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The Frank Valentini Interview – One Life to Live & What If

Courtesy/ABC

What soap viewer has not entertained the thought of, “What if my favorite soap babe met up with my favorite soap hunk from another soap?”  Or, “I wonder what would happen if two soap legends from different daytime dramas perform together for the very first time as their renowned alter-egos?”  Or, “I wish my favorites from Pine Valley could just get stuck somewhere with some of my favorites from Llanview!”  Well, some of your prayers are about to be answered coming up this Monday July 12th, when ABC Daytime and SOAPnet’s new creative webisode mash-ups, What If premieres, with some of the most famous and infamous characters from One Life to Live, All My Children, and General Hospital in some very unique out-of-time scenarios.  Just an FYI for your viewing pleasure – the webisodes will be derivative of the characters you love and their unique past, but are not related to current storyline. You can view the webisodes at both ABC.com and SOAPnet.com, and cut down versions will air on both ABC Daytime and SOAPnet.

So, once the What If’s were put into motion, who was the man who was instrumental in directing the amazing talent of ABC Daytime stars in these humorous, touching, and exciting featurettes?  And, who could give us the inside story on what to expect?  That would fall to One Life to Live’s head honcho, Frank Valentini.  And while Valentini runs the ship in Llanview, many insiders know that it is also his directing prowess that has earned him kudos from his peers and the press.  In this new interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Valentini gives us a look at how the What If’s were made, and takes us through each of the ten webisodes
you will see rolled-out throughout the summer.

Next, Frank gives us the overview for this summer’s sizzling storylines coming up on One Life to Live. And yes, finally, we do discuss how Valentini manages to keep things moving forward with his cast and crew amidst constant rumors that One Life could be the next show to hit the chopping block.  But after speaking with Frank and reading his thoughts, it should be apparent to anyone that this guy has the drive, determination, and love for the genre to keep creating new ways for soapers to enjoy their favorite stories be it on the web or the small screen.

You can view the full schedule of What If’s by clicking here

MICHAEL:

Frank, how did it come about that you were chosen for the job of director of all ten What If webisodes?  I know you directed the Endless Drama promo marketing campaign with ESPN Sports and ABC Daytime in the past.  So this obviously was a natural for you on so many levels.  And how involved were you in the development process until you finally went to tape?

FRANK:

Couresty/ABC

I heard from Sue Johnson, the Vice President of Programming and Talent for ABC Daytime on the east coast, about What If, and I got really excited.  She said that Adam Rockmore, and his team in marketing at ABC/SOAPnet, were heading them up, and it had been an idea that Sue and Adam had been talking about for awhile. They finally figured out a time when they could do it, and they told me the actors they were thinking of using from One Life to Live, and I got really excited about it. Then they said, “Well, we have one other thing… we know you are really busy, but do you think you could direct them?” And I was just floored, flattered, and honored.  I was really, really psyched.  I think it’s a really fantastic idea and fantastic for the fans.  It’s huge big wet kiss to the fans.  The webisodes are all really fun, sweet and heartfelt, and emotional.  The whole body of ten different scenarios is just fantastic and this great young writer, Sara Saedi, wrote them.  And, after I was invited on board and I was going through the directing process, I made some suggestions in terms of location, and how we might be able to make them the most accessible and most satisfying for the fans.  I was then able to bring all my experience over from One Life to Live to that.

MICHAEL:

Getting to work with so many of the top talent in the ABC Daytime line-up, that you never had the opportunity to work with before, was there any moment or scenario in working with certain actors that surprised you?  

FRANK:

There were a couple.  I always knew that Susan Lucci (Erica, AMC) was a wonderful actress, but she was really fun and funny to work with, and we did a scene with her and Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH).  I had known Susan for years, but I had never worked with her like this, and I had been a fan of Maurice’s for years, but only met him in passing.  I was thrilled that two dynamite stars were going to be in a scene together.  And just getting on the set with them, I could see it was exciting for them to find the humorous moments and the deep emotional moments in their scenes.  I mean, I directed Susan on All My Children like ten thousand years ago, but working with her and Maurice, who I had never worked with before, it was like instant chemistry.  I am always so floored with the professionalism and the dedication the daytime actors have.  When you work as fast and rapidly as we do, and as consistently as we do, those muscles are so strong and they react so fast.  Obviously, with the What If’s, we had a lot of time to do these compared to the regular daytime schedule.  Even within the five minutes of the piece, we were able to mine all these great moments, and that what was really fun for me.

MICHAEL: 

Courtesy/ABC

As a lover of the genre, you had to be pinching yourself, that you’re doing this and directing this with some of your favorite performers and colleagues.  How cool!

FRANK:

Oh, my God, it was totally cool!  Look, I am a fan, and it’s always great when you get to work with somebody you have never worked with before.  Also, it was a proud moment for me to see my One Life to Live actors working with other actors from the other soaps. What a blast to see Trevor St. John (Todd, OLTL) and Bradford Anderson (Spinelli, GH) together.  It was so fun, and those guys were so great together.  And, Trevor is such an interesting actor.  He is just incredibly spontaneous, and Bradford was coming up with all types of different ideas.  And together, I am so proud of all ten of the What If’s, and they all have individual moments that were great.  I have never been able to direct Rebecca Budig (Greenlee, AMC), and we have been friends for years.  She was so funny, and she and Steve Burton (Jason, GH) immediately had chemistry on-screen, and they obviously knew each other from soap fan events, and what not.  Their segment is really funny, and then all of a sudden there is this poignant moment in it that is really sweet.

MICHAEL:

One of the pairings many are interested in seeing is Michael Easton (John, OLTL) and Kelly Monaco (Sam, GH).  These two had hot vampire love together on the now defunct Port Charles. How was it to watch them work together for the first time in years?

