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The Heather Tom Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

To say that 2012 was a whirlwind of a year for The Bold and the Beautiful’s Heather Tom would be putting it mildly.  In June, Heather won her first Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Lead Actress category for her work as Katie Logan Spencer.  Tom had previously won in the Supporting and Younger Actress categories, making her the first performer in Daytime Emmy history to win the gold in all three major acting fields.

Then in October, Heather and her husband James Achor became parents of their first child together, a son, Zane Alexander.  And in addition to that, Heather and James have been developing a new home renovation television series that is soon to have its debut.  But while all of that was going on in Heather’s personal life, there was crisis after crisis for her on-screen alter-ego on B&B!

Katie developed a severe case of post-partum depression after giving birth to baby Will!  So much so, that she took off and abandoned her husband Bill (Don Diamont) and could not care for her newborn baby!  Meanwhile, while Katie walked away from all her responsibilities, Bill was getting too close for comfort with Katie’s big sis, Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang)!  From there, things really took a turn following the death of Brooke’s closest friend, Stephanie (Susan Flannery).  You see, through grief and a growing attraction to Bill, the duo kissed, which will now play havoc on Katie’s life, especially since Katie just returned home to her married life after conquering her baby blues!

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Heather Tom to fill us in on all the baby news, and developments in her real life and her fictional life, and to get a preview of what is to come as the storyline heats up in 2013 between Katie, Bill, and Brooke!

MICHAEL:

Heather, as we are sitting here with you, you are wearing a bathrobe, having just been on set doing some sex scenes in lingerie!  It’s kind of shocking that you are already doing love scenes so soon after returning to B&B after just giving birth in real life!  Wouldn’t you say?

HEATHER:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

I can’t remember the last time I had to wear lingerie on a soap.  And honestly, this is bizarrely mean to do to a new mother! (Laughs)  I did not think Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) was this vindictive, but clearly he is!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Clearly, you must have pissed Brad off somehow! (Laughs)

HEATHER:

It was only six weeks ago that I had my baby.  Apparently, I have another one coming up after our holiday break.  I have three weeks to lose fifteen pounds!  I am convinced ten of them are in my boobs!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

On-air we saw Katie bolt from her relationship with Bill and go on the run, and sort of become MIA.  Was that storyline set up to facilitate your maternity leave?

HEATHER:

No, I was still pregnant.  Actually, it was only ten days from the time I gave birth till the time I came back to work at B&B.  They gave me a week off because I thought my due date was October 15th, but as we all know that does not mean anything.  I actually did not give birth till October 28th, so I was a week and half late.  I was home at that point, going, “Please God. Let this happen soon.”   The show actually took another dark week because I gave birth on a Sunday.  I was supposed to go back on Tuesday and I said, “Well, that is not going to happen.” 

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

How was it for you at the time, as an expectant mother in real life having to play a very dark emotional story of post-partum depression?  Was it difficult?

HEATHER:

No, if anything it was the complete opposite.  I treated it like a catharsis.  I was already so hormonal.  So I thought, “Well, I will just go to work and cry all day long, and then I will feel better when I get home.  So, it actually worked out pretty well.  I also kind of feel, and I don’t know if this is my own projection, but I kind of feel like I got it out of my system, because I have not had any baby blues.  From what I know from my friends, every woman I know has had some form of hormonal depression afterward.  It would be anything from: “I feel a little bit depressed,” to “I can’t get out of bed.”  I really haven’t had anything.  I was very concerned about that as I am a hormonal person and an emotional person.  Maybe, I just got it out of my system here on set.

MICHAEL:

The scenes where Katie would look at the room she was in and see it as filthy dirty, and crooked and haunting, was almost too much to take for the audience.  We all could only imagine how it was for you to play those scenes, being a mom-to-be in real life!

HEATHER:

I am just glad that I did not have to do any pushing scenes, and that Katie had a C-section!  I am glad that it wasn’t a story where Katie did not like her baby, or love her baby.  It was that Katie loved her baby so much that is why she had to do this.  I think that would have been harder to play that I don’t want him.  I have had friends on other shows where they have to play storylines like that, or play upset that they are pregnant.  I remember One Life to Live’s Kassie DePaiva (Blair) when she was pregnant with her son J.Q.   In the storyline, she had to play and say, “I don’t want to be pregnant.”  That would have been a lot harder to play than what I ended up playing.

