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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:

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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
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
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 continue with the show. He’s such a talent, and he seems like a lovely person, so I’m sure he has something else lined up, and I wish him well. I think it’s unfortunate that he initially decided not to stay with OLTL, but that’s the business I suppose.

Britney
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
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
MEG

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

Mer
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 of the comments i’ve read regarding OLTL on other sites feel that Roger Howarth is the BEST Todd ever. I hope Roger turns out to be the real Todd.
I think we will BOTH AGREE thats its wonderful to be able to continue to watch our soaps….I was pretty torn up about OLTL going off….and now I’m as happy as a pig in S…!!!!

Kitten Putten
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
Dawn

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

MEG
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
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
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
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
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 a grin on my face every night for the whole hour. So fun!

Linda

boes
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
Sonja

Wooooo Roger Howarth! 😀

April
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
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
Kitten Putten

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

Doe
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 him? Who was the person holding the strings? So where is the story then. I hope that Ron can outdo himself and give us a surprise ending. His writing is always fantastic and he seems to love the challenge. We shall see..Be patient……

todd
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 TV and didn’t react to the news that he had another daughter. It was RH’s, not TSJ’s. The Mia Korf stuff was fantastic. Was there an inside joke to the name of the actress who played Nora?….Edna Beasley?

Kitten Putten
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
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 be portraying Todd until OLTL goes off of the air on ABC. In my opinion, TPTB don’t care about the viewers. We not only lost Trevor but we also got cheated by being subjected to this ridiculous storyline which is an insult to both TSJ and his fan base. I’m not enjoying this storyline at all. I watch Trevor’s scenes (the only saving grace of the storyline for me) and fast forward the rest. But the writer’s didn’t have to make it a miserable experience for fans and it really is difficult to have to watch this. Trevor’s great but the story isn’t.

I saw Trevor’s blog and he mentioned that the writer’s decided to “press on without me.” Well, after Trevor’s final day airing on OLTL, they can press on without a number of their viewers as well including me. I won’t watch a second longer.

Debbie
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 his ego, agenda’s and his favorites. As far as am concern Frank is no better than Brian Frons!

Waltina
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 fellow castmates, who did’t speak up for him. And please I realize they don’t hire people on the show, but where was any loyalty to Trevor from them who kept this character alive this long. I was watching the show when Roger was on playing Todd, so no need to say I didn’t see his version off Todd. I did but when he left on his own, I feel in love with the way Trevor played him. He will always be Todd to me even tho I know longer watch this show anymore. I stopped about a month ago and haven’t looked back. I do read comments about what different posters are saying. I feel Trevor is the best male actor on the show because he has such range and such talent and can play any emotion. I liked that he didn’t have any problems playing love scenes and he and Tea were the best. The chemistry between he and Tea was off the charts. Loved the scenes with him and Starr you could tell how much he loved his daughter and always wanted to protect her even going overboard sometime. I will miss this talented actor and hope to see him on Young and the Restless or Bold and the Beautiful. I can picture him and Brooke smoking up the screen and using his sharp wit with Stephanie They would be a scream. May God Bless You Trevor and you got a R.A.W. D.E.A.L.

Debbie
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. Aliicia M (Kendall, Alll My Children) has never had the shadow of SMG hanging over her head. But Trevor always from this Producer Frank Valentini and
writer Ron Carlivati always kept Roger hanging over Trevor’s head for years.
To me they used Trevor year after year until they finally got precious actor they wanted back Roger. Then threw Trevor and his fanbase away without a second thought! And before some you start I should of seen Roger when he was on the show. I was there from beginning to end of all of Rogers runs, games, power plays behind the scenes. All of it. So I know his Todd Manning.
To me this is lowest thing they ever did to Trevor and didn’t bat an eye doing it. But that’s ok you know the old saying what goes around, comes around. One day their all be walking in Trevor shoes and know exactly how it feels the way they treated him!

lisa
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 act crazy and irrational and technically not responsible for her actions.
Maybe Dr.Buhari got greedy and wanted more money and the agency killed her making it look like Marty did it.
I mean how many times has Todd wriggled out of things he has done ??
I really believe the writers missed the boat on this one.
They could have created some more Emmy gold. Too bad !!

