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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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su0000
Guest
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
Guest
Enrique Buenrostro

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

Keith
Guest
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.… Read more »

Jenn
Guest
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… Read more »

Delainey
Guest
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… Read more »

MONA
Guest
MONA

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

Patricia
Guest
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… Read more »

Joliefan Forever
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Cheryl
Guest
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
Guest
MEG

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

Alex
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Enrique Buenrostro

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

Jenn
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Karen
Guest
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… Read more »

Erick
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

rebecca
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
jimh

Hopefully new writers will make improvements.

susan M.
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Dennis
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Kristy

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

Wendy L
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
CTwildheart

I barely notice it.

rebecca
Guest
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
Guest
rebecca

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

rebecca
Guest
rebecca

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

susan M.
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
babsy

Totally agree.

sarah
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

babsy
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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)
Guest
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.… Read more »

Barry
Guest
Barry

Bring back Edwina Lewis – Margret Klenck, PLEASE!

CTwildheart
Guest
CTwildheart

Oohhh, Edwina! I liked her.

OLTL FAN FOREVER
Guest
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… Read more »

TnT 2.0 Forever
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
CTwildheart

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

Christy
Guest
Christy

te he he

Lin
Guest
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… Read more »

Christy
Guest
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… Read more »

maxine
Guest
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… Read more »

Delainey
Guest
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.… Read more »

B.J.
Guest
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
Guest
rebecca

I agree with all of you!

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

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

su0000
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Johnny
Guest
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… Read more »

brian
Guest
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… Read more »

emlons
Guest
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
Guest
Lisa Postles

Good interview. I will keep watching.

Shelley
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Delainey
Guest
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… Read more »

jimh
Guest
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
Guest
jimh

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

Bryon B
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

rebecca
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
jimh

Maybe shes doing some undercover work.

onlinetolive
Guest
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… Read more »

susan M.
Guest
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
Guest
jimh

Im so with you on that Susan.

Ginny
Guest
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
Guest
Terri

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

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

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

I Remember Meredith
Guest
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… Read more »

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

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

jimh
Guest
jimh

Same here.

su0000
Guest
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.
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
kim

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

Tim
Guest
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… Read more »

Beth
Guest
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… Read more »

jimh
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Enza
Guest
Enza

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

AbbyS.
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Kiki
Guest
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
Guest
Judy

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

AbbyS.
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Jewell
Guest
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
Guest
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.
Guest
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
Guest
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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

 

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

Photo: Gilles Toucas

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

Check out the full interview with Matthew below. 

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

 

 

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

 

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

Photo: : Metropolitan Entertainment,

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

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

How does Gordo know the girls in the film?

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

Photo: InheritancePlay

 

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

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

Wait, what?

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

Photo: AP

I think Elizabeth Gillies is terrific in Dynasty.

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

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

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

Photo JPI

But Sainty knew you’d dated Elizabeth?

ERIC:  Yes, she did.

You must have been dying.

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: Broadway World

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

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

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

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

Photo: Broadway World

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

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

It seems reminiscent of Angels In America, but different.   

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

Courtesy/ENelsen

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

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

How long was it open on Broadway?

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

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

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

And … Ariana Grande? (Laughs)

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

Photo: Prospect Park

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

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

Photo: LANYEntertainment

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

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

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

In story, Daniel chooses Caleb.  Why so?

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

… And Matthew is not a great guy?

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

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ENelsen

Finally, how is being a dad?

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

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

ERIC:  (Laughs) Yep!

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

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

Photo: JPI

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

Photo: JPI

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

Photo: BlueAeris

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

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

Photo: BlueAegis

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

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