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The Ron Carlivati Interview – One Life to Live Farewell

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

As we say our final goodbyes today to the unbelievable and magical run of One Life to Live on daytime television, there was one last interview we wanted to bring you, exclusively at On-Air On-Soaps.  Fans have watched over the final months of the series, and especially in this final home stretch, some of the most heartfelt episodes ever given to its loyal audience. A celebration of what life in Llanview is truly about at its core; high emotional drama, clever and imaginative episodes, dark and edgy plot twists, romance and love, but most of all the families and their connections to one another which is the foundation of the series.

Pulling all the strings for the storylines, scripts, and characters you see on screen everyday is the master puppeteer behind the scenes, who has given to us such a rich and delicious conclusion to the 43-year-run of One Life to Live, head writer, Ron Carlivati. It is no secret that Ron and his brilliant writing team endured more trials and tribulations behind the scenes than some of their fictional characters, in an effort to wrap-up the series in a satisfying way.  First, there was the cancellation of the series by ABC, and then Prospect Park announcing they were going to move the show online, only to pull out at the most inopportune time, after filming of the final episode was completed.

Daytime fans are extremely fortunate to have Ron on their side, and as a true fan of the genre. After reading this interview you will come to understand that what you are feeling at home, Ron is feeling also. And, as we watch the curtain come down this afternoon on OLTL, Ron wanted to pay homage to all the eccentricities, love and life, in the town of Llanview. Nowhere is this more apparent than in recent episodes such as: Fraternity Row’s fantasy episode, Viki returns to heaven as lives hang in the balance, the Statesville Prison Break returning many nefarious characters from the show’s past, and an array of touching and humorous nods and episodes to the show’s legacy and to its fans.

Now, Ron has moved on to be the head writer of General Hospital, a position he officially started this past Monday. And, with that came the news that four of your favorites from OLTL will be joining him to kick-start his new tenure. Ron filled us in on that decision, and the making of the final episodes of OLTL.   And with that, here’s our last stop together in Llanview … with Ron!

MICHAEL:

Ron, you crafted some amazing episodes for the final weeks of One Life to Live. Monday we were treated to the episode where Viki goes to heaven and Clint ends up in hell, and a host of other characters lives hanged in the balance. Was it an homage that was inspired by the fact that Agnes Nixon’s original title for One Life to Live was Between Heaven and Hell?

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

Yeah, that has always kind of stuck with me, and Viki’s first trip to heaven I obviously loved, and it was sweet. Then, we did homage to it on our anniversary and that and the idea that given that the title of the show is One Life to Live, I wanted the ending of the show to have some life and death stakes to it, and not everybody sitting around and just reminiscing about their life.

MICHAEL:

Monday’s episode was almost like watching a three-act play and really showed the power of One Life to Live.  It was just a simple two or three person scene with minimal settings or trappings.  And there were so many gut-wrenching dramatic moments, and you gave all the actors amazing words and emotions to play!

RON:

It was a nice way to also have some returns that had a specific reason and purpose to it, like matching Gabrielle with Bo, and Megan with Viki, and even Luna with Cole.  For me, it really made sense.

MICHAEL:

You have been on an amazing roller coaster ride with the show being canceled, and then Prospect Park coming to save the day, and then that being ripped away.  How did all of this upheaval alter what the audience will ultimately end up seeing on the final episode?

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

It was obviously a rollercoaster.  We found out we were canceled and that was really hard.  Then we had those several weeks to let it sink in and then go through that mourning process, and just get to that moment where we all were starting to accept it, finally. That is when the Prospect Park guys came along to save it, and then that took us on this whole other rollercoaster ride.  Of course, we were thrilled with the idea that it would continue, and also excited about it being in a new forum even.  It was like a new adventure.  For most of us it was a relief that these characters could continue, and of course, it did have an impact on me.  The minute I heard of the cancellation, you immediately start thinking, “Well, how do I want to wrap this up?”  I then started to plot out where everyone would be and everyone would end up.  And then, knowing it wasn’t going to end really does change things, because you really don’t want everything tied up in a neat little bow.  I have to still keep telling story, so I want to keep moving story forward.  So you start thinking about what things will we leave unresolved, and what things will we leave with a hook to get people to follow us online?  Obviously, we changed some stuff around.  I definitely think I kept the spirit of the ending and it is very similar, but obviously, I would have written some things different and I will talk about that at a future time.  But, on the whole, it helped to know that some actors were pretty certain that they didn’t want to continue with the show when it was to move online. So we were able to give them closure and happy endings, which are Rex and Gigi.  David Gregory wasn’t continuing, so our decision to kill Ford was informed by that.  It was always my plan that if we were going to create such life and death stakes, at least one person had to die, or I think it would be a big cop out.  And that was an agonizing decision, because I truly love all the characters in Llanview.  Even though they are fictional, it is really hard for me to make that decision.  So certain things stayed the same, and certain things did change and were impacted by Prospect Park.  And then of course, we didn’t find out it wasn’t happening until we had already taped our very last scene.

MICHAEL:

The thing that has been the constant from industry insiders and the fans has been, “Why couldn’t they go back and revise the ending, once Prospect Park suspended their efforts to bring One Life online?”  What would you want people to know about that?

RON:

We actually could not go back and tape anything after the fact.  The last tape day had already happened. There was no going back into the studio at that point.

MICHAEL:

So then, as had been rumored, was there one alternative ending shot?

