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The Jack Wagner Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

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He’s on the world’s most watched soap opera, and has had multiple successes in daytime and primetime television, theatre, and recording.  Not to mention, he is one hell of a champion golfer.  We can only be talking about The Bold and the Beautiful’s cantankerous former seaman now turned fashion business mogul, Nick Marone, played to the hilt by Jack Wagner.

On the storyline front: With Nick dealing with a lung cancer scare and facing his own mortality, plus dealing with the inconceivable pairing (to him anyway) of his mother Jackie, and her much younger boy toy husband, Owen (Who had a baby no less with his then wife, Bridget) it has not been smooth sailing for this captain of the ship.

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with Wagner in his dressing room to discuss Nick’s bold and beautiful 6,000 episode intervention; why Nick and Brooke should still have a chance at recapturing love, his recent amazing trip to South Africa, and the revelations that came from it.

Also, we get the low down on his upcoming 5th Annual Jack Wagner Celebrity Golf Classic, to help raise awareness and funds to benefit Leukemia Lymphoma.  And, we learn why teeing off stretches your mind, not just your body!  Here’s the witty, ever so charming and talented, Mr. Wagner!

MICHAEL:

Nick was integral to the special 6,000 episode of The Bold and the Beautiful due in part to his cigar smoking.  The show featured real life cancer survivors talking with Stephanie to create a support group, since Stephanie has been battling stage four-lung cancer.  Nick is along for the ride since the episode serves as sort of an intervention for him to come to terms with what he is doing to himself via smoking. Did you watch back the episode?  What did you feel performing in it?  And, did you think it was effective and accomplished what it is set out to do?

JACK:

© JPI Studios

I did like how it turned out.  I thought it was kind of groundbreaking to have no script.  I have done improv and all of that, but never worked without a script.  To be in character and to have Susan Flannery (Stephanie) be in character, with the guests giving their testimonials (who are cancer patients telling their story) was interesting to see them being who they are and me reacting to it as Nick and this sort of denial he is in.  His denial about smoking only one cigar a day, or every two days type of thing, was interesting.  It was interesting to be in the reality of it, and then play the denial.

MICHAEL:

Part of Nick’s character from the beginning was that he was this crusty seaman who drank and smoke cigars.

JACK:

Yes, that was very apparent at the beginning of my time as Nick.  He was heavily smoking cigars. And then, CBS Standards and Practices had enough of the smoking on the show, but they decided to bring it back and allow it for the telling of this storyline.

MICHAEL:

Working with Susan in this special episode, you were reactionary and we the viewers, would watch your eyes and watch things unfold in your eyes, especially when the opera singer, Zheng Cao, sang her aria and your look was of,  “Oh my God!” Hankies! Very touching.

JACK:

It was very emotional and I was tearing up and just letting it go, and it was very unexpected. We asked Zheng Cao to sing right there on the spot. Brad Bell was right there on the set and came up with that.  So it kind of felt awkward when she did it, but it worked.  She is so good and it was poignant.  I think Nick was touched by it.  What a gift with her voice, and to tell her story and have it end on the guy who they are trying to reach, who is Nick.  Add to that, Stephanie, who has already gone through her cancer treatment and is still going through it.  So yeah, I think it worked, I really do.  It was different and groundbreaking at the same time.  I am glad I was picked to do this storyline with Susan, because you have two people who have been around for quite awhile, and if you are going to have two people who are going to be available for a different feel of a show, Susan is really the best at that.  I loved working with her on this!

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

Now that B&B Executive Producer and head writer, Brad Bell, has tackled social issue after social issue recently, is there any issue you would love for him to touch upon, using your alter-ego Nick?  We have to say, you have sort of been in several of the issue-driven stories of late!

JACK:

When I reflect back, Nick has uncovered his childhood through this and had some great scenes with Lesley-Ann Down (Jackie) through that.  And, then I realized with the Aggie story, there was a rape that had to do with her, and Nick was kind of heroic and helped her though that. Then there is this baby with Nick’s mother’s husband coming up along with the cancer!  I am like, “Wow. We have done a lot of stuff here.”  You know what I would like to see is, I always liked the rivalry with Ridge and Nick. That seems to have been replaced. Now Jackie M. has its own world, and Forrester has its own world and they used to be rivals.  Now it seems it has gotten away from that.  I like mixing it up with those two families with those two characters.  I really do!

