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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
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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
Guest
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.… Read more »

Max
Guest
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… Read more »

Doe
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Rebelle

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

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
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
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

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

Jason Eldridge
Guest
Jason Eldridge

Go Ilene Kristen for speaking for the fans!

Mer
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Eric

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

NORN
Guest
NORN

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

Brian Greene
Guest
Brian Greene

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

granieharrison
Guest
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… Read more »

barbara t
Guest
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
Guest
Heather

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

barbara t
Guest
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… Read more »

gloria
Guest
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
Guest
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.… Read more »

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
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
Guest
Mernnna

I would watch if it was a late show

Valerie
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

gloria
Guest
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 &… Read more »

gloria
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
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… Read more »

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

I feel for you.

kelly cook
Guest
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… Read more »

JIMMYOLTL
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Weighs-In On Daytime’s Wildest Storyline, The Hope Mannequin & What’s Really Going On With Thomas

If you think you’ve seen it all on daytime soap operas, think again! Over the past several weeks viewers of CBS Daytime’s The Bold and the Beautiful have been witness to fashion designer Thomas Forrester’s (Matthew Atkinson) descent into madness, or is it?

In B&B’s thriller-esque storyline, complete with tight close-ups and tilted angles of Thomas and his co-star, the Hope Mannequin – yup, you read that right, the series is taking the audience on one wild ride, something we have not seen the likes of since back in the hey day of the late head writer, James Reilly, during his tenure on Days of our Lives or Passions.

Photo: JPI

Inspired by, believe it or not, true life events, B&B’s head writer and executive producer, Brad Bell and his creative team have served up a story generated off all of the buzz the show was receiving for using mannequins as scene partners for the actors in intimate moments to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.  B&B was the first American show back in production amid the pandemic.

 

Within this twisted tale, Thomas has the life-like version of Hope Logan Spencer (Annika Noelle) at home with him.  Those who have stumbled upon him with the mannequin, well, he has been able to explain that away by saying that having the doll with him is helping him create some of the best designs of his career.

The problem is the mannequin is talking to Thomas, it’s eyes have often turned devil-red, and on Friday’s episode it walked!  It’s objective is to get Thomas to kill Liam (Scott Clifton) and to get Hope back to be his one and only. Throughout many of the scenes in the storyline, Thomas suffers from what appears to be severe headaches.  All of this leading the audience to believe either … he has a brain tumor … he is being drugged … he is suffering from a severe mental break and disorder, or something else.

Photo: JPI

In a very candid and often humorous conversation with Michael Fairman for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Thomas’ portrayer, Matthew Atkinson, discusses some of the craziest scenes to shoot thus far including Thomas having dinner with the mannequin!  In addition, Atkinson reveals how he and Annika Noelle tape the scenes where she is the voice of the Hope mannequin while adhering to safety protocols,  and how Liam is the only one, apparently, thinking something is off with Thomas, and so much more.

Photo: Gilles Toucas

One thing is for certain, Matthew Atkinson is sinking his teeth into the material and making it must-see daytime drama through his performances while we all wait to see what the possessed mannequin does next.

Check out the full interview with Matthew below. 

Then let us know, what do you think is happening or wrong with Thomas? Are you getting a kick out of the Hope Mannequin storyline? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

 

 

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Interviews

Eric Nelsen Talks Latest Film, Becoming a Tony-Nominated Producer, ‘The Bay’, and His Elizabeth Gillies & Ariana Grande Connection

You can catch All My Children reboot alum, Eric Nelsen (Ex-AJ Chandler), just about everywhere this month, and that’s hard to do given that we are all living in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, this Daytime Emmy-winning actor has his hands in a myriad of projects of late including: appearing on season six of The Bay (new episodes every Tuesday on Popstar! TV) where he continues to play Daniel’s journey after the character has come to terms with his sexuality and finds love, plus his comedic turn in the film, 1 Night in San Diego, and recently becoming a Tony-nominated producer along with his wife Sainty for the critically-acclaimed, and now 11 times nominated Broadway play, The Inheritance.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Eric to get the lowdown on his busy professional life, and we were in for some surprises along the way including: what the producers of AMC had in mind for the character of AJ that ultimately did not happen, and that Eric starred on Broadway with Elizabeth Gillies (Fallon, Dynasty) and Pop superstar, Ariana Grande – and there’s more to that story below.

 

What makes Nelsen so good at what he does on-screen is that he is a like a chameleon; adept at playing the quirky, to the troubled bad boys, to the emotional heart-tugging anti-hero. So here’s what Eric had to say in this fascinating conversation.

