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NATAS President and CEO, Adam Sharp, Shares Details On Digital Drama Daytime Emmys, Ceremonies During COVID-19, and Keeping Winners A Secret

Photo: NATAS

On Tuesday, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the hosts for the upcoming final two, of three, Daytime Emmy virtual ceremonies.  First up on July 19th is the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s Jai Rodriguez presiding over the night.  Then look for The Real’s Loni Love to take us through the Children’s, Animation and Educational Emmy Awards on July 26th.

Coming off a successful 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards back on broadcast TV for the first time in 11 years, and doing it during COVID-19 where everything had to be done remotely was no easy feat, and it was no easy task of ensuring the winners names would not leak before air in a pre-taped ceremony. But, NATAS President and CEO, Adam Sharp, and his team put together some safety measures that kept the drama alive of just who would win come Emmy night.

Now, heading into two more shows, Sharp chats with Michael Fairman TV and gives some Intel on what to watch for and look forward to on these upcoming ceremonies and just how the CBS broadcast of the Daytime Emmys came together and much more.  Here’s what Adam had to say.

Photo: CBS

So, let’s talk for a minute about the Digital Drama categories.  How many categories will you be doling out that night?  The Bay took home Outstanding Digital Drama Series already at the 47th Annual Daytime Emmys.

ADAM:  Seven: Two Leads, Two Supporting, Guest Performer, plus writing, and directing for a Digital Drama Series.

My understanding is that the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys will be live; as opposed to how the 47th annual Daytime Emmys were pre-taped?

ADAM:  Yes.  That’s the plan!

Phoo: CBS

How do you feel about that?  It certainly can add some unpredictability to the show.  I think people are a bit more forgiving in the imperfection of trying to deliver programming during COVID; because they’re now used to seeing their favorite performers on Zooms or whatever platform is being used.

ADAM:  I think with the telecast, from a production standpoint, we certainly played it somewhat safe, at least technically – in that everything was pre-taped and so on.  With our near decade away from being on a network and in primetime, I think there were a lot of advantages to that.  The program moved really quickly because you didn’t have to keep waiting for people to walk down the aisle.  I think it was great seeing the stars in their homes as well.  It felt really warm and intimate, which is important for Daytime because it is the most intimate part of television.  It isn’t something that you binge for 12 hours, and then wait a year to see what they offer next.  It a part of your daily life and you make a connection to these people.

How do you feel the response was to the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS?

ADAM:  The feedback we’ve been hearing has been really positive.  I think people liked the feel of the show, the earnestness and that intimacy, and I think people appreciated the steps we took to at least try to be at as close to tradition as possible; in that a lot of people sort of rolled their eyes initially when we said, “Everyone is going to record an acceptance speech,” but then, I think when the show actually aired, and people realized the nominees still didn’t know if they won, the presenters didn’t know who won, the hosts didn’t know who won.

Photo: CBS

Is it true that the presenters also recorded different, “The winner is” versions?

ADAM:  Yes.  The presenters each did five envelope opens, and we internally used a video-sharing application across the production team, and there was a sort of going from government parlance – the classified and the unclassified system – where most of the production team could not see anything that divulged a winner.  While there were eight editors working on the show, there was only one, and then in the last day, two, editors who actually could see who those winners were and fill in those holes throughout the show.  I think that the fact that you then had stars reacting on social media in real-time to their winning, it brought some of live excitement to Emmy night, because I think fans started to realize, “Oh, my God! She really didn’t know she won.”  For example, Kelly Clarkson, who did a very emotional tribute to her mother in the acceptance speech, shared her reaction to her win on social media where you experience the screaming, and jumping up and down on the chair moment.

Yes, that and others provided some very real moments.  When I chatted with some of the winners via Zoom (immediately following the broadcast) those also were so were so raw, and emotional.  I was thrilled that I was able to do that and sort of emulate what the “Winner’s Walk” backstage looked like in a virtual setting.

ADAM:  I think there is a certain aspect that when you are in the auditorium with all of the lights, with everyone there, you’re walking up on the stage to someone, you are so aware that this is a performance, you are so aware of the glare of the lights, and the cameras, and so on, that sometimes it can feel like you don’t have permission to emote. I think in many cases, when people can be at home, I actually thought most of the acceptance speeches seemed a lot more relaxed.  I thought they seemed a lot more natural.  I felt like you were seeing much more of the person as opposed to the performance.  So, that’s something we are going to try to capture on the 19th with the Digital Drama Awards. The envelopes are being sent sealed from the accountants to the presenters.  The control room is not going to know ahead of time who the winners are.  That is going to be at show time to the control room, so they’ll be taking in these close to 50 live shots from around the country throughout the presentation of the seven-category show.  The intent is to do the as much the same on the 26th.  Every day is a learning experience right now.   We have 10 ceremonies to produce this year in the COVID context, and that’s not even looking at 2021 yet.  That gives us a lot of opportunity to experiment, and we are going to get a lot wrong, and we are going to get a lot right.