Jardo
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 were treated (and lied about), I could no longer remain loyal to the show, even though I spent over 40 years watching it!

Personally, I don’t believe Ron Carlivati much either. Remember, he is leaving OLTL as well and going to write for another soap so he won’t be sticking around for the on-line version either. I still think the whole on-line soap thing is a ruse by ABC to make it look like they actually DO care about the soaps, even though we know that isn’t the case. They know these soaps will not fair well on-line and will likely be over with before they even have a chance to begin. I just hope ABC, Frons, Disney and all their NEW daytime lineup falls flat on their faces. I know I won’t be watching ANY of those shows. As a matter of fact, I no longer even watch anything associated with the ABC network!! I have my principles and they are far different than ABC/Disney’s. (Insert picture here of B. Frons with those big black Mickey ears on top his head)! ABC sold its soul to the devil, so may they rot in hell!!

Vicki
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 royalties for many years to come! So who are the real suckers here? US FANS! That’s who!

writestuffla
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
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, I am mad as hell that there is a looong delay with John finding out about baby Liam. I’m mad that they’re putting Nat/Brody together as the phoniest, biggest flop of a couple on this show! To me, this is totally a big F.U. to the fans of John and Natalie who have been nothing but supportive and waiting 8 years for a real payoff, EXCEPT that RC keeps throwing in one roadblock after another, and he’s telling all these other stories that no one cares about. He’s going for another dang teen pregnancy story when the first one with Starr was not the biggest success. He’s going for this contrived Indian family story when they have no connections or real staying power in Llanview! I love Vimal but sorry I would rather see more of those veteran characters I care about a lot more!

AlistairCrane
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
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
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
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
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 on the show.

Thursday and Friday’s episodes of OLTL have been off the hook! Kudos to RC and FV and the rest of the writers, actors and crew for putting on a fabulous soap!

Mary
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 Natalie over John and Natalie.

Alissa
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 reveal of Roger,”

Gee, I thought RC was an attorney….usually, we lawyers have a good memory. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t tell the truth….I never doubted Trevor’s announcement for one second. Besides being the greatest actor in daytime, he’s also an honorable man. Thank you RC for confirming my assertions with your slip up. Oh well, it happens to the best of us!!

I

Anne
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 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.” “Yes, that was clearly real” answer is past tense for me so this tells me the story of the “Two Todds” in a nutshell (maybe I am wrong). This story is not making sense, but I guess all that matter is the outcome and by this interview I feel that RH Todd will/has replace TSJ Todd. I feel this is why Mr. Carlivati emphasis four times in this interview that “Trevor St. John decided not to stay.” So not only will TSJ be tossed under the bus, but to ensure as much damage as possible will be done, then in my opinion he will be thrown in front of the moving train. To me this is already taking place by making him the ultimate unfeeling villian in the Rex/Gigi/Shane/Jack story; playing him as the confused desparate unfeeling lying fraud who took over the life of Todd Manning thus erasing eight years that TSJ Todd help make the nauseating Starr/Cole romance watchable; execute the Execution story phenomenally; act out the written Rapemance brilliantlly with Susan Haskell; marry Blair again after the Spencer crap as well as show the connection of T&B with Kassie DePaiva; the great love/hate relationship with John McBain; the budding Evagenline friendship/romance; Walker/Flynn/Todd reveal; recreate the magic that was and still is TNT with the superb Florencia Lozano; recreate that special bond between Todd & Viki with the incomparable Ericka Slezak; the beautifully acted cancer storyline that brought him and Dani together; the loving and protective relationship he has with his kids; heck, for me the overall evolution from a misunderstood asexual man-child to a more mature father, husband, brother, and businessman, but yet, the still devious, dangerous rogue Todd that I love to hate to love again. WOW! I have grown with Todd from the ground breaking gang rape and loved RH early run as Todd, but the grown asexual man-child became tedious and I feel TSJ brought a freshness to the role. I also feel he brought Todd’s evolution to the forefront and has kept him interesting for eight straight years;not off and on for eight years. The “Two Todds” showdown was epic TV; RH is good at his craft, but TSJ has mastered his and… Read more »

Debbie
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 no where else to go. But back to a show he dished and spit on in the past?

