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The David Gregory Interview – One Life to Live & She Walks in Beauty

Courtesy/DavidGregory.com

Courtesy/DavidGregoryOfficialSite

It has been exactly one year since On-Air On-Soaps ventured to New York City to say goodbye to the amazing cast of the beloved One Life to Live.  And as hard as that was, we will treasure it for the rest of our lives.  But as this year has played out many of your favorites have gone on to new projects, new roles, and new endeavors.  One such performer is David Gregory, who as hottie Robert Ford, spent his time in Llanview bedding many of the young ladies, being the big brother to his two younger siblings, dealing with his abusive dad and the issues that caused, and finally finding love and becoming a dad in his own right shortly before his untimely death.

Now the multi-talented Gregory can add writing and directing to his resume, as this weekend (with a show tonight and on Sunday) his new play, She Walks in Beauty, has performances at the prestigious Manhattan Repertory Theatre in New York City.  David does not act in it, but tells On-Air On-Soaps how the play came about, and how he cast some folks with a close connection to Llanview in it.  David also filled us in on some very great news during our conversation that he has been cast in a recurring role on the upcoming NBC primetime soap, Deception!  If you recall, this was the opulent soap announced by the peacock network that was originally titled, Notorious.

Of course, there was so much to discuss about the final days of One Life, and how David felt about the way they chose to wrap up Ford’s story, what he thought of the final juggernaut of an ending to the 43-year-old soap, and his chance meeting post-Llanview with Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki) that put the loss of the series in proper perspective for him. With David, we looked at the past and what he has accomplished, and how important it is to remember to cherish memories, but also to move forward with a passion for life, and to more importantly, keep oneself open to new and exciting things ahead!  And certainly for David, dreams come true!

MICHAEL:

David, what a week for you!  Putting your first New York play on stage that you wrote and directed!  And, this was also the same time last year that we got together with the cast of One Life to Live for the final press junket, which was the last time I saw you in person!  How have things been for you post-One Life?

DAVID:

Courtesy/ABC

It’s been almost a year-to-the-day that we did all of those final One Life to Live exit interviews!  Of recent, I have been extremely busy!  This play that I wrote I submitted it to a festival, basically to have something to do.  This summer was a little slow, and as soon as it got accepted and we started rehearsals, I got another acting job.  It’s been a challenge and joy to juggle these two things, and we are putting the show on its feet this week.

MICHAEL:

But if I understand correctly, this is pretty fantastic for you!  The very highly regarded Manhattan Repertory Theatre chose your play from submissions from hundreds of upcoming playwrights.  How did this all go down?  It’s kind of thrilling, actually!

DAVID:

The Manhattan Repertory Theatre does a play festival each season of the year.  I submitted my play and they picked it, and the best part about it is they provide the space for you to perform it, and you have stock sets you can use.  They provide the lights, and the sound system, and that whole thing.  And, you get about three performances out of it, and more if it does well.  I took a play writing class in January because OLTL had just ended, and I wanted to get into acting class and do things to keep my chops sharp, but I did not want to get too burned out on it, especially because losing One Life was such a loss.  So I thought, “I will take up a playwriting class. That is something different!”  And, it’s something I have always been interested in.  This play I wrote in late August and finished in a decent amount of time.  I submitted it for, for a lack of a better term, “shits and giggles,” and here we are!

MICHAEL:

And … there are some familiar faces connected to the play that One Life to Live  fans will know! 

DAVID:

Photo Credit: Steven Bergman

So, I was able to get Barret Helms (Ex-Baz) from One Life to Live and I needed a middle-aged man to play the sort of father figure, doctor, kind of role.  I thought of Gary Donatelli for that, who was one of our directors at One Life, and it was just a shot in the dark.  I sent him email and said, “Hey, you are really right for this role.  I don’t know if you act, or if you would be interested, but I would love to talk to you about it.”  He sent me back an email that he was really interested, and that he was very flattered.  I had auditions for the lead female role, and Gary showed up to audition as well for his role, like everybody else!  And, you’ve got to give it to this guy.  He rose to the occasion! Gary was man of much power at One Life, and someone who I always admired, and one of the first directors I worked with.  He directed the famous “Ford and the Bucket Scene,” which was one of my first days of work.  We had a great time working together, and when would I have seen him again if not for this play, post One Life?

MICHAEL:

Did you know Gary even acted?

DAVID:

No, I did not know he acted, but I went with “type” first.  When I heard him read the part I knew he was exactly right, and my girlfriend Jen, who is an actress as well, sat in with me when I did his audition, just so I could get another perspective as well.  She said, “I think you have got to give it to him.  He is great!”   Not that I did not want to be surprised, but he brought it.

MICHAEL:

When we last talked a year ago, you had informed me that the end of One Life to Live probably would not hit you as much as would some of the long standing veterans of the series who gave decades to their roles.  Looking back now, do you still feel that way?  It must have a very deep emotional connection for you.

DAVID:

Courtesy/ABC

When One Life to Live ended, I had sort of had bits of panic the last week we were shooting.  We were sort of a family and people we going to miss each other a lot. And a lot of times, I wouldn’t remember certain episodes, but I do remember days I had with Bree Williamson (Ex-Jessica) or Brittany Underwood (Ex-Langston) or with my boys on set.  And the longer the show had been off the air, the more of a gap you start to feel from that.  Lenny Platt (Ex-Nate) and I still see each other a lot, and I see Barret obviously, but a lot of people moved to the west coast.  Months later it started to bug me.   You are back to a totally different life style of auditioning and hitting the pavement.   I went to get a hair cut from Wayne Bilotti, who was one of our hair guys on One Life, and he happened to be cutting Erika Slezak’s hair while I was there.  Erika started talking to me, asking how I was doing.  I think this was late January and I did not want to ask her, but I did want to know.  I asked her, “How are you?”  She said, “Great.”  She seemed to say she had time to do things now that she did not have time to do before, and by that she meant having time with her family. You know how she is … she is such a personable person.  I am sure she misses One Life so very deeply. And I do not want to put words in her mouth, but I got the sense from her that if she was OK, then I had to be OK myself, because she was trying to see the silver lining it.  I don’t mean that in a false sense.  I genuinely believed she saw the next step in her life, whatever that may be.  I thought whatever is going on in my head, if Erika Slezak has got her heard on straight, which she does, then I should absolutely too!  For so many years everyone looked to her, and now if she is not panicking, or freaking out, then what choice do I have?  That is also the same way she worked.  She was always prepared, knew her lines better than anyone else, and everyone else’s lines!

