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The Jennifer Pepperman Interview – One Life to Live

Courtesy/T"OLN

Courtesy/TOLN

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

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

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

MICHAEL:

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

JENNIFER:

Courtesy/TOLN

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

MICHAEL:

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

JENNIFER:

Courtesy/TOLN

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

MICHAEL:

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

JENNIFER:

Courtesy/TOLN

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

MICHAEL:

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

JENNIFER:

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

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: David Russell/TOLN

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

JENNIFER:

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

MICHAEL:

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

JENNIFER:

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

MICHAEL:

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

JENNIFER:

Photo Credit: ABC/Getty Images

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

MICHAEL:

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

JENNIFER:

Courtesy/TOLN

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

MICHAEL:

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

JENNIFER:

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

MICHAEL:

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

Courtesy/TOLN

JENNIFER:

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

MICHAEL:

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

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

JENNIFER:

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

MICHAEL:

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

JENNIFER:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Studios

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

MICHAEL:

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

JENNIFER:

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

MICHAEL:

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

Courtesy/Twatkinsfacebook

JENNIFER:

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

MICHAEL:

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

JENNIFER:

Photo Credit: Eric Liebowitz/The OnLine Network

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

MICHAEL:

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

JENNIFER:

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

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/TOLN

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

JENNIFER:

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

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su0000
Guest
su0000

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

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

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

Enrique Buenrostro
Guest
Enrique Buenrostro

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

Keith
Guest
Keith

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

Jenn
Guest
Jenn

I’m a fan of both shows too and am disappointed that a better resolution was made regarding ME, KA< and RH. I do like their new characters but it is a shame that they could not have stayed John, Starr, and Todd on GH. As a fan the crossovers would have been nice to watch but I honestly don’t see how they could have been accomplished. Especially with PP still trying to feel things out. For example with the recent reduction in episodes, Todd is going to be appearing on OLTL longer. If the character was going to crossover to… Read more »

Delainey
Guest
Delainey

I have to agree with you here! I’m glad we don’t have crossovers. Now if they did so between OLTL and AMC, that would be more profitable, but PP and Pepperman do not seem to understand their product or how to organize it. This is why shows like LOST annoyed me. You can’t just put money on black and spin it. Quite honestly, OLTL is not ME, KA and RH. Writing for them before they had them was a mistake. should have just kept them off the show, but they were glad abc kept them warm to cattle call the… Read more »

MONA
Guest
MONA

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

Patricia
Guest
Patricia

Are we reading the same interview???where does it say that ME AND KA are filming at all. They both chose to stay in LA and stay with GH. as for RH after reading this there is NO INDICATION AS TO WHAT he will do. i also am an oltl fan and gh fan for decades and am happy to see them on either but i ABSOLUTLY HATE them on GH! What was done is horrible KA as KIKI UGH ME as a dweeb named Silas they de hunked a hunk of a man and RH as the most HATED CHARACTER… Read more »

Joliefan Forever
Guest
Joliefan Forever

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

Dani
Guest
Dani

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

broy
Guest
broy

They were not duped. KA had no intention of signing up with PP in the first place; she always intended to go to L.A. and try her luck, as Brittany Underwood (her best friend) did. When a show in L.A. wanted her, and allowed her to play the same character, she accepted the offer to continue, but her entire family moved to L.A. and, just like her brother Eddie, whether the reboot had happened or not, she had no intentions of joining it personally. And remember, this is not a 1 for 1 deal for the actors. A contract on… Read more »

Cheryl
Guest
Cheryl

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

MEG
Guest
MEG

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

Alex
Guest
Alex

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

KateK
Guest
KateK

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

Enrique Buenrostro
Guest
Enrique Buenrostro

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

Jenn
Guest
Jenn

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

Anna
Guest
Anna

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

rebecca
Guest
rebecca

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

Karen
Guest
Karen

Just curious…how is the show a bad after school special or a porno? How have the vets been ruined? I have seen comments like this a couple time now and feel I am watching a different program. There has been no nudity, a handful of love scenes that where no more tawdry or lewd than the network version, there has been no preachy public service type messages woven into anything. Other than the occasional grating music scene at Shelter and the realistic placement of a few over used curse words, it appears as if the show seamlessly has transitioned. Ruined… Read more »

Erick
Guest
Erick

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

rebecca
Guest
rebecca

I wrote above…your comment…and I can only guess that the execuive producer feels that these characters have been written out of character…or she wouldn’t have pointed to it specificlally in her answer. Not to mention the lack of reaction in Victor’s return which she also inimmated…how she’s hoping that the new writers will be “making sure we don’t miss important character moments, and people acting out of character.” I have said from the beginning that the stories felt disjointed and there was no interaction between the characters…no sense of family, friendship, the close feeling we got between the characters on… Read more »

rebecca
Guest
rebecca

few corrections:

paragraph one: she “Intimated”

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

Dani
Guest
Dani

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

jimh
Guest
jimh

Hopefully new writers will make improvements.

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

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

babsy
Guest
babsy

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

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

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

Mary Moore Fergen
Guest
Mary Moore Fergen

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

Kristy
Guest
Kristy

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

Wendy L
Guest
Wendy L

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

rebecca
Guest
rebecca

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

CTwildheart
Guest
CTwildheart

I barely notice it.

rebecca
Guest
rebecca

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

Time will tell as they say…

rebecca
Guest
rebecca

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

rebecca
Guest
rebecca

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

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

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

jimh
Guest
jimh

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

babsy
Guest
babsy

Totally agree.

sarah
Guest
sarah

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

And I hope the get TSJ back.

