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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
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

Mishael Morgan Talks on Her Return to Y&R and Tackling the New Role of Amanda Sinclair

So, just how did The Young and the Restless lure back one of the series most powerhouse actresses to take on a brand-new role? Mishael Morgan, who earlier this year was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her gut-wrenching final performances as Hilary Curtis, reveals in a new interview with Michael Fairman TV, what went down to bring her back to the CBS Daytime drama.

As fans know thus far, after appearing as ‘Ghost Hilary” through the late spring and summer, Y&R’s creatives worked behind the scenes to get Morgan back on screen without tainting Hilary’s ultimate demise.  That is when they came up with the role of the sexy yet tough lawyer, Amanda Sinclair.

So, enter Mishael in a new wig and style that defines Amanda as her own character.  Question is, since Amanda is a dead-ringer for the late Hilary, are they related? And, what will ultimately be proven to be in her DNA?  In story, Amanda entered the scene as the often-mentioned Chance Chancellor’s attorney.  She shows up in Genoa City to contest the legitimacy of the late great Katherine Chancellor’s will and the fortune she left to Devon (Bryton James).  With Devon directly in Amanda’s line of fire it sets the stage for potential fireworks down the line.

We sat down with Mishael backstage at Y&R for this informative and entertaining chat as we officially welcome back this truly kick-ass performer.  Here’s what Mishael shared below.

Photo: JPI

What transpired behind the scenes to make it possible for you to come back to Y&R?

MISHAEL:  Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R) kind of gave me a little bit of a heads up.  They called me back to come in and do the ghost episodes as Hilary, and it happened really quickly.  It was like, “Hey, Mishael, do you think you can do this?  Yeah?  Okay.  We’ll work it out with your team.  Alright.  We’ll see you tomorrow.” (Laughs) It was really, really fast.  I was hesitant for a second about the whole Hilary ‘ghost thing’, because I felt good about how we wrapped up Hilary’s storyline.  I’d only left for a couple of months, and I still felt funny about it, but I was like, “I’ll do it.  She’s a ghost … so she hasn’t returned from the dead.  So, it’s fine.”

Originally, I was concerned that they were going to have you as Hilary keep popping up as a ghost to Devon for an indefinite amount of time; when the show has already done that with Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) and his father, John (Jerry Douglas).  Because of your previous performances, and Emmy-nominated performance for the final arc of Hilary’s story, I thought, in the end, it might detract from that.

MISHAEL:  Yes, and I think that’s how I felt too, but I agreed to do it because they said that it was going to be a max of seven episodes.  So, while I was doing that, Tony was on set watching the scenes.  Next, he just called me up and said, “Well, how do you feel about coming back?”  I was like, “Coming back?  Hilary is dead.  Like, Hilary is dead-dead.  Is this going to be an alternate universe?” (Laughs) He said, “Well, no.  You’d be coming back as a different character.”  That was really intriguing to me, because one of the reasons why I left was because I felt like creatively I’d played a character from beginning to end, and it felt like it would just be nice to go off and play somebody new.  I never in a million years thought that I could come back to Y&R and actually play someone new!  That was weird to wrap my head around when they said, “You’d play a new character,” but then when they said she was going to me a lawyer, my ears really perked up! I’ve always wanted to play a lawyer, because I have the background where I wanted to be a lawyer in real life.  So, then I’m like, “OK. Now I get to play a lawyer on TV.”  They really got their hooks in to me with that … and just hooked me in from there.  Then, I got open to the idea and the story that Josh Griffith (head writer, Y&R) wanted to tell.

Photo: JPI

Once you learned the idea of the story from Josh, it seemed that things happened very quickly!  We all found out about your return via a social media post where you got to tell the fans yourself that you were coming back … but as a new character.

MISHAEL:  It happened relatively quickly in terms of me tentatively coming back, but then they still had to write the story.  So, everything wasn’t really confirmed until a couple of weeks before I started taping again.  We were in talks for about two months, and we worked it all out.  I said, “I’d do it,” and then it was 100% confirmed around August of this year, and I was airing in September.  It was kept was very, very quiet.

Are you still figuring out what Amanda’s back-story is?

MISHAEL:  I am.  I feel like every writer is a little different, and I feel like Josh likes to keep things very close and tight to his chest so that you kind of don’t know what’s happening.  Josh gives you enough information to play a little bit of something that is coming down the pike, but he doesn’t really disclose everything.   I’ve gotten little hints, and I kind of know where we are going, but I still don’t know the whole back-story of Amanda.  I’m still trying to figure her out.  If she’d been the polar opposite of Hilary, I think it might have been easier, but if you read her description, she’s very much like Hilary: A-type, strong, driven, all of those things.  Hilary had this very malicious, unscrupulous side to her, but I don’t know if Amanda has that.  In terms of the general description of the character, they’re very similar, which I was happy about just because I like playing strong women on TV.  If they had said, “We’re bringing on this character, and she is homeless” … or somebody who was super quiet… that would pose a different set of things for me as an actress.  I think seeing strong women of all different colors, shapes, and sizes is so important right now on TV, and it is very relevant.  I am happy to be a part of that.

