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The Carolyn Hinsey Interview – Afternoon Delight: Why Soaps Still Matter

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Outspoken, satirical, full of dish, and a fearless soap trouper and columnist through the years, is what has always made soap fans take notice of Carolyn Hinsey’s work.  First, through her decades with Soap Opera Digest, and of course, with her uncanny and outrageously spot-on take on soaps in her column, It’s Only My Opinion.  In addition to that, she continued her reporting on the daytime drama world for the New York Daily News where many times she has dropped an exciting sudsy bombshell or two!  Now after taking a look at soaps from the ridiculous to the sublime, to the juicy gossip, to giving us behind-the-scenes scoops, Hinsey has released her long awaited ode to soaps: Afternoon Delight: Why Soaps Still Matter (Available at thesoapbook.com and amazon.com) and it is a barn-burner!

In it, Hinsey cleverly mixes a soap history lesson, some words of soapy wisdom, solid criticism, and enlightens the readers of some of soaps biggest wrong turns in the genre. There are also some hilarious backstage stories and dirt that the most ardent of soap fans will enjoy and revel in! On-Air On-Soaps certainly got a glimpse when we sat down to read the book, with it’s page- turning ride and look into where soaps have been and where they have ended up, and everything 360 degrees in between.

If you want to know Hinsey’s thoughts about: GL’s destruction via Peapack and Wheeler, OLTL’s Kish mess, soaps overused plot devices, ATWT’s Lily misfire, AMC’s Dixie Cooney death debacle, where all the minorities characters have gone in daytime, and why they have in most cases never existed, and much more, you have come to the right place! Afternoon Delight: Why Soaps Still Matter, has something for everyone, but in the end a splendid love for the genre.  So now, on with our fun and insightful conversation with Carolyn!

MICHAEL:

Why the title of the book?  Did Why Soaps Still Matter get added to the title Afternoon Delight after you watched everything implode in daytime in recent months?

CAROLYN:

Courtesy/4thStreetMedia

No!  Actually, I wanted to call it Why Soaps Still Matter and my publisher came up with Afternoon Delight: Why Soaps Still Matter because it was a more positive title, and it evoked the happy time which all of us still wish we had with soap operas.  The nuts and bolts of the book is: why soaps still matter.  So we combined the two titles, and the cover concept was their idea, which I love.

MICHAEL:

You, like many of us, have had ups and downs in your professional career.  And you in particular, have been privy to so much juicy gossip and inside soap info.  Did you always know you were going to write a book?

CAROLYN:

Having been in this business for almost 21 years, I always thought I should write a book someday.  But I was not sure what to peg it to.  And this book evolved as I wrote it, to be honest with you.  I would find myself getting involved in conversations with people who don’t watch soaps and they would go, “You still write about soap operas?  Are they still on the air?” And I found myself defending soaps to people who don’t understand the connection and why people watch them. And then I was approached to write a book.  I decided to start in the middle and then move forward through the history of them and then back to why they matter.  And to this day, I can’t believe I have to tell anyone why soaps matter.

MICHAEL:

It drives me nuts, too!  I wanted to go through some of the chapters and discuss some of the highlight moments that sparked me as a reader to discuss with you.  Let’s start with In The Beginning, where you say,Irna Phillips’ harshest soap opera moment came in 1973, when she was cruelly fired by P&G, despite having created their entire stable of soap operas and selling billions of dollars worth of their detergent, toothpaste, diapers, and yes, soap.  Unable to take inspiration from any of her own heroines – Phillips died heartbroken later that year.”  And I mean this was the creator of the soap opera medium!  Where did you pull this info from?

CAROLYN:

Some of that came from the Soap Opera Encyclopedia and some of that came from the Museum of Broadcasting about her.  She was apparently very imperious, and there are famous stories of how she always called her actors by their character names. (Laughs) Her single-mindedness created the genre.  I wrote at one point that she made $250,000 a year as a single woman in the sixties.  That is a ton of money now!

Courtesy/Museum Broad

MICHAEL:

You also detail how Irna set more and more of her soaps in hospitals, illustrating her hypochondria and fascination with her own “ailments.”  I had to laugh!

CAROLYN:

She started setting her soap operas in hospitals and according to the research that is because she herself was a bit of a hypochondriac.  She was so fascinated with doctors and nurses and hospitals, that she started writing about them.  Irna was also the first person to hire a doctor as a consultant on a soap!  Back then; it was kind of out there to hire a real doctor to consult with for your soap opera storylines, whereas nowadays it’s very commonplace.

MICHAEL:

In your next chapter, Shining a Light on Soap, you kind of go around the soap horn and point out memorable and favorite stories from the soaps. For As the World Turns, you had said your favorite story was that of Duncan McKechnie who wed Shannon O’Hara in a Scottish castle, and then comes that infamous shrunken head! I thought it was one of the worst stories ever! (Laughs)

CAROLYN:

Maybe “favorite” is not right, but most memorable.  I mean, how do you get a shrunken head delivered to you and go, “Oh, my wife must be dead!” and then just go on with your life?  It’s hilarious!  Think about it!  The whole Duncan and Shannon story was a favorite of mine.  I liked the castle and it was so gothic and dreamy and romantic.  I was also amazed that Michael Swan (Duncan) was from California and he had this fantastic Scottish brogue for 20 years!

MICHAEL:

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I was like, “why do we care about them?”  To me, these characters seemed to be thrown in the mix from the get-go!  Then, you talk about the ending of ATWT in the book, and the final scenes between Holden and Lily.  And as soapers know, it was Noelle Beck as Lily and not Martha Byrne.  I have to say I thought Jon Hensley was amazing in those scenes.  I could only imagined what it would have been like for long time fans if Martha would have been there, too.