Photo: CBS

When people watch the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys on July 19th, is it going to be a quick seven categories?  Are there going to be other packages in the show?

ADAM:  So, because it is only seven categories, we are giving the show a little more room to breathe.  Even though we have already awarded the overall top digital drama the night of the 47th annual Daytime Emmys, , we are going to do a little bit of a retrospective of the season of all of the shows, a little bit more than we had time for in the telecast.  There be some conversation before the reveal of the winner. We are experimenting with a few things there that you can’t do in the stage show version, and you can’t do in the pre-tape, but where the live nature of it, and the Zooming nature of it allows it.

Then on the July 26th Daytime Emmys for Children’s, Lifestyle and Animation programming, how many categories will be featured there?

ADAM:  About 20-ish categories, and then another bunch will be presented on social media afterwards the same way we did the night of the telecast.  This is absolutely a bigger show because Daytime is comprised of a hundred categories, and we are not even halfway through giving them out yet.

Photo: CBS

For clarification for the fans who read this, what kind of categories will they see presented in terms of “Family Viewing” or “Lifestyle”, etc?

ADAM:  That is going to include several categories that were not on the telecast.  So, for example, we had Entertainment Talk Show Host, but not Informational Talk Show Host during the telecast.  We had Culinary Show, but not Culinary Host, a lot of the craft categories for those shows, so the Lifestyle block is very much Talk, Travel, Culinary.  Then, we have the Children’s categories: Children’s Animation and Educational Programming, we have the Family Viewing categories, and you’ll recall this year we added a Young Adult track to the competition, so that will be in that show as well and wound up being extremely competitive in its first year.  That was a category that sort of spun out because of the growth of the competition where you had these programs that were still designed for a younger audience.  They were clearly designed for a teen audience, so you wouldn’t put them in a category next to a soap, for example. But they were dealing with more mature themes, and the closest thing in our history was when we still honored “After School Specials” back in the day, but then that category went away as that type of programming went away.  Now, as it started to make a digital comeback, it felt strange to have a nomination that was dealing with teen suicide, pregnancy, opioid addiction … and then the next nominee is… Big Bird!  So, as this genre really grew and it didn’t really have a place in Drama, it didn’t really have a place in Children’s, and now, it’s actually become a diverse enough category to be very competitive on its own, so we are really excited to see that.

Photo: ABC

When you watched the Daytime Emmys, Black Lives Matter was certainly present in a lot of the speeches and moments.  You also included the clip when Al Freeman (Ex-Ed Hall) One Life to Live, won Lead Actor, being the first African-American performer to do so.

ADAM:  There was a lot of need to acknowledge the moment.  So, from the coronavirus standpoint, the whole format of the show was an acknowledgement of the moment, and then certainly in the close, Marie Osmond reminding people to stay safe and stay healthy and so on.  I think that there wasn’t as much of a need to lean in too far on COVID, that was certainly understood.  On Black Lives Matter, I think it was very much raw. It was something that had to be addressed and had to be addressed tastefully.  I think that we were successful in that.  I think the Al Freeman moment was also important there because it did recognize without being too heavy handed that Daytime has always been very much at the forefront on social issues, not just race issues like that, but certainly the first gay marriage on television, the first gay kiss, the first abortion on television.  Now, you look at the show coming up on the 19th for the Digital Drama, where we have the first two trans performers nominated for performance roles, the first drag performer nominated for a performance role, and so in every way, Daytime has been at the forefront.  If you look at the nominees, the winners, the presenters, the Daytime Awards have consistently been the most inclusive, diverse, equitable of the awards ceremonies, and we continue to do that.

Did you have a favorite moment from the Daytime Emmys on CBS?

ADAM: I think for me, Cookie Monster presenting Culinary Show, as he stammers on nominees, and it becomes, “and the nom-nom-nom-nom-nom,” and he eats the envelope, that was something that in the high-stress moments of getting the show together, I could always go back to that cut and get a laugh and break the tension of the room.

Photo: CBS

Over 3 million viewers tuned-in to the 47th annual Daytime Emmys.  Do you think they will be back next year on network TV and on CBS? 

ADAM:  I hope so.  We certainly beat the average for the timeslot since they’ve gone into reruns.  While it was less total viewers than the last time we were on CBS, that was nearly a decade ago where viewing habits were very different.  But I think over 3 million was a very good sign.  I think it was notable that when you watched the show, almost all of the advertisers were traditional daytime advertisers that followed us into primetime.  CBS sold out the show.  There were advertisers who were actually clamoring to buy that time, and they bought every minute of it that was available.  I think we were really firing on all cylinders there.  I think we reengaged with the community.  I was deeply touched that Patrika Darbo accepted her invitation to present because while it was more of a quiet nod to those on the inside of the community than perhaps the audience, I think it was very important closure to some of the past struggles of the show that both of us have recognized those errors of the past, but the community moves forward together.

