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The Crystal Chappell & Kim Turrisi Interview – Venice

© JPI Studios

© Lesley Bohm / © Vicki McFadden

One year ago at this time, as Guiding Light fans and its cast and crew were handed down the news of its cancellation – right in the middle of the telling of the super-duper popular same-sex love story of Otalia – its loyal fan base and its actors were devastated. Crystal Chappell determined to continue to cultivate the LGBT audience that has had little depiction of their life stories seen on daytime television decided to take matters into her own hands, and take what started out as a love story on network TV and transfer parts of it into a new and uncharted territory for soap operas… web soaps. Partnering with her long-time friend Kim Turrisi, the dynamic duo created Venice, which gave legions of fans worldwide an opportunity for them to see the magic re-created once again by Crystal and her on-screen partner, Jessica Leccia, but with a new twist!

Crystal and Kim chatted with On-Air On-Soaps for this exclusive, in-depth, and heartfelt interview as a thank you letter to all the fans, and those who helped Venice along the way, and were instrumental in making it a global phenomenon. And while season one did not go off without some major and minor glitches, the gals open up and discuss the perils, agony, and ecstasy of pulling off something so rare, and of such magnitude, to satisfy a rabid and adoring fan base. And through it all, how they remained true to the characters and the stories they set out to tell. There are some major announcements contained below, some behind-the-scenes snippets never before revealed, and so much more. Congratulations to all on Venice. We were happy to be part of the ride of season one, and look forward to an even more exciting second season. So, read on!

MICHAEL:

The two of you have gone through the process of season one, and those in the know were aware that there were some things that were easier to accomplish than others.  What was the easy part and what were the moments that you were, for a lack of a better word, in shock over?

CRYSTAL:

Let me timeline it first.  It started a year ago on April 1st and with Big Purple Dreams and Destini.  She did some amazing pod casts for that site with Otalia, and she encouraged me to get on Twitter.

MICHAEL:

So, Destini is actually to blame for your addiction to Twitter?

CRYSTAL:

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Yes, and it’s her fault, really. (Laughs)  And I am glad I took her advice, because it gave people a place to go.  And for the Otalia fans, at that point, we conceived the web story of Venice and laid out these characters from all walks of life.  So it was a great way to talk about Venice and take Otalia and give them a new home.  Then, I convinced Kimmy to Twitter and that is my fault, I will take that one! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What was the point when you knew in your heart you needed to keep the Otalia characters going in some fashion?

CRYSTAL:

We got the notice of Guiding Light’s cancellation on April 1st, and someone mentioned we would stop shooting mid-August, and that is when we ended.  Knowing it was coming to an end, I called P&G and I suggested to them, either take us to As the World Turns or create a web series.  I had wanted to do something on the web for a long time and this seemed to be a perfect opportunity to do that, and give the Otalia fans a new home.

MICHAEL:

Once you were looking for a new home, it wasn’t easy!

CRYSTAL:

I felt like the only place to go was the web, and it’s the only place where we could take a show like Venice and have the creative freedom to tell story like we want to tell it.  But it was obvious to me that social networking was the way to get the message out there, and guide people in the way we’d hope they would go.  That was a year ago last week, and they jumped and they were so happy.  Personally, I know I felt, “Ok, this is the right thing to do.”

KIM:

And through Twitter, I started this Twitter banter with a person, who is a Florida Gator, and I am a Florida State Seminole.  We started this back and forth sort of thing.  And then she emailed me.  She is a genius when it comes to social networking and the web, and she reached out to me.  Her nickname was “Stu” and she said, “I am actually going to be in California.  I have an idea for you, if you want to meet me.”  And so I met her for a drink, and she was so smart and she talked about Facebook, and she said she wanted to do a Facebook page for me and Crystal.  She told me she was going to do this with another person nicknamed “Junk”, and they created our Facebook. They told us they were going to go live.  Crystal and I were watching this going, “Oh, my gosh,” and it gave them another place to take this Otalia storyline.  And with Venice, it mushroomed and exploded, and that was through a Twitter connection.  They are part of our team to this day and are amazing.

Courtesy/Venice

MICHAEL:

When was Kimmy on board for writing season one of Venice?

CRYSTAL:

I spoke to her a week after Guiding Light was canceled, which would be a year go this week.

MICHAEL:

What was your take away from the end of Otalia, and portraying the love of these two women, Olivia and Natalia?

CRYSTAL:

It’s really magical when two women in the most loving respectful way can play something this meaningful.  Jessica Leccia and I are both, ‘girl’s girl’, and there was never any ….alright I just came out.   I love kissing her, too (Laughs)

KIM:

I loved watching it!  As soon as Crystal came on the show, she is my best friend, so whatever show she is on I watch.  I watched her on Days of our Lives when she was on, and when she went over to Guiding Light. I fell madly in love with that storyline.  I could not believe it.   I remember when she called and said, “You are not going to believe my new storyline.”  And it was shocking!  I was so proud of the way it was played out, and it was so believable. Crystal shared some of the letters she had gotten, and some of the letters we get on a daily basis with Venice, and it all goes back to the core. And the core is the Otalia fans.  They are the ones, who with all the little glitches that continued to go wrong, said, “We were on this adventure”. And they are the ones who stuck with us through thick and thin, even though Jessica and Crystal were not going to be the ones that were together in Venice. They invested in these two women and that was amazing!

MICHAEL:

Kim, as a writer, weren’t there some things you would have liked to have seen written differently in the Otalia storyline, or where you went, “I can write this better?”

KIM:

Courtesy/Venice

I will admit I thought there were some moments that were missed opportunities. What I said was, “God, I would love to have these two women and write for them somewhere else where somebody doesn’t say, “Whoops, you can’t do that.”  Oh, for sure.   Their chemistry is what it is.  I don’t care, straight or gay, you can’t watch those two on-screen be together; it could be having sex, kissing or just talking, and they have that kind of chemistry.  As a writer, you just dream to have that happen. Yeah, I watched a couple of moments and went, “Jesus, I want them.”

MICHAEL:

So what was the next hurdle in the Venice journey?

CRYSTAL:

Sometime during the summer, Hope Royaltey got in touch with me.  She had heard about Venice and knew we were creating a series for the web, and called to be part of the team as more of a technical person and also a co-director. I did not know anything about creating a website.  I knew how to surf the web and shop!  I did not know about bandwidth and what not.  Then that led us into pre-production, and production in October.  But here is where it gets to be really amazing.  I want people to understand that this group of people worked tirelessly for nothing.  I know the fans appreciate everything, and I feel I need to mention certain people’s name who helped us along the way.  There is a lovely associate producer, Kim Di Tomasso, who has a very big day job, and she has been on board from the beginning, not only a kind person, but smart.  We would call her in a panic and say, “I need a Venice logo on some panties.”  And she would be running out the door, so we could get the Venice logo on some panties!

KIM:

She literally was at a political fundraiser and Crystal and I were like, “Oh, My God.  Well, we want to post this picture and can you get a logo for it?”  Here she was at this fundraiser and she did it.  She was so excited to do it.

CRYSTAL:

She thinks about the show and the fans as well.  That goes for Leslie Penny as well.  She worked so tirelessly on this.  Well, between Kimmy, Leslie and Kim, we wanted to make it the fan’s show.  I have told you that from the beginning and they have all answered emails directly. We are here… someone is going to get back to you.

KIM:

I don’t think people realize the honest to God’s truth that the month of December when we had some issues with our store that did not go right our fan club president and other women got involved with it. Crystal and I were at a college gymnasium with the girl’s volleyball team who volunteered to help us…

© Adam Bouska

CRYSTAL:

We would like to thank them, too… (Laughs)

KIM:

We were literally packing panties and T-shirts for twelve hours.  I would be calling people going, “Hi, this is Kimmy from Venice and I have your order here.  Crystal just needs to know, did you get your boxers?”  And they were like, “What?”  My living room during the Christmas holidays had tables of all the merchandise, and while everyone was Christmas shopping, Michelle Carter and Crystal and I, were in my living room packing things up and taking them to the post office.  Not really glamorous!

CRYSTAL:

We got to know a lot of people on Twitter doing that, and they understood. We would say, “We are telling you right now…we are packing your panties”.   I want to mention Maria Macina and Jay Bungay, and Lane Crouse, these are all my Guiding Light friends.  I called Maria, who was one of the GL producers, a week before Christmas, and she comes from a very close Italian family, and Christmas is a big Italian family day.  I did not know about this, but I am trying to get myself invited next year! (Laughs)  She has got to cook for twenty- some people.  I call her the week before in a panic and I say, “Maria, what if I flew you out here the week before Christmas, and what if you edit episodes 3 to 12.  How would that be?”  We were not going to make our deadline, and she said, “I heard the panic in your voice, and of course, I would do it.”  And so she left her family with her parent’s blessings, and stayed in my home with me.  I watched her edit episode 3 to 12 in five days with no sleep.  And then Maria suggested Jay and Lane.  Jay is a miraculous finishing editor who does amazing things with audio, and Lane is amazing as a color correcting artist.