MICHAEL:

True that!  Well, Erika knew everybody else’s lines better than them!

DAVID:

She did!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

When we last talked, the final episodes of One Life had not aired yet.  What did you think of Ford’s big scenes in Hell with John Wesley Shipp (Ex-Eddie)?

Courtesy/ABC

DAVID:

What a blast! (Laughs) We knew we were shooting out of order.  I knew that Ford was hovering and Frank Valentini (EX EP, OLTL, now EP, GH) came up to me one day out of the blue and said, “You know you’re dying, right?” (Laughs) And I said, “No, I didn’t.”  And he said, “Well, someone had to go!”  And I almost said, “Thank you,” and here’s why:  In a show that has such a huge history, and that has characters on it that deserve a strong ending and deserve to be written for in the last week, I knew that if they were going to kill me off that meant they had to then write a story for it, which meant that I was not going to be twiddling my thumbs the last couple of weeks.  So I thought of it as a blessing in disguise … and great!  Then I got the script that said that John Wesley Shipp was coming back in and that we were going to duke it out in Hell! (Laughs)    They wrote these wonderful scenes, but to sort of cap off what it was about … has Ford changed?  Or, has he not changed?  In addition, Ford got to stick to his old man in the end. Ford has got to throw his father into the burning pit of Hell to survive, but then, Ford sort of runs into Heaven, and we all know how that ended.

MICHAEL:

Also remember, the original show title of OLTL was Between Heaven and Hell, and you got to play that throughline at the end of the show’s historic run.  You know, I thought maybe they would let Ford pay for being such a dog with women! And I mean more than making him dress up like a hotdog to pay his bills! (Laughs) Anyway, I thought Ford would actually end up in Hell, but in the end, he did get a reprieve, if you will, and he did wind up in Heaven.

DAVID:

I tried to explain this to my family before it aired.  I said, “I am going to sort of be in between worlds.  They are not sure if Ford is going to Heaven or Hell, and they want to show that.”  But I think it worked! They were able to bring back some very familiar faces for the Heaven sequences, and I think they utilized it beautifully.  I was actually in Chicago for an event on the last episode airing of One Life.  The actors in attendance watched it together with the fans in this huge bar area.  And … what a topper!  Having Trevor St. John (Ex-Victor Jr.) show up in the last scene!  I did not know that was coming.  I did not know ‘till it aired.  It was such a blast for us, because we were watching it with fans of the show, and it was such surprise to them as it was for us!  And we were all thinking, “This is the last one, and what a way to go out!”

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

OK, being the man who clocked the most shirtless scenes in soapdom … what happened with the infamous bucket scene?  Was that always supposed to be the plan?  Was it in the script that way?

DAVID:

It was written that way!  I got the script, and I will never forget this.  I am a big fan of Hugh Jackman, and ever since I was a kid, he has been the guy I want to emulate.  I got the script for the scene and it literally said, “Ford picks up the bucket of water in the barn to cool off.”  And then they wrote as a note, “It should look like Hugh Jackman in Australia!”  I saved that script, because I was so excited that, that is what they wanted me to go for.  There were a few episodes I had prior to that, but when it came to the bucket scene I thought, “Oh, now we are getting into soapy goodness!  This is good and fun!”   We literally shot it as plain as day.  It was supposed to be a little more in slow-motion, but they shot it and that was the first day I met Gary Donatelli.  I had no idea it would cause the tremor that it did.  I am so glad it did!  You know how this goes?  Fans can make you or break you in this soap business.  I was supposed to only be on OLTL for two and half weeks, and I was there instead for two and half years, because these people kept me in my job.  I am reminded of that all the time whenever I go to something someone says, “I miss your character, or we miss the show,” but you know what? “We miss you guys!”  It boils down to that.

MICHAEL:

I will never forget our special BlogTalkRadio OLTL final two-hour finale broadcast, where fans spoke to members of the cast live on-air telling them how much they will miss them and One Life.  It was heartbreaking!

DAVID:

Jerry verDorn (Ex-Clint) had his recent annual charity event, and the year before I attended, fans were saying, “We are so sad the show is going off the air,” and this year, it had been more of, “We really miss it” and some people were talking to me as if One Life had just finished, and I realized it was still that fresh to them.  If you watch a show, for say 25 years, when a year goes by without it, you still feel that void in your life.  I just sat and talked to some people about this for a while, and you get the sense that it was more than just a television show that people would sit down to watch.  It was families who would watch it together.  I talked to a husband who said, “I am not a soap guy, but my wife and I have opposite schedules, and the only time I get to spend with her and do something she likes to do, is watching OLTL with her.”  I thought that was really neat of him as a husband, and the fact that it brought them together.  So when something like that for them ceases to exist, that is a huge void. 

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

You got a lot of flack for coming on and stealing air time from some of the main characters of the series.  Your family then expanded to bringing on your two brothers, Nate and James.  You must have a special place in your heart for Lenny Platt (Ex-Nate) and Nic Robuck (Ex-James).

DAVID:

Listen, those guys are always going to be important to me, always.  No matter where we go, or what we do from here on out, we are going to remember this is where we started out.  I was raised to believe you never forget how you began and at OLTL, I learned everything that I needed to know.  Now obviously, I want to learn more, but I have done primetime work since, and it is never as stressful.  You are shooting fifty pages a day in three hours on a soap, and it can take its toll on you after awhile, but you can go do a guest spot on a primetime series, and it’s three pages in four hours.  One Life prepared me for anything that I could possibly have to deal with, and I did it with Lenny and Nic, because we often had scenes together, or stunts to do together.  We were all kind of in the same boat.  It sort of helps to have guys who are thinking what you are thinking.

