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News for the week of 25-Feb-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Genie Francis (Laura) gets to be a part of history — twice in her lifetime. Thirty-five years ago, she was just an ingénue on a soap opera scheduled for cancellation. Sound familiar? Back then, TPTB hired maverick executive producer Gloria Monty to save GH, and she did, like Rambo, lifting up Francis’ character to the stratosphere with a theater actor named Tony Geary (Luke). Francis told Associated Press in a February 22nd interview that Monty changed GH for the better. When Monty took it over, she worked a miracle, made ratings happen, and saved GH from cancellation. “Cut to today, and all of the shows are losing some popularity. Then they bring in [new executive producer] Frank Valentini. I tell you I got chills when I met him,” Francis explained. “I was so happy to see this wonderful show get its fearless leader, get the person who really can guide it. We didn’t have that person for way too long but now we do. And I see in him this same tireless passion [as Gloria Monty] although his passion looks a little bit more like Peter Pan or the Pied Piper. He’s a very playful childlike kind of a guy. But he’s working his fingers to the bone to bring back GH and he’s done it. Our ratings have gone up 16 percent. There is no other show on daytime that has jumped up 16 percent, so this show is going to rise up like a Phoenix from the ashes for the second time—I just got chills—and I’m lucky enough to be a part of it.”

People Magazine put together a special 50th anniversary, collector’s edition focused entirely on GH, its actors, history, best stories, and backstage tidbits. Obviously, Luke and Laura, Sonny and Brenda, Duke and Anna, Jagger, and Maxie are prominent on the cover. has the special edition on pre-sale (actual sale starts March 12, $19.95) now at a discounted $13.57.

The GH audience knows Duke and Anna as a supercouple, very much in love, sort of the post-Luke & Laura. But their portrayers are real, best friends off-screen, which makes for some awkward make-out scenes indeed. “It is kind of weird. He's the godfather to my middle child and whenever we kiss, we always laugh because it's so funny,” Finola Hughes (Anna) said. “But we played [a] romantic couple for years and I think what we celebrate and love about the characters is just the flawed [nature of the pair]. And also, him being the bad guy and me being on the side of the good — she wants to believe that that's going to change, but I think that your character is your character… But, yeah, it is weird playing the romantic side with Duke, but we embrace the sides that we love about each other, Ian and I.” –Access Hollywood interview by Jolie Lash via News, February 14, 2013

Going back to the role of Frisco to Felicia, then having to deal with the new guy—Mac—wasn’t easy for Jack Wagner, as an actor. It’s been a long time since he was Frisco, so he said it took a little bit for him to get acclimated again, for all of them really, in the opening scenes at the Floating Rib. But he, Kristina Malandro (Felicia), and John J. York (Mac) were committed to making the scenes work. By the time Frisco tried to make amends with his estranged daughter Maxie, some of the acting became real. Wagner experienced a real-life soap opera when a daughter (Kerry) he never knew reached out and found him, recently. Kerry, 23, was the result of a fling. She was given up for adoption and had to live in foster care for way too long. Wagner, to his credit, welcomed her into his life with open arms. –Soap Opera Digest

When Lynn Herring (Lucy) first started on the show in 1986 — under Gloria Monty — she wanted to make sure she did a good job. Every lunch break, she would go up onstage and painstakingly go over the blocking. Her hard work paid off, when Monty kept her on after the first six weeks, with a bonafide contract. When Herring was chosen to co-anchor the GH spinoff — Port Charles — with Jon Lindstrom (Kevin) years later in 1997 under executive producer Wendy Riche, she felt incredibly flattered. When PC was canceled a handful of years after that, the soap was never given closure, and neither was she—for the spinoff or the mother ship. She said she would’ve loved to have returned to GH only to give her character a proper send-off, had TPTB asked, but they never did. She said in a recent Soap Opera Digest interview that then-ABC Daytime President Brian Frons didn’t think the return best because of the supernatural departure conflicting with the reality-based GH. So when a new regime, from OLTL, gave her the chance finally to return to GH, she was so grateful. When she caught sight of head writer Ron Carlivati at the GH Christmas party, she made sure to give him a little extra love.

Robin Mattson (Heather) assured Facebook fans February 22 that her character survived Caleb’s murderous attempt on the docks (“…it would take more than a vampire to rid Heather of her lust for life. I'll be returning…”). Mattson next airs February 25-27 and March 5 and 8+.


Check in with Weekdays With Murph for upcoming Blog Talk Radio soap celebrity interviews. He’s trying to get Emily Wilson (Ellie) and Kodi Kitchen (ex-Maggie). Cody Murphy did that thoughtful, exclusive interview with Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) recently, before all the main soap publications too.

Gossip for the week of 25-Feb-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Before filming the terrible scene where Britt is mean to little Emma, Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) made sure her adorable co-star, Brooklyn Rae Silzer, understood fully that this was pretend. IRL, Thiebaud wouldn’t hurt a fly and adores Silzer, vice versa. Just to show Thiebaud that everything was still fine, cutie-pie Silzer giggled in between the takes. Filming the scene as a baddie was tough for Thiebaud. She told Soap Opera Digest recently she couldn’t even bear to look at Silzer for the scene because the little girl was so cute, it might’ve broken character. When it was all over, the big-hearted softie of an actress gave Silzer a big ole hug. Like everybody else on-set and in the audience, Thiebaud is amazed by the talent in this little actress.

What if Franco didn’t rape Sam but Stephen Clay (aka Caleb Morley) did? What if Franco merely filmed the act, so to speak, with Stephen’s full collusion? That would make baby Danny his, not Jason’s.

A Port Chuck fan (Worried in Cleveland/RehvengeIsSweet) supposedly got the status scoops from some of the main singers that may signal jeopardy for Johnny and Spinelli. Brandon Barash (Johnny) allegedly told this fan that he hadn’t been on-set in six weeks, and Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) wasn’t sure what he’ll do when his contract comes due in May. Scott Reeves (Steven) said he would’ve continued on but TPTB didn’t give him much to work with.

Soap Opera Uncensored’s Nelson Branco revealed early last week the pre-nominated supporting actors hoping for Daytime Emmy consideration. From GH, they are Sean Kanan (A.J.; ex-Deacon, B&B/Y&R)—also up for a pre-nom from B&B, John J. York (Mac), Dominic Zamprogna (Dante), Bradford Anderson (Spinelli), Brandon Barash (Johnny), and Erik Valdez (ex-Trey). The official pre-nom list will come out via NATAS February 27.

Soap Opera Network’s Errol Lewis reported February 19 of Roger Howarth’s (Todd) four-week return to Prospect Park’s online OLTL, starting March 18. Initially, it was assumed Howarth had to return for good, on contract. Not so. At the time, SON would later learn, TPTB were trying to recast the role of Todd for a third time. “According to Howarth’s management team, Prospect Park had narrowed a recast of Todd down to two actors before ultimately signing a deal with Howarth that allows him to film at ‘OLTL’ for four weeks before ultimately returning to ‘GH’ full-time,” Lewis wrote. Nothing as yet about Michael Easton (John) or Kristen Alderson (Starr), also primed for an OLTL return.

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