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News for the week of 05-Nov-2012

by Carol Banks Weber

GH joins the rest of the ABC programming team in the November 5th “Day Of Giving” Hurricane Sandy fundraising campaign. As a part of this campaign, several GH stars recorded PSAs encouraging viewers to donate to the Red Cross for relief efforts. The PSAs will air throughout the soap’s Monday show, as well as the rest of that day. All of ABC’s regular programs will include time for this campaign. Additionally, the network donated $2 million for Hurricane Sandy victims. In a press release last week, Anne Sweeney, Disney Media Networks co-chairman/Disney-ABC Television Group president, said the following: “The effects of Hurricane Sandy have impacted millions of people across the entire North East, including many of our co-workers, friends and families. This unprecedented devastation demanded an unprecedented response, so our team came up with the ‘Day of Giving.’ This coordinated effort between network and syndicated programming spanning News, Daytime, Primetime and Late Night will reach tens of millions of viewers with a specific call to action…to do what Americans do best, and pull together in support of those who are suffering. I’m incredibly proud of the team and all of our programs for this amazing response.”

Thought Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) was cool with former head writer Bob Guza Jr.? After all, she had to say it publicly several times to refute strong rumors to the contrary. Maybe it was just playing the game, because in TV Guide’s October 29th Michael Logan interview, she outright said Guza hated writing for her and found it a burden. Her (self-aggrandizing) theory? Guza must not dig writing “for intelligent women.” She’s still not enjoying any story of her own with the new regime, but she’s not bitching about it like she used to under Guza, because she feels more respected. “Yes, I want a killer story for Alexis but I am so happy to be working in a place where the head writer doesn't hate me and everybody's nice to me, that I'm just happy doing whatever they have for me,” she said. “It's different when you're being treated with respect and you respect the people you're working with. I'm much more adaptable to being a team player now. Unlike when Bob Guza was writing GH, I'm no longer considered a problem but an asset. And as a result I am seeing things in a less defensive and more mature way. Besides, I had my time in the spotlight when I did Santa Barbara. I was a leading lady who had the kind of storylines any actress would want. I could have had another 10 great years on GH but that wasn't the case.”

Lynn Herring reprises GH legacy character Lucy Coe for the Nurses’ Ball, starting December 14th.

Constance Towers reprises her villainous role of Helena Cassadine any time now. She reported to work last week. The beloved veteran actress only knows that she will be back at GH for a short while. Towers spoke with Examiner’s Rene Thurston [November 1, 2012 interview] about fulfilling her and the fans’ fondest wish. “I really am excited to have viewers see what Helena has up her sleeve this time around. The writing is absolutely amazing for General Hospital, and I hear it every day whenever I run into a viewer. It's amazing. I may only return for a short time each time, but I feel as though I’ve never been away. Everyone is so professional and great to work with, from the actors to the behind-the-scenes geniuses that make all of us look and feel great.” Helena should pop back up later this month.

Tristan Rogers reprises Robert Scorpio, Anna’s ex-husband and Robin’s dad, starting the week of November 12th (the 15th to be specific). Rogers told Soap Opera Digest online that the classic Robert makes his way back, but with an understandable difference.

Tony Geary (Luke) felt hard-pressed to choose between Anna and Tracy for his lucky character— until Knoxville’s Terry Morrow went Titanic on him. When faced with a do-or-die option, Geary picked Tracy, the woman who knows Luke’s mind better than anyone. Friendship prevails! “I think Tracy understands Luke in a way that no one else has ever understood him ... It's not feeding him grapes and all that romantic dribble. It's more mature than that.” Even if Laura came back and wanted Luke again, he’d stick with Tracy.

Finola Hughes (Anna) and Jason Thompson (Patrick) participate as guest stars on the popular game show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, sometime in January — to help celebrate and promote GH’s 50th anniversary coming up later. Their earnings benefited the Art of Elysium, a charity organization that aids ailing children by providing them with workshops put on by actors and other artists.

When Finola Hughes (Anna) isn’t fending off the advances of Duke and Luke on GH, she’s finishing up her new movie, The Bet, as the director. Check out her interview with Jolt’s Larry Flick. She gives him, and by extension us fans, a glimpse into GH behind the scenes, comments on her immediate co-stars, and describes her directorial work as informed by her acting.

Congratulations to Scott Reeves (Steven Webber) for his BMI award. The actor/country singer-composer won an award, his first, for his song “Made In America,” made popular by Toby Keith. The BMI Awards were held October 30.

Pairing up Joe Jr. and Tracy right off the bat was executive producer Frank Valentini’s brilliant move, and one portrayer Richard Steinmetz heartily agreed with. It made sense to pair them up, as the characters were similar in make-up – strong, no-nonsense, tough – and together, well, the sparks even took him aback. “That happened very naturally. When we started working together, things just went that way. Tracy’s strong. She’s no pushover and Joe’s not either. It just worked — and we’re two actors who’ve been around the block going, ‘Okay, let’s do this!’ So, we did. Frank had a hunch about that and I have to give him credit, he was right.”

If only Joe Jr. and Connie could’ve tangled in a similar manner, bemoaned Steinmetz. His two biggest regrets were not getting to play out a full-blown story involving the two of them and his on-screen son. In order to deal with Connie appropriately, it was essential for Steinmetz to believe the best in his character, which meant questioning Kate’s assertion of rape. “He did have some redeeming qualities. He was an Italian father who loved his son, and it was never proven that he raped the girl. In my mind, Joe’s the one telling the truth. Connie was just trying to pick up Michael. She was hitting on Sonny’s kid! If you look at the character of Connie, can we seriously believe anything she says? That’s my point of view.”

Right after Steinmetz shot the dock footage of Joe Jr. having to explain himself to Trey, after Connie/Kate confirmed she was his mom, TPTB brought the hammer down. Getting his notice, after having gone so far with what should’ve only been an eight-episode guest appearance, took some of the wind out of Steinmetz’ sails. But forming a real bond with Erik Valdez (Trey) and Kelly Sullivan (Kate/Connie) was worth it.

Back when Steinmetz filmed his last scene with Valdez, he didn’t think their paths would cross again, so they played it with firm finality and some poignant off-screen mentoring, veteran actor to aspiring one. Blessedly, Valdez has kept in touch with his on-screen father by attending some Venice Gondoliers high school football practices Steinmetz coaches. SoapTown USA interview by Tom Stacy

Gossip for the week of 05-Nov-2012

by Carol Banks Weber

Anders Hove may reprise his memorably villainous role of Cesar Faison soon, joining the classic GH gang. TPTB are pulling all the stops to make this happen for the Danish actor who may or may not need his expired green card renewed in a hurry. If this comes to pass, as planned, Faison and Helena will turn out to be the brains behind the Duke/Jerry/Joe Jr. operation. Once this falls into place, the rest of the rumors — we’ve heard about back when AMC/OLTL were predicted to be canceled — will come to pass, including GH’s inevitable cancellation.

What if Duke Lavery isn’t evil? What if he’s forced to do the bidding of his evil bosses Faison/Helena, but trying to secretly subvert them—hiding Robin in Switzerland and fake-shooting Jason, then hiding him from sight?

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