is going off, I have watched oltl since day one.I have been to see them every year in florida for the soaps fest and now i feel like i am losing my family, they are not just characters to me they are friends and not to beable to tune in and see how their day is going is going to be very sad to me…. as for Abc i will never watch these new shows.. it’s not like we needed another reality show and the chew it wont last… shame shame on… Read more »

Dawn Gamboa-Nappi
Guest
Dawn Gamboa-Nappi

I also have been watching for 40 yrs. I am 53. i love cooking shows but will not watch the CHEW. At this time , when I watch my SOAPS, It is complete mind vacation from my day. I tune out everything else & this is MY time. I truly do not know what I am going to do. Thank you writers, producers & cast for giving my mind a vacation everyday for the last 40 yrs. I will miss you so…..

Vicki
Guest
Vicki

Great interview with Kassie & Kristen. They truly are like mother and daughter. I watched Starr grow up, and it is so nice that Kristen played the role from when she was 6 till the end. She is a talented actress and I wish her well, and will miss her as Starr. Kassie is amazing as Blair. She has chemistry with every actor she has worked with. When Roger came back as Todd, the chemistry was explosive. They were perfect together. I am looking forward to seeing Kassie at Loving Llanview on Jan. 21.

todd
Guest
todd

I just want to thank Kassie for all the entertainment she has provided for us for the last 19 years. Year after year she has delivered amazing performances…..that have largely gone unnoticed. I look forward to see what great things Kassie will be involved with next. Any project will be lucky to have her.

Beverly Salhany
Guest
Beverly Salhany

PLEASE COME BACK OLTL

Sarah Lindsay
Guest
Sarah Lindsay

All I can say is Lawd Lawd.What is wrong with ABC.I will never understand how you can take away something good and replace it with slop.

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Someone on here requested the where abouts of this song, just found it, posted below.

Paul S. Glass @oltlmusic 9h
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· Close Open Details ONE LIFE song available via SoundCloud http://soundcloud.com/paulglassmusic/one-life

Retweeted by Kristen Alderson

Heather Juarez
Guest
Heather Juarez

Wow I’m so shocked why is the show leaving I luv one life to live ,please don’t go if I wake up tomorrow will u still be here.

Doe
Guest
Doe

Michael, I loved the interview with Kristen and Cassie. They have represented a loving mother, daughter relationship so well on OLTL. And yes, Starr grew up fast because she had to. We all love Starr. And Kristen and Cassie are so talented . They should really put an act together They both are singers and could go on the road. The fans would go crazy for them. And they could play off each other and also make money at the same time. How about Vegas?..I say, go girls….

Robin625
Guest
Robin625

Saddest day approaching. Only soap fans can relate to the feelings of…what am I going to watch now? Why am I losing my friends? These brilliant people have had me on the edge of my seat every day for over 30 years. Change is good, but not this kind of change. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it! This show was not broken, the people behind the people are. They’ve made a huge mistake and they will be kicking themselves real soon. Hit me up on twitter @Robin625!

debbie
Guest
debbie

I am done with ABC

PattyJean
Guest
PattyJean

So very sad tonight about the lost of good-ol’ American entertainment; some of our SOAPS: Said goodbye to AMC, am in mourning for OLTL, stung by the end of SoapNet (come March), and hurt by the possibility of GH “going out of business” in the Fall . Today, I pledge my presidential vote to the candidate who brings back the Soap Opera to daytime TV, (particularly to ABC-Disney) !!! And I’m only halfway joking about that, Mr. Obama, etc. Maybe, Sir, Oprah could bring her forceful presence back to weekdays as Secretary Of Soaps, eh ?! AMEN.

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Patty, loved………loved your comment. Very creative. Uh, “your presidential vote, Oprah’s forceful presense back to weekdays as Secretary Of Soaps”. Now that is creative, BUT makes ALOT of sense. Oprah NEEDS the viewership on her NETWORK, which maybe failiing BC people are TIRED OF REALITY TELEVISON. Patty Jean, STROLL down 4 places on this page, see Heather’s name AND my reply and JOIN our movement in fighting back. IMPORTANT.

barbara t
Guest
barbara t

GOOD IDEA, but she was already asked to take the soaps ,I think she should have taken the soaps and ran with them,would have improved her ratings,so im sorry, but if she wasnt bright enough to save the soaps the first time ,how can she become the secretary of soaps ?however Im sure there is someone out there,who we can trust and have obama appoint them as the top soap zar,Is that how zar is spelled?

barbara t
Guest
barbara t

OOPS its czar.

