General Hospital News & Gossip

News for the week of 17-Apr-2006

by Carol Banks Weber

The Disney-ABC Television Group extends its programming reach with the upcoming April 17th debut of Soapnetic – a streaming broadband channel available to Verizon ISP users. Meaning, those with Verizon will be able to watch any and all of the cable channel SoapNet shows. That includes the re-airing of same-day soaps (nine total so far), repeats of old soaps, daytime and primetime, and original shows and specials. In related news, the Group released the airing of four of its popular primetime dramas: Desperate Housewives, Lost, Commander In Chief (only the latest episodes), and Alias (the latest season’s worth) on These primetime episodes can be viewed via streaming for the months of May and June, as a free, test run. has more info.

Anthony Geary (Luke) made a rare public appearance – he’s doing a lot of those these days – on ABC Daytime’s talk show, The View (April 11), to… I’m not exactly sure. He didn’t really tell the lady co-hosts anything new, anything the soap fans didn’t already know of his resume, his Emmy- and Luke-related quips. He certainly didn’t have much to say of the co-hosts’ disingenuous plug of their own perennial Daytime Emmy losses other than to compare them to Susan Lucci (Erica, AMC), with her 17 straight losses until that one memorable win. Geary had himself lost several Emmys before his 1982 win, which The View aired in a clip: A younger Geary triumphantly, arrogantly bounding up the stairs to the stage, grabbing the trophy. The older, present-day Geary described his youthful reaction as “a little bit over the top.” I had lost out before and felt badly about it, Geary explained, and so I felt that 1982 win was mine.” He no longer feels that way; however, another, fifth win come April 28th (he’s up against Maurice Benard/Sonny for outstanding lead actor) would be eagerly embraced. With the fifth win, Geary joked, he could “play Army with his trophies.” At the prompting of co-host Star Jones about the returns of several beloved GH veterans – Tristan Rogers (Robert), Emma Samms (Holly) and Finola Hughes (Anna) – Geary a) reminded Jones to include Rick Springfield (Noah) in that mix (to which she bragged of buying his newest CD), and b) brought up the death of former GH executive producer Gloria Monty, the one to have introduced them all to the soap community. This was something I felt the co-hosts should’ve done had they actually done any homework on GH, Geary and the soap genre itself, and had this rare appearance of Geary’s been anything other than a publicity stunt to prop up a failing daytime-drama line-up. Nevertheless, Geary acknowledged the passing of a soap opera legend: “We were all hired by Gloria Monty, bless her heart, she passed away last week.” Co-host Joy Behar reacted with an, “Oh yeah.” Geary continued: “It’s kind of ironic that at this particular time, they’re bringing us all back. … It’s terrific to see everybody and know that they’re all as old as I am.”

What’s ironic (or a bummer, if we’re being grammatically correct) is how time after time, The View puts soap stars on at the very end of its program, and then treats them as an afterthought. The co-hosts, who don’t seem at all into soaps, neglect to do any homework on the guests, their shows or the genre itself. The special, daytime guest appearances just feel like cross-promotional hocus-pocus. Furthermore, wouldn’t it be nice for a change if the interviewers on these talk shows were actually real soap fans and not pretenders to the throne? The View views better when they’re doing hot topics, beauty tips, fashion runways—items in their element. Not pretending to be what they’re not or clearly following orders from the top down (to me), to beef up the rest of daytime and promote the Daytime Emmys.

Finola Hughes (Anna) reprises her beloved, kick-ass role on GH in large part due to friend and former co-star Kimberly McCullough’s (Robin) “whining” influence. Scheduled to drop in (by parachute, maybe?) on Luke and Robert in the Maarkam Islands sometime around May 12, Hughes’ return as Anna has been heralded by ABC Daytime president Brian Scott Frons as good for GH and GH’s fans. Riding the nostalgia wave could only help, believed executive producer Jill Farren Phelps. Phelps also previewed that Anna comes on for a little while, but could be back for longer if all goes well. Hughes gave McCullough the fabulous news personally. McCullough, naturally, was overjoyed, and prone to speculation as to Anna’s raison d’etre. Maybe she’s back to help Robin and Robert make up, McCullough mused. It’ll be awesome and amazing and intriguing to see how all three of us, she added, her, Hughes and Tristan Rogers (Robert) – who she had not been in touch with during the missing years – interact in scenes together now that I’m grown-up.