Photo: HutchnsPhoto.com

You gave Patrika Darbo the duties of introducing the emotional In-Memoriam tribute.  Was your intent to give her that piece?

ADAM:  Yes.  It really was that we, as an academy made a lot of mistakes in the past, and she, through no intention or fault of her own, was the victim of a lot of that.  You know, she didn’t prepare the reel.  She didn’t realize that she wasn’t eligible in the category, and so she, by virtue of that, sort of was the one who then had to bear the headlines of the Emmy being taken away and so on.  So, it is impossible to completely make that up to her, but at least to recognize her and her standing in our community was something that was very important to do.

Photo: JPI

How nervous were you that the winners would somehow be leaked before the 47th annual Daytime Emmys aired?

ADAM:  I was afraid, but I also knew that we were taking every step we could to ensure that security, and in many cases to the point of absurdity.  The logistics of chasing down all of those acceptance speeches, the hours that our lawyer spend on the phone negotiating the leases for video that was never going to be used, basically giving ourselves, for most of the show, five times the amount of work that we needed to just for maintain that security.  Then, even when people did know, keeping that segmented so that nobody would know the whole picture at once.  It definitely brought back memories of my government service.  The most terrifying was probably the hours between delivery to CBS and airing, because that’s when you know it’s getting closed captioned, it’s getting put up on a satellite etc, but CBS are old hands at this.  They do it with every Survivor finale and so on and so forth.  They were great at keeping the secret for us.

So, looking for to the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys that will be live? What did you think about the information shared by Adam on the making of the 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards? Comment blow.

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SZima
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SZima

I know a lot of people liked this version of the Emmy’s, but I IDN’T!! In fact, I could even say I hated it!

Everything was “CANNED,” obviously.
Everything was pre-recorded, and then edited to the nth degree!
There was no interacting between the hostesses.
There was no spontaneity!
The hostesses didn’t comment on,or congratulate the winners.
There was no suspense.
There was no applause.
There was no orchestra.
There was no red carpet.
There was NOTHING to make the show fun or interesting.
If they can’t do a normal awards show in the future, DON’T BOTHER!
I’ll settle for reading who won online.

Dan
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Dan

Michael,

I wish you would have asked Adam Sharp about why they merged the Younger Actor and Younger Actress category into one category this year, only for five women to be nominated at the exclusion of some very talented and worthy younger male actors like William Lipton and Garren Stitt, among many others. I would love to hear the reasoning for why they made that change. It honestly comes across like a change that they made for the sake of making a change, not because there was a huge issue that needed to be corrected.

Days Of Our Lives

Kassie DePaiva, Nathan Purdee & Taylor Purdee Talk ‘Killian & The Comeback Kids’, One Life to Live & Eve’s Reign of Terror on DAYS

It’s ‘all in the family’ + a dear friend that makes the film Killian and the Comeback Kids something that soap fans will want to see. In it, daytime veterans, Kassie DePaiva (Ex-GL, OLTL, GH and Days) and Nathan Purdee (Ex-Y&R and OLTL) are featured in the new movie directed, written and starring Nathan’s talented son, Taylor.

One Life to Live fans will get a kick out of that Kassie and Nathan play a married couple in the film.  In story, a millennial (Taylor A. Purdee) comes home to live with his parents in a depressed rural town after getting a college degree in the big city. The film illustrates the issues facing many of America’s youth today, which could not be more apropos for the times we are living with many children moving back in with their parents. However, the movie shares an uplifting message filled with original music from Taylor’s folk-rock band, The Cumberland Kids.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Kassie, Nathan and Taylor to get the inside scoop on: collaborating together on this project, revisiting Llanview with some memories and thoughts on the cancellation of the beloved soap, plus Kassie’s last turn on Days of our Lives as an unhinged Eve Donovan – a performance that just may garner attention come Daytime Emmy time next year.

This conversation was filled with candor, humor, and a parent’s love for their child. Killian and the Comeback Kid is playing in selected theatres and dates including tonight Friday, September 25th in Atlanta, and October 2nd in Chicago. For more movie info go to the film’s website here And now here’s what Kassie, Nathan and Taylor shared.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

I was really intrigued by the film. Taylor, how did you lure your dad to be in the movie?

TAYLOR:  Oh my gosh, it was the craziest negation ever.

I bet! (Laughs)

TAYLOR:  When I was a kid, Roberta, my mom, made me promise to always write him roles.  So, it was kind of obligatory.

KASSIE:  That is so funny!

TAYLOR:  It’s true.

Had you met Kassie before, or was this the first time? 

TAYLOR:  I knew Kassie from when my dad and her were doing One Life to Live together.   Five years before I was filming this movie, Nathan texted me, “Hey!  Kassie and Jim (DePaiva) are right by your dorm room.  You should go see them!”  So, catching up as an adult was so nice.  I had a non-parentally controlled grown-up hang-out with her.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

What was the journey this film, Killian and the Comeback Kids, went on as far as from the writing of it, to production, to its completion?

