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THE BILLY MILLER INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

billymain.jpgMICHAEL:

Did you know that you were originally reading for the pivotal role of Billy Abbott on “Y&R” when you auditioned? How do you feel about this new guy you are inhabiting?

BILLY:

It was not quite clear what I was reading for. The jist of the role was definitely someone I know, and definitely a lot of fun. It’s obviously a little less devious than the character I played on “AMC”, Richie. But this guy definitely has got an edge, and he is a bit of a bad boy. It’s fun, but he is a bad boy you might want to take home, but he is not the kind that will slit your throat before you get there. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

Billy did show some signs of humanity when his grandmother Katherine had died. He seemed genuinely upset.

BILLY:

It was more than that. It was his grandmother and the one person he can’t BS. Even though he had spent years away from his grandmother, you know he really doesn’t know who he is. He is stuck between two powerful families, and she was really a rock to him and a best friend to his father, and known what he is all about. So it was tough loss for Billy. It was awkward to be in that family home with the family he is about to double cross, and he is conflicted. Which side does he really belong on? With tragedies like ‘Katherine’s’ death, that wakes you up to where you are supposed to be.

MICHAEL:

How has it been working with your new on-screen mom, Jess Walton (Jill)?

jesswalton.jpgBILLY:

She is great. I had researched who I would be working with before I came on the show. Jess is a lot of fun and very helpful. We joke a lot, and Jerry Douglas, who plays my father John, has different sides and different back-stories of who actually was a better parent…Jill or John. He would say in jest, “She did not know anything about you. She is a schemer. I raised you. I loved you,” and it’s a real broken marriage. I love it. It’s great.

MICHAEL:

Elizabeth Hendrickson plays Chloe, and you had both worked on “AMC”. Did you know each other at all from back east?

BILLY:

She had left New York before I got there, and we have become good friends. All my friends that are still there are friends of hers. She is great. Elizabeth is a wonderful actress and she can turn it on and off. She is a lot of fun to hang out with here. Daniel Goddard (Cane) had a quote and I will steal it: “It’s easier to be jerks to each other than acting like that in real life,” otherwise, you don’t know how far you are going to take it. It’s fun, and also, Christel Khalil as Lily, is gorgeous and fun to work with.

MICHAEL:

So, is Billy trying to woo Lily?

elizabeth.jpgBILLY:

Billy not only came back for this Jabot deal, but he is one of those guys when he sees something he is a go-getter. He decides to go chasing and he does. His brother is the object of Billy’s spite. Billy’s last relationship was with his cousin Mackenzie did not work. So he had fun with Chloe, and she is a hot girl! Chloe was a little nutty and Billy is a little nutty, too. He is not a callous guy; he does not kick girls out of bed. He is like, “I am what I am and you are what you are. We pleasantly collided once in awhile with no strings.” But as you get older, those aren’t the rules you can live by.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Billy will soon have a revelation that Chloe is pregnant with his child?

BILLY:

Oh, he will have a revelation and I am not sure which way it will go. There are a lot of problems here. Billy is being pulled in a lot of different directions. He might always not make the best choices. He is in the dark about being the father. It could throw a wrench in all his plans. It certainly would throw a wrench in mine in real life. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

Peter Bergman (Jack) and you certainly have some smug scenes together as the conniving Abbott men. How is working with Peter?

bergman.jpgBILLY:

Peter was a big reason I got this job. I tested with him. He called me in New York to make sure I was being taken care of, because he moved from New York and “AMC” to LA. I also screen-tested with Elizabeth Hendrickson. Peter is like an older brother, and it’s interesting because Jack is more of a father figure to Billy than a brother. And since John is gone, and Jack is so much older, and the two of them are so much alike it’s difficult. Billy could be scummy where he could go down the road, but Jack can be really scummy. However, Jack would never do anything to intentionally hurt his family. Billy knows Jack is holding stuff over his head, and he has to help justify it for himself and carry on.

MICHAEL:

Did you know in advance from “AMC” that they were killing off your character, Richie; therefore, you could go after other roles?

