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The SOS/Save Our Soaps Interview – General Hospital

card6-022609b.jpgAs our finale to the General Hospital coverage over the past month, On-Air OnSoaps takes a look at the state of the show from the fans perspective. One of the most innovative and consistent fan campaigns mounted in the history of soaps began several months ago, when “GH” fans of the popular couples: Sonny and Kate, Jax and Carly, Jason and Elizabeth and Patrick and Robin banded together to form SOS/Save Our Soap! General Hospital Campaign. These concerned fans are worried by the shows almost constant declining ratings, and what they view as the shows unwillingness to do anything to change that.

I spoke to the leaders of the campaign, Dana L. Meyer and Kecia K. Picard long-time “GH” viewers, and two women who have been working tirelessly to bring awareness to the powers-that-be of what the viewing audience feels is wrong with the show and how it can be put back on track. Each week, the SOS gals put out a press release reflecting the ratings and continue innovative efforts using multi-media to affect their cause. So without further adieu: I bring you Dana and Kecia telling it like it is in their terms!

UPDATED NOTE: Due to the internet fervor since this interview was published, On-Air On-Soaps would like to clarify that it is simply reporting a feature on an interesting item in the soap genre, and to give, in this instance, these SOS leaders an opportunity to express their views and opinions on the state of “GH” and what they hope to accomplish. On-Air On-Soaps is not officially endorsing this campaign by doing a piece on their efforts. We are a neutral ground for all opinions and views. Also, at the time this feature was conducted we were not informed that Scrubs board was no longer an official participant in the efforts of SOS/Save Our Soaps. On-Air On-Soaps understands and it is clear, Scrubs fans are indeed involved in the campaign.

MICHAEL:

How and why did the SOS, Save Our Soaps campaign start?

KECIA:

It was an interesting way it developed. There was no plan or plot… it just sort of evolved.

DANA:

It started out with small campaigns through different fan boards. We met up in chat rooms to discuss what was going on, and it began with small postcard campaigns. So, the Sonny and Kate fans, and the Jason and Liz, and the Patrick and Robin fans all started to realize a lot of our complaints about the show were the same. In other words, we had issues about the historical integrity of the storylines, and if they were character-driven. We began to realize the problems were bigger than just our couples being broken up.

MICHAEL:

How long has each of you watched “GH” faithfully?

DANA:

28 years.

KECIA:

22 years.

MICHAEL:

Two weeks ago, the ratings went up and a hit 2.0, which lately for “GH” was great. Why do you think that happened?

DANA:

Personally, people were interested in seeing the car crash and then, the very next day the show lost 400.000 viewers!

KECIA:

When they went from Tuesday to Wednesday they lost 400,000 viewers. Besides the car crash, Spinelli and Maxie were on Monday and Tuesday. Once those two plots were completed people had seen what they wanted to see. By the way, this was the first time since I believe May that the ratings went up.

Scrubs-Eachother.jpgMICHAEL:

How many fans are you in touch with per day?

KECIA:

We are in touch with a number of people because we also have a page on Face book and we get a lot of people who comment on that page. And we get comments via email and we have gotten comments from TristanRogers.com board saying that they are thrilled about the campaign and how unhappy they were with the show.

DANA:

We even made another postcard late into the postcard campaign. They wanted to see more involvement from the veteran characters as well and wanted us to send something out about those characters.

MICHAEL:

What did you think about Leslie Charleson (Monica) re-signing for a year?

KECIA:

I thought that was great.

DANA:

I did, too.

MICHAEL:

Do you think they will ever give her a major story again?

DANA:

At this point, probably not. When I was a teenager watching the show, I did not watch for the teen stories. I watched for the adult stories and their interaction with the teens. One of my all-time favorite couples was Alan and Monica.

mfDana.jpgMICHAEL:

So interesting you say that. It seems that teenagers don’t watch the soaps necessarily to see teenage storylines. They actually seem to like the adult stories, since it’s a departure from their everyday lives. And on many soaps, those summer storylines seem to bomb.

KECIA:

I agree completely. They tend to rush the stories with the kids, because they want it to be over in the summer. So not only are you not interested in the storyline, you don’t even have time to become invested in the storyline if you were interested in it. My complaint is they rush them.

MICHAEL:

Is there anything you like on “GH” currently?

