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VENICE THE SERIES Season 5 Bows With First Episode & Reminds Us Why It Set The Bar For Web Series!

Photo: Open Book Prods

Crystal Chappell and her Open Book Productions released this weekend the first episode of the highly-anticipated fifth and final season of the web series that started it all, Venice the Series! 

And Chappell brings with her, for this final set of episodes, a stellar cast that fans of daytime know very well.  It has been a few years since Venice picked up the story in the massive cliffhanger of season 4; which saw Ani (Jessica Leccia) and Lara (Nadia Bjorlin) set to wed, while Gina (Chappell) wanted to stop it.  But in a series of miscues, Gina had sent a letter to Ani professing her feelings, but Ani never received it.  Lara interecepted it, so Gina thought Ani knew of her feelings and chose to move on entirely with Lara.  Cue Season 5 episode 1 …  fans of the series will find out what happens when the truth comes out!

The fifth season of Venice was crowdfunded by many in the series amazing fan base, who have stood with Chappell and her on-screen love interest, Jessica Leccia, since the compelling Otalia storyline on Guiding Light made them household names in the LGBT community.

In season 5 of Venice, Chappell, Leccia, and Bjorlin are joined by: Hillary B. Smith (Guya), Tina Sloan (Katherine) Michael Sabatino (Alan), Shawn Christian (Brandon, Harrison White (Jamie), Wes Ramsey (Van), Jordan Clarke (The Colonel) and now in the role of Logan (originally played by Judi Evans) is Cady McClain (who also shares directing duties with Chappell in season 5), in the role of Richard (originally played by Peter Reckell) is GL favorite Robert Newman, and in the role of Jake (originally played by Christian LeBlanc), Michael Corbett has taken on the role.  Daytime fans remember Corbett as the dastardly David Kimbell on Y&R.

To subscribe to Venice the Series season 5 click here which will take you to the Venice the Series website store, and you will be set for the season.   Crystal Chappell has also now made available the first episode of season five free.  You can watch it below!

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One thing is for certain, even with the time away till season five was launched, once you see the first episode of the new season, for production values, musical scores and songs that work so well within the themes of the show, and more, Venice is still at the top of their game.  It reminds us all why Crystal Chappell was groundbreaking and in the front of lines of digital dramas, before they sprouted up everywhere.

Let us know what you thought of episode one of season 5 in the comment section below!

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Matthew PlaceBarbCrystalLiliaScott (ATWT Fan) Recent comment authors
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Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Venice: the Series has continued to be an incredible web series, and I’m so happy it’s back for its fifth season. It also proves to me that Crystal is meant to be back on daytime television, where she rightfully belongs!

Lilia
Lilia

I have watched and supported Venice since day 1 and after only two episodes in, I can say that season 5 is the best one yet. It’s looks gorgeous, the acting is not overdone, the dialogue is crisp and I can’t get enough. Ms. Chappell has outdone herself.

Crystal
Crystal

Love the episode but the closed captions are way off

Barb
Barb

The show was great I enjoyed watching it. Crystal and Jessica are amazing togeether they have so much chemistry.Their talent just shines for the beautiful work that they give us. The rest of the cast are great to watch with so much talent on this show you can’t go wrong. Keep up the good work

Matthew Place
Matthew Place

I haven’t watched Venice. I did watch her other series, The Grove. I am glad Crystal and Venice continue to do well. Web series come and go, but Venice appears to be a keeper!

Days Of Our Lives

Stephen Nichols On His DAYS Return As Stefano: “I Knew I Didn’t Want To Be A Cheap Imitation.”

By now, Days of our Lives fans have witnessed that the heralded return of longtime favorite, Stephen Nichols came with a twist.  When Nichols re-emerged on the canvas, he was now playing Stefano DiMera, but in the face and body of what seems to be Steve “Patch” Johnson.

Nichols, who along with Mary Beth Evans, have been known as enduring supercouple Patch and Kayla, and now they find themselves in the Salem time jump in a different set of circumstances,  First of all, Kayla is romantically involved with Justin Kiriakis (Wally Kurth), and Nichols returned as Stefano and is in ca-hoots with Princess Gina (Kristian Alfonso).

Photo: JPI

In an interview in the current issue of Soap Opera Digest on newsstands now, Stephen opens up about taking on the classic soap villain role made famous by the late, great Joe Mascolo.

Nichols admitted there was some trepidation taking on and in approaching how to portray the role: “It was daunting and a major challenge to take on. I knew I didn’t want to be a cheap imitation. I wanted to get Stefano’s essence.”

