For all of those naysayers in the world who say that soap operas are the poor step children in the entertainment medium, and that the performers in them are just churning out the same ole’ same ole’, day in and day out, one can look no further than this week on daytime. There were so many riveting moments performed by some of the best that soaps have to offer, that when everyone in the mainstream says there is nothing left in soaps anymore, and they are an eroding commodity, they should have witnessed what many fans saw. Our Power Performances of the Week, include five actors who each gave us chills and made us reach for our hankies. Let’s begin in Port Charles with General Hospital’s Kimberly McCullough and Jason Thompson. As Robin and Patrick, the betrayal and disintegration of their marriage began, when Patrick fessed up to Robin he cheated on her with nut job Lisa, while she was away in Africa. After having been backed into a corner due to Lisa’s machinations, he had no choice but to admit to Robin his infidelity. McCullough, whose performance was so powerful when she realized that Patrick shattered their marriage, showed us once again how given the material, she can hit it out of the park every time. And, the writing of these scenes was also spot on. Robin was all at once strong and that hurt little girl we have watched grow up before our very eyes for decades. We never want to see our Robin hurt. When it does, it’s a major moment. On Friday’s episode, McCullough did it again when she struggles to come to terms with Patrick’s betrayal, realizing she wants to work things out. Jason Thompson, what can I say? One of soap operas best leading men. And, perhaps can out cry any male actor on daytime with real tears, and real emotion. As Patrick, Thompson played his embarrassment, betrayal, and disgust of the situation with Lisa, and what he had done to his beloved wife, and their child, Emma to perfection. It looks from where I am standing and from what we know is to come – a special return from Michael Sutton, as Stone Cates in the month of September – that old heartfelt wounds between Patrick and Robin, and the impact of the memory of Stone, will play out.
Crossing over to Llanview, Robin Strasser (Dorian) reminded us all of how to chew the scenery, and still make everyone around you, and the audience at home, believe every single second of it. When Dorian’s big wedding day to David Vickers (aka Buchanan) arrived, and the duo had finally gotten past their mistrust of each other and got over themselves, and truly admitted their feelings for one another, it looked like this match made in heaven was going to endure. Ah, but not when Tuc Watkins (David) is involved, because he had to be written out to go star on Desperate Housewives for awhile. So Ron Carlivati and the One Life to Live writing team came up with a perfect plan that gave Strasser her moment to shine. Dorian receives a letter that David is standing her up at the altar for the second time! Reeling from the news, humiliated, and embarrassed, Dorian retreats to her room and bit by bit comes unglued, destroying everything in her path, and ending up on the floor clutching a pillow, and reminding us that there is a fragile little girl inside Dorian. But wait! When Viki (Erika Slezak) comes to help Dorian, literally and figuratively pick up the pieces, Dorian lays into her nemesis and blames her for the whole thing… classic Viki/Dorian! Later, as Langston and Starr brought Dorian back to La Boulaie, the intensity and the emotions of the abandonment and betrayal were brilliant played by Strasser yet again!
Photo Credit: JPI Studios
As we head over to Oakdale, it was truly a gift from Jean Passanante and As the World Turns writing team to give Colleen Zenk (Barbara) an episode that truly showed her remarkable talents. It was truly, I believe, a love letter to Colleen and Barbara for 32 years of bringing a one of a kind character to the small screen. As the series ends it’s remarkable run of 54 years on September 17th, Friday’s episode was the beginning of the can’t miss episodes that will tie together, and give closure to a myriad of the key characters. But it started with veteran Zenk. As Barbara and Henry struggled to come to grips with whether they should marry one another with the Stenbeck curse hovering over them, Zenk played it to the hilt. In a part “cougar” storyline, Barbara wondered if she was too old, not pretty enough, or was it her past evil skullduggery that was making Henry not commit? But it wasn’t. It was the curse of the Stenbecks that had this man, who was formerly scared by his own shadow, wanting to run to the hills. But after an emotional and convincing speech by Barbara about their unorthodox and bizarre life and love, the wedding was a go and it was to happen right away! In the second half of the episode, that is when Zenk really shined. Realizing her family would probably never show up for a wedding of hers and Henry, she was shocked when they all did! And, in bittersweet and emotional moments with the core characters of her family and extended family, back-history was subtlety played, and rivalries were subdued, as everyone was there to support Barbara in her big moment. When it came to the vows – hankies! Colleen, tears flowing (and reminding us all of Barbara’s and Colleen’s real-life cancer scare and the true meaning of getting a new lease on life), delivered a monologue to Henry (Trent Dawson) that without a doubt was one of the finer moments. Bittersweet, joyful and life-affirming, Zenk did it all throughout the episode devoted to her.
