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Martha Byrne, Ellen Dolan, Elizabeth Hubbard & Colleen Zenk Talk ATWT Reunion, Memories & Mementos!

Courtesy/CBS

On a recent episode of The Talk that aired on October 12th, the afternoon series welcomed stars from As the World Turns as part of a special broadcast honoring CBS Daytime’s 30 years as the number one daytime television network.

Four powerhouse actresses who kept fans on the edge of the seats during their storylines were part of the ATWT reunion: Martha Byrne (Lily), Elizabeth Hubbard (Lucinda), Ellen Dolan (Margo) and Colleen Zenk (Barbara).  Before these soap opera MVP’s were brought out in front of the live studio audience, a short retrospective of ATWT clips was shown reminding us all what made the town of Oakdale so special for 54 years.

Sadly, As the World Turns was canceled, and aired its last episode on September 17th, 2010.   It has now been six years since its loyal audience saw the characters whose lives they followed for decades, or a major television reunion featuring some of them.

Following this fab four’s appearance, On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman sat down with Martha, Elizabeth, Ellen and Colleen backstage for our own sentimental and heartfelt reunion.  All Emmy-nominated and Byrne and Hubbard having won multiple Emmys, these ladies looked back on the incredible time in their careers, collaborating with each other, and shared their appreciation for being part of an iconic piece of television history.  In addition, they also are well-aware what a loss it was for fans when ATWT when off the air.  Here’s what these terrifically talented ladies shared!

It was very emotional watching each of you come out in front of the studio audience and take your place on set.   I especially noticed Martha.  You had tears welling-up in your eyes.  What was going through your mind at that moment?

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

MARTHA:  It was so emotional while we were up there, and especially when we were backstage and the clips came on, and they were so good!  Those were really good scenes they showed from As the World Turns.  That was some good stuff we put out there, and it just reminded us that there are hundreds of hours of this show!

ELLEN:  I didn’t recognize myself in the Christmas scene when it played! (Laughs) I remember going, “Who is that?”  Then, I went, “Oh, that’s me!”

What has been the most memorable part of this reunion, seeing each other and representing the iconic ATWT, in this CBS 30 years at number one celebration?

COLLEEN:  Just being together …

MARTHA: … And also we have all evolved as human beings   We have all had our personal stuff that we have been through in our real lives.  But, I think our growth since that time is tremendous.  So we can look back at it now, and come here, and we can really appreciate first of all, that we were even asked.  The show was canceled, and it was so painful for so many people, and it was such an abrupt ending.  Then shows were canceled after that like All My Children, and thus lots of people were out of work in New York.

ELIZABETH:   There was a wrap party at a bar at Eighth avenue and 49th street in New York.   I got to this bar and I said, “I’m looking for the party.”  And this man tells me, “It’s up the stairs!”   So when I get there this other guy says, “Welcome to a room full of unemployed people!”  There were the producers, the directors, the actors, the hair and make up people, everyone.

Courtesy/CBS

MARTHA:   It was sad.   So to have this moment on The Talk, and to be embraced by the head of CBS Daytime, Angelica McDaniel was special.   They treated us so well.

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COLLEEN:  We were celebrated!

Let’s not forget As the World Turns was the number one show there for awhile starting in 1958 through 1978.

COLLEEN:  Yes. We were number one in the 70’s from 1970-1978!

ELIZABETH:  And then I came on and ruined it. (Laughs)   We had wonderful directors on our show.   I was talking about this with Grant Aleksander (Ex-Phillip, GL), who directed on ATWT too.  You could go to the directors and say, “This is my problem!” They would understand what you’re talking about, and not think you are some creep, or a sociopath, or whatever they think actor’s are.

ELLEN:   When I came out to Los Angeles for a couple of years, I did enough work, but I thought, “It’s not enough for me.”  We’re workhorses on the soaps, we’re in there every day.  We spew out so much story.   I thought, “I have a strong character- she’s funny, she’s rock em, sock em.   What am doing here?   I’m going back to New York and do my character. ”    You know, people mostly are lucky if they get to do two films a year, and they get to do five scenes in a year.   On ATWT, we did 5 scenes in one morning!

ELIZABETH:   I did one sitcom, Hope & Faith.  I loved it, because it was so fast and the writers are right near you, and they are on your side during the tapings . They are not in a room some place making up stories, and so they can tell the actors to make changes quickly, and we did it.   I think in the story, Kelly Ripa kicked my character’s ass in the end, and it was perfect.  But I did like that experience.

