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The Ilene Kristen Interview – One Life to Live

Courtesy/ABC

Photo Credit: Y. Perez/ABC

We all knew for the past decade that every time Ilene Kristen’s irrepressible and boozin’ Roxy Balsom would hit our television screens in a scene on One Life to Live, we were in for a barrel of laughs.  And then, over the years there have been times when the laughter turned to tears through Roxy’s drama and secrets, and attempts to help those she loves.  But nothing prepared us for the special Christmas present with a beautiful bow on it delivered to us by Kristen and the powers-that-be at One Life when they decided to pay homage to its loyal fan base, and mirror what has happened to its 43-year-old soap … its cancellation!

Over the past several weeks Roxy, played in a brilliant star turn by Kristen (that has Emmy written all over it) has led the charge trying to save Llanview’s own favorite long running soap, Fraternity Row!  After all, Roxy is the soap’s number one fan!  And in doing so Roxy, and we along with her, found out most of the members of the community of Llanview have a special hankering for Frat Row, too!

Next, in a spectacular episode that aired this past Monday, Roxy and David (Tuc Watkins) head to the set of Fraternity Row to try to save the soap, and when they get there they realize that the soap has filmed their final episode and the set has gone dark.  Roxy faints in horror and shock, and wakes up as Lorraine, the central character of Fraternity Row!  And what ensued from there was a laugh a minute spoof on the genre, and OLTL’s own storylines, magnificently played by the entire cast!  And then when the episode ended, there was not a dry eye among viewers nationwide.

On-Air On-Soaps talked to Ilene Kristen the day following the fantasy episode airshow to get her thoughts on this special love letter to the fans… the legacy of Roxy Balsom, the real-life cancellation, and then the devastation over Prospect Park’s initial decision to halt One Life’s move online, and what the future may hold now amongst all the circulating rumors and reports.  Here’s Ilene!

MICHAEL:

Monday’s Fraternity Row special episode was truly a remarkable episode with you at the epicenter!  It’s amazing that you were able to poke fun and jabs at ABC with what they did in cancelling OLTL with this entire Fraternity Row storyline … and the network never kiboshed it!

ILENE:

Courtesy/ABC

I think we got away with some major great things.  What a unique show!  We have done so many clever and interesting things from the Babes Behind Bars episode to the Live Week. I have to say these ten years have been creatively unbelievable and very bittersweet.

MICHAEL:

How did you first find out that you were going to have this whole fantasy episode centering around Roxy?

ILENE:

Frank Valentini (OLTL, EP) did come to me, and what he said was very beautiful.  He said, “For your reward for your great work, we are writing a whole episode for you, basically.”  And I went, “Oh, that’s nice.”  I had no idea really what he was talking about and had no idea of how it would come about. (Laughs) I learned not to ask too many questions. (Laughs)  Frank was an extraordinary producer and I think Frank and Ron Carlivati (OLTL, head writer) worked beautifully together.  I think the last six months of this show for me were fantastic. And once they did not have to deal with Brian Frons micro-managing everything, the show was beyond fantastic.

MICHAEL:

What did you think when you found out that it was Roxy that would be spearheading the movement to save her favorite soap  … Fraternity Row?

ILENE:

Oh, I was so happy about that, and so proud that I was really representing the fans.  I feel like growing up in New York and being on television for a long time… but also being out in the public, (I am on the subway all the time!) I kind of feel like I am a person of the people.  I felt very happy that I was representing the people, and so it was very profound to me.  And, it will always be profound to me that I got to represent all of our soap fans, who have been fighting so valiantly … and are still fighting.

Photo Credit; Steven Bergman

MICHAEL:

You were not only able to play the humor, but you brought the pathos and reality to your performance in the fantasy episode, and thus far in the entire Fraternity Row storyline.  The canceling of this fictional soap was so poignant and personal to Roxy, and almost everyone else in Llanview, and yes, it had plenty of laughs to boot!  There was such a heartbreaking and touching element to it.  Anyone that has watched OLTL on a regular basis, and/or knows what has happened, got the inside joke and satire of it all.   So when you taped the fantasy episode did the cast not laugh out loud?  How did you get through the taping?

ILENE:

First of all, our director that day, Larry Carpenter, wanted to do the whole first scene in one take!  That was the first laugh of the day!  I am like, “You want to do what?”  They had to break it down into pieces.  We are used to shooting two pages at a time in daytime now, because scenes are so short.  And, this opening scene was literally ten pages – the first people coming in, the first people coming out – it was kind of a long and crazy scene.  Actually, the day was well organized, and Larry Carpenter is very organized on how he does things.  It was hard not to laugh in certain places.

MICHAEL:

What did you get the biggest laugh out of?

ILENE:

I thought Erika Slezak (Viki) was hysterical when Gilda’s alter comes out … Matilde! That cracked me up!  I thought Roger Howarth (Todd) was funny.  I thought everybody was great.  And, we did not retake things because we were laughing; we would retake things because we would forget, like, “Where the hell am I?” (Laughs)  In rehearsals we would laugh, but I will tell you what?  The scene that was a little hard to get through, and it wasn’t the special episode day, but it was in the Blanca Morales show tape day.  That was so funny.  Tuc Watkins (David) was extremely funny, and I thought that was written really well.  I thought that was such an amazing episode.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Those were pretty fantastic special episodes!  I say, “Emmy!”

ILENE:

Yes, and if you put those two episodes together it’s an amazing submission. The ludicrous thing about the Emmys is; now for the pre-nomination process you have to pick a scene that is only 2 minutes, which first of all is so belittling as a judge, because I have been a judge many times.  You know, it used to be much better when you sit in a room with everybody and judge on these panels.  People have gotten so lazy.  I have been a judge many times, and even when I’m most busy, I have made the time to just sit and watch each person’s tape for however long it takes.  I want someone to respect me and my work, so I will respect your work.  And it’s gotten easier and more stupid every year! I don’t know who is making up these rules!  You can’t sit and watch reels anymore that you get in the mail?  It’s hard to take it seriously, and having said that…. I hope I get nominated! (Laughs)  For the Emmys, I gave them the scene where I go to Clint and Roxy tells him he should pick up Fraternity Row.  I did not use the Lorraine material, because it has so many people in it, and because it’s kind of an inside joke and she is reacting a lot   However, I had some very funny lines in it.  Believe me; I will put together a reel of the whole thing!

MICHAEL:

Well, you know what my favorite Lorraine moment was?   When she walked in and there were the three half-naked guys (David Gregory, Lenny Platt, Nic Robuck) all waiting for her, all wanting to bed her!

ILENE:

Oh, wasn’t that funny?  And weren’t those guys wonderful?  My favorite moment though was the play on the word “nepotism”, where Roxy thought nepotism is when you sleep with dead bodies!  And I go, “That’s disgusting” and Sean Ringgold (Shaun) whispers in my ear, and I go, “Oh, that’s what that means.”

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Can I tell you my favorite mangled word?  And, it wasn’t on the Fraternity Row episode.  It was when Roxy blurted out, “I am done.  D-U-N.”  I was drinking a glass of water at the time, and when you said that I found it so hilarious that the water spewed out from my mouth!

ILENE:

(Laughs) Oh, I know!  Sometimes they write them brilliant and sometimes they write something and I go, “Oh, I know I can come up with something better than that!”  And so I do.  D-U-N, I think was mine.  I spell “done” like that all the time because I wrote this song called, “I’m Not Dun Wit U Yet.”   It’s a jazz song, and that is how I spell it when I short hand it.  But they do write some great stuff.

MICHAEL:

Tell me how it was to tape the tearjerker final scene on Monday’s Fraternity Row special episode with you and Tuc Watkins, where you walk off the closed set?

ILENE:

Oh, that was so emotional for me.  I thought it was beautiful.  It’s funny; it looked like Tuc and I were walking sort of fast down the studio, in my estimation.  However, when we were performing it, it felt like we were walking much slower.  I wish there would have been one more shot where I turned around and looked back. 

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

When David grabbed Roxy’s hand, and you and Tuc were walking hand in hand … I just lost it!

ILENE:

Oh, I am so glad you could see that.  This is the thing… if you put together a bunch of those shows and you were to send them to Prospect Park and say, “Look what we created here.  We want to keep this quality,” because One Life to Live looks amazing!  All the Blanca Morales stuff, and the fantasy episode … it’s an amazing story with an amazing caliber of actors.  It was classically funny, and a goof on soaps and on the medium.

