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The Jim Romanovich Interview- 37th Annual Daytime Emmys

Associated Television International’s, Jim Romanovich, President, Worldwide Media and Entertainment spoke to On-Air On-Soaps to bring us up to date on the just announced plans for the telecast of the presentation of the 37th Annual Daytime Emmys.  Soap fans were somewhat in a state of shock this past Friday, when it was revealed that CBS has agreed to air the broadcast this June, and so the Emmys are back on network television!  However, one major difference; the show won’t be emanating from Los Angeles or New York, but “Sin City”…Las Vegas.  Jim shares his thoughts, and gives us a peek at what went down behind-the-scenes with NATAS and CBS to give daytime fans another year to see their favorites honored and recognized.   He also responds to issues concerning last year’s creative decisions and inherent problems, and how it may or may not be different this year.

MICHAEL:

What can you speak to, as far as special presentations and honors for the televised broadcast?

JIM:

I can’t give too many details, but one tribute we are planning is the Lifetime Achievement Award.  We did not choose the recipient, but NATAS did and that person has not been contacted yet.  If they agree, then they will be honored by it. I think a lot of people in the soaps would agree and will love it.

MICHAEL:

Why Vegas?

JIM:

The Vegas idea has been going and has been a done deal since November, because of the success we had in last August’s Emmy presentation. And, it’s the 40th Anniversary of the Las Vegas Hilton.  It’s a big milestone for them.  I think Vegas and Daytime have a synergy about fashion, glitz and glamour, and all that.  We did not want to repeat what we did last year.  We thought we brought something back, and we are taking it to the next step.  CBS took a while and NATAS took a while for all this to become a reality.

MICHAEL:

What were the stumbling blocks that dragged out the confirmation of a televised broadcast?

JIM:

The stumbling block with NATAS was the same thing it always has been, which is money, because their survival is always on ticket sales.  Did it make sense to do a TV show in Las Vegas?  Or, did it make sense just to have a dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, and keep their overhead low and get a bunch of people to come?  Our feeling is, and still is, that the Daytime Emmys deserve to be on television, and it’s important for NATAS’s survival be on TV.  It was a long process because you are dealing with board members, and trustees, and everything is by committee. 

MICHAEL:

Vegas seems a very odd choice.  Are you going to fly people there, when last year it was hard to get people to LA from the NY shows?

JIM:

Well, first of all, there are less people in the soaps now in New York. (Laughs) Listen; if we were living in a perfect world, everything should be in New York, in my opinion.   LA was never supposed to be the soap town; it was always supposed to be New York.  What we are trying to do is rebuild it for what today’s realities are, and that is the daytime community is really more west coast based now.

MICHAEL:

Was it somehow a cost effective move, deciding to mount the show in Vegas?

JIM:

No, not really.  It can be more expensive.  Last year we wanted to make a point with the Orpheum.  We wanted to give it a sense of grandeur.  The location was not ideal by any stretch of the imagination.  Would we have rather been in the Kodak Theatre? Absolutely, but the Kodak was not available.  So what we tried to do is improvise it and make it a mini-Radio City Music Hall feel.  And because of that, we are now taking it to the next level of showmanship and entertainment.  The CBS deal would have never happened had it not been for Las Vegas.  It gave them another angle to promote. They wanted a real show, and they wanted something that they felt would boost the ratings.

MICHAEL: 

© JPI Studios

People were shocked that CBS was going to air the show when they canceled two of their soaps, As the World Turns and Guiding Light within the last year and a half.  What would you say to those that are feeling that CBS is sending out a mixed message to the soap fans?

JIM:

CBS is a business.  They are not emotionally involved in anything, and that includes Let’s Make A Deal, or if 20,000 Pyramid or Password comes back.  What they are looking at is money. They want to be in the business of making good shows and making money.  Unfortunately, As the World Turns – as great as the strides have been the last year – they had been declining for the past several years.  TeleNext tells me they would have loved to continue it.  I know CBS is not looking to get out of the soap business, and that is not their mantra.  They have two of the top rated soaps.  B&B is the number one show internationally, and Y&R is the number one daytime show, and does better ratings then many primetime dramas.  Daytime is very important to them, and everything that goes along with it.  They want to boost their morning show, and all of that. 

MICHAEL:

So what will be the theme of the show?

JIM:

I can’t talk specifically because we don’t have any thing set in stone, but the feel is Vegas Salutes Daytime.  So, I know our hard-core Daytime Emmy viewers like award, award, award, and then credits.  I think that is why the ratings have been slipping because that had been the case.  We started to bring in some entertainment value last year and that pissed off some of the diehards, who would have rather have had another award category. But for the people watching in primetime that are flicking channels, they are going to stop and watch if there is some entertainment.  The Oscars, Grammys, and the Tonys do it.  I guarantee you, if we had not done the entertainment value like we did this last year; we were not going to be able to save the Daytime Emmys being televised.