The woman who brought Luke, Robert, Anna and Co. to GH in the first place – former executive producer Gloria Monty – will receive her just, but posthumous, honors at the April 28th Daytime Emmys.

We already know that several musical soap stars (Rick Springfield [Noah] among them) are set to perform mini-concerts at the April 28th Daytime Emmys. We also know that this is the first time the Daytime Emmys will air live from the West Coast’s Kodak Theatre. But ABC Daytime president Brian Scott Frons gave Soap Opera Weekly editor Carolyn Hinsey (of “Carolyn’s Corner”) some additional, special perks. Such as: a Fan Zone, an area outside the theatre cordoned off just for the fans; Springfield will kick off his performance at the Fan Zone and AMC’s Cameron Mathison (Ryan) will hang out there throughout the ceremony; the ceremony itself will expand to three full hours, to give fans more daytime fanfare; some of the daytime fanfare includes anniversary acknowledgements for DOOL (40) and ATWT (50), more of what earned the nominated actors their honored place—their outstanding scenes and stories on film, shots of the Emmy-nominated actors in their leisure, off time (examples: Thorsten Kaye [Zach, AMC] traveling to Ireland, Tony Geary [Luke] to Amsterdam), and actor tributes (the late, great, former GH executive producer Gloria Monty’s contributions to daytime, philanthropic actors giving back).

Compared to the frontburner material Steve Burton’s (Jason) had to do on GH lately, tending to a newborn is gonna be a walk in a park. At least, that’s Burton’s take. He recently watched the birth of his son Jack Marshall (the Jack’s from him, his father and grandfather, the Marshall’s from wife Sheree’s side of the family) on March 26. His 10-day vacation coincides perfectly with the little arrival. The sleepless nights, the midnight feedings and diaper changings… none of that phases Burton – who also has a daughter, Makena – not after what he went through week after week on GH, from one disaster to another. “Hey, if I have to sleep three hours, wake up, feed a kid, sleep three more hours, then great! I’ll do it.” The blessed event of a son in the family also has Sheree relieved, according to Burton, who joked that now, she won’t have to shoot out eight more just to get a son like he wanted. He envisions his boy growing up to play for his hometown football team, the Ohio State Buckeyes. –Soap Opera Digest, April 18, 2006

A major difference between Ben Hogestyn and his GH character Lucas – besides the gay thing – is in how they wear their hair. Hogestyn tends toward the daring, Mohawks, purple stripes, whereas Lucas, with his gay hang-ups, would be mortified by anything other than the subdued, understated standard. Hogestyn’s so well-versed in hairstyle, that he takes care of it himself – a 20-second ritual – before going to work. His idea of cool hair would be Johnny Depp or Val Kilmer from The Salton Sea.

Stuart Damon (Alan) was one of the first cast members to contact John Ingle (Edward) with congratulations for returning to GH. Plus, Damon had more outstanding news in the form of where Ingle would stay while on the studio premises: he inherited the late Anna Lee’s (Lila) dressing room. This new state of affairs made Ingle’s year.