KECIA:

It is hard to answer that and it’s heartbreaking. I remember a few years ago. I watched every day and tivo’d it because I work. I would watch it when I got home, and then I would watch it on SOAPnet at night. I would watch it twice. And now, I have to force myself to watch it three times a week because I don’t enjoy watching it at all… but it’s my soap!

DANA:

It’s kind of that trap. I don’t want to watch it, but you almost are hopeful!

KECIA:

I feel if I am going to fight to make it better than I need to know what is going on right now.

MICHAEL:

The perception of the fans at many times by people in or out of the soap industry seems to think their intelligence is compromised or they are just “nuts”. When in fact, many are extremely bright and know exactly what is going on! Does that bother you?

KECIA:

I agree. Yes, it does bother me that we are lumped in as a bunch of online crazies. There are maybe a few hundred ‘onliners’ who are immature and don’t know what they are talking about, but that is not everyone.

MICHAEL:

When you are on the message boards are you slamming stars or characters, or do you offer constructive criticism?

KECIA:

I have slammed characters because they deserved it! I don’t slam actors or actresses because they are not the ones who writes the show.

MICHAEL:

Let’s go back to the beginning of the genesis of the campaign. You can take me through from the start to where we are at now in August.

Liason-Saving.jpgKECIA:

It was in mid-March, when we realized we had similar complaints, and we felt we were not being heard. We started doing small campaigns jointly, promoting our couples as well as our small campaigns promoting “GH”. And as that was going on, the idea for Save Our Soaps began. We decided to do a large scale postcard campaign. We had some of the girls who are designers by trade do postcards for us. We had them professionally printed and had them mailed to fans in the US and Canada, who volunteered to mail them to the actors and actresses we were supporting, to the executives at ABC, and the executives at Disney. We wanted to let them know we were all united in our goals to get a better General Hospital. “Give us the “GH” we fell in love with 10, 20 or 30 years ago, that has disappeared from the world.” And in that, we then started doing press releases, because the postcards are great, but we wanted this campaign to continue. We did not want the perception to be, we send postcards and now we are finished. We are serious.

DANA:

In other words, we are in this for the long term. It wasn’t just, postcards were sent in now we are done and we will wait and see. We knew we had a fight on our hands.

MICHAEL:

Has anyone at the show or the network contacted you?

KECIA AND DANA: (in unison)

No.

MICHAEL:

Who are the “GH” brass that you wrote to?

DANA:

Iger, Sweeney, Dolph, Frons, Guza, and now Griffith to name a few. They get a copy of the press release every week faxed directly to them. On our cover sheet all their names are listed, so each of them knows who we sent it to.

MICHAEL:

Tell me the fans groups involved.

CarJax-1Day.jpgDANA:

Scrubs, CarJax, Skate, Liason, and we have had some people from Tristan Rogers board and keep them involved.

KECIA:

It’s interesting we will talk about topics from our group and Tristan will publish something around the same time.

MICHAEL:

If you got the chance to produce the show for the day and put “GH” back on track, what does it need to make you want to watch it?

DANA:

It’s an interesting question and makes one think. It’s a shame they were not going with some things that were working. I mean, let’s face it. There were some writing issues and even before the car crash we commented that the storylines were a wreck In November of 2008 several couples were broken apart and several storylines were going in crazy directions. However, viewers hung in there because they still had hope that it would turn around. They thought, “Maybe they will get our couples back together. Maybe they are just veering temporarily in a different direction for a little while, and there is a neat twist. Then everything will be back on track.” Then in February 2009 that did not happen. It blew apart and all of a sudden nothing made sense. It may sound corny, but maybe we should go back to last November and have Sonny wake up from a bad dream.

MICHAEL:

Every time they seemed to have gotten Jason and Elizabeth close, the power-that-be have changed course. Why do you think that is?

kikiSteve.jpgKECIA:

As a Jason and Elizabeth fan, we ask ourselves that all of the time. We do not want Jason with Sam. Personally, I have not been a fan of Sam since she came on the show. I thought they thought she was a Brenda replacement and she just wasn’t. When Sam has been with Jason she becomes mousy, and she can’t do anything for herself. All she does it talk about how independent she is and how equal she is to Jason, yet she can’t walk up the stairs without falling down.

MICHAEL:

Why do you think they break them up… an underlying agenda?