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

Yes, but more has been made of that then it is.  We didn’t do that very much and really that came about when knowing certain actors were not continuing.  With the story I wanted to do moving into Prospect Park’s platform, I wanted to go back and change something at the end of our show as another way to have another hook and another cliffhanger. So we went back and added that. Then once we knew it wasn’t happening it didn’t seem to make sense, so what we did was go back to the original version.  I do want to say that on the whole, I feel it is a satisfying ending.  I do know there are people that are upset that if only we had known this, or if only we had known that, and I have to admit yes, while there are things that I would change, on the whole it is the same spirit of the same ending that I wanted, that I hope will make the audience happy.

MICHAEL:

The Fraternity Row Episode it a classic!  It has to be the funniest spoof ever, while the ending with Roxy and David was heartbreaking!

RON:

I had the writers over to my apartment to watch it the day that it aired and we were laughing our heads off over it, and it was also so incredibly touching.

MICHAEL:

When you were scripting this out, you guys and gals must have had a field day with this?

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

Oh, yeah we really did!  One thing led into another into the other.  Weeks before we had come up with the idea of Fraternity Row being canceled, and then things just started to fall into place at that point.  It really made sense to have a story that mirrored what the audience was going through and what our characters were going through.  It was cathartic for us to write it.  And then when we had the idea for Roxy to wake up in that world, it was just a way to send up the soap genre as a whole and poke a little fun at our own storylines, and give the actors a chance to play something different. Everybody from the top down did such an excellent job!  I think the audience really understood what it was.  It was a love letter to the fans, and in no way was it to make fun of our audience or the genre, because I love both of them.

MICHAEL:

You have to watch these last series of episodes, Ron, and be very proud of what you have done for this show.  No soap opera that has been canceled have I ever seen go out like this.  I think this is because of you and the creative team at One Life.  It is has been truly stunning to watch.

RON:

Thank you, I really appreciate that.  Of course, I am proud and proud of my team.  I am proud of our cast and crew who took what we wrote and far exceeded what I could have possibly imagined in the way that it was executed.  I thought that the montage on the previous Friday of Starr singing, and everyone in peril, and in the hospital hovering between life and death, played out so beautifully.  It really, really broke my heart.   I think the part that got to me the most was when Clint reached to get the phone and he had a heart attack. I knew it was coming and yet I thought they did it so beautifully that it was so powerful.  And yes, it is incredibly sad for us that the show is ending, but it is going out on top, and we don’t feel that we are limping to the finish line.  I think we are all very proud to go out on top creatively, and with the ratings being strong, it really means a lot to me.  It really does!

MICHAEL:

And to think you were an attorney who made the switch to daytime, and now you will be remembered as the head writer, who wrote the final episode of this iconic series, created by Agnes Nixon.

RON:

Photo Credit: Steven Bergman

I was an attorney and I gave that up wanting to work on One Life to Live.  I was lucky enough to get a job as a writer’s assistant in 1996, and it is pretty amazing that I am sitting here about to watch the last episode of the show, and I am the head writer.

MICHAEL:

It has to be so surreal for you?

RON:

It is pretty amazing.  I am having the reaction of the fans, but it is a whole other level as well, because I have worked at One Life to Live for fifteen years.  I am part of helping to bring it to its close.

MICHAEL:

Throughout the course of wrapping up the show, there were so many important and key goodbyes, such as Viki and Dorian’s last scenes, and countless others.  Did you feel pressure to get it all right and to the level that the fans would accept?

RON:

Each time you wrote a goodbye it was difficult, because you want it to be satisfying for the audience. You do sit there and try to cover every last thing that everybody wants covered.  Knowing that we thought we were going to continue, there were certain moments where we did not feel that unbelievable pressure that this will be the last time that these two characters will have a scene.  We thought there would be more opportunity for that.  But that being said, I did want there to be satisfying closure for people watching it on ABC.  We did try our best to write it like an ending, even thought we thought it was going to continue.

MICHAEL:

I was surprised and thrilled that ABC let you do your thing with the telling of the Fraternity Row storyline after they dumped the show!  Do you think you snuck one in under the radar on the network execs?  Or, did they know exactly what you were doing and scripting out?

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

I got to hand it to ABC as well, for giving us the greenlight and letting us just do that. With the show being canceled, I really did not know if they would let us have our fun with that, and they really did.  I am really grateful that they did not stand in our way of telling that story.  It wasn’t about attacking anyone who was involved in the canceling of the show, it was more about finding a way to help say goodbye to it, and for us to tell the audience, “We understand what you are going through, and we are going through it, too.” And because they know our characters, and our characters are like their family, we can say, “You know what?  These characters are going through the same thing and the same shock and loss and pain that you are, and that we were as well.”

MICHAEL:

What do you think is the legacy of One Life to Live?  What you would like to leave behind and be remembered for?

RON:

I think it’s a very special show.  I think it’s the show that in a lot of ways people would call the “hammock” show, because it fell between two very successful shows, All My Children and General Hospital.  Sometimes we were the “Rodney Dangerfield” of soap operas that got no respect, or what some people would call, “The red-headed step-child”. I think in a lot of ways it makes me love the show even more.  It is very special and unique.  It could be completely outrageous or unbelievably poignant, and we were able to tackle real issues, and we were able to do wacky and funny things.  So that makes me really proud, that if we could make people laugh or cry and forget their problems for an hour a day, I think to me, that is what the legacy of the show is.

MICHAEL:

There was something just off-center with the soap that set it apart from all the other daytime dramas.  At times, it was a very dark soap, which I also loved.

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

We tried to push the envelope either in a humorous way or a serious way.  We would not be afraid to take it to that edge.

MICHAEL:

As we are head toward the finish line with the last episode about to air nationwide, what can you say as a preview of what to expect?

RON:

I don’t want to give anything away, but it goes back to what I said earlier in taking the show to heaven.  It is about One Life to Live, and all the things both positive and negative that happen in life.  There is a lot to celebrate about life in the last show, which I think gives you a pretty good idea what it is about!  And of course, what would a good soap opera be without a good couple of surprises and twists in there, too.  I think there is romantic pay-off, there is some familial pay-off, and there are some twists and surprises that I hope will make people happy.

