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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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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!

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.

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

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

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!!!!

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…

Tissues please!

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!!

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.

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

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!

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

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!!

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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…….

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!!!!

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.

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.

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.

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!!!

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!

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!

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

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

great interview

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.

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!!!!

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.

Days Of Our Lives

Matthew Ashford and Melissa Reeves Talk Return to DAYS for Doug’s Funeral, Susan Seaforth Hayes, and Their Enduring Friendship

Last week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode which is tentatively scheduled to air on December 3rd. The story will feature emotional and heart-tugging scenes of Doug Williams funeral and honor his portrayer, the beloved Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th at the age of 98.

While the actors, producers, and crew took a lunch time break to pose for some pictures and speak with the press, they knew they would have to get back to taping the funeral, which was going to make it a tough day, but also cathartic for all who loved Bill Hayes.

Several returns have thus far been announced including; Melissa Reeves reprising her signature role of Jennifer Horton (a part she first played in 1985), and Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux. Reeves had last appeared on the show back in 2021, and she was replaced by Emmy-winner Cady McClain in her absence when Jennifer was in storylines. In real-life, Melissa had moved full-time to Tennessee along with her husband, Scott Reeves (ex-DAYS, GH, Y&R). Now, and as previously reported, Reeves will first appear back on DAYS for the Thanksgiving episodes with the Hortons.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Matt and Melissa during the 15,000th episode celebration to get their take on: being back for these special episodes, how it has been working with and watching Susan Seaforth Hayes portray Julie’s grief over losing Doug, and how they have supported each other through the years. Check out what they shared below.

Melissa, you are back on the set of Days of our Lives for this very emotional and special moment in the series history. How does it feel?

MELISSA: Oh, my goodness. I am honored. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but to be here for Bill. He was like my real-life dance partner. He taught me how to ballroom dance. And to be here for Susan, of course, who’s just been our sweet hero this whole week. We’re just following her lead. She’s just been this incredibly strong example for us in the midst of this trial and season of her life. She is like just lifting us all up with her. It’s been incredible.

I was at Bill Hayes memorial service which was truly incredible and I know at the time you were in Tennessee. It was moving and celebratory of his life, all at the same time.

MELISSA: That’s all I have heard. I have to watch it on You Tube. They said it was just a real celebration of his life and I love that.

Photo: JPI

This must be difficult for Susan Seaforth Hayes depicting the death of Doug, when she is still grieving the loss of her beloved husband. (Susan pictured above with the returning Stephen Schnetzer who plays her on-screen brother, Steve Olson).

MELISSA: I’m sure Susan has those moments at home by herself, but she’s so good at being a leader and leading all of us. We’re following her, you know, and she’s like, “This is how I want to feel today.” And we’re just going along with her, you know? It’s so sweet.

Photo: JPI

How is it to see Matt Ashford again live and in-person?

MELISSA: You know, Matt and I can go years without talking, or seeing each other, and then the minute we see each other we’re chatting away.

MATT: Melissa was out on set doing a scene yesterday on the phone talking to a stage manager; as she was telling some really tough news on the phone. I’m like crying in the background, literally, I’m off-stage crying.

MELISSA: And then we get like back into normal life, and we’re like, okay, “What’s happening? What’s happening with this … or what’s happening with that?”

I had read, Melissa, that you were in touch with Matt about if there night be a possibility for you to reprise your role as Jennifer for these special episodes?

MELISSA: Yes. Well, Matt was like, “Hey! Would you want to come back? “And I was like, “Matt, you know, I would always come back. ”

MATT:  Every time I come here to Days of our Lives, they ask, “Where’s Missy? How’s Missy?” Everybody backstage says, “I miss her.” All of the crew is asking about her and saying, “It would be nice to see Missy. Nothing wrong with you Matt, but …”  They said, “Where is she?” I said, “She wants to come!”

Photo: JPI

There are some beautiful photos of Missy and Bill and Susan thorough the years that I found. It just reminded me of just the deep and entrenched history we all have had with the show, personally and professionally.

MATT: Missy is roughly the age where Francis Reid (ex-Alice Horton) was when she started the show, which is just crazy.

