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The Jerry verDorn Interview – One Life to Live

© JPI Studios

© JPI Studios

Is there any doubt that the best “baddie” of them all in soaps this year has turned out to be none other than Llanview’s Clint Buchanan?  The former stoic and heroic cowboy, who became a business empire mogul, took a turn to the dark side and has been the kick start for many a storyline and many characters horrific dilemmas on One Life to Live. And who is relishing this just as much as the audience at home… Clint’s portrayer, two-time Daytime Emmy winner, Jerry verDorn!

The former do-gooder, as Ross Marler on Guiding Light, verDorn took over the role of Clint Buchanan, (once played by the late Clint Ritchie) over six and half years ago and has taken the role to unexpected new heights.  But what a palette he was given by the writers! Here is just a short list of some items on Clint’s machination resume:  Switching Jessica’s and Rex’s paternity test, framing Vimal to take the fall for his demands and skullduggery in DNA labs, paying off Eddie Ford to kidnap Nora Buchanan, (and then the evil Mr. Ford almost rapes Clint’s ex-wife in the process), setting up brother Bo Buchanan with his secretary Inez Salinger by having her drug him so it appears he slept with her in an effort to break up Bo and Nora’s marriage. Then, manipulating Bo and Nora’s son, Matthew against his parents, kidnapping David Vickers on his wedding day to Dorian, and depositing him in a Moroccan prison, leaving La Mayor once again devastated at the altar.  Shall we go on?

But payback is a bitch!  And now Clint, after suffering a severe heart attack, is clinging to life and preparing to say goodbye to his beloved children and family members, unless he gets a heart transplant.  Problem is: Clint has a rare blood type and finding a donor is very difficult.  Enter Matthew Buchanan, Clint’s favorite nephew, who he thinks of as a son. After falling and hitting his head and landing up in the hospital… no thanks to Nate Salinger… Matthew appears to be brain-dead and a match for Clint’s blood type.  Will Matthews’s life become expendable to save the man who perpetrated such heinous acts against his own family?

To get some thoughts and perspective on this subject and more, On-Air On-Soaps went to the man himself, Jerry verDorn, who in our humble opinion has given the true Daytime Emmy winning Lead Actor performance of 2011!  Jerry chats about the Emmys, the cancellation of OLTL, where soaps made a wrong turn, and working with the dynamite trio of Erika Slezak (Viki), Robin Strasser (Dorian), and Kim Zimmer (Echo) as Clint’s leading ladies, In addition, he previews that there is more story to come for the Buchanan clan!  Without further ado, we are thrilled to bring you this interview with Jerry.

MICHAEL:

Clint is at the epicenter of most all the major stories playing out on One Life to Live! Now, with his heart attack and struggle to find a donor heart, do you think this was the only way to redeem Clint from his bad deeds?

JERRY:

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I don’t think it was the only way, but I thought it was a good way. There is history there because his father, Asa, had heart problems, too.  And so it made sense family-wise.  I just remember when I first heard about it; I recalled an actor named Larry Gates who played H. B. on Guiding Light. And, he once told me, “When you are pretending to have a heart attack, be very careful you don’t bring on a heart attack.” (Laughs) When we were shooting those scenes, I had that firmly in mind. (Laughs)  But anyway, I thought it was brilliant.  And then unfortunately, the person who stumbled upon Clint in his misery is Dorian, who then proceeds to have a seat and take a view.  I thought it was very good, and after that happened it involved so many other people.  That is really the hallmark of great soap.  And when a soap is going good, and when a lot of people are involved, it makes for an interesting story.

MICHAEL:

Clint, being such a jackass and a bad guy has been so delicious to watch!  When you saw this turn in the character, what were your thoughts?

JERRY:

I thought it made perfect sense.  Because I think in most cases with sons and daughters, they reach a point in their lives when they look in the mirror and say, “Hi Mom or Hi Dad,” because they start to physically look like them.  And usually, they are very emotionally similar to their parent, and so I thought the turn was absolutely great!  Fans would come up to me and say, “How could you do this? This Clint has always been so nice.”  And I would say, “Well a lot of things have happened to him.”  There he is sitting in that mansion all by himself staring into the fire, and so I had no problems doing what the story required.

MICHAEL:

How has your real life family reacted to seeing you play evil Clint?

JERRY:

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They said, “You are really a jackass when you want to be!” (Laughs) You know, over at CBS, I was playing the pillar of the community and such a good guy for so long, even though I came on as a bad guy!  Nobody remembers that I came on GL as Roger Thorpe’s evil lawyer.  I was the black sheep of the family, but that did not last long, and then it was Mayor Marler and all that stuff.

MICHAEL:

You have given the performance of the year thus far, and it is so great to watch Clint mix-it up with Eddie Ford, Nora, Bo, Inez, and especially with Matthew.  With all signs pointing to Matthew being the donor match for Clint, it seems like Clint’s plans all went horribly awry, wouldn’t you say?

JERRY:

Being the control freak he is, Clint is very upset how these things spun out of control. Now perhaps, he is having second thoughts as in, “What have I done now?”  There is a lot of Macbeth in him, as in, “Have I gone too far?”   The sins of the father are coming to visit the sons and all of those kinds of themes, so with the culmination of all that and with all the pressure, it makes sense for him to have a heart attack. Clint had so many secrets going that he can’t even keep them straight!

MICHAEL:

Could you keep them straight? (Laughs)

JERRY:

It was difficult.  When somebody walked into the room, I had to know which baby did I switch, do they know the truth, or what I told them was the truth.  You know how politicians are, when they do something wrong instead of immediately fessing up there is this cover-up, and eventually it gets so complicated that they all get tripped up. That is where Clint is.  He is the middle of this emotional mess and he is not sure he has a handle on it anymore, and of course it involves people he loves!  He doesn’t want Viki to find out some terrible things he did and he doesn’t want his kids to know, so Clint has a lot of balls in the air.

MICHAEL:

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Poor Jessica, split into a million pieces and multiple personalities again.  Does he feel any remorse for what he caused to happen to his daughter?  It seems to not have been addressed!

JERRY:

He does and it does come out in the future.  I have been shooting some scenes where the guilt of that for him is just enormous, and it is finally coming out.  I think the Matthew situation and Jessica splitting again are the two toughest things for him to face.

