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News for the week of 02-Jul-2012

by Carol Banks Weber

Sounds like hope. Katie Couric’s new ABC Daytime talk show will debut in the fall, in GH’s 3 p.m. timeslot, BUT!, GH will simply move to 2 p.m. GH leading into Couric signals that TPTB might be willing to give this last ABC soap a chance, provided ratings match up, so keep watching.

Unless you’re an actor, you will never truly understand what it took to get seven-time Emmy winner Tony Geary (Luke) there, in his harrowing, cutthroat Bordello scenes with fellow multiple-Emmy winner Jonathan Jackson (ex-Lucky). Geary had to, through his faithless character, revile his beloved son, the apple of his eye, while embracing the accidental murder of the child of that son. He could only do it with Jackson in his corner. “Jonathan Jackson is the finest actor I have ever worked with. We trust each other explicitly and there is nothing we can’t reach together,” Geary described in a June 25th-posted interview. “It was very hard to do those scenes in the Bordello between Luke and Lucky, and say that ugly stuff to him, but we both felt it and we serviced the material.”

Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) was as surprised as the rest of the live-tweeting fans when co-star and Daytime Emmy presenter Finola Hughes (Anna) read her name as the winner of the outstanding supporting actress award the night of June 23. Grahn was sure she didn’t stand a chance, not up against her fellow nominees who had so much material to choose from the previous year, especially co-star Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth). In a June 25th Windy City Live telecast, Grahn joked that the judges must’ve been “intoxicated” when they picked her out of the line-up, because she “fell asleep when I watched [my] reel.” She was in Chicago to be with family, which is why she missed the Emmys. Michael Fairman, June 25, 2012

The soap media will just not let this Kirsten Storms/Jen Lilley as Maxie non-issue die. Sara Bibel, in her June 22nd Xfinity Deep Soap blog, brought it up again and elicited this colorful, if not hyperbolic, response: “I’m not asking anyone to even give me a chance. If you want to have an I Hate Jen Lilley séance in your basement, do it. That is your right as an American and as a viewer. … I get how it’s emotional and heartbreaking, but they’ve really come around. I really appreciate the GH fans.” Soap recasts are a necessary evil. To continually harp on this is a waste of everyone’s time, especially when GH still lives under the scepter of cancellation. Let’s please move on.

Lisa LoCicero (Olivia) arrived at a time when TPTB were trying out new characters to see if they’d work or not, none of this audition stuff. She said that she most likely became longer term on the strength of the instant-popularity of her on-screen son Dominic Zamprogna (Dante). “I loved that whole period of time. It was really great – when Olivia still had that great secret and when Dante had the secret and whatnot. That was fun. Playing that out was really intriguing as an actor.” LoCicero also loves what Kelly Sullivan (NuKate) brought to the role, softening the Devil Wears Prada bitch mode of the earlier character. “That was sort of when Bob [Guza] was writing for Megan [Ward]. It was more of that Devil Wears Prada – she was being a bitch to everyone. I feel like they said, ‘No one likes that. No one wants Sonny with this woman that's a total bitch.’ They've made Kate a lot more sympathetic in terms of storyline but in also the way they write her day-to-day interactions with people.” As for LoCicero’s contribution to the Sonny vs. Johnny saga, she was fine with it too, except for one part. She didn’t want her character to sudden do an about-face about Sonny’s mob status when Olivia went to him to get rid of Johnny (who’s been blackmailing her boyfriend Steve). LoCicero was so concerned about Olivia appearing hypocritical that she tweaked that bit of conversation. “I actually padded those lines out a little bit. I knew she was gonna get a lot of heat and people would be like ‘How could you go to that guy? You always say you hate the mob!’ [I wanted] to make sure it was really, really clear that she wasn't saying, ‘I don't want him dead in the harbor; just stop him from what he's doing. Keep it so my boyfriend doesn't have to sell organs on the black market.’ Some of that storyline wise was wrapping up stuff from the previous writers that I don't think Ron really cared to continue, so I think there was some of that that was in that storyline as well – that whole Johnny blackmail thing.” TVSource Magazine interview by Omar Nobles, June 30, 2012

Gossip for the week of 02-Jul-2012

by Carol Banks Weber

Executive producer Frank Valentini (formerly with OLTL) hasn’t taken his eye off AMC just yet. He’s brought in a handful of OLTL core characters to GH, but he may want to do the same with AMC. Fans would like Vincent Irizarry (ex-David, AMC) to come stay for a while.

With the great GH news — it’ll be the lead-in to Katie Couric’s new talk show come the fall season, NOT canceled — comes a strong Happy New Years rumor of possible longevity. GH has a chance to live on, if its September ratings rock. According to Daytime Dish’s reliable source, HNY, there hasn’t been any finale order issued for GH. Quite the contrary, there’s a full-on fall schedule and budget. “I can only share I was told the September/fall numbers will be watched very, very closely…. The only network mandate was to produce a blockbuster September to aid Katie Couric's launch. To be clear, I have not heard ABC order any specific story sped up, mandate certain couples or changes to any story. [EP Frank Valentini] ordered [Head Writer Ron Carlivati] to write huge sweeps-like dramatic September events. The Sam/John/Téa climax served a dual purpose as also fit into FV's hybrid pitch for the new time slot and that is why it was chosen for September.”

Have you noticed a decided change in Roger Howarth’s handling of Todd Manning? No longer do we have to put up with the rumored backstage balking at shirtless or love scenes. Todd’s softened tremendously and become a lighter, funnier version of his former surly, anti-social self. What gives? Well, based on HNY, Howarth’s shucked his former Todd Manning self. “Upon his return last May, RH did not receive any story control. He has not demanded a specific co-star nor story nor couple. RH's old ‘sensitivities’ are a thing of the past. You can expect Todd to bare more skin this summer. I heard this past week RC wants to proceed beyond flirtation with Todd/Carly and somehow this will fit into the walls closing in on Johnny arc.”

Happy New Years posted June 25th about more spumors, including the request to watch Heather more closely, since she’s the biggest danger, a slight change to the Robin return, and some other things (Johnny apologists won’t like this one).

Nobody and I mean nobody from GH can speak to the rumor of Kirsten Storms returning as Maxie soon. She’s supposedly in behind-closed-doors talks with TPTB, but EP Frank Valentini may vehemently not want any of this getting out. We’ll see, won’t we?

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