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The Erika Slezak Interview – One Life to Live

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

When One Life to Live was unceremoniously dumped by the ABC Television Network back in 2011, and aired its final episode in January of 2012, fans were furious and heartbroken!  For many, the show they invested in for four decades was no longer in its time slot, and that also meant they could no longer see the central heroine of Llanview and One Life to Live, Viki, as portrayed by six-time Daytime Emmy winner Erika Slezak!

But all that has changed, thanks to the effort of Prospect Park and The Online Network, when Viki and many of your Llanview favorites, return in all new episodes of One Life to Live starting April 29th on Hulu, HuluPlus and iTunes.  On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Erika to ask her thoughts on how things are shaping up at One Life’s new studio digs in Connecticut; behind the scenes and in front of the camera; and what’s in store for Viki now that she and Clint (Jerry verDorn) seemed to get closer at the end of the ABC One Life finale.  Now with all the reports that there is some cussing going down in Llanview these days, we had to ask: “Could the very proper Viki now be prone to uttering a foul word?  Or, how about her alter, Niki Smith?”  Erika addresses that, and if the revival of One Life is all about the young these days, and not at all about the vets.  From what you will come to understand, the Viki/Dorian feud is once again going to reignite right from the start, so that should be a good sign to long time fans of the series.

Of course, Erika has been thrilled to work alongside one of her favorite scene partners of all -time these past few weeks, Roger Howarth, who returned to One Life to Live to kick start the series’ move online as Viki’s brother, the always entertaining and dangerous Todd Manning.  Erika fills us in on working with Roger, and former cast mates from Jessica Tuck (Ex-Megan) to Judith Light (Ex-Karen) as well as new cast mates including Corbin Bleu, who as Jeffrey King is set to share lots of screen time with Erika’s “Viki”.  From the sadness her fans felt at the cancellation of the original One Life, to Erika’s views on the poor judgment by ABC, to the revitalization of the series now, we think you will enjoy this chat with Erika … who is truly in a class all by herself.

MICHAEL:

So Erika, how was it to play Viki again?   Did you have to rev yourself up for it, or was it just like you had never stopped playing her, and it just felt like you were in her skin once more within a blink of an eye?

ERIKA:

Photo Credit: Chapman Baehler

First, because we had the cast photo shoot three weeks or so before we started taping, we got all the “hello’s” out of the way.  We started at work on a Monday morning March 18th as if it had been a weekend.  And for me, it was like everybody fell right back into it.  There was not a hesitation.  As for the new actors, it was like they had always been there.  That is how easily they kind of fell into it, as well.  The only thing that was different is we had to try and learn the outline and the shape of the studioThey have a wonderful commissary where they feed us breakfast and lunch, and you just have to figure that out, and once you have done that you are on your way.   It is a slightly different schedule.  Things are taking a bit longer, because they want to make sure everything is absolutely perfect.  So every scene is being shot, even if you didn’t have to, two or three times, so they can pick the absolutely best shot.  They are working very carefully on the lighting.  We are in HD, which is really fantastic.  We have never been shot in HD before.  When I first saw it on the monitor, I couldn’t believe it!  I thought, “God, we looked like crap all those years.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

The First Look One Life to Live sizzle reel that has been released on Hulu.com really popped!  I think the quality of the show looks terrific!

ERIKA:

It’s so clear and so good, but you know for us as the actors, everything is exactly the same as it was a year and a half ago.  We have sets.  We have costumes.  We have props, we have lighting, we have stage managers, we have cameramen, and we have cameras.  The only thing that is different is what those cameras have inside of them and where they are being fed to.  Everything else is exactly the same.  So there was no getting used to anything except the new studio.

MICHAEL:

Does Viki still have “Llanfair”?   What are the sets like?

ERIKA:

Courtesy/ABC

Oh, my God, yes!  We have a new set designer, who is fabulous.  What he has done is re-created the sets that they needed of the old sets like; Dorian’s house and Viki’s library, and Bo’s garret.  For all intent and purposes, when you see them the first time they look exactly the same … but like they have been redecorated a little bit.  They are a little different, but you say, “Oh, that’s Dorian’s house!  I just recognized it.”  Everything has been slightly updated, and looks a little sharper and little fresher, as if every character had a designer come in and redecorate for the afternoon! (Laughs)  But I have to tell you, they really did a lovely job.  And, we have brand new sets that are fabulous, too.  We have a new coffee house with a street scene outside where they have kids on bikes riding around. And of course, we have the ubiquitous hospital set! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Jerry verDorn and you got to work together again!  When we last saw Viki and Clint on the final ABC episode of One Life to Live, Clint had proposed to her.  When the show picks back up, will we know where things stand between the couple?

ERIKA:

You will find out on day one where things stand between Clint and Viki, but don’t hold your breath, because it probably won’t last! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

I see problems on the horizon! (Laughs)  I would assume they will have to fight their way back to each other once again, if they are pulled apart by something Clint does?

