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Wally Kurth Talks on His DAYS Daytime Emmy Nomination, His Emotional Scenes, and Remembering John Aniston

Photo: JPI

During our 2023 year-end honors at Michael Fairman TV, we named Wally Kurth as our pick for Best Overall Performance by an Actor for his double-turn as both Ned Quartermaine on General Hospital and as Justin Kiriakis on Days of our Lives. So, it was absolutely no surprise to us that Wally landed a Daytime Emmy nomination for his riveting work as a grieving Justin in the Supporting Actor category for the upcoming 51st annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

On DAYS, Justin had been put through the emotional wringer, of first, losing his beloved Uncle Vic, played by the late John Aniston, and then finding out that Victor was the supposed biological father to Justin’s son, Alex (Rob Scott Wilson). If you didn’t reach for the hankies during some of Kurth’s work in these scenes, we don’t know what will make you do so.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Wally to get his reaction to his fourth Daytime Emmy nomination in the last six years. Kurth was nominated in the Supporting category in 2018, 2020 and now 2024 and Lead Actor in 2021.

In addition, Wally shares what scenes were on his nominated reel, how John Aniston impacted his work, how he has changed as an actor over the years with a new outlook, and being the only actor out there with two long-running roles on two long-running soaps, and much more. Here’s what Wally had to share below.

Congratulations on your well-deserved nomination. You decided to submit yourself this year for Emmy contention in both Lead Actor for GH and Supporting Actor at DAYS, correct?

WALLY: I did. I thought the DAYS reel was a little more dramatic, much more emotional. I had thought with the way the judging goes that it might be a little bit more, winnable, if you will. I enjoyed and was proud of my work at General Hospital, so it’s all good. I’m thrilled. It’s always nice to be nominated.

Photo: JPI

What scenes did you ultimately choose for your Supporting Actor reel?

WALLY: I started chronologically, as always, trying to tell a little bit of a story. I actually started with a scene where Justin has to tell Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) that Victor’s (the late John Aniston) plane went down and it was not found. Then, the scene with Bonnie (Judi Evans) where I sort of have to let it all out, and grieve the loss of this man who was practically Justin’s father, but it was his Uncle Vic. We have a little scene talking about Victor, and then there is a short snippet at the funeral where Justin eulogizes Victor. Next, we jump to scene where Justin discovers the letter where Angelica admits that indeed Victor is Alex’s father (Rob Scott Wilson). So then, Justin has to tell Alex, and then I also sort of grieve the fact that I’m no longer his father. Justin basically lost his son. It was very dramatic and very emotional. I was guessing the judges would be like, “Hey! Enough with the crying! Stop, you big baby!” But, they didn’t. They must have thought that it was convincing enough that it felt really truthful at how Justin was upset about these two unfortunate realizations.

Photo: JPI

You bring up a really good point. I talk to actors all the time about crying on Emmy reels. Sometimes, many feel it might put voters off. But obviously, this time it worked well for you!

WALLY:  What I liked about the crying scenes was that, like in real life, you’re not crying all the time when something bad is happening, right? I think crying happens and it takes you off guard. It happens without you realizing it. These were all moments when Justin was alone, really. Bonnie comes in the room where Justin is just kind of like dealing with it. And then her coming in, opens up Justin and she is there to hold him. I think that often happens in real life. I thought that was correct for the writers to do that, you know, that Justin would break down when he was alone.

Photo: JPI

Did you feel the pressure of wanting to get these scenes when Victor died and at his memorial, just right due to the enormity to it, and to do justice for John Aniston?

WALLY: I allowed myself to use my heartbreak over John Aniston. I loved him. I just sort of allowed his presence for me in the scenes. It was sweet. It was good for me. I’m just thinking about it now and I feel teary-eyed. John was such a sweet man. He led by example, and he really did teach me how to be a professional actor, and he was a mentor. He never told me anything specific, but he was just John, and in the scenes, this was the time for me tell him how I feel.

Photo: JPI

Then, you had the heartbreaking scenes with Rob Scott Wilson where Justin tells Alex he is not his father!

WALLY:  I thought that was just really challenging material. As I get older, I just trust the material, and don’t get ahead of myself. I trust myself with the emotion. Just let it happen if it happens. When I first read it, I kind of imagined what it could look like and then you just let it unfold from there.