MICHAEL:

They did it for free?

CRYSTAL:

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No. I actually paid Maria, Jay and Laney.  I gave them some money because I didn’t feel I could just pull them in on Christmas and not pay them.  I will say, Jay wanted to be part of this from the beginning, and Maria is my friend and would have done it for nothing. But I felt like I should compensate them for that.  The point is, this show got out on time because of those three people.  And we got a great new company and redesigned our entire website.  We have a lot of good stuff happening in the next two to three weeks.  It’s very functional.  It’s beautiful and its with a company called Purple Crayons out of Colorado, and they have been very helpful.  The bottom line is, it’s been the fans who have been understanding, forgiving, and patient, and that is not lost on us.  So, I want to put that out there, and let them know about these other people who really wanted it to work for them, too.

KIM:

Actually, when Maria was out here I proposed, I did.  I walked in and said, “You need to marry me.”  And I think she thought I was crazy.  It was the first time I met her and I proposed to her.  That is the kind of tight schedule we were on.  I really did propose to her when I saw the work she was doing.  I literally sat in front of the computer and wept.  Crystal and I were so tired, but we kept saying, “We can’t let the fans down.”  And they were and are so loyal, and it’s almost unbelievable!

MICHAEL:

Never have I seen in 20 years of covering daytime, what you have managed to do with Venice. You truly deserve so much credit to cultivate the audience, and do an online show.  It was almost like a labor of love between the fans, the press, and the both of you. This project had such far reaching effects going on with it, and everybody wanted the same end goal; that this show would be up there, successful, and to do the story you wanted to tell.

KIM:

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Overall, I am proud of what we accomplished with what we had, and all the bumps that hit us that we weren’t expecting.  For me, to watch the actor’s work, and when I tweet out, ‘they are a writer’s dream’, I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  When you write something it is close to your heart, and Crystal and I spent so much time together with it.  When you have someone like Jordan Clarke…and this is one of my favorite moments, ever.  My phone rings and its Jordan.  He goes, “Hey Kimmy, its Jordan.  I think I am going to buzz cut my hair and grow a moustache.  Don’t tell Crystal.  I want to surprise her.  Don’t you think that would be great for the Colonel?”  Well, it took my breath away.  The actors invested so much and it was certainly not lost on us.  And when Nadia Bjorlin came in an hour before shooting, her response was, “I read the script and I liked her.  I will be there an hour.”  This was an episode Crystal was directing and it was she in make-up talking to her about Lara.  I was concerned.  I said, “What about all the dialog?”  And Crystal said, “Don’t worry about the dialog, she works in daytime.”  Then I watched Crystal direct Nadia and Jessica, and let me tell you, they have the hottest love scene in season two!

CRYSTAL:

Kim will be icing the nipples in her own unique way for that one.

KIM:

…With my assistant, Brandon Beemer.  He is my new boy toy.  I want to say my girlfriend is completely supportive of it!  She likes him, too.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Of all the things that people were questioning one was what went on with the server issues?

CRYSTAL:

We got hard fast education on streaming and servers and bandwidth, and it was a crash course in web design.

KIM:

Crystal and I were on the phone together, if we are not in the same room every night, while all this was happening with trying to fix it and reaching out to people we know.  Look, we know we went to Amazon and went with Cloud Servers and we went with ten of them to prevent crashing.  But there was no way for us to know we needed ten Cloud Servers until Purple Crayon told us.  And when you are thinking, “OK,” and when you go to streaming servers, I don’t think that anybody could handle these amounts of fans, and so it was a great problem to have and we have worked it out.  Literally, there were moments where we were like, “Holy Shit!  Is this really happening?”

MICHAEL:

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I remember so vividly the first night the site launched, when so many people tried to view the first episode of Venice and could not get on to see it!

KIM:

It was happening, and we did not know it, because we were in Las Vegas hanging out with 200 Guiding Light/Otalia die hard fans.  We had DVD’s for them of Venice. So we are sitting there going, “Well, I hope everyone is enjoying the show,” while we were watching our phones as they were ringing off the hook.

CRYSTAL:

…and I am thinking, “It’s probably our families telling us how good we are.” (Laughs)

KIM:

And we get this call, “Half the friggin country can’t get on!”

MICHAEL:

What did you do when you heard that?

KIM:

You know while we were there trying to show the love, it was an amazing gathering and behind the scenes it was wild.  We spent two and half-hours with the fans, and then we went upstairs and had every single phone in use.  I had one of our other good friends there, and my girlfriend was with us and all four phones were dialing, Leslie, Kim, and everybody going, “What the hell is going on?  How can we fix this?”  And that was what we did for three hours.  Then I was like, “Crystal, we have to go downstairs and gamble.” The next morning at 5AM my phone went off and it was Crystal.  She says, “OK, I ordered coffee and here is what we are going to do!”  And that was our December.

CRYSTAL:

Courtesy/Venice

And that is when the education began for me, and that is when I knew I needed to understand thoroughly what it takes to do a web show.  It’s one thing to come up with a marketing plan, but it became about how do we technically pull this off?  In the end, it was the best thing that could have happened, because we now know what we are talking about when we talk.

MICHAEL:

You received pushback from many online soap competitors and critics for charging a subscription rate of $9.99 for fans to see the webisodes.  Looking back, do you still think this was a good idea?

CRYSTAL:

I was on Twitter and I asked, “What would you pay?  Would you pay $9.99?”  I don’t regret our decision.  It helped fund season two.

KIM:

It’s extremely costly to stream video.

CRYSTAL:

And I don’t think people realize that.  We offered a streaming subscription for $9.99; we extended it an additional two months. That is a lot of money for those extra two months, but we wanted to give people that.

KIM:

It’s expensive to dedicate ten servers, and even if we don’t use all ten. Crystal and I decided, “Look we don’t want crashing, and what’s it going to take for us on a Friday night to know that we can have a drink?”  And so the magic number was ten servers.  We pay for them, and when people are watching the episodes over and over and over 50 times, those cost us money, and you have to be able to do something to be able to get them the show that they want.

CRYSTAL:

The other thing is this: I literally had people sending me checks for thousands of dollars with my name on them.  I had one woman offer me $10,000 because she wanted to support the show.  I sent the checks back, except for one where I may have gone shopping. (Laughs)   The idea was if they are so supportive of this, I said, “Take your check and we are going to open a store, and if you want to support the show then go buy a T-shirt.”   So no, it seemed to me like $ 9.99 was a good price point.

MICHAEL:

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So how did it work out for you in season one?  Were you able to make a profit for Venice?

KIM:

I think we are one of the only web series operating in the black, and to make a big strong point by being in the black, we are rolling that into season two.  We have not seen one dime.  Crystal acted the whole time and directed.  I wrote the first season and the second season with no money.  Every dime that we have made is going back into the show.

CRYSTAL:

And the crew and the actors last season did it all for free.  Going into season two, the hope is, to be able to pay the actors and keep them under contract for season two and three, and hopefully, to be able to get sponsorship.  And we are putting the media kit together now.  We will see where it goes.  My hope and my goal is to give season two away for free to everybody.  Honestly, it’s the loyalty to the fans.  I said if we can do the subscription for season one, we might be able to pull off-season two for free.  They trusted me and it’s looking like that is what’s going to happen. 

MICHAEL:

Many fans were curious and asked me if this was the script you wrote Kimmy that we saw on-screen in season one, or did the actors influence or change the script?

CRYSTAL:

It’s very interesting.  I learned from soaps that the actors are not allowed to talk to the writers, and that is just how it goes.  That is not what we would do.  Just like the Twitter community that has come together for this, we are very open and very available, and what ever you have to offer, we want to hear it.  I improvise all the time.  I am the worst person, and I did not say everything that was in Kimmy’s script.  We added stuff.

KIM:

And it all worked, and I come from a different viewpoint.  I love actors and I love collaborating with them, and I worked with every single actor before the final script went to them.  Then on set, somebody was feeling something.  Crystal and I said, “Change it up.”  I am not an egomaniac.  I am not married to anything.  There is nothing that anybody did that switched the scope of where we were going in a scene.  If you don’t say the exact words, I don’t care.  For the actors, they were so respectful.

CRYSTAL:

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There was a scene with Gina Tognoni and Galen Gering and Galen said, “Fuck” and Gina on set went, “Are we allowed to say that?” And we went, “Yup. You sure can.”  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Are you thinking of longer webisodes for season two?

CRYSTAL:

Yes, I am thinking 12 minutes webisodes for season two.

MICHAEL:

Kimmy, it would then seem fans would get a bonus, in that you would have to write more story to accommodate the longer webisodes?