BILLY:

Executive Producer Julie Carruthers at “AMC” explained to me in advance that they were killing off the character, but they wanted to keep him around for awhile and weren’t sure for how long. So I went on about auditioning, and put myself on tape when the “Y&R” role came about. I flew out to LA to test and I was still working on “AMC”. Then I found out I got it, and everyone at the set in New York was happy for the good news! So I went back to “AMC” to finish the role. I think I finished work five days before I had to start work out here. So, I had to move everything back to LA, and I got off the plane and came straight to the studio. I am getting used to these quick moves.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Melissa Claire Egan, who is now doing a fabulous job as your former whacked-out sister, Annie, on “AMC”?

melissa.jpgBILLY:

Melissa was great, and that was my freshman year, you know what I mean. We would tease the hell out of each other, as would Alicia Minshew (Kendall), Rebecca Budig

(Greenlee), Thorsten Kaye (Zach), and Cameron Mathison (Ryan).

MICHAEL:

Do you have any favorite “Richie” moments?

BILLY:

There are days when you go to work, and I take everything personally, not only in my work but in everyday life. There are days I am very competitive and more competitive with myself than anybody else. And there are days when I beat myself because that is not what I wanted to do. And there are days when I feel slightly satisfied, and those are the good days. I am not at the caliber that I am trying to get to. I am very lucky to have a job, but it’s also like a scholarship to learn to hang out with Jess Walton, Jeanne Cooper (Kay) and Peter Bergman (Jack). You should bring your notes and put your study hat on to be a better actor. That’s what I did in New York, and that’s what I am doing here. There are some good moments when I am believable, and there are times when I am bad and it’s not worth watching.

MICHAEL:

Looking back on “AMC”, was Richie a tough role-playing that evil?

BILLY:

People who are bad don’t believe they are bad. There is a lot of vulnerability to Richie, too. Richie was messed up. He was locked up for seven years as a kid.

MICHAEL:

Richie also fell for Babe Chandler, originally played by Alexa Havins. How was working with Alexa?

billyblack.jpgBILLY:

She was great! As soon as I got on the scene, she and her husband Justin Bruening (Ex-Jamie) showed me around, and I screen-tested with her, too. I have yet to see them since I have been out here in LA. Justin is so busy working right now, and he is such a nice guy.

MICHAEL:

How would you compare working at “Y&R” to “AMC”? Are they completely different?

BILLY:

I think there is just an overall difference in energy in New York. LA is a more laid back town, and so much traffic, too. In New York, its go, go, go. I don’t know how that translates. Maybe because I was at “AMC” it was kind of rushed. I thrive on that. I like that. When they give me a call time that was suppose to be an hour earlier, that is the fun stuff. I hate sitting around. The storylines and the pace have more of a rhythm here at “Y&R”, and the storylines are simpler here, more family oriented. You don’t have an outlet here with a character like Richie, although, it was fun to play that. I look at it as; I wish I were less worried about how long I was going to be there. I loved playing Richie’s ghost, and then there was the writer’s strike and how that affected things. When it came to a definitive end, and you knew who the guy was, it takes about a year for all that to materialize. It became fun! Richie, the ghost, was more entertaining then Richie. He was scary, and downright evil, and did not try to hide it. Ritchie’s ghost was actually the alter ego of his sister’s character, Annie, because there was no ghost.

MICHAEL:

Now at “Y&R”, what would you love to see happen to Billy?

BILLY:

I don’t know yet. I am enjoying what they are doing. I would like to play more with Chloe, because the actress is great, and it’s a great character. She is good, and it’s an interesting character. I like this Billy with an edge.

jeanne.jpgMICHAEL:

How has it been to work with Jeanne Cooper (Katherine), who just celebrated her 80th birthday?

BILLY:

She is brilliant, man! Jeanne comes from an era where she had to be really theatrically trained. You see a lot of actors who cut corners in their training. She is so funny and she has earned the right to say whatever comes out of her mouth. Whenever there is a cracked joke, it breaks the ice. She is brilliant, and she knows what she is doing. Jeanne knows what she wants from somebody else. It’s good to have support, not that fluff, going, “That’s great kid.” Jeanne will say much more than that, which is so wonderful.

MICHAEL:

Would you venture off to do primetime, or is daytime a comfortable home for you right now?