Photo: JPI

What was it like playing all of these entrance scenes as Amanda where your former and current scene partners had to suspend belief? There’s Bryton James, Christel Khalil, Daniel Goddard, Jess Walton, and you, and Amanda walks in like, “Hey there!” (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  We just laughed about it.  It’s one of those things that is so funny, and it can only happen in the world of soaps.  A lot of the fans said, “This is weird,” in the beginning, but the fans love the show, and they accept it, and they do suspend their disbelief, and then it becomes normal.   We just had fun with it.

You’re like, “Hi, do you like my new hair?” (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  That was the thing too.  (Laughs) I don’t even think Christel even saw my hair until she came to set, and she was like, “Oh wow! I like your new hair.”

Photo: JPI

What happened when you and Christel taped the scenes where Lily sees Amanda for the first time, after the former contentious relationship of Lily and Hilary that ultimately changed the course of both their lives?

MISHAEL:  For me, it was super fun and easy because I don’t know any of the Hilary/Lily back-story.  I just play very oblivious like,“Hi, I’m just here.” (Laughs)  So, it’s very easy for me, but I almost envy a lot of the other characters who have to play all of these layers because Lily does have that back-story because she was charged for Hilary’s death, and the guilt associated with doing something like that, and also the hate that she had for Hilary.  Then overcoming that hate, and then going on that entire beautiful journey that they had together as women.  But now having that as a layer, and adding on top of it this woman who looks exactly like Hilary, but is a completely different person, is really interesting. Even for Bryton, I feel like he has a golden opportunity as well, because to have that love of your life, and then a new love of your life there in Elena, and then see a woman who looks just like your ex-wife is, I’m sure, really difficult.  Your mind would just be exploding!

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How did Bryton find out that you were coming back, and what was his reaction to the news?

MISHAEL:   Well, I came in for the ghost episodes, and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.  I told him before we finalized this new deal.  He’s a friend of mine.  I wanted to get his opinion, and he was like, “You should do it!”  I was like, “Really?  It feels so weird because I just left a year ago, and I was so happy and content with leaving, so it feels weird to come back.”  He was like, “No, it will be fine.”  He’s like, “The fans will love you either way.  They’ll want you back.”   I was worried about how the fans would feel because it is such a quick return.

Photo: JPI

What is the feedback you’re getting from the fans thus far on your transformation from Hilary to now Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I feel like it’s pretty positive for the most part.  There are always going to be a couple of fans who are skeptical … or who don’t like the storyline … and even if they don’t like it they say, “This is kind of weird to bring her back as a different character.  We miss Hilary, but we love that Mishael Morgan is back, so, that kind of makes it all OK.”

The story that brings Amanda to Genoa City revolves around the legitimacy of Katherine Chancellor’s (the late Jeanne Cooper) will, and she comes in and says there was a counterfeit will etc.  She’s the messenger at this point and her client is Chance, correct?

MISHAEL:  Yes, Amanda’s client is Chance.

Isn’t she starting to question the legitimacy of her client?

MISHAEL:  Yes, but I think she still believes that it was Chance.  She’s kind of wondering now … because she even accuses Jill (Jess Walton).  She’s like, “It’s your grandson.  He’s all out to lunch.  He’s not getting back to anybody.”  Jill is very much in the headspace where she is like, “Well, this is probably not my grandson.”  Amanda is like, “I’m pretty sure it is.”  So, I think Amanda still thinks that it is Chance, even if he is a criminal, and even if he is doing something tricky.

Photo: JPI

How did Amanda get contacted by Chance in the first place to take this case?

MISHAEL:  It was an email, and then Amanda spoke to him on the phone …  or at least to who she believed was Chance.  He signed the papers, he scanned them over, and he forwarded Amanda the retainer. She had no reason not to believe that it was him.

So, when Amanda came to see Devon and company, she had no idea that there was this lookalike of her that was intertwined with this family?

MISHAEL:  No, but then after Devon tells Amanda about all of this, she sees pictures of Hilary online, but this is all done off-camera.

Does Amanda now suspect that she could be a twin? 

MISHAEL:  I think so.  I’m kind of playing that or keeping that there.  I’m kind of playing that as part of the reason why I want to stay in town because Amanda is intrigued by this other person who looks like her.  This could possibly be family.  I think it adds an extra layer as to why she wants to stay on Genoa City.  It is not just because she likes this person, or that person.  I think it is because she wants to figure out her connection to this person who looks just like her.

