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News for the week of 18-Feb-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

When Robin died in a lab explosion, portrayer Kimberly McCullough expressly asked for the character’s death to remain permanent. Instead of honoring the veteran actress’ wishes, then-incoming head writer Ron Carlivati pushed for a loophole with executive producer Frank Valentini and McCullough. Receiving the go-ahead to work with the stay of execution in a way that would make sense, viewers saw Robin trapped on a hospital bed somewhere begging for her life to an unknown kidnapper. Carlivati just couldn’t bring himself to kill off such a legacy character. He saw the possibilities in saving her, in the returns of more legacy characters, Robin’s parents for one, as a fan who watched them saving the world growing up.

Trying to restore the soap to the GH Carlivati remembered growing up has always been in the back of his mind, which explains the return of so many veterans. As a soap fan and a comic book fan, Carlivati was also dying to make cross-overs. Kind of a, What if Superman had to face the Hulk?

Besides restoring GH with memorable, beloved veterans and mixing up iconic characters from other soaps, Carlivati also told ABC Soaps in Depth that he tends to add humor to the stories he writes. He did so on OLTL, with the comedically inclined characters such as Roxy and David. He also admitted he tended to use everyone in the cast, not just unduly focus on the moneymakers, which caused then-ABC Daytime president Brian Frons to jokingly call him a socialist. “People have a chance to step forward and shine. They might be hot and heavy for a while, and then that story can die down. And then, all of a sudden, it's somebody else's turn,” Carlivati said. He did this with the GH characters of Olivia and Monica, who’d been sidelined way too long. He found a creative way to reinvent and reinsert them.

When Carlivati took over as head writer for GH, he was aware of the cancellation rumors. At first, he tried to keep that possibility in mind by coming up with, say, the perfect end-game partner for Sonny. But then he knew he couldn’t write like that, cast the cancellation fears aside, and just wrote for the show as he knew how, as a fan more than anything else.

Executive producer Frank Valentini is happy to see so many GH veterans returning for the 50th anniversary. But he’s probably not as happy as those GH veterans. Genie Francis (Laura) said she wouldn’t know what to do if she’d not been invited back to the party. “If this event had passed, the 50th anniversary of a show that gave me a wonderful life, and I wasn't there to celebrate it, it would just feel so wrong, so awful. So I'm glad that that's not how it went, because I'm here in the spirit of this event and with a very grateful heart.” Finola Hughes (Anna) enjoyed replaying one of the original (and in this day and age, only) female heroines, a former killing machine who can hold her own amongst the men. Ian Buchanan (Duke) found returning to his GH roots after a 23-year absence a “little scary” at first, but “I’ve loved it.” KABC report by George Pennacchio

Katie Couric welcomed Genie Francis (Laura Spencer) to her Valentine’s Day show by fawning over the GH legend. Most of the brief interview went over familiar territory, that wedding, Rachel Ames (Audrey) making a return for the 50th anniversary, along with other vets, and what it was like to be such a mainstream icon in the 1980s. It turned out that Princess Diana was a big GH fan who watched the infamous Luke & Laura wedding, along with the rest of the world. She even sent Francis a wedding gift. At the time, a very young Francis didn’t know who the Royal was and had to be told.

For more about Genie Francis’ (Laura) GH return, and more fan fawning, check out The Jolt With Larry Flick. In the recent interview, Francis goes into detail about the new and improved GH under the Cartini regime, as well as her Y&R tenure as Genevieve.

Lynn Herring (Lucy) will take to Twitter February 21st to live-tweet with fans during the East Coast airing of GH. Use #askgh to access Herring at the @GeneralHospital Twitter.

Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) recently broke her leg, so she couldn’t attend the February 9th Habitat For Humanity event with her GH cast mates, which really dismayed her. An athletic person who’s into driving cars, volleyball, and NHL hockey, breaking a leg and laying herself out really seemed to unnerve her. While the jury’s out on whether this soap newcomer has the stuff to infuse more complex humanity behind Dr. Britt’s obvious Narcissism, Thiebaud wants the chance to show she can. She recently spoke with the soap media about that very thing, stating there are or could be reasons behind Britt’s bitchiness. Whatever’s going on, fans are lining up to shower the budding actress with encouraging signs. There’s even an approved fan site, with the latest about Thiebaud, her movie projects and interests, and a 20 Questions (“11. Of your female co-stars whom would u want to be stranded on desert island with n why? Teresa Castillo [Sabrina], she’s my girl”). If you can take the halting narrative of the host, Weekdays With Murph has a chat with Thiebaud, dated January 23 on Blog Talk Radio. There, fans can hear for themselves just how different she is from her bitch character.