MICHAEL:

At the end of the day, you must be so proud of your performance as Roxy, and the ten years you have gotten to play this fabulous part …

ILENE:

…. And that, and a Metro Card can take me anywhere in New York City! (Laughs) Look, I feel blessed for so many reasons.  I got this job September 10th, 2001.  And the next day, the world blew up.  And then I went, “What does acting really mean?”  But by September 27th, 2001, which was Yom Kippur, (and I did not say to them I would not work on Yom Kippur) I think I was the only Jew in the building.  And then I realized the truth of the matter, which was; the audience needed to have some entertainment.  And by God, I was going to entertain them.  It’s been a labor of love, and not that Ryan’s Hope wasn’t.  I have never had a continuous job for ten years like this.  Ryan’s Hope was in bits and pieces.  It has been the most unbelievable ten years of my life, and I thank God that I had it.  I am very grateful to Frank Valentini.  He kept me on the show, when sometimes I felt like Brian Frons may have wanted me gone.   I am going to stand apart from myself and say that I am one of the most entertaining things on One Life.  So if you want to get rid of me you’re an idiot! (Laughs)  I know what I do.  I entertain people. That has been my goal since the time I was 8 years old, to entertain people.  I think it’s a lofty goal.  But it’s not to prove anything to myself, because I knew I was talented as a little kid.  I liked that I could bring smiles to people’s faces. 

MICHAEL:

You had the opportunity to work for years with Melissa Archer (Natalie) and John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex) as Roxy’s kids.  What has it been like for you working with this duo?

ILENE:

Courtesy/ABC

I love them.  I watched them grow up.  John-Paul was a young adult in a way when he started, and he became a man.  He has done great work, and I am sure there is a place in this business for him beyond One Life to Live and Melissa, too.  Melissa would memorize a HUGE amount of lines in record time.  I was very hurt that the show made the decision for Echo to be Rex’s mother.  They did not tell me they were going to make Scott Clifton (Ex-Schuyler) my kid!  Then they chose to get rid of him. That was upsetting for me, and I was never notified that they were going to let Kyle and Fish go.  So major storylines that I had, I had to find out on the internet that people were let-go!  So along with every great thing along the way, there were some disappointing things, but overall it’s been a banquet and a feast to be at One Life to Live.

MICHAEL:

And, everyone would love the banquet to continue!  Do you think after the “suspending efforts” announcement by Prospect Park there is still a possibility that this show will still continue and end up online?  Prospect Park recently came out with a news item that they were still looking to make this work and resurrect the show!

ILENE:

I think Prospect Park is determined to try and do something with the One Life to Live property.  And, they can do what they want with the property because Prospect Park does have the rights for a year.  And, if they get it done by January 2013, then they have the rights for the next ten years.  I do believe there are other producing entities that are interested in doing something with One Life to Live, too, because of its entertainment value, quality, and passionate audience.  I’m sure if you talk to me in a month or so, more will be more revealed.

MICHAEL:

Do you think that Prospect Park had any inkling of what they were getting into when they decided to pick up All My Children and One Life to Live from ABC and attempt to move them online?

ILENE:

Photo Credit: Broadway World

I think Prospect Park has underestimated us.  I don’t think they understand what it really takes to do this kind of a show.  And, I don’t think they did their homework the entire time.  We all know how difficult this medium is, but all the actors love it.  It has been creatively fantastic to be on this show.  In daytime soaps you have to think on your feet and make split second decisions.  If Prospect Park came and watched us for a whole week, they would see what we do.  They came to the show once, and as far as I know, they never watched us shoot.  They came and made a statement that they needed us, as much as we might need them.  And, that they want us to be the anchor for their new online network, and that they need a show such as ours with a loyal and loving fan base that would tune-in every day.  That was one of the most important criteria in starting a network, they said, that you have people who are addicted to something, and who would watch every day.

MICHAEL:

What went down on November 23, 2011 – five days after One Life finished taping their final network television episode?  You got word on Thanksgiving eve that the show is not going to launch online in January as planned, and Prospect Park was suspending their efforts.

ILENE:

I had just found out about an hour before I went to Lorraine Broderick’s (AMC head writer) house.  So it was a really happy Thanksgiving eve!  She has all this wonderful food and I felt like I had no appetite.

MICHAEL:

You must have felt utterly disappointed!

ILENE:

ABC had asked us to clean out our dressing rooms by December 9th, but being the optimist that I am, I went, “Oh, this is because they have a place for us to be shooting.  We have to get our stuff out because they don’t want to rent the ABC Studios any longer than they have to.  So of course, they are going to be making the announcement before the final date.  And it’s going to be surprise, surprise, surprise!”  It was a surprise all right!

MICHAEL:

When the cast and crew finished taping the final days at One Life at ABC Studios, was there any sense of closure with all this upheaval from the Prospect Park situation, while bringing down the curtain on One Life’s time at ABC?

ILENE:

Photo Credit: Y. Perez/ABC

There was no real feeling of completion. Even when we had our party on Friday after the final taping, it still did not feel complete.  It was kind of like we are all saying, “Well, I will still see you.”  I think we are all hoping that everything would come together, and we be working together soon.

MICHAEL:

In closing, what would you like to say to the fans of the series, as we get ready to say farewell to One Life as we know it on network television?

ILENE:

I love the fans to pieces!  I think they are sophisticated, and more sophisticated than anyone gives them credit for, than the networks give them credit for.  I think that when you have an audience of several million and treat them like, “We’re done with you,” I don’t think that is a good thing.  I think the repercussions of that for ABC … we shall see … more to be revealed.  I think you have taken an audience who wouldn’t want to miss an episode, and now if they miss an episode of The Chew…who cares?

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ricardo
ricardo

ilene kristin is a wonderful actress. enjoyed her work on ryans hope and one life to live. please someone pick up one life to live. its not to late, oprah winfrey are you listening. save the own network. please oprah i am begging get one life to live and all my children on your network it will improve your ratings. i heard rumblings that general hospital has 6 months to improve or they are cancelled. michael fairman you are great. love your podcasts and your scoop on soaps. keep up the good work michael. im you red this.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Oprah isn’t listening….. I wrote her the most thought provoking letter, detailed, and the pro’s of why she should place these shows on her network. This was a busines letter to the 10th power. What I didn’t know was when I sent the letter, she had already POST a video on YouTube telling WHY she wouldn’t PICK UP the shows. I can’t understand it myself. She definiely needs the viewership. The soap being cancelled in the same year Oprah went off the air and THEN needing a home to go to was almost like a gift to Ms. Winfrey’s network. (Along with talking about being a Hero to soap Fans). I use to watch the Gail King show, but since she is moving to CBS in the mornings and her show is no more, I dont watch OWN anymore, and I can’t remember to watch Rosie and I so want to, but can’t remember. With those soaps on her channel, I would remember to watch anything Oprah had on that channel.

Join us in sending soap bar’s to the ABC studio in NYC. PASS THIS ON and POST it on other sites. Let ABC see how it feels to be BOMBARDED with soap from Fan’s across the United States.

Max
Max

Ilene’s a great actress, I loved the humor and variety in the role she played as Roxy. I don’t think another actress could have done it half as well. As for Oprah, huge disappointment in not helping to save the soaps. Her strategy with her new network is obviously not work, it’s not getting the viewership; she must be dumping a lot of money into a sinking ship. But, she’s doing so based on her current strategy. I think it’s time for her to take a 2nd look at reviving AMC and OLTL. The appreciation from the viewership to bring back at least one of these soaps for starters might get more people watching OWN overall, which is what she wants and needs to stay on the air long-term.

Doe
Doe

Michael, I loved your interview with Ilene. Her portrayal of Roxy has never dissapointed me. She is a unique actress playing a unique character. I was happy tro see her comments concerning PP and ABC, She was very honest and I liked how she was concerned about us fans. She has plenty of moxy. I would love to see her on a nightly sitcom. I think she would be an asset for any show. But, there will never be anyone better than Roxy….

david
david

If you love Roxy (and Lindsey and Nora), you will love her singing in parts 2 and 4 of the OLTL special episode Babes Behind Bars (July 4, 2001):

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q74g1FvTePI
Jailer sings Bad Girls.

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7Lq3d5mOsI&feature=related
Roxy sings Set Me Free.
Allison sings Ben.

Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWodzl0hODs&feature=related
Blair sings I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.
Starr signs The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.

Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrMdocmq1W4&feature=related
Prisoner Tilly sings How Can People Be So Cruel.
Jessica and Roxy sing Bad Reputation.

Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93VBEPpnEro&feature=related
Lindsey sings I Can’t Make You Love Me.

Part 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr6Antu7l98&feature=related
Cast sings We Are Family.

Rebelle
Rebelle

I told you prospect park was a hoax to keep fans quiet. They are OWNED by disney WHO CANCELED our soap

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

What?
Prospect Park made another announcement (after the Nov announcement) that they wouldn’t continue, THEN in December on the 7th and it was in print on this website and stated Prospect Park was still looking for buyer’s and was interested in going forward with OLTL. So what happened with that? I haven’t read any differently since that. It’s in print on this site (December 7, 2011
UPDATE: Prospect Park looking for partners to still bring AMC & OLTL Online) under New Soap Buzz, so what happened with that? Where are you getting your information from since the Dec 7th announcement?