CAROLYN:

I thought he did a fantastic job, and I agree with you, but that was not Lily! You are reminiscing to a stand-in about scenes that we all watched in the 80’s and it’s just fake!  It s just not the same and I just don’t buy it.

MICHAEL:

Love of Life But Not Your Co-Star, this killed me. (Laughs)  In this chapter, you mentioned that actors request love interests… and that All My Children’s Susan Lucci prefers tall co-stars because her lighting is better.  But everyone is taller than Susan!  And Walt Willey (Jack) towers over her!

CAROLYN:

I know this from being on the AMC set for the last 20 years, Susan has aged better than any one else in soaps and she knows what she is doing.  Susan knows when you are looking up, your eyes look brighter, and the light is better.  I mean Susan plays all her scenes with her neck up looking at Walt Willey and taller people.  Even the actresses who play her daughters are taller, and so Susan just always looks fantastic. She is smart about that.  The first time I was conscious about lighting on soaps was when Morgan Fairchild was on The City, and they invented the “Morgan Ball”.  Do you remember that?  She wanted her own special lighting on the set.  So they would have this just over her face.  It was like a ball of light, and it is like having a photo retoucher on the set with you, only it’s a light hanging over your head.

MICHAEL:

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In the chapter you also chronicle the stormy professional relationship between Days of our Lives stars, Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso (Bo and Hope).  I do recall they had their conflicts in the past, but they got over that and are now very cool with each other.

CAROLYN:

Right, and I revisited it in the book because I don’t think soap fans really want to know if their favorite couples don’t like each other in real life.

MICHAEL:

I think that breaks that fourth wall, or wrecks it for them.

CAROLYN:

Yes, I think it does.  So people tend to do very careful interviews.  So if you do get along great and if you don’t, keep it to yourself and play the scenes, because something has struck a chord in the fans. They want to see you two together, and the show wants to write you together, and for you to be popular.  And so I say, just keep your mouth shut and do your job, which is what 99% of Americans do when they go to work, especially, if they have to go to work with someone they don’t like, right?

MICHAEL:

In your chapter Only On Soap Operas, you have listed and pointed out two of my favorite beyond ridiculous things in soaps, starting with…Short Supermodels!  You are so right!  I mean c’mon!  How can Erica Kane and Brenda Barrett be high fashion super models?  Yes, they are beautiful women, but they are so short in stature.  That would never happen in the real world.

CAROLYN:

Courtesy/ABC

Well you know, that is part of what we all love about daytime.  We all have to be in on the joke, and Susan is beautiful, but Erica was trying to be a model in little Pine Valley, Pennsylvania in the 70s, and then she became a New York and international high fashion model.  So I guess back in the 70’s you did not have to be tall to be a supermodel. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What about GH’s Brenda being a supermodel?  I keep thinking, these girls would not cut it on a runway anywhere!

CAROLYN:

Yes, but also in regards to Maurice Benard (Sonny), Steve Burton (Jason) and Scott Reeves (Steven), these are not super tall men.  So if you really had a super model on GH, she would tower over the men and look like a female impersonator.  This chapter was so much fun to do and I can tell you it could have been longer.  And when it all just rolled off my fingers onto my computer, it was all the things I love about soaps and also like to make fun of in soaps, in one chapter.  And when I talk about soap fans being in on the joke, we know when an actress is pregnant, but they are not writing it into the story.  So then, it is so much fun to see how they are going to hide it?  Is she behind a bar or a big table, or is she holding a big purse?

MICHAEL:

We are all in on it!  And soap fans are not stupid at all!  And at times, we all have to just suspend belief and go with it.

CAROLYN:

I agree a thousand percent.  Now I watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy from last year where everybody just burst into song.  I am sorry?  You people are making fun of daytime soaps and you have 700 doctors singing through the hospital?

MICHAEL:

Ok, can we talk Doppelganger sex?  Because that is my other favorite in this chapter!  How can these soap women not know the man they are sleeping with is not the real deal?

CAROLYN:

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Well, apparently, everyone on soaps has sex the exact same way, because you are unable to tell when your partner is not your partner. That is the only explanation, Michael!

MICHAEL:

I have to say doppelgangers are getting really tired, wouldn’t you say?

CAROLYN:

I agree!  Well look at Y&R last year. There is no way 27 people are coming to town as look alikes!   I mean, pick one and then every five to ten years you can do another one! And I mean only one! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

In the next chapter, Black To The Future, you discuss the lack of minorities and diverse religious beliefs on soaps. One Life to Live back in the day, had a core Jewish family integrated into the show, and then later and to this day, has the only Jewish character on daytime, Nora Buchanan.  Don’t you think there is something seriously wrong with that?

CAROLYN:

I do.  Especially, because you never see people go into church except for either Christmas, or a christening at a church, but only if there is a shoot out to follow.  So what is the harm in having a Jewish family?  You don’t have to show them going to temple, you don’t have to build a new set and hire a rabbi.

MICHAEL

It is very apparent that the WASPY fictional families drive daytime.

CAROLYN:

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Part of that is that it is hard to introduce something new.  What One Life to Live should have done was keep the Jewish family they had on all these years and not dumped them. To OLTL’s credit they did bring on Hispanics.  I remember talking to Kamar De Los Reyes (Ex-Antonio Vega) and he said, “Don’t say Hispanics, say Latinos.”  They did move from a Jewish family to a Latino family, and at least OLTL is not Lily-white like so many of the other soaps.

MICHAEL:

I think I would like to see a scenario where a Jewish character dies and watch the drama that unfolds from it and how they go through the process of grieving and life and death in the Jewish religion. You don’t see that and it’s kind of disheartening; that we don’t see this diversity and same thing with African Americans, as you discuss in the book.

