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The Tristan Rogers Interview – General Hospital

tristan_manhattanites2.jpg
On-Air On-Soaps continuing coverage of General Hospital continues this week with several features surrounding the troubling state of the ratings of the venerable soap, and the genre in general. I had the opportunity to catch up with the outspoken and brilliant actor of both General Hospital and GH: Night Shift, Tristan Rogers, who has played Robert Scorpio on and off for decades. Tristan was taking part in the west coast DVD release party of Roger Newcomb’s and Gregori J. Martin’s film Manhattanites, starring many familiar daytime faces. The two of us took time out from the festivities to discuss what’s going down in soap land.

Tristan and I chat about these hot topics: what’s going on with “GH” and how can it gets back on track in the ratings and excite fans again, why no season three of GH: Night Shift, the controversy over who is Ethan’s true biological father, Luke or Robert, and the fate of the Daytime Emmys. Plus, as the one-time producer of Michael Jackson’s 30th anniversary concert, Tristan and I delve into the tragic death of the world’s biggest superstar.

Always on the cutting edge, online reports have indicated that Tristan’s next move could be a part in the web series Imaginary Bitches starring Eden Riegel. But for now, enjoy our feature with him. Here’s Tristan!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

You are here tonight to support director and producer Gregori J. Martin, even though you were not in his most recent release, Manhattanites.

TRISTAN:

That is because I have done two of Gregori’s movies. I did Raven and the one before that, Jack Rio.

MICHAEL:

I have been reading your blogs at www.tristanrogers.com and everything you have written is quite commendable. It is direct and honest in regards to the quagmire daytime soaps find themselves in.

TRISTAN:

I do enjoy trying to make sense out of the situation and approach what is going on in the daytime world from a common sense situation, rather than being hysterical about it. It’s taking me awhile, but I actually see the networks side of the coin, and I see the fans side of the coin. Consequently, I see what is happening and why it’s happening. Frankly, its time for Guiding Light … 72 years is a long run for a show in broadcasting. On the other hand, you know, I don’t quite know if I want to see it happening the way it is happening now. I think there is a better way to bring it about.

tristan_and_finola.jpgMICHAEL:

What do you think of the declining ratings of “GH”, that is the talk of the soap world right now?

TRISTAN:

I think General Hospital, of all the soaps, is in a real quandary because “GH” is constantly fighting its past, and in particular, it’s fighting its past now. It seems to suddenly have become a real issue. When I went back to the show in 2006 it was starting to bubble, and I don’t know if comments I made at the time helped it bubble up a bit hotter. But, I think what you have got now is an issue with the core body of fans. “GH” has a core body of fans that support it with whatever is happening. Now that core body of fans is deserting it, and when the last one turns off, that’s it. The new fans will not support it in a way that the older, foundational group will. I have been saying for sometime, “This is the group you have to have be supporting.” The show needs to try and maintain these fans and get that group solidified, and then go after the other groups. But, you must keep that fan base and foundation. When you have got no foundation, there is nothing to build on.

MICHAEL:

Patrick and Robin are the morale center these days in Port Charles. What is left are many mobsters. In the days when you were starring on the show there was heart to the show that seems to be lacking now. Recently, the show launched the storyline: “Who was Ethan’s biological father… Luke or Robert?” You were quite vocal about that at the time this played out on air. Do you think this is the way it will remain … Luke and Ethan are truly father and son?

TRISTAN:

I still think that is up in the air. That has been created in such a vague way as to literally be twisted any which way you wanted it to be twisted. I think that was done deliberately. When that storyline first got suggested to me, they said to me, “Robert was going to turn out to be the father,” and I remember saying to myself at that time, “That does not make any sense! Why at this particular time now? They have a whole lot of contractual actors over there, that aren’t used a whole lot…why would they bring somebody else on and just turn around and go; “OK, you’re it.” I had a problem whether that would actually come to pass. So far it hasn’t… but anything can happen.

MICHAEL:

Then also came the sad news that SOAPnet was not bringing back another season of GH: Night Shift, which was surprising because creatively it kicked-butt last season with you at the center of it!

robert_cancer.jpgTRISTAN:

I knew that it was not coming back and being renewed a while ago. Night Shift was a wonderful glimpse of what was possible to do with a daytime format and a primetime format, shot in HD, edited like a movie, and essentially brought up to date, which was subtle. It was written by Sri Rao, who really understood the genre. He really got it, and there was no messing with him. I think this is an issue of what goes on with the daytime soaps. There are not too many people out there now who want to take what history there is, and take it and build on it. I can see why they don’t want to do that, but on the other hand, I don’t think there is much point in changing history for the sake of change. If you have a really good reason to change it then do it, otherwise use it!

MICHAEL:

Robert’s colon cancer storyline was so poignant. It was a performance that if it could have been in Emmy contention this year, it would stand among the best. How did you feel about how the storyline played out?

