Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!


Wishing everyone a happy, happy New Year! Here's to a great 2010!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Interview: Life After the Light for Robert Newman


When “Guiding Light” ended its historic 72-year run this past fall, fans were devastated. Robert Newman, who played Joshua Lewis for almost 25 years, is still in New York and is currently starring in the musical “Sessions,” which he began performing in prior to “GL’s” demise. I had the chance to chat with Robert to discuss the end of the “GL” era.

Daytime Dial: What were those last few weeks of filming like on the “GL” set? It must have been a pretty bittersweet time.
Robert Newman: Part of my doing “Sessions” was to give me a distraction from the fact that “Guiding Light” was ending, and it really worked well. My experience of those last few weeks might be different from some of the others, because I was already on this other journey. I almost didn’t have time to digest how heavy this thing was: the ending of a 72-year, 15,672-episode show, of which I spent many years of my life. I did around 3,500-4,000 episodes. The last couple of days, it started to become a bigger thing for me to realize and understand that this really was going to end.


We shot the last scene a few days earlier than the last day of shooting, with Josh and Reva meeting at the lighthouse and riding off in the truck together. That had its own feel to it, because we knew it was going to be the final scene of the show, with “always” being the last word spoken on the show. So that was an emotional day.


The last day we actually shot, a lot of the people who worked on the show came out (on location) to Peapack, N.J., that day. We also had about 200 fans who watched us filming, following us from location to location. As each scene ended, there would be an announcement made that this actor had shot his last scene, and he had been on the show for five years, or 12 years, or 13 years, or whatever it was, and there was a toast and applause, and then we’d shoot the next scene. And, of course, there was a big bash that night.

DD: How has it been since the show ended? What do you miss about it?
RN: Since then, it’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, something I didn’t expect or anticipate. I miss the people, I really do. I wasn’t particularly the most social guy on the show, but when you work that intimately and that closely with people, you kind of take it for granted. I will say that I don’t really miss the show — I’m not sure what that’s about, but I don’t. I’ve moved on. It was time to say goodbye to Josh, and I’m OK with that. It was about the people — it was about working with Kim Zimmer, it was about Josh and Reva, it was about being with people on both sides of the camera who are just a hoot to work with.

DD: Are you happy with the ending?
RN: The writers had a wicked task ahead of them. I mean, how do you wrap up 72 years of storytelling? Their sort of bailout of going to a one-year-later scenario worked fine. I think if they had tried to wrap everything up into tidy little packages on the couple of months that we had, I think it would have been sloppy. It was appropriate that the last scenes are with Josh and Reva, and driving off in the truck at the lighthouse. I joked that the truck should all of a sudden explode and then go to a black screen, sort of a “Sopranos”-like ending, but they didn’t go for that. They wanted the happy ending.

DD: What are your plans for the future?
RN: I will probably stay on stage for a while. It feels good to me, and it’s where I want to be. That might mean doing some traveling (to various region theaters), but I’ll probably stay on stage for a bit. That’s my way of taking a break — it gives me a break from the hectic television shooting schedule. Then I’ll figure out some things after that.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!


Happy Holidays from Cindy and Dana at Daytime Dial!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Interview: Catching Up With Robert Newman


Since the demise of “Guiding Light” this past fall, Robert Newman, who played Joshua Lewis for almost 25 years, has hardly been resting on his laurels. He’s been playing to packed houses in the musical “Sessions” at the Algonquin Theater in New York City. As the show nears its end in January, Robert took time to reflect on the play, as well as his time spent on “GL.”

Robert is no stranger to theater, and musicals specifically. He explains: “For the past five or six years, I had been taking a month or two off from ‘Guiding Light’ to do theater somewhere, and it’s almost exclusively been musicals. It’s something I kept quiet for the soap. They asked me to sing a few times, but I said no. Plus, I just couldn’t envision a situation where Josh would suddenly break out into song.”

In “Sessions,” Robert leads a talented cast of singers and dancers as Dr. Peterson. Robert says: “The show is about a therapist and his patients. There are eight patients, all representing different walks of life and different problems in life. For example, there’s an older married couple who hate each other; there’s a man who’s very reclusive; there’s a woman who’s beaten by her husband, etc. All of them represent different struggles in life.

“The therapist himself is going through a midlife crisis where he is on the brink of having an affair with one of his younger patients, which would not only destroy his marriage, but his career as well. He is also beginning to question the value of what he does. He’s very skilled at his job, but he doesn’t think so.”

“Sessions” will ring true for many people who come to see it. Robert says: “There’s a lot of comedy in the show, and quite a bit of tragedy as well — kind of how life is. The audiences really like the show. Everybody in the audience can relate to some character in the show. We have people in the audience who are very weepy by the time we get to certain sections in the second act. For some of the soap fans, it’s interesting for them to see me as someone other than Joshua.”

So, what was it like for Robert to work with a cast other than his family at “GL”? “Everyone has been great. They welcomed me in. A lot of them have been on board with the show since the beginning. I brought a very different take to Dr. Peterson than my predecessors had, and they all climbed aboard and took the ride with me. They’ve been very loving and supportive, and we’ve become very close in the five months I’ve been working on it. The theater has become my second family now.”

Fans can expect to see much more of Mr. Newman’s board-treading. He reveals:
“There’s nothing like being on stage. I feel very much at home. I love having a live audience, and I love the give-and-take that happens between the audience and cast.”

If you are going to be in the New York area, check out Robert’s turn as a song-and-dance man. “Sessions” runs until the beginning of January; you can get more details at sessionsthemusical.com. And don’t miss next week’s column, where Robert discusses those final days on “Guiding Light.”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Interview Outtakes, Part 4


Most of the time when I am conducting an interview with a soap star, I have more interview material than space for printing the interview. Here are some blurbs from stars that did not make it to the print version of the interview, but were too good not to publish.


Marla Sokoloff: I had to look something up on YouTube the other day, and some of my earlier acting jobs came up. I saw something I had done on “Step by Step,” and I must have been 12. It was so strange, because I don’t even remember too many of those experiences. But I was a huge fan of “Full House” before I was on it, like most kids in the sixth and seventh grade. When I got on it, I thought I’d be the coolest kid in school, but it actually backfired on me and I got made fun of.

Jonathan Jackson (Lucky Spencer, “General Hospital”) on playing Kyle Reese in “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”: That was really fun and that was a cool show. I liked the “Terminator” movies growing up, so it was pretty cool to be on the show. In terms of being that iconic character, when you go into something like that, you don’t overthink that you are playing a character that is so loved already. You just go into it and try to put your own thing into it with a sense of respect for the original thing, but not too much that it makes you gun shy.


Betty White (Ann, “The Bold and the Beautiful”) on receiving the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented this January: I cannot tell you what a thrill this is. When they called me I thought: “Well, they’ve made some kind of mistake. They must mean another Betty White.” I am just beside myself. I can’t believe it, and I can’t be coy about it. I am just thrilled to pieces.

Jay Kenneth Johnson (Philip Kiriakis, “Days of Our Lives”): I like that the writers have been integrating a lot of the characters. It’s smart writing to mix it up. It’s a small town, considering there are three places that we go. I mean, you’re bound to run into someone you know at the Brady Pub, right? And, at the Kiriakis mansion, I think we have at least 20 people living there.