MICHAEL:

To clarify: what you were playing as Katie that started all the craziness? The audience saw that Katie had her heart condition and literally died from it, but came back from that and survived!  Was then Katie’s overwhelming concern that she would not be there for her child?

HEATHER:

Courtesy/CBS

The main thing was that Katie was convinced that she was going to drop dead at any minute, and that was in combination with what she had just gone through where she “died”, and then the C-Section.  The hormonal changes you go through while you are pregnant are something that I cannot even describe, and on top of that she had major surgery, and then dying.  She had all these pretty traumatic things happen one after the other.  Katie was then so messed up emotionally and hormonally.  I think that is where it came from where she thought, “I can’t bond with him.  Because if I bond with him, I am going to end up leaving him and it’s going to be horrible for him.  So I am doing this for him.”  It’s a twisted logic, but it made sense to her.

MICHAEL:

Did Katie really believe Taylor (Hunter Tylo) had her best interest at heart?  Every time Taylor would open her mouth it seemed like bad psychiatry that she perpetrated on a fragile patient!

HEATHER:

I think at this point, she does.  Taylor keeps telling Katie things which will give her a heart attack! (Laughs)  She has had three heart attacks, and then Taylor goes, “By the way …” (Laughs) Taylor is a terrible therapist! (Laughs)  Taylor then basically breaks patient confidentiality with Steffy, and then blurts out to Kate that Bill and Brooke kissed!

MICHAEL:

Did Katie believe Taylor when she informed her that Bill and Brooke kissed?

HEATHER:

I think she didn’t believe Taylor, but then Katie goes and confronts Bill and Brooke about it, and they don’t hide it from her.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

When you, Don Diamont, and Katherine Kelly Lang found out the storyline, where it would now be a Brooke/Bill/Katie triangle, were you concerned that the integrity of your characters would be blown to smithereens?

HEATHER:

I loved what they did!  I think it kept the integrity of the characters in tact, because it was such a crazy situation, and because it was Katie’s impetus.  She was kind of manipulating the situation, and so they kind of have plausible deniability.  I actually wished they had gone further and really solidified them as a couple, and then had her come back.  But I think the storyline got so depressing.  They were like, “Let’s wrap up this. We can’t take this anymore with Katie rolling around on the floor!” (Laughs)  I am hoping that if they continue, they will continue very slowly and have the story make sense.  I think the things that Katie is still going through does make sense, and it would cause friction between Bill and Katie.  Brooke can be there without being the aggressor to keep her integrity in tact.  So that way, if the marriage breaks up, it’s something that happens, not something that is pursued on Brooke’s end.

MICHAEL:

When Brooke and Bill arrived back on the scene together after Stephanie’s passing, there was Katie with baby Will in her hands, excitedly waiting to see her hubby.  Katie was so over-bubbly … and even, dare we say, annoying!  Were those scenes hard to play?

HEATHER:

I was kind of playing her kind of manic at that point!  Now it was like the pendulum struck the other way and she took her happy pill and was like, “Hello! I’m here!”  It was a little over the top.  I think we can make a case of being a little maniacal at that point.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Armed with the knowledge of Bill and Brooke’s kiss, Katie confronts her husband and her sister on the lip-lock!

HEATHER:

Yes. They tell her pretty much that it won’t happen again, which means it will happen sooner rather than later.  Although it hasn’t happened again, yet, so I don’t know.  Katie and Bill are going to continue to have issues.  Having a child has changed her and changed her priorities, and I understand this.  She married this man who is this daredevil guy who lives life on the edge, but she is now dealing with, “OK. We have a child.  I don’t want to raise a child by myself.  My time is limited by the nature of my medical condition.  I don’t want my kid not to have parents.  So I want you to be here, but changes may need to be made to our lifestyle.”  We will see how that all plays out.

MICHAEL:

Your former long time acting partner on The Young and the Restless, Scott Reeves, just got let go on General Hospital.   Many are saying, including Daytime Confidential’s Wishful Casting suggestion, that they would love Scott to come on to The Bold and the Beautiful as Taylor’s bad seed brother, Zach Hamilton! What would you think of that?