Photo Credit: JPI Studios
Finally, Days of our Lives James Scott (EJ Dimera) did not disappoint, and showed us the gamut of emotions behind his dark, brooding, and yet romantic character when the truth came out at EJ and Sami’s (Alison Sweeney) wedding day! Many have known for months that before Labor Day, all of EJ’s lies would spin out of control once Rafe (Galen Gering) had the evidence to bring him down for his hideous plot to make Sami believe her daughter, Sydney had died! Let’s not forget EJ was behind the baby girl’s kidnapping in the first place, and concocted all of this to exact revenge on Sami and everyone that wronged and betrayed him in the first place. After Rafe broke up another one of Sami’s weddings (the gal at this point should never get in a wedding dress again!) with the evidence of EJ’s deception, the sexy Dimera’s house of cards came tumbling down. It was then we witnessed another superb performance by Scott. Knowing he has been caught, EJ reveals he did it all, but he truly and deeply loves his Samantha no matter what he had done. EJ begs her to marry him, forgive him, and to stay with him, as he is now a changed man. And, he does this with tears in his eyes! Only James Scott can pull this off and gives so much dimension to this character that in the hands of anyone else, it could come off as just an evil sonofabitch with one black heart, and no redeeming qualities. Later, after Sami lets him have a piece of her mind and kicks him to the curb and takes his kids out the front door, it’s daddy Stefano who lays into him for being so stupid to open his big mouth in front of Nicole, which caused his downfall. Looking completely disjointed and unnerved by the disappointment of his father, and the shock of losing everything he fought so hard to get back, EJ ends Friday’s episode with one final thought: “I’m going to kill Nicole”!
On-Air On-Soaps says “Bravo” to all the above talented men and women who make watching daytime still a fun and emotional rollercoaster!
‘As the World Turns’ Alum Martha Byrne Speaks Out On Conviction Against Her Husband, Michael McMahon: “We are Fighting Till the End”
June 26, 2023
If you have been following two-time Daytime Emmy-winning actress, Martha Byrne’s (ex-Lily, As the World Turns) social media accounts or have been following news reports, Byrne is adamantly speaking out about charges and a conviction levied against her husband, former decorated NYPD sergeant-turned-licensed private investigator, Michael McMahon.
The couple share three children together and have been married for over 30 years. Last week, McMahon was preparing to go back to work. However, Michael was blindsided when a Brooklyn federal court convicted him and two others accused of stalking a New Jersey couple on behalf of China.
McMahon told the New York Post, that he felt betrayed by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Clarifying further, Michael felt he and his family with Martha Byrne where being made scapegoats in the DOJ’s first case against Operation Fox Hunt, which is the Chinese Communist Party’s anti-corruption campaign that targets Chinese nationals abroad. It also targets former government officials and others suspected of economic crimes against China.
In the case against McMahon, he was hired in fall of 2016 by what he believed was a translation company from New Jersey to do surveillance on a luxury New Jersey home occupied by a relative of Xu Jin and Liu Fang, and to use public records to find companies and other assets registered to the couple. He was then informed that Xu and Liu had had stolen money from a construction company, and the people who hired him wanted to find where the cash had gone. However, McMahon says what he was not told was that Xu was a former official in Wuhan, who had fled China amid allegations of corruption.
McMahon said that when he conducted surveillance as he had done on numerous other cases. However, what he did not know was that his work was used in a civil suit in New Jersey in 2018 against Xu and others by a Chinese construction group that alleged that they had embezzled millions from that company.
Things took a bad turn in October of 2020 when 12 federal agents surrounded McMahon and Byrne’s home. Michael was arrested, but it wasn’t your normal arrest, he detailed. McMahon didn’t think he needed a lawyer so he spoke to the FBI agents. He had wanted to help the government.
Byrne shared, “He was being as transparent as he possibly could. Instead, they turned everything against him and made him look like the devil in court. I’ve never seen such dark forces trying to portray him as an unlawful person.”
McMahon was charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act by working for the Chinese government without telling the State Department, and with conspiracy to commit interstate stalking.
Byrne answered one soap fan’s inquiry to clarify what exactly happened to her husband in a Facebook post. She expressed: “He was hired to find assets on a civil matter. never asked to do ANYTHING illegal. The FBI let the Chinese agents flee, who were operating some scheme separately and unbeknownst to my husband, so the FBI turned their attention to an innocent man to save face. They took legal work as a PI and deemed it criminal for their own purposes. This is VERY VERY scary for every US citizen.”
In the NY Post account, it details that the DOJ shifted its focus to Operation Fox Hunt, targeting private investigators across the country, including McMahon.
