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The Sean Kanan Interview – The Young and the Restless

seanMain.jpg

The return of Sean Kanan to daytime soaps had been rumored about all over the internet for months.  Would the controversial actor be heading back to his old stomping ground of The Bold and the Beautiful or return to daytime television this time with The Young and The Restless. After the mystery was solved, Sean was launched into a new storyline reuniting him with this former “B&B” co-star and friend Adrienne Frantz (Amber) who is now in Genoa City.

Kanan whose well documented battles with the law and DUI’s put a temporary halt to his career, has come back from adversity to reclaim his acting life.  With a new lease on his soap character Deacon Sharpe, fans get to relish in Deacon’s skullduggery and machinations once again.

In this candid and revealing interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Kanan discusses: how he got back in the soap game, his frustrations and almost giving up on show business against much adversity, the internet fervor over the recent Deacon/Amber sex scenes, what could be Deacon’s long term agenda, and the talented performers hopes for his comedy career.

Here’s Sean!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

First of all, we were all thrilled that you were back on daytime on “Y&R”.  There were all these rumors for quite sometime that you might be going back to “B&B” or coming to “Y&R”.  How long did it take for this to come about that ultimately landed you in in Genoa City?

SEAN:

The genesis of this whole thing started with a friend of mine and my agent trying to reach Paul Rauch (co-exec producer “Y&R”).  Eventually, Paul was nice enough to agree to sit down and have lunch with me, and for Paul to sit down during his day to have lunch with me, I thought was a really nice gesture.  We had candid, intense discussion. Paul is intense, and I am real intense.  I had heard from people that Paul is an intense guy, and a fair guy and he can be difficult.  I felt a strange connection to him.  When I first saw him in the restaurant I sort of saw him for a second.  I said to myself, “I can see this not going paulRauch.jpgso well.”  But he couldn’t have been nicer.  He is a direct guy and we had a really good lunch together.  Paul said, “I will see what I can do.”  It was very non-committal and very vague.  At this point we are talking about “Y&R”,  given the fact that Adrienne Frantz was over there playing Amber.  My biggest regret was that I did not try to initiate this sooner because she had been there so long.  But everything happens when it’s supposed to, I guess. Eight weeks from that lunch my agent called me and said, “Look, I think something is going to happen. Do not say word to anybody.  We don’t know what it is.”  I did not know what it was going to be. Was I going to go to “Y&R”? “B&B”?  Perhaps, maybe even as a different character?  Brad Bell (exec prod and head writer, “B&B”) had basically made me a promise sometime ago that he would not recast Deacon, and damn, if he did not keep his promise.  I think Deacon is such a great character that a number of great actors who could have success with the character.  I also like to think I bring my own personal stamp to it.  I eventually found I was going to go to “Y&R”.

MICHAEL:

What went through your mind at that time?

SEAN:

A lot of things.  I had a rough past couple of years.  I am not talking about just the DUI. That was rough, but the two years afterwards when I got sober and was sort of was doing everything right.  The inclination is to say, “I am doing everything right now.  So how come the pieces of the puzzle are not fitting together properly?”

MICHAEL:

That must have been frustrating.

SEAN:

I had flown to New York to screen test for As the World Turns and it’s strange.  I did not feel a connection to the material and did not feel right.  I gave it my best.  I wanted a job, that is what I wanted.  I did not really want that part.  I did not want to move to New York, but I really wanted and needed a job.  So when I did not get it, I was not that upset.  Then there was a part on Days of our Lives and for one reason or another I did not get to screen test and I was a little upset about that.  I thought I gave a strong audition but the reality was I think that Galen Gering (Rafe) was coming off of Passions and they just made him an offer.  But in retrospect, it all was happening because I was meant to do something else.

MICHAEL:

And then you got to come back to soaps as Deacon!

SEAN:

When I found out I was going to be on “Y&R” I knew for a few months, and the hardest thing was…first of all… I don’t like lying.  But my bosses said, “We really want to keep this a secret,” and I had to respect it.  Then it became people saying, “We know you are going on the show. Just admit it!”  But I gave my word.  I have to confess I told my parents, but swore them to secrecy. I  did not tell anybody in the media or my closest friends, and that was difficult.