FRANK:

I think people forget what great timing Michael Easton has.  If you saw some of the scenes from Bo and Nora’s wedding, some of his reactions were just classic.  He is always very subtle, and some of the work he has done over the years with Tuc Watkins (David, OLTL) is priceless.  I am so crazy about Michael and his talents.  He is a real gift to One Life to Live. I know Kelly and I think she is dynamite.  These are two wild, energetic actors coming together, and they have such great history.  Their piece is a little more physical then some of the others and it takes place in an elevator, and it’s awesome.

MICHAEL:

Where were the What If’s shot at?  You obviously came west for a time to accomplish this. 

Courtesy/ABC

FRANK:

Yes, I came out to Los Angeles to shoot these.  They were done in a separate studio called Air Hollywood out in Pacoima, just outside L.A.  We were dark at One Life to Live and we had a little break.  So that is how we were able to get the One Life to Live actors out to the west coast.  Then, I was able to come out and spend some time. We shot all of them within a two and a half day period.

MICHAEL:

One of the other What If’s, that I am looking forward to is the bringing together of six-time Daytime Emmy winners and soap opera legends, Erika Slezak (Viki, OLTL) and Tony Geary (Luke, GH).   What can fans expect from their pairing?

FRANK:

That one was so sweet, and we built a separate elevator set just for them. There was a mutual admiration society going on with them.  Tony did some things that came right out of his head that just added to the process.  I am a big fan of his.

MICHAEL:

Ok, but here you are directing all these heavy-hitters on daytime.  Did anyone take issue when you asked them to take direction, or with some notes you may have had to offer to get to your goal with each webisode?

FRANK:

Courtesy/ABC

First of all, the actors who were picked are all incredible professionals.  I have a good relationship with them.  So they will do what I ask them to do as their boss, (Laughs) but I have to say everybody was very excited about these.  All seven actors from One Life to Live said, “Oh, my God.  I am so flattered to be asked to participate.  This is going to be cool.”  When I told Michael Easton he was going to be paired with Kelly Monaco, he just burst into this big smile.

MICHAEL:

Kirsten Storms (Maxie, GH), and John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex, OLTL) is a pairing that could be quite interesting to watch, since they are both extraordinary and have a very quirky acting style!

FRANK:

It’s a fun one!  That one is actually very interesting because it has some moments that the younger audience can relate to.  Sort of like two sides of a coin, and a look at love and dating in the 21st Century, and what that means.  And we explore it through the eyes of these two very unique and very different characters.

MICHAEL:

One Life’s, Bree Williamson, (Jessica) got to play with Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) of GH.  But she is not Jess.  You brought back good ole’ Tess!  How does Tess know Dante?  From the… bedroom? (Laughs)

FRANK:

Tess knew him from the past, and that one is so good, because Bree Williamson is playing her alter-Tess in it.  And you know how much I love Bree! Also, another What If has Michael Knight (Tad. AMC) who is phenomenal in this teamed with Kassie DePaiva (Blair, OLTL).  That one is chucked full of surprises. 

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

All My Children’s Jesse/Angie, somehow get mixed up with Starr from One Life to Live. That is an odd and interesting soap mash-up!

FRANK:

You’ve got to watch that one!  Little Kristen Alderson (Starr, OLTL) is right in there, holding her own with Debbi Morgan (Angie, AMC) and Darnell Williams (Jesse, AMC). And again, it’s an interesting look at different people and how they see life.

MICHAEL:

Ah, then this one looks to potentially have some soap elevator sex.  Always good, but it’s made even better because Pine Valley’s Ryan, meets Port Charles’ Carly.  How was that to tape?

FRANK:

I fell in love all over again with Laura Wright (Carly, GH). And, Cameron Mathison (Ryan, AMC) and I have been friends for years.  We used to have a locker at the gym together. That one is so fun, and that is one of the first ones you will see.

MICHAEL:

Now that you have done these ten, where can this lead?  What is the hope of the ABC Daytime initiative with this?

FRANK:

Like I said, it’s a big wet kiss to the fans of ABC Daytime.  Lets just hope this is foreplay, and there will be more of them to come.  A couple of them lend themselves to sequels, and that would be fun to keep these relationships going and play out in different scenarios. We are open to new synergies. There are wonderful actors from all three ABC Daytime soaps, who just because we only could utilize a certain amount of people, were not included in this round.  But hopefully, they will be represented in the next round.  With two of the soaps now out in L.A., it’s not as difficult and challenging to make it all work.

MICHAEL: 

Courtesy/ABC

With all the challenges soap operas are facing at the beginning of this decade, do you think there will come a day, because of the rough times we face in the genre, that perhaps to save shows, characters, and performers on the ABC Daytime line-up, that they might integrate some characters into one big show?

FRANK:

No, because all three shows have lots of interesting characters and can stand on their own.  I don’t buy into the doom and gloom as much.  I know it’s a reality that we are in a recession and budgets are tight, but if the fans love these shows and watch these shows, and continue to support them, and support things like the What If’s, then they should get out there and say positive things.  Look, there are plenty of negative things to say about the world right now, let’s say
a few positive things.  Let’s support the things we love before they go away,
because then we won’t be able to say anything about them.

MICHAEL:

You are known to be great with budgets.  In fact, One Life is one of the only shows that is always under budget.  What is your secret?  Because, in addition to everyday costs of taping episodes, you seem to bring in all the special effect shows, such as Stacy’s Ice Freeze sweeps story, on point within the budget constraints.

FRANK:

I can’t speak to other people’s budgets, but I feel we have an incredibly hard working group at One Life to Live.  I think everyone understands if we want to do Stacy falling through the ice, or the musical we just did, Starr X-d Lovers, or Bo and Nora’s wedding, which was also extremely tough to do, that everybody needs to be on set on time, and everybody needs to be able to do their blocking, and know their lines, and the whole crew is behind us.  The actors on One Life are just such professionals. We move along at a nice pace.  And we also have a crew and a team that has been together for many years, and we developed a short hand, and we have found a way to make it work.  I am then constantly refining that, and thinking things through.  For instance, I might say, “Do we absolutely need that?  Because if we don’t, we can take that money, and put it into this.”  Knowing we were coming off of the musical and into Bo and Nora’s wedding, it was extremely important to figure out how we can do this, and still have Bo in a bathtub filled with tons of tomato juice, and six guys in the room that needed to be there.  And, so we can also have Tuc Watkins come back for the summer and that gives Llanview a jolt of his craziness and brilliance. 

