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The Ron Carlivati Interview – One Life to Live

© JPI Studios

Photo Credit: Steven Bergman

If you are tuning in to One Life to Live these days (and if you are not, you should get with it and get on the bandwagon, folks)  you are witness to one incredible complex mystery filled with more twists and turns and ups and downs then even the fiercest of rollercoasters at your favorite amusement park. We can only be talking about the mystery of the “Two Todds!”

With the announcement that Daytime Emmy winner Roger Howarth would be returning to Llanview after more than eight years, that set the stage for OLTL’s Emmy winning head writer, Ron Carlivati, to develop and construct a riveting tale of what would happen if a man with the original Todd’s face (scar and all) returned to Llanview to reclaim his life, while another Todd, who as far we know, also believes he is Todd (and has had his face reconstructed to look like someone else!) and is running around town being the father and husband to his beloved family. Will the real Todd please stand up?

Now Carlivati and company have brought the story to an exciting boiler point on tomorrow’s episode of OLTL when all characters and roads lead to the “Vicker Man” premiere and thus the stage is set for an entrance by Roger’s Todd to the shock and awe of his family and enemies!  On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Ron Carlivati to take us through the confusing and yet exciting elements that make the “Tale of the Two Todds” must see daytime television and to give us his insight and a preview of what is to come!

We also get the head scribe’s thoughts on the heartbreaking news that OLTL was canceled by ABC and will be ending its network television run after 43 years, and then the surprising turn of events which now has One Life being given another life to live with its upcoming move to the web to continue the story. With so many obstacles, changes, and hurdles to deal with including the exit of one of the show’s most popular actors, Trevor St. John (Todd), Carlivati has had to be a quick change artist at times. But from our chat below, he informs us it’s all now on course, and he is excited for all of you to see how it all plays out!

MICHAEL:

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With the “Two Todds” story, was that difficult to plot out because you did not know if Roger or Trevor were coming or going?  Did it kind of morph and change?

RON:

I have got to admit it was tricky.  I gambled a little bit when we started laying some stuff in with Tomas and the CIA files, and this was before Roger has signed on.  I had a backup plan if there was no reveal of Roger, but it ended up working out beautifully with Roger agreeing to come back to One Life to Live. And, we were able to flip it in and we were then able to make it all sort of make sense.  That was really the beginning of the whole story, that is: which one of these guys is the real Todd Manning?  And, I had envisioned we would have two Todds on the canvas for a long time to come.

MICHAEL:

That is what I thought, too!  I know how you write, so I thought having two Todds on the show at the same time was the really cool thing of it.

RON:

Right, and you have this great story of which guy is Todd?  But, once that question is answered you could have both guys on the canvas and tons and tons of story that could be generated from that. Unfortunately, Trevor St. John decided not to stay.  So I had more of a timeline of how to play out the story and how to get the most out of how I could milk having both Todd’s, sort of speak, on the canvas, until one had to exit the canvas, meaning Trevor.  I really in some ways tried to go with it whole-hog and blow through the story and get everything out of having both guys on the canvas.

MICHAEL:

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Right, but if you had your druthers, you would have liked to have had it play out a lot longer having both Todd’s in Llanview.

RON:

Exactly, because you see how rich that story is and it is just starting a rivalry that could last for years to come.  Unfortunately, I did not have that luxury, but either way it generated tons and tons of story and the show is going to remain really exciting even with Trevor’s exit.

MICHAEL:

Did you want Roger Howarth to come back as soon as you knew As the World Turns was going off the air?

RON:

Yeah, that was such a terrible thing to lose that show, but then there was a little part of me that went, “Oh my gosh!  We could possibly have Roger Howarth back.”  And you see how long that actually took to happen.  But, it is something that I always really wanted because I had an idea of how there could be two Todd’s on the canvas.  It’s such a fun story to tell, and while far out in some ways, it really just affects a family and how it will tear them apart, and then ultimately bring them back together.  It has got that Sci-fi crazy aspect of: how can there be two guys with the same name, if not the same face.  It really comes down to the relationships and the emotions and what does it do to Tea, Blair, and Starr, and what does it do to Viki?

MICHAEL:

Was there ever a moment when you were with your writing team going, “What the hell are we going to do here?” (Laughs)

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

I had an idea at the beginning, but when you get into the nitty gritty that is when you are like, “Ok, but how do we explain this?  And how does Walker Laurence fit into it?  And how does the fact that we have a DNA test fit into it?”  And you take all those pieces and you try to make a story that can make as much logical sense as humanly possible, given the situation.  I have got to say, it was a challenge and a lot of fun.  It was exciting as much for us as the audience, seeing Roger return, and the two guys coming face-to-face and now the anticipation of the rest of Todd Mannings family and loved ones, seeing Roger Howarth’s character.

MICHAEL:

And then …. You don’t know who to believe!

RON:

Exactly, you don’t know what Trevor’s Todd knows, and you are along for the ride. And with each little step it gets more exciting, in my humble opinion. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Many fans are upset that Trevor has left the show early before it concludes on network television.  As the head writer, how do you feel about Trevor St. John’s work as Todd?  I loved it.  Did you?

RON:

Oh absolutely!  And while Trevor has been a different Todd, he has been a fantastic Todd.  I was excited about having both guys on the canvas as viable characters regardless of what we would be calling them.  So yes, in no way was I chomping at the bit to get Roger back so that I could replace Trevor with him.  I always thought it could be great and we could have both guys.  And that was what was exciting for me, to be able to tell “The Battle of the Todds” story.

MICHAEL:

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With a nod to fans who love Trevor and those who love Roger, can we possibly hope no one will end up being a true bad guy as Todd?

RON:

Bottom line is: Todd Manning is sort of a bad guy.  So there is going to be that part of it no matter what.  I understand what you are asking.  Will everyone be happy?  I don’t know about that.  We can’t necessarily make everyone happy.  People feel strongly that they want one guy to be Todd and that one is an imposter.  I think as far as that goes, the way it is resolved should make a lot of people happy, and I know there are some things that will probably upset certain fan bases, but that is part of the storytelling.

MICHAEL:

On Friday’s air show, a lot happens at the “Vicker Man” Premiere!

RON:

Yes, the “Vicker Man” premiere is sort of the backdrop for everything.

MICHAEL:

A Ron Carlivati special… that is what I call it… (Laughs) where every story is interwoven and intertwined and then “bam!”  So, what we have here is, this should be the first time that the Manning family sees two Todds?

RON:

© JPI Studios

Exactly!  And I always had that image and I did not know it would be at the “Vicker Man” premiere, but I always felt it should be one of those big soapy kind of events with everybody dressed up.  And, I imagined the heads turning in slow motion when Roger’s Todd walks in the door.  I wanted that big impact of when he walks into a crowded room and the shock on everyone’s face!

MICHAEL:

And there are always DNA tests on soaps.  And in particular, Ron, there are lots of bungled DNA tests on One Life to Live! What is up with that? (Laughs)

RON:

I know.  On our show our lab is very busy and should probably be shut down by the department of health! (Laughs)  So DNA will figure dramatically into the story.

MICHAEL:

OK now, “Hold the Diploma”, the porno movie starring Nate and Deena.  Did you come up with that hilarious title?  Clearly this figures in prominently to the “Vicker Man” premiere!