Photo JPI

We’ve seen Amanda be a little shifty.

MISHAEL:  Maybe a little bit. (Laughs)

What do you think we, as the audience, should be feeling at this point about Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I think we just have to wait and see.  Hilary had a lot going on before I left, and this is a new character who is slowly building.

I think that one of the things that daytime shows often have done wrong is that when they bring in a new character, they shove them down the audience’s throats too fast that they get sick of them.  I don’t know if that’s the tactic for the emergence of Amanda, more of a slow burn?

MISHAEL:  I feel like they are definitely doing a good job of building her character slowly and adding layers.  It’s not all coming out right away.  I feel like people should be feeling excited to try and figure out who this woman is because that is what it is eventually going to be leading to.  Right now, we are all just together in trying to figure out who she is.  I feel like everybody is really excited (and I am too) to get going, but even when Hilary came to Genoa City, it took about a year for her to catch her stride.  I think it’s going to take a while to really understand the meat of this character and how she fits into everyone’s lives.

Photo: JPI

Do you think Amanda feels badly about what is going on with Cane and Devon with the will, and how it would change both their lives forever?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  I definitely think that she feels badly about that.  In the beginning, it was very much her job.  I think when Devon is contemplating giving over his fortune, it makes Amanda see him in a different light, and her empathy for him starts to increase because she sees that he is a good guy, and that there wasn’t anything that he did that was malicious.

I think there is an attraction brewing here between Devon and Amanda.

MISHAEL:  Possibly.  I mean … Devon was attracted to someone who looked like Amanda.

Photo: JPI

Will she like him if he has no money, though?

MISHAEL:  I don’t know… I mean, Hilary definitely wouldn’t. (Laughs)

What do you think about working with Brytni Sarpy (Elena)? I see a triangle or quadrangle brewing and I see catfights in your future!

MISHAEL:  I love Brytni.  I definitely see that because Elena is definitely in the state of mind where she can’t stand this Amanda character.  The second she walked through the door, she couldn’t stand her.  I’m sure there are going to be some catfights coming.  I’m sure that it is going to be very entertaining for everybody! We’ll see.

Because you were considering being a lawyer … wait until you get into the courtroom set for some scenes!

MISHAEL:  I know, I’m excited for that!

Christian LeBlanc (Michael) always loves the courtroom monologues because he says it’s like doing a stage play.  Will you be up for that?

MISHAEL:  I think it’ll be ready for it.  I had a little one already to kind of warm up.  I won’t tell you what it was about.  I was like, “I can do this,” and I think it would have been even more fulfilling if there were an actual jury there where it feels like you’re performing.

Photo: JPI

What kind of lawyer is Amanda?  Does anyone know? (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  Well, right now she specializes in estates and trusts, but the one thing that I do know about attorneys is that technically with your license you can kind of do anything.  It is just that your experience will be in a specific area.  So, certain people may not want you to defend them, because you’ve never defended people in these cases.  I feel like it is not the same as a surgeon.  A surgeon specializes in the heart, and they don’t really do anything else, but as an attorney, you can kind of do anything.  You can defend anyone if the price is right and you feel confident.

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When you were thinking of being a lawyer, did you think of the kind of lawyer you wanted to be?

MISHAEL:  Well, when I wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be an international human rights lawyer.  So, something very different.  I wanted to save the world.

You know what they should do?  Maybe Amanda could have a courtroom show.  Instead of Judge Judy, it could be called Judge “Mandy”!

MISHAEL:  Put people in their places.

That’s if Amanda doesn’t get a talk show gig on the side, like Hilary did with GC Buzz! (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  With the courtroom cases, and the talk show, that would be a lot.

Photo: JPI

We talked about Hilary and taking her through everything she had gone through, and it really was the perfect ending when she passed.   Do you look back on that time and that work which we all loved so much?

MISHAEL:  Yes, I do.  I still look back on it, and I feel so blessed to have gone through that journey with her and to have created such a great character.  There are times when I’m like, “Yeah, coming back as Hilary would have been a lot of fun,” because I read the lines, and I know how Hilary would say everything, and now I have to figure out how Amanda says it – and it never feels the same, because I got so used to this being Hilary’s home.  I feel like Amanda is a little more like me, so there is a little less playfulness happening.

You want more of that which is reminiscent of Hilary, or not as much with Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I feel like naturally there is not as much now with Amanda, but I do want more of the playfulness to happen. It’s fun to play that on camera.  I feel that’s the fun of acting and pretending in that you get to be less of yourself, and more like a character.  Hilary was so different from me that it was just so fun to play her.  I feel like I’ve got to find those things in Amanda that make her unique and different that I can indulge in.