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Speaking of Tuc sticking around this summer in Llanview, what else can viewers at One Life expect through the summer heat?  Who is going to be front and center?

FRANK:

Fans can expect some very interesting things to happen with Bo and Nora, which will be really fun. We will explore what married life means for them and their relationship with Matthew.  Starr and Cole are going to continue to persevere amidst the craziness of their families, and the situation that they are in, especially involving James and Hannah.  There is a great story going on which is picking up steam and will play out for a couple of months between Viki, Dorian and David, and Charlie, and it goes through to the beginning of fall.  The story is humorous.  Viki and Charlie are trying to set up Dorian and David, which ultimately will make these two see their true feelings for one another.  It’s always fun when Viki and Dorian are in the mix together.  We are finding now that Eli is not the good guy we all thought he was.  He has a lot of stuff coming up with Blair and Todd that will happen.  Of course, the other major story is what is going to happen with Tea, and her daughter, Dani.  It’s really a hard, emotional story, and very uplifting at the same time, and life affirming. We did a fantastic remote with Trevor and Florencia Lozano (Tea), and Kelley Missal (Dani).  Also, there are a lot of surprises and twists and turns with Natalie, John, Jessica, and Brody.  That story will definitely be heating up over the next couple of weeks.  There is a little bit of everything this summer on One Life.

MICHAEL:

You have accomplished so much at a young age in daytime.  When did you start at One Life?  It’s been a few decades, right?

FRANK:

I have been at One Life to Live for 25 years, and I have been the Executive Producer for seven and a half years. 

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Do you think looking back, that this was your ultimate goal?  To run a daytime soap opera?

FRANK:

It’s kind of like when you first meet somebody, you don’t know you are going to spend the rest of your life with them. (Laughs)  And then 25 years later, you look back and go, “Wow, Wow, that has been fun.”  I came out of college and started working at One Life to Live for then executive producer, Paul Rauch, (now co-exec prod at Y&R) who was an incredible teacher and mentor, and I sort of fell in love with the show.  I fell in love with the actors, and yes, I love what I do, and I work incredibly hard.  But, I never want to watch the show and think, “I wish we could have done that, or we should have done that.”  We are
always trying to learn, and make the show better every day.

MICHAEL:

As the show’s EP, when you hear rumors that the show could be canceled this December, or all the other rumors about One Life’s cancellation over the past year, how do you rah-rah your show?  Keep everyone’s spirits at One Life up?  Rally the troops?

FRANK:

It’s a combination of pointing out what the facts are, because rumors don’t mean anything… they are just rumors.  And yes, you can re-check with the network and ask, “Is there something we should know?”  But we look at the ratings, and the sweeps period for the show, and the different segments of the audience.  Obviously, the demographic of 18-49 is very important.  From February up through May we were doing pretty well, and pretty much number three in the demos.  That is very good.  And sometimes, that number goes up, and sometimes that number goes down.  And on a good day it’s great, and on the bad days we try to sit back a minute and think, “OK, what did we do wrong?”  Everybody on our set has a great sense of humor, and they know ABC Daytime is behind us 100%, so we just keep going. 

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

In closing, what tip would you give every soap fan or ABC Daytime fan, about enjoying the upcoming What If’’s?

FRANK:

Don’t miss them from the beginning, because then when they all roll out you will be on board.   They are all fun!  Make sure you share them with all of your friends.  It’s for people who watch the soaps, or even who don’t watch the soaps, because it’s new and it’s never been done before.  Get in early and stay for the whole ride.

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Keith
Guest
Keith

Great interview. Nice hearing from Frank as we do not hear from him much in the press. The “What If” promos sound really great and I think a lot of soap fans will be tuningin to check them out.

Ann
Guest
Ann

A very interesting read! I enjoyed the interview and it was nice to see the cancellation rumors addressed. The “What If” promos are a unique concept. I am looking forward the most to Todd/Spinelli. I know that one will be great! Frank should have mentioned what a great “gift” TSJ is to OLTL though. I think he is by far OLTL’s biggest asset! I just love Trevor’s work!

Tina Payne
Guest
Tina Payne

Michael Fairman, thanks for that great interview with Frank Valentini! I saw Frank’s genius up close for almost 10 hours when my husband and I had the privilege to see OLTL tape for a day. I think he puts out the best daytime drama on TV today. I told him that after the Emmys a couple of weeks ago, then some fans came to him pleading “Don’t kill Tea!”!, and later Laura Wright and he talked a long time, so I never got the chance to ask him about cancellation rumors. I may not have had the heart to anyway,… Read more »

Cammie
Guest
Cammie

I really enjoyed the interview and I’m glad he addressed the cancellation rumors as just that rumor.I’m really looking forward to the What If webisodes,especially the ones with Michael Easton,Kassie DePaiva and Trevor St. John.I really think it’s an interesting concept and if they do it again I would love to see one with Michael Easton and Bobbie Eakes.I really think they would have amazing chemistry.

Doe
Guest
Doe

Michael, this is one of the best and inteligent interviews you have done. Not only did you ask the right questions to Frank , but he was very willing to give you and the fans , the right answers. I think the creation of these episodes is brilliant. The mash-ups are ideal. This shows the clevernes of Frank Valentini. I think they will be so succesful that the fans will be asking for more. Frank must have had a ball working with the personalities of these srars. Kidos to you for the interview and kudos for Frank for being so… Read more »

Keith
Guest
Keith

You are so correct Doe. This was a great interview. As you said, Michael asked great questions and just as important, Frank seemed to be very open in his answers. I would love to see Frank do an interview with Michael where he went in to depth about all the comings and goings at OLTL, storylines, what to look forward to, etc. You can tell Frank was very comfortable with Michael, so you know it would be a great read to hear Frank talk in depth about OLTL.