MICHAEL:

Now let’s talk about Bree Williamson (Ex-Jessica)!  I know you two are once again on the same show!  Explain! (Laughs)

DAVID:

Bree is doing Haven on SyFy, and she is going to be on this new show on NBC series called Deception, which they just changed the name of to that.  It’s going to be a mid-season series. I just got hired on there as well!  I am about to shoot my fourth episode.  Bree and I ended up working the same day, and so we got to see each other for a little bit.  What the odds are of that?  Unfortunately, we do not have scenes together as of now, but she plays a very important role in the show.  I think it should start airing in January.  It’s a killer; it’s being billed as primetime soap.  I am playing Kyle, he is sort of a bad guy with a motorcycle, maybe with a heart, but we are not sure.  Does that sound familiar at all?  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

You?  Playing that kind of role?  No! (Laughs)

DAVID:

He swoops in … and the show is about this big family, The Bowers, and he has his eye on the youngest daughter.  I think I start airing on the third episode.

MICHAEL:

Now let’s get back to your play, which I found the subject matter quite intriguing.  Tell me the basis of She Walks in Beauty?  What would you tell people is at the core of the story?

DAVID:

The way I have it structured is in the first scene, it’s a husband and a wife, and we get the idea that they haven’t been married very long, but there are problems developing in their relationship, and very soon after that we realize that she is in fact a mechanical human prototype!  Her husband helped invent her and his boss, who they just refer to as “dad”, is the mastermind behind the entire project.  So what I wanted to explore was – are the problems in their relationship because she is a robot?  Or, is it because she is actually starting to have human characteristics, and they are just normal problems everyone experiences, which sort of make this a dark comedy!  It’s what we would laugh at if it was somebody else, and what we would not laugh at if it was.  What ends up happening is, she gets very curious.  So the questions become: Is she capable of having children with her husband?  Can she go to school like everyone else?  One of the things her father says is, “We can input anything into your system? “  She says, “I don’t want to be inputted.  I want to learn.”  And it holds up a mirror to us in a sense, and shows us maybe that we are better off the way we are, because we have all the tools and the abilities and we just have to make that choice.  Without giving the story away too much, it sort of heats up when there are problems where she may have been made faulty, and maybe they should make another one … and so, if they make a 2.0 version of this woman, does this make it the same thing, or something different?  And, the guy ends up having an affair with the 2.0 and it starts riddling him with guilt, and so he actually starts to develop this guilty conscience about it.  The best way to describe it is ….  a sci-fi dark comedy.

MICHAEL:

Who plays the robo-woman?

Photo Credit: Steven Bergman

DAVID:

The robot woman is played by Andrea Leach.  She made me laugh when she read for the part and took it places I did not expect.  She reminded me of a Bree Williamson, in that they have a relationship a little like Ford and Jessica – like you get on my nerve, but you really don’t, but I really like you! (Laughs)  I could not stop laughing at Andrea’s reading, because it was like here is someone who found humor in something that maybe was not funny, but she sees the reality of the situation, and she is great.  I needed someone who could hold their own on stage against two very strong men.  She has Barret on one side and Gary on the other.  Gary is like 6’4” (Laughs) He can be a very intimating presence, and I can attest to that when he came in to direct my first scenes years ago saying, “Who’s that Ford kid?  What is a Ford?” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Many of your former One Life to Live co-stars are on the west coast, as we have discussed.  Are you content staying on the east coast?

DAVID:

I have definitely thought about it.  As of now, with Deception shooting now in New York, I am staying put.  My heart is in TV and film.  But what I am doing now, and what I had been doing, is exactly what I want to be doing, which is a wonderful thing to be able to say, because I don’t think a lot of people can say that about what they do for a living.  I guess, I would just know if it was the right project, or if the time was right for me to move to L.A.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Have you been auditioning for other daytime soap roles, although that would now bring you to L.A.?

DAVID:

I have not been. You know, I signed for another four years at OLTL before it was canceled.  In my mind, it was sign to stay in New York and see what happens.  I kind of left it at that.  Deception happened, and I felt like it was the right thing at the right time.

MICHAEL:

So, do you get a sense that this role on Deception could turn into something bigger for you?

DAVID:

I was talking to one of the writers today, and they told me they like the character I play and the chemistry they are seeing, so I am just taking each episode as a blessing and seeing what goes on.  I was kind of keeping this low key until I started shooting and got a few episodes under my belt.  Just because I know how quickly things can change, and when I auditioned for it, it wasn’t supposed to be a recurring role, but it was suppose to be an episodic and then done.  They are now getting back in their production offices once we got Hurricane Sandy out of the way.  I feel more confident now that I am really involved in this show in some small way.

MICHAEL:

The big question David … Will you be on Deception with your clothes on?  Or, off?

DAVID:

Courtesy/ManhattanRepTheatre

Believe it, or not?  I am wearing layers of clothing. .. A lot!   I am a motorcycle guy and I have my hoodie and leather jacket.  He is a little rougher around the edges than Ford.  It’s a blast.  I am working with a girl named Ella Rae Peck.  She was heavily recurring on Gossip Girl last year.  When I saw she was attached to it, I was thrilled.  She and I had actually done a Gossip Girl episode earlier in the year.  On Gossip Girl we were playing best friends, and on Deception we are playing lovers.  So, we are playing opposite of what we played before, which is great.

MICHAEL:

In closing, I just want to say kudos to you, David.  Best of luck with putting up your play!  You must be very proud. 

DAVID:

It’s a little nerve-wracking thinking about what you are doing, but my girlfriend told me, “You are creating something in the middle of New York City.  How many people get to do that?”

READ MORE
OLTL's Erika Slezak Message To Her Fans During COVID-19: "I Hope Everyone is Well and That We Come Out of This In One Piece"
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RobbyrobPhilipPatrickMBmomof3steve Recent comment authors
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Becky Cloutier
Becky Cloutier

God we all miss our soaps soooo much! And of course all the Actors Too!!

louisa
louisa

Lots of good information here! Still really missing OLTL…

SharonB
SharonB

Congratulations to David Gregory and his upcoming projects. I am so glad he is getting new projects. I miss One Life to Live so much as well as everyone that worked on it including the behind the scenes people. I wish great success for all of them. I love OLTL always!!