Photo: MMorganInstagram

In real-life you’re now a mom of two.  When you leave your kids to come to work, is it hard for you?

MISHAEL:  It is, but it’s okay because my husband stays at home with them.  We bounce back and forth.  He doesn’t work when I am working, and the days when I am not working, I am at home, and I get to enjoy time with them.  Then, when I am working, he stays home, and he gets to enjoy time with them.  It sucks to leave them, but at the same time it’s great to know that they are getting to spend time with their father, and I’m getting some ‘me time’.  I think that is necessary, because being a stay at home mom was a lot harder than I thought.  It is exhausting, and you are always on call.  You feel like you’re a surgeon.  It is just too much at times.

You always have the best Instagram photos with your kids and their outfits.  Are you going to have them dressed for Halloween?

MISHAEL:  Oh, yes.  They are going to dress up.   My son is going to be a firefighter, and I am going to be the fire, and my husband is going to be the fire hydrant, and my daughter is going to be the fire dog, the little Dalmatian!

Were you thrilled that you had a daughter this time, after previously having a son?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  At the time, I was okay with whatever the gender turned out to be.  I know everybody says it, but as long as they’re healthy, that is the most important thing.  I even thought about if I did have another boy, there would be that brother bond.  I grew up with sisters so to give him a brother would have been great, too.  Everybody always wants to have one of each because you want to be able to see what a boy would look like, and what a girl would look like, and their temperaments and all of that.  So, it’s nice that we got one of each.  We are happy.  We are good.  No more kids in my future.  (Laughs)  I shouldn’t say that too much because what if I do get pregnant, and my kid is like, “I was definitely an accident, Mom?” (Laughs)

We don’t know who Amanda has ties to at this point, but would you like to see her in another romantic relationship with some guy who is not Devon?

MISHAEL:  I would like to see that just because it would be something that kind of defines her as her own kind of person with her own journey and her own likes and her own dislikes.  I even feel that if she just ends up with Devon, it would be kind of weird.  We don’t know if Hilary and Amanda are related, but if they are related somehow, you would not have the same experiences, you would not have the same connections as this person.  As far as who I would want to work with, I don’t know.  I don’t know how to judge.  Well, Sean Dominic (Nate) has been awesome.  It would be kind of cool to be with Sean character-wise, because if Amanda ends up with Nate, that’s a relative of Devon, so Devon would have to see that all of the time … so that’s interesting.

Photo JPI

How is working with Sean?

MISHAEL:  Lots of fun.  He actually has the same birthday as my dad.  He’s a really cool guy, and we get along great.  That is half the battle because every now and again (and you rarely hear about it) you can’t stand the person you’re working with, and every time you get into scene work with another character, you’re always wondering, “Am I going to get along with this person?”  I love Bryton because we definitely have a special connection when we are on camera and when we are working together.  We’ve known each other for so long, and we’ve done so many amazing scenes together, and I think there is a lot of trust there.  It’s easy to just work with him.  That being said, the challenge of working with another character would be great as well.  We’ll just see where the chips fall.  Either way; I’m going to have a blast.

So, Camryn Grimes (Mariah) and you obviously have this great relationship together on-screen.  Mariah was Hilary’s dear friend.  Did you ever see her performance after Hilary died and her heartbreaking monologue on the set of GC Buzz?

MISHAEL:  Yes, I did.  It was amazing.  She’s an amazing actress.  She’s an amazing person.  I was so happy to work with her, and I am so happy to be back, because we are such good friends.  My first day back on set when I walked in, Camryn was the first person I saw.

Photo: JPI

Did Camryn know you were coming back to the show as Amanda?

MISHAEL:  Yes, she knew I was coming back.  We had a big hug and everything like that, and we were laughing about the fact that she’d come back to Y&R too as a whole different character.  So, I was like, “What pointers can you give me?” I would really love to figure out how Amanda and Mariah can work together.

The big question … I wonder if Amanda will have friends in Genoa City? (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  I think she would.  I mean, I know she is a little uptight, but I think she’ll have friends.  I hope so.  I don’t know who though. Guess everyone will have to stay tuned to see.

So, are you happy to see Mishael back at The Young and the Restless? What do you think of the character of Amanda Sinclair thus far? Do you want to see her with Nate, Devon, or someone else on the canvas romantically?  Do you think it will turn out that Hilary and Amanda were twins? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Talks On Thomas’ Vendetta With Brooke & Playing The Manipulative Bad Boy Of The Forrester Clan

Since coming to The Bold and the Beautiful earlier this year, Matthew Atkinson is making his mark in the role of Taylor (Hunter Tylo) and Ridge’s (Thorsten Kaye) son, Thomas Forrester.  But while Matthew was a recast for his predecessor Pierson Fodé, his Thomas is quite different.  The new Thomas is a bad boy capable of horrific manipulations to get what he wants, and a young man who has caused so much suffering already for the Logans, Spencers, and the Forresters  But is there a heart underneath that often volatile exterior?