KECIA:

One, an underlying agenda. Two, someone thinks if they put Elizabeth and Jason together it’s going to end up being a boring story.

MICHAEL:

If you want to save “GH” what would you do? Bring in new actors? Get a new writer? Fire the producer? If you have your druthers…. what would you do first?

KECIA:

If I had my druthers, I would tie up loose ends of storylines that are going on right now, so that they were done. I would get rid of characters I find useless. One of them would be Sam. I don’t see her as having a use on the show anymore. She has come on and done what she was meant to do. She has slept with every one in town, so all she has left to do is sleep with Michael and then she would have slept with all of Sonny’s family. I would get rid of Claudia as well. Sarah Brown (Claudia) is great, but I don’t think there is a purpose for Claudia anymore. She is ruining Sonny. I would tie-down and narrow down the mob and get more to the hospital because the show is called General Hospital. I don’t mind the mob; I just don’t want it to be mob 100% of the time that is not what it was supposed to be. There should be a balance, and a big balance. I would put the couples together that were working.

danaMorgan.jpgDANA:

I agree with her. I would make it less mob centered. I feel it’s all consuming. I have become more of a fan of Jason and Elizabeth over the last couple of years and I really see potential there. I feel so bad for Liason fans that have been fighting for 10 years to get their couple together. I will say in regards to Sonny and Kate, what disturbed me the most was when they brought Olivia in and every three days they kept re-writing some things. Over time it became more like they were playing up Olivia’s importance. The Kate fans were like, “Hey, this Olivia character is starting to take over Kate’s story!” Then it made less sense, when they said Olivia is like a sister to Connie. And now we are finding out that Olivia is supposedly a childhood friend of Sonny’s and Olivia has a big mouth. Why wouldn’t she tell Connie about his being beat as a child? It made no sense, especially if they were as close as sisters and Olivia liked to talk a lot. There are so many holes in the storyline. If I were an Olivia fan, I would be ticked that they keep changing her story. A few weeks ago she did not know what Dante did for living. Now she seems like she is in on it and knows.

MICHAEL:

Was there an actor who won you over, who perhaps when they first came on the air you did not like?

Dana:

At first, I was not sure if I liked Kate with Sonny until the Father’s Day episode in 2007 and there was this undercurrent where I thought, “I think I like them as a couple.” It seemed like between Maurice and Megan there was a connection. I think when Maurice is in scenes with Sarah Brown sometimes it feels like there is a competition going on, like, “Can we zing each other here?” Between Maurice and Megan there was a different connection. They kept each other on their toes, but it didn’t feel like a competition. And if you go back and look at the ratings…the ratings were very high in the episodes that Sonny and Kate were in story together.

MICHAEL:

In your perception, do you really think the powers-that-be are trying to kill the show?

postcard_skate03.jpgDANA:

I think that is what is giving the viewers the question mark. Are they trying to get it cancelled?

KECIA:

That is a question that a lot of fans ask…because a lot of fans have been saying this to up to a year. The numbers are dropping and it’s as if they are wanting “GH” to fail and that is ludicrous. Why would they not make changes?

MICHAEL:

What is the next step for SOS campaign? Do you feel at all frustrated that there is no response from the higher-ups to all your efforts?

KECIA:

I don’t feel frustrated at all and we are getting more notice all the time. We are getting more people finding out about us and wanting to know how they can help.

DANA:

I think more fans want to wait to help. I think the postcards are their way to help and phone calls. We feel like right now with our press releases, and by going week to week and looking at the ratings and the storylines we are making a statement. We are going, “Hey the emperor has no clothes,” and we are more than happy to point it out.

kiki2.jpgKECIA:

Now that I am so disillusioned with General Hospital, As the World Turns is my fall back soap. When I can’t stand “GH”, I go to “ATWT” and “GL”. These CBS soaps were the first time I saw Laura Wright (Carly) and Rick Hearst (Ex-Ric) and it was there that I thought and knew they were great actors.

MICHAEL:

You are launching an official SOS website?

DANA:

Yes. It’s almost done, www.saveoursoapgh.com!

MICHAEL:

I hear there is an official ten remedies from SOS on how to fix “GH”. It’s sort of like David Letterman’s top ten?