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

How do you know that Prospect Park is owned by Disney?

Jason Eldridge
Jason Eldridge

Go Ilene Kristen for speaking for the fans!

Mer
Mer

I LOVE OLTL…this is one soap that will be a complete wrong thiing to get rid of…
The acting is phenomenal…the writing OUT OF THIS WORLD…
I have emailed ABC so many times….i have left voicemails….if everybody would do it…IT WOULD HELP…
I HAVE ALSO BOYCOTTED A B C PROGRAMS…
to all the OLTL cast…what a huge injustice you have been given, not to mention the writers, the crew & anyone else i may have left out.
I AM STILL HOPING & PRAYING FOR A SAVE….
Love alll of your work you have worked so hard to give us…

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Have you DONE THIS, since you have done everything else?
Join us in sending soap bar’s to the ABC studio in NYC. PASS THIS ON….. and POST it on other soap sites, including abc.com. Let ABC see how it feels to be BOMBARDED with “soap” from Fan’s across the United States!

Eric
Eric

SO GOING TO MISS this whole cast and ESPECIALLY ROXY! She made me laugh EVERY time she came on screen!!

NORN
NORN

I’ve said before: The Viewer may ASPIRE to be VIKI, DORIAN or BLAIR, but The Viewer ★IS★ ROXY!

Brian Greene
Brian Greene

Go, Ilene, Go! We Love You & OLTL Very Much Here In Evanston, Illinois!! 😀 😀

granieharrison
granieharrison

I have boycotted ABC & DISNEY shows ,and products also. I cant believe OLTL was cancelled BEFORE General Hospital. GH needs to be The Sonny & Jason show.
I no longer watch it, OLTL has way better actors and storylines. I cant believe some other network , CBS or NBC didnt pick up OLTL. AS for Oprah, she rather have the “Judds” and “Shania Twain” lol which is why her network is failing, and I hope it continues to do so. she has more then enough $$$ to put OLTL on her network. I think us OLTL fans would even take it as a “late nite” show :-).. Please some network, any network Please pick up OLTL.

barbara t
barbara t

Id like to know why oltl was cancelled and gh is staying, for how long thats another story, and your right about everything ,except, I call it the sonny corinthos show.everything in port charlas evolves around him and the same crap every day,most of the time I leave the room ,go back and theres sonny or its franco and he is painting his crap all over town,john mcbain should throw him in jail for that.oh ,thats right anyone in the mob gets away with murder on gh.because there the good guys.

Heather
Heather

General Hospital had higher ratings than One Life to Live at the time of the cancellation notice.

barbara t
barbara t

heather,I dont believe that gh had higher ratings then oltl,abc wanted us to think that .they never counted the people taping at the time its on, they didnt count soapnet and they dont give a crap about me watching, Im in the over 49 group.Ive watched gh since the beginning and I have stayed with it , the writing is terrible,I know what I watch on one life to live and general hospital, and one life to live is far better than gh .So I dont buy the ratings crap ,abc is killing the soaps because of greed .and I hope there daytime ratings go to hell in a handbasket .

gloria
gloria

Oprah does not realize how big a hero she would be if she picked up these soaps & ran them in their regular timeslots. It would be a huge boost to her lineup! Her network is just reruns, reruns & more reruns-a few older movies thrown in. But I would watch my shows on any channel, any time, & gladly pay for the privilege!

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Oprah isn’t listening….. I wrote her the most thought provoking letter, detailed, and the pro’s of why she should place these shows on her network. This was a busines letter to the 10th power. What I didn’t know was when I sent the letter, she had already POST a video on YouTube telling WHY she wouldn’t PICK UP the shows. I can’t understand it myself. She definiely needs the viewership. The soap being cancelled in the same year Oprah went off the air and THEN needing a home to go to was almost like a gift to Ms. Winfrey’s network. (Along with talking about being a Hero to soap Fans). I use to watch the Gail King show, but since she is moving to CBS in the mornings and her show is no more, I dont watch OWN anymore, and I can’t remember to watch Rosie and I so want to, but can’t remember. With those soaps on her channel, I would remember to watch anything Oprah had on that channel.

Join us in sending soap bar’s to the ABC studio in NYC. PASS THIS ON and POST it on other sites. Let ABC see how it feels to be BOMBARDED with soap from Fan’s across the United States.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Gloria, I wanted you to read my post that I posted with Ricardo (on top) at first and then I read your’s about Oprah being a hero, so I did a copy paste for you to read it….

Mernnna
Mernnna

I would watch if it was a late show

Valerie
Valerie

As so many other One Life to Live fans have stated in so many different ways, I’m BEYOND done with ABC. With respect to Ilene Kristin, I’ve been a fan of hers ever since Ryan’s Hope was launched in 1975. I find it most ironic that both RH and OLTL will go down in daytime drama history as having aired their last episodes on January 13, and that Ilene was on board for both endings.

Serena
Serena

I do remember Kristin back in the day of Ryan’s Hope and she’s hardly changed a bit. Beautiful then, beautiful now. I have to say there were some funny things about Roxy of course but I think she should have played a beautiful intellect instead. But alas, a diamond in the rough, never moving up like so many of the beginning of people like Nat, Rex, and the others who were no one then suddently they shine with brilliance…so many years kind of killed off the innocence of the character she played on Ryan’s Hope. Keep on shining Kristin!

Carol Painter
Carol Painter

I Love OLTL. I have watched for over 40 years. I have written many many posts, and letters. I never, ever in a million years ever thought anyone would cancel any of the soaps, especially OLTL. It was the most creative, well written, funny storylines…inside jokes..love EVERYONE. This is a very very sad event for me, and Millions of other people.Ilene( Roxy) is Sooo funny! David (Tuc Watkins) hysterical ! Love Roger H, Trevor too…..Everyone..Great stuff..and lots of silly storylines and a blast to watch….. The FR soaps last week were great! Sad at the end..i actually cried as Tuc and Ilene walked out…..(I DID!) My husband actually loves watching ,gets a kick out of roxy and david..we laugh alot..I have always looked forward to 2:00 Every weekday..I’m sad!!!!!
Honestly..I Hate Brian Frons and Disney for this..I really do..and Disney used to be (up until 6 years ago)my favorite place to go…but even the theme parks have suffered The GREED of Disney exec’s IMO…
I will never go to anything disney again , as long as I live.
I feel that Hundreds of ABC employees lost their jobs due to the Greed of Disney.
I hope everyone boycotts Disney…..I honestly do.
Very sad.
I can’t imagine OLTL NOT being on…or AMC..They have ALWAY been here..always.
And Now..?
Who knows.?
It’s just Sad.

gloria
gloria

Wow, you said it all! I feel exactly the same way. I cried like crazy when David & Roxy walked out, then she reached for his hand-it was just horrible-all too real. I love this show so much. I have watched every soap at one time or another & they kind of ebb & flow, I have had different favorites depending on what was going on at the time. But for the past 10 1/2 yrs. or so, really since Natalie, Rex & Roxie came on, I have never missed a second of OLTL. I was sick over GL & ATWT being canceled although was not watching them daily at the time. Someone ruined GL just like they did with AMC. I think they should have been allowed to turn around & get back track. I DEFINITELY don’t think ATWT should have been canceled & NO WAY should OLTL. It’s like they have been dragged down & out because of AMC’s crappiness at the end. NOT FAIR. I laugh out loud over OLTL every day & most days have a tear in my eye too. THAT is the mark of a good, balanced show. These holiday episodes have been so good & Rex & Gigi’s wedding was precious. What a thrill to see Viki/Clint, Bo/Nora, John/Nat, Rex/Gigi in one room. Probably the last time. I hate that every day you don’t know if that day is the last for a particular character, do you know what I mean? I am sure we’ve seen the last of several, Nigel, Mo, Noel, Aubrey (I really grew to like her!), Cutter, Kim, Alex-what a neat story that would have been, to explore that little family. Oh, I could go on for hours. I have been obsessed with this since April 14-really getting sick of it. Have been recording Soapnet on my poor dvd player all day long-getting the OLTL marathon & have also recorded every show since Nov. 23 when we got the devastating news from PP.

gloria
gloria

Forgot to say loved Roxy at the wedding too of course. I love how Rex & Natalie have stayed close to her & I love Viki’s relationship with Roxy.

