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News for the week of 15-Apr-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

For Prospect Park’s co-executive Jeff Kwatinetz, choosing AMC/OLTL—two soaps—to revive online was a no-brainer. Of all the types of shows to choose from, Kwatinetz thought soaps were perfect, because of their unique, built-in audience of “long-term” fans. While he refused to comment on specifics about the financial aspects of resurrecting these two formerly ABC Daytime soaps, he did talk up the advantages of going online for what will become 210 shows a year. “There’s a great advantage to online distribution. For starters, we don’t have to deal with region by region markets for distribution. We also eliminate carriage and distribution fees by going online. Our programs will still reach an extremely large audience, who don’t need to have a DVR to access our programs. Fans can access the content whenever, wherever.” –Forbes interview with Lesleyann Coker, April 10, 2013

New York City radio station Z100 is set to host a preview party to celebrate the relaunch of AMC and OLTL April 25 — four days before the first airing of the online episodes. The soaps’ first episodes will be live-streamed from Z100 at 7 p.m. ET in the NYC area before a live audience. After the special preview, fans can stick around for a Q&A with some of the cast. For NYC-based fans to win a chance to sit in that audience, win a walk-on role, and submit questions, go to the Z100’s website right now.

Z100’s Bethany Watson (Elvis Duran and the Morning Show) appears on OLTL as a reporter who hounds disgraced Senator Dorian Lord.

When Erika Slezak (Viki) thought about coming back to OLTL (but in a different, online version) after about a year-plus without it, she wondered if she could keep up. Turned out, she had nothing to worry about. None of them did. “With a year off, I thought, ‘Can I still learn lines? Is my brain still functioning?’ And it turns out, yes it is,” Slezak explained to Daytime Confidential’s Jillian Bowe [April 12, 2013 interview]. “So I think day one we all fell back into it, all of us. As if no time had gone by, I felt it was just a long weekend. It happened so quickly, we were back so soon and everything is so similar. We have new sets, but they are so close to the old ones. We have the same costume designer, Susan Gammie, who is so brilliant. We have a lot of our directors back,  a lot of our old crew back, so it really was like a long vacation.”

Tuc Watkins (David) initially had no idea what it would be like to film OLTL for an online platform. He was already surprised that the soap got a reprieve of this sort. Obviously he wondered if an online series would translate well. While the filmmaking process wasn’t much different from his time on a major network, that reassured him. OLTL was in good hands with Prospect Park. OLTL was being treated like a real important entertainment vehicle. “I thought it would be different when we shot it. It’s all very similar. I don’t think that the viewers will bombarded with too much new stuff. They will have the stuff they liked in the past, moving into the future,” he said. “When we started shooting it, knowing it was going to be for Internet outlets, they don’t really do it differently. It was actually kind of exciting knowing it was going to be a new platform, because this kind of television viewing is the way of the future. It’s fun being part of it.” –Daytime Confidential, April 10, 2013 interview by Jillian Bowe

Robert Gorrie may have taken over where Eddie Alderson left off — as Bo and Nora’s son Matthew — but he doesn’t do so lightly. The soap newcomer made sure he didn’t step on any toes by pointing out that he’s merely carrying the torch, not replacing the irreplaceable in Alderson, who practically grew up on the show. “After I got the role, and learned what I was getting myself into fully, of course there was a little bit of anxiety,” Gorrie told Daytime Confidential’s Jillian Bowe for her April 12th exclusive interview. “Eddie [Alderson] had been in the role for what, nine years? That was definitely some big shoes to fill. I’m not here to replace him; I’m here to carry on his legacy and that torch and help Matthew grow and to evolve. I feel like that’s a subject Eddie didn’t get a chance to do and I feel very proudly to do that, to bring Matthew into adulthood. It’s a pretty cool subject.” While taking on Matthew after Alderson hasn’t been exactly seamless — Gorrie acknowledged his relationships with his on-screen parents don’t have that kind of back history — it’s still fun, exciting, and rewarding. Both Robert S. Woods (Bo) and Hillary B. Smith (Nora) have been extremely welcoming. “I had my first scenes with Bob on Friday; it was part of the first episode we filmed last Friday. It was amazing to work with him. I feel like we all get along just like if we were a family. That speaks to them and how they let me into their family. I don’t have the same relationship with them as Eddie [Alderson] has with them, but we’ve sort of grown into a whole new relationship together. I have quite a few scenes with Hillary and she feels like mom. She’s very sweet.”

Alluding with a wink and a nod to GH’s James Franco, OLTL will bring on its own version in rapper RiFF RaFF playing Jamie Franko, a Miami art dealer. The rapper was allegedly the inspiration for James Franco’s leading role as a hip-hop type in Spring Breakers. Franko deals with Cutter, the nightclub owner, May 7.

One of the hardest hit cast members when OLTL went off the air in 2011 was Mia Korf Kassie DePaiva (Blair). She so loved being on that soap with her family of cast and crew that when it all ended, she seemed extremely bereft. Despite a few cross-overs on GH, it’s never been the same for the actress post-OLTL. Now that Prospect Park has saved OLTL for a bigger, broader platform online, she couldn’t be happier. So happy that when she first stepped foot on the sound stage, she literally wept with relief and gladness. In hindsight, she told Access Hollywood’s Jolie Lash (April 10, 2013) that maybe having OLTL end that way was better for all of them. “To a certain extent, I think it’s almost better that [OLTL continuing online] didn’t happen that Monday right after it went off air on ABC because I think it allowed time for the audience to miss it, for our fans to be vocal and for the actors to be — believe it or not — more appreciate of the jobs that they had and for the crew to be more appreciative. We were blessed to have those jobs and [there is a] very special group of people that have come together to reboot both ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life To Live’ and most of them, I would say 99 percent of us out in Stamford, are there because we truly want to be… Does that make sense?” Look for DePaiva, a real-life singer, to go onstage at the nightclub she runs on the revamped soap; “I performed [the other] week a song on my second CD, the title cut, called ‘No Regrets’ and it was a complete and utter surprise when I was told I was singing. I was like, ‘Huh?’ (laughs).” This was a surprise to her considering all the hot, new, young real-life music acts going on. But she’s “grateful.”

There goes Susie Bedsow Horgan. Not sooner had OLTL gotten her as its new online co-head writer before a statement was released wishing her well and saying goodbye: “We want to thank Susie for her contribution to One Life to Live. She is moving on and we wish her well. We have an extraordinary writer’s room at the show and we are looking forward to fans seeing what they’ve been up to when we launch on April 29th.” No word yet on what co-head writer Thom Racina’s gonna do.

Bigtime OLTL fan and rapper, Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Doggy Dog), returns to the show to promote his real-life documentary entitled, Reincarnated, as well as to contribute the new theme song called, “Brand New Start.” To those ends, he’ll interact with his main man on-screen, Bo Buchanan, Bo’s wife Nora, and the clubbers.

Twenty-three-year-old singer/songwriter/producer Iza Lach will also show up to hip up the soap.

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