DANA:

danaHeadshot.jpgWe do not do this as a list, because on different days people have different feeling about it. So we just list ten in no order. 1) Character driven storylines- I like to point out that the word “line” points out to something that continues and keeps going… something that isn’t dropped. 2) Character development– characters become one dimensional character’s instead of letting them develop and grow. 3) Historical continuity or integrity- that’s a big one to us. It’s like the fans who have watched for many years don’t matter or they are think we are senile because they can’t remember. 4) Respect for their characters- I think of Agnes Nixon and All My Children and the fact that they called it “AMC”. What would you call “GH” right now? 5) Emotional balance– the idea of light and dark and not letting the characters be one-dimensional. If they want something funny, pull out Max and Diane and if they want something dark, well then maybe Sonny, but can we have Sonny light, too? Let the character have more spectrums. 6) Focus on families 7) Enduring couples to root for 8) Less Sleaze 9) Heightened Romance 10) An enjoyable escape.

MICHAEL:

It’s very obvious you care so much about the show or you would not be taking the time to do this.

KECIA:

The reason we are fighting is we are passionate about the “GH” we fell in love with and we want it back.

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Darlene Januarymas Recent comment authors
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I am a member of SOS and agree with the whole agenda, these people are trying and that is more then GH has done, and so true Maurice And Megan to me are the Bogie & Bacall of daytime, now they bring in Lisa LoCiero who is just soooo boring and to give her Kate’s s/l began the fall of GH in the ratings, tptb have made a big mistake and do not have the guts to admit it…

Darlene January
Darlene January

I think you should do another wiith the founding member of “Protest ABC Across America” Ronda Kennedy.. you can email her at protestabcacrossamerica@gmail.com . This is such a great idea.. Thanks for all you do?

General Hospital

GH’s Roger Howarth Chats On Shifting From Franco To Drew & The Stunning Story Twist

In one of the most intriguing plots of 2019, General Hospital’s Franco Baldwin was morphed into Navy SEAL Andrew Cain following a harrowing mind-mapping procedure. In all went down thanks to Shiloh (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) and Dr, Cabot (Time Winters), taking the life and memories of Drew (Billy Miller) from his flash drive and transferring them into Franco’s brain, wiping out his past and his present.  That followed the tearjerker moment, when Franco sacrificed himself to free his kidnapped stepson, Cameron (William Lipton) from the twisted procedure; that could have left the teenager with Drew’s memories or even in a vegetative state.

The recipient of this storyline – and who would be taking on another persona in his storied daytime drama career – is none other than Roger Howarth.  The Daytime Emmy- winning actor is no stranger to changing fictional identities on GH.  Howarth, played OLTL’s Todd Manning over in Port Charles, later switching to Franco (previously played by James Franco) following the legal dispute between ABC and Prospect Park.

Last week, viewers got their first glimpse of Howarth taking on the traits of Drew circa 2012, and in short order, it has caused emotional upheaval for Franco’s wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst), Drew himself, Jason (Steve Burton), and Kim (Tamara Braun)… and that’s just for starters.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Roger as he started his journey transforming his work from playing Franco to Drew and the challenges it presents, plus the ripple effect the change will have on the canvas for many of the characters.  In addition for One Life to Live fans, Roger chats about his appreciation for his time on that iconic series in a candid, self-effacing, and special conversation.  Here’s what Howarth shared:

Courtesy/ABC

When you were told that they were going to put Drew’s memories into Franco, what was your initial reaction to learning that news?  Did you think it was a great twist?

ROGER:  Yeah, I think it’s a great idea.  I really do.  Good story needs a lot of things, and this checks a lot of the boxes.  It brings people together; it provides obstacles.  There are a lot of places this could lead to.  I just think it’s really smart and interesting.  I look forward to it a lot, and I can already tell by what I have shot thus far that it’s going to be fun.

If this story is written well, what has happened to Franco will be life-altering and crucial to so many people’s lives in Port Charles.

ROGER:  What I like about it, and this isn’t lip service, is that it’s a great story because it affects a lot of people.  Those are the good stories.  Elizabeth has got to deal with this, the boys have to deal with this, Scotty’s (Kin Shriner) got to deal with it, Jason is confused by this information, and now this person in interacting with Drew, and Kim, and Shiloh.  All of the sudden, the canvas is interacting completely differently.  So, I think the writers are having fun with this as well.