MICHAEL:

So, are we going to need the hankies, or are our mouths going to drop?  Or, both?

RON:

(Laughs) Well, hopefully both.

MICHAEL:

When you finished up OLTL and penned the final episode, was it hard for you? Was it like a “Thank God that’s done” moment, or an “Oh my God, I just finished the last episode of One Life to Live, kind of moment?  I would think it was incredibly difficult.

Courtesy/ABC

RON:

It was hard, and you didn’t want to let it go. You think, “Was this good enough? Was this the best that I can do?”  But in the end, you put it forward and we believe in what we did, and we were proud of it.  But it was incredibly hard to write the last show, because the writers were the first group of people to be done at One Life to Live.  It was mid-October that we wrote the last show, and we were the first to really feel like, “Wow, we are done!”  But it did allow me as a participant, to just be at the show and watch them tape some of the last material without having the pressure of my own job hanging over my head at that point.  So I was able to watch some of the last stuff, but I liked to be surprised when I watch an episode to see how it turned out. I was able to do that for the last tape date.  The last moments and the last scene that was taped with Erika Slezak (Viki) was quite emotional.  I was happy and proud to be there. We had a wonderful wrap party, which had everybody there.  And yes, while we were sad, there was a lot to celebrate.  Now, I have been sitting down at 2PM Eastern time every day to watch the show.

MICHAEL:

Will you watch the finale alone, or with other people?

RON:

Yeah, there is a gang that wants to get together to watch it, but I don’t know if I am going to do that.  I think I will stop in and see them after. I just don’t know if I want everybody to see me, you know, as a blubbering mess.

MICHAEL:

I understand exactly!  I will be a blubbering mess, too. With the actors, you have delivered stories that have given them an opportunity to knock it out of the ballpark time after time with their performances, and especially in the final weeks of the show. It must be very heartwarming for you to see.

RON:

Well, absolutely.  People will say to me, “Well, why are you doing this when the show is about to end?” And what you just said Michael is the reason … to see these people we love in these life and death situations and to really watch them act, and break our hearts.  That is what soap operas are all about.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

OLTL fans received some exciting news the other day, in the midst of the sadness of this week when it was confirmed that you and GH exec producer, Frank Valentini are bringing over, Kassie DePaiva, Kristen Alderson, Roger Howarth and Michael Easton from One Life and transplanting them to GH.  Obviously, first and foremost, this is an effort to bring fans of OLTL over to GH to help increase the ratings of the ailing soap.  How come this group from Llanview; the Mannings and John McBain, were chosen and given a one-way ticket from Llanview, PA to Port Charles, NY?

RON:

It is definitely something I thought about right away.  I think that anything we can do to help GH and bring up the ratings and bring any more eyeballs on to the screen from OLTL, is absolutely the reason we should do it.  I think creatively it makes sense.  It will give OLTL fans an opportunity to get a glimpse of what happened after the finale.  And what I want to say to the General Hospital fans is, “This is meant to help enhance the show not take anything away from GH.  It is a wonderful show and I would not be going there to write it, if I didn’t think so.”  It is a story and it is about weaving some of these people into Port Charles.  First and foremost, it is about the people of Port Charles, and I will talk more about that when the time comes. I just want to say to everybody that may have concerns, that it’s all going to be good.

MICHAEL:

And finally, what would you say to the wonderful and passionate fans that have watched OLTL and stood by the show?  It has been heartbreaking to read their comments over the last few weeks on my website. They are going to go through their mourning process, just like you, and everyone connected with the show.

Courtesy/ABC

RON:

I want to say, “thank you” obviously. The show would not be on for 43 years without such devoted fans. The other thing I want to say is; I understand what you are going through because I am going through the same thing.  I am a fan at heart.  I think we have the most passionate fans of any genre, and not just OLTL, but all soap fans. During the final weeks of taping One Life to Live, the fans were standing outside our studio every day, even when it’s freezing cold. We would walk out the door and they would greet you with such love. It really was an amazing thing.  It helped us to say goodbye knowing that we had this support system of people that felt the same way and understood what we were going through.

 

 

 

 

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Lili
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Lili

With all the fairy tales in the press about the actors GH has to cut, and the actors who didn’t get a good ending, I’m offended that the top money people from OLTL are going to GH. Don’t tell me that my favorites aren’t in the budget. They have history!

barbara t
Guest
barbara t

Most of the actors at gh want to leave ,and one life to live is on a budget or I should say, was on a budget.they know how to save money and put on top notch programing ,so the actors coming over arent that high paid.abc spent far more money on gh then they ever did for oltl.and I like that some of my favorite friends from landview are heading to port charles.Ive watched both soaps so Im not just a oltl fan I am a all my children ,one life to live and a 49 year fan of general… Read more »

Splum
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Splum

Wouldn’t call them the “top money people” but I get your point.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Michael,
Thank you for posting this interview with Ron Carlivati. I read it just minutes before watching the finale here on the east coast. I have to admit I stayed home from work today so I can see the last epsisode as it is broadcast on the network, just like we had had to watch it when the series went on the air, before VCR’s and soapnet.
Mark

Outlandt
Guest
Outlandt

Thank you Michael… now I feel a lot better. Ron and Frank are the DT (DreamTeam), I knew they loved our soap… and still do. Beautiful, touching and open conversation… great job to everyone involved with the production… great job and THANK YOU!!!!

Soapgirl21
Guest
Soapgirl21

I love that a few Llanview favs will go to GH. I wouldn’t watch it otherwise… I started watching ATWT after AW went off the air b/c of a cpl characters moving over… it’s a great idea…

Denise
Guest
Denise

Tissues please!