Carol Painter
Carol Painter

Hi Gloria,

Yes, I agree with you as well……I also feel the same way about your comment regaurding OPRAH. When she made her statement , saying NO, to picking up the soaps..I have never watched anything she has ever done since she has made that statement……I tuned into Rosie’s program..it was NOT GOOD. I was sure Rosie would be able to boost her ratings..guess not..
9 days to go…..until final show. I may just tape “THE VIEW” on that day , even though I can’t stand watching them anymore either..But OLTL cast will be on , so I will tape and watch….Barbara Walters in nothing but a SUCK UP to Brian Frons and ABC. It was horrific what he did to these programs, and They hardly said a word. Everyone is Only out for themselves.
I also thought that the way FRONS, DISNEY/ABC treated PHIL CAREY, the last year of his life while battling cancer was also very disturbing. After 25, 30 years of being on OLTL…? They way they treated David Canary on AMC..? Awful…Not to mention the entire cast..moving them to CA. then fireing them?? Sick!

As far as OPRAH goes..Hope Her network TANKS!
Sorry for the Rant..But it’s about 3:30 a.m..woke up thinking about it all…and I guess I’m now MAAAD!! went from sad..to mad!..LOL!

It would have been nice if Judith Light did join the cast this week..but I understand why she wouldn’t..It will be nice to see her though..I wonder if she will mention Gerald Anthony? (Marco Dane)
I hope.
Anyhoo…I too have been watching/taping..re watching THE FW..Row stuff…it’s fun..I get a kick out of it…can’t bring myself to erase them..!LOL!
AHHHH!
I just plain HATE THIS!!
Oh well…….Later.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Hi: Oprah isn’t listening….. I wrote her the most thought provoking letter, detailed, and the pro’s of why she should place these shows on her network. This was a busines letter to the 10th power. What I didn’t know was when I sent the letter, she had already POST a video on YouTube telling WHY she wouldn’t PICK UP the shows. I can’t understand it myself. She definiely needs the viewership. The soap being cancelled in the same year Oprah went off the air and THEN needing a home to go to was almost like a gift to Ms. Winfrey’s network. (Along with talking about being a Hero to soap Fans). I use to watch the Gail King show, but since she is moving to CBS in the mornings and her show is no more, I dont watch OWN anymore, and I can’t remember to watch Rosie and I so want to, but can’t remember. With those soaps on her channel, I would remember to watch anything Oprah had on that channel.

Join us in sending soap bar’s to the ABC studio in NYC. PASS THIS ON and POST it on other sites. Let ABC see how it feels to be BOMBARDED with soap from Fan’s across the United States.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

I feel for you.

kelly cook
kelly cook

hi my name is kelly c im going to miss the show i lookedforward to sitting down and just relaxing i cryed when i found it was going to end just when its getting good ihave one qustion what is desteny have a boy or girl i hope its a girl in fact i bet it will be a girl i just wish it wasent ending i would like to say good luck to all the good people that played on the soap im a big fan of all of you and i hope you all have a good life from this day on your fan kelly c

JIMMYOLTL
JIMMYOLTL

I AM VERY UPSET ABOUT OLTL..I GREW UP WITH THE SHOW ( THE CAST THE CREW ETC)) BRIAN FRONS RUINED ALOT OF LIVES HIM AND THAT THING ANN SWEENEY SHOULD BE IN STATESVILLE ITS A CRIME TO MESS WITH PEOPLES LIVES ..THANK GOD BRIAN FRONS IS GOING BYE BYE LETS PRAY THAT ANNE IS NEXT..CAN I GET AN AMEN

Carol moorby
Carol moorby

I so enjoyed the re-runs of Ryan’s Hope on soap net? I was very sad when they cancelled them. I would much rather see Ryan’s Hope re-runs Than some of the replacements. It is so enjoyable to see some of the other actors and actresses from that day on some of the newer soaps! Never realized that Anne Gillespie was in that old soap until I recognized her in 90210! Slao, the old Roger is now on G.H.. I have seen Ilene sing and she is great…….. Ilene is very good at playing ditsy roles….Does Ilene ever stay in contact with her acquaintances from Ryan’s Hope?

Interviews

B&B’s Katherine Kelly Lang on That ‘Brill’ Kiss, 33 Years as Brooke, Her Co-Stars & International Success

Just when you think Brooke will finally score a moral victory in her vendetta with Thomas Forrester, (who’s manipulations almost destroyed her marriage to his father, Ridge), then she finds herself once again in hot water, and with a secret that in the wrong hands could cause a seismic shift to several relationships – that would he hers and her sister Katie’s – thanks to that ill-timed smooch with Bill!

But what else is new for Brooke? For 33 years, the character has captivated audiences with bold moves, questionable choices, enduring romances and plenty of gusto, all in the more than capable hands of her portrayer, the one and only Katherine Kelly Lang.

This week marks Katherine’s 33rd-year in the role of Brooke Logan Forrester, who along with John McCook (Eric Forrester), are the two original cast members since the very inception of the CBS daytime drama; which debuted back on March 23, 1987.  Now over three decades later, Lang is an international favorite. First, due to the success and broad appeal of B&B in foreign countries, but second, from her own entrepreneurship and hustle.  Always with multiple projects going on at once, Lang and her beau, Dom Zoida recently opened the American version of the Italian clothing and leather store in Beverly Hills, California, Benheart USA.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Katherine to get the lowdown on: Brooke’s line-up of nemesis’ which seems to be growing! (Yes, you can put Thomas, Quinn and Shauna on that list, for sure.) Plus, what she feels this B&B anniversary is truly about, how she and others in the cast are coping with the ‘stay at home’ orders in California during the coronavirus pandemic, the recent loss of B&B co-creator, Lee Phillip Bell, and those all-time classic Stephanie and Brooke scenes opposite Susan Flannery and more.  Here’s what this BOLD original had to share with all of you.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Brooke’s whole relationship with Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) and the tit-for-tat between them?  Brooke really stood up to him and his manipulations, and held her ground. Meanwhile, he was going to do everything he could do ruin her and cause so much trouble for Brooke’s marriage to Ridge (Thorsten Kaye).

KATHERINE: This is my feeling: she was so adamant and so trying to convince people about Thomas and that he was so out for himself;  and out for Brooke’s daughter, Hope (Annika Noelle), and very manipulative, and nobody would listen really.  Only a few people like Liam (Scott Clifton) did and her daughter finally agreed with her.  Then at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe (Kiara Barnes), it proved that Brooke was right all along.  I still don’t feel like Brooke got her due as far as what everybody was saying.

No, she didn’t!  No one really said to her in a grand way, “Oh, my God, Brooke!  You were right about Thomas all along.”

KATHERINE:  I know!  Ridge did say, “You were right,” and that’s great.  However, more people should have apologized and acknowledged her, and said, “Oh, we understand now where you were coming from,” and, “Hey!  Good intuition!”

Photo: JPI

That was must have been so frustrating to Brooke!  She knew the truth, and everybody was treating her so badly and painting her to be the bitch.

KATHERINE:  Yup!  They dubbed herthat crazy one” and the bitch.

Was all of this enjoyable to play?

KATHERINE:  It was enjoyable that it finally came out that Thomas is the manipulative person that he is, even though he is so good at it that he almost makes you feel sorry for him.  But he’s like a good sociopathThat’s why they’re so good at what they do.  They’re good at bringing real emotion into every situation and yet being very manipulative.  Kudos go to Matthew Atkinson for playing Thomas, really well.  He’s been great, and he brings something really different on to our show.

Photo: JPI

Brooke and Ridge’s relationship has been severely tested; almost tearing them apart over Ridge previously standing up for his son.  Now Brooke’s recent kiss with Bill (Don Diamont) threatens it, as that kiss was caught on tape, and landed in the wrong hands.  Is Brooke in freak-out mode yet?

KATHERINE:  I definitely think she is, and she wanted to take that kiss back from the second that it happened.  She allowed it to happen.  It’s a little bit of old Brooke resurfacing there.  Right away she was like, “What are we doing?   This is ridiculous.  You’re with Katie, and I’m with Ridge, and we’re both happy.”  Brooke has had underlying feelings for Bill, and she probably always will (and he for Brooke), but we know that’s not where we want things to be.  So, in Brooke’s mind, it’s “let’s forget about that and carry on, and don’t tell anybody.”  Of course, it comes out to some people, and it’s so embarrassing for Brooke.  Like, how does she explain herself?  I mean, at that point she can’t explain what happened … or why she did that.  She has to kind of succumb to it.

Right! And of course, Shauna (Denise Richards) and Quinn (Rena Sofer) want to take her down with this ammo.

KATHERINE:  Of course!  That’s what they live for. (Laughs)

Photo” JPI

Recently, Quinn spiked Brooke’s drink with some booze after they had quite the argument. Fans were on the edge of their seats that Brooke might start drinking again.  What did you think of the plot point?

KATHERINE:  I think it could have been interesting.  I have no idea if they will bring it up again.  That happens sometimes.  They’ll put in a little teaser and not run with it.  However, you never know if it’s going to resurface down the line, especially when Brooke is really down in the dumps for some reason.

I could see her being down in the dumps if she finally had no man in her life! (Laughs)

KATHERINE: (Laughs) That’s probably what she needs … not having a man in her life!

