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The Hunter Tylo and Winsor Harmon Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Photo Credit: Wire Image

Photo Credit: CBS/Getty Images

The Bold and the Beautiful sure knows how to shake up the feuding Forrester clan with deception, boardroom antics, and lots of bedroom blues.  Recently, the series has cleverly re-ignited the brotherly feud of Thorne vs. Ridge, the underdog vs. the reigning kingpin, in the house of Forrester Creations.  But this time, a much smarter Thorne went into his fight with a very sexy and special secret weapon… Taylor!  From there the sparks flew and the fallout continues to resonate on-air.

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with two B&B favorites: Hunter Tylo (Taylor) and Winsor Harmon (Thorne) to discuss their burgeoning on-screen relationship and to see if these good friends who have each other’s back through thick and thin, might have a chance at a full-blown romance!  Plus, we get an inside look at this juicy storyline and the viewpoints of these two unlucky-in-love-and-life characters who are drawn together for the greater good.

Always a highly charged interview whenever you get one of these talents in a room together, imagine the fun when you get two of them at the same time!  We think you will find this interview funny, insightful, and in some cases, it will truly tug at your heart-strings.  So here now are two of the most invincible performers in all of soapland, who have certainly been through their share of trials and tribulations, and who have always come back strong … Hunter and Winsor!

MICHAEL:

What did you think, Winsor, when B&B started teasing a Taylor/Thorne pairing/relationship?

WINSOR:

Photo Credit: Wire Image

I was very happy about it.  I love working with Hunter.  She is fun and she has a wicked sense of humor.

MICHAEL:

It wasn’t about Hunter’s beauty?  Looking into those beautiful blue eyes?

WINSOR:

That goes without saying.

HUNTER:

But he never looks at my eyes, sorry.  Tell the truth, Winsor.

WINSOR:

I could not pick her out of a police line-up. (Laughs)

HUNTER:

You know, us fellow Texans have to stick together.  It’s an interesting background Winsor and I have in real life, as we grew up 20 miles away from each other.  We probably went to the same football games and everything, but we were sitting on opposite bleachers. (Laughs) But I have no doubt when I was out there on the drill team he was probably under the bleachers with the guys who were checking us out while we were changing our clothes!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Wow, she knows you Winsor!  So, in story, Thorne is the put-upon Forrester child. Ridge is always number one and Thorne is always thrown in the basement of Forrester Creations and trying to get out.  Thorne had this big moment recently where he tries to do a company takeover and stake his claim at Forrester.   What did you think of those scenes, Winsor?

WINSOR:

I loved them!  I thought they were great and I thought everyone was very equal and strong in them.  The dynamics of it I love.  And, I love fighting with Ridge, and I love the Forrester situation we find ourselves in.  But what makes this much stronger is that Thorne now has Taylor on his side and Ridge is really taken aback by that.  One of the funniest lines in the whole show this past year was when we got into that scuffle!  I got thrown to the floor and then Taylor kissed Thorne.  At that moment, Ronn Moss (Ridge) just did this look and said this line that was hilarious.  I seriously almost started laughing when I was in the middle of the scene.

MICHAEL:

Can we just set the scene for this, Winsor?  What went down?  Viewers saw that Taylor, at the last minute, seems to end up siding with Ridge when you are waiting for her to side with you!  That is the big shocker.

WINSOR:

Taylor just can’t start a war between her kids and when it comes down to your children, that battle could destroy lives and relationships forever.  But then again, I don’t know. In daytime you can do anything.  It was par for the course for Thorne.

HUNTER:

I know!  He got kicked to the curb again.

Courtesy/CBS

MICHAEL:

Hunter, what do you think about what Taylor did in this situation?

HUNTER:

I think Taylor found herself in a bind where she absolutely knows if Brooke gets one word in edge-wise with Ridge, she will end up getting her way and she would cut Taylor’s children out of Forrester in two seconds.  Taylor has worked really hard to step up to the plate.  Her psychiatrist background would also make her aware that it’s a very unstable situation when children don’t have a connection with her father.  So she will try to do everything she can to keep her children mentally healthy, because Steffy had been through so much loss, and yes, so has Thomas.  But for Steffy, in losing her twin sister, she is kind of hyper-vigilante.  Surprisingly, Ridge had been backing Steffy now with her new love interest, Liam, who of course, used to be Hope’s love interest, and Brooke did not like that.  Taylor was like “Wow.  Ridge is siding with Steffy, and this may never happen again.”  So she had to side with him.

MICHAEL:

But, she had to be torn?

HUNTER:

Absolutely!  She probably equally feels that Thorne deserves to have a shot at Forrester in the driver’s seat.  Taylor does not like the way Brooke has been running everything through Ridge.  So she thinks someone a bit more level-headed should be running things.  But unfortunately, there is that sticky point between them…Taylor killed Darla, Thorne’s wife.

MICHAEL:

Oh yeah … remember that?

HUNTER:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Taylor has a little guilt, but she would do anything to make up for that.  I mean, Thorne was even there with her when he helped get her to AA.  Thorne was really forgiving and loving.  So she knows that Thorne has a really good heart, and that he has been pushed to the wayside and neglected.  I want to believe that Taylor, as a psychiatrist, would understand how sad of a life that it is…that this young man who always grew up in the shadow of Ridge, is always getting the seconds, and how that must feel for him.

MICHAEL:

Thorne had a great line in the key episode that he is the real Forrester heir and that Ridge is just Massimo’s son.