CAROLYN:

The best thing that Jewish people do when someone dies is you sit Shiva.  And you have either three or seven days and you remember the person who passed away, and that would be such great soap. Think about it; people were sitting Shiva and talking about people who died and someone has too much to drink and they get into a fight.

MICHAEL:

Listen, in real life when you go to Shiva, you are with family and extended family you have not seen in a long time and everyone is upset or grieving or getting on each other’s nerves.  There are fights, tears, and people storming out the front door, and this event could actually be a catalyst for soap stories.

CAROLYN:

It would be a really good dramatic device, never mind being more inclusive of your show…having a Jewish family or two. (Laughs)

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MICHAEL:

Oh, here we go.  In the chapter Gays of our Lives, I was very interested to read what you had to say about Kish.  I had heard from sources that Middle America in the end was denouncing it, and that ABC was blaming the couple for their ratings woes’.  And then, there was a backlash by both the mainstream and the LBGT community on how could they blame the eroding ratings at that time on OLTL, solely on Kish, when people felt the character of Stacy Morasco was shoved down their throats.  And then I heard from sources, some of the same things you wrote about; that it was more about the actors, Scott Evans (Ex-Oliver) and Brett Claywell (Ex-Kyle).  What do you think went down?

CAROLYN:

There are a number of things that went down.  First of all, One Life tried really hard to write a mainstream gay couple, which is something no other show has done.  And they were vilified from all angles.  Middle America said, “I will not watch two men kissing.” And then the gay community started a backlash that they were not on enough.  How you can then call the only show that is trying to tell a gay story “homophobic,” is beyond me. Some people were saying, but not enough of them, “Great, I love it.  I am watching for Kish.”  So here you are trying to tell this groundbreaking story and you are being hammered by  people who don’t want to see it, and hammered from people who want to see more, and no one was saying, “Wow, great job.”  You persevere and you put the couple together. You have a love scene and one of the guys comes out and the parent’s turn on Fish, which makes everybody go, “Oh, poor Oliver.”  And that in turn, makes us sympathize with him, and makes the audience like him even more than we already did. And then my understanding is, they offered the actors contracts, and they wanted tons more money then they were offered.  The quote I used in the book and that I heard was they wanted, “Robin Strasser money.”  And the truth of the matter is; the guys had only been on the show nine months.  And so they were told what kind of salary they could get for someone who had been on the show that length of time. They could not strike a deal. So then it becomes, “Are we going to do some recasting?  Are we going to bring in another actor to play this role that we are already getting hammered on from two different segments of our viewing audience?”  But then, it dovetailed into my argument, which is: Why don’t soaps just tell the truth more.  If someone would have come forward and said, “We offered them a deal and the actors did not accept it, and we are very disappointed.” That would have gone down better.  But, I also think it’s not fair that the one show that tried to tell this story got vilified, while The Bold and the Beautiful, while set in the world of fashion, still does not have a gay character on the show.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

One of the things you mention in the book is…did OLTL head writer, Ron Carlivati, go overboard because of the same-sex wedding-a-thon, and Dorian pretending she was a lesbian to get votes to be elected mayor?

CAROLYN:

In my opinion, it was too much all at once, and did not make sense.  In what community do you pretend to be gay to get more votes?  Never mind that Dorian was never a liar!  I mean, she has been many things, but for her to lie about her sexual orientation just did not ring true.  And, it was too much with everything else they were telling on the show, and if you noticed, they knew it.  Then they pulled back on it pretty fast.

MICHAEL:

The one issue I wanted to bring up that you say in the book is, that it’s hard to create gay storylines for characters, because for instance, gay people don’t have accidental pregnancies.  But I say to you, Oliver Fish got Stacy pregnant after she drugged him.  So in a situation like that, a male gay character can be utilized.  So the beauty of that was the show did weave in the gay couple.  And the thing is, if things hadn’t gone down the way they did, they had a great opportunity because of that act, to tell the story of two men raising a baby!  And now we see that on Modern Family, and that was the part of the story that riveted me.  I wanted the guys to get custody of that child and then see them living in Llanview dealing with that.

CAROLYN:

Listen, if Brett Claywell would have signed a contract, you would have been seeing that story playing out today!  But hold on!  My gay friends are not sleeping with women.  If you are a gay man and you can be drugged into impregnating a woman, yes, it’s dramatic, but is just not very realistic.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Your issue is the realism, and of course I understand that.  I am saying OLTL used it as a plot-device with their gay characters.  Look, I do believe what you said is true.  But in this case, I am like, “Well, let’s just say we suspend belief like we do with everything else in soaps.”  So I am thinking, “OK, we have a gay couple and one of them fathered a child.  Ok, good.  We have an issue for story there that also keeps them on air.”  And then I am thinking, “Good.  Now there will be a fight for custody and that could be poignant.”  I think OLTL rushed this story at the end because, as you say, the guys did not sign contracts, and therefore, Kish got custody very fast and were sent off the canvas.

CAROLYN:

First of all, there is no doctor at Llanview hospital anymore. (Laughs)  And if the actors would have stayed you would have seen Brett Claywell playing a doctor and Scott Evans playing a cop, and they would have been roped in to all the “normal” stories  – kidnappings, and baby-switches and everything else, and in addition to the romantic side of it.  In the same way they are currently writing John McBain and Natalie, they could have written it that way for Kish.