Denise
Guest
Denise

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

sara
Guest
sara

there is no porn. The first week had some shock moments but since then, it is like soaps have been in the past. There are some steamy scenes but none I haven’t seen on Days of Our Lives or Young and the Restless. It’s obvious that person doesn’t watch. The characters aren’t ruined, you are confusing One Life To Live with General Hospital mess. Those characters are ruined. I feel better knowing that the show isn’t going to be cancelled or turned into a cheesy spin off of vampires and women being raped or assaulted every few months because the… Read more »

babsy
Guest
babsy

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

Tonidale
Guest
Tonidale

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

CTwildheart
Guest
CTwildheart

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

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

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

Really great interview! Thank you for this. I believe this is a “must-read” for all oltl fans. Wonderful that you asked all the Big questions that were on fans’ minds and Jennifer was great to answer them so candidly. The only thing still on my mind in regards to returning former characters…there are quite a few characters where it’s pretty well known that (a) the actors would be glad to come back in a heartbeat (b) fans really want to see them (c) there’s definitely a place for them story-wise. Alex Olenov and Roxy Balsom are definitely in this category.… Read more »

Barry
Guest
Barry

Bring back Edwina Lewis – Margret Klenck, PLEASE!

CTwildheart
Guest
CTwildheart

Oohhh, Edwina! I liked her.

OLTL FAN FOREVER
Guest
OLTL FAN FOREVER

I am a huge OLTL can and have been for over 20 years now. This cast (previously and currently) has always been a great ensemble with a LOT of powerful and Emmy winning talent. With that said I am truly sick of hearing that the characters of John McBain (Michael Easton) and Starr Manning (Kristen Alderson), Victor Lord (Trevor St. John), and Todd Manning (Roger Howarth) are THE heart and soul of OLTL. I think statements like that are demeaning to the other actors on this show, especially those actors who have helped carry this show over the past 20-30… Read more »

TnT 2.0 Forever
Guest
TnT 2.0 Forever

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

Christy
Guest
Christy

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

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

Jay
Guest
Jay

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

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

Jennifer Janeiro
Guest
Jennifer Janeiro

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

Marc
Guest
Marc

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

THOMAS
Guest
THOMAS

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

CTwildheart
Guest
CTwildheart

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

Christy
Guest
Christy

te he he

Lin
Guest
Lin

I am watching OLTL loyally, but do not like the constant swearing, young people drinking so much and being shown half naked, seeing people getting dressed and undressed (once in a while- okay- But Natalie being in her underwear so much. this is strickly to get young men to watch). I do feel that the show is having too much time with the youngest cast members. I never could stand Cutter. And why on earth would Blair trust him to run her club? They need to bring back John- even if it’s not ME. Or.. they need to settle her… Read more »

Christy
Guest
Christy

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

maxine
Guest
maxine

I respect Jennifer. I think she’s great. She makes me want to believe that we’re in for something good and for the long haul. But… the issue is the actual shows don’t reflect that. Two 23-24 minute episodes a week just isn’t enough to hold my attention. I’m honestly hanging on to One Life to Live with a thread. I love this show so much, but I’m losing hope and more importantly, patience. I really dislike the younger generation of characters- most of them are simply not likeable. And I happen to be 24 years old! … I could go… Read more »

Delainey
Guest
Delainey

Thank goodness! Another 20-something, like me, who can’t connect to the Shelter. I don’t go clubbing and never will. I hate the party scene, because I think it’s unproductive. Not all of my generation are wasteland escapists. We’re even more driven and intelligent than the elder generations. We were taught by our teachers to read between the lines of former government officials speeches and media articles spouting propaganda. If Jennifer Pepperman were so great, she should have caught the things she now calls errors. Instead, she points out that she cares about all the characters, not just the younger generation.… Read more »

B.J.
Guest
B.J.

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

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

Still hoping some changes are coming though….

rebecca
Guest
rebecca

I agree with all of you!

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

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

su0000
Guest
su0000

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

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

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

Johnny
Guest
Johnny

I agree with you Andrea, I do not like so much of the story “centered” around SHELTER – and I feel that the show is lacking in interpersonal continuity among the characters, but at least, she (Jennifer) does address that issue. The characters do need to be inter-woven. I dislike also the fact that the shows are only on twice a week, to me, a Soap is a “daily serial” – that’s a soap. In the past, I would “tape” the shows, an aniquated term nowadays I know, and then speed through the commercials (happily speed through them I should… Read more »

brian
Guest
brian

they are ruining are beloved soap. First off they totally tanked the victor alive story. everyone just went about their business when he came into room and grabbed todd like no big deal he alive. shelter is awaste of airtime non appealing at all. Attention writers the actors should not have to scream over the music to conversate. Their are no real stories going on and all they do is keep showing dani and guys hanging at the apartment. Stop trying so hard to say curse words just cause you can. The actors don’t feel like their in a rythem… Read more »

emlons
Guest
emlons

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

Lisa Postles
Guest
Lisa Postles

Good interview. I will keep watching.