WINSOR:

That is a big thing to me.  We found out that Ridge’s father is Massimo Marone and not Eric Forrester.  Thorne is the heir to the throne of Forrester and he then is the first born.  Thorne is being treated like he’s not, and he always has been.  I think that probably hurts him more than anything, that his father shows more love for Ridge.  And, we definitely know how Stephanie feels about it all, and there is no doubt about that. (Laughs)  But I am glad that Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) wrote a line in the script like that addressing the fact of whose father is who.

MICHAEL:

But the big question really is; because Taylor ran down and killed his wife, Darla, how does Thorne deal with this several years later and getting close to Taylor?

WINSOR:

That is just Thorne.  He forgives; he has been forgiving his whole life.

HUNTER:

Courtesy/CBS

That is what has worked with this storyline so well, because Thorne had always compromised.  He has been trained up to compromise and bow down to allow Ridge to do whatever he wants.  I would imagine he got in trouble for that when he was a little boy if he did not back whatever the parents wanted to do for big brother Ridge.  And it’s a very sad thing and it does happen in families… favoritism… and sibling rivalries … are very real.  I was so glad this show revisited this rivalry between the brothers.   I think it’s a really important dynamic in the Forrester family.

MICHAEL:

Didn’t Thorne have a plan that he brought to light to Taylor to bring down the house of Forrester?  How did the two of them end up conspiring?

WINSOR:

We were putting everything into “Hope for the Future” and we were neglecting the other lines and Thorne was very against it.  He came out and said, “Look guys.  We are making a mistake here.  What happens if this line doesn’t work?”  And lo and behold, look what happened?  He came to Taylor with a plan of: “Look, I have been pushed down by Ridge long enough, and now his own son and daughter are being pushed down.”  Thorne figured out that because Stephanie tricked Thomas and gave him the stock so that he would say he slept with Brooke, so then Brooke would leave Ridge, and Ridge would then end up with Taylor!  So, Thorne finds this stock option and goes to Taylor and says, “Look. Your kids are being shoved in the basement like me.  They are too talented. Thomas had one of the most successful lines Forrester ever had. Look you have got 55% of this company and you can now control this company through these stocks.  And it’s time for you to do it.  We need a change.”  And that is where it started from and he was not trying to use Taylor by any means.  He was driven by what he really believes and that is that this company is in jeopardy, and putting all your eggs in one basket, over one fashion line.  He was against it.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Vic Dennis

Is it a perk of the whole vendetta that Thorne wanted Taylor to be his as well?

WINSOR:

I don’t think it started out like that, and that is what I liked about the relationship.  We grew.  I loved the scene where Taylor goes to a psychic and she tells her this guy will show up at your door, and it turns out to be Thorne.

MICHAEL:

Hunter, what did you think about the “psychic scene”?

HUNTER:

Oh, we laughed so much about that. (Laughs)  But, when Thorne shows up she is thinking “Did Stephanie send you here?”  Because Taylor is thinking she is being set-up because this is just more manipulation.  However, when Thorne actually shows her some legal information in the stock options, that was not even in her motivation to use them to get a leg up, Thorne knows that.  But one of the things that I think motivated Thorne to go look it up was, “What kind of power does Taylor have in this situation?  Because look at her son!  He is down here in the basement and this kid is going to be doomed just like me.”   So I do think that is what motivated him to look up the legal info, or, maybe go get some advice.  Then he realizes since Taylor has the controlling trust while Stephanie is alive, and Thomas does not have the stocks actually, now Taylor is the trustee and now she can vote in the company.  She now has 55%.  So,  whereas before we thought that Taylor lost her shares when she took a mortgage out on her house, (and bought 50 million dollars worth of shares, and gave a lot to Steffy) now as the mother and the trustee, Taylor realizes she has a lot more power than she thought.  Thorne knows that Taylor in the past has been just like him.  She has always tried to do the right thing and got screwed over.

MICHAEL:

Right!  So they are really the screwed-over couple of B&B!

WINSOR:

Courtesy/CBS

I believe they have it tough.

MICHAEL:

Do you think this will go anywhere and they will show a more romantic side to their relationship in the future?

WINSOR:

Well, that is up to Brad Bell, but they do spend Christmas together.  I do think they could end up having a very passionate relationship.

HUNTER:

I think it’s very cool that there is so much history behind the two characters. First of all, it does not seem like a sexually based relationship. So I think the audience can appreciate it and go, “Wow.  I can understand these two emotionally bonding,” and then let it grow into something that doesn’t look forced.  I think with the right vehicle for the two characters to be united doing something together, like they have a goal that is a going to be good for everybody, and of course, we don’t really care if it upsets Ridge and Brooke. (Laughs)  I do think the two of them could become very passionate in the moment that they succeed.

MICHAEL:

I think they need to trap you two on a high-stakes basement caper!  Something where you are locked up together and can’t get away from each other and it’s life or death!  What do you think?

HUNTER:

I think that sounds cool.  How about they get stuck in Rome?

Photo Credit: Getty Images

WINSOR:

Rome is fine with me.

HUNTER:

OK … then we need to hurry up and go to Venice, Italy before it sinks. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Hunter, what would you tell us about how it is to work with Winsor?

