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Soapside: On Location with the stars of "Venice"!

crystal.jpgCrystal Chappell and her troupe of daytime drama superstars who are set to make the new online web series, Venice an internet phenomenon, are featured in Michael Fairman’s latest edition of his monthly column Soapside: Advocate’s Guide to Daytime. Jessica Leccia, Gina Tognoni, Nadia Bjorlin, Venice writer/producer Kim Turrisi all sat down with Fairman to give their thoughts, insights and previews of their character and the Venice experience.  Some excerpts are below from the upcoming soap which at its center features a lesbian character (Gina, played by Chappell) and the loves and trials of her life.

Chappell on if Venice will feature real love and sex between women. “She will be kissing and touching a woman, and we shot that at sunset. You get a beautiful sunset and sailboat going by, and there is some good hot stuff there …  might be a push up against a wall … did I just slip that in? [Laughs] But then there is real romance. Gina wants love but she does not know how to commit to it.”

Producing partner Turrisi on the message of the new soap . “I think primarily I want people to realize gay people are like straight people. I never say, ‘This is Crystal Chappell, my straight friend,’ and she never defines me either as her gay friend. I just hope that people out there realize there are gay people everywhere and we are just like everybody else. We have the same feelings, joys, tears, laughter, and we sort of want it to be all-inclusive as one world. … which is how I was brought up all my life. I would sort of like for people to see it like that. It’s one world.”

Brandon-Nadia.jpgNadia Bjorlin on how she landed a role on the Chappell series, “It first started because I was stalking her. [Laughs] I thought it was an amazing move on the part of Days. Crystal is just obviously so talented and beautiful and a solid and kind person when you meet her. She has so much going on that she could be a diva, but she is not. So I sort of developed a girl-crush on her.”

Cameron Mathison’s sexy Dr. Dan Cheer ad campaign. Brandon Beemer’s half naked images for good causes, One Life to Live’s KISH preview and review of the same-sex wedding-athon, ATWT’s losing Forbes March and thus another gay character bites the dust, and former cast mate, Michael Park and GH’s Maurice Benard Male “Boffo” Performances of the week are also featured in the new Soapside. Click here for the full column!


Shemar Moore Makes a Return to The Young and the Restless

In a big return as part of Y&R’s golden anniversary celebration, look for Shemar Moore (Malcom Winters) to reprise his Daytime Emmy-winning role.

According to Deadline, the current star of CBS’ S.W.A.T. will be seen in the upcoming May 8th episode of the CBS daytime drama series.

In story, Malcolm returns to Genoa City to connect with his daughter Lily (Christel Khalil) and nephews: Devon (Bryton James) and Nate(Sean Dominic).

Viewers last saw Moore in to his old stomping grounds, when he appeared back in 2019 during Y&R’s tribute episodes to the late Kristoff St. John, who played Moore’s onscreen big brother, Neil Winters.

Since leaving Y&R, Shemar has starred on Criminal Minds, the aforementioned S.W.A.T. as well as numerous primetime and movie roles.

One thing that can be said about Moore – he always returned and remembered his daytime roots and start at Y&R.

So, excited to see Shemar back as Malcolm if even for a special guest appearance? Comment below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Maurice Benard Gets Emotional During Surprise Family Reunion

Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos, General Hospital) was a guest today on the ABC syndicated-talker, Tamron Hall.  The three-time Daytime Emmy-winning star was on the show to promote GH’s 60th anniversary, which is on April 1st, while the series celebrates next week with the return of the Nurses’ Ball.

During his segment, Tamron surprised Maurice with an emotional reunion with his daughter Heather who has been in the U.S. Air Force on the east coast.  Benard had not seen her since October of last year.

Tamron’s set-up of the Benard surprise happened when she discussed his family and in particular, his daughter, Heather Andresen, who is his wife Paula Benard’s half-sister.  Hall said when her picture came on the screen, “This is her. You haven’t seen her in awhile.” But, Benard cut her off knowing exactly what was coming next and said, “Oh, don’t do that.”

Maurice legally adopted Heather when she was 15. So when Hall said, “You’re not the only one who made a special trip today. She wanted to be here … because I know it was rough getting on that plane and coming here,” Maurice was struggling to hold it together.

Tamron was referencing Maurice’s fear of flying, and in particular flying solo, which is what he had to do for this publicity tour in New York.  Next, Tamron brought out, “Airman First Class Heather Andresen.”

Benard and Heather embraced, as Maurice continued to get emotional and told Heather how proud of her he was.

You can watch the very touching moment below.

Then let us know, what did you think of Tamron’s surprise for Maurice? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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General Hospital

Nneka Garland, General Hospital’s Beloved Producer, Passes Away at 49

As everyone in the General Hospital family, and those in the daytime community learned of and mourned the sudden loss of producer, Nneka Garland yesterday, more information has come to light on the cause of death.

According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, the beloved Garland died from a heart attack at her home in Sherman Oaks, California on Monday and passed away at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank.

In a message to his cast and crew on Tuesday, GH executive producer, Frank Valentini shared: “It is with a sadness (and utter disbelief) that I must share the passing of our beloved producer, Nneka Garland. Universally adored by everyone at GH, Nneka brought out the best in all of us. Her endless patience and incredible empathy made her the person we went to for advice, a hug or just to see her beautiful reassuring smile. In big and small ways, her kindness touched and enriched each of us. Nneka’s tireless efforts during Emmy season, the pandemic’s pressures and the day-to-day challenges of our shooting schedule never rattled or upset her.  She’d just shrug and say, ‘We’ll make it work, babe.’ And she did, always. Her absence will leave a hole in our lives — one that can only be filled by reflecting on all the wonderful memories that we’ve shared with her.”

Garland’s road to becoming a producer on GH began some 22 years ago, when she started on the ABC soap opera back in 2001 as an executive assistant after she followed then OLTL EP and former GH EP, Jill Farren Phelps to GH.  Eventually, she was named as coordinating producer in 2018, and finally as a producer in 2021.  Also that year. Nneka won a Daytime Emmy along with the rest of the producing team when GH won the award for the Outstanding Drama Series.  In fact, that year also saw the GH head writers naming a character, a bartender at the Savoy, after Nneka and it was played by Arlondriah Lenyéa.

Interestingly, Nneka’s half-brother was the late rap artist, Tupac Shakur.

Nneka is survived by her father, William; her brothers Landon and Malik; and her sisters Tekerra and Leslie.

Share your condolences and remembrances for Nneka Garland in the comment section below, but first check out our latest interview with GH’s Josh Swickard (Chase) and Laura Wright (Carly), where we discuss GH’s 60th anniversary shows, plus their reactions to Nneka’s sudden passing.

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Video du Jour

DAYS Billy Flynn (Chad), Greg Rikaart (Le0) and Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) talk with Michael Fairman on the series move to Peacock and their latest storylines.. Leave A Comment

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