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The Jennifer Pepperman Interview – One Life to Live

Courtesy/T"OLN

Courtesy/TOLN

She was one of the most beloved directors, when you ask any cast members of As the World Turns that had the opportunity to work with her during its run on CBS, and the same goes for her time as a coordinating producer, and a director on the original ABC version of One Life to Live   But now in 2013, Jennifer Pepperman is the executive producer of Prospect Park’s and The Online Network’s, One Life to Live!  Pepperman had the task, and the honors, of taking the iconic soap and help move it into its new frontier in the digital age.  She brings with her a deep understanding and command of the soap genre, an understanding how to work with actors and get the most from them, and how to produce a show under what has certainly not been the easiest of times for the new One Life to Live.

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Jennifer in this exclusive interview to get her thoughts on: all the concerns from the fans of the series on a myriad of topics, the latest developments in the change of number of episodes for the season, the revised viewing schedule, the head writing changes, the new cast additions, and much more.  Pepperman has had the task to remount the new Llanview minus the popular heart and soul characters of John McBain (Michael Easton) and Starr Manning (Kristen Alderson), but got the opportunity to be able to bring to the fans the one-two power punch duo of Trevor St. John and Roger Howarth (as battling brothers Victor Jr. and Todd) for the first few weeks of episodes, and for Roger much longer, as he is still airing in more episodes to come.

One thing we can tell you from seeing this gal at work; she is tireless, fearless, and has earned the respect from the One Life to Live family, and all those around here.  Her dedication to deliver the best product she can is still something she strives to do each and every day.  But as fans are trying to do, so too is Jen, rolling with the punches as One Life tries to find its groove during transitional times that hopefully will improve the experience for the audience who fought so hard, along with Prospect Park, to bring the shows back to life.  Here’s our candid chat with Jennifer!

MICHAEL:

As the executive producer of One Life to Live, how do you feel about the cut back in episodes, and the posting of two new episodes a week as opposed to four?  How do you feel it will help the overall production vision and longevity for the show?

JENNIFER:

Courtesy/TOLN

One of the things I am excited about in having less shows air per week is it allows us in production to slow down a little bit.  I think one of the things that has been very challenging in this medium is that not only do you have to produce such amounts so quickly, but you have to write so quickly.  And, in some times in writing so quickly, you hope you don’t do this, but maybe you missed a moment, or a character could have had more intense reaction, and you glossed over that.  So for us, we are going back over with a fine tooth comb these stories trying to make sure that it’s character-driven, and exciting. For me, it slows it down a little bit and allows for better focus. We really try to tell the best stories possible. The reduction in episodes allows us more time in the studio, and more time in post-production, and it really allows us to make this the best that it can be.

MICHAEL:

When you initially heard the news that they were cutting back to posting two new episodes a week, as someone who has been in the trenches, what did you think?  How were the OLTL actors with the news?

JENNIFER:

Courtesy/TOLN

The One Life cast and production unit is really bonded and tight-knit.  This is the analogy I made right away: a couple of years ago there was a show on HBO called In Treatment.  I am a huge Gabriel Byrne fan.  So when In Treatment was coming on, it was going to be on a half hour every day.  He is psychiatrist who follows the same patient every day and then on Friday there is him with his therapist.  So I was like, “Wow! It’s so cool to watch something every day that is just a half hour.  Oh, I can watch it with my husband because he loves Gabriel Byrne, too!”  But you know what happened?  We didn’t watch!  It was too much sitting down time, and committing to that sort of time.  Something would always happen.  Then, we would DVR it, and then we would back it up, and then we did not end up watching it.  So translated to the situation with One Life it was like, “Wow, from my own personal experience from In Treatment, this is going to be a good thing. This is going to allow us to slow down and make things better.”  I will say the One Life cast has so much faith in Prospect Park’s Jeff Kwatinetz, and Rich Frank.  I’ve got to tell you one thing that Jeff is really brilliant at, and it is reading data, and accessing a situation, and making a decision which can sometimes turn out to be a cutting-edge decision.  Jeff has great impulses.  We are all so committed and so behind him that we are so thankful that the shows are back.  Look, change is scary, and even when change is for the best possible reason, personally, sometimes I find you can be sort of melancholy when something is changing, but change is good and positive.  I just feel like it really is going to come together.  We started from the ground up as everyone knows.  There is going to be some bumps and bruises along the way.

MICHAEL:

There has been several fans on Twitter relating that they are afraid to invest in One Life to Live again, because they are afraid the show will get cancelled, or cease production !  What can you say to calm their fears?

JENNIFER:

Courtesy/TOLN

With the work we are doing now, that just does not seem feasible to me.  There are too many people that are too excited about this.  I mean, my God, we are already talking about season two.  I will say that in terms of primetime dramas, there were so many new primetime dramas that did not get picked up at all.  We also have that in the back of our minds, and people are aware of that, and we don’t want that to happen.  That is why we are trying to go day by day, and week by week, and take in everything and listen to the fans!   I’ve got to tell you, when fans express something that they don’t like, I want to hear that so we can take that in and address that.  In any type of business, if you can allow yourselves to be open, aware, listen, and adapt, you can really make great strides.

MICHAEL:

What was it like having both Trevor St John on the show reprising the role of Victor Jr., and Roger Howarth as Todd Manning at the same time?  Will the story continue for Victor Jr., where you hope to bring Trevor back?

JENNIFER:

I would say right away I would love Trevor to come back.  He is so talented!  I think he had a really great time.  I wish we had him for more episodes.  But we are figuring and factoring ways now that we can have Trevor back.  Having him and Roger Howarth together was amazing.  Roger is one of the most amazing actors out there.  No matter what he is doing, you cannot take your eyes off of him.  He is Todd!

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: David Russell/TOLN

When you went into production, did you even know if, or for how long, you were going to have Roger and Trevor?  Did you have to figure out how you could best utilize them with the amount of time they were able to spend at One Life?

JENNIFER:

We had to start writing the show before we knew we had Trevor or Roger!  When we figured out how much time we had Trevor for, which was only for that week, we then had to try to get him in ten episodes and try to get him a short-term story.  Then we were working with Roger, figuring him in for about 40 episodes.  So we then had to try to figure that all out, too.

MICHAEL:

Is it odd for you seeing Roger Howarth on General Hospital in his new incarnation as Franco?

JENNIFER:

In all honesty, I have been so busy I have not seen all of his new GH episodes.  I turned on the first episode when he was back when he was on the airplane.  Look, I love GH’s executive producer and head writer, Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati, but to me Roger is Todd.  Todd is really important to One Life to Live.  I worked with Roger on As the World Turns, and he is amazing!  He will be amazing, always.  Roger always finds a way to make stuff work and make it fresh and funny.

MICHAEL:

Do you as the EP feel like a chunk of One Life to Live was wiped away without being able to have John McBain, Starr Manning, and continually Todd Manning on the canvas as played by Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson and Roger?  You certainly had a disadvantage to overcome when launching the revival of OLTL.

JENNIFER:

Photo Credit: ABC/Getty Images

Jeff and I were on the same page with this. We wanted the shows General Hospital and One Life to Live to be really bonded.  We wanted to do crossovers.  I will say some of the people at ABC were dead set against that, and they had said they don’t like crossovers and it never works.  But to me as a fan, and someone who was a huge soap fan growing up my entirely life, I love crossover stories!  To me, it was my hope that the shows could be bonded, and be like sister shows and really help each other, and share those characters. Having Starr, John McBain, and Todd, was important.  We wanted the characters and the actors to come to One Life, one at a time… have Michael Easton (Ex-John) for a chunk of time, have Kristen (Ex-Starr) for a chunk of time, and Roger for a chunk of time.  We would have sent the character of Natalie (Melissa Archer) to GH, as well!  I don’t know all the nitty gritty behind it, but to me it was an amazing opportunity, especially for the fans.  My hope was to work together for the fans and for the actors.

MICHAEL:

Just the other week, new writers were announced for both One Life to Live and All My Children.  For One Life, Jessica Klein and Marin Gazzaniga are taking over the head writing duties.  Fans have been concerned that some on the writing staff have never written for a soap before, while some have.  What would you say to that?

JENNIFER:

Courtesy/TOLN

They were both at As the World Turns at different times.  Marin was slated to write for One Life to Live before it was canceled.  She has done ABC’s Writer Development Program, and she was trailing and shadowing and getting to know the characters the last year.  I cannot say enough great things about these two women.  Jessica was the executive producer of the first Beverly Hills 90210.  She worked very closely with Aaron Spelling and she really has great storyline ability.  Marin is all about the cast of characters, and telling grounded character-driven story, and making sure we don’t miss important character moments, and people acting out of character.  So to me, that combination is going to be a winning one.

MICHAEL:

What happened with former One Life co-head writers Thom Racina and Susie Bedsow Horgan?   I know Susie departed early on. 

JENNIFER:

Thom and Susie were great.  They contributed greatly to the show.  They were super hard workers.  We felt in a way that we were going to be telling story differently, and a little bit deeper.  Susie left us for some personal reasons early on, and said she needed a break from the pace we were working at.  Thom was incredibly important to the show.  He is a smart and talented guy, but some of Thom and Susie’s sensibilities are a bit more old school.  We are trying to tell stories in a bit different way.  That is why we decided to make this change.  We feel very positive about it.

MICHAEL:

So some fan feedback has been that the writers you have hired skew to writing for young characters, since they have written for younger demographic primetime soap shows.  So, what does that mean for the veteran characters?

Courtesy/TOLN

JENNIFER:

Demographically, our writers are not in the younger generation. (Laughs)  Look to me, I will say there has been a lot in the press about the younger characters vs. the older characters.  I just want to make it clear that every single character on the canvas of One Life to Live is really important to me.  I want to tell story that integrates all the characters.  I don’t want there to be the younger story and the veteran character story.  I want everybody working together, since every single one of these characters is so important to me. Viki and Clint are going to be driving the story, and it is going to affect everyone in Llanview.  I want everybody working together.  I want one story spilling into another story.  I don’t want it to feel sectioned out.  I want it to be feel interwoven.  That is what happened somewhere along the line when we had our first group of writers in there.  I felt like that is something they did not do that well.  The show felt too sectioned out … “This is Dorian’s story; this is the kid’s story.”   We have so many characters on the show that are related.  So there is no reason for them not to all play together.  If there is a misconceived notion out there that, “Oh, we are trying to be young,” what we are trying to do is to tell good story.  Erika Slezak (Viki), Bob Woods (Bo), Jerry verDorn (Clint), take my breath away.  Sometimes when we are shooting I will say to Erika and Jerry, “Can’t you guys be in every scene in every show?” (Laughs)  I want people to know we are not sitting there going, “Oh, let’s be younger, hipper, and cooler.”  We are just intending to tell good story through all the characters.

