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News for the week of 03-Mar-2014

by Carol Banks Weber

Head writer Ron Carlivati had a tough job in store when Kimberly McCullough (Robin) returned for a short, six-month stint: how to write her out again. He told Soap Opera Digest recently that he and his team went over all the possibilities for the best outcome. “There was an issue with every one. All of them had their negatives,” Carlivati said. “Every one was, ‘Why would she leave her daughter? Why would she leave her husband? If she doesn’t go willingly, why would he give up looking for her? Or what if she died?’ Ultimately, I had to make the final decision along with Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and the network and ultimately, this was the one that all three parties – the network, Frank and I – agreed would be, if not the best, then maybe the most palatable.” What a ringing endorsement. –via Michael Fairman

The date is set for the 5th annual GH Fan Build Day with Habitat for Humanity: March 8, 2014, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Located somewhere in the greater L.A. area (those signing up for the build will receive the exact coordinates), 20 select fans and cast members get to help a low-income family with a new home. The registration fee is $275, which includes meals during the build, a commemorative T-shirt, and building supplies. GH Fan Build co-founder Lisa LoCicero (Olivia) will lead the build as usual. Cast members committed to the build so far: Robin Mattson (Heather), Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth), Maura West (Ava), Dominic Zamprogna (Dante), Kelly Thiebaud (Britt), Kathleen Gati (Dr. O), William deVry (Julian), Jimmy Deshler (Rafe), Ryan Carnes (Lucas), and Ryan Paevey (Nathan), with more to come. All of the registration money goes to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.


“I believe in her more than she believes in herself.” Jason Thompson (Patrick) showed Kimberly McCullough (Robin) and the FOX L.A. anchors his love and admiration in the February 21st on-air interview for her GH exit. While Thompson’s character is bereft at having to say goodbye again to McCullough’s, Thompson, the actor, is stoked as to why — she gets to shadow-direct on Grey’s Anatomy. He’s always been her champion. The anchors also read McCullough’s fantastically insightful blog entry about Thompson, her co-star and friend, lingering jokingly on her textbook yawn whenever she wants to avoid something. Thompson said he always calls her on it and probes into what she’s trying to avoid.


Thanks to sweet-talkin’ executive producer Frank Valentini and head writer Ron Carlivati, Donna Mills (Knots Landing) first shows up on GH, March 14. In a recent,  Soap Opera Uncensored interview, Mills told Nelson Branco that Cartini gave her an offer she couldn’t refuse — even though she wasn’t sure at first. “It was really nice. They offered it to me, and I said, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ Then they said, ‘Can’t we get you on the phone and tell you about the role before you decide and how much fun it’s going to be.’ I mean, they really did a sell job on me! And they’re really nice and fun. They talked me into it.”

Kirsten Storms (Maxie) tweeted February 24 that she returns to GH this week, after maternity leave. She’s lost the baby weight but kept the big nursing breasts. Score.

It’s different when you’re a real-life mom, especially for actresses. Emme Rylan (Lulu) learned this firsthand when she got to revisit the loss of a child in a soap story. Previously as GL’s Lizzie Spaulding, Rylan had to mourn as a mom who just lost daughter Sarah from a car accident. Rylan said she did the best she could, but at the time, she wasn’t a mom yet, so all she could do was cry “a lot.” Now that she has two children, she joked that she so could go back and reshoot those mourning scenes better. She had her chance on GH when Lulu lost custody of baby Connie a few weeks ago. As a mom, Rylan couldn’t control the real-life floodgates. She was a wreck in all of her scenes, especially the one with Lisa LoCicero (Olivia). By the end of it, the two women just clung to each other and sobbed, unable to shake off the fiction, so “I go to kickboxing after work and shake it off. I’m like working out, screaming Katy Perry songs on my way home after work to really let it go, and I don’t feel like I’ve ever had a hard time letting go before… so yes, [having kids of my own] has changed everything for me.”

