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News for the week of 21-Oct-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

While the rest of the planet (perhaps I exaggerate a tad) frowned severely on killing off another child in soap opera land, feeling a tremendous GENERAL HOSPITAL Jake déjà-vu, Michael Muhney (Adam) was fine with the story. He told Michael Fairman (October 13, 2013 interview) he’s quite excited for fans to see what he filmed already (soaps film way in advance) and what former head writer Josh Griffith came up with as his “coup de grace”… and “it’s a beautiful farewell for him.” Muhney built up the really character-driven aspect of Griffith’s swan song. “It’s a nice way for him to go out. He gets to hang his hat on what I think he told which is; a really controversial, interesting, character-driven story. Three months from now whatever is airing is no longer his. I will miss Josh. I am glad he got to tell this story and go out on a high note.” Muhney put his complete support behind this story, seeing the emotional impact as a good thing for the show. “Oh my God, I am so excited about the stuff that I shot six weeks ago in advance of what is airing. I can’t wait for people to see this. I am really enthusiastic about how I think they will respond, and what they will say, and will it evoke real feelings and emotions from people on both sides of the coin? It’s going to be an amazing discussion that will be out there that will go on for a long time, and I am honored to be a part of it.”

Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) also seemed excited for the storyline’s umbrella effect. When she thought of what more there is to come, she got goose bumps. “There’s such a huge connection between [Chloe and Chelsea], a connection that is so intense with them,” Egan said. “And [what is coming up] is so sad. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it; their friendship goes really, really deep.” The accident doesn’t just boost their friendship either; Chelsea and Adam get closer. It won’t be easy to forgive and forget, “but there are little hints here and there, so we’ll see. But it is so intense right now!”

Soap Opera Network | Kambra Clifford, October 17, 2013

I’m halfway through Jeanne Cooper’s (Katherine) memoir, “Not Young, Still Restless,” and it’s been a gas going through the pages of her beginnings, as a woman, a wife, a mom, and an actress. I just finished the parts where her son Collin does an intervention on behalf of Y&R creator Bill Bell, she recovers with AA, and forges a friendship with the original Jill Abbott (Brenda Dickson), not an easy actress to know or love. Cooper’s other, more famous actor son, Corbin Bernsen, just completed and is promoting his new film about faith through the story of a young boy who tries to see if G-d really exists after his brother vanishes. Bernsen dedicates the film Beyond The Heavens to his late mother, whom he said would’ve loved the message and intent. “My hope is that ‘Beyond The Heavens’ will encourage people to explore faith, open their mind and go beyond what they think they know. This is what my mother encouraged me to do. I hope to encourage others to do the same through this story.” Soap Opera Network | Kambra Clifford, October 17, 2013

Eileen Davidson (Ashley) returns for three episodes to help her family and friends deal with the death of Chloe and Billy’s daughter, Delia. Ashley is in a unique position to help, since she has gone through the wringer with the loss of children herself. Going back to film the Delia aftermath scenes wasn’t a skip through Chancellor Park, Davidson said. But the tragedy played very well on film in the October 28+ memorial scenes for everyone involved. “It was pretty depressing. Especially when you’re dealing with the death of a child. It’s a horrible thing to play. I remember I had to play it when I just had my baby (Faith), and they didn’t even tell me, because they didn’t want to freak me out. Really hard to do… Ashley has had a lot of loss in her life, and she loves Billy so much… so I think she really emphasizes with what he’s going through,” the actress says. “And she is really traumatized by the whole thing herself.”

Davidson is amenable to returning more, even though she took an acting break from DOOL to see her son Jesse, 10, through 5th grade, then middle school next year. She’s open to doing a little acting here and there, nothing full-time as yet, working around her schedule as a mom first.

–Soap Opera Network/Kambra Clifford-West Coast Editor, October 17, 2013

New co-head writer Shelly Altman’s been on Y&R’s writing staff since January. She seems to know what she’s doing, with a healthy appreciation and knowledge of soaps — as a professional and a life-long fan. Altman and Jean Passanante are already working hard to maintain Y&R’s inter-generational, character-driven, family-oriented stories, letting the characters tell them where to go, without giving into too many sensationalistic plot devices. The sense is to give these working characters a chance to tell their stories, organically, and even if the plot device seems sharply divisive and controversial (Delia’s death), let those characters convert turned-off viewers through relatable emotion.

In Michael Fairman’s On-Air On-Soaps October 16, 2013 interview, Altman went over some of the changes viewers can expect from Sharon’s bi-polar fall, Dylan’s new mom revelation, Hilary’s character turn, more integration between the younger and older generations, and the fallout from Delia’s death on a number of related characters.

Sharon will finally start taking control of her own well-being. Rehabilitation is definitely in order. “Once she does get stabilized, she does recognize that she was holding on to a dream that she can’t necessarily have any longer. And, that all the losses in her life, particularly the loss of Cassie, and seeing everyone around her move on and move forward has been very difficult for her. Not having love in her life and having a rather twisted relationship with Adam, that was extremely unhealthy. She is going to try to get herself back on the straight and narrow. If there ever is a possibility of anything ever happening with Nick, or any other man, she has got to love herself first.”

