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LGBT beat Soaps: DAYS Adds a Splash of Gay as AMC Gals Bid Adieu!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

In the latest issue of Frontiers IN LA Magazine spotlighting Fall Entertainment out today, there is a brand new piece from On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman in the publication and on its website of the current LGBT beat on daytime soaps.

The feature titled: Days Add a Dash of Gay as AMC Gals Bid Adieu takes a look at Days of our Lives approach to their storytelling and bringing on the first gay character in the shows history in Sonny Kiriakis, played by Freddie Smith.  With interviews with Smith, DAYS co-executive producer, Greg Meng, and Sonny’s on-screen mom, Daytime Emmy winner, Judi Evans, the NBC soaps tells how they making Sonny fit into the canvas, and what could be a big surprise come fall!

Plus, All My Children’s, Christina Bennett Lind and Sarah Glendening are interviewed, as it is almost time for Bianca and Marissa swansong as the show is soon to go off network television come September 23rd. The actresses discuss how they would like to see their story wrap-up on ABC, and the importance of their roles.  Here are a few excerpts below!

Greg Meng on the careful execution of telling Sonny’s story and integrating a gay character into the Salem canvas for the first time: “This has been discussed for a long time with a lot of thought. And yes, there were concerns, but it’s like, ‘Wow. Who are we? What are we thinking? It is time!’ We didn’t want to do some gay love story, or just go off on some extreme ripped-from-the-headlines political story, just to be telling a ‘gay story.’ We are looking at a long-term, longtime beloved characters type of situation for Sonny. It is about a character who is now on the show, and who by the way, is gay!”

© JPI Studios

Greg Meng on if the show received much pushback for trying to bring in a gay character or story: “There have been rumors that certain affiliates might pull out if we pursue this. We feel strongly about including a gay character or more on our show. It is part of life. We have the full support of the storyline all the way to the top at NBC, and all the way to the top at Sony. They know the challenges and obstacles we have, but they are extremely supportive, and in fact the comment has been, ‘Well, it’s about time.’

Freddie Smith on waiting to find out who Sonny’s love interest will eventually be! “I am excited to see who my love interest is going to be because that has been all the hype for the last four months. We’ve got Chad, Will and “T” as possibilities, unless I am going to go with an older man! [Laughs] You never know. If they picked an older character that would really mix it up. I legitimately don’t know who it’s going to be. I did for a minute, now it’s gone! They have to just go for it. Having Sonny have a love interest and another story going on for him, and mixing that together, makes him a three-dimensional character. Everyone on the show has a boy or a girl, and I am like the fifth wheel!” (Laughs)

Make sure to visit frontiersla.com to read the entire feature by clicking here!



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Bambi
Guest
Bambi

I’m already 100% in love with the character of Sonny.

Torrey
Guest
Torrey

It’s nice to see a show approach a gay storyline that is not all about flash…..you know just trying to get some quick media attention. I don’t watch Days, but I think it’s great that they are invested in showing diversity among their stories.

Cath
Guest
Cath

I already love Sonny too and I think that Freddie Smith brings charisma to the role. I wouldn’t have expected anything less for the awesome biochild of an awesome supercouple (Justin & Adrienne) and who was named after another awesome character (Sonny is a nickname for Jackson and was named after Adrienne’s brother Jack Deveraux, who I’m psyched to see coming back to the canvas in September).

All My Children

WATCH: Kelly Ripa’s Walk Down Memory Lane with the Stars of All My Children & More On Her 30th Anniversary with Walt Disney Company

Today on Live with Kelly and Ryan, the morning show spotlighted Kelly Ripa’s 30-year career with ABC and the Walt Disney Company; which started back in 1990 when she took Pine Valley and All My Children by storm in the role of troubled teen, Hayley Vaughan.

On this special look-back episode of the syndicated talks show many guests from Kelly’s past and present career paid tribute to her accomplishments and remembered their time working with the talented actress and host.