MICHAEL:

What about Nick‘s love life?  Sarah Brown (Aggie) had been dropped to recurring as Aggie.  And Bridget, played by Ashley Jones, is on recurring and barely on the show at all.  So, who could be next in line for Nick’s heart?

JACK:

Nick is like the recurring stud for hire!  (Laughs)  I don’t know about his future love life.  I think its kind of a sailboat without a sail right now and it’s floating out there.  And, if you look at your pieces of the puzzle, if we are going to work a romantic storyline, it would have to be a revisit with someone… unless it’s with some younger girls, which I think Nick’s available for! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Wagner Golf LLS

You have a very big golf tournament coming up for Leukemia Lymphoma.  It’s your annual Jack Wagner Celebrity Golf Classic. Tell us the information on it and how long you have done it?  And, what other celebrities will be participating?

JACK:

It’s April 18th, and a one day event out in Los Angeles at the Valencia Country Club.  This will be the fifth year for the event, and it’s actually a long time for a golf tournament when you think about it.  We are hoping to get to one million dollars in the five years after the golf tournament this year. And this is a small event with celebrity friends of mine, and with people who buy groups to play with the celebrities.  So we get anywhere from 15-25 groups, and then there is a silent auction and a live auction with a banquet afterwards.  It’s a day of golf with athletes, actors, golf pros, etc.  For example, Marcus Allen and John Elway, former pro football players, have come out and television and motion picture stars, Tim Allen, Joe Pesci, and Heather Locklear are there every year. Also, hockey great Wayne Gretsky comes out.  I just called a bunch of other guys today to participate.  It’s usually a who’s available mix of celebrities, and it’s a fun day.

MICHAEL:

Any one from B&B play?

JACK:

Kyle Lowder, who played Rick, and Brad Bell plays every year, of course.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/UPI.com

Why did you decide to do this and start your Celebrity Golf Classic?

JACK:

I lost my father to blood cancer known as multiple myeloma in 1990, and then my brother was diagnosed with Leukemia in1999. And strangely enough, I was asked to do Celebrity Week on Wheel of Fortune in 2006.  I just won this golf tournament in Lake Tahoe that NBC airs and it’s a very big deal every summer, and I had never won and I finally won.  And when I won the Wheel of Fortune, my partner on the show was incredible. We broke the record and I gave the money to Leukemia Lymphoma and they were like, “Didn’t you just win a golf tournament?”  And that is kind of how it came together; the germination of golf and fundraiser and me.

MICHAEL:

Why are you so good at golf?  You are “thee” guy in the celebrity ranks!

JACK:

I am from a little town in Missouri.  I picked it up because my father played this little nine-hole course.  I did not take lessons and I was not a country club kid.  I sort of just picked it up.  And, I was a natural at it.  I stuck with it as I grew up, and when I got General Hospital, I had already quit golf while I was in drama school for three or four years. Gloria Monty, who was the executive producer at the time of General Hospital and her husband, were members of Bel Air Country Club.  She came up to me and said, “Darling, I hear you play golf?”  And so I went out there with her husband and he sponsored me to join the club.  So I have been a member of Bel Air since 1986.  That is how I started playing again.  Then, I played in the AT&T and The Bing Crosby tournament in 1991 and won it.  So I started slowly playing a lot more visible tournaments and started winning a lot of them.

MICHAEL:

I can’t watch golf because it’s like watching paint dry to me.  However for you, what is it like playing?  What is it about the game that fascinates you?

JACK:

It’s like life… You just wake up one day and you just never know what is going to happen.  You can be prepared, but stuff will happen and you go,” Well, I wasn’t quite prepared for that to happen!”  You can eat right and sleep perfectly, but you never know what to expect, and that is kind of the challenge with golf.  It is unpredictable and always tests your emotions.  It’s physical, but it’s really about your mind.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

Back to B&B for a moment with Nick’s mother Jackie and her much younger hubby Owen.  Where’s Nick at with the relationship of his mother and this young guy?  After all, he did preside over the wedding, even though he doth protest too much.

