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As The World Turns




One of “As the World Turns” most mysterious characters returns to the fold this coming week when Paolo Seganti makes his return as Damian Grimaldi. During his last stay in Oakdale, it found him sending his gay son, Luke, to a deprogramming camp in an attempt to change him to become straight. After that didn’t go so well, Damian left town. Now he is back with an agenda to reconnect with his son, and to turn the lives of some of the women of the town upside down. Will it be Lily, or someone else?

Paolo speaks about missing Martha Byrne but enjoying “nuLily” Noelle Beck. Also, he talks about his respect for Van Hansis, and what to look forward to from this shady guy. Are we going to be seeing a new 2.0 version of Damian? Or, will he revert back to his old tricks? Things start off rough when Damian happens to be at a Gay Rights rally that puts estranged father and son in closer proximity than
they even know.

Let the story begin…

Listen to the audio:


Paolo, it’s good to have you back on As the World Turns. Is it different coming back this time?


It is different. Damian is a different person as a father, than two and half years ago, when I was here last time story-wise. Damian is coming back with a different purpose. He wants to reconcile with his son. Two and half years ago he wanted to change his son to make him straight when he found out he was gay. So, he comes back with a different perspective, and really wants to get close to his son. At least that’s what he’s saying, and he is trying to get everybody to believe, and that’s the difference.


Last time out, Damian sent Luke off to a deprogramming camp, and that was very hard to watch. Were those beats of the story hard to play?


luke_hitandrun.jpgLike me, Damian grew up in a very conservative background. So, it was not too far away from the way things were when I grew up in Italy. It was difficult for a father to take that all in. I think he was confused, frustrated and grabbing at straws. It was definitely a tough story to play. I had fun going through the storyline. Basically, I am now trying to convince everybody that I “dig” who my son is, and will accept who he is no matter what, as long as he takes me back.



When Damian first comes back, do we see him right away? Does he just mysteriously show up in Oakdale?


Damian comes and goes, in and out, and does his thing. I am going to a rally that my son and his boyfriend have organized. Then, a car hits Luke and it’s a hit and run. That is the first time I see him, in the hospital. Basically, it’s about me saving him on that occasion that nobody believes. I get accused of being behind the hit and run and everything that comes after, of course, because Damian has always been shady.


But, is he there to help Luke?


Well, he happens to be there and helps out.


How is working with Van Hansis (Luke) again? When I spoke with him, he told me he could not wait for you to come back to the show.


It’s reciprocal. I do “dig” the guy. I asked him to do some material for a play that I would love to do with him. It’s been years that I have wanted to do it, but I had to wait for the right age for myself to do it.


Are you missing your Lily, Martha Byrne?


I do miss Martha Byrne, but I love working with Noelle Beck (Lily). She is great actress, professional, and beautiful. Martha and I go back years and we are good buddies. I actually shot a short film she produced in California, and Paul Leyden, who played Simon on “ATWT”, wrote and directed it. Simon is a great director and writer. I do miss Martha, but Noelle is doing a great job. Things are different. Martha taught me everything I know about daytime, and it was my first job on TV. I had no clue what I was doing, so she moved me around and showed me everything. She coached me all the way, and we will always be friends.


Whenever it’s announced that Damian will be coming back to the show, fans can’t wait for him to come back. What do you attribute that to?


I don’t know, but I think because I work well off of women and adore them as directors, and in general. I also think because he stirs up the pot in Oakdale.


You seem to be clicking with Noelle Beck!


Personally, I work really well off of Noelle. I am lucky that I have my co-stars that I can click with right away. There is something really nice going on with Noelle and me. It’s been only a month, and I look forward to doing scenes with her.


Do you think Lily and Damian will reunite?


Lily will always be in Damian’s heart and he still loves her, but it depends if Lily will allow it and if Holden will allow it. It’s a lot more complicated right now; if he goes there he will risk losing Luke. You can’t control these things. Your heart goes where it wants. So, if it’s going to go there, it’s going to go and cause trouble, no matter what. It’s a possibility for sure.


Did Damian know that Luke had a boyfriend? Does he know of Noah or met him?


No, he found out when he came to Oakdale. He knew that his son was gay and he knew he was basically banished from Oakdale, but that did not stop him from snooping around. When I came back, I knew where Luke was at. Damian did not come back to cause trouble or deter his son from this person. Noah is the only one from the ‘get-go’ who thinks he is sincere. All he wants to do is to get closer, and make amends for the past and how he behaved. Noah is actually on Damian’s side.