HUNTER:

Winsor is hilarious.  He is so laid-back and he tells you just what happened, and it can be scary sometimes what just happened.  Such as: if he just came from the bathroom you might not want to hear that part.  He is so open.  He is like your family member, in that no matter what is going on, he just tells it like it is.  So Texas!  To me it’s like a brother or family member type of comfortable relationship. I can tell you people in California aren’t really used to that. When Winsor walks into a room and the two of us start talking, our Texas twangs start coming out.

WINSOR:

I have worked so hard to get rid of the accent for this show, because Thorne is not from Texas, obviously. (Laughs)

HUNTER:

Well now, I have explained that away.  I told Winsor, I think that when Thorne was a little boy he probably was sent away a lot to boarding schools, because they probably thought he was acting up all the time, because he was acting out to get attention.  So maybe he went to a boarding school, or a ranch one summer to get corrected because he had behavioral problems. And he picked up this Texas accent while there.

MICHAEL:

Hunter, you could be a writer on a soap!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

HUNTER:

I love to write and actually I am writing right now. (Laughs).

MICHAEL:

Winsor, Hunter is known to really go through her scripts and dialog line by line …

WINSOR:

… That is one thing I love … and that is that Hunter comes in so well-prepared.

HUNTER:

I don’t have the lines all memorized but I have it all outlined, thought-process wise.  And yes, I do pick apart every single line and then try to connect emotionally everything that I am saying that means something in my own life, so it means something.  Sometimes there is a lot of scribbling all over my script or page!

MICHAEL:

How is working with her while she is going through her process?

WINSOR:

I absolutely love it, because it opens up things to me that I did not actually see.  I am so comfortable with Hunter. We have that comfortablity around each other, and when that happens as an artist, you are allowed to open up more and there is more spontaneity.

HUNTER:

I have to say that we do have a great friendship from way back.  What I would say is Ronn and Winsor and I do have a good buddy friendship, and we all bond over nice cars! We all sit and talk about engines and the best cars.  I am a corvette person and Winsor is a Porsche person, and we all argue which is better the Porsche or the “Vette”! And we all know that the “Vette” is! (Laughs)

WINSOR:

I would agree with you on that one right now, since it’s half the price.

HUNTER:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

I also have to say this, and I don’t know if I ever said this to you Winsor.  After I lost my son, Winsor was there for me so much.  He would come over to my house and stop by and check on me.  We would sometimes meet up at a bar and have a drink.  Winsor would just let me vent and piss and moan and grouch whatever I had to do, and he was there for me.  I really appreciated that so much, Winsor.

WINSOR:

I know you did and you did not have to say it.

HUNTER:

So we do have that type of relationship that Taylor and Thorne have too, and that is: “Whatever the hell is going on, I am here for you, and I have been through that too.”

MICHAEL:

Winsor, you have been on contact with B&B and then taken off contract and put on recurring status.  Are you OK with being recurring?

WINSOR:

I love it at B&B and I have always considered it my home.  I look at it like this, like a football team. There is a coach and the coach is going to run the team like he sees fit and that is OK.  I am a player, and that is how I see it.

HUNTER:

A player! That’s the truth. (Laughs)

WINSOR:

And when I get called in, I come in a hundred miles an hour because I love it!

HUNTER:

Courtesy/CBS

And that’s the truth!

MICHAEL:

Taylor and Thorne have quite the past.  In fact, Thorne delivered Taylor’s baby at one point!

HUNTER:

I don’t know if this is sub-consciously in Brad Bell’s head, or he made sense of this that literally, but Winsor’s character would have a bit of this bonding thing with Thomas that is very natural because he delivered Thomas when Ridge was in jail!  Thorne was there for Taylor and helped her deliver her baby!

WINSOR:

That is Ridge’s first born son and he is in the basement with Thorne!

HUNTER:

Right, and in Taylor’s mind she is like, “Well, Brooke was OK with that happening to Thorne, and of course, she is gong to be happy about leaving Thomas down there too.”

MICHAEL:

Speaking of Thomas, how is working with Adam Gregory (Thomas)?

WINSOR:

He is pretty to look at, isn’t he?  I catch myself at times going, “Man. That is a good looking kid.”  Adam is the nicest, nicest guy.  He kind of reminds me of Ronn.  He has a super big heart, and when I was going through my divorce he said, “Look, if you need to go out to be with some friends, and you need someone to watch your son, please, my wife and I love kids, and we would love to watch him.”  I thought that was awesome.  It kind of caught me off guard, but that is just who he is, though.  Adam is always offering to help.  He is an all-around grounded guy and he has good spiritual belief going on.  I think he is a great asset to the show and I enjoy being around him.

HUNTER:

Photo Credit: Wire Image

I like his energy.  It is a lot like Ronn Moss’s personality … kind of laid-back and quiet. But, if you get him going, he has a great sense of humor and he is mostly kind of reserved.  Then, in contrast, Winsor comes in a hundred miles an hour and that is Winsor’s energy. He has way high energy.  I was so amazed that Adam is so well grounded for the age he is at.

MICHAEL:

Then Hunter, how then would you define your energy on set?

HUNTER:

I come in pretty easy going.  I am kind of quiet, and it depends on what is going on in the storyline.  If it’s a heavy duty storyline I am very quiet, but when all the stress is gone and it’s a light day for me, I am usually acting pretty goofy and pretty silly.

MICHAEL:

Is she silly, Winsor?

WINSOR:

Oh yeah!  Hunter is fun and I like to say things to get her to be silly.