A lot has changed for Rick Springfield (Noah) since his ‘80s heyday. Let us count the ways:

  1. He’s a soap superstar again, but this time, he doesn’t have to give up his rock superstar roots. The guy does soaps Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and does concerts the rest of the week, with Sunday as his day of rest.
  2. He’s in a much better space mentally and emotionally from the turbulent ‘80s and the letdown of the ‘90s, after having survived a bout of burn-out.
  3. His songwriting reflects the strength of honesty, the growth of maturity from a former eligible bachelor to a married man with two grown boys. “I think I’m much truer to who I am now when I write. Back then the songs were all about sex, now they’re about sex and other things, like losing people.”
  4. It’s normal, expected even, to be this tremendous sex symbol as a young man. But as a 56-year-old? That’s a change his sons have had to get used to.
  5. In the midst of being so busy, Springfield and his wife are contemplating a residence in Palm Springs.

The Desert Sun, “Rick Springfield returns to rock roots” by Michael Felci, April 14, 2006

TV Guide columnist Michael Logan paid Rick Springfield (Noah) much-earned homage. According to Logan, who can be the harshest of critics, Springfield wasn’t much known as an actor worth his salt back in the GH ‘80s. But today, the musician’s proven himself more than ably. I’ll say!

Dr. Patrick Drake is handsome, sexy, brilliant, and deep down inside, more than a touch compassionate, vulnerable, sensitive. Dr. Robin Scorpio is beautiful, sensual, intelligent, and deep down inside, really fun, wild and exciting to be with. So what’s their problem? Why does Patrick come off as a womanizing lout, and Robin a sanctimonious prude? More specifically, why does Patrick think nothing of bedding Robin when he’s got another date waiting literally in the wings? And when Robin calls him on it this week, he simply replies, “You were in such a hurry, I thought we could do it really fast before she got here?!” Chalk this up to their dysfunctional upbringing, said Patrick’s Jason Thompson. Both share daddy issues; she with her father Robert, he with his father Noah, which results in two messed-up people who can’t allow themselves to be their true, bright, shining selves, or open up with each other, explained Thompson. –NY Daily News, Carolyn Hinsey

If Julie Berman (Lulu) let herself go for it, she’d practically be living at Manhattan Beach’s Sun & Moon Café, a restaurant specializing in fusion-sushi. It’s the best sushi she’s ever had, and Berman’s had plenty to compare against.

You know what was odd? Nobody really heard about Matt Marraccini’s (ex-Jesse) storyline-dictated departure from GH until almost toward the actual departure. Then, the general response seemed a little mature for the online soap community; meaning, nobody threatened to sue, no insults were hurled (at least not until word leaked out about Jesse’s memorial service – we’re still waiting for Zander’s, you buttwipes) at TPTB.

Even odder, but refreshing: actor Matt Marraccini took the lay-off in stride, a lot more jovial than most in his position. He seemed downright giddy with excitement for his future (maybe a pilot? maybe another soap?), deliriously indebted and gratified in knowing his now-former GH cast and crew, being a part of their working and partying lives, as well as his supportive fans (MMO [Matt Marraccini Online] Girls). Even the wacky manner in which his character left the show – as the victim of a missed mob hit on Diego, the shooter disguised as a clown in a park-based carnival – elicited high marks, if not a joke or two.

In Tom Stacy’s feature interview for [“Jesse’s Whirl”], Marraccini weighed in favorably on his immediate co-star Kirsten Storms (Maxie), other members of the cast, Rick Hearst (Ric), Robert LaSardo (Manny), the younger cast, they got to bond a lot off-screen, Jesse’s hero funeral, his final cut, Lucky’s next, unlucky partner, and many other outgoing points thusly:

  • “I had my eyes closed the whole time because [Jesse] was dying, but I got to see some of the playback and Kirsten did an amazing job. She’s an amazing actress. She’s probably going to hate me for saying this, but she is my Meg Ryan [ex-Betsy, ATWT]. She is the cutest. She’s my doll.”
  • “There are no words to describe what a lovely group of people they are. They’re like a wonderful Italian family [laughs]. I felt so at home with them, from the first day on set until the last day. They welcomed me with open arms and big smiles.”
  • “I cannot say enough great things about Rick. And Robert — he’s a fantastic actor and a fantastic person.”
  • “It really didn’t hit me until they called, ‘Cut,’ on the last scene and they all got in a semicircle and wished me farewell. It made me cry. It’s not that I wouldn’t be seeing them again, but it was an ending. Everybody came over and said good-bye and gave me hugs and kisses. It was emotional.”
  • “That carnival set made you feel like you were at a real carnival. Props to the art department. They did a hell of a job. At least [Jesse] didn’t get kicked down an elevator shaft. I had clowns and jugglers, cotton candy and popcorn. Who can say that about their on-screen death? Good times!”