Carol Painter
Guest
Carol Painter

I Loved This Interview, as I do All of The Interviews with OLTL actors…I Loved the Finale Today..I just Loved it.. OLTL is The most Well written Fun Soap EVER. And I have Watched ONLY all 3 soaps on ABC…IMO, CBS soaps, NBC soaps can not compare.. I could never get into them…they always missed the mark for some reason… ABC soaps, especially OLTL was The Funniest, silliest, most entertaining…and at the same time balanced a series of serious topics. Ron C, and his Team…should be VERY PROUD of Everything they have ever written, They did a beautiful Job, especially… Read more »

Michael
Guest
Michael

Well, as I said on twitter yesterday after the Finale aired, that OLTL’s finale EASILY was the BEST finale when you compare it to GL and ATWT. Both of those finale’s were not all that great. So, when I watched the Finale of OLTL, I was extremely pleased with how the show went out and they went out on top! I’ve got to hand it to Ron Carlivati for his genius mind in crafting that final episode. And what a shocking ending! I just cheered when I saw that final scene with Allison Perkins and the script that she threw… Read more »

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Damn, a lover of the show, and a man of his word regarding a promise.

Very hard to do when characters are going to their neighborly show, that you can catch them on.

And you sound Firm. Hummm, what’s your sign? lol

Carol Painter
Guest
Carol Painter

Hi Michael, I hear you…and I completely get it..I honestly feel so much Hate For ABC Disney for What They Allowed Frons to do…That I Have Boycotted everything They are connected to……with the exception of Soaps, And Two nightly programs Castle, and Greys Anatomy. I feel Good About Supporting Programs that are Well written…That Have Writers, Actors, etc…I feel The movement to Get Rid of these programs by Idiots (I should say Greedy idiots) Like Frons/abc /disney…has been a trend for many years..It started when they Took NORM McDonalds sitcom off for “Millionaire” with Regis Philben….10 – 15 yrs ago?…and… Read more »

MySoapsinheart
Guest
MySoapsinheart

I have watched all 3 of the soaps from AMC OLTL and GH. I will continue to watch GH. Can only hope they will bring Natalie into the mix since she and John just got back together. Though its not the same and I still hold hope that someone somehow will get all of our soaps restored to production and airing. Yet I will continue to watch GH as I have watched all my soaps for decades. It is the only show that I watch for that particular station. Thank you One Life To Live cast and crew, as always… Read more »

Susan M.
Guest
Susan M.

Pl;ease answer my question.. Tried your site Michael but, can’t get past your captcha code.. Can’t get it right.. What ever way I type ii in.. very frustrating… Please answer my question : Is Natlie & baby Liam joing John (michael Easton) on GENERAL HOSPITAL…… What will happen to that??? Will it carry over on to GH?????Waiting for response… Need an answer .. Need to know…And I didn’t like the last episode of OLTL… Left you crying for more.. A lot of things left unsaid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Again,please answer my question!!

Paul James Hurlburt Jr
Guest
Paul James Hurlburt Jr

I am glad One life to LIVE Characters are going over to Gh I really am.

Susan M.
Guest
Susan M.

So am I !!!!!!! I hope more actors from OLTL join GH!!!!!!!!!!! Such as Melanie Archer (Natlie)… Has to join Michael Easton (John Mcbain) & baby Liam on GH!!!!!! I miss most of all Erika Sleak(Vicki)….. Clint , Bo & Nora !!!!!!! OLTL was the best soap opera..It was like a family OLTL.. you could see the closeness among the actors.. The warmth.. OLTL FAN

Gerardo Ramirez
Guest
Gerardo Ramirez

Ron C. did a wonderful job as head writer & I wish him well in his GH endeavour

Peggy Kempfer
Guest
Peggy Kempfer

I am very disappointed that ABC soaps are being cancelled. I will not watch anything that takes the place of any of the soaps. In fact, I watch Revenge and General Hospital and that is all I will watch on ABC. I have started watching the cable stations.

Brian Greene
Guest
Brian Greene

Thanks Ron–We OLTL Fans In Northwest Illinois Appreciate & Love What You & Frank Have Accomplished For This Show Very Much! 😀

Alley
Guest
Alley

RC was right about one thing. The Mannings and McBain will have me (and I’m sure a few others) tuning into GH. Before I heard the news, I was boycotting ABC for good.

My boycott of The Chew and The Revolution stands. I will not watch that crap. EVER.

Jared
Guest
Jared

I loved the finale. LOVED it! I had a suspicion that Alison was reading her script to TSJ, but I was still shocked, because of what I read about TSJ not filming the finale. Great job on keeping this a secret, because it was truly a treat for us fans! Maybe I will give GH a chance because I’m curious what happens next. At the same time, I know we’re supposed to support all the soaps, but recent events, like RC/FV moving to GH, as well as OLTL characters moving to GH, I feel it just proves (to me, at… Read more »

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Yeah, TSJ returning in the finale, was the best kept secret in daytime, and almost active entertainment.

M. H.
Guest
M. H.

I have watched OLTL since day 1. When I worked I taped it, now I have it saved on cable. I will not watch ” The Revolution ” . We have enough of these ” help” sbows. Sometimes people need ” escapism” too, a chance to look at others problems and forget your own for awhile.