BILLY:

The money is always better in primetime. Sometimes you want to build a career, because you never know when it’s going to end. But, there is something about daytime work that is immediate. You get to work everyday. You have a lot of dialog to say, and sometimes in a way other people wouldn’t say it. There is a rhythm and a challenge in soaps, and you don’t get that anywhere else. On primetime sets, you sit around for a few weeks and say a couple of pages. I like daytime because you work all the time. I am a workaholic, and I need to be doing something. If “Y&R” wants to work me everyday, I am here. I have nothing else I would be doing. I am learning everyday.

MICHAEL:

You are taking on the role as a recast of a once popular character on “Y&R”. At least now, enough time has past since David Tom made his mark in the role of Billy Abbott. Does this type of situation cause any hurdles for you as an actor?

BILLY:

This role is a big role. It’s not something to sneeze at! It’s tied into major families and major characters and it’s difficult. I am filling the shoes of several people, including David Tom, who was a fan favorite as Billy. At times, fans can be difficult, but you can understand why. They don’t want to let go of something they had back in the old days. I saw it with Sabine Singh as Greenlee on “AMC”, trying to replace Rebecca Budig. I have been lucky with the feedback. The fans have been nice, so we will see. They are entitled to their opinion. They have watched the show for thirty some years and over 9,000 episodes. So come on, they get to pick what they like, and it’s your job to try and deliver.

billyhand.jpgMICHAEL:

Did you study or watch the other Billy’s work?

BILLY:

I watched it on You Tube because I needed to research the role for the job. I saw David Tom, who did a great job and is a great actor. I just thought being cast off out of your home and being exiled, does put an edge to a person. I wanted Billy’s return to be a more formidable guy, not somebody who would be afraid of Cane.

MICHAEL:

What are your holiday plans?

BILLY:

I am going back to Texas for a bit to see my family. I am staying in LA for Christmas, and get reacquainted with the city, and finish unpacking. I have a dog, Jones, who I will spend time with. My dog is a mix of English American Bulldog and Bull Mastiff… my type of dog. I love big dogs, being from Texas.

MICHAEL:

What do your parents say about your soap opera success?

BILLY:

They are very happy, and it’s paying off, and it’s fun. I am very lucky, and persistence can pay off. My dad is a huge 260 lbs Texas guy. He has “Soap Opera Digest” in his briefcase for work and he goes, “Looky here! This is my son. He is on TV, kissing all those pretty girls!”

Days Of Our Lives

Watch the Replay: GH, DAYS, Y&R, B&B & OLTL Stars at Michael Fairman’s Virtual Birthday Party for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund

Earlier this week on Monday night, several of the stars of General Hospital, Days of our Lives, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and One Life to Live, took part in a virtual livestream “party” for Michael Fairman’s 60th birthday.

The event was held virtually to help performers in need who have been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by letting viewers know where to make a donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Fund.

Photo: ABC, NBC, CBS

Participating throughout the 90 minute livestream were: The Young and the Restless, Jason Thompson, Sharon Case, and Christian LeBlanc, General Hospital’s Maurice Benard, Laura Wright, Wes Ramsey, and Chloe Lanier, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Katherine Kelly Lang, Days of our Lives’ Rob Scott Wilson, Eric Martsolf, Galen Gering, Arianne Zucker, Shawn Christian, Santa Barbara favorite, A Martinez, One Life to Live’s Kristen Alderson and Eddie Alderson, and Studio City’s Sean Kanan.

You can catch the replay of the birthday benefit event below or on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

Throughout the evening, the actors shared stories of how they got their SAG card, played a game of Michael’s trivia, and revealed stories about themselves and other “party” guests in a wonderful display of community and camaraderie at all went down live!

Since March of 2o2o, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has given out more than $6.2 million in emergency aid to over 6,500 SAG-AFTRA performers and their families facing hardship and uncertainty during this pandemic. Thousands of SAG-AFTRA artists have found themselves in dire need of assistance to help pay their rent, buy groceries, cover health care premiums and other bills.  You can still make a donation of any dollar amount to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 relief fund here. https://members.sagfoundation.org/donate 

Now, check it out below, and let us know if you enjoyed the virtual birthday party livestream via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH Co-Head Writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor Interview – “Soapmakers of the Year” Honors 2020

In a year which saw production of your favorite soaps shutdown for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone in daytime had to pivot.  As original episodes aired, they eventually ran out, giving way to rebroadcasts, while the audience eagerly awaited the return of the current stories.