Photo: ABC

Then, there is also the character of Kim played by Tamara Braun, who Drew shares a past with.  It will be interesting to see how that relationship plays out, we already witnessed Franco’s Drew instantly smitten and attracted to her.

ROGER:  Yes, the person in this body is running under a certain set of assumptions that no one else shares.  So, yes, it’s confusing to everybody, I am sure, including Kim.

Do you see Franco eventually flipping back and forth, and having personality traits of both he and Drew?

ROGER:  No.  One hundred percent, no, and that provides a real obstacle with a couple like Franco and Elizabeth.  They are always looking for obstacles to prove to the audience that these two people really do care about one another, and that’s the purpose of a story like this.  I’m guessing and hoping that it will provide the character of Elizabeth with a particular objective because it would be nice to see Becky be able to play all of those beats.

Right, and to have to fight for something…

ROGER:  Yes, it’s very tragic.  This is a character that is accustomed to tragedy, and to see Becky play the role of Elizabeth dusting herself off, trying to get what she wants is going to be really cool.

Courtesy/ABC

The tragic twist had Franco saving Cameron from winding up with Drew’s memories and being the vessel for Shiloh to use.  What did you think about how Franco sacrificed himself in order to protect Elizabeth’s son?  It was quite heroic.

ROGER:  I think the other beautiful part of this is that this was motivated by love.  I don’t see it as heroic.  I think as an actor, you’re always looking for the heart of the story, and the writers made it really simple.  He does this because he loves this kid.  Yeah, they’ve had their ups and downs, and they are struggling to figure out how they can get along, and they have a lot of things that they feel about one another, but push actually did come to shove, and I think that the character of Cameron is going to be deeply affected by that.

Courtesy/ABC

This now puts Franco deep within Shiloh’s storyline and past with Drew, because Shiloh desperately wants a key piece of information locked in Drew’s memories.  So, in theory, this kind of ranks among one of the better stories you’ve probably ever gotten to tell in your daytime career.  Everyone is hoping that it lives up to its expectations in the execution of it on-air.

ROGER:  It is certainly a high concept story.  It’s asking a lot of the audience.  So far, we’re all in.  It’s a good cast.  I work with really good actors, so I’m not worried.  It is asking the audience to suspend disbelief for sure.  The good stories do.  I think Erika Slezak (Viki) on One Life to Live, getting to play Dissociative Identity Disorder as Niki and Viki that was a large ask.  She never blinked.  She did everything that was asked.  I’m trying to follow her example.

Exactly, and she played more characters.  She had more alters after that.

ROGER:  (Laughs)  Yeah!  She’s better at this than I am.  I’m having trouble with the one. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

What do you think about how Scott and Franco’s relationship will be affected, now that he is in essence “Drew”?

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ROGER:  There’s no part of that relationship that hasn’t changed because there is no Franco.  Franco is not around … Franco has left the building.

He is a completely new person for all intent and purposes.

ROGER:  For sure.  This soldier doesn’t appreciate being called by somebody else’s name.  He is not compassionate to the people who mistake him for this somewhat tortured art therapist that he no longer is.

Photo: ABC

What is also interesting is that this should put you right into conflict and scenes with Steve Burton, because now you are essentially playing Jason’s twin.

ROGER:  Yes.  For me, as an actor, to get a chance to work with Steve, and to play a like-minded person, is intimidating frankly, but it’s exciting.

Also, the audience knows how Franco and Jason are such enemies, and now, he is really in his mind his twin.  

ROGER:  Yeah, Franco sees in many shades of gray and other colors, and from what I can tell, Franco as Drew sees the world much simpler.  He thinks more clearly, he finishes his sentences, he thinks before he speaks, he knows what he is going to say.  His point of view does not waiver.  He is determined.

Courtesy/ABC

That’s got to be so exciting for you to get to play after all of Franco’s psychological baggage and issues.

ROGER:  I’ve got to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge for me to play someone with a different set of speech patterns and who stands differently.  Because Drew thinks and feels differently about everything; his body is the same, but his body is behaving differently, and it speaks differently, and he thinks at a different tempo.  They’ve been very patient on set giving me chances to do it badly, so far. (Laughs)  It’s not uncommon for me to get halfway through a scene and to have to start over.   I am essentially figuring it out as we go along.   I am very appreciative of the fact that they have been giving me a few extra takes to try and figure out how this guy stands.  He relates to people with a different set of space and time.  It’s cool.  It’s a cool set of puzzles.  It’s been really fun.  I’m a lucky guy.

