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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!

General Hospital

WATCH: The Cast of ‘Studio City’ Talk On the Latest Five Episodes & The Making of the Critically-Acclaimed Digital Drama

It’s one of the most talked about digital dramas out there, with a look and feel all its own, containing smart, witty, and dramatic plots and dialogue, and stellar performances abound.

In Amazon Prime’s Studio City, the story about life on a soap in front of the camera juxtaposed with the often harsh reality of life behind the scenes, will have any fan of the genre getting a kick out of some of the very familiar soap tropes contained within balanced with the five-hankie moments throughout  And now, Studio City has dropped their latest five episodes picking the story back up from where it left off.

Michael Fairman chatted with the cast of Studio City in his latest interview for The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube. Those taking part in this virtual conversation included: Sean Kanan (Sam), Sarah Joy Brown (Laurie), Tristan Rogers (Doc), Carolyn Hennesy (Gloria), Scott Turner Schofield (Max), Anna Maria Horsford (Jolene), and Justin Torkildesn (Jacob).  Ronn Moss, who also appears in the series playing a version of himself, was filming a movie during the scheduling of this chat, but his presence is felt when some hilarious moments featuring him and Sean Kanan were discussed.

Soap fans know these actors very well.  Kanan, Brown, Hennesy and Rogers have all, or are presently appearing, on General Hospital.  B&B fans recognize Torkilden, Horsford, Moss, and Schofield along with Kanan from their work on the CBS Daytime drama.

Getting a show up and running and then taped during the Covid-19 pandemic is no easy task as Kanan shared in the group interview.  As well, Anna Maria Horsford and Sarah Joy Brown share how they came to their parts and the rapid-fire pace in which their scenes were shot.  Tristan Rogers, who won a Daytime Emmy last year for his performance as Doc, gives another heartbreaking turn, and reveals his thoughts on the work he did, plus shares his remembrances of his late friend and GH co-star, John Reilly.

Scott Turner Schofield talks about how Sean and his wife Michele Kanan, two of the creators of the show, have given him and the transgender community a space with Max’s storyline in Studio City.  GH favorite, Carolyn Hennesy shares how she crafted her role of Gloria, the executive producer, after Jill Farren Phelps, and Daytime Emmy winner Justin Torkildsen shares how he wound up with a part in the digital drama and the scenes he shares with Hennesy.

You can check out the full Studio City cast interview below.  Then let us know, have you checked out the series? What have been your favorite moments and performances in it? Let us know in the comment section.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Mishael Morgan Talks Amanda’s Gut-Wrenching Scenes With Her Mother, Romance with Devon & Vice-President Kamala Harris’ Historic Moment

Since Mishael Morgan returned to The Young and the Restless as Hilary’s twin, Amanda Sinclair, it’s been a slow burn for the character.  However, recent revelations of Amanda’s childhood past have exposed the emotional wounds and the inner fight of this legal eagle, who is now poised for a romance with her late sister’s husband, Devon Hamilton (Bryton James)!

And who better to take on the challenge of trying to make Amanda and Devon a couple to root for then the talented Morgan.  In recent scenes, viewers watched as Amanda learned the harsh reality from her biological mother, Naya (Ptosha Storey), that she gave her and her sister up at birth and never really regretted it! Mishael played those scenes as you would expect for all they were worth and then some.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with the Trinidadian-Canadian Morgan, as the United States marked Martin Luther King Day on Monday – a holiday that holds a special place for her – and then the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice-President of the United States on Wednesday and its historical significance.

 

While Mishael shares her thoughts on these moments of our time, we also do a deep-dive into how she created a second life in Genoa City and the challenges of playing a twin and making her unique and different, plus what fans should look forward to in the months ahead, which to us looks like it could be a love triangle between Elena (Brytni Sarpy), Devon, and Amanda.  And, as the second anniversary of the death of Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters) is fast approaching, Morgan opens up about the impact her former co-star had on her daytime career.  Here’s what Mishael had to say about it all below.

Photo: AP

Yesterday was such a historic day watching the swearing in ceremony of Kamala Harris, as Vice-President of the United States.  She is the first woman, first Black woman, first Indian woman, so many firsts to hold this office.  I just wanted to get your thoughts from watching it.  What was it like for you?