ERIKA:

Courtesy/ABC

This is just in the first 20 scripts I am talking to you about.  Clint is behaving himself beautifully, but we know at heart, he is Asa.   So I am quite sure he is going to do something that shows his true colors!  Jerry is so good at that, but I don’t want to give anything away, or give any spoilers, but I think the audience is going to like what is going on … I hope! Please! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Corbin Bleu is one of the new casting additions to One Life, playing Jeffrey King. From teasers that have already been revealed, Viki wants him to help save The Banner.  What can you tell us about Jeffrey … and working with Corbin?

ERIKA:

The Banner, as with every newspaper in the world, is in trouble because of the Internet.  People don’t read paper print anymore.  They read everything online.  So readership is down, and advertising is down, while the costs are the same.  So Jeffrey is a hot shot young reporter who has been working freelance for The Banner, and helping us bring it to the digital age.  He has established the online Banner and is helping us make the transition, not to get rid of the print version, but to have both going concurrently.  Corbin is a wonderful young actor, and the nicest, charming man you could ever imagine.  He is so sweet and lovely, and I am very pleased we have him.   I think his character is going to be pivotal in the length of this show.  He is not just going to be a reporter.   There is a lot more that is going to happen with him.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: David Russell/TOLN

So, Viki will finally have someone on her side battling the “bad” guys in the workplace?  From the sounds of it, these two probably will develop a strong bond and close friendship!

ERIKA:

So far, Jeffrey and Viki have a wonderful relationship.  He has been a big help at The Banner.  He has been terrific, but again we have only shot 20 shows, which in the scope of things is nothing given where we are going to go.

MICHAEL:

How has it been getting to work with the incomparable Robin Strasser (Dorian) again?   You can’t have One Life without the show’s most famous supercouple … Viki and Dorian!

ERIKA:

(Laughs) I had to laugh, because day one Viki and Dorian are at it again, which is great.  As you know, Robin had back problems and had to leave early from One Life on ABC, and I was sad to see her go, because that has been a very big part of my time at One Life to Live.   I love all my scenes with Robin Strasser, who I love, and I love working with her.  And to know she was coming back now, and that at day one we were going to be at it again, was a joy.   She is the same as she always was.  Robin is top notch, on her game, and looking great!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

In the First Look One Life to Live preview reel, you as Viki are narrating the story of Llanview to get viewers caught up on the back-story leading into the premiere episode on April 29th.   It contained some of the best moments of the history of Viki and Dorian.   What are some of your favorite scenes between the two?  And then, there is that moment when Dorian relentlessly goes after Viki till she splits into multiple personalities, and Tommy throws her down the stairs!  So gut wrenching, and oh so juicy!

ERIKA:

Some of the best scenes we had were when it was just the two of us talking, and we are locked up somewhere together.  We were locked in Asa’s wine cellar at Asa’s funeral, when she told me to go do something interesting with your life.  So, Viki left and went to Paris, Texas.  There also is the stuff when we were in the cave together for days and days, because when you put Viki and Dorian together, and they are just talking, that is by far the most interesting, because then each one is allowed to be the character that she is.  The scenes where I was turning into Tommy, was all her egging me on and egging me on, and me being very vulnerable, obviously, and slowly allowing this truth to come through.  It wasn’t so much about connecting with her then.  So what I love are the scenes when we are connecting with each other in conversations.  One of the best examples of that were the very last scenes of Dorian and Viki on ABC’s One Life to Live.  A conversation between Dorian and Viki can start at one level, and can go up and down and to 20 different places, and end on a completely different note.  That is what I love about it – it’s that every line of dialogue changes the tone of the conversation in some way between them.

MICHAEL:

So with the new One Life to Live, they are obviously re-setting the Viki and Dorian feud.

ERIKA:

Photo Credit: David Russell/TOLN

You will see!  Jeffrey has written an article that really pisses Dorian off.  Viki runs with the article and publishes it, and then starts the whole thing again.  She does that because it’s the truth and is the right thing to do.  It’s a scandal that Dorian is involved in Washington.

MICHAEL:

Susie Bedsow Horgan just left her post as co-head writer of One Life to Live.  I know from our previous conversation, she is one of the reasons you were very excited about the writing of One Life.   How do you feel about this sudden departure?

ERIKA:

I was disappointed to hear that she left the writing team.  I called her, and this was her decision.  She said, “It’s just so much work.”  And whatever the other reasons were, she did not go into.  But, it was her decision to leave.  I am hoping it was for the good of the show.  Thom Racina is staying on as head writer.  He is a brilliant guy, and has such an experience in daytime that I think things will continue along very well.  Susie did what was right for her … that is the most important thing.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Studios

Fans always look to you, Erika, in so many ways that if things are alright with you, then it’s going to be alright with them.  Therefore, do you think the writing team understands the characters who were previously on the One Life canvas?