MICHAEL:

So it must have been very emotional for you to get a second chance as Deacon on another soap.

seanGirlfriend.jpgSEAN:

I tell ya, when I found out I would be reprising the role of Deacon, I was overwhelmed and really moved.  I had a moment when I looked back at how hard those two years were and I remember sitting with a friend after the DUI.  I said, “It’s done and over.  I don’t see myself getting back on daytime or anywhere anytime soon.”  I was bereft with gloom and doom and depression.  Now to play Deacon on the number one show is amazing.  The first day I walked in the door at CBS, I was really, really moved, and full of gratitude because I know how hard it has been to get back there.  There were a lot of people who worked really hard on my behalf, and a few people who believed in me and stuck with me when a lot of people wouldn’t.  I feel a real sense of obligation and responsibility to Paul Rauch and to Brad Bell, too.  I think on some level Brad Bell and Barbara Bloom (VP Daytime Programs, CBS) had a lot to do with getting me back on the show.  On some level or another, Brad Bell did something very nice for me.

MICHAEL:

During the frustrating years, you mentioned the difficulties you faced.  Was there ever a moment where you went, “I can’t do this anymore.”

SEAN:

I remember, I decided to go back to acting class and do something creative.  I believe I was doing a play, also.  And in doing the play, “It’s Just Sex” that is when I felt like an actor again. Traditionally in my career when I have done theatre it has started a very positive arc for me.  I remember one time driving out of acting class thinking, “I am not sure I can act anymore.”  And that is not what I meant.  What I meant was, ‘I did not know if I could deal with the business of acting anymore.’  I love acting.  I went out on an audition for something called Camera Café which is an internet based series, and is sent out to over 30 or 40 countries.  It’s like The Office. I got a part in it strictly from the auditioning process.  Not from knowing anybody or anyone knowing my work, and it was really fulfilling.  It was the first time in a long time I felt like I climbed in the ring and put the gloves on and I was the one left standing.  We did 24 webisodes of that.  They have not aired yet and they will begin in a couple of months, and then I got “Y&R”.  I feel that I am on an upswing.  For me, it became an exercise of, “Ok, now things are going well.  I need to process them going well and keep myself in emotional check.”  I am really good at things when they are not going well. That is about… circling the wagons and putting the Rocky music on and getting myself back to where I need to go.  When things are going well, traditionally the potential of things going awry can happen.  You know what?  I am 42-years-old now and I have well documented situations and knocks (He laughs).  I have learned from them, and right now things are going well.  I think I have a clear view of it.

MICHAEL:

Your trouble with the law and the last DUI was unfortunate that it became so highly publicized. What was it like for you when it came out on TMZ and full throttle in the media spotlight?

SEAN:

It’s terrible.  My parents see that. They live in town where they are well-known, and I felt bad.  The hardest thing was when there was a court date that was miscommunicated.  I did not get the information in time. I had been sober for awhile and a friend of mine called me and said he was playing poker with a cop and the cop said, “You know Sean Kanan don’t you?” and my friend said, “Yeah, very well.”  The cop goes, “Well, we have a warrant for his arrest.  You should tell him if you are his best friend.”  My friend called me and said, “I think the police are coming for you.”  I said, “What are you talking about?”  Needless to say, I did not stay at my house that night.  I stayed at a hotel because I was so freaked out.  I am not trying to play the victim here, but it was if every time I tried to do something right… something went wrong.  I legitimately did not have things communicated to me. I would not intentionally not go to a court appointed meeting.  One of the great things about having media immediacy is that we as a society know what is going on in the world immediately. While that is great, there are times where if there is a little bit of time to allow things to play out a bit, then you find out what is initially reported is not quite what it seems.

seanGrey.jpgMICHAEL

So let’s move on, and let’s get to your current storyline on “Y&R”.  So when they told you the story that you were going to be part of…

SEAN:

They didn’t.  First of all I have to confess these actors I know from “Y&R” are the people I met at events or worked across the hall with when I was at “B&B”, but I did not know their characters and all their stories.  I do want to stop and address something here, though. Recently, I saw this on the internet because I am guilty of checking what the fans say because I want to know what they are thinking, that somebody thought that on a recent episode that I called Victoria “Ashley” when I said, “actually”.  So they wrote this whole post saying, “Get him off the show. He called Victoria “Ashley”.  I promise I did not call her that.  And do you think for one minute Paul Rauch would let me call Victoria… “Ashley”?  As far as what the story was, I was operating from the seat of my pants because I did not know what happened to Deacon in the three years since he left LA for Genoa City.  I do know that Deacon seems like he has definitely rounded out his rough edges.  He seems more refined the way Maria Bell (co-exec prod and head writer, “Y&R) is writing the character.  It would indicate that Deacon had polished up his game a little bit.