SharonB
SharonB

Thank you so much Michael Fairman for keeping us up to date on everything.

Patrick
Patrick

Yes, Sharon I am so glad Mr. Faiman is keeping us up to date with so many of the actors from cancelled soaps! I still miss OLTL and its been almost a year since it went off the air.

gloria
gloria

Wow, this brings back so many memories & makes me miss OLTL so much, all over again. I have the official cast portrait framed & hanging on my bedroom wall across from my bed. That is my big, wonderful family who I love & miss so much. Watched the show all my life. I’d give anything to have it back.

steve
steve

David my warmest congrats on ‘She Walks in Beauty’ I’m sure it will be hit & awesome
Interview You’re still missed on Daytime lol !

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Thank you, Mr. Fairman for a great interview. Congrats to David Gregory. Miss OLTL & the cast/characters everyday. Always happy to learn what the actors are up to.

Philip
Philip

So happy David is staying busy with successful projects. Looking forward to “Deception” and wish him a very great future.
All of us miss OLTL very much and feel ABC should have found a way to keep the show on the air. Hope the other “Ford” boys, Nic and Nate are also doing well.
Had OLTL not been cancelled, I’m sure Barret Helms would have become a fan favorite also. Since his actual screen time turned out so minimal, we didn’t have the opportunity to get to know his character.
Just wish I could have gone to New York to see David’s play.

Robbyrob
Robbyrob

Thank you for keeping in touch with David Gregory. I was a big fan of his work (and shirtless scenes) on OLTL. I recognized him on the streets of NYC before OLTL was canceled (sniff…sniff). Can I just tell you…how nice and personable he was to me. He spent time chating with me about the show and let me take some photos of us together. He had no problems with guy fans coming up to him and saying hi. I was sad that Ford died at the end but it truly was a memorable run. I wish him the best of luck and hopefully I’ll run into him again and say hi. Keep up the great work Michael!

All My Children

Eva LaRue Talks On Her Daytime Emmy Nomination, And Opens Up About The Loss Of John Callahan

For Eva LaRue, the past two months have been some of the most emotionally gut-wrenching and challenging of her life, following the passing of her ex-husband, father of her child, and dearest friend, John Callahan (Ex-Edmund, All My Children). The outpouring of support she has received not only from her former AMC cast mates, but the soap world in general illustrates just how dear Eva is to all of us, and how many people had special memories of their time with John.

While mourning the loss of Callahan along with their daughter, Kaya, there was some heartwarming and re-affirming news that any actress would love to hear. Eva was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series for her work as Celeste Rosales on CBS’ The Young and the Restless, and she is great company as her former AMC co-star Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad) is also nominated along with her for his work on General Hospital.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit our country and world hard, but through it All My Children virtual reunions emerged as fans were engaged by the content, transported to happier times that brought them back to familiar faces in Pine Valley in which Eva participated along with her good friends, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos and so many more, thanks to the EW. com weeklong event which concluded on Friday.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Eva in this very candid, at times heartbreaking, and open conversation where she shares details into the final days of her beloved John, her last moments with him, and how she tried to plan a memorial in his honor during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For so many of us, 2020 has certainly seen more lows then highs, but in the end for Eva, to receive a nomination now (an award she was last nominated for back in 1997 as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work as Dr Maria Santos on All My Children) couldn’t have come at a better time. Here now is our conversation with Eva.

Photo: JPI

I’ve been thinking so much about you.  I’m glad we could do this, and in the midst of the tragedy of losing John Callahan, and then receiving a Daytime Emmy nomination.  What was your reaction when you learned you were nominated in a category with none other than your former AMC castmate and good friend, Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad, AMC, now Martin, GH)?

EVA:  Oh, I know!  He’s the first person I texted!  I was like, “Congratulations, Michael!  Did you ever in a million years think that you and I would be in the same category of anything?”  Then I said, “And when you win this, can I just borrow it for the weekend just to dress it up and take pictures with it… just want to borrow it, just babysit the trophy for a weekend, please?” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What did you end up submitting that landed you the nomination for your role as Celeste on Y&R?

EVA: I submitted a scene with Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I have been friends for 30 years, if not more, and in all that time we had never worked together.  I met him when I was married to John O’Hurley (Ex- Dr. James Grainger) because John was over at The Young and the Restless at the time.  I went to a Christmas party with John to Peter and Mariellen’s house, and do you know who else was there?  Lisa Rinna (Ex-Billie, Days), and it was before she had gotten Days of Our Lives. She was dating Peter Barton (Ex-Scott Grainger, Y&R) at the time. We both ended up on soaps at the same time.  So, I submitted a scene with Peter, who is amazing, warm and open and such a great actor. Then I submitted a scene with my on-screen daughter Sasha Calle (Lola, Y&R) – I love that girl, and another one with Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) who has also been my great friend for a couple of decades. The other scene I put on my reel was with me and Jordi Vilasuso (Rey, Y&R) who I also adore.  He is awesome and such a sweetheart.  I only had two months worth of material to draw upon.  So, I just submitted the scenes that I liked the best, and they all were within story, and all made sense.

Photo: Getty Images

Where is Celeste supposed to be now?

EVA:  She went back to Florida, and that was that. I would never say never to anything, but it was always supposed to be a short stint, and it was great.

So not only is it you and Michael E. Knight, but Jeffery Vincent Parise, Chrishell Stause, and Elissa Kapneck. This Guest Performer category is loaded!

EVA:  I know! I know and love, Chrishell (Ex-Amanda) because we worked together on All My Children, too, right before I left, and she is a doll.  She just might be the sweetest, kindest, girl on the planet.  She literally might be the sweetest person who ever lived!  I don’t know the other two nominees personally.  So, I’m excited for them too.  It’s such a diverse category.  It’s just really fun to be nominated with all of them.

Photo: Hallmark Channel

You were nominated before, though, for your work as Maria on All My Chldren during the emotional baby switch storyline; working opposite Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica) for a lot in it.

EVA:  Yes.  I was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for All My Children, and I was nominated for Best Original Song.  I wrote a song when Maria came ‘back from the dead’ to All My Children, with a producer friend of mine from Miami Sound Machine.