MISHAEL:  For me it was such a beautiful moment, and such a defining moment because now there is no person in America who can feel like they can’t do it all, that they can’t make it to the highest level of office, or at least one of the highest levels of office.  I think that is going to transform this country and the world in many ways because the rest of the world really does pay attention to American politics, and to what goes on in America.  I think it will really have a ripple effect throughout the entire world.  For me, it was so exciting to see this moment actually come to fruition because I think that the impact is even greater than we all could imagine.  You never know who you’re inspiring.

Photo: Hustory.com

It was really amazing, and this was also right after Martin Luther King Day and I know you produced your “I Have a Dream” Project.  How was the holiday for you?

MISHAEL:  It was funny because even though I did the MLK project, I didn’t really think that it was something I could really explain to my son.  Then, yesterday my son really wanted to know: “What was Martin Luther King Day about?  Why was it a holiday?”  It was so interesting because I had to come up with a way to explain it to a five-year-old, and what I came up with was so basic but so true.  I just said, “This was a day when Martin Luther King, a very famous man, who was famous because he stood up for everybody’s rights, and he marched to make sure that everybody can do the same things in this country as everyone else no matter how they look,” and that’s what he was.  He wasn’t just a champion for just Black lives.  I think he is a champion for equality, and he is a champion for making sure that we always remember to see each other the same.

Is that what inspired you originally to do your project?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  100%.  I remember being inspired by Martin Luther King as a child when I was learning about him for Black History Month and stuff like that, and then when all of the social unrest happened, I just remembered him again, and it was something that I wanted to explore.  When I started reading about him again, I just became so inspired by him all over again that I wanted to do something, and that’s what really inspired me to do the “I Have a Dream” Project.

Photo: Getty

I just hope that we will make strides in our country in stomping out systemic racism – it’s such a deeply-entrenched issue in our society.  A lot of people talk, but we need action to bring change to the system.

MISHAEL:  That’s the thing, I think that this moment, you can’t stop – like the moment when Kamala Harris got sworn in as our Vice-President – you can’t stop the train now because strides will be made that the next generation will look at as normal, and of what it means to be a Black woman or a woman in this country is going to change forever.  It’s the next generation that is really going to continue to move it forward.  So, I think that at the end of the day.  This will always be something that’s remembered.

Courtesy/CBS

Now on to Y&R, I wanted to tell you that these performances that you gave that recently aired were just great.  I always love it when they give you the ball.  How did you feel about the scenes and the storyline, where we learn the deep pain and hurt of Amanda’s childhood and the truth from her mother?

MISHAEL:  I was so excited to play it because for me, I really love telling human stories.  I love diving into that part of myself, and I really know that a huge part of why I am an actor is because I just have this outpouring level of empathy for every life that’s lived.  When I talk to people, and they tell me their stories, I want to take it on because I want to show that beautiful side of humanity.  So being given this story, I wanted to be very careful with it, because I knew that this is a reality for a lot of people.  I also thought about the fact that twin stories have always been done before, paternity stories have been done before, but I have to make sure that it comes from a truly honest place inside of me and a truly empathetic place.  I was excited to take on the challenge to be true to myself, and be true to my artist, and just find the beauty and the honesty in this real human story.

Courtesy/CBS

Ptosha Storey, who played your on-screen mother, Naya, was amazing in the scenes with you.  What was it like working with her and the gravity of it, where this woman is basically unapologetic that she didn’t want her children and she gave them up, and she did not sugar-coat it.

MISHAEL:  Ptosha was amazing.  I loved working with her.  We really got to kind of know each other a little bit.  She has such an interesting story about coming to LA to pursue acting, taking a break from it, (and I don’t want to speak for her), but then really going full-throttle right now when Black, female characters are being played, and she’s getting an opportunity to get back out there and do what she loves to do.  Just listening to her story was so inspiring to me. We had a true respect for each other when we got on the stage, and I think we made some art.

Photo: JPI

It was almost like watching a two-person play in those scenes.  What did Amanda feel at this point?  Was she hoping that her mother would say, “I loved you.  I wanted you?”  Was she hoping for a different outcome in her head?

