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News for the week of 28-Oct-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

SOAPnet airs a six-hour GH Nurses’ Ball 2013 marathon November 28, 7 p.m. ET/PT-1 a.m. ET/PT.

Michael Saucedo (ex-Juan) reprises his role in a few months. He was last seen in 2001 and was revealed to be related to Sabrina.

Michael Saucedo responded happily to GH fans wishing him well, excited for his return. On Twitter last week, he tweeted them back with this: “WOW! Thank you, thank you for all of the wonderfully kind comments I have received about my return to ‘General Hospital.’ It has been torture sitting on this secret for the last few weeks. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. @valentinifrank and @carlivatiron – it’s an honor to be a part of a show that means so much to so many. Thank you for thinking of me. #GH50 #Gratitude.”

It’s been awhile (April), not as long as Saucedo, but Jackie Zeman (Bobbie) also returns soon to mix it up with Carly.

For GH’s ongoing 50th anniversary (celebrated on April 1, 2013), ABC Daytime interviewed a few of the soap’s favorite people, including executive producer Frank Valentini and Kelly Monaco (Sam). Even the media-reclusive Roger Howarth (Franco; ex-Todd) spoke about his new character and his renewed potential.

Valentini said for viewers not to expect Port Charles to turn into the Port Charles of old, where vampires roamed freely. No, the show will stick to plenty of realistic action capitalizing — as much as it is able — on a “rich… history and brand identity.” He added that he was gratified to be able to bring back the Nurses’ Ball for fans “after 13 years… I’m a big music fan, plus I think it’s an important centerpiece for the show, and the audience really responded and loved it. Hopefully we will be able to do it again next year.”

The mob’s always been a part of GH’s rich history, and this time around, actress Kelly Monaco (Sam) is gonna be a major part of it. She’s the daughter of Julian Jerome, the kingpin of his own mob, returning to take over Port Charles from Sonny. Monaco believes this story will turn out to be a big favorite. “What I have coming up right now with finding out who my father is and being involved in a whole historic crime family that's been around GH for decades. I have a feeling this will take the cake on story lines. I’m really looking forward it.”

Roger Howarth (ex-Todd, OLTL; recast Franco) isn’t known for doing interviews. He’s turned down more media requests than you can imagine. But he went on The Chew with some of his co-stars last week (he made eggplant parmesan) and is all over this ABC Daytime interview, talking up his pairing with Carly, and Heather, and Diane. The actor’s been lucky enough to have two meaty roles to play, reformed rapist Todd and now Franco, the former psycho artist turned— well, your guess is as good as his. “There are so many things about Franco that make him compelling. He is smart, has a great sense of humor, he is creative and very sweet in a weird way. I was excited to get a new set of toys,” Howarth remarked. Since taking over the role from James Franco, the character’s experienced a bit of a revision, from psycho killer to a possible romantic hero, however quirky. “I sense that [back then] it was necessary to be a darker prince. While Franco is still pretty much a lunatic, I think the new writers have a different take on his character.”

Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) guest stars as Val Winkler on CBS’s primetime procedural, NCIS: Los Angeles November 12, 9 p.m. EST.

Port Chuck retires with a farewell tour next month, starting November 16, 11:30 a.m. Platinum, 1:30 p.m. general, 3:30 p.m. VIP, at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre on 246 Tremont Street, (617) 248-9700. The actors — Steve Burton (Dylan, Y&R; ex-Jason), Brandon Barash (ex-Johnny), Scott Reeves (ex-Steve), and Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) — formed the band a few years ago to indulge in their musical side. Ticket prices range from $250 (Platinum) to $60 general admission for the Boston gig.

Kelly Sullivan (ex-Kate/Connie) could star with Meg Ryan in a new NBC comedy. Say it’s so, Gossiping Pens!

Gossip for the week of 28-Oct-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Gossiping Pens is on a roll with some eye-opening rumors lately, including the one resurfacing about Sean Kanan’s last days as A.J. (October 17, 2013). Seems Genie Francis (Laura), too, is on the way out, whether she likes it or not?“If you’re wondering why you haven’t seen Genie Francis or Sean Kanan on the canvas over at General Hospital lately, that’s because they’ve been axed (yeah, as in fired, let go, sent packing) from the show and re-writes have taken place in order to fit into the changes happening in Port Charles.”

The October 29th Globe purported that Tony Geary (Luke) bristled at TPTB requesting he accept a recent, 50 percent pay cut. Furthermore, according to sources who spoke with this tabloid, Geary threatened to take a walk if they pushed the matter. “From the network’s stand point, actors that work year round and enjoy non-stop front burner storylines don’t make that kind of money while sacrificing other areas of their lives for the sake of the show. Tony is insisting that if he leaves he also wants his character killed off to remind the audience that even beloved characters do die in daytime. Needless to say the network would rather leave the door open for the possibility of Tony’s return down the road.”