Photo: Live with Kelly Ryan

So, you’ve been doing all of these All My Children virtual reunions, which is so interesting that in this pandemic, people are looking for content, and they dip back into these beloved shows.  Was it fun doing the EW.com Santos Family reunion with everybody?

EVA:  Oh yeah, it was really, really fun.  I only saw in the big picture everybody else’s photo who was a part of it, and the people who I actually do hang out with the most, and see the most, and talk to the most, are Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley), Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo), and Sydney Penny (Ex-Julia).  I don’t see Sydney as much, but I do see her probably once every two years at least, but Sarah Michelle Geller (ExKendall) I see all the time and talk to all the time.  Kelly, Mark, and Sarah are the ones who walked me through that first week when John Callahan passed.  They literally were on the phone with me, the three of them, almost every day, but I got beautiful outreach, from what seemed like everyone.  This is when no matter how many years have passed since you have been in daytime, that the daytime family as a group – there used to be fifteen shows, now there are four – and people have bounced around and they are on other shows- – but the entire soap opera community reached out,   I cannot even tell you how much that meant to me.  It was overwhelming, and it was really, spectacularly beautiful.

Photo: JPI

I hope it was some solace to you knowing how much people loved John, and also that they love and care so deeply for you.

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EVA:  I mean, people who did not even work with John reached out.  Every soap was represented by getting a hold of me, sending a text or a phone call, or if they didn’t have my personal information, they tweeted, or whatever it was… literally from every reach of soapdom.  It was amazing.

And your relationship with John was amazing with all of the ups and downs you went through; that you remained such dear friends.

EVA:  We remained really great friends all the way.

Photo: JPI

I so remember when the two of you first got together and it was this storybook real life soap couple romance.  John was always so sweet to me.  I was so, so sad, and you know, my heart just broke for you.

EVA:  I think it was just such a shock.  I don’t think anybody, and even Kaya were talking about it, because she graduated this week, and her dad is not here.  We’re not having a graduation, because of COVID-19, which sucks on top of it, but we were just kind of talking through the feelings of it.  She said, “You know what’s weird?  I guess I never pictured dad getting old, and I always wondered why, and now I know.”  When I would get on John about his heart or his health, he used to always say, ‘Oh, don’t worry Evala, (he always called me “Evala”).  I’m going to be here.  I’m going to be here a long time.  I’m fine.  I’m going to be here to walk Kaya down the aisle and see her kids and all that.  Stop worrying,” Every time he said it to me, something in my gut said, “I don’t think he is.  I don’t think he is,” but I always just dismissed that.  But never in my wildest dreams did I think John wouldn’t make it to her high school graduation.  He was only 66.

Photo: JPI

I had heard you ended up running to Palm Springs to be near John.  I can’t even imagine what that must have been like.

EVA:  The only good thing about this pandemic is that we had been shut down for only two weeks at that point.  Kaya and I got in the car.  John had some heart procedures the day before, on a Thursday.  I called him in the morning before he went in for the procedure.  I said, “Call me as soon as you get out of there.  Call me as soon as you come-to again, and you’re good,” and he said, “Okay, I will.”  I said, “I’m going to send Kaya out to you on Friday for the weekend, just so you have somebody to hang out and watch you, and I might come out too,” And then, I said, “Maybe, I’ll come down too in case you are feeling weak, just to watch out for you for the weekend.”   So, he called me after the procedure.   I said, “I cannot believe they sent you home! You just had some major heart stuff done.”  He said, “Oh no, they said I’m fine.  It was just run-of-the-mill heart stuff, angiogram…”  I was like, “Are you sure?”  He said, “Yeah, I’m fine.  I’m just tired.  I’m going to go to sleep.”  I said, “Do you want me to send Kaya out tonight?” and he was like, “No, no, no.  Send her tomorrow.”  So, in the morning, I called him at 9:00am.  No answer.  I texted him.  He always texted me like Johnny on the spot, and then texts me immediately back.  So, I call him again at 10.  Nothing.  His best friend calls me about a half-hour later, “Hey, I talked to John at about 8:00 this morning.  He said he was feeling really, really shitty and was going to go back to the hospital, and then, I texted him again at like 8:30 to just tell him something, and he hasn’t texted me back, and he always texts me immediately back.”  I said, “Oh my, God, I’ve been trying to get a hold of him for two hours; he hasn’t texted me back,”   I said, “You know what, I’ll call you back.”  So, I called his friend who lives down the street from John, and I said, “Go to his house, please right this second, knock on the door, jump the fence, knock on his bedroom, he might be asleep, I don’t know.”  So, he gets there, nobody is answering.  I said, “Break into the house please.  So, he did, and John was collapsed in the bathroom.  They called the paramedics, and as soon as they called me back and said, “John is unresponsive in the bathroom,” Kaya and I threw everything in the car, and what usually takes us two and a half hours without traffic, we made it down there from Los Angeles in an hour and forty-five minutes.

Photo: JPI

I don’t know how you made it down there in one piece. Thank, God!

EVA:  I drove so fast, like literally broke all land speed records and thank God because we got there just in time.  He was in emergency.  He hadn’t been put up in ICU yet, where we wouldn’t have been able to see him.  They weren’t going to let us in the hospital.  Thank God the person answering the door was an All My Children fan.  She was the one saying, “Sorry, no one is allowed in the hospital, no one can come in,” and I was like, “No, no, no, my ex-husband just came in.”  She said, “Was it Edmund?” and I said, “Yes, it was Edmund!”  She said, “Okay, follow me.”  Thank God for All My Children.  Thank God.  So, we followed this woman secretly, and we get to spend a half-hour with him in Emergency.  He was already on life-support, totally unresponsive, but we got to play John his favorite music, we got to just sit there and hold his hand and talk to him, and tell him how much we loved him.  Sarah Michelle Gellar called right when we were in the hospital in Emergency, and she said, “Put the phone by his ear,” so I put the phone by his ear, and she talked to John too, and she told him how much she loved him.  She used to always call him “GP”, which was short of grandpa, because she came on the show when she was 15, and she didn’t have a dad, and John acted like a dad to her – but she used to always call him “grandpa”, and he hated “grandpa”, so he was like, “You can call me “GP”, but not grandpa,” so she always called him GP.  I just put the phone by John’s ear, and what was crazy is that when she talked to him, his feet started twitching.  He started moving his feet.  Then, when Kaya was talking to him about Yankee season, he started moving his feet.  We were kind of hopeful that something was changing for the better.  We had about a half-hour with him, and then, they took him up to ICU, and then, we knew we couldn’t see him again.  They called us later that night that he had passed.

