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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
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
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 hospital.and gh needs saving before its to late.and if fans from oltl come over because there are a few people from landview moving in ,thats good for general hospital ,more ratings for the hopefully not canceled soap.and for the one life to live fans a little bit of happiness over the stupid cancellation out a good soap that should never have been let go.

Splum
Splum

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

Mark
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
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
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
Denise

Tissues please!

Carol Painter
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 under the stress, and circumstances tossed their way this year……A BEAUTIFUL JOB!
I Loved the way we were surprised at the end…and I hope after the cross-over to GH…someone will find OLTL a new home to Continue this Show.
I lOVED and Totally “GOT” the FR storyline…It was GREAT! Thanks for that also…
PLEASE find a way to keep this program on ..even if it goes to cable..WE WOULD ALL PAY!! WE WOULD!!

Michael
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 at the person who was tied up and gagged (not giving it away in case anyone hasn’t seen it yet).

Again, Ron, Frank, the producers, writers, crew, and cast all did a superb job with the final episodes. It never missed a beat and nothing was out of place and skewed, like GL and ATWT was during their final week’s on the air on CBS.

Right now, all I watch is B&B, DOOL and Y&R. I could never get into GH, so even with Ron bringing several Llanview residents to Port Charles, it’s not enough to get me watching GH. I made a promise to myself that I would not watch anything else on ABC after OLTL went off the air and I intend on sticking to that promise. Sorry GH fans, but a promise is a promise.

1loveabcsoaps
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
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 has continued..
I will Never watch The Chew, The revolution..The View…EVER.
But I will Watch GH…And I am excited to see MY PEOPLE, (LOL) on there in Feb..I will support Soaps Always..And I still hold out hope, that SOMEONE will bring OLTL back..It doesn’t make any sense NOT TOO……
But I totally understand how You feel……..And you are entitled to feel this way…It’s SAD to me..It really is…
I may have to watch reruns over and over, LOL! I need to get through somehow!!
I’ve been trying to get into, NBC soap ,I think it’s DOOL? I watch because Sara Brown is on…But still…doesn’t compare to OLTL…it’s hard to watch…but I’m Tryin’!
Oh..well..I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

MySoapsinheart
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 you gave us your all and we thank you and we love you. You are in our hearts always.
p.s. name the baby Drew Asa.
Thank you

Susan M.
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
Paul James Hurlburt Jr

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

Susan M.
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
Gerardo Ramirez

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

Peggy Kempfer
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
Brian Greene

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

Alley
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
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 least) they canceled the wrong show. Hopefully, RC/FV can fix GH and make it watchable again; but even if they succeed, I don’t trust the empty network executives to do the right thing. SO, I’m hoping that in the case GH is canceled that Y&R will pick up this dream team. Long live ONE LIFE TO LIVE…….

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

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

M. H.
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
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 into GH because raising their ratings will reveal the need for our soaps to be restored to Television and hopefully ABC will see the light we have been fighting so hard to shine. GH has been suffering from sub par writing for quite some time now, but I trust in Frank and Ron and their abilities to produce great show.
For goodness sakes…lets be grateful for this opportunity and give this thing a chance.

barbara t
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 writers put them on a back burner alan and aj should never have been killed off emily to ,whats that all about ?I know what its all about ,the sonny show.I love what frank and ron did to one life to live right to the last scene with victor, brilliant ending.So i have complete faith in there writing to make general hospital the best soap going .oh yeah ,and hopefully jax is back ,to stay,why was he let go ?Oh yeah ,the sonny corinthos show.