JACK:

I think this is such a great example of this character, Nick.  He can roll his eyes at what happens around him. It’s like the breaths I take, and the eyes roll, and the scowling and the frowning; that I think is so perfect for “my” mother and this guy.  It is just a bit bizarre!  He is my step-father. “Owen six-pack,” is my stepfather!  And so you’ve got to look at that as they are always making out and pawing each other.  So it’s this running underlying joke of, “Could you just go get a room somewhere!  I am trying to run a business. Hello! Our overhead is like one hundred thousand dollars a month.  Could you keep your clothes on?”  That is my attitude with every scene. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

We had spoken in the past that you would be interested in reigniting the Brooke and Nick romance.  Do you still feel that way?

JACK:

I always thought those characters had great chemistry.  But I don’t know how that would happen now.  Their lives are so far apart now and separate, but that is the magic of soap operas.  You can bring people back and you can reconnect people.  That relationship has not been revisited for so long.  I think that has been since there had been a baby with Taylor, and the In –Vitro storyline about two years ago.  So then there was this baby, and Brad really kept to keeping two people together for a long time with Ridge and Brooke.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

Which he had not been doing!

JACK:

Yeah.  I mean, how many times can Ridge and Brooke break-up?  I guess a lot. (Laughs) But I guess what Brad decided to do there was to have these two stay together for a while.  I have always loved working with Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke).  And with Bridget not being there right now, it always felt to me that Brooke was Nick’s real rooted fire and his real flame when he first came on the show.  He was always fighting very hard for Brooke to have her back and protect her all the time.  So I think at the core of Nick’s life has been his love for Brooke.

MICHAEL:

What is it like working with Katherine? You joke around a lot on set, because you can be quite the prankster, we hear.

JACK:

I don’t joke around all the time, but we have to be able to do that.  It’s a kooky business and we are kooky people. We have our laughs but we are very serious too, because there is a lot of dialog to know and you have to be very focused.  It’s always about that and having a good time.

MICHAEL:

Are you worried about the eroding canvas of daytime soap operas?  The ratings are dropping; shows have been cancelled, etc?  What are your thoughts on this as a daytime veteran?

© Gilles Toucas

JACK:

I don’t think you can ignore what is happening on the daytime landscape right now.  There are too many shows with numbers that are down, and others soaps have been cancelled. We have lost a generation of viewers because there are so many more options in entertainment right now.  People are on the Internet, on their cells phones, and there are 600 channels.  Everything is suffering, not just soap operas, but also all of daytime programming.  How do you go about getting an audience when you can’t show nudity or use profanity?  We can’t shoot shamelessly or what they shoot on HBO. We have a lot of rules and have to answer to Standard and Practices, and it makes it tough. We are then limited.  So the question becomes, how do we get a young audience that wants to tune-in to MTV and watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and all that stuff, or tequila shots off navels?  How do you get them attracted to tune-in from 11AM-2PM in the afternoon, when they are in school?   Well, the way we used to do that was generational.  There were about four stations to watch, and you would sit there and watch with your grandmother and mother, period.  And now it is the other way around, where the mother and grandmother watch what the kids watch to have some contact with them because there is so much distraction in life.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of the new opening sequence of B&B?

JACK:

Flashy! Very flashy and contemporary!  Yes, we were in front of a green screen to do our looks but you know, I hit my mark and do what I am told.  I used to battle everything, but I am older now. (Laughs)

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

Remember the old “bad boy Jack Wagner” days?

JACK:

I do…my hair changes…my look changes….battling… script changes…. all of that and that attitude was fun at the time, but now its like, “Ok, where do you want me?”

MICHAEL:

You recently appeared on the TV Land hit comedy sitcom, Hot in Cleveland working alongside Valerie Bertinelli.  How was it going into that realm?

JACK:

It was a great experience.  I got to chat with Betty White and we hung for quite awhile. Valerie’s son and my son were in the same class together at school, and so we saw each other at functions. So we knew each other. The sitcom is such a different medium, yet when you have some seasoned veterans you are able to adjust to it.  I had a lot of down time, but when it was time to work they are pretty intense, and as an actor you have to be pretty on it.  The notes are very different than a soap opera, in that they are very specific, and very specific about what they want for the comedy and how they want you to play it.