After all, Thomas went to great lengths to keep Hope (Annika Noelle) in a relationship with him and for her to be a “mother” to his son, following the death of Caroline.  So, what did he do? He covered-up and blackmailed many people to keep their mouths shut to the truth – that his sister Steffy’s (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) little girl, Phoebe, was actually baby Beth, the child Hope and Liam (Scott Clifton) believed had died at birth!

Following the big reveal, and getting a bit of comeuppance, Thomas landed in the hospital with a questionable push from Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) after a fall.  After promising to change his ways, looks like Thomas is back to scheming and conniving – this time to make sure Brooke gets payback and that her marriage to his father blows up to smithereens.  Meanwhile, Thomas needs to be a better father to his little boy, Douglas (Henry Joseph Samiri), but will the Logans and the Spencers come between father and son?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Matthew Atkinson to get his take on: the emotional make-up of his incarnation of Thomas Forrester, what his ultimate takedown of Brooke would be, and how he thinks Thomas can find a way back into the family good graces, and more.  Here’s what Matthew had to say about it all.

Photo: JPI

Thomas really has a vendetta with Brooke.  The scene where Brooke slaps him illustrated just how deep-rooted his issues apparently are with her. What did you think about what Thomas said to Brooke that came to a boiling point with the slap, and what was it like performing the material with Katherine Kelly Lang?

MATTHEW:  Katherine rocks every chance I get to be around her.  She is such a sweet human being and so fun to work with and takes her job seriously and puts a lot of work in, and I think it shows.  As far as the scene goes, every chance that I get to work with her is fun.  She’s just a great actress.  Brooke basically had this vendetta against Thomas for a while now, and she was the one who unjustifiably went a little crazy about Thomas before anybody knew Thomas was off the rails.  So, it’s kind of this interesting culmination of having that where she has built herself up to hating Thomas at this point, and she is just scared of him and what he could possibly do.  Then you have Thomas, who has hated Brooke ever since she came in and destroyed his family.  There is so much emotion there and so many levels to it.  It’s just so much fun to play around with, and in those scenes especially, it is kind of like neither one of them really has a filter.  They are both just going at each other.

He is punctuating his plan by telling Brooke that she may, “Have his father tied around her slutty little finger, but her reign of terror ends with him!”  I was just like, “Uh-oh.” (Laughs)

MATTHEW:  Yeah, and that’s how Thomas sees Brooke.  He sees her as this slutty woman who came in and kind of giggles her way into his dad’s life and flirted with him and destroyed his entire family.  Thomas sees her and all of her sisters as these air-headed women who are kind of just family-destroying kind of people.  They come in, they do whatever they can to get what they want, and he doesn’t care about them at all.  I think he has kind of gotten to this point, especially with Brooke … considering what happened with Hope and that he has this genuine love for Hope.  Brooke won’t even accept that, or think about that as a possibility with how she views him.   It’s that crazy dynamic and those scenes were definitely an emotional peak for both of them.

Photo: JPI

Thomas seems to become obsessed, and laser-focused on people like Hope, and now Brooke.  What has happened to him?  How are you playing this behavior pattern of his that we are seeing established?

MATTHEW:  Some of the most successful people in the world are people who obsess over things.  I think Thomas is like that, but I think that since Caroline’s death, his obsessive nature has been so focused on things other than fashion.  They aren’t his job and what his talents are, which is where he should focus all of that energy, but instead it’s been on his son needing a mother.  So, getting Hope in his life was key to him, and with Brooke, it’s a woman who has destroyed his entire family.  He wants his dad to be better off.  He wants his entire family to be better off.  He honestly feels that they would be better off without Brooke in their lives, and so that is what he is focused on.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad attribute to have when it is focused in the right direction, but for Thomas, since the death of Caroline, his focus has been on things that are a little abstract and are not necessarily objectively sound decisions.

Photo: JPI

What was interesting was that I did not know how they were going to be able to save the character of Thomas on the B&B canvas after all that he has perpetrated.  But then, there were scenes in the hospital where he is recovering from his “fall”, and Thomas is having big emotional scenes with Ridge and Steffy.  In those moments as the viewer, you say to yourself: “Oh, they’re going to redeem him,” but then they don’t.  He goes right back to a new vendetta.  What did you think of those plot twists?