PaulaKate Prince-Meserole
Guest
PaulaKate Prince-Meserole

I know that things are in uproar right now since Friday’s last episode. But i am keeping a positive thought about this whole thing. The fact that One Life To Live Characters are being added to the canvas of General Hospital is good news! I refuse to borrow trouble or be upset by anymore of the millions of depressing rumors flying around out here like feathers after a pillow fight. This is no time to choke. OLTL live viewers need to continue to boycott “the chew” and “the Revulsion” but for everything that we have been fighting to accomplish tune… Read more »

barbara t
Guest
barbara t

alot of people dont like the idea ,I do ,I think its the best thing to happen to general hospital .for years ive been watching gh go down hill ,everything evolves around sonny and his kids and his problems ,and watch me get in trouble for this but I did not like the brenda story ,they thought if they brought her back the ratings would go up ,but instead went down ,and still going down for 3 weeks now.robin is leaving lucky is leaving ethan is leaving ,there the main people ,the quartermaines ,the fans love them, and the old… Read more »

Elhu
Guest
Elhu

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Ron, Frank, all the superb stars of OLTL, the crew behind the scenes, and to you, as well Michael (for keeping us so well informed of everything going on with our soaps and the people on them, as well as for being a wonderful fan yourself). This show was exceptional and will be greatly missed, but it went out with the utmost class and style. I so enjoyed every second of each of the last week’s episodes (I love every episode, each day on this soap, but I am referring to the heightened… Read more »

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Nicely stated. Rex would be great as Dillion, not Lucky. And the 2 Todd’s playing out would be wonderful, especially with Trevor St. John, opposite Sonny, which I spoke on in depth on this site as it relates to their complex /cool style (paired) opposite one another.

Elhu
Guest
Elhu

Totally agree with you 1loveabcsoaps, Rex would be a perfect Dillon, and Trevor St. John opposite Sonny, would also be fun to watch play out for sure, for the exact reason you stated, their totally different personas. Here’s hoping our wishes come true!!!!

Jay
Guest
Jay

You had me until you made the enormous blunder of suggesting JPL play Lucky Spencer. That’s a big, fat NO! Jonathan Jackson IS Lucky Spencer, and he’s already made it clear that he’s open to returning. There should never be another Lucky recast.

barbara t
Guest
barbara t

yeah jonathan jackson is lucky,but,he is leaving .general hospital needs a lucky and if jj doesnt want to play him anymore maybe jpl will ,never say never ,anything is possible in the magic world of the soaps.thats what keeps me tuning in ,I looooove drama.

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

I concure, unless they find another TSJ to recast the role. The other 2 Lucky’s weren’t bad, they won emmy’s for it. Jacob Young (AJ, amc) Greg Vaughan. I think JPL as lucky is more like Jacob Young when he played it. Johnathan Jackson, (although free spirited like JY, and JPL) JJ goes from free sprit Lucky to good concious cop/bad boy cop, to dark and deep places one wouldn’t even call acting, if you didn’t know better. No, JPL could easily be Dillion, and GUESS what, he would be a BETTER Dillion. But no one can be Lucky, and… Read more »

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

I agree totally Paula and I will give GH a second look when they start airing their episodes!!! Everybody else should do the same NBC has survived several years with just one and I was furious when they cancelled Another World, so who knows they may return it to must see TV!!!

heidi
Guest
heidi

Great Interview Michael… thank you!!! However RC is the one who should get thanked for such a great finale… last week… last month… last few months… just phenomenal story and writing!!! You gave us great story…. great use of the characters… great emotion and you treated everyone (fans and cast) with such care… but with a nice nudge to something coming… very well done!!! Michael has had such great content and such great conversation and a safe place for fans to vent and mourn their loss! The discussions about the last two epidodes has been fun. I now can say… Read more »

Jay
Guest
Jay

In the 20 years I’ve been watching OLTL, Ron Carlivati is my second favorite headwriter (behind Michael Malone). I am so grateful to have experienced this man’s resurrection of OLTL, which was nearly unwatchable for me before he took up the reigns. His passion for this show, and the genre at large, is as obvious as it is refreshing. And he’s talented. No other ABC writer was able to navigate the landmines of suck dropped by Brian Frons with such aplomb. I think you, Frank Valentini, the writing team, the crew, and all the actors, for making this final week… Read more »

Jan
Guest
Jan

I cant even read but I didnt watch anything on abc today. Wouldnt dream of it.

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

My understanding as of today is the 4 oltl characters coming to GH is short term. According to Kassie DePaivia.

jason
Guest
jason

great interview

cheyanne
Guest
cheyanne

I will not be giving my ratings to GH until Ron’s favorites from OLTL are gone. I’ve watched GH for 30 yrs and i’ve watched OLTL since day one. I don’t want OLTL characters on GH. Just like i didn’t want AMC charaters on OLTL. Hmm wonder why Ron didn’t bring AMC characters to OLTL yet he’s bringing OLTL characters to GH RME. GH has a big cast that needs him to write for as well as bringing vets back. That should be what his main priority is not bringing his favorites over from OLTL to keep. Yet only bringing… Read more »

Jill
Guest
Jill

I’m trying to get throught the first week of a non-existant OLTL and it is not easy. I’ve watched OLTL faithfully since the early 90s. I refuse to watch THE CHEW or THE REVOLUTION, so I flip to the cable channels (mainly ID and HISTORY CHANNELS). I’m hoping that the OLTL characters coming to GH will bring back the GH I once knew and loved. I was one of those people on the Luke/Laura bandwagon back in the early 80s….those were the days huh? And I also enjoyed GH in the early 90s with the return of LNL, Lucy Coh… Read more »

Scott
Guest
Scott

Yeah, sorry, I don’t believe what he says about it being about Port Charles and the people on the show. I see him turning it into OLTL 2.0, I never found OLTL to be entertaining and found their finale to be below the bar of what I expect a series finale to withhold.

I give RC/FV one full month of airtime before I decide whether to keep GH or ditch it.