You’ve got Robert Gossett (Marshall, GH), A Martinez (Nardo, The Bay), Mike Manning (Caleb, The Bay), and Bryton James (Devon, Y&R) all in your category. Robert has won two Daytime Emmys in a row, last year for Supporting Actor and the year before for Guest Performer.

WALLY:  l love Robert. I worked with the character Marshall on General Hospital, and we had so much fun. He’s a great guy and a really good actor. A Martinez is the best guy ever. I have such admiration for him. Whenever I see him, we always really connect and to be in included with him is great. Bryton James, I don’t know, but I know he beat me in this category in 2020. Mike Manning, I didn’t get the opportunity to know when he was at DAYS as he weren’t in scenes together, but I hear good things about him, too.

Photo: JPI

When you are judging Emmy reels, what do you look for when you’re voting on a performance?

WALLY: That’s a really great question. And because let’s face it, there’s just a lot of terrific talent in daytime. This year, I judged two categories. I don’t just go with, “Okay, who’s crying the most.” I really try to go with the one who’s touches me the most, who surprises me and moves me. And so, if you go with that, you’re probably going in the right direction. I also think that upfront you do need to kind of give them something in the first couple minutes that shows you know what you’re doing and don’t make it too repetitive.

Who did you first tell you were nominated?

WALLY: My manager, Michael Bruno called me. I was in Chicago with my daughters having a late breakfast and I knew the nominations were going to happen around 11 am Chicago time. I didn’t tell my daughters about what was happening, just in case, I didn’t get nominated. So, when Michael called, I went, “Oh, boy!” I told my daughters who were sitting at the table with me. So, they were the first two people that I could tell, and that was really nice.  We had champagne which was really funny because I bought three little glasses of champagne, and as soon as I bought it, we toasted. They said, “We don’t really like champagne.” So, I ended up drinking all three glasses. (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What do you think of Eric Martsolf (Brady), your Day Players Band member, and DAYS co-star getting a Lead Actor nomination?

WALLY: I remember, I was like talking to him and I was like, “Eric, are you going to submit yourself?” And he is like, “I don’t know. I don’t really have anything …” And the next thing you know, he’s nominated. I’m like, “Wow! I guess he found something!” (Laughs) I love Eric. I have such respect for him and his gift, and he works really hard. So, I was very happy for him. I’m glad we weren’t in the same category, however.

How many years now have you been playing Justin on DAYS?

WALLY: I started here 37 years ago in 1987. I was there for four years and then I left. Then, 18 years later, Ken Corday (EP, DAYS) invited me back in 2009 and I’ve been on the show now for 15 years. So, I guess a total of 20 years on and off over the last 37 years. Everyone remembers 1987-1991 … those were big, big years for Justin and Adrienne who back then were a supercouple.

Photo: JPI

Have you determined who you would thank in your acceptance speech if you win this year’s Supporting Actor Daytime Emmy?

WALLY: I feel like this year I kind of have an idea of what I would say. I think I can remember all of that without writing it down. If I had gotten nominated for both shows, I was definitely going to point out and thank the powers-that-be for giving me dual citizenship and how much I appreciate that. I do think that being on both soaps, I will go to my grave believing that it’s made me a better actor. In fact, since I’ve been doing both shows, I’ve been nominated for Daytime Emmys. I’ve become a better actor. I feel like maybe it’s just that I’ve gotten older and wiser, but I feel as though when I go in there to work, I’m really focused and I’m really prepared. I know I pretty much get one shot to get it. We’re in the business of “one takes” now in the soaps.

Photo: Peacock

People are so lucky to even have one enduring role in their careers, but you’ve been able to have two, and they’re completely separate characters on two legacy shows; one which just turned 61, General Hospital, and the other Days of our Lives which will soon celebrate 60 years, as well.

WALLY: I didn’t plan on it. I must have done something right. Back in 2009, Ken called me up and invited me back to DAYS. I really jumped in. I’d been out of work for four or five years. I went back with a whole new attitude about the work, about the genre.  In 2004, when I left General Hospital, I was kind of burnt out. Looking back on it, I didn’t have a good attitude and I was just done. I was kind of tired. New writers come in and sometimes, when you have new writers that look at your character differently, it can be very difficult, because you just know that their passion is not with your character. However, in this case, I’m like, “I’m going to take whatever the writers give me and do the best I can and do my job. Let the writers do their job.” I think the writers also know that I really respect them and I’m not going to complain. I’m not going to tell them what to do and I’m going to stay out of it. They have enough to work out. They have enough to do. I’m going to be the problem solver, not the problem creator. There are enough problem creators. Believe me when I tell you that every time I leave those sets, I’m like, “Thank you. I love it.  See you the next time I see you.” I know how lucky I am to do both shows and to have this opportunity to act at my age and still be sent scripts. I love the art of acting. I’d do it for free. The fact that they’re paying me and I am able to do this and work with these great, wonderful, talented actors every day, it’s kind of mind-blowing.

