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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)

Courtesy/ABC

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:

Courtesy/ABC

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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md1347
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md1347

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.

Appleridge
Guest
Appleridge

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.

md1347
Guest
md1347

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

Doe
Guest
Doe

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… Read more »

Soap_Stud
Guest
Soap_Stud

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.

Holly
Guest
Holly

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?

liz
Guest
liz

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.

RW
Guest
RW

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… Read more »

Tim
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Tim

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).

Mairead
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Mairead

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… Read more »

Mairead
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Mairead

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

Chip Coffey
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Chip Coffey

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.

michael
Guest
michael

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??

sheree lynn
Guest
sheree lynn

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!

Interviews

Y&R’s Christian LeBlanc and Michelle Stafford Talk On Their Enduring Friendship, Sharing Scenes & Preview Special Episode

Coming up on the Monday, January 10th episode of The Young and the Restless, the CBS daytime drama series will mark the 30th anniversary of Christian LeBlanc as Michael Baldwin.

In it, Michael will being trying to figure out what’s next in his life, after he has been a successful legal eagle for decades, with the assistance of several characters and some memorable flashbacks that might inform him.

Photo: JPI

LeBlanc debut on Y&R back at the end of November in 1991, and has won three Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series throughout his time in Genoa City.

To celebrate Christian’s 30th anniversary, Michael Fairman welcomed Christian and his longtime co-star and dear friend, Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) for a special conversation on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel along with some memorable clips.

Photo: JPI

During the chat, Michelle and Christian reveal their favorite scenes together, how they met, the key to their enduring friendship, and and how they have gone through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Later, Christian shares his reaction to the on set celebration in his honor with his co-star and previews his special episode.

Photo: JPI

In addition, during the holidays, Michelle helped organize a toy drive for the second year in a row to help children and families in need along with the NAACP and the National Action Network, which Christian participated in along with several Y&R cast members, and they discuss how the toy drive came together during these trying times for everyone.

Courtesy/CLeBlancIG

Now below, check out the full interview with Christian and Michelle, followed by the promo for LeBlanc’s special episode.

Let us know in the comment section what your favorite part of the conversation was, what are your favorite Michael and Phyllis scenes through the years on Y&R and share your congratulations to Christian on a job well-done for his 30-year milestone.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Joshua Morrow Chats On Nick’s Standalone Christmas Eve Episode

Nick Newman (Joshua Morrow) is one tired Santa! After delivering presents to the less fortunate for Christmas, he is tuckered out, and thus will begin the special episode The Young and the Restless is serving up on Friday, December 24th.

The Christmas Eve airing of this all-new standalone episode marks the fourth time in Joshua Morrow’s career that he has been featured like this on the top-rated CBS soap.

In this story, Nick will try to come to terms with where his life is headed when he is taken on a journey through his dreams. Enter plenty of your other favorites from the Newman clan and more, who will definitely make an impact on Nick.  At the end of it all, will Nick come away with some revelations and reflections? Will he learn anything that will change him for the better and give him a clear direction?

As viewers recently witnessed, Nick and Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) called it quits in heartbreaking scenes, leaving Nick once again at a loss in the love live department.  Will he, in turn, eventually reunite with Sharon (Sharon Case), when all is said and done?

Michael Fairman TV talked with Joshua to get insight and a preview on what to expect during this holiday episode including: if he feels Nick is adrift, how he sees each of the characters from Adam (Mark Grossman) to Victoria (Amelia Heinle) impacting his alter-ego, and of course, Nick’s relationships with the women in his life.  So, with that, ‘ho, ho, ho,” here’s our yuletide chat with Mr. Morrow.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

How did you feel when you got a script for this special Christmas episode, and that it was all centered-on Nick?

JOSHUA:  My first reaction was, “Do people really want to see more of Nick? (Laughs) When you see an episode like this, you instantly know that you’ve got to do a lot of work. You’re basically in every scene, and I think it’s pretty common knowledge that I learn my lines in the morning when I get to work. However, on those days, you can’t do that, so you just know that you’ve got to prepare, and everyone is counting on you.  I like doing my scenes as fast as possible, but when you have that much material, you’ve got to put the time in.  As an actor, you hope it’s written well, and that you perform it the way they want you to, and you just go from there.