ERIKA:

I do think the writers are understanding the characters the fans have loved, absolutely! But again, I have not seen a whole show, but I have seen scenes.  And the scenes ring very true and the characters seem true, and when they are not, we say, “Can we fix this line?  Or, tweak this a little bit?”  And production says, “Absolutely!  Say what you think is more appropriate in terms of language, etc.”   I think they have been very good.  I think they have pushed the envelope a little bit it terms of what we can, and cannot say on the Internet, as opposed to network television where we had censors.   But, it’s nothing outrageous.  It’s not like everyone is suddenly going around cursing.  That is not the case at all.  They have just made us a little more human, and talking how we do in real life.  People are now much more real in terms of the dialogue, and I think that’s good.

MICHAEL:

So the big question: Will super-proper Viki ever utter a swear word?

ERIKA:

Courtesy/ABC

When necessary, I suppose.  But Viki is not somebody who resorts to that kind of language.  The way she was raised, and the way she is and had always been, she is a journalist.  She was an English major, I am sure in college.  She uses good English and she speaks in very proper sentences, and sure, the occasional “hell” or “damn” might slip out, but that’s not abnormal for her.  We actually had that in the last few years on ABC.  I don’t think Viki will ever go into real rotten language, because it’s not who she is.  I don’t think they would ever write it for her, and if they did, I would say, “That is really not who she is.”  Unless Niki comes back, and then all bets are off.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

You know, they are going to do that at some point I am sure, just to have Niki on the Internet cussing away, and God knows what else! (Laughs)

ERIKA:

Possibly … I have no idea.   I purposely never asked Susie where they were going with it, and I have no idea what their plans are regarding that.  Personally, it would be a lot of fun to play Niki! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Fans were also thrilled to see publicity images of you and Roger Howarth (Todd Manning) in new scenes together as Viki and Todd!  What has it been like getting the chance to work together again?

ERIKA:

Photo Credit: David Russell/TOLN

Talk about the guy I love!  We had the best scenes together last week!  He is so good. Roger is so full and rich as a character, and he is just phenomenal.  I was very pleased to have him come back, because that is a relationship that we have built up over 20 years.  It is very strong, and it gets better and better.  It is a very unique relationship. Yes, Viki criticizes him, she corrects him, but she loves him.  And in Todd’s own way, he loves Viki back.

MICHAEL:

Do you think getting the opportunity to work with you again was one of the reasons Roger decided to come back?

ERIKA:

I have no idea; you would have to ask him.  I know he wanted to be a part of One Life to Live whatever his reasons were.  I don’t know that I was a part of that.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of the younger set of new actors on the show?

ERIKA:

They are good.  Robert Gorrie, who plays Matthew, is terrific.  He is thoughtful and strong.  And oddly enough, looks exactly like an older version of Eddie Alderson (Ex-Matthew).  He is very handsome, but there are a lot of features about him where you say, “OK.  That’s Eddie grown up.”  It’s terrific casting.  I haven’t, worked with him, but I have seen a lot of his stuff, and I think he is very interesting.  And Laura Harrier, in spite of not really having been an actress before, picked up so much in the short time we have been working, and she is going to be a very good Destiny.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit; Chapman Baehler

Have you gotten to work much with your on-screen daughter, Melissa Archer (Natalie) yet?

ERIKA:

We are getting to work together a little bit, but Natalie doesn’t live at Llanfair anymore!  That makes Viki sad.  But Natalie has her own set, so there is lots more she can do.

MICHAEL:

Of course, we all saw the images of you and several OLTL cast mates bringing coffee and donuts to the wonderful group of fans that came to welcome you back to work in your new studio in Connecticut, and to show their support.  I know you got some beautiful roses, too.  How was that moment?

ERIKA:

We all went outside the studio to say “hello” to the fans.  It was a bitter cold day, and they were standing out there for hours with balloons and slogans and signs!  It would have been cruel just to ignore them.  They were so sweet to come and cheer and to say, “We are so glad you are back.”  We went out on a five minute break from shooting.  It was incredibly good of them to come and show their support.  I think the outcry that the fans made when ABC cancelled both shows on the same day, and the outcry that continued, I think was a big factor in Prospect Park’s willingness to try and put this back on the air.  They realized how important this show was to the fans.  They thought, “Yes we can do this,” even though it fell apart the first time they attempted it.  They pushed through and they were able to get it done.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

When I post something on my website that is something that Erika Slezak said, there is an outpouring of love for you that I have never seen for any actress in this genre.  One of the comments I consistently get is, “She is a class act.”

ERIKA:

That is just lovely.  It is a credit to Viki, too, that we have always managed to keep her true to who she is.  Then she becomes Jean, Torrie, Tommy, or Niki, or somebody, and they forgive her that, and then she comes around again as Viki.

MICHAEL:

The final ABC OLTL interview we did together in New York City on November 8th 2011 was one of the saddest things I ever had to do in my career.  I know we both fought back tears.  Do you remember going through that day?  And how the cancellation decision sent shockwaves through the industry?