How is working with Rena Sofer and Denise Richards; especially when they are antagonists in scenes with Brooke?  Do you ever have a good laugh while trying to tape those scenes, as well?

KATHERINE: I think there’s a good chemistry between the three of us, and we have that rivalry going on.  So, I think it’s been working, and it’s been entertaining and interesting.  They’re fun to bounce off of.  Usually we are pretty serious when we do those scenes, especially if they’re more verbally combative.  So, we’ll just be really serious and stay in it.  Of course, sometimes things happen, and you laugh, but we sometimes don’t have the luxury to take the time to laugh and enjoy the moment, because we have to try to get the scene done in one take and move on.

Photo: JPI

There were a few months there that Brooke was slapping everybody! There were plenty of bitch-slaps that needed to go around. What did you think of those scenes?

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KATHERINE: I loved it, but then I felt like it was also maybe getting out of hand because it’s not really PC.  Nobody is supposed to hit people or slap people in anyway.  So, it worked more years and years ago in our genre, as times have changed in our world and culture.

Viewers saw this week that Donna (Jennifer Gareis) knows Brooke kissed Bill and that they have to make sure Katie (Heather Tom) does not find out, while others are out to expose Brooke!

KATHERINE:  I would imagine that everybody would want to see how Brooke unravels.  So, just keep watching!

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome another go round at a Brooke and Bill romance?

KATHERINE: Not when Bill’s with Katie and with everything that Katie’s gone through.  I couldn’t see that.  I don’t think it would be right.  That would mean that Brooke is completely selfish, you know?  There are so many other men.  Why does she have to go for her sister’s man?

Photo: JPI

In recent months, we have witnessed scenes where Brooke has been more confrontational and fighting back and not putting up with the shenanigans of others!  We have seen this in particular with Thomas, Shauna, and Quinn.  Did it seem like they ramped that up for Brooke?

KATHERINE:  Yes, because at some point it’s frustrating because nobody was listening to her.  It all started with the whole Thomas thing, and once she started fighting back, she wanted to fight back on everything.  She’s been lied to about a lot of things.  It’s not been fair.

Does Brooke still think Hope is too vulnerable to make wise decisions for herself; even after she stood up for herself at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe?

KATHERINE: Now. I think she feels much better, because there are moments where Hope is very vulnerable, but then she kicks herself in the butt, and stands up for herself and everybody else.  So, Brooke knows that Hope’s strong, but she also knows that she can be vulnerable.  At this moment, she is proving that she can handle things.

Photo: JPI

B&B turned 33-years-old this week as the show continues to remain so popular in the United States, and of course, is the most watched soap in the world. What can you say about still being with the series since its inception, and all that has happened to you in your life and career, because of playing Brooke, plus a nod to the fans?

KATHERINE: It’s been an amazing opportunity for me.  It’s been my life basically! 33 years on The Bold and the Beautiful, and the show has always kicked butt.  I mean, the show has been going strong ever since it started, and it still is going strong.  It’s just been an honor to be on the show, and remain on the show for so long as one of the original characters.  My heart really goes out to the fans, because honestly, so many of them tell me they’ve watched from day one.  We have a history with them raising their families.  Younger people come up and say, “I’ve been watching the show ever since I was little with my mom.”  So, there’s a wide range of different people who watch the show, and I appreciate them so much.  We all appreciate them so much because really, without them, there would be no show.  I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all of the fans.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Photo: JPI

Brooke is one of the most notable characters of all-time in soap operas and you are the actress playing her. That has to be a very good-feeling for you.

KATHERINE: I think there have been a lot of notable characters on soap operas, who have even been on the air a lot longer than me.  Look at Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) who just celebrated his 40th, and Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) who also reached a milestone recently.  What I have learned from all of this is; what matters is when you come on a show that your heart is in it 100%, and you come to your job and you try your hardest.  That to me is what matters and makes you an honorable person.  I’m very flattered that I’ve been on The Bold and the Beautiful for as long as I have.

Photo” JPI

When you look back at 33 years of your time on The Bold and the Beautiful, are your scenes with Susan Flannery and those epic moments between Stephanie and Brooke, the ones that still standout to you the most?

KATHERINE: Those scenes with Susan informed and formed the show and the characters for years.  I had a lot of memorable scenes with Susan.  I’m so lucky to have worked so closely with her.  She’s an amazing actress.  I learned so much from her, and just watching her.  I would hang on her every word – how she would talk about the business, how she would talk about acting, directing (because she loved to direct), and producing.  Susan was very knowledgeable, and she was very tough, but very fair, I thought.  I just loved her work ethic.

You and Thorsten Kaye have created your version of Brooke and Ridge. What do you think about working with Thorsten?  Is it fun? Challenging? How would you define it?

KATHERINE:  He’s very fun to work with.  Thorsten is very serious, very prepared all of the time, and he’s watching everything.  He’s got eagle eyes.  He’s just so on top of it and working with people like that makes you raise your bar.  It makes you want to try 110% to be there and put in the work.  Thorsten’s also so funny, and easy to work with, and so charming, and such a dear friend.   I love working with him.  I do think Brooke and Ridge have an interesting relationship even though some people say, “Oh, they should be over,” or whatever they want to say.  I do think they have created a good banter between them, and almost an understanding without having to say anything.  Thorsten’s a delight!

Photo: JPI

What is your takeaway when you travel overseas and internationally to places such as Italy, Dubai, Monaco or Australia where B&B is so widely popular and the reaction you receive from the fans?

KATHERINE:  Just seeing the overseas reactions in different countries and how popular or how loved The Bold and the Beautiful is truly special.  The fans really do love from their hearts.  They feel a part of it, and they are, but just their enthusiasm and their passion and their love, and they give their whole heart to you and to the show.  I just found that really interesting, and like I said earlier, we owe the success of B&B to the fans who love the show so much.

Photo: JPI

You recently were in Greece appearing for a multi-episode arc on the soap 8 Lexeis.  How was that experience?  I know Greek soap star, Andreas Georgiou, also came over to the States and appeared on B&B afterwards, too.

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KATHERINE:  It was an incredible opportunity.  I love working in other countries, and seeing how other people work, and how they make different projects and things.  8 Lexeis is their top TV show on their top network in Greece, so it was really exciting to go there and work on that.  I did 15 episodes in 5 days; something crazy like that.  We worked all morning through late at night every day, but it was fun.  It was amazing to see how creative they are and how they just run with it.  Everything was really chill on the set, but they still moved really fast and got everything done, and they were all so talented and so nice.  Then later, Andreas came over and did some shows here.  He was supposed to come to visit, but then the Coronavirus happened, so he had to postpone his trip, but we’ll see him soon.

Photo: JPI

B&B is on a production break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Have you stayed in touch with your co-stars during this time?

KATHERINE: A lot of us talk on Instagram all of the time, and then a lot of people have been going live on their as well.  So, we jump into each other’s live videos!  Have you seen Katrina Bowden (Flo) and Kelly Kruger (Mackenzie, Y&R) do their little workouts together? You should check those out! Ashley Jones (Bridget) is always on, and Annika Noelle, and then our Supervising Producer, Casey Kasprzyk, started doing Zoom.  He did a Zoom with some of the B&B people.  So, we’ve all been texting and keeping in touch and making sure that everybody is okay.  I know it’s very hard times and it can be scary for all.   Hopefully, if everybody does what they should be doing, it will flatten the curve and the Coronavirus will be a lot easier to deal with.

Photo: JPI

You are one of the busiest people I know! Recently, you went to Australia, you opened your new store Benheart USA in Beverly Hills, and you appear on B&B in a lead role.  Is there ever a moment when you’re like, “I can’t do one more thing?” or do you like the go-go-go of it all of the time?

KATHERINE: I like the go-go-go, but I felt that I was going too fast and too hard, and I’ve recently been thinking of what I can take out of our lives and our schedule, and then in thinking of that, I couldn’t really think of what I can take out.  Then, this all happened with life coming to a screeching halt, which I find very interesting because life is set up to go so fast.  Nobody can really enjoy anything.  We have to get up early, we have to go to work, we have to make money to pay for this, we’ve got to take care of the family, do this, do that, maybe just try to be motivated to be successful, whatever your dreams are, you’re going after them, etc.  It’s such a driven world all around that I think with having to self-quarantine that this is a chance to take a good look at what is going on in your life.  Now, we have a lot of down time.  We have time to think, go inside ourselves.  It gives you time to be kind, slow down, think of others.  What can you do for others?  What can you do for the world?  It’s been frightening for a lot of people; especially the ones who have gotten sick, or the ones who are scared of getting sick because they are immunocompromised.  But, at the same time, we need to try to not let that anxiety get to us and try to appreciate what we have.  Like, “Why is this happening?  What is this moment trying to tell us?”  I’m always trying to find the silver lining; or what is this trying to tell us in life?