KIM:

This season’s script is longer and it’s been a joy.  And the hardest part is, it’s very hard to develop a character in six minutes.  Crystal and I know the big picture and translating it on screen is another thing.  It really helped having seasoned professionals, being the actors, and what they added with their own pizzazz.  In writing season two, you know what you can write to, which is their strength.  I know what they can deliver.  My dream would be to have Venice be a thirty-minute series, if I could have this cast.  You are dealing with what you are dealing with… the constraints of the web.  Season two will be written a bit differently, but when you get those extra couple of minutes to flesh out some more, it enhances the experience.

MICHAEL:

As head writer, what would you say were the defining on-screen moments of season one for you?

KIM:

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For me, there were several, but my favorite line in the entire show is when Gina stands up to the Colonel.  I was watching the monitor and I was speechless.  It was a great moment and I cried.  It was shot in my home which doubles as the Colonel’s house, and first of all the delivery was ridiculous.  I think it resonated with so many people.  The letters we got after that took my breath away, and the other moments for me personally, that were great I have said it before.  It was the moment Crystal was directing Jessica and Nadia.  I stepped into friend mode.  I know she has wanted to do this for so long, and for her to be so good and organized was something to see. I watched the way she treated those two and I thought: “My God, what a great moment and for me to watch her do that.”  There is a moment when you think, “Oh God, she has been Jessica’s girl for all this time.”  How are you going to say, “Now this is what I want you to do, so that now you guys have this amazing moment?”  And she did so, without any regard to where she was with Jessica.  I also loved the moments with Ani and Gina on the beach together where they were talking, and it was so painful and real, and I loved the dates.  I loved Galen and Hillary and Crystal’s chemistry, and the love scene with Crystal and Jessica.

CRYSTAL:

I was thinking about it today, and I can’t wait to backlight the love scene in season two. It’s going to be beautiful; it’s Nadia Bjorlin, and it’s a lot of pretty.

KIM:

And there is a whole lot of ‘pretty’ coming on the show.  There is a lot to look at in season two.

CRYSTAL:

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In regards to season two, we are going to see that Gina is going to start her healing process, and a lot of stuff is going to happen between she and the Colonel.  We are going to discover some not so attractive things about Lara, and Ani is going to figure a few things out.  There is a beautiful story being played by Galen and Gina, and then Van is coming back to town, who is Guya’s son.  And…. he is a nasty sexy bastard!

KIM:

Season two is going to turn Venice upside down a bit.  It’s been really fun for me and Crystal to break out story together.

MICHAEL:

How many new characters can we expect?

KIM:

Three, and then there are going to be some characters that are going to be in a couple of episodes that I think people are going to really, really, really love.  Lucky us!

MICHAEL:

Have you cast anybody?  Can you let one out of the bag for us?

CRYSTAL:

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Yup!  Jeff Branson is coming on board as Van!  So it will be Gina and Jeff and Galen, in a story, and that is going to be messy.

KIM:

I am not going to say he is bad.

CRYSTAL:

He has something to resolve.

MICHAEL:

Well, he better not bail on Venice this time!  Last time you cast him as your brother and he could not do season one!

CRYSTAL:

Jeff Branson is a friend of mine.  I am going to kick his ass if he takes another show this time! (Laughs).   We also have some great people who have approached us about directing.  I ran into Susan Flannery at Frances Reid’s celebration.  I asked Susan, “I would like you to come direct a little bit,” but I made it clear she was not getting the nipples scene.  She was so gracious and said, “I would love to do it.”  I am also going to direct more in season two.

MICHAEL:

So when can the fans expect to see season two?  What is the plan for production and launch?

CRYSTAL:

I am thinking it’s going to be first week of June and July, but what we are going to do is fly out our team and they will be editing while we shoot.  I think by the end of July we can have all the episodes shot and mostly edited.  So probably August, it will hit the web.

MICHAEL:

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Will this season see the same amount of webisodes?

CRYSTAL:

Yes.  We are still shooting for 12 episodes of 12 minutes each.

MICHAEL:

I want to ask the two of you since you brought Venice to life for the LGBT community and the mainstream, what did you think of the abrupt firing of Brett Claywell and Scott Evans on One Life to Live, and the decision by ABC and One Life to end the Kish storyline?

CRYSTAL:

I was surprised by that.  Here is something I want to say; when I saw the success of Otalia, a love story, these grown women fondled each others knuckles more then they should ever have to, without being able to move forward, and after that there seemed to be certainly Nuke on World Turns, who were already there and going strong.  But there certainly seemed to be this emergence of male gay love stories…Y&R, and then One Life.  I was very happy to see any kind of story being told with same-sex characters.  It is very disheartening and I was so disappointed.  I don’t know the circumstances and I know everyone is dealing with budgets.  It seemed to be working and so I don’t get that.

KIM:

I am actually, as a gay person, disgusted and saddened by it.  Not only was it working, for the life of me…

Courtesy/Venice

CRYSTAL:

…. My point is that the Otalia coupling got so much attention…it makes me uncomfortable to think, and I am not suggesting this is what happened, but that people would think or create gay characters for daytime and then, so what happened?  You have to play it out, and it has to be something that is taken seriously.

KIM:

Don’t abandon it.

MICHAEL:

I have had so many conversations, talked on this subject so many times, but it feels like the gay audience feels like they get to a certain place and then dropped from mainstream television culture, and no one follows through, and rightfully so, they should be upset.  Then you have Middle America housewives with families also, who fall in love with these same-sex couples and tell me they are their favorites on the show, and yet they are ceasing to exist on daytime television for various reasons.

CRYSTAL:

To a point, it’s one of things I appreciated about Guiding Light with Otalia.  They made it a love story.  However, the lack of a kiss was disgusting and ridiculous.

KIM:

And they put out a love story, and the sad part about it is, a love story is a love story.  People say, how do you write gay characters?  I write all characters the same in the regard that love is love.  I will hold to that until I am in the ground.  I don’t care who you are, or your gender, or your color.  If you are going to invest in the same sex storyline then please, dear God, the gay community is in these relationships and you can’t just abandon it.

CRYSTAL:

I had a fear when I was working on Guiding Light when I realized we were touching foreheads.  I understand building suspense and longing, but then the realization hit me that they are never going to let these two women kiss.  And I thought, in some small, small way, that I appreciate that Otalia can go off.  I was afraid of what would happen if something ridiculous happens that Olivia decides all of a sudden, “I am heterosexual.” You know what I am saying?  I just did not want it to be debased in any way.  I love where people go with that, and that is my one small gratitude about the show being canceled was that I was concerned about what would have happened.

MICHAEL:

Season two… tease it for me?

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KIM:

I think there is going to be some surprise for the fans.  They are going to see all different sides of lead characters that they did not know existed.  There are secrets, lies, and deceptions.

MICHAEL:

And sex scenes?

CRYSTAL:

Listen, I am determined to get Nadia Bjorlin’s nipple.  I have written the words, “Close up on Nadia’s nipple”.

MICHAEL:

Crystal, you have something you wanted to announce about your company, and some changes and some new directions?

CRYSTAL:

Yes. We have had an amazing journey this year, and obviously the fans have been the only reason we have been successful, but as Open Book Productions we have another show that is in pre-production that will involve some of the same cast members of Venice. Open Book Productions, now consists of just me and Kim.  Hope is no longer with us, but we wish her all the best.

KIM:

We are very excited.  We have a show in development, and this is something we are going to shoot along with Venice, and it’s more of a reality show, and going to involve Twitter.  Both of us have been reading scripts, and have been taking meetings with other people who want us to produce their stuff, and there are some other things on our development slate.  So, Open Book Productions is moving forward.

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CRYSTAL:

I will tell you that they do cater to the LGBT community and I want to be clear about that.

KIM:

Yes, they do.  And just for a second, I want to set the record straight.  Gina is not giving up her toaster.  Gina is not going to be with a man!

CRYSTAL:

She has been gay since she can remember!  Jesus! (Laughs)

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kelltwomyn
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kelltwomyn

What an incredible interview! Thank you for posting this, Michael, and thank you, Crystal and Kimmy, for setting the record straight on so many issues! I always had faith and you have proven yourselves over and over. Thank you.

happykt
Guest
happykt

One of the best Crystal Chappell interviews ever! Thanks for doing this Michael! I love CC!!!!!!

Pat
Guest
Pat

Thank you for posting another great interview! I’m personally excited to see where things will go in season two, now that the technical issues seem to have been resolved for the most part. And that promise of the hottest love scene ever between Lara and Ani? Let’s just say I’m going *THUD* already at just the mere thought of it, lol.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

thanks Michael for the fabulous interview, we got to know more about how the ladies kept their promise and give us Venice! it’s gonna be hard to watch Jessica having a love scene with someone other than Crystal, but ..I can’t wait to see the labour of love directing by Crystal.

soulgirl65
Guest
soulgirl65

Thank you Michael Fairman for this wonderful and insightful interview with the lovely Crystal Chappell and the very talented Kim Turrisi.I am so looking forward to season 2 of Venicetheseries.