Elhu
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 excitement of the last week). The laughs, the joy, the tears, the excitement, the shock, the suspense, the happy endings and the cliffhangers were all the best and written so very well, honestly, the BEST I have seen (as Michael said), and I have been a fan of all three ABC soaps for over 38 years now. I am thrilled to see the Mannings and John McBain head over to GH, I only see that improvinig the canvas. Kudos for making that move Ron. I am already picturing the possible pairings and storylines in my mind. I can just see the electrifyinig scenes that I am guessing will take place between Carly and Blair, Sonny and Todd, Michael C. and Star, and John and Dante vs. Sonny and Todd – that is what I am picturing in my mind, but I will be happy in whatever direction Ron takes it, as I know it is in very capable hands. BTW, I can also see Rex as the new Lucky Spencer, or someone, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that he makes the move to GH, as well as some others, while still keeping the intergrity of GH’s history. I am very sad over the loss of OLTL (and still hope that somehow it will be resurrected one day), but I also look forward to the GH/OLTL combo becoming the “POWER SOAP” on ALL of Daytime TV!!!! Good luck to all involved with OLTL, and I hope you all find happiness in the next ventures in your life, and may we, as fans, be able to enjoy all of your work again. Michael, thank you again for having such a close relationship with OLTL and the ABC soaps, and for all of the great reporting and information you bring back to us, and I look forward to this for many years to come. Your website is the first on my “favorites” line and is the one I always check out the second I have a free moment. Again, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone at OLTL for your many years of hard work, and great entertainment that you have given us, and we look forward to seeing all of your creativity again.

1loveabcsoaps
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
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
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
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
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 that is ALSO bc of the relationship that Tony Geary (Luke) cultivated with him when he was a kid., calling him Cowboy. How difficult it musta of been having to call JY and GV cowboy at times. JJ was….cowboy to Geary, rather they were filming or not.

kay killgore
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
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 that if Thursday’s episode had been the last I would have felt cheated… while it was for us completely and for most of the cast, crew and writers… it was not reality for the characters and for the cast, crew and writers. It was helping us with our emotions on losing something very special, but I needed more wrap up with the characters and the true OLTL story! I loved how you did it with a bedtime story theme that turns into a fairy tale! Maybe the use of the script and the use of the word sequel could spring this into somthing like a Hallmark series… like “The Note” or the “The Good Witch” series. Maybe we could get semi-annual glimpses into the OLTL world in a 2 hour movie made for TV? There are many other possible venues that would allow all of the cast, crew and writers to do new things while comng back to the old and the familiar,

Thank you RC and the wrting team… the cast and the crew for a lovely ending with a hope of a continuation… fairy tales can come true!

Jay
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 of OLTL one of the best weeks I have ever seen of ANY soap. I also would like to welcome Ron Carlivati to General Hospital. I have been visiting Port Charles as long as I have been visiting Llanview, and I have never seen it in such shambles. We need you Ron…badly. As we face likely cancellation, all I hope is that we go down fighting, with a quality show that really blows the roof off. I have all the faith in the world that Ron, and Frank, can pull that off!

Jan
Jan

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

kay killgore
kay killgore

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

jason
jason

great interview

cheyanne
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 3 vets back just to send off Robin for a few weeks. It’s messed up on so many levels.

Jill
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 and the Nurses Ball, the Quartermaines were still the core family along with the Webbers. But the new writers at GH destroyed all that when they killed off A.J. and Alan, split up the super couple LNL, and focused all their attention on Sonny/Carly/Jason/Sam to try to make GH become THE SOPRANOS II!!!! What a mistake that was. I drifted away from GH and all my attention was on OLTL….never in a million years did I think that OLTL would be cancelled. Way to go ABC….nothing like taking your golden goose and slaughtering it in front of the viewers!!!!

Scott
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

Executive Producer Michael Levitt Previews The Adorable 2019 ‘American Rescue Dog Show’

Dog lovers everywhere get ready! Coming your way on Sunday, February 17th and Monday, February 18th, the good folks at the Hallmark Channel will air a two-night special event (8pmET/7pmCT) that puts a spin on the traditional competitive elite dog shows, while at the same time championing an important cause for man’s best friend.

The 2019 American Rescue Dog Show honors some of the cutest rescue dogs from around the country going paw-to-paw in categories that will tickle-your-funny-bone, bring a smile to your face, or, potentially shed a tear.  This marks the second year for this oh-so-heartwarming show, where in its first year, it beat the Westminster Dog Show in the ratings; much to the delight of rescue dogs and their families, who take these wonderful animals into their homes.

The brainchild behind the concept is the executive producer of the event. Michael Levitt (Skin Wars, Daytime Emmys, TV Land Awards), who spoke with Michael Fairman TV to give us all the inside dish and insight into why this dog show is so personally important to him, and how its goal is to create awareness about the plight of millions of abandoned dogs in shelters each year, and to inspire viewers to think about rescuing one of these loveable pups.