Shelley
Guest
Shelley

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

jimh
Guest
jimh

I like the show sometimes and other times i dont…It was kinda rushed, disjointed and not too engaging and none of the characters seemed like their old selfs. Shelter is overused as well as the cursing. Best times are when Victor and Todd are on but Victors return was not too suspenseful and other characters reaction should have showed more suprise and shock by Victors return…at least off camera Allison shouldve been caught and returned to Statesville and more clues to Victors faked death and kidnapping shouldve been revealed , not necessarily everything but some. Wouldve liked to hear Bo… Read more »

Delainey
Guest
Delainey

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

jimh
Guest
jimh

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

jimh
Guest
jimh

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

Bryon B
Guest
Bryon B

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

jimh
Guest
jimh

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

Chaz
Guest
Chaz

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

rebecca
Guest
rebecca

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

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

su0000
Guest
su0000

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

TnT 2.0 Forever
Guest
TnT 2.0 Forever

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

MEG
Guest
MEG

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

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

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

jimh
Guest
jimh

Maybe shes doing some undercover work.

onlinetolive
Guest
onlinetolive

Great interview, Michael! So happy OLTL and AMC are back. I’m a loyal OLTL watcher and fan since 1986. I have to say that I think the storylines and pacing are better on AMC than OLTL. Their seems to be more direct ion and cohesion on AMC where on OLTL nothing much is happening. I’m m ot interested at all in the Shelter nighclub happenings. It’s sn awful lot of wasted time. I hope theb new writers csn bring the life back to One Life! That said I’m still watching and hoping things will get better. I do have to… Read more »

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

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

jimh
Guest
jimh

Im so with you on that Susan.

Ginny
Guest
Ginny

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

Terri
Guest
Terri

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

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

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

I Remember Meredith
Guest
I Remember Meredith

I really appreciate Pepperman’s comments and like her belief that all the stories should be interconnected and spill into one another. I would also like to say that not having John McBain on the show has been a breath of fresh air to me. His “I wish I was anywhere else but here” style of acting was really dragging the show down. I honestly don’t mind the storylines for the young characters. If we are to hope for another 40+ years of OLTL we have to have characters who can grow up with us and eventually become the center of… Read more »

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

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

jimh
Guest
jimh

Same here.

su0000
Guest
su0000

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

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

B.J.
Guest
B.J.

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

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

jimh
Guest
jimh

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

su0000
Guest
su0000

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

kim
Guest
kim

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

Tim
Guest
Tim

Great interview! The cast and crew have done a phenomenal job bringing OLTL back to life, something few thought was possible. I’m glad they are listening to the fans and making tweaks to the show based on the early results. I agree that too much of the cast is isolated into their own stories with less of the interaction we have come to expect. Glad to know that’s going to change. As long as the cast doesn’t get too big, the influx of some additional characters can be a great thing — and I’m glad they are bringing on some… Read more »

Beth
Guest
Beth

Reading this interview highlights for me the differences between AMC and OLTL: while both shows may have had a number of actors turn down TOLN’s versions of the shows, OLTL at least has gotten more veterans and recognizable faces than AMC has, and JP seems interested in writing for the vets, putting them front and center, having Viki and Clint drive story, bringing back favorites like Roger and Trevor to reunite Todd and Blair, and Tea and Victor, and appeal to the fanbases. On AMC, there is no matriarch and patriarch of Pine Valley, no Clint and Viki. Much as… Read more »

jimh
Guest
jimh

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

Johnny
Guest
Johnny

Karen, you sum it up nicely – I have been watching every single show of the on line reboot of ALL MY CHILDREN and those core characters you mentioned are truly and sincerely missed – along with a sense of family connections and a flow of real continuity. I don’t mind new characters being introduced here and there – but without Tad Martin, Erica Kane, Kendall, Krystal – I don’t know, the show really needs these Key people for Pine Valley to feel like the place it was. I think Jill Larson as Opal is great but I think she… Read more »

Enza
Guest
Enza

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

AbbyS.
Guest
AbbyS.

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

Delainey
Guest
Delainey

Great post, but even though JP spoke about vets and their connections on OLTL, she and PP let it air disjointed for this long, and blames it on Racina’s old skool ways. Wow! I’m not much for Racina, but even I would be floored to hear that after producing as many scripts as he did. Michael, you failed to ask her why JP dropped the ball, and why they went with Susan and Racina in the first place. Why and who wanted this younger, more foul mouthed dialogue…etc. If she wanted vets all along to be front burner, why didn’t… Read more »

Kiki
Guest
Kiki

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

Judy
Guest
Judy

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

AbbyS.
Guest
AbbyS.

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

Judy
Guest
Judy

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

Margaret
Guest
Margaret

Great interview Michael, but you failed to outright ask the question so many wants straight answer to & that is this: Will Roger Howarth appear on OL as Todd on a consistent basis after his initial 40 eps or not? Is the hold ABC & GH has on him going to make it impossible for Todd to be anything more than a recurring character at best? Fans just want to know Michael & Jennifer: is Todd eventually going to appear on OL about as much as Blair did on GH? Tell us now so those of us who waited 8… Read more »

Jewell
Guest
Jewell

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

Nancy
Guest
Nancy

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

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

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

Gentry Ashmore
Guest
Gentry Ashmore

Michael Fairman,

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

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

General Hospital

GH’s Finola Hughes, Marcus Coloma & Josh Swickard Talk On 15,000th Episode Milestone

The juggernaut that is ABC’s General Hospital, is marking yet another accomplishment in its storied 59-year-history.  The iconic soap opera is set to air on Wednesday, June 22nd (unless preempted), its 15,000th episode.