PattiC14
Guest
PattiC14

LOVED this interview! Thank you Crystal and Kimmy for taking the time to do this interview! As a long time fan of Crystal’s, I am so proud for her in this venture, and especially proud that she’s able to share it with one of her best friends! I’m thankful that I’m able to witness such a wonderful piece of work! For any of those that complained about $9.99…it was worth SO MUCH more than that! I would’ve paid that PER episode! Can’t wait for season 2…I know Crystal and Kimmy will not disappoint! Thank you Michael for a wonderful interview!

Michele
Guest
Michele

Hopefully, Gina let Tracy go back to London. Although, Ani is with Lara, she still will always love Gina. I want to see some flashbacks from Ani and Gina’s relationship. Great interview.

quietb4storm
Guest
quietb4storm

I was so impressed by this interview. Kimmy and Crystal answered things openly and honestly, and we the fans love that. And for the record I would’ve paid more and will pay in the future if necessary. I’m just glad to see someone telling “our” story. The LGBT community loves that – I love that. I love Kimmy and Crystal and will continue to support them in any way I can.

soho
Guest
soho

What an amazing and informative interview! One of my favorites of the both of them.

Michael, I loved the questions you asked, they weren’t the same ones we always hear, so thank you.

Emporess
Guest
Emporess

Awesome Interview. Great info..looking forward to Venice 2 so exciting. Crystal Chappell and Kim Turrisi are so brillant and funny and I just adore them. Thanks Michael F. for the great questions! BRAVO!

EE_P
Guest
EE_P

Thank you Michael! I think I love you.

teeptmn
Guest
teeptmn

Great interview very open ,sincere & funny. Thanks Crystal and Kimmy for all your hard work just know we love you guys as much. Your labor of love has touched our heart and kudos to all that helped. Gotta love the loyal fans for there support keep pumping it up. Now on to all the goodies in season 2 can’t wait did I hear some mention about ice and human anatomy heh. Thanks Michael

UgottaLovett
Guest
UgottaLovett

Oh to be a fan of CC and KT. Love the insight into their world. It is amazing what they have already done and what they plan on doing. Ambitous much? Forever I hope. Brava!

Susi
Guest
Susi

Thank you for this wondeful interview! So very informative and it just proves to me again that Crystal and Kimmy are two very intelligent women who absolutely know what they’re doing. Now I just need to figure out a way to get through til August…

cLu3le55
Guest
cLu3le55

Wow! Thank you for the very enticing and entertaining interview Michael. A few points that were addressed made things a lot clearer and understandable. And being a young entrepreneur, I know how hard it is to try and bring up a company; the word ‘Sacrifice’ always lingers in the air and will never disappear. I envy Venice for having such die-hard fans to support and cheer them on through all the hardships.
Definitely looking forward to more Venice behind-the-scene shinanigans in creating Season 2. (^_^)

Annahgrrl
Guest
Annahgrrl

My official opinion….This was probably the BEST. INTERVIEW. EVAH. with the Venice crew. Refreshingly candid. There were things that I didn’t realize about the cost of streaming video. So a Great Big Thanks for the extra few months of Venice season 1.

“Thanks” just doesn’t seem like enough. These women are extraordinary. I will slip on my respectful objectification cap on for a sec and say…hellz yeah regarding the love scene/nipple tease. I think my brain just melted a smidge. “Toto, we’re not on broadcast tv anymore” .
Thanks Michael for the great interview.

Lee
Guest
Lee

It sounds like Season 2 will be all over the place, like Season 1. For the record, that is not a good thing.

karlayvette
Guest
karlayvette

Very open, honest and informative interview. Thank you Crystal and Kimmy for your hard work and dedication. Looking forward to Season 2 on the edge of my seat. Keep pushing forward into the the exciting worldwide network of web media.

24
Guest
24

Huge Kudos and thanks to you Michael 😉 ..Thanks CC and K xo..Crystal never seizes to amaze me with her talent and her Love for us devoted fans. I know Kimmy was blown away by all us, but she seems to fit right in haha. When Gl was canceled, that was one of the worst days I can remember in my life personally. It wasn’t just a soap for me, but a part of my everyday life and knowing that my hero “Olivia Spencer” was going away, never to be seen again, really hit me hard. Then the next day,… Read more »

Rita
Guest
Rita

Another fabulous interview Michael. I’m so glad that they chose you to interview them as you always ask the right questions. One thing that I really liked about this interview is Crystal and Kim’s honest responses, especially Crystal’s response to the non kiss on Otalia. From all the interviews that I have read/seen, I think this is her most outspoken response, and I respect her so much for that. With regards to Season 2 of Venice, I really hope that they are in a position to do it subscription free this time…I mean I would pay for it if I… Read more »

BetterBet
Guest
BetterBet

Wow. Great interview. The one thing that really bothers me though is that neither Crystal or Kimmy thank Hope. Yeah at the end, “we wish her the best.” It would have been nice to hear “we thank her for all of her hard work.” In fact, Crystal only mentioned Hope one other time, “more of a technical person and also a co-director.” Huh, funny because wasn’t she the 3rd Executive Producer and the Main Director? I have followed Crystal for a long time and I must say it is very disappointing (and eye opening) that she/they did not thank her.… Read more »

VeniceFan
Guest
VeniceFan

I agree with you. When all the technical problems at the launch of the website, Hope worked very hard to solve problems. The directing of season 1 is really great. I also think they could thank her better than that.

Thanks Hope

Alli
Guest
Alli

I agree as well. I was repeatedly disappointed from missed opportunities where Hope should had been thanked or given credit for the work and time she provided.

Hope, thank you.

venicelovah
Guest
venicelovah

Well said! BetterBet! I had always found irony in the fact that their production company is called “open book productions” yet they have always kept the fans completely in the dark about what happened with Hope. It seemed up until they aired the first episode, that Hope was still part of “Team Venice”. Then suddenly, they stopped tweeting her and publicly thanking her? The whole thing just seemed odd to me and honestly, disrespectful of the fans and of Hope. Hope, if you’re reading this, we the fans thank you for your hard work and contribution to Venice. We know… Read more »

puh leeze
Guest
puh leeze

This is ridiculous. Did you demand that Lennon thank McCartney? Should Martin have thanked Lewis? Creative people – like all people —have the right to begin and end relationships . No mud was thrown, and it was all quite respectful. The bottom line is that for whatever reason which we will never know, the association did not work out and ended rather amicably.Your statement that “it couldn’t have happened” without the previously iunknown Hope Royaltey is honestly utterly without support. The brains and engine for Venice is CC, who put herself way out there in a way no other has… Read more »

Keshia
Guest
Keshia

awesome friggin interview..thank you Crystal, Kimmy and Michael

TNjane
Guest
TNjane

Great job Michael. You, Mimi, and Destini always ask the questions that we the fans need answered and you don’t hold back.

ramzeee68
Guest
ramzeee68

Thank you Michael for this wonderful interview with our girls Crystal and Kimmy. I am continually impressed with C & K and what they are doing for their fans of Venice. I will forever follow them. C & K did an extraordinary job fixing the issues on the fly and I believe Season 2 will be better because of it. I’m so happy that they will be able to roll over what they made from Season 1 to Season 2. Even if Season 2 ends up to be subscription based, i will pay anything to keep this series going. I… Read more »

RockieSoul
Guest
RockieSoul

This interview was Fantastic… Thank you Mr. Fairman, Ms. Chappell and Ms. Turrisi….

coachbqueen
Guest
coachbqueen

Thank you Michael for an awesome interview. Your questions were spot on . I love hearing to what lengths Crystal and Kimmy went to in order to give the fans what they wanted. They were always so positive throughout the first season but I knew it had to be extremely difficult and they had some major hurdles they had to overcome. Thank you for giving us insights into what they really endured. And thank you Crystal and Kimmy for being so devoted to this project. I think it’s important that you guys know you are reaching out to many diffferent… Read more »

KelsMinUSA
Guest
KelsMinUSA

Freakin loved this interview. I’m so excited for Season 2 as I just ordered Season 1 on DVD from the Vstore 🙂 Crystal Chappell is simply amazing!

zenobie
Guest
zenobie

j’ai adoré lire cet interview; merci à vous toutes pour l’effort accompli : le résultat est au-delà de ce que l’on rêvait ! merci au journaliste qui posait les bonnes questions avec respect et intelligence et on vous souhaite vraiment le meilleur pour la suite, avec, il faut l’espérer, moins de problèmes techniques et plus d’amusement pour vous
on vous adore !

angelkitty
Guest
angelkitty

I agree with everyone else. This was one of the best interviews with Crystal and Kimmy. The quesitons were what most people wanted to ask and the answers were honest and insightful. I have been on this “journey” since the beginning and I have embraced the ups and downs along the way. I am glad they addressed the major issues. Hopefully, they will be a blessing in the long run and it sounds like they learned from them. I never had a problem with paying for content. Glad to hear that Season 2 may be free. So I plan on… Read more »