HEATHER:

That would be awesome!  I would love that!  I would be all for that.  I think it’s time for Katie to start having other avenues, rather than Bill always being the one to have other avenues.  That’s just my thoughts.  But, I have not talked to Brad Bell about that yet. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

It’s Daytime Emmy submission time here in the U.S to be considered for the 40th annual honors.  You are the defending champion for the Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series category!

HEATHER:

I can’t believe it!  I have no idea what to submit.  I honestly have just started watching the episodes of the post-partum storyline.  That is my stuff for this year, so we will see.

MICHAEL:

How did you come to choose the name “Zane Alexander” for your real life little bundle of joy? 

HEATHER:

Before I knew I was having a boy, I dreamed it and I woke up and his name was Zane.  I liked that.  It kind of turned out that my husband James’ grandfather’s favorite author is Zane Grey, and he grew up outside of Zanesville, Ohio!

MICHAEL:

Now wait a minute! When you played Kelly Cramer on One Life to Live, wasn’t the name of your child, Zane? 

HEATHER:

Yes, and I forgot about that!  Maybe it was some subconscious thing, but James can never know about this! (Laughs)  Yes, it is true.  Zane was the name of Kelly’s last child on One Life to Live.  I think I blocked it out because fans were telling me my baby’s name was Zane, and I would go, “No, No. My last baby was Ace!”  And they would go, “No … the last baby!”   I was so pissed off at that time the way they were writing my character out that I totally forgot about it.  Now it’s embarrassing that I named my child after a soap character.  Again, James can never know! (Laughs) When we shot that in New York, that was my last day at work on One Life, where Kelly named the baby, and that was right before she and the baby Zane moved to London.  As far as my baby’s middle name, Alexander is James’ middle name and he wanted to use that.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

How is your husband James with your new baby?

HEATHER:

He has been better than I would have ever dreamed.  I fall in love with him more and more every day, because he is so good with the baby, and eager to be involved.  James is really hands on, and more so than I ever thought he would be.  It’s awesome and great!

MICHAEL:

What has thus far been the best and worst part of motherhood?

HEATHER:

The best part is that Zane is smiling right now.  Every day he becomes more alert and he is very into everything.  I don’t think I will ever get bored with that.  The worst part was we had a traumatic birth, where he had fluid in his lungs and he had to be in an incubator for five days.  It was not something that was really dangerous.  But of course, as mother, you don’t know that at the beginning.  The doctors told me, on a scale of 1 to 10, we are at a 2.  It was the most stressful five days of my life.  I do not want to go through anything like that again.  It was just horrible.

MICHAEL:

When you think of your dreams and hopes for Zane, what are they?

HEATHER:

Oh gosh.  I think if I can instill a work ethic in him, then I will have done my job.  I think that will help him in all aspects of his life… in his relationships at work, friendships, and otherwise.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Danya Morrison/Shandrew PR

So what happens if teenaged Zane comes to you and James as says, “Mom and Dad, I want to be an actor!?”

HEATHER:

And then …. I kill myself! (Laughs)  Or, if he says, “I want to play a guitar for a living!” James is a musician!  Honestly, it’s all bad. (Laughs)  We are totally screwed on all levels.  Hopefully, he will rebel and say, “I want to be an accountant!”  A doctor would be awesome! (Laughs) Or, I am hoping he will rebel and go, “I am a science nerd” That is what I am hoping!

MICHAEL:

James and you have been working for quite some time on a new home renovation series that will show off your collective interior design prowess!  Any news on when fans can expect to see it?

HEATHER:

The tentative airdate is April 13th on HGTV.  We just finished doing pick-ups for all six episodes.  They are cutting it together now and it’s called Renovation Unscripted.  This is what I did while I was pregnant! (Laughs) It was a ridiculous amount of work, but I think for the viewers it’s going to be super fun to watch.  I am very excited of the projects we did.  I think it’s some of the best work James and I have ever done in terms of home renovation.  The transformation’s you will see were pretty awesome, and James and I were able to do what we wanted to do with the spaces, which was great!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2013?