As part of the celebration, General Hospital’s Finola Hughes (Anna Devane), Marcus Coloma (Nikolas Cassadine) and Josh Swickard (Chase), who all appear in the standalone episode, chat with Michael Fairman to mark the occasion.

During the conversation now on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Finola and Marcus, and later Josh, who logged on later while at Disneyland, discuss: their beginnings on GH from landing their respective roles, who in the cast perhaps most intimated them, at first, and what it has meant to be part of the legacy of General Hospital.  In addition, Finola, Marcus, and Josh reveal some of their more challenging storylines, and more.

Photo: ABC

Later, the trio each gives us a tease of what’s to come now that Nikolas has slept with Esme (Avery Pohl), what lies ahead for Anna and her love-interest Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), and Josh talks on working with his on-screen love-interest, Amanda Setton (Brook Lynn Quartermaine).

Watch for a special appearance by GH’s Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) within the interview, as we do a deep-dive of being part of the ensemble cast.

We also take a moment to send out our condolences to Kristina (Felicia) and Jack Wagner (Ex-Frisco) on the passing of their son, Harrison, and how you can donate to the scholarship fund in his honor.

Check out our GH 15K interview with Finola, Marcus, and Josh below, and make sure to ‘subscribe’ to the Michael Fairman Channel for more upcoming features, interviews, and upcoming Daytime Emmy red carpet coverage.

Continue Reading

Interviews

Sean Kanan Talks On The New Season of His Streaming Series ‘Studio City’ and The Life and Times of B&B’s Deacon Sharpe

The second season of the Emmy-Award winning, digital streaming series, Studio City is now available on Amazon Prime. The six latest episodes bring us back into the series of an aging actor, Sam Stevens, played by soap vet, Sean Kanan, who is one of the stars of the soap opera, Hearts on Fire, in the role of Dr. Pierce Hartley.

Throughout Studio City, viewers go on the journey of Sam’s foibles through life off-camera juxtaposed with his life on-screen. A sundry of delicious characters enhances the premise of the series portrayed by the likes of: Carolyn Hennesy, Anna Maria Horsford, Justin Torkildsen, Lilly Melgar, Tristan Rogers and more, all names familiar to soap fans.

While Sean is busy promoting the latest season of Studio City, and his book Way of the Cobra, he is also continuing to appear on The Bold and the Beautiful as bad boy – trying to straighten out his life after years in prison – Deacon Sharpe.  Since his return last year, Sean has been mixing it up in stories with the likes of Kimberlin Brown (Sheila) and Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke).

 

In this chat with Michael Fairman TV, Sean weighs-in on: what could be next for B&B’s Deacon, the struggles and the joys of continuing his streaming series, and the homage Studio City is to the soap genre and much more. Check out what he had to share below.

Courtesy/StudioCity

How challenging was it to shoot this season of Studio City?

SEAN:  When we do this thing on a shoestring, everything needs to fall into place in order for it to happen properly.  We know that everybody involved with the show was going to potentially get other projects, or do other things   One of the biggest issues we have, is that a lot of times, we didn’t know what locations we had because Studio City is the real world, and then it’s the show within a show (Hearts on Fire).  So, with the show within a show, those actors aren’t in the ‘real world’. For instance, Tristan Rogers (Doc), is only in the ‘real word’, so, if we have a location that isn’t for the ‘real world’, we can’t shoot Tristan because he doesn’t exist there.  We would have to literally decide what we were writing (sometimes the night before) based on the locations we could get.  It was just an enormous challenge.

Sarah Brown (Laurie) was not a part of the newest six episodes as well as some others cast members. Will she and others be back at some point?

SEAN:  Sarah was directing a podcast, and we kind of had to look at who was available to us, and what stories we needed to tie-up, and hopefully we are going to wind up doing another five episodes to finish up this season.  Then, hopefully we are able to get the actors who weren’t able to do the first six to come back and do the second five.

What I liked about the new six episodes is that I thought you built-in some really solid scenes for the actors.  How did you feel about the outcome?

SEAN:  We make the best show that we can make with the resources and time that we have.  I was glad that we got to develop the story a little more with Delilah (Juliet Vega), Sam’s would-be-daughter.  We always try to do something that’s socially responsive, and diversity is certainly and important issue in Hollywood, without a doubt, but I also think that you need to see the comedic side of everything.  I thought there was some really funny stuff about that with Sam doing the podcast and the scene with Anna Maria Horsford (Jolene) and Will Roberts (Dennis), where she comes in, and she’s like, “The production is too white.”  I thought that was some funny stuff there.  I loved the monologue my wife, Michele, wrote for Carolyn Hennesy (Gloria) about the soaps – that thing about how all of the soaps are dead, and Carolyn just railed in support of the soaps, about the soaps being this dependable thing.  For a lot of people, soaps are their point of emotional contact.

Photo: StudioCity

I talk to fans all of the time and for many times soaps are their lifeline.  Your character, Sam, lands a part in action-adventure film and screws that all up while on set. Where did that plot point come from?