Levitt has a collection of notable hosts and judges along for the ride who bring this one-of-a-kind doggy competition to life from the world of TV, film, and animal advocacy.  So, for the lowdown on the competition and more, here’s what Michael shared.

Photo: Crown Media

For those who want to check out the two-night event, is the American Rescue Dog Show in the same vein as the Westminster Dog Show, where the dogs are competing? 

MICHAEL: The format of the show is similar to a fancy dog show, such as Westminster, however, on the American Rescue Dog Show, we aren’t “judging” the dog.  In our show, they all have to be rescue dogs that are spayed or neutered in order to compete, and we are not judging them based on their bloodlines, we are celebrating their cuteness in such categories as, “Best in Wiggle Butt,” “Best in Couch Potato,” “Best in Snoring,” “Best in Special Needs,” and  “Best in Senior Dog” – those are obviously some of the most important.   We have the fancy arena floor with the judges and the tuxedos.  We filmed it at the Pomona Fairplex, which is the same place that they film the Beverly Hills Dog Show.

And you have a bevy of dog-loving celebrity judges along for the ride, too!

MICHAEL: Yes, and this year we are lucky to have the support of celebrity animal advocates that include: Lisa Vanderpump, Debbie Gibson, Brandon McMillan, host of CBS’s Lucky Dog, Bill Berloni, who is the dog trainer to a lot of the dogs on Broadway, and Dirty Job’s Mike Rowe.  Our prerequisites for them to be a judge were: they all needed to be rescue-friendly.  So, they either needed to have a rescue dog of their own or support rescue in some way.  Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell are the hosts this year, along with Ross Matthews and Home & Family’s Larissa Wall, who served as co-hosts and cover all of the action ringside.

Photo: Crown Media

So, did the judges get along?  Did they differ on their top picks?

MICHAEL: The judges absolutely got along famously, but as a producer of the show, I was a fly on the wall listening to them when they were deliberating as they were picking a winner.  That was quite entertaining, because each of them had a strong point of view on the dog, or dogs that they thought should win the competition. We found ourselves throughout the filming just turning to each other and saying, “I don’t know how the judges are going to pick just one, because they are all just so incredibly special.”

How was Lisa Vanderpump? 

MICHAEL:  Lisa was wonderful!  When she was being interviewed by Rebecca and Jerry O’Connell, they asked her what she would say to a potential family that is about to buy a dog from a breeder, and it was such a profound moment, because as someone who comes from her socioeconomic level, from her privilege, to see that she has embraced rescue might be incredibly meaningful to someone who might think that rescue dogs are second-hand animals.  Lisa Vanderpump disproves that just by being there, and being a part of it.

Photo: Crown Media

How did you decide on Rebecca and Jerry as your hosts with the most?

MICHAE:  I have a long history with Rebecca from producing my show, Skin Wars, which she hosts.  I knew that she and Jerry had four rescue dogs of their own, and that she is incredibly passionate about rescue and shedding light and creating awareness about the plight of animals that are sheltered.  They were not only organic and authentic to the cause, but they were a lot of fun and clearly had a lot of natural chemistry.  They also brought their own rescue dogs to the show, as did Lisa Vanderpump.  So that was fun.

You have two wonderful dogs of your own.  So, this is your passion project!

MICHAEL: This is a true labor of love for me, because in 2011 when my sister, Jennifer was dying of cancer, my partner and I decided to rescue a dog, and we rescued a pit bull named Trooper, and Trooper rocked our world.  My sister met him four days before she died, and it’s that old adage of “Who rescued who.”  Trooper really was there for me during a really difficult time of my life. I learned first-hand how special not only rescue dogs are, but pit bulls, and that really was the beginning of my animal advocacy.  I ended up taking a year off from producing just to rescue dogs.  I realized at the end of that year, that as a rescuer, I am saving one dog at a time, but as a producer, I could do so much more to bring awareness to the plight of animals in our shelters by creating rescue-themed programming.

Pit bulls seem to always get a bad rap.  Do you feel that way?