MICHAEL:

So when he is faced with the knowledge that Matthew’s heart is a match for him, Clint does not want Matthews’s heart.

JERRY:

Clint would rather die than take his heart, because Matthew is just beginning his life and Clint is an older man who has lived a long and wonderful life.  He is adamant about that, I would imagine.

MICHAEL:

Recently, one of the best scenes was between you and Erika Slezak in Clint’s hospital room discussing that he is not going to make it.  You always see with Clint that Viki is his Achilles heel.  He seems not to be able to lie to her very well, or cover his feelings in front of her.  Do you remember shooting that beautiful scene in the hospital?

JERRY:

I do remember that scene, and one of the joys of working here is looking into the eyes of Erika Slezak, because she is such a nice dance partner.  And that helps, because we no longer have any rehearsal time because we shoot things so fast.  I thought that scene was beautifully written. You are right. With the b*s* meter, Viki has got it figured out because she has known Clint for so long, and she knew Asa for so long and they shared children.  He just can’t, and does not want to see her be disappointed or look bad in her eyes, and that hurts him.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Erika got the biggest kick that you came in on your day off to be at her 40th anniversary party, at OLTL.  She told me in a recent interview, “I was surprised that Jerry was there.”  I mean back in the day at Guiding Light you knew of Erika Slezak’s work, I am sure.  Did you ever think you would be her scene partner?

JERRY:

No, I never did, for a lot of reasons.  One of which was I thought I was going to be staying at CBS.  But in terms of that one particular day, I would not have missed that for anything.  Frank Valentini, our executive producer, had asked me to say something to her and I did not want to miss that: the opportunity to say something to her in public that I feel in my heart.  And by the way, that is what a lot of people in the cast feel about Erika for this great accomplishment of hers.  So it was no problem coming in for that day. When I got the role of Clint six and half years ago it was like a gift from heaven, because this show had so much history. With Clint Ritchie having done such a wonderful job at creating this character, I felt enough time had passed with the character being on-screen and coming back again was perfect.  Audiences hate recasts, at least they usually do. (Laughs)  I think my decision was to not base everything off of what Clint Ritchie did when he was doing the role, but I based everything on Phillip Carey (Asa).  I just wanted to walk like him, sound like him, be like him, instead of copying what Clint was doing. And in terms of who I am acting with, Oh, my Goodness! (Laughs) I mean one day I am working with Erika, and then one day I am working with Robin Strasser and Bree Williamson (Jessica) and Melissa Archer (Natalie)!  It’s amazing!

MICHAEL:

What about Bob Woods as your brother Bo?  The showdown scenes in the stable were classic soap!

JERRY:

He is another one, and in real life we are almost like brothers, in that we knew each other in passing over the years, but we kind of bookended each other in our soap careers.  We both started in 1979, he on One Life and me on Guiding Light.  When I came here, I had never acted with him, but it was just so easy to do.  We have some awfully good material and we have a head writer in Ron Carlivati who respected the history and wanted to spring new story out of history, which audiences always like.  It has been really nice.

MICHAEL:

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So what do you think has been the most ridiculous moment of all of Clint’s plotting or machinations?

JERRY:

I think when he had a little too much bourbon and reached for the shotgun and he brings it out in public and brings it into the church.  I read that and went, “Well, at least they had him a little tooted with too much bourbon!” (Laughs)  That was over-the-top. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

On Friday’s episode, Clint reveals to Natalie and Joey he does not have long to live.  Can you give us a preview of what goes down?

JERRY:

Clint is very much just facing facts.  He has a very rare blood type and the donor is difficult to find.  He is not first on the list, even though he owns half the hospital.  Those lists are very sacred and even soap operas will not alter that.  So he is down on the list with a hard to match donor profile.  He decides to gather the family and lay out the facts and enjoy his time and let them know what is happening to him.  They do not want anything to do with this.  And I think Natalie has a line that says, “If the roles were reversed and you were standing watching me in bed, would you be telling me to give up and saying that it’s OK?”   So those are the things that go down and Tom Degnan ((Joey) was terrific.  We actually got to rehearse these scenes, and they were so well-written.  It was a very good day and it was partly about what do you do when someone is on their last days.  Do you support that or tell them to keep fighting?  It is one of those main issues that people have with right to die issues. You will see terrific performances… I will tell you that!

MICHAEL:

Is it easy to just lie around in a hospital bed in scenes and watch people cry all around you?  Or, is it difficult for you?

JERRY:

It’s not easy, and it’s actually very disturbing to me because of my personal history.  I have spent a lot of time in hospitals being a 19-year cancer survivor, and every now and then I have to go back to the hospital to get check-ups.  I am in my fifth week of coming to the set and putting on pajamas and flopping into bed and being hooked up to medical devices, and it’s just too close to what I sometimes go through myself.   I have to watch myself and I am very careful with this, that when the show is over, the show is over, and I leave it all at the studio and go home and live life.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

As you are aware many of us in the industry, including myself, thought you were most deserving of a Daytime Emmy this year and you did not get nominated.  What did you submit?

JERRY:

Well, I think most of my material that you are referring to was after January 1, so it was not eligible.  I went with something I had with Tuc Watkins (David), because that was all I had.  It was one of the early Moroccan prison scenes, and that was the only thing I had where the scenes where actually driven by me, but it was semi-comedic.  So I did not know how that would fly.  I did not have any of the confrontations with Bo to choose from.  And so the fact of the matter is, I think several people from our show will be nominated next year when the show is not on, just like what happened this year with As the World Turns.  It does not really matter to me about the nomination, but I would have liked to get some publicity for the show.  Brian Kerwin, (Charlie) has some awfully good scenes with Erika this past year and I am really glad he got nominated.

MICHAEL:

How are you doing now with the news of the cancellation of One Life to Live? And how is everyone doing over at the studio?

JERRY:

The atmosphere has been as positive as it possibly could be, and we have a long time before we go off, so that gives the writers a way to end it properly, if indeed, it is going to end.  I am fine with it, but I am 62.  The people I am not fine with are the people who are the tech people who are in their early 40’s and they have kids in grade school and that kind of thing, and knowing that there is hardly any scripted television in New York, and those are the people I am worried about.  I am not so worried about the kids, they don’t have kids of their own or real estate yet, so they can bounce around in show business, which happens all the time, but to be caught in the middle is tough.  There are, I would say, 100 like that on AMC, and 100 like that on OLTL.  It’s difficult and that is what hurts me.