No it doesn’t happen that way Trevor stayed loyal, devoted through every storyline weather good or bad, no matter what you RC did. You RC who went out of you’ll way to try to destroy Trevor and his Todd with every storyline you threw at him. Tried every storyline to get Trevor fired sooner rather than later for all you’ll favorites.

All so you and Frank can bring the actor you always wanted back Roger Howarth. You and Frank’s cunning games to undermine everything Trevor was these past 8 years! Like Ann said we don’t drink the Kool Aide or play you’ll backstage politic games. Because that’s what they are!

Torrey
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 a rapist. So, now, after being on ATWT all those years, and it getting cancelled, he decides it’s ok to come back and play Todd now? I think Ron is a great writer, but I don’t trust too much of what any executive from ABC has to say anymore. When I watched the scenes with Ron repeating the phrases, “I have a son, and his name is Jack.” or “I have a daughter and her name is Starr.” I just wanted to puke. How do we explain the flashbacks of memories that Trevor’s Todd had, when he was being executed for Margaret Cochran’s murder? And I hope they don’t think we have forgotten that there was already a DNA test done on Trevor’s Todd, when he came back into town….He was Todd then, and he’s Todd now!! Please don’t muck this story up. It’s bad enough that the show is not going to be on network television, and all the regulars keep stating that they haven’t even talked to Prospect Park….and I’m a little skeptical about how the internet version will work. Although, I’ll take that over nothing.

Bianca
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 continue online) would have been a great way to end the broadcast version.

leah
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
MEG

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

Torrey
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
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 Soap actors do get offered other roles. Maybe Mad Men and Breaking Bad may need a few new people. Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones and Morgan Freeman, are ex-soap actors.

Interviews

Jordi Vilasuso Previews His New Role Of Rey On The Young and the Restless

He’s played a young man growing up in a Mafioso family, a well-respected doctor, and a brother with a questionable past and future during his daytime career, but now Jordi Vilasuso takes on a mysterious new role on the top-rated The Young and the Restless, who we only know thus far by the name of “Rey”.

When Vilasuso debuts on tomorrow’s Friday, August 16th episode of the CBS daytime drama series, viewers will start to see just how his new character unveils itself, while we get to see one of our favorites back in action.

From his roles on Guiding Light, All My Children, Days of our Lives and his primetime and movie roles, Jordi brings his unique charm, acting chops, and sex-appeal to every role he plays.

Michael Fairman TV chatted it up with Jordi for this tease of what’s to come when he hits Genoa City, what it has been like working with his new co-stars, nabbing this sought-after role, and reflecting back on the journey that got him here.  Check out what he shared below.

When the news broke that you were coming to Y&R, fans of the genre were really excited.  I thought it was a great testament to you.

JORDI:  It’s great.  I mean, the way that the show has announced me and has been pushing me… from the promo that was just released this week, to my discussions with Mal Young ((EP and head writer, Y&R).  Everybody has just been asking me if I’m good, and the network is really responding to my work.  Because, you never know, right?  You put it out there, but when you get that feedback, it’s like, “Okay.  I’m doing the right thing here.”  There’s been a lot of reassurance, which is always great for people to get in a workplace.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you feel pressure now to deliver to Mal and to the audience?

JORDI:  Of course.  I always do.  What do they say?  Innocence is bliss?  Naiveté is bliss?  I didn’t know what the hell I was doing when I first walked on to Guiding Light!  It’s such a great place to be in as a young kid.  I was just like, “I’m an actor.  I’m going to create a character…”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

And you won an Emmy!

