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The World Magic Award Soap Interviews – St. John, Goddard, Case, Hennesey & Frantz

Daniel Goddard and St. John Magic AwardsCirque du Soaps!

Where else could I find magicians and soap stars gathered in one place? I mean, the drama, the cliffhangers, sawing a woman in half! Saturday night at the Barkar Hanger in Santa Monica, ATI (the producers who brought you this year’s Daytime Emmys) brought in some of the best known from daytime drama to act as presenters to some of the best known magic acts in the world, who were recipients on prestidigitation’s biggest night.

I had the opportunity to chat with The Young and the Restless Kristoff St John (Neil) and Daniel Goddard (Cane) on the red carpet, and then sat down with Y&R’s Sharon Case and GH and Cougar Town’s, Carolyn Hennesy for a joint interview. Later, I met up at the after party dinner with Adrienne Frantz (Amber) and her boyfriend Scott Bailey (Ex-GL), who were sitting with the wonderful Shanelle Workman-Gray (Ex-Flash, OLTL and Gaby, B&B) and her husband, actor, David Barry Gray.

Y&R’s Eric Braeden (Victor), who presented the final award of the evening to the top magician of the year, Greg Frewin, was a no-show on the red carpet, snuck in during the taping of the show for his part in the show, and was in and out of the proceedings. He did not speak to press, hence his absence from this feature. Matt Borlenghi, who was reportedly on, then off, then expected back on General Hospital as a reported “Cassadine”, in late December, and his very pregnant and beautiful wife, Heather, also attended the event.

The World Magic Awards are set to air in November on MyNetworkTV affiliates around the country. Be on the lookout. And now, with the wave of my magic wand…here are the World Magic Award Interviews! Poof!

KRISTOFF ST. JOHN

MICHAEL:

So you are here presenting which Magic Award?

KRISTOFF:

Best Comedy Illusion Award with Goddard.

MICHAEL:

Are you going to ignite the Buzzworthy Radio drama again?

KRISTOFF:

Yes, that is correct. Laugh like me. (Laughs) I am a fan of this show and I have come back as a repeat presenter.

MICHAEL:

So Eric Braeden (Victor) who is a presenter here tonight is in a much publicized contract dispute with your show Y&R. What are your feelings on the situation that have Eric written off the show so far? His spokesperson has informed the media, “He may or he may not be back.”

KRISTOFF:

I think that no comment is the best policy to take when other actors are going through contract talks. I don’t believe Eric Braeden will leave the canvas as the character of Victor Newman, but if he does, it would be sad to see him go at such a critical time in the show’s history. We have a guaranteed two years left on network television. I think in order to survive and to get another contract and licensing agreement out of CBS, the wise decision would be to get him back. Is it the wisest decision for Eric to accept the terms of the contract? I don’t know, and I cannot comment on that. It would be a huge loss to the show and the audience worldwide.

MICHAEL:

Were you at the set a few weeks back, when Eric said his “goodbyes” to the cast and crew?

KRISTOFF:

I was not there, but I heard about it. You know my gut tells me that he will come back, but it is a standoff right now. I have been there in the same situation only it wasn’t much of a stand off. (Laughs) I came to the gunfight without a gun.

MICHAEL:

Now, what about the ongoing situation with a return to “Y&R” by Victoria Rowell (Drucilla)? Recently, comments were made that alluded to some people in the cast who were impeding her return, and seemed like it was aimed at Christel Khalil (Lily)?

KRISTOFF:

I don’t think Christel said anything bad about Victoria. There is this assumption that certain people don’t want to work with Victoria based on past history. I believe those were Victoria Rowell’s comments; that there were individuals in the cast that may not be pleased if she were to return, Christel being one of them. And that is why I believe Christel answered back, “Hey, look, I have not said anything.” So, it’s stirring the pot. And it would be wise to bring her back, too. And, if the powers-that-be could somehow figure things out, it would be great!

DANIEL GODDARD

Daniel GoddardMICHAEL:

Cane and Lily have been battling Lily’s cancer together. Coming up, are we going to see a change in Cane since he has been duplicitous in the past? Perhaps… something shifty?

DANIEL:

I have a scene with Billy Miller (Billy) that we shot yesterday that was a good scene and it puts the dynamic of Billy and Cane back in a point where it does well. People like the push and pull of these two, and Maria Bell (Head writer, and co-executive producer, Y&R) is doing a good job at that.