Courtney Thorne-Smith: I am very prompt. Right after I had Jack, I’d missed a phone interview. It had never happened before in my life. In the beginning, after you have a child, there’s just no room for it. Usually on a day where I know I have an interview, it is constantly in my mind, but it’s all gone, because you’re thinking about changing the baby, keeping the baby from crying, keeping the baby from crying, keeping the baby from crying. It supersedes everything.

Don Diamont (Bill Spencer, “BB”): When you have a character like Bill, one who you want to be a romantic leading man, and he is that cutthroat, that makes it challenging. It makes the relationship that much more dynamic, and I think the writers are doing an incredible job with this, Whether Katie wants to admit it or not, she is enthralled by this guy, and the way that he wields his power and his influence. There is that place in her where she wishes she could be more like him.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Interview Days: With Carly Back, Bo Has His Hands Full


Daytime Dial: How has been having Crystal Chappell back as Carly Manning?
Peter Reckell: There are two levels: First of all, Bo and Hope have been together for so long and the writers have found it difficult to make our stories interesting. And bringing Carly back makes it a lot more exciting and interesting on a lot of new levels that when Crystal was here before we didn’t have, because Hope wasn’t here. And so there’s a lot, you know, there’s a lot of history with both these women and so it’s pretty intense. And then on the other level of working with two amazing actresses, it makes my life fun.

DD: What kind of response are you getting from your fans about this new story line?
Peter Reckell: I actually was really surprised of the response because the news came out when I went to New York on a publicity tour for the Emmys, and so I got to speak to a lot of fans and people like yourself. And almost everybody I spoke to was really, really excited about Crystal coming back to the show. Mostly because it would bring some interest to the Bo and Hope storyline.

DD: Who would be the one person that Bo would turn to for advice?
Peter Reckell: Right now it’s kind of cool because there’s really nobody. I’m helping Carly so it’s — actually today we’re doing scenes about that where Carly comes into town and she’s kind of a mess, and so I feel good because I can help her. But at the same time I’m frustrated, because I usually go to Hope and we can’t talk anymore. So right now I’m kind of up in the air, kind of in limbo.

DD: Would Bo let himself truly fall back in love with Carly or will that be really hard for him to do because of Hope? Is he going to be all conflicted and not know what to do eventually?
Peter Reckell: Oh yeah, it’s a perfect soap opera story. There’s all that conflict and turmoil and which direction do I go? When Carly was around before Hope wasn’t around, so I let myself totally fall in love with her. He’s between a rock and a hard place. Bo and Hope are having problems and the feelings for Carly just start to come up.

DD: How would you characterize the differences between Bo’s relationship with Carly and Bo’s relationship with Hope?
Peter Reckell: With Bo and Hope, that whole relationship started when we were both pretty young. And it’s kind of a first love — with the depth and weight that that carries. And then the Carly relationship was more of adult relationship. I guess that’s it — there’s the first love, and then there’s the love that comes after that.

DD: How has Bo developed and changed throughout the years?
Peter Reckell: When I came back to the show a couple years ago and Bo was a cop, I was like what the — that’s the furthest thing from my mind. I never thought Bo would be a cop, because his relationship with Roman was Roman was the cop and the white knight, and Bo rebelled against that. And now here I am a cop, and I’m one of the top cops. And it’s like what the heck? How did I get here? But it’s been a natural progression: maturing, having a family and being responsible. But I think that renegade is still in there. And I’m hoping that with this story line with Carly that might come out a little bit more again.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

B&B Star Hunter Tylo Weds

Hunter Tylo wed Gersson Archila in a private ceremony attended by family and friends, the actress announced today. “Gersson and I were married on November 29,” said Tylo. “God has blessed me in the most special of ways. God has redeemed my life and future. My season of sadness has ended. We are a very happy family. I welcome your blessings and well wishes!”

Hunter stars on The Bold and the Beautiful, as Dr. Taylor Hayes, a psychiatrist whose life has been intertwined with the lives and loves of the Forrester and Marone families. She debuted on the series in 1990 and remained as a series regular through 2002. Hunter returned to B&B in 2004 for a two-episode arc, and then returned once again as a series regular beginning in May 2005.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

CBS Cancels ATWT

(From the Associated Press)

NEW YORK – CBS is canceling the soap opera As the World Turns after more than a half-century on the air.

CBS says the final episode will air next September, in its 54th year. Daytime dramas have been in a long-term ratings decline, and CBS ended the daytime soap Guiding Light earlier this year.

Through the years, actors Marisa Tomei, Meg Ryan, Parker Posey and James Earl Jones have appeared on the show.

The cancellation will leave CBS with only two daytime dramas: The Young and the Restless and The Bold and Beautiful.

Interview Y&R: Peter Bergman Celebrates a Milestone

Believe it or not, Peter Bergman is celebrating 20 years with The Young and the Restless as everyone’s favorite bad boy, Jack Abbott. I caught up with Peter recently, and he was just as astounded by the milestone as I was.

“It’s wild — 20 years! — I can’t believe it,” he tells me. “When I first think about it, it feels like yesterday. But then I realize, my daughter was 4 weeks old when I started the show, and she is now a sophomore at USC. I had been married for five years, and now I am coming up on my 25th anniversary.”

How does Peter keep his character fresh and exciting after all these years? Simple: He truly cares about what happens to Jack next. “I’ve got two scripts that they dropped off to me this morning, and I can’t wait to read them to see what Jack does next.

“I just take it scene by scene. I have a genuine enthusiasm and excitement for what I do. I am challenged by it — how do I make this interesting? How do I make this more real? I work with people who care about that stuff too. I don’t get bored. And that says a lot, because I am easily bored.”


What are some of Peter’s favorite milestones that Jack has reached in his 20 years of portraying the lovable rogue? “Through all the milestones, we’ve watched Jack evolve from an absolute cad to a more whole person than when I first got here, and I can name the reasons: Nikki, Phyllis and Sharon.

“With each one, he had to face things about himself that he’d never faced before. With Nikki, it was his falling for someone and not being able to help her. Jack can usually make things go his way every single time, and he had to watch her spiral into an alcoholic mess. And he can’t do a thing to help her, as much as he loves her and as much as he wants to help her. He’s an enabler, and it pulled Jack up short. He had to stop and examine things about himself.

“With Phyllis, the least likely of all relationships, suddenly it was perfectly wrong. The two of them were just terrific together — screaming and scratching at each other — passionate as all hell with each other. Jack got completely lost in it.

“I think the Sharon thing was, as much as anything, it was convenient for the writers. ‘We put Nick and Phyllis together — crap, what will we do with Jack and Sharon? What if they found comfort in each other?’ I think they expected that to last about six weeks. Sharon and I decided, ‘What if we gave them something to play with?’ And so we went all out to make our scenes everything they could possibly be. Jack was confronted with a type of goodness in Sharon that he’d never confronted before. It only exposed his foibles: just how much of a liar he’d been and just how deceptive he’d been.”

And while Jack’s romantic relationships taught him a lot, he also is learning every single day since the passing of his father, John. “Jack is still reeling from his father’s death. This was his conscience, his guidepost, his strength, and when he died, Jack was a rudderless ship for a while. He’s just now, three years later, finding his rudder.”