Interviews

Y&R’s Christian LeBlanc and Michelle Stafford Talk On Their Enduring Friendship, Sharing Scenes & Preview Special Episode

Coming up on the Monday, January 10th episode of The Young and the Restless, the CBS daytime drama series will mark the 30th anniversary of Christian LeBlanc as Michael Baldwin.

In it, Michael will being trying to figure out what’s next in his life, after he has been a successful legal eagle for decades, with the assistance of several characters and some memorable flashbacks that might inform him.

Photo: JPI

LeBlanc debut on Y&R back at the end of November in 1991, and has won three Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series throughout his time in Genoa City.

To celebrate Christian’s 30th anniversary, Michael Fairman welcomed Christian and his longtime co-star and dear friend, Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) for a special conversation on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel along with some memorable clips.

Photo: JPI

During the chat, Michelle and Christian reveal their favorite scenes together, how they met, the key to their enduring friendship, and and how they have gone through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Later, Christian shares his reaction to the on set celebration in his honor with his co-star and previews his special episode.

Photo: JPI

In addition, during the holidays, Michelle helped organize a toy drive for the second year in a row to help children and families in need along with the NAACP and the National Action Network, which Christian participated in along with several Y&R cast members, and they discuss how the toy drive came together during these trying times for everyone.

Courtesy/CLeBlancIG

Now below, check out the full interview with Christian and Michelle, followed by the promo for LeBlanc’s special episode.

Let us know in the comment section what your favorite part of the conversation was, what are your favorite Michael and Phyllis scenes through the years on Y&R and share your congratulations to Christian on a job well-done for his 30-year milestone.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Joshua Morrow Chats On Nick’s Standalone Christmas Eve Episode

Nick Newman (Joshua Morrow) is one tired Santa! After delivering presents to the less fortunate for Christmas, he is tuckered out, and thus will begin the special episode The Young and the Restless is serving up on Friday, December 24th.

The Christmas Eve airing of this all-new standalone episode marks the fourth time in Joshua Morrow’s career that he has been featured like this on the top-rated CBS soap.

In this story, Nick will try to come to terms with where his life is headed when he is taken on a journey through his dreams. Enter plenty of your other favorites from the Newman clan and more, who will definitely make an impact on Nick.  At the end of it all, will Nick come away with some revelations and reflections? Will he learn anything that will change him for the better and give him a clear direction?

As viewers recently witnessed, Nick and Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) called it quits in heartbreaking scenes, leaving Nick once again at a loss in the love live department.  Will he, in turn, eventually reunite with Sharon (Sharon Case), when all is said and done?

Michael Fairman TV talked with Joshua to get insight and a preview on what to expect during this holiday episode including: if he feels Nick is adrift, how he sees each of the characters from Adam (Mark Grossman) to Victoria (Amelia Heinle) impacting his alter-ego, and of course, Nick’s relationships with the women in his life.  So, with that, ‘ho, ho, ho,” here’s our yuletide chat with Mr. Morrow.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

How did you feel when you got a script for this special Christmas episode, and that it was all centered-on Nick?

JOSHUA:  My first reaction was, “Do people really want to see more of Nick? (Laughs) When you see an episode like this, you instantly know that you’ve got to do a lot of work. You’re basically in every scene, and I think it’s pretty common knowledge that I learn my lines in the morning when I get to work. However, on those days, you can’t do that, so you just know that you’ve got to prepare, and everyone is counting on you.  I like doing my scenes as fast as possible, but when you have that much material, you’ve got to put the time in.  As an actor, you hope it’s written well, and that you perform it the way they want you to, and you just go from there.

It’s not about which women Nick should sleep with next?  (Laughs)

JOSHUA:  I think all of Nick’s dreams are women-based. (Laughs) He’s walking around town going, “Who’s next?”  No, it’s a dream about figuring out who he is.  He is going through this kind of loop in his life where he’s not entirely sure where he is, where he should be, what he should be doing, how he’s treating people … it’s just kind of a look inside himself to see if he can come up with any solutions because he knows that what is happening and what he is doing right now is not working.  He doesn’t necessarily know why or how he got to this place, but with the help of some family, hopefully he will figure it out in the dream.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Sounds like Nick is very much at a crossroads here.

JOSHUA:  Yes, that’s a good description of it.  He’s just kind of wandering, and the biggest thing (and he’s been going through this a lot throughout his whole life) is that he just doesn’t know why he gets to this place.  It’s like, is it something he’s doing?  Is there something wrong with him?  He’s just questioning a lot of things, so during the holidays, it seems like the perfect time to come up with solutions for oneself.

So, in his dream, should viewers expect to we see different characters coming to him, like we’ve seen in other Y&R episodes similar to this?

JOSHUA:  Yes, in the dream, we’re seeing his family coming into his life, and they’re talking about who he is, the good parts about him, sometimes the bad …

… Wait, Nick has bad parts about him? 

JOSHUA:  Well … just maybe some things that he needs to improve on. (Laughs) Without him knowing it, I think Nick is kind of hard on people.  If they don’t necessarily think like he is, without knowing it, he tends to hold that against them.  Just because somebody doesn’t think like you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re wrong.  He is just struggling with where he is in life.  He is wondering if he is doing things right.  The dream comes up, and it helps him realize some things.

Photo: JPI

You and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) did some wonderful scenes recently that aired when Phyllis and Nick broke up.  Do you remember taping those?  How did you feel about the on-screen relationship going south … again?