MICHAEL:

One of the juiciest chapters in the books is It’s Not Always The Idiots In Charge, about co-workers who hook up.  But you didn’t really name anyone specifically, although soap fans can probably figure it out! (Laughs)

CAROLYN:

That was the first chapter I came up with and then the follow-up chapter, And Then Sometimes It Is. (Laughs) Well, I did not want to name anyone who was not already out, and I mean, I was not outing people.  I don’t think fans really want to know who is doin’ it behind the scenes and who does not like each other behind the scenes.  A lot of couples have broken up on the soaps because they “did it” in real life. (Laughs)   And then, it all went horribly wrong.  I think a lot of single actors who were put together on-screen, “did it” off-screen; I would have to say 35% to 40%.  And, I would say 20% of married people have done it.

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MICHAEL:

You chronicle the downfall of daytime, I Am Not A Crook But I Will Pre Empt Your Soaps. I looked at this and I personally it was tough reliving this all again. However, I remember I was doing the E! Entertainment Television series, first soap talk show, Pure Soap, as a writer/producer when the OJ trial hit us all in the gut, and then the marketing department pulled the show.  It all went to hell in a hand basket from there.  And I agree with what you said, it never has recovered from it, clearly.

CAROLYN:

What surprised me when writing the book was how much the OJ trial mirrored what the networks had done 20 years before with the Watergate hearings, because either they did not learn a lesson from that, or every network had a new executive in that slot.  So they did the exact same thing by pre-empting the soaps, and it was willy-nilly in different markets, and meanwhile AMC is airing it in Vermont, but not in L.A.  And back then; there was no SOAPnet or Internet coverage of the soaps.  I mean, there were certainly not soap episodes being shown on the web.  So the attitude from the execs was, “Oh well. You missed it.”  And then fans got mad and started tuning out. After that there were a lot of dominos that knocked right into each other. Once people got out of the habit of watching their soaps, and people were telling them to come back, the audience was like, “Screw you.  I did not get to watch my show for nine months.”  People did not understand that AMC did not take themselves off the air, it was ABC and local markets deciding day-to-day, “Are we going to air our soaps?  Or, are we going to air OJ?”  It was disaster!

MICHAEL:

In your chapter, Naming Names, clearly one of the highlights of your book is about Ellen Wheeler destroying what was left of Guiding Light, and how you chronicled the demise of this legendary soap opera.  I loved when you stated, “We turned a terrible corner when they broke up Reva and Josh and hooked him up with her sister, Cassie.  Laura Wright had found out about the storyline during her negotiations and said, ‘I don’t want to play that.’  So when GH came calling, she had decided to take the offer and leave and go play Carly.”  I mean, we all knew this was bad.

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CAROLYN:

You had no anchor on your show, when you break up Reva and Josh; they are your money couple.  Who is going to replace them?   Then Laura left and they recast her with Nicole Forester, who was a perfectly fine actress, but she was brand new.  And here’s Josh going after the much younger woman of the love of his life. It was gross!

MICHAEL:

Later, I think you know they flew journalists to Peapack, and they took us on the tour of their new production model, and also brought us to the production offices to show us how they doubled their offices for the new smaller sets to help their budgets.  And the spaces were so small, and I felt so bad for everyone.  And this is when the digital cameras were up the noses of the actors in these tiny office spaces!  I do think it got better towards the end of their run, and as they said, they were working out the kinks… but still.

CAROLYN:

I would agree 1000%.  People don’t care what is happening on the sets. I write about that in the book.  No one cares where you are.  And a big part of the problem with Peapack was they were working it out on air.  So if it’s raining and you have a scene outside, they just barrel through it and you could not hear any of the dialog.  The situation was troubling.  I think everything that GL did to turn off viewers, obviously contributed to the demise of the show.  It was a very sad ending for a once amazing show.

MICHAEL:

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I love that you point out the most ridiculous death in daytime, that of All My Chldren’s Dixie Cooney, choking on poison pancakes and dropping dead as you called it, Death By Pancake. But you say in the book, it was caused by the fact that Cady McClain was unhappy with her current story, and told that to then head writer, Megan McTavish.

CAROLYN:

The story I heard was Cady was not very happy with some of the things that were being written, and she expressed that to then head writer, Megan McTavish.  And I make this argument all the time and I will make it again to you:  It is fine if you want to make a creative decision to kill a core character.  What was wrong with that story and criminal about that story was that they did this in three episodes.  It did not have any proper ending.  Dixie did not get her own funeral.  She had to share her funeral with Babe. So it was clearly some kind of retribution for something, because if you are a good head writer and you are killing a big character, you should get tons and tons of mileage out of it.

MICHAEL:

How do you think they are handling it now, going back and resurrecting the character from the dead and fixing their mistake?  I call it, “The Dixie Debacle”!

CAROLYN:

You know, I give them credit for that.  This is another one of those arguments where soaps fans are in on the joke.  I will accept any way that they will bring back Cady McClain as Dixie.  Obviously, David Hayward is going to be behind all this.  He is already making all those cryptic phone calls and that is fine.  I will completely accept it; just put her back on my screen! (Laughs)  I kind of do know how it all plays out; I thought it is as good as it could be, considering we watched Dixie and other characters die! (Laughs).

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/SOD

I loved the ending of the book and the chapter, The Heart of the Matter, and it grabbed me about how soaps touch people, and how they give viewers a family and a lifeline.  I thought the quote from One Life to Live, EP Frank Valentini’s, was beautiful and just perfect.  Do you feel the same way, that soaps are an extended family to viewers?

CAROLYN:

Yes, I do feel that way that soaps are a family.  And when you have upheaval in your life or you are moving, or starting a new job or starting a new school, and you turn on the TV and there is Viki, Clint and Bo, I consider them my family.  And if I am far away from home I can turn on the TV and I would know they are there. That is how soap fans feel. You have no idea how many people live by themselves, have had hardship in their lives and lost loved ones, and they are kind of sad, and they turn on their soaps, and there is a party in Pine Valley or there is Nikki and Victor going at it at Gloworm.  It means something.  And that’s why I can’t believe I have to tell people why soaps matter in a whole book – because who doesn’t get that?