From All My Children, Susan Lucci took part in the special anniversary and group virtual conversation with Ripa along with Eva LaRue, Walt Willey, Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, Cameron Mathison, Finola Hughes and Dondre T Whitfield   Then, Ripa’s former Hope & Faith co-star Faith Ford was part of the festivities.

There were several special moments throughout the episode and you can watch some of them below.   Kelly made her ABC debut on this date, November 5th, 1990!

So, check out the anniversary celebration for Kelly below, and then share your well-wishes and congrats to her via the comment section.

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All My Children

Kelly Ripa to Celebrate 30 Years at Walt Disney Company With Former Co-Stars of All My Children

Soap fans can say they knew her when, and tomorrow on the Thursday, November 5th episode of the syndicated talker Live with Kelly and Ryan, Kelly Ripa, celebrates her 30th anniversary with the Walt Disney Company and ABC.

Ripa started her journey as Hayley Vaughan on All My Children, a role she made her debut with back in 1990.

Joining Kelly for her anniversary with the company and network are former AMC castmates: Finola Hughes (ex-Alex/Anna), Eva La Rue (ex-Maria), Susan Lucci (ex-Erica), Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan), Dondré T. Whitfield (ex-Terrence) and Walt Willey (ex-Jackson).

Kelly stayed with All My Children until 2002, and along the way met her husband, Mark Consuelos who played Mateo on the show.

In 2001, Ripa replaced Kathie Lee Gifford as co-host of what then became Live with Regis and Kelly.  She also appeared on the sitcom Hope & Faith with Faith Ford from 2003-2006.  Ford will also participate in tomorrow’s special episode.

Check local listings in your area to watch Ripa’s anniversary celebration.

Share your favorite moment of Kelly as Pine Valley’s Hayley, or any other moment you loved in her television career via the comment section below.

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All My Children

All My Children Alum Ben Jörgensen Reportedly Dead At 51

According to his former All My Children castmate, Brian Gaskill. there is sad news in the soap world today.  Ben Jörgensen who played Kevin on All My Children and Chris on As the World Turns passed away on Tuesday at the age of 51, apparently via suicide, although unconfirmed as to his cause of death.

Gaskill, who played Bobby Warner while in Pine Valley shared via his Instagram:  “Sad news to report. Ben Jörgensen who played Kevin Sheffield on All My Children has past away at 51 years old.  My understanding is it was suicide.  I have heard he suffered from Bipolar disorder but as I have not spoke to him in years I do not know all the details. I just want to remember the good times we had on the set of All My Children 24 years ago. He was a good guy and had the courage to play a gay teenager on tv back when it was nowhere near as common to have representation as it is today. He was part of an award winning storyline…but mostly we just had some good times back then…my condolences go out to his friends and family. Please everybody hang in there and reach out for help if you need it. ”

Since the time of Brian’s posting, friends, colleagues and fans have been posting tributes and condolences on the actor’s Facebook page.  You can view that here.

 

In this heartbreaking photo below from Steven Bergman, during his time on As the World Turns, Ben is pictured with the late Nathaniel Marston, as well as Jaime Nicole Dudney and Terri Conn.

Photo: StevenBergman

On All My Children, Ben was part of the important social issue storyline brought into the ABC legacy soap opera by the iconic Agnes Nixon, who was always trying to move the needle forward in daytime, as the character of Kevin was a gay high school student facing bullying, ridicule and discrimination for his sexuality.

Share your thoughts on the passing of Ben via the comment section below.    

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Sad news to report. Ben Jorgensen who played Kevin Sheffield on All My Children has past away at 51 years old. My understanding is it was suicide. I have heard he suffered from Bipolar disorder but as I have not spoke to him in years I do not know all the details. I just want to remember the good times we had on the set of All My Children 24 years ago. He was a good guy and had the courage to play a gay teenager on tv back when it was nowhere near as common to have representation as it is today. He was part of an award winning storyline…but mostly we just had some good times back then…my condolences go out to his friends and family. Please everybody hang in there and reach out for help if you need it. #Actor #Filmmaker #BenJorgensen #BenMonk #Life#Death#AllMyChildren #Suicide #sad #rest

A post shared by Brian Gaskill (@briangaskill) on

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