SEAN: It came from a couple different places.  I think that there is not a male actor alive, who some part of him doesn’t harken back to when he was a little boy and doesn’t want to be an action star.  I think the funny thing about it is, of course, Sam is right on the precipice of being over the hill for it, and he’s not going to let that stop him.  Natalie Burn (Shelby Brock) is a legit action star.  She’s a terrific martial artist.  Our director, Timothy Woodward Jr. has done some action movies.  So, we sort of said, “Okay, we’ve set this thing up where Sam wants to get this film.  Let’s give him the film and have him struggle abysmally.”  Marching orders for Studio City are always to keep as much mishigas on Sam’s shoulders as we can.  You never want to see the lead of your show succeeding wildly because that diffuses all of the conflict.  I do think I’ve had some really great dramatic stuff.  I really liked the scenes that I had with Delilah in the sixth episode, and I loved the stuff with Tristan, and I loved the stuff with Lilly Melgar (Becky).  I thought it was really funny.  Lilly killed it and so did Justin Torkildsen (Jacob).  I thought Justin was great.

Courtesy/StudioCity

I thought when you utilized on-camera testimonials from the cast and the EP, that was really a hilarious piece to add to the story.

SEAN:  That was great.  I’d love to take credit for that, but it was Tim’s idea, and it was a really great idea from a production standpoint, because you can do one of two things.  You can either do a whole show where you’re using those, or you can chop them up and use them throughout different shows. From a production standpoint, we had to build some things into the show to insert those when we needed.

Courtesy/StudioCity

You also cast celebrity publicist, Anthony Turk, as a network executive in the series.

SEAN:  Yes. Way back when I created Studio City, there was a part for a publicist, and I had talked to Anthony about doing it.  We had eliminated the publicist part until Lilly became the publicist; which ended up in a completely different plot point.  I always knew I wanted to put Anthony in the series, because I think he’s a good actor. I was like, “You know, I didn’t write this part for you, but I think you can do it,” and I was really happy with how he did it.

 

Courtesy/StudioCity

I also liked the scene with Anna Maria Horsford’s Jolene where she tells Sam to keep his mouth shut while he is working on set. 

SEAN:  She is so fabulous.  I love that woman.  She is such a talent, and I was so happy when she got nominated for a Daytime Emmy last year.  I have such an affection for everybody on our show, because they really put their heart and soul in it, and it just means so much that they show up, and they support, and they do great work.

What I noticed is that the way Timothy Woodward Jr. captures you as an actor.  There is so much going on in the reaction in your eyes of what is happening to Sam.  He realizes the, “Oh, my God,” of each situation as he realizes what he just stepped into, or he finds the humor in it, or when he lets out his frustration, as he did with his daughter in the sixth episode.

SEAN:  That was one of my favorite scenes.  I wrote that one.   It was great because it’s my real-life stepdaughter, and I thought she really stepped up, and I was so proud of her.

For the first time in the realignment by the television academies, Studio City will now be competing at the Primetime Emmys instead of the Daytime Emmys, if the series receives nominations.  How do you feel about that?

SEAN: We are really excited to be competing with the big dogs now at the Primetime Emmys, and rather than being intimidated by it, we are saying, “This is the universe opening up and saying, ‘this is what you need to do,’ and so let’s embrace it.”  It’s going to be exciting.  In my 35 years in the business, I’ve never been to the Primetime Emmys.  So, we shall see.

Photo: StudioCity

Justin Torkildsen’s role greatly expanded this season.  In story, do you see Jacob attempting to thwart his Aunt Gloria and take control of Hearts on Fire as the EP? 

SEAN:  I don’t know if the goal is for him to take over for Gloria.  It certainly was a lot of fun to see what happened when he got just a little taste of power.  He’s got his own agenda, and I also love that he wants the love from his Aunt Gloria.  He’s not just a young guy trying to ascend the power ladder of the show.  He really does want his aunt to be proud of him and to love him, and she’s a tough nut to crack.

There was scene after the network executive tells Gloria, “You’re out, if you don’t fix the show.”  Doesn’t Jacob gloat in it for a minute?  Doesn’t he want payback for how she treats him?

SEAN:  I don’t know if he does.  I think he certainly does like to see when Gloria gets her little comeuppances, but when push comes to shove, I think he’s really got her back, I do.  Justin is so naturally funny.  He’s a great guy to have on set.  He’s got a great attitude, and he’s a very good actor.  I was really struck by a moment in season one where he’s coming up the stairs, and he had this abject fear of interrupting Gloria, and Justin didn’t have any lines.  He just played it beautifully with no dialogue.  I was like, “We’ve got to give Justin more to do,” and for me, it was nostalgic to work with him again because the very first scene I had on The Bold and the Beautiful was with Justin.

Photo: JPI

What can you say about Carolyn Hennesy; who often is the quintessential scene-stealer in Studio City when she appears on-screen?  Does she go with the script or ad-lib parts of the dialog?