Ann
Guest
Ann

There will have to be a sequel with Michael and Kelly. If there are
sequels, you can bet this will be one of them. I cannot wait to see them
together again!

Joanna
Guest
Joanna

Excellent interview! I am looking foreward to OLTL in the next couple of weeks, because it looks like we move away from teen centered stories and back to the adults. I am really looking foreward to John/Natalie Jessica/Brody stuff. And Bo/Nora they have been missed.

Rosalind Wolf
Guest
Rosalind Wolf

I wonder if the powers that be know that not only the younger generation watch OLTL. My mom watched the show from its inception and I was hooked from the start. I am now a senior citizen and just love the show but I would appreciate seeing Erica, Charlie and Bo and Nora and Clint have more screen time. I loved the interview.

Jason
Guest
Jason

I’m glad Starr and Cole are perserving and working on repairing their relationship. Those two have gone through enough, and they deserve a break from the drama I just hope they tell each other what happened first before.

Kathy
Guest
Kathy

I’m a new viewer to OLTL and James & Starr have drawn me to watch it and anticipate it every day.

I love this new potential couple!!

Joan
Guest
Joan

“One Life to Live is the best soap on ABC…..I started watching when “All My Children”
and One Life to Live….. in with the baby switch…..I’ve been watching ever since…
I hope “One Life to Live ” can continue to thrive…..
I also enjoyed the “What if clips”….they were very entertaining.
I wish Tea didn’t have to leave…..I feel so bad for Danielle….
I also enjoyed watching Michael Easton….in Port Charles.

Interviews

Y&R’s Amelia Heinle Talks What’s Next For Victoria & Returning To Work With The Newman Clan

Fiftteen years, and two Daytime Emmys later, Amelia Heinle has become a mainstay of CBS’ The Young and the Restless as Victoria Newman; the on-screen daughter of the iconic Victor (Eric Braeden) and Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott).

In Genoa City, Victoria has certainly had her share of issues in the love department, and has battled back time and time again for respect as a formidable power player and businesswoman.

Now with Y&R being back this Monday with all-new episodes; following the production shutdown caused by COVID-19, viewers can expect to see a tougher-stance from Victoria as she fights for what she rightfully believes is hers … and she may just to it by any means possible.

Michael Fairman TV caught with Amelia to get the lowdown on: what’s ahead for Victoria, working with her co-stars, Victoria’s future in business and in affairs of the heart, and much more.  All we can say is “Better watch out Adam (Mark Grossman) and Victor!”  Here’s what Amelia shared.

Photo: JPI

How has it been going back to work at Y&R during the coronavirus pandemic?

AMELIA:  The first week was an adjustment.  There were a lot of different protocols to follow, but now I think we are in week five or so, and things are kind of normalizing a little bit with all of the precautions that we have to take and trying to get used to them.  So, it’s not much different than what’s going on in real life and how all of us are taking precautions to stay safe.  We are kind of coming back a little slower because they aren’t having a bunch of people at the studio at one time.  It’s nice.  It’s been a lot of two-person scenes, and it’s good.  I think it is going to be well-received by the fans when we start airing new episodes Monday.

Did you feel any hesitation going back into production? 

AMELIA:  No, I was glad to go back.  I was really missing everyone and missing the show and working and just the whole thing.  So, I was very anxious to get back.  It feels good.

Are the actors far apart in the scenes … as in six feet apart?

AMELIA:  Yes, I even think the first day we were back; we were like ten feet apart!  (Laughs)  They were very careful, and I respect that.  It’s not easy to do what they’re doing, and they’re pulling it off beautifully.  I’m proud of them, and I’m proud of all of us, because I think everybody wants to be back so badly and to make it work, so they’re just doing what they have to do.

Photo: JPI

So where we pick back up in story; Victoria is pretty upset with Victor and Adam.  How is she feeling about Adam after we learned he supposedly killed a guy when he was a child?

AMELIA:  It was so funny when we came back, I forgot where we were.  I couldn’t remember.  I just was like, “Wait… what happened?” because it was so long ago!

You were like “Who is AJ Montalvo?” (Laughs)

AMELIA:  Yeah!  I totally forgot about that.  I was like, “Was that where we left off?”  (Laughs) We all just kind of just jumped back into the story … and Victoria was pissed off with her father because he, again, gave Adam her position at Newman Enterprises, and made an excuse for why he did it.  So, she is mad again.   I think they thought about my character over the break and made her a little tougher.

Photo: JPI

Do you think Victoria will want payback and be a little more vindictive than we’ve seen her?

AMELIA:  Oh yeah, for sure.  She seems to be channeling Victor more and I am more than happy to play that.  Since I’ve been back, it’s been a lot of fun because they’ve given me a lot of material.

Glad to hear that Victoria will have more of an edge.  At times through the years, the various writers have waffled with her.  Isn’t Victoria supposed to be the most like Victor of all his children?

AMELIA: Yes, she’s supposed to be, and I really like it when they write her to be strong with her father, which sometimes I find that they don’t.  Sometimes, I find she is not as strong with him, and it just depends on the writers we have, or the executive producer at the time, but now they’ve written her holding her own with Victor and passionate about Newman Enterprises.  I’m hoping that they keep going in this direction.  I like playing her A-type personality.  It just makes me laugh.  I get a kick out of the character being so tightly wound and just all about business because it’s fun to play.

Photo: JPI

What does Victoria think about Adam?  Doesn’t she want to strangle him?  What is her modus operandi where he is involved?