TAYLOR:  Well, the front half was surprisingly quick.  I think writing it through to having it finished was about 18 months, and there were about 6 months of, “how’s it going to come out,” and then, we thought we knew what was going to happen, and we were all getting ready for it to hit in movie theatres in the spring when the world ended, and that’s how we got here three years later.

Nathan, tell me about the role you play; because Kassie and you are husband and wife in the film.

NATHAN: Well, yeah, you kind of covered it! (Laughs)  I play her husband, and she plays my wife, and I appreciated the casting situation.  It’s interesting how Taylor chose Kassie because he did say that he wanted someone who was close to his mom’s personality.  I couldn’t think of anybody else other than Kassie because the only difference is Kassie is taller, but they both are such loving, caring people.  They always want to mother you and make sure you’re fed, and you’re safe, and you’re happy, and neither one of them knows the word, “no,” when it comes to the people who they’re taking care of.  I love Kassie anyway, so good for me.

KASSIE:  Yeah, they cut our love scene, and I don’t know what that’s about. (Laughs)

Kassie, what do you remember from when you first met Nathan?  You were at One Life, right?

KASSIE:  No, when I first met Nathan, we were in San Antonio, and we were doing an appearance.  I met Bobbie Eakes (Ex-Krystal, AMC and Macy, B&B) for the first time then too, but I was on The Guiding Light, and I was singing, and Nathan was there.  Nathan and I sat beside each other.  I honestly felt like I had known Nathan my entire life.  We were drinking margaritas and talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking.

NATHAN:  Yep!

Photo: JPI

KASSIE:  Nathan and my husband, Jim are very good friends.  I have to say, Nathan was so lovely when I was going through my cancer journey.  He came to see me every week, sometimes twice a week when I was in the hospital, and he would come up, and he would hang out with Jim.  I will never, ever forget how lovely he was (it makes me tear up right now) to be there with support for my husband and myself as we went through that.  So, when Nathan asked me to be his wife in the film, I thought, “Well, hey, you practically live with me now, so that sounds good.”

So, Taylor, how did they do on-screen as husband and wife?

TAYLOR:  They’re fantastic.  We’ve only had one test screening, but one of the most consistent things audiences tell me is that they’re not just great together, but they each have such a quiet, brooding depth to them that you can’t help but imagine the back-story that they’re not talking about

KASSIE:  That’ll be the sequel!

TAYLOR:  Killian and the Comeback Kids 2: They Comeback Kids Comeback.

KASSIE:  They’ll come back again!

NATHAN:  Thanks for planting that seed in his head, Kassie.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

TAYLOR:  It was important for me to try to synthesize a mixed-race couple.  So, it was really great to be able to have them, not just be so great together, but there was also the issue of we had to have a little girl who looked like she could not just be my sister, but also both of their daughter.  Creating a family from scratch was great because Nathan and Kassie already had the rapport.

Did you watch them on One Life to Live together? 

TAYLOR:  Yeah!  I was in school most of the time, but I would go to set, and over the last 10 years, friends would send me YouTube clips from the show because for some reason none of the soaps are streaming.  There’s not like a soap Netflix!  It kind of needs to happen!  Soaps, they’re epic; there are decades worth of episodes and shows.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

In this film, music is the backdrop.  It’s your music and your band that is featured?

TAYLOR:  Yeah, my best friend growing up and I were staring to write folk music around the time when I was deciding what script I wanted to make into a film.  We wrote the soundtrack, all the music that people sing, and the underscore, which was surprisingly the most fun part of it all.

Kassie what did you think of Taylor’s music?

 ASSIE:  I think it’s wonderful.   I love music. It’s totally in the heart of me, and I just think that this movie is so timely. Kids these days are having to deal with not knowing what their future is going to be.  In the film, my son comes home, and he is trying to find himself, and he throws himself into his art and his music.  I just think there are a lot of people right now who are going through that.  I think it is extremely relatable, even more so than when you wrote it, Taylor.  I think people are looking for some type of connection, and I think this little movie is a good start.  It’s about people pulling together, and it’s got a strong rooting factor, and you want people to succeed, and it is great.  It takes you on a really nice journey.

You have some dates coming up where the film will play in a movie theatre- one is on September 25th in Atlanta and then another one on October 2nd in Chicago.  Taylor, how do you feel about making appearances for the film during the pandemic? You’re going with masks on? 

TAYLOR:  Oh yeah.  We will be in a bubble; we are just getting into a car and sticking together.  I and John Donchak, who plays opposite me through the whole film, are going to all of those dates, and my co-songwriter, who also appears in the film, will be in Atlanta, if not at both premieres.

NATHAN:  And let me add, please, they’re going against my wishes as a parent, but he is 28- years-old, so all I can say is that we are hoping for the best because we want him to be safe.  He is very determined and passionate about it, so he’s got our support.

Photo: KarmicReleseLTD

Taylor, in your story, why does Killian come home and live with his parents? 