MICHAEL:

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Having gone through a major cancellation and disruption with Guiding Light previously, does it leave you at all better equipped to handle it a second time, only this time at OLTL?

JERRY:

Over at Guiding Light, I was sort of a pseudo-producer.  I spoke publicly when producers did not want to, so I was privy to falling numbers.  But, I also thought this medium got into trouble when they started worrying about production values.  I don’t think there is one soap opera fan that tuned in to see how well we would blow something up.  They tune in for one thing, and that is story.  We could do this in front of a black screen and it would be fine.  The special effects we should worry about are: ladies gowns, perhaps, and some perfectly romantic lighting.  But setting a major fire or having an earthquake, and a lot of gunplay, the fans don’t care about that.  They care about what Viki feels after the earthquake is over and are the children okay, and all that kind of stuff.  And those shows wasted just oodles of money, in my mind!

MICHAEL:

I agree!

JERRY:

Years ago, I thought they were doing it not for the audience, but for one executive producer to ‘wow’ another executive producer with, “Whoa, how did they do that?”  I promise you Michael, that those confrontation scenes between Bo and Clint at the stable, that is what people tune in to soaps for, and that is what a good cliffhanger is on a Friday episode, with Clint looking at Bo and Bo looking at Clint.  And, there is a gun in the room and a lot of things to talk about, and that is what will bring people back on Monday. We don’t need the stable to catch fire.  So in my mind, our audience gave us a huge artistic license that the producers did not take full advantage of.

MICHAEL:

Right now, OLTL has never been better and the ratings even reflect it.  For the last several weeks, they have been at number 3!

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JERRY:

Isn’t that ironic!?

MICHAEL:

I know, isn’t it ironic!  It’s the most kick-ass show on the air right now.

JERRY:

I am looking up at the screen right now, and Bo and Nora are having this discussion about Matthew’s heart and what to do with Matthew since he is in such a dire situation, and I can’t stop watching!  They are kicking it, and I think the show is in very good artistic shape.  If we have to go down, at least we are going to go down in good shape.

MICHAEL:

If Clint survives his medical crisis, do you have a wish list of how you would like to see the story wrap up in the end for Clint?  Erika Slezak had told me she would like to see Viki and Clint back together.

JERRY:

I would not mind having Viki and Clint back together, too.  That would be a good way, but ultimately, I would like to see Clint and the tent pole characters be what they should be and be with who they should be with.  In Clint’s case, he should be happy and revel in his children, but I think the last image of the show better be Erika’s! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

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How has it been working with John-Paul Lavoisier as Clint’s shocker of a son, Rex?

JERRY:

It has been terrific, and it finally gives some closure to his character, who was running around going, “You’re my dad?  No, you’re my dad?”  Rex was going through that for years, and then finally the irony of it is that Clint is Rex’s dad.  And then there is that loveliness of having his mother come on his show who was on the show before, and every time he sees Rex, Clint sees Echo, who happened to be Kim Zimmer, and that was just perfect.  I had never worked with JP before, and so the awkwardness we played as father and son was just terrific.

MICHAEL:

If you were to sum up what lies ahead for Rex and Clint, would you say there is more heavy-duty drama to come?

JERRY:

There is a lot of drama coming up between Rex and Clint, and he almost brings on a second heart attack at the hospital!  So yeah, JP has had a lot of heavy story to do and he did it well.  I can tell you there is some good story in the pipeline.  Then Viki finds out conclusively, that Rex is indeed being treated this way by Clint, and she just goes into the, “Are you kidding me, Clint,” mode. “Clint Buchanan, who says, ‘family is everything?’”  Those are good scenes, too.  I am telling you, in the pipeline there is some good soap ahead.

MICHAEL:

Can we expect more scenes between Echo and Clint?

Courtesy/ABC

JERRY:

I believe so, and we have taped some stuff that has not aired.  It was so weird working with Kim, because we would see each other at Guiding Light and we would cross paths there, but nothing with any serious story.  It has been so much fun to have scenes about Echo and Clint’s relationship, and Kim is just terrific fun.

MICHAEL:

So this heart story seems far from over!

JERRY:

There is no abrupt ending and it involves all the children, and what I like about it is it involves all the different generations of characters.  Sometimes on soaps characters get compartmentalized such as: here is the younger storyline, here is the old people’s storyline, and here are the people in the mid 40-s storyline and they don’t come together like families.  But these stories have brought actors of all ages together, and I think that is neat.

MICHAEL:

We have got to get you out of the hospital set…STAT!

JERRY:

Courtesy/ABC

(Laughs) They are looking for a compatible donor and I am still there.  A lot of people that come up to me on the street tell me they believe that Clint is not going to make it.

MICHAEL:

Of all the horrible acts of Clint, what were some of your most favorite moments to play so far this year? And, do you think we have not even seen the tip of the iceberg?

JERRY:

Well, the Bo showdown in the barn is one and some scenes when revealing to Bo and Nora, to just go ahead with this and let Clint take the rap for Eddie Ford’s murder.  Clint is like, “You don’t want to know about the killing of Eddie Ford, because it’s not for my sake, but for your sakes.”   I think those were well-written scenes, and they were acted well and shot well.  I did like the heart attack.  I remembered the advice I took that I told you about. (Laughs) I have been so lucky to have so many good acting partners, and I think I am going to have a lot more great scenes before November.  I think Ron Carlivati is on fire.

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Brian
Guest
Brian

Jerry is absolutely wonderful! 🙂

Terry
Guest
Terry

Great interview. I love this guy! And I can’t wait to see more of the Buchanan family!

Dinah
Guest
Dinah

Thank you for the wonderful interview. I just love Jerry VerDorn as Clint!

guilty pleasure
Guest
guilty pleasure

How come you haven’t asked JVD how Clint is going to get the Buchanan mansion back from Cutter? When is that going to happen? Geat interview as usual, BTW!!!!