AMELIA:  I find her to have this daddy issue, and she is highly jealous of Adam, because he’s always getting a second chance.  What Victor has done to Victoria is really cold-blooded.  He does really keep dissing her business-wise.  She’ll have an opportunity, and we had this great scene a long time ago where he finally gives makes Victoria the CEO at Newman, and it was really nice, and six months later, or whenever, he gives it back to Adam.  So she gets stabbed and then he just gives the position to Adam.  Victoria is always just getting the short end of the stick when it comes to the company.  I think that in several of the new episodes that are coming out soon, Victoria is going to fight for what she wants … finally.  She’s getting a lot wiser to her father and what he does, so I think that’s what you are going to see.

As we come back into the story, Victoria is the CEO, correct?

AMELIA:  Yes.  She is the CEO, and Victor is actually retired.  Before the break, I couldn’t remember who the CEO was when I got back then I realized… it’s me!

Will Victoria use the ammo that Adam supposedly killed somebody as a child, to get rid of him once and for all?

AMELIA:  I don’t know if she ever wants Adam to go to prison.  I don’t think she hates him that much.  I know they write that, but it’s her brother, and I think she is just super jealous of the relationship that her father has with him. Victoria wants to get Adam into trouble, and I think she wants to demoralize him a little bit, but I don’t think she wants him to go to prison or to leave town.  I think there has to be an element of love.  There’s got to be a little bit of love there because they’ve had moments; that is her brother.

How do you think Mark Grossman has been as Adam?  It’s been over a year now since he’s taken over the pivotal role.

AMELIA:  I think Mark’s done such a wonderful job, and he came in like most characters like that, with all of the dialogue, and all of that workload.  I really like him.  He’s a nice man.

Photo: JPI

Where do you think Victoria’s relationship is with her other brother Nick (Joshua Morrow)?  Are they on good terms at this point?

AMELIA:  They;re still in love!  Come on! (Laughs)  I’m just kidding.  We always joke and say, “Nick and Victoria … they’re in love.”  It’s very Game of Thrones.  I haven’t had a scene with Joshua in a while, but they’ve been on good terms for many, many years.  I don’t think they’ve had them be at odds in a while.

So, you don’t think Victoria might get into cahoots with Nick to bring down Adam?

AMELIA:  I don’t know.  That’s a good question.  I haven’t seen any scenes with them together.  I’m sure the show will find a way to loop in everyone when they tie together this story with AJ Montalvo.  But there are some very interesting family dynamics coming up.  There is something Victoria does with her mom, Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), that I’m not going to say, but something happens with her, and I like what they’ve written so far!

What about a man for Victoria?  Can she be okay without a guy? 

AMELIA:  She’s going to have to be; because I’m going to be six feet apart from whoever! (Laughs)  I don’t know how they’re going to do it.  I can’t wait to see.  They’re going to probably try some new loves, but not with a new character.  There might be some interaction with somebody coming up that I only know about, because I shot it last week. I think it is going to be cool. There’s some romance in Victoria’s future.

Photo: JPI

Okay, so it won’t be a loveless next six months for Victoria?

AMELIA:  No, I don’t think so.  I don’t think they’re going to do that to me.  I thought that too, but they’re teasing something right now, and I find it interesting.

What did you think of Jason Thompson (Billy) winning the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series back at the end of June?  I know you were in some of the scenes with him that won him the gold.

AMELIA:  It’s about time!  He’s such a great actor.  I can’t believe Jason hasn’t won one till now. It was long overdue; in my opinion.

Do you enjoy the Billy/Victoria dynamic? It can get very messy between them when either they come together or grow apart in story?

AMELIA:  I like it a lot.  Jason is great whenever we have scenes together.  He’s super easy to act with.  He is so natural.  Right now, we are not romantically entangled on the show, so we had scenes a couple of weeks ago that were really nice.  Victoria involved Billy in her business with Newman, which you’ll see later, but now they have a new dynamic, and they have a kid.  I like playing us co-parenting.

Photo: JPI

But they could end up back together at some point, I would think.

AMELIA:  Oh, for sure, 100%.  You know we’re going to go there … forever and ever.  It’s an endless loop.

Y&R just aired a classic episode of J.T. and Victoria’s wedding.  Did you happen to see it?

AMELIA: People were sending me GIFS, and I was like, “Holy crap!  I was so young!” and so was Thad.  He looked like a baby!

Photo: JPI

Do you remember taping those scenes? 

AMELIA:  Yes, I remember wearing Melody’s old dress on the show, which was supposed to be Nikki’s old dress.  I remember that I had just had my son, Rowe, so he’s twleve now, so that was almost thirteen years ago, and I remember back then I was trying to lose a little baby weight.  I also remember laughing because my hair looked like I was going to a quinceañera, and I had bows in my hair.  It was so cool to see that.  It felt like it wasn’t that long ago, but it was.  Looking back, it was fun, but I still just can’t get over how young we looked.  Twelve years really ages you!  Maybe it’s the kids, I don’t know!

It’s so interesting, and I was saying this the other day to someone, that in daytime, we’ve all grown up with each other – the people who have worked in the medium, and the fans.  In no other medium can you truly follow an evolution of a person the way you can on daytime.

AMELIA:  It’s so true.  There’s nothing else like it in the whole world.  It’s so cool.

Speaking of Thad as J.T., they ultimately resolved the story of J.T.’s abusive behavior towards Victoria in that a brain tumor was the culprit. How did you feel about that?

AMELIA:  I liked that they did resolve it.  Actually, looking back, Thad did such great work he should have submitted himself for the Daytime Emmys in the Guest Performer category.  I know the wrap-up of the story was a little silly, but the way that it turned out was good because with the brain tumor, he can still come back.  J.T. went to prison for a little bit which is a hell of a lot better than him being buried in Chancellor Park!

When Thad was off the show, did he know that Victoria, Sharon, Nikki and Phyllis buried J.T. in Chancellor Park? (Laughs)

AMELIA:  Yeah, he knew that he was buried there.  We laughed about it.  When he came back, it had to be resolved somehow, and sometimes on daytime you have to suspend disbelief a little bit.