MATTHEW:  The interesting thing about this character is that I don’t think this guy is a bad guy.  I think he is a guy who is doing a lot of bad things, but I think a lot of people can relate to him and the struggles that he is dealing with: being a single father and having a rough childhood with his family being broken up.  This is a guy who wants his father to approve of him and respect him and he has never really felt that way.  I think a lot of people out there know what it’s like to have a parent who they just want approval from but can’t get it … couple that with the fact that he let his sister down.  Everybody knows what it is like to think that they are making the right decision and end up making the wrong decision and possibly hurting someone in the process … and the kind of shame that you feel from doing something like that.  I think this makes Thomas an interesting character where viewers could say, “Well, he is doing bad things, and I don’t agree with anything that he is doing, but I can relate to him, and I want him to be better, and I want him to get better and become the good person we all know he can be.”  Yet, Thomas just keeps making all of the wrong decisions.

Photo: JPI

I predict that in short order, Thomas will be in cahoots with Shauna (Denise Richards)!

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MATTHEW:  Okay, we shall see.  (Laughs)  They have aligned interests; especially at the moment, when it comes to removing Brooke from that situation.  I think with Shauna, it’s fun that Denise Richards has come into this role and what she has done with this character.

Denise Richards is doing a great job in the role.

MATTHEW:  She’s amazing, but I think that behind the thought process she has is this woman, Shauna, who is not so dissimilar from Thomas, and is willing to blur the lines of what is acceptable and morally sound to make sure that she gets what she wants.

Photo: JPI

When you were taping those emotional hospital scenes where Thomas admits he has lost his way, and reaching out to his dad to try to find forgiveness, how were playing those scenes with Thorsten Kaye?

MATTHEW:  I respect Thorsten a lot as an actor.  I just love having scenes with him because I feel like we play off of each together so well.  When we enter a scene together, we are both in it.  When you are both in it, something real happens from that, and those real moments are kind of magical in a way, and it makes you feel great about the work that you do.  Thorsten shows up, and he’s prepared, he knows what he is doing, and at the same time, there is this connection between father and son.   I think Thorsten and I have definitely done that as father and son, and Jacqui and I have done that as brother and sister.

Since the show usually has you shirtless or sneering in scenes (laughs), I was so happy that they finally let you have some crying scenes.  It was at the point that the audience was able to see you bring another emotional level and dimension to the character.

MATTHEW:  I think he is not a guy who breaks down and cries very often.  It takes something very serious (especially for him) to get to that point.  For Thomas, the most important thing in the world is family, and he has kind of destroyed his relationship with his own family with what he has done, and I think that from the inside out is what breaks him.

Photo: JPI

Speaking of shirtless scenes; in a short amount of time you have been with the show, I think you may have set a record there.

MATTHEW:  (Laughs) Yep.  It’s all the time because the wardrobe sends me mostly pants – no shirts (Laughs).

Obviously, there is the issue of Thomas’s son, Douglas … and will he lose him because Hope and Liam want to gain custody of him. Brooke wants Thomas out of Douglas’ life for good.   This poses a major obstacle for Thomas moving forward. Agree?

MATTHEW:  Sure.  However, Brooke has no legal right to stand on.  You can’t just take a guy’s son.  There’s no legal way to do that, but they can try their hardest to either sign adoption papers or sign over custody, or something like that, but there’s not a legal way they can go and just take his son.  There are a lot of people who I understandably think Douglas would be better off with being raised by Hope and Liam, but I think Thomas has a point of view too, and just because he is going through a bad part of his life at this time, doesn’t mean that he is unfit to be a father.  I think Thomas will prove that he is fit to be father and all the while, a great force to be reckoned with,

Photo JPI

But, Thomas hasn’t been so great to Douglas, either.  Hasn’t he yelled at his son, manipulated him for his own gain, etc?

MATTHEW: Right, this was kind of right before the truth about Beth came out, and Thomas was on this massive downward swirl where he wasn’t thinking clearly; he wasn’t himself. I  think in reality, you have a person who went off the rails, he wasn’t being himself, he found the person he wasn’t, and I think that the “accident” of Brooke pushing him off a cliff, the slip, kind of clarified his intention in life to be a good, standup person from here on out.  So, I think his priorities are straight now, and I think he is thinking clearly.  I don’t think he is in the same mental state that he was before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t be manipulative and that he won’t get what he wants, because he will.  There was a time that he went through a headspace when nothing was really clear for a minute, and he didn’t really have any moral backbone, but I don’t think that moving forward you’re going to see a Thomas Forrester that would hurt his son.  You’re going to see a Thomas Forrester who will stop at nothing to protect his son.

How does Thomas feel about Hope now, especially since Hope wants to raise Douglas? 