BethboWV
Guest
BethboWV

I really loved the interview thank you! Just bought S1 on dvd, and can’t wait for S2 it’s like anticipation for Christmas! It means so much to me that Crystal & Kimmy, and the rest of the crew really care about their fans! I have been a fan of Crystal’s for over 20yrs, she never ceases to amaze me how wonderful she is! I hope to be watching her for many years to come on television & on the web! Keep it comin’ cause I can’t get enough!

natjaku
Guest
natjaku

This is the defining interview Michael, Kim and Crystal. Every aspect of it is informative and gorgeous. Thank you so much for not only bringing the LGBT community amazing and enduring characters but also for bringing so many wonderful people together through this totally awesome adventure. Your courage, honesty, work ethic, fun-loving spirit and the relationships you are forging and re-affirming along the way is just so inspiring and really leaves me in awe. (Brave comment in there too Crystal – thanks for the insight into what you felt about Otalia not kissing! And also agree that although incredibly sad,… Read more »

willie robinson
Guest
willie robinson

loved the interview, as long i can see cc and jl on screen i am always on board. can not wait for season two.

perla
Guest
perla

Wow this is a great interview, I got so much insight from everything these lady’s and the whole Vteam did during the production of S1 and now also S2 so grateful for all this wonderful people did for the fans. Just can’t wait for the next season to start, and I don’t mind paying this coming season. to all the great people that made this possible thank you so much.

MF you did a wonderful job on this interview thank you very much

Julie
Guest
Julie

Crystal and Kimmy and the rest involved in Venice, I think we all knew your efforts were super human at times but I don’t think enough can be said about your efforts and vision. You championed through some very hard times and took a lot of grief other times. As a loyal Venice watchers I can’t say enough about your perserverance. You are doing great by your fan base and as webseries innovators, plus you are not selling out the storyline. I hope I get to support Venice for a long, long time. Thanks.

curleenshoy1
Guest
curleenshoy1

thank you for such a honest interview, i alway believe in crystal words she told us what she and kimmy was about to do and my friend and i said well sink or swim we will back them all the way so thank you cc and kimmy, from our heart to your,. it will be hard to watch JL make love with someone else. when will we every see ANI AND gina again, together like an old marries couples

SpaceMom
Guest
SpaceMom

Bravo! Thanks for the wonderful interview. I can’t wait for Venice, Season 2 … and now I’m even more anxious, with the hints of what we can expect.

Thanks Kimmy & Crystal 🙂

MH20001
Guest
MH20001

During the time there was some complaints about CC and Venice, I wrote something over on the Venice the series youtube site in support of CC and the cast and crew, after reading this wonderful interview I’am so glad I did, this interview backed everything I said. CC and Kimmy to both of you and the cast and crew, I give a standing ovation for the work you all have done.

FrogProd
Guest
FrogProd

Like everyone here….great interview and I got the questions answered I was ruminating about. I have been a fan off Crystal for over 20 years and was FINALLY able to meet her in MN for the “HER HRC” event….and what I love about her is she is so genuine. What you see here is the real deal. I appreciated that so much as I was completely nervous and excited for this chance of a lifetime to finally meet her!! She totally set me at ease and talks to you with full attention and acts like she wants to really get… Read more »

hachiomaru
Guest
hachiomaru

Thanks Michael, Crystal & Kimmy! Fantastic interview! Have appreciated all your hard work on this labor of love…Venice..for all of us. You have a lot of fans supporting you no matter the ups and downs. We are here for you, too! Any help you need, we are there, just ask. Can’t wait for S2. Jessie & Nadia are quite the hot couple. Jessie is just fabulous in this series. Looking forward to more of CC’s directing. Thanks for everything you do. The new venture sounds intriguing! Love you! Happy to pay a subscription to give the budget you need to… Read more »

shunt
Guest
shunt

Michael this was a very informative interview, good questions and honest responses. I also am amazed at all CC and Kimmy have been able to accomplish. Their ability to learn and deal with the problems as they are on this journey is something we could all take a lesson from these days. I am looking forward to Season 2 of Venice. I am also a CC fan forever.

Jobadge
Guest
Jobadge

What an amazing interview! Such a insight to the behind the scenes workings of a very short timed and intense labour of love in order to bring Venice to the fans. Its very humbling to see how much work these guys put into this because its what they believe in. I was a newer Otalia fan as in the UK we didn’t have Guiding Light, but once on board the ride was amazing and so it brought us Venice and thus introduced me to Nadia Bjorlin. Jeepers that is some woman, I now find myself as fixated on her as… Read more »

crystalfan
Guest
crystalfan

Great interview with crystal and kimmy,nice questions asked and great answers.Did a great job of getting series up ,with the huge volume of peeps wanting to watch.I read on a board ,someone mentioned that they thought you guys did fantastic on a shoestring budget,when they saw the trouble a major network had trying to stream olympic coverage on the net .Oh and i hope that gina and lara get together somewhere down the line ,because crystal and nadia have such great chemistry,and i loved the pic of their smooch ,and the dirty dancing shot.,lol.

MarylandOtaliaFan
Guest
MarylandOtaliaFan

I appreciate what CC and KT are saying and doing, but Otalia was my love story, and Venice is very bittersweet, it just reminds me of how mad I am at CBS and P&G all over again, tho I agree there was a real silver lining in cancelling that venerable soap and giving us one of the few real love stories with a happy ending that we’ll ever see. Otalia was very, very special. Nothing can replace it. I’m not thrilled at seeing ‘my couple’ interacting with others. I want a romantic love story goshdarnit! I don’t want to see… Read more »

indigo8014
Guest
indigo8014

Thanks for such a wonderful interview with Crystal and Kimmy!! I will support anything they do! They are such awesome people! I feel very lucky that I got to experience watching the 1st Venice episode in Vegas with them!

AKDwyer
Guest
AKDwyer

I was one of the fortunate ones to be in Vegas watching ep1 with Crystal and Kimmy Friday night and then the next day, at the GL Q and A, I declared my coming out because of the Otalia storyline. I am now engaged to my love. Crystal and Jessica are a direct contribution to my happiness. I will forever be grateful to you and the LGBT community. Keep up the awesome work and we can’t wait for the upcoming seasons. I’d pay a lot more than just $10 each for the rest of the seasons. Thank you!!! XOXO Awesome… Read more »

shella
Guest
shella

Hello Kimmy/Crystal Todos nós sabemos que o sucesso de VENEZA deve-se ao vasto público, ao grande número de fãs de Otália e as magnificas interpretações destas duas personagens. É claro que não faz sentido nenhum que este casal Gina e Ani não acabem juntas, seria uma grande desilusão, até porque só teria sentido isso acontecer se Otália não tivesse a sua história. Agora pergunto? Porque razão Kimmy/crystal não dão outro seguimento a estes dois personagens, todos sabemos que todas as series/novelas, o desenrolar das mesmas são praticamente iguais só mudam os cenários, personagens, texto etc, o contexto é quase sempre… Read more »

Jeannette Doswell
Guest
Jeannette Doswell

Crystal and Kimmy, This is a very insightful interview! We learned about the early and ongoing struggles of Venice, your first web show experience, which is inspirational. Your Dream was Ambitious, your Effort a Sacrifice and the Result, Extraordinary. Your story is a true testimony to what can be accomplished when a person has vision, fortitude, focus and sweat equity. I’m certain the wet spills of your occasional tears and sweat almost drowned you and you seemed as though you were up a web creek without a server paddle. But your resilience foiled your fears and you were able to… Read more »

JT
Guest
JT

What an amazing interview – thanks for bringing it to us!! It just highlighted how hard we KNEW everyone was working to bring us Venice and take Otalia to the level it should always have been at in Guiding Light.
I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone involved for making Venice – I never lost faith for one minute that it would be anything less than fantastic!! I can’t wait for Season 2.
Crystal and Kimmie – two amazing women!! 🙂

Gio
Guest
Gio

Great interview!..
By the way, what did Crystal mean by her comment when she said that Susan Flannery wanted to do some directing, just that she was”not getting the nipples scene”? Did I miss something?