SEAN:  She’s a gorgeous, red-haired, flaming beast.  She definitely did some wonderful ad-libbing to elevate what was on the page, and she made it her own, and that’s one of the things that I love the most about her.  I love that I can write a 20-page scene and give it to, for example, Tristan Rogers, 20 minutes before and know that he’s going to nail it.  That’s one of the things that I love about working with Daytime actors.   Say what you want, but when the chips are down, and your back is against the wall, a Daytime actor is going to be the one who can take the dialogue, digest it quickly, and give you a good performance.  With the way that we are run and gun in our style of shooting, you have to move really quickly.  I’ve worked on a lot of films, and with people who are recognizable in the business, and sometimes they get overwhelmed when they have more than a couple of pages in a day … and you know what we do in Daytime.

Courtesy/StudioCity

When you were writing the new season with Michele and Tim, was it laid out pretty definitively, or did it evolve?

SEAN:  We laid out some large arcs.  We knew the storyline that we wanted to do with Natalie and with Will.  Natalie, actually joined us as a co-executive producer.  She is Ukrainian and has family there.  So, she had a lot going on.  I just feel like she really stepped up.  She really helped the production both as an actress and as a Co-EP, and we were very fortunate to have her, and have her at a time when it would be completely understandable when her ability to even act would have been compromised, yet alone have the facility to Co-EP.  In addition, we knew we wanted to deepen the relationship between Sam and Delilah.  We had a different idea with what we wanted to do with Doc, and we wound up doing something another way than what we had originally discussed.  Sometimes, you have to make these decisions that are sort of production-based and you have to alter storyline.  Of course, we knew we wanted to continue to create the storyline that like a lot of soaps, Hearts on Fire was potentially on the chopping block.  At the same time, we really wanted to illustrate that the soaps are full of people who are talented, gifted actors, who love what they do, they work really hard, and they don’t always get the respect that they deserve.

Courtesy/StudioCity

It looks like Doc might be having a change of heart?  Will he begin chemo to save his life?

SEAN:  That’s what we are thinking, and we are hoping to bring Patrika Darbo back in, and finding out where she’s been and having some really nice scenes between, she and Doc.  I think things are going to develop between Dennis, who is the producer, and my character, Sam, and we are going to learn that all has not been revealed of who Dennis really is.

Courtesy/StudioCity

What did you think when you saw your performances in the latest six of Studio City?

SEAN:  I’m always super critical of myself.  I like the stuff with the podcast because I thought it was really organic, and I thought it was funny.  I loved the stuff with Lilly.  I always see things that I could fix and do better, but I also saw stuff that I liked, and I really liked a lot of what was going on with Juliet.  We had another take where Sam really breaks down, and unfortunately, we had a sound problem with that one, and we couldn’t use it.  That was really crushing to me, but again, you make the show that you can make. Michele and I always joke and say, “Making a 50-million-dollar movie is easy.  You want to really produce something?  Produce it when you have no money.”

Photo: JPI

What did your wife, Michele, say about how she thought the latest season of Studio City turned out? 

SEAN:  I do have to say that Michelle really stepped up this season of Studio City.  She ran the show.  She is an executive producer, but she was also the supervising producer, in charge, responsible for crewing up.  She amazes me to no end.  I couldn’t be prouder of her, and I’m so honored that she and I were able to both win out at the Daytime Emmys.  We have very different skillsets, which is great.  There are not a lot of areas where we overlap, but we compliment, and that’s why I love working with her.

Photo: JPI

You are also busy with The Bold and the Beautiful.  How has this most recent return been for you as Deacon Sharpe?

SEAN:  Oh, my God, it’s been fantastic.  The Bold and the Beautiful consistently ranks as one of the best professional experiences that I have ever had.  I love the people I work with.  I love the creative freedom that I have on the show.  I love what they write for me.  It’s just great.  Listen, I’ve done four Daytime shows, and by far and away, this has been the best experience.   It’s a great role.  I’m the only guy who has ever played Deacon, so I’m fiercely protective of the character.  I know I’m coming into a really big storyline right now, which is very exciting.  I can’t say anything about it yet, but I’m going to be working with a character who I haven’t worked with very much before, which is very exciting.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Kimberlin Brown receiving an Outstanding Supporting Actress Daytime Emmy nomination? I believe you are in some of her submitted scenes.

SEAN:  I think it’s incredibly well-deserved. She just brought so much to it, and I’m just honored that I was able to be a part of what she did.

People are saying you’re going to get all wrapped-up in the Li (Naomi Matsuda) Sheila, and Finn (Tanner Novlan) storyline.

SEAN:  Well, I guess I already am to a certain extent.  I like to think that in his infinite wisdom, Brad Bell (head writer and executive producer, B&B) knew that Kimberlin and I would find humor in an eccentric relationship; rather than just being two kinds of ‘baddies’.  Deacon is not nearly as bad as Sheila, but rather than be two people with somewhat aligned wants and needs, I think hopefully Brad was like, “I think they’re going to come up with something interesting,” and I think we did.   The fight that Deacon had with Ridge (Thorsten Kaye), that is not something that you see on Daytime all the time.  That was really exciting and fun.

Photo: JPI

I love that Deacon’s home-away-from-home is the supply closet!

SEAN:  I was teasing Brad.  I said, “If I get a raise, do I get a Swiffer?”  I love it.  In terms of Sheila and Deacon, I didn’t know if we were going to wind up in the sack together or not, and I thought, you know, if that happens, that would be interesting, too.  By my calculations, Deacon has now been out of jail for how long, and he has not gotten any action.  No action for a guy who just got out of prison for 5 years.  So, I don’t know what’s going on in that broom closet. (Laughs)

What was it like working with Katherine Kelly Lang during the whole ‘New Year’s Eve drunken night with Brooke’ story?