MICHAEL:

So Deacon is slicker?

SEAN:

He’s not just slicker, he seems more worldly.  You have to remember, this is a guy who comes from Vegas, whose mother is a stripper, and he does not know who his father is. He now has some money.  I can only presume he got it from swindling something from someone.  I would like to know how he got more refined.

MICHAEL:

I want to know how he got in the art world!

SEAN:

I want to know that too.  I was talking to Paul Rauch about that. Deacon had an understanding of the art world.  I don’t think you can fool people about the art world when you know nothing about it.  Apparently, now Deacon likes to read a little bit, and when he does it’s no longer girly mags, it’s art books!

yrAdriSean.jpgMICHAEL:

The beginning of this story is Deacon set up Daniel to take a fall.  Is the reason as obvious that Deacon wants Amber back, or is there a bigger agenda?

SEAN:

As an actor, I have to choose that I do want Amber back.  I am led to believe that this is all part of bigger scheme to get this Terroni painting, and for some reason or another to frame Daniel.  But it’s always a stronger choice to play my desire to do this with Amber because I have genuine feelings for her.  For me, Deacon has feelings for Amber. They are sort of cut from the same cloth.  I think they have certain common denominators that allow them to relate to one another.  He says to her at one point, “With me you don’t have to pretend. I know who you really are,” and I think that’s true.

MICHAEL:

Recently the Internet was a buzz when Deacon forced Amber to have sex with him and once again viewers felt it was another sickening depiction of women being bullied into sex.

SEAN:

I think there are a lot of ways that someone can be forced into something.  I think physicality is only one of them.  I think what Deacon did was loathsome and apprehensible. He was not figuratively forcing her to have sex with him in the true tradition of the definition of the word rape, but he forced her to this and we all knew why.  I think it’s terrible.  I want the fans to understand, I am just an actor playing the part.

MICHAEL:

You were so cruddy and mean and vile to Amber!

SEAN:

I agree.  Right now, I can’t really rationalize his behavior because it’s so removed from Sean’s frame of reference.  I get my scripts a week and half before they shoot.  No one has taken me in a room and shown me a road map to what is happening.  I would like the fans to know that.  I think it’s one thing when you are playing a good guy, but when you are playing a bad guy… it’s one thing for people to think that I know what’s going on, or I approve of it.  My job is to be as convincing as I can be with the cards that I am dealt.

MICHAEL:

Why are you so good at playing this type of role?

SEAN:

I think part of it is a testament to Adrienne.  I have some vast life experience.  At some point in my life I may have drawn from people like Deacon.  We all have a dark side within us.  I guess I am able to tap into that.  I am actor, it’s what I do.  I hopefully would be able to bring the same believability to if I was playing a gay character, or someone who was victimized, because that is what I do.

MICHAEL:

What did Adrienne say to you when she found out you were going to be working with her again…this time on “Y&R”?

seanAdri.jpgSEAN:

Adrienne is a sweetheart.  She texted me how excited she was once she knew I was coming on to “Y&R”.

MICHAEL:

How do you make Deacon human?

SEAN:

I try to find the humor in him.  I try to make it perversely funny to be a bad guy.  So on some level to some people it’s, “I kind of hate what he is doing, but on some level it looks like a lot of fun.”  Instead of completely hating me, there is a perverse fascination with it, maybe.

MICHAEL:

Will he continue to torment Amber and Daniel?

SEAN:

Probably for awhile he will torment them, but I honestly don’t know what the macro-plan here is.  Here is what makes it difficult: as Deacon I have not been told what my end game is.  So I am not able to play and act with an innate knowledge of what it is I am going for, which can be difficult.  I don’t know if turns out that I am doing this when in fact I don’t care for Amber.  I don’t think that is the case.  Based on our history, he has significant feelings for Amber.  I don’t know specifically what happened that has made Deacon’s animosity towards Daniel personal, or if he just happens to be in this con.

MICHAEL:

Is playing Deacon ever difficult?

blacktshirt.jpgSEAN:

I actually had a lot of difficulty in the scene where Amber came in and I was wearing the tank top.  It very easily could have been construed (when I grabbed her) that it was a physical sexual assault.  So, I tried to lighten it up a little bit.  But the reality is I am forcing her to have sex.  So, my best bet was to split the difference. I am glad people had reaction to those scenes, but for me, I had a tough time with those scenes.  I could not commit 110% because I was not quite sure what my intention was.