So, do you think there is a mutual respect between these two guys, yet?


I like the guy. I think he is a really cool kid. Look, it’s all new for Damian as he goes slowly down this path. Noah is a cool kid and he believes Damian, and says, “You mean what you say.” Noah is trying to convince Luke that Damian is not a bad guy and that, “He wants
to get close to you again, and
get to know you better and
allow you to know him better.”


Is Luke conflicted on how he feels?


I think he is more angry. His instinct is that he would like to get it out and talk; why Damian did certain things, and why he left him and he has so much pride in him, and does not want to give Damian the satisfaction. He just doesn’t think I am that person, but I am back. It’s difficult for him to go there.


Do you think the audience will trust Damian?


I don’t know. He really means it when says he loves his son. When he tried to de-program Luke, it was because he loved his son and it was not because a Grimaldi cannot be gay.
He was looking out for
him, and seeing it from Damian’s perspective, and how he was raised and his
background, he was not
all that wrong. He meant
well. But he was wrong.
You cannot change
somebody’s being.


Are we going to see Damian mix it up with some other people in Oakdale, other than Lily?


I think so. But, I am not going to tell you who. (He laughs)



Is there anything, or part of a story you did over the years as Damian, where you thought, “I was really good,” or “I hit it out of the park?”


When I first came on the show I barely spoke English. I enjoyed the beginning so much, and then I didn’t. I was doing theatre and kind of burnt out, and then I started enjoying it again. I remember in the beginninsnyders.jpgg, having a great time with Martha and Nick Coster and Liz Hubbard (Lucinda). That was good and fun. Back in those days, we had more time to shoot and mess around between scenes and unwind, so you could do your best. Now it’s faster. I think the best stuff was the last couple of times I came to the show, because at the beginning, I was just learning. Two and half years ago, and before that, six years ago with the storylines, I was becoming a more experienced actor. I would say probably the last time I was here at “ATWT” with Luke was great. Working off of Van is great. He was such a generous actor. On the right day, I am that way, too. We had a good time, and I am so looking forward to working with him again.


Are you living in Italy, too?


No, but I have a house in Tuscany. I live in Los Angeles. I love it there and it took me awhile to get used to LA, but now I love it. It took me having a couple of kids, and if you are an actor not working in LA, you are miserable. I missed the seasons in New York, and after three weeks here, I am complaining and I am thinking, “Hmmm, maybe LA is not that bad.” LA is just so far away from Italy and France. I have been doing a lot of projects in Europe over the past few years. I had lived in New York for 11 years, and by the end of it, I was so burnt out. But then, after a few months in LA, I said, “Oh, My God. I want to go back”. But honestly, I like LA. When I was in New York before, I was a bachelor, and had more time on my hands. Now, I have four kids and a beautiful wife. I am looking forward to going back home, but it’s so far away.


Will you be staying around Oakdale for awhile?


paolo_google.jpgYes, I am definitely here for awhile. There are some very exciting stories for Damian that will keep him very busy.



In closing, what can we look forward to from Damian coming up?


He is going to create some problems all around. That’s usually what he does, even if he means well. Holden is in the way and jealous, and everything Damian does is scrutinized. He can’t make a step without everyone watching him. His main intention is really being close to his son; understanding him and to get to know who he is, and stay by his side. He wants to make amends and make it up to him.

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A really nice interview!!! He s a good exemple for all the italien people!! Also a good father and husband!!! Very good!

As The World Turns

Soap Alum John Wesley Shipp Shares Health Update

John Wesley Shipp, best known to daytime fans for his roles on As the World Turns, Guiding Light, One Life to Live et al, and primetime fans for his role in The Flash, shared a heartfelt health update via his Instagram.

While Shipp did not go into specifics, he did say he underwent surgery earlier in September for an urgent medical issue.

In his post, accompanying by his photo, John expressed: “Hello out there! Friends and contacts have written recently, like, “where are you? are you ok?” Well, here’s the deal: I had surgery early this month for a health issue that had to be dealt with immediately. All went well, but I’ve had to postpone a theatre production and personal appearances as the recoup will take some weeks. I do read and appreciate what you share with me, that you entrust me with your thoughts and feelings. You are ever on my mind and in my heart, and I look forward to getting active and out there again as soon as possible. Until then, remember to play nice, be kind, and stay engaged! Our futures depend on it.”