At General Hospital, once production resumed over the summer, head writers, Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor had teed-up: surprising homecomings (Dante, Britt) shocking twists and revelations, the conclusion of what will become an all-time soap classic, the Alzheimer’s storyline, dipping into the rich 57-year history of the iconic soap to tie story to the present (Laura, Cyrus, Martin), and crafting stories for its A-list cast which gave 2020 some of its finest on-screen moments.  GH became can’t-miss television again, coming back even stronger than its pre-pandemic self; which also kicked the year off in high-style with the reveal of Nikolas to his family, alive and well, and the long-awaited truth about baby Wiley.

Chris and Dan’s depiction of Mike’s heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer’s gave viewers many tears through its unrelenting and realistic storytelling, plus their commitment to air the standalone episode to honor the passing of the 19th amendment of the women’s right to vote in November.  Both were noteworthy, and illustrated what daytime can do best.

 

Each year, Michael Fairman TV gives our highest honor to a creative or creatives who most delivered to its audience and whose quality of work continues to keep us engaged, on the edge of our seats, or reaching for the hankies. That is why this year’s Soapmkers of the Year honor goes to GH scribes: Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor.  Shortly after receiving their acknowledgement, the duo spoke to us about some of the 2020 highlights in Port Charles, and how they work so well together to bring their stories to life.  Here’s what they shared.

Courtesy/ABC

First, and foremost, I want to commend you for the Alzheimer’s storyline  As I’ve shared publicly, my mother died of Alzheimer’s, and I have seen the progression of this disease and the effects it has on a family and loved ones, and the person afflicted with it.  You did a beautiful job of telling every beat of the story within the context of what you could do within a soap opera.  What can you tell me about crafting that and seeing it through to the end?  You never abandoned the story, which at times, can happen on daytime.

CHRISNo, we didn’t abandon it.  Soap operas have a power that I am sure we have acknowledged before, to allow audiences to really get to know characters in a deeper and more profound way than I think most other mediums do.  We get to see characters’ lives day in and day out.  For us to tell a story about Alzheimer’s, which is a disease that is devastating in so many ways, not the least of which is the fact that it can take years to develop and years to finally claim a life, we felt that among our audience, there had to be many people who had experienced this in an up-close and personal way.  So that to tell the story too expeditiously would really deny their experience and would take away from their appreciation of the show as a reflection of reality.  Of course, soap operas don’t do that in every sense on every episode, but when you’re telling a story about a disease that people experience every day, you have an obligation to reflect the real-world experience.  So, by bringing it to a close too fast and by doing it in a way that didn’t honor what at times is the horror of the disease, felt like it would be a cop-out.  We wanted to do our best within the constrictions of the medium to depict that; while at the same time, of course, not wanting to leave people so depressed as to not want to tune back in.  It was a really delicate dance.  We are very grateful to have had the support of the network and Frank Valentini’s (executive producer, GH) ingenious production team as well as a great repertory of actors who were willing and able to give their all to this story.

Courtesy/ABC

Maurice Benard (Sonny) did some of his finest work of his career in this story, and you gave him the ball to do it, and Max Gail (Mike) was amazing.  Two standout episodes included: when Mike passed and was taken to heaven by Courtney (Alicia Leigh Willis) and Mike’s funeral episode.  Did you realize when you were writing it, the impact it would have on the audience?

DANAs for the funeral, I’d say that we knew as we were writing it that not only did we want to give the characters and the audience a chance to say goodbye to Mike, but we also wanted to give the performers a chance to say a goodbye to their relationship with the actor, Max Gail as well.  Max is a fantastic, phenomenal actor, and he formed close relationships with many of our performers.  So, when we wrote the episode, yes, we did want to give the audience a chance to say goodbye to the character, but we also knew that because of the close relationships that these performers have made with each other that the actors were going to bring their all, and it was going to provide the audience with some powerhouse performances.

Did you get emotional seeing it? 

CHRIS:  Oh, personally, I cried.

Courtesy/ABC

I know you both love and appreciate the soap genre and understand that the audience often wants a good cry and is invested in these characters.  So because of that; what’s it like for you when you see these emotional moments play out that start in your mind, go to the page, then to the stage, and now are out in the world for people to see and experience?