MATTHEW:  Well, here is what I will say; I think that Thomas has always had a love for Hope. I think he respects her as a person, I think he has seen her be a mother to his child, and that is undeniable … how much of a connection that she has to Douglas, and she is incredibly important to him.  Thomas can basically discard any Logan except Hope.  Hope is kind of his kryptonite.  So, going forward, I think you’ll maybe see a guy who wants to discard Hope as a person who he cares for (her and the rest of the Logans), but he may not be able to do that, because she has got a place in his heart that he can’t compartmentalize and leave behind.

Photo: JPI

What can you say about working with Annika Noelle, because you as Thomas had been terrorizing Hope for many months?

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MATTHEW:  Well, she’s a sweetheart, but also, secondly, she is a badass.  She could kick my butt any day of the week.  So, I just had to make sure that in between takes I said, “You understand that I wouldn’t do this to you.”  She’s so sweet, and she was actually one of the first people to talk to me about taking over a role on the show, because she had been one of the most recent people to take over a role, and that was something that was really hard for me.  Coming into a character that has already been there for 30 years, you have a lot to live up to.  She was amazing from the beginning just helping me through that process.

On that note, what did you think of the epic fight scene on the rooftop opposite Scott Clifton; right before all the truth came out to Hope that Beth is alive and Thomas was lying to Hope and up to no good?

MATTHEW:  So much fun.  The shots they got were incredible.  Shooting those fight scenes was so much fun and I love Scott to death.  So, every time we get to work together it’s fun, but just getting outside and literally pretending to beat the crap out of each other is a blast.  We got to go out to Malibu, and I got to fall over a cliff.  What else can you say about that? (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

There is another interesting relationship Thomas has on B&B, and that is with his friend, Vinny.  How has it been creating the on-screen dynamic with Joe LoCicero (Vinny) as these two scheming dudes?

MATTHEW:  I like it, and I love Joe.  This dynamic between these two guys is really funny because you have this shrewd, alpha male, Thomas Forrester, who is extremely driven, and insanely smart, but also very manipulative and he has got a thousand things going on.  On the flipside, you’ve got Vinny, who is just this guy who he has been friends with for a really, really long time, who just kind of lives life.  He is living in his apartment in Venice, he sells some not so legal substances just to his friends, and he’s a decent guy.  It’s just fun when we have these scenes together, because essentially you’ve got him looking at me like I’m an alien creature, and thinking, “I don’t understand this guy.  I don’t know why he is acting this way, but who cares; I’m going to eat my Chinese food.”  (Laughs) I think it kind of grounds some of those scenes especially when you see Thomas going off that rails, and his friend doesn’t even seem to notice. (Laughs)

I know! (Laughs) Thomas has got his own sidekick.

MATTHEW: I think Vinny wants to give sound advice, but he gives all the worst advice.  He’s like, “Well, the way you described it Thomas, it sounds like a good idea, so yeah, go ahead with that,” but maybe doing a little behavioral cognitive therapy and questioning would be good for Vinny.  He just kind of goes, “okay,” (laughs) but I think that’s what makes those scenes so much fun.

Photo: JPI

Having appeared on The Young and the Restless previously you know how soaps go.  There is always this fear of: “Will they kill me off if my character has gone too far?” Did at any point in Thomas’ storyline, and as you got the scripts and read all the terrible things Thomas was doing, that the character might get murdered, kicking off a murder mystery, and you’d have to make an exit?

MATTHEW:  I’d had discussions with Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) and I kind of knew where the character was going, so I kind of knew that he was going down a rabbit hole, but that Thomas wasn’t a lost cause.  I knew that he would at least be present for the upcoming short future that I know of, that Thomas wasn’t going to find his demise, which was very nice of Brad to give me that insight into the character to not only know what was coming up, but also know where his head is at by this point.  It helps me with the character work that I do for each scene and prep for each day; because I know where Thomas’ head is going to be at two weeks from now.

Photo: JPI

Have you had any interactions with fans, or are you checking out on social media what the viewers are saying about Thomas?  Do they love him?  Hate him?  Is there a great debate going on?  What is your take on where Thomas sits with the audience?

MATTHEW:  Oh, yeah.  I definitely pay attention.  The fans are the reason I have the job that I have.  All the feedback that I have seen is positive, and by positive, I mean that it is emotionally effective.  Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people are happy with Thomas because most people are not happy with Thomas.  They don’t like what he is doing, and that obviously gets them angry or sad or whatever, but that is kind of the point of the show.  If you’re watching a bunch of characters who are all great people and who all do nice things, then it wouldn’t be that much fun to watch.  You’d be watching 40 Liam’s talk to each other, and it would be like, “Yeah, it’s just another day in Happy World.”  (Laughs)  I think that Thomas especially has been such a driving force in the last couple of months and caused a lot of drama.  I think there are a lot of storylines that people have connected to in the past that are really making people enjoy the drama happening now. You have the people who hated Ridge getting together with Brooke in the beginning that are happy with what Thomas is doing now.  You have the people who are pro – Liam and Steffy.  Thomas has been a big advocate of that since the beginning.  There are some people who just can’t stand Thomas and don’t like him, and he makes them mad, but the reality of it is that there is a thin line between love and hate.  So, as long as they love me or hate me, I’m happy.