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Brett was on a contract with OLTL from the beginning. Scott was on reoccurring and I believe he was happy with that. Soaps… realistic? ROFL. I’ll just leave it at that.

Yeah I dont buy that crap about Brett Claywell & Scott Evans. Brett had a deal. Scott didnt want one. ABC saved money by having Scott recur.

ABC got scared and dropped the story. I know CH wants to sell books but couldnt she have called Scott & Brett and got their sides of things.

Im sorry but folks writing about things they hear second hand and arent there to experience themselves, I always find suspect.

She got this one so wrong… is anything else right?

Interesting interview, Michael, but very good. Carolyn has written a lot of information that we can visualize. I think the story about Susan Lucci only wanting tall men partners is hysterical. And the fact by stretching her neck so the lighting hits her just right making her look younger is so funny. But obviously, it worked for her. Hmm…maybe I should try that. I’m a petite woman,also. Anyway, the book Carolyn wrote is full of great stories about our soaps and I for one will enjoy reading all of it. Michael, another job well done and you were so good with the exchange between you and Carolyn. You sure know how to ask the right questions…

Carolyn’s love of the soap opera medium is greatly appreciated. In a time when everyone says the medium is dying, I embrace those, like Carolyn and PP, who still believe in it and know millions of fans still want it.

Quick question, Michael, and sincerely asked:

Are you as ignorant as Hinsey on the misinformation and false information you printed in this interview, or did you just not feel like following up with her mistakes or correcting her at all?

I am honestly more surprised that you had opted to publish the so-called ‘information’ about Kish’s contract situation than what Hinsey said; anyone who had followed Kish and the debacle surrounding their firing knows Brett Claywell was on contract from day 1.

I agree, I expect this kind of garbage from CH, but I am surprised by Michael. You interviewed Scott and Brett a week before they were fired, Brett at the Emmy awards red carpet and even had a radio interview with Brett after the Kish debacle. You, of all people, should know that what she said were lies.

Brett signed a multi-year contract to play Schuyler Joplin but then Scott Clifton became available and they gave him the role. Because of Brett’s contract, Ron created the role of Kyle Lewis and eventually came up with the groundbreaking and award winning storyline for him and Scott. I also find all this “need to sign a contract” talk funny considering, during their last few months on the show, Scott (recurring) had more screen time than Brett (contract).

I’m just really tired of Brett still being disparaged over year later and you, who always seemed to be impressed with him whenever you interviewed him, are letting it continue.

I’m no authority on soaps, as OLTL was my first soap, and only while Kish was on. However even I know the numerous inaccuracies she stated as to why they aren’t on the show. There had to be much more going on behind the scenes from homophobic higher ups. Rapists, murderers, multiple marriages, and the like are ok, but a loving gay couple make people quit watching? (and don’t get me started about her “soaps being realistic” comment).

Just more BS from Carolyn….I didnt believe her when she wrote for SOD where she only praised her ‘friends and favourites’ in return for favours….no loyal viewer ever believed the contradictory statements made by ABC and the sunsequent unconfirmed rumours made about Brett and Scott and wont believe hers either..it was no secret that Brett already had a contract while Scott didnt..they both were totally committed to KISH and their loyal fans so it seems ludicrous that they wouldnt have wanted to continue this groundbreaking story which was popular with a huge majority of the so called ‘mainstream’ audience….during this whole debacle Brett and Scott have acted with great class and dignity and continue to do so.and will always have the loyalty and respect of their countless fans….If CH thinks this will help her book sales i think she is sadly mistaken..too bad she just couldnt give these talented young actors the credit they deserve for creating one of daytime’s most loved and unforgettable couples…….

P.S….THANKS Michael for at least including the great pictures of KIsh…..

Months ago, when rumors were flying that Roger Howarth would be returning to OLTL, some people (myself included) commented on Carolyn’s Facebook page that we would be upset if his return meant that Trevor St. John would be let go as Todd. Carolyn Hinsey snapped at us saying “For the last time, Roger Howarth is NOT returning to OLTL, so stop posting about it.” Well, as we all know, she was wrong about that scenario, too.

yeah, soaps still matter . . . except to the gay audience. CH is a hack, always has been and always will be. And I’m surprised and very disappointed by MF’s and Michael Logan’s lack of balls when it comes to this issue. Who the hell do they think are watching these shows??

hi Carolyn,i read soap opera digest monthly and abc soaps in depth for many years!!!!20 or more.thanks for all your doing!!i have soap opera secrets ,special too!i love watching on tv too.dools,b+b,gh,oltl,amc and i miss all old soaps on tv.afternoon delight will also be great too!

Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Talks on Decision to Make Days of our Lives 15000th Episode About Doug’s Funeral, and Previews Chances for WGA Award

This week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode. In of it itself, that is an incredible accomplishment for the long-running soap opera currently streaming on Peacock.

However, this on set gathering was a bit different. Though the show is celebrating their achievement, they are also in the middle of taping scenes surrounding the death and the funeral of Doug Williams, played by the late Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th of this year at the age of 98.

As previously revealed many longtime favorites are back to honor Bill and the character of Doug including: Gloria Loring (Liz), Melissa Reeves (Jennifer), Matthew Ashford (Jack), Maree Cheatham (Marie), Victoria Konefal (Ciara) and Stephen Schnetzer (Steve) to name but a few.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV was in attendance and spoke with Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati to gain some insight into how the 15,000 episode was crafted and the decision to honor the character of Doug Williams and Bill Hayes as its epicenter. In addition, Ron weighed-in on this Sunday’s April 14th WGA (Writers Guild of America) Awards, where he and his writing team are facing off with General Hospital for the daytime drama prize. Here’s what Ron shared below.