MICHAEL:

What can you say to people who want to see their favorite soap stars glammed up and getting more time on primetime?  Last year you got pushback when viewers saw host Vanessa Williams and Gilles Marini in a dance number, instead.  Soap fans felt the show became more diluted then in the past.

JIM:

That is valid because it’s very personal to them, and soaps second to sports, I think have the most vehement fans in the world.  I am the same way.  You have to look at it from a perspective that there are seven, soon to be six, soaps. And even so, 85% of the viewing time of the Daytime Emmys is about the soaps, even though there is only six hours of daytime television devoted to the genre.  We don’t spend that much time on children’s shows or half the amount of time on court shows, and there are a ton of those.  The soaps are really the reason the Emmys exist, but we have to acknowledge the other types of shows.  I look at this as a celebration of daytime in which everyone is represented, but because ATI is involved, and me personally, we are going to make sure that the soaps are very well represented.

MICHAEL:

Good to reiterate you are a champion and friend to the soap genre.   Now, after last year’s broadcast and feedback, and memorable incidents that did not sit well with the viewing audience, what changes is ATI going to make?  Or, what have they learned from last year’s show?

JIM:

One thing we are going to try to do is to get CBS to agree not to cut us off at ten o’ clock! (Laugh) This time we are on from 9pm-11pm, which I think will improve the amount of viewers, and this time we are on Sunday instead of Friday.  Remember, CBS scheduled this on Sunday, as opposed to Friday as it had been.  And, Friday is next to the graveyard on television because no one is home on Friday night.  Sunday night is a great night for award night.  We did the last show as if it was the last one, and we are doing this show as if it is the last one. I believe we now have the option for one more year because of this.  It all depends if we can improve upon what we did, and if there is enough support, and I look at the soap fans for this.  I read a lot of stuff they say.  Some I don’t agree with, and some I do.  There are others who write, “If Crystal Chappell doesn’t win they will never watch this show again.”  She is a wonderful actress, but you have that fan base. They will crucify you if their person doesn’t win…because sometimes fans think politics is a factor… and they say, it’s a joke, and the show’s a joke.  And it is like you said, Michael, why show Vanessa and Gilles dancing when you could show soap stars?  Our point of view is because of the entertainment we brought last time out, CBS agreed to do it.

MICHAEL:

But you are looking to tailor the show to the broadest primetime audience, correct?

JIM:

I am a huge soap and daytime fan, but if you are running in primetime, you have to cater to a primetime audience.  That is just the way it is.  There was a time in the late 80’s and early 90’s, where the daytime audience was eclipsing the primetime audience, and when you had Liz Taylor on GH.  Back then daytime was the money mill.  It’s a shame it’s not anymore.

MICHAEL:

One of the things that was a big issue last year was viewers were hard pressed to find any on-air promos to properly promote tune-in.  Will there be more promos this time?

JIM:

We were very upset about that last year, because we took a lot of care to bring this thing back, and the network treated it like we were lucky to be there… when in fact they were lucky to have us!  CBS said they would help us with on-air promos, and it’s in their best interest.

MICHAEL:

Will you be having a Daytime Gives Back segment like you did last year?

JIM:

We do have a Daytime Gives Back again this year.  And this time it’s Americans Feeding America for a change.  We are going to do a food drop in South Central L.A.  We are putting another contingent together where we are going to be giving back to soldier’s families, and these are soldiers that are just back from Afghanistan and Iraq.  They come back and they find their homes and life is different.  It’s a frightening and sad thing that these men and women come back and have all these debts.  I think it’s a positive message for daytime to be involved in.

MICHAEL:

So, is there a game plan in place to move forward with a tribute, in some fashion, to As the World Turns? Previously, you had stated that it didn’t look like that was a reality, but instead you were thinking the show would do a tribute to All My Children celebrating their 40th anniversary?  Where does this all stand?

JIM:

I don’t have a game plan yet, because we are waiting on those who make those decisions to tell us.  I met with TeleNext in Cannes.  I said, “We are planning to do the Daytime Emmys on June 27th, and I wanted to talk about getting the ATWT cast there so the possibility of a tribute can be done.”  And they said, “It’s a bad week.  We are shooting our last episodes right around that time.  I don’t know if we can even make it.”  So, we are trying to figure out what to do there.

MICHAEL:

Why not have one star, Julianne Moore, come out and just introduce a clip package befitting the show?

JIM:

© JPI Studios

I mentioned Julianne Moore to the Academy and CBS.  I would love her to do this.  We are going to do everything we can to do something for As the World Turns.  I think there may be an acknowledgment with All My Children for their 40th anniversary, but I think the most important thing with AMC is to document their move west, which was the most important thing that happened to them, and what it meant, but that may be part of something else.  All of these things are on the plate.  I did not think there would be an ATWT tribute for these reasons: One, the cost value of getting everybody out there.  Two, P&G, TeleNext and NATAS wanting it to happen… and three, CBS wanting it to happen.