In preparing for his new journey on DAYS, Nichols noted: “I watched the master, Joe Mascolo.  I got lots of videos of Stefano. Stefano in every mode: Manipulating, laughing, Stefano with the ladies, with his children, and, of course, Stefano raging.”

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So, what have you thought of Stephen as Stefano thus far?  What do you think of the plot twist? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Head Writer Ron Carlivati Talks On: Ben Weston, Soap Amnesia, Doppelgängers, and the Time Jump

Days of our Lives viewers have been going through some changes over the past month since the launch of the innovative time jump from the creative mind of the series and Daytime Emmy-winning head writer, Ron Carlivati.  As episode after episode unfolds, the audience has been finding out just where their favorite Salem residents have landed and with whom, in the one year flash-forward.  There have been shocking deaths revealed, longtime couples facing different kinds of obstacles that could change their relationships forever, and some characters brought back on the canvas, in one form or the other, to shake things up.

On the series finale of the Inside Salem: Days of our Lives Podcast,  Ron Carlivati was the very special guest and addressed many of the decisions that went into making the flash- forward happen starting with when Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) wakes up from her coma after her fall, thanks to Princess Gina (Kristian Alfonso), and how it impacts the canvas.  You can listen to the can’t-miss interview here via iTunes or at NBC.com/Inside Salem.

Due to the length of our conversation with the talented head scribe, some of the questions and answers did not make it into the podcast finale due to time constraints.  So, we have brought you the rest the interview here as Ron discusses: the popularity of  #Cin, back-from-the-dead storylines, writing for the original series on the DOOL app and further creative decisions that went into crafting the one-year time jump.  Check out what Ron had to say below.

Photo: JPI

You have been able to make #Cin, the hottest duo on daytime by taking a now reformed serial killer, Ben Weston (Rob Scott Wilson) and pairing him with the daughter of one of DAYS all-time supercouples, Bo and Hope in Ciara Brady (Victoria Konefal).  Were you ever  concerned as to how this story/romance would play to the audience at home, because in reality no parent would ever just stand by and let their child get involved with a man who strangled and killed women, previously? 

Ron:  To sort of try to glorify a guy who strangled women and make him into a romantic lead, we don’t do that lightly.  Not unlike, Todd Manning (Roger Howarth) on One Life to Live who was a rapist, and who became sort of an anti-hero, but also a romantic lea.  And in this day and age, it’s even a bigger decision to do something like that, I think.  So, that said, it is a soap opera and there are certain things where we know we are pushing the envelope.  We know in the real world that no mother would ever get past her daughter being with a guy who murdered, killed, and strangled three women or strangled and shot one, but the pairing worked so well.

Photo: JPI

In the time jump, you gave Ben an intriguing prison cell mate in Will Horton, given that Ben had “killed” him previously.  Add to that you brought back Ben’s criminal father, Clyde back into the mix.  There’s lots of prison orange these days on the screen.

Ron:  When we knew we were sending Ben to prison, then obviously father and son have to cross path. It just added another element, so it wasn’t just going to be Ben and Will (Chandler Massey) talking to each other, and making a shawl together like Martha Stewart. (Laughs). Ben’s relationship with Clyde was interesting to me.  As horrible as Clyde was and is – there does seem to be some sort of love that he has for Ben.

Photo: JPI

On the soaps, and as has been part of DAYS enduring legacy, characters are killed off, only to be brought back to life somewhere down the road. Many return with classic soap amnesia as a vehicle to drive story.  Is there ever a time when as a writer, or as a soap fan, you think “enough is enough”, and characters should just stay dead?  Many fans who watch daytime dramas get very invested in tragic death stories, where characters have these shocking or sudden, or long goodbyes, and the viewers goes through the grieving process; along with the other characters, for what then seems like a waste of an emotional investment when said character turns back up alive.

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Ron:  We were talking about bringing Jack (Matthew Ashford) back right around that same time we had the Will story.  We couldn’t bring two people back from the dead at the same time, and that’s why Jack’s return kind of got put on the back-burner, so we could do the ‘Will is alive’ story arc.  Look, the audience will go with you, especially if they want somebody back desperately.  They will overlook how did it happen, and how could they be alive.  They will accept almost any explanation, but I think you’re right, if you do it too much, you tend to water down the permanence of death … especially deaths that you saw on-camera.

Photo: JPI

Viewers know you love doppelgänger storylines.  And, in the time jump you brought back none other than Hattie Adams (Deidre Hall).  Why the decision to bring Hattie back at this time?  I know Deidre loves playing her.