Photo: JPI

I am just so thankful that you got to see John one last time.

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EVA:  I thank God every day that we got to say goodbye, because if we hadn’t gotten there in time to say goodbye, I just don’t know.

It’s very rare that a couple after a divorce, who have a child, and went from romance to dear friends, end up maintaining that relationship so many years later in their lives.  I know so many people who were together at one point in their lives, for years, and they don’t even talk to each other now.

EVA:  Well, you know, like any divorce, the first four years afterwards were super contentious but then, by year five, we kind of had this major breakthrough, and from then on, he was one of my closest friends, and one of the things we always kept alive for each other was we loved to  dance together. We fell in love, I think, dancing because originally our characters on AMC met at this country-western bar, and we had to take country line dancing lessons on the show.  They hired a choreographer for us so that during those scenes where we were falling in love, we would actually be able to do a two-step! So, we went out and practiced at Denim and Diamonds, which was a big country-western place in New York City at the time.  We used to go out with a whole group of us.  It was me, and Teresa Blake (Ex-Gloria) and Kelly Ripa, and her boyfriend at the time, Winsor Harmon (Ex-Del), sometimes Walt Willey (Ex-Jack); we just had a whole crew of us who would go out country dancing.  John and I also loved singing together.  He had the most amazing gravely kind of rockstar voice, but his real talent was harmonizing.  He could harmonize to anything.  So, when he would come over, we would sit in the kitchen and sing, and sing, and sing until the late hours because that’s what we loved to do, and that’s what he loved to do.  That’s one of my favorite last memories of us.  He was just over the month before, and Kaya’s bedroom is near the kitchen, so she came out and was like, “Can you two shut up?”  It was like two in the morning and we were still singing in the kitchen. (Laughs)  John was my dear friend and my confidant.

Photo: ABC

Were you able to have some kind of service during this stay-at-home pandemic we are all dealing with, in order to mourn the loss of John?

EVA:  It’s been so crazy.  We couldn’t even have a funeral.  That’s what made it all the more heartbreaking.  There were less than twenty of us, and we just got on a Zoom call and memorialized John.   I thought we were going to do a big Zoom memorial, but it seemed so overwhelming and so impersonal, it just was rubbing us wrong in every way.  Every way we were looking at it, we were like, “Oh my, God, we just can’t.”  We wanted to invite everybody he had ever worked with, and we were like, “No, we want to do that when everything can open back up again, and invite every person, and have a party” because John was always the life of every party.  Maybe we can do that in the fall or next year.  I kept trying to write something for the small memorial we did do for three days.  I kept coming back to this one song, because John was always the consummate bartender, too.  I sang a song that Bette Midler sang on the very last episode of Johnny Carson.  It was “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” and it’s about a bartender who has got a big personality and a lot to say.   I changed some of the words around a bit just to reflect who John was, and so, I ended up singing for it instead of speaking.  We always talked about that last episode of Carson; how stunningly emotional it was when Bette sang that song to kind of sing Johnny off for of all of his years on the air.  So, that’s what I did and because we loved to sing together, it just made sense.

Photo: HutchinsPhoto

I do think you touched upon something, earlier, too.  I don’t think any other genre would have that kind of unbridled camaraderie.  It’s such a family, like you said.  I don’t think you would find that quite like this; certainly in show business. 

EVA:  I really don’t think you can. Even though there is always a good amount of competition in the soaps as well; between the soaps it’s like they are any sports team, but there is always a level of respect, love, and familial connection within the community.  I think that is why they have stood the test of time.  I really do think that is what hooks our audience, that is what keeps them there after all of these years, even though unfortunately the genre is antiquated looking, there is something about it that is nostalgic, familial, and comfortable for people.

Photo: JPI

Every time I talk about All My Children, why do you think everybody go ga-ga for it, when it’s been off the air for several years now?

EVA:  It speaks to people’s childhoods.  It speaks to how we grew up.  You can’t undo nostalgia.  You can’t.  It’s in the way we grew up, the things we loved, the things that we scheduled our lives around, the people we fell in love with on the shows that we watched, who we cared about and loved their storylines. I grew up watching All My Children, General Hospital, and Days of Our Lives.

It must have been a spectacular moment for you when you realized you were actually in Pine Valley and a member of the cast of All My Children then?

EVA:  It was amazing.  I was a fan when I got the show.  I was a straight up fan.  I fangirled walking through that dressing room hallway for the first time! I was trying to keep it in check, but you know … (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

So, in closing, you would say, “Thrilled to be nominated”?

EVA:  Yes.  So fun.  It has really been a rollercoaster of a couple of months here.  That nomination was literally the bright, shining spot in all of this.

So, happy to hear Eva is in the running for a Daytime Emmy? Were you moved by Eva’s sentiments she shared on her relationship with the late John Callahan? Do you miss Pine Valley’s Dr. Maria Santos? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Tracey E. Bregman and Kimberlin Brown Pelzer Talk the Iconic Battles of Lauren & Sheila

As part of “Villains” theme week on The Young and the Restless, Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren) and Kimberlin Brown Pelzer (Sheila) reunited for a walk down memory lane of one of the greatest and most twisted knock-out drag-out feuds in the history of daytime drama.

The longtime iconic duo talk about many of their storylines; complete with baby switches, notorious catfights, doppelgangers, treachery and more, with Michael Fairman for a very special virtual conversation on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.  Tracy and Kimberlin chatted with Michael from their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: CBS

During the interview, Kimberlin revealed how: she was originally cast as Sheila, what happened when she thought she was exiting Y&R for good and her run with Sheila was over; only to find out that Bill Bell (C0-Creator, Y&R and B&B) had plans for her to move over to The Bold and the Beautiful and continue playing the role.