Do you know what was really good about it?  There was still great Victoria/J.T. chemistry.  It was still there through all of the craziness.

AMELIA:  I don’t know if they’d ever have him Thad back, but it would certainly be cool.  It would be nice to just have regular J.T. because he is such a good character.

Photo: JPI

The fans are very much looking forward to all new episodes of Y&R this week.  They’ve been so patient.  I think Y&R did such a great job of coming up with these classic episodes, many of them that people hadn’t seen in such a long time, instead of defaulting to more recent episodes and just re-airing those.  I’m sure you’re hearing that from the fans that they can’t wait to see you guys.

AMELIA:  I thought people would be super excited to have the classic episodes, and I think they were to a certain point.  However, it was also nice to hear that they wanted us to come back because my thinking was, “If they see the classic stuff, I wonder if they’re going to want us back,” and they do, and it’s nice.  They want to see the development of the storylines continue.  They had their fun with the reruns.  They were well-received.

Let’s talk about being part of the iconic Newman clan of Y&R.  Do you enjoy working with Eric Braeden (Victor)?

AMELIA:  If I see that I am working with him (I just thought about this the other day because we hadn’t seen each other), I know that it is always going to be good even if it isn’t the way I want it to be written.  It’s always good.  Eric is just fun to work with, and he usually brings his A-game.  Sometimes we laugh and make fun of the material if it’s silly, but he’s just always on point with being there for you, and being in the moment with you, and supportive of you, and offering ideas respectfully; because he still really cares after all these years.  You can see how much Eric cares about the show, and his character, and making it good.  It’s just always nice to work with him.

Photo: JPI

Has Eric given you advice while on set with him throughout your time together on Y&R?

AMELIA:  We’ve talked about things every now and then.  Sometimes, I’ll just go talk about what’s going on in the show, and sit in his dressing room, and shoot the breeze about stuff.  He’s a really insightful guy, and he’s done a lot in his life, and it’s always interesting to hear his stories.  There’s just no one like him.  Eric is just such a unique man, and I respect him a lot.

And… your on-screen mom, Melody Thomas Scott has got her memoir, Always Young and Restless coming out in less than two weeks!

AMELIA:  I know!  I’m so excited.

Are you discussed in the book?

AMELIA:  I think so, because Melody said she needed a picture of me.  I can’t wait to read it!

Photo: JPI

Is this true that the Newman acting troupe knows their lines like nobody’s business and gets their scenes done quickly?

AMELIA:  It depends on the day.  Sometimes we are.  If people want to get done and get the show going and keep the ball rolling, everybody is on their A-game, and some days, we just come back from lunch and nobody can find their script or their lipstick, but it’s fun either way.  I love it.

Would you say that the Newmans can be an intimidating group on set; especially for newcomers to the show who have their first scenes with them?

AMELIA:  I would say that we are.  I’m not going to lie.  When we are all there, and it’s Eric, Melody, Josh, and me, and then there is somebody new it can be hard for them.  We’ve all been together for so long now that we have our inside jokes and everything.  When someone new comes in, and they’re just thinking they can kind of ease right into it with us, it can work or not work.  Mark Grossman was one that it worked with.  He held his own, but we are always kind, and we always make people feel comfortable and are always complimentary of new actors.  We really are.

Photo: CBS

So, a tough nut to crack those Newmans, but if you crack it, you’re good to go?

AMELIA:  Oh, once you crack it, it’s cracked. You’re “in like Flynn”.

So, excited to see what happens for Victoria in the coming months on Y&R? Who so you hope she is linked with romanitcally? Share your thoughts on our interview with Amelia via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Digital Drama Daytime Emmy Preview: Patrika Darbo Talks On Her Nominated Performance in ‘Studio City’

In Sunday night’s Digital Drama Daytime Emmys (9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST) former Days of our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful star, Patrika Darbo (Ex-Nancy, Ex-Shirley, respectively) is one of the notable nominees of the night for her powerhouse performance as Violet in Studio City.

Darbo is always working on projects in Hollywood, and her resume is long … whether it is in sitcoms like Seinfeld, series like Desperate Housewives, daytime dramas, the hottest digital drama, commercials, and more.

Having a complicated history with the Emmys; Patrika has won a Primetime Emmy for her work in Acting Dead, had her previous Daytime Emmy for The Bay rescinded, and now has a shot at another one when the winner is revealed in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category in which she is nominated.

Studio City was nominated for 8 Daytime Emmys this year including for Darbo, and series creator and star, Sean Kanan (Ex-GH, B&B, Y&R).  The show tells the tale of the cast of a fictional daytime drama as they navigate through the chaotic world of soap operas and their own very messy personal lives.  In it, Darbo delivers a tour de force monologue which just might have sealed the deal for Emmy voters.  She has already won, along with Studio City castmate, Carolyn Hennesy (Diane, GH), an Indie Series Award for her work, when the two actresses tied in their category.  They are both nominated together again for the Daytime Emmy.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Patrika to talk playing those heavy emotional moments in Studio City, longevity in Hollywood, and Emmy night.  To watch the first season of Studio City via Amazon Prime Video click here, and to watch the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys click here.  Now here’s what Patrika shared with us.

Photo; JPI

We all knew that your memorable scene in Studio City was so strong.  Your performance is really such a standout that I just thought, “Of course she is going to get nominated for this,” and you did!  How did you feel about this nomination?

PATRIKA:  I have been through the many ways that Sean Kanan has put this show together.  I mean, he has worked on it for a long time.  I read for it with him, as his mom, being a comedy, and now we’ve gone all the way to the dramatic. I think Sean did some pretty good rewrites and gave me some great, meaty material. I so appreciate the fact that he recognized the fact that I am not just a comedic actress, that there is a dramatic part of me.  

Photo: StudioCity

The big moment in Studio City for your character was just so heartbreaking.  Did you deliver that performance in one take?