So, will you be rooting for Wally to take home the gold in this year’s Outstanding Supporting Actor in Daytime Drama Series at the 51st annual Daytime Emmy Awards on June 7th live on CBS and streaming on Paramount+? Let us know if you remember his nominated scenes from Days of our Lives via the comment section below and how they affected you.

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Don’t get me wrong, I like Ned and all but I prefer him as Justin!

It’s just remarkable to me that this talented actor is able to excel in two daytime roles at the same time. When I watch Ned, he IS Ned. Same goes for Justin. I never confuse the two portrayals. He infuses both roles with heartfelt, real humanity. Wally Kurth — a tremendous talent!!!

Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Reveals When Days of our Lives Episodes From His Head Writing Regime Resume Streaming

Days of our Lives viewers have not been watching material from head writer Ron Carlivati and his writing team for many months. Well, things are about to change.

Circle this Friday, May 31st when the first new script from Carlivati and company will stream on the Peacock soap opera. If you recall, Carlivati had to step away from the writing gig at DAYS due to the writer’s strike, but because the soap tapes at least seven months ahead of air, it is only now that fans will see how the stories shift or finish out that were started by Carlivati.

According to Ron’s conversation with TV Insider, when Carlivati and his team resumed writing the show in late October of 2023, the stories were already written well into 2024. Carlivati explained, “For me, as of us talking right now, the (replacement writers’ material) is still airing, so that has been very tough. I’m just very anxious and eager for our stuff to start airing again.”

Photo: JPI

Ron explained before the writer’s strike, he and his scribes had written up through the 2023 Thanksgiving episodes. Speaking on how the replacement writers tried to handle stepping in for the regular team, Ron expressed, “I think what they tried to do was move things slowly in the hopes that the strike would end and respect where my storylines were so that I could play them off when we came back. Unfortunately, the strike dragged on, so I understand that the show needed to make story decisions.”

The award-winning writer made clear that, “from January to May (2024), those were not my stories. I had nothing to do with those.”

Having lived through a writer’s strike before (when he was at One Life to Live in 2008), Carlivati explained how he dealt with coming back and adjusting the stories including that the plan was to, “blow things up, jettison anything that I did not like, and get back to a show that I understand and can enjoy and tell. ”

Photo: JPI

Look for a Carlivati-style ‘wink-wink’ on Friday’s episode. As he puts it, “I did want to make it clear that this was the line of demarcation, that the writers were back and there was a change happening. We have a little nod or two to what was going on in the first day and I think it will be very obvious and clear to the savvy viewer. Luckily, story-wise, certain things were coming to a head already.”

Photo: JPI

Stay tuned for how Ron resolves a Sloan and Nicole showdown, how Eric will find out he is Jude’s true baby daddy, what happens when the new Gabi returns from Salem from out of the slammer, the Maggie/Konstantin wedding, payback time for Theresa and more.

In addition, and as previously reported, when Carlivati returned, he crafted the series 15,000th episode which is set to air in early December, and will also pay tribute to the late Bill Hayes with the passing of his on-screen beloved character, Doug Williams.

So, glad to know Ron and his team’s material will start to reveal itself this Friday and moving forward on DAYS? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS OF OUR LIVES: Eric Says Goodbye to Baby Jude

The Monday, May 27th of Peacock’s Days of our Lives, picked right back up for the emotional payoff of Nicole (Arianne Zucker) finally getting her biological son, Jude, back in her arms and learning it from Eric (Greg Vaughan).

As the episode began, Eric (with Jude in tow) is at the front door of the DiMera mansion. Eric recounts Sloan’s (Jessica Serfaty) confession. Nicole (Arianne Zucker) says she knew from the first time she held Jude that this was her child. She says a parent knows deep in their soul. Eric looks at her with tears in his eyes, as he thinks Jude is now EJ’s (Dan Feuerriegel) biological son. That’s a lie into itself and EJ is covering the truth of that along with Sloan.