I publicly apologize to all the Sonny and Emily fans for my repeated use of the anti-couple moniker, Soily, within this column. I’m afraid my doing so gave the impression I hated Sonny and Emily together, which is far from the case. The real story is a simple case of my being a lazy butthead, not following up with researching the proper couple moniker for fans and using the favorable moniker. I honestly did not know what that favorable couple moniker was, and the only other moniker available to my consciousness was Soily, so…instead of hunting down the right one or better yet, not using a cutesy nickname altogether, I just settled for the haters’ version. A fan read me the riot act last week about it, and finally, the lightbulb dawned. Sorry, I will make amends from now on. I’ve three positive nicknames to choose from: S&Em, SEm, and Emson. I’d lose S&Em though; doesn’t sound too … positive, unless you’re into whips and chains.

Whenever I’ve had to break up with a guy, and it wasn’t very often, I’d usually just be honest and tell him: a) he sucked ass, b) he stunk like dead rat, c) he looked like a deformed troll, d) he made my skin crawl, or e) any of the above. Then, there’s always the convenient catch-all excuse of “I’m already married!” har har. Soap stars are a gentler, kinder set. They use any number of avoidance behaviors and rationales to let the other person down without hurt feelings. Ignacio Serricchio (Diego) would just pack up and go to another country; his family moved around quite a bit while he grew up. Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) reverted to a clever quip, as is her character’s tendency, when she discovered a roaming Romeo instead of her boyfriend: “Couldn’t you find something else to do when I’m not here? Perhaps you should try reading a book [laughs].” OLTL’s Renee Elise Goldsberry (Evangeline) bends over backwards to avoid putting the break-up victim on the spot, and maybe maintain a friendship. She liked this one, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” AMC’s Colin Egglesfield (Josh) quoted the cliché, “It’s not you, it’s me” line, but said breaking up is gonna be an ordeal whatever the words. He added that a new service offered to break up for you, which he found outrageous. –Soap Opera Digest, April 18, 2006

TV Guide Online-Soaps will go from a twice-weekly updated column into a daily blog starting April 18 under editor Daniel R. Coleridge’s byline. He’ll also add a second blog, Daniel’s Dish, to cover the commentary and gossip part of his news and spoilers. Coleridge told me about these upcoming changes a few days before he posted about it in Soap News. He’s real excited about a third feature for you guys. It’s gonna be a message forum type deal, enabling soap fans to post their thoughts too. You can bet I’ll be over there regularly. As a treat, I’ve managed to coax a fun Q&A out of Mr. Q&A himself for a change. Stay tuned for my exclusive with Coleridge, soap columnist extraordinaire.

Gossip for the week of 17-Apr-2006

by Carol Banks Weber

If you believe sources outside Daniel R. Coleridge’s TV Guide Online-Soaps, Ingo Rademacher (Jax) either isn’t leaving GH, doesn’t know what he’s going to do yet before his contract expires, or – and this is the one I believe – he’s playing coy. Rumors from anonymous, self-appointed soothsayers on the popular website SoapDish add beef to Coleridge’s insiders pointing to Rademacher’s leaving before summer. These soothsayers insist the Rademacher gave his notice to TPTB in February and had to keep his trap shut until TPTB were ready to release his exit to the press. went to Rademacher himself at the Long Beach, CA Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race recently to sort through rumor, innuendo and fact. They didn’t get very far, as all he’d allow was an “Oh really,” and lots of questions for the reporter. Rademacher didn’t exactly dismiss or deny TV Guide Online-Soaps’ assertions; it sounded like he was hunting for details as to the exact source of the information.