MICHAEL:

It was just announced a week or so ago that ATWT favorites Paolo Seganti (Ex-Damian) and Marnie Schulenberg (Ex-Alison), plus Guiding Light favorite Ron Raines (Ex-Alan), are headed to Llanview as brand new characters!  How will their arrivals impact storyline?

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

JENNIFER:

That is another thing that I hope the fans understand.  When you are bringing on someone like Ron Raines it is not all about the younger storylines.  I worked with Ron years ago on Guiding Light.  I worked with Paolo on As the World Turns.  They are incredibly talented and charming.  Ron is going to play with Erika and Robin.  I can’t wait to see that.  Paolo is going to play with every woman on the canvas.  When he was at the studio the other day for the first time, I had a lot of inquiries from the ladies stating, “Hmmm… Will I get to work with him?” (Laughs)  In order of their arrivals on the episodes, Paolo comes first, then Ron shortly after, then the amazing Marnie Schulenberg coming on as well, who will be a fun character.  

MICHAEL:

In story on One Life to Live, there is some sort of surveillance going down on the Manning family?  Will what is going on come to light anytime soon?

JENNIFER:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Studios

That definitely is part of a larger story that is going to be revealed pretty soon, and we are looking to attach that to a story down the road.

MICHAEL:

What can you tell me about Matthew (Robert Gorrie) and Dani’s (Kelley Missal) storyline?  These two have had quite a lot of airtime.  What can you say about Matthew’s foray into online dating with this girl “Michelle”?

JENNIFER:

Matthew and Dani have some issues.  Dani with what she has been through with Tea not really having been there for her, and Victor and Todd not being around.  Dani has really personally been struggling.  It’s really the same thing for Matthew. With everything he has been through, having a baby, and he was in a coma for a long time, there is an element of Matthew that wants to do the right thing.  Then there is an element of Matthew that doesn’t know what to do, and then there is an element of Matthew that everyone who is close to him thinks he is acting like a jerk.  I think Matthew is being drawn into this relationship with this “Michelle” online.  This person who he is chatting with online is only able to see all the good parts about Matthew.  So, I think he is really drawn to her because he is having trouble facing his feelings for Dani,  facing his feelings for Destiny, and facing his feelings for his son Drew, and trying to live it up to what Bo and Nora want him to be, and trying to work with Clint and what he wants him to be.  He is a young guy, clearly struggling with a lot of issues.  So it is attractive to him to communicate with someone online in sort of a one way.  It’s also a major escape for him.

MICHAEL:

Tuc Watkins, who plays the one and only David Vickers, recently publicly came out as gay, and that he is the bio-dad to newborn twins!  Did you know about Tuc being a dad?

Courtesy/Twatkinsfacebook

JENNIFER:

I certainly knew Tuc was a dad.  I have not gotten to hold his son and daughter yet, but I have seen many picturesI was thrilled for him.  I am such a big fan of Tuc as a person, and as an actor.  He is a fantastic guy.  Tuc radiates happiness, warmth, and positive energy.  He is charming and sexy as hell.  I think it’s totally great!

MICHAEL:

All My Children has recently brought back fan favorites Billy Clyde Tuggle (Matthew Cowles) and soon, Dimitri Marick (Michael Nader).  Fans are often asking, “Why can’t they bring more blasts from the past on to One Life to Live instead of new characters we don’t care about?”  What would you say to that?

JENNIFER:

Photo Credit: Eric Liebowitz/The OnLine Network

What I would say to that is, we are still open to bring back characters that the fans have been longing for.  I will say, some of the actors we reached out to at the beginning did not have a lot of interest in returning.  We really want to try to honor and tell story for the characters that we have on the canvas right now.  In terms of being able to tell great story with Viki and Dorian and Clint, we really needed the character that Ron Raines is going to play!  There was not a character that it was in that sort of demographic.  The part that Paolo is going to play, quite frankly, it is my opinion that ONLY Paolo Seganti can play this role with what is required of it.  We are not just randomly reaching out to people. There are some beloved characters I would like to bring back.  We do have a strong core cast and we don’t want anyone to be back-burnered.  And if story dictates bringing back some beloved character, we will absolutely want to bring them back.

MICHAEL:

One Life to Live had some music acts, such as deejays Nervo, and soap newcomer, Jessie Malakouti, who plays Dusky performing at club Shelter.  Jessie performed her song “White Girl Wasted”.  Will there be a continuation of having musical acts on the show?

JENNIFER:

I think having musical acts and guests can be fun, and can help establish that Shelter is a club.  But I will say moving forward, we don’t have any musical guests slated for the near future, but we do have a lot of story and fun stuff happening in Shelter.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/TOLN

In closing, what would you tell the fans of One Life to Live?  Not to be scared?

JENNIFER:

I would tell the fans don’t be afraid.  We are not going anywhere.  We want to make fantastic shows for them, and I want to thank them for all their support.  And if there are some bumps and bruises along the way, as I said previously, please stick with us because it is all about the fans.  I want to have them be just as excited as I am every day to go to work, and be with this amazing group of people, who play the characters I hope they will continue to love.

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CherylGentry AshmorebroyKikibabsy Recent comment authors
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su0000
su0000

I take it after ME, KA and RH are done filming their ”chunks” that will be that, done/gone..

I am a OL fan for decades and a GH fan for decades,,
I love the 3 on GH ..

I am happy to see them on either, but prefer them with GH..

Enrique Buenrostro
Enrique Buenrostro

even though their characters serve NO purpose on GH at all, except to continue Ron and Frank’s attachment to OLTL

Keith
Keith

I agree. IMO Ron and Frank use OLTL material because they don’t know how to write for GH which harms PP’s reboot efforts. But I’m afraid this interview confirms what I have suspected from watching OLTL/AMC and the More shows. While they may know what they are doing, I don’t think they know how to do OLTL/AMC. I seems the production team needs time to regroup and the writers time to develop better stories. It’s good they recognized this now before a train wreck.

What they do now will determine if the show lasts past the current one year contracts. Right now, I think its a 50/50 proposition. They need to really listen to the fans and take on their comments. Right now the fans seem to know the shows better than the producers.

Jenn
Jenn

I’m a fan of both shows too and am disappointed that a better resolution was made regarding ME, KA< and RH. I do like their new characters but it is a shame that they could not have stayed John, Starr, and Todd on GH.

As a fan the crossovers would have been nice to watch but I honestly don’t see how they could have been accomplished. Especially with PP still trying to feel things out. For example with the recent reduction in episodes, Todd is going to be appearing on OLTL longer. If the character was going to crossover to GH again than the actor would have been stuck out of work waiting until his character would not be on OLTL before he could go to GH. KA said in a recent interview that she had agreed to appear on OLTL but PP kept changing the date.

I think PP was just difficult to work with. Not in a malicious way but just because they could provide definite timeframes and schedules. I also think that yanking the characters from GH in February like they did seemed odd. Especially when it appears they didn’t even know if the actors were interested in appearing on OLTL.

Delainey
Delainey

I have to agree with you here! I’m glad we don’t have crossovers. Now if they did so between OLTL and AMC, that would be more profitable, but PP and Pepperman do not seem to understand their product or how to organize it. This is why shows like LOST annoyed me. You can’t just put money on black and spin it.

Quite honestly, OLTL is not ME, KA and RH. Writing for them before they had them was a mistake. should have just kept them off the show, but they were glad abc kept them warm to cattle call the fans with them.

MONA
MONA

I LOVE THE 3 PLAYING ON GH ALSO BUT NOT AS THE NEW CHARACTERS.. I LIKE JOHN, TODD AND STAR..

Patricia
Patricia

Are we reading the same interview???where does it say that ME AND KA are filming at all. They both chose to stay in LA and stay with GH. as for RH after reading this there is NO INDICATION AS TO WHAT he will do. i also am an oltl fan and gh fan for decades and am happy to see them on either but i ABSOLUTLY HATE them on GH! What was done is horrible KA as KIKI UGH ME as a dweeb named Silas they de hunked a hunk of a man and RH as the most HATED CHARACTER IN SOAP HISTORY(so hated that they had to whitewash his history and make him “redeemed”) FRANCO GMAB

Joliefan Forever
Joliefan Forever

Try reading the Lawsuit Patricia! They did not choose to stay anywhere they were Duped in to signing their contracts with ABC! That is why that is part of the lawsuit too…..

Dani
Dani

Thank you Patricia!! I couldn’t have said it better. I’m sick about RH playing Franco. Franco never had the charm and is not redeemable like the character of Todd Manning. Three great actors have been given the 3 worst characters imaginable. Uggggghhhh

broy
broy

They were not duped. KA had no intention of signing up with PP in the first place; she always intended to go to L.A. and try her luck, as Brittany Underwood (her best friend) did. When a show in L.A. wanted her, and allowed her to play the same character, she accepted the offer to continue, but her entire family moved to L.A. and, just like her brother Eddie, whether the reboot had happened or not, she had no intentions of joining it personally. And remember, this is not a 1 for 1 deal for the actors. A contract on OLTL means they will make less money and work less (the actors on AMC and OLTL make a day rate instead of a per-episode rate like the TV soaps and work on and off in 5 week cycles, so half the year they make nothing. A show like DAYS or B&B goes on hiatus and the actors make money because they are paid by the number of shows they filmed, not just on the days they physically go to work). It’s perfectly feasible that RH and ME who are major star players on a network soap would have chosen to remain on GH (where they make probably double annually than they would have on OLTL, between the reduced day rate and the half-year filming schedule) even if they had no contracts. ME has been clear, he voluntarily stayed with GH and declined even a guest stint on OLTL (so far). He did not want to go back to OLTL. He did not appreciate being strong armed out of his GH job and he so far hasn’t even taken a meeting with them (Alderson had one scheduled for this month). So this is not about ABC’s contracts and NO ONE with a good agent could have been “duped” into signing a misleading contact, period. And this is not about them wanting to go back and being prevented by ABC from doing that–Pepperman says she was willing ot work with short arcs and Roger Howarth accepted the invitation (with ABC’s support) and Alderson and Easton declined on their own–not because ABC wouldn’t let them. It’s unfair to assume or lead other fans to assume that if the three were just “free” from their ABC contracts that they would return to OLTL. For many, after a year in L.A., a 1/2 hour show that pays 1/2 as much annually might not be enough of a lure for them to return back East. Alderson never planned to in the first place. Remember, while the show is something we love, it’s ultimately work to the three of them, and while they love their fans, they should not be expected to uproot their lives and do something that pays them less and inconveniences their families more, just because fans want it. I respect them and I don’t look for a scapegoat in ABC while they work out what they are doing now.