Nancy Gomez
Guest
Nancy Gomez

THIS INTERVIEW WAS GREAT!!!!!!
I WANT CLINT AND VICKI BACK TOGETHER TOO.
THE PEOPLE OF OLTL ARE JUST LIKE MY FAMILY MEMBERS.
IT WILL BE A TERRIBLE DEATH OF ALL THESE CHARACTERS

Samantha
Guest
Samantha

Great interview. Jerry verDorn is such a class act. Can’t wait to see what he does with the Clint character in the coming months!

Doe
Guest
Doe

I loved this interview, Michael. You asked all the right questions to Jerry, and he gave you terrific answers. He seemed very relaxed in talking with you and he made me appreciate him as a man who happens to be a great actor. His evil switch of character was subtle, conniving, and done with precision, as only an actor of his caliber could deliver. I certinly don’t want him to die and go to Neverland. Bravo, Jerry…well done…

Jim
Guest
Jim

It was a great interview. I think Jerry is a great actor and get the impression an honorable. and outright nice fellow. if the show does go off the air sure will miss it.

Waltina
Guest
Waltina

I wonder if Clint is planning to recognize Rex as his son? I must admit that I could care less if he didn’t, I have never liked the character of Rex. I would like to see him and Viki together and their family. Please don’t let Ford be a part of this family.

It was a great interview with a great actor. I have enjoyed him as Clint more that Bo.

red and vanessa forever
Guest
red and vanessa forever

can’t wait for clint and viki reunion

ethel
Guest
ethel

excellent interview!!!
i really like jerry’s version of clint!

annette
Guest
annette

What a great guy. I also like how he said “if” the show doesnt continue. I think he acknowledges all that the fans are doing to save it. THANKS

todd
Guest
todd

Can Clint and Viki move to Port Charles?

Suzi
Guest
Suzi

Amen, Todd!! Maybe all of the cast should. I have watched this for so flipping many years (don’t want to date my old self), I truly hope that somehow the show will never end! JVD was right when he said the show has been excellent for the last few years, and it is ironic that it would end at it’s epitome of brilliance! Can SoapNet keep it going?? Oh how I wish!

Todd
Guest
Todd

I have been watching since 87 and I am still rushing to get home every day. Rex, gigi, and shane blew me awY the last few days.

Tom Peterson
Guest
Tom Peterson

I remember way back in 1973 when I played Thomas Bolin and Jerry was Henry VIII in “Anne of the Thousand Days” back at Moorhead State … best to you Jerry, very glad for your sucess

Tom Peterson
Guest
Tom Peterson

Interesting tidbit about that production on “Anne” … not only featured Jerry as Henry, but also Kristin Rudrüd as Anne Bolyn – she was the kidmapped wife in the movie “Fargo”

D. Bennett
Guest
D. Bennett

what is Jerry’s plans now that OLTL if over?

General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright Talks on Mob Boss Carly and Her 30-Year Evolution in Daytime

She’s a fierce, force to be reckoned with, one who delivers raw and emotional performances time and time again, while never forgetting from where she came, and always willing to pass on to her newer co-stars’ the wisdom she gained from the grind of performing in front of the camera in the toughest acting genre there is … daytime drama.

General Hospital’s Laura Wright’s (Carly) real-life soap journey actually has a very humble beginning when in 1991 – fresh off a job at a gas station – she landed in Corinth and the role of Ally Rescott on ABC’s Loving.  Up next, a jaunt to its re-imagined version, The City, until the series ultimate demise in 1997. But that was just an appetizer for soap fans of Wright’s burgeoning talent, when next she ventured to Springfield and CBS’ Guiding Light to take on the role of a stripper with a heart-of-gold who ultimately would be crowned a princess, Cassie Layne. Then, after a popular 8-year-run, she would head to General Hospital, and one of the most coveted roles in soaps, that of Port Charles’ Carly Corinthos following in the footsteps of powerhouse actresses, Sarah Brown and Tamara Braun. In her 20th year in daytime, Laura took home the gold for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series back in 2011, and that brings us to now.  Next week on June 7th, marks Laura’s 30th year in daytime filled with memorable on and off-screen moments that she has cherished.

Meanwhile, currently on GH, Laura is getting to play Carly in a whole new set of circumstances as she enters her three-decade soap anniversary. In story, we find Carly stepping up to run the mob, now that she and everyone else believes her husband, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) is dead, and while her best friend and mob enforcer, Jason (Steve Burton) had to go on the run. And from the looks of it, Carly is adjusting to the mob boss role quite well … but is she really?

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Laura to get the lowdown on Carly’s life without Sonny, which has pushed her front and center into managing crimes and misdemeanors, mafia-style, all to protect the ones she loves, and to reflect on her amazing ride in daytime; which has made her one of the all-time leading ladies of the soaps.  Here’s what Laura shared about it all.

Photo: ABC

When you first found out what the structure of this storyline was going to be, where Sonny was going to “die” along with Julian (William deVry), and then he turns up alive and has amnesia, what was your initial thought?  Did you know how far they were going to take this for Carly, as far as her now running  the mob in Sonny’s place?

LAURA:  I had no idea about the mob part of it until about two months ago. As far as Sonny having amnesia and having another life now, I love those kinds of stories.  It also gives you as an actor something to play, and what else are you going to do with Sonny and Carly?  You can’t really break them up.  You’re talking to the person who is game for almost anything, so I loved it.  What does Carly’s life look like now as everybody believes that Sonny has died? How does she even take care of herself?  For me, it gave me great material to play because of how it all started to crumble.  Ava (Maura West) takes Avery, Cyrus (Jeff Kober) starts taking over the territory and the town, and Carly starts losing all of this security in her life as she knew it in trying to protect her family, and it was scary for her.

Photo: ABC

Of course, viewers could see where this storyline was heading once Carly lit in to Nina (Cynthia Watros), when Nina was in Nixon Falls and saw that Sonny was very much alive! You could see that Nina was going to seek revenge on Carly and not tell her about Sonny, aka “Mike”, all the while getting closer to him.  What do you think Carly would do if she found out that Nina was with Sonny and kept it from her?

LAURA:  You know, Carly before taking over the mob would have been awful, but now… and I was thinking about this the other day …  I’m like, “Carly would go after her with a gun!”

For years, I’ve always loved this idea of, “What if Carly became a mob boss?”