Was this your idea to make the 15,000th episode centered around Doug’s funeral and passing?

RON: It was. When you’re looking at it, and laying out the calendar for the whole year and you see 15,000 is coming up, we’re like, “What are we going to do?” And then, we got the news that Bill had passed away and something kind of clicked. I was like, “We should honor Doug on that show.” So then, we started to kind of build around that … when does he pass away? How does he pass away? Who could come back? You know, it’s a lot.  I’m very pleased with the returns that we got as there’s so much that you could do. We wanted everybody we could get. So, we put together a wish list and Janet Drucker (co-executive producer, Days of our Lives) made it happen.

Photo: JPI

You have Melissa Reeves back as Jennifer, when the role was last played by Cady McClain. What has it meant to have Missy back for these shows?

RON: It was so nice to see Missy Reeves. I think Cady has done such a good job, but on the 15,000th episode to see Missy as Jennifer, it’s a big deal. So having her was great, and overall, the milestone was a big undertaking, because you want to live up to it. You want the 15,000th episode to be good. Now, it has a lot of real emotion that you’re playing. because for the cast and the crew they’re honoring Bill Hayes just as much as we’re honoring Doug Williams.

Photo: JPI

Was it hard for you and the team to write this episode?

RON: Yes. I’ll tell you why it was hard to write.  When I wrote, for example, Asa’s (Phillip Carey) death on One Life to Live or Victor’s (John Aniston) on DAYS, Asa is a different type of character. Like, you could have characters going, “Oh! I’m glad he is dead.” You could have different points of view, but with Doug, you’re not having that. Every person loves this man. No one had a bad relationship with him. So, you’re challenge as a writer is how do you make it that not everybody’s saying the same thing and doing the same thing. And so, we tried to find ways to make the episode about all the familial relationships and yet, how do you make it about Doug and yet broaden the scope.

Photo: JPI

I had spoken to Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), a week after Bill’s memorial, for an interview. She said that she felt very fortunate that you did include her on discussions of how you would tackle Doug’s passing. How did that conversation go?

RON: First, I attended Bill’s funeral, which was incredible. I said to so many people it was an emotional service, but it was hard to be sad at this. The guy had an incredible life and it was an incredible celebration. And so, you’re sitting there watching this knowing that you now have to write something similar. And how do you write something that lives up to what you just witnessed? I wanted to talk to Susan to get her thoughts about, you know, how much do you want this to be about keeping Bill separate from Doug. How comfortable are you sharing your grief. She was incredible to talk to. It was a great chat.

You’re in the middle of taping these major scenes for the 15,000 episode to air in December. How do you think it’s going? Have you seen any of the scenes?

RON:  I haven’t seeing anything. I mean, we were still making changes to the script up till this morning!

Photo: JPI

The Writers Guild Awards are this Sunday, April 14th and once again this year there are two daytime drama nominees, General Hospital and Days of our Lives. How are you feeling about your chances this year?

RON: It is often just GH and us in the category. I’ve won three years in a row, so I’m kind of feeling like it’s their turn.

Photo: JPI

What episodes did you submit for contention? If I recall, they had to do with Victor’s memorial.

RON: The episodes we submitted were centered around Victor’s funeral. I think one has story with Vivian. We had some fun stuff, we had some emotional stuff at Victor’s death, and I am pretty sure that our submission was three episodes right around that time.

Did you make the decision to go with those episodes because there was a mix of humor and drama?

RON: I like to have some humor, but it was also the funeral, then there’s Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) giving birth, and then Vivian’s (Louise Sorel) crashing the reading of the will. So, we had a lot of fun and it’s hard sometimes to pick three that tell a story, as opposed to submitting for the Daytime Emmys, where the writing team only submits two shows.  So, we shall see how it goes on Sunday.

Courtesy/Peacock

So, are you looking forward to the emotional 15,000th episode of Days of our Lives? Do you think DAYS will take home the WGA writing award for daytime dramas for the 4th year in a row? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

(INTERVIEW) Eric Martsolf Previews DAYS Stars on ‘Weakest Link’, How He Fared in the Game, Plus Welcoming New Tate, Leo Howard

Tuesday night on NBC’s Weakest Link (9 p.m. ET/PT), the stars of Days our of Lives test their knowledge, and try to win big money for the charity of their choice on the newest season of the popular game show hosted by Jane Lynch. In case you miss it, you can also catch the episode on Wednesday streaming on Peacock.

The question on everyone’s mind is … who will be revealed as Salem’s weakest link? Who will be left standing at the end of the game? DAYS favorites: Eric Martsolf (Brady) Brynn Dattilo (Lucas), Galen Gering (Rafe), Martha Madison (Belle), Victoria Konefal (ex-Ciara), Zach Tinker (Sonny), Tina Huang (Melinda) and Lindsay Arnold (ex-Allie) play while literally having the task of throwing their co-stars under the bus. The contestant who receives the highest number of votes leaves the game throughout, as Lynch declares their exit with the now iconic phrase, “You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.” 

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric Martsolf, who daytime fans know is great as a host in his own right and oh-so-fun at playing any trivia game you throw at him. Martsolf gave us the inside scoop of what it was like to be on the set and backstage in a rather nerve-wracking environment, and trying to come off as smart while Jane Lynch roasts you at the same time!

Photo: NBC

In addition, Eric shared his thoughts on the new Tate, as Leo Howard takes over the role of his on-screen son from Jamie Martin Mann on the April 5th episode of Days of our Lives, plus working with Emily O’Brien as Theresa, and the loss of the legendary Bill Hayes. Check out what Eric had to say below.