However, over at Daytime Dish, HNY differs on the Globe’s take, but does agree that something’s off regarding Geary and Genie Francis (Laura) on GH. There are two stories at play: Either Geary requested to be killed off in a redemption story within the year, or he and Francis agreed to an extension in an action-adventure Bonnie & Clyde story, only for Laura to be replaced by Tracy at the last minute. Confused? Here are HNY’s exact words, dated October 26: “TG's contract was up in March and TG/FV negotiated an extension through November him and GF agreed to that as well. RC wrote a ‘Twist of Fate’ November arc for them. Luke was to ‘die’ as part of this umbrella story in order to foil the villains. Laura was to play his ‘Bonnie’ again as she always has and not Tracy. Luke was never really dying, however, and I never heard TG demanding a redemption arc. I heard he has been battling RC's efforts to rein in Luke's drinking and more selfish impulses, and that interview did not sound like a man feeling his character needed redemption. Just the opposite. We know Luke/Laura were actually recapped as leaving together to search for the cure in August, and only at the very last minute was GF abruptly written off with no follow up. JE was substituted in and there is a very tight lid on GF's status. Luke's role in this umbrella story was largely scaled back and now TR appears to be staying longer. I do agree something going on with GF and TG both now.”

The latest Daytime Dish exchanges October 23rd leaves Bobbie’s son with Julian Jerome — Lucas — out of the picture, thanks to a “network-mandated budget cut.” There are more cuts to come, including Sabrina by February Sweeps when she does something uncharacteristic (Britt-like) to hold onto Patrick, “even teaming up with someone shocking and fun that is currently on the canvas. Something is going to happen that will make her character see that being sweet isn't all it's cracked up to be.”

GH may have slid in front of #1-rated Y&R for the week of October 7th in the women 18-49 demo, but the CBS show surged back ahead with the story of Delia’s accidental hit ‘n run. For the following week of October 20th, Y&R got back on top, with an eight-month high in overall viewership.

Stefan has a daughter? A.J. will be cleared of murder thanks to his attorney Diane and new D.A. Scotty, only for the Quartermaine to possibly be gunned down in a Jerome mob hit. Something’s wrong with Brenda. Nikolas proposes marriage to Britt. Luke takes off on Tracy again, for Holly. This and more coming up on GH, via an anonymous insider’s writer outlines on Daytime Dish, October 25. I guess this is how A.J. will leave the show, fulfilling the months-long rumor: “A freed AJ gets a memory flash and confronts Ava who threatens Michael's life if AJ goes to the cops. Olivia gets a vision of AJ covered in blood, which sends Duke and Liz rushing off. They find blood but no AJ who completely disappears. Duke suspects AJ was murdered for what he knew but Liz and Monica stay convinced AJ got away. Anna and Dante's investigation leads nowhere and the case is left open.”

Everything hints toward another mob crossfire, where Michael (once again) get hit, throwing him into a Jason-like amnesia session. But Kiki’s love will pull him through. Morgan, however, won’t fare as well, as Sonny “disowns” him and Carly becomes a jailbird over a murder charge. Carly brings Brenda in to deliver Josslyn to Jax in Australia. Carly and Brenda will set aside their differences for the greater good: a child’s welfare. Here’s how some of it will go down, based on this DD drop: “A returning son is in the wrong place at the wrong time and Michael and Kiki get caught in the crossfire, too. Ava risks her life to save Kiki but Michael wakes up with amnesia. It's not a Jason Q Borg repeat because Kiki helps him through it and he eventually gets his memory back. But not before Sonny disowns Morgan and Carly winds up jailed for murder. Carly asks Brenda to take Joss to Jax who can't travel because Lady Jane too ill. The two reach a new understanding that protecting the kids comes about their feuds. Brenda runs into Sabrina on her way out and can’t shake the feeling she knows her from somewhere.”

Kimberly McCullough (Robin) will enjoy the same breaks as Tony Geary (Luke) in her contract. After she comes forward as very much alive, the actress will take her character into hiatus before returning again.

Franco suspects Ava of committing murder 21 years ago. So does Sam. Ava figures out she’s on their radar and has them killed using the slow trap method. Franco and Sam must bury the hatchet so they can work their way out of Ava’s trap. Silas bursts through for Sam’s save, then unloads on his part in Ava’s “big dark secret.

Among the many last-minute rewrites? Linking Derek Wells (as Julian Jerome) to Robert Scorpio. This enables Tristan Rogers (Robert) to stick around for more story, which executive producer Frank Valentini reportedly allowed, posted Happy New Years on DD.

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