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The Jeff Giles Interview – Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of One Life to Live

Courtesy/IMDB

Courtesy/JGiles

In a time when fans are awaiting to find out the fate of the beloved One Life to Live once again, writer Jeff Giles just recently released his un-authorized history of the series in the book titled Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of One Life to Live.  The self-published book is available at Amazon.com and via a kindle.

Taking a look back through four decades of the series on ABC and its often quirky, heartbreaking, shocking, dramatic, or even at times, non-sensical storylines, Giles speaks to countless producers, former and current cast members, and behind-the-scenes crew to learn some of the untold story about what went into making the series, the backstage drama, and how the show often times struggled to find its own identity in the early days sandwiched between ABC Daytime heavy weight brands, General Hospital and All My Children.  

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Giles after reading the book ourselves, where we were stunned at some of the admissions he related that some cast members told him, and never before heard backstage tales.  So if you are a long time fan of the series, buckle up and read below at what Erika Slezak (Viki), Nathan Fillion (Ex-Joey), Hillary B. Smith (Nora), Brandon Buddy (Cole), Anthony Call (Ex-Herb), and many more had to say on a myriad of topics!  Jeff clarifies to us that his intent to write the book was to share his passion and love for the series, and give credit to the hardworking men and women who have worked tirelessly to bring Llanview to life for now 45 years.

MICHAEL:

How long did it to take you to write this oral history of One Life to Live, which seemingly contains quotes taken from many interviews with people in front of the camera, or behind the scenes, during OLTL’s ABC days?

JEFF:

Courtesy/IMDB

It took me a year and half to write it.  I think it helped by the fact that I was talking to people who were not on the show, and had not been on the show for a very long time, and did not have a stake in One Life to Live, or were even acting anymore.  The first person I spoke with was Tony Call (Ex-Herb Callison), and then I went to Marilyn Chris (Ex-Wanda Wolek), and Michael Storm (Ex-Larry Wolek).  I also spoke with Bob Woods (Bo Buchanan), who has still been part of the show, whose phone number I got from Marilyn Chris.  That was another way that it happened.  People would talk to one another and suggest other people for the book, for the most part.  Nobody seemed very concerned that it was un-authorized.

MICHAEL:

When you read the book there are some jaw-dropping moments for One Life to Live fans that they may never have heard about before.  For instance, I have not heard Erika Slezak (Viki) talk this candidly before, either.  So then people call into question the validity of the book.  What would you say to that?

JEFF:

There were people, and she was part of the group, that told me things that were off the record, and it did not make it in.  There were things people told me that did not make it into the book, actually. A lot of the conversations were even more candid then what ended up in the final book, because I didn’t want it to be a dirt-digging expedition, because that was not the point.  I did not want anyone to grind any axes in here, with the exception of Ellen Holly (Ex-Carla Hall) because I knew it was already public record, and that is why I sought out Arthur Burghardt (Ex-Dr. Jack Scott) to ask for his side of the story.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/Ebony

Speaking of people from the past, one of the more heartbreaking things in the book is kind of following the downfall of actors who were being phased out, or were just written off, after years on the show!

JEFF:

Steve Fletcher (Ex-Brad Vernon) and Michael Storm (Larry Wolek)  are a powerful example of how brutal daytime can be!  In theory, it’s an open-ended gig; the show never stops.  It’s such a weird thing for an actor to assume a character that is supposed to go on and on.  And you often don’t get to have closure; especially guys like Michael Storm.

MICHAEL:

So, why did you decide to write Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of One Life to Live?

JEFF: 

I am fascinated by the medium in general.  I think it’s loaded with possibilities that are often, for whatever reason, left untapped.  I am concerned for a number of reasons for the way it’s dwindled for the last decade in change.  When I interviewed Paul Glass (current musical director at GH), that was my in, and if it hadn’t been for his stories, and more importantly his encouragement, I don’t think I would have had the gumption to do it.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought somebody should do it, and it did not seem like anyone was going to do it.

MICHAEL:

Who shocked you the most when speaking to them?

JEFF:

Probably Joe Stuart (executive producer OLTL 1977-1983).   I was terrified to talk to him after all the stories I had heard about him.  In the book, there are a lot of stories about what a tyrant he was on set, and that he kept a punching bag in his office, and he fired people for inscrutable reasons.  Everyone lived under this terror of being called into his office.  When I talked to him he was this sweet, good-humored older man.  We had a warm conversation.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

At the very beginning of its run, OLTL was about a diverse group of families of different social and economic backgrounds.  You had the blue collar Wolek’s, the Jewish Siegels, the wealthy Lords, and an African-American family in the Halls.  It almost seemed that after Judith Light left the show in the early 80’s as Karen Wolek, the show got away from what made it originally groundbreaking, and at times it looked like it was fighting so hard for an identity.

JEFF: 

I am guessing, much like me, you saw every ten to fifteen years they would have a new little pocket of token minorities kind of bubble up for a little bit, and then fade away.

MICHAEL:

So many producers changed up One Life to Live in the early days; that if they had kept it to what it was at the beginning, it would have been a defining show in the ABC lineup instead of the least known of the ABC Daytime brand fighting for recognition between General Hospital and All My Children.

JEFF: 

You are absolutely correct!  And, I think a whole other book could be written about how everyone grossly misunderstood what Gloria Monty was doing at GH, and how deeply it affected every other show in daytime. And as far as getting away from its original identify, all OLTL had to do was go back to what they had at the beginning.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/YouTube

There was a really interesting moment in the book where Tony Call admits to a director’s note he was given on how to play the classic courtroom confession, where D.A Callison is grilling Karen and breaking her down bit by bit!  Apparently, Tony hated his performance!