JOSHUA:  For me, Stafford is my bro.  When you start doing those types of scenes, you realize it’s the end of something for now.  I realized that there was a window when I was with her every day, laughing, making fun of each other, doing the fraternity style comedy that we do with each other.  I did those scenes with sadness because I knew that they were breaking us up and that I wouldn’t get to see her every day, but they were great.  Michelle is such a freaking tornado of talent. I was excited to see her really do the thing I think she does best, which is just unbridled passion, whether it’s positive or negative.  She obviously crushed it.  I was just happy to be a part of it.  I don’t have to do much heavy lifting in those scenes. I just wanted to be there for her.  I think that the scenes did turn out very well.  I wasn’t happy to do them, but I always want to do good work.

Photo: JPI

So, where is Nick at with Sharon (Sharon Case) at this point?  How does she impact him in the holiday episode?

JOSHUA:  Sharon is in the special episode offering Nick a lot of advice and guidance.  Sharon is one of Nick’s biggest cheerleaders.  She is constantly trying to make him feel good and better about things that he does.  They’re really good friends.  They are coparenting, you know.  I’m no dummy, obviously the writing is on the wall as to where this will lead, but the journey of how they get there will be the question.  I don’t know when it will happen, but obviously Nick and Sharon have a tremendous history, and anytime they get together it is usually beautifully told.  I don’t know for certain because I don’t ask, but if that is indeed the path that they are going down, I am sure that it will be something the long-time “Shick” supporters are very happy with.  Like I said, there is no romantic anything at the moment. They’re nothing about that.  It’s just that around the holidays, it’s tough not to have someone, and they’re there for each other.  They’ve got kids, and they’re just trying to have a good Christmas.

Photo: JPI

Nick and Adam (Mark Grossman) have a very contentious relationship that is very complex. How does that figure into the equation?

JOSHUA:  It’s an interesting dynamic because Nick is forever grateful to Adam.  I literally think he has saved every one of Nick’s children’s lives at some point in their past, and maybe even Noah a couple of times (Laughs) It’s a delicate relationship because whether he mentions it or not, Nick is jealous that Victor (Eric Braeden) seems to turn to Adam now.  Despite all of Nick’s, “I want to do my own thing, leave me alone, etc.” it really hurts him that Victor turns to Adam when the family needs it.  For all of Nick’s, “I’m my own man,” he still really believes in the strength of the Newman family.  He will always have its back, and if it’s being threatened, like it was with what Nick perceives Ashland (Richard Burgi) to be doing, and Victor doesn’t come to Nick to help with that (or … he does in the beginning, but when it comes to an end, he basically casts Nick aside), that really bothers him.  It’s hard not to take that out on Adam. Still, he doesn’t trust him fully, and he is always kind of on edge around him.  It’s a delicate balance of trust and acceptance with Nick and Adam.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

Does Nick feel like the ‘odd man out’ with Victor, when it always seems that Adam and Victor team up?

JOSHUA:  He absolutely does, and again, Nick had brought a lot of this on himself.  He is constantly saying, “I’m going to do me.  I’m going to make my own decisions.  I don’t want you impacting any of those,” but then when Victor turns to Adam and not Nick in a very important situation that involves his sister, Nick is pretty hurt by that.  Nick does feel like Adam has come into his relationship with his father.  They’re working together very closely.  It seems like Adam had Victor’s ear.  It seems like Victor trusts Adam – at this point, maybe even more than Nick.  That definitely bothers him. I don’t fault Victor in this because all Nick has done is stomp is feet and say, “I don’t like the way you handle things,” and, “Leave me alone.  I’m going to handle things my own way.”  It’s an interesting situation for Victor to be in because I think he wants Nick to be in the fold.  He wants Nick to be there whenever he needs him, but Nick has not made that easy.  He is very hardheaded when it comes to the family dynamic at times.  Nick has created all these difficult relationships now in his family, except with his mother.  He and Victoria (Amelia Heinle) are at odds.  He and Victor are always staring each other down at opposite sides of the fence, and then Adam comes in, and threatens what he perceived to be his role in the family, and that also kind of leads to the whole dream.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

You brought up Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott).  How do you see the bond between mother and son?

JOSHUA:  Nick and his mother have always had an extremely close relationship.  Nikki leans on Nick to bring peace in the family, and Nick leans on her to talk him off the ledge at times because he does overreact, and he acts impulsively at times, while Nikki is very cool, calm, and collected at all times.  Usually, he does everything she asks of him.  Nick is very clearly a Momma’s boy, and he always will be, and if his mother needs him, he is going to step up and do what she wants.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

In terms of his sister, Victoria, how does Nick feel about their stormy relationship?

JOSHUA:  I feel like they are not contentious now, but there is a level of sadness because they’ve always been the best of friends.  They have always relied on each other for everything, and now that has been completely cast aside.  They realize they are no longer each other’s person, the person they go to for anything: advice, support, comfort, whatever.  That is gone for each of them now.  It started with the Phyllis situation with the hotel, and now, it is certainly taken to another level with the Ashland thing.  I think that’s what the overall feeling is between the two of them at this time.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

What’s amazing is that you, Amelia, Eric, and Melody are all really close in real life.  It’s like you truly have a second family.

JOSHUA:  It’s a real family.  The four of us are, for sure.  Without question, my favorite scenes to do on the show are when the four of us are together because we really are so close. Those dynamics are the fabric of what the show is about.  It’s not just the Newmans, but with the Abbotts and the Winters as well, and when the show highlights that, and really puts those small details at the front of the show, the fans realize that you don’t need those big, dynamic stories.  You don’t need the big explosive things.  When you just see those tender moments between those family members, that is everything.  That is the Bill Bell (Co-Creator, Y&R) playbook.  It’s easy to play because we care so much about each other, and I think it comes across on the screen.

Photo: JPI

Now, you’ve got a new Noah in Rory Gibson, and you got a new Faith in Reylynn Caster, both who came on to the show in the last several months.  How are they doing, and how has it been for you to adjust to working with them as their on-screen father?