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

The soaps are a part of our tv history..Been watching since the 1950’s..Like saying good bye to an old friend..I wonder how long GH and The Bold and the Beautiful will last..I expect they all will be taken off eventually..

dominicsmythe
Guest
dominicsmythe

what?!! the saddest part of this interview is that kassie says blair is a “perennial loser at love”…. this SUCKS!!!!!!!!

Heather Juarez
Guest
Heather Juarez

I’m so upset ryt now I don’t want the show go off air, I have watching the show for 4 yrs now and it’s the best show on abc , I think days of our lives now that show is stupid but I know that comes on nbc I growed up with days of our lives bcuz my family liked it nd I did to at one point but it just don’t make since but I went on my own way and found my own show that I like and I reall y love the hot guy’s that are in… Read more »

angela
Guest
angela

This is such a debacle that there are no words to express what abc has done. I am a faithful 41 year viewer and the void that I will feel come Jan 16 is overwhelmning. The first thing abc should have learned from this mess that the rating system needs a MAJOR overhaul. True not many people watch the show at 2:OO BUT they dvr it, record it, watch the many chances to catch that days episode on soapnet. There is hulu and abc.com. This show has many many viewers that just were not counted. Frons is gone? Big deal,… Read more »

PattyJean
Guest
PattyJean

Our show DESERVES more than only ONE Life To Live !!!

meary
Guest
meary

glad starr and blair and todd(rh) are going to gh!!! taping at the end of this month!!! yayyyyy!!!

bree
Guest
bree

another network needs to pick it up and slightly rename it :ONE MORE LIFE TO LIVE

Susie
Guest
Susie

Today is one of the worst days in television EVER and one of the worst days in my life !! I have been watching for 37 years… OLTL is and always will be my favorite show. I’m devestated, disgusted and sick at heart… even the news of the GH crossover is not enough to keep my heart from breaking today!

Patricia Marino
Guest
Patricia Marino

I miss OLTL so much they were like a family to me I will never watch the crap that ABC chose to put on.

Judi
Guest
Judi

I still miss OLTL and it has been a long time now but watching Star and Todd and John McBain on GH,, I keep thinking about the great story lines on OLTL and how great it was! Shame on ABC for cancelling and not listening to the viewers. We all tweeted, fb, emailed, called to ABC,, to no avail… Kassie! ( Blair) I am so sad and angry that you did not go to GH, I know you were excited about it! The first scene with Carly and you having a drink to the men.. omg, I thought what a… Read more »

Days Of Our Lives

Watch the Replay: GH, DAYS, Y&R, B&B & OLTL Stars at Michael Fairman’s Virtual Birthday Party for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund

Earlier this week on Monday night, several of the stars of General Hospital, Days of our Lives, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and One Life to Live, took part in a virtual livestream “party” for Michael Fairman’s 60th birthday.

The event was held virtually to help performers in need who have been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by letting viewers know where to make a donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Fund.

Photo: ABC, NBC, CBS

Participating throughout the 90 minute livestream were: The Young and the Restless, Jason Thompson, Sharon Case, and Christian LeBlanc, General Hospital’s Maurice Benard, Laura Wright, Wes Ramsey, and Chloe Lanier, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Katherine Kelly Lang, Days of our Lives’ Rob Scott Wilson, Eric Martsolf, Galen Gering, Arianne Zucker, Shawn Christian, Santa Barbara favorite, A Martinez, One Life to Live’s Kristen Alderson and Eddie Alderson, and Studio City’s Sean Kanan.

You can catch the replay of the birthday benefit event below or on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

Throughout the evening, the actors shared stories of how they got their SAG card, played a game of Michael’s trivia, and revealed stories about themselves and other “party” guests in a wonderful display of community and camaraderie at all went down live!

Since March of 2o2o, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has given out more than $6.2 million in emergency aid to over 6,500 SAG-AFTRA performers and their families facing hardship and uncertainty during this pandemic. Thousands of SAG-AFTRA artists have found themselves in dire need of assistance to help pay their rent, buy groceries, cover health care premiums and other bills.  You can still make a donation of any dollar amount to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 relief fund here. https://members.sagfoundation.org/donate 

Now, check it out below, and let us know if you enjoyed the virtual birthday party livestream via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH Co-Head Writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor Interview – “Soapmakers of the Year” Honors 2020

In a year which saw production of your favorite soaps shutdown for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone in daytime had to pivot.  As original episodes aired, they eventually ran out, giving way to rebroadcasts, while the audience eagerly awaited the return of the current stories.