Courtesy/CBS

Where do each of you see your ATWT character right now at this point in her life, since the audience can’t see them, and has to also use their imaginations on what happened to these wonderful women that they loved?

COLLEEN:  Barbara’s definitely In a dance hall!

MARTHA:  Lily would hopefully be single.  She was never alone.  She always had a man around.

ELLEN:   I think Margo would still be the police lieutenant.  She would still be ordering people around and no one would listen. She would be making mistakes, and coming home to Tom.  She would ask the proverbial question, “Well, why?” (Laughs)   I think Margo would be that gruff older rascally lieutenant and she would take over Dan Frazer’s (Dan “Mac” McClosky) role.  Margo was such a beautifully constructed character.  She had just a little dash of everything, and I don’t think that much would change.  You would  now be watching someone age, and becoming their true selves.

Courtesy/CBS

When you look back on the final episode of As the World Turns, do you think it did it justice?  It is an extraordinarily difficult task to wrap-up a show that is 54- years-old with so much rich history, characters, and story.

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COLLEEN:   I felt that it really captured everything.   There was a lot they had to leave on the floor, a lot of scenes, because there was so much shot for the finale.  But, it made me weep.

ELLEN:  You got the sense that these lives are still going to go on.

ELIZABETH:  I was doing a Dutch soap at the time, so to have John (Larry Bryggman) and Lucinda deported was a good way to get us out of Oakdale. (Laughs)

On the last day of taping, did you take any mementos or keepsakes with you?

Courtesy/CBS

MARTHA:  Kelly Hensley (Emily) gave to me Lily’s wedding ring when the show went off the air.  Noelle Beck (Ex-Lily) did not wear my ring.   So, they had put it in a box somewhere.

COLLEEN:   I took the giant crystal rock chandelier that was in the nightclub, where Barbara and Henry (Trent Dawson) did their famous dance.  I took the barrel back silk Damask chair that Barbara would always hide in when she was going through her evil era.   I also have the marble plaque of the mausoleum, some Stenbeck documents, but in the end the show sold everything off.

ELLEN:   I took the clown on Hal (Benjamin Hendrickson) and Margo’s desk.

ELIZABETH:   The last day everything had already been sold, but there was a thing you put a vase on.   I said  “I will take that.”  There was a second one and I said to the stage hand, how much will it be to deliver it to my house?  And he said, “Oh, no.  It’s free.  Your the only one who gave us Christmas presents.”  That was nice.

Photo Credit: MF Soaps Inc.

If another network soap came calling, would you jump at the chance to do a role on daytime drama at this point in your careers?

MARTHA:   Listen, we are actors!   When the phone rings you pick it up, and you go to work.  I’m doing a play in New York right now, because I love what I do.  That’s in our DNA.  It doesn’t go away.

ELLEN:  You say, “yes” to every job, and if there is a ever a job like we had on ATWT that can be recreated, you say, “Yes, absolutely.  I will do it!”

For more on CBS Daytime’s 30 years at number one celebration, The Paley Center For Media in Beverly Hills, California now through November 27th continues to feature an interactive exhibit of one-of-a kind memorabilia and original set pieces from some of the most popular daytime shows of the last thirty years.  This special exhibit honors CBS’s five current shows—The Price Is Right, Let’s Make a Deal, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and The Talk—as well as legacy programs, including As the World Turns and Guiding Light.

So, what did you think of Martha, Ellen, Elizabeth and Colleen’s thoughts on their time with ATWT, being at this televisied reunion with each other and their memories and mementos of their time in Oakdale?  What soap opera would you like to see these four ladies on now?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and let us know if you miss ATWT!

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Barbara from Atlanta
Barbara from Atlanta

Thank you VERY MUCH for this interview. I enjoyed it a lot.

Now, why haven’t any of the remaining soaps hired any of these experiences actresses?? They know what they are doing and they surely have fans who would not otherwise turn on the soap??

They would not be hard to cast: Elizabeth Hubbard as Dina Abbott on Y&R; Colleen Zenk as an age-appropriate romantic partner for Eric on B&B ……….

Lew S.
Lew S.

Hi Barbara, I totally agree with you. Sadly, the soaps are too focused on youth, with a few exceptions and with the shoestring budgets they now have in place, these great actresses would probably be priced out of roles.

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Liz Hubbard-Dina Abbot-Y&R…Martha Byrne-Sarah Webber-GH…Ellen Dolan-Sandy Horton-GH and love interest for Roman…Colleen Zenk…Derricks overprotective mom-Days… who helps Derrick keep Sonny and Paul apart!!!