Photo” JPI

B&B and Y&R co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away at the end of February, and it was so heartbreaking.  I know you were close with Lee.  What can you share on her passing?

KATHERINE:  It was heartbreaking.  I always think, “Gosh, I wish I saw her one more time before she passed,” but she was around her family, who are so loving, and supportive, and always there for her.  Lee created an amazing life for herself and for her family, and she was a huge part of The Bold and the Beautiful, and of course, I thank her so much because she hired me.  Lee gave me my life, and this time on the show.  She was amazing.  She cared so much about the show and the people on it.  Lee was such a great mom and such a great friend.  It’s been special knowing her and spending all of that time with her that I was able to through the years.  My heart goes out to the Bell family as well.  I know this must be hard for them.

Photo: JPI

Then, it was so sad that Orson Bean died tragically before that.  Have you talked to Alley Mills (Pam)?

KATHERINE: Yes, a bunch of us went over and spent time with Alley and brought her food.  We brought her goodies, and we just hung out.  We just gave her lots of love, spent time, and that was before I had to run off to Australia as well, but she’s really strong.  That was just very tragic.  Two weeks before Orson died, we had seen them both in the play Bad Habits.  It was so, so funny, and they both had all of us who attended laughing so hard, and it was such a pleasure.

Photo: JPI

In closing, what are your hopes for Brooke moving forward into the future?

KATHERINE: I’ve been saying that I hope she’ll spend time by herself and be alone for a while and focus on her family.  I’ve said that for so long, but I don’t know what’s going to work for her! (Laughs)  However, I’m just so curious to see what will happen next for her.

So, what do you think of Brooke’s latest predicament after her kiss with Bill? Do you hope that Ridge and Brooke stay together? What have you thought of the more recent version of a feisty Brooke who fought back when no one believed her about Thomas? And finally, share your congrats to Katherine for 33 years as Brooke and let us know some of your favorite all-time scenes via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Eric Braeden Talks On 40 Years Of Life In Soaps As Victor Newman

Back in February, Eric Braeden added another milestone to his illustrious career – that of portraying the one and only Victor Newman for 40 years on the top-rated daytime drama, The Young and the Restless.  And boy was he celebrated!  First, there was a one-of-a-kind on set celebration at CBS Television City which was quite the star-studded affair.  That was followed by special episodes of Y&R, where Newman Enterprises turned 50 with a gala that also proved emotional with speeches and retrospective clips.

When you talk daytime dramas to anyone, you would be hard-pressed for the general public to not know the name “Victor Newman”- and that is because of the powerhouse performances and nuances that Braeden brings to his soap opera alter-ego.  For it was Y&R co-creator Bill Bell and Braeden who really shaped what viewers have come to know, expect, and love, forty years later.

Those who know Eric understand he can be at times outspoken, has a heart of gold, stands up for what he believes, can bring the drama, the suspense, the tension, the romance and the tears in any given scene when it is called upon, and that throughout the years he has earned the respect from his peers for an impressive job well-done.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric to take a look back at all that had gone down recently in his honor, and to get his thoughts on some major moments in time through over 40 years in Genoa City, and where things are at now.  Check out our special conversation below.

Photo: JPI

When I attended and saw you at your 40th anniversary on set celebration at Y&R last month, I cannot tell you what a special event that was.  I have never seen that for anybody else!  The amount of people who attended, and the love they showed for you, was so special. When you were sitting in that chair on the soundstage and watching and hearing what was being said about you, what was going on in your mind at that point?

ERIC:  Well, first of all, it was the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me in 40 years on that show, and secondly, in moments like that, you try to stay focused on who is giving the speeches, because if I then look around and see all of the people who I have known for so many years, it’s emotional.  There’s a saying in German, “he’s close to the water,” meaning it’s very moving.  I saw my son and my granddaughter there and obviously everyone else, and my old coach and players, and so many others that have been a part of my life.

Photo: JPI

There were some very special guests and speeches.  I loved that Justin Hartley (Ex-Adam, Y&R and now Kevin, This Is Us) came.  I thought that was sweet and cool, and also that ESPN sports personality, Stephen A. Smith was there calling you one of his good friends.  There were so many moments.  You knew who was going to speak, right?

ERIC:  Yes, I did.  We kept it to just family, and in other words, Y&R family, etc.  I want to thank Matt Kane (Publicist, Y&R), who had a lot to do with putting the event together.  I also wanted to thank Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R). The Y&R art department and David Hoffman (Production Designer) also did a fantastic job with those pictures they had created that was part of a set.  Thinking back on it, again, I would without a doubt say, that the celebration was the most moving moment in 40 years in the business and on that show.

Photo: JPI

A few weeks ago, Y&R and B&B co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away.  Obviously the late Bill Bell (co-creator, Y&R) and she were instrumental for you being at Y&R in the first place, and the creation of Victor Newman.  What can you say about Lee? 

ERIC:  We invited Lee to the event, and she apologized and said she was not in a position to attend, and then, shortly thereafter she passed.  In a sense, I’m glad Lee wasn’t there because when I would see her on some occasions, I just am moved to tears.  I would have not been able to really hold it together for long.  Obviously, she was co-responsible for a lot of stuff that happened on Y&R. co-responsible for that show still being number #1, and my heart goes out to her.  I know what I owe them, and she had a lot of influence on the storylines.  Lee was an incredibly smart and bright lady.  Her son, Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) did speak at the 40th event and I appreciated it enormously.

There were a lot of retro clips shown of you show in celebration of your 4oth anniversary from when you started on the show back in 1980 till now.  Did you remember all of those moments?

ERIC:  First of all, they put that together so beautifully.  That was done so extremely well.  When I see it, it comes right back, or in other words it evokes precise memories, but if I weren’t seeing it, it’s all a blur.

Photo: JPI

Y&R brought Meg Bennett (Ex-Julia) and Robert Parucha (Ex-Matt), for the on-screen episodes celebrating Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary.  Was it nice having them back and seeing them, or is it kind of weird, because it can be such a long time in-between since you have all been together?

ERIC:  It is both.  It is very nice to see old colleagues obviously, and very touching, but look, we are in a weird business.  When I saw Meg, you suddenly realize how the show has evolved in many ways.  So, I’m always very grateful to see those who I started out with on the show and of course, doubly grateful to those who are still there.  I think of Melody and Doug Davidson (Paul) for example.  Doug has been there for longer than I have, and what a great job he did emceeing the 40th anniversary event, and as for Melody, that her and my relationship still endues after all of these years is amazing.

Photo: JPI

Let’s talk about those Newman Children.  I thought Joshua Morrow (Nick) gave a hilarious speech and even Mark Grossman (Adam) spoke so sincerely from the heart to you.  You get a sense that the Newmans are a fun group to work with.

ERIC:  I obviously love working with Joshua.  Same for Amelia Heinle (Victoria), I adore her, and Melissa Ordway (Abby).  They all have a great sense of humor, and Mark Grossman, I think is doing a damned good job.  And there is Peter Bergman (Jack).  Peter has been a great nemesis for all of these years.  Of course, Peter was very funny in his speech, and Joshua was very funny, and Ed Scott’s (Producer, B&B) was very good.  Tony Morina also shared a very funny little antidote!

Photo: JPI

What came across loud and clear is what we already knew.  Everyone knows the name “Victor Newman”.  You know when they go, “Victor Newman … Y&R!”  It’s so synonymous, right?  I don’t know what it must be like for you knowing the public has that reaction to you … and you’re that guy.

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ERIC:  I’ll tell you very honestly, I have an ambivalent relationship to that fact.  I deny it on one hand, don’t want to know about it, don’t really want to know about it, and on the other hand, when I hear about it, I say, “Yeah, very happy to hear about it, but is it true?”  I am sort of strange that way.  I have not had a picture of myself or anyone else in my dressing room for these 40 years.  It’s barren, as you know.  I don’t have any pictures hanging up of me; there’s nothing.  Now, I was talking about taking the one picture that David Hoffman had designed beautifully, and I have it on one wall.  I thought, “I’ll be damned,” because the picture includes Melody and some scenes that went on.  I’ve always been funny that way with praise.  Do I like it?  Of course, but …

There’s an uncomfortableness about it, right?

ERIC:  Yes, but I’ve seen too much in this business.  I’ve seen too many extraordinary stars, where you wonder, “Where are they now”?  I take this business with a grain of salt.  I really do.  It’s so easy to succumb to it.   I’ve known many people, including on our show, who used to say, “Well, without me, this thing would go down the drain,” and I said, “Yeah?  No s**t,” and they’re not there anymore.  You have no idea what happens to some actors when they see themselves on the cover of soap magazine.  They go crazy.  I’ve seen it, and the worst thing you can do is to believe in that, and I’ve always been skeptical of that, very skeptical.  Get back to what counts in this business:  do a good job … do the best you can … and where is the money?  I mean really, let’s call a spade a spade, and that’s it.

