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News for the week of 15-Apr-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

OLTL’s Michael Easton (John), Roger Howarth (Todd), and Kristen Alderson (Starr) make their way back to GH by May 10.

Head writer Ron Carlivati spoke to TV Guide soap columnist Michael Logan for the April 12th report on who’s staying, who’s going, and what the real deal was with John Stamos (ex-Blackie) wanting more than a cameo on the Nurses’ Ball. Despite how it appears to thousands of Vanessa Marcil (Brenda) fans, Carlivati loves the actress and the character; she’s one of his favorites he holds dear as a fan and a storyteller. It wasn’t in his plan to have Brenda sleep with Michael at all, but Ingo Rademacher (Jax) booked Dancing With The Stars and had to abruptly cut his return shorter than intended. “That forced us to have Carly dismantle the Jax-Brenda engagement in about five minutes, but I'm really thrilled with the 180 turn we took by adding Michael to the Jax-Brenda-Carly-Sonny quadrangle. Vanessa will remain with us at least through the resolution of this arc. I have a real soft spot for that character, even when she's gone too far. She's needy and broken and she loves Sonny so deeply that it drives everything she does. She can't help herself. I think she absolutely truly did love Jax but she was hoping Sonny would say, ‘Call it off! Stay with me!’ Deep down, that's what she wants, so we'll see where that takes us.” Genie Francis (Laura), Kin Shriner (Scotty), and Tony Geary (Luke) will continue to do the dance of the never-ending triangle that started back in the 1980s, with some resolution. Lynn Herring (Lucy), too, will remain longer on the show to play out more story, including counseling her BFF Scotty, worrying about Rafe and “planning next year’s Nurses Ball!” Jackie Zeman (Bobbie) and Jack Wagner (Frisco), however, will not linger on as their stories were short-term. Carlivati said he’s willing to entertain their returns at later dates, given the right storyline — definitely would make sense for Frisco to care what happened to his daughter Maxie’s pregnancy, for example. As for John Stamos (ex-Blackie) wanting to return to GH in a real story, not just playing drums? Hey, Carlivati was open to that too. He even tried to accommodate something more, but had to work around Stamos’ busy schedule. “There has been a long series of miscommunications with John. I asked to have him at the ball — along with Demi Moore, Ricky Martin and a hugely ridiculous wish list — but then reality set in. We heard back that John was unavailable or uninterested. Then came word that he was indeed interested but at that point the Nurses Ball had been written. We tried to write in a cameo that had him in one episode of the ball, but it was never as simple as just having him play the drums. John said he wanted to do something more, something where he could really act, so I came up with an arc that had his character, Blackie, getting out of Pentonville Prison and having to adjust to life on the outside. But, at that point, John seemed to be committed to a lot of other projects so it’s dead, at least for now. But I still have hope it will happen. We plan to keep celebrating our 50th anniversary all year and there are many more returns in the works. It certainly ain’t over!”

TV Guide’s senior editor and columnist, Will Keck, moderated a GH panel discussion with select actors and fans in the audience 7 p.m., April 12th at L.A.’s Paley Center — in celebration of the soap’s 50th anniversary April 1st. Executive producer Frank Valentini, head writer Ron Carlivati, veterans Tony Geary (Luke), Genie Francis (Laura), Jane Elliot (Tracy), Finola Hughes (Anna), Jackie Zeman (Bobbie), Maurice Benard (Sonny), Kristina Wagner (Felicia), Kimberly McCullough (Robin), and Laura Wright (Carly) were some of the VIPs on hand to discuss how GH rose from threats of cancellation to become a major contender in daytime TV land, favorite past memories, and that amazing Nurses Ball. The cast members in attendance paid respects to Cartini for pulling off the resurrection, in many forms. Most of them have experienced much worse regimes; it’s like a spa vacation now. Zeman said she’s never seen this kind of “energy and vitality” on the set before. Jason Thompson (Patrick) vouched for GH’s fearless, tireless leader, saying that Valentini is the first person in the studio and the last to leave at night. Valentini pulled off a feat unheard of in today’s world of spoiler alerts, he managed to surprise a jaded, spoiler-bloated audience during the Nurses Ball episodes, especially the revelation that Stavros wasn’t dead. To pull this off, they used decoy code names. To pull off specific aspects of the Nurses Ball, Valentini asserted his tremendous leadership, verve, and human understanding. He’s the one who made Jane Elliot (no slouch either) perform even after she begged him not to. An equally nervous Rachel Ames (Audrey) wasn’t sure she could make a return, but Valentini coaxed her back in by asking her on-screen granddaughter Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth) to call, have a chat, put Ames at ease. Check out more, plus pictures from that night here.

The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will honor the crew behind the soaps June 14 at L.A.’s Westin Bonaventure. The actual 40th annual Daytime Emmys follows on HLN June 16.

Gossip for the week of 15-Apr-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Since Jonathan Jackson (ex-Lucky) can’t make it back to GH, maybe it’s time to kill his character off for good in a good, old-fashioned murder mystery. It very well may happen.

Roger Howarth (Todd) is presumably the only OLTL cross-over able to do both soaps. When he’s on GH, he’ll be off OLTL, and vice versa, based on an agreement between ABC and Prospect Park.

Kristen Alderson (Starr) told fans at a recent event that she was going to meet with TPTB at Prospect Park, probably in June, but wouldn’t say more.

Maura West (ex-Diane, Y&R; ex-Carly, ATWT) may soon appear as a GH regular. Buzz is that she filmed last week with Tony Geary (Luke) and a much-trimmer, lean Tyler Christopher (Nikolas).

There was more to the Nurses Ball than what the audience got to see on their TVs. Important, crucial character links. Brenda knowing what she’s doing was questionable (pining after Sonny after breaking Jax’s heart), but only confiding in her friend Robin up in heaven… Brenda and Sonny sharing a tender scene together after their confrontation over her rebound engagement to Jax… Lucy and Bobbie coming together after many decades as arch enemies. Might there also be the performance by Elizabeth and A.J.? TPTB could’ve fitted in that number, and a few others, had they not devoted such an obscene amount of airtime to Sabrina’s high school musical.

Best Nurses Ball act: a tie amongst Magic Milo and the Male Strip Tease, Jack Wagner’s (Frisco) “All I Need,” and Rick Springfield’s historic “Jessie’s Girl” performance. Springfield told Katie Couric in her special 50th anniversary 20/20 special that back when he appeared as Dr. Noah Drake in the ‘80s, he did not want to bring his musical career into the acting mix. He figured now was as good a time as any to break that rule, for GH’s 50th.

Worst Nurses Ball act: Sabrina’s crappy voice and Molly’s crappier bad-girl act (note Nancy Lee Grahn’s [Alexis] real-life daughter Kate really performing background vocals and guitar). Kate, however, can really sing. It’s too bad she couldn’t have been the featured act instead of Molly. Alas, their “Private School Girls” song was an original composition by Kate Grahn (back when she was 12), and performed by her and her real-life band Traction, backing Molly and T.J. The song is for sale at a number of online outlets, including iTunes.

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