Photo: JPI

I’ve always said Missy was going to be the next generation Alice. Do you feel that Jennifer is the heir apparent matriarch of the Horton family?

MELISSA: Yes. I mean, this has been greatest blessing of my life, and that would be great. I told Ken Corday (executive producer, Days of our Lives) when I was 17 that this show would be my life. Ken always told me, “This is your home,” and I’ve always felt like that.

How have gotten through the scenes watching Susan Seaforth Hayes as Julie go through the loss of Doug?

MATT: Susan is bringing her best performance life for her and Bill. I mean, she’s a showbiz baby. She always has been one hundred percent, and she’s doing it for him, and this is who they’ve always been. So, you’re seeing this amazing performance colored by her life. She has her private life as Susan, but she has enough plugged into Julie that she’s done amazing work. The director, producers and writers are giving her room to live in these moments and it’s quite wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Have you already broken down in tears during the taping?

MELISSA: Yesterday, but today’s taping of the actual funeral I think they want us to try and be just more celebratory.

MATT: I mean, it is a beautiful long life for Bill Hayes and his character of Doug Williams, and so it will be about that. Then, you get a bunch of us together in the church pews, and there’s going to be hijinks.

MELISSA: We all have been through the waves of grief. You have that awful cry and then all of a sudden you feel okay.  There are those family situations we are portraying where you’re like, “What do we do? What do we do now? You know, no one knows what to do. But, it’s so sweet. I’m looking forward to seeing how the scenes all turn out.

So, are you glad that Matt and Melissa are back for the 15K episode and Doug’s funeral? From what we can tell, it’s going to be quite an emotional journey for Days of our Lives fans, and especially the performance of Susan Seaforth Hayes, 

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Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Talks on Decision to Make Days of our Lives 15000th Episode About Doug’s Funeral, and Previews Chances for WGA Award

This week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode. In of it itself, that is an incredible accomplishment for the long-running soap opera currently streaming on Peacock.

However, this on set gathering was a bit different. Though the show is celebrating their achievement, they are also in the middle of taping scenes surrounding the death and the funeral of Doug Williams, played by the late Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th of this year at the age of 98.

As previously revealed many longtime favorites are back to honor Bill and the character of Doug including: Gloria Loring (Liz), Melissa Reeves (Jennifer), Matthew Ashford (Jack), Maree Cheatham (Marie), Victoria Konefal (Ciara) and Stephen Schnetzer (Steve) to name but a few.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV was in attendance and spoke with Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati to gain some insight into how the 15,000 episode was crafted and the decision to honor the character of Doug Williams and Bill Hayes as its epicenter. In addition, Ron weighed-in on this Sunday’s April 14th WGA (Writers Guild of America) Awards, where he and his writing team are facing off with General Hospital for the daytime drama prize. Here’s what Ron shared below.

Was this your idea to make the 15,000th episode centered around Doug’s funeral and passing?

RON: It was. When you’re looking at it, and laying out the calendar for the whole year and you see 15,000 is coming up, we’re like, “What are we going to do?” And then, we got the news that Bill had passed away and something kind of clicked. I was like, “We should honor Doug on that show.” So then, we started to kind of build around that … when does he pass away? How does he pass away? Who could come back? You know, it’s a lot.  I’m very pleased with the returns that we got as there’s so much that you could do. We wanted everybody we could get. So, we put together a wish list and Janet Drucker (co-executive producer, Days of our Lives) made it happen.

Photo: JPI

You have Melissa Reeves back as Jennifer, when the role was last played by Cady McClain. What has it meant to have Missy back for these shows?

RON: It was so nice to see Missy Reeves. I think Cady has done such a good job, but on the 15,000th episode to see Missy as Jennifer, it’s a big deal. So having her was great, and overall, the milestone was a big undertaking, because you want to live up to it. You want the 15,000th episode to be good. Now, it has a lot of real emotion that you’re playing. because for the cast and the crew they’re honoring Bill Hayes just as much as we’re honoring Doug Williams.

Photo: JPI

Was it hard for you and the team to write this episode?