Cheryl
Cheryl

Broy, for the record, Michael Easton has not once publicly stated that he refused to go to OLTL or that he hasn’t spoken with PP to do so. In fact, his recent interview in TV Guide says the opposite. Unless you are speaking directly to Michael, I’m not sure where any of your information came from.

MEG
MEG

I HAVE TO BE HONEST IF TSJ IS NOT THERE THEN ,I CAN’T BEAR TO WATCH.

Alex
Alex

Many fans agree. I am surprised to read that PP has TSJ and RH for so few episodes. They are a critical part of getting this show going. Read any fans site and you will see how popular they are which makes me wonder if PP has. You would think they would have had them more committed contractually before starting production. I know TPTB at PP have a lot of experience, and they have made a tremendous effort to get both shows into production, but IMO they are also making a lot of rookie mistakes.

KateK
KateK

They have completely trashed OLTL. Made it a joke. Does the show want to be a bad after school special or a porno? I appreciate the Vets that came back, but hate how they have ruined their characters.

Enrique Buenrostro
Enrique Buenrostro

really a porno?? where do you see that???

Jenn
Jenn

I still love the characters on OLTL but the plotting is horrible. Hope the new writers help because right now the show is all over the place.

Anna
Anna

I’m being honest when I say this, but I really have no idea what show you’re even watching. Porno? Really?! I’ve seen more boob on GH during love scenes. Give me a freaking break. And ruined the vets? By doing what? Giving them more to do than sit around being props for their kids? I can’t.

rebecca
rebecca

They’re not sitting around being props for their kids…they’re just sitting around! Nora hasn’t done a thing but laugh and appear in a cafe, at a card game and Bo’s office. Bo hasn’t done a thing but scream and sit around, Vicki is sitting aorund learning the computer (which is a hidden way of teaching some of the viewers the power of online)…and none of them seem like their “old selves.” They’re complaining, yelling, or uninvolved in any other character’s lives…this show needs help asap and the characters as currently written now need to come back from whatever trance they’re in and act like “themselves.”

Karen
Karen

Just curious…how is the show a bad after school special or a porno? How have the vets been ruined? I have seen comments like this a couple time now and feel I am watching a different program. There has been no nudity, a handful of love scenes that where no more tawdry or lewd than the network version, there has been no preachy public service type messages woven into anything. Other than the occasional grating music scene at Shelter and the realistic placement of a few over used curse words, it appears as if the show seamlessly has transitioned.
Ruined vets? Again I wonder if this is OLTL you speak of…Blair, Bo, Clint, Dorian, Natalie, Nora, Tea, Todd & Victor are spot on to where they were when we last saw them. No one acting out of turn, out of character, everyone’s core integrity was and is maintained.
When I see comments like this I seriously doubt the show is being watched because there is never anything to “back up” these blanket statements. If even one drive by criticism could illustrate how its not as good working towards even better, at least I might take the comment with a grain of seriousness. Otherwise it just sounds like repeating what was seen/heard on a message board or FB comment.
I love OLTL! Then and now! I find the whole “2 day” babble and spin a bit insulting as too many people spent decades watching 5 days a week – before VCR, DVR & Soapnet and it lasted 40 years. But I love Llanview and look forward to each new episode!

Erick
Erick

Well obviously fewer people are watching soaps 5 days a week now, if you compare the ratings now to even a few years ago. So they had to try something different. And two is better than none!

rebecca
rebecca

I wrote above…your comment…and I can only guess that the execuive producer feels that these characters have been written out of character…or she wouldn’t have pointed to it specificlally in her answer. Not to mention the lack of reaction in Victor’s return which she also inimmated…how she’s hoping that the new writers will be “making sure we don’t miss important character moments, and people acting out of character.”

I have said from the beginning that the stories felt disjointed and there was no interaction between the characters…no sense of family, friendship, the close feeling we got between the characters on the old show. The executive producer said:

” I want everybody working together. I want one story spilling into another story. I don’t want it to feel sectioned out. I want it to be feel interwoven. That is what happened somewhere along the line when we had our first group of writers in there. I felt like that is something they did not do that well. The show felt too sectioned out …”

So. It seems to me some of us noticed these things and were bothered by it so much we couldn’t enjoy the show as it is now…and it seems as well that they recognize that and are trying to address those very crucial storytelling elements.

So I, like you, don’t get, is how you and some other viewers thought it was good…and faulted those of us who think it wasn’t.

rebecca
rebecca

few corrections:

paragraph one: she “Intimated”

last paragraph: So, I, like you don’t get it…but what I don’t get is how you…..

Dani
Dani

Couldn’t agree more with ya Rebecca. Something is/was seriously wrong when you have a fan of over 3 decades like myself saying the same thing and NOT watching. I tried to like OLTL, really, I tried, but I’m in my 40s and stories centered around Shelter are not my thing. I hope it gets better, then maybe I’ll be back for another try (as we’re not alone in our criticism)

jimh
jimh

Hopefully new writers will make improvements.

susan M.
susan M.

I don’t care for how Dani & Matthew’s storyline and being portrayed. They never
acted that way before! They need more of the cast back (Jessica,Roxie,Rex ,etc..) I hope they show less stories with Shelter.. Capricorn wasn’t on as much before and they weren’t selling drugs and all the going on like Shelter does! Hopefully the new writers will get back to the heart-warming stories I so rememeber so well !

babsy
babsy

Agree with most of you – I’ve also been a lifelong OLTL viewer and find most of the racy youth storyline offensive – maybe because these characters were really just young teens on the show when it was on ABC…and while I certainly use my share of expletives, I really don’t want to hear them on the soaps. Hearing” s–t” half a dozen times in a 25 minute show tells me the writers are looking for shock value rather than storyline.
They’re trying too hard to be “young.” I couldn’t be happier that PP managed to resurrect the shows but it’s clear that there needs to be better storyline and a reason for viewers to care about most of these new or aged-up characters.

Dennis
Dennis

Excellent interview! I have been a fan for decades. NEVER missed a single show before, and even though there have been some bumps, I have no intention of missing any shows now. But I do feel better, because its obvious that Jennifer “gets it” the way fans do. Kudos to her. It was an important interview to do. I so love this show!

Mary Moore Fergen
Mary Moore Fergen

Wonderful interview, Michael! I feel reassured after reading what Jennifer had to say, and seeing how committed she, the cast, and crew are to making OLTL online a success! I love this show, and I hope that it and AMC are around for many years to come for all of us to enjoy. I’m on this journey with them for the long haul!

Kristy
Kristy

Great interview! Makes me excited all over again for new online eppies 😀

Wendy L
Wendy L

Great questions asked, but I wish the swearing had been addressed. Facebook and Twitter are littered with requests and comments about toning it down, and though I don’t consider myself to be particularly sensitive, I do think the swearing is distracting and adds little to nothing to the stories. Well, except when Blair called Todd an ass, which was AWESOME and a long time coming!!

rebecca
rebecca

I think she did address it by saying that they’re not “trying to be so young, hip, cool,” etc…I think she was referring to the people who thought the cursing was an obvious attempt at being that. So, perhaps they’ll be toning that down and going for more realism as opposed to making sure they get a curse word in every few scenes just because they can.

CTwildheart
CTwildheart

I barely notice it.

rebecca
rebecca

Sounds like they read a lot of the feedback as to the lack of reaction with Todd’s return, the lack of continuity in several cases, the out-of-character portrayals, etc and they’re trying to correct them.

Time will tell as they say…

rebecca
rebecca

sigh…correction again! not Todd’s return…Victor’s.

rebecca
rebecca

Oh..I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing a lot less SHIT… 😉

susan M.
susan M.

I hope so! OLTL doesn’t need all the swearing at all. It never needed it before ! Is the swearing necessary? No in my opinion.. This should be the first thing the new writers ex-out!

jimh
jimh

I hope so to…that word was used 5 times in the first episode…Mathew and Jack said it once and Dani said it 3 times…once i could overlook but this was overused here….

babsy
babsy

Totally agree.

sarah
sarah

Ugh Im over Dani and Matthew. You should have asked about Destiny/Matthew/Drew. Thats the more interesting story!

And I hope the get TSJ back.

Denise
Denise

I have a lot of faith in Jennifer Pepperman. Thank you for asking her all the right
questions. I have to say this was one of my favorite interviews, to date, Mr. Fairman. 🙂

sara
sara

there is no porn. The first week had some shock moments but since then, it is like soaps have been in the past. There are some steamy scenes but none I haven’t seen on Days of Our Lives or Young and the Restless. It’s obvious that person doesn’t watch.

The characters aren’t ruined, you are confusing One Life To Live with General Hospital mess. Those characters are ruined.

I feel better knowing that the show isn’t going to be cancelled or turned into a cheesy spin off of vampires and women being raped or assaulted every few months because the writers think it’s hot. I’m getting back the Love In The Afternoon and great stories again.

I look forward to what the new writers are going to bring and thanks for remembering the over 40 characters and not turning them into jokes like some other soap.

babsy
babsy

I think part of the reason so many people are calling the scenes “porn” has something to do with the fact that most of these younger characters were teens when we last saw them on OLTL – and while the actors may be in their 20s, viewers are uncomfortable seeing “kids” practically naked on soaps.

Tonidale
Tonidale

I have watched both AMC and OLTL since the beginning and will continue to watch in this new format. But I just have to say the reasons they keep giving for only having 2 episodes a week is a line of bull. Most true soap fans were watching each show when they were on ABC 5 days a week and they were each an hr.
So I don’t believe their reasoning. Hopefully in the future they will be back to 4 days (preferably 5 days).

CTwildheart
CTwildheart

I think that is because it is not us long time soap fans they are actually worried about. Like she said in her interview about a new show she and her husband were trying to start watching….I think they are afraid it will deter NEW viewers from even starting to watch if they have 4 1/2 hour episodes a week.

Even though I was watching 15+ hours every week….

d.w. mckim (Mupp Freek)
d.w. mckim (Mupp Freek)

Really great interview! Thank you for this. I believe this is a “must-read” for all oltl fans. Wonderful that you asked all the Big questions that were on fans’ minds and Jennifer was great to answer them so candidly. The only thing still on my mind in regards to returning former characters…there are quite a few characters where it’s pretty well known that (a) the actors would be glad to come back in a heartbeat (b) fans really want to see them (c) there’s definitely a place for them story-wise. Alex Olenov and Roxy Balsom are definitely in this category. Tina Lord also should be on the “A-list” of possible returnees given how the ties to the Lords fit with the tattoo organization/Irene Manning. Joey should be there (as well as many off-campus Buchanans if Clint/Viki remarry) not only for family events but also to explore the dynamic with finding out Natalie’s getting involved with Cutter. Kevin by the same token, should be involved with helping with Banner troubles. Each of those last three characters have several possibilities for actor returns if the “first choice” isn’t available. (I would have no objection to seeing say, Karen Witter, Kirk Geiger, or Chris McKenna if Andrea Evans, Dan Gauthier, or Tom Degnan couldn’t play the parts at this time.) Soaps are often about characters coming and going and returning…so appearances by former cast/characters should be a continual priority even if they aren’t added to the permanent contract cast. Having said that, i’m loving a lot of the new recurring characters like Leo and the Shelter crew and wouldn’t mind seeing their parts expand a little.