Photo: JPI

I was just going to say, the one person I so wished was at your 40th celebration was Jeanne Cooper (Ex-Katherine, Y&R).   I wish she could have been there with us, because she would have loved it.  I know she loved you.

ERIC:  She would have spoken, trust me!  She would have said, “Alright, you son of a bitch.  Alright, macho man let’s see what you’ve got!” and then she would grab me by the balls.  The first scene I ever had with her, Jeanne did that.  Absolutely hilarious!  Jeanne and I could not do a scene without laughing.  I’m serious.  We had to pull ourselves together.  She had such a great sense of humor, and we both looked at this, obviously, with an enormous grain of salt, because we’ve been there.  We’d seen it all.

set

Photo: JPI

Through the years, you obviously have been vocal on social media where you will call out things as you see them and as you truly feel, especially through various regime changes, or if there is a noticeable shift away, or focus, from core characters. What are your thoughts on what ultimately makes Y&R, the iconic soap that it is?

ERIC:  Let me put it very simply: the show is based on the comradery and enmity between the Newmans and the Abbotts, and I’ve included on that a go-between, if you will, a Chancellor … Jeanne Cooper.   That was sort of the plan, but the major triangle was sort of the Montagues and the Capulets in Romeo and Juliet.  That is what legendary stories are based on.  It’s family rivalries, and within those rivalries, we tell all kinds of fantastic stories.  It’s father-son, father-daughter, husband-wife, love affairs, disloyalties, ruthless business competition, and it goes on and on.  The scenes with Peter Bergman and me over the years have been legendary, wonderful, and they’re great scenes.  Now, to suddenly bring in whole new characters that no one knows about, which previously happened on our show, you have to ask, “What are you not getting?  You want to reinvent the wheel?”  Go with what is working.  It doesn’t often happen that you have the right cast and the right story.  That is what makes a show successful.  Imagine taking Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) out of Seinfeld.  You couldn’t.   It wouldn’t work.  In other words, when you have the right actors and the right storyline, you have a hit.  We’d been number #1 for over 30 years because of it

Photo: JPI

When you get a script, have there been those moments in the 40 years where you will say. “My character would never do this.  I’m not playing it!?”

ERIC:  Of course.  Not that I’m not playing it, but I will make certain adjustments here and there.  I always have, by the way, from the very beginning.  Bill Bell agreed with most of it.  I know my character, and I have and instinctive feel for what is emotionally touching and what is not.  Look, I have always said that I admire writers.  I don’t envy their job.  I really don’t.  I think it is the hardest job in the business, and writing for soaps is even harder.  So, I have great respect.  So therefore, I don’t even want to know who wrote what.  I don’t ever want to be in the position of insulting a writer because I know how difficult it is.  As in everything in this business, it is a cooperative business.  There are very few writer/directors who have earned the right (I’m talking about Martin Scorsese, I’m talking about Ingmar Bergman, I’m taking about a handful) to write and direct their own stuff.  Even they rely on the cooperation of their lead actors.  That’s what is so wonderful about this business in that it’s this precisely cooperative thing.  However, when there are some people who simply don’t listen to those of us who have been around for a while and we know, we really know, then, they’re being foolish.

Photo: JPI

Y&R taped the Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary gala, which was in essence, your on-screen 40th anniversary episodes.  That was another amazing part of this.  I love that they would go to a clip, and one of the characters would say something in speech, and then, they’d go back to a shot of you reacting.  Were you, you, or Victor at that point, because it seemed so genuine and emotional?

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Y&R's Eric Braeden Talks On 40 Years Of Life In Soaps As Victor Newman

ERIC:  You know, look, one thing sort of blends into the other.  I loved that show by the way.  It was brilliantly done, and they could have easily screwed that up, but they didn’t.  I thought Josh Griffith (head writer, and Co-EP, Y&R) did a hell of a job, and Tony Morina did a wonderful job, they really did.  So, I really can’t say enough about that.

Photo: CBS

When you look back on the enormity of scenes you have performed as Victor Newman; the ones that and you and I always come back to are the scenes between you and Dorothy McGuire as Victor’s mother; and the scenes with you and George Kennedy as Victor’s father.  Do you still consider those your all-time favorites?

ERIC:  I always think about them.  They are my top favorites, plus one other.   No question about it; because the scene with Dorothy McGuire laid the groundwork of what Victor Newman is all about.  That summarized all of his subsequent moments of anger, and upset, and mistrust, and etc.  It was the seminal scene for Victor Newman … period.  One other scene that one of my favorites was the one with Melody, on Christmas Eve where Nikki keeps on bugging Victor to tell her about his past, and he finally does.  It was about that orphanage experience, etc.  Actually, those two scenes early on were responsible for my really wanting to stay and realizing that now I had a chance to play some real emotions, some real feelings, some real conflict.   I remember after Victor told Nikki that story, a moment when I went to my dressing room, I called home, and I said, “Now, I’m going to stay.”  No two ways about that.  I called my wife, and I said, “I’m staying,” because I wasn’t sure if I was going to.  It happened because I had talked to Bill Bell and I said, “Bill, I’m so tired of playing bad guys.  I’ve done it for too many years.  I’m empty.  I’m burnt out.  It’s too dehumanizing.  Let’s imbue this character with a background,” and he did, brilliantly, and that’s the reason I stayed, and that’s the reason I’m here 40 years later, truly.

So, when you were feeding rats to Nick Benedict as Michael Scott, were you ready to leave? (Laughs)

ERIC:  Well, that was a little different story, but I looked at that, and I said, “Are you kidding me?” (Laughs)  Back then, I knew little about what works on soaps … and people still talk about it!  They loved it.

Photo: JPI

The scenes opposite George Kennedy were so emotional … and heavy-duty, too.  It was so sad watching Victor’s father reject him.

ERIC:  It was sad.  It was really, really sad, and George played it wonderfully.  I cannot say enough about that because here is an actor who comes from the outside of our genre.  George lived in Boise. Idaho and he traveled all the way by car to LA with his grandson to do the scenes He wouldn’t take a plane.  George was so damn prepared that we did those scenes in one take!  It’s stunning!  I can’t talk enough about him.  I just so admired and respected him.  George passed away about a year ago, but that’s why I had him in my film, The Man Who Came Back.

Photo: JPI

As a leading man, Victor has had many women in and out of his romantic life for years and of course, his constant, Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott).   You’ve been fortunate to work with so many wonderful actresses such as Eileen Davidson as Ashley.  Which standout to you? 

ERIC:  I have to say obviously Melody, but I have to also say the scenes with Eileen – they meant a lot to me.  I regret that she and I did not have more storylines together.

Photo: CBS

So, the coronavirus is shutting down the world, life in America, and has shut down production on the soaps.  How is everybody dealing with it at the show, and how do you feel it’s being handled?

ERIC:  Well, originally I wanted to continue working, but I said only if everyone was fully supplied with the proper wipes and antiseptics all of the time.  In other words, from the makeup department, from the props department, to someone wiping down all of the handles and all of that, but I completely understand now from a company point of view, they had to shut down because what if you work and someone gets sick because of it… and it goes on and on.  It’s a terrible thing, but I was willing to continue working.  Yes, perhaps stupidly so.  It’s going to be tough when we come back because a lot of work has to be made up, but I understand why we stopped.

What would you say to the fans who have stayed so invested in Victor Newman, and you, even 40 years after your Y&R debut? 

ERIC:  I’ve said it before, and I will happily say it again:  I am deeply grateful to the fans everywhere.  Without them, you and I would not be talking.  That’s really the long and the short of it.  The fans have really everything to do with it.  I’m glad that I am on social media because I am engaged with quite a few people very gladly, and I hear some interesting stories, and some very touching stories.  Y&R has taught me to really not look at that as a sort of nebulous audience.  I put faces behind it because I’ve seen them.  I’ve seen them in the last 30-odd years in public appearances.  I don’t forget them.  I don’t forget what it means to me.  It’s deeply touching.  I’m not at all anesthetized to it, no.  It touches me deeply, and whenever I do a PA, and receive the people’s reactions, I say, “Whoa,” and now I know why I’m in the business.

Courtesy/CBS

In closing, fans have been watching what looks to be another showdown brewing between Victor vs. Adam for control of Newman Enterprises.  Do you think still after all these years; Victor has it in him to out maneuver his black sheep son, as he has done in the past?

ERIC:  Hell, yes.  What do you think?  Bring him on, man.  Bring him on.  Victor’s still full of piss and vinegar.  Okay?  What people don’t know is that I’m a feisty son of a bitch.  I don’t give up.  I fight to the last.  I mean it.