RON:

I will be honest.  It started off as the original movie that tied in with the Eddie Ford murder, that was actually called, “Hold the Sausage” and Standards and Practices would not allow the title of “Hold the Sausage” but for some reason they were OK with “Hold the Pepperoni”! (Laughs) I was not exactly sure why, other than it was more accessible? (Laughs) So then when we were moving forward into this other porno movie, we came up with a spin-off which came from one of my other writers that said, “We like the “Hold the…” idea, and because Nate was graduating from High School, one of the other writers came up with “Hold the Diploma”.

MICHAEL:

So “Hold the Diploma” somehow gets mixed up with “Vicker Man”?

RON:

© Steven Bergman

It is a publicity stunt on Rick’s part that sets this in motion.

MICHAEL:

Rick is thinking this will be great for himself to sabotage the “Vicker Man” premiere?

RON:

Rick thinks this will be great for himself and what better publicity than this big red carpet premiere and that his work that he is very proud of will be seen.  So he is handing out DVD’s at the movie premiere.  And so, when all of Llanview is gathered and David and Dorian introduce their new movie, and of course Nate and Dani and all of her family are sitting there, Nate’s work appears on the screen. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And there is big fallout from that!

RON:

There is big fallout from that, and what was fun about doing that premiere, you know, was that we had the big story that everyone was waiting for which is Roger Howarth’s Todd, to walk into this party, but yet at the same time, having some fun with some of these other stories along the way.  It is the “Hold the Diploma” group, and there is also a big reveal with Rama and Vimal and Vimal’s parents. They did not know that Rama and Vimal are split up and that Rama is not pregnant.  Rama shows up at the party with sort of a fake pregnancy to show proof for Vimal.  So it is kind of comedic, but it is also very sweet and romantic, with Rama trying to make it up to Vimal.

MICHAEL:

Is there hope for Rama and Vimal?

© Steven Bergman

RON:

Absolutely!  We took a little detour with Cristian, but I think for Rama her marriage to Vimal was an arranged marriage, and in some ways she thought she never got to experience life.  We also know she has got dreams of being rich and having everything.  She lost sight of what she really had.  Rama had stars in her eyes when she was with big hunky Cristian, and she kind of forgot what was important for her. We are now trying to get back to that here.  I actually didn’t know Vimal and Rama would take off the way it did.

MICHAEL:

It’s shocking, right? Who knew?

RON:

Some of that was written before we cast the people, and then we saw Vimal and Rama together. We had already shipped Vimal off to prison and we already started the Rama and Cristian thing and then realized Vimal and Rama were really popular.  So we started to veer the story of getting Vimal out of jail and getting them back together and trying to resolve the Cristian and Rama relationship. There is hope for Rama and Vimal, and there is a fun thing that happens at the premiere with the Patel’s.

MICHAEL:

There is this other matter at the “Vicker Man” premiere of Rex running around with a gun!  I have got to tell you how amazing John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex) has been. Everything you have given him surrounding Gigi’s death, he delivered!

RON:

© JPI Studios

Yes. When we discussed the story with Gigi dying, and where it would take Rex which was to a pretty dark place, there was some concern expressed that what people love about Rex is his funny sense of humor, and his relationship with Bo, and all of that. And while I agree and I think all of that stuff is great, I felt he would be able to do this also.  I thought it would be great to explore another side of that character, and you know that other side of Rex is always going to be there and will eventually come back.  JP has really been amazing.  And, we have taken the character of Rex down this dark path where he has been fixated by revenge, and that is why he sells Gigi’s heart and he takes Clint’s money, because he thinks money and power are the way to get back at Todd and Jack.  And then, the night of the party he turns on the TV.  Rex is in a particularly down place over Gigi and he sees Todd and Jack yucking it up on the red carpet at the premiere, and it sets him off.  He is contemplating this gun and it sort of sets him off on why they get to walk around free.  And, why does Jack get to have a mother when Shane doesn’t have a mother?  Why does Todd have a wife when I don’t have a wife?  He heads to the party with a gun and we don’t know if he intends on using it on Jack, on Blair, on Tea, and so that is happening simultaneously with a lot of the fun stuff around that, and also with the fact that Roger’s Todd is headed to the party.

MICHAEL:

With two Todd’s being at the party and having to write Blair and Tea’s reactions, what were you thinking would be appropriate?  How do they play into this? Are they integral to figuring out who the real Todd is?

RON:

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It is a challenge, because on one hand you want to have a big group moment when Roger’s Todd walks in. But, at the same time you want everybody to have their own reaction.  For example, as you will see, we purposely did not bring Viki to the premiere because I did not want to water down everyone’s reaction, and I wanted to give Viki her own moment when she see’s Roger.  I think we made it more about the immediate Manning family, and I think I wanted to preserve how the Viki and Todd relationship is so special, that I wanted to give it its own moment.  And also, when you have hundreds of people running around in a big party scene like that, it does help limit how far you can go, to some extent.  I think Erika Slezak (Viki) was actually pleased to some extent that I did not make her stand around at the party scenes for four days on end!  We really centered those moments at the party on Blair’s reaction, Tea’s reaction, and Starr’s reaction and Jack’s reaction.  Everybody gets their shocked reaction, and it is not just somebody returning from the dead, because Todd Manning is already standing there with them.  So it is not, Oh thank God, “Todd Manning, you are alive,” and they throw their arms around him. They don’t know who this guy is!

MICHAEL:

Like…. could he be this man with a reconstructed face with a scar on it like Todd’s original face?

RON:

Exactly! You have both guys insisting they are Todd.

MICHAEL:

It’s hard when you think of Trevor’s Todd.  He has loved his kids no matter what he has done.  So for the viewers it has been, “What the hell is going on?  Does he really love Jack and Starr if he is a fake?”

RON:

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Yes and that was clearly real.  I think to say that he has been acting that does not make a lot of sense. So our story tries to take that into account.

MICHAEL:

And Sam is Trevor’s Todd kid, right?  Sam was conceived when Margaret Cochran raped Trevor’s Todd.  Now, I am getting confused! (Laughs)

RON:

Assuming everybody is who they say and who they look to be.  But Sam was conceived when Todd had Trevor’s face.  So if Roger is Todd, the other kids are his.

MICHAEL:

The character of Tomas is he really one of the keys to the mystery, or is he your red-herring in the story?  How did you construct him, because we are all thinking to ourselves, “What is his deal?”  We know he was, or is with the CIA.

RON:

That is a true thing, but there is a little more to it than just that.  He does know a crucial piece of the Todd puzzle and he reveals a little bit more to Blair on the night of the party deeper than, “I was just in the CIA.”  We learn a little more of what his mission was and what he has been hiding from all of them about these two Todds.  Obviously, it will have a big impact on his relationship with Blair and with Tea.  But everybody’s life is about to get a lot more complicated.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

John McBain is sleuthing around and putting together some pieces to the puzzle. And usually he is not a dummy, except for the fact he can’t figure out Liam is his kid. (Laughs)  So, will he be integral to figuring the “Two Todds” mystery?

RON:

Yes. Well, John’s mind is very analytical and he feels there is an answer to this.  John is removed from this emotionally, so he can step back and look at this and be like, “What could be the answer here?”  So he is going to be a big part of who turns out to be Todd but it won’t solely be him. Viki will have a big part in figuring out which guy is which. Viki does hold a key to the whole reveal, and Tomas as well. They will all help unravel this whole thing.