PATRIKA:  Yes, and then of course I had to do it a couple of times because we had to see it from Sean’s side for his reaction shots to what I was doing.  I come from the school that even though the camera is on my back, it is now on my partner’s front.  So, I tried to give Sean as much to react to when the camera was on him as when it was on me, and I got the same from him, so it was a very nice collaboration.

I watched Sean in that scene.  He was so good in it.  So, whatever you were doing, it triggered such honest reactions from him.

PATRIKA:  I think just as far as actors go; it is not that we always have to remember that it is not about us as an individual.  It is about the end product, and the end product is about who you are working with.  I got from Sean things to work with that made Violet’s emotion’s there, and then I wanted me to be able to take my emotions and give them back to him.

 

Photo: StudioCity

Was it hard to go there for you, to that deep emotional place; that Violent had been traumatized in her not so humble beginnings in Hollywood?

PATRIKA:  You know, I have great admiration for all of these women who have come forward in the whole #MeToo movement.  I have always been a short, round, fat, little character woman, who was never approached in those ways.  So, there were things I couldn’t relate to.  I had to go to my own personal darkness, which is mine to use when I need it, but to try to be sure that I made sure that women who had faced what I was talking about could appreciate that I was showing tribute to them, because that is a horrible thing, and any kind of situation when you are bullied into something that you don’t want to do or taken advantage of, those kind of situations.

For Violet, all of this stemmed from her desire to be in show business; that at an early age she found herself in a horrible situation with a scuzzy show biz type.

PATRIKA:  Yes, she got into town and it was like a dream come true. She got invited to parties, and everything was wonderful, and “Oh, he’s going to put me in the movies,” you know.  I think that’s what happens: Hollywood is so glorious, and kids come in and get off the bus to be a star, and the first thing you have to do is wait tables … and the second thing is sometimes when you are very pretty, and thin, and attractive, and bad things happen, and I’m not just saying it happens just to women.  It happens to young men as well, and it can happen to some older people.  It’s just a thing that we have now identified, and I think people are being made aware of it.

Photo: JPI

It almost seems like you get nominated for all sorts of things in you career: primetime, daytime, stage etc.  Have you ever figured out in your own mind, why you think you get the recognition? 

PATRIKA:  I think because people know me, and I try to give out what I want back.  You know, I treat people the way I want to be treated, which means that if there are a thousand things you’ve got to watch, and you go, “Oh, there’s Patrika, let’s see what she is doing now!  She’s always so nice to me,” they take a look at my work.  Do you know what I am saying?  It’s a numbers game.  We think about how many are in primetime at this moment, and even though there are only four soaps left on the major daytime calendar, there are still the new digital shows that are coming up.  I think I am very fortunate that people know my name, they know me, and they want to take a look and see what I am up to again, and the young actors and actresses that I mentor, and kids who I’ve work with, the most important thing, I always say, is to be nice.  No one should have to tell you that, but sometimes you have to reinforce it and say, “You know what?  The casting assistant today is the casting director tomorrow, the assistant director today is the director tomorrow.  The kid over here is the writer today, and tomorrow he is the show runner.”  I don’t think you should approach your life like “What’s in it for me?”

Photo: wireimage

What did you think of the whole of Studio City?  I think it’s a little gem.  I loved its look and feel, as well.

PATRIKA:  As we go along in this digital world, it is becoming more film-like, more real life looking.  We’ve kind of gotten away from the flat, three-camera take.  It’s bringing more things to life, and people are just enthralled with it. This is the new genre of the hour-long soap.  I think with the attention span of people these days; digital drama they may wind up enjoying more and because it looks more real, they will enjoy it more.

You were in a middle of a firestorm, in 2018, when your Daytime Emmy win for your wok in The Bay was revoked.  Did you at all think about that when you found out you got nominated For Studio City?

PATRIKA:  At first, you kind of go, “Are they giving me this nomination for this reason?” but then you kind of go, “You know what?  It really has nothing to do with NATAS.  It has to do with my peers appreciating my work.  So, I know even though I had some problems in the past, NATAS was so apologetic and they’ve made a lot of changes to try to make sure that things like that don’t happen to anyone else, which I am so appreciative of, but this nomination came from my peers.  So I feel I earned it, and I don’t think it has anything to do with what happened in the past except for the fact that there are changes that are for the good.

Photo: Studio City

Now, you are nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category along with your Studio City co-star, GH’s Carolyn Hennesy.  You both tied in this category at the recent 11th annual Indie Series Awards as well.

PATRIKA:  Carolyn is wonderful in anything that she does.  I wish Sarah Brown had been nominated for her work in Studio City, too.  She is a wonderful actress. You kind of go, “Oh, they didn’t acknowledge her this time,”  but it’s like she is still in the show, the show is going to keep going, so she will have another opportunity for people to recognize her work.  Listen, Carolyn and I could cancel each other out this time, because people know us and like us and appreciate our work.

Photo: JPI

As a working actress in Hollywood, how to you feel about production starting back now for several shows, and concerns amidst the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled the show business community with the loss of so many jobs over the last several months?

PATRIKA:  I think there are still going to be concerns.  Listen, my husband has a heart problem.  He’s had a couple of stints, so he is going to be a high-risk.  So, if I am asked to go to work, I want it to be very safe where I am going, so when I come home, I don’t bring something to him, or I don’t get anything.  I think we are all going to be a lot more careful, but I think what people have to realize in general is that it is not just the actors who did not have work.  There are the camera people, there’s the director, there’s props, there are the electricians, there are a lot of people involved to make a show, whether it’s a daytime show or it’s a film.  So, things will be a little different.  There are going to be a lot of changes, but I’m hoping that we will at least get back, and are safe, and that we take care of each other.

On virtual Emmy night this Sunday, will you be participating and watching from home?

PATRIKA:  I’ll be at home, absolutely.  I’ll be trying to figure out how to push the Zoom button or the what button, and trying to figure out the computers. I’m a dinosaur in a digital world, but I’ll be doing my best!