Photo: JPI

John’s soap resume is quite impressive having portrayed: Dr. Kelly Nelson/Victor Laszlo on Guiding Light, Doug Cummings on As the World Turns, Martin Ellis on Santa Barbara, Carter Jones on All My Children and Eddie Ford on One Life to Live. Shipp won two Daytime Emmys along the way.

More recently, John has appeared in primetime’s, Arrow, The Flash, Stargirl and countless other TV appearances.

Share your well-wishes for a speedy recovering to John via the comment section below.

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As The World Turns

‘As the World Turns’ Alum Martha Byrne Speaks Out On Conviction Against Her Husband, Michael McMahon: “We are Fighting Till the End”

If you have been following two-time Daytime Emmy-winning actress, Martha Byrne’s (ex-Lily, As the World Turns) social media accounts or have been following news reports, Byrne is adamantly speaking out about charges and a conviction levied against her husband, former decorated NYPD sergeant-turned-licensed private investigator, Michael McMahon.

The couple share three children together and have been married for over 30 years.  Last week, McMahon was preparing to go back to work. However, Michael was blindsided when a Brooklyn federal court convicted him and two others accused of stalking a New Jersey couple on behalf of China.

McMahon told the New York Post, that he felt betrayed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).  Clarifying further, Michael felt he and his family with Martha Byrne where being made scapegoats in the DOJ’s first case against Operation Fox Hunt, which is the Chinese Communist Party’s anti-corruption campaign that targets Chinese nationals abroad.  It also targets former government officials and others suspected of economic crimes against China.

In the case against McMahon, he was hired in fall of 2016 by what he believed was a translation company from New Jersey to do surveillance on a luxury New Jersey home occupied by a relative of Xu Jin and Liu Fang, and to use public records to find companies and other assets registered to the couple.  He was then informed that Xu and Liu had had stolen money from a construction company, and the people who hired him wanted to find where the cash had gone. However, McMahon says what he was not told was that Xu was a former official in Wuhan, who had fled China amid allegations of corruption.

McMahon said that when he conducted surveillance as he had done on numerous other cases.  However, what he did not know was that his work was used in a civil suit in New Jersey in 2018 against Xu and others by a Chinese construction group that alleged that they had embezzled millions from that company.

Things took a bad turn in October of 2020 when 12 federal agents surrounded McMahon and Byrne’s home.  Michael was arrested, but it wasn’t your normal arrest, he detailed.  McMahon didn’t think he needed a lawyer so he spoke to the FBI agents. He had wanted to help the government.

Photo: MBryneFacebook

Byrne shared, “He was being as transparent as he possibly could. Instead, they turned everything against him and made him look like the devil in court. I’ve never seen such dark forces trying to portray him as an unlawful person.”

McMahon was charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act by working for the Chinese government without telling the State Department, and with conspiracy to commit interstate stalking.

Byrne answered one soap fan’s inquiry to clarify what exactly happened to her husband in a Facebook post. She expressed: “He was hired to find assets on a civil matter. never asked to do ANYTHING illegal. The FBI let the Chinese agents flee, who were operating some scheme separately and unbeknownst to my husband, so the FBI turned their attention to an innocent man to save face. They took legal work as a PI and deemed it criminal for their own purposes. This is VERY VERY scary for every US citizen.”

In the NY Post account, it details that the DOJ shifted its focus to Operation Fox Hunt, targeting private investigators across the country, including McMahon.

Currently Michael is not allowed to be a private detective until this case is overturned.  He shared: “I didn’t harass or stalk anyone, and if I had been asked to do so, or if I had suspected that my clients worked for the Chinese Communist Party, I would have contacted the FBI right away and not proceeded with the job.”

Byrne expressed: “The DOJ knew this problem existed, that private investigators were being used, they knew the patterns well, but they communicated none of this until after Mike’s arrest … We are fighting to the end.”

McMahon’s lawyer will file a post-trial motion next month to overturn the conviction.

Photo: NATAS

On her Twitter account, Martha shared their lawyer’s, Lawrence Lustberg’s statement: “We are obviously very disappointed with today’s verdict and feel strongly that it is not consistent with the evidence in the case but more importantly, is not consistent with the truth.  That truth is that Michael McMahon never had any idea that he was working for the Chinese Government.  If he had, he would not have taken the job or done the work he did.  His work in this case was the normal every day work of a private investigator and Mike’s conviction on the stalking counts, as a practical matter, criminalizes the work of private investigators in every case.  We will file post-trial motions and, if necessary appeal, until all possible appeals and lawful avenues to challenge this verdict have been exhausted.  And I believe that we will ultimately prevail because this conviction is a terrible injustice, one that I do not believe our legal system will allow to stand.”