LAURA:  If they did have Carly go after Nina, then Jason and Sonny would be like, “You cannot do this.”  I think there is this blind rage, at least for a moment.  It can’t just be standing there and yelling at her, do you know what I mean?  Carly would probably take action and then Nina would disappear, or it’s like ‘get me away from her because I am going to kill her’ for what this woman did.  So, you have to have at least an episode of that before you come to your senses and realize that you have children and responsibilities, and you’re going to have to do this the right way, but you have to have the moment of losing it.  It’s stealing their life.  It’s great stuff.  My other thoughts are, “Poor Cynthia,” (laughs) because she’s got to be the nicest human being on the planet, and she is so fun to work with, and so great and committed, so we are going to have some interesting times getting through whatever they write.  I have no idea what they’re writing by the way, and I have no idea when it’s going to happen, but I am sure it will be great.

Photo: ABC

With the way GH shoots their taping schedule, I am assuming now you barely see Maurice, because you are basically in two different parts of this interconnecting story?

LAURA:  We shoot by set.  So, if Maurice is working in the morning, and I am scheduled at let’s say at noon, by the time I get there, he’ll be gone.  So, it’s fascinating. It’s kind of running parallel of what is happening on and off screen because I don’t see him at work, either.

Photo: ABC

Carly seems that she is becoming pretty comfortable in this mob role.  There was a scene that recently aired between Diane (Carolyn Hennesy) and Carly, where Carly was discussing her options of what to do with Gladys (Bonnie Burroughs).  Does Carly like the power this brings her?

LAURA:  I think so, but it’s not like she’s sitting around going, “Oh, this is amazing.”  It’s seriously what she has to do.  What she is seeing is that there are so many moving parts that she didn’t realize how difficult it was.  Sonny made it look easy.  There’s not a time to even take a breath.  You’ve got to always be on your toes.  You know, she is doing it in ‘Carly fashion,’ so it’s always entertaining, and trying as a woman to put out all the fires, but there’s 20 fires behind it, because there is just someone constantly trying to take your seat, trying to hurt your family.  There’s just always something to look out for whether it be from the other families or law enforcement.  I think that Carly is surprised that she is good at it and surprised at how making these decisions is becoming easier and easier for her, but I don’t know if she sits back and enjoys it.  At this point, from air to what we are taping, the decisions don’t stop, and the danger doesn’t stop, and more decisions have to be made, and there is no one else to do it.  This is a world that is life or death.  This isn’t like, “Well, if they don’t like me, I’ll just find someone else to do the job.”  There’s nobody else to do that job.  It’s not that world.  You don’t get to walk away, and she is learning that more and more, as she plays in the big world.

Photo: ABC

So, Jason went on the run with Britt (Kelly Thiebaud).  How does Carly feel about that?

LAURA:  Britt saved his life.  She said that on camera.  “She saved your life; she can take you wherever.  I trust her.”  Carly saw how Britt stepped up and helped him.  I don’t think there is anything else that Carly is thinking right now.  Carly doesn’t have the luxury of being old Carly and being snippy, catty, wanting to vet every person in Jason’s life.  It’s just not her reality right now.  That would be a luxury if she could go back and be that person, but that’s not it.  Right now, it’s assessing the situation.  “Is he safe?  Is she taking care of him?  Great.  I don’t care about anything else right now.”  This is the difference between old Carly and mob-boss Carly.  Those days are gone.  She would give anything to go back to those days because she didn’t have to have the world on her shoulders because Jason was safe, and Sonny was alive.  It’s not where she is now.  It’s a different dynamic that she was forced into.

Photo: ABC

When you and Steve Burton are in scenes together, whether it’s just in your eyes, or expressions or emotions, there is so much going on, or at least that’s how it plays to the audience.  Is the relationship between Carly and Jason one of your favorites to play, because it’s so unique and deep rooted into their history? 

LAURA:  Oh, I love the Carly/Jason relationship. It’s the loyalty and that their dedication to each other is unbendable, unbreakable.  It’s so unwavering.  It’s great to play because it’s like being in a really good relationship, even though he’s not her ‘person’, but he kind of is.  It’s being in a great relationship that means that you get to be 100% you and everything that means, and that person loves and accepts you. There’s such incredible love and freedom, and that’s what it’s like to work with Steve because Steve approaches our scenes – and almost every scene when I watch him with other people – that there is no undercutting judgment, only help.  If I’m struggling with a line or I don’t want to do something, he’s either like, “Yeah, I agree. That’s unnecessary; cut it,” or he gives me a really great way of looking at it, where I’m like, “Oh, that is a really interesting thing, thanks!”  So, then you have full freedom to feel and play and do anything, and that’s kind of what you see.  There’s just a confidence, and I think it is also the relationship.  I think it has to be there when I work with Steve because the relationship between Carly and Jason is that way.

Photo: JPI

Carly and Jason accept each other for who they are, all their flaws, and the dangers that come with their lives.  Wouldn’t you say?

LAURA:  She accepts him 100% for who he is.  She wants to manipulate the world around him, so he is safe, and perfect, and always there, but she still accepts him when nobody else does and vice versa.  He knows that Carly is going to destroy things, and mess up, and spiral.  Like, she had that scene where she said, “Even when Jason knows I’m wrong, he supports me.” It’s really that right there that is everything between the two of them, and it’s the hardest thing to find in any relationship, real life, TV, etc.  We always want to change people to make them be who we want them to be so that we feel okay. It’s a great soap opera relationship because it causes conflict in every other relationship that they have, which is great for storytelling in a show because then there is always a challenge, always a hurdle, always a problem built-in if you need drama. It’s because there is so much acceptance and unconditional love and support that they are free to be who they need to be, and I feel that as an actor working Steve as well.  I think that’s what you see when you say there’s ‘a lot going on’.

Carly’s plan for Gladys took quite a turn!

LAURA:  Well, Carly thought the second that Cyrus finds out that Brando (Johnny Wactor) is the father of Sasha’s (Sofia Matteson) baby that Cyrus is going to want to take him out, so she basically said to Gladys, “Look, I’ll set you up.  I’ll give you all the money you want.  Hell, I’ll even buy you a house.  Leave town, but you have to tell everybody that you lied about Jason,” and she doesn’t bite the bait.  So, you then have Carly saying, “Well, we can do this the easy way where I just pay for your life and you go, or we can do it the hard way,” and the hard way is me letting her know that, “You have a grandchild on the way, and your son is going to be murdered if you don’t do this for me,” because it puts Cyrus back in prison because he is on probation, and he has now obstructed justice.  It’s all on Gladys’s testimony.  That was Carly’s plan.  Right now, her biggest threat is Cyrus and obviously as viewers have seen things did not go as planned!