TAYLOR: His plan at the time is that he has just graduated from a pricey university, and he is supposed to go off with his bandmate on a modest music tour.  He comes home to get his stuff and see his parents after graduating, but his bandmate drops out, and so the plan falls apart, and that’s how he gets stuck in this town and everything is just kind of falling apart. The plan that he had for his life after college gets pulled out right out from under him.

Photo: Getty

Nathan, when Kassie and you were on One Life for years, you weren’t there when it ended, as you had already left the show.  How did you feel upon learning it had been canceled by ABC?

NATHAN:  I was so disconnected by that time.  I just knew it was ending, and it wasn’t the first soap to go.  I saw it happening when the other shows started being canceled due to, I could be wrong about this, but I put the blame on reality TV.  By that point I had moved on in my personal and private life.  I was doing a lot of theatre then, traveling back and forth from North Carolina, really trying to keep busy, and fighting off the depression of not working full-time.  I missed Jim and Kassie the most, but I was thrilled that I could bump into them at any time and visit with them.  I kept in touch with Hillary B. Smith (Ex-Nora) and Bob Woods (Ex-Bo) and also, Timothy Stickney (Ex-RJ); in fact, Timothy Stickney’s wife did Taylor’s hair for the film.

Photo: JPI

Kassie, how do you feel years later about the cancellation of One Life to Live?

KASSIE:  I still miss it.  I loved it. The hard part about this show in particular being canceled is –one – that there wasn’t closure on it.  It kind of happened randomly, and there was still a lot more story to tell.  They kept it going on General Hospital, where they’ll bring some characters there.  So, it’s still in peoples’ minds. The second part is the friendships and the family connections that you’ve made over the many years that you’re there. Nothing lasts forever, that’s for sure, but as you were saying, there’s no streaming of these shows, but if you catch an episode on YouTube, One Life to Live, truly stands alone.  It just has great stories, great characters, and there is connection there that is very real.

Kassie, your last go-around at DAYS was just epic.  Did you guys see it?

TAYLOR:  I did see pieces of some of it.  I caught some of the “super villain”!

Photo: JPI

Eve went in guns blazing, evil as all get out, but so heartbreaking at the same time while she was torturing Ben (Rob Scott Wilson).  What did you think about all of that, Kassie?

KASSIE:  I was really hesitant to watch it because I remembered how “super villain” I was.  I remember getting on the plane, and Jimmy said, “How was it?” and I said, “I’ll probably never work again a day in my life. I’m like this (evil laughs) muah-ha-ha, muah-ha-ha kind of character.”  I mean, you hated what Eve was doing, and you were supposed to, but I think that they did a great job with production values, and it was reasonable what she was doing because she was going off the edge. It’s great to be able to sink your teeth into something that is so out-there and completely different from your own life.  I mean, it was exhausting.  Every day, I would come home and just be like, “Oh my God, give me a cocktail.” Eve had justification for her revenge, even as wrong as it was, and she needed to be heard, and she needed closure, and she made a bunch of wrong moves, and did a bunch of bad, bad, bad things, and now, she is probably in a mental institution somewhere, so…

You and I were on set of DAYS and I was going to interview you.  If I recall, at that point, you did not even know what the story arc was.

KASSIE:  No, I didn’t. When I arrived and looked at the script, I’m like, “Well, who blew up that wedding?”  Then, all of the sudden, “Oh, no!  I blew up the wedding.  This is bad!  I probably am not going to be coming back on this show again.”  I look at story and go, “Uh-oh.  There’s a shut door.”  I like open doors and open windows.

Photo: JPI

Taylor, what is your project? Are you continuing to write?  What do you see in the future for yourself?

TAYLOR:  This is my life for me.  The next thing that I think we are releasing is actually something that I made before this because everything is backwards, which is a documentary (very different) about Central American politics, which I’m hoping is out next year.  In terms of new scripts, everybody is a bit torn.  I kind of want to do a biopic of Lee Grant, or I want to do a blues/punk version of something inspired by The Shining.

Well, those are very polar opposite!

TAYLOR:  Yeah, aren’t they?

NATHAN:  Now you see what I’m living with. (Laughs)

Photo: IMDB

Nathan, you must be proud of Taylor, and it must be very cool to see your son have these multi-faceted talents.