MISHAEL:  I think anybody who goes into a search for their parents is hoping for a positive outcome.  I think for her, it was heartbreaking to hear that if Naya could go back and do it all over again, she would have made the same choices, and also knowing that those choices really impacted Amanda’s life in an incredible way.  I don’t think that all of it has come out yet.  I think a lot of the pain and hurt that she had to go through as a child, and the loneliness that she had to go through as a child, and hearing from a mother that she would put you back in that situation because it was more comfortable for her, and the level of selfishness is hard to take. Then there is the anger and everything that would come out of hearing that from your biological mother.  It’s funny because the way that those scenes were scripted, there was no stage direction, which to me, I love, because a lot times it will say like, “in this moment she is going to get a little angry,” or, “in that moment she is going to be sad,” but for those scenes, for some reason (and they were really juicy scenes) they really didn’t give much direction. I appreciated that because then it really allowed me to really just make the scene what I thought it was and just really live in the moment.  I know this was a roundabout way to answer the question, but yes, it was very heartbreaking because nobody expects that somebody would say that to them.

Photo: JPI

It was just so heartbreaking.  I kept thinking, “Maybe she’ll…” but no, Naya just stood her ground on it even though Amanda grew up in a foster home.  She wasn’t the “chosen” twin either!

MIHAEL:  No, and she was never chosen, and I think that’s an interesting thing that you said because she was never chosen, and I then even to this day, as a grown woman, she still isn’t chosen, and that I think is heartbreaking.  It’s an interesting thing because I do happen to have a bit of a personal experience with this.  My father wasn’t in the foster system, but he was raised… kind of farmed out to two aunts as a young child and didn’t really get to have a relationship with his parents until he was older, and with his mother, until he was in his 20s.  So, it was so fascinating watching my father.  I just remember always looking up to him and thinking he was so strong, and so powerful, and never cared about what anybody thought, and because of his upbringing, it made him a very driven person, very much like Amanda, but there was a weird sense of wanting to be good enough when his father was around, or when people talked about his father.  It was very fascinating for me to watch that.  It was like I would see my father almost turn into a child again, just wanting that love.  I think it’s because that is so organic to who we are as human beings that it just never goes away, that need to know that your parents love you, that there are two people in this world who no matter what will be there for you, and they will love you.  That’s a hard reality to come to when you realize that’s not true.  I think that’s something that’s really hard for the human spirit to let go of.

Photo: MMorganIG

Yes, and I think what you are saying is also true that you realize as an adult that we are so deeply affected by our childhood and how it plays into our choices, or how we perceive things that happen in our lives.  So, when you think of that, and because you’re a mom, doesn’t it make you feel even more that you want to do right by your kids? That you don’t want to do anything to screw them up in their later years?

MISHAEL:  Yes, it’s true.  It does make you want to be the best person for them and the best example, especially the best example for love.  You want them to feel accepted, and appreciated, and proud, and you want them to know that you’re proud of them.  You want to do everything you can because you think of every single person you may have met who felt like their parents didn’t love them enough, and you want to do every single thing to make sure that your child doesn’t feel that way.  I talked to one of my friends, and they’re like, “My parents never told me that they were proud of me,” and I’m like, “Alright!  Well, Niam, I am so proud of you!” Every day, “I am proud of you!  I am proud!”  It’s like every day I better make sure to tell my kids that I am proud of them, and that I love them.  I was talking to Bryton James about this because I had a disciplinary moment with my son, and you wonder if they are going to take it the way that you take it, but at the end of the day, that might get burned into his memory as “the worst thing that my mom ever did to me,” and meanwhile I thought it was a life lesson that I think he learned.  You kind of have to get rid of that fear that you are going to screw them up because I think it doesn’t matter.  You’re either going to love them too much, or you’re not going to love them enough, and you just have to do the best that you can, and you just hope that it’s good enough.

Photo:JPI

Now, you were brilliant as Hilary on Y&R and had this amazing story send-off, and then you came back to the show as Amanda, a new character.  How has it been to try to define Amanda as her own character without the ‘Hilary-isms’, or does it not matter anymore?  Do you feel you have made the distinction for yourself that they are two very different characters?