At General Hospital, once production resumed over the summer, head writers, Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor had teed-up: surprising homecomings (Dante, Britt) shocking twists and revelations, the conclusion of what will become an all-time soap classic, the Alzheimer’s storyline, dipping into the rich 57-year history of the iconic soap to tie story to the present (Laura, Cyrus, Martin), and crafting stories for its A-list cast which gave 2020 some of its finest on-screen moments.  GH became can’t-miss television again, coming back even stronger than its pre-pandemic self; which also kicked the year off in high-style with the reveal of Nikolas to his family, alive and well, and the long-awaited truth about baby Wiley.

Chris and Dan’s depiction of Mike’s heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer’s gave viewers many tears through its unrelenting and realistic storytelling, plus their commitment to air the standalone episode to honor the passing of the 19th amendment of the women’s right to vote in November.  Both were noteworthy, and illustrated what daytime can do best.

 

Each year, Michael Fairman TV gives our highest honor to a creative or creatives who most delivered to its audience and whose quality of work continues to keep us engaged, on the edge of our seats, or reaching for the hankies. That is why this year’s Soapmkers of the Year honor goes to GH scribes: Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor.  Shortly after receiving their acknowledgement, the duo spoke to us about some of the 2020 highlights in Port Charles, and how they work so well together to bring their stories to life.  Here’s what they shared.

Courtesy/ABC

First, and foremost, I want to commend you for the Alzheimer’s storyline  As I’ve shared publicly, my mother died of Alzheimer’s, and I have seen the progression of this disease and the effects it has on a family and loved ones, and the person afflicted with it.  You did a beautiful job of telling every beat of the story within the context of what you could do within a soap opera.  What can you tell me about crafting that and seeing it through to the end?  You never abandoned the story, which at times, can happen on daytime.

CHRISNo, we didn’t abandon it.  Soap operas have a power that I am sure we have acknowledged before, to allow audiences to really get to know characters in a deeper and more profound way than I think most other mediums do.  We get to see characters’ lives day in and day out.  For us to tell a story about Alzheimer’s, which is a disease that is devastating in so many ways, not the least of which is the fact that it can take years to develop and years to finally claim a life, we felt that among our audience, there had to be many people who had experienced this in an up-close and personal way.  So that to tell the story too expeditiously would really deny their experience and would take away from their appreciation of the show as a reflection of reality.  Of course, soap operas don’t do that in every sense on every episode, but when you’re telling a story about a disease that people experience every day, you have an obligation to reflect the real-world experience.  So, by bringing it to a close too fast and by doing it in a way that didn’t honor what at times is the horror of the disease, felt like it would be a cop-out.  We wanted to do our best within the constrictions of the medium to depict that; while at the same time, of course, not wanting to leave people so depressed as to not want to tune back in.  It was a really delicate dance.  We are very grateful to have had the support of the network and Frank Valentini’s (executive producer, GH) ingenious production team as well as a great repertory of actors who were willing and able to give their all to this story.

Courtesy/ABC

Maurice Benard (Sonny) did some of his finest work of his career in this story, and you gave him the ball to do it, and Max Gail (Mike) was amazing.  Two standout episodes included: when Mike passed and was taken to heaven by Courtney (Alicia Leigh Willis) and Mike’s funeral episode.  Did you realize when you were writing it, the impact it would have on the audience?

DANAs for the funeral, I’d say that we knew as we were writing it that not only did we want to give the characters and the audience a chance to say goodbye to Mike, but we also wanted to give the performers a chance to say a goodbye to their relationship with the actor, Max Gail as well.  Max is a fantastic, phenomenal actor, and he formed close relationships with many of our performers.  So, when we wrote the episode, yes, we did want to give the audience a chance to say goodbye to the character, but we also knew that because of the close relationships that these performers have made with each other that the actors were going to bring their all, and it was going to provide the audience with some powerhouse performances.

Did you get emotional seeing it? 

CHRIS:  Oh, personally, I cried.