MICHAEL:

If CBS is involved and P&G is packing up boxes and closing shop in Oakdale, why can’t CBS supply ATWT clips to your Emmy production team?

JIM:

I do not think it was a clip issue.  You saw the interview with the P&G guy who said, “We are out of the soap business,” and that does not bode well for helping with the Daytime Emmys.  I think people that watch the Emmys are soap people.  I know that.  I am pushing for things involving the soaps really hard.

MICHAEL:

Is there going to be a Pre-Show this year?

JIM:

CBS is not going to do a Pre-Show.  I have talked to a variety of cable networks – and no, not SOAPnet they are just not interested.  I am talking to the E’s and TV Guide Network’s, and telling them we are going to have a red carpet and in Las Vegas. I know the ET’s and Access Hollywood’s will be there, but we will not do gavel to gavel coverage like last year. We produced that third hour last year because we wanted to expand our show.  CBS is not going to do that.  They are not going to use a red carpet meet and greet when they can run Undercover Boss. Actually, I would rather have them run Undercover Boss because I want that lead in.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What about host candidates?

JIM:

Courtesy/NATAS

There have been some bantered around.  However, I do think that the person chosen will have a “Vanessa Williams” quality… meaning they have to have an appeal and be an entertainer. 

MICHAEL:

Final question that many fans want to know:  Does NATAS dictate the awards that are presented, or do you, as the production entity, have a say in what makes it to air and what categories get cut?

JIM:

ATI does not decide. The two entities that decide what categories absolutely have to be on the air, are NATAS and the broadcaster.  Then we plot the show around that.  I don’t feel for a moment that it won’t be an entertaining show.  I think there will be moments of hilarity, song and dance, sadness and nostalgia.   I think all of those things will be there. We do this with the sense that if this is the last one, lets go out with something memorable… and if it’s not the last, then we gave them a great show.

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allison6071
allison6071

I think it was very unfair for Mr. Romanovich to single out the fan base of one specific actress as an example, as I’m sure many fan bases are passionate about who they support. I’m also certain the letters and/or responses he receives from Ms. Chappell’s fans are nothing new to him or the industry. Therefore, in my opinion, If Crystal Chappell wins the Emmy for Best Leading Actress in a Daytime drama, which I believe her work from 2009 reflects she so rightfully deserves. There will always be a question behind it and that is very unfair. I’m very disappointed in Mr. Romanovich’s comments and feel they were unnecessary and unprofessional.

Jordy Lee
Jordy Lee

I am confused. I have always thought of Jim and the Emmy’s to be professional. I am quite disturbed at the comment about Crystal Chappell. If fans have written those comments then, that is unfortunate, but does not take away from this awesome actress and her talent. I find it hard to believe that NO other actress has had fans write in about being upset regarding their favorites not winning. I mean in the 19 years it took Susan Lucci to take home the Emmy, there were no distraught fans Jim? Why single out one particular actress?

So, should we watch this year or has Jim decided that Crystal should not win because she has passionate fans that are invested in this story line and still distraught over losing the Guiding Light period.

Could this be why the Emmy’s are having a hard time with ratings and finding a network to host the show? Just saying,……Lets infuriate and insult fan bases and then expect them to support the show. With problems with the ratings last year, maybe you should be thankful for Chappell’s passionate fans, after all, they are still watching.

Justin
Justin

You certainly are confused because you didn’t read what the man had said. He was obviously citing an example of how some fans will not support The Daytime Emmys if they feel their favorite star was snubbed. Last year, Ms. Chappell was constantly in the news as being snubbed for her excellent work in GL for the 2009 Emmys so his comment was relating to that. You criticize a person who has done everything he can to save your shows? He also offered to to fund a new GL. Anybody else coming to the rescue? You should be ashamed.

Jordy Lee
Jordy Lee

Ashamed…. for speaking my mind and adding my opinion…sorry for you , but NO….For anyone that tried to save GL, we are all appreciative. It is my understanding that the funding of a new GL was an overseas venture that would have had a completely new cast, so that option would not have helped this cast have jobs. This year, we are loosing ASWT. I would be as upset if any other actress fan base was apparently called out. I am sure they deal with numerous fan bases that are upset. My ONLY problem was calling out one actress as it is her fault that she has fans that at times may go a little far. I am sure they all do. I have watched and supported CBS Soaps for more than 30 years and have never threatened not to support baed on one of my favorites winning.

So, ashamed for having and speaking my opinion…again … NO….
Last time I checked, this was still a democracy….