Did you know about the game before? Had you watched the original version of the Weakest Link, or this latest incarnation?

ERIC: I was very, very familiar with the game because I found, as someone who enjoys hosting, that has to be one of the best hosting gigs out there because they just have extreme liberties in belittling the contestants, and it’s all done in jest of course, but it’s great. Jane Lynch is a master.

Did you get to meet Jane Lynch before she hit the stage for the taping?

ERIC: I don’t think any of us met her prior to being on the set. So, we’re standing there behind our podiums and these cyber lights just point all in one direction. At one point when we’re out there, it was kind of a hurry up and wait thing. We’re just like, “When is this going to start?” Then, here Jane comes and in all her glory in a beautiful navy-blue suit. She just prances onto stage and just glares over at us, and starts making fun of a silly soap opera actors like you wouldn’t believe. It was just great. I’ll let the public see what how she crucified us. But it was all done in fun.

Photo: NBC

Did she crucify you?

ERIC: I don’t think anybody got out unscathed to be honest with you.

For those that don’t know the game, you try to eliminate those that are the weakest in answering questions.

ERIC: Correct, and therein lies the problem. Historically, I think the Weakest Link is comprised of contestants that don’t really know each other, and in this case, you have not only coworkers, but almost family members because we all know each other very, very well. It’s a tight circle and even more so when you’re on the same show. So, we all went in into it pretty nervous because the premise of the game is to expose the inadequacy of people’s knowledge of general facts and information. So, essentially, you’re voting each other off because you don’t think they’re as smart as you are and that they’re the least smart in the group. So, I mean, that in itself is pretty, pretty tough to swallow. It was really hard, because you have to look at your friends in the eye and go, “yeah, I don’t think you’re going to get the next couple questions. You’re not the smartest, you’re not the crispiest chip in the bag. I’m going to let you go. ”

Did you feel bad about some of the eliminations?

ERIC: At one point, without giving away any spoilers, I voted off someone that without a doubt, has more smarts and education than I do. I just felt silly. But, you know, the way the game was going, I just felt it was the right. There is a bit of strategy involved. I’m worried about the airing of this particular episode because I did fumble some questions that people are going to turn their heads and go, “Really? You didn’t get that one?” It’s so much easier to answer these questions at home in your pajamas than it is, you know, looking at Jane Lynch in the eye with 6,000 lights at your face in front of cameras. Your brain tends to wander. So yes, we all had had some answers that we couldn’t believe we didn’t get at the time!

Photo: NBC

Did it get very competitive?

ERIC: There was little competition there. If I recall, it’s Galen and Bryan that went at it a little bit and had some laughs. But again, I can’t stress this enough, it was all done with fun. At the end of the day, every one of us wanted to win. I think the smartest person did actually come out victorious.

Now in the game, for those that have never seen it, you’re on your podium, and then Jane gives a question, right?

ERIC:  It’s a firing squad of questions. You only have a certain amount of time to answer. If you get the correct answer or the wrong answer, you immediately, go to the next contestant and you have a certain amount of time. And then, at the end of that line of questioning, everyone gets to vote as to who they believed was the biggest dummy in the group. (Laughs) Some questions are simple. You know, “What color is Santa Claus’ suit?” And then, the next question is “What is 648,000 times 14?” or what’s the population of some obscure country? So, that was the biggest challenge. Someone else might get, “What is the main ingredient of a banana split?” And my question could be like, “How much is 9,430 times x 59 million?” There’s an intimidation factor that Jane Lynch brings to it when she’s staring you down.

Photo: NBC

When the cast finished the entire game, what happened backstage?

ERIC:  The best part was there were these post interviews that the Weakest Link conducts where you have to go into a dark black room. I think my first question was, “How did you feel about that wrong answer?” They don’t let up. They just keep jabbing at you. “Did you feel ridiculous getting the wrong answer to that fourth-grade level question?” (Laughs) There was also a lot of trash talk with that happened after the show. It got so competitive. If I recall, we were all supposed to go out together and get a meal with everybody, and that never happened. They’re like, “I’m not eating lasagna with you right now. You just voted me off!” Now, even the first person that gets voted off, you’re going to be shocked, because I thought this person would probably win it. In the game, you want the best people to remain on the panel because that’s what drives up the money.

Photo: JPI

Later this week on DAYS, we will see the debut of your new on-screen son, Leo Howard, taking over from Jamie Martin Mann as Tate.

ERIC: How about that?  I just did a post on Instagram, because I saw that Jamie Martin Mann had liked and hearted a post about Leo Howard coming on the show. I just thought that was so classy of him. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, “This is the new guy. Embrace him. He’s good. I’ve met him. He is a good guy.” It’s about handing off the character baton sometimes, sort to speak. I was really proud of those guys. I reached out to Jamie. He just wants to go to college and be a student. I understand that. That’s important.

Photo: JPI

Is that challenging for you as an actor since you’ve built this relationship with the one guy as your son, and now you’ve got to pivot and create a different kind of energy with someone else taking on the part?

ERIC: Leo Howard has been in the industry for a while, with some very good credits to his name. He brings a certain charisma to this role that I think people are really going to love. And yes, he’s older, but he plays younger, and he has that ability and he’s pulling it off brilliantly. I can’t wait for people to see him, but of course I miss Jamie. Emily O’Brien (Theresa) and I really grew to love him very quickly because the storyline got so deep, so quickly, with the drug intervention and then him getting beat up in in prison. I mean, as a father, that’s the kind of stuff that you have nightmares about, you know, your kids being in pain.

Photo: JPI

I still love the fact that Emily O’Brien is still noticeably wearing a blonde wig as Theresa. What are your thoughts on how the transition has been for you, and for her pivoting to a completely different role?