When I first learned of the story twist, I was like, “Oh! Roger will be great in this.”  

ROGER:  I don’t know, man.  I could be stinking it up pretty badly. (Laughs)  I think there’s a trap as an actor who has been asked to play twins, and the trap is that this guy is only acting the way that he acts.  The trap is frankly to act too much because the audience is being told that he is a different person.  If I go too far to try to demonstrate that he is a different person, then it slips into parody or overacting.  Over the years, I have definitely been guilty of overacting, so, I’m a little frightened of it. (Laughs)  I don’t like the way it feels.  I know how it feels to go too far.  I have been getting notes like, “You could pull it back a little bit.”  (Laughs)  It’s pretty funny.

Courtesy/ABC

In the past, I have heard you say you’d rather go to work and feel unsettled about what you are asked to play.  Does that still hold true?

ROGER:  For sure!  I’d rather go to work and leave my job knowing that it was terrible and that I get to come back the next day and make it a little better.  The best thing about daytime is how much it will stretch you and pull you and ask as much of it as you are willing to put in.

Now speaking of Franco, what did you think about the wedding reception on the yacht with Elizabeth?  Did you think that was a nice payoff for Friz fans? 

ROGER:  Yes, for sure.  I thought it was a really sweet culmination to a sweet story about these two people finding one another.  I’m glad they incorporated a large part of the cast.  It was a really good idea.

Photo: ABC

What did you think of how all of Elizabeth’s boys (Cameron, Aiden and Jake) performed a song for Franco and their mom at the reception, and how Franco relates to all of them?

ROGER:  I think it was a really important story point, and it was nice, and it was easy to play.  They’re really good kids, and they’re also terrific people.

Franco really stepped up as a stepdad to Aiden, who had been bullied at school.  I loved the cooking scene, where Franco was baking with Aiden.  What do you think about their relationship?  I love that Franco is being very understanding.

ROGER:  I think he’s trying to be understanding.  I don’t think he’s really great at it.   I think he’s a human being just trying to figure out how to make the best use of his time here, just like the rest of us.

Photo” ABC

General Hospital needed a big jolt with an umbrella story like this that turns the canvas a bit upside down.  How does it feel to be at the epicenter of it?

ROGER:   I really don’t think I’m the center of the story.  I’m not even kidding.  The story is that this piece of information is worn on the shoulders of Franco, but the people who are most effected by that piece of information are Kim and Elizabeth.

It will be interesting to see what the reaction is like from the GH audience.  You’re not on social media.  Will you check out what they are saying … or the feedback?

ROGER:  I’m not on social media.  But, I believe there is a guy whose job it is to track that initial criticism/support.  I think it is kind of cool that we will get real-time reviews, you know what I mean?  I actually thought about that because with the character of Franco, it took us a while to figure out who the guy was.  There was a lot of blonde hair and some missed cues, and we weren’t sure which relationship would be featured, whether it would be Franco and Ava (Maura West), or whether he would wind up in Carly’s (Laura Wright) arena again.  It took a while to figure out the best way to put that guy in the canvas, and I imagine that it will happen again.  I didn’t dye my hair for this, but I did cut it. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

How was working with Billy Miller in this storyline twist?  Were you there on his last day on set?

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ROGER:  Yes, I worked with Billy not on his last day, but on his last show.  He was remarkable with dignity and with class, and I wish him all the best.  He did a great job.  He is a good actor.  I’m sure he will find somewhere to go be an actor.

Throughout your soap career, has there been a story that you initially pooh-poohed, but when you did it, you thought, “Oh, this is great!”

ROGER:   There was a story when Carly and Franco were together, and they wrote a story where Franco gave Carly a gift that wound up being a camera…

Photo: ABC

The evil-eye necklace!

ROGER:  Yes, this small seeing rye.  I just thought, every time Franco would come in and say something like, “Oh, you’re wearing the necklace.  It’s so beautiful,” while we were doing it, I was like, “Wow.  The audience is really going to hate this.” (Laughs)  However, my real-time Twitter is the subway, and while it was airing, I got on the train and sat next to this really amazing fan, who just told me how much she loved that story, and I was honestly surprised and pleased.  I am often wrong, and it doesn’t surprise me now when I am wrong  … because I was really wrong then.