MICHAEL:

When you saw Roger Howarth back on-screen, did you think, “This is amazing!”  Or, that he picked up right where he left off in the role he originated?

RON:

I was thrilled!  And actually, so many years have gone by you forget how good he is in scenes where he is just talking to himself!  And the scenes with Sam we just had so much fun with, and just trying to come up with ways of having Roger’s Todd interact with everybody without yet revealing him to everyone in Llanview, like Sam’s birthday party and that type of stuff.

MICHAEL:

I loved the “Spidey” Man stuff!  So cute and funny!

RON:

Patrick Gibbons Jr., the little boy that plays Sam is adorable. He knows all his lines and he is so much fun.  I think it was just a great addition to the story because he is like the interesting one, because he does not share the same father necessarily as the other kids.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

When the cancellation was handed down by ABC of One Life to Live, how did it change how you were writing this “Tale of the Two Todds” as far as the timing of it?

RON:

I think it came on the heels of Roger Howarth signing on with us.  So it was like, “Yay” we can have Todd and tell this story, and even though I knew we had a limited time with Trevor St. John, I still felt that Roger would continue.  And then there was the… “Oh, but the show is ending.”  So of course, it takes the wind out of your sails a little bit.  It does make you consider the pace of the story, but of course now it has been all thrown up in the air again! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

I wanted to address some things with you, which I call, “The elephant in the room.” I so wanted to reach out to you when the show got canceled, because I know how much you love One Life to Live.  I also know how much it meant to you personally to head write this show. The show has been unbelievable, and holding at number three in the ratings and pretty stellar for almost over a year now where all the stories have really come together.  I was wondering what went through your mind when you found out One Life was canceled, and all of a sudden there is this reprieve that the show will continue online.  Now, we don’t know all the particulars and many issues have not been worked out, but it is a positive thing that the series is moving online. What are your thoughts on this rollercoaster ride?

RON:

Of course, when we heard it was canceled it was devastating.  We had heard rumors.  So you try to prepare yourself, but I don’t think anything prepares you when you hear the words out loud.  So it was definitely a blow for everyone that works here, not just for me.  It was a grieving process for us all.  It was like a death.  I am sure other people have said this to you and it may seem like a cliché’, but it was really true that we went through all the stages of grief over losing the show.  And kind of like right when you are coming to terms with acceptance, and you are achieving that and going “OK, I am at peace with it. We are going out on top. We are going out with good ratings and a good solid show, and I know where everything’s going and I know how it’s going to end,” and then this happens and it changes everything.  Obviously, I am thrilled by the idea that the show can continue.  But it was a surprise and I have to adjust not only the way I am feeling and thinking, but how I am writing the show as well, because it is not the end.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Right, because now you have to leave certain stories perhaps open-ended and cliff-hanged.

RON:

So it is a matter of trying to give it some fitting closure for having been on network television, while at the same time not ending the show because it’s going to continue.

MICHAEL:

Are you hopeful that this will be a great step for soap operas in going to the Internet?

RON:

The prospect of it is very exciting.  There are so many unknowns and I am not educated enough on it to speak about it.  It’s just information I don’t have.  But the idea of it continuing in some new form is very exciting and it does make you feel like, “Now I know what Irna Phillips felt like when her show was going from radio to television.”  And that seemed like, how can that happen?  And yet it did.  So that does give us hope that this new medium could be a great positive thing.  I am excited to see what happens.  I spoke with Agnes Nixon and it was very heartwarming!  I mean, she had to deal with finding out that the two shows she created were going to end.  And to put myself in her shoes…(a) how she must have felt that both shows were going to end and then (b) that they are not necessarily going to end.  I felt, I think happiest for her in a lot of ways.

MICHAEL:

Now was Agnes Nixon going to consult with you on the ending on One Life to Live as she has been with All My Children?

RON:

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You know, she has always been more intimately involved in All My Children, and has been for a really long time. Agnes has always been really wonderful and supportive of me.  I was sort of biding my time and letting her work with the writers on the ending of that show, but I did plan to consult with her on how I was going to wrap up One Life to Live.

MICHAEL:

Because it was her creation and you wanted to be respectful of her?

RON:

Of course, and I had to actually get to the point of writing the end of OLTL and it’s actually changing a little bit.  But she is someone that I am always in contact with, and again, has been so great to me.  I am excited for her with what is happening now with Prospect Park.

MICHAEL:

What would you say to fans of OLTL on why to tune into Friday’s pivotal episode, and even after that, with the “Two Todds” story?

RON:

It is like, you are peeling away the layers of the onion, and this beat is a major step in the story of everyone seeing Roger’s Todd.  But there is just something new every day.  There is everybody seeing him, and then when Viki sees him, and then the whole, “How can there be two Todds?”  It just continues to unfold and you don’t want to miss a day.  It’s a great story.

MICHAEL:

Were there any particular moments during the taping of the “Vicker Man” premiere, that when you saw your script played out during taping, you just had to pinch yourself because you really liked how the beats played out?

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RON:

As far as the premiere, there are a couple of outrageous moments that I did see on tape, but I have not seen the whole thing edited together.  But beside the shocking moment of Roger walking into the party, there are some other things in the Rama and Vimal story, and the “Hold the Diploma” story, that are really hilarious!

MICHAEL:

By the way, lest we forget, are David and Dorian swept under the carpet at their own premiere, Ron?

RON:

I would say, they are upstaged a little bit which is not a place that either one of them likes to be.  I will leave it at that. (Laughs)

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david
Guest
david

Carlivati said, “Trevor St. John decided not to stay.” That isn’t what TSJ said. TSJ wanted to continue but was turned down. I think this was an awful mistake. OLTL would be even better with the two Todd’s competing for the love of their family. I would love to see TSJ return, and I hope his Todd is not killed so this is a possibility.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Actually, from what I understand, before the news of the cancelation came to light, TSJ already had made the decision not to stay with the show. He didn’t resign a long term contract. Somtime later, once everybody that needed to resign did, and after the cancelation happened, TSJ made it clear that he was open to continuing to perform on OLTL, until the end, without a contract, but the show decided to “press on without him.” Bottom line is that this wasn’t some dramatic firing, like on GH with Greg Vaughan / Jonathan Jackson. TSJ had already decided not to… Read more »

Britney
Guest
Britney

Michelle,
That is one version of a story told to a mag by a “setsider” while another ” setsider” told Jamey at DC that TSJ’s offer to stay was declined because they had written alot of the story and couldn’t go back to include him. So there are conflicting rumors or versions floating around from these insiders, was it a contract issue or the fact that they couldn’t rewrite the story? These setsiders need to get their stories straight while spreading these rumors.

Britney
Guest
Britney

Take what RC says with a truckload of salt. He has a history of not telling the truth in his interviews. I believe what Trevor said, he offered to stay and Frank Valentini declined to continue with his character.

MEG
Guest
MEG

TO ME TREVOR IS THE ONLY TODD,HE SURPASSED ROGER LONG AGO .