TRISTAN:

It was certainly something much meatier that we saw Robert involved in before, and in a very real way. We saw this character dealing with something he couldn’t deal with, and so I said, “I am just going to let it all hang out.” I said, “I am going to go for broke on this, and I am not going to hold anything back.” Everybody was like, “But Robert is this unbreakable character.” Not in this show, he’s not! This time around we are going to see a side of him that we hadn’t seen before, and it totally worked. I don’t think it took anything away from the character at all. I f he were to walk back to the show now and kick someone’s ass, they would go, “Look how terrific! He’s back.”

MICHAEL:

The relationship you have on-screen with Kimberly McCullough (Robin) and Finola Hughes (Anna) is always must-see television. Why does it work so well?

scorpios.jpgTRISTAN:

The three of us together… there is such a connection there that I can’t put into words. When the three of us are together, it’s just there! Everything’s right and we don’t have to look at one another, and we meld together.

MICHAEL:

Would you go back to “GH” for something that made sense for Robert?

TRISTAN:

Oh, absolutely! Regardless, I get frustrated with the place, but I have an enormous emotional connection to “GH”. It’s like having a bad emotional child. They might grow up and do bad stupid things, but you still love them.

MICHAEL:

What did you think when none of the three major networks that broadcast daytime soaps passed on airing the Daytime Emmys this year, and it landed on the CW?

TRISTAN:

It’s a further indication that the networks are distancing themselves from the genre; in the fact they did not want to show it at all. And yet, it’s rather interesting. You kind of wonder: What would happen to the Daytime Emmys if there were no soaps in the Daytime Emmys? Does that mean that the networks would go, “It’s cool now. It’s all full of talk shows now?” I think for the soaps to have what we had in the 80’s, you have to have someone step up to the plate with that kind of gritty vision that Gloria Monty (ex-exec prod, “GH”) had with a chair in one hand and a bull whip in the other hand and say, “This is the way were are going to do it!” That’s what she did and we need that now. I don’t know who is out there that can do that, but it’s going to take an individual like that to drag daytime out of its malaise.

MICHAEL:

Are you and Tony Geary (Luke) close?

tony_geary_emmy.jpgTRISTAN:

Oh, yes. We don’t see each other much, but when we are together it’s great. We pick up a conversation that ended a few years ago and it’s like it just started again.

MICHAEL:

Tony could win his 7th Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor at next month’s Daytime Emmy ceremonies. If so, he would stand alone as the most decorated and honored actor of all time in the soaps.

TRISTAN:

Tony has put his heart and soul into daytime. I cannot claim to do that because I left. Tony sat down and made a career out of it, and Tony is the consummate actor. I can see why he does a lot of things he does. I can see why he walks on the wild side, when it comes to what he has done with some of the history on the show. You can’t in his position… you can’t let the history bind you or contain what performances you might have, even if it’s going to ruffle a few feathers, and that is kind of what he has done here. I never had to deal with history the way he had to deal with it because I wasn’t here. But if I would have had to deal with it, I am not quite sure of how I would have handled it. It’s one of those imponderable questions.

MICHAEL:

Would you ever consider executive producing or writing for a soap?

TRISTAN:

Absolutely, if the right situation came along.

MICHAEL:

I know you produced Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary show. How did you feel about the death of Michael?

tristan_cancer.jpgTRISTAN:

It was totally unexpected. On the other hand, there were a lot of questions being asked, “Does anyone think he can actually do 50 shows?” I thought to myself, “I don’t see him getting through that. I don’t think he has the stamina for it.” When we did the 30th anniversary of the Michael Jackson show in Madison Square Garden, he was looking a little worse for wear then, and that was in 2001! A lot has happened in the last 8 years. A great talent has been taken from us. The media are going to make hay from this for a long time.

MICHAEL:

Did you know him at all?

TRISTAN:

I cannot say he was a friend. I worked with him professionally. He came around to my place once. He knew David Gest very well, and David Gest and I have done a lot of shows together. I know this caught David by surprise, and everyone else as well! It’s a terrible shame!

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Dale
Dale

I have been a die heart GH fan since High School in the 80s, the only reason I watched the show was Robert and Anna the spy storys were awesome and kept everyone on the edge of there seats. I think the main reason I even watched it was the connection between Robert and Anna characters watching the whole story personally I wanted them back together but not the way it ended in 92. Robert stayed away from Anna and Robin that would of never happened no way terrible writing the only way he stays away from Anna and Robin is if he was prisoner somewhere. Couples like Robert and Anna gave us all hope of a happy family!!

lizzie
lizzie

Robert and anna forever.They made the show .

General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Chase and ‘Janelle’ Two Sides To Every Story?

On Tuesday’s episode of General Hospital, viewers were given more of the back-story between Chase (Josh Swickard) and Nelle (Chloe Lanier) told through a series of flashback from their disparate recollections.

At the PCPD, over the phone, Chase thanks his former police partner, Abby for sending the files he had on one … Janelle Benson.  As he peruses through the files and sees the image of Nelle contained within it, and a postcard from Florida, Chase flashes back to his interrogation room and meeting suspect ‘Janelle’, when he was working as an officer in Maine.  Nelle was being questioned in the drowning of her fiance’ Zack..  Chase asks why the upset ‘Janelle’ chose to vacation in Maine instead of Florida.  She says it was so Zack could put space between him and his disapproving family.  However, ‘Janelle’ does admit going kayaking was her idea.