HUNTER:

That is true, and then Susan Flannery (Stephanie) starts yelling, “Winsor! Shut up!”  We just love getting Susan wound up, don’t we Winsor?  And that is what is funny.  It’s hysterical!

WINSOR:

I have times in my life where I needed some family advice or something, and I called Susan.  And on my cell phone it says “Mom-California” and the other one says “Mom- Dallas.”  Susan and I do have a very good close relationship. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

I have had the opportunity to watch Susan Flannery direct actors on the set of Crystal Chappell’s web-series, Venice.  I also know she directs several episodes of B&B.  How is working with Susan in that capacity?

HUNTER:

I love it when Susan directs. Usually actors don’t like when they are given a line read for a certain scene, but I love it when Susan says, “You know what would be good here Hunter?”  Susan really gets into it. 

WINSOR:

If we could shoot in between our scenes, you could put a laugh track to it … one could be a daytime show and one a comedy/reality show.  And even with the crew, I will cut up with the camera guys and the sound guys!

MICHAEL:

I hope some day someone actually does a reality show of what goes on the set of a soap when you are not rolling tape!  We think it would be a hit series and help boost the dwindling genre.  Especially, if it were to air in the daytime block and maybe repeat at night on a cable outlet.

HUNTER:

Yes, like a 30 Rock of the show.  It would be hilarious!  The things that I think people would enjoy seeing are a lot of the comedy moments.  We have to learn so many lines. You cannot believe how much stuff we have to do.  We are shooting 78 or more pages in one episode.  So if we shoot three episodes in one day, which we often do, people cannot fathom how we do it.  And, then the funny things that happen on the set to get through it, or the coping mechanisms we have to get through it… those are funny, and those are great moments to capture.

MICHAEL:

Hunter and Winsor… you should host that show!

HUNTER:

I just think Brad should get a reality crew down here on set!  I am telling you since we are now in print that we did this, we are officially the writers of the show.  We claim it right now.  It’s legal.  55% percent of this show, we own. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

As we come to the end of our fascinating and fun conversation, ultimately how would the two of you like to see your characters relationship head in the future?

HUNTER:

Photo Credit: Wire Image

I would like to see Taylor finally have had it with Brooke and Hope and that whole thing, and step up and put Thorne in the CEO seat and take over and let him come up with his own line.  Then, let everyone discover that he is more talented than everybody!  And that he really has Eric’s gift!  That would be awesome.  As far as their relationship, I like them having a deep meaningful relationship and not being sexual.  I think that is unique, because our show is usually high romance and people that are so over the top that they are not thinking clearly.  I think this could be cool to show a couple that is thinking clearly and that they have a goal together, and that they are overcoming their own demons.  I think we should see Thorne and Taylor get strong and stand up to these people who mowed them down.  Now Taylor has been standing up to Stephanie, and now we have Thorne standing up to his brother, so I think they are in that place.

WINSOR:

I love exactly what she said.  But one thing I would like to see between the two of them is to have that mutual respect for each other, and it’s not just based on lying around in lingerie or having sex all the time.  It’s more of a deep rooted relationship that they have developed, and they come to realize this that, “Wait, we just might have the perfect relationship.”

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Tom
Guest
Tom

Love Taylor and Thorne but we have barely seen them lately! I am not sure what is going on over at B&B but the show is all over the place currently–even more so than usual! Storylines are dropped from week to week and it’s hard for viewers to gain traction. Enough with Steffy/Liam/Hopeless and back to Taylor/Thorne and some adult storylines!

BETTYEJ
Guest
BETTYEJ

Wow, this is my lucky day, two of my favorite people together and guess what guys, we are all from Texas. I wish that Brad Bell would make you a super couple, because that is what is needed on this show. I like the fact that your relationship is not being rushed this time.

TF 101
Guest
TF 101

I agree with Tom. TNT was garnering fan interest and I love the rapport these two share on screen. I was looking forward to a storyline involving Taylor and Thorne, with his daughter Ally added in for extra drama and suspense. It would be a nice change and contrast to all of the other stories on the show currently. It seems Bell and his writers are fumbling the ball AGAIN and ignoring fan support and interest. No wonder soaps are a dying genre.

Susanlee
Guest
Susanlee

I think the writer did a good interview and both actors do a very credible job, but Taylor is portrayed as a real imbecile when it comes to her childrens behavior and also her own. How many times would a supposed renowned physchiatirst be left at the alter from a man that she has to realize is totally in love with another woman. She see’s no destructtion in her childrens’s behavior and encourages them to continue and to never accept responsibility. Thorne has no respect for himself and that is why no one else does and he remains in the… Read more »

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

I have been saying for years they should use Winsor Harmon more I did read that they were going to be off camera a while for the teenybopper crowd. Brad Bell has a bloated cast for thirty minutes. Just get these two back in front of the camera. Please! Good Interview.

Kassie
Guest
Kassie

I am really looking forward to the Taylor/Thorne relationship and business takeover!! I love both of these characters and actors!!!

Tracey
Guest
Tracey

I’m sorry that Thorne has to be saddled with Taylor. He is so much better than that. He has had a chance to run a company and he failed. If they take over house of Forrester then Ridge, Brooke, Eric, Hope and Stephanie sholud start a new company and cut them out completely. Or they can just wait til Taylor and Thorne run the company into the ground and then come in with a takeover and boot Taylor to the curb where she needs to be. She knows nothing about fashion or physchiatry and needs to hit the road. Tired… Read more »

sunisha ramlogan
Guest
sunisha ramlogan

i want to see more Taylor/Thorne relationship storyline and less ridge/brooke/hope/liam and steffy storyline.There is something strong brewing here between these two and that’s what we want to see.