Photo: : Metropolitan Entertainment,

Your latest film appearance in 1 Night in San Diego is out this week on multiple streaming on-demand platforms from: Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and more. Tell me about the movie and when did you film this?

ERIC:  We filmed it near San Diego, not this past February, but last February, and it’s hilarious.  It’s a female-driven comedy.  The cast is incredible.  Alexandra Daddario, who is just epic, and Jenna Ushkowitz, and Laura Ashley Samuels, they truly bring it in this powerhouse comedy, and it’s just one of those make-you -laugh movies from beginning to end, just silly, stupid stuff happening the whole time.  General Hospital’s Mark Lawson (Dustin) is also in the film.  While we don’t work in scenes together, I did get a chance to meet him and he’s a really great guy.  I play this off-the-wall character, named Gordo, who is a real burn-out, think Matthew McConaughey meets space cadet, which was a lot of fun to play.  Gordo is a great role.  I had more fun with this part than I’ve had in a long time.  So, it was cool to throw a comedy into all of the drama I have been playing in my other projects.

How does Gordo know the girls in the film?

ERIC:  One of the girls knew him back in the day, so they were in town looking to reconnect, and she’s like, “Oh, we want to party and let’s hit up Gordo,” and they do.  He has just gone completely off the rails, off the deep end with spirituality and kind of in his own world. They find themselves in quite a predicament when they come visit what they didn’t know was a commune, basically.  Gordo creates this hippie commune for a bunch of outcast musicians, (laughs) and I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot of interesting stuff happens there.

Photo: InheritancePlay

 

In addition, you are now a Tony-nominated producer for the play The Inheritance!

ERIC: That was crazy, because it’s always been a dream of mine to produce for Broadway.  That was how I got into the world of film and TV acting, which was through the theatre.  That’s where I started.  I was lucky enough to star on Broadway when I was 16 and 17, in a musical called, 13.  I started with Ariana Grande! It was so fun.

Wait, what?

ERIC:  Yeah, that was her first big show, and Elizabeth Gillies’.

Photo: AP

I think Elizabeth Gillies is terrific in Dynasty.

ERIC:  Oh yeah, and you know she and I dated for two and a half years during the whole run of the show 13.  Elizabeth is very talented.   She is amazing.  The funny part of it is, we were dating forever, and kind of had a bad breakup, and then Sainty, my wife, gets cast in her show Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, in the pilot to play Liz’s best friend on the series.  So, all of the sudden, I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, out of all the shows, all of the things, this is who you have to get cast as best friends with?” and so they actually became really, really, close friends.  So, I’d actually come home from work or filming, and Liz would be on my couch sitting there giggling with Sainty.  I’m like, “This is just becoming too much.  This is a full-circle moment here.  I can’t deal.” (Laughs)

Now, you and Elizabeth are broken up at this point?

ERIC:  Yes.  We had been broken up at this point.  Sainty and I were actually together.  I started dating Sainty in New York and the pilot she was shooting was in New York, and she gets cast as Liz’s best friend, and I was like, “Oh, of course.”

Photo JPI

But Sainty knew you’d dated Elizabeth?

ERIC:  Yes, she did.

You must have been dying.

ERIC:  Yes, so dying.  Dying.   You know, it’s just one of those things that in a million years, you would never expect this to happen, and of course, Sainty and her had to become best friends in real life because they’re both great girls, and naturally, they would be friends, but now, I’m like this guy stuck in the middle who can’t believe what’s happening, and thought that was one chapter, and this is a different chapter, and now the chapters are combining.  It’s kind of a comedy act.

Photo: JPI

Since Ariana Grande was on Broadway with you and Liz, what was she like back then before her meteoric rise to fame?

ERIC:  Ariana was literally the sweetest, most innocent, and cutest – like my little sister.   To me, it was like, Liz and I were dating, and Ari was kind of like the little sister.  All of a sudden the show ended. Ariana got a Nickelodeon show, and after that, she became the most famous person in the world and was like this sex icon, and I couldn’t get over it.   She’s always had that talent with her voice and in 13 she was an ensemble member.  She wasn’t even one of the leads, but her voice was so incredible, even then as a young teenager.  I thought she was going to go on to have this great Broadway career as an actress and do musicals her whole life just because of her voice.  Then, all of the sudden, right after the musical, we all auditioned for the same Nickelodeon show.  I ended up going to the finals for the boyfriend role, Liz got the girlfriend role, and Ari got the funny friend on the show role.  That kind of catapulted them into the TV world, and Ari got a spinoff because of her character on that show for another Nickelodeon show, called Sam and Cat, and then after Sam and Cat, she went from this innocent, sweet, little Nickelodeon girl that I knew to being the biggest star.  It was unbelievable to me.