MICHAEL:

Ryder is your assistant! Deacon has an assistant. Interesting, huh?

SEAN:

Ryder is an assistant and I don’t know why I have an assistant.  I don’t know who this kid is to me.  Is he related to me? I know who he is in relation,  and in the scheme of who he says he is.  I don’t know if it’s going to turn out that he and I have a different relationship than my assistant.  That may be.  I don’t know.

MICHAEL:

So you are on “Y&R” for awhile now?

SEAN:

I am on recurring status.  I love playing Deacon and it has been a fantastic experience at “Y&R”, and would love to stay as long as great stuff is being written for me, and so far it has.  I don’t know if I want to be a periphery character that does not have a lot to do. I don’t think that’s what they want either.  As long as I have good story, I would love to stay.

bestbuds.jpgMICHAEL:

Have you had a chance to say hello to your former “B&B” cast mates?

SEAN:

I saw Rick Hearst (Whip) and Ronn Moss (Ridge).  I have not seen Lesley-Anne Down (Jackie) yet, which I am looking forward to.  I have seen a few crew people.

MICHAEL:

With what’s shaken at “B&B”, a Deacon return there would be interesting, too!

SEAN:

With Whip back, that’s two thirds of the triangle with Brooke and who knows?  I don’t rule anything out.  I love “Y&R”.  It’s terrific.  Would it be perfect to bounce back and forth between two shows?  Of course. That is an actor’s dream and that would be great.  And especially because I just have to walk down the hallway to do both shows in the same day. That would be crazy! (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

John Ingle (Edward) told me at the recent “GH” Fan Club Weekend that he misses you and really thinks you are a terrific.  He misses all his Quartermaine sons, and that you were his first AJ!

SEAN:

Ah. My grandfather.  He is such a kind sweet man.  I have such affection with John.  I really like him and I love to hear his stories when he was Nicholas Cage’s acting teacher!

seanLeaning.jpgMICHAEL:

I hear more comedy is in your future. Tell me what is up next?

SEAN:

I have been doing stand-up comedy.  I am in the process of  putting together a comedy special in the next year, and some other projects I am working on.  When I am able to talk about them, I will.  I love Camera Café. I played this overall tan character that is a combination of Herb Tarlek of WKRP in Cincinnati and Ted Baxter from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. When I started doing the read-through this weird voice came out of me. It was this self-hilarious self-indulgent voice.  I was always checking my hair and my tan-line. (He laughs)  It worked really well.  Antonio Banderas is the executive producer.  I think a lot of people have not seen me being the funny guy.  So this is the first time I have been given the opportunity, and I can’t wait for this to come out.  Camera Café are three and half minute webisodes and they are all shot from the perspective of a camera imbedded in a coffee machine.  It’s very sexually charged, cable-esque dialog, and it’s bar none, the funniest thing I have ever worked on.

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Days Of Our Lives

Watch the Replay: GH, DAYS, Y&R, B&B & OLTL Stars at Michael Fairman’s Virtual Birthday Party for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund

Earlier this week on Monday night, several of the stars of General Hospital, Days of our Lives, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and One Life to Live, took part in a virtual livestream “party” for Michael Fairman’s 60th birthday.

The event was held virtually to help performers in need who have been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by letting viewers know where to make a donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Fund.

Photo: ABC, NBC, CBS

Participating throughout the 90 minute livestream were: The Young and the Restless, Jason Thompson, Sharon Case, and Christian LeBlanc, General Hospital’s Maurice Benard, Laura Wright, Wes Ramsey, and Chloe Lanier, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Katherine Kelly Lang, Days of our Lives’ Rob Scott Wilson, Eric Martsolf, Galen Gering, Arianne Zucker, Shawn Christian, Santa Barbara favorite, A Martinez, One Life to Live’s Kristen Alderson and Eddie Alderson, and Studio City’s Sean Kanan.

You can catch the replay of the birthday benefit event below or on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

Throughout the evening, the actors shared stories of how they got their SAG card, played a game of Michael’s trivia, and revealed stories about themselves and other “party” guests in a wonderful display of community and camaraderie at all went down live!