Courtesy/ABC

I know you both love and appreciate the soap genre and understand that the audience often wants a good cry and is invested in these characters.  So because of that; what’s it like for you when you see these emotional moments play out that start in your mind, go to the page, then to the stage, and now are out in the world for people to see and experience?

CHRIS:  I can’t speak for any of the other writers, but I’m not crying when I’m writing it, but I’m crying when I see it realized and how the actors, and the producers, and the directors realize it.  I personally am always surprised by the nuance and the beats that they find that we, in our first draft kind-of-lifestyle that we have as soap opera writers; where we are writing six or seven episodes per week, we don’t have the time or the luxury to really sit with an episode and mine it for every single beat and every emotion. That’s why we have great directors and great actors who take these scripts and find these extra moments.  So, it is really gratifying to watch – yes, to see something that we’ve imagined be produced and personified, but then to see how the production then takes it in other directions, that’s the best.  I think that’s the most gratifying part of writing for a show, not seeing what you’ve written produced, but seeing how it was parented into life.  When you have a baby, I think you have all sorts of ideas about what the baby will be, and then the baby becomes something else as the result of its environment and of the people who are influencing and guiding it along and that may be a bit of a stretched metaphor, but it kind of feels relative.

As co-head writers of General Hospital, how do you work together to come up with long-term story?  What is your process?

DAN:  Chris and I will meet regularly and discuss the long-term stories that we are telling, and plan to tell, and maybe some adjustments that we have to make along the way.  We get to meet with our writers several days every week as we figure out the best way to tell that story in the form of however many episodes we write a week.  Chris and I also write episodes along with our great breakdown script team, and every week we figure out the best way to either stay on the path of the story we are intending to tell, or find new opportunities or new twists and turns we can take along the way.

Photo: ABC

Do you get into friendly, creative disagreements? Is one of you more protective of a certain character than the other? 

DAN:  Chris and I have known each other for close to 15 years at this point, and we are not just colleagues, we are also friends.  There is a certain amount of shorthand that we have with each other which is just invaluable in telling story.  What’s great is that we sometimes come at the story from different angles or we have a different point of view, much like any two fans of the show wouldn’t agree on necessarily everything, but in our discussions about the show’s needs, wants, and haves, and the story trajectory, we ultimately get somewhere better than where either of us could have come up with on our own.  At the same time, there are those moments where we both come to the same idea at the same moment, and that’s definitely when we go, “Okay, we’re onto something good.”

CHRIS:  I can add as a partial translation that I can get really snippy, and Dan has the patience of a saint.  So, often times, I need 24 hours to go away, and sleep on something, and wake up, and say, “Oh Dan, you were totally right about that.  I’m so sorry I was snippy the other day,” and he doesn’t seem to hold it against me.

Do you ever get a writer’s block; as has to happen often with scribes in the unrelenting medium of daytime drama, and if so, I would think having a writing partner would be an asset during those times?

DAN:  I think it’s the nature of the beast.  At a certain point, you might hit a roadblock somewhere, but that’s why having a partner is so valuable that there is somebody else that you can bounce ideas along with, and just as, if not more importantly, our team of writers are always there to sometimes give us even better ideas than what we would have come up with on our own.

Courtesy/ABC

This year you utilized and delved back into a lot of GH history.  How did the idea come about to bring back the character of Jackie Templeton and have former All My Children and NYPD Blue favorite, Kim Delaney, take on the role?

DAN:  Jackie Templeton is a character who has been an Easter egg on the show for many years now.  Whenever we needed to namedrop a famous journalist, she was always our go-to.  It always felt like the character was in the ether of Port Charles for awhile, and we were excited to bring this take-no-prisoners character back and explore her history with Robert (Tristan Rogers), and at the same time, we were finally teed up to tell the story of Finn’s (Michael Easton) falling out with his father and step-mother, and we realized we had a great opportunity to have the character serve both stories and collide with not just Anna (Finola Hughes) and Finn, but Robert as well. Those three played wonderfully with each other. When we heard that Kim Delaney was interested in playing with us, we were just over the moon.  .

Courtesy/ABC

You have also been delving back into Laura’s childhood past and her history. I love that you brought up the death of David Hamilton and her teenage years, which hasn’t been discussed for a very long time on the show while tying it into the present.

DAN:  We were always aware of the story just because we love General Hospital and we love the character of Laura, and there is nothing else like daytime drama, and one of the great things about it is that you can reach decades into the past and expand on stories and themes that the audience actually witnessed. Long reaching history is a tool in our toolbox that not many other series have.  Chris and I love honoring and using our characters’ histories to propel the show into the future with some serious momentum.