As Peter thinks about some of his favorite story line moments of the past 20 years, he has to admit that he likes it when Jack isn’t being quite so good. “There is one scene — Victor has a massive coronary episode in his office, and Jack was left with the choice of whether to call for help or to walk out. Not only did he leave, but he kicked Victor’s hand on the way out.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Days Interview: Carly, and Her Secrets, Return to Salem

(As a Thanksgiving treat, we are printing this interview two days early. Happy Turkey Day everyone, and we'll see you on Monday, Nov. 30!)

After a 16-year absence, Crystal Chappell’s Carly Manning (picture courtesy Mitchell Haaseth, NBC) has roared back into Salem with a deadly secret: She is on the run after killing her husband, Lawrence, in self-defense, and has come to Bo Brady for protection. And even though this might further alienate Hope and Bo, Crystal is happy to be in the thick of it all.

Daytime Dial: How does it feel to be back on “Days of Our Lives”?
Crystal Chappell: I’m thrilled. I’m having probably the best time that I’ve had in years. It’s really, really been fun to play this character again and work with everybody again.

DD: With “Guiding Light” going off the air and budget cuts elsewhere, what do you think the future of soaps will be?
CC: I think daytime will be around for a very long time. I think it’s going to have to adapt to the changing economy and changing viewership. But if it can do that, I think it can have a long life. I don’t want to see it go away, because I find comfort in knowing that they’re there and to be able to turn on my TV during the day and follow my favorite stories.

DD: What is it like to work with Peter Reckell again?
CC: Peter’s just a kind guy, so, you know, it’s very easy to work with him. And I think we have a nice, easy energy with each other and learned to trust each other very quickly on set. And the character of Bo is just that classic hero. He’s the guy you want around. He’s the guy you want as a friend and as a romantic partner. He’s that perfect guy.

DD: What’s it like to play Carly now?
CC: Well, I love that she’s come back and she’s imperfect. I love that she seems to be really, really good at the doctor thing and then just a total loser when it comes to relationships. So I appreciate that about a soap character. As much as she would like to think that she can handle everything on her own, she needs Bo.

DD: Are you worried about viewers hating Carly if she comes between Bo and Hope?
CC: Well, first of all, who could hate me, really? I spent 10 years on “Guiding Light,” and people used to come up and just say nasty things to me. I played a nasty character. I mean, she was just mean and evil and bitchy. I’d rather be the one who stirs the pot. I have no issue with that whatsoever. And the fans are smart, you know, they’re really, really smart; they know that ultimately Bo and Hope are going to live happily ever after. It gives them a chance to watch a great story with their favorite couple.

DD: How has Carly changed since she’s been away?
CC: Before, she was younger and tightly wound, and I don’t think she had a real good sense of who she was other than being a doctor. She used only that part of her brain. But now she’s had years of life experience, raised a child and just ended up in a very, very bad marriage, and so she’s a little harder around the edges. And she also has a sense of humor about it, so it’s much looser, a much more fun experience for me this time around.

Casting News: Daniel Cosgrove Joins ATWT

Daniel Cosgrove, who is best known for playing Bill Lewis on Guiding Light, will join the cast of As The World Turns in early 2010. Daniel is best known for his roles on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Dirty Sexy Money.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

James Franco on General Hospital


Don't miss his debut: Golden Globe winner James Franco joins the cast of General Hospital in the recurring role of Franco, a mystery person who comes to Port Charles and will be intertwined with many other residents in town. His first air date is Friday, Nov.20, as part of the climax of November sweeps. Pictured with James Franco is Kirsten Storms (Maxie) and Maurice Benard (Sonny). (photo courtesy ABC)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Interview B&B: Betty White Returns to Tie Up Loose Ends

Betty White (photo courtesy JPI Studios Inc.) last appeared on “The Bold and the Beautiful” as the not-so-great mother of Stephanie and Pam a year ago. Betty is back as Ann starting Nov. 18, but this time Ann is very ill and preparing for her death. But first, she has some loose ends to tie up with her daughters.

Betty was thrilled to return to the “B&B” set, telling me: “I was so surprised that they wanted to have me back. Ann hasn’t been there in about a year, so it was kind of nice to come back and revisit the character — not only from an actor’s standpoint, but also because it is such a great show to work on. They are the nicest people in the world, and they greet you back like a member of the family — even though it’s a member of the family they don’t like on camera.

“It didn’t even feel like I had been away for a year. I think it’s amazing that as long as that show has been going, that they keep the freshness to it. It’s amazing. It’s also, for me, such a great stretch, because I don’t get the chance to do serious acting. So to get some serious things to do was kind of fun.”

Switching between comedy and drama is easy when you’re a pro like Betty. “You get a different mind-set. You try to see it from a different perspective from the other things you do. A couple of times there was a chance to almost go for the laugh, and I had to resist that temptation strongly.”

Having the chance to work with the “B&B” cast again was another perk for Betty. “When you get into the acting that is on this show — Susan Flannery is so good, as is Alley Mills — it really makes it easy to get into character and really go for it. You’re playing very heavy, serious scenes, and during the breaks, you can laugh at it all. It’s nice that they don’t take themselves so seriously that they can’t get out of character.”

Betty assures me that fans will be happy with what they are going to see. “I was very happy with how they handled Ann’s story. There are some surprises. We had one beautiful day up at Malibu on the beach. We were up at Paradise Cove, and Ann is so taken with this setting — again, another side of Ann that you don’t expect to see, that she would be that taken with natural beauty — that for me it opened up a new door for playing Ann.”

Betty almost didn’t get to play Ann this second time around. “I was so surprised when they invited me back. They had asked me before, but I couldn’t schedule it because I was working on other projects. I was glad when they asked me again, because they had written such an interesting story line, and it’s tough for an actress to turn down something like that. It’s fun to play.

“‘B&B’ is the closest for me to doing something I don’t get the chance to do, which I enjoy doing, and that is playing a serious role. Comedy is still my heart, but this satisfies that craving to do a serious role.”

However, the role that Betty craves most is that of animal lover and advocate. She tells me: “I’ve been with the Morris Animal Foundation for 43 years. We are a health organization; we fund research for specific health problems of dogs, cats, horses and wildlife. We helped develop the feline leukemia vaccine and the parvovirus vaccine. I’ve also worked with the Los Angeles Zoo for 45 years. Zoos these days take such good care not only of animals in the zoos but of animals overseas that are diminishing in population.

“That’s the big half of my life. I have to be in show business to pay for my animal business.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Familiar Faces Return to Oakdale

Lesli Kay reprises her role of Molly Conlan beginning Tuesday, November 17.

Paul Leyden reprises his role of Simon Frazier when we first see him on location at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, PA on Friday, November 20.

Days Fan and Talent Search — Detroit

Days of Our Lives has announced the confirmed schedule of events and activities for the show’s upcoming talent and fan search in Detroit, Michigan.

Wednesday, November 11th

9:00am James Reynolds and Bryan Dattilo visit the John D. Dingell V.A. Medical Center on Veterans Day

3:00pm Nadia Bjorlin, Bryan Dattilo, James Reynolds and Shawn Christian visit the Motown Historical Museum where Nadia will sing with the Mosaic Children’s Choir

7:30pm Nadia Bjorlin, Bryan Dattilo, James Reynolds and Shawn Christian attend the Pistons game, where Nadia will sing God Bless America and Jim will join the Pistons in recognizing local veterans for Veterans Day.