When Dylan finds out his life has been a lie, he will not take it well, Altman previewed. This is a story the writers have worked on for quite some time to bridge the gap between the new guy (portrayed by a popular, dynamic actor) and a core family, the Newmans. “There was a game plan in bringing in Dylan, and in building the controversy between him and Nick (Joshua Morrow). It certainly heightens the problems between them and becomes a very classic brother rivalry. There are going to be further twists down the line that will be again, we are not re-writing history in any shape or form, but rather honoring the history of the show with this story. But, that had been the game plan … that we were looking for a story for Victor (Eric Braeden) and Nikki, and obviously this will affect both of them greatly, and to also further root Dylan onto the canvas.” Dylan’s war buddy Stitch is here to stay too. He’ll interact in more valued ways with other characters.

As for the controversial decision to kill off a child, Altman sees the benefit in the character-driven responses of all the major adult characters and the tugging of the heartstrings in a timeless human drama that hits everyone in real life at some point. “Soaps are in the business of family drama, and it’s the biggest tragedy anyone should have ever to deal with … you should not be burying your own child,” Altman said. “The stories it will create for the relationships of almost everybody on the canvas are huge. Billy and Chloe’s ability to cope with the death of their child affects Billy’s relationship with Victoria, and Chloe’s relationship with Kevin (Greg Rikaart). Connor now will see the world through Delia’s eyes, metaphorically, and that will be huge. Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) being Chloe’s best friend and how this will affect them is important. And also throughout this, Adam is being humanized becoming a father himself, and his and Chelsea’s relationship will be affected greatly by this event. They will be living together with their child in close proximity, and looking at the world as a family. It will change how they perceive each other as well.”

One of the most unsuccessful stories so far has been the introduction of Hilary into the mix. But co-head writer Shelly Altman has more in store for this character than merely continuing to play a thorn in Neil Winters’ and his children’s side. The actress, Mishael Morgan playing Hilary, is so outstanding that TPTB have to do something more with her, softening her hard edges, and giving reason to the unreasonable acts against Neil, Lily, and Cane. “She is going to be getting involved with other characters on the canvas as well. Once she understands the truth of what really happened with her mother, she will start to see things differently. As a result of that, she will be able to move forward and branch out into other arenas. She is not going to be a psychopath, and she never was a psychopath. She was somebody who was hurting very much, because the most important relationship in her life was taken from her. She needed to blame. She was unable to see her mother’s own responsibility for her own actions.”

Gossip for the week of 21-Oct-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Does anyone care about this? Anyone? Christel Khalil (Lily) and the Mavrick Artists Agency reached a settlement agreement, announced Soap Opera Network’s Kambra Clifford, October 17, 2013. Khalil went public a few months ago, accusing her former agents of mismanagement, citing the time they sent her out on a Y&R audition — when she’s already on Y&R. Mavrick Artists Agency fired back, saying it was an honest mistake and more like a submission, let’s calm down. Khalil also blamed the agency for holding onto more than its fair share of the percentage of payment, which a representative for the agency vehemently denied, pointing the finger back at the actress as not wanting to pay what she was supposed to in fees. The Wrap has been monitoring the situation as it progressed, and last week reported that the two parties resolved their differences as best as they could. Khalil’s attorneys informed The Wrap’s Tony Maglio October 14, “The Parties are pleased to confirm that they have resolved all of their claims against each other, they wish each other success in their future endeavors, and the action has been dismissed with prejudice.” However, an unnamed insider said the agreement wasn’t exactly what either party wanted, “Both sides are a combination of happy and not happy by the nature of the settlement.”

Tommy Lightfoot Garrett of Highlight Hollywood weighed in October 18th on GH beating Y&R in the ratings in his usual refreshingly scathing manner that does a soul (thirsty for justice) good. He laid the blame squarely on executive producer Jill Farren Phelps, where it belonged. She comes in, with CBS/Sony’s full support, and proceeds to wreck this once-mighty #1 CBS soap, causing déjà-vu to all the viewers of previous soaps she once helmed. Encouraging everyone to shut the damn thing off until JFP’s gone, Garrett released this juicy food for thought: “This is just the beginning, viewers of ‘Y&R’ have rightly been turning the show off, however, its latest Delia killing storyline hailed by Jill Firing Phelps and her band of writers is finally taking its toll. Fearing this very thing, ‘Y&R’ execs took the unprecedented step by giving out interviews this week to head-off this bad news. 

“However, viewers are mortified by the latest storylines, especially that of the death of Delia, and are turning it off, and that scared Jill, because she knows SONY and CBS are only loyal to her for now, and the cracks now are as wide as the infamous San Andreas fault-line in Southern California.”

Amen.

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