Barbara
Guest
Barbara

I’m glad to see Thorne being used more. However, I am not pleased about him being paired with Taylor. This show desperately needs some new blood. How hard would it be to introduce a new love interest for Thorne rather than give him Ridge’s peripetual toss off? Frankly, the once interesting and beautiful Taylor is neither these days. The character is completely played out. I cannot root for Taylor as the character has been nothing but a complete idiot for the past five years. Using Taylor with all of her baggage as Thorne’s new partner is a really, really, really,… Read more »

Debbera T.
Guest
Debbera T.

It would be great to see FC in other hands for a change lets see it for the better. And as for Taylor, her children and Thorne as underdogs is quite hearting now. I’m so tired of seeing them lose out to Ridge and Brooke all the time. When Bell writes for Taylor he portrays her not as an educated woman, but as someone who is blind to her children needs and to her own relationship . The Taylor I remember was wonderful and bright. So Bell lets see more of the underdogs on top .I’m tired of the current… Read more »

JT
Guest
JT

Have to say Im just NOT interested in Steffie and Hope and company and am more than tired of the Ridge show. They are the reason I rarely watch B&B now. When Bill Bell’s fixation with Ridge ever leaves I could be back. I loved the all too short story of Thorne leaving Forrester. That was great. But the Ridge show is wooden. Sorry

Racheebee
Guest
Racheebee

Taylor and Thorne were always a boring couple with zero romantic chemistry. It really might be each other’s worst pairing in the last decade. They were far better matched with other characters in the past. Don’t really wanna see HT and WH as a onscreen couple for a third time since the first two times left me cold. They aren’t gonna get any story or airtime together anyway.

Ann
Guest
Ann

I love, love Taylor and her kids, however I have zero interest in seeing her with Thorne, I think they had something when they paired him with Amber. Taylor has been written poory for the past 5 years, but she will always be a much better women then Brooke. Only on the B&B does the slutt from the valley end up with the man. B&B has been all down hill since they put Brooke and Ridge together, now they’re working on Hope being the next best thing, and it’s all tiresome, I agree with the other fan, they need new… Read more »

Kamlita goven
Guest
Kamlita goven

Taylor and thorne as a couple makes alot of sense. Let them have their deep friendship along with the hot steamy romance that is the bold and beautiful. They deserve to be happy with each other. A great power couple.

Days Of Our Lives

Watch the Replay: GH, DAYS, Y&R, B&B & OLTL Stars at Michael Fairman’s Virtual Birthday Party for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund

Earlier this week on Monday night, several of the stars of General Hospital, Days of our Lives, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and One Life to Live, took part in a virtual livestream “party” for Michael Fairman’s 60th birthday.

The event was held virtually to help performers in need who have been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by letting viewers know where to make a donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Fund.

Photo: ABC, NBC, CBS

Participating throughout the 90 minute livestream were: The Young and the Restless, Jason Thompson, Sharon Case, and Christian LeBlanc, General Hospital’s Maurice Benard, Laura Wright, Wes Ramsey, and Chloe Lanier, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Katherine Kelly Lang, Days of our Lives’ Rob Scott Wilson, Eric Martsolf, Galen Gering, Arianne Zucker, Shawn Christian, Santa Barbara favorite, A Martinez, One Life to Live’s Kristen Alderson and Eddie Alderson, and Studio City’s Sean Kanan.

You can catch the replay of the birthday benefit event below or on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

Throughout the evening, the actors shared stories of how they got their SAG card, played a game of Michael’s trivia, and revealed stories about themselves and other “party” guests in a wonderful display of community and camaraderie at all went down live!

Since March of 2o2o, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has given out more than $6.2 million in emergency aid to over 6,500 SAG-AFTRA performers and their families facing hardship and uncertainty during this pandemic. Thousands of SAG-AFTRA artists have found themselves in dire need of assistance to help pay their rent, buy groceries, cover health care premiums and other bills.  You can still make a donation of any dollar amount to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 relief fund here. https://members.sagfoundation.org/donate 

Now, check it out below, and let us know if you enjoyed the virtual birthday party livestream via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH Co-Head Writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor Interview – “Soapmakers of the Year” Honors 2020

In a year which saw production of your favorite soaps shutdown for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone in daytime had to pivot.  As original episodes aired, they eventually ran out, giving way to rebroadcasts, while the audience eagerly awaited the return of the current stories.

At General Hospital, once production resumed over the summer, head writers, Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor had teed-up: surprising homecomings (Dante, Britt) shocking twists and revelations, the conclusion of what will become an all-time soap classic, the Alzheimer’s storyline, dipping into the rich 57-year history of the iconic soap to tie story to the present (Laura, Cyrus, Martin), and crafting stories for its A-list cast which gave 2020 some of its finest on-screen moments.  GH became can’t-miss television again, coming back even stronger than its pre-pandemic self; which also kicked the year off in high-style with the reveal of Nikolas to his family, alive and well, and the long-awaited truth about baby Wiley.

Chris and Dan’s depiction of Mike’s heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer’s gave viewers many tears through its unrelenting and realistic storytelling, plus their commitment to air the standalone episode to honor the passing of the 19th amendment of the women’s right to vote in November.  Both were noteworthy, and illustrated what daytime can do best.