JORDI:  And I won an Emmy … and then it’s “I’m going to go be a star, and I’m going to be in a pilot.”  I signed with a huge agency, and it was fantastic, and then reality sets in.  You get a couple of notches on your belt, and you get kicked in the ass a bit.  You learn, and then you crawl out of there, and you gain a lot of character doing that.  Really, in the last couple of years I’ve seen there are reasons for all of this stuff.  The lens that I’m looking through now is that of a father.  I just want to give them tools that can help them deal with life.  If they want to become actors, awesome.  Go for it.  I will support them.  Whatever it is they want to do, there are going to be ups and downs, and that’s all part of the journey.  For me, I think God has been molding me into the kind of man that I’ve always aspired to be.  .

From the Y&R promo this week, it looks like Rey is looking into what happened to J.T. (Thad Luckinbill)? 

JORDI:  Yes.  That has been revealed in the promo.  Rey is getting to know the heavyweights in town, and asking a lot of questions.

Speaking of heavyweights, what was it like working with Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) for the first time?

JORDI:  It was cool.  There was a little bit of that being in “awe” of him.  I never worked with him, but I always saw him on the cover of magazines.  I heard he’s very warm and open with other actors, which I got.  Playing with him on set, he kind of goes off the page a bit, which is fun.  After talking to him for about a minute, I felt like, “Okay, I get who this guy is.”  He’s very professional.

Will your new character be connected to anyone in Genoa City?

JORDI:  You never know.  It’s a soap!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I would assume if you’re on the number one soap, Rey might have a lover interest.  Who would you like to be in a romantic story with, if they should write it?

JORDI:  All of the women! (Laughs)  All of them have so much to offer from Tracy E. Bregman (Lauren), to Sharon Case (Sharon), to Melissa Ordway (Abby).  I know I may be a little bit cryptic, but I have to say, everybody has been extremely lovely to work with.

What can you say about the character in a broad stroke?

JORDI:  I think Rey knows what he wants.   He is very serious about his work, and he has a lot of ways of working through different situations.  Whether it’s a smile or knowing something about you that you may have not known… he may bring you into his orbit in that way.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

He’s a mind reader!?  (Laughs) 

JORDI:  He can really read people, I think!  He’s very adaptable.  He can be put in any situation and have a conversation with anyone.  From Victor Newman, to Sharon, to Michael… he can talk to whoever is thought of as having the most status.  He has that knack.

Is Rey street smart, or intelligent smart?

JORDI:  I would say both.  I think Rey grew up very quickly, and I think a lot of that is street smart.  I wouldn’t say he is an intellectual philosopher.  I would say he leans more towards street smart for sure.

Were you informed on what the long term trajectory of your storyline would be on Y&R? Other actors on the show have talked about how Mal Young tells them where the character is going, so it better prepares them when they are doing their scenes.

JORDI:  Yes.  I found out on a Tuesday that I got the job, and I was asked to come in on Wednesday to wardrobe, and start work on Thursday, and I did four shows that week.  I sat down with Mal for an hour.  I had only met him at the screentest and there were a lot of heavyweights there up for this part.  He told me about his history, where Rey came from.  He showed me what he was doing on the show, how he was trying to change things, and some really exciting things that he was doing.  Mal was an open book, and then he did break down what he saw as the next couple of months for my character would be, which I fell in love with. I was like, “Yes! This is so cool.  This is a meaty story.  This has roots in a lot of things that I can pull from, that I am passionate about, and that are meaningful   I felt in a sense, that it was collaborative.  Even though he is steering the ship, he was interested in what I had to say as well and very open to questions.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How does Rey stack up against your other daytime characters: GL’s Tony Santos, DAYS Dario, and AMC’s Griffin?

JORDI:  Man, it’s so funny, because somebody actually had sent me some clips of Tony the other day, and I was like, “Oh my God, that was crazy long ago!  Look at the clothes!  It was so mafioso,” but it was so cool and so fun.  There only will ever be one Tony Santos.  Then you go to Griffin Castillo who was a doctor and just starting to open up to Kendall (Alicia Minshew) and get that whole romance kicking on All My Children.  And as for DAYS Dario… God bless Dario … that poor guy.  What can I tell you about Dario?  He just couldn’t seem to make it work in Salem.  He couldn’t find his way, so he said, “You know what?  I’m going to run away!”  So, he just ran away, and who knows maybe he’s in Mexico running from the law, where I guess he resides now.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You were recently at the All My Children and One Life to Live reunion event.   What did the fans say when you got to inform them that you were coming on to The Young and the Restless?