Since March of 2o2o, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has given out more than $6.2 million in emergency aid to over 6,500 SAG-AFTRA performers and their families facing hardship and uncertainty during this pandemic. Thousands of SAG-AFTRA artists have found themselves in dire need of assistance to help pay their rent, buy groceries, cover health care premiums and other bills.  You can still make a donation of any dollar amount to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 relief fund here. https://members.sagfoundation.org/donate 

Now, check it out below, and let us know if you enjoyed the virtual birthday party livestream via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH Co-Head Writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor Interview – “Soapmakers of the Year” Honors 2020

In a year which saw production of your favorite soaps shutdown for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone in daytime had to pivot.  As original episodes aired, they eventually ran out, giving way to rebroadcasts, while the audience eagerly awaited the return of the current stories.

At General Hospital, once production resumed over the summer, head writers, Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor had teed-up: surprising homecomings (Dante, Britt) shocking twists and revelations, the conclusion of what will become an all-time soap classic, the Alzheimer’s storyline, dipping into the rich 57-year history of the iconic soap to tie story to the present (Laura, Cyrus, Martin), and crafting stories for its A-list cast which gave 2020 some of its finest on-screen moments.  GH became can’t-miss television again, coming back even stronger than its pre-pandemic self; which also kicked the year off in high-style with the reveal of Nikolas to his family, alive and well, and the long-awaited truth about baby Wiley.

Chris and Dan’s depiction of Mike’s heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer’s gave viewers many tears through its unrelenting and realistic storytelling, plus their commitment to air the standalone episode to honor the passing of the 19th amendment of the women’s right to vote in November.  Both were noteworthy, and illustrated what daytime can do best.

 

Each year, Michael Fairman TV gives our highest honor to a creative or creatives who most delivered to its audience and whose quality of work continues to keep us engaged, on the edge of our seats, or reaching for the hankies. That is why this year’s Soapmkers of the Year honor goes to GH scribes: Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor.  Shortly after receiving their acknowledgement, the duo spoke to us about some of the 2020 highlights in Port Charles, and how they work so well together to bring their stories to life.  Here’s what they shared.

Courtesy/ABC

First, and foremost, I want to commend you for the Alzheimer’s storyline  As I’ve shared publicly, my mother died of Alzheimer’s, and I have seen the progression of this disease and the effects it has on a family and loved ones, and the person afflicted with it.  You did a beautiful job of telling every beat of the story within the context of what you could do within a soap opera.  What can you tell me about crafting that and seeing it through to the end?  You never abandoned the story, which at times, can happen on daytime.

CHRISNo, we didn’t abandon it.  Soap operas have a power that I am sure we have acknowledged before, to allow audiences to really get to know characters in a deeper and more profound way than I think most other mediums do.  We get to see characters’ lives day in and day out.  For us to tell a story about Alzheimer’s, which is a disease that is devastating in so many ways, not the least of which is the fact that it can take years to develop and years to finally claim a life, we felt that among our audience, there had to be many people who had experienced this in an up-close and personal way.  So that to tell the story too expeditiously would really deny their experience and would take away from their appreciation of the show as a reflection of reality.  Of course, soap operas don’t do that in every sense on every episode, but when you’re telling a story about a disease that people experience every day, you have an obligation to reflect the real-world experience.  So, by bringing it to a close too fast and by doing it in a way that didn’t honor what at times is the horror of the disease, felt like it would be a cop-out.  We wanted to do our best within the constrictions of the medium to depict that; while at the same time, of course, not wanting to leave people so depressed as to not want to tune back in.  It was a really delicate dance.  We are very grateful to have had the support of the network and Frank Valentini’s (executive producer, GH) ingenious production team as well as a great repertory of actors who were willing and able to give their all to this story.

Courtesy/ABC

Maurice Benard (Sonny) did some of his finest work of his career in this story, and you gave him the ball to do it, and Max Gail (Mike) was amazing.  Two standout episodes included: when Mike passed and was taken to heaven by Courtney (Alicia Leigh Willis) and Mike’s funeral episode.  Did you realize when you were writing it, the impact it would have on the audience?

DANAs for the funeral, I’d say that we knew as we were writing it that not only did we want to give the characters and the audience a chance to say goodbye to Mike, but we also wanted to give the performers a chance to say a goodbye to their relationship with the actor, Max Gail as well.  Max is a fantastic, phenomenal actor, and he formed close relationships with many of our performers.  So, when we wrote the episode, yes, we did want to give the audience a chance to say goodbye to the character, but we also knew that because of the close relationships that these performers have made with each other that the actors were going to bring their all, and it was going to provide the audience with some powerhouse performances.

Did you get emotional seeing it? 

