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News for the week of 15-Jul-2013

by Carol Banks Weber’s Hollie Deese interviewed some of the OLTL cast for their favorite memories and wish lists on future storylines in light of the soap’s 45th anniversary (July 15). Not surprisingly, some of the A list stars cherished the friendships and the Emmy moments, and longed for their characters to experience life-changing stories. Hillary B. Smith (Nora) cited the Emmy-winning story featuring Marty’s gang-rape and the acting lives that story changed, including hers. “My favorite memory was the total camaraderie and professionalism that surrounded the rape/mistrial storyline. It was the romance of Bo [Robert S. Woods] and Nora. It was beautifully written. The acting was riveting from everyone. We watched Roger Howarth [Todd Manning] turn Frat Boy No. 1 into a force. Susan Haskell [ex-Marty Saybrooke] transformed the town bad girl into a sympathetic victim. It pitted exes Hank Gannon and Nora against each other in the courtroom. It was six months that made everyone hold their breath.” As for her next storyline, Smith envisioned her character going through a major disability like dementia or Alzheimer’s, something really technical to play. Florencia Lozano (Téa) fondly remembered dropping trou at Robert S. Woods (Bo) and Nathan Purdee (ex-Hank) “on the steps on the old armory on 66th street as they drove away in a cab” while a little tipsy with Smith and Crystal Chappell (ex-Maggie). Lozano thought playing a truly evil twin might do the trick, someone really sadistic.

Jerry verDorn (Clint) said his dream story is already about to happen. Executive producer Jennifer Pepperman dropped that spoiler alert to’s Hollie Deese (July 10th): “The fans can look forward to in the next couple of weeks Clint wreaking havoc in Llanview. Jerry verDorn’s performance is absolutely going to blow people away.” What Pepperman and her team are trying to do with OLTL online is bring character-driven stories together with the faster pace and the creative freedom of the vast online network. “With the new format and being online, we wanted to really be able to push plot while developing character. And if you can do those two things together I think you’ll be largely successful. And we want the audience to connect with the characters and connect with the stories through the characters.” Look for a “popular classic character” to arrive soon, and even a chance for some profanity to return, judiciously used in character.

Weirdly enough, Michael Fairman used the soap’s upcoming 45th anniversary Monday to extol Roger Howarth’s (Todd; Franco/ex-Todd, GH) virtues via Erika Slezak (Viki) and Kassie Depaiva (Blair) in a July 12th interview, and they were both game. When Howarth first left, Slezak was almost beside herself with sadness. She’d grown to really enjoy the impromptu improvisational charm of the soap newcomer who turned a minor gang rape role into a major leading man legend. “I have always been a huge admirer of Roger Howarth. I think he’s a fascinating actor and a very, very nice human being. I have always liked working with him because he’s so interesting. And in the very beginning when we started working together after the whole rape trial and everything, when we found out he was Todd, we had more fun because we kind of got each other. And he would do things that were a little impromptu and I would respond immediately. He’d come in and put his feet on the coffee table and it wasn’t in the dialogue, but I’d just go, ‘Get your feet off the table. This is a house. It’s, you know, it’s not a barn.’ Roger appreciated that I think. We had a lot of fun working together. When he came back this time it was double, triple, a thousand times. Roger is a lovely actor and a lovely man and I am really glad that he came back. And when he left …. it was a kind of a hard day. I was not happy to see him go.”

Larry King is taking fan questions for Erika Slezak (Viki) and Robin Strasser (Dorian), soon to appear on his show. Submit!

When Laura Harrier (Destiny II) nabbed the recast role Shenell Edmonds originated on ABC Daytime’s OLTL, her grandmother and aunt — fans of the soap for ages — were over the moon. This is Harrier’s first meaty acting role. The soap newcomer mostly did modeling before and just did the movie musical, The Last 5 Years, with Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. Taking on the recast role brought with it some unique challenges. But Harrier’s been humble and respectful about it all. “There was definitely pressure in the beginning because people really love Shenell and her interpretation of Destiny. She is a great actress and I really respected what she was doing. But she laid down the groundwork for Destiny's teenage years and all these things that set the stage for now, what I’m doing, which is taking Destiny into adulthood.” As a young, single model-turned-actress, Harrier uses her younger brother and cousins as emotional touchstones to help her get into the OLTL single mom character mindset. It also helps that “I love kids and little Garrett [Young] is the cutest little kid ever. He is so amazing so it is super easy to hang out with him all day. He’s the best. It’s really fun hanging out with kids and I enjoy it.” –, July 3, 2013 interview by Hollie Deese

Ron Raines (ex-Alan, GL) appears as Jeffrey’s benefactor, Carl Peterson, August 20.

Also up next month is CNN’s Jake Tapper as investigative reporter Spencer Phillips.

That’s Marnie Schulenburg (ex-Alison, ATWT) as TV exec Jo Sullivan, the one David schmoozes.

Gossip for the week of 15-Jul-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

It’s mid-July, OLTL is on its new schedule, and still no sign of a return to the studio for vets Robert S. Woods (Bo) and Hillary B. Smith (Nora). This makes them nervous, according to Loose Lips of SoapTown USA (July 8, 2013). “Woods and Hillary mentioned that they are on hiatus and only have shows taped through September and they don’t know when they are going back to work. They seemed upset but hopeful. It seemed talking with their rep that AMC would be the first to start taping and that’s why Woods and Smith were concerned.”

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