Photo: ABC

June 7th you will be celebrating 30 years on daytime! Do you remember your first day on Loving? What happened?

LAURA:  I do.  Oh, God!  I remember what dress I had on.  I remember how my hair was.

Were you like in “Oz”?

LAURA:  I looked like Oz. (Laughs) I looked like Dorothy… the dress they had me in, the hair, are you kidding?  I didn’t know what a boom was!  I was really loud.  I had one line: “Grandma!” and that was it, and then they had to note that because I kept saying, “Grandmaw,” and they were like, “It’s not ‘Grandmaw.’  It’s ‘Grandma.’”  Then, I did whatever they said at first, but then the longer I was on the show, I was like, “I say ‘Grandmaw.’ I’m not saying ‘Grandmuh.’ I don’t care. (Laughs) Everyone gets their own personalization of how they say what they say.”  That was my big argument, and now I’ve had a thousand arguments over 30 years, but that was my first big pushback because I would be doing, what in my mind was great work.  I got all of the lines out, my God, and that was before we could do pickups, and when we shot the show in order. Those cameras had wheels. So if you were on set, and they shot the scene before us, you had to be ready to go, and they would fly down the studio on those cameras to set up to start shooting the next scene.  If I got through a scene and they had to do it over again because I said, “Grandmaw,” I would be so angry. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

Who helped you the most on Loving?

LAURA:  Nada Rowand, who played my grandmother, Lisa Peluso, who played my aunt on the show, and Eric Woodall was my best friend and he played Matt Ford.  He and I would get together every Sunday night, and here’s a little bit of trivia for you … Eric lived with Billy Porter! They graduated from Carnegie Mellon together.  So, I would go over to his apartment, and on Sunday night, we would go over all of the scripts together for the whole week because Eric graduated from Carnegie Mellon; I worked at a gas station. (Laughs) We had very different talents that we were bringing to the table for this soap opera job.  Eric helped me a great deal, my gosh, and so did Bernie Barrow (Ex-Louis).

Bernie was an amazing actor and the only Daytime Emmy winner, ever from Loving!

LAURA:  I had scenes with Bernie because he played my grandfather on the show. I had no idea about half the notes that they were giving me. Bernie would pull me aside and explain what they meant and teach it to me in a way where I knew how to incorporate it into my scenes and adjust and take the notes.  He was extremely helpful.  Then, there is the famous Noelle Beck (Ex-Trisha) story, where two weeks after starting the show, Eric and I were invited to go to the Daytime Emmy Awards.  I was dying because I grew up watching daytime television, and I grew up watching the Daytime Emmys.  So, when I was allowed to go, I told my mom to ship me my prom dress from my senior year of high school, which was this poufy, emerald green thing, and it looked like something from Dynasty with jewels all over it.  I got it, and I was so excited, and everyone on the show was like, “Oh, my God, someone has got to tell her … she cannot wear that dress.”  I didn’t know you could go to wardrobe and ask to borrow a dress, because I’d only been on the show for two weeks maybe.  The same day, they came to me and said, “So, if Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica, AMC) doesn’t win, you’re going to be interviewed on Good Morning America the next morning about how the gas station girl got a job.”  So, it was a big deal. I’m getting ready for the Emmys, and to put this emerald-green dress on, and there is this knock on my door, and it’s Noelle Beck.  She has this beautiful, black, strapless dress. She’s like, “Your dress is beautiful, but I don’t know, I think this is really simple, and I think you might really look beautiful in it if you want to try it on.”

Photo: JPI

Her dress?

LAURA: Her dress! It was a dress that was in Noelle’s closet on the show because she went to wardrobe and was like, “Laura cannot wear that emerald green prom dress.  She will be laughed at.”  I would have been mortified because I did not know what people wore.  I had never been to a red carpet! Noelle went to wardrobe, and they all came up with this dress, and so she came to me and said, “Your dress is so pretty, but I think this might go better with Eric’s suit,” or however she sold it! I tried it on, and I just felt so sophisticated, and I was like, “It’s okay if I wear this!?” and she’s just like, “Oh, my God, yeah!”  When I think back to that story, I’m like, ‘thank God for Noelle Beck’.  It was one of the funniest stories ever, and her dressing room was right across the hall from me, and she was from Maryland; I was from Maryland.  She was like a sister.  Noelle was always looking out for me, personally.

Photo: ABC

Over the years, you have become one of the great leading ladies of daytime.  Was there a moment, when you were like, “I’ve got this down now … I really know what I’m doing.”

LAURA:   There have been different moments.  I remember the first time where I felt like ‘an actor.’  It was when they shot and killed Casey (Paul Anthony Stewart) on Loving, and he had to die in my arms.  I embodied something and felt it in a way that was different.  I didn’t know what it was at the time because I was playing my emotions of Paul leaving the show. I was really confused because I was like, “Do I really like this guy?” like in real life, because I didn’t know.  I didn’t have any tools of acting to know how to separate.  I was so in love with the characters’ love story, which was also my feelings at the time because I didn’t know the difference.  I didn’t know where Ally stopped, and Laura started.  I was just kind of playing myself.  I remember they called Paul to the set for a goodbye, and they were giving him a big cake and everything, and I could barely hold it together.  I couldn’t believe he was leaving.  I was like, “You’re going to say, ‘I changed my mind,’ right?” and I really believed that.  I really was like, “There’s just no way he’s going.”  Then, we had to shoot his scene, and I was very emotional and upset.  But, it was the next day where I had to go and play the scenes where he is dead and talk about it to the family, and that was when I just lost it.  I just changed as an actor in those scenes.  I remember having an opinion.  When the writers were telling me the story that they were going to tell, I remember saying, “Well, I think the interesting moment is she is not going to believe it,” and they were like, “What do you mean?”  I say, “When she comes home from the hospital, I think she needs to be like, ‘We have to go back.  Casey is at the hospital, and he needs us,’ and they were like, “That’s such a great thing to play.”  That’s what shifted for me.  I just remember there was a moment where Ally couldn’t lie anymore. She couldn’t convince herself, and then she had to tell her son that Casey wasn’t coming back.  I really understood what it was to get lost to a scene; what it was to not be Laura going, “I’m going to act now and play this scene.”  I learned how to become the character and transform in the moment.