ERIKA:

It was a sad day.  I have said what I had to say about ABC, but I think they made a mistake.  I hope they realize they made a mistake.  I think it’s wonderful that General Hospital was saved, and even though it moved its timeslot, which is generally never a good thing, it’s doing better now than it had been.  It shows that the audience wants entertainment.  They don’t want to be taught how to cook, or how to get thin in the middle of the afternoon.  You can learn that anywhere else!  Our audience was so used to entertainment from Ryan’s Hope through to General Hospital, and then when they left Port Charles come in, and there was still All My Children and One Life to Live.  The audience wanted that time for entertainment.  We were told, “No, the audience doesn’t want entertainment anymore, they want information.”  I am sorry that is a load of rubbish.  When you are used to being entertained, all of a sudden you are being told how to cook a Pork Loin a different way?  The answer was “no” from the fans.  They want to continue seeing their fantasy family, but then to follow it up with, “How to get thin and change your life?”  I think it was pretty evident how bad a call that was, because they canceled The Revolution just a few months after it started!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

One Life to Live was firing on all cylinders in the final two weeks of air shows.  It was amazing!  Ratings were up!  It made no sense for the suits to can the show.  Do you think looking back they canceled, or sacrificed One Life to keep General Hospital?

ERIKA:

I was certainly upset that they canceled One Life to Live and All My Children, but I was delighted that they were keeping General Hospital.  When thy canceled us they had not been planning on canceling GH, but in my own mind, I thought it might be on the chopping block in a year or two.  But, very wisely they took Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati and pepped GH up again.  I think it would have been suicide to cancel all three shows at the same time.  The fact they did both shows was bad enough!   But they had nothing to replace the third show with.  They canceled AMC and OLTL because they already had something in place for them.  They had The Chew for All My Children and The Revolution for One Life.  We were allowed to continue till January of 2012, because The Revolution was doing so poorly and it needed so much work.  They kept testing it, and it would test very badly.  I think had they had something to replace General Hospital with, they very well might have canceled it, but thank God, they didn’t.  Now ABC has a different mindset going, “OK, let’s stick with the entertainment … because it’s working!”

MICHAEL:

Do you miss working with Frank Valentini (Ex-executive producer OLTL, now EP GH) and Ron Carlivati  (Ex-head writer, OLTL, now GH)?

ERIKA:

Courtesy/ABC

Yes, I was very fond of both of them.  I think they were incredibly good at what they do. However, in the last four weeks I have seen our new executive producer, Jennifer Pepperman become a whole different person.  She is now the executive producer who is running the show.  She is working her tail off.   I don’t know how she ever goes home. Our new staff is wonderful.  Hopefully, when we see all the new shows together, we will find out that the writing is equally as good.   Ron Carlivati is a fantastic storyteller!  Frank is an extraordinarily talented producer, and it was to his credit that One Life to Live went out the way it did on ABC.   From the minute we were canceled he said to everybody, “We are not going out sad.  We are going out on top. We are going to get better and better and better!”  And, we did just that.  That was all Frank.  He was a leader, and a cheerleader and a boss, and he was always like that.  Yes, I do miss them, but Jen is doing an amazing job, and our writers are working their tails off in the very short space of time that was given to them.  We will be fine.

MICHAEL:

Now that you had a year and half off from playing Viki, is there something you would love to suggest to the writers that you would like to just dive into and play?

ERIKA:

No.  I am not a writer.  I play Viki.  And when you are a writer, you have to write for everybody and incorporate everybody into all the stories.  As an actress, you are thinking, “What am I going to do with Viki?”  I am always pleased, surprised, sometimes delighted, and sometimes absolutely horrified what is given to me to play, but that’s OK.  That is their job, and they constantly come up with stuff for Viki! (Laughs)   If that stuff happened to me in my life, I would be dead a hundred times over already.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: David Russell/TOLN

Are you at all concerned with the youth movement in daytime, and the youth movement for the new One Life to Live, which is to keep the current audience but to expand it and bring in a younger generation?  And, that characters such as Viki, Clint, and Dorian could be pushed under the carpet in favor of all the newbies?

ERIKA:

At some point that probably will happen, and probably should happen.  You have to have the younger generation take over and become the core characters, but I don’t see that happening now.  I know that had we stayed at ABC, Jessica and Natalie would have become Viki, and Viki would have become older, and that is fine.  That is what happens in life.  You go through ups and downs and arcs.  I think Viki will always be a character there.  How important she will be after awhile would be determined by who comes to take her place.  You do need a vocal morale center of the show, which Viki has always been.  If they can replace her with somebody else then they should.  Hell, I am not going to live forever, and Viki’s not going to live forever.  But for now, I don’t see that happening at all.  Viki is very much in the forefront mixing into everybody’s life, as she always does.  She is very concerned about The Banner, and her family, and Clint and Jefrrey, and Natalie, and everybody, so let’s see where this goes.  But yes, I think that at some point that should happen.  What they have to do is bring in very interesting younger characters and give them time to develop.  And, that is something that soaps don’t always do.  You can’t just throw a character bing-bang in the middle of a story!  The audience doesn’t know who he or she he is.  They have to learn to like them, or not like them, one way or the other. You know, the characters you love to hate, as opposed to the ones you love.  You have to give them time to grow as characters, and the audience to get to know them.  But for now, everything is as it was.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