Photo: Broadway World

So, you started on Broadway as a teenager, and you found you always wanted to produce for the Great White Way? 

ERIC:  Yes, I did the Broadway thing, and then I got into film and TV, and then I got into film and TV producing.  As an actor, there are a lot of ups, a lot of downs.  So, in between the ups, I wanted to fill my time, so I got into producing, and I loved it.  I loved creating.  As an actor, we just show up, and everything is already done.  All we have to do is say our lines.  We get pampered, and we go home, but I wanted to know how it got to that point, like what happens before that.  So, I started producing film and found some success doing that, and it was so much fun for me.  Sainty’s and my first love, and what feels like home, is theatre.  So, I wanted to take it full circle and produce a Broadway show.  I just thought that would be such an incredible moment, and so that’s what I did.  I started emailing all of the Broadway producers who I had worked with as an actor, letting them know what I had been doing, kind of the success I had gotten from producing The Bay and some of these other things. Different shows came across my desk that I didn’t quite bite the bullet on, a couple of which I wish I would have, Dear Evan Hansen being one of them.  I would have been so rich by now!  (Laughs)

I just want to clarify for people who might not know, the word “producer” can mean different things.  There are “producers” who are putting money in … they’re backing projects or shows.  There are other people who are “producers” on the creative side of projects.  So, when you’re talking about producing a Broadway show, it is as an investor?

ERIC:  So for theatre, unless you’re the head producer who kind of gets creative control, every other producer listed in the credits is basically helping raise finances and is also very heavily involved in the process of everything else along the way, which is also what makes it special.  So finally, The Inheritance came across our desk, and it checked every single box.  It was just an epic play.  It’s a two-part play, and it’s just hours and hours and hours long.  You see it in multiple days or in multiple shows.  I remember reading the script and not stopping until I finished.  I was like, “This is amazing,” and it had just come off of a huge commercial successful run in London.  It won the Olivier Award for “Best New Play” and just about every other award you could win, and so I was like, “This is the one.  This is incredible.  I love the piece, love the message, and pulled the trigger,” and I would have done it all over again if we could.

Photo: Broadway World

The Inheritance is a generational piece centering on gay men during the AIDS crisis.  What can you say about it to those who don’t know about it, or have not seen it yet?

ERIC:  It takes place in the past, and then it fasts forward to the future.  You see two generations of gay men in New York City, and it’s all about the AIDS crisis, and so you’re bawling crying, and then you’re laughing throughout it.  It’s just one of those epic plays that pulls at every single emotion and you feel like you’re watching a movie.

It seems reminiscent of Angels In America, but different.   

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s definitely its own thing.  It’s actually an adaptation of Howard’s End, the novel by Forster, definitely different from Angels in America, but the two-part show is kind of what I was meaning by that.  People have said it is kind of our generation’s Angel’s in America in tone and subject matter.  It was just a dream come true, and like all other theatre that was open during our season, it had to close because of the pandemic, and it will have life after Broadway.  We are already slated for the Geffen Playhouse in LA, so I’m very excited for all of my LA friends and the public to get to see it.

Courtesy/ENelsen

And you get nominated in the year that the coronavirus pandemic shut down live theatre! But it is my understanding we still do not have a date for handing out this year’s Tony Awards.

ERIC:  No, we do not.  They finally announced that they were going to announce nominations, and for a while we didn’t even know that they were going to do that.  We received 11 nominations, which is incredible.  We were so excited.  I truly thought the American Theatre Wing and the Tony committee were not going to do the Tonys at all, and so we were just like, “I can’t believe the one year we pull the trigger on the show, this isn’t going to happen for us,” but then thank God, they came to their senses.  There were plenty of shows that opened and needed to be recognized.

How long was it open on Broadway?

ERIC:  We were open from September 2019 through February or March.  So, as long as your submission was open on Broadway before Covid-19 and had at least all of its previews and an opening night before Covid-19 hit, then you could qualify, and then in the play category, there were like 10 plays that had opened last year that were contenders.  So, that was definitely the hardest category.   It will be interesting to see what happens after all of this.  The only good thing I know that is going to come from this is the amount of creatives who have had so much time sitting at home to create and write, that there will be so many new scripts and plays and musicals that are going to come from this.  I think it’s’ going to be the biggest boom that we’ve probably ever seen in theatre, just because there’s been so much time to develop stuff.  At the same time, it’s piggybacking on the darkest time that theatre has ever seen.

Throughout the pandemic, I always stream all of the Broadway Actor’s Fund events.  It’s really sad.  It’s just a difficult time, those in the arts are struggling and especially in the live theatre and also musicians who can’t tour or play gigs in front of an audience. I know they said Broadway is closed through May 31, 2021.