 

Each year, Michael Fairman TV gives our highest honor to a creative or creatives who most delivered to its audience and whose quality of work continues to keep us engaged, on the edge of our seats, or reaching for the hankies. That is why this year’s Soapmkers of the Year honor goes to GH scribes: Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor.  Shortly after receiving their acknowledgement, the duo spoke to us about some of the 2020 highlights in Port Charles, and how they work so well together to bring their stories to life.  Here’s what they shared.

Courtesy/ABC

First, and foremost, I want to commend you for the Alzheimer’s storyline  As I’ve shared publicly, my mother died of Alzheimer’s, and I have seen the progression of this disease and the effects it has on a family and loved ones, and the person afflicted with it.  You did a beautiful job of telling every beat of the story within the context of what you could do within a soap opera.  What can you tell me about crafting that and seeing it through to the end?  You never abandoned the story, which at times, can happen on daytime.

CHRISNo, we didn’t abandon it.  Soap operas have a power that I am sure we have acknowledged before, to allow audiences to really get to know characters in a deeper and more profound way than I think most other mediums do.  We get to see characters’ lives day in and day out.  For us to tell a story about Alzheimer’s, which is a disease that is devastating in so many ways, not the least of which is the fact that it can take years to develop and years to finally claim a life, we felt that among our audience, there had to be many people who had experienced this in an up-close and personal way.  So that to tell the story too expeditiously would really deny their experience and would take away from their appreciation of the show as a reflection of reality.  Of course, soap operas don’t do that in every sense on every episode, but when you’re telling a story about a disease that people experience every day, you have an obligation to reflect the real-world experience.  So, by bringing it to a close too fast and by doing it in a way that didn’t honor what at times is the horror of the disease, felt like it would be a cop-out.  We wanted to do our best within the constrictions of the medium to depict that; while at the same time, of course, not wanting to leave people so depressed as to not want to tune back in.  It was a really delicate dance.  We are very grateful to have had the support of the network and Frank Valentini’s (executive producer, GH) ingenious production team as well as a great repertory of actors who were willing and able to give their all to this story.

Courtesy/ABC

Maurice Benard (Sonny) did some of his finest work of his career in this story, and you gave him the ball to do it, and Max Gail (Mike) was amazing.  Two standout episodes included: when Mike passed and was taken to heaven by Courtney (Alicia Leigh Willis) and Mike’s funeral episode.  Did you realize when you were writing it, the impact it would have on the audience?

DANAs for the funeral, I’d say that we knew as we were writing it that not only did we want to give the characters and the audience a chance to say goodbye to Mike, but we also wanted to give the performers a chance to say a goodbye to their relationship with the actor, Max Gail as well.  Max is a fantastic, phenomenal actor, and he formed close relationships with many of our performers.  So, when we wrote the episode, yes, we did want to give the audience a chance to say goodbye to the character, but we also knew that because of the close relationships that these performers have made with each other that the actors were going to bring their all, and it was going to provide the audience with some powerhouse performances.

Did you get emotional seeing it? 

CHRIS:  Oh, personally, I cried.

Courtesy/ABC

I know you both love and appreciate the soap genre and understand that the audience often wants a good cry and is invested in these characters.  So because of that; what’s it like for you when you see these emotional moments play out that start in your mind, go to the page, then to the stage, and now are out in the world for people to see and experience?

CHRIS:  I can’t speak for any of the other writers, but I’m not crying when I’m writing it, but I’m crying when I see it realized and how the actors, and the producers, and the directors realize it.  I personally am always surprised by the nuance and the beats that they find that we, in our first draft kind-of-lifestyle that we have as soap opera writers; where we are writing six or seven episodes per week, we don’t have the time or the luxury to really sit with an episode and mine it for every single beat and every emotion. That’s why we have great directors and great actors who take these scripts and find these extra moments.  So, it is really gratifying to watch – yes, to see something that we’ve imagined be produced and personified, but then to see how the production then takes it in other directions, that’s the best.  I think that’s the most gratifying part of writing for a show, not seeing what you’ve written produced, but seeing how it was parented into life.  When you have a baby, I think you have all sorts of ideas about what the baby will be, and then the baby becomes something else as the result of its environment and of the people who are influencing and guiding it along and that may be a bit of a stretched metaphor, but it kind of feels relative.

As co-head writers of General Hospital, how do you work together to come up with long-term story?  What is your process?

DAN:  Chris and I will meet regularly and discuss the long-term stories that we are telling, and plan to tell, and maybe some adjustments that we have to make along the way.  We get to meet with our writers several days every week as we figure out the best way to tell that story in the form of however many episodes we write a week.  Chris and I also write episodes along with our great breakdown script team, and every week we figure out the best way to either stay on the path of the story we are intending to tell, or find new opportunities or new twists and turns we can take along the way.

Photo: ABC

Do you get into friendly, creative disagreements? Is one of you more protective of a certain character than the other? 

DAN:  Chris and I have known each other for close to 15 years at this point, and we are not just colleagues, we are also friends.  There is a certain amount of shorthand that we have with each other which is just invaluable in telling story.  What’s great is that we sometimes come at the story from different angles or we have a different point of view, much like any two fans of the show wouldn’t agree on necessarily everything, but in our discussions about the show’s needs, wants, and haves, and the story trajectory, we ultimately get somewhere better than where either of us could have come up with on our own.  At the same time, there are those moments where we both come to the same idea at the same moment, and that’s definitely when we go, “Okay, we’re onto something good.”