Claudio
Claudio

Yes, Jim that’s what I said about 3 weeks ago on this site. They need to hire Elizabeth Hubbard as Dina Abbott.

Anne
Anne

After six years I still say shame on CBS for canceling these great actors in favor of the cheap empty talk shows. I wish all these talented ladies lots of new roles. They deserve to be working a lot.

Stephanie
Stephanie

Thank you for continuing the interview, four minutes just couldn’t do them justice. ATWTforever

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Funny..people claim to boycott abc for cancelling their soaps but not cbs…

David
David

Amen to you Jim, totally agree with your comment.

janet
janet

Jim I have never once turned on the talk for that exact reason. ATWTs was my fav show. What replaced it is dead to me. I never forget. or forgive.
These were four of my favorites . the EP who ended the show made me hate him forever. Lily and Craig with imposters playing them for no reason. never forget, never forgive.

beacon
beacon

Actually, ATWT was number 1 rated soap from 1958 – 1978 – that’s 20 years at the top.

mark
mark

I think all my children knocked it off the top when cliff and Nina were in full swing.

Coco
Coco

Kelly Hensley (aka Emily) is a powerful actress and would be a excellent addition to Y&R for Jack Abbott to give Phyllis a run for her man. Or put her with Dollar Bill on the Bold & Beautiful because Brook s/b with the arrogant Ridge Forrester.
Colleen Zenk can be a powerful billionaire who will get under Victor’s womanizer skin and give Niki something to wine about again.
Ellen Dolan (aka Margo) can be Paul newest detective on the force since Dillon is leaving Y&R soon and bring Margo husband Tom Hughes as Y&R needs another lawyer or DA.
All of the above-mentioned actors/actress will be great. Any roll they play. Hopefully some one will pick them up.

mark
mark

I was never a fan it always overshadowed GL which was a better show completely but I’m glad CBS is showing stuff like this maybe they have realized what a mistake they made. I miss GL terribly.

Stefano
Stefano

Man do I miss Guiding Light, Reva the slut from Springfield was a wonderful character. Y&R need to call Kim Zimmer and hire the lady. she can act. Peter Bergman needs Reva Shayne LOL.

James R. Poissant
James R. Poissant

It was so awesome and yet so sad to see these ladies from ATWT—I met Liz and Colleen at a fan club gathering in Manhattan the year before the show left the airwaves. I had so much fun with them that day and I never forgot how gracious they were to me even though I was so tongue-tied. All I could say to Liz was that I had loved her almost all of my life and how I had been watching her since she was Dr. Althea Davis on “The Doctors”. When I met Colleen, she just kept poking a finger at me because I was just so star-struck with her. she was so beautiful and I got to talk to her along with my partner who told her that her then-husband Mark Pinter would make a great Craig. She told us that she had been after them for years to do that. Anyway, I loved seeing these 4 ladies again and even moreso, it was great to see how beautiful they still are!!!

Mark Y
Mark Y

I hope the exhibit at the Paley comes to the Museum of Television and Radio in NYC

Rodd
Rodd

LOVED seeing them on ‘The Talk’! Miss them and their former co-stars so much! What a wonderful opportunity to see them and get an update on their lives.

We may be a smaller community, but we are loyal and vocal. I, for one, would love to see more of this type of thing happen on TV. Lord, knows, they should never have cancelled the show!

clb
clb

What a small segment on the very show (The Talk) that replaced As The World Turns. CBS made a mistake but will never admit to it. Colleen Zink is absolutely beautiful! Her story was sad but a miracle. God answers prayer! Too little time with the GL actors too. Miss them any day that I am at home in the afternoon.

Cariene keadle
Cariene keadle

Oh how I miss ATWT!!! I’d watch any of these ladies on anything. I recently saw Scott Holmes in a play. He was fabulous!!

I was heartsick when ATWT was cancelled. Would ❤❤❤ for it to come back! Wish these four ladies were on Bold and Beautiful. Elizabeth Hubbard and John McCook would be a power couple. I can just imagine the storylines between Hubbard and “Quin Fuller.”

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Final Season of ‘EastSiders’ Starring Kit Williamson and Van Hansis Gets Premiere Date on Netflix

The fourth and final season of the much heralded LGBTQ series, EastSiders now has a premiere date of December 1st on Netflix, and fans of the show will see how things will play out for the Silver Lake duo of Cal  and Thom, who have gone through quite a lot in their relationship over the last three seasons.

EastSiders stars series creator, Kit Williamson (Cal) along with As the World Turns favorite, Van Hansis (Thom).  The last six-episodes that comprise season four will tackle questions such as… what does commitment really look like in a long-term relationship? And what unique challenges does a “gay marriage” present?