It’s not about which women Nick should sleep with next?  (Laughs)

JOSHUA:  I think all of Nick’s dreams are women-based. (Laughs) He’s walking around town going, “Who’s next?”  No, it’s a dream about figuring out who he is.  He is going through this kind of loop in his life where he’s not entirely sure where he is, where he should be, what he should be doing, how he’s treating people … it’s just kind of a look inside himself to see if he can come up with any solutions because he knows that what is happening and what he is doing right now is not working.  He doesn’t necessarily know why or how he got to this place, but with the help of some family, hopefully he will figure it out in the dream.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Sounds like Nick is very much at a crossroads here.

JOSHUA:  Yes, that’s a good description of it.  He’s just kind of wandering, and the biggest thing (and he’s been going through this a lot throughout his whole life) is that he just doesn’t know why he gets to this place.  It’s like, is it something he’s doing?  Is there something wrong with him?  He’s just questioning a lot of things, so during the holidays, it seems like the perfect time to come up with solutions for oneself.

So, in his dream, should viewers expect to we see different characters coming to him, like we’ve seen in other Y&R episodes similar to this?

JOSHUA:  Yes, in the dream, we’re seeing his family coming into his life, and they’re talking about who he is, the good parts about him, sometimes the bad …

… Wait, Nick has bad parts about him? 

JOSHUA:  Well … just maybe some things that he needs to improve on. (Laughs) Without him knowing it, I think Nick is kind of hard on people.  If they don’t necessarily think like he is, without knowing it, he tends to hold that against them.  Just because somebody doesn’t think like you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re wrong.  He is just struggling with where he is in life.  He is wondering if he is doing things right.  The dream comes up, and it helps him realize some things.

Photo: JPI

You and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) did some wonderful scenes recently that aired when Phyllis and Nick broke up.  Do you remember taping those?  How did you feel about the on-screen relationship going south … again?

JOSHUA:  For me, Stafford is my bro.  When you start doing those types of scenes, you realize it’s the end of something for now.  I realized that there was a window when I was with her every day, laughing, making fun of each other, doing the fraternity style comedy that we do with each other.  I did those scenes with sadness because I knew that they were breaking us up and that I wouldn’t get to see her every day, but they were great.  Michelle is such a freaking tornado of talent. I was excited to see her really do the thing I think she does best, which is just unbridled passion, whether it’s positive or negative.  She obviously crushed it.  I was just happy to be a part of it.  I don’t have to do much heavy lifting in those scenes. I just wanted to be there for her.  I think that the scenes did turn out very well.  I wasn’t happy to do them, but I always want to do good work.

Photo: JPI

So, where is Nick at with Sharon (Sharon Case) at this point?  How does she impact him in the holiday episode?

JOSHUA:  Sharon is in the special episode offering Nick a lot of advice and guidance.  Sharon is one of Nick’s biggest cheerleaders.  She is constantly trying to make him feel good and better about things that he does.  They’re really good friends.  They are coparenting, you know.  I’m no dummy, obviously the writing is on the wall as to where this will lead, but the journey of how they get there will be the question.  I don’t know when it will happen, but obviously Nick and Sharon have a tremendous history, and anytime they get together it is usually beautifully told.  I don’t know for certain because I don’t ask, but if that is indeed the path that they are going down, I am sure that it will be something the long-time “Shick” supporters are very happy with.  Like I said, there is no romantic anything at the moment. They’re nothing about that.  It’s just that around the holidays, it’s tough not to have someone, and they’re there for each other.  They’ve got kids, and they’re just trying to have a good Christmas.

Photo: JPI

Nick and Adam (Mark Grossman) have a very contentious relationship that is very complex. How does that figure into the equation?

JOSHUA:  It’s an interesting dynamic because Nick is forever grateful to Adam.  I literally think he has saved every one of Nick’s children’s lives at some point in their past, and maybe even Noah a couple of times (Laughs) It’s a delicate relationship because whether he mentions it or not, Nick is jealous that Victor (Eric Braeden) seems to turn to Adam now.  Despite all of Nick’s, “I want to do my own thing, leave me alone, etc.” it really hurts him that Victor turns to Adam when the family needs it.  For all of Nick’s, “I’m my own man,” he still really believes in the strength of the Newman family.  He will always have its back, and if it’s being threatened, like it was with what Nick perceives Ashland (Richard Burgi) to be doing, and Victor doesn’t come to Nick to help with that (or … he does in the beginning, but when it comes to an end, he basically casts Nick aside), that really bothers him.  It’s hard not to take that out on Adam. Still, he doesn’t trust him fully, and he is always kind of on edge around him.  It’s a delicate balance of trust and acceptance with Nick and Adam.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

Does Nick feel like the ‘odd man out’ with Victor, when it always seems that Adam and Victor team up?