RON: Yes. I’ll tell you why it was hard to write.  When I wrote, for example, Asa’s (Phillip Carey) death on One Life to Live or Victor’s (John Aniston) on DAYS, Asa is a different type of character. Like, you could have characters going, “Oh! I’m glad he is dead.” You could have different points of view, but with Doug, you’re not having that. Every person loves this man. No one had a bad relationship with him. So, you’re challenge as a writer is how do you make it that not everybody’s saying the same thing and doing the same thing. And so, we tried to find ways to make the episode about all the familial relationships and yet, how do you make it about Doug and yet broaden the scope.

Photo: JPI

I had spoken to Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), a week after Bill’s memorial, for an interview. She said that she felt very fortunate that you did include her on discussions of how you would tackle Doug’s passing. How did that conversation go?

RON: First, I attended Bill’s funeral, which was incredible. I said to so many people it was an emotional service, but it was hard to be sad at this. The guy had an incredible life and it was an incredible celebration. And so, you’re sitting there watching this knowing that you now have to write something similar. And how do you write something that lives up to what you just witnessed? I wanted to talk to Susan to get her thoughts about, you know, how much do you want this to be about keeping Bill separate from Doug. How comfortable are you sharing your grief. She was incredible to talk to. It was a great chat.

You’re in the middle of taping these major scenes for the 15,000 episode to air in December. How do you think it’s going? Have you seen any of the scenes?

RON:  I haven’t seeing anything. I mean, we were still making changes to the script up till this morning!

Photo: JPI

The Writers Guild Awards are this Sunday, April 14th and once again this year there are two daytime drama nominees, General Hospital and Days of our Lives. How are you feeling about your chances this year?

RON: It is often just GH and us in the category. I’ve won three years in a row, so I’m kind of feeling like it’s their turn.

Photo: JPI

What episodes did you submit for contention? If I recall, they had to do with Victor’s memorial.

RON: The episodes we submitted were centered around Victor’s funeral. I think one has story with Vivian (Louise Sorel). We had some fun stuff, we had some emotional stuff at Victor’s death, and I am pretty sure that our submission was three episodes right around that time.

Did you make the decision to go with those episodes because there was a mix of humor and drama?

RON: I like to have some humor, but it was also the funeral, then there’s Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) giving birth, and then Vivian’s crashing the reading of the will. So, we had a lot of fun and it’s hard sometimes to pick three that tell a story, as opposed to submitting for the Daytime Emmys, where the writing team only submits two shows. So, we shall see how it goes on Sunday.

Courtesy/Peacock

So, are you looking forward to the emotional 15,000th episode of Days of our Lives? Do you think DAYS will take home the WGA writing award for daytime dramas for the 4th year in a row? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

(INTERVIEW) Eric Martsolf Previews DAYS Stars on ‘Weakest Link’, How He Fared in the Game, Plus Welcoming New Tate, Leo Howard

Tuesday night on NBC’s Weakest Link (9 p.m. ET/PT), the stars of Days our of Lives test their knowledge, and try to win big money for the charity of their choice on the newest season of the popular game show hosted by Jane Lynch. In case you miss it, you can also catch the episode on Wednesday streaming on Peacock.

The question on everyone’s mind is … who will be revealed as Salem’s weakest link? Who will be left standing at the end of the game? DAYS favorites: Eric Martsolf (Brady) Brynn Dattilo (Lucas), Galen Gering (Rafe), Martha Madison (Belle), Victoria Konefal (ex-Ciara), Zach Tinker (Sonny), Tina Huang (Melinda) and Lindsay Arnold (ex-Allie) play while literally having the task of throwing their co-stars under the bus. The contestant who receives the highest number of votes leaves the game throughout, as Lynch declares their exit with the now iconic phrase, “You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.” 

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric Martsolf, who daytime fans know is great as a host in his own right and oh-so-fun at playing any trivia game you throw at him. Martsolf gave us the inside scoop of what it was like to be on the set and backstage in a rather nerve-wracking environment, and trying to come off as smart while Jane Lynch roasts you at the same time!