Thursday, November 12th

10:00am Nadia Bjorlin, Bryan Dattilo, James Reynolds and Shawn Christian visit the Genesis House III women’s shelter to distribute and serve food from the Gleaners Community Food Bank; talent will be reading to kids and donating new quilts and toys to the families in need

2:00pm Shelley Hennig, Nadia Bjorlin, Bryan Dattilo, James Reynolds and Shawn Christian visit the Parade Company to help decorate floats for the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade

Friday, November 13th

9:00am-7:00pm Talent search and fan event at the MGM Grand Detroit

Saturday, November 14th

9:00am-12:00pm Finalist auditions and announcement of talent search winner

1:00pm Shelley Hennig, Nadia Bjorlin, Bryan Dattilo, James Reynolds and Shawn Christian appear at the Boost Mobile store in Highland Park with winners from the fan and talent search

7:00pm Shelley Hennig, Nadia Bjorlin, Bryan Dattilo, James Reynolds and Shawn Christian attend the Red Wings game with the winners from the fan and talent search

Fans and aspiring actors alike are encouraged to come take part in this first ever fan and talent search in Detroit. The biggest “Days” fan will win a trip to Hollywood, California with a visit to the “Days of our Lives” set. Promising actors will have the chance to win a role on the award-winning show. All of those participating in the search will have the opportunity to meet some of Salem’s favorite cast members including: Bryan Dattilo, James Reynolds, Nadia Bjorlin, Shawn Christian and Shelley Hennig.

For more information on this exciting event, aspiring actors and fans can log on to: http://www.daysofourlives.com or http://www.nbc.com/Days_of_our_Lives/.

Tom Pelphrey Is Back on Daytime

Don't miss today's episode of As the World Turns. Tom Pelphrey joins the show as Mick. Tom is best known for his role on Guiding Light where he won two Daytime Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Jonathan Randall.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Interview: Love Is in Bloom for Marla Sokoloff

Marla Sokoloff has co-starred in the likes of “Desperate Housewives” and “Party of Five,” as well as “The Practice” and “Full House,” to name just a few. Now she is starring in her own Hallmark Channel movie called “Flower Girl.” Marla plays Laurel, and unlucky-in-love florist who soon finds herself having to choose between two men. One is the stable and sweet doctor, Evan, who Grandma Rose (Marion Ross) approves of, and the other is Stephen, a mysterious and handsome writer.

Marla was more than ready for a sweet love story like “Flower Girl.” And there is a lot to love about the movie, as she explains: “I am a sucker for romantic comedies. I just really love the whole concept of finding love. I love that Marion Ross’ character was the meddling grandmother. I love that it is such a great story.

“It’s just really nice in this day and age to sit down and watch a love story. I think everybody really likes to watch those kinds of movies where it just warms your heart and makes you feel like love is possible. Just sit down in your jammies with a bowl of popcorn, and watch it.”

Marla can relate to Laurel, and finds many similarities between herself and the character she portrays. “I like that she is so levelheaded about love and realistic about it. It’s almost as if she is trying to teach her grandmother about love and how it works in this day and age.

“Personally, I’ve always been like that: not so much the romantic, but more levelheaded and realistic about things. Laurel has a gut instinct about something and she follows through with it, which I try to do as well.”

She also appreciates and relates to Laurel’s attitude of not settling for less that what she deserves in life. “I’ve never settled in my real life, and in my love life. I really took the time to date and to get to know what I want out of a partner. I think that some people rush into things, which is why the divorce rate is so high. Being a little bit jaded and cautious when it comes to love is not always a bad thing.”

A week before Marla got the offer for the movie, she got engaged in real life, so she was able to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. “I was already doing research on flowers and weddings anyway, because I was planning my own wedding. So I got to research for myself and the character at the same time.

“One thing that was really cool is every morning Telaflora would deliver fresh flowers. These gorgeous arrangements would arrive to the set, and I would send pictures to my wedding planner of ones that I liked. I’d tell her I liked a certain flower, or this certain color, and stuff like that.”

All the flowers made the set a joy to be on. “You would walk onto the set and the smell was like heaven. The prop guy would let me bring some to my trailer, which is great because trailers never smell good.”

Working so closely with a television icon, Marion Ross, was also a wonderful experience, according to Marla. “Marion was awesome. She is such a sweetheart and so fun and so beautiful. Oddly enough, she is a little bit shocking and naughty at times. Sometimes the things that would come out of her mouth, you’d be like, ‘What?!?’ She has a dirty side to her mind, which I always appreciate. She was great. I adored her.”

Don’t miss “Flower Girl,” which premieres on the Hallmark Channel on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Interview: Ming-Na Goes From Oakdale to Outer Space


Stargate Universe, the third incarnation of the successful Stargate series, premiered to high ratings and rave reviews in October. Ming-Na (pictured, second from left) — who got her start in the biz by playing Lien Hughes on the daytime soap opera As the World Turns, then followed with starring roles in The Joy Luck Club and Mulan, and rounded out her resume with ER — co-stars on the outer-space adventure series playing the role of Camile Wray.

For those unfamiliar with Stargate, this particular series focuses on a group of soldiers, scientists and civilians who, while fleeing an attack, travel through a stargate and find themselves stranded far from Earth on a mammoth spaceship known as the Destiny.

Ming-Na explains what makes this series different from the others: “In SGU, it’s a whole new cast, although some of the originals do make appearances. It’s a different feel and vibe to the show. It’s more character-driven. I don’t want to say that it’s darker, because there are a lot of light scenes, but it definitely has a more serious tone. Also, we will not have rubber-suited aliens. We have these amazing CGI-ed aliens. Trust me — they look fantastic.”

Ming-Na is no stranger to science fiction. In fact, she has been a fangirl for much of her life. “I have been a sci-fi fan since I was very young,” she says. “I was president of the science-fiction club when I was in high school. It’s such a great genre.

“What I do as an actress is pretend, so a part of me never has to grow up. I love having kids because I get to continue to pretend with them. That is what is so great about sci-fi, and especially SGU. It encompasses such an intellectual world of science and physics, and it’s mooshed into something that is entertaining and creative.”

According to Ming-Na, her character, Camile, is a very complex character, which was a big reason she wanted to play her. “She starts off being someone you think is very by the book. As you get to know her, you feel like there is such a vulnerable side to her. She masks it with her ambition and her drive to prove something.

“She is also a lesbian. That is a real challenge, as I’ve never played a lesbian character before. It definitely adds a layer that is very unique to who she is and how she approaches her job and the men she has to work with. At the same time, it is not something that makes her vastly different — it is just a part of who she is.”

Ming-Na is excited to be working with such a talented group of actors. “I feel so privileged to get to work with this cast. With Robert Carlyle (Dr. Nicholas Rush), it’s just so fun to watch him work. And David Blue (Eli Wallace) is hilarious. A lot of the actors have theater training, so we all really believe in the ensemble and really respect it. It’s just a great environment to work in.”