MICHAEL:

What are your feelings on the Eric Braeden situation? Things are in such a state of upheaval in the industry; with the way contract talks and the state that the industry is in regards to actors and their agreements with the series and networks.

DANIEL:

I don’t have an opinion on what is going on with it, but I am certain whoever is reading the contracts knows what they are doing, and so I don’t think they would do something that would be morally or ethically wrong.

MICHAEL:

How do you feel Lily’s cancer storyline is playing out? Do you feel the show is missing some beats or do you like the approach?

DANIEL:

I think it has played out well, and I like the fact that Lily will turn to Cane and be all ‘angst-y’ and Cane lets it roll off of him, because I think there is humanity in the way she does it. They have pulled us off being on everyday just sitting around the house going, “Oh, we are sick. We’re sick. We’re sick.” That can get a little boring.

MICHAEL:

As the person going through the cancer as the caretaker, do you think it’s being told well from the husband’s perspective?

DANIEL:

That is the thing that makes the most sense. It’s not about what Cane is going through, it’s about what Lily is going through. Then you see his perspective as well and you think, “How could he not be tolerant of what she is going through?” She lost her uterus, her chance at having a child, is faced with death, and her best friend, Colleen just died. I mean, most people in that situation in real life would be “kooky” about now…..

MICHAEL:

Unless, they had Cane with them…..

DANIEL:

….Something like that. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Now Cane’s Australia connection got dropped after Phillip III returned. Are we finally going to delve into this mystery man’s true past and what he is hiding? What’s up with that?

DANIEL:

I would say it was placed in a warm environment waiting to blossom. The soil was warm and moist but the seed needed time to nurture and when it comes, it will be worth it.

MICHAEL:

How is your new little one, Sebastian?

DANIEL:

Sebastian is 10 months old and is a pistol and an animal. He is so physically strong at 10 months old. He’ll drag the chair and he will throw a ball, and he will go down the stairs with my guidance on his hands first. He is so strong; he can take the weight on his upper body. He is just an amazing little guy.

SHARON CASE AND CAROLYN HENNESY

Carolyn Hennesy Magic AwardsMICHAEL:

I am sitting with Sharon Case and Carolyn Hennesy, and the two of you are presenting together tonight!

CAROLYN:

A magical pair at the Magic Awards!

SHARON:

We are not presenting the award to The Twins, we are introducing their act. They are these young European boys and they do this amazing magic act.

CAROLYN:

Young European boys? (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

From the Czech Republic?

CAROLYN:

Who Cares? I am going to try and stay on the stage so I can disappear with one of them as part of the act. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Sharon, its very upsetting and a bit twisted watching yet another soap baby switch whose next victim is poor Sharon. What did you think when you read or heard you were going to be the next actress in soap opera’s notorious baby-switch plot device?

Sharon Case Magic AwardsSHARON:

I have never had a baby switch story. I thought, “Wow, I have never had to play a baby switch story,” and if you are on the show long enough, everything happens to you. That is what I thought. I like that there is always a twist so things keep going. There is always some reason Nick and Sharon can’t be together, and yet they yearn for each other, and I like that we keep that going.

MICHAEL:

Is Sharon going to be crying many more tears before this one is over? One can only expect.

SHARON:

She is trying to come out of this strong and move on with her life, and take this as a sign. Sharon did spend a month in the psychiatric institution so she feels stronger now. She still has sad moments for sure.

MICHAEL:

Is Adam going to go after Sharon to make this really twisted?

SHARON:

I can’t say, because you are going to have to watch. You know Adam, he is trouble!

MICHAEL:

Are you familiar with Cougar Town? Would you like to play a cougar a la Ms. Hennesy?

SHARON:

I love Cougar Town and I would love to play a cougar!

CAROLYN:

Carolyn HennesyThere is nothing more liberating than playing a cougar, especially the kind of Cougar I play on Cougar Town. My cougar had no filter and no morals. Nothing!

MICHAEL:

Good news… the series got picked up by ABC!

CAROLYN:

It got picked up for the entire season.

MICHAEL:

And Sharon, you just wrapped a feature film.

SHARON:

Yes. I just wrapped it a few days ago. It’s a film whose working title was, Love Will Keep Us Together, but for some reason that did not work out, so they are now calling it Man of the House but now there is a conflict with that title. I don’t think it comes out till June 2010, so they have some time to figure that part out. It’s a romantic comedy and I play the lead with David James Elliot. It was fun, and working with David was great.