HEATHER:

Yes.  I make the same one every year, which is: “No Parking Tickets!”  I did really well the first part of 2012, and then really blew it the last part of the year.  I have spent many thousands of dollars in the past on parking tickets.  But, what I will say, the new automated meter with the credit card makes it a lot easier to not get tickets, because I never had change.  I mean, who carries around change? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Since you were at the tail end of your pregnancy, were you able to come to B&B to say goodbye to Susan Flannery as she exited the series?

HEATHER:

I wasn’t.  I was there her last shooting day, but I was not there for the big farewell party day on set.  I should have gone, but I was thinking, “Oh no.  I can’t go.  I am going to have a baby and be in labor.”  I also should have gone to Scott Clifton’s (Liam) wedding! I was basically at home screaming at my tummy going, “When are you coming out? (Laughs)  I think as far as Susan Flannery leaving, that is something she wanted to do. Susan will be sorely missed, but I think her presence is felt whether she is actually here physically.  I am sure she is not going to sit around and do nothing!

Courtesy/CBS

MICHAEL:

In closing, what should viewers be on high alert for coming up for Katie in the coming months?

HEATHER:

That is a good question.  I don’t think she is going to be an emotional mess.  I think she and Bill are going to have some issues.  Being a mother and going through childbirth has had a profound change on her that I don’t think is out of the norm.  But, I think it’s going to throw a wrench into things when it comes to her relationship with Bill.

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IVEL
Guest
IVEL

What an awesome actress and her smile is beautiful. I have been watching Heather since she was Victoria on the Y&R. To go back to work so soon, is amazing.
Great interview!

Judith
Guest
Judith

I first became aware of Heather Tom when she played Victoria Newman on Y&R, and her enormous talent was very evident. When she became Katie Logan on B&B, I marveled at how she was so flexible, and not even a tiny bit of Victoria came thru’ in her performance of Katie. No matter with whom she shares a scene, Heather is the one whose ability shines.

Christine
Guest
Christine

That’s a really nice thing to say, Judith, and I agree.

I always love when an actor can move from role to role and not resemble the previous character. That is the mark of a true actor and Heather is one of them.

Edwina babb
Guest
Edwina babb

Liked very much. Would like a little more of what might be coming up especially with Hope and Liam.

Christine
Guest
Christine

“I also kind of feel, and I don’t know if this is my own projection, but I kind of feel like I got it out of my system, because I have not had any baby blues. From what I know from my friends, every woman I know has had some form of hormonal depression afterward. It would be anything from: “I feel a little bit depressed,” to “I can’t get out of bed.” I really haven’t had anything. I was very concerned about that as I am a hormonal person and an emotional person. Maybe, I just got it out… Read more »

Beacon
Guest
Beacon

She’ll always be Victoria Newman. It’s as simple as that.

TnT 2.0 Forever
Guest
TnT 2.0 Forever

Great interview! Thanks Michael!

Joanna Maria
Guest
Joanna Maria

Thank you Michael, fantastic interview. I love Heathet Tom. She is amazing woman and actress. I am waiting for her next Emmy. All the best to her and her family.

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Guest
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Excellent interview, Michael! Loved hearing Heather’s thoughts on Katie’s depression. I always felt like they should have written Katie out when she gave birth to Will, and then brought her back when she had finally given birth. But we wouldn’t have gotten beautiful acting from Heather during Katie’s PPD. It’s pure Emmy Gold!

As for Scott Reeves joining as Taylor’s brother and potential love interest for Katie, I think that would be really interesting to see. I’d love to see that happen! We got our Brad/Victoria re-pairing, now we can get our Victoria/Ryan re-pairing. It’d be interesting.

Pamela B. Tutt
Guest
Pamela B. Tutt

Hi Heather~ Congratulations on your new baby he is so yummy! I miss you on Young and the Restless and thought you’d be Victor Newmans daughter FOREVER! But anyway I loved you on Y&R but I like you on B&B . I just wish that the writers would have let Hope enjoy and relish in what Steffy stole from her. I am so angry that the writers couldn’t let her (Hope) be happy she is so genuine and she deserves it. When no one else paid Liam any mind when he came to town as Bill’s son Hope welcomed him… Read more »

Diane Mraz
Guest
Diane Mraz

Hi! Heather!
I enjoyed watching you on the Young and the Restless; and I enjoy watching you on the Bold and the Beautiful. You are a fantastic actress; and you seem so down to earth. I wish you all the best. Take Care.