JEFF:

I was fortunate to speak with him right after the OLTL Marathon on SOAPnet, shortly before they went off the air on ABC.  So his performance was fresh in my mind, and I remember thinking,” Oh, my God. This is so over the top.”   My clear memories of Herb are from the 80’s, and not that period.  And I remember him being a much more naturalistic actor.  So, I wanted to ask him about that.   He was very funny.  I really enjoyed hearing how he would go to real courtrooms and watch lawyers at work, and try to emulate what they were dong, and how ashamed he was of his own performance in this really iconic moment in the show’s history.

MICHAEL

“Solaramite and the Big 80’s” is the name of a chapter in the book, which harkens to the ridiculousness of some of the story arcs and themes at that time!

JEFF:

That storyline in particular reminds me of that weird interlude in OLTL’s history where they were kind of fumbling about, and it was mentioned in passing in the book, how Asa had a western bar and people hung out there, and they dabbled in country singing for a little bit   Bo owned a football team for awhile, and there was a period in the early 80’s where they did not know which direction they wanted to go.  But, that was an inadvertant prelude to all the stuff Paul Rauch (former OLTL executive producer (1984-1991) got up to with the Wild West, Heaven, and Eterna storylines.  I wish I had gotten more people to talk about Eterna, because that is the one that really is ridiculousness to me.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ErikaSlezak.com

I love when Erika Slezak talks about working with props like the papier-mâché looking rocks in the underground city of Eterna scenes!  She said in your book, ” So here were these two grown men, respected actors and directors, digging a hole in the studio floor to find the entrance to Eterna behind little papier-mâché rocks.”

JEFF:

I was lucky with that too, because those scenes were also on the OLTL SOAPnet marathon, and Erika was in scenes with the actor who played the Native American spirit guy called “Bright Eyes”.  My question to Erika was, “What is your approach to carry a scene like that, because it was obvious that the guy was not an actor, and you are surrounded by all of these very fake-looking props (I mean it looks fake on the TV screen.  It has to look ten times faker on the set.)  How do you sell the material?”  And that was her response, and she told me the director of that scene had to read “Bright Eye’s” lines to him one by one from off-camera as the scene was being filmed … he was that bad!

MICHAEL:

So in your book, Clint Ritchie’s (Ex-Clint Buchanan) drinking problem is discussed. Erika Slezak seemed to have a good perspective on the situation, though.

JEFF:

There was no judgment from her at all.  That story from her in the book, where he accidently throws a chair at her and she ends up stopping the scene, I left it in the book because she told it as part of the story, that the main condition for him re-signing with the show was that they needed to buy Erika a director’s chair, or he was not going to come back.  I thought that highlighted what a complex guy he was, and how complicated it was for everyone else who had a relationship with him.  Michael Storm talks about how he did not like working with Clint.  There were a couple of other people who talked about how belligerent he would get on the set, and how kind of mean he could be.  But, he was not always like that.  He was talented, and I thought Erika seemed to have a clear picture of who he was.  I never was of the opinion that he was judging him for his behavior   Linda Gottlieb (Former OLTL executive producer 1991- 1994) tells a story about showing up to the set on a Monday morning and the cast is in the middle of filming this dinner scene.  Clint showed up with bandages on his face, because he had gone out and done what they call “getting a little work done.”  She flipped out and was livid, because they had to change the storyline completely because his appearance had changed.

MICHAEL:

Out of all the producers that you discussed with former cast members, or behind the scenes personal, was there one producer who stood out as the most favorable?

JEFF:

Courtesy/ABC

No one said a bad word about Frank Valentini, and no one said a bad word about Jean Arley, either.  But everyone loved Frank Valentini, and how he earned his stripes under Paul Rauch.

MICHAEL:

In the book, there is a point where Hillary B. Smith (Nora) talked about one of the grossest moments in the shows story, involving Roscoe Born (as Mitch Laurence)?

JEFF:

She said, “She was so turned off by her own show, because she was so turned off that he was trying to rape his daughter, while spouting bible verses!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

How was Roscoe Born to talk to?  Mitch was such a heinous character, but the series always found a way to bring him back!

JEFF:

Roscoe was wonderful to talk to.  I think he is funny.  He will say things and contraindicate things – such as: he did not really care for the daytime stigma, but then talk about how it affected his career, and all the roles that it cost him, and the personal embarrassment of how people treated him because of it.  He was very open about that.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/YouTube

One of the things mentioned in the book that is fascinating is that during the closing arguments in Todd’s rape case, (that Hillary B. Smith won the Daytime Emmy for) she related to you that she overstepped her bounds and re-wrote a lot of the closing argument from the original dialog given to her, by then OLTL head writer, Michael Malone.

JEFF:

I can tell you that Michael Malone and Hillary are still friends, because it was Michael who put me in touch with Hillary. 

MICHAEL:

You also reveal how a beloved favorite, Marilyn Chris (Ex-Wanda Wolek) decided she was done with the show.  I remember watching the show back then.  All of a sudden, Marilyn was gone!