MICHAEL:  They absolutely get a bad rap, and after we rescued Trooper, we rescued another pit bull named Nelson, and it was really the two of them who inspired me to get heavily involved in rescue and to be an advocate for pit bulls.  With pit bulls it is such a unique human-animal bond that you don’t find with any other breed.  All they really want to do is please their humans, and it is absolutely true that when you hear these horrific stories about pit bulls on the news, these are rare incidents of pit bulls who have fallen into the hands of bad people who have treated them badly.  It’s really unfair to profile and entire breed of dog, because all dog breeds have some dogs that have behavioral problems.  I have come in contact with thousands of pit bulls, and I have only met one that was human-aggressive, and that dog was severely, severely abused.  Every other pit bull I have come in contact with has been nothing but incredibly sweet.

Photo: Crown Media

So, last year’s American Rescue Dog Show is currently in the running to earn a Daytime Emmy nomination in the ‘Special Class Special’ programming category!

MICHAEL:  Yes, “Special Class Special”. (Laughs)

You obviously know who wins this weekend’s American Rescue Dog Show competition.  Were you happy with the winner? 

MICHAEL:  Yes, but you can imagine how difficult it is for the judges to pick a winner because every single dog in the competition is beyond adorable. It is really the dogs who deliver on the show, and that’s what makes the show so heartwarming.  The real purpose of the show is to inspire the viewers to rescue their next dog from their local shelter, or rescue organization, so that people who are watching turn to the person they are with and say, “Honey, I didn’t know you could get a pure-bred dog at a shelter!  Let’s rescue our next dog!”  We have really powerful segments in the show about the joy of adopting a senior dog, or a special-needs dog.  We do a segment on debunking the myths about pit bulls, and we have messaging on why it is important to spay and neuter your dog.  So, through this wonderfully entertaining program, we are also educating people and hopefully touching their heart and their soul and inspiring them to be a part of the solution by rescuing their next dog; instead of being a part of the problem by purchasing a dog from a pet store or breeder.

Photo: Crown Media

When you look at what you have to take on as a producer when you do this type of show; as opposed to any other type of production you have helmed, what are the major differences?

MICHAEL: The biggest distinction is that on this show we are dealing with living animals, so I take that responsibility very seriously.  First and foremost: is the safety and well-being of the dogs that are participating on the show.  We have to consider everything from making sure that the animals are up-to-date with their vaccinations to having veterinarians on hand, having production personal on-hand standing by with treats and pooper-scoopers. This also means that the dogs are being treated like VIPs.  So, we have a VIP room, but that stands for “Very Important Pooch”, and all of the dogs that are participating have their own dressing rooms with a star on it and their name.  There were over 130 dogs that actually participated from all over the country.  In addition, we had a gifting suite like they do on the Oscars and Golden Globes, but on this show, they didn’t get swag bags, they got “Wag Bags”.

Knowing you as I do, it seems a lot this creative from the categories in the competition, to the backstage VIP room, are very YOU!

MICHAEL:  I have an incredible team of producers who I collaborate with.  None of this would be possible without the good people at Hallmark being such incredible animal advocates.  Specifically, Bill Abbott, who is one of the few network executives in the industry who is really walking the walk and doing so much to be supportive of dogs and cats who need homes.  So, this is right up my alley, because creatively I am so passionate about it that it is so easy to come up with fun ideas that hopefully resonate with the viewers.

Photo: Crown Media

Are there any other fun moments that you can tease?

MICHAEL:  We are celebrating the perfectly imperfect.  So, we love when a dog decides to roll on his back in the middle of the arena and decide he wants to get a belly rub in the middle of the competition.  We had a dog decide that he had to go potty on the middle of a flower arrangement on the arena floor.  Those are the moments that give the show its heart and feel-good sensibility.  We had a couple of dogs in the “Best Wiggle Butt” category where one of their forever parent brings them out initially, and their other forever parent was on the other side of the area, and we removed their leash so that they can run from one parent to the other so that we can really see their butts moving, but … we had a few dogs get so excited that they ran right out of the arena! (Laughs)  They ran right through the tunnel off stage and come running back in, and the whole audience erupted into laughter.  It’s just magical.

How did you find these dogs to compete? 