Photo: NBC

In addition, Eric shared his thoughts on the new Tate, as Leo Howard takes over the role of his on-screen son from Jamie Martin Mann on the April 5th episode of Days of our Lives, plus working with Emily O’Brien as Theresa, and the loss of the legendary Bill Hayes. Check out what Eric had to say below.

Did you know about the game before? Had you watched the original version of the Weakest Link, or this latest incarnation?

ERIC: I was very, very familiar with the game because I found, as someone who enjoys hosting, that has to be one of the best hosting gigs out there because they just have extreme liberties in belittling the contestants, and it’s all done in jest of course, but it’s great. Jane Lynch is a master.

Did you get to meet Jane Lynch before she hit the stage for the taping?

ERIC: I don’t think any of us met her prior to being on the set. So, we’re standing there behind our podiums and these cyber lights just point all in one direction. At one point when we’re out there, it was kind of a hurry up and wait thing. We’re just like, “When is this going to start?” Then, here Jane comes and in all her glory in a beautiful navy-blue suit. She just prances onto stage and just glares over at us, and starts making fun of a silly soap opera actors like you wouldn’t believe. It was just great. I’ll let the public see what how she crucified us. But it was all done in fun.

Photo: NBC

Did she crucify you?

ERIC: I don’t think anybody got out unscathed to be honest with you.

For those that don’t know the game, you try to eliminate those that are the weakest in answering questions.

ERIC: Correct, and therein lies the problem. Historically, I think the Weakest Link is comprised of contestants that don’t really know each other, and in this case, you have not only coworkers, but almost family members because we all know each other very, very well. It’s a tight circle and even more so when you’re on the same show. So, we all went in into it pretty nervous because the premise of the game is to expose the inadequacy of people’s knowledge of general facts and information. So, essentially, you’re voting each other off because you don’t think they’re as smart as you are and that they’re the least smart in the group. So, I mean, that in itself is pretty, pretty tough to swallow. It was really hard, because you have to look at your friends in the eye and go, “yeah, I don’t think you’re going to get the next couple questions. You’re not the smartest, you’re not the crispiest chip in the bag. I’m going to let you go. ”

Did you feel bad about some of the eliminations?

ERIC: At one point, without giving away any spoilers, I voted off someone that without a doubt, has more smarts and education than I do. I just felt silly. But, you know, the way the game was going, I just felt it was the right. There is a bit of strategy involved. I’m worried about the airing of this particular episode because I did fumble some questions that people are going to turn their heads and go, “Really? You didn’t get that one?” It’s so much easier to answer these questions at home in your pajamas than it is, you know, looking at Jane Lynch in the eye with 6,000 lights at your face in front of cameras. Your brain tends to wander. So yes, we all had had some answers that we couldn’t believe we didn’t get at the time!

Photo: NBC

Did it get very competitive?

ERIC: There was little competition there. If I recall, it’s Galen and Bryan that went at it a little bit and had some laughs. But again, I can’t stress this enough, it was all done with fun. At the end of the day, every one of us wanted to win. I think the smartest person did actually come out victorious.

Now in the game, for those that have never seen it, you’re on your podium, and then Jane gives a question, right?

ERIC:  It’s a firing squad of questions. You only have a certain amount of time to answer. If you get the correct answer or the wrong answer, you immediately, go to the next contestant and you have a certain amount of time. And then, at the end of that line of questioning, everyone gets to vote as to who they believed was the biggest dummy in the group. (Laughs) Some questions are simple. You know, “What color is Santa Claus’ suit?” And then, the next question is “What is 648,000 times 14?” or what’s the population of some obscure country? So, that was the biggest challenge. Someone else might get, “What is the main ingredient of a banana split?” And my question could be like, “How much is 9,430 times x 59 million?” There’s an intimidation factor that Jane Lynch brings to it when she’s staring you down.

Photo: NBC

When the cast finished the entire game, what happened backstage?