Ron:  I think Deidre likes playing something different than Marlena, because she played Marlena for many, many years, and she knows her like the back of her hand.  Hattie is an escape and something fun, and the chance to do and say outrageous things that Marlena would never do.  So, we bring her back whenever we can to have fun with, and again, it seemed to work because  she was in prison, and we set Eve in prison when we started the time jump off, and we’re like, “Who’s Eve (Kassie DePaiva) going to be talking to?” and we’re like, “Oh, well of course.  It has to be Hattie.” (Laughs)

When do you first see the fruits of your labor?  Do you see a feed from the set as the show is taping? Do you receive episodes where you see how what was written has come to life? 

Ron:  In prior shows, One Life to Live and on GH, I saw it when it aired. At One Life, I was in the studio, so I often saw production shooting scenes.  Here, they send me the completed shows once it has been completely edited, the music has been put into it, and it’s all ready to roll, and they email me the link to 5 or 6 shows.  So, I could in theory watch a couple of weeks ahead of the audience, but I tend to (unless I’m so, so curious about how a certain thing turned out) watch it when it’s on TV.

Photo: JPI

The “Lani (Sal Stowers) and Kristen (Stacy Haiduk) joining a convent” storyline is at a critical point in story.  How did you come up with the decision to put Lani, and of all people, Kristen together and about to take their vows as nuns, and kind of becoming bff’s?

Ron:  I mean, you can’t imagine sort of two more unlikely friends as Kristen and Lani.  We grew to really love the relationship that developed between the two of them.  I think we sat down and said about the time jump, “There have to be enough big changes that you do the double-take.”  Like, Will is Ben’s cell mate, Adrienne is dead, and Justin and Kayla are together now.  You had to have enough of those WTF moments to justify passing a year of time.

You have also been writing series for the DOOL app.  What did you think of Chad and Abby in Paris with that being the initial one and how it all came to pass?

Ron:   It was fun.  I had no time.  I was writing six episodes a week of DAYS, and I was asked “By the way, can you write two seasons of a web/app show for us?” (Laughs) Greg Meng (Co-executive producer, Days of our Lives) has really been the mastermind behind this app and developing this app into something.  I love all of the stuff you guys came up with for all the behind the scenes content, but I know that Greg really wanted original series content on it, too.  Chad (Billy Flynn) and Abigail (Kate Mansi) just seemed like the logical couple to do that with.  You wanted somebody tied to Salem that wasn’t currently on the campus, but you know the audience cares about what their up to, and Chad and Abby just seemed perfect.  The process was totally different because I’m used to writing six outlines a week that are 15 pages long, and all of the sudden, I’m like, “She comes in, this happens, and this happens.” .  That’s like a whole episode of an app series right there.  Corday Productions produced it while they were producing the regular show, and they made a special set into Chad and Abigail’s apartment, which I thought looked incredible.

Photo: JPI

Chad & Abby in Paris had a bit of a different look and feel then the regular airshows, which I think made it enticing.

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Ron:  I loved the look of it.  I felt it was just a little bit different than Salem.  We had the establishing shots of the Eiffel Tower and all of that stuff, and look, we had to keep it simple, but we added in Austin (Austin Peck).  We had Tony (Thaao Penghlis) come in season 2.  We had the new characters of Juliette (Rachele Schank) and Sylvie (Shawna Della-Ricca).  So, it was fun, and it weirdly just timed out so perfectly because we did 8, took like a week off, did another 8, and that last episode was posted right when Jennifer fell.

Right, so it timed perfect to get Chad & Abby back on the airshows.

Ron:  It timed out perfectly so that we could have Abigail get a call: “Something has happened to my mother.  We have to go back to Salem.”  So, you last saw Chad and Abby in Paris, and then the following week they were back in Salem.

Photo: JPI

Now, with the kind of massive move for DAYS with the time jump, you have to figure out: “Who are the casualties?  Who am I going to lose?” Viewers learned in short order that: Adrienne (Judi Evans) isn’t alive, Haley (Thia Megia) isn’t alive, and Jordan (Chrishell Stause) isn’t alive.  What went into the decision-making process to kill those characters?  I’m assuming it was to further the story of others on the canvas.

Ron:  Yes.  Anytime we kill somebody, it breaks my heart every time, because these are like my babies.  You fall in love with these characters, and you care about them a lot, and you care about the people who play them.  So, it’s a big decision to say, “Let’s kill them.”  It may be a great story, like, “I’m going to get this amazing story if I kill X,” but that’s a person and a job, and it’s not something we ever do lightly.  That said, in a year of passage of time, you know that life and death is going to happen, and to us, it felt like to really signify the passage of time, there had to be at least one or two people who are no longer alive, and then show how that affects our story.