MICHAEL:  We put out a call-to-action on social media, and we got thousands of responses. People submitted their rescue dogs in as many categories as they qualified for, and they submitted photos and videos. Then, we have a team of producers and rescue experts who go through all of the submissions, ultimately picking the top semi-finalists in each category who come to Los Angeles to compete.  We had a wonderful partnership with Pedigree Foundation in which they provided $100,000 in grant money for the dogs that win for the rescue that saved him or her.  So, in the ten semi-final categories, each winning dog received a $5,000 grant for the rescue that saved him or her, and then the ultimate winner of the competition, which is crowned the title, “Best in Rescue,” received an additional $30,000 for the rescue that saved him or her, again, courtesy of Pedigree Foundation.  We also had a partnership with adoptapet.com, which is the largest online resource for people to find rescue dogs in their own communities. Throughout the show, we have a call-to-action for people to go to hallmark.com/bestinrescue and look for the adopt a pet icon … they click it… then enter their zip code … and they are instantly linked to thousands of available dogs in their own community who are patiently waiting for a loving home.

Photo: Crown Media

The dog handlers are the owners of these pets?

MICHAEL:  Yes.  We call it a member of their “forever family”.  Several of the dogs on the show are service dogs now, or companion animals, working in senior homes or working with military service people suffering from PTSD.  We celebrate each and every one of them.

Is your hope to do a third annual show, and keep the dog rescue competition going?

MICHAEL:  Yes!  My hope is that this show continues to be on for many years to come and be a platform for the 8 million animals that enter our shelters each year and are patiently waiting for their forever home, and that we can continue to be a voice for these dogs that don’t have voices of their own.  Of all of the shows that I have produced over the years, this one is going to be the most meaningful to me, and is going to be my legacy, because it is such a beautiful thing that I can bring my work and my passion together to hopefully make a difference in the lives of all of these animals.  As a result of this show, we heard from numerous shelters across the country that there was a definite uptick in adoptions.  That warms my heart beyond compare.

In closing, you know what they say:  it’s easier to work with animals than humans! Thoughts? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:  Every show has its challenges, but I would much rather deal with a diva Chihuahua than a diva celebrity.  So, on that level, this show is pure joy to make.

So, will you be watching this heartwarming, creative two-night rescue dog event?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below, but first, check out this behind-the-scenes video of how the American Rescue Dog Show is put together with co-host, Ross Matthews.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Jason Thompson Talks On: The Self-Destructive Billy Abbott, Victoria, Phyllis, And Katie’s Disappearance

As February sweeps kicks in to high gear on The Young and the Restless, Billy Abbott (Jason Thompson) and his ex-wife, Victoria Newman (Amelia Heinle) are once again in each other’s orbit.  First, Billy was not too happy to learn that his nemesis, Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard) shared some passionate kisses with her.  In fact, he went running to Cane’s imprisoned wife. Lily (Christel Khalil), to give her the lowdown.  Next, their child, Katie has gone MIA, but as viewers saw on Friday’s cliffhanger she is somehow heard singing through the walls at the Newman Ranch. Previously, Katie said she was playing with an imaginary friend, but someone is lurking around and watching the Newmans every move!

And let’s not forget, Summer (Hunter King) is back in Genoa City!  The last time she hit town she all but destroyed Billy – his gambling addiction returned, she tried to seduce him, and he slept with her as revenge against Phyllis for her having sex with Nick (Joshua Morrow), and we could go on!  After all the hurt, and the dissolution of their relationship, Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) and Billy are not seeing eye to eye on much, but saying they will try to work together.  Can they?

To fill us in on all the drama, Jason Thompson chatted with Michael Fairman TV and weighed-in on: the future for Villy, Philly, what he has learned from working on two major soaps; General Hospital, where he played the popular Dr. Patrick Drake, and Y&R, his thoughts on his recent Daytime Emmy Pre-Nomination in the Lead Actor category in what was a banner year of storyline for him in 2018, and much more.

Insightful, driven, and talented, Jason is one of the standouts in our genre.  Check out what he had to share below.

What did you think about the plot point that had Billy going to visit Lily in prison, and once there, he informs her that her husband, Cane has been kissing on Victoria!?

