Connect with us

Interviews

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.

Click to comment
Advertisement

avatar
scott
Guest
scott

Love her.

ghfan4evr
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
lanell

welcome home OLTL- 😀

Batmarc6
Guest
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
Guest
Rob

I can’t wait

Llanviewer717
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
CTwildheart

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

rebecca
Guest
rebecca

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

Troy Turner
Guest
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
Guest
Llanviewer717

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

CTwildheart
Guest
CTwildheart

Or you can give Erika MY contact info….

Nancy
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Marva
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Marva

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

CTwildheart
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Tina
Guest
Tina

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

Trapper
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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.
Guest
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
Guest
Joliefan Forever

That Lady is the Definition of Class…..

Rosalie
Guest
Rosalie

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

Edna Barefoot
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Debbie Harris

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

Jeffrey Jonas Moree
Guest
Jeffrey Jonas Moree

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

Jackie
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Michael

Great interview with an absolute class act!

Cindy
Guest
Cindy

I can’t wait for OLTL to start again!

Karen B.
Guest
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… Read more »

Lou
Guest
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
Guest
Troy Turner

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

Lou
Guest
Lou

How do I get FX Canada?

CTwildheart
Guest
CTwildheart

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

Lou
Guest
Lou

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

CTwildheart
Guest
CTwildheart

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

Brian Greene
Guest
Brian Greene

We Love You, Erika–Yay! 😀 <3

Tracey
Guest
Tracey

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

peg
Guest
peg

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

General Hospital

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Continue Reading

Interviews

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

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

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

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

 

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

Courtesy/StudioCity

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: StudioCity

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

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

Courtesy/StudioCity

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

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

Courtesy/StudioCity

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

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

 

Courtesy/StudioCity

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: StudioCity

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Courtesy/StudioCity

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

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

Courtesy/StudioCity

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

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

Courtesy/StudioCity

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Right, and seduce people …

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

Continue Reading

General Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Does it feel nice to be recognized by your peers?

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Video du Jour

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

The Michael Channel

Advertisement

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Power Performance

Cynthia Watros as Nina

General Hospital

Airdate: 6-3-2022

Advertisement
Advertisement

Popular