Lizzy
Guest
Lizzy

I think its awsome that their are actresses out there that are so dedicated to thier fans that they continue the story line in a round about way. I like to right my own little short lesbian stories sadly im not much of a writer for one my spelling and punctuation suck bad. But my friends all enjoy reading them and giveing feedback my bff seems to like to edit them as well as read them. Where i live we have a small gay community there are many gay bars but almost all are hours away except our little hole… Read more »

anita
Guest
anita

Awesome awesome awesome interview. I love how candid they are, how open, it’s something to be admired and encouraged. I love these women…

Giving Owl
Guest
Giving Owl

What a great interview. CC and Kim are so authentic and genuine. Thanks for staying REAL, ladies. And by the way, I never thought that $9.99 was an excessive cost. As a matter of fact, I did I little math of my own and it goes like this: 12 epis X 5 min average length = 60 mins, I believe there were 3 or 4 behind the scenes specials = 15 mins = total 75 mins and that’s a very conservative estimate as I am sure the total time was more than that. Which means that the price of one… Read more »

stoker315
Guest
stoker315

Thanks so much for a wonderful story. A university assignment a couple of years ago asked what is the most radical feminist thing that you have done…. I have to admire people who risk to benefit others; publicly supporting the LGBT community is a huge risk. I have to admire CC and KT for their efforts. I also think that it is an amazing individual who inspires so much trust from those people that actually know her that CC is able to get people to come on board for this project, because they believe in her, and want to support… Read more »

General Hospital

GH’s Finola Hughes, Marcus Coloma & Josh Swickard Talk On 15,000th Episode Milestone

The juggernaut that is ABC’s General Hospital, is marking yet another accomplishment in its storied 59-year-history.  The iconic soap opera is set to air on Wednesday, June 22nd (unless preempted), its 15,000th episode.

As part of the celebration, General Hospital’s Finola Hughes (Anna Devane), Marcus Coloma (Nikolas Cassadine) and Josh Swickard (Chase), who all appear in the standalone episode, chat with Michael Fairman to mark the occasion.

During the conversation now on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Finola and Marcus, and later Josh, who logged on later while at Disneyland, discuss: their beginnings on GH from landing their respective roles, who in the cast perhaps most intimated them, at first, and what it has meant to be part of the legacy of General Hospital.  In addition, Finola, Marcus, and Josh reveal some of their more challenging storylines, and more.

Photo: ABC

Later, the trio each gives us a tease of what’s to come now that Nikolas has slept with Esme (Avery Pohl), what lies ahead for Anna and her love-interest Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), and Josh talks on working with his on-screen love-interest, Amanda Setton (Brook Lynn Quartermaine).

Watch for a special appearance by GH’s Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) within the interview, as we do a deep-dive of being part of the ensemble cast.

We also take a moment to send out our condolences to Kristina (Felicia) and Jack Wagner (Ex-Frisco) on the passing of their son, Harrison, and how you can donate to the scholarship fund in his honor.

Check out our GH 15K interview with Finola, Marcus, and Josh below, and make sure to ‘subscribe’ to the Michael Fairman Channel for more upcoming features, interviews, and upcoming Daytime Emmy red carpet coverage.

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Interviews

Sean Kanan Talks On The New Season of His Streaming Series ‘Studio City’ and The Life and Times of B&B’s Deacon Sharpe

The second season of the Emmy-Award winning, digital streaming series, Studio City is now available on Amazon Prime. The six latest episodes bring us back into the series of an aging actor, Sam Stevens, played by soap vet, Sean Kanan, who is one of the stars of the soap opera, Hearts on Fire, in the role of Dr. Pierce Hartley.

Throughout Studio City, viewers go on the journey of Sam’s foibles through life off-camera juxtaposed with his life on-screen. A sundry of delicious characters enhances the premise of the series portrayed by the likes of: Carolyn Hennesy, Anna Maria Horsford, Justin Torkildsen, Lilly Melgar, Tristan Rogers and more, all names familiar to soap fans.

While Sean is busy promoting the latest season of Studio City, and his book Way of the Cobra, he is also continuing to appear on The Bold and the Beautiful as bad boy – trying to straighten out his life after years in prison – Deacon Sharpe.  Since his return last year, Sean has been mixing it up in stories with the likes of Kimberlin Brown (Sheila) and Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke).

 

In this chat with Michael Fairman TV, Sean weighs-in on: what could be next for B&B’s Deacon, the struggles and the joys of continuing his streaming series, and the homage Studio City is to the soap genre and much more. Check out what he had to share below.

Courtesy/StudioCity

How challenging was it to shoot this season of Studio City?

SEAN:  When we do this thing on a shoestring, everything needs to fall into place in order for it to happen properly.  We know that everybody involved with the show was going to potentially get other projects, or do other things   One of the biggest issues we have, is that a lot of times, we didn’t know what locations we had because Studio City is the real world, and then it’s the show within a show (Hearts on Fire).  So, with the show within a show, those actors aren’t in the ‘real world’. For instance, Tristan Rogers (Doc), is only in the ‘real word’, so, if we have a location that isn’t for the ‘real world’, we can’t shoot Tristan because he doesn’t exist there.  We would have to literally decide what we were writing (sometimes the night before) based on the locations we could get.  It was just an enormous challenge.

Sarah Brown (Laurie) was not a part of the newest six episodes as well as some others cast members. Will she and others be back at some point?

SEAN:  Sarah was directing a podcast, and we kind of had to look at who was available to us, and what stories we needed to tie-up, and hopefully we are going to wind up doing another five episodes to finish up this season.  Then, hopefully we are able to get the actors who weren’t able to do the first six to come back and do the second five.

What I liked about the new six episodes is that I thought you built-in some really solid scenes for the actors.  How did you feel about the outcome?

SEAN:  We make the best show that we can make with the resources and time that we have.  I was glad that we got to develop the story a little more with Delilah (Juliet Vega), Sam’s would-be-daughter.  We always try to do something that’s socially responsive, and diversity is certainly and important issue in Hollywood, without a doubt, but I also think that you need to see the comedic side of everything.  I thought there was some really funny stuff about that with Sam doing the podcast and the scene with Anna Maria Horsford (Jolene) and Will Roberts (Dennis), where she comes in, and she’s like, “The production is too white.”  I thought that was some funny stuff there.  I loved the monologue my wife, Michele, wrote for Carolyn Hennesy (Gloria) about the soaps – that thing about how all of the soaps are dead, and Carolyn just railed in support of the soaps, about the soaps being this dependable thing.  For a lot of people, soaps are their point of emotional contact.

Photo: StudioCity

I talk to fans all of the time and for many times soaps are their lifeline.  Your character, Sam, lands a part in action-adventure film and screws that all up while on set. Where did that plot point come from?

SEAN: It came from a couple different places.  I think that there is not a male actor alive, who some part of him doesn’t harken back to when he was a little boy and doesn’t want to be an action star.  I think the funny thing about it is, of course, Sam is right on the precipice of being over the hill for it, and he’s not going to let that stop him.  Natalie Burn (Shelby Brock) is a legit action star.  She’s a terrific martial artist.  Our director, Timothy Woodward Jr. has done some action movies.  So, we sort of said, “Okay, we’ve set this thing up where Sam wants to get this film.  Let’s give him the film and have him struggle abysmally.”  Marching orders for Studio City are always to keep as much mishigas on Sam’s shoulders as we can.  You never want to see the lead of your show succeeding wildly because that diffuses all of the conflict.  I do think I’ve had some really great dramatic stuff.  I really liked the scenes that I had with Delilah in the sixth episode, and I loved the stuff with Tristan, and I loved the stuff with Lilly Melgar (Becky).  I thought it was really funny.  Lilly killed it and so did Justin Torkildsen (Jacob).  I thought Justin was great.

Courtesy/StudioCity

I thought when you utilized on-camera testimonials from the cast and the EP, that was really a hilarious piece to add to the story.

SEAN:  That was great.  I’d love to take credit for that, but it was Tim’s idea, and it was a really great idea from a production standpoint, because you can do one of two things.  You can either do a whole show where you’re using those, or you can chop them up and use them throughout different shows. From a production standpoint, we had to build some things into the show to insert those when we needed.

Courtesy/StudioCity

You also cast celebrity publicist, Anthony Turk, as a network executive in the series.

SEAN:  Yes. Way back when I created Studio City, there was a part for a publicist, and I had talked to Anthony about doing it.  We had eliminated the publicist part until Lilly became the publicist; which ended up in a completely different plot point.  I always knew I wanted to put Anthony in the series, because I think he’s a good actor. I was like, “You know, I didn’t write this part for you, but I think you can do it,” and I was really happy with how he did it.

 

Courtesy/StudioCity

I also liked the scene with Anna Maria Horsford’s Jolene where she tells Sam to keep his mouth shut while he is working on set. 

SEAN:  She is so fabulous.  I love that woman.  She is such a talent, and I was so happy when she got nominated for a Daytime Emmy last year.  I have such an affection for everybody on our show, because they really put their heart and soul in it, and it just means so much that they show up, and they support, and they do great work.

What I noticed is that the way Timothy Woodward Jr. captures you as an actor.  There is so much going on in the reaction in your eyes of what is happening to Sam.  He realizes the, “Oh, my God,” of each situation as he realizes what he just stepped into, or he finds the humor in it, or when he lets out his frustration, as he did with his daughter in the sixth episode.

SEAN:  That was one of my favorite scenes.  I wrote that one.   It was great because it’s my real-life stepdaughter, and I thought she really stepped up, and I was so proud of her.