I recently interviewed Judith Light, and we discussed the famous courtroom scene when Karen gets on the stand and admits her life as a prostitute in order to save her friend Viki from a murder rap.  Judith reminded me that the overall theme, in part, was about saving and helping a friend in need.   Do you remember taping those monumental scenes?

ERIKA:

Viki was the one who discovered what Karen had been up to.  And, Viki was very fond of Larry, who was Viki’s brother-in-law when he was married to Viki’s sister Meredith. She was very fond of Karen, and totally trying to find a way out of this without having her destroy her life!  It was very painful for Viki to watch this, and how Herb Callison just destroyed her on the witness stand.  Judith was so fabulous!  But, what I didn’t realize is that they were shooting an awful lot of Viki willing Karen to get through it.  I did not know it till I saw the episodes, but I remember the scene, very, very well.  Oh My God, how could you forget?  At one point the writers and people said, it was the best story on daytime television, ever.  The way Gordon Russell had pulled everybody into this story was genius.  Gordon Russell, was our head writer back then, ‘par excellent’ … and we lost him much too soon.

MICHAEL:

So now looking back at 41 years, are there new favorite all-time storylines you have?

ERIKA:

Yes, but having been the same character for 41 years, you forget so much of the story.  I could not give you one right now. Certainly, Paris Texas, The Heaven Story I loved because I was so comfortable and so happy.  (Laughs)  But all the stories were adventures. Years ago, Viki and Marco Dane (Gerald Anthony) had a silly adventure and that was fun, and working with Lee Patterson as Joe Riley was always fun, working with everybody was fun.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

You had the opportunity to work with Jessica Tuck (Megan) again at the end of ABC’s One Life in the final “heaven’” scenes.   How was that?

ERIKA:

Oh, that was lovely.  I was so fond of Jessica, and I still am.  When Megan was dying, and the whole Scheherazade story, it was so touching, and even leading up to that, all the scenes were wonderful.

MICHAEL:

And now you will create new memories!

ERIKA:

There will be new memories, which will be wonderful.  We are making new memories and we are creating an old again/new again show.  All My Children’s Thorsten Kaye (Zach) and Vincent Irizarry (David), and I are all going to on The View to promote the premieres of both shows.  I am not sure of the date of our appearance, though.

MICHAEL:

Fans are thrilled they will be able to see you again as Viki.  During your time away, I am sure many people came up to you expressing the loss they felt not seeing Llanview.  But now thanks to the fans unwavering quest and support, Prospect Park, The Online Network, and Hulu, new episodes will begin very shortly!

ERIKA:

Courtesy/ABC

I am happy to be back.  I love Viki and I have all these years.  She is not a part of me, but I know her so well now.  I like her more and more.  It’s a pleasure to be back in her skin. People were coming up to me so missing her.  One lady came up to me one night while I was having dinner with my family.  She was this very elegant woman, and she said, “I don’t want to interrupt, but I just want to tell you I find it disgraceful you were canceled. I miss you guys.   I have enjoyed you so much over the years on OLTL.  It is such a part of my life.  I just looked forward to that hour … and why?  Why did they do this?”  And I thought, “This is an intelligent educated woman, who is saying, ‘Why would they take that hour a way from me?  My fun time?  My time?  My entertainment?”  People were really sad.   There are people who lived with One Life to Live for 43 years! And unfortunately, we have a wonderful sweet fan named Marge Cash, and she is in her mid 80’s now.  She wrote me this sweet letter not too long ago.  She has been a fan of the show before I joined the cast.  She wrote me a letter to say, “I wish you all the luck in the world.  I am in my mid-80’s and I don’t have a computer and I can barely put the television on, so I won’t be able to see it, but I wish you and everybody all the best.”  And I thought, “Oh, I wish we were in a place for her to see it.”  It means a lot to her.

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scott
scott

Love her.

ghfan4evr
ghfan4evr

This interview was everything I expected and more. I remember the interview you did with Erika on that sad final day. How wonderful it must have been this time around. Thank you once again, Mr. Fairman!

C
C

Great interview. Though I’m assuming that, in Erika’s comment about Natalie, that you meant to see she’s no longer living at Llanfair, not Llanview.