Barry
Barry

Bring back Edwina Lewis – Margret Klenck, PLEASE!

CTwildheart
CTwildheart

Oohhh, Edwina! I liked her.

OLTL FAN FOREVER
OLTL FAN FOREVER

I am a huge OLTL can and have been for over 20 years now. This cast (previously and currently) has always been a great ensemble with a LOT of powerful and Emmy winning talent. With that said I am truly sick of hearing that the characters of John McBain (Michael Easton) and Starr Manning (Kristen Alderson), Victor Lord (Trevor St. John), and Todd Manning (Roger Howarth) are THE heart and soul of OLTL. I think statements like that are demeaning to the other actors on this show, especially those actors who have helped carry this show over the past 20-30 years. I for one don’t miss these characters/actors and have seen this show thrive well before they ever appeared on OLTL. And OLTL can be a great show with the cast it currently has. People need to be thankful we have the show back along with most of the original core cast who just happen to be a power house of talent and multiple Emmy winners. So people just need to suck it up that this is how it is. Either be grateful and support it by watching it or stop complaing and don’t watch it. PERIOD!!!!

TnT 2.0 Forever
TnT 2.0 Forever

I agree with you that is ridiculous to make entire soap about certain actors, but that is what an Executive Producer does when he or she lacks the skill and talent necessary to produce a great show and has to pander to certain actors and their fan bases to keep viewers.

Christy
Christy

I don’t think I’d lay it all at the feet of the Exec Producer as being all their idea… but they certainly can react to frenzied viewers that just LOVE a certain actor and demand more, more more of them.

That can be said of many actors on soaps…. or any shows.

Jay
Jay

Great interview. As someone who enjoys spoilers, I wish Jennifer hadn’t played things so close to the vest, but I’m still going to tune in.

KateK, I don’t understand how the vets have been ruined? I think they’re being played very true to character, and given more of a chance to drive stories like the Banner, than they had on ABC. The reboot is also far less preachy about social issues and has shirtless guys less frequently than the original, so I’m not getting the comparisons to a “bad afterschool special” or a “porno”?!?!

Jennifer Janeiro
Jennifer Janeiro

Great interview. I like the online version a lot. I just hope that they get through this deadbeat dad storyline quickly. Matt has always been one of my favorites and I want him to step up and choose to be with Destiny and their son. Love the story with the vets.

Marc
Marc

I dont like anything she said in this article as far as the future goes 🙁 There were no guarantees of a 2nd season and basically what she said is if you don t like the newcomers get used to it we are bringing more on . If Trevor St. John doesn’t come back it’s a waste of a half hour anyway

THOMAS
THOMAS

i love OLTL , but i just dont see myself moved to watch it , i sit there click new ep but dont really pay attention to it . the last 4 eps have been boring, slow and very uneventful hell i paid my bills online while the last ep ran and listen to it as if i was sitting infront a radio…

CTwildheart
CTwildheart

Really?! How could you NOT turn to watch when Snoop was on?

Christy
Christy

te he he

Lin
Lin

I am watching OLTL loyally, but do not like the constant swearing, young people drinking so much and being shown half naked, seeing people getting dressed and undressed (once in a while- okay- But Natalie being in her underwear so much. this is strickly to get young men to watch). I do feel that the show is having too much time with the youngest cast members. I never could stand Cutter. And why on earth would Blair trust him to run her club? They need to bring back John- even if it’s not ME. Or.. they need to settle her down. This slutty version does not interest me. And much as I love Rama, that story is also stupid. But I find Rama at least fun to watch- but any scenes with Cutter— he’s just a sleezeball, I can’t stand watching him. all that said, I’ll continue watching, won’t miss a day. I am so grateful the show i s back. I just wait for the times when I see Clint and Vicki, Dorian, David, Bo and Nora, and I enjoyed having my Trevor and also Todd. If they can’t get Kristen back they will have to recast Starr. I love the scenes with the main stay characters, and I also like the Jeffrey King character. Jack has really improved. I’m not sure if it’s the character or actor but I like Jack much better than before and his little brother is great as always.

Christy
Christy

think I agree with everything you said! 🙂

and someone above mentioned listening while doing something else when it’s boring… I actually hover my mouse over the time line to look at the tiny frame images and skip over parts I don’t give two hoots about – like the kids drinking, running, swearing, most of the shelter scenes unless Todd is there. I think Shelter is a terrible waste of Blair. Really she is allowing lap “sex” in the bar with just a giggle and not telling them, as the owner, to knock it off?

I usually have a second window open to a game and just turn the volume off on the soap until I see a scene that interests me. sad but true.

and now that they’ve mixed that More show to be both AMC and OLTL, that really leaves me but a few minutes of OLTL stuff… I’m clicking thru that to get to OLTL stuff like crazy, not that it was worth the trouble. Haven’t bothered watching the last one.

glad it’s back, but truly not loving it as much.

maxine
maxine

I respect Jennifer. I think she’s great. She makes me want to believe that we’re in for something good and for the long haul. But… the issue is the actual shows don’t reflect that. Two 23-24 minute episodes a week just isn’t enough to hold my attention. I’m honestly hanging on to One Life to Live with a thread. I love this show so much, but I’m losing hope and more importantly, patience. I really dislike the younger generation of characters- most of them are simply not likeable. And I happen to be 24 years old! … I could go on and on about how annoyed I am with the show right now, but the other thing I want to say is that I don’t like how all the characters basically do nothing the entire episode. There’s that saying, “show, don’t tell,” but I feel like it’s all tell. I honestly can’t name more than 2 storylines on the show now. There is the Viki/Dorian/Clint Pellagrino storyline (which I think is quite good– I love those characters so much), and then there is the Todd/Victor storyline which is still a mystery–and it has pretty much been put on pause judging by this interview. What other storylines are taking place? People just do sex and drugs at Shelter and that’s 15 minutes of every episode. I ABSOLUTELY DESPISE SHELTER!!!! I would rather see Tea Delgado in a court room, I’d rather see Blair back at Capricorn, or hanging out in La Boule. Show people actually in the work force!! Tell some actual stories. My mom is equally annoyed with this show right now, by the way. We so want to see it do well…. but it’s a shadow of what it used to be… (One reason obviously being because it was canceled in its glory days when it was doing so well)… but they can do so much better than they’re doing now regardless.

Delainey
Delainey

Thank goodness! Another 20-something, like me, who can’t connect to the Shelter. I don’t go clubbing and never will. I hate the party scene, because I think it’s unproductive. Not all of my generation are wasteland escapists. We’re even more driven and intelligent than the elder generations. We were taught by our teachers to read between the lines of former government officials speeches and media articles spouting propaganda.

If Jennifer Pepperman were so great, she should have caught the things she now calls errors. Instead, she points out that she cares about all the characters, not just the younger generation. In high school, I was taught to see the distraction within the statement. She doesn’t know what she’s doing, but at least she vaguely credits that the audience does though! Maybe we should get paid?

I’ve seen this prostitution story on Lifetime. And, all I can say as an educated youth is they have a journalist who got his hands on black sites and he’s walking around fixing Viki’s laptop internet and router? Hanging out and playing drinking games? Boy should be hunting down stories in Syria or something! Nora and Bo get advice from reincarnated Snoop, who by the way, is not from my generation thankfully!

My mom and grandma (yes she has a computer and knows what a router is) can’t watch it either. They were preppy goody goody cheerleaders (not prudes just classy) and think something is wrong with me watching something with such foul language. I’d like to be able to tell my neighbor’s to watch this show with me, but with the foul language and sexed way up, they’d think low of me.

I’m just not into the Christian Grey private guilty pleasure kind of stuff and would love tell people to watch once again. The envelope has been pushed to the limit! Like way over it!

B.J.
B.J.

I so agree with your post, Maxine! Especially the part about “Shelter”, but I fear it will continue to be a central part of the show, because they have spent so much money on that set. 🙁

I also fear that almost daily sex/drug/profanity scene is one of the reasons people are not recommending others watch. I know I couldn’t recommend it now. 🙁

Still hoping some changes are coming though….

rebecca
rebecca

I agree with all of you!

susan M.
susan M.

DITTO! It might turn people off! I hope they will change that TOO!

su0000
su0000

I and other people like the shelter ……
I’m happy the shelter will be a part of OL, and am looking forward to the performances to come.
The Shelter is a club so there will be lots of action there..

Andrea
Andrea

I really think the shelter aspect of the show is a waste of time. I am not interested in people dancing and drinking. I do not like Cutter at all and I wish Natalie would stay away from him. The way they wrote Matthew Buchanan his is a jerk and tries Destiny and his son Drew with disrespect. I agree with Clint he should become a man and take care of his son and treat the mother kindly. I want to know who is spying on them . That is a story line will be very interesting. I do not like that there are two shows a week. It is moving too slowly.

Johnny
Johnny

I agree with you Andrea, I do not like so much of the story “centered” around SHELTER – and I feel that the show is lacking in interpersonal continuity among the characters, but at least, she (Jennifer) does address that issue. The characters do need to be inter-woven. I dislike also the fact that the shows are only on twice a week, to me, a Soap is a “daily serial” – that’s a soap. In the past, I would “tape” the shows, an aniquated term nowadays I know, and then speed through the commercials (happily speed through them I should add) – but now, we are forced to sit through commercials even though many of us actually pay a monthly fee for Hulu Plus. All that aside, I am happy that both One Life and All My Children are back, but they both do have some kinks that need to be resolved.

brian
brian

they are ruining are beloved soap. First off they totally tanked the victor alive story. everyone just went about their business when he came into room and grabbed todd like no big deal he alive. shelter is awaste of airtime non appealing at all. Attention writers the actors should not have to scream over the music to conversate. Their are no real stories going on and all they do is keep showing dani and guys hanging at the apartment. Stop trying so hard to say curse words just cause you can. The actors don’t feel like their in a rythem with the non-stories that are not going on.The 2 days a week is terrible its hard to get into a show that only airs 2 days a week for a total od 52minutes. Please bring trevor back on asap he was the only good thing you guys had going for you with the stories, but have him get over this ptsd and back to his usual cocky and bad ass ways.

emlons
emlons

i love the show and will continue to watch. woth everything new there is a learning curve. also if they broughtback everyone that people wanted there would be way 2 many people 2 write for. the thing i liked about oltl 2.0 was that their cast was smaller than amc 2.0 cast so i knew i would have a better chance of seeing more of my favorite character/actor/actress.