Another great working experience for Ming-Na was the time she spent in the early ’90s on ATWT. She reveals: “I loved working on ATWT. That was so much fun and such a great experience. Prior to that, I was theater trained, so that was my first camera training, and I learned a lot from that.

“The weird thing is that on SGU, they want me to keep growing my hair longer — I guess they haven’t found a beauty salon yet on any of the planets we’ve visited — so I feel like I am going back to my Lien Hughes length of hair. I’ve actually been thinking of Lien a lot lately because if it. I don’t have those bangs though.”

You can catch Ming-Na on Stargate Universe on Friday nights at 9/8 CST on the SyFy channel. You can also catch up on episodes (if you have missed any) on syfy.com.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spend the Day with Days Nov. 7th

BREAKING NEWS: Victor Is Back!

Unless you've been under a rock, you know that Eric Braeden, aka Victor Newman of The Young and the Restless, was as good as gone from his 30-year tenure on the No. 1 rated soap. (In case you were indeed under said rock, check out my previous interview with Eric to get the scoop.)

Well, the news broke just before the weekend that both sides had hammered out a deal and Eric has inked a new three-year deal with the soap — and a collective PHEW! could be heard throughout the industry. I spoke with Eric about this wonderful news last night, and he was definitely back to his happy self, with a lift in his voice that I was very glad to hear.

Daytime Dial: So tell me, last I heard, you were as good as gone. How did it come about that you were able to come to an agreement?

Eric Braeden: I can only talk about my experiences in the world of sports, where you fight tooth and nail, and afterward you have a beer. This was a hard fight, no question about that. It hung by a thread, to be honest with you. We came to a mutually beneficial arrangement. But it was a tough fight. And there’s give and take, as there is in sports.

DD: How did the tide turn?

EB: Both sides made certain gestures to continue negotiating.

DD: How are you feeling now that this is all settled?

EB: To be frank, what really deeply moved me was the reaction of the fans. I did not expect that and it has touched me greatly.

DD: I know a lot of fans will be happy to have you back — if you've kept up with any of the message-board chatter, then you know public opinion was definitely leaning toward you.

EB: I was made aware of it and I read a lot of it, and it really affected me in a very emotional way. I did not expect that kind of reaction, and I am deeply grateful for it, and I am deeply humbled by it.

DD: You must have been going through a lot internally, because you were off the show for a few weeks and you had probably gotten into the mind set of "I'm not Victor Newman anymore."

EB: When you go through something like this, it is sort of like a divorce, in a sense, because 30 years is a long time. Thirty years of having given whatever you can as an actor, emotionally, it is very difficult. You go through some of the early withdrawal — whether it’s denial, whether it’s anger, whether it’s all kinds of things. I hadn’t reached the point yet where I had really stepped back and looked at the whole thing. It was still very emotional. As in everything in life, when you have a separation or a kind of loss, it affects you differently at different times. It takes a while to gain an objective perspective. I am glad that we resolved it. That’s all I can tell you. But I am mostly deeply impressed by the fans’ reactions. That’s really important.

DD: Have you had any reactions from the cast about your reinstatement?

EB: Melody (Thomas Scott) has been very supportive throughout all of this. And so has Sharon Case. So I’m grateful to expressions of support, you bet.

DD: Do you know yet how Victor will be written back in?

EB: I honestly don’t know that yet, but I trust Maria Bell. I always have. I think she is very good. She’ll find a very good way to reintroduce him.

DD: So we should all just keep watching, because Victor WILL be back.

EB: With a bang. He’s gonna come back and wreak some havoc.

DD: We hope so!

Days: Such a Tease!

NEXT WEEK:

•Sami overhears Nicole comforting Mia.

•Arianna fears that she has lost Brady for good.

•EJ is taken in by Arianna’s spunk and sensitivity.

•Philip tells Melanie that she should not wait to figure out what she wants.

•Hope (Kristian Alfonso, pictured) probes Victor about Bo and Carly’s history.

Thursday – The Feds arrest Carly as she tries to leave the house.

Friday – Sydney and Chad give blood for a DNA test to determine if Chad is Sydney’s father.

B&B: Such a Tease!

•Jackie makes an outrageous suggestion to Owen.

•A major wedge is driven between the Logan family.

•Justin flashes back to his high school years with Donna.

•Bill (Don Diamont, pictured) gives Ridge an assignment.

•Brooke makes a tempting offer to Bill.

ATWT: Such a Tease!

•Katie rushes to introduce Brad (Austin Peck, pictured) to their son.
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•Jack has a hard time returning to work.

•Dusty finds trouble when he tries to teach Ralph a lesson.

•Lily continues to play into Damian's plan.

Y&R: Such a Tease!

•Adam makes a confession to Sharon (Sharon Case, pictured).
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•Billy uses his newfound power to take revenge on Victor.

•Jana finds a clue from Ryder's past that may lead her to uncovering the truth.

•J.T. angrily attacks Deacon but will his impulsive act damage Victoria's reputation?

Monday, October 26, 2009

DEVLOPING NEWS! Eric Braeden and Y&R Producers Come to Agreement

DEVELOPING NEWS: It seems that Eric Braeden and the producers at The Young and the Restless have come to an agreement, and Eric has inked a new three-year deal. I'm going to be speaking with him later today and will give you the full scoop as soon as I get it.

UPDATE: It's official!! According to Entertainment Weekly, talks have dissolved and Eric Braeden is officially OUT as Victor Newman. What are your thoughts? What will this mean for the future of
The Young and the Restless?

The news hit the fan late last week. The headlines were blaring: ERIC BRAEDEN TO LEAVE THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (mostly true); ERIC BRAEDEN STORMS OFF THE Y&R SET (not true).

I spoke with Eric yesterday to clear up rumors from truth, and to get the word straight from the horse's mouth. I asked him to tell me, step-by-step, what happened, so there would be no confusion or cause for speculation. The following is what Eric had to tell me:

On what actually happened: To put it succinctly, I signed a contract two years ago in which I volunteered a reduction in pay, in order to lead by example. That contract was supposed to be for three years — it would be up in November 2010. They suddenly invoked a clause that most of us don’t even read in the contract — the 26-week clause — which allows the producers to revisit the contact every half-year within that three-year period. That had never been invoked before, in my case. I was not really aware of it — obviously, I should have been.

On how he was approached regarding the pay cut: We are all aware of economic times being tougher, but the way it was done: The Internet was used in order to threaten me with the possibility of casting someone who would be equally as powerful, and the story line dovetailed with the end of this contract cycle that I had never thought of. In other words, one was blindsided in a way I do not appreciate at all, especially after having loyally publicized this show and pushed this show for 30 years, being proud of it and proud of the character. To be dealt with in this kind of manner does not sit well.

It is the worst of corporate America, to be honest with you. Corporate America and all those Harvard Business School graduates who sit in the upper levels, they have to know how to deal with human beings. You do not simply, in a wholesale manner, destroy something that obviously has been No. 1, in this case, for 27 years. That is extraordinary. That is singular in Hollywood’s history. You handle that kind of thing very carefully.

There are certain actors you approach on a certain level, as far as I’m concerned. You don’t approach them in a standard, procedural way. There are certain actors who have contributed more to a show that other people have, simple as it is. To claim otherwise is hypocrisy. What corporate America needs to learn is when they simply apply the paradigms learned by Harvard Business School graduates and Wharton School of Economic graduates and Stanford Business School graduates, you need to learn how to deal with human beings.