ERIC:  It is really hard.  I’m happy that we are able to find other ways like streaming shows.  I’m actually producing a big benefit for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS that will be airing on World AIDS Day, December 1st.  It’s a show called Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.  The cast we have is everybody from Nathan Lane, to Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons.  It’s insane.  It will be streaming online on the Broadway HD network.  It is a huge list of Broadway stars and a lot of movie and TV stars as well that are participating.  We’ve got people from all over the map.

And … Ariana Grande? (Laughs)

ERIC:  (Laughs)  Ari is not in it, actually!

Photo: Prospect Park

So, in this week’s latest episode of The Bay, your character of Daniel Garrett makes his final choice for love between Caleb (Mike Manning) and Matthew (Randy Wayne).  When you came to the show, did you know that this part was going to wind-up being a gay character?

ERIC:  No, I did not.  I think I dropped a bird in Gregori Martin’s (creator, The Bay) ear by telling him that before All My Children ended, they were going to have my character of AJ Chandler have a storyline where he is gay.  The producers sat me down and talked through an entire storyline arc with me.  Basically, Ginger Smith (ex-executive producer, All My Children) and Alison, our casting director, and one other person from the show, took me to lunch in New York. They pitched me what they wanted to do for my character, and asked me if I would be comfortable with it, and they wanted my opinion, everything.  It was really cool how they approached it, and I was like, “100% completely.”  I look at what Chandler Massey (Ex-Will Horton) did on Days and where that brought him and his storyline, and I thought, “Yes, there’s going to be so much more depth and stuff to play than just being this fun little rich kid.”  At the time, there really wasn’t much depth to AJ.  So, I was like, “Yes.  I will be all over it.  Absolutely.”  So, I told Gregori that, and I don’t know if he already had something in his mind or not, or if that influenced it at all, but maybe he just figured that was something that would work well, and up till that point, I guess they didn’t really have that on the show.  Regardless, no, I wasn’t aware that that was the direction it was going in, but I was really happy with my storyline and it’s grown a lot since then, and in this current season especially.  It’s really given me an arc to play, which I’ve enjoyed.

Photo: LANYEntertainment

So for those who may not know let’s do a re-set.  Where is the character of Daniel at? It seems like he is at crossroads, and is making some important decisions, or trying to.

ERIC:  So Daniel was a wild party boy in the beginning, just head in the clouds, lives life with thinking there’s no repercussions and just doing what you want to do all of the time, and that got him into a lot of trouble with drugs and alcohol. Then, we realize why Daniel has been the way he is, and why he acts out, and why he has been so all over the place, and it’s because he hasn’t been able to come to terms with who he is.  Then, he admits it to himself and for the first time to somebody else – who happens to be his priest in a catholic church, ironically –  that he is gay and this is what he has been battling with.  For the first time (and I don’t know where on television it has depicted it this way), but the catholic priest looks at Daniel, and he’s like, “What’s your sin?  You haven’t sinned.  This is perfectly fine.”  So, I love that Gregori made that the outlet for which Daniel was able to basically come to terms with who he was, because he grew up in the church, and so he was always told that it was wrong.  Obviously, it’s not wrong, or obviously the church needs to change their mindset, but on The Bay, he chose that to be the outlet through which he came out, which I thought was really powerful.  Through that, Daniel experimented with other boys and such to figure out where he wanted to land, and then in this newest season, I can’t say much that gives anything away, but for the first time, we really see Daniel’s growth, and he’s making decisions, and the most mature we’ve ever seen him, and it’s been really cool to see that come full circle.  He’s making commitments to himself.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

In story, Daniel chooses Caleb.  Why so?

ERIC:  Obviously, that’s who it works with,  Caleb is a teacher and a great guy.

… And Matthew is not a great guy?

ERIC:  He is… he’s just not the great guy for him.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

This season of The Bay is heavily steeped with social issues of our time.  Covid-19 has come to Bay City and the Black Lives Matter movement also plays prominently.

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s kind of the beginning of the pandemic in The Bay and within all of the intense drama that Daniel has been having, he is still, for all intent and purposes the comedic relief of the show, and so there is a funny scene where I’m carrying like 28,000 rolls of toilet paper like, “Come on, guys.  We’ve got to stock up!”  We all remember those days, don’t we?

Photo: JPI

How do you feel about this season of the show and your work in it? You’ve previously won a Daytime Emmy for your performances on The Bay.