MISHAEL:  I feel like now they just are different.  It was active choices that I was making in the beginning, and it was important for me in the beginning.  That’s why, for me, when I was bringing Amanda in, I was trying to stay very steady in my tone and how I spoke because Hilary was very, very up and down, and everything was all over the place.  So, for me, that was my beginning moment, just really focusing on how Amanda spoke and how she conducted herself. I can’t change the way that I look, but I feel that the way that I speak and the way that I carry myself will naturally start to define the character.  After a while, when that becomes more second nature, I feel like more of the character comes through … more of how she is and how she takes things in.  That’s just sort of explaining a bit of my process. It’s just the weirdest situation that I never thought I would ever be in, but I definitely feel like a different character for sure!  I do feel like I know who Amanda is now.  In the beginning, when I read the script, all I heard was Hilary.  I really had to think about how I was going to say things because I didn’t want it to sound like Hilary, and now when I read the script, I see Amanda.  I don’t hear Hilary anymore.  It’s become easier for me now to lean more into the role and get more comfortable with it.

Photo:JPI

Amanda had said to her mother that she was also robbed of her sister.  How does that play into her whole psyche?  She does know that Devon was deeply in love with her sister, and now she has feelings for him too.  Did she want to meet her sister?  Does she feel robbed of that?

MISHAEL:  She feels very much robbed of that.  For me, it was very important that the time when she discovered that Hilary was her sister and that Hilary was gone, that I’m playing that loss properly.  It was important for me because if you couldn’t believe that Amanda’s heart is truly breaking for her sister, then you can’t believe anything else that’s coming afterwards.  This is a really defining moment for me as an actor playing two characters on the show.  It was really important, leaning into the fact that I had a twin, and I’ll have a connection to a person who doesn’t exist anymore, and really letting that break my heart, and break Amanda’s heart.  Once the audience believes that, then they can really believe that Amanda is a different character.  Then, our amazing fans will start to just buy into it, and they will figure it out, and they will work it out, and they will wrap their heads around it, but for me, it was that they had to believe that Amanda’s heart is truly broken for Hilary, otherwise we can’t hook them.  Amanda and Hilary have to become two separate characters in people’s minds.

Right.  So, after the confrontation with her mother, she runs to Devon, and she is torn up, and he consoles her.  This week he asked her out on a date.  She likes this guy, right? 

MISHAEL:  Yeah, I think she does!  He’s the first person that she met when she came to town, and I think she’s always been impressed by how he treated her even when he hated her, and the more that she learned of him, the more she became impressed by who Devon was, and his patience with all of this. In seeing his vulnerability with Hilary, and everything that he went through, and then seeing his heart being broken because of Elena and Nate, I think all of it together is starting to give these two characters reasons to be okay with exploring something that may seem strange to other people, but you can’t control who you love sometimes.

Photo: JPI

Hilary and Devon were such a hugely popular couple.  Do you feel pressure to hit lighting in a bottle, twice?

MISHAEL:  It’s really hilarious because we’re the same people!  Yeah, there is a little bit of pressure because you do wonder if you’re going to be able to create the same magic, especially because Bryton and I have known each other for so long, and we know each other so well now.  Looking back at some of the Hilary and Devon scenes, there is something that is so interesting about it and fun about it because I think Bryton and I were just getting to know each other at the same time.  So, wondering if we are going to be able to recreate that and just make it feel fun and fresh, I think is the worry or the challenge.  I think we will figure it out.  Bryton and I were talking, and the one thing that is missing, or the one thing that we have to get to in terms of the underbelly of Amanda and Devon’s attraction is that Amanda is more like Devon than Hilary ever was.  It’s almost like Devon realizing that the whole journey with Hilary was meant to happen just so that he could meet Amanda.

Isn’t Amanda going to be kind of worried that he was so in love with Hilary and the way that she looked…

MISHAEL:  Well, she doesn’t need to worry because Hilary is dead anyway.  It’s not like she’s coming back!  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Since the last time you played an on-screen relationship, Bryton is with Brytni Sarpy in real-life, and Brytni is on the show now, and there is all of that.  What has that been like working with Brytni?

MISHAEL:  Oh, I’m so Canadian!  As soon as I got back to the show, I was like, “I’m so sorry,” and she was like, “Why are you sorry?”  I said, “I just feel very sorry that I’m here.  You guys have your real-life love thing going on, and your on-screen love… I feel weird.  I’m happy to be back on the show, but I’m like breaking up the party!”  She’s like, “No!  It’s fun!  It’s fine!  Maybe we’ll be rivals!”  I’m like, “Yeah, okay it’ll be fun!”