CHRIS:  I can’t speak for any of the other writers, but I’m not crying when I’m writing it, but I’m crying when I see it realized and how the actors, and the producers, and the directors realize it.  I personally am always surprised by the nuance and the beats that they find that we, in our first draft kind-of-lifestyle that we have as soap opera writers; where we are writing six or seven episodes per week, we don’t have the time or the luxury to really sit with an episode and mine it for every single beat and every emotion. That’s why we have great directors and great actors who take these scripts and find these extra moments.  So, it is really gratifying to watch – yes, to see something that we’ve imagined be produced and personified, but then to see how the production then takes it in other directions, that’s the best.  I think that’s the most gratifying part of writing for a show, not seeing what you’ve written produced, but seeing how it was parented into life.  When you have a baby, I think you have all sorts of ideas about what the baby will be, and then the baby becomes something else as the result of its environment and of the people who are influencing and guiding it along and that may be a bit of a stretched metaphor, but it kind of feels relative.

As co-head writers of General Hospital, how do you work together to come up with long-term story?  What is your process?

DAN:  Chris and I will meet regularly and discuss the long-term stories that we are telling, and plan to tell, and maybe some adjustments that we have to make along the way.  We get to meet with our writers several days every week as we figure out the best way to tell that story in the form of however many episodes we write a week.  Chris and I also write episodes along with our great breakdown script team, and every week we figure out the best way to either stay on the path of the story we are intending to tell, or find new opportunities or new twists and turns we can take along the way.

Photo: ABC

Do you get into friendly, creative disagreements? Is one of you more protective of a certain character than the other? 

DAN:  Chris and I have known each other for close to 15 years at this point, and we are not just colleagues, we are also friends.  There is a certain amount of shorthand that we have with each other which is just invaluable in telling story.  What’s great is that we sometimes come at the story from different angles or we have a different point of view, much like any two fans of the show wouldn’t agree on necessarily everything, but in our discussions about the show’s needs, wants, and haves, and the story trajectory, we ultimately get somewhere better than where either of us could have come up with on our own.  At the same time, there are those moments where we both come to the same idea at the same moment, and that’s definitely when we go, “Okay, we’re onto something good.”

CHRIS:  I can add as a partial translation that I can get really snippy, and Dan has the patience of a saint.  So, often times, I need 24 hours to go away, and sleep on something, and wake up, and say, “Oh Dan, you were totally right about that.  I’m so sorry I was snippy the other day,” and he doesn’t seem to hold it against me.

Do you ever get a writer’s block; as has to happen often with scribes in the unrelenting medium of daytime drama, and if so, I would think having a writing partner would be an asset during those times?

DAN:  I think it’s the nature of the beast.  At a certain point, you might hit a roadblock somewhere, but that’s why having a partner is so valuable that there is somebody else that you can bounce ideas along with, and just as, if not more importantly, our team of writers are always there to sometimes give us even better ideas than what we would have come up with on our own.

Courtesy/ABC

This year you utilized and delved back into a lot of GH history.  How did the idea come about to bring back the character of Jackie Templeton and have former All My Children and NYPD Blue favorite, Kim Delaney, take on the role?

DAN:  Jackie Templeton is a character who has been an Easter egg on the show for many years now.  Whenever we needed to namedrop a famous journalist, she was always our go-to.  It always felt like the character was in the ether of Port Charles for awhile, and we were excited to bring this take-no-prisoners character back and explore her history with Robert (Tristan Rogers), and at the same time, we were finally teed up to tell the story of Finn’s (Michael Easton) falling out with his father and step-mother, and we realized we had a great opportunity to have the character serve both stories and collide with not just Anna (Finola Hughes) and Finn, but Robert as well. Those three played wonderfully with each other. When we heard that Kim Delaney was interested in playing with us, we were just over the moon.  .

Courtesy/ABC

You have also been delving back into Laura’s childhood past and her history. I love that you brought up the death of David Hamilton and her teenage years, which hasn’t been discussed for a very long time on the show while tying it into the present.

DAN:  We were always aware of the story just because we love General Hospital and we love the character of Laura, and there is nothing else like daytime drama, and one of the great things about it is that you can reach decades into the past and expand on stories and themes that the audience actually witnessed. Long reaching history is a tool in our toolbox that not many other series have.  Chris and I love honoring and using our characters’ histories to propel the show into the future with some serious momentum.