Katie
Katie

I love that Jim has worked so hard to get the show on the air, that said I don’t think its fair to have a daytime emmy show and cater to primetime viewers look I wouldnt of minded Vanessa Williams dancing if it had been with Cameron Matheson (yikes I dislike Ryan) since he’s a daytime star and the primetime audience knows him from Dancing with the Stars. I also don’t like how he called out Crystals fans but I don’t think he has any say in who wins. I know that the emmy’s wont be perfect, nor were last years I just wish that they wouldnt cater so much to the non viewers but ehhh what do I know.

bottomchef
bottomchef

http://goldderbyforums.latimes.com/eve/forums/

Here’s a link to suggestions from goldderby members on how to improve the awards show.

Potassium
Potassium

Entertain me!!!

Sorry I don’t agree with the bulk of the suggestions on goldderby. I watch one soap opera. I am not going to waste my time watching a show that simply hands out odd looking statues to a bunch of people I don’t know. Showing me an endless array of clips of tortured characters that I am unfamiliar with will make me scramble for the remote.

I think Jim and the NATAS are on the right track. The show is in June, just like my kids’ end of year awards ceremonies. By the time the Emmy’s roll around I will have already sat through several hours where the crowd politely claps as someone I don’t know walks across the stage, smiles and shakes the hand of someone in a nice outfit. With technology being an important buzzword in schools we even get montages. I have no desire to sit through another award ceremony just to see if a handful of my soap favorites thank their spouses and the writers.

If Jim and CBS want me to tune into the Emmys they are going to have to entertain me. There is a lot of talent in daytime, that is what I want to see! Bring on Las Vegas!

ben
ben

Nowhere does he say that Crystal Chappell doesnt deserve to win or to be nominated, nor does he bash her acting skills. IMO it was just an example. I will never not watch an Awards show just because one actor or actress isn’t nominated. Thats ridiculous.

Iheartmusic
Iheartmusic

I’m looking forward to the Emmy’s!!!!!!!!!! So excited! <3 u jim

Frances Nonenmacher
Frances Nonenmacher

There indeed should be a Tribute to As The World Turns. They have kept me watching for 54 years. I have always considered them Daytime best and always will.

No one does it better then As The World Turns. I will keep fighting for the show until the very end. I am praying they get a new home.

Torrey
Torrey

I don’t understand why NBC doesn’t pick up ATWT. They are down to DOOL and I think they could use a little more daytime soap drama in their lineup. I don’t watch ATWT, but I am a fan of daytime television, so I hate to see yet another show yanked off of television. There used to be a time when there were like 13 soap operas on TV, now we will be down to 6. Someone needs to step in and save our soaps.

rita
rita

Please do not cancell DOOL..Love that soap…for many years. What would they replace it with??…Another infomercial or talk show UGH!!! At least we are not getting reruns and how wouldl I know all the new products!!!!!! I wouldn’t be watching daytime TV anymore..because no soaps..Get with it sponsers!!!!!!!

Charles
Charles

The advent of cable should be the tool to save AS The World…………….but it won’t because it has too many judge shows…………two of the could easily go…….and in its place AS The World……….but we’re dealing with actors and the salaries of actors……….reality television will never let go of these lucurative time slots and place a group of talented actors……..and a script…………..maybe their last hope is to ask Oprah to sell/but it for her network………………….

Janine
Janine

I would like to know why there are no tickets available to the public who will happen to be in Vegas at that time and would love to see their favorite stars, and not in the sweltering 120 degree heat of the the red carpet event.

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Alum Kevin Spirtas Chats On His Heart-Tugging Series ‘After Forever’ & Love and Life In Your 50s

Filling the void in the digital drama series arena, the eight episodes first season of After Forever (available on Amazon), tackles the journey of a two middle-aged gay men in their 50’s in a deep romantic relationship, and looks at it through its various stages of love, loss, and moving on with one’s life when suddenly your world is turned upside down, when one of them has died.

While the LGBT community has seen other love-centric and dramatic web series, none have really taken a deep dive into the difficulties of starting anew in your 50’s or even older.  Leave it to former Days of our Lives alum and Broadway producer, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley), along with another DAYS alum, writer, Michael Slade, and the two put their shared experiences, and dramatic ideas into this emotional series, that is not limited to anyone who is gay, but touches on the universal themes that anyone may have, or will experience, at one time in their lives.

Spirtas, brought along with him none some notables for his passion project.  First, none other than former Prospect Park One Life to Live EP, Jennifer Pepperman, to bring his vision to life, and some amazing co-stars: Mitchell Anderson (Ex-Party Of Five), MIchael Urie (Ugly Betty), Cady Huffman (Ex-OLTL), Anita Gillette, Colleen Zenk (Ex-Barbara, ATWT) to  name just a few.