Lisa Postles
Lisa Postles

Good interview. I will keep watching.

Shelley
Shelley

Great interview. I fully support the show OLTL. I am very excited that OLTL came back after all this time. I love how she supports the fans and want to give us the best quality show possible. Bravo thank you for that. Very excited for OLTL and to see all the characters and wish OLTL a btight and long future and as a fan myself, in addition to my family and my friends we will continue to support this great endeavor. I hope others will stand behing what thye are trying do and support them as well. LONG LIVE OLTL.

jimh
jimh

I like the show sometimes and other times i dont…It was kinda rushed, disjointed and not too engaging and none of the characters seemed like their old selfs. Shelter is overused as well as the cursing. Best times are when Victor and Todd are on but Victors return was not too suspenseful and other characters reaction should have showed more suprise and shock by Victors return…at least off camera Allison shouldve been caught and returned to Statesville and more clues to Victors faked death and kidnapping shouldve been revealed , not necessarily everything but some. Wouldve liked to hear Bo and Nora mention Lindsey and if she ever return to prison or not. Jack seemed to be attracted to Vimals sister Neela when show was on network which gave the Patels more story connections but the online version never mentions her…did she return to India? I want a big old fashion wedding for Viki and Clint in a church but know that wont likely happen. Hope new writer improve things…the shows ok but im not hooked like i used to be.

Delainey
Delainey

Exactly my thoughts! It is disjointed and off. Not much follow up to where OLTL left off, and it seems that as Pepperman stated, the writers are having to learn about the characters. That’s the problem right there. Writers and producers who weren’t lifetime fans of the show are in charge, and they are relying on the actors to Tuctify, etc… their lines. The only reason OLTL has a smiggen of a story going is due to GH taking RH and keeping their stories warm for the OLTL reboot.

They were too busy making it a “new” show to care about the past.

jimh
jimh

They shouldve reviewed the finale two years of OLTLs final year run before writing the online version and read about the shows other past history as well. Much you can read online.

jimh
jimh

finale run on abc but you probably know what i was saying

Bryon B
Bryon B

I agree with you 100%. I feel the same way, was so confused at the lack of reaction of Victor’s return. Was expecting more of a reaction and explanation as to how he was alive. How did he and Allison Perkins meet up and who else was behind the faking of his death? So many questions that need to be address. I hope the show does improve with these new writers and would like to see more original OLTL characters return as well.

jimh
jimh

Id like to see Kevin, Jessica, Christian, and Roxy return…even if for short story arcs. Also id like to see even Shane return…he stays with Viki and Clint after Rex and Gigi are reportedly missing after their plane crashes in the ocean but their bodies never recovered…this plot would explain Roxys return as well. Would also like to see Carlottas diner back…the set looked more authenic than the cafe and mall they use now.

Chaz
Chaz

I will continue to support the show and hope for the best. I am glad that she indicated less musical guests. The show was focusing too much on Shelter. I think it would be a good idea to transform it from a dance club into more of a supper club. This way characters like Viki, Clint, Nora, Bo, Dorian, etc could have scenes there. Kind of the way they used to use the dining room at The Palace. There could still be music…sparingly.

I am also hopeful that the new writers find a better balance in storylines. I have said before that watching Matthew, Dani & Jeffrey drinking in their apartment is not compelling. I think the former writing team was trying to take advantage of the freedoms offered by an on line show and were working that aspect over character driven stories.

Another suggestion….and this could be a Hulu thing….I don’t always get the opportunity to watch the shows the day they air and sometimes forget which was the last I saw. Instead of or in addition to Part X, Episode X it would help if they added the original air date.

rebecca
rebecca

Re: the air date. I said the same thing a while ago…and actually, Hulu always specifies day/date with other shows. don’t know why they haven’t with OL but that does add to the confusion. I have to look at the little synopsis to see which one I’m up to!

such a simple thing and they couldn’t even get that right!

su0000
su0000

That is PP.
If we ask PP to change it by saying it is confusing,I think they would change it ..

TnT 2.0 Forever
TnT 2.0 Forever

Looks like the same old, same old. I’m actually glad its down to two days a week so I have time to do other more important things. I love this genre, but its not like it used to be 10, 15 years ago. The only reason I’m still hanging on is to see Trevor St. John again. He and Florencia are the reason I watch. They got me to start watching OLTL again in the first place. No Trevor St. John, no OLTL for me.

MEG
MEG

I HOPE SHE JUST NOT TELLING US THAT TSJ IS TAPING MORE ,B/C WHY THE HELL ARE THEY TEASING US WITH WHERE IS VICTOR ,IF WE HAVE TO BE TORTURED WITH SEE RH IN 40 EPS,AND WE WON’T SEE TSJ ,HES THE ONLY REASON THAT MAKES RH BEARABLE,

Melissa
Melissa

Some of us noticed Natalie watching the guy put drugs in his pocket. Also eyeing the couple with drugs, so maybe Nat has an ulterior motive in being with Cutter. She would make a great cop!

jimh
jimh

Maybe shes doing some undercover work.

onlinetolive
onlinetolive

Great interview, Michael! So happy OLTL and AMC are back. I’m a loyal OLTL watcher and fan since 1986. I have to say that I think the storylines and pacing are better on AMC than OLTL. Their seems to be more direct ion and cohesion on AMC where on OLTL nothing much is happening. I’m m ot interested at all in the Shelter nighclub happenings. It’s sn awful lot of wasted time. I hope theb new writers csn bring the life back to One Life! That said I’m still watching and hoping things will get better. I do have to say Snoop Lion’s talk with Bo was very sweet and surprising and unexpectdly the best momen this week. But let’s see some more Dorian ASAP!

susan M.
susan M.

I am a OLTL fan also and I am not to interested in the Shelter happenings either.
Yes more Dorian & Viki going at it! Get back to the heart-warming stories which are great and they need to have that closeness again, like one big caring family
for each other…Which I rememeber all threw the years of viewing OLTL!

jimh
jimh

Im so with you on that Susan.

Ginny
Ginny

I love the new format actually. With work and other commitments I am so backed up on my GH episodes it isn’t funny. The two episodes for AMC & OLTL are just right. I am enjoying the new stories also.

Terri
Terri

I am enjoying OLTL and very grateful for it returning…..would love to have crossovers and if not a ME visit.

susan M.
susan M.

I like it but the swearing has to go & tone down the goings on in Shelter!

I Remember Meredith
I Remember Meredith

I really appreciate Pepperman’s comments and like her belief that all the stories should be interconnected and spill into one another. I would also like to say that not having John McBain on the show has been a breath of fresh air to me. His “I wish I was anywhere else but here” style of acting was really dragging the show down.

I honestly don’t mind the storylines for the young characters. If we are to hope for another 40+ years of OLTL we have to have characters who can grow up with us and eventually become the center of the show when Viki decides to step aside. But these stories really do need to be better integrated into the show as a whole.

And please cut back on the gratuitous cussing. I really don’t feel like many characters would cuss in front of Viki, and if they let something slip she would at least give them a “hey now” kind of look.

All that said, I am SO glad the show is back and I am in for the long haul. As long as Erika Slezak is on the show I’ll be there!

susan M.
susan M.

Ditto on Erika Slezak! I agree with you about the cussing!

jimh
jimh

Same here.

su0000
su0000

I’m a cus fan.. it brings many emotions in play, very expressive.
and so natural to real life..
I really like how it reflects real live and isn’t phony,
Angry men cus… young adults cus…

if it bothers you then uncensored internet viewing is not for you, then say goody bye and watch censored network tv..
then we won’t have have to listen to your complaining 🙂

B.J.
B.J.

If you can’t tolerate other opinions maybe you’re the one who should be saying “goodbye”. 😉

What is “real life” for you obviously isn’t enjoyable for everyone. 🙂

jimh
jimh

I agree with you B.J. plus this person doesnt seem to understand that oltl lost viewers because of the shows overuse of cussing…i could tolerate some but oltl just isnt the classy soap it used to be.

su0000
su0000

PP and OL is doing great..
It is an internet production and it will not be as it was, it is more like cable, now..
The cussing is normal to real life..
Cussing people will out number none cussing people 30 to 1 ..
so, the majority who watch cuss at sometime, some more than sometimes some less, but they cuss.
If it upsets some, then they should not watch. Then there would be less complaining .. 🙂

kim
kim

Cussing people outdo noncussing 30 to 1? is this survey written somewhere or just a wild guess? lol

Tim
Tim

Great interview! The cast and crew have done a phenomenal job bringing OLTL back to life, something few thought was possible. I’m glad they are listening to the fans and making tweaks to the show based on the early results. I agree that too much of the cast is isolated into their own stories with less of the interaction we have come to expect. Glad to know that’s going to change. As long as the cast doesn’t get too big, the influx of some additional characters can be a great thing — and I’m glad they are bringing on some veteran actors to round out the current roster. To me, some of the biggest MIA characters right now are Jessica, Roxy, Kevin and possibly Tomas. Blair and Tea both need to be doing much more than sitting around Shelter. Tie Tomas into this whole tattoo mystery, and bring back Kevin as a romantic rival for Blair and possibly Tea.

Beth
Beth

Reading this interview highlights for me the differences between AMC and OLTL: while both shows may have had a number of actors turn down TOLN’s versions of the shows, OLTL at least has gotten more veterans and recognizable faces than AMC has, and JP seems interested in writing for the vets, putting them front and center, having Viki and Clint drive story, bringing back favorites like Roger and Trevor to reunite Todd and Blair, and Tea and Victor, and appeal to the fanbases. On AMC, there is no matriarch and patriarch of Pine Valley, no Clint and Viki. Much as I like them, Jesse and Angie don’t rise to that level, and Brooke and Adam are on too infrequently for them to hold the title. I wish AMC would bring back Susan Lucci as Erica and make her a driving force in PV. I also want to see MEK and Alicia Minshew so AMC can reunite Tad and Dixie, and Kendall and Zach. Instead, AMC has stupidly chosen to try to replace Kendall, and that won’t work. Alicia Minshew is available and interested, but so far, AMC has seemed more interested in newbie after newbie, and that’s a mistake.

Then there’s the very interesting comment JP makes that the characters currently in Llanview are related to each other and have connections, so they should all be interacting more often. I agree. But on AMC, Miranda only has Uncle Zach, and he’s more interested in helping Jesse than his own sons or his niece, and I have to ask where is Mom Bianca, Grandma Erica and Auntie Kendall? Opal and Pete are related, and that’s it. Where’s Pete’s brother, Tad? Who is Celia? She’s not related to anyone. Everything is disjointed on AMC and there are far more separate stories, with too many newbies, than there should be. I have to hope that with the slow down in production and the headwriting firings, positive changes will be happening soon because both AMC and OLTL are not reminding me of the shows I knew and loved.

jimh
jimh

Your comments are great…what you said is the reason i stopped watching amc…i might return if a few of the actors and their characters return.