So, what has been your favorite all-time Y&R scenes featuring Eric Braeden? What do you hope happens next for Victor and the Newman clan? What do you think about the sentiments shared throughout our conversation on Eric’s 40th anniversary celebration? Comment below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Johnny Wactor Talks ‘Being Brando Corbin’

This week on General Hospital, viewers saw that Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) has set Port Charles newcomer Brando Corbin (Johnny Wactor) up with a mechanics garage for a place of business, that has left Brando concerned, but also thankful.

Brando came onto the scene when he saved Carly (Laura Wright) from gunfire. The once believed-to-be-dead son of Gladys Corbin (Bonnie Burroughs), has a checkered past, but has been trying to remain on the straight and narrow.  Sonny had previously put into motion protection for teenaged Dev (Ashton Arbab), that he will continue to be passed off as the biological son of Brando to keep him safe.  That, along with a back-story that includes: the Iraqi War, prison time, drug use, PTSD, familial issues, mob wars, and more, has loaded the deck for actor Johnny Wactor to show his acting chops and more within the daytime drama arena.

Since making his debut in the recurring role of Brando back in January of this year, in a short amount of time, Wactor has already displayed that he has solid leading man, and soap anti-hero potential, something that always serves one well amidst the romance, intrigue, and suspense of the genre’s storytelling.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Johnny to get his thoughts on becoming part of the iconic GH and where he hopes Brando’s journey goes from here.  Check out what he had to say below.

Photo: ABC

What do you think about your character’s name being “Brando”? Did GH tell you where the idea for the name came from?

JOHNNY:  Oh, I love it.   No, they didn’t tell me why, but I assume it was in some relation to Marlon Brando; when back in the day he was in a leather jacket … because I come onto the scene wearing a leather jacket as a badass!

What’s your experience been like coming onto a show like GH?  Previously, I know you’ve done a lot of primetime roles and series.  Were you shocked at the pace of shooting a daytime drama?

JOHNNY:  Oh, yeah.  I was made aware of the pace beforehand by my manager, as well as my buddy, Mark Grossman (Adam Newman) who works on The Young and the Restless.  He’s kicking ass over there.  In this genre, you get one rehearsal and one take pretty much, and then, they move on.  It’s definitely been a learning curve, and I’m still getting used to that at times where I’m just like, “Ah, I want one more take!”  I can get a bit obsessive and I’m a perfectionist.  It definitely has been challenging, but I enjoy it.  It’s fun to work at a fast pace.  It’s a lot like working in the theatre.

In story, Johnny is pretending to be Dev’s father.  Did you know that would be part of Brando’s story when you took on this gig?

JOHNNY:  I did not.   I didn’t know that until I read the first script that they sent me.  I’m like, “I also have a son?”   It was a lot to take in, but that’s where the imagination comes in.

What’s great for you, I would think, is that you’re getting to play in scenes with Maurice Benard and Laura Wright and major players who are a part of that core group.  What’s it been like working with them?

JOHNNY:  It’s been a Godsend, really.  Being my first time on a daytime show, for one, anytime you come onto a new project and one that’s been going on for some time, and you’re a newcomer, there’s always that concern like, “What will this set be like?  Is it like a familial atmosphere?  Am I going to be welcomed?”  They’ve made it super easy.  I’m just so lucky that I have people who have so much experience on this show and just daytime shows in general, where they’ve kind of taken me under their wings and are super helpful.  Anytime I have questions, they’re patient.  I’m sure I annoy them sometimes, but they don’t let on to it.   I’m grateful that they’ve sort of “teamed” me up with them to kind of ease me onto the show.

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The fans are seeing a spark between Brando and Carly.  Is Brando into Carly?

JOHNNY:  I’d like to say that he rescued her because she was a beautiful blonde, but that’s not what that was and why he did it … even though I’m not denying that she’s a beautiful blonde.  I think there’s something there, but how far Brando pursues that, I don’t know!  Sonny sets Brando up with the garage and a pretty sweet deal at that.  So, does Brando want to screw this up?  However, not everyone makes logical, levelheaded decisions.  We’ll see.  I’m not ruling it out as something that could possibly happen.

How are you playing Brando right now? Is he a good guy … or, are there secret ulterior motives going down that the audience may not know about, yet?

JOHNNY:  In my opinion, he is a guy who has got a good heart.  I don’t think he is infallible.  I think he is someone who is determined to be on the mend and make up for his decisions and his past, because he is someone who has made poor decisions.  I don’t think you can rule him as a good person who will never make a mistake, or won’t get into trouble, or won’t make some bad decisions.  “Does he have ulterior motives?”  Maybe, but I think that if he does, they might be a little unconscious.  I think he is a genuine good guy.

Photo: ABC

Are the fans swooning over you on social media now that you’ve made your GH debut?  When you get the, “Oh, he’s hot,” do you take those compliments well, or, is it uncomfortable for you, and you deflect that?

JOHNNY:  It’s always flattering to get those compliments.  I think when I was younger, like 22, first getting into this business; I was definitely pining for those compliments and put more weight into it.  I will say; it’s always good to have someone say something positive about you.  I will take, “Hey, he’s good-looking.”  I love the comments.  It’s great.

So, what would you love to see happen with Brando?  Is there anything that you’re seeing with your character that you wish you could do …or get to have the opportunity to be able to drive the direction in which he goes in?

JOHNNY:  That’s a great question.  I love when the writers put Brando on the scene and planted some seeds early on when he was revealing a little of his background to Carly.  He reveals he has PTSD and spent time in prison.  Brando also has got issues with drug addiction.  I would love for those to kind of resurface somehow.  Maybe Brando has a relapse and gets back on the sauce, or drugs, or maybe has some kind of other issues with PTSD, because those are the real things in the world that people deal.

Photo: ABC

What’s great about it is that they kind of loaded you up with a back-story that they can fill in, so that as a viewer, you ultimately root for the guy

JOHNNY:  Absolutely.  Yeah, nobody wants to root for the guy who has everything and just has the perfect life.  We’ve all made mistakes.  So, alright, he’s trying to get back on the horse and make a good life for himself.

READ MORE
General Hospital's Johnny Wactor Talks 'Being Brando Corbin'

Did you get any pointers from GH vet Steve Burton (Jason), who you have also shared several scenes with since coming to GH?

JOHNNY:  The most pointers I’ve gotten from Steve are about preparation for the scenes.  Every time we have scenes together, he’s just always willing to work with you, and make sure that you’re prepared, and he’s prepared, and the scene is going to be the best that it can be.  Also, he’s been really invaluable with giving me more of a crash course on the background of these characters.  This show has been on for decades and it’s tough to get caught up in the short amount of time between when you find out you have the job, and you start filming, to really know who everybody is.  So, he explained to me who Jason is on the show and who the Corinthos family is and what they represent … these are dangerous guys!

Photo: ABC

Take me through what happened when you learned you got the part of Brando, and were joining the cast of General Hospital?

JOHNNY:  I was at my apartment.  I think it was probably two days after I went in for the producer’s session.  They brought in 4 or 5 guys to read in front of the producers, (at least that I saw) and I felt strong about my reading.  Then, I just kind of tried to forget about it after I left so I wouldn’t get all into my head about whether I got the part, or not.  Then the next day, I didn’t get a phone call.  So, I’m like, “Man, really?  I thought that might have been it.”   But the next day, I was with my girlfriend at the time and my agency was calling.  My manager was on the phone as well, and they shared with me that I got the part, and it was exciting.  It was a relief and an affirmation.  It’s always exciting when you book a job and then to book a major recurring role on a show with a character whose name is “Brando Corbin”, needless to say, was really cool.

Photo: ABC

I think it’s very apparent that you have the “It” factor.  You already have a shown a strong presence on the show and have a very bright future ahead of you.   I have seen a lot of actors come and go, and who launch their careers on daytime over the years, and I think you are going to be one to watch for quite some time to come.

JOHNNY:  First of all, thank you so much for saying that.  That’s really kind of you.  It’s really high praise.  Coming from someone who knows that show and who is a fan of it that means I passed the test!  Thank you, Michael!  I really appreciate that affirmation.  It’s good to get validation from someone whose opinion really matters.

Photo; ABC

Could you see a love interest for Brando coming up in the future?

JOHNNY:  I could definitely see a love interest for him coming up.  Maybe multiple love interests!  Who knows?

I think there are a lot of single ladies in Port Charles.

JOHNNY:  Yeah!  But, why do they have to be single?

Right! Or, they could be married!

JOHNNY:  It’s Port Charles!

Photo: ABC

So, have you been enjoying Johnny’s performances as Brando Corbin thus far?  Who do you hope he becomes involved with romantically on GH? Do you want to know more about his back-story and see what happens next now that Sonny has set him up with a garage? Comment below.

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Knots Landing favorites: Joan Van Ark (Valene), Michele Lee (Karen) and Donna Mills (Abby)  chat with Michael Fairman in honor of Knots Landing’s 40th anniversary. Leave A Comment

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