Photo: ABC

You created and brought the character of  Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober) on to the canvas. Was it originally a case of, “We need an uber-villain to come and shake things up,” and then you decided to connect him to Laura?  It’s been an intriguing shocker for viewers.  Jeff is playing the multi-levels of Cyrus with great finesse, and whenever you give Genie something, the fans go nuts, and she, in turn, delivers every time.

CHRIS:  The story of Cyrus has a couple of phases to it.  We wanted to bring on a villain who would not only be an adversary to Sonny, but someone who we could use to really test Jordan (Briana Nicole Henry) and Curtis (Donnell Turner), and we knew going in that the first phase of this story would really hit the Corinthos family and also the Ashfords, and as we developed it, we thought about what the act two would be, and we knew that we had an opportunity to really engage Genie Francis and to expand her sphere and expand her footprint on the show, and by connecting her to Cyrus, who is not your typical face or presence for a soap, but is also not your typical person who I think Laura would encounter in her daily life.  So, we knew, as we really developed Cyrus as a villain, that for Laura to find out that this man is her brother, would really allow us to play with Laura in a different context and in a different light and really give Genie a new kind of challenge.

Speaking of Genie, what did you think when you watched back her performance in the episode where you wrote that Laura has to say goodbye to her comatose daughter, Lulu (Emme Rylan), before she was sent off the canvas to a long-term care facility?

CHRIS:  I mean to me, that’s vintage Laura.  I came to General Hospital personally in the late 80s to early 90s, so my experience of Laura really only begins with her, and Luke (Tony Geary), and Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) at the Triple L Diner.  I think that what we’ve gotten to see with Genie is really reflective of the high emotion that she is capable of delivering.  At the same time as the high emotion, you’re also seeing really small human moments that she really breathes a lot of life into.  I can speak for Dan and myself when we say that we are just really thrilled with what she has been able to bring to the screen.  Thrilled, but I guess not surprised.

Coutesy/ABC

Nelle (Chloe Lanier) was such a great interloper and threat throughout the year in story; whether it’s hatching plots to gain custody of baby Wiley, or her “death” scene and confrontations with Carly (Laura Wright).  However, through all of this, when was it decided to make Nina (Cynthia Watros), Nelle’s biological mother?

DAN:  There are very few things that are as exciting on a soap as a character that makes you wonder what they are going to do next, and Chloe and Nelle provided that role with just gusto.  The truth is, the idea that Nelle was Nina’s daughter has been a part of the conception of that character, and over the last few years, the story evolved, and we ultimately got to reveal the truth to the audience.

Courtesy/ABC

As writers, there has to be characters that are just so delicious and treacherous to write for that you have to get a kick out of it! Chloe Lanier is so good that she makes the audience want to slap Nelle when she takes the dialog and then brings it to the screen.  

CHRIS:  It is tremendous fun.  Yes, yes, we love writing for these characters who are willing to do and say anything to get what they want.  We are constrained when writing for characters who have morality.  It takes a moral character a lot of really difficult circumstances for them to make a decision that might go against the grain, but when you have a character like Nelle, who is not shackled by certain societal norms, then you really get to live out the worst impulses that a person could have, and it’s really fun, especially when you take a really great performer like Chloe and see her as Nelle unleash all of the poison that she’s capable of.  At the same time, she can turn on a dime and rip your heart out a little bit when she turns on the water works.

Photo :ABC

Ava Jerome’s (Maura West) story this year had her moving into a relationship with Nikolas (Marcus Coloma).  We, the audience, didn’t know how that was going to go – if they were just going to use each other, or ultimately fall in love.  Was that the plan all along … that they would develop deep feelings for each other, or did you want to see how it progressed and played out on-screen, and then make that determination?

CHRIS:  I think that once we saw the chemistry between the two actors, we knew we had gold. So, we wanted to take our time, especially the way that it was constructed.  These were two people who had little use for each other emotionally, and in fact, probably wanted to see one another’s downfall, and that’s what makes it so great to write – that these are people who, in a similar vein as Nelle, don’t live by the same rules as most of the rest of us, and therefore, they might do things to each other that the rest of us would not do to anyone let alone whether we like them or not.  That’s what makes Ava and Nikolas so delicious is that from one moment to the next, you don’t know if they’re going to hatch a plot against each other or fall into bed and ravish each other. That’s what I think we hope to continue to play as we go forward because they certainly have very strong, passionate feelings for one another.  When you’re talking about Ava and Nikolas, these are two people who do not have a lot of fans necessarily in Port Charles, and there are a lot of people who don’t necessarily want to see them achieve happily ever after.  Knowing that there was so much initial mistrust and suspicion between the two of them could really provide the foundation for their own undoing or their undoing from someone who does not want to see them happy.