In addition, Tracey shares: how some of those iconic fight scenes between the two were physically demanding and tough to do, plus the actresses give us insight into filming some of their most popular scenes; including yesterday’s classic episode that aired (which can now be found on CBS All-Access and CBS.com under season 42) where Sheila wreaks havoc on Lauren and Michael’s (Christian LeBlanc) honeymoon with an assist from “Terrible” Tom played by the late Roscoe Born.

Photo: JPI

Finally, the women weigh-in on what they think a solid storyline would be in 2020 or 2021; if Sheila was to re-emerge in Genoa City and reignite the feud with Lauren and her loved ones!

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Watch the virtual conversation with Tracey and Kimberlin below.  Then let us know, would you want to see Sheila come back to Y&R and cause Tracey and her family some serious trouble? Comment below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Annika Noelle Chats On Her First Daytime Emmy Nomination For Hope’s Emotional Journey Back to Beth

The Supporting Actor and Actress in a Drama Series are often the highly-competitive categories in the annual Daytime Emmys, because they usually contain the most entrance vying for the final 5 or 6 coveted spots.

This year, after all of her soap alter-egos sturm and drang, Annika Noelle found herself with a nomination for her riveting work as Hope Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful.

As fans of the CBS Daytime drama know, Hope went through hell and back and hell again as she was led to believe that her baby girl had died, only to later find out that the little bundle of joy was adopted by Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) in a heinous scheme put in motion by Dr. Buckingham (Wayne Brady). As the story unraveled, more and more people found out about the switch and kept it from Hope, chief among them Thomas (Matthew Atkinson), but all’s well that ends well when Liam (Scott Clifton) with a big assist from Douglas (Henry Joseph Samiri) figured out that Beth was Phoebe … and that set the stage for even more emotional drama.

Following the news of her nomination, Michael Fairman TV chatted with Annika Noelle, to get all the feels of this defining moment in her daytime career – cracking the glass ceiling and getting into a select group of actresses for the first time whose work has been deemed “Outstanding”. Here’s what Annika shared on her reaction to that great Emmy news!

Photo: JPI

Were you shocked and surprised when you learned of your Supporting Actress in a Drama Series nomination?

ANNIKA:  Yes!  I’m over the moon and so eternally grateful for it.  It means a lot to have the work I’ve done this last year get recognized by everyone.  It’s my first Daytime Emmy nomination, and now I get to say that.  It’s just a cool thing.

I can’t think of anyone who cried more in last year’s TV season than you as Hope.  That whole year was so heavy with the baby switch storyline and Hope’s journey back to her biological daughter.

ANNIKA:  It was.  Honestly, it took a lot out of me, and it was a lot to go through, and it really was a marathon.  I’ve never had to go through something like that as an actor, but I’m just glad that I made it out to the other side to get to experience this.

Photo: JPI

I was worried someone was going to have to pick you up off the floor from all the weeping! It must have been draining.

ANNIKA:  I can’t tell you how many times I was just like, “Do I have to cry? Do I have to though?”  I’m just really grateful that Hope finally got her baby back.  It was so funny when the fans would be like, “When is she getting her baby back?” and I’m like, “Trust me, no one wants it more than me.”

Were you watching the nominations unfold on The Talk?  How did you find out you were officially a nominee?

ANNIKA:  I went for a walk around the LaBrea Tar Pits because I didn’t want to be focusing on that, but I have family in Boston who were going to watch The Talk and let me know.  However, I guess the Mayor of Boston interrupted right before they started reading the nominations.  They were so pissed.  So, I was like, “Okay, I guess I’m not going to find out for a while,” and then the phone started ringing, and it was Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B).  Your heart kind of goes up in your throat when you see his name on the caller ID! I picked up and he said, “Congratulations,” and I proceeded to probably make him deaf because I was so excited. (Laughs)

Scott Clifton was your scene partner in so much of the arc of this storyline.  Did he say anything to you once you got nominated?

ANNIKA:  Oh yeah! We exchanged quite a few text messages with each other.  I thought he should have submitted himself this year.

Photo: JPI

I was so surprised when I found out that he didn’t enter the competition, because he did some incredible work.

ANNIKA:  It’s amazing the work that he did, and he was right by my side every step of the way during this incredibly difficult storyline, and honestly, I could not have done it without him … or Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, because they honestly were such great support systems for me as an actor and also as friends.  Honestly, I feel like this nomination is everyone’s.  It was such an ensemble effort.

Photo: JPI

What scenes did you submit that landed you the nomination?

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B&B's Annika Noelle Chats On Her First Daytime Emmy Nomination For Hope's Emotional Journey Back to Beth

ANNIKA:  I submitted as the initial scene when Hope finds out about Beth (where Liam tells her that Beth didn’t make it) and she starts out thinking that Beth is still alive and then gradually the denial fades away and the reality sets in.  Then, the second scene I submitted was where she is kind of emotionally checked out, and then, Sally (Courtney Hope) comes in with that poor puppy dog to try to cheer her up, and obviously that backfires on Sally.  That was actually a very difficult scene to shoot because here was this little puppy dog looking up at me, and I had to just freak out.  The third scene was on the rooftop where Hope finally finds out that Beth is indeed alive, and that Thomas has been lying to her.  Then, the fourth scene was the hardest one to pick, but I’m really glad that I went with it.  It’s just this really quiet, intimate moment between Liam and Hope when they’re alone with Beth again for the first time as a family.  Then, Liam and Hope share their first kiss as a family again.  The final scene was where Hope gets to slap Flo (Katrina Bowden) and you get to see the momma bear come out.  I really tried to tell a story.  I really tried to show an arc of that 8-9-month saga, and luckily, I had the material to choose from to do so.

You played the Emmy game very smartly, because the reels that work, in my experience, have been the ones that tell the arc of the story, so that anyone who doesn’t know the show can follow beat to beat to beat.  I think those are always the reels that ultimately grab the voters.