Currently Michael is not allowed to be a private detective until this case is overturned. He shared: “I didn’t harass or stalk anyone, and if I had been asked to do so, or if I had suspected that my clients worked for the Chinese Communist Party, I would have contacted the FBI right away and not proceeded with the job.”
Byrne expressed: “The DOJ knew this problem existed, that private investigators were being used, they knew the patterns well, but they communicated none of this until after Mike’s arrest … We are fighting to the end.”
McMahon’s lawyer will file a post-trial motion next month to overturn the conviction.
On her Twitter account, Martha shared their lawyer’s, Lawrence Lustberg’s statement: “We are obviously very disappointed with today’s verdict and feel strongly that it is not consistent with the evidence in the case but more importantly, is not consistent with the truth. That truth is that Michael McMahon never had any idea that he was working for the Chinese Government. If he had, he would not have taken the job or done the work he did. His work in this case was the normal every day work of a private investigator and Mike’s conviction on the stalking counts, as a practical matter, criminalizes the work of private investigators in every case. We will file post-trial motions and, if necessary appeal, until all possible appeals and lawful avenues to challenge this verdict have been exhausted. And I believe that we will ultimately prevail because this conviction is a terrible injustice, one that I do not believe our legal system will allow to stand.”
What do you think about the conviction of Martha Bryne’s husband, Michael McMahon and by all accounts how he has been wrongly convicted? Comment below.
Pride Month Celebrating LGBTQ+ Soap Supercouples: Nuke, Kish, Otalia & WilSon … Which Stands the Test of Time?
June 2, 2023
June is Pride Month, the time when across the U.S and the world there are celebrations and commemorations to recognize all who identify as LGBTQ and their allies.
Daytime soap operas have had a rocky road when it comes to the representation of same-sex couples. The soaps have been at one time leaders in portraying key social issues of our time, as well as treading lightly on other subjects, as to its concerns to ‘turn-off’ its core audiences.
When you look back at the groundbreaking first same-sex weddings, and the first gay kiss, the soaps have come far in some ways in their representations of gay characters, but there is always work to be done to serve and to shed light on the under-represented.
As we reflect back to the then and the now, which LGBTQ soap supercouple remains your favorite and had made a lasting impact? Let’s take a look at four duos who captivated many viewers.
Nuke – Luke Snyder and Noah Mayer – As the World Turns
Van Hansis (Luke) and Jake Silbermann (Noah) were a key part of the evolution of, and representation of LGBTQ character on the soaps. ‘Nuke’, as they were known as, became the first gay male soap couple to share an on-screen kiss back in 2007. ATWT also became known as the first soap to depict a fully realized romantic male couple as an integral part of the show. There was plenty of backlash along the way for the long-awaited kiss to happen, but when it did, the show moved forward to tell their love story.
When Crystal Chappell (Olivia) and Jessica Leccia (Natalia) began to play the love story of Otalia, they had to show their affection by a kiss on the head, or holding hands. It took quite some time for GL to move forward to have two women, two moms, no less, share a lip lock. The complicated love story featured Natalia being conflicted to face her true romantic feelings for Olivia, because of her value system and religions upbringing, and that made this all the more riveting and frustrating at the same time. In the end, the rabid fan base for this duo was so great that Chappell wound up creating her own series, Venice, to honor and serve them, remaining one of the LGBTQ communities greatest allies.
Kish – Kyle Lewis and Oliver Fish – One Life to Live
In 2009, One Life to Live’s Kyle Lewis (Brett Claywell) was an out lab tech in Llanview, who back in college had a relationship with Officer Oliver Fish (Scott Evans). It imploded when Oliver denied he was gay. For years, Oliver remained in the closet, before finally coming out to himself and Kyle.
Kish had been a big success with the media and One Life’s gay audience. LGBTQ-advocacy groups honored the couple and the story. However, Kish was cut short when the network felt that the data showed that the storyline was not resonating with the show’s core audience.
WilSon – Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis – Days of our Lives
Days of our Lives delivered daytime’s first-ever gay male wedding in 2014, between Will (then played by Guy Wilson) and Sonny (then played by Freddie Smith).
In an interview with EW, Days of our Lives executive producer, Ken Corday shared on the union, “Will and Sonny have been together for a while and it was the natural progression of their love story. We didn’t feel like there was anything we could or couldn’t do, we treated them like any other couple on the canvas and continued to grow their romance as such.”
In addition, the coming out story of Will Horton was critically praised and noteworthy for the performances of Chandler Massey, who won three Daytime Emmys for his work in the Outstanding Younger Actor category 2012, 2013 and 2014. Freddie Smith also won in the same category in 2015. Will has been played over the years by Chandler Massey and Guy Wilson, while Sonny has been portrayed by Freddie Smith and Zach Tinker.