Ingo Rademacher (Jax) has got GH’s PTB by the short hairs. Boy knows how to work contract negotiations. He’s gonna play it down to the wire, knowing how popular his pairing with Laura Wright (Carly) is, and then…see Daniel R. Coleridge’s TV Guide Online-Soap News from two weeks ago.

Maurice Benard (Sonny) has asked, pleaded, begged, cajoled…to give his GH character manic depression and a full manic-depressive storyline, including the counseling sessions and the recovery process. He just may see the fruition of his efforts soon, when the S&Em split triggers the mother of all manic-depressive episodes.

Bobbie organizes a charity auction to raise money for General Hospital, later this month. She asks Jax and Carly to join in the organization effort.

Manny targets Skye as his next, helpless damsel.

Manny’s been keeping Sam for himself, to torture and knock around. He either puts a coma-causing bullet in her, a bullet meant for Jason, or leaves her with hypothermia in a huge icebox. However it happens, Sam will spend a few quality moments in General Hospital, on the edge of heaven and hell. Jason freaks out over Sam’s deteriorating condition, and blabs about her big secret to Alexis. Alexis risks her own life to deal summarily with Manny; she may be the one charged rightly with murder in the first degree.

Manny strikes again, for May Sweeps. His victim isn’t Sam or Skye, but John Durant. ADA Alexis moves up to DA at that point. The cops, typically, look in the wrong direction, at Sonny. While stewing in the PCPD hotel, Sonny puts it together that Manny did it to do him in. Manny next zeroes in on Skye, to punish Lorenzo. This is when Lorenzo and Sonny put together a sting (see Ted King rumor below) involving Lorenzo’s faked murder, to trap Manny.

Ted King (Lorenzo) displayed uncharacteristic ire recently. He’d approached executive producer Jill Farren Phelps to follow up about his scheduled 10-day vacation, May-June. But then she displeased him by stating that his 10 days off would be extended through till mid-August. According to SoapDish rumormonger “Guest,” it was the “[f]irst time cast/crew ever saw him angry.” Lorenzo’s three-month absence will be due to a murder masquerade (concocted with Sonny to draw Manny out into the open), related to Jason and Sonny and to coincide with Robin Christopher’s (Skye) maternity leave. Also in SoapDish, King has been demoted from contract player to recurring.

If nobody else is gonna say it, I will. I’m not saying SoapDish has been 100 percent perfect in all its rumormongering, but a lot of the spoilers they purport have come to pass on-screen. Yet, do I read any thanks, any validation, any acknowledgement of that fact? From this cynical, greedy, forgetful, fair-weather crowd?!

Remember, guys. Just because an official representative, executive or actor says it, doesn’t make it 100 percent true. It’s called playing the game. And it happens all the time.

Constance Towers (Helena) resurfaces in May, in connection with Cryllium Industries and the Sam/Alexis maternity reveal.

After Robin Christopher’s (Skye) maternity leave, she’ll be back on GH in a recurring, not contract, capacity. Same with Jane Elliot (Tracy).

M’fundo Morrison’s Justus, GH’s third, bites the dust, so to speak, soon. So much for diversity, ABC Daytime sucks.

Forget a Jax or Brenda recast.

Another Maurice Benard/Sonny Corinthos hater in our midst! The e-mailer, purporting to be an insider, made some negative assertions against the actor and his character last week. Nothing we haven’t already read on the boards: People are getting fed up with the Sonny Show. He’s not. He’s in the catbird seat. He benefits without a care. He could leave tomorrow and nobody would give a damn. When (not if) S&Em tank, as the couple did allegedly in some second series of focus polls, he will probably pass the buck as he usually does.

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