While the series bowed a little over a month ago, if you haven’t taken a look, check out our interview with Spirtas for some juicy insight into the making of and the construct of, After Forever.  Following that, check out the teaser for the series, and the video for the theme song, “My Forever” by Lio Nicol which becomes available tomorrow June 4th on Amazon and iTunes.

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

What was the genesis of the idea for the series?

KEVIN:  Patrika Darbo, came to New York close to 7 years ago. She had called me ahead of time, and said, “I was asked to present at the ISA Awards, and you’re coming with me.”  She was getting very involved in the world of the web series. I looked at this amazing presentation of content that was being shown at the ISA’s.  I was blown away. It was better than half the stuff on TV, theater, or film. At that point, I made a mad rush for a gentleman by the name of Sebastian La Cause.  Sebastian had won several awards that night and his material was so well presented, and beautifully shot, and his acting was very unique.

Sebastian La Cause was the star of the web series Hustling, right?

KEVIN:  Yes, it was Hustling, the first season.  I went up to him and I said, “I’m Kevin Spirtas. I’m an actor, I did a soap …”  He goes, “Kevin, I know who you are.” I was starstruck, and impressed, and inspired, because he is exactly the kind of person I want to work with.  He is talented, and creative and I want to work with those kind of people. I said to him, “If you do a second season, I’d love to be considered for anything you might be doing.”  Wouldn’t you know? He wrote me in. I fell in love with the story. I was very clear to me, that you have to start creating for yourself, because creating your own content in this industry now is king.  The third season of Hustling then crossed me over to appearing in Winterthorne.  That was also the first year that NATAS opened up the judging to the digital world.  I got nominated for an Emmy. It inspired me to start thinking about, ‘What do I know?  What do I have in my life that I feel is worth sharing and putting out there to help heal, or inspire?’  I had been producing in New York City for 3 years at this point.

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

It becomes every performer’s concern, as they get older, that they can still be considered for the roles they would like to play.  Sometimes, actors can grow into the types of roles, and sometimes they’ve expired past those types of roles. Was creating After Forever also a way to re-enter being part of the conversation?

KEVIN:  Well, I was hoping to write something for myself … because I just didn’t see the roles coming toward me anymore.  My name wasn’t on them as I imagined them or had seen them in the past. I was worried about that. I thought, “If I have a chance to keep working, I’ve got to keep current.”

And somehow, you and Michael Slade ran into each other, and thus, a collaboration began that would eventually turn into After Forever?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Then, I ran into Michael Slade at a gym… I had never met him before, he was a writer on Days as I was leaving the show.  And I remember saying to myself, “wouldn’t it be great to work with somebody, and see what kind of story we could come up with?”  Unbeknownst to me, Michael, at that particular time in his life, was working on the very same type of story and idea about what it’s like to be who he is, at his age, where he’s at, and what he knows.  I pitched him this idea: “I think there’s some really funny ideas I could express to the world about my experience as a single gay man at this point.” He said, “Call me.” In short, he was living life as a single gay man, and I was living life as a single gay man, and that’s how After Forever was born.  Michael had the experience of losing his long-time partner of 25 years.  There’s a part in the story where Brian and Jason are going along and they have everything in their life that they could possibly want, and then they don’t, because Jason is diagnosed with cancer and it takes him away.

Do we see Jason die in this?

KEVIN:  You just might! … It’s how we incorporated him in the story…

Courtesy/AfterForever

After Forever bounces back and forth in time, obviously, that was part of the unique structure of the storytelling?

KEVIN:  It does do that.  It tells the story through a lot of present, and a lot of flashbacks.  There is also the present with Brian, and his memory of Jason. As Brian is going through the next chapter of his life as a single man, he has to look at his life and learn how to continue to love even though the person’s not there.  When someone dies, the love doesn’t die, the relationship doesn’t die, it keeps growing on a certain level. So, if he turns around, and he sees him, is it real? Is it him working it out in his own mind? It’s a tool to tell more story …

Tell me about casting Mitchell Anderson?  He had retired and moved to Atlanta, and he ends up playing the love of Brian’s life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  When Michael and I were writing, we threw out, “Who do you think would play this part?”  One day, I just dropped the name “Mitchell Anderson” I said, “I just see him as Jason.” Michael said to me, “Kevin, he’s retired.”  I just knew Mitchell and I had great history in the business. We started off as actors together in class. He went one direction, I went another, then he left the business, but I just felt there was something about his persona – not to mention his talent – his unique humor, his sensibility, and style, so I said, “I think we should ask him.”  We did. Mitchell said, “Okay, Kevin. Let me read the script.” He called back immediately after receiving it, and said, “I would love to do this!” I have not stopped thanking him every day. He’s so good in it.