Next, she cries that she had to make the decision to try to save Zack from drowning, but thought maybe she might die too, so she decided to save herself, and not go in after him, in what was an impossible situation to be in.  Abby questions ‘Janelle’ about Zack changing his will right before they headed off for their vacation.  ‘Janelle’ lets it firmly be known that it was all Zack’s idea to change his will.

Chase believes ‘Janelle’ is innocent, but Abby thinks Janelle is played the helpless victim card.  Chase decides to release Nelle.  Later, Chase remembers traveling to Florida, because Nelle was reportedly being harassed by Zack’s family.  When he got to Florida, he recalls staying in a motel, and was set to meet up with her at a diner.  However, ‘Janell’e surprised him while he was half-naked in a towel and the door of his room.  Next thing you know, things get hot and heavy as she seduces him.  Chase flashes to them hitting the sheets and being in the throes of passion, and promising to take care of everything for her.

Meanwhile, Nelle and Michael (Chad Duell) are talking at The Floating Rib.  Nelle admits to Michael that she has a past with Chase, and her fear of him trying to bring her down now that he is in Pot Charles.  She says that Chase would do anything to get ahead in his career.  Michael asks if Maine was truly the last time she saw Chase.  She says it wasn’t, and says he followed her to Florida.

Now, as there are two sides to every story, Nelle flashes to coming to visit Chase at his motel room; where he is only wearing a towel . In her version, she portrays Chase as the instigator.  She start to cry and tells Michael that in her gut she knew that something was off about Chase, but she felt like she was drowning inside and he was her lifeline. Nelle says Chase became obsessed with her.

Then while alone, Nelle remembers how she was able to get Chase to go out to the store and get her some water after their hot sexcapade.. Once she is all by herself, Nelle calles the police to report misconduct by an officer at the motel.  Meanwhile, Michael has headed over to the PCPD to confront Chase.

So, which version of the story of  Chase and ‘Janelle’ do you believe? It appears Nelle has done a number on Chase. What did you think of Chloe Lanier’s performance where she can go from portraying the victim in a situation, to an evil bitch, with ease?  What do you think of Josh Swickard as the PCPD’s main cop, now that Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) is on his way out of GH?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH Preview – Week of June 18, 2018

This week on General Hospital, as Carly (Laura Wright) is being drugged up with anti-psychotic meds at Ferncliff, it’s Jason (Steve Burton) to the rescue.  Carly’s bff finds a way to infiltrate the state mental institution. Meanwhile, Carly had been talking to Kevin (Jon Lindstrom), who says he will help her through her ordeal emotionally.  But is Carly really seeing Kevin, or is it just a figment of her imagination?

Elsewhere, Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) seeks out her ex Julian (William deVry) as she tries to come to terms with the root cause of her issues with the men she chooses to be in her life.  Julian, who has gotten closer to Kim (Tamara Braun), now has a chance to try to help Alexis and make up for the ways in which he hurt her.  Could this be the beginning of the patching up of Julexis, or the final straw?

Sonny (Maurice Benard) has just learned that Mike (Max Gail) moved the body buried at Croton. Where did Mike take it?  How will this have future implications?

Here are more teasers for the action coming up on  GH:

MONDAY JUNE 18

Obrecht covers her tracks.

TUESDAY JUNE 19

Nelle reflects on her past.

WEDNESDAY JUNE 20

Michael confronts Chase.

THURSDAY JUNE 21

Nina demands answers.

FRIDAY JUNE 22

Valentin’s romantic gesture back fires.

So, what story point are you looking forward to playing out this week on GH? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Breaking News

Dominic Zamprogna Confirms He Is Done At GH

Another General Hospital favorite has left the building.  After much speculation and rumors, it has been confirmed on Thursday afternoon by Dominic Zamprogna that he has left the ABC daytime drama series, and his role of nine years; that of Dante Falconeri.

In a tweet, Dominic shared: “So you’ve been asking. I feel I owe it to you awesome fans to tell you that I’ve taped my final scenes. Going to miss you all and my GH fam. Good things happening tho. More to come ..”

Zamprogna actually had taped his final scenes last month in May.

The character of Dante came on to GH, and it was revealed that he was the biological son of Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero).

Benard posted a touching photo from on set of himself and Zamprogna on his Instagram account stating: “Always very sad for me when great actors and great friends leave the show Dom was definitely at the top of that list was always looking forward to working with him didn’t happen enough.”

Dominic’s on-screen lady love Emme Rylan (Lulu) shared these thoughts on Twitter:  “I am utterly heartbroken to see you go but also very excited to watch what is coming next for you. I believe in you! Go get em!”

So, are you sad to hear that Dominic has left GH?  What do you think will happen to the character of Dante? Share your thoughts on his departure in the comment section below.

 

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Video du Jour

This week, Nick lost temporary custody of Christian leading to a defiant and emotional turn by Joshua Morrow (Nick) as he has to say farewell to the little boy he has come to love as his own son, and give him to his father, Victor, who wanted and was granted custody of the child. Watch the hankie-inducing moment! Leave A Comment

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