JORDI:  They were so happy for me.  There was a lot of joy and a lot of happiness.  That was the one thing that I got from it.  I think they get what the business that we are in, which I really appreciate.  It’s such a hustle.  You wait for that other gig to come down, and when you get it, it’s a great moment to share.  They get it.  A lot of that empathy was shared from the fans, and I really, really appreciated that.

Your former AMC co-star Rebecca Budig (Ex-Greenlee) was there, too.  How was it seeing her again?

JORDI: I did see her, but just for a second!  I think she was so caught up with seeing everyone. She’s beautiful!  She hasn’t aged.

When do you think viewers will know what Rey is up to in Genoa City?

JORDI:  Sooner rather than later.  We have very good pacing for his entry on to the canvas.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

We are wondering if Rey might be an adversary to Nick.  Did you know Joshua Morrow (Nick Newman) before you came to Y&R?

JORDI: I wonder of Rey and Nick will be nemeses too!  But no, I didn’t know Joshua.   He’s such a dude’s dude.  From the get go, he said, “Do not look at me when you’re on set, and are you ready for my breakfast order?”  (Laughs)  I kind of bowed down and said, “You know, you’ve been on this show for twenty years.  Are you a vegetarian, or can I throw some ham in your omelet?”  (Laughs)

So, are you excited to see what goes down when Jordi debuts tomorrow on The Young and the Restless?  Do you hope Rey is on the right side of the law? Which woman in Genoa City do you think would make a good romantic pairing for the guy? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

Executive Producer Frank Valentini Talks Returns, Exits, And Previews The Drama This Fall On General Hospital

Surprise returns, a wedding, a heartbreaking social issue storyline, romance, and heavy drama are all ahead this fall on General Hospital.

Executive Producer Frank Valentini sat down with Michael Fairman TV during the ABC TCA 2018 Summer Press Tour All-Star Reception to answer our rapid fire questions throughout the bustle of the industry event.

Valentini previewed what’s ahead in and around Port Charles for several characters and duos as the summer comes to a close, and a new season marks new beginnings.  He also addressed the recent cast exits that have seen fan favorites departing the ABC daytime drama series.

Now, as viewers will witness this week, there is some major distress ahead for several key characters that will play out over the next few months.

Here’s what the showrunner had to say about some hot topics that fans have been buzzing about, and more below.

Genie Francis (Laura) is coming back to the show, after all the uproar and demand for her to return.   You said there will be major story for her when she is back.  Is that true?

Photo: ABC

FRANK:  Yes, and we are very excited that she is coming back.  And yes, we have actually two big stories for Genie, and there is a little bit of overlap in them. When she comes back she jumps right into the big story, and the audience will know what the story is when they see her return. 

Chloe Lanier (Chloe) just wrapped up an incredible run on the show.  How do you feel about her departure from GH?  Did you know she was only planning on staying for a few years? 

FRANK:  We all knew that it was for a limited time. Nelle has sort of wreaked havoc on anyone she possibly could, and left in a big way and helped kick-off another big story with some other fan favorites including: Michael (Chad), Lucas (Ryan Carnes) and Brad (Parry Shen), and Bobbie (Jackie Zeman) and Carly (Laura Wright), and the Corinthos family.  So, that’s another fun thing to look forward to.  Chloe is just a tremendous young actress.  We all remember her from the 52nd anniversary episode, which was the Luke (Tony Geary) episode, which revealed the origin story. Chloe just really stood out to us, and we brought her back.  Everyone loved working with her and she is a great friend. 

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Did you have any trepidation about doing another baby switch storyline?