CHRIS:  Oh, personally, I cried.

Courtesy/ABC

I know you both love and appreciate the soap genre and understand that the audience often wants a good cry and is invested in these characters.  So because of that; what’s it like for you when you see these emotional moments play out that start in your mind, go to the page, then to the stage, and now are out in the world for people to see and experience?

CHRIS:  I can’t speak for any of the other writers, but I’m not crying when I’m writing it, but I’m crying when I see it realized and how the actors, and the producers, and the directors realize it.  I personally am always surprised by the nuance and the beats that they find that we, in our first draft kind-of-lifestyle that we have as soap opera writers; where we are writing six or seven episodes per week, we don’t have the time or the luxury to really sit with an episode and mine it for every single beat and every emotion. That’s why we have great directors and great actors who take these scripts and find these extra moments.  So, it is really gratifying to watch – yes, to see something that we’ve imagined be produced and personified, but then to see how the production then takes it in other directions, that’s the best.  I think that’s the most gratifying part of writing for a show, not seeing what you’ve written produced, but seeing how it was parented into life.  When you have a baby, I think you have all sorts of ideas about what the baby will be, and then the baby becomes something else as the result of its environment and of the people who are influencing and guiding it along and that may be a bit of a stretched metaphor, but it kind of feels relative.

As co-head writers of General Hospital, how do you work together to come up with long-term story?  What is your process?

DAN:  Chris and I will meet regularly and discuss the long-term stories that we are telling, and plan to tell, and maybe some adjustments that we have to make along the way.  We get to meet with our writers several days every week as we figure out the best way to tell that story in the form of however many episodes we write a week.  Chris and I also write episodes along with our great breakdown script team, and every week we figure out the best way to either stay on the path of the story we are intending to tell, or find new opportunities or new twists and turns we can take along the way.

Photo: ABC

Do you get into friendly, creative disagreements? Is one of you more protective of a certain character than the other? 

DAN:  Chris and I have known each other for close to 15 years at this point, and we are not just colleagues, we are also friends.  There is a certain amount of shorthand that we have with each other which is just invaluable in telling story.  What’s great is that we sometimes come at the story from different angles or we have a different point of view, much like any two fans of the show wouldn’t agree on necessarily everything, but in our discussions about the show’s needs, wants, and haves, and the story trajectory, we ultimately get somewhere better than where either of us could have come up with on our own.  At the same time, there are those moments where we both come to the same idea at the same moment, and that’s definitely when we go, “Okay, we’re onto something good.”

CHRIS:  I can add as a partial translation that I can get really snippy, and Dan has the patience of a saint.  So, often times, I need 24 hours to go away, and sleep on something, and wake up, and say, “Oh Dan, you were totally right about that.  I’m so sorry I was snippy the other day,” and he doesn’t seem to hold it against me.

Do you ever get a writer’s block; as has to happen often with scribes in the unrelenting medium of daytime drama, and if so, I would think having a writing partner would be an asset during those times?

DAN:  I think it’s the nature of the beast.  At a certain point, you might hit a roadblock somewhere, but that’s why having a partner is so valuable that there is somebody else that you can bounce ideas along with, and just as, if not more importantly, our team of writers are always there to sometimes give us even better ideas than what we would have come up with on our own.

Courtesy/ABC

This year you utilized and delved back into a lot of GH history.  How did the idea come about to bring back the character of Jackie Templeton and have former All My Children and NYPD Blue favorite, Kim Delaney, take on the role?

DAN:  Jackie Templeton is a character who has been an Easter egg on the show for many years now.  Whenever we needed to namedrop a famous journalist, she was always our go-to.  It always felt like the character was in the ether of Port Charles for awhile, and we were excited to bring this take-no-prisoners character back and explore her history with Robert (Tristan Rogers), and at the same time, we were finally teed up to tell the story of Finn’s (Michael Easton) falling out with his father and step-mother, and we realized we had a great opportunity to have the character serve both stories and collide with not just Anna (Finola Hughes) and Finn, but Robert as well. Those three played wonderfully with each other. When we heard that Kim Delaney was interested in playing with us, we were just over the moon.  .

Courtesy/ABC

You have also been delving back into Laura’s childhood past and her history. I love that you brought up the death of David Hamilton and her teenage years, which hasn’t been discussed for a very long time on the show while tying it into the present.