JASON:  What I think about it is somewhat irrelevant.  It wasn’t hard for me to rationalize it.  In the moment, Billy was hurt and pissed off.  He is irrational sometimes.  Once he got to the prison, I think he second-guessed himself.  Lily did a pretty good job of convincing him that she needs to know what is going on in order to just live in a certain amount of truth in this situation.  Billy felt that it would be worse for her wondering what was going on on the outside without knowing the truth.  I think that in that moment, he was convinced that telling her the truth was the right thing.  There was a part of him that wanted to get back at Cane, and when Billy gets hurt, he seems to lash out a bit and then sometimes he kind of recoils.  Could he have let it go?  Probably.  I think it’s an interesting thing for Lily and Billy’s relationship; to be honest.  Billy has always respected Lily.  I think that he’s always looked at Lily as someone who does the right thing, and was a good wife, and a good mother, and all of those things.  He thinks that she is in a rough place and wanted to offer her a little bit of support, and that’s the way that he did it.

Photo: JPI Studios

Where do you think the show can go now with his relationship with Cane?  They have been contentious all this time, anyway, and now this has happened.   How do you think this will resolve, or would it ever resolve?

JASON:  I think it’s one of the most interesting relationships Billy hasI don’t know that it will ever resolve.  I don’t know that Billy thinks too much about Cane either way, but in saying that,  there is still no one that can get under his skin and quickly!  In an instant, Cane can be Billy’s enemy and I think that’s great.  I always think there is story for Billy and Cane.  In our working relationship as well, I think we both get a different energy out of each other that inevitably ends up in the characters.  That’s always fun.

Photo:” JPI

How does Billy feel about Victoria now?  She’s been struggling since her relationship with J.T., making out with Cane, etc. 

JASON:  Billy does have feelings for VictoriaI think it’s a number of things that contributes to this.  I think it’s where he finds himself in his life.  He has been kind of hurt by the woman he loved (Phyllis).  He had everything for a moment that he wanted … he had the job, he had the girl, and if he had just done the right thing and had a little bit more self-control, he probably would have been in the best place of his life.  So, when all of those things get pulled away, the one constant is just when he goes to see his kids and they smile, and they don’t know what’s going on in the outside world.  I think the only people who don’t judge him are probably the kids.  There’s something really comfortable about that situation.  No matter what happens, there’s always going to be a little something with Victoria.  She’s always very supportive (not that she hasn’t been very, very upset with him, at times), but there is always something about their relationship that will keep him wondering if they should be together.  I think it will probably be like that for the rest of their lives.

Billy is still unaware that Victoria, Nikki, Phyllis and Sharon are all part of a cover-up in J.T.’s murder.  How aware is Billy in the depths of the abuse Victoria suffered at the hands of J.T.?

JASON:  There was never really a big realization about how dramatic, hurtful, and volatile the whole situation was.  It was a shock to hear all of that obviously, but he has no idea about the depths of it all.

Photo: CBS

If he found out, how do you think he would react knowing what Victoria had gone through?

JASON:  I think he would probably want to kick him again and then re-bury him. Billy has got a lot of flaws, but there is one thing that he will do, and that is always stand up for his family, and that includes Victoria.

Currently, it is just devastating for Billy when Katie goes missing.   He’s like, “I can’t go through this again after what happened with Delia,” and I know you didn’t play the Delia material, because you weren’t on the show at that time.  However, this does give you the opportunity to tap into all of that.

JASON:  Yes!  I mean, that is his biggest fear … going through all of that again.  I think that he would rather not be on the planet than go through all of that again.  What happened to Delia is never going to ever leave him.  I can’t imagine that something like that ever really does.  You just deal with it on a daily basis probably, and things come up, and you feel it all over again, and this is one of those moments.

Courtesy/CBS

I think that you being a father of two children now in your own life; really gives you a perspective when you play these things types of emotions and scenes out.

JASON:  Definitely.  Peter Bergman (Jack) and I were having a conversation about how much life and living, and trying to live a full life, really helps you with your acting.  I work really hard on my craft, but the most important thing that I can do for my work and my career is live a full life.  With the kids and everything else in my personal life, that to me is something that I can always draw upon.  It’s hard to even let myself go there sometimes, because of how scary it would be.  But yeah, I think Billy is not far off from that.  That character has a lot of life and is tied to this volcano and it’s just waiting to erupt, and that eruption is good and full of liveliness fear, and anger.  Some of that comes from hurt, and some of that comes from pain, and some of that comes from a good time, and some of that comes from addiction, and it makes it fun for me because there’s always something to play.  When I talk about what I think of a particular story line, I don’t think of it as, “Oh, I would never do this,” or “I would never do that.  That doesn’t make any sense.”  I try and make sense of everything.  That’s my job.  I just try to find a reason why Billy would be in that situation; instead of trying to find a reason why he wouldn’t be.

