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News for the week of 07-Mar-2016

by Carol Banks Weber

Michael Easton (ex-Silas) had no idea what was in store for him, other than the fact that his fans galvanized to get him back on the show. When he left last summer, he basically believed that was it, and there was no going back. But the fans campaigned hard for Easton’s return and the executive producer Frank Valentini listened, trying to get the ball rolling for months before the actor was receptive to at least hearing the new head writers out. In the latest Soap Opera Digest interview, Easton said, “I was completely caught off guard and very leery of anything coming [out of a possible return]. But [executive producer Frank Valentini] said, ‘At least have a conversation with the new writers.’ It's always nice to start with new writers because it's their show, their vision, and if they have a good one, at least you're off to a good start.”

They had a good one. Reassured that the head writers wanted him back too and had already come up with an outline for a new character with him in mind, Easton signed on. So that, plus the fans’ devotion and the unsatisfying way his last GH character left (as a chalk mark), got him on board. “I got the sense they wanted to make something right,” he said, referring to his talk with the head writers, Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman. “And I sort of felt there was some unfinished business there. It was all so abrupt, how it all came to an end, so it kind of got me on that level, the idea that we would all try to work together to make something right and make something good for the show.”

Easton’s new character shows up with a bang on March 18. So far, all we know is he’s a new doctor to GH, and he arrives kicking the door down, full of piss and vinegar and out for revenge. Most importantly, this new doctor is different from previous characters Easton’s played, and that includes Silas and Caleb, the vampire, from Port Charles.

If that wasn’t momentous enough, how about a Michael Easton/Roger Howarth “World Tour?” Howarth (Franco; ex-Todd, OLTL) and Easton (ex-Silas, GH; ex-McBain, OLTL) are notoriously shy about doing public appearances, with Easton the more outgoing of the two, which isn’t saying much. Ever since Howarth received acclaim by playing a romanticized rapist on OLTL, the actor has been reticent about going public for anything related to his soap role. He’s turned down more offers than he knows what to do with.

Well, Howarth and Easton will reunite as former OLTL co-stars and current members of the GH cast for several public appearances on the East Coast, their first as a duo. Fans who attend will watch them interact onstage, as well as get a chance to talk to them and take pictures. This is big.

Coastal Entertainment booked Michael Easton and Roger Howarth for April 29-May 1. The actors will meet and greet fans first at the Treehouse Bistro B in Westport, CT 8:45 p.m. April 29. Tickets cost $18, not including a $15 food/drink minimum. Call (203) 268-5857. Then, they’re off to Bellmore, NY’s Brokerage Entertainment Club 12:30 p.m. April 30, $73 for just a show, no photos/$129 show with a photo and autograph session. They’re also doing a private dinner in Astoria, NY later that night, with a $250 ticket tab. Their last appearance is at 10 a.m. May 1 Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.’s Uncle Vinnie’s, $120 plus tax. This includes a Q&A, meet ‘n greet, and photo/autograph session. Call (732) 899-3900.

Maurice Benard (Sonny) landed a guest-starring gig on ABC’s primetime procedural, Castle, with former OLTL star Nathan Fillion (ex-Joey). Benard already shot his scenes the other week.

TV Insider’s Michael Logan gathered several veteran soap actors — known in their heyday as soap hunks — for a round table discussion about life in the fast lane back in the ‘70s/’80s, how to make a supercouple edict stick, and assorted odds and ends of surviving the acting scene as a soap stereotype. Kin Shriner (Scotty), Stephen Nichols (ex-Stefan; Patch, DOOL), A Martinez (ex-Roy; ex-Cruz, Santa Barbara), Michael E. Knight (Simon, Y&R; ex-Tad, AMC), Doug Davidson (Paul, Y&R), and Don Diamont (Bill, B&B; ex-Brad, Y&R) weighed in on the fun and dished about the backstage stuff in their March 4 group interview.

Nichols talked lovingly and respectfully about the highs and lows with longtime screen partner Mary Beth Evans (Kayla, DOOL; ex-Katherine).

Diamont embraced the beefcake required of his past soap stud status.

Shriner brought up Tony Geary (ex-Luke) as the former soap stud who might’ve been in on this conversation instead had he not left GH. One senses Shriner still feels like he’s playing second fiddle.

Knight let slip a tiny bit of the discontent amongst the AMC actors towards the end of that soap’s run, as writers began to struggle for ideas to keep his major character rolling.

In the end, the actors expressed pride in their soap pedigree and even those crazy younger days of public appearances with fans who treated them like rock stars.

An excerpt toward the end:

>> Diamont: We’ve seen ’em come and we’ve seen ’em go…and here we are! I take a lot of pride that we’ve been around this long.
Davidson: Anybody would want our jobs now…unless you’re Brad Pitt.
Nichols: Only 2 to 3 percent of all actors with a union card have a job, so we can’t be anything but grateful. I’ve had steady work, played really interesting parts and put three kids through college. Who can complain about that?
Shriner: Sure, we all wanted to be in the movies—not gonna lie—but, as it turned out, doing the soaps was the smartest move any of us could have made.
Knight: We’re the luckiest sons o’ bitches in the business. And we owe it totally to the fans, God bless ’em. The fact that they still give a s--t about us three decades later isn’t just wonderful. It’s un-freakin’-believable! <<


Wally Kurth reprises his role as Ned, starting March 28, most likely to help tend to his on-screen mother Tracy, who’s ailing with a mystery illness.

General Hospital News & Gossip, Copyright © 2018 Carol Banks Weber. Published by / Jeff Jungblut. No part of this page may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher. Opinions expressed on this page are those of the author and may not be representative of or its advertisers. Don't steal scoops.