Mary Fergen
Mary Fergen

Such a fun and interesting interview, Michael! There would be no OLTL without Erika and Viki. She knows just how the fans feel, and how much these soaps mean to us. I’m getting even more excited to see the new episodes!

lanell
lanell

welcome home OLTL- 😀

Batmarc6
Batmarc6

Beyond the honor of being pictured with Erika and Soap Fans United President, Shawn Brady… this conversation with her is an absolute TREASURE that I shall ALWAYS cherish. It is SO thrilling to be exposed to her honesty, her forthright attitude towards both the past and the future, her elegance, grace, charisma, intelligence, charm and, as always, she remains the epitome of class. The two weeks that remain before the Hulu premiere are going to be absolute TORTURE!! Not the same kind of torture that the last two years have been, mind you, but agonizing, nonetheless!!

Rob
Rob

I can’t wait

Llanviewer717
Llanviewer717

What a wonderful interview. Thank you Michael for posting it. Erika Slezak is as articulate and classy as always. I have always said OLTL has the strongest, most grounded cast on television and she is at the head of the class. My heart and soul are with all of them.

Stephanie
Stephanie

Love her. Thank you Michael for bringing us the interview. Looking forward to seeing Viki again, Erika and the rest of the cast has been greatly missed.

CTwildheart
CTwildheart

Michael…I would LOVE to help out Marge Cash! Is there any way you can ask Erika for her contact info? Please?!?!?

rebecca
rebecca

that is sooo nice of you. I hope Michael can get that for you. best… 😉

Troy Turner
Troy Turner

Yes, we MUST help Marge to see OLTL again. This is why we’re still fighting as hard as we are. Michael, what more can you tell us?

Llanviewer717
Llanviewer717

I agree. If there is some way for the rest of us fans to help here, I’d love to participate.

CTwildheart
CTwildheart

Or you can give Erika MY contact info….

Nancy
Nancy

I can barely contain myself until 4-29. I never thought this would happen and am so proud to be part of the movement that saved my shows. 2 more weeks and back to normal. Thanks to all the people who did this unbelievable amount of work to get our shows back.

heidi
heidi

Another fabulous interview Michael!!!

Erika is one of the best and a favorite! I am so glad she thinks things on the new PP show are going well. I am so hoping they continue with OLTL and just make it even better than it was as it changes like life does. Do they address where characters are that are not on the show yet… like Jessica? I hope they do that well and leave the oportunity for them to join or come back in the future. She is best!

Oh… when she was talking about playing her alters… it made me think of something about the Kate/Connie storyline. I have loved Erika/Viki for all of her years and I accepted and or loved seeing her play the alters because first and foremost… I loved Viki and Erika. With the Kate/Connie storyline… I was not invested in the new Kate/Kelly and I was not truly invested in the Kate character enough to endure the Connie alter. I do believe Kelly Sullivan is talented and I am sure she is a lovely person… and RC can write great DID storylines… and acting with Maurice/Sony was great… but I did not like the Kate/Connie storyline and I really thought it went on for way to long! If they had waited a few more years till I was really invested in Kate/Kelly I am certain I would endure or embrace or enjoy it more. I would really like to get the Kate character back running the magazine and having Maxie and Lulu working for it again… those were fun days… especially with Kate/Megan… loved the “Devil Wears Prada” type story line! No one does the DID story like Erika/Viki!!!

Did she happen to mention off interview if she liked the nods that GH has done to Viki through Todd mainly… those were fun and always made the crossover more beneficial to OLTL continuing in whatever form it did.

Thanks again for a great interview Michael and Erika!!!

Marva
Marva

Ohhhhhh Erika Bring it on homeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….. Can’t wait to watch my soaps again, family and friends think I am nuts because I boycotted ABCD…Still do……

Llanviewer717
Llanviewer717

You’re not nuts. The alphabet network and the mouse company have no respect, regard, concern for the audience that made millions of dollars for them over the past 40 plus years and no respect for their employees. They will never get one more second of my time or penny of my money.

Marva
Marva

Thank you, glad I am not the only one who feels this way.. 🙂

CTwildheart
CTwildheart

I am also still boycotting. I don’t take being lied to and manipulated and talked down to lightly. I especially don’t like that they did that to their own employees. I doubt they will ever get me back…it will take a LOT. So if you’re crazy – then so am I!

Barb Coleman
Barb Coleman

Thank you Michael for this awesome interview! Erika is a class act! Loved hearing her enthusiasm. I have missed her so! I cannot wait for April 29th! It will be nice crying happy tears instead of tears of devastation! Oltl was my all time favorite and I lost a part of myself, a part of my day when it went off the air! I am over joyed to have my family back! Thank you so much Erika for all your years of dedication and years to come! WHOO HOO!!! I am even more excited now after hearing what she had to say!

Tina
Tina

I adore this woman. I cannot wait to see the show again.

Trapper
Trapper

Great interview! It’s so wonderful to know that OLTL, and especially Viki, will be back with new stories. I’ve missed Erika Slezak and the rest of them, as has my 90 year old Mum. Thanks for the interview, Michael!!