JEFF:

She did not want to do it anymore.  Marilyn was so afraid they were going to make her an offer she couldn’t refuse, so she begged them not to give her any financial figures.  She just said, “No, I can’t do it anymore.”  I think she saw the way the show was changing, and I don’t think she was really one of the actresses that had an allegiance to daytime.  I think like for a lot of other actors, it was a terrific way for her to subsidize her theatre career, and then she did not need the money anymore.  She was not working as much, and the landscape of the show had changed to such a great extent, it was easy for her to let go of the character.

MICHAEL:

Where does your book end … because right now, there is a huge cliffhanger for fans if One Life to Live will see a second season with Prospect Park?

JEFF:

It ends after the first season of the revival of One Life to Live, and interestingly enough the way that Prospect Park constructed their sets.  At ABC, the actors would come and go all day long for block/ taping schedules.  At Prospect Park’s version, the actors would have to be on set mostly all day long.   Both Erika and Hillary said it had the effect of restoring some of the theatre and repertory feeling to the company, and restored some of the comradarie they had in the old days.  I thought that was a nice way to bring it full circle.  I was really struggling to end the book on a happy note.  Since the “shelving” news came out just before I thought I was done.  So I ended it on a question mark … rather than a period.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Castle star Nathan Fillon (Ex-Joey Buchanan OLTL) also participated in the book?

JEFF:

Yes, he was wonderful.  The sense you get from him is he is a passionate defender of daytime.  He tells a great story of Bob Woods in the book where Nathan credits One Life to Live with giving him all the tools to become a successful actor, and how they gave him an acting coach.  He was green, and he picked up all these skills. Towards the end of his contract Bob Woods set him down and said, “You are going to leave.  No matter what, you are going to tell the network you are leaving at the end of your contract.  And, you are going to go to L.A. and do whatever it takes to get your career off the ground.  And if you try and you fail, you can always come back to One Life to Live.  But if you try and you stay, you are going to find yourself trapped in what Woods called, ‘Golden handcuffs’.”  It is his way of describing the soap actor’s lifestyle.  You get locked into that role for so many reasons; some of which are the steady work and money. You build a lifestyle, and you have mortgage payments to make, and you can’t get out to do other productions because you are always on the soap.  Then sometimes casting directors don’t want to see you because you have been on a soap.  For someone like Woods, it gave him a good life and lifestyle.  When Nathan Filllon told that story, and he looks around and sees everything he has, he knows he owes it to Bob Woods.

MICHAEL:

You also had a great story about Brandon Buddy coming from Texas and landing the role of Cole Thornhart.

JEFF:

I spoke with Brandon and how he got the role.  His manager told him, “You are not going to get the part, but go out to New York and have fun and treat it like a vacation.”  Brandon said he went out and tried out with all these other guys in the room, who were trying out for Cole.  After the auditions, somehow Brandon ended up ferrying all of these guys back to the hotel they were staying at.  And as he is driving them back to the hotel, they are all telling him how sure they are that they got the role!  (Laughs) Brandon seems very self-effacing and down to earth.

Courtesy/ErikaSlezak.com

MICHAEL:

The AIDS quilt storyline was one of the most emotional and remembered storylines in the history of OLTL, and so important for its time.  Roy Thinnes did a remarkable job at playing Sloan Carpenter, who dealt with coming to grips with his own son being gay, and also falling in love with Viki, and eventually dying.  But what went down behind the scenes, according to you in the book, was also intriguing!

JEFF:

Linda Gottlieb and Michael Malone lured Roy Thinnes back to play Sloan, after he played his other role on the show of Alex Crown.  He talks about how Alex was killed, and then they called and asked him to come back and he said, “My character’s dead!” Linda woo’d him back, because first he wanted to work with Erika Slezak and second, the story of the crusty old military guy who learns to accept his gay son, appealed to Roy. Unfortunately, it did not end very well.  They were playing him against Clint Ritchie, and Linda wanted to make a triangle on-screen.  Clint got hurt with a tractor accident and they had been meaning to get rid of Sloan.  But then when Clint got hurt they knew they needed to keep him around, and so they signed him to another deal.  And then when Clint got better, they decided to get rid of him.  And Peter Miner (Director, OLTL) said in the book, Roy was miserable because they would not tell him what Sloan was dying of, and he had no idea what was happening.

MICHAEL:

As someone who watched the show for a big chunk of time, went away from it and then came back to it years later, what are your favorite storylines or characters of all-time?

JEFF:

Photo Credit: ABC/Getty Images

When those three characters; Todd, John and Starr went over to General Hospital after One Life to Live ended on ABC, I was excited about the idea of it, as I wanted to see the characters continue, but seeing them in a different context really drove home for me that my fondness for OLTL was never really about any particular character, or couple. For me, it was the sum total, and all of those characters in that place of Llanview. And part of what was so gratifying about me coming back to One Life to Live after not watching it for so long was that sense of place.  I mean, obviously, it wasn’t completely the same, but a lot of it was. That felt good.

MICHAEL:

When you watched the final two episodes of One Life to Live on ABC, and the sheer brilliance of the writing, production and acting, what was the most moving moment for you as a long time fan of the show?

JEFF:

The really moving moment for me was in the final episode when Bob Woods turned to Hillary B. Smith and said, “I love you, Red.”   He said it in such a way that you could tell that he meant it.  He was in tears, and I told him how much I loved that scene.  There are a few moments from the last few years of the show on ABC that also were so emotional impactful to me, and one of those was when Viki and Jessica (Bree Williamson) are together and Jessica remembers that her baby died.  Instead of going over the top like a soap might, it was so quiet.  They just held each other.