FRANK:  Never, never!   This one has a twist on a double twist.  It’s a triple-axel! It will be gut-wrenching, for sure.

Then, Dominic Zamprogna (Ex-Dante) left GH.  How do you feel about him deciding to leave the show?

FRANK:  I love Dominic.  In fact, we just had dinner together a few weeks ago.  He is a great actor, but he wanted to try some other stuff.   We wish him all the best.  And you never know … the door is always open. 

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Fans on social media have been commenting how the Drew/Sam/Jason triangle featuring: Billy Miller, Kelly Monaco ,and Steve Burton had started, and then was just kind of dropped and has not been playing out on-air.  Have you made the decision to not play that triangle?

FRANK:  No, we are definitely playing it.  There are many iterations:  Drew and Sam are connected through their children, and their love, and the history that they have.  And as well, Jason and Drew being brothers, and that Jason and Sam have their own history, as well.  There’s way more to come! 

Fans have commented, “What happened to this story?”

FRANK:   It’s a big show with a big cast.  Everyone takes a turn stepping forward, and then stepping back.

Courtesy/ABC

You brought on Elizabeth Hendrickson (Margaux) as a potential love interest for Drew?

FRANK:  Yes, and I knew her work from All My Children and The Young and the Restless, and she is a phenomenal actress and we are really lucky to have her.  Margaux has got the flash drive with Drew’s memories on it and that is an important piece of information to have.

Peter August aka Henrik Faison (Wes Ramsey) is still on the canvas.  Is your plan to have Peter create more havoc in Port Charles?

FRANK:  Wes Ramsey is a phenomenal actor.  I think he did a phenomenal job when Peter was kidnapped and tied-up.  It’s not easy to be in scenes where you are tied-up for almost four weeks, and to act, and to stay present in the stage of being a hostage.  I just though he knocked it out of the park  He is Robin’s (Kimberly McCullough) brother, he is Anna’s (Finola Hughes) son and with whatever is going to happen with Maxie, they are connected.  He is Maxie’s brother-in-law and baby James’ uncle.  There is a lot of story there.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Finola Hughes is back after taking some time-off.  Now, Anna and Finn’s (Michael Easton) relationship will be further explored as they now fight a common enemy.  What can you share about this duo?

FRANK:  Finola had a mini-vacation. She is incredibly hard-working, and we try to make sure actors’ have enough time in their personal life to have fun, and go on vacations, and be with their family. This was something we were able to work out story-wise.  But also, Hamilton will be involved with his family and there is some story there and also as you see, when Finola came back we launched into a big story with them.  There is so much to explore in their relationship. For Anna, she has only had two great loves in her life, Duke (Ian Buchanan) and Robert (Tristan Rogers).  So for her to open up her heart to someone else is a big deal, and we will explore that as well, and what that means.

Michelle Stafford (Nina) has been delivering in scene after scene as the grieving sister, following the death of her brother, detective Nathan West.  What is in store for her Nina and her relationship, Valentin (James Patrick Stuart)?

FRANK:  Valentin and Nina are separated right now, and that is never going to sit well with Valentin.  He is going to do everything in his power to try and win her back.  That will not only be fun to watch, but it will be interesting and full of twists, as well.

Courtesy/ABC

Chase (Josh Swickard) and Maxie seems like they could make for an interesting pairing. Will you explore that at this point?

FRANK:  There is a lot of potential with Maxie, but I don’t think Maxie is ready to be in a relationship.  She has tons of story with Lulu (Emme Rylan), and as well with her parents, and there will be lots of other fun things going on with her, but I don’t see a romance right now being front and center in her life.

Daytime Emmy winner, Lexi Ainsworth (Krstina) is coming back to GH.  Fans had been calling for her return.  Why the decision now to bring her on to the canvas?

FRANK:  We love Lexi!  Her parents are two of the most important people on the show, Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn).  It just seemed like a no-brainer, and she was available. We have a really fun story for her, as well.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, there is no Parker (Ashley Jones) in Kristina’s life, right now?

FRANK:  We will see as we go along, and we will uncover the truth about that relationship, as well. 