Christina
Christina

Another great interview!!! I love this woman, she is the reason I started watching OLTL and I am SO glad that I am now again able to watch OLTL. Thank you for this interview and thanks to Erika for all that she does to bring Viki to our screens.

Ann
Ann

Great interview! I am so excited for OLTL to come back. Oh, how I have missed my Llanview friends…after watching for around 30 years, through school & jobs & raising kids…they really do feel like part of my life! Erika/Vicki is the greatest. Cannot wait!

susan r.
susan r.

Erika I love you & I can,t wait til OLTL returns! I,m counting days tick tock to see OLTL resume! Ive really missed all the Buchanans,Cramers & all the fine people & I have to pinch myself to make sure that this is real but it is real & I,m SO happy! Hurray we the fans wouldn,t take no for an answer our wish has been granted & our awesome show is back! Yeah! I can,t wait to see you all in action & no our OLTL should have never been cancelled in the 1st place!

Joliefan Forever
Joliefan Forever

That Lady is the Definition of Class…..

Rosalie
Rosalie

Great interview with a great person! I’m sooo excited to see OLTL back again!!!

Edna Barefoot
Edna Barefoot

Michael thank you so much for the article about Erika. She IS a classy lady. I have missed OLTL so much. I have been watching my tapes of Erika & finally I get to see it new. I am so glad Erika cares for her fans ABC/D didn’t. I can hardly wait til the 29th. Thank you again Michael glad you are an Erika fan that leads to great articles.

Shelley D
Shelley D

She is such a class act. I love hearing her talk about the younger actors with such fondness. I can hardly wait for my show to come back!

Debbie Harris
Debbie Harris

Wonderful interview with the Great Erika Slezak!! Cant wait to see my Favorite OLTL live again!!

Jeffrey Jonas Moree
Jeffrey Jonas Moree

Oh God yes let Nikki come back and curse everyone out…lol

Jackie
Jackie

I grew up watching OLTL since I was a kid in high school and never missed one show! I am so excited that show will be on again! Even if it’s going on the internet instead of TV. I love all the characters and especially Vicki and Dorian! It’s going to be wonderful!

Bob J
Bob J

Hopefully the time of the show will go back to one hour. I am sure rating will make a difference. Is this going to be on soap net ?.

Michael
Michael

Great interview with an absolute class act!

Cindy
Cindy

I can’t wait for OLTL to start again!

Karen B.
Karen B.

I am so happy our shows are coming back and happy to say Erika hit the nail on the head with her comments about the cancellations being dumb. I never watched one episode of the Revolution or The Chew and I quit watching GH for the most part. We do want our entertainment and there is a whole channel devoted to cooking so why watch a cooking show on ABC? I am most sure there was a much broader fan base for the soaps than The Chew. I am very glad to know Erika understands her fans. 🙂 She is a class act and the interview was wonderful. Can’t wait for the 29th!

Lou
Lou

I am in Canada, and I can’t watch it, as we can’t get it in Canada. I really wish they could find a way for us to see it. I loved OLTL.

Troy Turner
Troy Turner

PP has just inked a deal with FX Canada to air both AMC and OLTL

Lou
Lou

How do I get FX Canada?

CTwildheart
CTwildheart

That’s right! FX Canada will air both shows! Good for Canada and Prospect Park!

Lou
Lou

Great, but how do I get FX Canada? Is it on tv, or on-line? I sure hope it’s on tv.

CTwildheart
CTwildheart

FX Canada is a TV channel. You need to check your cable carrier and see if you have it…good luck!

Brian Greene
Brian Greene

We Love You, Erika–Yay! 😀 <3

Tracey
Tracey

Thank you for the wonderful interview with Ms. Slezak. She is the heart of OLTL and yes, one classy lady.

peg
peg

Erika will always be viki
I am so happy they bought oltl back
oltl was my favorite soap
thank you erika

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Chandler Massey Chats On His Bittersweet Daytime Emmy Nomination

He’s won three Daytime Emmys in the Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series three years in row in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and now Chandler Massey is going for gold for the second time in his career in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series which in a field where he is competing with two co-stars from Days of our Lives among others.

Massey has long been a stand out performer, giving nuanced and emotional portrayals in the angst-ridden life of Will Horton and the love of his life, Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith).

Back in February of this year, DAYS fans learned that Chandler and Freddie had taped their last episodes, and since the NBC soap tapes more than 6 months ahead of air, that the two will still be on the air into the fall.  That has made this moment of recognition for Massey all the more poignant.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Chandler to get his reaction to the news that he is once again a Daytime Emmy nominee, and here’s what he had to say about it all.

Photo: JPI

 

I thought it was great that you received another Emmy nomination.  What do you think?

CHANDLER:  Yeah.  I thought it was pretty great too, actually.   I was surprised.  I wasn’t keeping up on when they were announcing the nominations.   I was thrilled that Wally (Kurth) and Paul (Telfer) also got nominated too in the same category.  So, hopefully, DAYS, has a decent shot to take it home.