JOSHUA:  He absolutely does, and again, Nick had brought a lot of this on himself.  He is constantly saying, “I’m going to do me.  I’m going to make my own decisions.  I don’t want you impacting any of those,” but then when Victor turns to Adam and not Nick in a very important situation that involves his sister, Nick is pretty hurt by that.  Nick does feel like Adam has come into his relationship with his father.  They’re working together very closely.  It seems like Adam had Victor’s ear.  It seems like Victor trusts Adam – at this point, maybe even more than Nick.  That definitely bothers him. I don’t fault Victor in this because all Nick has done is stomp is feet and say, “I don’t like the way you handle things,” and, “Leave me alone.  I’m going to handle things my own way.”  It’s an interesting situation for Victor to be in because I think he wants Nick to be in the fold.  He wants Nick to be there whenever he needs him, but Nick has not made that easy.  He is very hardheaded when it comes to the family dynamic at times.  Nick has created all these difficult relationships now in his family, except with his mother.  He and Victoria (Amelia Heinle) are at odds.  He and Victor are always staring each other down at opposite sides of the fence, and then Adam comes in, and threatens what he perceived to be his role in the family, and that also kind of leads to the whole dream.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

You brought up Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott).  How do you see the bond between mother and son?

JOSHUA:  Nick and his mother have always had an extremely close relationship.  Nikki leans on Nick to bring peace in the family, and Nick leans on her to talk him off the ledge at times because he does overreact, and he acts impulsively at times, while Nikki is very cool, calm, and collected at all times.  Usually, he does everything she asks of him.  Nick is very clearly a Momma’s boy, and he always will be, and if his mother needs him, he is going to step up and do what she wants.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

In terms of his sister, Victoria, how does Nick feel about their stormy relationship?

JOSHUA:  I feel like they are not contentious now, but there is a level of sadness because they’ve always been the best of friends.  They have always relied on each other for everything, and now that has been completely cast aside.  They realize they are no longer each other’s person, the person they go to for anything: advice, support, comfort, whatever.  That is gone for each of them now.  It started with the Phyllis situation with the hotel, and now, it is certainly taken to another level with the Ashland thing.  I think that’s what the overall feeling is between the two of them at this time.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

What’s amazing is that you, Amelia, Eric, and Melody are all really close in real life.  It’s like you truly have a second family.

JOSHUA:  It’s a real family.  The four of us are, for sure.  Without question, my favorite scenes to do on the show are when the four of us are together because we really are so close. Those dynamics are the fabric of what the show is about.  It’s not just the Newmans, but with the Abbotts and the Winters as well, and when the show highlights that, and really puts those small details at the front of the show, the fans realize that you don’t need those big, dynamic stories.  You don’t need the big explosive things.  When you just see those tender moments between those family members, that is everything.  That is the Bill Bell (Co-Creator, Y&R) playbook.  It’s easy to play because we care so much about each other, and I think it comes across on the screen.

Photo: JPI

Now, you’ve got a new Noah in Rory Gibson, and you got a new Faith in Reylynn Caster, both who came on to the show in the last several months.  How are they doing, and how has it been for you to adjust to working with them as their on-screen father?

JOSHUA:  It’s been awesome.  I’ve always said it’s a very tough job because I fall in love with these kids who play my children, and eventually they go off and do something else, or when they are little, sometimes there is a window when they turn about four, where they go, “I don’t want to be here! (Laughs) But when they’re babies, they’re just kind of in your arms, and it’s hard not to fall in love with them, but then when they get older, I see them grow up and turn into young adults.  Rory is an absolute stud. I did screen-test with the actors auditioning for the role of Noah, and he went first. I’m not exaggerating when I say two beats into our rehearsal, not even the actual screen-test in front of the network, I locked eyes with him, and I went, “This is him.  What are we doing?  I don’t need to do this with anyone else.”  He’s got a soul to him that is really amazing to watch.  He’s got depth.  He’s a really tremendous actor.  He’s a good kid, too.  He works hard, and he really wants to do well, and he’s humble.  In the special episode, Rory steals the dream. He does a scene in this show that is going to break women’s hearts around the world.  I am excited for people to see what he can truly do.  The sky is the limit for this kid.   I love having him here.  I super miss Robbie (Robert Adamson, Ex-Noah).  I love him like he is a son of my own, but Rory has taken this role and done something really good with it.  So has Rey-Rey.   She is obviously a tremendous talent.  Losing Alyvia Alyn Lind (Ex-Faith), who was one of the great loves of my life, killed me.  However, I couldn’t be prouder of her.  We text weekly about what’s going on with her, and she’s off crushing it, and the world is not ready for Aly, trust me!  Rey-Rey has come in, a beautiful, talented, young girl, who really wants to do well, and she fits right into the Newman mold.  I’ve been very, very blessed.  The casting department has really knocked it out of the park with these two.