Mer
Guest
Mer

Meg, Sorry to disagree with you, but i think that ROGER is the only Todd…..i’ve been watching OLTL since day one & while i will agree that Trevor plays a great Todd, theres ONLY ONE TODD & thats Rogers Todd. While Rogers Todd had the rape scenes & they were indeed violent…Roger is one of the best actors to come from Daytime TV. I was soooooo sad to see him go & accepted Trevors Todd & thought he was a fantastic actor, when i saw that the show had gotten Roger Howarth back, i was soooooooo thrilled & happy. Most… Read more »

Kitten Putten
Guest
Kitten Putten

I agree that RH is the only Todd and I love his acting. He’s quirky, funny, and dramatic at the same time. When he imitated Johns’ voice on the phone I laughed. I’m enjoying RC’s writing on OLTL. When they began that porn movie…that was a great scene. I’m looking forward to Friday’s episode (I DVR it) If RC is still going to GH after OLTL goes off TV I’m moving over to GH. I don’t know if this internet things will work.

Dawn
Guest
Dawn

I wish you ask what was he think about putting Ford and Jessica together?

MEG
Guest
MEG

WELL ,DAVID I HOPE RON WON’T BE THAT CRUEL, I’M STILLHOPING TSJ IS TODD ,AND I HOPE HE BRINGS TREVOR BACK ,EVEN IF HE LEAVES HE SHOULD BE TODD AND LEAVE HAPPILY WITH TEA,

aubrey
Guest
aubrey

you went to alot of trouble to convince us trevor was todd and trevor’s brillance convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was todd. Now you are going to no trouble to convince us he’s not. you had pure gold in trevor now whats left of your audience has fool’s gold.

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

Trevor’s Todd loves his kids? Since when? His “kids” are an afterthought. RHTodd fits better with Sam than TSJTodd does. TSJTodd can have DanYELLa

Oh and JPL sucks, he’s sucking the life out of the Gigi storylline and the kid who plays Jack needs to be recast ASAP

Mike
Guest
Mike

Why didn’t you ask about the all important bullying storyline and how it got bungled? Payoffs have to come in a timely manner. We are still waiting for Jack to be punished or wasn’t that the point of bullying?

Linda Dowell
Guest
Linda Dowell

The Two Todd’s story is the best soap story I’ve seen in years and years – it reminds me of the soap stories of when I was a kid – only written better – it’s actually unfolding a little at a time – I can only guess to what it’s going to end up being – I just LOVE this story. I love both Todd’s – I am sad that TSJ is leaving and hope that changes – because, it can now. Thank you, Ron, for writing this – this is truly, truly, GREAT soap writing, and I sit with… Read more »

boes
Guest
boes

You took the words right out of my mouth. OLTL is THE must-see show for me. And although not all of RC’s storylines are my cup of tea (all things Ford are just beyond horrible), he’s an excellent writer and very good at crafting storylines.
I look forward to this show every day, and I can’t say about any other soap.

Sonja
Guest
Sonja

Wooooo Roger Howarth! 😀

April
Guest
April

LOVE that RH is back! I will miss TSJ though. I really wish OLTL would bring back Nash for Jessica. Pretty Please! 🙂

Cary Belt
Guest
Cary Belt

Thank God we will still be able to watch OLTL. I have watched it since 1972. Let me tell you something, bringing Roger back was an excellent move. Roger IS TODD!! I have three daughters who have also watched the show. When they see him on the screen acting they said, yep that’s Todd! Amazing he can pickup that character right where he left off.

Kitten Putten
Guest
Kitten Putten

Will RH be on the web series? I hope so.

Doe
Guest
Doe

I find this interview with Ron is very interesting as to his thoughts on keeping the two Todds on the show for a longer time. But, I don’t think we will ever get the truth of Trevor’s leaving. He should be able to get a job anywhere with his talent and looks. Actually, the return of Roger after eight years as the real Todd is really unlikely. It boggles my mind. So with Trevor leaving , there is no alternative but Rogers’ Todd . So, what is the big reveal. Why was he captured and who were the people holding… Read more »

todd
Guest
todd

Congrats Ron. The only story I have been hating is the Nate/Deanna porn story….but to have it blow up at the Vickerman premier is hilarious. Now we can focus on the characters we care about. I think Ford and Jessica are growing on me. I am loving JPL and his anger. I want to see him ask for Clint’s help to take down Todd financially……not physically….but what Todd? I am so confused and excited. For the first time I have no idea what will happen, and I love it. I did think it was odd that RH saw Daniella on… Read more »

Kitten Putten
Guest
Kitten Putten

I couldn’t agree with you more Todd. The Edna Beasely I think was a joke(I laughed) and I love the way Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford were supossedly there. I agree RH should have been more shocked at seeing Daniela; and she actually looks like him. Maybe RC is saving something for later.
Great work RC, and I’m a writer myself. You’re giving me ideas on how to amp up my own style. I love the twists and turns. Anyone criticizing you here is someone settling for plain old ordinary soap opera watching.

Ann
Guest
Ann

Trevor St. John IS Todd Manning as far as I’m concerned and I’m a long time viewer. When I first heard about the story of the “two Todds” my reaction was and still is that there is NO “TWO Todd’s” STORY because TSJ is portraying Todd–period! RH is whoever he is but he’s not Todd to me. I hate this storyline and feel that both TSJ and his entire fan base got thrown under the bus in favor of the other fan bases, namely KDP/Blair and RH. Trevor St. John was here for 8 years portraying Todd. He should still… Read more »

Debbie
Guest
Debbie

Ann love you’ll post. Everything you said is so true! Frank Valentini ignored what would happen letting Trevor go early. Trevor deserve to leave with the show when it ended in January. Trevor earned the right to be there in the end. For his loyalty and devotion alone to the his boss! And all he eneded up with after 8 years was a kicked out the door with nothing but we don’t need you anymore we have our actor back we wanted Roger! This was the lowest thing an executive ever did to an actor on a show. All for… Read more »

Waltina
Guest
Waltina

I agree with everything you said and the other posters who feel about what happened to Trevor the way I do. Trevor said he would stay till the end, but was told WE DON’T NEED YOU ANY MORE WE HAVE THE GREAT ONE BACK –ROGER so don’t let the door hit you on the WAY OUT. This was the biggest insult to an actor and to Trevor who had played Todd for eight after Roger left to go on another soap. Who really failed Trevor was the Producer of One Life to Live, and to some extent some of his… Read more »

Debbie
Guest
Debbie

To me and this Trevor fan it’s a slapped in the face to Trevor! After 8 years of working his butt off making Todd Manning his own. Throwing out one brilliant performance after another. The show turns around and saids sorry Trevor we have the orignal actor back we don’t need you anymore. As an actor how do you think you would feel! I notice with all the recasts through all the years on ABC daytime Trevor was treated with the most disrepect out of all of them. Sarah Brown came back on GH and didn’t push Laura Wright out.… Read more »

lisa
Guest
lisa

The only thing I can complain about is that Susan Haskell was let go. The character of Marty has been destroyed in the last few years. With Roger’s return there could have been so much stuff written to include a Marty /Todd face off. They do have a rich dark history and a shared grandchild that will forever keep them linked…..I think it would have been very interesting to see that played out. The writers could have fixed the Marty ‘situation’ by having Dr.Buhari mixed in with this rogue agency – maybe she was ‘spiking’ Marty’s meds , making Marty… Read more »

Jardo
Guest
Jardo

It really doesn’t matter what the show does at this point. There are so many regulars that are leaving that an on-line version of the show won’t be anything like the REAL OLTL! The only cast members you will have left are the teens, and I think everyone can agree they are sick to death of teen sex, teen porn, and teen everything! In my opinion, OLTL lost out when Valentini dumped Kish. That was the end for me because that was a riveting storyline that was killed right as it was peaking! And after seeing how BC and SE… Read more »

Vicki
Guest
Vicki

The online thing and them caring about soaps is definitely a ruse, but even this ruse I find hard to believe because when Disney bought ABC, then they made Frons the President of ABCD, all went into the toilet. They never cared about the soaps and they have been wanting to flush it down the toilet all along which is why the ratings dipped so horribly the past few years. Also, this online thing is a tremendous boon to ABC/Disney because they sold the licenses to the three soaps but they also stand to make a lot of money in… Read more »

writestuffla
Guest
writestuffla

RC is a chronic under-deliverer. I think he actually believes his own hype, but what he says will happen and what actually happens is such a horrendous disappointment. The Spider Man stuff was infantile. And his stunt casting of RH means nothing but he has nothing left creatively.