Eric goes on to explain that Sloan even rigged the DNA results, telling the couple that they can check for themselves with a new DNA test, but this is their baby. Once inside the living room, Eric apologizes to Nicole for what Sloan put her though. Nicole says EJ was a victim too.  She turns to EJ and insists that Sloan be arrested. He tells her there is plenty of time for that. She reiterates, “That bitch stole my baby!” But, EJ is not about to do anything about it.

Courtesy/Peacock

Eric vows he will make Sloan pay for all of her lies and deceit. Nicole asks Eric if he would like to hold Jude one more time before he leaves. Eric tells Jude he will love him more than he will ever know.

As tears stream down his face, he returns Jude to Nicole. She tells he can come over anytime to see the baby. Eric thinks it’s best for Jude to bond with his new family. Holly (Ashley Puzemis) comes in on all this and is filled-in on Jude’s “parentage.” Outside, Eric continues to falls apart.

Courtesy/Peacock

However, after getting a call from Rafe (Galen Gering), they meet outside Eric’s apartment door. When they enter, the place is a torn up and there is no sign of Sloan. All that they find is a necklace, Eric gave her for Mother’s Day.Eric realized she took off, knowing she could be caught for her crimes. Meanwhile, back the DiMeras, an overcome Nicole is in tears that she actually has her baby back.

Now, what? Will EJ try to bond with Jude or not bond with Jude since he is knows Eric is the biological father? Will Sloan eventually get arrested? What did you think of the performance of Greg Vaughan and Arianne Zucker? Let us know via the comment section below. 

But first, in case you missed it, check out the Michael Fairman Channel’s conversation with the Ari and Greg  from five months back where they talk about the baby switch storyline and more.

 

 

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS OF OUR LIVES Preview: Nicole Gets Her Baby Back; Then Hauls Off and Decks Sloan

This week on Days of our Lives starts, what looks to be the next and final leg of the baby Jude, baby switch saga, and all of its deceptions. As viewers saw on last Friday’s episode of the Peacock streaming soap opera, Sloan (Jessica Serfaty) told Eric (Greg Vaughan) that Jude is actually Nicole (Arianne Zucker) and EJ’s (Dan Feuerriegel) baby. Of course, that’s a half-truth as the bio-dad is Eric.

Trapped and in cahoots now with EJ, Sloan had to confess what she did to Eric. At the cliffhanger, Eric show up at EJ’s door with Jude in tow. In tears, he tells Nicole this is her baby, and hands it to her. What will go down when the show picks back up on Memorial Day with an all-new episode?

Eric doesn’t know he is the father, but EJ does. EJ also saw Nicole kiss Eric. He is going to do everything he can to keep the truth from coming out in an effort to keep his marriage in tact.

Photo: JPI

However, how long can EJ and Sloan keep this major secret? Leo (Greg Rikaart) and Dimitri (Peter Porte) are very much alive. Will one of them blow the final whistle on them? Right, Lady Whistleblower? Will Nicole and Eric learning they are the true parents of Jude, be the impetus for Nicole leaving town perhaps with Eric, since we know Arianne Zucker’s last episode of DAYS is set to air July 29th? Stay tuned.

Photo: JPI

Meanwhile in the latest promo for this week’s DAYS, Nicole and EJ introduce “their” baby to Holly (Ashley Puzemis), while Rafe (Galen Gering) confronts Melinda Trask (Tina Huang) who is playing dumb in all of this. Rafe asks her, “Are you saying you know nothing about the baby switch?” Melinda pretends she is completely shocked, saying, “Did you say baby switch?”

In the moment you’ve been waiting for, harkening back to when Nicole stole Sami’s (Alison Sweeneybaby for months, and the two finally had a showdown which saw Sami delivering bitch-slaps to Nicole, Sloan comes to the DiMera mansion to see Nicole.  Then, Nicole screams that she lost she lost six months with her son because of all of her lies. Next, Nicole hauls off and punches Sloan.  Elsewhere, Eric grabs Leo by his shirt collar, which will be interesting to see how much Leo fesses up on what he knows about the baby switch.

Watch the DAYS preview below.

Now let us know, are you happy to see Nicole get her baby back? Are you frustrated that the story is still going on and now its Eric who is the one in the dark, along with Nicole that he is Jude’s baby daddy? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

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