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News for the week of 24-Mar-2014

by Carol Banks Weber

When Sean Kanan (A.J.) first rejoined GH for the 50th anniversary, he enjoyed a fabulous re-introduction and even two love interest possibilities in Carly and Elizabeth. When those went away inexplicably so he could doggedly pursue a relish recipe and suffer panic attacks, Kanan worried his character wouldn’t go very far. “I was utterly thrilled to be brought back to GH for the 50th anniversary and really enjoyed working with [executive producer] Frank Valentini, but I was not over the moon about the writing,” Kanan told TV Guide columnist Michael Logan. “Doing stories about panic attacks and relish was not what I thought I'd signed up for. I feel I brought everything I could to the character yet it was obvious they weren't going to give me a great love story, which I found very disappointing.” Love stories are, Kanan continued, “the bread and butter of daytime, and you can only survive on a show for so long without one. I could see the writing on the wall. I spoke with Frank and we mutually agreed that if I wasn't happy, and they could find a good way to write me out, that it was best to wrap it up.” Kanan and Valentini worked out a mutually agreeable arrangement for Kanan’s exit (his last day in the studio is March 28). But he’s going back to B&B as Deacon Sharpe, with a return airdate of June 13. Kanan asked B&B executive producer/head writer Brad Bell to return, and was welcomed back with open arms and a contract. Deacon’s his favorite role.

As fun as it’s been for Kathleen Gati (Dr. O) to play with Anders Hove (Faison) and that whole unrequited love story, the actress prefers her characters to play from a source of strength, not weakness. It’s her hope that from now on, Dr. O will stop catering to the Faisons of this world and tell her own story on her own terms. “I have grown up with it and been there myself, where they say sometimes you’re the hydrant, and sometimes you’re the dog. We’ve all been the hydrant a lot, and I don’t want that! I want to show that yes, maybe we’ve been the hydrant, but it’s time to be the dog. It’s time to get out there, and I love that my character gets to have this strength,” Gati told Soap Opera Network’s Kambra Clifford in a March 17th interview. “Yes, oops, the baby [storyline with Lulu (Emme Rylan) and Britt (Kelly Thiebaud)]. Mistake. Stabbed the wrong guy [Robert Scorpio, Tristan Rogers], oops! You know, ok. But no one is perfect! I get bopped on the head, I deserve it, I’m okay with that, its fine. But the fact that she’s fixing up the hospital, the fact that she’s got this strength, and ‘Ok, I won’t take crap from this person,’ this is for the audience.”

Interestingly enough, this isn’t Gati’s first rodeo. She appeared with Maurice Benard (Sonny) on AMC in the late ‘80s, playing — what else? — a bad guy. Gati was so good at being bad as Taffy Winslow that soap fans would go up to her and give her hell. When they first started doing it, the actress thought they were going to recognize her as someone famous on TV and it’d be swell. Until they didn’t. “And they’re like, ‘You’re an evil bitch!!’ And I wasn’t prepared for that. Now I’m like, ‘Psh. People get a life! You can hate me, we’re just entertaining you, it’s for fun! But don’t hate me, just hate me on the show!’ But that [‘AMC’ experience] was really daunting and sad. But now, most of the stuff is fun, it’s playful. People are like, ‘We love to hate you!’ And that’s great.”

Watch it, Ron Carlivati [head writer], your bias is showing. Carlivati chose Knots Landing’s resident vixen Abby Ewing, portrayed by veteran actress Donna Mills, to boost Sam, Silas, and Nathan’s mystery storyline. He’s a huge fan of hers, with the Dallas spin-off being his favorite all-time show growing up. “…I was obsessed with Donna. Still am! When I was envisioning Madeline — a glamorous, high-powered bitch on wheels — it suddenly came to me: ‘Oh, my God, she's Abby Ewing!’” Carlivati’s so smitten, he wants Mills to stay on for a second story arc, if she’s willing.

While Mills is familiar with filming soaps — she began with daytime then moved to primetime — she was unfamiliar with the much faster pace of today’s daytime dramas. She compared Knots Landing’s 10 pages a day max to GH’s current 150 on the daily. Despite the pace, Mills finds the soap guest spot perfect timing with her only daughter Chloe now in college. Doing GH assuages Mills’ empty nest syndrome. Before, Mills was happy to be in mom mode, making sure her daughter grew up in an ideal environment, and would only accept a few guest roles here and there, time permitting. Her daughter was her priority. So much so that Mills has accepted only random guest shots during the last few years. Now, she seems ready to take GH on steadily and for herself. “As any parent knows, you spend nearly two decades readying your child to fly and then, when it happens, you go, 'Oh, what? My baby's gone but I'm still here.' I'm missing my daughter terribly, so it really helps to have GH to keep my mind busy.” –TV Guide interview by Michael Logan, March 17, 2014

GH needs another new character like Sam needs another hole in the head. Alas, here comes Australian hottie Zachary Garred — most likely with a returning Kirsten Storms (Maxie) — April 3, as funny guy Levi. Don’t worry though, he’s only recurring—for now.

Gossip for the week of 24-Mar-2014

by Carol Banks Weber

After news came out about Sean Kanan’s (A.J.) departure — over storyline misses — the former A.J. right after Kanan, Billy Warlock, tweeted March 17 his sympathies: “I must say if it's true about SK I am truly bummed. Not just for him but for AJ as well. SK was a great AJ! Go B&B… Believe when I say I'm not lobbying. It's just how I feel. That character has never been given a fair shake.” GH would be smart to just leave this legacy character alone. A.J. is cursed. Boo to the writing team for not recognizing a genuine romantic lead when it had Warlock and Kanan in the first place.

Apparently some numb nut on Facebook ragged on child actor Nicolas J. Bechtel (Spencer), unable to separate fact from fiction, and his mom took offense. He’s also on Twitter but never without her monitoring the situation. Looks like she’s having to take on some soap trolls over there too. “So sad 2 see how cruel grown ups can be. Sadly, some fail 2 remember that Spencer is a character. It's not who Nic is. Love Always, his Mom♥”

Several media sources guess that Tony Geary (Luke) will walk away from GH for good this time—all over money. As the theory goes, Geary wants to keep his reported $750,000 salary, TPTB would rather he take a drastic pay cut (half that at least) like everyone else has had to. Celebrity Laundry’s Annemarie Fraser March 21 conglomerated all of the rumors, citing The Globe primarily. According to The Globe’s source, Geary wants his character to die if he doesn’t stick around. Maybe TPTB are also turning Luke into a creepy bastard to ensure that fans won’t care once they do kill him off. “And this is the perfect way for the network to kill off a character without having to deal with re-casting. Make the fans hate him enough that they’ll be thrilled to see him go. Or maybe it’s just petty revenge for Geary’s salary demands. Either way, it’s starting to look like we might be saying a permanent farewell to Tony Spencer.”

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