ERIC: I hadn’t worked with Emily much before, because Gwen and Brady never really crossed paths. We all saw the transition that she had to make. When I became Brady, the character hadn’t been on the map for three years.  When she became Theresa, she walks out one gate and comes through the other as Theresa. We all had a good giggle about it. That’s hard to ask an audience to go,  OK, I’m Gwen, now I’m Theresa.” I was scrolling through X (formerly Twitter) and I saw a couple posts from fans that said how they were really weary, at first, about accepting Emily O’Brien as Theresa. But after today’s episode, they shared, “I’m loving her as Tate’s mom, and the chemistry she has with the family.” I texted Emily and I said, “I just want to let you know that you’re just bringing it home really brilliantly, and people are starting to come around.” I think they’ll do that with Leo Howard too.

Photo: JPI

What had it been like without the iconic Bill Hayes (Doug Williams) coming to work and being part of the Days of our Lives cast since his passing?

ERIC: You really do miss that presence in the hallways. He was a song and dance guy and I am a song and dance guy. as well. I kind of find myself the lone singer in the makeup room sometimes, but I could always count on Bill. He’d be humming some old tune from the sixties. I’d start humming along and he’d just kind of lean over and take a look at me, and give a little smile. Everyone else was probably irritated at us, but we just kept singing along. and it’s like 6:30 in the morning. I think Bill was a lot like the late John Aniston (ex-Victor), in the sense that I don’t really feel like he felt he was working. He was just always having fun right up until the end. That little number he did with his wife, Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), and Dick Van Dyke (guest starring as Timothy Robicheaux), where he was singing along, he was just living it. It was so cute and so adorable to watch.

Photo: JPI

Your final tease for the Weakest Link tonight is, “Fans should watch because …”

ERIC: Fans should watch it because if they thought we were smart before, wait till they see the show.

You can check out the cold open for tonight’s Weakest Link “Days of our Lives special” below.

Now let us know, will you be watching Eric and his co-stars, past and present, attempting to showcase their knowledge on the ‘Weakest Link? Intrigued to see Leo Howard and Eric in scenes as new Tate and his father, Brady? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Interviews

The Young and the Restless’ Michael Damian On Christine/Danny/Phyllis: “It’s a Fun Triangle Story That They’re Having Us Do, Because It’s Very Retro”

This week on The Young and the Restless, while Danny (Michael Damian) and Christine (Lauralee Bell) hit the sheets, and Phyllis (Michele Stafford) sets off an alarm as payback (literally!), the top-rated CBS soap opera continues to weave the tale of these three characters decades later, finding themselves in very familiar territory with each other.

We know that Christine and Phyllis are basically, mortal enemies, while Danny, who has been the man in the middle, has had a past with both women. However, it is Christine who has been, for all intent and purposes the love of his life.  But, will Phyllis’ machinations make it near to impossible for Danny and Christine to be together? Stay tuned.

Last week, Michael and his real-life wife, Janeen Damian visited the Michael Fairman Channel promoting their #1 streaming film on Netflix, Irish Wish starring Lindsay Lohan. The film was produced by the Damians, while Janeen directed it and co-wrote the romantic story. Michael is featured on the Irish Wish soundtrack performing his track, Wild Irish Heart.

Photo: Netflix

During the conversation, Michael shared what it has been like revisiting the Christine/Danny/Phyllis triangle years later. Damian addressed the fans on the livestream, who inquired. “It’s a fun triangle story that they’re having us do, because it’s very retro. And I think it’s fun to bring that nostalgia, retro thing back.”

Photo: JPI

Recalling a tender moment between Danny on the piano alone with Christine (during the standalone episode which honored Lauralee Bell’s 40th anniversary with Y&R), Michael expressed, “I think what they’re doing is so smart, and they’re reconnecting a lot of the fans to a lot of the story. I mean, we’re talking years and years of story.”

Photo: JPI

The longtime Y&R fan favorite, added, “I’m really glad they did the thing on the piano because people have been asking, ‘Why are you not doing any music? Why are you not singing? Where’s your band?’ You know what I mean? Janeen is asking the same thing, ‘Why aren’t you singing something on the show?’ The last time I sang on the show was when we thought Phyllis was dead. So, you know, that didn’t count. (Laughs)

One of the funniest moment in the revisiting of the triangle occurred when Phyllis and Christine were arguing over Danny, and he was right there in the room with them. The two women got so engrossed in their fight, they forgot he was there, and thus he walked out of the room.

Photo: JPI

Michael revealed, he liked that scene too! “They’re fighting. They’re arguing and Danny’s like, ‘Listen, I’m over here. Please stop it.” And then they don’t stop,” Damian recalled. “And so Danny just grabs his coat, picks up his sheet music, because he was working on a song. He goes to the door. In the scene, I even look back to see if they are even noticing me leave, and then I just left. That one was pretty funny. I’ll be honest. I was laughing out in the hallway when I left. I was thinking, ‘Should I slam the door? But then if I slam the door, they still have dialogue.’ They’re still talking and they would’ve turned, and then it would’ve ruined it. So, I just gently closed the door and left.

Photo: JPI

During the livestream, Damian teased he has some upcoming scenes with longtime Y&R co-star Beth Maitland (Traci), “I just worked with Beth Maitland actually the other day, and that was really fun. I can’t wait for people to see that show.”

Check out the the Michael Fairman Channel chat with Michael and Janeen Damian below.

Now, let us know, are you rooting for Danny and Christine? Do you think Phyllis will continue to be a disruptor in this relationship and somehow worm her way back into Dannys good graces? Share your thoughts in the comment section. But first check out this sneak peek for this week’s Y&R featuring the trio.

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Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

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