MICHAEL:

Are there a lot of last minute script revisions and joke revisions?

JACK:

Yeah, there are, and that’s OK.  But for me, it was about breaking everything down and doing so much less than I would normally do on B&B.  Less animation, less forcing something, less trying to make a moment out of something, it’s about just being exactly how you are and letting it be.  It was quite an exercise for me.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

So, after whetting your appetite on Hot in Cleveland, does it make you stop and think, “I want to do more of that?  More sitcoms!”

JACK:

I would love to do more and I love the sitcom format.  I try to play it Nick with sarcastic wit and humor, and if you look at what is happening from a realistic viewpoint on B&B, there is a lot of kooky stuff happening.  There is the camp, and that harkens back to the part of our discussion about Owen and my mother, Jackie on the show.  I want Nick to be grounded and let the audience sort of live through his reactions.  That is why I love the sitcom.  It’s really a craft.  It’s not like soap opera or live theatre. In Hot in Cleveland, Valerie had to be more animated and giddy and thrown, and the more grounded I could be the better.  I had to trust the director and be the man at the door.  So in that scenario, I am the guest-star and it is really about them, the stars of the series.  So I played it the way they wanted me to.

MICHAEL:

So if someone said let’s do a Jack Wagner sitcom, you would be up for it?

JACK:

Oh, I love that stuff!  It’s fun to mold comedy material.  And, what is fun for daytime does not read correctly in a sitcom.  It’s a different medium and a whole different performance.  And in sitcoms, it’s all for the joke.

MICHAEL:

Jack, you just recently returned from a personal appearance trip for The Bold and the Beautiful to the country of South Africa.  How was it meeting the fans there and being in the environment?

JACK:

Courtesy/Qwest Records

If I could go back to Jack Wagner circa 1985-1990, and the fan hysteria of General Hospital and back in those days, that is what it was like in South Africa.  I was there with Brandon Beemer (Owen) and Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy), and it was like when the Beatles landed in New York to do The Ed Sullivan Show!

MICHAEL:

Wow. When that happened to you were you like, “Oh, Cool?” Or, were you like, “Oh God… No!”

JACK:

I knew how to handle it, and for the other actors there is an adrenaline and a pump that happens, which requires you to be cool, because the fans are the ones that are getting stirred up and crazy and so the cooler you are as the artist or the actor, the easier things go.   What was great was going back to the vans and the rooms of the hotels.  Because of that experience, to have hysteria from ten thousand people all in one place, not many performers or actors will get to feel that, and these two younger actors got to feel that.  It brought me back to the days when I had hit records, and was touring around the country and on General Hospital, which was number one at the time. It brought me back to the feeling of that whole teen idol thing.  So it was really great for me to re-experience that in South Africa, and in particular, with the black people who were just so amazingly open with their feelings and available and loving.  It was not really about shaking hands and signing autographs. When we were around the staff at the hotels at the restaurants, you hug and hold people, and it’s very real.  In America and other countries, we are very guarded and jaded, and driven for success and finances, and especially when we get older with children.  I just found there in South Africa, that at any level, be it the wealthy or the poor, they were very free and expressive with their feelings.  It was a gift for me to be available and to just give back and say, “hello” and hold them.  And, as an artist to be that famous or popular to them and to give that gift, and I was very grateful.

MICHAEL:

When you look back at all the successes you have had in your career, you must have some “pinch yourself” moments where you think how cool some of your accomplishments have been.  Not many performers can say they have had success and dabbled in all forms of the entertainment medium like you have had!