The main character of Brian goes on this journey: he meets other guys, some appear younger than others! (Laughs)

KEVIN:  It’s a year after Jason is gone, Brian is trying to settle into his new life, but he’s guilty that his partner has died.  He has sadness, grief, and so much love for Jason that he’s having trouble moving forward, and everyone is trying to push him forward.  Brian is not necessarily ready, but sometimes his body is ready, while emotionally, he’s not. It’s how we deal with all that navigation of seeing good-looking guys.  He meets a guy in the middle of the series, and it starts to open up the doors. That’s the beauty of what happens when he starts to let himself open up to the possibilities.  There are some great rollercoaster moments that you’ll see.

Would you do another season of After Forever?

KEVIN:  Oh, my God!  Michael and I have already started to script out seasons 2 and 3.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Middle-aged gay men do have it rough in the relationship department, if they’re not already partnered up by this point in their life.  Younger guys think they’re over the hill, older guys aren’t necessarily interested either, and unfortunately, the LGBTQ community is unforgiving to community if you’re not young and pretty, and not in your 20s or 30s. There aren’t a lot of LGBT-oriented shows out there like this.  On that level, I think the concept of the show is an important story to tell.

KEVIN:  We were absolutely committed to writing not just another gay story.  We’ve seen those. I think the beauty of After Forever is that it’s not just a gay story- even though it’s told through two gay men… but, it’s a story about love … it’s a story about loss.  Everyone is going to have to deal with this in their life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Dealing with loss is part of the circle of life, whether it’s a parent, a child, a lover, a friend, or your longtime partner. Many in the LGBT community succumbed to AIDS in the ‘80s and ‘90s, which was a pivotal moment in the gay movement.

KEVIN:  We lost half of our community.  We lost half of our brothers. To jump back to that history with Mitchell, he and I had so many mutual friends who aren’t here anymore.  We would look at the scene that was at hand, take a breath, look at each other, and they’d say “action” and we’d step into these people. Yes, it’s gay themed, because it’s told by two leading male characters who are gay.  But, I have heard more people in the last two months since this has come out, who have not only stopped and said, “Thank you for writing such a wonderful story about love and loss, and new beginnings, but also, what it’s like to have to confront that loss.” They also went on to say, “For so many years, gay people have had to watch the heterosexual world. People are trying to fit themselves into our world now, into our story, and how they would feel navigating it.”

Michael Urie is in it too? And you have some pretty accomplished people in your cast.  

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Yes, there’s Michael Urie, Cady Huffman who sings in one of the episodes.  Tere is a scene in episode 3 that it still floors me, I can’t watch it without losing it.  Then, there’s Anita Gillette, Lenny Wolpe, David Dean Bottrell. Everyone is perfect, and everyone was able to show up, and everyone delivered a million percent.

What’s the response you’ve been getting from people who have watched After Forever?  You mentioned it’s been very positive.  

KEVIN:  Everyone has been touched.  The majority who have seen this, are just moved to tears and full of excitement.

I saw that Jennifer Pepperman, ex-executive producer of One Life to Live, directed your series.  What was it like working with Jen?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  We had a lot of people who we could have pulled from.  Jennifer came up in conversation, because she had sent Michael an invitation to go see her new short film that she had done with Austin Peck (Ex-Austin, Days) and his wife, Teri Conn (Ex-Katie, ATWT).  I said, “Maybe if I go see the show and I like it, I can introduced myself to Jennifer.”  I called him right after and I said, “If we don’t get her, we’re crazy!” She’s so good. What she did is perfection.  We shot the whole thing like a movie. It was shot in 12 days. She knew everything she wanted to do and it shows in the edit.  And, this extraordinarily, talented girl named Colleen Kwok, who was the director of photography. She’s the real thing. She got it.  She got the style we were going for immediately.

So, we want to tell people to binge watch the series on Amazon.

KEVIN:  Binge it, or make it last for 15 days…

How many hankies will I need for this? 10? 5?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  I say Kleenex is not included … Anybody who has ever loved, anybody who has ever lost, must see this show, because it unifies all of us, it shows us that we are the same.  It shows us that we still have love in our lives, regardless of if that person is gone, the relationship never ends, it never dies. That’s what people are getting from this.  That’s what people are taking away from it. You and I were raised with the symbols of a straight world and how we had to fit into that certain way of life. That’s changed now.  We have Will & Grace … we have RuPaul … all these great things that are illustrating our diversity.  Now, people are going, “it’s just a story being told.”

What was Mitchell’s reaction when he saw the final product?

KEVIN:  We saw it together…We just sat there and cried.  It’s hard. Especially, the first two episodes and the last two episodes.  We served it up, Michael, we served it up!

Courtesy/AfterForever

I think you spoke to a greater issue, as you move through this career, you have to remain relevant as things change.  So, you’ve dipped yourself into this pool and now you can do more.