MICHAEL:

Sharon, Eric Braeden has left the building, so to speak, and for the moment is off Y&R due to contract negotiations. What are your thoughts on the Braeden situation and soap contracts for actors, as we move in 2010 in a tight economic climate and as the genre fights for survival?

SHARON:

It is tough for the actors and the shows, too. Because of the economy and how all the shows are doing on television, the shows are having to make a lot of budgets cuts, and they need to figure out where to make those cuts, and where not to. That is what is important. I think cuts need to be made, but I think where and how the cuts should be made is important to the show, but also keeps the people on the show that the fans want to see.

MICHAEL:

Carolyn, James Franco is coming to GH!

CAROLYN:

Who? Who? Who’s James Franco? Oh, my God! I am so excited! And you know, Max and Diane have broken up for now…

MICHAEL:

…Do I smell a cougar move?

CAROLYN:

So, one can only hope James Franco will find Ms. Miller in his path. I don’t know who he is going to be. I heard he is coming to Port Charles as a mystery person, and I am so excited. I mean, how yummy is James Franco?

MICHAEL:

Pretty yummy! Another yummy favorite for soap fans is Joshua Morrow (Nick), who you have worked with for so many years, Sharon. How do the two of you feel at this point in the story juncture? Do you two still go over material together and discuss what the writers are asking you to play?

Sharon CaseSHARON:

We have worked together a long time, so we know what we want to do in our scenes together and what each of us wants for our characters relationship, so we get it. Every once in awhile we will tell each other, “I want to go in this direction with it and I am just letting you know.” The writing is great and it plays out so naturally. We have done it so long. It used to be our characters were together so long. I mean, there was drama and things would happen, but we were always together. Then when things started to happen: Cassie’s death, Phyllis’s affair, and all these changes that were happening, such as I was working with Peter Bergman (Jack) and Don Diamont (Brad). And Josh and I would talk about it back then and say, “Oh, my God. How do you feel about all this?” Now we are used to it. Storylines change. We are used to working with other people, before we were not, because we would only work with each other.

MICHAEL:

Carolyn, perhaps Diane could have a baby-switch in her future on GH. Every good actress needs one!

CAROLYN:

As long as that baby is Spinelli, I am just fine

MICHAEL:

Sharon, any tips you can give Carolyn on baby swaps on soaps?

SHARON:

Oh, don’t give up, and you will recognize your baby when you see it and probably, the neighbor had it! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And of course you will be drugged! Wasn’t Sharon?

CAROLYN:

First of all, Diane is not going to have a baby, because it would have to be by Immaculate Conception. However, I think this is one of the reason’s Spinelli drives her up a tree. I think, we as the cast are all trying to play it and focus the writers in on it; that if Spinelli were Diane’s son, it would explain so much.

ADRIENNE FRANTZ (After show interview)

Adrienne FrantzMICHAEL:

Adrienne, what did you think of all the magic acts?

ADRIENNE:

Some of them were really good. I liked the tiger act at the end, and I like the guy and the woman who kept changing her dresses, and the funny guys from Ireland. I felt they were good and fun, though. If you are going to see magic acts, you might as well go to the World Magic Awards.

MICHAEL:

Let’s talk about Y&R. It has been great watching you with Sean Kanan again and seeing Deacon and Amber fighting their attraction and Deacon’s skullduggery. The way your performance is coming across to the viewers is, you don’t know if she likes the guy or hates his guts. Was that intentional?

ADRIENNE:
Of course! It’s a fine line I am playing. We do have history and Deacon does know what Amber likes, and she does like sparkly diamonds. The other day she was wearing a diamond necklace. Amber does want to get money out of Deacon because he has put her though all this stuff. That is part of who she is, though.

MICHAEL:

Did you find those despicable hotel sex scenes that were degrading to Amber and to women, tough to play? It was tough for viewers to watch and quite sad.

ADRIENNE:

It was hard to play because you know she is doing it to save someone she loves, and at the same time it’s a horrible thing. That was the question going around the set. Would you do that? Would you sleep with someone just to save someone you love? That was the million-dollar question that was going around the set and most people said, “Yes, they would.”

MICHAEL:

Did you see those scenes back?

ADRIENNE:

We shot it twice and the first one was worse. We had to go back and reshoot it, and the second one was the one that aired.  The first one was way more degrading.

MICHAEL:

Michael Graziadei (Daniel) and you are good buddies, plus play love interests on the show. But it looks like…things might change between Daniel and Amber. Do you know where their the story is heading? I know you are not at liberty to divulge much.

ADRIENNE:

Yes, I do know where it’s heading.