The personal touch is always more important than anything. Obviously they are endangering the goose that lays the golden egg. I am not talking only about myself; I am talking about others on the show as well.

To be quite frank with you, this notion of signing the three-year deal, and then suddenly have the producing side be able to revisit that after three months but I don’t, there seems to be something grossly unfair about that. But that is a problem our union should not have allowed to exist.

It certainly should not apply to someone who has been on the show for more than 10 years. If you don’t know by now if someone is contributing to the show or not, then you don’t deserve to be in the business.

The 26-week clause was initially thought of because say you hired an actor and you find out well, it hasn’t really worked out, you can terminate him quickly. But, I beg your pardon, after 29 or 30 years on the show, you don’t know who’s who? Give me a break!

On rumors that he stormed off the set: I had 62 pages myself that last day, and only as an actor do you know what that means. Sixty-two pages of the script I did that last day — emotionally exhausting with flashbacks and everything else, and Victor’s life sort of rolls by him. It just suddenly hit me: This has been a part of my life for 30 years.

At the end of [filming], I sat there quietly. The booms were still rolling and the cameras were still rolling, and I said: “I want to thank all of you, crew and cast, for a wonderful time on the show. You have all worked extremely hard; I have nothing but respect for all of you. I may not see you for a long time, or perhaps never again.”

It was a very emotional, very quiet moment, there was not much said, except the crew and cast, with tears in their eyes, we all hugged each other and nothing else was said. So, the storming off is simply not true. I did not storm off that set; it was not that emotion. It was a very quiet, very sad moment.

On the possibility of working something out: It is not entirely fait accompli yet, but it is hanging by a thread. There is a minimal chance [of working this out]. It entirely depends on how one is being approached. The world I come from, a handshake is a handshake and a contract is a contract. Period.

On his counteroffer: They had approached me the year before about a slash-and-burn reduction, which I took. [This time] I came back with a counteroffer, offered a fairer reduction, and that was dismissed.

It is not that one is asking for special favors; it is not that. After that many years of helping take that show to where it is — and I say “helping” because it is about our wonderful actors, everyone has helped. But to be dealt with in such a cold manner is something that just doesn’t sit well with me. I like to shake your hand, look you in the eye and deal with you. I don’t like to be dealt with by e-mail. I want to be dealt with in an honorable way, between men. Look oneself in the eye and say, “OK, let’s talk about this.” Not through some corporate bullsh*t.

After 30 years, you need to be taken to a restaurant, together with the people involved, and you all sit down and say, “OK, how can we work this out?” That’s what needs to happen. You don’t want to be treated like a number.

On the support of his fans: I am very touched by the reaction of the public. The fans have been very supportive and I’ve been very blessed by it.

Hollywood is a tough business. But what business right now isn’t tough?

On his feelings for Y&R, in general: I am enormously proud of the show and of the character I play, and have been enormously supportive all those years. I am very proud of the actors I work with and the kind of work we do given those very limiting circumstances. Many of the actors on the show are wonderful, and many of the story lines are wonderful — I’ve loved Maria Bell’s story lines, by and large, a lot.

But the days of Bill Bell, when he ran that show all by himself, those are over. Now you don’t even know who you are dealing with.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Interview GH: Jonathan Jackson's New Lucky Is a Familiar Face

In an unexpected — and well-received — move, General Hospital announced at the end of September that Jonathan Jackson, the actor who originated the role of Lucky Spencer and won multiple Emmys for his work, would be returning to the role at the end of October. While fans will miss Greg Vaughan, they are welcoming back Jonathan with open arms.

The $64 million question is, how did the folks at GH lure him back? According to Jonathan: “It was pretty standard. They contacted me and said that the role of Lucky was opening up again and asked me if I would be interested in coming back. It’s something that I had thought about vaguely over the years, as people do, but it never really seemed like the right time, for various reasons.

“But this time when it came up, it was really out of the blue for me. I thought about it, talked with my family, prayed about it and just kind of tried to get a sense of whether this would be a fun adventure to step back into.”

In order to enjoy the adventure, Jonathan had some major cramming sessions ahead of him. He hadn’t been watching the show regularly since he left almost 10 years ago, so he “had to have quite a few conversations to fill some of those gaps in.”

If Jonathan had any anxiety about returning to the GH set, all fears vanished within moments of stepping into the studio. “The first day was really smooth. Seeing a lot of people I hadn’t seen in years was fun — actors, people on the crew, the hair and makeup team — so there was a lot to take in on that level. But acting-wise, I was able to sink right back into things pretty much immediately.

“It was interesting, because it was like a lot had changed and nothing had changed — all at the same time. It was really familiar, and yet it felt like a whole new experience.”

Acting alongside old friends helped smooth the transition for Jonathan. “Working with Tony (Geary, Luke Spencer) was really awesome,” he reveals. “It was a fun dynamic having that history with him, and yet it’s been about 10 years since we’ve actually worked together. And yet everything was right there. The same goes for working with Becky (Herbst, Elizabeth Webber) — I was able to settle in really quickly.”

In respect to the Lucky/Elizabeth/Nikolas love triangle, Jonathan is eager to see where it all ends up. “I am jumping into a moving stream when it comes to all of that. There is definitely a lot of tension there to work with, and it’ll be interesting to see how the whole thing plays out.”

Jonathan is eager to get back to basics as far as Lucky’s family and love life are concerned. “There’s a lot available to work with. The relationship with Luke, there’s a lot that could happen there. And I am a big fan of the love story between Lucky and Elizabeth, so there’s a lot of potential there for tapping into some of those original elements we had going.”

As far as Jonathan’s extracurricular activities go, many fans already know that he is a talented musician. His song “Elizabeth” was featured on GH. He fronts a band called Enation, whose breakout single, “Feel This,” was heavily featured on One Tree Hill.

Jonathan tells me: “We just released an EP that went into the top 10 on CD Baby, which is the biggest independent CD distribution company in the country. We are still getting the music out there for the fans. We are mixing a live album that will probably be released around Christmastime. You can go to iTunes, CD Baby or our Web site, enationmusic.com, to check out our music.”

And don't forget to check out Jonathan's return to GH on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Meet and Greet With Rebecca Herbst

WHAT:
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fans to meet one of daytime soap's hottest stars, Rebecca Herbst who plays Elizabeth on General Hospital.

Rebecca will be in Chino, CA as part of Soap Opera Digest magazine's "Shop Like a Soap Star" national tour. The star will be signing autographs and posing for pictures with her fans.

WHEN:
Saturday, October 24th from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

WHERE:

Wal-Mart Supercenter #3464
3943 Grand Ave
Chino, CA 91710

COST:
Free

Marla Sokoloff Remembers Her Full House Days

I recently spoke with Marla Sokoloff (The Practice and Desperate Housewives) about her new Hallmark Channel movie, Flower Girl (which premieres Nov. 14 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT), and she was reminiscing about her days on the ABC sitcom Full House.