Johnny
Johnny

Karen, you sum it up nicely – I have been watching every single show of the on line reboot of ALL MY CHILDREN and those core characters you mentioned are truly and sincerely missed – along with a sense of family connections and a flow of real continuity. I don’t mind new characters being introduced here and there – but without Tad Martin, Erica Kane, Kendall, Krystal – I don’t know, the show really needs these Key people for Pine Valley to feel like the place it was. I think Jill Larson as Opal is great but I think she deserves to have more to do than just make brownies for Petey. I also think the 5 Year jump was difficult for fans to swallow and equally difficult for the writers to surmont, but that is just my own feeling, I am aware that not all viewers share that opinion. In some ways, this ALL MY CHILDREN almost feels more like a Spinoff but I along with other faithful viewers are willing to continue to give the show a chance to grow.

Enza
Enza

And yet AMC has been doing much better than OLTL on both Hulu and itunes so..

AbbyS.
AbbyS.

But even if that’s so, it’s still not enough “clicks” on Hulu andiTunes for PP because if it were, they’d never have ordered the slowdown (designed to get more clicks) or fired the HWs on BOTH shows. Apparently even PP thinks that AMC and OLTL can do better, and that’s exactly what I’ve been saying since April 29 when the shows debuted.

Delainey
Delainey

Great post, but even though JP spoke about vets and their connections on OLTL, she and PP let it air disjointed for this long, and blames it on Racina’s old skool ways. Wow! I’m not much for Racina, but even I would be floored to hear that after producing as many scripts as he did.

Michael, you failed to ask her why JP dropped the ball, and why they went with Susan and Racina in the first place. Why and who wanted this younger, more foul mouthed dialogue…etc. If she wanted vets all along to be front burner, why didn’t she have the writers focus on such things?

I hate articles like these in the media where the real questions are never asked because the journalist wants to help boast the character and moral.

Kiki
Kiki

Hear they only hired Susn & Racina because they would go fi-core – since when they were hired PP didnt have deal with WGA.

Judy
Judy

Beth, Bianca has been on since practically the first day. She and Miranda have had plenty of scenes together.

AbbyS.
AbbyS.

You must have missed the part where Bianca left Pine Valley and Eden Riegel’s short stay on AMC ended. The only Kane in PV now is Miranda.

Judy
Judy

I saw where Bianca had to go and do some speaking engagement. That was still after multiple scenes with Miranda. If she’s not coming back that’s another story, but the OP seemed to be saying she hadn’t been on at all. I may have misunderstood her comment.

Margaret
Margaret

Great interview Michael, but you failed to outright ask the question so many wants straight answer to & that is this: Will Roger Howarth appear on OL as Todd on a consistent basis after his initial 40 eps or not? Is the hold ABC & GH has on him going to make it impossible for Todd to be anything more than a recurring character at best? Fans just want to know Michael & Jennifer: is Todd eventually going to appear on OL about as much as Blair did on GH? Tell us now so those of us who waited 8 years for Roger to reprise this character can know once & for all whether we should bother to invest. If he won’t appear regularly after the initial stint then what is the point? Todd Manning is still so important to this serial & only Roger can play him. He can’t be MIA for months at a time – or forever.

Jewell
Jewell

ABC doesn’t like to do crossovers? Did they forget about when AMC and OLTL did one? I loved when they do crossovers, you get to see your favorite AMC characters do scenes with your favorite OLTL characters. ABC are a bunch of morons..

Nancy
Nancy

I love the show and would not miss even one episode. I am so excited to see Clint, Vickie and Dorian and the rest I don’t care about the haters. This show has only been on since 4-29. Give it time. I wish Ron and Frank could do both shows.

susan M.
susan M.

OLTL story looks better for Tues 6/11. Saw coming attractions on after watching thurs.episode 6/6. The only good part of Thurs. episode was toward the end with that mysterious envelope Todd found in his fireplace with Blair , Dani’s names and others. Missed not seeing Viki ,Clint,Natalie ,Tea on thurs. episode…They will be on Tues….. HURRAY!

Gentry Ashmore
Gentry Ashmore

Michael Fairman,

Thanks for having a fantastic website. How can we contact Jennifer Pepperman at OLTL to provide feedback and suggestions? Having watched OLTL for thirty years, I really want the show to succeed but it desperately needs to bring back certain characters that are essential to the very core of the show. Also, certain Llanview sets are sorely missed to make it still feel like Llanview and not any other US town.

Please advise. Thanks again for all of your support for OLTL. Best soap ever.

Interviews

Melody Thomas Scott Chats On 40 Years As The Young and the Restless’ Incomparable Nikki: The Men, The Booze, The Drama

Today marks Y&R icon Melody Thomas Scott’s 40th anniversary with the top-rated daytime drama series.  While CBS plans to air a special standalone episode (Nikki is in the slammer for confessing to J.T.’s murder, and she will reflect on her life in an emotional look-back), Michael Fairman sat down with the popular and beloved star for a deep dive into four decades in the life of stripper-turned-socialite, Nikki Newman for The Michael Fairman Channel.

During the interview, Melody first addresses her sadness at the loss of her longtime friend and co-star Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters): “I adored him.  I love him to bits.  I loved working with him; such a wonderful actor.  I don’t even know if he knew how good he was.”

When discussing Nikki’s colorful past, and when Y&R planned to have Nikki strip again decades later, Melody revealed she did refuse to play it: “That’s right, and I very rarely put the kibosh on anything on this show,  I was 48-years-old.  The head writer called me and I was up in hair and make-up.  They heard me say, ‘I’m 48-years-old .. that’s just not happening.”‘

Photo: TheMichaelFairmanChannel

Over the years, Nikki has faced many battles, perils ,and demons including her addiction to alcohol which has provided many a juicy story for Thomas Scott.  As to the fans always loving to see a ‘boozy’ Nikki, Melody remarked;  “Yes!  They love it!  I have great fun with it and I think it’s wonderful.”

During a segment of the conversation, Michael shows Melody some photos of Nikki’s past loves, and gets her thoughts on why Nikki fell for those men, and what it was like working with her co-stars through the years: John Enos (Bobby), Doug Davidson (Paul), Heath Kizzier (Joshua), Wings Hauser (Greg), Don Diamont (Brad), Vincent Irizarry (David), Peter Bergman (Jack), Sean Kanan (Deacon, and of course, her longtime on-screen partner Eric Braeden (Victor).

Later, Melody reminisces about her time working with the late great Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) and when asked by Fairman what she thinks Jeanne would say about her 40th anniversary milestone, Melody replied: “She would say, ‘I’m (bleeping) proud of you Mel!”‘

Photo: CBS

Check out the entire interview with Melody below (make sure to also subscribe to the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube for more feature interviews), and following that the special CBS promo honoring Melody’s 40th anniversary with Y&R.  Then let us know, what has been your favorite Nikki Newman moment over the last 40 years? Share your thoughts via the comment section below,

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Interviews

Executive Producer Michael Levitt Previews The Adorable 2019 ‘American Rescue Dog Show’

Dog lovers everywhere get ready! Coming your way on Sunday, February 17th and Monday, February 18th, the good folks at the Hallmark Channel will air a two-night special event (8pmET/7pmCT) that puts a spin on the traditional competitive elite dog shows, while at the same time championing an important cause for man’s best friend.

The 2019 American Rescue Dog Show honors some of the cutest rescue dogs from around the country going paw-to-paw in categories that will tickle-your-funny-bone, bring a smile to your face, or, potentially shed a tear.  This marks the second year for this oh-so-heartwarming show, where in its first year, it beat the Westminster Dog Show in the ratings; much to the delight of rescue dogs and their families, who take these wonderful animals into their homes.

The brainchild behind the concept is the executive producer of the event. Michael Levitt (Skin Wars, Daytime Emmys, TV Land Awards), who spoke with Michael Fairman TV to give us all the inside dish and insight into why this dog show is so personally important to him, and how its goal is to create awareness about the plight of millions of abandoned dogs in shelters each year, and to inspire viewers to think about rescuing one of these loveable pups.

Levitt has a collection of notable hosts and judges along for the ride who bring this one-of-a-kind doggy competition to life from the world of TV, film, and animal advocacy.  So, for the lowdown on the competition and more, here’s what Michael shared.

Photo: Crown Media

For those who want to check out the two-night event, is the American Rescue Dog Show in the same vein as the Westminster Dog Show, where the dogs are competing? 

MICHAEL: The format of the show is similar to a fancy dog show, such as Westminster, however, on the American Rescue Dog Show, we aren’t “judging” the dog.  In our show, they all have to be rescue dogs that are spayed or neutered in order to compete, and we are not judging them based on their bloodlines, we are celebrating their cuteness in such categories as, “Best in Wiggle Butt,” “Best in Couch Potato,” “Best in Snoring,” “Best in Special Needs,” and  “Best in Senior Dog” – those are obviously some of the most important.   We have the fancy arena floor with the judges and the tuxedos.  We filmed it at the Pomona Fairplex, which is the same place that they film the Beverly Hills Dog Show.

And you have a bevy of dog-loving celebrity judges along for the ride, too!

MICHAEL: Yes, and this year we are lucky to have the support of celebrity animal advocates that include: Lisa Vanderpump, Debbie Gibson, Brandon McMillan, host of CBS’s Lucky Dog, Bill Berloni, who is the dog trainer to a lot of the dogs on Broadway, and Dirty Job’s Mike Rowe.  Our prerequisites for them to be a judge were: they all needed to be rescue-friendly.  So, they either needed to have a rescue dog of their own or support rescue in some way.  Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell are the hosts this year, along with Ross Matthews and Home & Family’s Larissa Wall, who served as co-hosts and cover all of the action ringside.

Photo: Crown Media

So, did the judges get along?  Did they differ on their top picks?

MICHAEL: The judges absolutely got along famously, but as a producer of the show, I was a fly on the wall listening to them when they were deliberating as they were picking a winner.  That was quite entertaining, because each of them had a strong point of view on the dog, or dogs that they thought should win the competition. We found ourselves throughout the filming just turning to each other and saying, “I don’t know how the judges are going to pick just one, because they are all just so incredibly special.”

How was Lisa Vanderpump? 