JACK:

© JPI Studios

It’s really never like that, because my kids are like, “Did you get the Oreos?”  You see, I came home from South Africa and they say to me, “How was it in South Africa?”  And I go, “Pretty crazy.”  And they go, “Did you get the Oreos?”  So it kind of puts it in perspective. (Laughs) When I look back, it is kind of like defined to me this way; the 80’s were the All I Need era and General Hospital. The 90’s was going to a nighttime series like Melrose Place from daytime, which was really a big jump, and then doing like 10 movies of the week, which was another big step.  And then, for me to go to Broadway and perform in Jekyll and Hyde, is always something I will pinch myself over.  It is just thee role for an actor to get to perform live on stage.  Then to come to B&B, which is not just a domestic hit but an international hit, and experience this now back in daytime television, I have to ask myself, “How am I going to recreate myself back in daytime television and not feel as though I have gone backwards?”  I am sustaining myself here, and it is about how can I do my best.  And as I have gotten older, that is the transition for me… to be grateful for what I had, and say today, how can I do my best today?  Or, what can I bring to the table today that not only gives my best as a performer, but brings my best as a human being to other human beings?

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Doe
Guest
Doe

Love your interview, Michael. I first became aware of Jack when he was Frisco on GH. I think the scenes with Susan have been really powerful. She has been at her best.Personally, I don’t want Nick to be with Brooke. She is used goods and has to be stopped sometime. Bring on someone new and exciting, like Heather Locklear. Hah! We need a new face! I have watched Jack on the celebrity golf tournaments and enjoyed his efforts and interplay with the celebrities. It’s fun to watch. Even better his support of the Lymhoma charity. I would like to know… Read more »

mmc
Guest
mmc

oh what a great pairing…Jack and his RL gal Heather Locklear.I actually like KKL, but not for Nick either!

mmc
Guest
mmc

a handsome man and underappreciated actor.Maybe one day TPTB will let Nick find a good woman and be happy but just for a while.We can’t have Nicjk get boring!

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

I hate Nick and Aggie pairing. Actually I was one of the rare few that actually liked Nick and Bridget as a couple.

diamondgirl
Guest
diamondgirl

I love you Nick!

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

I think Brad Bell is making a big mistake by focusing on the younger actors actually I think they need to revisit the story with the baby he had with Taylor and have her be the real mother not Brooke.

red and vanessa forever
Guest
red and vanessa forever

i would love a nick and taylor reunion

mmc
Guest
mmc

I don’t like Nick and Taylor together, actually I don’t like Taylor at all anymore.i did at one time.and I can’t stand the Steffy character….I wish she’d go away and take Amber with her!

Ekaterina Gustavsson
Guest
Ekaterina Gustavsson

lIKE all av you!Have a nice time!Take a care my friends!Hope we can have yours,,B&B longng time jet!Manny hugs!

Ted
Guest
Ted

Michael, this was a great interview of a daytime legend who I’ve been an admirer of for over 25 years. You seemed to penetrate his usually guarded nature and elicit more than the stock, and cliched responses he has been known to give. Would love to hear more music from this 80’s hitmaker. I’ve heard he still performs in concert from time to time. Thank you Mr. Fairman.

Tony
Guest
Tony

Jack go back to GH……Port Charles needs Frisco!

birdie
Guest
birdie

Fantastic interview, Michael! I hope B&B finds a storyline that challenges its most dynamic and compelling character: Nick.

birdie
Guest
birdie

P.S. – LOVE all the pics too!

debbie silverman
Guest
debbie silverman

I hope they bring back Bridget. Of all the women on the show with whom Jack has worked, it is Ashley with whom he had the best chemistry. Since she left, Jack has been left hanging. He is too good for his efforts to be wasted and I don’t want him to leave the show, but he does need a love interest. Ashley and Jack are the only reason I started watching B&B and the only reason I continue to watch it as I continue to hope they bring back Ashley. Please bring back Ashley, get her on contract and… Read more »

Interviews

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

If you are watching current episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful then you know that Scott Clifton (Liam) and his on-screen father, Don Diamont (Bill Spencer) have been spending plenty of time together in scenes in very dramatic and intense fashion.

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

Photo: JPI

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

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

 

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

Photo: AfterForever

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

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

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

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

Where is your character within this?

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

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

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

Photo: AfterForever

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

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

Photo: AfterForever

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

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

Photo: AfterForever

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

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

Photo: AfterForever

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: AfterForever

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

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

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

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General Hospital

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

 

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

Photo: ABC

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

Photo: JPI

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

Photo: ABC

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

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

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

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

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