In story, Cal and Thom are back home in Los Angeles following season three’s cross-country road trip.  The guys are still trying to figure out if they are just best friends with benefits, or more, or less, than that.

Elsewhere, Douglas (Willam Belli) and Quincy (Stephen Guarino) are engaged to be married, but with very different ideas about what a gay wedding should be. Hillary (Brianna Brown) and Ian (John Halbach) are cohabiting peacefully; and Jeremy (Matthew McKelligon) and Derrick (Leith M. Burke) have taken a huge step in their relationship by fostering a child.

Deadline broke the news of the premiere date and the many special guest stars from primetime and more to look forward to this season.

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Emmy Winner and Noted Soap Opera Head Writer; Hogan Sheffer Passes Away At 61

Over the last several hours, reports have broke that one of daytime’s most notable scribes has died.  Hogan Sheffer, who was head writer at As the World Turns, Days of our Lives and The Young and the Restless has passed away at the age of 61.

Soap Hub, first reported the news via multiple sources, however, many writers who worked with Hogan during his tenure on the soaps have taken to social media to share their condolences and their grief and remembrances.

Sheffer’s appearance on the soap scene was unexpected, especially in a genre where it is often rare for new blood to take the reins at the head writer position.  Proctor & Gamble had decided to bring in Hogan after his work as the Director of Screenplay Development for DreamWorks, not because of his writing credits for a previous network soap.  He was given trial deal as a breakdown writer for the CBS soap and 10-weeks in became the beloved town of Oakdale’s new head writer.

Hogan and his then writing team were able to turn the classic, As the World Turns around.  The show went up in the ratings and during his time with the series ‘World Turn’s’ won two Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series, and he and the writing team picked up four Emmy victories all through 2000-2004.

Photo: JPI

Next, Sheffer landed in Salem as head writer of Days of our Lives along with Meg Kelly from 2006 through to the beginning of 2008.   He would later join The Young and the Restless and team up with then head writers: Maria Arena Bell and Scott Hamner, and eventually stay with the show till 2012.  During Sheffer’s time in Genoa City, Y&R also won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Writing in 2011.

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On Sunday, former WWE and daytime writer Tom Casiello, who was extremely close with Sheffer…  and who shared how Hogan gave him his start at writing in daytime, took to his Facebook page to pay tribute to a man who had such an impact on his life and many others.  It is worth the read here. 

Y&R writer, Sara Bibel tweeted: “Hogan Sheffer was a gamechanger for ATWT and daytime. Everyone I know who worked with him adored him. RIP”

And, iconic ATWT star, Martha Byrne (Ex-Lily) tweeted on Sheffer’s passing: “To say he was one of a kind would be a tremendous understatement. Our years at ATWT with Hogan at the helm were a rebirth for our beautiful show. Loved his writers, actors,crew. Blessed to have him on the first floor in Brooklyn ready to listen. Talented. Funny. Generous. RIP”

Colleen Zenk (Ex-Barbara, ATWT) also took to Twitter upon learning of the passing of Sheffer sharing: “I loved him, loved him, loved him… he was so good to me. Thank you for everything, Hogan. You were so loved. Especially, by me… Rest in peace…”

Michael Fairman TV will continue to bring you updates as the soap world mourns the loss of a creative force in our genre.  Share your condolences and thoughts on the death of Hogan Sheffer via the comment section below.

 

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FRIDAY: ATWT’s Larry Bryggman and AMC’s Dorothy Lyman Guest Star On ‘The Blacklist’

Two of the most revered performances ever in the world of daytime drama will be seen tomorrow night on an all-new episode of NBC’s drama series, The Blacklist. (10/9c).

In “The Pawnbrokers”, Daytime Emmy winners, Larry Bryggman (Ex-John Dixon, As the World Turns) and Dorothy Lyman (Ex-Opal Gardner, All My Children) will be seen as a criminal duo!

Bryggman and Lyman play a couple that fronts cash to criminals on the black market. In story, series star, James Spader’s Red acclimates himself to his new digs in federal prison, where he is challenged by an old rival.  Samar (Mozhan Marnò) goes undercover to stop a black market organization that fronts cash to criminals. (Enter Larry and Dorothy!)  And, Liz (Megan Boone) and Jennifer (guest star Fiona Dourif) continue their investigation into Red’s past.

Check out the promo for tomorrow night’s episode below.   Then let us know if you will be checking out Larry and Dorothy and if all of this brings back memories of their amazing performances in Oakdale and in Pine Valley in the comment section below.

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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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