Courtesy/JeffGiles

MICHAEL:

What is the picture on the cover of your book supposed to be?  Fans have been inquiring!

JEFF:

Well, I knew I couldn’t use any logo, or any still from the series, so I had to improvise. So I went to a stock photo company, and used a picture from the Philadelphia Town Hall, because it reminded me a bit of the opening credits of OLTL from the 80’s.

MICHAEL:

When, or how were your interviews with Erika Slezak (Viki) conducted?  Why do you think she wanted to talk with you about all things OLTL?

JEFF:

There were two interviews with Erika, actually.  She called me, and we talked for a while, and she invited me out to her place in Vermont.  And, we spent an afternoon doing follow-up stuff.  It was wonderful.  Erika made me quiche!  It was surreal.  I think the other thing people might want to take away from this, is often soap actors don’t have a chance to talk about the craft of acting in the context of daytime.  There is an incredibly unique thing they do of inhabiting one character for gross quantities of time, and using the character to traverse these insane emotional landscapes.  I think she was maybe glad for the opportunity to talk about all of this stuff.

MICHAEL:

What is that you want fans to takeaway from your book?  Was this a project done out of love for OLTL?

JEFF:

Courtesy/ABC

Yes, this was a project of love, and that is all it is.  I tried to write in such a way that even if you did not see the show, it’s still an interesting read.  I never really understood how deeply the odds were stacked against the people that worked on the show, from the actors, to the writers, to the producers.  They were always barely on the edge of the whole damn thing falling apart.  I think that is what carries through in the book, that as much as people may want to make fun of, or laugh at soaps, there is a lot of profound emotional drama that comes out of those shows.  It’s the only type of drama you can get out of a long form narrative, and that is on a soap opera.  The fact that it works as often as it does is a real testament to the skill, and the craft, and the dedication, and the effort that went in to those shows.

 

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Sean
Sean

Thank you for this interview. I got the book on my kindle as soon as it came out and now i’m in the process of rereading it. A book like this takes a few readings to get everything to sink in…it’s so great! a Must-have for all OLTL fans!

louisa
louisa

Thank you for the interview! Fascinating. Reading the book now.

Eric Henwood-Greer
Eric Henwood-Greer

This is a must own book for ANY soap fans, even if they never watched OLTL. *Finally* truly candid remarks, and the whole he said/she said format helps let the viewer make their own mind up about what happened. Especially thrilling to hear so many stories of the early years of the show–there’s always been so much mis-information (ie just how involved was Agnes during the 70s? Again, from a few different comments you’ll have to decide for yourself.)

I bought the Kindle edition when it first came out–even though I have no Kindle (I used the free computer Kindle reader) but a few pages in, knew I wanted it to be kept with the few favorite soap books I have (Schemering’s 1980s Soap Encyclopedia, Dan Wakefield’s All Her Children) so finally bought the on-demand print edition. Can’t recommend it enough–it has gossip about actors, insight about the struggled of putting on the show, details on storylines and writers… Just brilliant. I wish other soaps had a book like this.

Daniel
Daniel

Thanks for letting us know about this book a while back. It is fascinating – I can’t put it down! Brings back lots of memories of beloved actors and storylines.

Fran
Fran

I am half way done with the book it was written well not a tell all vibe , Ms holly seems to have issues. It would be nice if Erika would write a book about OLTL / her life she a classy lady and would not scandalize thing s, but I read somewhere that she wouldn’t write a book , but she did say she wouldn’t be on twitter their and she is on twitter , she tweets sometimes . so maybe u should ask her michael.

Patricio
Patricio

Hi Fran –

I have been hoping Erika Slezak writes a biography that would have OLTL at its center . It would b a fascinating read for any soap fan as her view of over 40 years on the sam show would be a unique and thoughtful read.

mgb357
mgb357

Thanks for writing this book. Hope to pick it up soon.
Will read it every day at 2:00pm, turning off the tv.
Maybe PP will see the sales and realize what they are missing out on.

Alan
Alan

Ordered this book the day Michael posted about it and couldn’t put it down. Well worth the money and a must have for OLTL fans.

Iakovos
Iakovos

This books is a delight and so entertaining and written with meaning. I ordered the Kindle edition as soon as I heard of the project. I am greatly enjoying it. Grew up with OLTL and hung on through all the shifts. The original premise of living in a diverse community with its class and economic struggles is the golden age for me. Loved it then.

dawnhaze
dawnhaze

Thanks Jeff. One Life to Live is my favorite soap and I enjoyed the excerpt above and mention of all the past characters. I didn’t know about your book until I read it in the interview but I immediate went to buy it. I know I will enjoy it since it is about characters that filled an hour of my day for so many years. I surely hope PP puts OLTL back on soon. I just hope it is soon. Thanks again for the book Jeff and to Michael for telling us about it.

jaybird369
jaybird369

Hmmm…I wonder…I wonder if Jeff Giles’s, um, book includes the following tidbits:
1. When Linda Gottlieb was OLTL’s executive producer in the early 90’s, Phil Carey tried (more than once) to undermine her authority. At one time, he even tried to get her fired.
2. Basically EVERYONE on the OLTL set HATED working with Barbara Luna because she was too difficult and demanding to work with. Clint Ritchie ESPECIALLY hated working with her.
3. BOTH Joe Stuart and ESPECIALLY Paul Rauch treated Ellen Holly like dirt.
4. Paul Rauch VERY CRUELLY fired BOTH Ellen Holly and Lillian Hayman will little or no explanation.
5. James DePaiva (when he was married to that Hee Haw chick Misty Rowe) kept bringing his marital drama to the OLTL set. Constantly.
In short…D-A-M-N!!!!!