NATHAN:  Of course, I’m proud of him and it’s great, but it’s strange because watching Taylor develop into the person he has developed into and continues to, made me realize that I hadn’t had the type of courage he has.  I had my dreams and certain things that I was very courageous about in my life.  I certainly don’t see him doing some things the way I did them, because he has more common sense than I do when it comes to life choices. His courage just blows my mind.  Most of my closest friends are professional musicians, and many of them, if I were to namedrop, you would know who they are, and they’ve had successful careers, and I’ve always looked up to them and admired them, but I was never that guy.  I just wanted to be a musician because I knew them and we were friends, but I didn’t have the discipline to do what they did, and I certainly didn’t have the God-given talent.  I play a little bit of keyboard and a little bit of saxophone myself, but I have to play one song 757 times before I even start to feel comfortable with it, and Taylor can sit down and start strumming on his guitar, and the next thing you know, he’s written a whole song.  It just blows my mind how creative and talented he is.  He has been surrounded by creative and talented people all of his life. He has absorbed a lot from the different people and the different opportunities he’s had, and I look at him sometimes, and I even say it to my wife, “Who is this kid?”  I like to share this story.  We went to see Taylor do Hamlet.  I’m guessing he was 15 or 16-years-old at the time. I’m watching him doing Hamlet, and I’m sitting in the chair, and I’m crying because I’m thinking to myself, “Oh, my God, he is so good!”  I told Taylor, “I would not tackle Hamlet on a football field, yet alone on stage.”  It made me realize that we had a force to be reckoned with.  He’s pretty amazing.  The bad news for him is that I always tell him the truth, and I lied to him once, and he called me out on it, and I promised that I would never lie to him again.  So, be careful what you ask me because I will tell you the truth from this point on.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

KASSIE:  Taylor was also the director of this film, which I mean, “What the hell!”  This guy is doing everything.  He was deciding on the shots, he was deciding on the lighting, he was deciding this and that, he was editing the script, I’m like, “Holy cannoli!”  He’s like, “No, I want her to wear that shirt; I want her to do this.”  You would do the scene, and he’d come over and talk to you a little bit.  I mean, he was just awesome; Taylor brought so much insight to my character because I’m like, “What’s my relationship, and who are all of these kids?  Are we a loving family?”  We did it very quickly, too.  Taylor, look at what you’ve accomplished, and it is such a beautiful piece of art!

TAYLOR:  From a more functional standpoint as a director, one of the really great things about having the two of them was that Kassie came in half-way through filming, and we’d been working with the young actor/musicians a lot.  Some of them, it was their first big job, but pretty much all of them had worked before.  On Kassie’s first day, they didn’t know what they were in for.  She just rolled onto set, and all of the sudden, the stakes and bar of how to be an actor just changed.  From that point on, when Kassie and Nathan started to work with the band, we knew those were going to be fun days because there was going to be acting involved.  Everyone else just had to come up to their level, which was great for me because it gave me so much more to edit with.

Taylor, who are your musical influences?   

TAYLOR:  That’s a really good question.  My musical obsession for the last few years has been this guy, named Josh Ritter, who is kind of a singer/songwriter/folk guy.  My real-life band, The Cumberland Kids, is named after one of his songs.  Also, Weird Al Yankovic, has been a massive inspiration for me and my songwriting partners.

So, your vibe is this folk-rock.

TAYLOR:  Yeah, that’s what I’m writing mostly.  My listening is kind of all over the place, but definitely that is what I’m writing.

Kassie, who do you like listening to?

KASSIE:  It all depends on what cocktail I have in my hand.

Photo: JPI

NATHAN:  Let me chime in on that too! I like jazz, blues, and country music, but imagine what my house was like because I have a lot of instruments here, always with the hope that Taylor would at least become interested in music.  I have congas, bass guitar, keyboards, you name it, and for a while, he wasn’t interested at all, and one day, I woke up and he was playing an acoustic guitar.  Then, the next thing I know, he is writing and singing folk music.  I’m thinking, “Wait a minute!” It was an important lesson for me that just because you want something for your children, doesn’t mean that is what they want for themselves.  We never pushed acting on Taylor.  He chose it on his own.  It’s exciting for me mostly because it was his choice.

KASSIE:  He’s a natural.

And speaking of that, Taylor, in the trailer nothing came across forced or pushed.  Obviously, we are all talking you up here, not that you need it.

NATHAN:  I’ll tell you this, Michael.  During the shoot, Taylor insisted on calling me “Nathan”, and I had a problem with it, but he basically told me to get over it because it’s his set, his movie, and while we are shooting, I’m “Nathan”, and he’ll call me dad later.  I’m still struggling with that but he was the boss.

TAYLOR:  It’s hard to walk that line and not make it weird for your crew, you know?

NATHAN:  I get it.

Photo: KarmicReleaseLTD

KASSIE:  It’s weird for me because when he would go, “Robbie is going to do this, and Nathan is going to do that,” I’d go, “Who are Robbie and Nathan?  Aren’t they your mom and dad?”

TAYLOR:  While I was writing the script I called him over, and I said, “Dad, I wrote you a really good role, and I think we are actually going to do this.  I’m giving you a once in a lifetime chance to name your own character.  Do you want to name him after a Greek hero, or one of your siblings?”  He didn’t take his chance.  So, you know what?  It’s “Nathan” now.  It’s easier for everybody.  We don’t have to break the method acting fourth wall.  (Laughs)

Do you think you would work with Nathan and Kassie again? (Laughs)

TAYLOR:  Oh, my God, are you kidding?

NATHAN:  That’s my contract: Kassie has got to be in it.  So, let me say this about Kassie, you had mentioned something about how much she has been working, and I look at Kassie as the James Brown of daytimes soaps.  She is the hardest working woman in daytime television. 