So has joining GH with its wonderful, critically acclaimed cast. Whenever someone offers to show Rylan some of Lulu’s backstory, the sponge of an actress is ready and eager to absorb more. “You just want to learn from them. Everyone who has been here for a long time… sometimes they’ll ask if it’s ok to give you some more back history and I’m like, ‘Please god, tell me everything!’ Because… I’ve done homework, and I can see [the character’s history via past episodes and clips], but for the people that were there in it, they can give me a different perspective, and they’ve all been very helpful and cheerleaders for what we’ve been doing, which has been good.”

Soap Opera Network interview by Kambra Clifford, February 28, 2014

Giving credence to the rumored failure of the Cassadines return, Thaao Penghlis (Victor) goes out the same way he came—with a whimper—and with Robin in tow. He can return at any moment, though, preferably with an army next time.

When Laura Wright (Carly) isn’t front and center of her own story, she’s out meeting fans to raise money for One Simple Wish’s Prom Drive while representing her family’s Standing Sun winery. She wrapped up a wine tasting fundraiser March 2 at Uncle Vinnie’s in Point Pleasant, N.J. The fundraiser part came in the form of monies raised going to One Simple Wish’s Prom Drive, enabling a foster child to attend with his/her classmates. She had fans bring fashionable prom dresses, shoes and accessories to donate for the cause as well.

Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) tickled fan funny bone with her February 28th riff about life on-set: “It’s been an trying week at work. Making out all day with William Devry and then having to appease Maurice who kept insisting that his bicepts were bigger than his was exhausting. Laura Wright offered me her wine to calm my nerves, but I chose the gin that Jason Thompson keeps a constant flow of in his dressing room. I think we made out too but I cant remember cause I was too drunk. I vaguely remember Jane Elliott accusing me of stealing her spanx and then later finding them in Roger Howarth's dressing room. Tony Geary said something to me in Dutch and I dont think it was very nice, which offended Becky Herbst who doesnt like cursing in any language. All hell broke out during a party scene when Tyler Christopher got too close to the Wyndemere fireplace and starting sweating so badly they had to stop tape and replace him with the 40 yr old little person that plays Spencer. The last I saw Tyler, he was on his phone with his agent. Hopefully next week at General Hospital will go more smoothly.” Okay, the Tyler Christopher sweating thing was funny.

Gossip for the week of 03-Mar-2014

by Carol Banks Weber

On February 21, Daytime Examiner Tiffany Bailey relayed the February 20th Celebrity Dirty Laundry rumor of Michelle Stafford (ex-Phyllis, Y&R) taking on the new GH role of Nina, comatose wife of Silas — like it was a done deal. Not so fast. Stafford herself shot rumoring peeps down on February 27: “I want u all to remember as u drift off to sleep…people who start rumors have super little pee pees…”

The following rumors come from a Daytime Dish source via his/her GH production friend, February 26th drop: Say goodbye to Carly/Franco, as Laura Wright wants the ill-advised pairing to end, which it will by 2015 (that’s next year!), Ric only returned for a short arc and leaves mid-summer, Ava will no longer be Morgan’s cat’s pajamas, but Serena will, the Cassadine reveal “is not going as well as planned,” a new, black character on the books sounds like family for either Felix or Shawn/T.J., and the worst of it all, Molly and Rafe have a baby in 2016. Jesus take the wheel.

Just how badly did Tristan Rogers (ex-Robert Scorpio) and GH’s PTB screw up the purported Cassadine revival? If GH had only locked Rogers in on future dates and Rogers had committed to his ongoing storyline nevertheless. All this so supporting actress (if that, she’s barely on) Jess Walton (Jill, Y&R) can have her grand romance? So far, Jill & Colin are a big, fat, stinking joke. He’s a stranger, an interloper, a stunt cast there. He’s a legacy here. Wrong wrong wrong on so many levels. It’s only sour grapes if the decision to cross over was a successful one, kids.

Monday, March 3 is Daytime Emmy pre-nom day. Big frontrunner according to Michael Logan of TV Guide: Jane Elliot (Tracy). Apparently, executive producer Frank Valentini talked Elliot into submitting for supporting actress. However, Logan ominously previewed that there are some misses from the list as well. Major ones.

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