dmr
dmr

I loved the courtroom scenes from when Judith Light confessed that her character Karen was a prostitute. I was too young to watch when these scenes first aired; but, I have seen them since in reruns; and what fantastic scenes! That’s what I miss about daytime, cliff-hanger Fridays, great, diverse storylines, like when Tad was sleeping with Marion and Liza on AMC, Erica was having an affair with Travis’ brother, Jack on AMC, old-style Luke and Laura on GH, the adventures of the WSB on GH and all of the 80’s icons, dramatic heat from Sonny and Brenda on GH, etc. Now, it’s a lot of recurring actors with hardly any talent (newbies on GH) or attempting to resurrect a character (OLTL characters on GH). I watch daytime for drama and romance! It’s an escape for me!

Charles E.
Charles E.

Does the book mention ANYTHING on Jacqueline Courtney and George Reinholt? I wonder if it touches on her affair with Joseph Stuart or how Robert S. Woods wasn’t that thrilled with her. Also, from what erika has had to say about Clint Ritchie, it seems that he was VERY much like George Reinhol, an emotionally tortured person who ALSO threw a chair on the set (that was during his “Another World” days- he threw it at AW director Ira Cirker in rage over Pete Lemay’s scripts- it’s been said that this particular incident led to his 1975 AW firing). OLTL picking up those two was a turning point in the show’s history, and then George made the now-ludicrous decision to leave the show only after two years! Was George Reinholt interviewed?

jaybird369
jaybird369

Charles…honestly, I forgot about Jacqueline Courtney. Dude…that DOES NOT surprise me at all that she had an affair with Joe Stuart. I once read somewhere that (when she was alive) Jacqueline had affairs with SEVERAL soap opera executives over the years. And, Jacqueline was downright MEAN AS HELL to other soap opera actresses and MOST soap opera actors TRULY HATED working with her because of her snobby, demanding and diva-like ways. Most of all, I wonder if Jeff Giles interviewed Jacqueline’s daughter for his book? Supposedly, Jacqueline’s daughter knows ALL of Jacqueline’s deep, dark secrets. Every last one of ’em!!!!!

Charles…take care, dude. Peace.

Avatar610
Avatar610

Well, I do know that for her last P&G contract on AW in the mid 70s she demanded her own dressing room with a toilet- and she got her wish!! This reminds me of how Joan Crawford had her own private toilet in her dressing room at MGM in the 30s, a fact that impressed Greta Garbo during the filming of “Grand Hotel”. George and Jacquie were very seemingly exclusive members of their own club on the AW set, so to speak, and apparently openly critized the work of fellow performers- just one reason why the rest of the cast didn’t mind saying goodbye to both actors when they were fired. Just before Paul Rauch came to produce OLTL, Jacquie’s contract wasn’t renewed, and according to her she was to be Dorian’s rival for David Renaldi’s affections instead of Jenny Wolek Siegel Vernon Janssen. Obviously ABC didn’t want a repeat of the Rauch vs. Courtney war from the 70s at AW- they valued Paul Rauch more than one of their biggest stars!

jaybird369
jaybird369

Avatar, check this out…back in the day, when she was on both Another World and (especially) One Life To Live, Jacqueline Courtney (over the years) did SEVERAL interviews. Interviews openly criticizing and OPENLY BASHING fellow co-stars from AW and OLTL, writers, producers, directors, crew members, etc.. One time, she even did an interview bashing BOTH NBC and (especially) ABC (aka the networks). Well, eventually, Jacqueline was pretty much forced into retirement because NO ONE in the soap opera community wanted to work with her anymore and (after a while) basically EVERYONE got tired of dealing with her. Period.

Take care, Avatar. Peace.

jaybird369
jaybird369

Avatar…check out these, um, other tidbits about Jacqueline Courtney:
1. When she was on BOTH AW and OLTL, Jacqueline used to annoy and irritate directors with her so-called and “helpful” suggestions. One day, it all reached a boiling point when a now former OLTL directer had enough and TOTALLY WENT OFF on her…including dropping the F-bomb SEVERAL TIMES in front of SEVERAL people on the OLTL set.
2. One time, on the AW set, Jacqueline VERY RUDELY walked into and interrupted a private meeting between some of the AW writers.
3. After a while, cast members from BOTH AW and OLTL had enough of Jacqueline’s snobby, insufferable and diva-like ways and each told producers of BOTH shows POINT-BLANK, “It’s EITHER her or us!!!!!”

Bottom Line: Over the years, Jacqueline Courtney burned A LOT of soap opera bridges with her unreasonable, demanding and awful behavior. STUPID WOMAN!!!!!

Fran
Fran

just finished book great book . thanks .. someone needs to write A tell all book about OLTL the above comments sound juicy . Hey this sound like a drama within a daytime drama I would buy that book in a minute too.

jaybird369
jaybird369

That does not surprise me (at all) that Michael Storm did not like working with Clint Ritchie. Back in the day, on the OLTL set, ONLY Erika Slezak, Robert S. Woods and the late Phil Carey enjoyed working with CR. That was because all 3 of them knew how to deal with him and knew how to keep him in line. As for the rest of the OLTL cast (overall), they all either “cheerfully” tolerated working with CR or they flat-out HATED working with him. Period.

