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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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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!!

Robert and anna forever.They made the show .

Breaking News

Daytime Stars We Lost Remembered in 2024 SAG Awards In-Memoriam Tribute

On Saturday night at the 30th annual SAG Awards streaming on Netflix, several stars from the world of soap opera were remembered in a very moving In-Memoriam segment.

Honoring those actors we lost this past year, and set to the song “How do I Say Goodbye” by Dean Lewis, the screen was filled with so many heartbreaking losses.

Those who were remembered in the tribute included: Bill Hayes (Doug, Days of our Lives), Ellen Holly (Carla, One Life to Live), Nicolas Coster (Lionel, Santa Barbara et al), Tyler Christopher (Nikolas, GH, Stefan DAYS), Billy Miller (Billy, Y&R and Drew, GH), Sharon Farrell (Flo, Y&R), Arlene Sorkin (Calliope, DAYS), Kamar de los Reyes (Antonio, OLTL), Jeffrey Carlson (Zoe/Zarf, AMC) and Mark Goddard (Ted, OLTL).

Photo: ABC

Other notable stars who passed away and were included in the tribute were: Chita Rivera, Andre Braugher, Suzanne Somers, and Matthew Perry.

Before the video package was played, actress Naomi Watts took to the stage and shared, “We have lost so many extraordinary actors in the past year, but because they touched the world with their talent, we all share their loss. To those of us who worked with them, alongside them, we feel their loss and their absence deeply.”

Photo: Netflix

She added, “Of course their memory will live on in our recollections of the precious time we shared together — and through their work, their performances captured in countless frames of images, ever ready to dance across the screen and come to life again, if only for a while.”

What did you think of the In-Memoriam Tribute at the 2024 SAG Awards and seeing a lot of familiar faces being included who represent the soaps? Comment. below.

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Breaking News

David Gail, Former ‘Port Charles’ Star, Cause of Death Determined; Mother Speaks Out on Dangers of Pharmaceutical Addiction and Fentanyl Epidemic

David Gail, who played Dr. Joe Scanlon on Port Charles (1999-2000), and who also appeared on Beverly Hills 90210, cause of death has been revealed. The actor passed away on January 16th at the age of 58.

According to the toxicology report, Gail died of anoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, which is a brain injury caused by a a lack of blood flow, following resuscitation from cardio pulmonary arrest due to the drug intoxication. The report also revealed that drug intoxication with amphetamines, cocaine, ethanol and fentanyl, were also involved.

Gail’s mother, Mary Painter, spoke to Deadline on the findings and opened up to what led to David’s ultimate passing. Gail was found unresponsive by emergency personnel who attempted to save his life. Eventually, he was put on life support where he remained for several days till his death.

Photo: ABC

In her statement, Painter shared, “It breaks my heart to learn that my son died this way. David became reliant on medicine many years ago, after multiple surgeries on his hands and wrists. He lived in enough pain to prevent him from working for almost a decade, with relief only achieved through full disability, physical therapy and pain medicine.”

She then added, “He struggled to stop taking pharmaceuticals and did before turning toward a more Eastern pain management including acupuncture and natural medicines. I can only assume that his former opioid dependence played a part in self-medicating from uncontrolled sources.”

David’s mother expressed a very important social message for our time about addiction that she hopes other parents remain aware of: “David’s death shines a light on the countless innocent victims of pharmaceutical addiction and the fentanyl epidemic that has taken so many of our sons and daughters. Please keep David and others battling pain or dependence, in your thoughts and prayers.”

Gail’s other TV credits included parts on: Savannah, Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, Doogie Howser, M.D., and Perfect Opposites.

What do you think about the poignant statement offered up by the late David Gail’s mother, Mary Painter? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Spinelli Serenades Maxie Then They Kiss! Are you in Favor of a ‘Spixie’ Reunion?

Spixie fans finally got their wish, sort of, on Thursday’s February 22nd episode of ABC’s General Hospital.

While Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) and Maxie (Kirsten Storms) have been each others orbit and married to other people, have had children, and been each other’s best friends, it’s apparent that they belong together, or do they?

In story, Spinelli took to the stage on Karaoke night when he, Maxie, Cody (Josh Kelly) and Sasha (Sofia Mattsson) went out together.  When Spinelli sang, it featured a touching solo performance by Bradford Anderson, where Spinelli wears his heart on his sleeve for Maxie.

Maxie is all smiles watching Spinelli sing, and afterwards he walks towards her. The two talk about his living situation and how he would do anything for her. Maxie says she always knows she can count on him. She admits she loves listening to him sing to her, and she loves having him around. Spinelli says he considers her more than a friend. The two eventually share a kiss, but Maxie runs away.

Photo: JPI

The pick-up of the story happens on next week’s Tuesday, February 27th episode when in teasers, Maxie and Spinelli get closer.

Looking at the history of Spixie: they first got together from 2008-2010 when they were engaged. Then, in 2013 the duo had a one night stand. Next, they dated again in 2015, and flash-forward to 2024, and it looks like Maxie and Spinelli might be willing to try their romantic relationship one more time.

Photo: JPI

So, do you hope Spixie gets back together, or do you want Maxie and Spinelli with some other characters on the Port Charles canvas? Let us know. But first, check out the scene where Spinelli sings to Maxie below.

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