I can see a classic soap bitch-fight on the horizon on Y&R!

MISHAEL:  Brytni has been awesome about it.  That’s been great.  We don’t know where it’s going to go, but it’s going to be fun.  They’re also playing with Devon’s love for Elena still.  They still have a pull.  Devon is still looking at Elena.  So, I think it’s going to be interesting either way.

Photo: JPI

We are going to have the fan wars again for the couples!

MISHAEL:  That’s even more fun!  I always said I’d rather people be fighting for me to be with this person and that person as opposed to just always with one person because then to me, I kind of wonder, “Is it just this one actor who makes me better?”  I want to be an actor who makes everyone better!  That I can work off of anybody and get that chemistry or that thing that audiences are looking for, that’s what I really challenge myself to do.

Photo: JPI

On February 3rd, it’ll be the second anniversary of Kristoff  St. John’s death, which is hard to believe that it will have been 2 years already.  I keep remembering when I first met you.  Kristoff and you were on The Price is Right, but it was also a crossover for your characters, and you were the new girl on Y&R.  Do you still feel his presence at Y&R?

MISHAEL:  A few days ago, I had asked Bryton, who is s actually in Kristoff’s old dressing room, “Do you ever feel Kristoff in there?  In your dressing room?” and he’s like, “No, not really.  Definitely not in my dressing room, but on set sometimes.”  Even though he’s not here, it’s like he’s still with us because you still see him in pictures and sometimes that happens while you are on set doing a scene.  One time, I was on set doing a scene with Christel Khalil (Lily), and I saw a picture of Kristoff in the background, and it’s just kind of a reminder that I think he is always going to be here in terms of his impact on me and my time on the show.  He means a lot to me because I think I am the artist I am largely because of his influence, and how he really took me under his wing and made me feel so comfortable.  He was such a light, and he made acting so fun, but he always had your back as an acting partner and as friend, and I miss him a lot.

Me too.  He was just a wonderful actor too, when you look back on some of the work.

MISHAEL:  Oh my gosh, yes.

Photo:JPI

What does Amanda think of Naya’s other daughter, Imani (Leigh Ann Rose)?

MISHAEL:  She’s just irritated by Imani because she basically got to live the life that Amanda should have had essentially. To watch her be up on her high horse to Amanda, it’s laughable because the amount of hoops and obstacles that Amanda has had to go through to get to where she is standing today, somebody like Imani is just a complete joke to her! In Amanda’s mind, she is who she is just because of the opportunities that she was given and because of the family that she was born into.  It was complete luck, and it had nothing to do with hard work.  In Amanda’s eyes, everything that she is and every ounce of who she is, is because of her determination, and the choices that she made, and the obstacles that she overcame.  So, the way that Amanda looks at Imani is like she is just a person who she doesn’t even think could fathom how insignificant Amanda thinks that she is.  There is a deep-rooted resentment for Imani because I just think that Amanda has been through so much.

Would you like to have more scenes between Amanda and Naya and Imani?

MISHAEL:  Yes.I want more scenes with both of them!  Both of them are so amazing.  So, I’d love to work with both Imani/Leigh-Ann and Naya/Ptosha again.

Photo:JPI

What can you say to the fans to look forward to?

MISHAEL:  I think I would say that Amanda coming to Genoa City was a really big surprise, and I think that those surprises will continue … ff we want to be as vague as possible! I think there are a lot of things to look forward to because this relationship with Devon is definitely going, and I think it will be interesting to watch how Bryton and I figure that out, which will be fun!

Photo: JPI

Big surprises? Hmm.  Are you going to tell me that there are four of you? That Naya really gave birth to quadruplets … and you are about to take on two more roles?

MISHAEL:  Well, you never know!  That’s all I’ll say!

So, what did you think of Mishael’s recent performances where Amanda met her birth mother? Are you rooting for Amanda and Devon to wind up together, or Devon and Elena? What have you thought of Amanda Sinclair vs. Hilary Curtis Hamilton?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

Photo: ABC, NBC, CBS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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