Kat Hilderbrand
Kat Hilderbrand

This is a must-read for any OLTL fan. I read it once and am reading it through again. The stories for behind the scenes of 4 decades are so interesting for the fan to read. It is fantastic that Jeff Giles tracked down so many different people from the show for this book. Bravo!

Days Of Our Lives

NATAS President, Adam Sharp Talks On Daytime Emmy Review Findings & Plans For Change To Competition Process

In the aftermath of the letter that was sent to NATAS from daytime drama executives and producers demanding immediate change to the Daytime Emmys contest procedures, guidelines, or they would boycott participating in the upcoming 46th Annual competition, earlier today NATAS and its new president, Adam Sharp, released the findings of an independent investigation into the allegations levied against the academy and its annual competition.

After the full findings came to light , seemed to address most of the concerns raised by the four network soaps, Michael Fairman TV spoke with Adam Sharp to dive into what the reports means for change and evolution of the Daytime Emmys, and if it can resolve the issues so that General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Days of our Lives will come to the table and participate in the only kudofest honoring excellence in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes for daytime programming,

Here’s what Adam had to say about the key points addressed in our conversation below.

Transparency was a key issue noted by the soap producers in their concerns levied against NATAS.   One of the points centered around if NATAS had prior knowledge of the winners before the opening of the envelopes at the ceremony and the integrity of the contest.  What can you detail what the investigation found?

ADAM:  On the matter of whether anyone had prior knowledge to the winners, the reports clearly state that there is no evidence to support that. To the concern raised on the arm’s length distance necessary between us and the accountants we use to tally the votes, again there is no evidence to suggest that there was anything short of what you would expect of the standards of the competition. What it did find was that there were processes that either by virtue of generosity and us trying to be helpful when they asked, or by a lack of documentation to make people aware of policies and procedures, that created the appearance of unfairness, or unbalance in the process that may have been completely unintentional.  For example, the report noted that we did not have a published procedure for appealing decisions or filing any concerns or complains.  Some of this started because of one entrant in a digital category that raised concerns, and it was certainly elevated when the four soaps sent their letter, but without a published procedure, you’re really putting the onus on the entrants to know who to call and how to bring their concern.  So, that creates a system where there’s an imbalance because someone who doesn’t know who to call, doesn’t get the same hearing.  Likewise, if someone has made a mistake or technical error in their entry, and they happen to have entered the process early, and we catch it, we, in the past, have gone back to people and said, “Hey, I don’t think you intended to do this.  Would you like to resubmit?”  But if someone is entering at 11:59:59 on deadline night, they won’t necessarily have that.  Again, completely unintentional, but it could be argued that it created an imbalance or bias in the process, and the report made that clear.  For those types of things, we are going to crack down and be more consistent about our policies.  I told Brent and David that it’s going to mean saying no a lot more often in terms of giving waivers and extensions, and the types of things that we have done in the past to help people along. It is going to mean being more transparent and public about what our policies and procedures are so that every entrant has the equal set of knowledge to work from.

Courtesy/NATAS

Does this mean a demotion for David Michaels, Senior VP Daytime Emmy Awards?

ADAM:  Absolutely not.  That’s something that I want to put a very strong pin in right here.  David led the 2018 Daytime Emmys to record participation and a growing audience.  This new resourcing of the team allows him to be more singularly focused on doubling down on that success for 2019.  The Daytime Emmys are the only entertainment award show to have posted year-over-year audience growth from 2017 to 2018, and more than 30% increase in the number of entries.  The report rightly noticed that we did not do enough administratively to scale to that growth and to bring the resources to manage that added audience, and that added interest from competitors.  So, now we are going to make sure that David and Brent Stanton (Executive Director, Daytime Emmy Awards) each have the support and focus they need to be successful.

When the letter from various soap producers pointed out a “conflict of interest” for having the executive producer of the Daytime Emmys ceremony also be the awards administrator, many were wondering how that would shake out, or how NATAS planned to deal with this complaint.

ADAM:  Obviously, “conflict of interest” is a legal term of course, but I think that what the reports found was that it was not a conflict of interest.  It was a conflict of time, and many of the more specific errors that were raised in the report, as I said to David, occurred in the 25th hour of the day.  So, that is where it was really a resourcing problem, and a lack of procedure and policy problem.  The lack of resourcing created the environment for something to go wrong, and the lack of policy and procedure created an ad hoc nature for how we address those problems and made that ad hoc response open to questions because there was no prior documentation that this was how these things should be handled.  So, hopefully we have addressed each of these areas going into 2019, and that gives us a chance at a fresh start with the community.

 

Courtesy/NATAS

In response to the internal investigation findings, you mentioned you would bring additional resources to the Daytime Emmys, additional help in the operations, and you would add a “second pair of eyes”.  Would you potentially let people know who is in those positions that would be working with David Michaels and Brent Stanton?

ADAM:  Yes, so we are absolutely at a minimum committed to adding one full time position, and a handful of part time positions for that initial vetting process of the competition; that review of entries to make sure they meet the technical requirements, rules, and guidelines of their categories.  Now, in the past, there would be one individual, one set of eyes conducting that review, but now, we are modifying our policies such that before any adverse decision is made, such as disqualifying an entry, a second pair of eyes review it and give their independent assessment of the technical criteria and qualifications of the entry, so that there can be more confidence that multiple perspectives were employed before making any decision that could have an adverse effect on an entry.