Photo: ABC

Back in November, GH made good use of a standalone episode spotlighting the history of the women’s right to vote and the suffrage movement; just as the presidential election was happening.  What made you decide to write this special show, and how do you feel it turned out as it also spotlighted the female cast?

CHRIS:  We had long intended to honor the one hundred years of American women’s suffrage with a special episode to air on the anniversary of the 19th amendment’s passage, but we missed the date due to the pause in production.  We realized we had a second chance as the election neared.  Going forward was a no-brainer. The biggest challenge was in distilling such an epic story into one episode. We think ABC would do well to consider a spinoff: “Port Charles, 1920”

Courtesy/ABC

You have such a powerhouse cast to write for.  It’s loaded.  It’s got to be a challenge for you to construct the story for GH when you’ve got to front burner people and back burner people, and then you’ve got these huge daytime stars all in one show.

DAN:  It’s an embarrassment of riches to have a cast as talented as we do quite frankly.  We are fortunate enough that we know that we have these amazing performers that we can trust with whatever stories that we throw their way.

CHRIS:  I will say that we do have a great cast.  They’re all wonderful, and when you have a show that is only approximately 35 minutes of airtime on any day, it’s a real balancing act to make sure that everybody gets a story that really is worthy of their talents, and we’ve got one for everybody.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of which story takes precedence in which moment, which is why occasionally some characters aren’t featured on a daily basis, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be.  If you were to ask me, “Who are the standouts?”  I would say all of them.  You saw this year: Maurice Benard, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), Maura West, Genie Francis, and Laura Wright (Carly) to name but just a few.  They’ve all done such fantastic work, and we can’t wait to give them more material to give them more moments to shine.

DAN:  A priority of ours is every week, we meet up and look (well, it’s virtual now during Covid-19) at the big board of our cast photos and we go through each character and always make sure that they have some story percolating even if it’s not on the air at the moment.

Photo: ABC

As we close out 2020, and look forward to 2021, any parting thoughts, and perhaps a tease of what GH fans can look forward to in the New Year?

CHRIS:  In general, I would just say that despite all of the challenges of the year, we are really grateful to our cast and the crew back in Los Angeles for realizing and improving the show that we imagined, and we are so excited for everything that is coming in 2021.  We hope to continue to throw a lot of surprises at the audience, and at the same time give them a lot of moments and stories of heart and love and excitement.

So, what did you think of the year in story on General Hospital in 2020? Share your thoughts on Chris and Dan’s comments and their year-end honors via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Stephen Nichols and Lucas Adams Talk Salem Longevity, Tripp’s Predicament and Their Co-Stars

Days of our Lives stars Stephen Nichols (Steve “Patch” Johnson) and his on-screen son, Lucas Adams (Tripp Dalton) are in the middle of plenty of drama on the long-running NBC daytime drama, which recently celebrated its 55th anniversary in November and its 14,000 episode milestone in December.

In a new chat with Michael Fairman on the Michael Fairman Channel, Stephen reveals his surprise at still being with the iconic show. while Lucas talks about how his first run on DAYS came to an abrupt end, but now he is deep in-story involving Allie (Lindsay Arnold) and the brother he is yet-to-know he has, Charlie (Mike Manning), who is Allie’s actual rapist.

Both Stephen and Lucas discuss having the opportunity to work with Daytime Emmy winner Tamara Braun (Ava) again, as well as James Lastovic (Joey) in recently aired scenes. In story, Ava has returned back-from-the-dead and realizes she has major trouble brewing with her two sons, Tripp and Charlie.  How will it all play itself out?

 

Check out what Stephen and Lucas shared below.  Then, be on the lookout beginning this week, as Steve and John (Drake Hogestyn) work together to figure out who is responsible for Allie’s rape and just who is the biological father to her child, when it is not Tripp!

Share your thoughts on the sentiments shared by Stephen and Lucas in the interview via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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