Adrienne FrantzMICHAEL:

And when you found out where it was heading, how did it sit with you?

ADRIENNE:

Well, I do know one way it’s heading. I know super surprise twists that are going to happen. I am really excited to start playing this.

MICHAEL:

Will the audience still care for Amber when all is said and done?

ADRIENNE:

You will still feel for her, but you will also see why she struggles with the way she feels and understand what she is going through.

MICHAEL:

What did you think of the Terroni painting being part of the plot device to bring Deacon and Amber, Daniel, Kevin, Jana and Gloria into the fold?

ADRIENNE:

I think it’s interesting and creates an interesting arc. Deacon started making forgeries and so it all started from that. I think it’s an interesting loop that its taken and it’s not over yet.

MICHAEL:

Sean had nothing but complimentary things to say about you, when I interviewed him awhile back. Did you know before, that Sean was headed to Genoa City?

ADRIENNE:

I knew he was going to get it way before, and I was not allowed to say anything.

MICHAEL:

Did you put in a good word?

ADRIENNE:

Yeah, I talked to people. (Laughs) I did put the bug in some ears. When I found out it was for sure, I called him up. It’s cool and we have been friends for years and he is a great actor!

MICHAEL:

Eric Braeden has, for the moment, left Y&R during a contract dispute with SONY and the show. What are your thoughts on the hold-out and the stalemate between actor and the powers-that-be?

ADRIENNE:

They are cutting contracts all around. I mean everybody has to bite the bullet. It’s not like anyone gets special treatment. If you don’t want to play fair with everyone, then don’t play. If you want to step out…. everybody is dealing with the same stuff. So if anybody thinks they are better than anyone else, then they should leave if they want to. It’s a cast. We are all working together. We are all working our hardest to make it go, and if you don’t want to work with everyone than you are not helping.

Adrienne Frantz and Scott BailyMICHAEL:

Your former soap B&B won Best Drama Series at the Emmys!

ADRIENNE:

I was so thrilled for them! I went to their after-party and I said, “I should have gotten on stage with you,” to Brad Bell. And Brad said, “I know you should have!” I was there for so many years. They deserve it. I was thrilled for them!

MICHAEL:

In closing, give me a good teaser for Amber fans?

ADRIENNE:

I think you should watch. She is about to have a conflict that would break anybody’s heart in a billion pieces!

Days Of Our Lives

Matthew Ashford and Melissa Reeves Talk Return to DAYS for Doug’s Funeral, Susan Seaforth Hayes, and Their Enduring Friendship

Last week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode which is tentatively scheduled to air on December 3rd. The story will feature emotional and heart-tugging scenes of Doug Williams funeral and honor his portrayer, the beloved Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th at the age of 98.

While the actors, producers, and crew took a lunch time break to pose for some pictures and speak with the press, they knew they would have to get back to taping the funeral, which was going to make it a tough day, but also cathartic for all who loved Bill Hayes.

Several returns have thus far been announced including; Melissa Reeves reprising her signature role of Jennifer Horton (a part she first played in 1985), and Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux. Reeves had last appeared on the show back in 2021, and she was replaced by Emmy-winner Cady McClain in her absence when Jennifer was in storylines. In real-life, Melissa had moved full-time to Tennessee along with her husband, Scott Reeves (ex-DAYS, GH, Y&R). Now, and as previously reported, Reeves will first appear back on DAYS for the Thanksgiving episodes with the Hortons.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Matt and Melissa during the 15,000th episode celebration to get their take on: being back for these special episodes, how it has been working with and watching Susan Seaforth Hayes portray Julie’s grief over losing Doug, and how they have supported each other through the years. Check out what they shared below.

Melissa, you are back on the set of Days of our Lives for this very emotional and special moment in the series history. How does it feel?

MELISSA: Oh, my goodness. I am honored. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but to be here for Bill. He was like my real-life dance partner. He taught me how to ballroom dance. And to be here for Susan, of course, who’s just been our sweet hero this whole week. We’re just following her lead. She’s just been this incredibly strong example for us in the midst of this trial and season of her life. She is like just lifting us all up with her. It’s been incredible.

I was at Bill Hayes memorial service which was truly incredible and I know at the time you were in Tennessee. It was moving and celebratory of his life, all at the same time.

MELISSA: That’s all I have heard. I have to watch it on You Tube. They said it was just a real celebration of his life and I love that.

Photo: JPI

This must be difficult for Susan Seaforth Hayes depicting the death of Doug, when she is still grieving the loss of her beloved husband. (Susan pictured above with the returning Stephen Schnetzer who plays her on-screen brother, Steve Olson).

