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News for the week of 04-Jun-2012

by Carol Banks Weber

The new, slightly SORAS’d (Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome) Kristina (soap newcomer Lindsey Morgan) made her explosive debut last week, holding her own with on-screen parents, Emmy-winning vets Maurice Benard (Sonny) and Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis). In order to even show up in such a dramatic fashion, Morgan had to audition with many talented actresses—in screen test scenes with Benard, who usually doesn’t do such things. It’s been ages since Benard helped out in any audition scene, but he took this recent one on and kept the applicants on their toes with his impromptu, off-script outbursts. “They actually brought in Maurice and Nancy Lee Grahn to do the test with us, to be in the scene. They filmed on the set, everyone was in the control room, it was up on all the monitors—so it was very interesting,” Morgan described. “That was the first time I met Maurice. I had a wardrobe malfunction, so I didn't have a chance to meet him prior. And of course, I went last, and I didn't know what to expect. I had seen his work before and I was kind of shaking in my boots! [Laughter] But then, I was also exhilarated. And when we were doing the scene, he improvised—he went off of the script and yelled at me. Like, I felt I almost peed my pants or something. [Laughter] It was so intense. But then, the moment it was done, and they said, ‘Cut!’ he came over and gave me a giant hug, and told me I had cojones!” We Love Soaps, May 30, 2012 interview-Part 1 with Kevin Mulcahy Jr.

Lindsey Morgan (recast Kristina) started off doing sitcoms, an MTV movie, an indie, but never soaps. Her soap introduction was overwhelming to put it mildly, but very welcome. Used to the slower pace of primetime — standing around and waiting an awful lot, being bored — Morgan had her mind blown her first day on the GH set. Try 30 pages of script right off the bat and very little time to go from blocking to taping, never a dull moment. Throughout this new adventure, Morgan couldn’t help but be impressed and intimidated by executive producer Frank Valentini’s extensive knowledge and hands-on, godlike approach. “He is everywhere, I swear. He knows everything that happens on set, and then he'll ask you about it. Confront you, even. And I'm thinking, ‘You weren't even here, how would you know that?’ He is everywhere. He's all-seeing, all-knowing. And then he also has this great eye,” she said. We Love Soaps, May 31, 2012 interview-Part 2 with Kevin Mulcahy Jr.

Kassie DePaiva (Blair, OLTL) returns this summer to support daughter Starr and tell Todd something big. It’s not sure when exactly though, or for how long. Most likely only for summer.

Gossip for the week of 04-Jun-2012

by Carol Banks Weber

As soon as Laura Wright (Carly) tweeted that she’d appear on The Chew May 31st, fan outrage (and a disapproving tweet from OLTL actress Robin Strasser/ex-Dorian) ensued. Many accused Wright of being a traitor to soap fans. After all, The Chew was hastily pieced together to replace AMC. And, the soap community has heard rumors that TPTB purposely went about tanking all ABC Daytime soaps just to have an excuse to cancel them all for cheaper, money-making productions.

Wright went on The Chew to promote her and her husband’s Santa Ynez Standing Sun Winery, as well as keep GH alive in the minds of viewers. She also helped celebrity chef co-host Mario Batali whip up some jalapeno pesto pasta, while pairing it up with the right wines. It was all innocent enough, but the taste of her insensitivity turned me off. So I tweeted about it on June 1.

Imagine my surprise when Iron Chef Michael Symon, also a co-host of The Chew, tweeted me back to defend his new talk show and Wright’s guest-star appearance. He told me that they treated her well, that a great many viewers (soap fans even) have grown to love the show—mirroring Batali’s on-air contention that, after a bit of a hiccup with soap fans, that they’ve really come around, that the show itself has helped many viewers save money with cost-cutting meal-planning, as well as helping raise “millions for the hungry…it’s a very special show in that way,” and that, “if it wasn’t us, it would have been another show” replacing AMC. He explained that TPTB had been trying to make the soaps viable for years, despite the challenges of downward ratings and rising budgets. “… they would have love[d] to make it work…they were just trying to do it for [an] affordable budget… it bled $ for 10 yrs & they tried to save it by… spending less $ which in turn hurt the show…my mom was a huge fan until the last 5-7 yrs.” Symon’s mom is a soap fan, and even she found the canceled soaps were waning in interest several years before their cancellation—an argument I couldn’t dispute. AMC, which I grew up on, became a shell of itself in the last decade. Even if something could’ve been done to beef up the veteran cast and the interactive, inter-generational stories, meeting increasingly high budget demands in this recessionary day and age would’ve still presented an insurmountable problem. Symon reiterated this in his tweets to me. He never wanted any of ABC Daytime’s soaps to end. He certainly never wanted to be put in a position to replace one of them. He’s also grateful that GH is still around, “I’m happy they kept GH...lot of great people work on that show… as I said earlier it’s not our show that put an end to the soaps. I have many friends that worked on those shows.”

The Chew’s Michael Symon personally did a lot to dispel unfounded myths about the replacement shows and answer some questions. He didn’t have to. He’s a busy celebrity. But he went out of his way to respectfully address many soap fans’ concerns on Twitter last week, while many other celebrities wouldn’t have ever bothered. Did he change my mind about watching The Chew? Not really. I just can’t support a show that replaced any soap I used to love and was raised by—on principle. Besides, a collective cooking talk show just isn’t my thing, on any channel, for any reason. He did, however, manage to clear the air and convey that The Chew and The Revolution, and any other replacement shows to come aren’t the enemies. A budget is a budget.

Some spumor drops from SoapTown USA’s Loose Lips: Téa’s baby didn’t really die. She’ll go along thinking she had her baby (it’s really Sam’s) and Todd will mourn—until the truth comes out, surprising them both. Also, Starr’s daughter Hope is still alive somehow. Jason will learn a surprising paternity truth himself soon enough; that he really is the biological father of his and Sam’s baby. “That is a definite!!! Sam was never raped but only a figment of her imagination and this is only the tip of the iceberg for this story. Jason will love the baby before he knows it is his biologically child.” Heather has not been acting alone in her schemes. Look for more OLTLers to visit, including more from the teen scene, quite possibly Jack Manning. If Jack does come, he’ll be paired up with Kristina, while Starr is reserved for Michael, pissing off their respective parents. TPTB are going to recreate Llanview in GH’s studio for the cross-overs.

Based on what I've been hearing all over the 'Net, including RavenBeauty's latest, we all need to let go of any hope for AMC and OLTL. These two canceled soaps are gone forever. Agnes Nixon has retired. End of story. It’s only a matter of time before GH will also go, either by September or merely a few months after. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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