Photo: JPI

I know Hunter King (Ex-Summer) is not on the show right now, but I know you two are really close.

JOSHUA:  Yeah, good grief.  It’s hard for me.  Probably Hunter and Amelia are the two others loves of my life along with Aly.  Hunter and I will text each other constantly, making fun of each other.  We have such a special relationship.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her.  I just know that she will be back someday.  I don’t know why.  Whereas I know Aly is gone forever.  She is off, and she is going to be a huge star.  Some fish outgrow their ponds, and I said that about her when she left.  Aly is off to a much bigger world, but I have a feeling (and maybe it is more of a hope) that Hunter will come back to me, and I say “me” because nobody loves her more than me. My kids are just everything to me on this show.  Honestly, it is one of the things that keeps me coming back for now almost 28 years.  I love them.  They’re all great people.

Photo: TMorrowTwitter

What are you and your wife, Tobe, and the family, going to do for the holidays?

JOSHUA:  We always go snowboarding.  We didn’t go last year obviously because of staying safe from COVID, but we tend to go Colorado every year, and we will be doing that again.  My oldest is away at college this year, so it will be fun to get him home and go off and do what we do.  I remember when I was in my teens learning to snowboard, I was like, “Someday, I cannot wait to lead a bunch of sons down big mountains!” and I’ve been doing that for years with them.  Two years ago, my middle son, who is just this testosterone-raged-alpha-male, finally said, “Dad, I’m leading us down.”  I was like, “Okay.”  He is the one son who has surpassed me in speed, and now we follow him. (Laughs)

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Now let’s talk College Basketball! (Laughs) Gonzaga has already had two losses and it seems every week there is a new team at #1 in the rankings.  Who do you think is looking good? 

JOSHUA:  I only watch Oklahoma hoops. (Laughs) The days of going off to March Madness with all my friends and acting like jackasses for multiple days are gone because I have soccer and lacrosse commitments with my family, but I am still equally as passionate about Oklahoma basketball as I’ve ever been.  I always say it, and it is definitely more heart than mind, but Oklahoma is going to win the national championship this year.

Okay, Joshua.  We will put it out there in the press!

JOSHUA:  You’ve got to put it in the universe!

So, looking forward to Nick’s Christmas journey on Y&R? Which women in Genoa City would you like to see Nick have a relationship with next? What advice would you give Nick Newman to get his life on track? Share your thoughts on this, and our conversation with Joshua, via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Chandler Massey & Zach Tinker Chat On ‘WilSon’, Being Recasts, ‘A Very Salem Christmas’ and that Drag Show

Chandler Massey (Will) and Zach Tinker (Sonny) are back for another streaming special, reprising the duo of “WilSon”.  Massey and Tinker can now be seen in the holiday film, Days of our Lives: A Very Salem Christmas now on Peacock.

In a new virtual interview with Michael Fairman for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Chandler and Zach talk about their scenes and their participation in the Salem Christmas tale.

Courtesy/Peacock

As many know by now, in story, Will has to act fast to come up with a story for his script with his Christmas Eve deadline approaching.  Sonny decides he will assist Will and help conjure up the story, and thus we get an altered version of Salem from the guys that plays on the history of Days of our Lives.

Photo: JPI

During the conversation, Zach weighs-in on being a recast for Sonny (previously played by Freddie Smith), and Chandler shares that it’s always challenging to step into a role played by someone else – something he also had to do when he began on DAYS.

Courtesy/Peacock

In addition, the two discuss reprising their drag roles of Amanda Bottom and Sonny Delight for the holiday number to help save Salem business owners from eviction in Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem.

The actors also banter about the importance of maintaining a presence for ‘WilSon’ as one of the only LGBTQ on-screen duos as part of a daytime soap opera.  The question is: will the airshow write them back in?

Photo: JPI

Chandler also weighs-in on: if he was writing Will’s holiday script, what would he like to see befall the good citizens of Salem? You’ll hear his answer.

Check out the interview with Chandler and Zach below.

Now let us know, are you enjoying Chandler and Zach as the new version of WilSon? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Cameron Mathison talks with Michael Fairman on taking on the role of GH’s Drew Cain, the latest developments in Port Charles for Drew. his busy career outside of soaps and the loss of his mother and his public battle with cancer.Leave A Comment
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