It’s was on-the-job training.

LAURA:  Oh, for sure on-the-job training, because I went to one acting class thinking that in New York City I need to know what I’m doing, and I was so terrified to get up and speak in a scene that I literally could not talk.  I couldn’t even function outside of the safety of what I knew on a soap opera set.  I had that happen with my meditation teacher training a few years ago.  I almost left the training because it was terrifying for me to get up and not know what I’m going to do and have the script, no cameras in front of me!  It was very bizarre.

Photo: CBS

And later, Guiding Light came your way!

LAURA: When The City got canceled, I shot a pilot that did not get picked up, and my agents were like, “What do you want to do?” and I was like, “I’m really good at daytime… can we just stick with that?  I don’t really want to do this auditioning thing.” So, then all of the sudden within a week of me saying, “I think I’ll do daytime again,” I had a screen-test for All My Children and Guiding Light at the exact same time.  I was like, “What are the parts?” and I wasn’t going to pit them against each other because my agent was like, “It’s bad taste. We don’t represent that kind of negotiation.” You have to pick because before you go into any screen-test, you already have a pre-negotiated contract, and the deal has been placed.  So, you know going in what your situation will be.  So, it was All My Children, playing a doctor, or a stripper with a heart-of-gold on Guiding Light.  It was the role and that Guiding Light just had a better money offer that pushed me towards that screen-test. Then, I had to go in and meet Paul Rauch (Former EP, GL) before I screen-tested, and then Jim Brown and Barbara Esensten who were now the head writers at GL. They wrote for me on The City.  They were the ones who said, “Let’s get Laura Wright in here and see if she wants to do this.”  It’s interesting, because when they were shooting Annie’s (Cynthia Watros) big trial on Guiding Light, and Kim Zimmer (Reva) had these incredible, long days and tons of dialogue in the courtroom scenes. Then, they throw this screen-test at her with me in the middle of the afternoon! I remember when we were doing the scene. Kim had jumped to another part in it, and of course, I knew the script backwards and forwards because I’ve had it for a week and a half.  Kim had probably looked at it that day because she’s got a thousand other lines that she’s learning for that week of shows.  We were in the middle of the scene, and they’re rolling cameras, it’s very emotional, we’re going at each other, and Kim had jumped to the next page of a line, but I knew exactly where she went, so I went right there. We got back on track and ended the scene, and Kim goes, “She just saved my ass in that screen-test!” and we just started laughing.  It was a great moment.

Photo: LWInstagram

The cast of Guiding Light was so amazing!

LAURA:  So amazing, and that’s where I met my man.

Wes Ramsey (Ex-Sam, GL, now Peter, GH) at the time had a crush on you if I recall the story.

LAURA:  Yes, he had a crush.  I don’t know if he wanted to go out with me because when I first came on, I was pregnant, so that would have been weird! (Laughs) We have a funny story that he told me four years ago when we got together. Wes was going through old photos that he had logged into his computer and was trying to put things in different files, and he’s like, “Oh, my God.”  He had come back a few times on Guiding Light after he’d left, and one of the times was after I’d had my son, and this was when Richard had died, and Cassie had chopped all of her hair off.  So, he was going through these photos and he showed me that he had snuck a picture of me.  (Laughs) Then, he’s like, “See, I told you I had a crush!”  I’m like, “Oh my God, that’s so funny!”

Do you and Wes run lines together at home, even though you are in different storylines on GH?

LAURA:  If he needed me too, I would, but Wes has a totally different way of learning his lines than I do.  His prep work is very different than mine.  His is very professional and probably how you should do it. He is a Juilliard graduate.  So, he was taught well, and I’ve just figured it out.  Mine is just pure survival …’the gas station girl’.

Photo: ABC

What was the impact Guiding Light had on the trajectory of your career?

LAURA:  Guiding Light was 100% an actors show. They told a different kind of story, and the actors across the board were serious and wanted you to take it just as seriously. You were either going to sink or swim on that show, and I had to figure out how to swim. I think I spent the first six months in my dressing room crying when I wasn’t on set, trying to figure it out.  I was really taken care of on Loving.  I was 20-years-old when I got that part, 27 when I left. When I went to Guiding Light, it wasn’t like I wasn’t taken care of and protected, but it was a new energy. No one knew me.  No one knew what I was capable of.  I didn’t even know what I was capable of at the time, and you weren’t going to phone it in there.  I started working with Kim Zimmer and Jordan Clarke (Ex-Billy Lewis).  My God, you’re thrown in with people who make you feel things and play things that are uncomfortable, because that’s what we do as actors.  We make it uncomfortable, and we stretch the boundaries, and we play these emotions that are so raw and real.  One day I was freaking out over a scene with the characters of Edmund and Dinah, and I just said I would never do this.  I was just adamant. The director, said, “We have to do this.  So, you have to give me one reason where you could stay in this room.”  I said, “I guess my daughter could walk in the door, and I don’t want to leave her,” and he goes, “Great!  That’s great,” and I go, “Or…” and it just opened this door of there’s a thousand ways I could play a scene.

Photo: CBS

When you came onto General Hospital and embodied Carly, did you feel like this was it now… and that you were in command of your craft?

LAURA:  No, because it took me a long time to get comfortable.  I’m the fourth Carly, so you want to honor what they’re writing, you want to honor the fans and what they love about the character, and there were three women who played her before me and somebody loved something about all of them. So, you want to bring that, as well as make your own mark.  You’re taking over a leading female role of the show with that much passion and dialogue that comes with the character, so it was a lot of pressure at first, but I was excited for it.  I showed up every day ready to kick ass, but as far as feeling like, “Ha ha, it’s mine; I’ve made it!”, I’ve never felt that.

Photo: ABC

I have spoken to many of your co-stars through the years, and they often share how you helped them within a scene, or with something they were struggling with.  That is where experience can be a great asset for a performer in this medium.