KEVIN:  I hope so.  You and I talked about this along time ago, when I first started on Days Of Our Lives, it was still a different world.

It was so different back then.  Actors couldn’t be out. There was still that stigma that if the audience at home knew they were gay, they wouldn’t buy into what they were portraying.

KEVIN:  That’s where I kind of worked it out, because I didn’t pretend not to be me, I just wasn’t very open about everything in my life.  Not that I still am. There’s certain things that I don’t talk about, because it’s not relevant, or it’s no one’s business.

So, do you get the obligatory question, “What’s a guy like you doing being single”? (Laughs)

KEVIN:  Michael said to me one day, “How come a guy like you is single?”  I made a joke out of it and said, “Have you seen me eat? Come on!”

So, intrigued to check out After Forever? What do you think about its central theme looking at what happens when one loses their partner at middle-age and more?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright and Wes Ramsey Talk Their Love Connection & The Demands Of Daytime

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

After presenting for the first time together, at the 45th Annual Daytime Emmys since they’ve been a couple, Laura Wright (Carly) and Wes Ramsey (Peter aka Henrik) of General Hospital have certainly been in the throes of a romantic, fun, and cherished relationship. The two former stars of Guiding Light reconnected last year at Emmy time. Now, sharing their over one year anniversary, Michael Fairman TV caught up with Laura and Wes to get some insight into what makes their relationship work amidst the hustle and bustle, and pace of both being on a network television daytime drama series, and with the pressures of Hollywood where often relationships between two actors seem to start hot and heavy but then fizzle out.

If you caught this week’s GH, you witnessed that the town of Port Charles has found out that Peter is the notorious Cesar Faison’s son, and the ramifications that will be felt for weeks and months and potentially years to come. Meanwhile, Carly is in all sorts of trouble, thanks to naughty Nelle (Chloe Lanier). Nelle is making Carly look awfully unstable and what happens next could change Carly’s life forever.

So, what do these two lovebirds have to say about their relationship and their passion for working on the soaps? Check out what they had to share below. 

Wes, you had met Laura originally years ago on Guiding Light.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Yes, 15 years ago in New York.

And what did you think of her then?

Wes: Well, I was smitten, but I had to keep it to myself.

You had to keep it under wraps, huh?

Wes: Yep!

Laura: I was married then.

Wes: She was pregnant with her second child.

Laura: And he’s a good Kentucky boy.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Uh-huh! But we would run lines in the green room and I would try very hard to make sure she didn’t catch me staring at her… too often. But we laughed, and had great conversation.

Laura: I would always say, “Wes, will you run lines with me?,” because I would want to run my lines.

Wes: We never had story together, but she always knew I was game to hang out with her for a moment.

It’s good when you’re in a relationship with someone and you can laugh with them. You seem to be able to do that a lot!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: Oh, gosh. I think that’s all we do.

Wes: Yes, yes, yes, yes…

Laura: Like, we belly laugh. It gets to the point where people would think we were ridiculous. We’ll say things and just think it’s the funniest thing ever and people would be like, “You guys have a problem …” and we’re like, “Yeah.” (Laughs)

Laura, and then he comes back into your life years later…

Wes: That’s right, it was Emmy weekend 2017.

Laura: I totally was not expecting it at all. Even when I gave him my number I walked away going “huh…”

You mean you thought he wouldn’t call?

Laura: No, I didn’t feel that… because he hit on me hard. He’ll tell you that.

Wes: I still am hitting on her.

Laura: I remember I walked away quick after he got my number. I was like, “Oh, my God … I gotta go.”

Courtesy/Instagram

Wes: There was an assertiveness on my part that was for sure 15 years in the making. I did not expect to run into her. I also did not expect for her to tell me that she was recently single. In that split second, it was one of those, “stop the presses!” moments. Like, you need to give me your number, I’m taking you to dinner.

Laura: I go, “Oh, be quiet! Are you like, 32, because I can’t do that.” (Laughs)

Wes: And I said, “Far from it.”

Laura: He’s like, “I’m getting ready to be 40.” And I’m like, “I can do that!”

Then, on top of all of this, Wes, you land a primo role on General Hospital. That of Henrik aka Peter, Cesar Faison’s son.

Photo Credit: Courtesy/ABC

Wes: Yes, a dream come true.

Laura: I’m going to jump in and say it’s a role that he worked all on his own for. He had to screen test against 8 plus guys, 3 different auditions, 2 different days.

Wes: That’s true.

Laura: I can’t say strong enough that the best actor got the role. Meaning, Wesley is so talented and has the ability to give this character the depth, and emotion, and layers that it needs to tell the story that needs to be told. I just think he’s incredible.

So, did you know from the get-go who you were going to be playing?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: I did not.