So, have you been enjoying Matthew’s portrayal of Thomas? Do you think he will rip Brooke and Ridge apart for good and succeed in his plans? Do you think he should somehow pay for his manipulations? Share your thoughts on the current B&B storyline involving Thomas via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Eileen Davidson & Vincent Van Patten Talk ‘7 Days to Vegas’, Their Relationship and Y&R, DAYS & RHOBH

Today’s the day for the highly-anticipated film, 7 Days to Vegas which bows in selected theaters. The motion picture which stars Vincent Van Patten and his real-life wife, two-time Daytime Emmy winning actress Eileen Davidson (Y&R’s Ashley and former Kristen/Susan Banks, Days) is a comedic gambling romp, centering around the character of Duke (Van Patten), an out-of-work actor turned poker player who makes a prop bet that he walk from the San Fernando Valley in California to Sin City, Las Vegas in 7 days.

There are some catches to this bet that make it even more challenging  … Duke has to wear a suit the entire time in scorching heat.  The events in the movie are loosely based on Van Patten’s Hollywood Poker game nights.  7 Days to Vegas features a fictional gang of betting entertainment industry bigwigs, who are hardcore gamblers and of course, jealousy strikes.  Davidson plays Duke’s wife, KC.

Michael Fairman sat down with Eileen and Vincent at their home, and at their famed poker table for the Michael Fairman Channel, to chat about the making of the movie, their relationship and some intriguing tidbits for fans of Eileen’s work on The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives and her time on Bravo’s hit reality franchise, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

In 7 Days to Vegas, Eileen says that Vincent fashioned her role of KC after their real-life relationship adding, “They are in it together. This is a lifestyle that they both enjoy.  That is what somebody does when there is a home game; you call people up, and make sure who is going to be there.  Van Patten said, “There is a host of the game, and that is her role in the movie.”

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As to the scenes where Duke is walking to Vegas, Van Patten shared, “We shot the film in Santa Clarita, California in the hills and the mountains and all of that, and then we out five days after with a second unit shoot and shot with drones in the desert.  So, I must have walked 10 miles a day, shooting, sweating, but you don’t feel it, because when it’s your baby, it’s a labor of love.”

When asked if she would go back to daytime, Eileen shared she would be back for more Ashley on Y&R: “I am supposed to go back to Y&R in a couple of more weeks. So I am popping in and out at this point.”  Davidson also shared she wishes nothing but the best to Stacy Haiduk who inherited her roles on Days of our Lives as Kristen DiMera and Susan Banks. Eileen said she does not watch the episodes of the show anymore, because it makes her feel sad.  The roles of Kristen and Susan were so close to Davidson’s heart.

In speaking of her time on RHOBH, Van Patten shared, “I think she (Eileen) did a great job. It went by real quick. I think she did like three years on it.  I was in the background carrying her purse, going, ‘Yes, yes, here I come.”  (Laughs)  Davidson expressed: “Listen, reality TV … it’s a crazy, wild, Wild West.”  When Michael asked about the time a drink was thrown in her face, Eileen explained:  “I think Brandi (Granville) felt she needed to be relevant to be on the show, and her role was to be a troublemaker. I understand more of it now.  At the time, I was a deer in the headlights for the first couple of years.”  Vincent shared, “People always ask if this stuff is scripted, and it’s actually not, but you can spice it up”   As to if ‘Housewives’ makes up the drama, Davidson elaborated, “Before the season starts they will ask, ‘What is going on in your life?’, and maybe there is some of that behind-the-scenes stuff.  It didn’t happen with me.  I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it is a reality show, but it is also entertainment, and if all we did was sit around, how fun would that be?”

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Watch the full interview below with Eileen and Vincent and make sure to “subscribe” to The Michael Fairman Channel for more celebrity interview features.

Now let us know, will you be checking out 7 Days to Vegas, which will also be available on iTunes and VOD come September 24th? Do you hope there will be more Ashley on Y&R? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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Y&&’s Eileen Davidson and her husband Vincent Van Patten chat with Michael Fairman about their new film “7 Days to Vegas”, her time on Y&R, DAYS, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and their relationship. Leave A Comment

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