What did you end up submitting that ultimately landed you the nomination?

CHANDLER:  I went with some scenes that aired on December 16th of last year (I just looked that up), where Will basically breaks up with Sonny when Sonny comes to visit him in prison.  I liked those because they were sort of subtle.  I just found myself drawn in when I watched it, and it wasn’t big or dramatic, but it felt like two real people sharing their pain.  So, that’s why I chose it.

Photo: JPI

I remember those.  Those were heartbreaking because he had to get Sonny to let him go.

CHANDLER:  Yes.  He said he has a new prison boyfriend, and that he’s doing really well in prison, so he doesn’t want to be tied down. (Laughs)

You’ve had Freddie Smith as your scene partner for so much of your run on DAYS.  What did he give you in those scenes that helped you, or even further enabled the performance that you gave?

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CHANDLER:  Freddie always gives everything.  He is a consummate professional, so he really commits every time.  I think it is more that we are just so comfortable with each other that we are not afraid, and that there is no hesitation between the two of us, so we just are able to do the work.  We usually know we are there to listen to, and support each other. in the scenes.

Photo: NATAS

Was your entire submission from the prison scenes or did you include something else?

CHANDLER:  It was just that.  I know I could have included something else, but I like to keep it sort of short because I feel like as a judge, I know within a few minutes.  It’s not that I get bored, but it really only takes a scene or two, and then, you’re like, “this is something special.”  You can recognize it pretty quickly.

So, you have won three Daytime Emmys. This is your first nomination in a few years, right?

CHANDLER:  Yeah, I didn’t get nominated the year before.  I had a gap year… to my family’s great shame. (Laughs)  They were not pleased with me.

Photo: JPI

This is your second nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Daytime Drama Series category.

CHANDLER:  Yes. I was nominated in ‘Supporting’ for the first time when I came back to DAYS, and then submitted for “Lead” the next year, didn’t get nominated, and then went back to ‘Supporting’.  I learned my place.  I went back to ‘Supporting’ for this year.  (Laughs)

It’s such a game though, right?  .

CHANDLER:  Yeah, you’ve got to be smart.  I just thought, “What the heck?”  Freddie and I were like, “Maybe there’s a shot that if we pick different categories, we can both get nominated,” but then, after that didn’t work, I said, “Screw that… going back to ‘Supporting”

Now, you’ve been through Emmy night before, and this is obviously going to be a virtual Emmy’s.  Now, if they did a six-shot of all of the nominees, what would you wear?  Would you be dressed up?  Would you be casual?  What would you see yourself doing?

CHANDLER:  That’s a good question. I think maybe… I’ll do a little of both.  I’ll go the middle ground.  I’ll be in my finest bathrobe, a silk bathrobe so it’s casual but also still sort of fancy.

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There you go.  (Laughs)  Is this nomination all the more special for you in that you are no longer working at DAYS? 

CHANDLER:  Oh, totally.  Every year is special, but you know, I’m not on the show anymore, so it’s a nice reminder that the work that I did had an effect on people, and it won’t be forgotten for at least a few more hours.

Photo: JPI

I saw the fan outcry and show of support for you and Freddie, when viewers got wind that you were exiting the series.  It was sad and heartwarming at the same time.  The WilSon fans are so behind you guys.

CHANDLER:  Yeah, if only they knew what horrible people that we were in real life, then they wouldn’t be this way, but thankfully… (Laughs)  Yeah, it’s really nice, but it is sad.  I started in 2009, and that was over 10 years ago, and nothing lasts forever.  I had a really, really great run, and so did Freddie.  I am very satisfied and don’t feel jipped, or like, I was entitled to anything more than I got.

Courtesy/NBC

Obviously, your co-nominees, Wally and Paul you worked with many times.  What can you say about them?

CHANDLER:  I think that both men deserve definitely to get second and third place.  (Laughs)  I have known Wally for a while now.  I love him.  I think his work is phenomenal.  I think he is really, really underrated.  Paul, I don’t know as well, but I think obviously his work speaks for himself.  If only he were physically attractive, I think that would really, really help his career.

Photo: JPI

I know, it’s a shame.

CHANDLER:  Unfortunately, he is kind of schleppy, you know?  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Did Freddie reach out to you after you received the nomination?  

CHANDLER:  Oh yes, he sent a text congratulating me, and we talked about it.  It was nice.  I feel like our stories are so intertwined, the scenes we submit are mostly with each other.  So, it’s really kind of a shared accolade.

So, will you be rooting for Chandler to cap off his career on DAYS with an Emmy win on June 26th during the virtual ceremony on CBS? What did you think of the nominated scenes he submitted? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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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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DAYS Chandler Massey Chats On His Bittersweet Daytime Emmy Nomination

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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It’s “Villains Week” on Y&R an that means some Sheila Carter, David Kimball, and Isabella Brana, Check out the promo from CBS Daytime here.  Leave A Comment

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Airdate: 5-19/20-2020

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