JOSHUA:  It’s been awesome.  I’ve always said it’s a very tough job because I fall in love with these kids who play my children, and eventually they go off and do something else, or when they are little, sometimes there is a window when they turn about four, where they go, “I don’t want to be here! (Laughs) But when they’re babies, they’re just kind of in your arms, and it’s hard not to fall in love with them, but then when they get older, I see them grow up and turn into young adults.  Rory is an absolute stud. I did screen-test with the actors auditioning for the role of Noah, and he went first. I’m not exaggerating when I say two beats into our rehearsal, not even the actual screen-test in front of the network, I locked eyes with him, and I went, “This is him.  What are we doing?  I don’t need to do this with anyone else.”  He’s got a soul to him that is really amazing to watch.  He’s got depth.  He’s a really tremendous actor.  He’s a good kid, too.  He works hard, and he really wants to do well, and he’s humble.  In the special episode, Rory steals the dream. He does a scene in this show that is going to break women’s hearts around the world.  I am excited for people to see what he can truly do.  The sky is the limit for this kid.   I love having him here.  I super miss Robbie (Robert Adamson, Ex-Noah).  I love him like he is a son of my own, but Rory has taken this role and done something really good with it.  So has Rey-Rey.   She is obviously a tremendous talent.  Losing Alyvia Alyn Lind (Ex-Faith), who was one of the great loves of my life, killed me.  However, I couldn’t be prouder of her.  We text weekly about what’s going on with her, and she’s off crushing it, and the world is not ready for Aly, trust me!  Rey-Rey has come in, a beautiful, talented, young girl, who really wants to do well, and she fits right into the Newman mold.  I’ve been very, very blessed.  The casting department has really knocked it out of the park with these two.

Photo: JPI

I know Hunter King (Ex-Summer) is not on the show right now, but I know you two are really close.

JOSHUA:  Yeah, good grief.  It’s hard for me.  Probably Hunter and Amelia are the two others loves of my life along with Aly.  Hunter and I will text each other constantly, making fun of each other.  We have such a special relationship.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her.  I just know that she will be back someday.  I don’t know why.  Whereas I know Aly is gone forever.  She is off, and she is going to be a huge star.  Some fish outgrow their ponds, and I said that about her when she left.  Aly is off to a much bigger world, but I have a feeling (and maybe it is more of a hope) that Hunter will come back to me, and I say “me” because nobody loves her more than me. My kids are just everything to me on this show.  Honestly, it is one of the things that keeps me coming back for now almost 28 years.  I love them.  They’re all great people.

Photo: TMorrowTwitter

What are you and your wife, Tobe, and the family, going to do for the holidays?

JOSHUA:  We always go snowboarding.  We didn’t go last year obviously because of staying safe from COVID, but we tend to go Colorado every year, and we will be doing that again.  My oldest is away at college this year, so it will be fun to get him home and go off and do what we do.  I remember when I was in my teens learning to snowboard, I was like, “Someday, I cannot wait to lead a bunch of sons down big mountains!” and I’ve been doing that for years with them.  Two years ago, my middle son, who is just this testosterone-raged-alpha-male, finally said, “Dad, I’m leading us down.”  I was like, “Okay.”  He is the one son who has surpassed me in speed, and now we follow him. (Laughs)

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Now let’s talk College Basketball! (Laughs) Gonzaga has already had two losses and it seems every week there is a new team at #1 in the rankings.  Who do you think is looking good? 

JOSHUA:  I only watch Oklahoma hoops. (Laughs) The days of going off to March Madness with all my friends and acting like jackasses for multiple days are gone because I have soccer and lacrosse commitments with my family, but I am still equally as passionate about Oklahoma basketball as I’ve ever been.  I always say it, and it is definitely more heart than mind, but Oklahoma is going to win the national championship this year.

Okay, Joshua.  We will put it out there in the press!

JOSHUA:  You’ve got to put it in the universe!

So, looking forward to Nick’s Christmas journey on Y&R? Which women in Genoa City would you like to see Nick have a relationship with next? What advice would you give Nick Newman to get his life on track? Share your thoughts on this, and our conversation with Joshua, via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Chandler Massey & Zach Tinker Chat On ‘WilSon’, Being Recasts, ‘A Very Salem Christmas’ and that Drag Show

Chandler Massey (Will) and Zach Tinker (Sonny) are back for another streaming special, reprising the duo of “WilSon”.  Massey and Tinker can now be seen in the holiday film, Days of our Lives: A Very Salem Christmas now on Peacock.

In a new virtual interview with Michael Fairman for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Chandler and Zach talk about their scenes and their participation in the Salem Christmas tale.

Courtesy/Peacock

As many know by now, in story, Will has to act fast to come up with a story for his script with his Christmas Eve deadline approaching.  Sonny decides he will assist Will and help conjure up the story, and thus we get an altered version of Salem from the guys that plays on the history of Days of our Lives.

Photo: JPI

During the conversation, Zach weighs-in on being a recast for Sonny (previously played by Freddie Smith), and Chandler shares that it’s always challenging to step into a role played by someone else – something he also had to do when he began on DAYS.

Courtesy/Peacock

In addition, the two discuss reprising their drag roles of Amanda Bottom and Sonny Delight for the holiday number to help save Salem business owners from eviction in Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem.

The actors also banter about the importance of maintaining a presence for ‘WilSon’ as one of the only LGBTQ on-screen duos as part of a daytime soap opera.  The question is: will the airshow write them back in?

Photo: JPI

Chandler also weighs-in on: if he was writing Will’s holiday script, what would he like to see befall the good citizens of Salem? You’ll hear his answer.

Check out the interview with Chandler and Zach below.

Now let us know, are you enjoying Chandler and Zach as the new version of WilSon? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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