ERIC:  This season is more cemented in a character that has truly grounded himself.  So, the first Emmy I won was for a storyline of coming out and uncertainty and struggle and pain, whereas this season Daniel knows what he wants and is going for it.  There is much more passion and love in this season for Daniel, as opposed to struggle and heartache.

The cast and crew of The Bay all went away and quarantined at this ranch this past summer to get the new season completed.  What was that like?

ERIC:  We were actually in Santa Barbara, and filmed on this epic ranch up there.  It’s like this 500-acre ranch that we all quarantined on.  We had to do the testing, and temperatures three times a day, and the whole thing.  So, it was really structured, tough to pull off, but we were all so grateful that we were able to do this.  Luckily, we had this incredible kind of bubble of a ranch to live and work on while we were shooting.  They were really good about block shooting it all, so we’d kind of shoot one person’s character, then the next, so we wouldn’t have to ever be leaving the ranch before we were done.

Courtesy/ENelsen

Finally, how is being a dad?

ERIC:  Oh, it’s amazing.  I just can’t believe how fast the time is flying by because of it.  We just had Molly’s first birthday on October 1st, and I feel like yesterday she was born.  I sound like my parents when I say this, but it’s like the time keeps getting faster, but it’s so true.  She’s awesome.  We play Broadway musical soundtracks to her all day, and she sings.  She sits at the piano with me when I play, and she kind of plunks notes out next to me.  She loves music, and we’ve introduced it to her from day one.  We always joke that she won’t be able to watch any of daddy’s stuff until she’s 18 probably, but Sainty is a voice-over actress.  She has done parts for animated films and TV shows such as Trolls, and Barbie, and Boss Baby, so everything from the first part of my daughter’s life is all going to be Mommy’s stuff, and then, in the later part of life she can start watching Daddy’s stuff.

Right, she can’t watch anything that you do!  (Laughs) So, basically forget that!

ERIC:  (Laughs) Yep!

Check out the trailer for 1 Night in San Diego below.  Then share your thoughts on Eric’s current role on The Bay, if you hope he wins a Tony to go with his Daytime Emmy, the six degrees of separation between him, Elizabeth Gillies and his wife, and that the All My Children reboot considered making the character of AJ Chandler gay via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Peter Reckell Reflects On His Time As DAYS Iconic Bo Brady, Life In New Zealand & Christmas Music Project

Last week, Days of our Lives  turned 55-years young, and the historic long-running NBC daytime drama series has been home to some of the most memorable stars and characters of the soap opera genre, perhaps none more so than anti-hero Bo Brady played by Peter Reckell.

Reckell who appeared on the show for several runs that lasted over four decades, premiered as Bo back in 1983.  He then stayed through 1987, came back from 1990 to 1992, again from 1995 to 2012, and back again in 2015 during DAYS 50th anniversary and to wrap his run as Bo, when the character was killed-off, after Reckell made it clear that he wanted to give the audience closure for the character.  He later made another return in 2016 to help the character of Hope (Kristian Alfonso) move on with her life.  Hard to believe for all of those heart-tugging performances, Peter was nominated only once for a Daytime Emmy.

Photo: JPI

In this candid, deeply personal and enlightening new interview for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Reckell opens up as to: what led to many of the decisions he made throughout his time as Bo, how he helped craft the role from the start, the accident that almost took his life, how he handled all the fame that came his way as part of the Bo and Hope supercouple pairing, and how two women in the cast; the late Frances Reid (Alice) and Peggy McCay (Caroline) made lasting impressions on him that he will carrying with him for the rest of his life.

Photo: JPI

What would Peter say if somehow DAYS wanted him back and Bo was actually alive and well?  Find out as Peter weighs-in and wishes his former show a happy anniversary  In addition, he even shares how he felt when Robert Kelker-Kelly took over the role of Bo when he decided to leave the show at one point, and his time playing Johnny on primetime’s Knots Landing.

Photo: JPI

Reckell has moved his family to New Zealand, and this conversation was conducted from his home.  Peter is married to singer/songwriter/producer Kelly Moneymaker and the couple have a daughter, Loden.   It was not wanting to miss the moments of his daughter’s life growing up that has been much of the impetus for some of Peter’s career choices.

Photo: BlueAeris

With Christmastime approaching, Kelly and Peter are part of a brand new Christmas LP entitled Joy.  The album is now available for download on Spotify, Apple Music and major music streaming platforms.

In an exclusive during the interview, we give fans a sneak peek of Peter’s new music video for “Under the Mistletoe”, the song he sings that appears on Joy, which was written by his wife.  For more on the album project visit BlueAegis.com

Photo: BlueAegis

Now, check out the interview with Peter direct from New Zealand below! Then share your thoughts on Peter, Bo, and more via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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