Photo: JPI

She is pretty spectacular. Kassie started on Guiding Light, had a long career on One Life, and then went to General Hospital, then to Days of our Lives.  It’s been amazing that we have been able to see her have a comeback in more ways that one.

KASSIE:  Nathan has jumped from soap to soap as well, and when you’ve done it, you just think it’s over.  It’s not like your regular acting profession jobs when you go out and you know you’re going to audition for twenty-five things and get one role for a short amount of time.  When you go in day in and day out and are creating all of this stuff on a soap opera, and then it ends, you go, “Well, now what am I supposed to do?”  I haven’t been on a set in 6 months, and I feel like I won’t ever work again.  Soaps are just a totally different head trip and so it can be really hard.

Courtesy/ABC

Nathan, do you have a favorite Hank Gannon moment from One Life to Live?

NATHAN:  Oh wow.  Man, there were so many of them.  I can tell you the funniest, to me, maybe not so funny to Hillary B. Smith though.  I think it was during a live show. This was during the time when I had a lot of dialogue.  But this particular day, I had one line, and the line was to Hillary and it was, “How are you feeling?” and her response was, “Well, I’m feeling the way I always feel, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”.  So, during the entire day, I’d see Hillary, and I’d say, “Hey, how you feeling?”  Maybe nineteen times before we started shooting, “Hey, how you feeling?” and she’d had about enough of it.  So, fast forward to “5, 4,3,2,1 action”, and now, I say, “How you doing?”  If you could see the look in her eyes, it is like, “I will kill you.”  So, she says, “You know how I’m doing.  I’m doing what I’m always doing,” so she could get her line out.  So, once again, she saved Nathan’s ass with that.  One stupid line … and I blew it.  I just remember that one because I just know Hilary wanted to strangle me.  She probably still wants to.

And on that note (laughs) I wanted to thank you all so much for this. I hope you find success with this little gem of a film, Taylor.

So what did you think of the comments made by Kassie, Nathan and Taylor on their film?  What did you think of Kassie’s recent performance on DAYS? What’s your favorite Blair or Hank moment from the history of One Life to Live? Share your thoughts and comments below,  But first, check out the trailer to Killian and the Comeback Kids.

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General Hospital

GH’s Chloe Lanier Talks On Nelle’s Twisted Plots, Her Co-Stars & That Cliffhanger “Ending”

Recently on ABC’s General Hospital, Chloe Lanier’s Nelle Benson created even more havoc for Carly (Laura Wright), Michael (Chad Duell), Julian (William deVry), Brook Lynn (Briana Lane), and of course, her son, Wiley.

However, is Nelle really gone after her ‘fall,’ which has left her MIA and Carly believing she is responsible for her sister’s ‘death’? But as we know with Nelle, she keeps secretly planning her next move and loves to slowly torture those who she believes have wronged her. There is also the ongoing mystery of just who is Nina’s (Cynthia Watros) daughter, especially since Nelle has the other half of the necklace so near and dear to Nina; leaving viewers pondering if it could mean they are mother and child, or is this all a red-herring?

One thing is for sure, Daytime Emmy winner, Chloe Lanier brings it each and every time she returns to GH. She gives always give the storylines a much needed injection of drama, drama and more drama. No one is quite like Lanier in the soaps either; she can play tough, vulnerable, manipulative, and street smart, like nobody’s business.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Chloe to get her answers to some of our burning questions for her and her portrayal of naughty Nelle, and how one of her co-stars helped her through a very difficult time in her life.  Here’s what she had to say about it all.

Courtesy/ABC

What did you think of the courtroom antics of Nelle during the custody hearing for Wiley?

CHLOE:  I mean, showing up in a wedding dress was her first mistake. Then antagonizing everyone in the room was probably her second. But she’s so wounded—so broken from her childhood. She doesn’t have the proper emotional tools to combat her self-destructive behavior.

Which showdown or confrontation between Nelle and Michael stands out to you?

CHLOE:  I particularly loved the scenes where Nelle, nine months pregnant, leaves Michael in the rigged car, hoping it would explode. It’s rare that you’re given comedic material on a soap, so that was particularly exciting for me. Also, Chad’s reactions always make me laugh. He’s great.

Photo: ABC

What is it like working with Chad Duell as feuding exes and parents of Wiley? 

CHLOE:  Chad is so easy to work with. He’s been doing the show for so long and is very technically gifted. The writers graced us with some meaty material that we were able to sink our teeth into.

Photo: JPI

What does Nelle think of Willow (Katelyn MacMullen)? She really hates her, huh?

CHLOE: I don’t believe she hates her. She’s envious. Willow is the exact opposite and oftentimes we’re afraid of what we don’t understand. Particularly someone like Nelle, who was raised by a con artist and taught to exploit and manipulate anyone she comes across. So when she sees someone so pure, so innocent, she immediately distrusts her because that behavior is so far outside the lines of how she operates.