  • "I was a huge fan of Full House before I was on it, like most kids in the sixth and seventh grade. When I got on it, I thought I’d be the coolest kid in school, but it actually backfired on me and I got made fun of. My mom actually had to take me out of school and home school me."
  • "I was such a huge fan of everyone, so I was really shy. I remember John Stamos being incredibly sweet."
  • "A few years back I went to see Bob Saget at the Laugh Factory. It was just by chance because a few friends were going, and they asked me to come. I never thought in a million years that Bob Saget would have any recollection of who I was, and all of a sudden I see him and he’s like: ‘Marla?!? What are you doing here?’ And I was like: ‘What? You know who I am? You remember me?’ He’s still such a sweet guy and he totally remembered my name. I was so excited."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bronson Pinchot: No Holds Barred

Bronson Pinchot recently gave an interview to AVClub.com to talk about his new movie Mr. Art Critic (among other things), and he spoke a bit about his recent role of Patrick Dalton on The Young And The Restless.

I forgot I even did that. I don’t know how many episodes I did. My character was supposed to be launching this magazine, and there were several episodes previous to the launch, and one or two after the launch, and I remember thinking, “I don’t know what the character’s going to do after the magazine’s launched, because then he has no identity anymore.” There was so much booze around that it occurred to me, and I got the okay to do it, that basically when the party was launched, it revealed that he was a lush. I would just lean on things and be inappropriate, and that was really fun. So what the hell do you do? I decided that he would just be a drunk.

Because it was a fashion magazine and he was somebody that was supposed to be well versed in high fashion, I had a few run-ins with the fashion department. They would put on the rack like a regular blazer and a tie, and I said, “If he’s in the eye of the hurricane of fashion, a jacket won’t pass, give me something else.” They would get mad, and I was like “Well, let me go through the costume racks and pick something weird and make it up, because a jacket and tie won’t do it.” They were not too thrilled with me, but what I ended up doing was, I took an opera scarf which was about seven inches wide and tied it into a tie, which meant that the knot was about eight inches tall, and everyone said, “Oh, that’s weird and new.” And so that’s what I ended up doing. Soap operas are a world where rich people always have chandeliers and hip people have striped hair and the language that they use doesn’t have any flexibility anymore. But I enjoyed it. I got to do everything in one take, and the people on it were very neat, and they’re very self-aware.


Read the whole, entertaining interview here. He even talks smack about Tom Cruise, Bette Midler and Denzel Washington. It's a juicy read!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Days: Such a Tease!

NEXT WEEK:

Mia vows to stop Chad from going after custody of Sydney.

Bo promises to help Carly if she tells him everything.

Arianna and Brady share a passionate night together.

Stephanie warns Philip (Jay Kenneth Johnson, pictured) not to get in between Melanie and Nathan.

Sami accuses Stefano of trying to turn her against Nicole.

Thursday – Nicole is served papers for a DNA test on Sydney by Chad.

Friday – Rafe explains to Arianna that Sydney is not Nicole’s baby!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Interview: Rena Sofer’s Second Chance at Love

Rena Sofer — who is most known for her roles on “Loving” and “Melrose Place,” as well as her comedic turns on “Coupling,” “Two and a Half Men” and “Monk” — is back on prime time to offer a story of love and second chances. She stars in the Hallmark Channel original movie, “Always and Forever,” which premieres Saturday, October 24 (9/8c).

“Always and Forever” is about a single mom and successful career woman, Grace, who begrudgingly attends her 20-year high-school reunion. Her angst turns to hope when she reconnects with her former high-school sweetheart, Michael, played by Dean McDermott.

Rena’s own 20-year reunion was nothing like Grace’s. Rena explains: “I wasn’t invited. It’s the funniest reason why: They couldn’t find me. You’d think out of everyone, they could have found me.”

But she wasn’t too keen on going to her reunion anyway. For her senior year, she was sent to public school because she “sort of had a fight with the rabbi, and they asked me not to come back. So I went to public high school for my senior year, and that’s the school I graduated from. I didn’t really know anybody. I was one of the newest kids in the school in my senior year, so I was friends with all the freshmen. I wouldn’t have gone even if they had found me.”

Rena’s decision to do this movie was all about the story. “It was the first movie where there was just no drama — running away from a murderer, covering up a vicious secret or somebody trying to kill me — it was just a lovely love story. I was excited to just have a nice time.”

Unlike Grace, Rena didn’t have a childhood sweetheart. “I didn’t experience the one-who-got-away kind of thing. I could empathize with her in the sense that she’s a woman who had a relationship that fell apart and her priority is her son and her career. All of a sudden this curve ball is thrown in of the possibility of opening your heart to something that could be crushing — or it could be wonderful.

“Do you take that risk when things are just fine? Are they great? Maybe not; they’re just fine. Is just fine what we expect in life, or do we look for greatness? She takes a great leap of faith.”

Working with Dean McDermott, aka Tori Spelling’s husband, was great. “We had a great time. We had a lot of fun. There were a few days where the cameras were following us for their reality show, which was not intrusive in any way. He wasn’t a big diva — he was really nice. I have no complaints.”

She also got to work with television legend Barbara Eden, who played her mom: “She is just lovely. What a lovely lady, really! She’s so sweet and so kind. We were all smiles every time she would come on set. I mean, here is this huge icon standing next to me playing my mom, and I was just like, ‘Wow!’”

A big theme of the movie is second chances, especially for Grace and Michael. So, does Rena believe in second chances? “Forgiveness is a great quality to have. When people take responsibility for their actions, then forgiveness should be given in most situations. I do believe in second chances.”

B&B: Such a Tease!

•Thorne (Winsor Harmon, pictured) is forced to keep a secret.
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•Brooke has a change of heart about Bill.

•Katie makes the same promise to two people. Which one will she keep?

•A couple gets engaged.

•Owen and Jackie plan to make an addition to their family.

Y&R: Such a Tease!

•Billy makes Phyllis a stunning proposition.
­
•Ashley and Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott, pictured) face off over Victor.

•Deacon learns who his next targets are, but will he continue to play the game that his mystery employer has started?

•When Sharon brings Ashley a few things for her baby, a twist of fate may bring her face-to-face with her daughter.

ATWT: Such a Tease!

•Jack (Michael Park, pictured) learns of Rosanna and Craig's affair.

•Katie goes into labor.

•Liberty is dealt a devastating blow.

•Henry tries to fix his mistakes.

Catch Up on Being Erica

Season 2 of Being Erica premieres January 20 on SOAPnet. But for those of you who missed Season 1 of the show, now's your chance to catch up. Believe me, you don't want to miss this smart, funny and touching comedy/drama.

Start by reading my interview with star Erin Karpluk. Then, catch up on encores of the show on SOAPnet, which will begin airing Saturdays beginning Oct. 17 at 5PM/4c and Sundays at 11PM/10c.

SOAPnet.com is also airing Being Erica webisodes. Every weekday leading to the 17th, you can catch two installments of the Web series here.

Vacation Like a Soap Star

We've all wanted to vacation like a soap star. Whether it's being treated to gorgeous scenery, amazing historical sites and astounding food, we all deserve a little extravagance and elegance. We've discovered you can get just that at hotel napoli.

Hotel Napoli is an elegant hotel and conference center in the center of Naples, Italy. It's positioned in a very strategic location close the train station and the major city attractions. It's the perfect place to visit Napoli (Naples), Pompei and Capri.