You brought one of the finest actresses in Tamara Braun back to GH.   Do you plan on utilizing her more … and will Kim be driving story?

FRANK:  Kim is going to have a very big story this fall.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

What can you share on the future of Julian (William deVry) and Alexis?

FRANK:  They will be part of the Kim story as well, and their own story.  Alexis is going to be involved in different stories that will culminate in a story of her own, as well

Patricia Bethune was great as Nurse Mary Pat as Carly’s nemesis at Ferncliff.   She is an amazing character actress.  Did you plan on keeping her around as long as you have?

FRANK:  She is just a great actress and we really lucked out.  She played the balance of very deadly serious and dangerous, and also with a sardonic and sarcastic sort of comedic bent to it.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Let’s talk Liz (Rebecca Herbst) and Franco (Roger Howarth).  Is there a wedding? And if so, will it go off without a hitch?

FRANK:   There is a wedding coming in the fall.  And how could a wedding between Liz and Franco be anything but explosive and hilarious?  How funny was Roger Howarth in the remote scenes where they save Carly at Ferncliff, and he is sitting in the car and he says, “You knocked over my art supplies.”  I mean, that is pretty great stuff. 

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You recently had OLTL fan favorite Patrick J. Gibbons (Ex-Sam Manning) on GH, in role of Wyatt … the scout who tripped upon Peter being held hostage in the cabin.   How was it working with him again after your time together in Llanview?

FRANK:  Patrick and his family are very good friends of mine, who I have always had a connection with. When the writers came up with the part of Wyatt, I thought Patrick would be perfect for it.  He was wonderful.   Patrick has the right amount of innocence. He has grown so much as an actor, and he is still only 11.  I thought he was phenomenal. He played the wonder and the dedication to the scouts and trying to figure it out in fear of Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).   I thought he did such a nice job,   He is a lovely kid.  I was so happy to reconnect with him.

You have recast Vinessa Antoine’s role of Jordan Ashford with Briana Nicole Henry. Vinessa has gone on to be the series lead in the upcoming Canadian TV drama, Diggstown.  Isn’t it always hard to recast a role?

FRANK:  It’s always hard to recast and we never take it lightly.  We always want to make sure we bring in somebody good.  Curtis (Donnell Turner) and Jordan are in a position in their story where it’s important to keep them on the canvas, and write –off the character of Jordan for a frivolous reason. We would not want to do that to the audience.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

The Alzheimer’s storyline is one of the important social and medical issues of our time to shed a light on.  Through Max Gail’s (Mike) performances, it has resonated so much to the audience.  Do you plan on continuing taking the viewers through the most difficult and tragic moments in the journey of someone who cannot escape this illness, and the toll it takes on its loved ones?

FRANK:  I think that Max Gail, like Vernee Watson (Stella), took us by surprise at how amazing they are. The Alzheimer’s story is very near and dear to all of our hearts.  We want to tell it in a way that is very realistic, but to also emphasis the hope and the family connection, and the love that is that family. Sometimes in the face of tragedy, it brings out the best in human beings.  There is something very uplifting about that, even though we are telling a very sad story.  Mike realizes that this family loves him, even though he has made mistakes. There is a tremendous amount of forgiveness and a tremendous amount of empathy and sympathy, and reconciliation in moving forward.  I think the relationship between Max and Sonny is played beautifully by Max and Maurice Benard.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

What is ahead for Ava Jerome (Maura West), now that the secret is out that the man she thought she could trust and who loved her, Griffin Munro (Matt Cohen) slept with her daughter, Kiki (Hayley Erin)?

FRANK:  Ava explodes over the next couple of weeks and has a major, major story. Maura West has never been better!

Photo Credit: JPI Studips

What is ahead now for Carly?  She holds the clue that there has been a switcheroo at Ferncliff involving her “therapist” Kevin Collins (Jon Lindstrom).  Will she be the one to figure it out? 