Photo: JPI Studios

Would you say that the situation with Katie will draw Victoria and Billy closer together?  At the end of Friday’s episode, they hear Katie’s voice in the wall, so they know she is alive.

JASON:  I think so.  One step up is often two steps back with them, but they are always connected in that way.  The kids do that, and what they’ve been through in the past, and like you said, I wasn’t necessarily there for a lot of that, but it’s in this character.  I would never say never with Victoria.

Photo: CBS

So, where is Billy at with Phyllis?  You and Gina Tognoni played that coupling to the hilt and the show separated them.  Major romances are never really ‘done, done’ on soaps.

JASON:  I mean, it only gets worse with Phyllis.  I’ll say that.  They’re not in a good place.   We have gone through some changes behind the scenes.  So, I have no idea what is happening as far as storyline.  I think there is always going to be something unresolved with Phyllis, but that’s the good thing about this kind of stuff.  You can put these two people together when you have two actors who kind of embrace it, and work at it, and have a natural chemistry, which in turn helps the characters have chemistry.  When Gina and I talk about what we did and accomplished with our characters, to be honest, it’s a little bit of a bummer that they are kind of apart right now, because we had a lot of fun.  We really enjoyed working with each other.  We felt like there was a lot more there to continue to explore, but like you said, it’s never over.  As far as the way that he sees Phyllis … it’s interesting.  I think as an outsider, he kind of looks at her as a selfish person who is going to get and grab whatever she wants, but I feel like he does understand her differently than other people do.  I think he’s looking at Nick and Phyllis and shaking his head like, “You can’t be serious.” (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI

You have had quite a gold mine of leading ladies in your daytime career from: Kimberly McCullough (Robin) to Kelly Monaco (Sam) while you portrayed Dr, Patrick Drake on General Hospital, to Gina and Amelia at Y&R.  I have to say that of all of the leading men on daytime, I think you’ve had consistently some major romantic kickass scene partners.  What are your thoughts on that?

JASON:  Yeah, I have been very fortunate.  I can go back thirteen years now and talk about how much Kimberly helped me out in the beginning, and how patient, and impatient (laughs) she was in a lot of ways.  Kimberly taught me a lot about how the business is, and to hold onto your values, and that it is very important to collaborate with your directors, and your writers, and your producers, and with other people that you work with.  You then see new things.  I’m constantly seeing things in other characters where I’m like, “That would be really interesting to shine a light on.”   I think there’s something really interesting about Sharon (Sharon Case) and Billy.  I think Billy could bring something out in Sharon that somebody else can’t.  That’s what is exciting for me as an actor – trying to find something different and trying to bring life that is not necessarily there yet.  I have had a lot of trust from writers, from producers, and from networks.  I have been very fortunate in that way.

Hunter King has returned to Y&R as Summer.  She played havoc in Billy’s life her last go-round.  I know now she is currently after Kyle (Michael Mealor) and not after Billy, but does Billy blame her at all for his spiral back into his gambling addiction?

JASON:  Realistically, if  Billy were really being dead honest about it and trying to really work soberly in his life, he would say there’s nobody to blame but himself.  There’s definitely that conversation that could be had between them about the situation that they found themselves in.  They both hurt each other pretty badly, and the people surrounding them.  I think there is probably a little bit of blame that can go around on both of them, but I don’t think he really sits back and blames her for falling back into addiction.  She might have been one of the triggers, but I think that he was really responsible for that.

Congratulations on your Daytime Emmy Pre-Nom in the Lead Actor category!  It’s quite a talented group of ten actors that made it through to the final round of competition. You certainly had a stellar year of material!

