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News for the week of 11-Nov-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Finally, GH is running smoothly and on budget. Much if not all of the credit for that has to go to executive producer Frank Valentini with his trusty head writer sidekick Ron Carlivati. The two took over GH under some dire circumstances, amidst strong rumors that this ABC soap would also fail right along with AMC and OLTL. By all industry accounts, GH was doomed. But Valentini managed to show TPTB, his bosses, scared cast and crew that he could bring the show under/on budget and put on a better show, utilizing every character including the vets and some bonus past faves. Tyler Christopher (Nikolas), a victim of previous regimes’ inability to access his legacy Cassadine character fully — to the extent that he had to go away for a spell — has returned to a different show altogether, a better one for having Valentini at the helm. Christopher is a huge fan. “One of Frank and Ron's things is that every character has to have a job and every character has to have a romance, so there's an opportunity there for you to show up in somebody else's story ... so you're still relevant,” Christopher said. Valentini came up with a sensible solution to all those characters (paying attention Y&R?). He manages to use everyone to his/her fullest extent in meaningful interactions — full of drama and romance — by using the good, old-fashioned rotation system. “There are a lot of characters on the show and that's a blessing and a curse,” Valentini acknowledged. “We try not to go more than two weeks without seeing somebody, and if we do, it could be for other reasons like the (actor) is on vacation or doing a movie.” Valentini came in, quickened the pace, loaded the scripts, and made the characters relevant again. Christopher loves it. “The number of pages we do in a day has almost doubled but it's working. As hard as it is no one complains. We just sweat it out and keep moving.” According to Valentini, there’s more surprises to come. They’ve been trying to get Demi Moore and John Stamos back, and for sure they’ll do what they can to keep the Nurses’ Ball into next year. –ABC News interview by Alicia Rancilio, Associated Press, November 5, 2013

Plenty of fans have plenty to say about the cartoonization of Faison lately. But his portrayer Anders Hove loves every moment back in the (warmer, sunnier) States and hopes his villain isn’t killed off. He comes close, though. In a November 4th interview with Michael Fairman, Hove also lavished his love and respect to long-time co-star Finola Hughes (Anna). As an actor, she’s his safe place. He knows when they get together on-screen, it’s on. “I have known her for so many years. Now to come back to GH 10 years after, and then this year, and meet her on stage, it’s like we had never really been apart,” the Danish actor enthused. “She gives me a lot of freedom in what I am doing. Finola allows me, and does it herself, to improvise while we are doing the scenes, not by changing the words, but we give and take a lot in a good sense. We give some juice to the scene, which is the true pleasure in working. I owe her a lot in the sense that, she was really the one who taught me the craft of doing the soaps.” Finola Hughes isn’t the only amazing, giving actor. With Hove, it’s an embarrassment of riches with these experienced, established vets. Ian Buchanan (Duke) was a special find. Believe it or not, these two have never really acted together much and only recent interacted a year ago. Buchanan’s GH character, however, has always been in the GH consciousness for Hove. Hove singled out a recent scene where his character had to torture Buchanan’s. Buchanan was all for whatever, anything for the scene—an actor’s dream. “I had this one scene where Faison had taken him down in the cellar, where I really treat him bad. That was one of my favorite scenes, because as an actor, Ian let me do things. He plays along, and what happened, happens. It is a great feeling as an actor … feeling that confidence from your counterpart. It’s very rewarding,” Hove said.

Kelly Monaco (Sam) is wary about pairing up with a new character so soon. She is ever mindful of fan reaction and the quality of the writing, leading up to any pairing. Looming over her head, of course, is the popularity of Jason & Sam (JaSam), which reached iconic status by the time Steve Burton (ex-Jason) left, only to be snatched up by Y&R. Going on Y&R, in essence, helped Monaco see her character with another guy. If Burton were still in retirement, fans might still harbor a strong JaSam attachment preventing new pairings, Monaco mused.