Photo: ABC

You created and brought the character of  Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober) on to the canvas. Was it originally a case of, “We need an uber-villain to come and shake things up,” and then you decided to connect him to Laura?  It’s been an intriguing shocker for viewers.  Jeff is playing the multi-levels of Cyrus with great finesse, and whenever you give Genie something, the fans go nuts, and she, in turn, delivers every time.

CHRIS:  The story of Cyrus has a couple of phases to it.  We wanted to bring on a villain who would not only be an adversary to Sonny, but someone who we could use to really test Jordan (Briana Nicole Henry) and Curtis (Donnell Turner), and we knew going in that the first phase of this story would really hit the Corinthos family and also the Ashfords, and as we developed it, we thought about what the act two would be, and we knew that we had an opportunity to really engage Genie Francis and to expand her sphere and expand her footprint on the show, and by connecting her to Cyrus, who is not your typical face or presence for a soap, but is also not your typical person who I think Laura would encounter in her daily life.  So, we knew, as we really developed Cyrus as a villain, that for Laura to find out that this man is her brother, would really allow us to play with Laura in a different context and in a different light and really give Genie a new kind of challenge.

Speaking of Genie, what did you think when you watched back her performance in the episode where you wrote that Laura has to say goodbye to her comatose daughter, Lulu (Emme Rylan), before she was sent off the canvas to a long-term care facility?

CHRIS:  I mean to me, that’s vintage Laura.  I came to General Hospital personally in the late 80s to early 90s, so my experience of Laura really only begins with her, and Luke (Tony Geary), and Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) at the Triple L Diner.  I think that what we’ve gotten to see with Genie is really reflective of the high emotion that she is capable of delivering.  At the same time as the high emotion, you’re also seeing really small human moments that she really breathes a lot of life into.  I can speak for Dan and myself when we say that we are just really thrilled with what she has been able to bring to the screen.  Thrilled, but I guess not surprised.

Coutesy/ABC

Nelle (Chloe Lanier) was such a great interloper and threat throughout the year in story; whether it’s hatching plots to gain custody of baby Wiley, or her “death” scene and confrontations with Carly (Laura Wright).  However, through all of this, when was it decided to make Nina (Cynthia Watros), Nelle’s biological mother?

DAN:  There are very few things that are as exciting on a soap as a character that makes you wonder what they are going to do next, and Chloe and Nelle provided that role with just gusto.  The truth is, the idea that Nelle was Nina’s daughter has been a part of the conception of that character, and over the last few years, the story evolved, and we ultimately got to reveal the truth to the audience.

Courtesy/ABC

As writers, there has to be characters that are just so delicious and treacherous to write for that you have to get a kick out of it! Chloe Lanier is so good that she makes the audience want to slap Nelle when she takes the dialog and then brings it to the screen.  

CHRIS:  It is tremendous fun.  Yes, yes, we love writing for these characters who are willing to do and say anything to get what they want.  We are constrained when writing for characters who have morality.  It takes a moral character a lot of really difficult circumstances for them to make a decision that might go against the grain, but when you have a character like Nelle, who is not shackled by certain societal norms, then you really get to live out the worst impulses that a person could have, and it’s really fun, especially when you take a really great performer like Chloe and see her as Nelle unleash all of the poison that she’s capable of.  At the same time, she can turn on a dime and rip your heart out a little bit when she turns on the water works.

Photo :ABC

Ava Jerome’s (Maura West) story this year had her moving into a relationship with Nikolas (Marcus Coloma).  We, the audience, didn’t know how that was going to go – if they were just going to use each other, or ultimately fall in love.  Was that the plan all along … that they would develop deep feelings for each other, or did you want to see how it progressed and played out on-screen, and then make that determination?

CHRIS:  I think that once we saw the chemistry between the two actors, we knew we had gold. So, we wanted to take our time, especially the way that it was constructed.  These were two people who had little use for each other emotionally, and in fact, probably wanted to see one another’s downfall, and that’s what makes it so great to write – that these are people who, in a similar vein as Nelle, don’t live by the same rules as most of the rest of us, and therefore, they might do things to each other that the rest of us would not do to anyone let alone whether we like them or not.  That’s what makes Ava and Nikolas so delicious is that from one moment to the next, you don’t know if they’re going to hatch a plot against each other or fall into bed and ravish each other. That’s what I think we hope to continue to play as we go forward because they certainly have very strong, passionate feelings for one another.  When you’re talking about Ava and Nikolas, these are two people who do not have a lot of fans necessarily in Port Charles, and there are a lot of people who don’t necessarily want to see them achieve happily ever after.  Knowing that there was so much initial mistrust and suspicion between the two of them could really provide the foundation for their own undoing or their undoing from someone who does not want to see them happy.