What was it like taping the fight scenes between Carly and Nelle, where Nelle “Plummets” to her death?  

CHLOE:  Shout out to Amanda Hall and Heather Bonomo, our amazing stunt doubles for those scenes. They were fantastic.

Courtesy/ABC

When you and Laura Wright get the scripts; where Carly and Nelle are having a huge showdown, are you thrilled about getting the chance to play the emotional beats of those moments? What if it’s a fight scene?

CHLOE:  Those scenes were such a joy, because we got to explore some of the deep roots of Nelle’s trauma, and Carly explicitly said, “I believe you love your son.” That, for me, was important.  Because despite all of her failings, she truly did love her son—in her own warped, off kilter, way.

Photo: Paul Smith

Nelle has really been blackmailing Julian, until he turned the tables on her on the pier?  What has it been like acting opposite Will deVry in those scenes?

CHLOE:  I love Will. He and I actually have the same acting coach, so our prep and how we’re working is from a similar place. What I love about Will is the confidence he has in his stillness. He’s lovely on camera, so connected.

Photo: ABC

Nelle has the other half of the necklace belonging to Nina.  What do you think if it turns out that Nelle is Nina’s daughter?  It is quite possible, tho, that she is not, and it’s all a red herring. How has it been working with Cynthia Watros?

CHLOE:  Cynthia is one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever met, truly. We haven’t known each other for long, but earlier this year, and not many people know this other than my close friends, I was having glaring mental health issues stemming from unresolved trauma. I was going going going for so long that I couldn’t run away from it anymore. I had never dealt with any of it. She saw it and could tell I was silently struggling and reached out. You don’t forget kindness like that. So I’m very grateful for Cynthia—and of course, therapy. I would be flattered if they decided to make Nelle Nina’s daughter.

Photo:ABC

What do you think about how the writers have kept finding ways to have plot points that get all the other characters in trouble and make it look like they did something to Nelle, but she ultimately has her own diabolical plans for them with her actions? She is pretty smart!

CHLOE:  Nelle is the perfect victim, and her love language is sabotage. She’s also a narcissist, so she’s always going to think she’s the smartest person in the room. She’s basically a walking version of Taylor Swift’s song, Look What You Made Me Do. I love that the writers gifted me the opportunity work with almost everyone on the show. Josh (Swickard) and I always had a great time together. And Maurice (Benard)—god he’s hilarious. I would have loved to work with Briana Nicole Henry (Jordan) more though. I love watching her work. She’s going to have an amazing career.

Photo: ABC

Do you think Nelle can ever be redeemed at this point?

CHLOE:  Redemption is a weird one for me, because I don’t believe that people are inherently good or bad. We’re all human. We all have flaws, make mistakes, have regrets, experience shame. We have the ability to grow and we learn from our past. Nelle has done and felt all of those things, to a degree, but continued to do the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. A character either has to change or they die. So, I’ll say this—if Nelle is alive out there somewhere, I hope she’s going to therapy.

Photo: JPI

What has been the hardest scene for you to play emotionally in the time you have been playing Nelle?

CHLOE:  Probably the scene with the newborn, where Nelle runs into Brad on the side of the road. I had never held a newborn baby before, so I was TERRIFIED. I realized I was the only thing in that moment keeping that baby alive…a very bizarre and life altering feeling, I’ll say.

So, have you enjoyed Chloe’s performances? Do you think Nelle is plotting from afar?  What would you like to see happen in the storylines with  baby Wiley, Nina’s child, and more? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Chandler Massey & Freddie Smith Discuss Their Departure From DAYS, New Beginnings & WilSon’s Journey

This week, Days of our Lives viewers saw the highly-anticipated exit off the canvas, for now,  of Daytime Emmy-winners, Chandler Massey and Freddie Smith as Will and Sonny.

Tuesday marked their final airshow, while the actors found out they were being written-out of the show and had filmed their last six episodes over seven months ago, because at that time and before the pandemic, DAYS was taping far in advance of air.

Now with this leg of their journey complete as the popular Salem duo, Chandler and Freddie are embarking on new chapters of their lives, as Chandler details his move to Atlanta and Freddie in a few weeks to Florida.  But as they discuss in this very special conversation with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, they are not stopping acting either.

During this “farewell for now” interview with Michael, the two actors open up about their final scripts, their last tape day, how both characters helped many individuals come out and come to terms with who they are via watching Will’s coming out story, Will and Sonny’s on-screen relationship and more.

In addition, Freddie discusses what happened when he auditioned for the role of Sonny and what he thinks helped land him the gig; Chandler shares a story about a fan that is very moving, and that his biggest regret was not getting to play the wedding scenes between Will and Sonny (Guy Wilson at that time had stepped into the role of Will).   The duo also reveal their favorite and least favorite storylines they were involved in, and much more.

Watch the full interview below.

So, what do you think about what Freddie and Chandler had to share during our conversation? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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Cast of GH: Alzheimer’s Storyline

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Airdates: 9-14/18-2020

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