ERIC:  The best part was there were these post interviews that the Weakest Link conducts where you have to go into a dark black room. I think my first question was, “How did you feel about that wrong answer?” They don’t let up. They just keep jabbing at you. “Did you feel ridiculous getting the wrong answer to that fourth-grade level question?” (Laughs) There was also a lot of trash talk with that happened after the show. It got so competitive. If I recall, we were all supposed to go out together and get a meal with everybody, and that never happened. They’re like, “I’m not eating lasagna with you right now. You just voted me off!” Now, even the first person that gets voted off, you’re going to be shocked, because I thought this person would probably win it. In the game, you want the best people to remain on the panel because that’s what drives up the money.

Photo: JPI

Later this week on DAYS, we will see the debut of your new on-screen son, Leo Howard, taking over from Jamie Martin Mann as Tate.

ERIC: How about that?  I just did a post on Instagram, because I saw that Jamie Martin Mann had liked and hearted a post about Leo Howard coming on the show. I just thought that was so classy of him. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, “This is the new guy. Embrace him. He’s good. I’ve met him. He is a good guy.” It’s about handing off the character baton sometimes, sort to speak. I was really proud of those guys. I reached out to Jamie. He just wants to go to college and be a student. I understand that. That’s important.

Photo: JPI

Is that challenging for you as an actor since you’ve built this relationship with the one guy as your son, and now you’ve got to pivot and create a different kind of energy with someone else taking on the part?

ERIC: Leo Howard has been in the industry for a while, with some very good credits to his name. He brings a certain charisma to this role that I think people are really going to love. And yes, he’s older, but he plays younger, and he has that ability and he’s pulling it off brilliantly. I can’t wait for people to see him, but of course I miss Jamie. Emily O’Brien (Theresa) and I really grew to love him very quickly because the storyline got so deep, so quickly, with the drug intervention and then him getting beat up in in prison. I mean, as a father, that’s the kind of stuff that you have nightmares about, you know, your kids being in pain.

Photo: JPI

I still love the fact that Emily O’Brien is still noticeably wearing a blonde wig as Theresa. What are your thoughts on how the transition has been for you, and for her pivoting to a completely different role?

ERIC: I hadn’t worked with Emily much before, because Gwen and Brady never really crossed paths. We all saw the transition that she had to make. When I became Brady, the character hadn’t been on the map for three years.  When she became Theresa, she walks out one gate and comes through the other as Theresa. We all had a good giggle about it. That’s hard to ask an audience to go,  OK, I’m Gwen, now I’m Theresa.” I was scrolling through X (formerly Twitter) and I saw a couple posts from fans that said how they were really weary, at first, about accepting Emily O’Brien as Theresa. But after today’s episode, they shared, “I’m loving her as Tate’s mom, and the chemistry she has with the family.” I texted Emily and I said, “I just want to let you know that you’re just bringing it home really brilliantly, and people are starting to come around.” I think they’ll do that with Leo Howard too.

Photo: JPI

What had it been like without the iconic Bill Hayes (Doug Williams) coming to work and being part of the Days of our Lives cast since his passing?

ERIC: You really do miss that presence in the hallways. He was a song and dance guy and I am a song and dance guy. as well. I kind of find myself the lone singer in the makeup room sometimes, but I could always count on Bill. He’d be humming some old tune from the sixties. I’d start humming along and he’d just kind of lean over and take a look at me, and give a little smile. Everyone else was probably irritated at us, but we just kept singing along. and it’s like 6:30 in the morning. I think Bill was a lot like the late John Aniston (ex-Victor), in the sense that I don’t really feel like he felt he was working. He was just always having fun right up until the end. That little number he did with his wife, Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), and Dick Van Dyke (guest starring as Timothy Robicheaux), where he was singing along, he was just living it. It was so cute and so adorable to watch.

Photo: JPI

Your final tease for the Weakest Link tonight is, “Fans should watch because …”

ERIC: Fans should watch it because if they thought we were smart before, wait till they see the show.

You can check out the cold open for tonight’s Weakest Link “Days of our Lives special” below.

Now let us know, will you be watching Eric and his co-stars, past and present, attempting to showcase their knowledge on the ‘Weakest Link? Intrigued to see Leo Howard and Eric in scenes as new Tate and his father, Brady? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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