MELISSA: I’m sure Susan has those moments at home by herself, but she’s so good at being a leader and leading all of us. We’re following her, you know, and she’s like, “This is how I want to feel today.” And we’re just going along with her, you know? It’s so sweet.

Photo: JPI

How is it to see Matt Ashford again live and in-person?

MELISSA: You know, Matt and I can go years without talking, or seeing each other, and then the minute we see each other we’re chatting away.

MATT: Melissa was out on set doing a scene yesterday on the phone talking to a stage manager; as she was telling some really tough news on the phone. I’m like crying in the background, literally, I’m off-stage crying.

MELISSA: And then we get like back into normal life, and we’re like, okay, “What’s happening? What’s happening with this … or what’s happening with that?”

I had read, Melissa, that you were in touch with Matt about if there night be a possibility for you to reprise your role as Jennifer for these special episodes?

MELISSA: Yes. Well, Matt was like, “Hey! Would you want to come back? “And I was like, “Matt, you know, I would always come back. ”

MATT:  Every time I come here to Days of our Lives, they ask, “Where’s Missy? How’s Missy?” Everybody backstage says, “I miss her.” All of the crew is asking about her and saying, “It would be nice to see Missy. Nothing wrong with you Matt, but …”  They said, “Where is she?” I said, “She wants to come!”

Photo: JPI

There are some beautiful photos of Missy and Bill and Susan thorough the years that I found. It just reminded me of just the deep and entrenched history we all have had with the show, personally and professionally.

MATT: Missy is roughly the age where Francis Reid (ex-Alice Horton) was when she started the show, which is just crazy.

Photo: JPI

I’ve always said Missy was going to be the next generation Alice. Do you feel that Jennifer is the heir apparent matriarch of the Horton family?

MELISSA: Yes. I mean, this has been greatest blessing of my life, and that would be great. I told Ken Corday (executive producer, Days of our Lives) when I was 17 that this show would be my life. Ken always told me, “This is your home,” and I’ve always felt like that.

How have gotten through the scenes watching Susan Seaforth Hayes as Julie go through the loss of Doug?

MATT: Susan is bringing her best performance life for her and Bill. I mean, she’s a showbiz baby. She always has been one hundred percent, and she’s doing it for him, and this is who they’ve always been. So, you’re seeing this amazing performance colored by her life. She has her private life as Susan, but she has enough plugged into Julie that she’s done amazing work. The director, producers and writers are giving her room to live in these moments and it’s quite wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Have you already broken down in tears during the taping?

MELISSA: Yesterday, but today’s taping of the actual funeral I think they want us to try and be just more celebratory.

MATT: I mean, it is a beautiful long life for Bill Hayes and his character of Doug Williams, and so it will be about that. Then, you get a bunch of us together in the church pews, and there’s going to be hijinks.

MELISSA: We all have been through the waves of grief. You have that awful cry and then all of a sudden you feel okay.  There are those family situations we are portraying where you’re like, “What do we do? What do we do now? You know, no one knows what to do. But, it’s so sweet. I’m looking forward to seeing how the scenes all turn out.

So, are you glad that Matt and Melissa are back for the 15K episode and Doug’s funeral? From what we can tell, it’s going to be quite an emotional journey for Days of our Lives fans, and especially the performance of Susan Seaforth Hayes, 

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Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Talks on Decision to Make Days of our Lives 15000th Episode About Doug’s Funeral, and Previews Chances for WGA Award

This week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode. In of it itself, that is an incredible accomplishment for the long-running soap opera currently streaming on Peacock.

However, this on set gathering was a bit different. Though the show is celebrating their achievement, they are also in the middle of taping scenes surrounding the death and the funeral of Doug Williams, played by the late Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th of this year at the age of 98.

As previously revealed many longtime favorites are back to honor Bill and the character of Doug including: Gloria Loring (Liz), Melissa Reeves (Jennifer), Matthew Ashford (Jack), Maree Cheatham (Marie), Victoria Konefal (Ciara) and Stephen Schnetzer (Steve) to name but a few.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV was in attendance and spoke with Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati to gain some insight into how the 15,000 episode was crafted and the decision to honor the character of Doug Williams and Bill Hayes as its epicenter. In addition, Ron weighed-in on this Sunday’s April 14th WGA (Writers Guild of America) Awards, where he and his writing team are facing off with General Hospital for the daytime drama prize. Here’s what Ron shared below.