Vicki
Guest
Vicki

Sorry Michael, but I have a really hard time believing anything RC says. It’s great that RH is back but they could have found a way to keep both RH and TSJ on the show! They are wasting so much time, money and resources on all these undesirable characters that many of us cannot get invested in, like the four Patels, most of the Fords, Deanna, Rick Powers, Aubrey, Cutter, etc. Why even tell these other meaningless stories when they already have such great mainstay characters that they could write for? I am loving this two Todd story, but honestly,… Read more »

AlistairCrane
Guest
AlistairCrane

I wish you had asked Ron what possessed him to utterly gut and destroy the character of Marty Saybrooke. Now that my favorite character has been ruined, I’m no longer sad about OLTL ending on ABC and being replaced with a weight-loss show.

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

I am also loving the two Todd’s story right now but I am perplexed by his comments about Vimal and Rama being popular… HUH? I haven’t found one fan of them anywhere. They are basically a joke. Now Rama and Christian have smoking chemistry together. I could really get into them as a pairing!

Vicki
Guest
Vicki

SO agree with you on Rama and Vimal! I wish they would just stop introducing new characters (who are mostly non-contract) and stop writing such big stories for them. It really takes the air out of the core characters who should always be at the center of the main stories. RC has been notorious for writing big stories for these dayplayers whom most of us could really care less about.

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

I told you guys what would happen when they did the story of two Todd’s. So you are going to tell your viewers Trevor St. John’s Todd never loved these women or these children. Yow, right! And to waste so much air time on the Fords is stupid none of these guys can act! So for eight years Todd kept up this ruse, sloppy storytelling and when was the last time Erika Slezak had a decent storyline of her own? That silly nonsense with Charlie and Echo BORING!

MissyLady
Guest
MissyLady

When ATWT was cancelled there was no doubt in my mind that OLTL was going after RH the original Todd who voluntarily left the show. If it is true that Trevor was leaving and then changed his mind too late to change the course of RC’s writing then I don’t have a problem with TSJ leaving the show. If ATWT had not been cancelled, RH would have never come back to OLTL and TSJ still could have left the show which meant no Todd Manning! Yes, some folks would probably do a happy dance at knowing Todd was no longer… Read more »

Mary
Guest
Mary

I wish you asked him owhen will John find out that Liam is his son because this WTD has gone on too long. You should ask why does he continue to write romantic love scenes for Brody and Natalie, but yet when Natalie and John were together for last year, he gave them none. Even before she got pregnant, he should gave them a couple, since they were apart for three years instead of that one minute slam bam thank you man scene on the pool table It is obvious to me and others that RC that prefers Brody and… Read more »

Alissa
Guest
Alissa

It is blatantly obvious that RC can’t keep his story straight regarding Trevor’s exit. The execs advised that when Trevor “changed his mind about staying” it was too late, because they couldn’t rewrite the s/l. That lie is totally contradicted in his very own statement within this interview. Please see the following excerpt taken from the above: “I have got to admit it was tricky. I gambled a little bit when we started laying some stuff in with Tomas and the CIA files, and this was before Roger has signed on. I had a backup plan if there was no… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

What a WOW interview, especially about the “Two Todds” story. What “Two Todds” story? Since RH “signing on the heels of the cancellation announcement” then his Super Todd ‘Epic’ hiding in the bushes, zombie quoting, killing and kidnapping for the good cause, super Spidey hero antics where the young kid is taking a murdering kidnapper side against his father and becoming hero John side kick “Return”, the dismantlement and character assasination of TSJ Todd has begun. Michael, from your interview: “What the hell is going on? Does he really love Jack and Starr if he is a fake?” “Yes and… Read more »

Debbie
Guest
Debbie

Bravo Alissa and Ann you both rock! Frank and Ron not only are turning around and making Trevor’s/Todd a villian. But they are bluntly turning Trevor into a villian in all of this. All because he changed his mind and wanted to stay until the end which he earned the right too. What Frank and Ron don’t want to admit is they made the mistake of letting Trevor go! What did they think from their mistake. Their would be no backlash from their decision? That every fan who watches OLTL will fall all over Roger again. All because RH had… Read more »

Torrey
Guest
Torrey

I am a fan of Roger, but to me, TSJ stepped in this role and created Daytime Magic. I am very harsh and unwelcoming to people that step into roles that are originated by another actor, but I bought TSJ’s Todd hook, line and sinker….The man is a great talent, and to me, it would be a slap in the face to have him not be the real Todd, after all these years. Roger left this role because he thought that the character of Todd was being glorified too much, and he was unhappy with that because Todd Manning is… Read more »

Bianca
Guest
Bianca

Hmmm, I thought the elephant in the room was whether or not Ron was going to stick with OLTL-online has head writer, go with his new GH contract, or do both? Honestly, I completely believe that TSJ wanted out, but was willing to go reoccurring to end the series. I suspect Valenti put the kabash on that idea. I totally agree with both RC and TSJ that playing out both Todds all the way (either by letting each one walk off into the sunset with his respective soulmate, or by letting them kill each other…perfect for allowing Blair and Tea… Read more »

leah
Guest
leah

I hate that TSJ is leaving.. i would rather of had 2 Todd’s.. Todd (current) has rock the house chemistry with Tea. I dont care about what use to be with the old Todd. Lies and liars rule and run abc… i ain’t buying that TSJ was not pushed out.. Is Ron’s Frons latest puppet?

MEG
Guest
MEG

HOPE WHAT I JUST READ THAT PP IS TALKING WITH OLTL BEST LEADING MAN AND WILL FIX THE MISTAKE ABC MADE ,

Torrey
Guest
Torrey

I honestly believe this was done on purpose, by the powers that be, in hopes of the ratings tanking before the show ends in January. This way they can look at the numbers and say to themselves, “See, the show is dwindling away.” I will most likely continue to watch, but I am incredibly upset by this whole Two Todds Storyline. It’s a slap in the face to TSJ and all of his fans. Are TPTB just going to ignore the crazy chemistry that he has with Tea? They are my all time favorite couple.

Mary Jeffers
Guest
Mary Jeffers

I read the article on Head Writer Ron Carlivati and I think he paid homage to Trevor very well. But when he came back after he changed his mind, you know that was difficult for him. It wouldn’t have been that much of a problem to extend the script, I think. Get off your high horse and extend some curtesy to this obvious great actor. I hope the casting directors at Days of Our Lives and the Young and the Restless know that Trevor St. John is not under contract and maybe will make him an offer. After all Daytime… Read more »

Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Weighs-In On Daytime’s Wildest Storyline, The Hope Mannequin & What’s Really Going On With Thomas

If you think you’ve seen it all on daytime soap operas, think again! Over the past several weeks viewers of CBS Daytime’s The Bold and the Beautiful have been witness to fashion designer Thomas Forrester’s (Matthew Atkinson) descent into madness, or is it?

