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News for the week of 18-Nov-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Head writer Ron Carlivati tried to explain his job as best as he could in a November 11, 2013, TV Guide interview with Michael Logan. Carlivati’s had to explain himself a lot on Twitter, as fans pester him about lack of screen time for their faves or favoring OLTL transplants over vets. You name it, he’s had to field it. Of course Carlivati could pull a Frank Valentini. The executive producer doesn’t address any controversial, negative fan questions; he just continues to put out sporadic promos about the show. It’s also standard practice for networks not to respond to any negative press publicly but to handle it in-house. But Carlivati’s not that kind of person. He is, like it or not, the public face of GH’s storytelling right now and he’s made himself available, for good or worse, to the very fans who make a sport out of making fun of every word he says in his defense. Give the guy some credit even if he tends to get bitchy about it sometimes. Okay, a lot.

“People have different ideas of what constitutes criticism and, to me, ‘This show sucks’ is not criticism. I will listen and respond very thoughtfully to someone who says, ‘I had a problem with this because of such and such...’ That doesn't mean I'll change my plans, but that's completely valid,” Carlivati explained. “But, yeah, call me sensitive when someone says, ‘You're the worst writer and human being on the planet!’ There are some very angry, very hateful people out there and who needs that in your life? I would never talk about people the way some of them talk about me. But the fun part of Twitter is really fun. It's a great way to interact with the fans, promote what we're doing, and really show my excitement about this show. The danger is that you're very accessible and people want answers to everything under the sun, and when I don't give them what they want they end up frustrated. Or they make up rumors and want me to refute them. I'm not going to do that. But I love checking out the Tweets while the show is airing and seeing how the audience is responding. ‘Oh, my God! Nikolas just found Robin!’ There are also times when I feel the need to take a step back. But, for the most part, it's an overwhelmingly positive experience. [Laughs] As long as you know how to work the Block button!”

One of the biggest fan complaints has been not seeing a favorite for weeks on end. There’s an answer for that. Carlivati pointed to the rotating system, a necessity for such a big cast with different guarantees and contract statuses—and operating on a much tighter budget. It isn’t a conspiracy and Carlivati isn’t playing favorites. Take Genie Francis (Laura). Carlivati’s a huge fan. He’d put her on all the time if he could. But. He. Can’t. Get it? Here’s his dilemma: “I had to write her character off the show because it's my job, not because I wanted to. I don't make the contracts. I sit in New York and write the show,” he said. “As I understand it, Genie came back to us on a short-term contract, which is what both she and ABC wanted. I was given her dates and worked with them the best I could. Genie had made another obligation before she returned to us, one that meant there were several weeks during the summer where she wasn't available to us. It made the most sense to have Laura's marriage to Scotty blow up and write her out where we did. We gave her this appointment and sent her back to Paris but we weren't saying that's the last you'll ever see of Laura. I love having Genie. I wanted Laura back on GH from the minute I came onto this show. I'm always open to having her back. Contrary to rumor, I assure you nobody got fired. Nobody got thrown under the bus.”

What about Sean Kanan (A.J.)? Did Carlivati give Kanan the shaft for no good reason? Hardly. That one had to do with timing. Before he and his writing team could proceed with A.J.’s murder trial, Kimberly McCullough (Robin) became available. You do the Math. “As soon as that happened, we knew we had to put A.J. on hold because Robin's return to Port Charles would be big and impact nearly every character. We looked at A.J. and realized that his story could rest as he awaited trial. And, for the record, Sean Kanan was more episodes over his guarantee than any other person on the show, including Maurice Benard [Sonny], so he didn't lose money. Even resting him for all those weeks, he never fell under his guarantee.”

Fans read on Twitter last week that Y&R just grabbed Tristan Rogers (Robert Scorpio) to reprise his role as Jill’s mobster lover Colin. Mayhem. Daytime Confidential’s Jillian Bowe November 14 threw shade at Rogers for the unclassy way he left without notifying TPTB. Carlivati tweeted that he just found out, had one day to revise the Feb. Sweeps storyline, and to please cut Rogers some slack. Rogers himself merely addressed the Y&R return without much fanfare: “I’m stoked on Colin’s return to #YR in 2014 and delighted to once again be a part of the CBS Daytime family….I’d like to thank Frank and Ron for great storyline that kept Scorpio true to himself.”

William deVry (Julian) landed a guest-starring role on NCIS for January 7.

Don’t forget to catch my friend Cody Murphy on his Blog Talk Radio Show next Wednesday 9 a.m., where he interviews Josh Wingate (ex-Carter; Familiar, Priest).

Gossip for the week of 18-Nov-2013

by Carol Banks Weber


The most heinous story to date has to be this custody case between Lulu/Dante v. Maxie/Spinelli. The custody case is bringing out the vicious and reprehensible in both female characters purporting to be Mother of the Year. Perhaps they (i.e. the writers) should take a chapter out of the Judgment of Solomon in the Bible’s 1 Kings 3:16-28. Based on Lulu and Maxie’s actions in the courtroom, through their attorneys, neither is fit to be any sort of mom to baby Connie. An abortion for the accidental death of a beloved legacy character… Really, GH? Let’s move on. Measuring stones on a soap opera filled with Sodom & Gomorrah is a colossal, insulting waste of time.

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