So, will you be rooting for Patrika in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category on tomorrow night’s Digital Drama Emmys? Did you see Studio City and if so, what did you think of it?  Do you hope Patrika comes back to daytime soon? Comment below.

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Digital Drama Daytime Emmys Preview: Graham Sibley Talks On His Nominated Performance In ‘Dark/Web’

In one of the hotly contested contests on Sunday night’s Digital Drama Daytime Emmys, Graham Sibley is going for gold for his riveting and tense performance in the 7-time nominated series, Dark/Web. Sibley’s work had been recognized in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series category.

In Dark/Web, Sibley plays Leland, a ride share driver who’s just trying to make it through the night when the app on his phone takes on a frightening intelligence and tells him he has to make the world a better place, even if it means he has to kill to do it.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Mr. Sibley to get his thoughts on: playing a ride share driver, being given this tour de force role in such a unique series which landed him an Emmy nod, and much more.

And, don’t miss the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys beginning at 9 pm EST/6 pm PST here, and you can watch the entire Emmy-nominated season of Dark/Web via Amazon Prime Video here.

Now here’s what Graham had to share with us below.

Photo: Dark/Web

In Dark/Web, you were in the first installment of the season, correct?

GRAHAM:  Yep, so it’s an anthology show, and there is a narrative through in that goes through it as well. I’m in the first episode.  It’s called, “Rideshare,” and it sort of explores this ride share driver named Leland Adler.

What can you share about your interpretation of what happens in your Emmy-nominated performance?

GRAHAM:  First, I have to say, Boman Modine, Matthew Modine’s son, is a real talent.  He’s just a really adept storyteller, and he wrote a fantastic script for “Rideshare”.  In Dark/Web, each one of these anthology episodes are written and directed by different people. There is an overarching narrative that goes through that, and there are these individual episodes which are directed by other artists, guest writers, and directors.  So, Boman wrote and directed our episode.  He wrote a really complex character who is a new husband and father, who loses his job and is forced to get into the ride share business, and he is kind of desperate, and he needs to provide for his family, and there is sort of dark web that starts to infiltrate this app.  Leland starts hearing a voice through his earbuds, and you don’t know if he is going crazy … or if he is really hearing these things.  You’re assuming he is really hearing these things.  This character is sort of victimized by this presence.  Over the episode, he starts to give into this because the messages he is getting through his earbuds, through this voice, through the dark web, is information about who these people are who are his passengers, and the terrible things that they have done.  He starts to get messages that he should maybe start to get rid of some of these people, and so he takes the leap and does, and that causes this reaction in him.

Photo: IMDB

Dark/Web in its totality is about a genius programmer whose disappearance leads to these strange stories that are interconnected.  When you speak of the ride share theme and episode, it harkens me back to the character of Travis Bickle played by Robert DeNiro in the classic, Scorsese film,Taxi Driver.

GRAHAM:  Oh yeah, of course.  I think as you go through the journey of “Rideshare,” at the beginning of it, you don’t think Leland is troubled.  He is okay, and then by the end of it, you’re like, “This guy is okay, but something is happening, and now he is on this mission, and now he has done these things that he can’t ever go back on.”  It’s interesting, and it’s interesting that you’re making a parallel with Taxi Driver because Travis was convinced what he was doing was right.  I don’t know if my character at first is.

Photo: Dark/Web

You have not been a ride share driver in real life at some point … or have you?

GRAHAM:  You know… I haven’t.  But, I did sign up when I booked this job.  I went through the process of it just so I would know what it was going to be like.

When you submitted your reel for the Daytime Emmys, did you submit a few scenes, or how did you put your submission together for the competition?

GRAHAM:  I had so much material to choose from.  I was so fortunate to be the lead in this episode, and the episode I think is 25 minutes. It was really hard to pare it down, but I got it down to about 9 or 10 minutes that I felt told the arc of his story.

It’s always important to tell an arc because it does feel like, for the most part, the winning reels are the ones where somebody who doesn’t know the show or your character, could literally follow from point A to point B, if they’re a judge.  You have some solid competition in your category as well! 

GRAHAM:  There are some really amazing performances and some really great actors in the guest performer category, so I’m just honored to be in with their names. Rene Hagler had a couple of different episodes in Dark/Web, so we did not share any scenes together, but he is great.  Lin Shaye and I did a movie together a couple of years ago called Grow House, and then I’ve seen Scott Turner Schofield’s work in Studio City, who is amazing, and Mary Beth Pell, … she’s a legend!

Photo: GSibleyInstagram

Of course, you end up nominated the year that it’s the virtual Emmys. So, what will you wear to the virtual Digital Drama Emmys?

GRAHAM:  I don’t know!  I’ll send you a picture! (Laughs)  If you look on my Instagram, my wife. Marilyn and I staged a picture, because we were like, “Well, we are never going to be able to go to the Emmys,” so we staged a picture with our boys in our backyard with a kiddie pool and us lounging with drinks, and I was in a tuxedo, and she was in this beautiful yellow dress.

What are the names of your boys?

GRAHAM:  They are twins, Lyon and KP, and they just had their first birthday on July 2nd.

Photo: GettyImages

Now, let me ask you this. If they say, “The Emmy goes to Graham Sibley,” what would it mean to you if you were awarded a Daytime Emmy? 

GRAHAM:  I think what it would mean to me is that it would sort of be a pat on the back to say, “You did something that made someone else feel something.”  I hope that’s what we are all aspiring to is to either, be in our own lives trying to make someone feel something, or in cinema or in television or the web.  I’d just be like, “I was honored for being truthful, and that’s cool!”

So, intrigued to see Graham’s performance in Dark/Web?  Who do you think will take home the gold in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series on Sunday night? Comment below.

But first check out this promo for the Dark/Web series featuring Graham which has been nominated in multiple Digital Drama categories for the Daytime Emmys.

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B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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