LAURA:  As a female lead on the show, I do think it’s important to lift other women up to become their own female leads, and I do mean that.  If I’m working with someone, and I see them get a note that they don’t understand, or it’s a technical note, but gosh, it’s an important scene for them emotionally, anything I can do to help them in that moment, whether it has anything to do with me or not, I am there for.  There was a bathroom scene that I think aired a week or so ago with Carly and Sasha.  In the scene, Sasha (Sofia Mattsson) has all of her makeup in front of her, and the shot they need to get is through the mirror.  Sasha has a full conversation with Carly, who is standing upstage. It’s very difficult to do that when you don’t have rehearsal time to figure it out. They gave her the note that they needed her to say her line into the mirror, or they can’t get her face, right? I’m like, “Hey, do you have any idea how you’re going to do that?” because it’s so hard! I wanted to help. Having 30 years’ experience in something feels great, and it’s shocking because where did those 30 years go? What incredible memories I have, but what it’s gifted me the most is being able to help people through my experience, and through what I have learned along the way.  The whole show shines when we all shine, not just when one person does.

Photo: LWrightInstagram

What do you think your late parents would say about your 30 years in daytime?

LAURA:  Oh, they would be so proud… so happy.  It’s just so crazy that it’s been 30 years, and 2020 being the longest year with what we all experienced with Covid-19.  Looking back on my daytime career, I don’t know why, the shows didn’t let me go. I think it really was work ethic.  I can really say my work ethic is a huge part of me sticking around because I never got lazy.  I was never not going to figure it out.  I was never one to show up not knowing her lines, or being a problem, or not caring. I think that’s what kept me going, and then listening, watching, feeling, and I’m just so grateful.  I’m like, “Wow, what a ride!”

Photo: ABC

… And what can you say about what your time as Carly has meant to you within your now illustrious daytime career?

LAURA:  I love every second of it.  It’s my choice how I show up on that soundstage.  After 30 years, I am not bored.  I have had my moments of trying to find the fun in it and caring about Carly’s storyline at the time. That’s my own choice though, right?  It’s a choice – how I choose to show up every day there – and what I choose to find interesting and challenging, and I do.  No matter what storyline they’ve given me, I can choose for it to be, “Okay, I’m here.  I’ve been doing this for so long, I could do it in my sleep,” or I could choose to show up and go, “Where am I going to kickass today?  Where is the moment?”  Now, I don’t love the amount of time it takes for my hair to get blown out; I’ll be honest (Laughs). I’m an antsy person.  But when I get on set, it’s my choice to find the love and the fun of it, whatever that is for me.  I choose to open up every script I get, the second I get it, and am always excited to see what I’m doing.

Photo: ABC

Finally, what would you say, as a tease of what we should look forward to in the coming weeks involving Carly?

LAURA:  All I can say is there is amazing stuff coming, amazing performances, amazing excitement, amazing heartbreak, amazing surprises.  It’s all coming.

So, are you into Carly running the mob? What do you think will happen when and if Carly finds out Nina has been with Sonny aka Mike for months?  What has been your favorite moment of Laura’s on the soaps throughout her 3 decades in daytime? Share your thoughts and congrats to Laura in the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Telma Hopkins and Bryton James Talk on their ‘Family Matters’ Connection, Amanda Sinclair’s Past, and the songs of Tony Orlando and Dawn

This week, kicks-off a very special guest appearance by Telma Hopkins on CBS’ The Young and the Restless.  Hopkins plays Denise Tolliver, a private eye with some very important intel for Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan), about her past, her father, and her biological family drama.

Photo:CBD

Telma’s guest stint on Y&R reunites her with her dear friend and former on-screen son, Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) after they appeared together on the late 80’s and 90’s sitcom Family Matters.  Fans of the comedy series remember a very young Bryton as Richie Crawford and Telma as his mother, Rachel.  Year laters, they now have the opportunity to work together in Genoa City.

Photo: CBS

In a new interview out today on the Michael Fairman Channel, Telma and Bryton chat virtually with Michael, and we learn that Telma is a longtime fan of Y&R, a huge fan of Mishael Morgan’s, and just how Denise Tolliver’s arrival in Genoa City will set the stage for fireworks to come.

And while Telma and Bryton reminisce about first their first impressions of each other on the Family Matters set, we also delve into another key part of Hopkins career as part of the iconic singing trio Tony Orlando and Dawn, whose hit singles included: “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole’ Oak Tree”, “Candida”, “She Don’t Love You” and more.

Photo: CBS

So, excited to see Telma and Bryton together again? What were your first impressions of Telma as Denise Tolliver on today’s Y&R? What is your favorite Tony Orlando and Dawn tune? Did you watch “Family Matters” with Telma and Bryton years ago? Share your thoughts in the comment section.  But first check out their full interview below.

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Days Of Our Lives

WATCH: Daytime Emmy Nominations Special 2021 Replay

Last night, during the Daytime Emmy Nominations Special Livestream on the Michael Fairman Channel, 15 nominated performers who will be going for gold on the upcoming 48th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, shared their reactions and their excitement at learning they were in the running in the major Daytime Drama performer categories as chosen by their peers.

Throughout the livestream, the actors also shared what scenes they chose for their reels in the competition that landed them in the top spots in their respective categories.

Photos: ABC, CBS, JPI, NBC

During the broadcast, Michael welcomed: The Bold and the Beautiful’s Darin Brooks and Courtney Hope, General Hospital’s, Maurice Benard, Finola Hughes, Max Gail, Briana Lane and Dominic Zamprogna, The Young and the Restless’ Bryton James, Melissa Claire Egan and Alyvia Alyn Lind, and Days of our Lives nominees: Victoria Konefal, Cady McClain, Wally Kurth, George DelHoyo, and Tamara Braun.

In addition, NATAS President and CEO Adam Sharp shared insight into this year’s nomination process, the year in daytime, and teased what to look for on the upcoming Daytime Emmy Telecast on June 25th on CBS, where the award show recently got a two-year pick-up.

In case you missed it, enjoy this kick-off to Emmy season and watch the Daytime Emmy Nominations Replay below.  Then let us know what moments you enjoyed the most during our show, and who you are rooting for to take home Emmy gold in the comment section.

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GH’s Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) chats with Michael Fairman about Britt being on the run with Jason, their burgeoning romance, working with Steve Burton and her other co-star and Britt’s diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease. .Leave A Comment

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