SEAN:  You know, Kelly and I really were able to capture lightening in a bottle many years ago, and I think it was wonderful.  I always wondered, what was going to happen all this time later if we worked together again?  Are we going to be able to come up with something great?  I love working with her.  Poor Kelly, just broke her ankle, which is terrible, but she is a champ.

Photo: JPI

Do you think there is still chemistry between Brooke and Deacon?

SEAN:  Yeah, I do.  I try to create chemistry with anyone I work with, men or women, but don’t we do that in life?  We always want to be interesting and sexy with anyone we talk to.  Ultimately, what we are trying to do on some level, is we are always seducing as human beings.  That’s where I come from as an actor.  You’ve got a goal.  You’ve got a series of actions that you use to get the goal.  You usually fail a couple times in the scene, so you change the actions, and you try to overcome the obstacles.

Right, and seduce people …

SEAN: … And seduce.  Deacon is a very adept seducer.  I think a lot of it was from being a conman.  I think now, Deacon is finding that he can be seductive by being authentic.  I think that’s new to him.  I think ultimately, when you’re authentic, that’s a way more powerful brand of seduction than something that is some sort of a manufactured, fabricated, external seduction.

Photo: JPI

So, what would say in a tease of what’s coming up for Deacon on B&B?

SEAN:  All I can say is that I’ve been told that I’ll have an exciting story coming up, and I’m looking forward to it.  I always like when I get the ball, and you never know what another actor is going to bring out of you.  Whenever I work with someone who I haven’t worked with, I hope that they are going to allow me to tap into a part of myself that maybe I haven’t demonstrated before.  That’s what I look for, and that’s what keeps me enthused in this job.  We do have to give the same information a lot in Daytime.  That’s just the nature of the beast.  The challenge is, “How do I do this in a way that is not only interesting for the audience but allows me to stay engaged as an actor?”  If you start getting apathetic as an actor, you start doing bad work, and I can’t do that.

Have you checked out the latest six episodes of Studio City? What do you hope happens next for Deacon on The Bold and the Beautiful? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Nancy Lee Grahn Chats On Her Daytime Emmy-Nominated Performance and Its Significance

When the nominations were revealed for the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, General Hospital mainstay, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis), was recognized for her stunning work in the Alexis-centric standalone episode which honored her 25th anniversary with the ABC daytime drama series.

Grahn, is already a two-time Daytime Emmy winner.  She won back in 1989 in a tie for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her work as Julia Wainwright on Santa Barbara along with All My Children’s Debbi Morgan, and again received the honors in that category in 2012 for her work on General Hospital.

Now. she is vying for the gold in 2022 in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category against other formidable actresses including: B&B’s Kimberlin Brown, DAYS Stacy Haiduk, Y&R’s Melissa Ordway, and her GH castmate, Kelly Thiebaud.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Nancy to talk about her decision to enter the Emmy race this year, her powerful and moving scenes, why this nomination is significant and important to her, and her take on some very important social issues of our time.

Always candid, insightful, combined with great humor and wit, here’s what Nancy had to share below, and make sure to check out GH this week when sparks fly between Alexis and Gregory (Gregory Harrison). Will he turn out to be the new beau in Alexis’ life? Stay tuned.

Courtesy/ABC

Congratulations on the Emmy nomination.  How do you feel about being in the running again, especially with the material from your 25th anniversary episode?

NANCY:  You know, I don’t submit myself if I don’t think I have something, and I didn’t last year.  This year, I had the one show, and the first reason I submitted myself was I had the episode that was worthy of the competition. These judges have to sit, and watch this stuff, and very often, it’s hard to watch soap opera scenes.  It really is, unless you’re in it.  It’s a different kind of material that most primetime people aren’t used to watching.  So, it’s tricky business.  I don’t want to put them through anything too awful. I don’t want to torture them and I’ve judged before. It can be a bit tedious. So, for me to submit myself, I thought, it has to be something that isn’t going to torture another human being. The second thing is, older women get marginalized the older they get, and they get diminished very often, and every time we get nominated, it means something different to me.  This time, to me, I want it to somehow be symbolic, or a shoutout to women who are still producing, who have been doing their job for a long time and are still doing it good enough, and that it’s still worthy of respect and recognition.

When we were at the GH Convention back in March, I played the scene on-stage for the fans in attendance of when Alexis goes over to the corner of Kevin’s office and heals her younger self.  You saw the reaction just from the fans.  It’s such a beautiful moment within the story.  What did you think about how the standalone episode was crafted?

NANCY:  It was a different experience for me because GH co-head writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor, and script writer, Scott Sickles gave it the attention, but even more to that, they allowed me to participate in the creation of it.  They allowed the director, Phideaux Xavier, to participate.  We all sat in a room.  They said, “You know what?  Make it how you’re comfortable with it.”  There were so many people who gave it time and effort, and Phideaux gets a lot of credit because he came up with a lot of ideas.  So, the little girl in the therapy room wasn’t initially a part of it.  That was Phideaux’s idea, and they let us alter things, and they allowed me to write some words that meant something to me with the character.  Our producers, Michelle Henry and M.K Weir, who I both adore, were also a part of this.