Was this your idea to make the 15,000th episode centered around Doug’s funeral and passing?

RON: It was. When you’re looking at it, and laying out the calendar for the whole year and you see 15,000 is coming up, we’re like, “What are we going to do?” And then, we got the news that Bill had passed away and something kind of clicked. I was like, “We should honor Doug on that show.” So then, we started to kind of build around that … when does he pass away? How does he pass away? Who could come back? You know, it’s a lot.  I’m very pleased with the returns that we got as there’s so much that you could do. We wanted everybody we could get. So, we put together a wish list and Janet Drucker (co-executive producer, Days of our Lives) made it happen.

Photo: JPI

You have Melissa Reeves back as Jennifer, when the role was last played by Cady McClain. What has it meant to have Missy back for these shows?

RON: It was so nice to see Missy Reeves. I think Cady has done such a good job, but on the 15,000th episode to see Missy as Jennifer, it’s a big deal. So having her was great, and overall, the milestone was a big undertaking, because you want to live up to it. You want the 15,000th episode to be good. Now, it has a lot of real emotion that you’re playing. because for the cast and the crew they’re honoring Bill Hayes just as much as we’re honoring Doug Williams.

Photo: JPI

Was it hard for you and the team to write this episode?

RON: Yes. I’ll tell you why it was hard to write.  When I wrote, for example, Asa’s (Phillip Carey) death on One Life to Live or Victor’s (John Aniston) on DAYS, Asa is a different type of character. Like, you could have characters going, “Oh! I’m glad he is dead.” You could have different points of view, but with Doug, you’re not having that. Every person loves this man. No one had a bad relationship with him. So, you’re challenge as a writer is how do you make it that not everybody’s saying the same thing and doing the same thing. And so, we tried to find ways to make the episode about all the familial relationships and yet, how do you make it about Doug and yet broaden the scope.

Photo: JPI

I had spoken to Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), a week after Bill’s memorial, for an interview. She said that she felt very fortunate that you did include her on discussions of how you would tackle Doug’s passing. How did that conversation go?

RON: First, I attended Bill’s funeral, which was incredible. I said to so many people it was an emotional service, but it was hard to be sad at this. The guy had an incredible life and it was an incredible celebration. And so, you’re sitting there watching this knowing that you now have to write something similar. And how do you write something that lives up to what you just witnessed? I wanted to talk to Susan to get her thoughts about, you know, how much do you want this to be about keeping Bill separate from Doug. How comfortable are you sharing your grief. She was incredible to talk to. It was a great chat.

You’re in the middle of taping these major scenes for the 15,000 episode to air in December. How do you think it’s going? Have you seen any of the scenes?

RON:  I haven’t seeing anything. I mean, we were still making changes to the script up till this morning!

Photo: JPI

The Writers Guild Awards are this Sunday, April 14th and once again this year there are two daytime drama nominees, General Hospital and Days of our Lives. How are you feeling about your chances this year?

RON: It is often just GH and us in the category. I’ve won three years in a row, so I’m kind of feeling like it’s their turn.

Photo: JPI

What episodes did you submit for contention? If I recall, they had to do with Victor’s memorial.

RON: The episodes we submitted were centered around Victor’s funeral. I think one has story with Vivian (Louise Sorel). We had some fun stuff, we had some emotional stuff at Victor’s death, and I am pretty sure that our submission was three episodes right around that time.

Did you make the decision to go with those episodes because there was a mix of humor and drama?

RON: I like to have some humor, but it was also the funeral, then there’s Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) giving birth, and then Vivian’s crashing the reading of the will. So, we had a lot of fun and it’s hard sometimes to pick three that tell a story, as opposed to submitting for the Daytime Emmys, where the writing team only submits two shows. So, we shall see how it goes on Sunday.

Courtesy/Peacock

So, are you looking forward to the emotional 15,000th episode of Days of our Lives? Do you think DAYS will take home the WGA writing award for daytime dramas for the 4th year in a row? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

(INTERVIEW) Eric Martsolf Previews DAYS Stars on ‘Weakest Link’, How He Fared in the Game, Plus Welcoming New Tate, Leo Howard

Tuesday night on NBC’s Weakest Link (9 p.m. ET/PT), the stars of Days our of Lives test their knowledge, and try to win big money for the charity of their choice on the newest season of the popular game show hosted by Jane Lynch. In case you miss it, you can also catch the episode on Wednesday streaming on Peacock.