For the first time in the realignment by the television academies, Studio City will now be competing at the Primetime Emmys instead of the Daytime Emmys, if the series receives nominations.  How do you feel about that?

SEAN: We are really excited to be competing with the big dogs now at the Primetime Emmys, and rather than being intimidated by it, we are saying, “This is the universe opening up and saying, ‘this is what you need to do,’ and so let’s embrace it.”  It’s going to be exciting.  In my 35 years in the business, I’ve never been to the Primetime Emmys.  So, we shall see.

Photo: StudioCity

Justin Torkildsen’s role greatly expanded this season.  In story, do you see Jacob attempting to thwart his Aunt Gloria and take control of Hearts on Fire as the EP? 

SEAN:  I don’t know if the goal is for him to take over for Gloria.  It certainly was a lot of fun to see what happened when he got just a little taste of power.  He’s got his own agenda, and I also love that he wants the love from his Aunt Gloria.  He’s not just a young guy trying to ascend the power ladder of the show.  He really does want his aunt to be proud of him and to love him, and she’s a tough nut to crack.

There was scene after the network executive tells Gloria, “You’re out, if you don’t fix the show.”  Doesn’t Jacob gloat in it for a minute?  Doesn’t he want payback for how she treats him?

SEAN:  I don’t know if he does.  I think he certainly does like to see when Gloria gets her little comeuppances, but when push comes to shove, I think he’s really got her back, I do.  Justin is so naturally funny.  He’s a great guy to have on set.  He’s got a great attitude, and he’s a very good actor.  I was really struck by a moment in season one where he’s coming up the stairs, and he had this abject fear of interrupting Gloria, and Justin didn’t have any lines.  He just played it beautifully with no dialogue.  I was like, “We’ve got to give Justin more to do,” and for me, it was nostalgic to work with him again because the very first scene I had on The Bold and the Beautiful was with Justin.

Photo: JPI

What can you say about Carolyn Hennesy; who often is the quintessential scene-stealer in Studio City when she appears on-screen?  Does she go with the script or ad-lib parts of the dialog?

SEAN:  She’s a gorgeous, red-haired, flaming beast.  She definitely did some wonderful ad-libbing to elevate what was on the page, and she made it her own, and that’s one of the things that I love the most about her.  I love that I can write a 20-page scene and give it to, for example, Tristan Rogers, 20 minutes before and know that he’s going to nail it.  That’s one of the things that I love about working with Daytime actors.   Say what you want, but when the chips are down, and your back is against the wall, a Daytime actor is going to be the one who can take the dialogue, digest it quickly, and give you a good performance.  With the way that we are run and gun in our style of shooting, you have to move really quickly.  I’ve worked on a lot of films, and with people who are recognizable in the business, and sometimes they get overwhelmed when they have more than a couple of pages in a day … and you know what we do in Daytime.

Courtesy/StudioCity

When you were writing the new season with Michele and Tim, was it laid out pretty definitively, or did it evolve?

SEAN:  We laid out some large arcs.  We knew the storyline that we wanted to do with Natalie and with Will.  Natalie, actually joined us as a co-executive producer.  She is Ukrainian and has family there.  So, she had a lot going on.  I just feel like she really stepped up.  She really helped the production both as an actress and as a Co-EP, and we were very fortunate to have her, and have her at a time when it would be completely understandable when her ability to even act would have been compromised, yet alone have the facility to Co-EP.  In addition, we knew we wanted to deepen the relationship between Sam and Delilah.  We had a different idea with what we wanted to do with Doc, and we wound up doing something another way than what we had originally discussed.  Sometimes, you have to make these decisions that are sort of production-based and you have to alter storyline.  Of course, we knew we wanted to continue to create the storyline that like a lot of soaps, Hearts on Fire was potentially on the chopping block.  At the same time, we really wanted to illustrate that the soaps are full of people who are talented, gifted actors, who love what they do, they work really hard, and they don’t always get the respect that they deserve.

Courtesy/StudioCity

It looks like Doc might be having a change of heart?  Will he begin chemo to save his life?

SEAN:  That’s what we are thinking, and we are hoping to bring Patrika Darbo back in, and finding out where she’s been and having some really nice scenes between, she and Doc.  I think things are going to develop between Dennis, who is the producer, and my character, Sam, and we are going to learn that all has not been revealed of who Dennis really is.

Courtesy/StudioCity

What did you think when you saw your performances in the latest six of Studio City?

SEAN:  I’m always super critical of myself.  I like the stuff with the podcast because I thought it was really organic, and I thought it was funny.  I loved the stuff with Lilly.  I always see things that I could fix and do better, but I also saw stuff that I liked, and I really liked a lot of what was going on with Juliet.  We had another take where Sam really breaks down, and unfortunately, we had a sound problem with that one, and we couldn’t use it.  That was really crushing to me, but again, you make the show that you can make. Michele and I always joke and say, “Making a 50-million-dollar movie is easy.  You want to really produce something?  Produce it when you have no money.”

Photo: JPI

What did your wife, Michele, say about how she thought the latest season of Studio City turned out? 

SEAN:  I do have to say that Michelle really stepped up this season of Studio City.  She ran the show.  She is an executive producer, but she was also the supervising producer, in charge, responsible for crewing up.  She amazes me to no end.  I couldn’t be prouder of her, and I’m so honored that she and I were able to both win out at the Daytime Emmys.  We have very different skillsets, which is great.  There are not a lot of areas where we overlap, but we compliment, and that’s why I love working with her.

Photo: JPI

You are also busy with The Bold and the Beautiful.  How has this most recent return been for you as Deacon Sharpe?

SEAN:  Oh, my God, it’s been fantastic.  The Bold and the Beautiful consistently ranks as one of the best professional experiences that I have ever had.  I love the people I work with.  I love the creative freedom that I have on the show.  I love what they write for me.  It’s just great.  Listen, I’ve done four Daytime shows, and by far and away, this has been the best experience.   It’s a great role.  I’m the only guy who has ever played Deacon, so I’m fiercely protective of the character.  I know I’m coming into a really big storyline right now, which is very exciting.  I can’t say anything about it yet, but I’m going to be working with a character who I haven’t worked with very much before, which is very exciting.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Kimberlin Brown receiving an Outstanding Supporting Actress Daytime Emmy nomination? I believe you are in some of her submitted scenes.

SEAN:  I think it’s incredibly well-deserved. She just brought so much to it, and I’m just honored that I was able to be a part of what she did.

People are saying you’re going to get all wrapped-up in the Li (Naomi Matsuda) Sheila, and Finn (Tanner Novlan) storyline.

SEAN:  Well, I guess I already am to a certain extent.  I like to think that in his infinite wisdom, Brad Bell (head writer and executive producer, B&B) knew that Kimberlin and I would find humor in an eccentric relationship; rather than just being two kinds of ‘baddies’.  Deacon is not nearly as bad as Sheila, but rather than be two people with somewhat aligned wants and needs, I think hopefully Brad was like, “I think they’re going to come up with something interesting,” and I think we did.   The fight that Deacon had with Ridge (Thorsten Kaye), that is not something that you see on Daytime all the time.  That was really exciting and fun.

Photo: JPI

I love that Deacon’s home-away-from-home is the supply closet!

SEAN:  I was teasing Brad.  I said, “If I get a raise, do I get a Swiffer?”  I love it.  In terms of Sheila and Deacon, I didn’t know if we were going to wind up in the sack together or not, and I thought, you know, if that happens, that would be interesting, too.  By my calculations, Deacon has now been out of jail for how long, and he has not gotten any action.  No action for a guy who just got out of prison for 5 years.  So, I don’t know what’s going on in that broom closet. (Laughs)

What was it like working with Katherine Kelly Lang during the whole ‘New Year’s Eve drunken night with Brooke’ story?

SEAN:  You know, Kelly and I really were able to capture lightening in a bottle many years ago, and I think it was wonderful.  I always wondered, what was going to happen all this time later if we worked together again?  Are we going to be able to come up with something great?  I love working with her.  Poor Kelly, just broke her ankle, which is terrible, but she is a champ.

Photo: JPI

Do you think there is still chemistry between Brooke and Deacon?

SEAN:  Yeah, I do.  I try to create chemistry with anyone I work with, men or women, but don’t we do that in life?  We always want to be interesting and sexy with anyone we talk to.  Ultimately, what we are trying to do on some level, is we are always seducing as human beings.  That’s where I come from as an actor.  You’ve got a goal.  You’ve got a series of actions that you use to get the goal.  You usually fail a couple times in the scene, so you change the actions, and you try to overcome the obstacles.

Right, and seduce people …

SEAN: … And seduce.  Deacon is a very adept seducer.  I think a lot of it was from being a conman.  I think now, Deacon is finding that he can be seductive by being authentic.  I think that’s new to him.  I think ultimately, when you’re authentic, that’s a way more powerful brand of seduction than something that is some sort of a manufactured, fabricated, external seduction.