What do you think about the conviction of Martha Bryne’s husband, Michael McMahon and by all accounts how he has been wrongly convicted? Comment below.

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All My Children

Pride Month Celebrating LGBTQ+ Soap Supercouples: Nuke, Kish, Otalia & WilSon … Which Stands the Test of Time?

June is Pride Month, the time when across the U.S and the world there are celebrations and commemorations to recognize all who identify as LGBTQ and their allies.

Daytime soap operas have had a rocky road when it comes to the representation of same-sex couples.  The soaps have been at one time leaders in portraying key social issues of our time, as well as treading lightly on other subjects, as to its concerns to ‘turn-off’ its core audiences.

When you look back at the groundbreaking first same-sex weddings, and the first gay kiss, the soaps have come far in some ways in their representations of gay characters, but there is always work to be done to serve and to shed light on the under-represented.

As we reflect back to the then and the now, which LGBTQ soap supercouple remains your favorite and had made a lasting impact? Let’s take a look at four duos who captivated many viewers.

Nuke  – Luke Snyder and Noah Mayer – As the World Turns

Van Hansis (Luke) and Jake Silbermann (Noah) were a key part of the evolution of, and representation of LGBTQ character on the soaps.  ‘Nuke’, as they were known as, became the first gay male soap couple to share an on-screen kiss back in 2007.  ATWT also became known as the first soap to depict a fully realized romantic male couple as an integral part of the show.  There was plenty of backlash along the way for the long-awaited kiss to happen, but when it did, the show moved forward to tell their love story.

Otalia – Olivia Spencer and Natalia Rivera Aitoro – Guiding Light

When Crystal Chappell (Olivia) and Jessica Leccia (Natalia) began to play the love story of Otalia, they had to show their affection by a kiss on the head, or holding hands.  It took quite some time for GL to move forward to have two women, two moms, no less, share a lip lock. The complicated love story featured Natalia being conflicted to face her true romantic feelings for Olivia, because of her value system and religions upbringing, and that made this all the more riveting and frustrating at the same time.  In the end, the rabid fan base for this duo was so great that Chappell wound up creating her own series, Venice, to honor and serve them, remaining one of the LGBTQ communities greatest allies.

Kish – Kyle Lewis and Oliver Fish – One Life to Live

In 2009, One Life to Live’s Kyle Lewis (Brett Claywell) was an out lab tech in Llanview, who back in college had a relationship with Officer Oliver Fish (Scott Evans).  It imploded when Oliver denied he was gay.  For years, Oliver remained in the closet, before finally coming out to himself and Kyle.

Kish had been a big success with the media and One Life’s gay audience. LGBTQ-advocacy groups honored the couple and the story.  However, Kish was cut short when the network felt that the data showed that the storyline was not resonating with the show’s core audience.

WilSon – Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis – Days of our Lives

Days of our Lives delivered daytime’s first-ever gay male wedding in 2014, between Will (then played by Guy Wilson) and Sonny (then played by Freddie Smith).

In an interview with EW, Days of our Lives executive producer, Ken Corday shared on the union, “Will and Sonny have been together for a while and it was the natural progression of their love story. We didn’t feel like there was anything we could or couldn’t do, we treated them like any other couple on the canvas and continued to grow their romance as such.”

In addition, the coming out story of Will Horton was critically praised and noteworthy for the performances of Chandler Massey, who won three Daytime Emmys for his work in the Outstanding Younger Actor category 2012, 2013 and 2014.  Freddie Smith also won in the same category in 2015.  Will has been played over the years by Chandler Massey and Guy Wilson, while Sonny has been portrayed by Freddie Smith and Zach Tinker.

There have been several other key LGBTQ couples throughout the course of daytime history including All My Children’s Bianca (Eden Riegel) and Reese (Tamara Braun). These two characters were involved in the first same-sex lesbian wedding on daytime. Problem was … Reese kissed Zach (Thorsten Kaye) before the wedding, making this infuriating for viewers at home.

Other notable LGBTQ couples through the years have included: Bianca and Maggie on All My Children, Mariah and Tessa of The Young and the Restless played bv Camryn Grimes and Cait Fairbanks, Maya and Rick on The Bold and the Beautiful, Lucas and Brad on General Hospital and others.

Which couple do you think has had the most lasting impact on the history of LGBTQ representation on daytime soap operas? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Airdate: 7-24- 2023