MICHAEL:  Lisa was wonderful!  When she was being interviewed by Rebecca and Jerry O’Connell, they asked her what she would say to a potential family that is about to buy a dog from a breeder, and it was such a profound moment, because as someone who comes from her socioeconomic level, from her privilege, to see that she has embraced rescue might be incredibly meaningful to someone who might think that rescue dogs are second-hand animals.  Lisa Vanderpump disproves that just by being there, and being a part of it.

Photo: Crown Media

How did you decide on Rebecca and Jerry as your hosts with the most?

MICHAE:  I have a long history with Rebecca from producing my show, Skin Wars, which she hosts.  I knew that she and Jerry had four rescue dogs of their own, and that she is incredibly passionate about rescue and shedding light and creating awareness about the plight of animals that are sheltered.  They were not only organic and authentic to the cause, but they were a lot of fun and clearly had a lot of natural chemistry.  They also brought their own rescue dogs to the show, as did Lisa Vanderpump.  So that was fun.

You have two wonderful dogs of your own.  So, this is your passion project!

MICHAEL: This is a true labor of love for me, because in 2011 when my sister, Jennifer was dying of cancer, my partner and I decided to rescue a dog, and we rescued a pit bull named Trooper, and Trooper rocked our world.  My sister met him four days before she died, and it’s that old adage of “Who rescued who.”  Trooper really was there for me during a really difficult time of my life. I learned first-hand how special not only rescue dogs are, but pit bulls, and that really was the beginning of my animal advocacy.  I ended up taking a year off from producing just to rescue dogs.  I realized at the end of that year, that as a rescuer, I am saving one dog at a time, but as a producer, I could do so much more to bring awareness to the plight of animals in our shelters by creating rescue-themed programming.

Pit bulls seem to always get a bad rap.  Do you feel that way?

MICHAEL:  They absolutely get a bad rap, and after we rescued Trooper, we rescued another pit bull named Nelson, and it was really the two of them who inspired me to get heavily involved in rescue and to be an advocate for pit bulls.  With pit bulls it is such a unique human-animal bond that you don’t find with any other breed.  All they really want to do is please their humans, and it is absolutely true that when you hear these horrific stories about pit bulls on the news, these are rare incidents of pit bulls who have fallen into the hands of bad people who have treated them badly.  It’s really unfair to profile and entire breed of dog, because all dog breeds have some dogs that have behavioral problems.  I have come in contact with thousands of pit bulls, and I have only met one that was human-aggressive, and that dog was severely, severely abused.  Every other pit bull I have come in contact with has been nothing but incredibly sweet.

Photo: Crown Media

So, last year’s American Rescue Dog Show is currently in the running to earn a Daytime Emmy nomination in the ‘Special Class Special’ programming category!

MICHAEL:  Yes, “Special Class Special”. (Laughs)

You obviously know who wins this weekend’s American Rescue Dog Show competition.  Were you happy with the winner? 

MICHAEL:  Yes, but you can imagine how difficult it is for the judges to pick a winner because every single dog in the competition is beyond adorable. It is really the dogs who deliver on the show, and that’s what makes the show so heartwarming.  The real purpose of the show is to inspire the viewers to rescue their next dog from their local shelter, or rescue organization, so that people who are watching turn to the person they are with and say, “Honey, I didn’t know you could get a pure-bred dog at a shelter!  Let’s rescue our next dog!”  We have really powerful segments in the show about the joy of adopting a senior dog, or a special-needs dog.  We do a segment on debunking the myths about pit bulls, and we have messaging on why it is important to spay and neuter your dog.  So, through this wonderfully entertaining program, we are also educating people and hopefully touching their heart and their soul and inspiring them to be a part of the solution by rescuing their next dog; instead of being a part of the problem by purchasing a dog from a pet store or breeder.

Photo: Crown Media

When you look at what you have to take on as a producer when you do this type of show; as opposed to any other type of production you have helmed, what are the major differences?

MICHAEL: The biggest distinction is that on this show we are dealing with living animals, so I take that responsibility very seriously.  First and foremost: is the safety and well-being of the dogs that are participating on the show.  We have to consider everything from making sure that the animals are up-to-date with their vaccinations to having veterinarians on hand, having production personal on-hand standing by with treats and pooper-scoopers. This also means that the dogs are being treated like VIPs.  So, we have a VIP room, but that stands for “Very Important Pooch”, and all of the dogs that are participating have their own dressing rooms with a star on it and their name.  There were over 130 dogs that actually participated from all over the country.  In addition, we had a gifting suite like they do on the Oscars and Golden Globes, but on this show, they didn’t get swag bags, they got “Wag Bags”.

Knowing you as I do, it seems a lot this creative from the categories in the competition, to the backstage VIP room, are very YOU!

MICHAEL:  I have an incredible team of producers who I collaborate with.  None of this would be possible without the good people at Hallmark being such incredible animal advocates.  Specifically, Bill Abbott, who is one of the few network executives in the industry who is really walking the walk and doing so much to be supportive of dogs and cats who need homes.  So, this is right up my alley, because creatively I am so passionate about it that it is so easy to come up with fun ideas that hopefully resonate with the viewers.

Photo: Crown Media

Are there any other fun moments that you can tease?

MICHAEL:  We are celebrating the perfectly imperfect.  So, we love when a dog decides to roll on his back in the middle of the arena and decide he wants to get a belly rub in the middle of the competition.  We had a dog decide that he had to go potty on the middle of a flower arrangement on the arena floor.  Those are the moments that give the show its heart and feel-good sensibility.  We had a couple of dogs in the “Best Wiggle Butt” category where one of their forever parent brings them out initially, and their other forever parent was on the other side of the area, and we removed their leash so that they can run from one parent to the other so that we can really see their butts moving, but … we had a few dogs get so excited that they ran right out of the arena! (Laughs)  They ran right through the tunnel off stage and come running back in, and the whole audience erupted into laughter.  It’s just magical.

How did you find these dogs to compete? 

MICHAEL:  We put out a call-to-action on social media, and we got thousands of responses. People submitted their rescue dogs in as many categories as they qualified for, and they submitted photos and videos. Then, we have a team of producers and rescue experts who go through all of the submissions, ultimately picking the top semi-finalists in each category who come to Los Angeles to compete.  We had a wonderful partnership with Pedigree Foundation in which they provided $100,000 in grant money for the dogs that win for the rescue that saved him or her.  So, in the ten semi-final categories, each winning dog received a $5,000 grant for the rescue that saved him or her, and then the ultimate winner of the competition, which is crowned the title, “Best in Rescue,” received an additional $30,000 for the rescue that saved him or her, again, courtesy of Pedigree Foundation.  We also had a partnership with adoptapet.com, which is the largest online resource for people to find rescue dogs in their own communities. Throughout the show, we have a call-to-action for people to go to hallmark.com/bestinrescue and look for the adopt a pet icon … they click it… then enter their zip code … and they are instantly linked to thousands of available dogs in their own community who are patiently waiting for a loving home.

Photo: Crown Media

The dog handlers are the owners of these pets?

MICHAEL:  Yes.  We call it a member of their “forever family”.  Several of the dogs on the show are service dogs now, or companion animals, working in senior homes or working with military service people suffering from PTSD.  We celebrate each and every one of them.

Is your hope to do a third annual show, and keep the dog rescue competition going?

MICHAEL:  Yes!  My hope is that this show continues to be on for many years to come and be a platform for the 8 million animals that enter our shelters each year and are patiently waiting for their forever home, and that we can continue to be a voice for these dogs that don’t have voices of their own.  Of all of the shows that I have produced over the years, this one is going to be the most meaningful to me, and is going to be my legacy, because it is such a beautiful thing that I can bring my work and my passion together to hopefully make a difference in the lives of all of these animals.  As a result of this show, we heard from numerous shelters across the country that there was a definite uptick in adoptions.  That warms my heart beyond compare.

In closing, you know what they say:  it’s easier to work with animals than humans! Thoughts? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:  Every show has its challenges, but I would much rather deal with a diva Chihuahua than a diva celebrity.  So, on that level, this show is pure joy to make.

So, will you be watching this heartwarming, creative two-night rescue dog event?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below, but first, check out this behind-the-scenes video of how the American Rescue Dog Show is put together with co-host, Ross Matthews.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Jason Thompson Talks On: The Self-Destructive Billy Abbott, Victoria, Phyllis, And Katie’s Disappearance

As February sweeps kicks in to high gear on The Young and the Restless, Billy Abbott (Jason Thompson) and his ex-wife, Victoria Newman (Amelia Heinle) are once again in each other’s orbit.  First, Billy was not too happy to learn that his nemesis, Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard) shared some passionate kisses with her.  In fact, he went running to Cane’s imprisoned wife. Lily (Christel Khalil), to give her the lowdown.  Next, their child, Katie has gone MIA, but as viewers saw on Friday’s cliffhanger she is somehow heard singing through the walls at the Newman Ranch. Previously, Katie said she was playing with an imaginary friend, but someone is lurking around and watching the Newmans every move!

And let’s not forget, Summer (Hunter King) is back in Genoa City!  The last time she hit town she all but destroyed Billy – his gambling addiction returned, she tried to seduce him, and he slept with her as revenge against Phyllis for her having sex with Nick (Joshua Morrow), and we could go on!  After all the hurt, and the dissolution of their relationship, Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) and Billy are not seeing eye to eye on much, but saying they will try to work together.  Can they?

To fill us in on all the drama, Jason Thompson chatted with Michael Fairman TV and weighed-in on: the future for Villy, Philly, what he has learned from working on two major soaps; General Hospital, where he played the popular Dr. Patrick Drake, and Y&R, his thoughts on his recent Daytime Emmy Pre-Nomination in the Lead Actor category in what was a banner year of storyline for him in 2018, and much more.

Insightful, driven, and talented, Jason is one of the standouts in our genre.  Check out what he had to share below.

What did you think about the plot point that had Billy going to visit Lily in prison, and once there, he informs her that her husband, Cane has been kissing on Victoria!?

JASON:  What I think about it is somewhat irrelevant.  It wasn’t hard for me to rationalize it.  In the moment, Billy was hurt and pissed off.  He is irrational sometimes.  Once he got to the prison, I think he second-guessed himself.  Lily did a pretty good job of convincing him that she needs to know what is going on in order to just live in a certain amount of truth in this situation.  Billy felt that it would be worse for her wondering what was going on on the outside without knowing the truth.  I think that in that moment, he was convinced that telling her the truth was the right thing.  There was a part of him that wanted to get back at Cane, and when Billy gets hurt, he seems to lash out a bit and then sometimes he kind of recoils.  Could he have let it go?  Probably.  I think it’s an interesting thing for Lily and Billy’s relationship; to be honest.  Billy has always respected Lily.  I think that he’s always looked at Lily as someone who does the right thing, and was a good wife, and a good mother, and all of those things.  He thinks that she is in a rough place and wanted to offer her a little bit of support, and that’s the way that he did it.