Jason Thompson (Patrick) has pictured the moment when his and Kimberly McCullough’s (Robin) characters lock eyes again after all this time believing she died in the lab explosion. Thompson doesn’t know how he’ll handle it, although he’s tried picturing what it would be like to see a loved one come back in his real life. Still, it’s not the same. As for who Patrick should ultimately choose, Thompson played it diplomatically, saying a case could be made for both Sabrina and Robin. But it’d be tough for Patrick to ever get over his wife and the mother of their child. Whatever happens, and he believes it might happen on Patrick/Sabrina’s wedding day, he as an actor is excited to sink his teeth into the dramatic material. –Soap Opera Digest

Jackie Zeman returns to GH as Bobbie on November 27, with Carly and Luke. It’s a major involvement and not just a star cameo at someone else’s wedding, she said. She talked up head writer Ron Carlivati’s “fearlessness” in a recent Soap Opera Digest. She thought he was cool in the way he can write what he wants without too much censorship, just like the good old days she remembered fondly. She hoped to work more with other vets too, like Kristina Wagner (Felicia), Kin Shriner (Scotty), and Lynn Herring (Lucy). –Soap Opera Digest

Head writer Ron Carlivati tweeted last Friday that he wrote more for Heather’s art gallery reveal. She was supposed to go around righting all the paintings of the sandwiches until she got to the hot dog. Here’s his tweet: “Heather originally ID'd them 1 by 1, adding: ‘Hung Wrong!’ until she got to the hotdog, which she dubbed: ‘Well hung!’ BS&P made us cut it.” Boo! They weren’t all BLTs, either, but different sandwiches, including the Hamburger, the Reuben, the Egg Salad, and the PB&J. Clever, art department. Are they for sale?

Check out the trailer to Michael Easton’s (Silas) “Credence” graphic novel trailer, out on Blackwatch Comics.

Gossip for the week of 11-Nov-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

GH casting’s on the lookout for a 30-something brunette actress in what sounds like a recast. Also, based on Soap Opera Uncensored, a 20-something, white, handsome, sexy bad boy—contract role.

SOAPnet might also shutter its windows by the end of 2013. We Love Soaps, Roger Newcomb, November 4, 2013

Genie Francis (Laura) is supposed to return for a major Cassadine story, “Ancient Feuds Rear Their Ugly Heads Again,” per head writer Ron Carlivati. Bu the trouble seems to be Tony Geary (Luke), her other on-screen half. Executive producer Frank Valentini wants Geary to play ball more, i.e., be more available to film instead of taking off all the time several times a year. What Daytime Dish insider HNY [November 8, 2013] thinks is going on, reading between the lines, is this stall stems from a conflict regarding scheduling not pay. “Last spring TG and FV only agreed to a short-term contract extension. He and FV then engaged in protracted negotiations over a new contract. I know others dropped a salary dispute, but I heard the sticking point [has] been more FV does not approve of his old sweetheart deal. FV wants to retain more control and for TG to work around GH's need of him, versus set his own comings and goings.” Valentini would rather bring Francis back for a major story than simply a cameo role, because she reportedly costs a lot of money to use. “…Laura's major Cassadine story relies on TG's availability as well, and the situations become linked.”

How old are these people? Head writer Ron Carlivati and actor John Stamos (ex-Blackie) reportedly got into a Twitter war of words over the proposed return story: Stamos hated it, Carlivati’s defending himself. Stamos may have repeated that he wanted to come back to GH, but wasn’t interested in drumming for Rick Springfield’s band at last spring’s Nurses’ Ball. And, Stamos alleged that he wasn’t even asked back; he took the initiative and went to the set himself to honor GH. “U know they never asked me. Went to set because my respect for the show & ASKED to be on. … @carlivatiron was your big idea for me to play drums on jessie's girl with @RICKSPRINGFIELD at nurses ball?? yes or no? Can you answer YES or NO (come one you have a great sense of humor this is little fun) RT @carlivatiron Let it go, John. U just answered your own question. i like you Ron. Let's M.O. RT @carlivatiron I feel like i'm at a cock fight. How did I get here?” Carlivati tweeted this in his defense: “@JohnStamos I'm sure I will be shouted down by 1.3M people, but this is a total mischaracterization of what occurred.” I’ve no idea if they made up by November 9, 8:52 p.m., or what. Show biz types.

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