Photo: JPI

Did you ever think that instead of 1 year that you’d do a bigger jump?  Like, “What if I did 5 years?”  Because it’s interesting, I was reading some comments on social media from fans who are like, “What year is it?  Is it just 1 year?  Why didn’t they do 5?” (Laughs)

Ron:  5 seemed like a lot.  I think people change physically a lot in 5 years. I wasn’t prepared to cast little children as teenagers… that would be a lot. (Laughs)  I think you run the risk of it being almost too disorienting for the audience.  Also, then it would be me having to figure out what happened over 5 years instead of just 1. (Laughs)  So, 1 year just kind of seemed perfect, and it had to be an even year so that even though it’s a crazy coincidence that Jennifer woke up 1 year to the day she fell into the coma, you needed Thanksgiving to still be Thanksgiving, and Christmas to still fall on Christmas, and that kind of thing.  So, it had to be an even year.  I think it worked out great and I hope the audience continues to go on the journey with us, because there is a lot more to come!

So, have you been enjoying the DAYS time jump thus far? Which storyline has piqued your interest most? Let us know via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Noted Soap Opera Producer Lisa de Cazotte Has Died; Daytime Community Mourns Her Passing

Sad news to report on Sunday as the soap opera community and its fans learn of the passing of Daytime Emmy-winning and noted soap opera producer, Lisa de Cazotte,

Lisa passed away yesterday on Saturday December 7th after a long illness at the age of 58,   From early in her career her love of the soaps and passion for it were evident.  She began right out of college as an intern on ABC’s One Life to Live, where she worked her way up to Coordinating Producer.

Photo: JPI

Next, Lisa eventually became the Supervising Producer of NBC’s one and only Santa Barbara.  She spent time also on All My Children, before heading back to NBC and Sunset Beach where she assumed the role of Supervising Producer there.

However, it was in 1999 where de Cazotte became the  Executive Producer of Passions, which she helmed and remained till the end of its run in 2008.  It was a show that she loved so much.  She continued her career in the soaps in 2012 stepping into Salem and Days of our Lives where Lisa was named Co-Executive Producer of the series winning two Daytime Emmy Awards. for her efforts.

Sadly, now her final gig began in 2017, when she became Supervising Producer of The Young and the Restless and won her third Emmy in the process this past year.  De Cazotte was said to still be producing Y&R at the time of her passing. She is survived by her husband, Antoine de Cazotte, and her beloved brothers: Michael Patrick Smith, Robert Terence Smith, and Brian Charles Smith.

Photo: JPI

On social media over the last several hours, many actors, and colleagues have shared their sorrow and remembrances of Lisa.  Here are just a sampling:

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Jason Thompson (Billy,, Y&R): We lost a member of the family last night, one of our producers, Lisa De Cazotte. I first worked with Lisa when she produced the 2nd season of “Night Shift”. Years later and currently on @YandR_CBS  She was kind and smart. Our thoughts are with her family.”

Eric Martsolf (Brady, DAYS): The kindness and opportunity this woman furnished me was immeasurable. We have lost one of the hardest working and graceful producers in our genre. I will miss you terribly, Lisa. #RIP”

Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) “Sometimes you recognize those women who are part of “the tribe”. Whether you know them for 20 years or 20 minutes… they are still part of your tribe. Lucky for me. Godspeed beautiful Lisa”

Angelica Rosas McDaniel (Ex-CBS Daytime Exec) “Last night we lost a light in this world with the passing of Lisa De Cazotte. Lisa was smart, strong, kind, vibrant, an incredible friend and an Emmy winning producer on many beloved shows. I was blessed to know her. Sending love to her family and friends.”

Michael Logan (Former TV Guide Columnist): “RIP Lisa de Cazotte, one of the truly great soap producers. A real nose-to-the-grindstone talent, she never wanted personal glory choosing instead to do the work, quietly and fabulously. Her partnership with James E. Reilly on #Passions was epic.”

McKenzie Westmore (Ex-Sheridan Crane, Passions):  “Heart broken at the passing of my Passions EP Lisa!!”

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Sara Bibel (Writer, Y&R): “Lisa was a wonderful producer, a joy to work with, and knew everything about daytime. She will be missed by everyone at Y&R. RIP”

Michael Fairman TV will continue to update this section of the post as more remembrances are posted over the next 24 hours.

Share your condolences and thoughts on the passing of Lisa de Cazotte in the comment section below.

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Video du Jour

DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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