CHRIS:  I can add as a partial translation that I can get really snippy, and Dan has the patience of a saint.  So, often times, I need 24 hours to go away, and sleep on something, and wake up, and say, “Oh Dan, you were totally right about that.  I’m so sorry I was snippy the other day,” and he doesn’t seem to hold it against me.

Do you ever get a writer’s block; as has to happen often with scribes in the unrelenting medium of daytime drama, and if so, I would think having a writing partner would be an asset during those times?

DAN:  I think it’s the nature of the beast.  At a certain point, you might hit a roadblock somewhere, but that’s why having a partner is so valuable that there is somebody else that you can bounce ideas along with, and just as, if not more importantly, our team of writers are always there to sometimes give us even better ideas than what we would have come up with on our own.

Courtesy/ABC

This year you utilized and delved back into a lot of GH history.  How did the idea come about to bring back the character of Jackie Templeton and have former All My Children and NYPD Blue favorite, Kim Delaney, take on the role?

DAN:  Jackie Templeton is a character who has been an Easter egg on the show for many years now.  Whenever we needed to namedrop a famous journalist, she was always our go-to.  It always felt like the character was in the ether of Port Charles for awhile, and we were excited to bring this take-no-prisoners character back and explore her history with Robert (Tristan Rogers), and at the same time, we were finally teed up to tell the story of Finn’s (Michael Easton) falling out with his father and step-mother, and we realized we had a great opportunity to have the character serve both stories and collide with not just Anna (Finola Hughes) and Finn, but Robert as well. Those three played wonderfully with each other. When we heard that Kim Delaney was interested in playing with us, we were just over the moon.  .

Courtesy/ABC

You have also been delving back into Laura’s childhood past and her history. I love that you brought up the death of David Hamilton and her teenage years, which hasn’t been discussed for a very long time on the show while tying it into the present.

DAN:  We were always aware of the story just because we love General Hospital and we love the character of Laura, and there is nothing else like daytime drama, and one of the great things about it is that you can reach decades into the past and expand on stories and themes that the audience actually witnessed. Long reaching history is a tool in our toolbox that not many other series have.  Chris and I love honoring and using our characters’ histories to propel the show into the future with some serious momentum.

Photo: ABC

You created and brought the character of  Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober) on to the canvas. Was it originally a case of, “We need an uber-villain to come and shake things up,” and then you decided to connect him to Laura?  It’s been an intriguing shocker for viewers.  Jeff is playing the multi-levels of Cyrus with great finesse, and whenever you give Genie something, the fans go nuts, and she, in turn, delivers every time.

CHRIS:  The story of Cyrus has a couple of phases to it.  We wanted to bring on a villain who would not only be an adversary to Sonny, but someone who we could use to really test Jordan (Briana Nicole Henry) and Curtis (Donnell Turner), and we knew going in that the first phase of this story would really hit the Corinthos family and also the Ashfords, and as we developed it, we thought about what the act two would be, and we knew that we had an opportunity to really engage Genie Francis and to expand her sphere and expand her footprint on the show, and by connecting her to Cyrus, who is not your typical face or presence for a soap, but is also not your typical person who I think Laura would encounter in her daily life.  So, we knew, as we really developed Cyrus as a villain, that for Laura to find out that this man is her brother, would really allow us to play with Laura in a different context and in a different light and really give Genie a new kind of challenge.

Speaking of Genie, what did you think when you watched back her performance in the episode where you wrote that Laura has to say goodbye to her comatose daughter, Lulu (Emme Rylan), before she was sent off the canvas to a long-term care facility?

CHRIS:  I mean to me, that’s vintage Laura.  I came to General Hospital personally in the late 80s to early 90s, so my experience of Laura really only begins with her, and Luke (Tony Geary), and Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) at the Triple L Diner.  I think that what we’ve gotten to see with Genie is really reflective of the high emotion that she is capable of delivering.  At the same time as the high emotion, you’re also seeing really small human moments that she really breathes a lot of life into.  I can speak for Dan and myself when we say that we are just really thrilled with what she has been able to bring to the screen.  Thrilled, but I guess not surprised.

Coutesy/ABC

Nelle (Chloe Lanier) was such a great interloper and threat throughout the year in story; whether it’s hatching plots to gain custody of baby Wiley, or her “death” scene and confrontations with Carly (Laura Wright).  However, through all of this, when was it decided to make Nina (Cynthia Watros), Nelle’s biological mother?

DAN:  There are very few things that are as exciting on a soap as a character that makes you wonder what they are going to do next, and Chloe and Nelle provided that role with just gusto.  The truth is, the idea that Nelle was Nina’s daughter has been a part of the conception of that character, and over the last few years, the story evolved, and we ultimately got to reveal the truth to the audience.

Courtesy/ABC

As writers, there has to be characters that are just so delicious and treacherous to write for that you have to get a kick out of it! Chloe Lanier is so good that she makes the audience want to slap Nelle when she takes the dialog and then brings it to the screen.  

CHRIS:  It is tremendous fun.  Yes, yes, we love writing for these characters who are willing to do and say anything to get what they want.  We are constrained when writing for characters who have morality.  It takes a moral character a lot of really difficult circumstances for them to make a decision that might go against the grain, but when you have a character like Nelle, who is not shackled by certain societal norms, then you really get to live out the worst impulses that a person could have, and it’s really fun, especially when you take a really great performer like Chloe and see her as Nelle unleash all of the poison that she’s capable of.  At the same time, she can turn on a dime and rip your heart out a little bit when she turns on the water works.