The question on everyone’s mind is … who will be revealed as Salem’s weakest link? Who will be left standing at the end of the game? DAYS favorites: Eric Martsolf (Brady) Brynn Dattilo (Lucas), Galen Gering (Rafe), Martha Madison (Belle), Victoria Konefal (ex-Ciara), Zach Tinker (Sonny), Tina Huang (Melinda) and Lindsay Arnold (ex-Allie) play while literally having the task of throwing their co-stars under the bus. The contestant who receives the highest number of votes leaves the game throughout, as Lynch declares their exit with the now iconic phrase, “You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.” 

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric Martsolf, who daytime fans know is great as a host in his own right and oh-so-fun at playing any trivia game you throw at him. Martsolf gave us the inside scoop of what it was like to be on the set and backstage in a rather nerve-wracking environment, and trying to come off as smart while Jane Lynch roasts you at the same time!

Photo: NBC

In addition, Eric shared his thoughts on the new Tate, as Leo Howard takes over the role of his on-screen son from Jamie Martin Mann on the April 5th episode of Days of our Lives, plus working with Emily O’Brien as Theresa, and the loss of the legendary Bill Hayes. Check out what Eric had to say below.

Did you know about the game before? Had you watched the original version of the Weakest Link, or this latest incarnation?

ERIC: I was very, very familiar with the game because I found, as someone who enjoys hosting, that has to be one of the best hosting gigs out there because they just have extreme liberties in belittling the contestants, and it’s all done in jest of course, but it’s great. Jane Lynch is a master.

Did you get to meet Jane Lynch before she hit the stage for the taping?

ERIC: I don’t think any of us met her prior to being on the set. So, we’re standing there behind our podiums and these cyber lights just point all in one direction. At one point when we’re out there, it was kind of a hurry up and wait thing. We’re just like, “When is this going to start?” Then, here Jane comes and in all her glory in a beautiful navy-blue suit. She just prances onto stage and just glares over at us, and starts making fun of a silly soap opera actors like you wouldn’t believe. It was just great. I’ll let the public see what how she crucified us. But it was all done in fun.

Photo: NBC

Did she crucify you?

ERIC: I don’t think anybody got out unscathed to be honest with you.

For those that don’t know the game, you try to eliminate those that are the weakest in answering questions.

ERIC: Correct, and therein lies the problem. Historically, I think the Weakest Link is comprised of contestants that don’t really know each other, and in this case, you have not only coworkers, but almost family members because we all know each other very, very well. It’s a tight circle and even more so when you’re on the same show. So, we all went in into it pretty nervous because the premise of the game is to expose the inadequacy of people’s knowledge of general facts and information. So, essentially, you’re voting each other off because you don’t think they’re as smart as you are and that they’re the least smart in the group. So, I mean, that in itself is pretty, pretty tough to swallow. It was really hard, because you have to look at your friends in the eye and go, “yeah, I don’t think you’re going to get the next couple questions. You’re not the smartest, you’re not the crispiest chip in the bag. I’m going to let you go. ”

Did you feel bad about some of the eliminations?

ERIC: At one point, without giving away any spoilers, I voted off someone that without a doubt, has more smarts and education than I do. I just felt silly. But, you know, the way the game was going, I just felt it was the right. There is a bit of strategy involved. I’m worried about the airing of this particular episode because I did fumble some questions that people are going to turn their heads and go, “Really? You didn’t get that one?” It’s so much easier to answer these questions at home in your pajamas than it is, you know, looking at Jane Lynch in the eye with 6,000 lights at your face in front of cameras. Your brain tends to wander. So yes, we all had had some answers that we couldn’t believe we didn’t get at the time!

Photo: NBC

Did it get very competitive?

ERIC: There was little competition there. If I recall, it’s Galen and Bryan that went at it a little bit and had some laughs. But again, I can’t stress this enough, it was all done with fun. At the end of the day, every one of us wanted to win. I think the smartest person did actually come out victorious.

Now in the game, for those that have never seen it, you’re on your podium, and then Jane gives a question, right?

ERIC:  It’s a firing squad of questions. You only have a certain amount of time to answer. If you get the correct answer or the wrong answer, you immediately, go to the next contestant and you have a certain amount of time. And then, at the end of that line of questioning, everyone gets to vote as to who they believed was the biggest dummy in the group. (Laughs) Some questions are simple. You know, “What color is Santa Claus’ suit?” And then, the next question is “What is 648,000 times 14?” or what’s the population of some obscure country? So, that was the biggest challenge. Someone else might get, “What is the main ingredient of a banana split?” And my question could be like, “How much is 9,430 times x 59 million?” There’s an intimidation factor that Jane Lynch brings to it when she’s staring you down.