Could a daytime drama actor participate and submit their work on n their own without the show being a part of it, if let’s say, the soaps won’t participate as a whole? And on that note, what would be the plans moving forward for the Daytime Emmys if the soaps decide not to participate in the competition?

ADAM:  If an actor or actress wishes to enter on their own with their soap still not participating: our rules permit anyone to enter independent of their program.  So, there is not a requirement that a show participate for an individual performer on that show to participate.  That said, they need to have the actual material to submit, and certainly a performer on that show is not necessarily the owner of that show and the owner of that content.  So, the question of whether they would have the necessary access to and rights to the video material to submit, that would be a question to the show producers as to what they would allow of that. In terms of the Daytime Emmy ceremonies moving forward without the soaps, the old saying goes, ‘the show must go on,’ and hopefully, it won’t come to that.  We have had constructive conversations with each of the broadcast soaps and believe our response and support goes a long way to addressing their concerns.  So, we are looking forward to having them.  Of course, they have a number of colleagues in digital drama, children’s programming, gameshows, and the rest of daytime television that we still expect to have a robust program at the 46th Annual Daytime Emmys in May of 2019.

You had mentioned that when you saw the results of the report that you felt it was very thorough, and you felt it pointed out things that needed to be fixed.

ADAM:  Yes, the report was exceedingly thorough and fair.  It delivered criticism where criticism was due, and there were a number of areas where we should have and must do better in the management of the Daytime Emmys and our other awards competitions.  I think the report certainly examined every issue that had been raised by members of the Daytime community and then some.  It allowed us to think about what actions we can take as a team to address each of those points.  I don’t think any awards show in our space has ever undertaken such an in-depth introspection of their procedures, yet alone made it public.  So, hopefully we are a trend-setter here.

The report indicates that NATAS will work more closely with the Television Academy (ATAS).  That seems to always be a point of contention.  How do you see yourself improving participation with them to engage that academy in more of the process?

ADAM:  So, the relationship between the two academies has strengthened incredibly in the past year, largely through the leadership of our respective chairman, Terry O’Reilly, the chairman of NATAS, who was elected earlier this summer and Hayma Washington at the Television Academy.  Obviously, they are going to have a new election soon as Hayma is retiring from the role.  So, we can continue that momentum into 2019.  What we note in our response to the report, was that one element of concern raised in the letter from the four soap producers was the mix of Television Academy members on our judging panels, and we want to be responsive to that.  We are prepared to make Television Academy membership a much higher priority in our consideration of judges for these panels, but obviously accessing that membership and engaging that membership requires a deeper partnership with the Television Academy, and we will see to that.

You are starting the call for entries on Monday, November 12th.  If the daytime dramas don’t participate within the timeframe you’ve given, do you see yourself adjusting the timeframe for the soaps if they were to say, “We want to work somethings out before we commit,” or are you just going to move forward if they are not participating in the deadlines you’ve set?

ADAM:  Our deadlines are going to be rather firm for all entrants.  We have a show date set for May and a process that moves backward from there in terms of the time that is needed.  Certainly, the fact that we have added additional review steps and procedures makes that timeline even more critical.  So, we are not going to be in a position to be extending extensions really to anyone.  In fact, the report specifically discourages granting extensions to anyone because that could create the appearance of unfairness that some types of entries get more time than other types of entries.  We welcome everyone, and if by the entry deadline there are particular genres, programs, or individuals that choose not to participate, we will miss them, hope they attend the show in May, and hope we can reengage them for 2020.

If the soaps did not participate in the 46th annual Daytime Emmys, but decided to come back later, it is my understanding that there would just be one drama category whereby web series and daytime soaps would be competing together in that.  Is that potentially what could happen?

ADAM:  I don’t want to go too many branches down off a tree of ‘what if’s,’ but our policies and guidelines do allow that if a category does not have a sufficient number of participants to be competitive, then that category can be eliminated or merged with another category or have its entries moved into another category for the competition.  So, we will look at all of the categories once we have the entries to see which ones remain viable and which ones do not.  Certainly, the fact that we do have digital drama categories gives us a place to contribute to have a drama competition regardless of what mix of entries we have.  I suspect that once you combine those, it becomes very difficult to uncombine them in the future, but obviously the call to entries is revisited every year, so, I can’t think of any long-term prognostications beyond 2019.

Since you are relatively new to your position with NATAS, you probably weren’t expecting that the producers that signed the letter demanding that change and issues be addressed in regard to the Daytime Emmys or they would boycott, would be something you would be dealing with off the bat.  How did you feel about it?

ADAM:  Well, I’m obviously rather new to the role.  My first day as interim president was the day after the Daytime Emmy show this year.  I was only named the permanent president last week.  It was certainly a trial by fire.  I would not say that I had enough history with the daytime drama community to have any expectation one way or another, and I think that is also true of our chairman, Terry O’Reilly, who came into office on July 1st.  That said, in a world of looking for silver linings, I think it gave us an opportunity for a blank slate and a fresh start.  By the community raising these concerns to our attention, and allowing us to conduct this deep review and make it public and be responsive to the issues they raised, it gives us a lot more opportunity to strengthen that relationship in 2019 than if a lot of these concerns had just continued to deteriorate and be whispered about at various cocktail parties, but never really spoken up and therefore, never really addressed.  So, while it was a painful process and there were parts of this report that were difficult to read, I think it gave us the opportunity to start from scratch and to put some of that history behind us.