In B&B’s thriller-esque storyline, complete with tight close-ups and tilted angles of Thomas and his co-star, the Hope Mannequin – yup, you read that right, the series is taking the audience on one wild ride, something we have not seen the likes of since back in the hey day of the late head writer, James Reilly, during his tenure on Days of our Lives or Passions.

Photo: JPI

Inspired by, believe it or not, true life events, B&B’s head writer and executive producer, Brad Bell and his creative team have served up a story generated off all of the buzz the show was receiving for using mannequins as scene partners for the actors in intimate moments to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.  B&B was the first American show back in production amid the pandemic.

 

Within this twisted tale, Thomas has the life-like version of Hope Logan Spencer (Annika Noelle) at home with him.  Those who have stumbled upon him with the mannequin, well, he has been able to explain that away by saying that having the doll with him is helping him create some of the best designs of his career.

The problem is the mannequin is talking to Thomas, it’s eyes have often turned devil-red, and on Friday’s episode it walked!  It’s objective is to get Thomas to kill Liam (Scott Clifton) and to get Hope back to be his one and only. Throughout many of the scenes in the storyline, Thomas suffers from what appears to be severe headaches.  All of this leading the audience to believe either … he has a brain tumor … he is being drugged … he is suffering from a severe mental break and disorder, or something else.

Photo: JPI

In a very candid and often humorous conversation with Michael Fairman for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Thomas’ portrayer, Matthew Atkinson, discusses some of the craziest scenes to shoot thus far including Thomas having dinner with the mannequin!  In addition, Atkinson reveals how he and Annika Noelle tape the scenes where she is the voice of the Hope mannequin while adhering to safety protocols,  and how Liam is the only one, apparently, thinking something is off with Thomas, and so much more.

Photo: Gilles Toucas

One thing is for certain, Matthew Atkinson is sinking his teeth into the material and making it must-see daytime drama through his performances while we all wait to see what the possessed mannequin does next.

Check out the full interview with Matthew below. 

Then let us know, what do you think is happening or wrong with Thomas? Are you getting a kick out of the Hope Mannequin storyline? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

 

 

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Interviews

Eric Nelsen Talks Latest Film, Becoming a Tony-Nominated Producer, ‘The Bay’, and His Elizabeth Gillies & Ariana Grande Connection

You can catch All My Children reboot alum, Eric Nelsen (Ex-AJ Chandler), just about everywhere this month, and that’s hard to do given that we are all living in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, this Daytime Emmy-winning actor has his hands in a myriad of projects of late including: appearing on season six of The Bay (new episodes every Tuesday on Popstar! TV) where he continues to play Daniel’s journey after the character has come to terms with his sexuality and finds love, plus his comedic turn in the film, 1 Night in San Diego, and recently becoming a Tony-nominated producer along with his wife Sainty for the critically-acclaimed, and now 11 times nominated Broadway play, The Inheritance.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Eric to get the lowdown on his busy professional life, and we were in for some surprises along the way including: what the producers of AMC had in mind for the character of AJ that ultimately did not happen, and that Eric starred on Broadway with Elizabeth Gillies (Fallon, Dynasty) and Pop superstar, Ariana Grande – and there’s more to that story below.

 

What makes Nelsen so good at what he does on-screen is that he is a like a chameleon; adept at playing the quirky, to the troubled bad boys, to the emotional heart-tugging anti-hero. So here’s what Eric had to say in this fascinating conversation.

Photo: : Metropolitan Entertainment,

Your latest film appearance in 1 Night in San Diego is out this week on multiple streaming on-demand platforms from: Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and more. Tell me about the movie and when did you film this?

ERIC:  We filmed it near San Diego, not this past February, but last February, and it’s hilarious.  It’s a female-driven comedy.  The cast is incredible.  Alexandra Daddario, who is just epic, and Jenna Ushkowitz, and Laura Ashley Samuels, they truly bring it in this powerhouse comedy, and it’s just one of those make-you -laugh movies from beginning to end, just silly, stupid stuff happening the whole time.  General Hospital’s Mark Lawson (Dustin) is also in the film.  While we don’t work in scenes together, I did get a chance to meet him and he’s a really great guy.  I play this off-the-wall character, named Gordo, who is a real burn-out, think Matthew McConaughey meets space cadet, which was a lot of fun to play.  Gordo is a great role.  I had more fun with this part than I’ve had in a long time.  So, it was cool to throw a comedy into all of the drama I have been playing in my other projects.

How does Gordo know the girls in the film?

ERIC:  One of the girls knew him back in the day, so they were in town looking to reconnect, and she’s like, “Oh, we want to party and let’s hit up Gordo,” and they do.  He has just gone completely off the rails, off the deep end with spirituality and kind of in his own world. They find themselves in quite a predicament when they come visit what they didn’t know was a commune, basically.  Gordo creates this hippie commune for a bunch of outcast musicians, (laughs) and I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot of interesting stuff happens there.

Photo: InheritancePlay

 

In addition, you are now a Tony-nominated producer for the play The Inheritance!

ERIC: That was crazy, because it’s always been a dream of mine to produce for Broadway.  That was how I got into the world of film and TV acting, which was through the theatre.  That’s where I started.  I was lucky enough to star on Broadway when I was 16 and 17, in a musical called, 13.  I started with Ariana Grande! It was so fun.

Wait, what?

ERIC:  Yeah, that was her first big show, and Elizabeth Gillies’.

Photo: AP

I think Elizabeth Gillies is terrific in Dynasty.

ERIC:  Oh yeah, and you know she and I dated for two and a half years during the whole run of the show 13.  Elizabeth is very talented.   She is amazing.  The funny part of it is, we were dating forever, and kind of had a bad breakup, and then Sainty, my wife, gets cast in her show Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, in the pilot to play Liz’s best friend on the series.  So, all of the sudden, I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, out of all the shows, all of the things, this is who you have to get cast as best friends with?” and so they actually became really, really, close friends.  So, I’d actually come home from work or filming, and Liz would be on my couch sitting there giggling with Sainty.  I’m like, “This is just becoming too much.  This is a full-circle moment here.  I can’t deal.” (Laughs)

Now, you and Elizabeth are broken up at this point?

ERIC:  Yes.  We had been broken up at this point.  Sainty and I were actually together.  I started dating Sainty in New York and the pilot she was shooting was in New York, and she gets cast as Liz’s best friend, and I was like, “Oh, of course.”

Photo JPI

But Sainty knew you’d dated Elizabeth?

ERIC:  Yes, she did.

You must have been dying.

ERIC:  Yes, so dying.  Dying.   You know, it’s just one of those things that in a million years, you would never expect this to happen, and of course, Sainty and her had to become best friends in real life because they’re both great girls, and naturally, they would be friends, but now, I’m like this guy stuck in the middle who can’t believe what’s happening, and thought that was one chapter, and this is a different chapter, and now the chapters are combining.  It’s kind of a comedy act.

Photo: JPI

Since Ariana Grande was on Broadway with you and Liz, what was she like back then before her meteoric rise to fame?