Photo: JPI

So, what would say in a tease of what’s coming up for Deacon on B&B?

SEAN:  All I can say is that I’ve been told that I’ll have an exciting story coming up, and I’m looking forward to it.  I always like when I get the ball, and you never know what another actor is going to bring out of you.  Whenever I work with someone who I haven’t worked with, I hope that they are going to allow me to tap into a part of myself that maybe I haven’t demonstrated before.  That’s what I look for, and that’s what keeps me enthused in this job.  We do have to give the same information a lot in Daytime.  That’s just the nature of the beast.  The challenge is, “How do I do this in a way that is not only interesting for the audience but allows me to stay engaged as an actor?”  If you start getting apathetic as an actor, you start doing bad work, and I can’t do that.

Have you checked out the latest six episodes of Studio City? What do you hope happens next for Deacon on The Bold and the Beautiful? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Nancy Lee Grahn Chats On Her Daytime Emmy-Nominated Performance and Its Significance

When the nominations were revealed for the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, General Hospital mainstay, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis), was recognized for her stunning work in the Alexis-centric standalone episode which honored her 25th anniversary with the ABC daytime drama series.

Grahn, is already a two-time Daytime Emmy winner.  She won back in 1989 in a tie for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her work as Julia Wainwright on Santa Barbara along with All My Children’s Debbi Morgan, and again received the honors in that category in 2012 for her work on General Hospital.

Now. she is vying for the gold in 2022 in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category against other formidable actresses including: B&B’s Kimberlin Brown, DAYS Stacy Haiduk, Y&R’s Melissa Ordway, and her GH castmate, Kelly Thiebaud.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Nancy to talk about her decision to enter the Emmy race this year, her powerful and moving scenes, why this nomination is significant and important to her, and her take on some very important social issues of our time.

Always candid, insightful, combined with great humor and wit, here’s what Nancy had to share below, and make sure to check out GH this week when sparks fly between Alexis and Gregory (Gregory Harrison). Will he turn out to be the new beau in Alexis’ life? Stay tuned.

Courtesy/ABC

Congratulations on the Emmy nomination.  How do you feel about being in the running again, especially with the material from your 25th anniversary episode?

NANCY:  You know, I don’t submit myself if I don’t think I have something, and I didn’t last year.  This year, I had the one show, and the first reason I submitted myself was I had the episode that was worthy of the competition. These judges have to sit, and watch this stuff, and very often, it’s hard to watch soap opera scenes.  It really is, unless you’re in it.  It’s a different kind of material that most primetime people aren’t used to watching.  So, it’s tricky business.  I don’t want to put them through anything too awful. I don’t want to torture them and I’ve judged before. It can be a bit tedious. So, for me to submit myself, I thought, it has to be something that isn’t going to torture another human being. The second thing is, older women get marginalized the older they get, and they get diminished very often, and every time we get nominated, it means something different to me.  This time, to me, I want it to somehow be symbolic, or a shoutout to women who are still producing, who have been doing their job for a long time and are still doing it good enough, and that it’s still worthy of respect and recognition.

When we were at the GH Convention back in March, I played the scene on-stage for the fans in attendance of when Alexis goes over to the corner of Kevin’s office and heals her younger self.  You saw the reaction just from the fans.  It’s such a beautiful moment within the story.  What did you think about how the standalone episode was crafted?

NANCY:  It was a different experience for me because GH co-head writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor, and script writer, Scott Sickles gave it the attention, but even more to that, they allowed me to participate in the creation of it.  They allowed the director, Phideaux Xavier, to participate.  We all sat in a room.  They said, “You know what?  Make it how you’re comfortable with it.”  There were so many people who gave it time and effort, and Phideaux gets a lot of credit because he came up with a lot of ideas.  So, the little girl in the therapy room wasn’t initially a part of it.  That was Phideaux’s idea, and they let us alter things, and they allowed me to write some words that meant something to me with the character.  Our producers, Michelle Henry and M.K Weir, who I both adore, were also a part of this.

Courtesy/ABC

That is great to hear that you were involved in the collaborative process of the creation of the episode.

NANCY:  We read through the whole script, and we worked it like you would on primetime. We went through it like, “Does this moment work?  Does that moment work?  Does this make sense?  Does that make sense?”  We never do that in soaps.  We don’t get to that.  So, it was a gift to me.  It really was. Chris and Dan, and Scott and Phideaux, and the two producers, generosity in gifting me that experience and making sure that it was to everybody’s liking, was really very special to me, and it meant a lot.

Did you come up with the key lines which summarized Alexis as a person and her journey: “I’m Alexis Davis, and I’m a fighter, and an idealist and an advocate?”

NANCY:  No. They designed it, but we were allowed to enhance and contribute creatively to it, and, we don’t normally have the time to do that.  They don’t have the time to – and you can’t allow people to do that with every episode, to be creatively participating, because it would turn into madness with everybody.

Then, when it came down to choosing the scenes from your anniversary episode to include for your Emmy submission, was that a challenging process of which moments to go with?

NANCY:  I just told a little story with it with the time that I had, and so, I edited it with a friend of mine.  I did a sort of pre-edit on it, I’m good at that, and handed the timeline to our editor, who nicely put it together. It took very little effort.

In my humble opinion, I think that episode featured one of your all-time best performances.

NANCY: Thank you. There was a nice effort from everybody, from the lighting to everybody else, and all the effort Phideaux put into it.  He worked so hard on that!  It was fun for us.  It was like the old days where you really got to work something out.

Photo: ABC

It truly harkened back to everything we knew up to that point about Alexis and her past as well, and included a montage of scenes over the years.

NANCY:  I think it was M.K. who put that together, but when you’re working at the pace we’re working now, to have to sit and put together a montage of twenty-five years, that’s not an easy feat.  Nobody has time for that anymore, but they did it, and like I said, it was really, really appreciated.  My only thought with it is that I wanted it to be relatable to other people.  I didn’t want it to just be some, you know, self-indulgent Alexis episode. I knew that by bringing in the little girl and talking about people being hurt in their childhood and how that makes somebody feel that it was probably relatable to many people, and so it became meaningful to other people and not just me.

Do you think you’ll attend the Daytime Emmys? I know the last time you won you were not present.

NANCY:  Yeah, I’m planning on it.  I mean, barring anything happening! (Laughs)

Does it feel nice to be recognized by your peers?

NANCY:  Of course, it does.  It always does, and way too often, women who are still producing well in their jobs, don’t get the respect and the acknowledgment for it.  So, that’s why I’m saying, this is no small thing, and that I want other women to know that I know that, and that I wish for them the same thing.

What was the reaction of your daughter, Kate and your fiancé, Richard, when you told them you were Emmy-nominated?

NANCY:  Richie goes, “What is this?  Your 18th nomination?” (Laughs). You know what I mean?  It was just kind of like, “Yeah, sure, why wouldn’t you be?” It wasn’t like, “Oh, my God!”  It was like they kind of expected that.  That was nice!  I’m glad they feel that way.  I’m glad they weren’t surprised.  They were like, “Sure!  Of course, you would be.  Why wouldn’t you be?”  I said, “You know, it doesn’t always work like that!”

Photo: JPI

Now comes the part of having to find a dress and all that goes with it for the red carpet.  Do you enjoy that part?

NANCY:  No, I hate that part.  That is my… oh ‘boohoo’, you know?  I mean, I have to find something to wear.  Also, the older you get, that becomes so much less important, and the more makeup, and the more hair, and the more foofy, the more ridiculous I look. I start looking like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.  You’ve just got to keep it simple.

You were talking about women and ageism.  Do you not feel that also exists for men?

NANCY:  It exists for men, but it’s not at all on the same par as women.  I mean, men still get paid more than women, and men still are valued more than women.  I mean, there are exceptions, but if you look in any place of employment, even the soaps, you will typically find the men making more money than the women, and the older the women get, the less they get.  Life’s not fair right now.  It’s fairer than it was, but still the equality game is not won yet.

Photo: JPI

I know how much all of this means to you in terms of equality for women, and people being run out of their jobs because of their age.

NANCY:  It’s just a reality.  It’s not something that I’m hopeless about, but I have a story to tell.  I’ll tell it when the time is right.  It’s life!  It happens in every field everywhere.  When my mom was 70, she was still producing the exact same way she was producing when she was 30, and she got run out, and was replaced by a man who was 40 or something, and there was no particular reason for it.  It was just, “You’re done.  We decided you’re done,” but like I said, it happens everywhere, in every line of work, and that’s why I just wanted to give a shout-out, when you still, after 36 years, can be recognized or shown respect or acknowledgment for what your do.  It’s a very big deal that I am appreciative of and grateful for.

So, rooting for Nancy to win the Outstanding Supporting Actress prize? Happy she was nominated for her work in the the milestone episode devoted to Alexis? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and to tune-in to the 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ on Friday night, June 24th.

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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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Cynthia Watros as Nina

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Airdate: 6-3-2022

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