Photo: NBC

When the cast finished the entire game, what happened backstage?

ERIC:  The best part was there were these post interviews that the Weakest Link conducts where you have to go into a dark black room. I think my first question was, “How did you feel about that wrong answer?” They don’t let up. They just keep jabbing at you. “Did you feel ridiculous getting the wrong answer to that fourth-grade level question?” (Laughs) There was also a lot of trash talk with that happened after the show. It got so competitive. If I recall, we were all supposed to go out together and get a meal with everybody, and that never happened. They’re like, “I’m not eating lasagna with you right now. You just voted me off!” Now, even the first person that gets voted off, you’re going to be shocked, because I thought this person would probably win it. In the game, you want the best people to remain on the panel because that’s what drives up the money.

Photo: JPI

Later this week on DAYS, we will see the debut of your new on-screen son, Leo Howard, taking over from Jamie Martin Mann as Tate.

ERIC: How about that?  I just did a post on Instagram, because I saw that Jamie Martin Mann had liked and hearted a post about Leo Howard coming on the show. I just thought that was so classy of him. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, “This is the new guy. Embrace him. He’s good. I’ve met him. He is a good guy.” It’s about handing off the character baton sometimes, sort to speak. I was really proud of those guys. I reached out to Jamie. He just wants to go to college and be a student. I understand that. That’s important.

Photo: JPI

Is that challenging for you as an actor since you’ve built this relationship with the one guy as your son, and now you’ve got to pivot and create a different kind of energy with someone else taking on the part?

ERIC: Leo Howard has been in the industry for a while, with some very good credits to his name. He brings a certain charisma to this role that I think people are really going to love. And yes, he’s older, but he plays younger, and he has that ability and he’s pulling it off brilliantly. I can’t wait for people to see him, but of course I miss Jamie. Emily O’Brien (Theresa) and I really grew to love him very quickly because the storyline got so deep, so quickly, with the drug intervention and then him getting beat up in in prison. I mean, as a father, that’s the kind of stuff that you have nightmares about, you know, your kids being in pain.

Photo: JPI

I still love the fact that Emily O’Brien is still noticeably wearing a blonde wig as Theresa. What are your thoughts on how the transition has been for you, and for her pivoting to a completely different role?

ERIC: I hadn’t worked with Emily much before, because Gwen and Brady never really crossed paths. We all saw the transition that she had to make. When I became Brady, the character hadn’t been on the map for three years.  When she became Theresa, she walks out one gate and comes through the other as Theresa. We all had a good giggle about it. That’s hard to ask an audience to go,  OK, I’m Gwen, now I’m Theresa.” I was scrolling through X (formerly Twitter) and I saw a couple posts from fans that said how they were really weary, at first, about accepting Emily O’Brien as Theresa. But after today’s episode, they shared, “I’m loving her as Tate’s mom, and the chemistry she has with the family.” I texted Emily and I said, “I just want to let you know that you’re just bringing it home really brilliantly, and people are starting to come around.” I think they’ll do that with Leo Howard too.

Photo: JPI

What had it been like without the iconic Bill Hayes (Doug Williams) coming to work and being part of the Days of our Lives cast since his passing?

ERIC: You really do miss that presence in the hallways. He was a song and dance guy and I am a song and dance guy. as well. I kind of find myself the lone singer in the makeup room sometimes, but I could always count on Bill. He’d be humming some old tune from the sixties. I’d start humming along and he’d just kind of lean over and take a look at me, and give a little smile. Everyone else was probably irritated at us, but we just kept singing along. and it’s like 6:30 in the morning. I think Bill was a lot like the late John Aniston (ex-Victor), in the sense that I don’t really feel like he felt he was working. He was just always having fun right up until the end. That little number he did with his wife, Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), and Dick Van Dyke (guest starring as Timothy Robicheaux), where he was singing along, he was just living it. It was so cute and so adorable to watch.

Photo: JPI

Your final tease for the Weakest Link tonight is, “Fans should watch because …”

ERIC: Fans should watch it because if they thought we were smart before, wait till they see the show.

You can check out the cold open for tonight’s Weakest Link “Days of our Lives special” below.

Now let us know, will you be watching Eric and his co-stars, past and present, attempting to showcase their knowledge on the ‘Weakest Link? Intrigued to see Leo Howard and Eric in scenes as new Tate and his father, Brady? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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