ERIC:  Ariana was literally the sweetest, most innocent, and cutest – like my little sister.   To me, it was like, Liz and I were dating, and Ari was kind of like the little sister.  All of a sudden the show ended. Ariana got a Nickelodeon show, and after that, she became the most famous person in the world and was like this sex icon, and I couldn’t get over it.   She’s always had that talent with her voice and in 13 she was an ensemble member.  She wasn’t even one of the leads, but her voice was so incredible, even then as a young teenager.  I thought she was going to go on to have this great Broadway career as an actress and do musicals her whole life just because of her voice.  Then, all of the sudden, right after the musical, we all auditioned for the same Nickelodeon show.  I ended up going to the finals for the boyfriend role, Liz got the girlfriend role, and Ari got the funny friend on the show role.  That kind of catapulted them into the TV world, and Ari got a spinoff because of her character on that show for another Nickelodeon show, called Sam and Cat, and then after Sam and Cat, she went from this innocent, sweet, little Nickelodeon girl that I knew to being the biggest star.  It was unbelievable to me.

Photo: Broadway World

So, you started on Broadway as a teenager, and you found you always wanted to produce for the Great White Way? 

ERIC:  Yes, I did the Broadway thing, and then I got into film and TV, and then I got into film and TV producing.  As an actor, there are a lot of ups, a lot of downs.  So, in between the ups, I wanted to fill my time, so I got into producing, and I loved it.  I loved creating.  As an actor, we just show up, and everything is already done.  All we have to do is say our lines.  We get pampered, and we go home, but I wanted to know how it got to that point, like what happens before that.  So, I started producing film and found some success doing that, and it was so much fun for me.  Sainty’s and my first love, and what feels like home, is theatre.  So, I wanted to take it full circle and produce a Broadway show.  I just thought that would be such an incredible moment, and so that’s what I did.  I started emailing all of the Broadway producers who I had worked with as an actor, letting them know what I had been doing, kind of the success I had gotten from producing The Bay and some of these other things. Different shows came across my desk that I didn’t quite bite the bullet on, a couple of which I wish I would have, Dear Evan Hansen being one of them.  I would have been so rich by now!  (Laughs)

I just want to clarify for people who might not know, the word “producer” can mean different things.  There are “producers” who are putting money in … they’re backing projects or shows.  There are other people who are “producers” on the creative side of projects.  So, when you’re talking about producing a Broadway show, it is as an investor?

ERIC:  So for theatre, unless you’re the head producer who kind of gets creative control, every other producer listed in the credits is basically helping raise finances and is also very heavily involved in the process of everything else along the way, which is also what makes it special.  So finally, The Inheritance came across our desk, and it checked every single box.  It was just an epic play.  It’s a two-part play, and it’s just hours and hours and hours long.  You see it in multiple days or in multiple shows.  I remember reading the script and not stopping until I finished.  I was like, “This is amazing,” and it had just come off of a huge commercial successful run in London.  It won the Olivier Award for “Best New Play” and just about every other award you could win, and so I was like, “This is the one.  This is incredible.  I love the piece, love the message, and pulled the trigger,” and I would have done it all over again if we could.

Photo: Broadway World

The Inheritance is a generational piece centering on gay men during the AIDS crisis.  What can you say about it to those who don’t know about it, or have not seen it yet?

ERIC:  It takes place in the past, and then it fasts forward to the future.  You see two generations of gay men in New York City, and it’s all about the AIDS crisis, and so you’re bawling crying, and then you’re laughing throughout it.  It’s just one of those epic plays that pulls at every single emotion and you feel like you’re watching a movie.

It seems reminiscent of Angels In America, but different.   

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s definitely its own thing.  It’s actually an adaptation of Howard’s End, the novel by Forster, definitely different from Angels in America, but the two-part show is kind of what I was meaning by that.  People have said it is kind of our generation’s Angel’s in America in tone and subject matter.  It was just a dream come true, and like all other theatre that was open during our season, it had to close because of the pandemic, and it will have life after Broadway.  We are already slated for the Geffen Playhouse in LA, so I’m very excited for all of my LA friends and the public to get to see it.

Courtesy/ENelsen

And you get nominated in the year that the coronavirus pandemic shut down live theatre! But it is my understanding we still do not have a date for handing out this year’s Tony Awards.

ERIC:  No, we do not.  They finally announced that they were going to announce nominations, and for a while we didn’t even know that they were going to do that.  We received 11 nominations, which is incredible.  We were so excited.  I truly thought the American Theatre Wing and the Tony committee were not going to do the Tonys at all, and so we were just like, “I can’t believe the one year we pull the trigger on the show, this isn’t going to happen for us,” but then thank God, they came to their senses.  There were plenty of shows that opened and needed to be recognized.

How long was it open on Broadway?

ERIC:  We were open from September 2019 through February or March.  So, as long as your submission was open on Broadway before Covid-19 and had at least all of its previews and an opening night before Covid-19 hit, then you could qualify, and then in the play category, there were like 10 plays that had opened last year that were contenders.  So, that was definitely the hardest category.   It will be interesting to see what happens after all of this.  The only good thing I know that is going to come from this is the amount of creatives who have had so much time sitting at home to create and write, that there will be so many new scripts and plays and musicals that are going to come from this.  I think it’s’ going to be the biggest boom that we’ve probably ever seen in theatre, just because there’s been so much time to develop stuff.  At the same time, it’s piggybacking on the darkest time that theatre has ever seen.

Throughout the pandemic, I always stream all of the Broadway Actor’s Fund events.  It’s really sad.  It’s just a difficult time, those in the arts are struggling and especially in the live theatre and also musicians who can’t tour or play gigs in front of an audience. I know they said Broadway is closed through May 31, 2021.

ERIC:  It is really hard.  I’m happy that we are able to find other ways like streaming shows.  I’m actually producing a big benefit for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS that will be airing on World AIDS Day, December 1st.  It’s a show called Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.  The cast we have is everybody from Nathan Lane, to Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons.  It’s insane.  It will be streaming online on the Broadway HD network.  It is a huge list of Broadway stars and a lot of movie and TV stars as well that are participating.  We’ve got people from all over the map.

And … Ariana Grande? (Laughs)

ERIC:  (Laughs)  Ari is not in it, actually!

Photo: Prospect Park

So, in this week’s latest episode of The Bay, your character of Daniel Garrett makes his final choice for love between Caleb (Mike Manning) and Matthew (Randy Wayne).  When you came to the show, did you know that this part was going to wind-up being a gay character?

ERIC:  No, I did not.  I think I dropped a bird in Gregori Martin’s (creator, The Bay) ear by telling him that before All My Children ended, they were going to have my character of AJ Chandler have a storyline where he is gay.  The producers sat me down and talked through an entire storyline arc with me.  Basically, Ginger Smith (ex-executive producer, All My Children) and Alison, our casting director, and one other person from the show, took me to lunch in New York. They pitched me what they wanted to do for my character, and asked me if I would be comfortable with it, and they wanted my opinion, everything.  It was really cool how they approached it, and I was like, “100% completely.”  I look at what Chandler Massey (Ex-Will Horton) did on Days and where that brought him and his storyline, and I thought, “Yes, there’s going to be so much more depth and stuff to play than just being this fun little rich kid.”  At the time, there really wasn’t much depth to AJ.  So, I was like, “Yes.  I will be all over it.  Absolutely.”  So, I told Gregori that, and I don’t know if he already had something in his mind or not, or if that influenced it at all, but maybe he just figured that was something that would work well, and up till that point, I guess they didn’t really have that on the show.  Regardless, no, I wasn’t aware that that was the direction it was going in, but I was really happy with my storyline and it’s grown a lot since then, and in this current season especially.  It’s really given me an arc to play, which I’ve enjoyed.