JASON:  I had a ton of great storylines last year, and it just kind of kept going, and kept going One thing I will say that really helped me out is my relationship with Mal Young (Ex- EP and head writer, Y&R).  We got along really well.  He helped me out by letting me know six months ahead of time where we planned on going with the story.  So, I was able to understand and slowly build the depths of hurt, and the gambling, and how it got further along, and the lies.   I was able to understand where we were going and the plateau that we needed to get to, which was very helpful for me. I worked with amazing people constantly; every day was like something different.  The hard part in this next round of voting is trying to find something that represents the whole year.  When I look at that list of pre-nominees, I’m proud of the work that daytime actors do … everybody from a little bit of a younger guy like Billy Flynn (Chad, DAYS) to icons like Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) , and Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH).  What Maurice brought to my life as an actor and still does has been wonderful, and on the other side of that you’ve got Peter Bergman, who is like a real brother to me now, and we’re really close.  It’s a nice comradery between everybody in the category.  It’s a great group of people to be included with, and aside from the competition part of it, that’s the really cool part.

Photo Credit: JPI

So, let’s talk about your on-screen, mom, Jess Walton (Jill).  I’ve heard you say publicly how much you really like working with her, and she with you.  What can you say about when you do get some scenes with Jess, and get to play that mother-son relationship?

JASON:  That’s another one that you can loop in with all of the other women I’ve worked with.  It’s a different kind of relationship, but talk about a soap icon! Jess Walton is right up there.  She’s a pro, and she’s got this little girl inside that is the sweetest thing alive, and her little giggle.  I can say that relationship is just there with her.  I would love for her to be there more.  If there’s one person that can tell Billy to just, you know what, she’s somebody that can give him a little whipping, and he’d be like, “Okay mom, you’re right.” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Finally, you are on this juggernaut of a show that just celebrated yet another milestone, 30 years at #1.  You go from a historic show like GH, to another here at Y&R that keeps celebrating these milestones that nobody will ever overtake.  All of this has to be a ‘pinch yourself’ moment for you?

JASON:  Yeah, I definitely pinch myself.  I think at this moment, all four soaps that are left are having monumental anniversaries and celebrations, because the truth of it is, it’s really incredible what soaps have done in our history.  With playing Patrick on General Hospital, I still look back on that time and that character, and am just so grateful that I was able to bring him to life.  Every once and awhile I wonder what Patrick’s doing.  On the other end of that, to come over to Y&R with a show that is now 30 years at number #1, and the pride that they have, and the support that they have from the network, there’s a real kind of challenge that we have in order to keep that up.  It is not about the slogans, or the glitzy ad campaigns in the magazines that say, “Hey!  We are #1 for 30 years.”  While that’s very important, what’s more important are the people who have gotten us there for the last thirty years.  We have to show them respect by doing the best that we can and continue that. That’s what drives us. You can feel it in the building.  To take on a character like Billy, who has been a part of that for a very long time, there is a pressure that comes with that, but at the same time, there is an excitement of taking on this character and continuing to make him relevant, and a part of this great soap’s history.

So, do you want Billy to end up with Victoria, Phyllis, perhaps Sharon, or someone else? Who do you think has got Katie and is watching the Newmans?  Are you rooting for Jason to receive a Lead Actor nomination for his work on Y&R in 2018?  What do you think about the other sentiments shared by Jason in this interview, and what was your favorite part of our discussion? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey Interview – Day of Days 2018

Days of our Lives stars Freddie Smith (Sonny) and Chandler Massey (Will) chat with Michael Fairman at NBC’s Day of Days 2018 celebrating the 53rd anniversary of the long-running daytime drama series.

During the interview, the duo tease what’s to come for #WilSon with Paul’s (Christopher) departure from the canvas, Will getting his memory back, and the trouble that will soon arise when a certain someone is “back from the dead”.

Freddie and Chandler also talk about being a soap power couple on-screen, and reveal some of their favorite scenes, and chat up the new DOOL app and their fun content within it.

Watch below our latest chat with Freddie and Chandler.  Make sure to check out all the Day of Days 2018 interviews with the cast of DAYS on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube,  Make sure to “subscribe” to view all the features and videos/

Now, let us know what you thought of the conversation with Freddie and Chandler below, and what was your favorite part of it, via the comment section below.

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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Days of our Lives

Airdate:12-24-2018

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