Photo :ABC

Ava Jerome’s (Maura West) story this year had her moving into a relationship with Nikolas (Marcus Coloma).  We, the audience, didn’t know how that was going to go – if they were just going to use each other, or ultimately fall in love.  Was that the plan all along … that they would develop deep feelings for each other, or did you want to see how it progressed and played out on-screen, and then make that determination?

CHRIS:  I think that once we saw the chemistry between the two actors, we knew we had gold. So, we wanted to take our time, especially the way that it was constructed.  These were two people who had little use for each other emotionally, and in fact, probably wanted to see one another’s downfall, and that’s what makes it so great to write – that these are people who, in a similar vein as Nelle, don’t live by the same rules as most of the rest of us, and therefore, they might do things to each other that the rest of us would not do to anyone let alone whether we like them or not.  That’s what makes Ava and Nikolas so delicious is that from one moment to the next, you don’t know if they’re going to hatch a plot against each other or fall into bed and ravish each other. That’s what I think we hope to continue to play as we go forward because they certainly have very strong, passionate feelings for one another.  When you’re talking about Ava and Nikolas, these are two people who do not have a lot of fans necessarily in Port Charles, and there are a lot of people who don’t necessarily want to see them achieve happily ever after.  Knowing that there was so much initial mistrust and suspicion between the two of them could really provide the foundation for their own undoing or their undoing from someone who does not want to see them happy.

Photo: ABC

Back in November, GH made good use of a standalone episode spotlighting the history of the women’s right to vote and the suffrage movement; just as the presidential election was happening.  What made you decide to write this special show, and how do you feel it turned out as it also spotlighted the female cast?

CHRIS:  We had long intended to honor the one hundred years of American women’s suffrage with a special episode to air on the anniversary of the 19th amendment’s passage, but we missed the date due to the pause in production.  We realized we had a second chance as the election neared.  Going forward was a no-brainer. The biggest challenge was in distilling such an epic story into one episode. We think ABC would do well to consider a spinoff: “Port Charles, 1920”

Courtesy/ABC

You have such a powerhouse cast to write for.  It’s loaded.  It’s got to be a challenge for you to construct the story for GH when you’ve got to front burner people and back burner people, and then you’ve got these huge daytime stars all in one show.

DAN:  It’s an embarrassment of riches to have a cast as talented as we do quite frankly.  We are fortunate enough that we know that we have these amazing performers that we can trust with whatever stories that we throw their way.

CHRIS:  I will say that we do have a great cast.  They’re all wonderful, and when you have a show that is only approximately 35 minutes of airtime on any day, it’s a real balancing act to make sure that everybody gets a story that really is worthy of their talents, and we’ve got one for everybody.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of which story takes precedence in which moment, which is why occasionally some characters aren’t featured on a daily basis, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be.  If you were to ask me, “Who are the standouts?”  I would say all of them.  You saw this year: Maurice Benard, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), Maura West, Genie Francis, and Laura Wright (Carly) to name but just a few.  They’ve all done such fantastic work, and we can’t wait to give them more material to give them more moments to shine.

DAN:  A priority of ours is every week, we meet up and look (well, it’s virtual now during Covid-19) at the big board of our cast photos and we go through each character and always make sure that they have some story percolating even if it’s not on the air at the moment.

Photo: ABC

As we close out 2020, and look forward to 2021, any parting thoughts, and perhaps a tease of what GH fans can look forward to in the New Year?

CHRIS:  In general, I would just say that despite all of the challenges of the year, we are really grateful to our cast and the crew back in Los Angeles for realizing and improving the show that we imagined, and we are so excited for everything that is coming in 2021.  We hope to continue to throw a lot of surprises at the audience, and at the same time give them a lot of moments and stories of heart and love and excitement.

So, what did you think of the year in story on General Hospital in 2020? Share your thoughts on Chris and Dan’s comments and their year-end honors via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Stephen Nichols and Lucas Adams Talk Salem Longevity, Tripp’s Predicament and Their Co-Stars

Days of our Lives stars Stephen Nichols (Steve “Patch” Johnson) and his on-screen son, Lucas Adams (Tripp Dalton) are in the middle of plenty of drama on the long-running NBC daytime drama, which recently celebrated its 55th anniversary in November and its 14,000 episode milestone in December.

In a new chat with Michael Fairman on the Michael Fairman Channel, Stephen reveals his surprise at still being with the iconic show. while Lucas talks about how his first run on DAYS came to an abrupt end, but now he is deep in-story involving Allie (Lindsay Arnold) and the brother he is yet-to-know he has, Charlie (Mike Manning), who is Allie’s actual rapist.

Both Stephen and Lucas discuss having the opportunity to work with Daytime Emmy winner Tamara Braun (Ava) again, as well as James Lastovic (Joey) in recently aired scenes. In story, Ava has returned back-from-the-dead and realizes she has major trouble brewing with her two sons, Tripp and Charlie.  How will it all play itself out?

 

Check out what Stephen and Lucas shared below.  Then, be on the lookout beginning this week, as Steve and John (Drake Hogestyn) work together to figure out who is responsible for Allie’s rape and just who is the biological father to her child, when it is not Tripp!

Share your thoughts on the sentiments shared by Stephen and Lucas in the interview via the comment section.

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