FRANK:  Carly will definitely be dealing with the repercussions from Ferncliff, and also some family situations, and also something big coming up with Sonny. She will also be helping Michael through his difficult time, because she is a good mother.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what story are you looking forward to seeing play out?  Are you excited for the return of Genie Francis? What did you think about the EP’s thoughts on the departures, the returns, and the plans for the characters in Port Charles this fall? Comment below.

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General Hospital

Val Chmerkovskiy Talks On Judging DWTS Juniors & How GH’s Kelly Monaco Changed His Career!

When ABC’s Dancing with the Stars: Juniors premiere with a two-hour series premiere on October 7th, three notables will be behind the desk judging the competition as celebrity kids battle it out, and show their dance moves along with the pros they are paired with.

The show has cast: “DWTS: Athletes” champion and Olympic figure skater, Adam Rippon; professional dancer, Emmy-winning choreographer Mandy Moore, whose credits include “DWTS,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and “La La Land,” and professional dancer and “DTWS” pro Val Chmerkovskiy. to critique the competition.

This week at the ABC Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour All-Star Cocktail Reception, Michael Fairman TV caught up with Val to ask him about flipping the scenario, where this time he is a judge and not in the competition on the ballroom dance flooor, how he hopes to impact the kids in the running for the Mirror Ball Junior Trophy, and of course, for General Hospital fans, recalling his most memorable season and dance partner, Kelly Monaco.

As viewers remember, the duo lit up the dance floor when Kelly returned to the show (she won the 1st season) in 2012 for season 15.  That was the “All-Stars” season where she was paired with Val.  They took home third place.  Their friendship and chemistry was always much talked about, but it was Kelly who has had a great impact on Val as he notes below.  Here is what he had to share about his new gig and his time in the ballroom with Ms. Monaco!

How do you feel about being in the judges’ chair for the first time?

VAL:  I feel a great deal of responsibility.  I will be honest with these kids, and treat them with respect, and give them feedback that will better give them the ability to not just become better dancers, but better people.

At what age did you start dancing?

VAL:  I started dancing at 7-years-old against my will.  My brother, Maksim, started first.  We moved with my parents to America when I was 8.  They just didn’t have time to drive us to different places.  They were like, “Look, we’re going to work, so you go with your brother.” So, I started tagging along and it changed my life.  I thank my parents every day for that.

Courtesy/ABC

Between yourself, Adam Rippon and Mandy Moore, do you see yourself as the one being the critically hard judge on the kids?

VAL:  I think the approach to this is a little different.  Those that are judging are very passionate about the opportunity, and the last thing we want to do is patronize the kids, as well.  We want to tell them the truth.  I think people got it wrong with trying to shelter kids from honesty.  You can shelter them from dishonesty and brutally, but you can be honest with them.  Ultimately, my job is to give them constructive criticism. That is what I will do, and am currently doing,

With all the amount of seasons you have been on Dancing with the Stars, is it difficult to keep it fresh in the choreography and come up with new routines for partner, after partner?

VAL: Yes!  It is difficult. There are many times you to fall back into redundant type of choices, but ultimately that individual is that that new palette and new color that I get to paint with. So, every time I get a new dance partner, that partner provides me with all the inspiration I need to come up with something fresh.

Courtesy/ABC

What is your takeaway from your season dancing with General Hospital’s Kelly Monaco (Sam)?

VAL:  My takeaway is that she broke me into the mainstream.  She was my breakout season of Dancing with the Stars.  Kelly taught me a lot.  It was my third season on the show and I was really fresh to this industry and this town.  She always told me to, “Know your audience” and to know who you are talking to and you will always know the right thing to say.

Kelly is such a hard-worker and she really gave it a 110% in the competition with you learning the dance steps and battling it out with the other couples.  She’s a fighter who always perseveres. 

VAL:  She is from Philly and I am from New York.  I think there was that east coast connection between us.   Kelly is an incredible person.  We are great friends, and she taught me a lot, and I also in return, through dance, and through this show, was able to change her life in a lot of ways as well.

So, what did you think about the sentiments shared by Val on his former dance partner, GH’s Kelly Monaco? What do you think about the concept of DWTS: Juniors? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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