John Stamos (ex-Blackie) pulled the plug on a cameo return for GH’s scheduled Nurses’ Ball. On The Jeff Probst Show February 18, Stamos said he didn’t want to return to the soap that made him famous just to play drums behind Rick Springfield (Dr. Noah) singing the hit, “Jessie’s Girl.” Stamos wanted to return to act. “Why don't we pull Blackie out of jail [where he's been for 30 years] and he has to re-acclimate to life? He's never been with a girl! I would like to go on [GH] and do some acting.”

Ted King (ex-Alcazar) appears next in a comedy pilot for Amazon Studios, with Mark Consuelos (ex-Mateo, AMC) and movie star John Goodman. Alpha House, written by Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau, follows the lives of senators in D.C. King almost made the return with his OLTL actors to Prospect Park’s online reboot; he was in talks with TPTB about it, but nothing happened, yet.

Nathan Parsons (ex-Ethan) is making a splash now as the hot stud in the new ABC Family hit show, Bunheads. But when he lost the GH job, he worried he wouldn’t work in this town again, especially after that pilot season yielded nothing. While he had an issue with going around topless as GH’s eye candy, he’s learned the benefit of that on Bunheads. GH’s PTB has reached out on several occasions for Parsons to return. But so far, he hasn’t been able to fit the soap into his busy schedule. What about the 50th anniversary? “They're actually talking about that and it would be so good to see everybody. They call every now and then and ask if I'd be interested in coming back for something longer. If the situation is right, I'd absolutely do it, but things have been pretty busy lately and pilot season is happening. So we'll see. [TV Guide Michael Logan interview, February 15, 2013]”

Lynn Herring (Lucy) has been high school overacting the role of the Vampire Slayer lately, to where it’s almost embarrassing to watch. But rest assured, based on her comments in a recent Blog Talk Radio interview, the vampire story ending “will be great,” despite TPTB’s awareness that not everyone in the audience is digging it. Despite how it comes off on-screen, the participants of the vampire story are loving their moment and, not everything is serious behind the scenes. It can’t be, not with Michael Easton (Caleb/McBain), the goofball trying to crack Herring up during the confrontation scenes. He’s “very fun to work with. He has a dry sense of humor and he’s very witty.” Kelly Monaco (Sam/Livvie) can’t believe they’re (Alison returns btw) all back together again, either. Herring added that the vets coming back to GH will thrill fans, but they’re back only as guest stars for the April 50th anniversary.

Rick Hearst/Herbst (ex-Ric) revealed on his Facebook that son Nicholas landed a role on GH, all on his own.

Gossip for the week of 18-Feb-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Dr. Steven Webber gets stabbed to death while trying to protect Sabrina from Caleb.

Caleb may think he’s a vampire, but he’s obviously suffering from delusions of grandeur—or is he? In the days to come, he will try to bring Livvie out of Sam by bringing up their past lives as a couple. The real Livvie comes along, only to have Sam and John McBain be her and Caleb’s undoing.

Roger Howarth (Todd) must return to Prospect Park’s OLTL as ordered by TPTB. Despite Laura Wright’s (Carly) February 8th tweet reassuring fans Howarth isn’t going to be gone long, word is that he may.

These are the GH actors who submitted themselves for consideration in the Daytime Emmy pre-nom list (official word comes out February 27): Maurice Benard (Sonny) and Jason Thompson (Patrick), and Roger Howarth (Todd, OLTL).

For over two years, rumors circulated about Julie Marie Berman’s (Lulu) restless need to break away and try something new. She and her people are in talks with TPTB. If she goes, there definitely will be a recast, perhaps in Jen Lilley (former Maxie recast).

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