DAN:  We were always aware of the story just because we love General Hospital and we love the character of Laura, and there is nothing else like daytime drama, and one of the great things about it is that you can reach decades into the past and expand on stories and themes that the audience actually witnessed. Long reaching history is a tool in our toolbox that not many other series have.  Chris and I love honoring and using our characters’ histories to propel the show into the future with some serious momentum.

Photo: ABC

You created and brought the character of  Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober) on to the canvas. Was it originally a case of, “We need an uber-villain to come and shake things up,” and then you decided to connect him to Laura?  It’s been an intriguing shocker for viewers.  Jeff is playing the multi-levels of Cyrus with great finesse, and whenever you give Genie something, the fans go nuts, and she, in turn, delivers every time.

CHRIS:  The story of Cyrus has a couple of phases to it.  We wanted to bring on a villain who would not only be an adversary to Sonny, but someone who we could use to really test Jordan (Briana Nicole Henry) and Curtis (Donnell Turner), and we knew going in that the first phase of this story would really hit the Corinthos family and also the Ashfords, and as we developed it, we thought about what the act two would be, and we knew that we had an opportunity to really engage Genie Francis and to expand her sphere and expand her footprint on the show, and by connecting her to Cyrus, who is not your typical face or presence for a soap, but is also not your typical person who I think Laura would encounter in her daily life.  So, we knew, as we really developed Cyrus as a villain, that for Laura to find out that this man is her brother, would really allow us to play with Laura in a different context and in a different light and really give Genie a new kind of challenge.

Speaking of Genie, what did you think when you watched back her performance in the episode where you wrote that Laura has to say goodbye to her comatose daughter, Lulu (Emme Rylan), before she was sent off the canvas to a long-term care facility?

CHRIS:  I mean to me, that’s vintage Laura.  I came to General Hospital personally in the late 80s to early 90s, so my experience of Laura really only begins with her, and Luke (Tony Geary), and Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) at the Triple L Diner.  I think that what we’ve gotten to see with Genie is really reflective of the high emotion that she is capable of delivering.  At the same time as the high emotion, you’re also seeing really small human moments that she really breathes a lot of life into.  I can speak for Dan and myself when we say that we are just really thrilled with what she has been able to bring to the screen.  Thrilled, but I guess not surprised.

Coutesy/ABC

Nelle (Chloe Lanier) was such a great interloper and threat throughout the year in story; whether it’s hatching plots to gain custody of baby Wiley, or her “death” scene and confrontations with Carly (Laura Wright).  However, through all of this, when was it decided to make Nina (Cynthia Watros), Nelle’s biological mother?

DAN:  There are very few things that are as exciting on a soap as a character that makes you wonder what they are going to do next, and Chloe and Nelle provided that role with just gusto.  The truth is, the idea that Nelle was Nina’s daughter has been a part of the conception of that character, and over the last few years, the story evolved, and we ultimately got to reveal the truth to the audience.

Courtesy/ABC

As writers, there has to be characters that are just so delicious and treacherous to write for that you have to get a kick out of it! Chloe Lanier is so good that she makes the audience want to slap Nelle when she takes the dialog and then brings it to the screen.  

CHRIS:  It is tremendous fun.  Yes, yes, we love writing for these characters who are willing to do and say anything to get what they want.  We are constrained when writing for characters who have morality.  It takes a moral character a lot of really difficult circumstances for them to make a decision that might go against the grain, but when you have a character like Nelle, who is not shackled by certain societal norms, then you really get to live out the worst impulses that a person could have, and it’s really fun, especially when you take a really great performer like Chloe and see her as Nelle unleash all of the poison that she’s capable of.  At the same time, she can turn on a dime and rip your heart out a little bit when she turns on the water works.

Photo :ABC

Ava Jerome’s (Maura West) story this year had her moving into a relationship with Nikolas (Marcus Coloma).  We, the audience, didn’t know how that was going to go – if they were just going to use each other, or ultimately fall in love.  Was that the plan all along … that they would develop deep feelings for each other, or did you want to see how it progressed and played out on-screen, and then make that determination?