Photo: LANYEntertainment

So for those who may not know let’s do a re-set.  Where is the character of Daniel at? It seems like he is at crossroads, and is making some important decisions, or trying to.

ERIC:  So Daniel was a wild party boy in the beginning, just head in the clouds, lives life with thinking there’s no repercussions and just doing what you want to do all of the time, and that got him into a lot of trouble with drugs and alcohol. Then, we realize why Daniel has been the way he is, and why he acts out, and why he has been so all over the place, and it’s because he hasn’t been able to come to terms with who he is.  Then, he admits it to himself and for the first time to somebody else – who happens to be his priest in a catholic church, ironically –  that he is gay and this is what he has been battling with.  For the first time (and I don’t know where on television it has depicted it this way), but the catholic priest looks at Daniel, and he’s like, “What’s your sin?  You haven’t sinned.  This is perfectly fine.”  So, I love that Gregori made that the outlet for which Daniel was able to basically come to terms with who he was, because he grew up in the church, and so he was always told that it was wrong.  Obviously, it’s not wrong, or obviously the church needs to change their mindset, but on The Bay, he chose that to be the outlet through which he came out, which I thought was really powerful.  Through that, Daniel experimented with other boys and such to figure out where he wanted to land, and then in this newest season, I can’t say much that gives anything away, but for the first time, we really see Daniel’s growth, and he’s making decisions, and the most mature we’ve ever seen him, and it’s been really cool to see that come full circle.  He’s making commitments to himself.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

In story, Daniel chooses Caleb.  Why so?

ERIC:  Obviously, that’s who it works with,  Caleb is a teacher and a great guy.

… And Matthew is not a great guy?

ERIC:  He is… he’s just not the great guy for him.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

This season of The Bay is heavily steeped with social issues of our time.  Covid-19 has come to Bay City and the Black Lives Matter movement also plays prominently.

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s kind of the beginning of the pandemic in The Bay and within all of the intense drama that Daniel has been having, he is still, for all intent and purposes the comedic relief of the show, and so there is a funny scene where I’m carrying like 28,000 rolls of toilet paper like, “Come on, guys.  We’ve got to stock up!”  We all remember those days, don’t we?

Photo: JPI

How do you feel about this season of the show and your work in it? You’ve previously won a Daytime Emmy for your performances on The Bay.

ERIC:  This season is more cemented in a character that has truly grounded himself.  So, the first Emmy I won was for a storyline of coming out and uncertainty and struggle and pain, whereas this season Daniel knows what he wants and is going for it.  There is much more passion and love in this season for Daniel, as opposed to struggle and heartache.

The cast and crew of The Bay all went away and quarantined at this ranch this past summer to get the new season completed.  What was that like?

ERIC:  We were actually in Santa Barbara, and filmed on this epic ranch up there.  It’s like this 500-acre ranch that we all quarantined on.  We had to do the testing, and temperatures three times a day, and the whole thing.  So, it was really structured, tough to pull off, but we were all so grateful that we were able to do this.  Luckily, we had this incredible kind of bubble of a ranch to live and work on while we were shooting.  They were really good about block shooting it all, so we’d kind of shoot one person’s character, then the next, so we wouldn’t have to ever be leaving the ranch before we were done.

Courtesy/ENelsen

Finally, how is being a dad?

ERIC:  Oh, it’s amazing.  I just can’t believe how fast the time is flying by because of it.  We just had Molly’s first birthday on October 1st, and I feel like yesterday she was born.  I sound like my parents when I say this, but it’s like the time keeps getting faster, but it’s so true.  She’s awesome.  We play Broadway musical soundtracks to her all day, and she sings.  She sits at the piano with me when I play, and she kind of plunks notes out next to me.  She loves music, and we’ve introduced it to her from day one.  We always joke that she won’t be able to watch any of daddy’s stuff until she’s 18 probably, but Sainty is a voice-over actress.  She has done parts for animated films and TV shows such as Trolls, and Barbie, and Boss Baby, so everything from the first part of my daughter’s life is all going to be Mommy’s stuff, and then, in the later part of life she can start watching Daddy’s stuff.

Right, she can’t watch anything that you do!  (Laughs) So, basically forget that!

ERIC:  (Laughs) Yep!

Check out the trailer for 1 Night in San Diego below.  Then share your thoughts on Eric’s current role on The Bay, if you hope he wins a Tony to go with his Daytime Emmy, the six degrees of separation between him, Elizabeth Gillies and his wife, and that the All My Children reboot considered making the character of AJ Chandler gay via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Peter Reckell Reflects On His Time As DAYS Iconic Bo Brady, Life In New Zealand & Christmas Music Project

Last week, Days of our Lives  turned 55-years young, and the historic long-running NBC daytime drama series has been home to some of the most memorable stars and characters of the soap opera genre, perhaps none more so than anti-hero Bo Brady played by Peter Reckell.

Reckell who appeared on the show for several runs that lasted over four decades, premiered as Bo back in 1983.  He then stayed through 1987, came back from 1990 to 1992, again from 1995 to 2012, and back again in 2015 during DAYS 50th anniversary and to wrap his run as Bo, when the character was killed-off, after Reckell made it clear that he wanted to give the audience closure for the character.  He later made another return in 2016 to help the character of Hope (Kristian Alfonso) move on with her life.  Hard to believe for all of those heart-tugging performances, Peter was nominated only once for a Daytime Emmy.

Photo: JPI

In this candid, deeply personal and enlightening new interview for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Reckell opens up as to: what led to many of the decisions he made throughout his time as Bo, how he helped craft the role from the start, the accident that almost took his life, how he handled all the fame that came his way as part of the Bo and Hope supercouple pairing, and how two women in the cast; the late Frances Reid (Alice) and Peggy McCay (Caroline) made lasting impressions on him that he will carrying with him for the rest of his life.

Photo: JPI

What would Peter say if somehow DAYS wanted him back and Bo was actually alive and well?  Find out as Peter weighs-in and wishes his former show a happy anniversary  In addition, he even shares how he felt when Robert Kelker-Kelly took over the role of Bo when he decided to leave the show at one point, and his time playing Johnny on primetime’s Knots Landing.

Photo: JPI

Reckell has moved his family to New Zealand, and this conversation was conducted from his home.  Peter is married to singer/songwriter/producer Kelly Moneymaker and the couple have a daughter, Loden.   It was not wanting to miss the moments of his daughter’s life growing up that has been much of the impetus for some of Peter’s career choices.

Photo: BlueAeris

With Christmastime approaching, Kelly and Peter are part of a brand new Christmas LP entitled Joy.  The album is now available for download on Spotify, Apple Music and major music streaming platforms.

In an exclusive during the interview, we give fans a sneak peek of Peter’s new music video for “Under the Mistletoe”, the song he sings that appears on Joy, which was written by his wife.  For more on the album project visit BlueAegis.com

Photo: BlueAegis

Now, check out the interview with Peter direct from New Zealand below! Then share your thoughts on Peter, Bo, and more via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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