So, do you think NATAS has addressed the concerns of the daytime dramas? What did you think of the points raised by Adam Sharp in this interview? Do you hope the Emmys will continue as usual with all four network soaps participating? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Interviews

Eileen Davidson Farewell Y&R Interview: From Her Exit Storyline, To Her Co-Stars, And Her Decision To Leave

In a candid and heartfelt conversation, The Young and the Restless exiting Daytime Emmy-winning star, Eileen Davidson sat down with Michael Fairman to discuss her decision to exit the series after playing Ashley Abbott on and off since 1982.

Eileen’s final episodes are now airing on the CBS daytime drama series.  Just how will it end for Ashley?  How will she leave the canvas?  How sad will be her goodbyes?  Y&R fans are counting down now to just a few more airshows that feature Eileen.

During this interview for the Michael Fairman Channel, Eileen clarified many points that the audience has wanted to know about or come to understand, in particular, what led to her making the decision to call it quits, and would she ever return and how would she feel if the series recast her role.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

In regard to what went into her decision to depart Genoa City, Eileen expressed: “It’s something I gave a lot of thought to.  Not something you can just go, ‘Gee, this week I want to leave!’  I was really thinking about it for over a year ago.  I talked it over with my husband and he was very supported of me.  My son is in high school and my stepson had left the nest and it had gone by so quickly.  I was like, ‘Wait! What happened?’  I was spending a lot of time in my car commuting; like two hours a day, and a lot of time in my dressing room, because our days are longer here than they used to be, and a myriad of reasons went into it.  It was not just one simple thing.  It was actually a whole bunch of reasons.  Even though I won the Emmy (Eileen won Lead Actress back in April of this year) I had pretty much decided long before then.  (Winning the Emmy) That was like “Oh, my God!”  That actually made me feel my timing was really right … I get this incredible nod right before I’m leaving.”

The emotional part of leaving the place she has called her home away from home for Davidson is saying goodbye to her beloved co-stars including; her on-screen big brother, Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott).  As Y&R viewers know, over the years Jack and Ashley’s relationship, and Bergman and Davidson, have shared plenty of screen-time together.  Eileen also gives a very special thanks to the fans who have supported her through the years and who have followed Ashley’s journey.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Davidson expressed on her final storyline revolving the “Blood Abbott” clause and how it all ties up, “It’s such a great way to go.  It’s so awesome how this whole thing comes up, and you realize how being an Abbott has affected her to her core.”

Now below watch Eileen’s farewell interview filled with clips from her performances and time on Y&R, and more heartfelt topics of conversation.

Then in the comment section below; tell us what you have thought of Ashley’s exit storyline?  What do you hope happens for Ashley? What was your favorite part of this interview and the sentiments shared by Eileen?  

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General Hospital

Genie Francis Talks On Her Return To GH, Fans Outcry Of Support & Her All-Time Favorite Storylines

On Tuesday, Genie Francis participated in a Satellite Media Tour with television stations and press outlets around the U.S. chatting it up on her return to her iconic role of Laura on ABC’s General Hospital.

Francis, who quickly wrapped-up her run after she was taken off-contract with the show back in January of this year, saw her and Laura exit Port Charles swiftly in a story-move that felt stilted to the audience.

Courtesy/ABC

After a huge outpouring of support on social media, GH fans cried foul on the play and wanted one of the series mainstays of all-time back where she belonged.

Francis elaborate it on that in our interview on seeing the show of support: “I couldn’t believe how long it went on and how big it was.  I think part of that was it looked like they were finally giving me a story with the major storyline, and then they yanked it so quickly, and I think people felt cheated.”

GH listened and brought Genie back to the canvas with a new storyline that puts her front and center on the series, as Laura is unaware that her husband Kevin (Jon Lindstrom) is locked up in Ferncliff, while his evil twin Ryan (Jon Lindstrom) has taken his place. Now Laura is reeling from the strange behaviors being exhibited by her “husband”. Will she figure it out in time? Will she run for mayor again?

Photo Credit: ABC

During her conversation with Michael Fairman TV and the Michael Fairman Channel, Genie touched on what she knew was going to be happening for Laura when she came to the show: “I knew we were going to start with the Ryan beat, which I thought was great. Everyone loves a good sociopath (laughs) and Jon (Lindstrom) is a wonderful actor.  It makes for an exciting story!”

Genie goes on to say that she is: “Just happy to have story, because it’s awfully boring to just be hanging around. I don’t want to be window-dressing. If it came to that, I think I might just leave.”

As to if Laura has a vendetta against Valentin (James Patrick Stuart) who for all intent and purposes murdered her son, Nikolas, Genie weighed-in: “She absolutely has a vendetta. I think right now, Laura who has the biggest heart and is kind of like the heroine of the show in many ways –  but this is the one person on the planet who she truly hates, and it would be interesting if she had to go through the exercise of forgiving him, but I also like that there is that one place where we can see all of that negativity and evil come out. I like that Laura has a dark side.  I really like that.”

Courtesy/ABC

To find out some of Genie’s all-time favorite storylines and least favorite storylines and more on her return watch the video below and make sure to subscribe to The Michael Fairman Channel for more upcoming interviews.

What do you think about Genie’s return to GH thus far and the sentiments shared in this interview? Comment below.

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Video du Jour

GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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Beth Maitland as Traci

The Young and the Restless

Airdates: 10-24-26-2018

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