CHRIS:  I think that once we saw the chemistry between the two actors, we knew we had gold. So, we wanted to take our time, especially the way that it was constructed.  These were two people who had little use for each other emotionally, and in fact, probably wanted to see one another’s downfall, and that’s what makes it so great to write – that these are people who, in a similar vein as Nelle, don’t live by the same rules as most of the rest of us, and therefore, they might do things to each other that the rest of us would not do to anyone let alone whether we like them or not.  That’s what makes Ava and Nikolas so delicious is that from one moment to the next, you don’t know if they’re going to hatch a plot against each other or fall into bed and ravish each other. That’s what I think we hope to continue to play as we go forward because they certainly have very strong, passionate feelings for one another.  When you’re talking about Ava and Nikolas, these are two people who do not have a lot of fans necessarily in Port Charles, and there are a lot of people who don’t necessarily want to see them achieve happily ever after.  Knowing that there was so much initial mistrust and suspicion between the two of them could really provide the foundation for their own undoing or their undoing from someone who does not want to see them happy.

Photo: ABC

Back in November, GH made good use of a standalone episode spotlighting the history of the women’s right to vote and the suffrage movement; just as the presidential election was happening.  What made you decide to write this special show, and how do you feel it turned out as it also spotlighted the female cast?

CHRIS:  We had long intended to honor the one hundred years of American women’s suffrage with a special episode to air on the anniversary of the 19th amendment’s passage, but we missed the date due to the pause in production.  We realized we had a second chance as the election neared.  Going forward was a no-brainer. The biggest challenge was in distilling such an epic story into one episode. We think ABC would do well to consider a spinoff: “Port Charles, 1920”

Courtesy/ABC

You have such a powerhouse cast to write for.  It’s loaded.  It’s got to be a challenge for you to construct the story for GH when you’ve got to front burner people and back burner people, and then you’ve got these huge daytime stars all in one show.

DAN:  It’s an embarrassment of riches to have a cast as talented as we do quite frankly.  We are fortunate enough that we know that we have these amazing performers that we can trust with whatever stories that we throw their way.

CHRIS:  I will say that we do have a great cast.  They’re all wonderful, and when you have a show that is only approximately 35 minutes of airtime on any day, it’s a real balancing act to make sure that everybody gets a story that really is worthy of their talents, and we’ve got one for everybody.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of which story takes precedence in which moment, which is why occasionally some characters aren’t featured on a daily basis, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be.  If you were to ask me, “Who are the standouts?”  I would say all of them.  You saw this year: Maurice Benard, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), Maura West, Genie Francis, and Laura Wright (Carly) to name but just a few.  They’ve all done such fantastic work, and we can’t wait to give them more material to give them more moments to shine.

DAN:  A priority of ours is every week, we meet up and look (well, it’s virtual now during Covid-19) at the big board of our cast photos and we go through each character and always make sure that they have some story percolating even if it’s not on the air at the moment.

Photo: ABC

As we close out 2020, and look forward to 2021, any parting thoughts, and perhaps a tease of what GH fans can look forward to in the New Year?

CHRIS:  In general, I would just say that despite all of the challenges of the year, we are really grateful to our cast and the crew back in Los Angeles for realizing and improving the show that we imagined, and we are so excited for everything that is coming in 2021.  We hope to continue to throw a lot of surprises at the audience, and at the same time give them a lot of moments and stories of heart and love and excitement.

So, what did you think of the year in story on General Hospital in 2020? Share your thoughts on Chris and Dan’s comments and their year-end honors via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Stephen Nichols and Lucas Adams Talk Salem Longevity, Tripp’s Predicament and Their Co-Stars

Days of our Lives stars Stephen Nichols (Steve “Patch” Johnson) and his on-screen son, Lucas Adams (Tripp Dalton) are in the middle of plenty of drama on the long-running NBC daytime drama, which recently celebrated its 55th anniversary in November and its 14,000 episode milestone in December.

In a new chat with Michael Fairman on the Michael Fairman Channel, Stephen reveals his surprise at still being with the iconic show. while Lucas talks about how his first run on DAYS came to an abrupt end, but now he is deep in-story involving Allie (Lindsay Arnold) and the brother he is yet-to-know he has, Charlie (Mike Manning), who is Allie’s actual rapist.

Both Stephen and Lucas discuss having the opportunity to work with Daytime Emmy winner Tamara Braun (Ava) again, as well as James Lastovic (Joey) in recently aired scenes. In story, Ava has returned back-from-the-dead and realizes she has major trouble brewing with her two sons, Tripp and Charlie.  How will it all play itself out?

 

Check out what Stephen and Lucas shared below.  Then, be on the lookout beginning this week, as Steve and John (Drake Hogestyn) work together to figure out who is responsible for Allie’s rape and just who is the biological father to her child, when it is not Tripp!

Share your thoughts on the sentiments shared by Stephen and Lucas in the interview via the comment section.

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