You mentioned Franco with Ava which was a potential pairing. I think you and Maura West have always had great chemistry together on screen.

ROGER:  Yes, she’s a pretty great actor.  She’s great with everybody.

She is.  You knew Maura’s work first when she was at As the World Turns, while you were there, also?

ROGER:  I didn’t know her well at As the World Turns, but I knew who she was.  She’s a hard worker, and Jack (Michael Park) and Carly always had a lot to do.  She was pretty focused when she was there, but I spoke to her.  I didn’t feel like I got to know her until I got to work with her on GH.

Photo: JPI

Last month on July 15th would have been the 51st anniversary of One Life to Live. I saw a lot of people commenting and remembering the show on social media that day. I put together four photos on a post I made about that show featuring some of the remarkable actors who were a part of it.  From there, I received hundreds of comments of how people were just missing the series, the characters, and actors they loved in it, including you.  When you look at the list of people from yourself to Judith Light, to Robin Strasser, Bob Woods, and of course Erika Slezak – it’s such an unbelievably talented group who spent time in Llanview.  Do you ever think about what an incredible experience that was, and how the fans still miss that show so much?

ROGER:  All the time.  I mean, I’m a lucky guy.  I think it really was a special building to work in, and the people who we are talking about: Erika (Viki), Bob (Bo), Robin (Dorian), and Phil Carey (Asa), and Clint Richie (Clint), and John Loprieno (Cord), the people who made it possible for me to work there set an environment and a tone that made it a really special place.  It was a really good cast, like you said, and there was a lot of opportunity for them to write a really cool story.  I wasn’t a part of the AIDS quilt storyline, but to realize that they told a story like that and incorporated that into our show was wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Such an amazing story and One Life was telling socially relevant and important issues of our time, always.

ROGER:  I can’t say for certain, but I do believe that the original concept of the Todd, Marty (Susan Haskell), and Powell (Sean Moynihan) storyline was kind of supposed to be initially an effort to bring awareness to a horrible, violent crime.  That was a long time before the #MeToo movement.  I think it was a show where the writers had a social conscious as well and really brought awareness to a lot of different things.  That’s a great legacy and something that show should be very proud of.

Once the character of  Todd Manning took off on One Life, and how they found ways to redeem him, and how it spoke to how much the network, the show, and the audience responded to your performances, did you ever feel you had a bit of a safety net as an actor, or were you like, “I’m going to be fired tomorrow?”

ROGER:  This is truth: I am so grateful to have a job, and I don’t take anything for granted.  I don’t think anybody is safe in this business.  I just don’t.  I just don’t think anybody gets to say that they’ve arrived.  I just did a roundtable, and I shared this with people who have a lot more clout and opportunity than I do – that actors are by nature, the good ones, are aware that every day that you get to go to work is a privilege, and don’t waste it.

Photo: JPI

In soaps, for the most part, when someone is stepping into someone else’s role as a recast, or actor who played one role is changing to another, there seems to be this reactionary period of adjustment, and then, there is acceptance from the audience over time … unless you really stink it up  … as you say. (Laughs)

ROGER:  Here’s the thing, and this is why I think this is such a great idea, it’s not about me playing this part, it’s about how Elizabeth, who has been on this show for twenty-something years gets to react to it, and giving her the ball.  It’s flashy that Franco is Drew, but it is really and Elizabeth/Kim story.  I may be the one overacting and stinking it up, but it’s theirs. Do you know what I mean?  It’s not my story.

Photo/ABC

What do you want to say to the fans about this new “role” you are taking on at General Hospital?

ROGER:  I want to say that I really do appreciate the fans.  Here is the thing, they’re down for everything.  I hope they’re down for this.  It’s a big ask, but I really hope that they like it.

So, what do you think of Roger as Andrew Cain thus far and how the storyline is beginning to take shape?  Are you excited to see how Franco becoming Drew (through the mind-mapping procedure) shakes up the canvas? Do you hope Drew returns to be Franco sooner than later? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Franco Looks In The Mirror … And Believing He Is Drew Kisses Kim

This week on General Hospital, viewers have seen that when Franco (Roger Howarth) awoke from his mind-mapping implantation  (thanks to Shiloh and Dr Cabot) he woke up saying that he is “Drew Cain”.  Thus, as far we know, Franco now carries the life and memories of Drew from 2012 and back, and as of now, has no trace of Franco’s memories.

When Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) and Drew (Billy Miller) try to make Franco understand in his confusion what transpired,  Liz brings a mirror to Franco to see his face, which makes this all the more terrifying for him.  Liz insists to him that she is wife, but he tells her that he is sorry but he does not recognize her.  Franco insists he is going to leave town and Drew asks him to please stay put, as Liz promises that they can reverse what happened to him.  But can Liz really promise that?

Later, Scorpio (Tristan Rogers) fills Sam (Kelly Monaco) and Jason (Steve Burton) in on what happened and how Franco now was implanted with Drew’s memories, which leaves them stunned.  That means Franco, who is one of the people Jason loathes most in the world – now believes he is Jason’t twin brother.

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GENERAL HOSPITAL: Franco To Cameron, "Tell Your Mom I Love Her ... And Tell Her I'll Be Back"

Meanwhile, as Kim (Tamara Braun) and Julian (William deVry) prepare to leave Port Charles for Manhattan and start live anew, (so Kim can not be haunted by her life in Port Charles from the recent death of her son, Oscar) things are about to make a shocking turn … for her.

Back at GH, Liz is upset when Franco decides he must get out of his hospital room.  Liz is scared he will just skip town knowing he feels he has no ties there.  Drew reassures her that because he is a version of him, the pull will be way too strong for him to exit Port Charles.

Courtesy/ABC

Kim is now at the hospital getting ready to turn in her resignation letter and runs into Franco.  He recognizes her and calls her “Kim!” You can tell he is quite smitten with her.  Kim is not sure why Franco is acting that way.  She announces she is leaving Port Charles to which he says he is going to come with her. She sees he has a hospital ID bracelet on, so she thinks something has happened.  Just then, Franco tells her about the first time Drew Cain and her met up! This shocks Kim  … and the next thing you know … he moves in for a major kiss and lip-lock as Drew and Liz look on.

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So, what do you think of the story turn thus far that has Franco now with Drew’s memories and with no trace of Franco? Share your thoughts on the twist via the comment section below!

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Breaking News

Constance Towers Returns To GH As Helena Cassadine … But Just How Does She Appear?

Now, any General Hospital fan knows that if there is skullduggery and evil going down, Helena Cassadine (whether dead or alive) is usually somehow involved when it comes to the lives of certain people in Port Charles.

And … some major storyline news from TV Line reveals that on next Monday’s August 19th episode of the ABC soap opera, Constance Towers reprises her role as the evil one herself … Helena!

Apparently, look for Helena to appear in a flashback with none other than Shiloh (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) and about Drew Cain’s time in Afghanistan.  That scene might hold a key to just what Shiloh wants now that he has implanted Drew’s memories into Franco (Roget Howath), thanks to Dr. Cabot’s work.  But could what is revealed also relate to the story that will see Billy Miller (Drew) exit the canvas later this month? Stay tuned.

Viewers last saw Helena alive in story until November of 2016, but then she was part of Jake’s hallucinations that were a part of the chimera storyline that climaxed at the Nurses’ Ball back in May of 2017.

So what do you think Helena’s presence in a flashback will reveal? And, who is ultimately having that flashback? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Cause of Death of Disney and 'GH: Night Shift' Alum, Cameron Boyce Deferred Following Autopsy; Industry Heartbroken Over Loss
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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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Recent Comments

  • Not too crazy about the storyline but I’ll keep wa: “Not too crazy about the storyline I think it’s kind of silly. I liked Franco’s character and that he and…
  • Lynda: “Waiting anxiously for storyline unfolding. Have loved Roger's acting since becoming familiar with him on General Hospital.…
  • Tam Taylor: “JI completely agree. Roger is Franco and Drew is Billy Miller. I also truly wish that Billy Miller weren't leaving…
  • Eileen: “I hope the Drew and Franco bit is just temporary although it is fun for a change. I myself I'm…
  • Becky: “I hate it because I’m afraid there will be as many Drew’s as there are Sonny and Carly weddings. And…
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The Bold and the Beautiful

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