Photo: ABC

Back in November, GH made good use of a standalone episode spotlighting the history of the women’s right to vote and the suffrage movement; just as the presidential election was happening.  What made you decide to write this special show, and how do you feel it turned out as it also spotlighted the female cast?

CHRIS:  We had long intended to honor the one hundred years of American women’s suffrage with a special episode to air on the anniversary of the 19th amendment’s passage, but we missed the date due to the pause in production.  We realized we had a second chance as the election neared.  Going forward was a no-brainer. The biggest challenge was in distilling such an epic story into one episode. We think ABC would do well to consider a spinoff: “Port Charles, 1920”

Courtesy/ABC

You have such a powerhouse cast to write for.  It’s loaded.  It’s got to be a challenge for you to construct the story for GH when you’ve got to front burner people and back burner people, and then you’ve got these huge daytime stars all in one show.

DAN:  It’s an embarrassment of riches to have a cast as talented as we do quite frankly.  We are fortunate enough that we know that we have these amazing performers that we can trust with whatever stories that we throw their way.

CHRIS:  I will say that we do have a great cast.  They’re all wonderful, and when you have a show that is only approximately 35 minutes of airtime on any day, it’s a real balancing act to make sure that everybody gets a story that really is worthy of their talents, and we’ve got one for everybody.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of which story takes precedence in which moment, which is why occasionally some characters aren’t featured on a daily basis, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be.  If you were to ask me, “Who are the standouts?”  I would say all of them.  You saw this year: Maurice Benard, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), Maura West, Genie Francis, and Laura Wright (Carly) to name but just a few.  They’ve all done such fantastic work, and we can’t wait to give them more material to give them more moments to shine.

DAN:  A priority of ours is every week, we meet up and look (well, it’s virtual now during Covid-19) at the big board of our cast photos and we go through each character and always make sure that they have some story percolating even if it’s not on the air at the moment.

Photo: ABC

As we close out 2020, and look forward to 2021, any parting thoughts, and perhaps a tease of what GH fans can look forward to in the New Year?

CHRIS:  In general, I would just say that despite all of the challenges of the year, we are really grateful to our cast and the crew back in Los Angeles for realizing and improving the show that we imagined, and we are so excited for everything that is coming in 2021.  We hope to continue to throw a lot of surprises at the audience, and at the same time give them a lot of moments and stories of heart and love and excitement.

So, what did you think of the year in story on General Hospital in 2020? Share your thoughts on Chris and Dan’s comments and their year-end honors via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Stephen Nichols and Lucas Adams Talk Salem Longevity, Tripp’s Predicament and Their Co-Stars

Days of our Lives stars Stephen Nichols (Steve “Patch” Johnson) and his on-screen son, Lucas Adams (Tripp Dalton) are in the middle of plenty of drama on the long-running NBC daytime drama, which recently celebrated its 55th anniversary in November and its 14,000 episode milestone in December.

In a new chat with Michael Fairman on the Michael Fairman Channel, Stephen reveals his surprise at still being with the iconic show. while Lucas talks about how his first run on DAYS came to an abrupt end, but now he is deep in-story involving Allie (Lindsay Arnold) and the brother he is yet-to-know he has, Charlie (Mike Manning), who is Allie’s actual rapist.

Both Stephen and Lucas discuss having the opportunity to work with Daytime Emmy winner Tamara Braun (Ava) again, as well as James Lastovic (Joey) in recently aired scenes. In story, Ava has returned back-from-the-dead and realizes she has major trouble brewing with her two sons, Tripp and Charlie.  How will it all play itself out?

 

Check out what Stephen and Lucas shared below.  Then, be on the lookout beginning this week, as Steve and John (Drake Hogestyn) work together to figure out who is responsible for Allie’s rape and just who is the biological father to her child, when it is not Tripp!

Share your thoughts on the sentiments shared by Stephen and Lucas in the interview via the comment section.

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