Laura: I did! (Laughs)

Wes: I’m thrilled that the writers have been giving me such incredible material to dive into.   Each month that goes by, it becomes more and more complex, and more and more layered and intense. I love the depth… I love the conflicts… I love the humanity… I love the desperation… I love the psychology behind it. It’s a very interesting story and a great journey to tell.

Laura: I was getting ready to say, where you mentally have to go to be the son of Faison and Anna Devane (Finola Hughes)! To blend that together is amazing. It’s incredible to watch.

You used to run lines together on Guiding Light. Do you run lines together now on GH? It’s like a full circle moment.

Laura: We do, and we carpool.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Something we were trying to manifest together. We thought it would be a lot of fun to work together one day.

Laura: The last week we worked, we didn’t. He worked all afternoon. I worked all morning. I was like, “Are they doing this on purpose?” I was so mad! I was like, “Why are you in the afternoon everyday?” (Laughs)

Wes: She lost her chauffeur. (Laughs)

Laura: I did! He always drives us to work. I also love when we both have afternoon calls, because we love having mornings together. So, I didn’t get my morning, nor did I have my chauffeur!

So, two actors can have a good relationship? You see so many Hollywood relationships with actors and they go bust. But that’s not always the case …

Wes: Oh, my God, yes.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: I’m going to say this; I think I can see it being more difficult for daytime actors, because the work we do is so intense. I know the weeks he’s getting ready to go into, and I’m getting ready to go into. Where we go emotionally and psychologically to tell these stories, on the level that we tell them, as quick as we tell them, you kind of have to become really in a headspace. The fact that we can …

Wes: … the long hours …

Laura: Yes, and exhaustion! You really have to go, “Wow! It’s not about me right now. It’s about us individually as actors.” Thank God, we know the workload. I know what he’s getting ready to go through.

Wes: I have always had so much respect for Laura’s work. On Guiding Light, I’ve always been in awe of what she’s capable of doing. So, the level of respect is obviously there. But also, the understanding whatever it is that you need from a personal assistant in one moment… or a life partner in another moment … or a best friend in moment … or whatever it is in order to get through the day-to-day and the week-to-week, so we can do what we love to do. We know we’re very lucky to have the opportunity to do what we love.

Courtesy/welcometolaurasworld Instagram

Laura was such a great co-host on my Soap Nation Live! Daytime Emmy Nomination Specials, in particular when she talks about acting. It’s so rewarding to hear the other actors who are guests on the show listening to what Laura has to say about her craft and respecting the hell out of her.

Wes: Without a doubt. You can’t watch her work and not be in awe. It speaks for itself.

Laura: I just love the journey of going to the places that we go; to bleed for it.

Wes: Leave it all out on the floor.

Laura: I know that process. So, when I see another actor that’s bleeding, I just bow to them, because I know what it takes to go there. I know the work that Wesley does. When I see that he’s spent at the end of the day, I’m like, “Babe, I so get it.” So, I can see where it could be really difficult for people that haven’t been there, because it’s a lot of work and you’re spent. It’s hard! For us, that works.

What do you think of Laura and Wes’ love connection? What do you think of the latest developments for GH’s Carly and Henrik? Comment below.

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Interviews

EXCLUSIVE: 45th Annual Daytime Emmys Winners & Backstage Video Interviews!

Photo : MF Soaps Inc

The 45th Annual Daytime Emmys are in the record books.  And as previously reported, it was a big night for NBC’s Days of our Lives taking Outstanding Drama Series, Writing and Directing in a Drama Series Awards, plus top acting nods to James Reynolds (Abe) and Greg Vaughan (Eric).

Behind the scenes while the ceremony continued on-stage, and as the night’s big winners and several presenters were whisked away backstage following their victory, they took to the Winner’s Walk and chatted with Michael Fairman who got their reactions to winning the gold, or presenting important moments of the night during the live-stream broadcast.

From DAYS Deidre Hall (Marlena), Dr. Oz, The Ladies of The Talk, and GH’Chris Van Etten to DAYS head scribe Ron Carlivati, to Y&R’s actress winners: Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and Camryn Grimes (Mariah), and GH’s Chloe Lanier (Nelle, Vernee Watson (Stella) and more now you can watch the complete backstage series of conversations on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.  Make sure to “subscribe” for these and more celebrity interviews.

After the jump, check out some of the winners and backstage interviews with Michael.  You can also go directly to the video you are looking to view, by clicking on the blue hyperlink on the interviewees name. (more…)

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Video du Jour

This week, Nick lost temporary custody of Christian leading to a defiant and emotional turn by Joshua Morrow (Nick) as he has to say farewell to the little boy he has come to love as his own son, and give him to his father, Victor, who wanted and was granted custody of the child. Watch the hankie-inducing moment! Leave A Comment

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Joshua Morrow as Nick

The Young and the Restless

Airdate: 6-14-2018

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