Photo: JPI Studios

Where do you think the show can go now with his relationship with Cane?  They have been contentious all this time, anyway, and now this has happened.   How do you think this will resolve, or would it ever resolve?

JASON:  I think it’s one of the most interesting relationships Billy hasI don’t know that it will ever resolve.  I don’t know that Billy thinks too much about Cane either way, but in saying that,  there is still no one that can get under his skin and quickly!  In an instant, Cane can be Billy’s enemy and I think that’s great.  I always think there is story for Billy and Cane.  In our working relationship as well, I think we both get a different energy out of each other that inevitably ends up in the characters.  That’s always fun.

Photo:” JPI

How does Billy feel about Victoria now?  She’s been struggling since her relationship with J.T., making out with Cane, etc. 

JASON:  Billy does have feelings for VictoriaI think it’s a number of things that contributes to this.  I think it’s where he finds himself in his life.  He has been kind of hurt by the woman he loved (Phyllis).  He had everything for a moment that he wanted … he had the job, he had the girl, and if he had just done the right thing and had a little bit more self-control, he probably would have been in the best place of his life.  So, when all of those things get pulled away, the one constant is just when he goes to see his kids and they smile, and they don’t know what’s going on in the outside world.  I think the only people who don’t judge him are probably the kids.  There’s something really comfortable about that situation.  No matter what happens, there’s always going to be a little something with Victoria.  She’s always very supportive (not that she hasn’t been very, very upset with him, at times), but there is always something about their relationship that will keep him wondering if they should be together.  I think it will probably be like that for the rest of their lives.

Billy is still unaware that Victoria, Nikki, Phyllis and Sharon are all part of a cover-up in J.T.’s murder.  How aware is Billy in the depths of the abuse Victoria suffered at the hands of J.T.?

JASON:  There was never really a big realization about how dramatic, hurtful, and volatile the whole situation was.  It was a shock to hear all of that obviously, but he has no idea about the depths of it all.

Photo: CBS

If he found out, how do you think he would react knowing what Victoria had gone through?

JASON:  I think he would probably want to kick him again and then re-bury him. Billy has got a lot of flaws, but there is one thing that he will do, and that is always stand up for his family, and that includes Victoria.

Currently, it is just devastating for Billy when Katie goes missing.   He’s like, “I can’t go through this again after what happened with Delia,” and I know you didn’t play the Delia material, because you weren’t on the show at that time.  However, this does give you the opportunity to tap into all of that.

JASON:  Yes!  I mean, that is his biggest fear … going through all of that again.  I think that he would rather not be on the planet than go through all of that again.  What happened to Delia is never going to ever leave him.  I can’t imagine that something like that ever really does.  You just deal with it on a daily basis probably, and things come up, and you feel it all over again, and this is one of those moments.

Courtesy/CBS

I think that you being a father of two children now in your own life; really gives you a perspective when you play these things types of emotions and scenes out.

JASON:  Definitely.  Peter Bergman (Jack) and I were having a conversation about how much life and living, and trying to live a full life, really helps you with your acting.  I work really hard on my craft, but the most important thing that I can do for my work and my career is live a full life.  With the kids and everything else in my personal life, that to me is something that I can always draw upon.  It’s hard to even let myself go there sometimes, because of how scary it would be.  But yeah, I think Billy is not far off from that.  That character has a lot of life and is tied to this volcano and it’s just waiting to erupt, and that eruption is good and full of liveliness fear, and anger.  Some of that comes from hurt, and some of that comes from pain, and some of that comes from a good time, and some of that comes from addiction, and it makes it fun for me because there’s always something to play.  When I talk about what I think of a particular story line, I don’t think of it as, “Oh, I would never do this,” or “I would never do that.  That doesn’t make any sense.”  I try and make sense of everything.  That’s my job.  I just try to find a reason why Billy would be in that situation; instead of trying to find a reason why he wouldn’t be.

Photo: JPI Studios

Would you say that the situation with Katie will draw Victoria and Billy closer together?  At the end of Friday’s episode, they hear Katie’s voice in the wall, so they know she is alive.

JASON:  I think so.  One step up is often two steps back with them, but they are always connected in that way.  The kids do that, and what they’ve been through in the past, and like you said, I wasn’t necessarily there for a lot of that, but it’s in this character.  I would never say never with Victoria.

Photo: CBS

So, where is Billy at with Phyllis?  You and Gina Tognoni played that coupling to the hilt and the show separated them.  Major romances are never really ‘done, done’ on soaps.

JASON:  I mean, it only gets worse with Phyllis.  I’ll say that.  They’re not in a good place.   We have gone through some changes behind the scenes.  So, I have no idea what is happening as far as storyline.  I think there is always going to be something unresolved with Phyllis, but that’s the good thing about this kind of stuff.  You can put these two people together when you have two actors who kind of embrace it, and work at it, and have a natural chemistry, which in turn helps the characters have chemistry.  When Gina and I talk about what we did and accomplished with our characters, to be honest, it’s a little bit of a bummer that they are kind of apart right now, because we had a lot of fun.  We really enjoyed working with each other.  We felt like there was a lot more there to continue to explore, but like you said, it’s never over.  As far as the way that he sees Phyllis … it’s interesting.  I think as an outsider, he kind of looks at her as a selfish person who is going to get and grab whatever she wants, but I feel like he does understand her differently than other people do.  I think he’s looking at Nick and Phyllis and shaking his head like, “You can’t be serious.” (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI

You have had quite a gold mine of leading ladies in your daytime career from: Kimberly McCullough (Robin) to Kelly Monaco (Sam) while you portrayed Dr, Patrick Drake on General Hospital, to Gina and Amelia at Y&R.  I have to say that of all of the leading men on daytime, I think you’ve had consistently some major romantic kickass scene partners.  What are your thoughts on that?

JASON:  Yeah, I have been very fortunate.  I can go back thirteen years now and talk about how much Kimberly helped me out in the beginning, and how patient, and impatient (laughs) she was in a lot of ways.  Kimberly taught me a lot about how the business is, and to hold onto your values, and that it is very important to collaborate with your directors, and your writers, and your producers, and with other people that you work with.  You then see new things.  I’m constantly seeing things in other characters where I’m like, “That would be really interesting to shine a light on.”   I think there’s something really interesting about Sharon (Sharon Case) and Billy.  I think Billy could bring something out in Sharon that somebody else can’t.  That’s what is exciting for me as an actor – trying to find something different and trying to bring life that is not necessarily there yet.  I have had a lot of trust from writers, from producers, and from networks.  I have been very fortunate in that way.

Hunter King has returned to Y&R as Summer.  She played havoc in Billy’s life her last go-round.  I know now she is currently after Kyle (Michael Mealor) and not after Billy, but does Billy blame her at all for his spiral back into his gambling addiction?

JASON:  Realistically, if  Billy were really being dead honest about it and trying to really work soberly in his life, he would say there’s nobody to blame but himself.  There’s definitely that conversation that could be had between them about the situation that they found themselves in.  They both hurt each other pretty badly, and the people surrounding them.  I think there is probably a little bit of blame that can go around on both of them, but I don’t think he really sits back and blames her for falling back into addiction.  She might have been one of the triggers, but I think that he was really responsible for that.

Congratulations on your Daytime Emmy Pre-Nom in the Lead Actor category!  It’s quite a talented group of ten actors that made it through to the final round of competition. You certainly had a stellar year of material!

JASON:  I had a ton of great storylines last year, and it just kind of kept going, and kept going One thing I will say that really helped me out is my relationship with Mal Young (Ex- EP and head writer, Y&R).  We got along really well.  He helped me out by letting me know six months ahead of time where we planned on going with the story.  So, I was able to understand and slowly build the depths of hurt, and the gambling, and how it got further along, and the lies.   I was able to understand where we were going and the plateau that we needed to get to, which was very helpful for me. I worked with amazing people constantly; every day was like something different.  The hard part in this next round of voting is trying to find something that represents the whole year.  When I look at that list of pre-nominees, I’m proud of the work that daytime actors do … everybody from a little bit of a younger guy like Billy Flynn (Chad, DAYS) to icons like Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) , and Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH).  What Maurice brought to my life as an actor and still does has been wonderful, and on the other side of that you’ve got Peter Bergman, who is like a real brother to me now, and we’re really close.  It’s a nice comradery between everybody in the category.  It’s a great group of people to be included with, and aside from the competition part of it, that’s the really cool part.

Photo Credit: JPI

So, let’s talk about your on-screen, mom, Jess Walton (Jill).  I’ve heard you say publicly how much you really like working with her, and she with you.  What can you say about when you do get some scenes with Jess, and get to play that mother-son relationship?

JASON:  That’s another one that you can loop in with all of the other women I’ve worked with.  It’s a different kind of relationship, but talk about a soap icon! Jess Walton is right up there.  She’s a pro, and she’s got this little girl inside that is the sweetest thing alive, and her little giggle.  I can say that relationship is just there with her.  I would love for her to be there more.  If there’s one person that can tell Billy to just, you know what, she’s somebody that can give him a little whipping, and he’d be like, “Okay mom, you’re right.” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Finally, you are on this juggernaut of a show that just celebrated yet another milestone, 30 years at #1.  You go from a historic show like GH, to another here at Y&R that keeps celebrating these milestones that nobody will ever overtake.  All of this has to be a ‘pinch yourself’ moment for you?

JASON:  Yeah, I definitely pinch myself.  I think at this moment, all four soaps that are left are having monumental anniversaries and celebrations, because the truth of it is, it’s really incredible what soaps have done in our history.  With playing Patrick on General Hospital, I still look back on that time and that character, and am just so grateful that I was able to bring him to life.  Every once and awhile I wonder what Patrick’s doing.  On the other end of that, to come over to Y&R with a show that is now 30 years at number #1, and the pride that they have, and the support that they have from the network, there’s a real kind of challenge that we have in order to keep that up.  It is not about the slogans, or the glitzy ad campaigns in the magazines that say, “Hey!  We are #1 for 30 years.”  While that’s very important, what’s more important are the people who have gotten us there for the last thirty years.  We have to show them respect by doing the best that we can and continue that. That’s what drives us. You can feel it in the building.  To take on a character like Billy, who has been a part of that for a very long time, there is a pressure that comes with that, but at the same time, there is an excitement of taking on this character and continuing to make him relevant, and a part of this great soap’s history.

So, do you want Billy to end up with Victoria, Phyllis, perhaps Sharon, or someone else? Who do you think has got Katie and is watching the Newmans?  Are you rooting for Jason to receive a Lead Actor nomination for his work on Y&R in 2018?  What do you think about the other sentiments shared by Jason in this interview, and what was your favorite part of our discussion? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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