Courtesy/ABC

That is great to hear that you were involved in the collaborative process of the creation of the episode.

NANCY:  We read through the whole script, and we worked it like you would on primetime. We went through it like, “Does this moment work?  Does that moment work?  Does this make sense?  Does that make sense?”  We never do that in soaps.  We don’t get to that.  So, it was a gift to me.  It really was. Chris and Dan, and Scott and Phideaux, and the two producers, generosity in gifting me that experience and making sure that it was to everybody’s liking, was really very special to me, and it meant a lot.

Did you come up with the key lines which summarized Alexis as a person and her journey: “I’m Alexis Davis, and I’m a fighter, and an idealist and an advocate?”

NANCY:  No. They designed it, but we were allowed to enhance and contribute creatively to it, and, we don’t normally have the time to do that.  They don’t have the time to – and you can’t allow people to do that with every episode, to be creatively participating, because it would turn into madness with everybody.

Then, when it came down to choosing the scenes from your anniversary episode to include for your Emmy submission, was that a challenging process of which moments to go with?

NANCY:  I just told a little story with it with the time that I had, and so, I edited it with a friend of mine.  I did a sort of pre-edit on it, I’m good at that, and handed the timeline to our editor, who nicely put it together. It took very little effort.

In my humble opinion, I think that episode featured one of your all-time best performances.

NANCY: Thank you. There was a nice effort from everybody, from the lighting to everybody else, and all the effort Phideaux put into it.  He worked so hard on that!  It was fun for us.  It was like the old days where you really got to work something out.

Photo: ABC

It truly harkened back to everything we knew up to that point about Alexis and her past as well, and included a montage of scenes over the years.

NANCY:  I think it was M.K. who put that together, but when you’re working at the pace we’re working now, to have to sit and put together a montage of twenty-five years, that’s not an easy feat.  Nobody has time for that anymore, but they did it, and like I said, it was really, really appreciated.  My only thought with it is that I wanted it to be relatable to other people.  I didn’t want it to just be some, you know, self-indulgent Alexis episode. I knew that by bringing in the little girl and talking about people being hurt in their childhood and how that makes somebody feel that it was probably relatable to many people, and so it became meaningful to other people and not just me.

Do you think you’ll attend the Daytime Emmys? I know the last time you won you were not present.

NANCY:  Yeah, I’m planning on it.  I mean, barring anything happening! (Laughs)

Does it feel nice to be recognized by your peers?

NANCY:  Of course, it does.  It always does, and way too often, women who are still producing well in their jobs, don’t get the respect and the acknowledgment for it.  So, that’s why I’m saying, this is no small thing, and that I want other women to know that I know that, and that I wish for them the same thing.

What was the reaction of your daughter, Kate and your fiancé, Richard, when you told them you were Emmy-nominated?

NANCY:  Richie goes, “What is this?  Your 18th nomination?” (Laughs). You know what I mean?  It was just kind of like, “Yeah, sure, why wouldn’t you be?” It wasn’t like, “Oh, my God!”  It was like they kind of expected that.  That was nice!  I’m glad they feel that way.  I’m glad they weren’t surprised.  They were like, “Sure!  Of course, you would be.  Why wouldn’t you be?”  I said, “You know, it doesn’t always work like that!”

Photo: JPI

Now comes the part of having to find a dress and all that goes with it for the red carpet.  Do you enjoy that part?

NANCY:  No, I hate that part.  That is my… oh ‘boohoo’, you know?  I mean, I have to find something to wear.  Also, the older you get, that becomes so much less important, and the more makeup, and the more hair, and the more foofy, the more ridiculous I look. I start looking like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.  You’ve just got to keep it simple.

You were talking about women and ageism.  Do you not feel that also exists for men?

NANCY:  It exists for men, but it’s not at all on the same par as women.  I mean, men still get paid more than women, and men still are valued more than women.  I mean, there are exceptions, but if you look in any place of employment, even the soaps, you will typically find the men making more money than the women, and the older the women get, the less they get.  Life’s not fair right now.  It’s fairer than it was, but still the equality game is not won yet.

Photo: JPI

I know how much all of this means to you in terms of equality for women, and people being run out of their jobs because of their age.

NANCY:  It’s just a reality.  It’s not something that I’m hopeless about, but I have a story to tell.  I’ll tell it when the time is right.  It’s life!  It happens in every field everywhere.  When my mom was 70, she was still producing the exact same way she was producing when she was 30, and she got run out, and was replaced by a man who was 40 or something, and there was no particular reason for it.  It was just, “You’re done.  We decided you’re done,” but like I said, it happens everywhere, in every line of work, and that’s why I just wanted to give a shout-out, when you still, after 36 years, can be recognized or shown respect or acknowledgment for what your do.  It’s a very big deal that I am appreciative of and grateful for.

So, rooting for Nancy to win the Outstanding Supporting Actress prize? Happy she was nominated for her work in the the milestone episode devoted to Alexis? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and to tune-in to the 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ on Friday night, June 24th.

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Cameron Mathison talks with Michael Fairman on taking on the role of GH’s Drew Cain, the latest developments in Port Charles for Drew. his busy career outside of soaps and the loss of his mother and his public battle with cancer.Leave A Comment
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Cynthia Watros as Nina

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Airdate: 6-3-2022

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