There have been several other key LGBTQ couples throughout the course of daytime history including All My Children’s Bianca (Eden Riegel) and Reese (Tamara Braun). These two characters were involved in the first same-sex lesbian wedding on daytime. Problem was … Reese kissed Zach (Thorsten Kaye) before the wedding, making this infuriating for viewers at home.
Other notable LGBTQ couples through the years have included: Bianca and Maggie on All My Children, Mariah and Tessa of The Young and the Restless played bv Camryn Grimes and Cait Fairbanks, Maya and Rick on The Bold and the Beautiful, Lucas and Brad on General Hospital and others.
Which couple do you think has had the most lasting impact on the history of LGBTQ representation on daytime soap operas? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
As the World Turns Castmates Mourn the Loss of Elizabeth Hubbard
April 10, 2023
UPDATED: Monday, the soap world was saddened by the loss of one of the most respected actress ever in the genre, when the news broke of the death of Daytime Emmy-winner, Elizabeth Hubbard.
This powerhouse performer who was best known for her work as Dr. Althea Davis on The Doctors, and as Lucinda Walsh on As the World Turns,died this past Saturday at her home in Connecticut from cancer.
Throughout this afternoon, several of Hubbard’s former As the World Turns castmates took to social media to share their reactions on the passing of this beloved daytime icon. In addition, Retro TV, which has been airing vintage episodes of The Doctors, also paid tribute to Hubbard.
Martha Byrne (ex-Lily, ATWT) shared on her Instagram: As many of you are finding out this morning, Elizabeth Hubbard passed away. First and foremost I want everyone to know I made sure she was aware of how much everyone loved her. I would share your comments from social media, videos and your fond memories of her as Lucinda, Althea, every time I saw her. She loved the audience and fought like HELL to bring truth and honesty to her performances. On a personal level there aren’t words to describe how much she meant to me. Only feelings, which override words in so many cases when it comes to love. I will be sharing more so we can all grieve together but here are our last words together only just a few days ago. I said, “Liz, do you know how much you have done for me?” She said, “You can do more.” Because of what she has done for me over the last 38 years, the strength and fearless nature in how she lived her life, she is right, I can AND WILL do more. I look forward to sharing more about her life, which encompasses so much more than her INCREDIBLE career on daytime television. She also said to me when I told her how much the fans loved her…”I tried.” She more than tried. She left it all on the screen. I’ll miss her every day but grateful the universe gifted me with such a force of nature, of which the world will not see the likes of again. ❤️”
Michael Park (ex-Jack) shared via Twitter: “If Liz was involved in a scene I was lucky enough to be in, I could always count on learning a little something and laughing a whole lot. She was a ferocious talent in love with her craft. One of the greats that will certainly be missed.”
Mary Beth Evans (ex-Sierra, ATWT and now Kayla, DAYS) expressed: “I was so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Elizabeth Hubbard for six years on As the World Turns, where she played my mother. What an amazing powerhouse this woman was … always striving for spontaneity and keeping it real. My favorite times with her were riding in the car from Manhattan to Brooklyn — the stories she would tell were so much fun. Rest in peace, sweet lady. #RIPLIZ#ATWT
Peter Boynton (ex-Tonio, ATWT)added: “Rest in peace, Boss! Working with/for you at ‘Walsh Enterprises’ was a highlight of my NYC years! Your encouragement and respect meant the world to me. I’m raising a glass to you and feel so lucky to have worked with you in that great ‘ATWT’ community. On angels wings. – Peter ‘Tonio Reyes’ Boynton.”
Retro TV expressed: “We are saddened to hear of soap-opera legend Elizabeth Hubbard’s passing at age 89. A force to be reckoned with, Hubbard stole our hearts with her portrayal of Althea Davis on The Doctors. Please share your favorite memories with us as we remember the beloved Elizabeth Hubbard.”
In addition, Alec Baldwin who played Billy Aldrich on The Doctors wrote: “I worked on The Doctors with the great Liz Hubbard. An amazing woman and remarkable actress.”
Michael Fairman TV will continue to update this post as reactions continue from Liz’s colleagues.
What do you think about the remembrances shared thus far from Martha Byrne, Michael Park, Mary Beth Evans and Peter Boynton on working with the great Elizabeth Hubbard? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
We are saddened to hear of soap-opera legend Elizabeth Hubbard’s passing at age 89. A force to be reckoned with, Hubbard stole our hearts with her portrayal of Althea Davis on The Doctors. Please share your favorite memories with us as we remember the beloved Elizabeth Hubbard. pic.twitter.com/Ctb020q6bw