Dorothy Ferguson
Guest
Dorothy Ferguson

Hi Heather , enjoy watching you perform as Victoria on Y&R and now follow you as Katy. congratulations on your big win.

Eliza
Guest
Eliza

Heather Tom is an amazing actress and I finally found a place to say it!!!

Diana Bayardo
Guest
Diana Bayardo

Is Katie Logan’s baby on bold and beautiful her baby in real life??
He really looks like her and anxious to know if he is. He is so adorable.

Interviews

B&B’s Scott Clifton and Don Diamont Talk on the Plight of Liam & Bill and Their Cover-Up of Vinny’s Death

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In story, Liam is guilt-ridden over running down Vinny Carter (Joe LoCicero) by accident when he was driving Bill’s car.  Since the moment that Vinny was killed, Bill leapt into action, destroying any evidence tying the two to the scene of the crime and continually demanding that Liam let this go and move on with his life, or the implications for the both of them could certainly be a long jail sentence, or worse.

Photo: JPI

Now as Liam is finally making headway in a reconciliation with Hope (remember his last secret – sleeping with Steffy – was quite the doozy), this new secret of what he has done, and hiding, could up the stakes even more and take him away from his family for good … or would Hope (Annika Noelle) after finding out what Liam did be the nail in his coffin that ends their relationship once and for all and kicks him to the curb?

Courtesy/CBS

Both, Scott Clifton and Don Diamont chatted virtually with Michael Fairman exclusively for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel to offer up for viewers and fans of The Bold and the Beautiful: an inside look at what goes on when they tape their scenes, how they see their characters motivations, and they serve up a preview of what may lie ahead in this tangled web that Bill and Liam have unfortunately weaved.

Photo: JPI

Check out the humorous, candid, and enlightening conversation with two of the leads and mainstays of this CBS Daytime drama series below.

Then let us know; how do you think Liam and Bill can get out of the mess they find themselves in? Will Liam crumble and spill the beans? Will everyone in town get on to them and figure out the secret they have been keeping? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section after taking a look at the virtual conversation.

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Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kin Shriner Talks on Franco’s Demise, Scott’s Budding Romance with Obrecht, and His Enduring On-Screen Partnership with Genie Francis

One of the most beloved actors in the history of General Hospital, Kin Shriner, currently finds his alter-ego, Scott Baldwin, in a new budding on-screen romance with none other than Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).

This comes on the heels of Scott learning the devastating news that his son, Franco Baldwin was shot and killed, thus writing-off the ABC daytime drama series, for now, popular actor, Roger Howarth.

Photo: JPI

Throughout his now almost 44-year-run on the ABC daytime drama series, Kin Shriner has brought his unique acting chops that helped mold the character of legal eagle Scott Baldwin into the humorous, at times cutthroat, endearing and many times heartbreaking character we have all come to love.’

 

In a brand new exclusive virtual sit-down interview with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel, Shriner opens up about his history with GH and the times he stepped away to take on roles on Texas and As the World Turns, and then back again to the town of Port Charles and GH.

Photo: ABC

As well, Kin reveals his reaction to learning the news that Roger Howarth would be exiting the show as his TV son and how he shot the key emotional scene where Laura (Genie Francis) tells Scott that Franco had died.  Shriner shares that he does not see how when Howarth returns to the show in as a yet-to-be-revealed character, that it would be a stretch if the two were some how related, but that he will miss working with the talented Howarth as a scene-partner.

Photo: JPI

As to the women in Scott’s life, Kin addresses each of them from: Lucy (Lynn Herring), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Dominque (Shell Danielson), Laura (Francis), Ava (Maura West) – to which the character could never get that close to – and now Liesl (Gati), and working opposite all the powerhouse actresses who portray them.

Photo: ABC

For fans of General Hospital who have watched the series for decades, Kin also shares memories of working with his late TV parents, Peter Hansen (Lee), Susan Brown (Gail) and his friend and former GH castmate John Reilly (Sean), plus backstage stories with his longtime scene partner, Genie Francis.

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

Now let us know, are you all for the Scott and Liesl romance? Will you miss scenes between Scott and Franco?  Would you ever want to see Scott and Laura reunite romantically? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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