ANNIKA:  I think that’s something that I had to learn too from other actors, and the advice that I had gotten, and getting to actually watch and vote last year.  I thought of it more as an actor’s reel.  I tried to do show versatility as an actor.  So, hopefully we will see what happens.

Photo: JPI

Are you familiar with the work of any of the other actresses nominated in your category …Tamara Braun (Ex-Kim, GH), Rebecca Budig (Ex-Hayden GH), Christel Khalil (Lily, Y&R), and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie, DAYS)?

ANNIKA:  Oh, yes, and I am nothing but honored to be in a category with such amazing performers.  It takes so much in general to be a daytime actor, and to even be in this category with these other performers, it’s huge.  .

Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke), your on-screen mom is nominated for Lead Actress this year too!

ANNIKA:  I know!  I’m praying it’s her year, and Heather Tom (Katie) also did such beautiful work with the kidney storyline, and Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) just broke my heart with the divorce and the Thomas storylines.  It’s kind of all in the family in a way with our characters, but everyone did such beautiful work, and I’m rooting everyone on.  It’s nice that Katherine and I as an on-screen momma/daughter got to celebrate that together.

Photo: JPI

Did Katherine give you a call, or did you communicate, after the nominations were announced?

ANNIKA:  Yes, we talked, and then, ironically for about a year and a half, I had saved a bottle of Dom Perignon that I had received as a gift from her boyfriend, Dom Zoida.  I was always just saving it for a special occasion.  When I told her that, she was like, “I can’t believe you’ve been saving it this long!  We are going to have a toast tonight and celebrate!”  I was like, “Are you sure we don’t want to save it in case there’s other good news … maybe?”  and she was just like, “No!  We’ll get you another bottle.  We are toasting tonight.”  So, that was just a really beautiful moment because she really brought me in and showed me the ropes as a veteran on the show, and as someone who knows B&B and the dynamics so well.  I’ve learned a lot from Katherine, and I have nothing but respect for her.  She is one of the hardest workers I know; she does not stop, and I have such admiration.  I wish I were in half as good shape as she is!  It’s a special feeling to be able to share this with her.

You followed in Kim Matula’s (Ex-Hope) footsteps on the show.  That was no easy feat, and to make the role your own was beautifully done.  That has to feel good.  It’s not easy to play a role that someone else made ‘soap-famous’.

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ANNIKA:  It’s funny, because Mark Grossman (Adam, Y&R) and I started around the same time – him on Y&R and me on The Bold and the Beautiful, and even Matthew Atkinson as Thomas – everyone has kind of left their own mark on these characters as recasts, and it’s a challenging thing to do, stepping into someone’s role, especially with someone who originated the character. It’s a nice validation that you’re doing something right.

You and I will remember your humble beginnings on Venice the Series.

ANNIKA:  It’s such a crazy full circle too, because Hillary B. Smith (Ex-Nora, OLTL and Guya, Venice the Series) was my mentor in high school.  I would look up to her and be like. “She’s been nominated and won Daytime Emmys! Well, maybe one day I could …” Hillary was someone who I called and talked to for a long time before submitting.  I also have to give thanks to Crystal Chappell (Ex-GL, Days and Venice the Series), for seeing something in me and taking a chance on me when I was green as an actress.

I remember us talking on the set of Venice, and I remember you shooting your scenes as a recast in that show too at an apartment!  They threw you right into the fire.

ANNIKA:  Yep, and Susan Flannery (Ex-Stephanie, B&B) was directing a few of those episodes!  So, it was like… who would have thought that years later…?

Photo: JPI

I would ask you, what you are going to wear, but there is no red carpet that I know of, for a virtual Emmys this year!

ANNIKA:  I am so conflicted.  I’m like, “Do I wear PJs, or do I get glammed up and wear a beautiful gown?” (Laughs) I am the most comfortable in flannel and no makeup, so I’m like, “Okay, if I have to get glammed up, how on earth am I going to do my own hair because I don’t even know where to begin with that.” So, we’ll see, I guess, we’ll see!

It will be interesting to see what the virtual ceremony will look like.

ANNIKA:  I have a feeling that my cat might be a part of the awards ceremony.  He is going to try to steal the spotlight, a little.  Like an All About Eve moment happening here with Henry who I call “Burrito Man”.  He has his own Instagram.  It’s @theburritomankitty, and if there is a camera, let me tell you, he will try to interrupt.  That’s Burrito Man for you.  He’s a little diva.

Photo: IG

How have you and ‘Burrito Man’ been doing during the coronavirus pandemic?  How are your spirits? 

ANNIKA:  Well, this nomination has certainly been a silver lining.  It certainly has brightened the mood a little bit. It’s been pretty difficult feeling a little isolated, but The Bold and the Beautiful has been having Zoom happy hour every Friday where we will all get on in the late afternoon and catch up with everyone and have a little drink.  So, it’s been nice because I miss everyone.  We really do become like family.  That’s helped a lot, and then just… puzzles.  I’m doing a lot of puzzles, Michael.

Photo: JPI

In closing, many times you see a lot of the same names nominated in the acting categories at the Daytime Emmys, so it’s nice to see when someone new breaks through.  Kudos to you!

ANNIKA:  Honestly, that means a lot.  It was a lot, especially as a newcomer to daytime.  It really was sink or swim, but luckily, I have an amazing cast there supporting me and holding me up on those days where it was stressful, or where I would break down just because it was so demanding.  I can’t tell you how many people were there for me like: John McCook (Eric, B&B), Katherine Kelly Lang, Heather Tom, Jacqui, and Scott, these people championed me, urged me on, and believed in me.  I also have realized that I am a bit more of a method actor than I thought I was. (Laughs)  I might have taken some of the work home with me.  Queer Eye and RuPaul were cheering me up because it was a lot. (Laughs)  I just want to express my utmost gratitude for this honor and wish all the best of luck to the other nominees.  I have so much respect for everyone in this industry from the directors and our crews, all the way down to us actors. It’s a lot to do what we do in daytime with the budget and the time constraints that we have.  It really is a team effort.

So, were you happy to see that Annika scored a Daytime Emmy nomination for her hard work and being at the epicenter of the baby switch storyline on B&B? Comment below.

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