In Naples, visit the main city square, the Piazza del Plebiscito. Nearby is the Teatro di San Carlo, which is the oldest and largest opera house on the Italian peninsula. Directly across from San Carlo is Galleria Umberto, a shopping centre and active centre of Neapolitan social life in general. Naples is well-known for its historic castles, like the ancient Castel Nuovo. Naples also hosts a wealth of historical museums and some of the most important in the country.

Nearby is the city of Pompei, which is mainly famous for the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii, located in the frazione of Pompei Scavi. The central basilica, dedicated to Madonna del Rosario di Pompei, has become a site for Catholic pilgrimages in recent years. It houses a canvas by Luca Giordano.

Don't forget to take a day trip to the resort town of Capri (remember, summers are usually the most crowded and touristy). The hotel napoli centro really is central to everything here.

You won't want for anything when you book here. You will feel right at home staying at the Ramada hotel naples italy. They have all the comforts you are used to with Ramada — professional and helpful staff, gorgeous and spacious rooms, and every amenity you could possibly need — with the added benefit of being situated right in the middle of all the activity.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Days: Such a Tease!

NEXT WEEK:

•Melanie and Nathan are forced to keep their relationship a secret.

•Philip blasts Kate for interfering with his love life.

•Brady’s surprise date for Arianna almost backfires.

•Carly injects Rafe (Galen Gering, pictured) with stolen meds.

•Sami gives Nicole money to leave Salem with Sydney.

Thursday – Maggie walks in on an intimate moment between Melanie and Nathan.

Friday – Stefano discovers that EJ has learned Nicole’s secret.

Jonathan Jackson Is Back!

The soap world was a-buzz at the end of last month with the news that Jonathan Jackson (pictured left, photo credit Carol Kaelson/ABC) was back in as Lucky Spencer on General Hospital, and Greg Vaughan was out. I spoke with Jonathan last week about his return to the show. The interview will be printed in its entirety on Oct. 23, but for now, here's a bit of the interview to whet your appetite:

Acting alongside old friends helped smooth the transition for Jonathan. “Working with Tony (Geary, Luke Spencer) was really awesome,” he reveals. “It was a fun dynamic having that history with him, and yet it’s been about 10 years since we’ve actually worked together. And yet everything was right there. The same goes for working with Becky (Herbst, Elizabeth Webber) — I was able to settle in really quickly.”

In respect to the Lucky/Elizabeth/Nikolas love triangle, Jonathan is eager to see where it all ends up. “I am jumping into a moving stream when it comes to all of that. There is definitely a lot of tension there to work with, and it’ll be interesting to see how the whole thing plays out.”


Jonathan is eager to get back to basics as far as Lucky’s family and love life is concerned. “There’s a lot available to work with. The relationship with Luke, there’s a lot that could happen there. And I am a big fan of the love story between Lucky and Elizabeth, so there’s a lot of potential there for tapping into some of those original elements we had going.”

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Y&R: Such a Tease!

•Daniel turns the tables on Deacon with the help of an unexpected source.

•Nick and Sharon say goodbye to their daughter together. Could this lead them to repeat old mistakes or have they finally moved on?

•In the wake of all that has happened, will Ashley follow through on her threat to leave Victor?

•Billy (Billy Miller, pictured) and Chloe face off to prove to each other that they have moved on but will their games end up backfiring on them?

•Adam is given the opportunity to return to Newman Enterprises but it isn’t the dream job he had hoped for. Will he turn down Victor’s generous offer or make the most of it?

B&B: Such a Tease!

•Katie (Heather Tom, pictured) confronts Bill about his intentions towards her.
­
•Jackie sees Steffy as an interference.

•Stephanie is ready to give up.

•Owen makes a major decision about his future.

•Steffy makes a confession to Taylor.

ATWT: Such a Tease!

•Liberty falls back into old habits.

•Jessica arrives to give Bonnie some advice.

•Parker discovers Rosanna and Craig’s secret.

•Vienna (Ewa Da Cruz, pictured) is shocked to find Barbara in her bed!

Meet and Greet With Bryan Dattilo

Meet Soap Star Bryan Dattilo (Lucas, Days of Our Lives)

WHAT:
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fans to meet one of daytime soap's hottest stars, Bryan Dattilo who plays Lucas on Days of Our Lives.

Bryan will be in McDonough, Georgia, as part of Soap Opera Digest magazine's "Shop Like a Soap Star" national tour. The star will be signing autographs and posing for pictures with his fans.

WHEN:

Saturday, October 17th from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

WHERE:
Wal-Mart Supercenter #3201
135 Willow Lane
McDonough, GA 30253

COST:
Free

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rebecca Budig Is Back!

ABC has confirmed that Rebecca Budig is returning to All My Children as Greenlee Smythe. She was presumed dead last February when Kendall ran Greenlee's motorcycle off the road. Headwriter Charles Pratt Jr. confirmed: "Greenlee didn't die but is being cared for by Nurse Gayle in Gloucester on orders from Dr. David Hayward."

Eric Braeden Says Goodbye to Genoa City

It has been whispered about for weeks, and now it is official: Eric Braeden who has starred as Victor Newman on the #1 rated soap The Young and the Restless, a role he originated in February 1980, has departed the soap after being asked to take a huge salary cut in the middle of his contract.

While it is not unusual in these economic times to ask to take a salary cut when renegotiating one's contract (see Jess Walton and Melody Thomas Scott), it's quite unheard of to be asked to take a pay cut on an already determined salary, and in the middle of one's contract.

I'll be talking with Eric later this week about it, and will bring you the full story ASAP!

Interview: Catching Up With Courtney Thorne-Smith

Courtney Thorne-Smith (pictured left, photos courtesy Lifetime Television) is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Allison Parker on the popular nighttime soap opera Melrose Place from 1992 to 1997. She then honed her comedic chops on the ABC sitcom According to Jim from 2001 to 2009. Now she is starring in an original Lifetime Television movie called Sorority Wars, playing Lutie Snow, a woman who desperately wants her college freshman daughter, Katie, to join the sorority she co-founded, the Delta house.

Courtney was excited to try something new with Jim ending its eight-year run. She reveals: “Doing Sorority Wars was really fun — it has a lot of good stories within the movie. When I first read it, I thought it was sort of a lark, but once I started working on it, I started noticing all the stories about friendship, the mother-daughter relationship and being true to yourself. I thought, ‘Wow, it’s actually really good.’ I was really impressed the more I got into it.”

Playing the mom to a college-age daughter was a new challenge for Courtney, and she was more than happy to take it on. “I played the young ingénue for so long, and when you’re the ingénue, you are the grounding, normal person in a sea of crazies. With Lutie — well, “crazy” is a strong word — she is really neurotic, and she lives in the past.

“She is still so involved with her sorority; it’s like she thinks she is still in the sorority. It’s the most important thing in her life besides her daughter. She’s really tightly wound, and I liked that I’d really got to play a character. It was so much fun for me.”

Was it difficult for Courtney to tap into a part of herself to be able to empathize with Lutie’s obsession with her old sorority and her daughter’s future place in it? “It was hard until I realized that Lutie wanted this to be something that she shared with her daughter. Her sorority was where she felt most important and the fact that if her daughter didn’t make that same choice, then what would they share?

“Lutie never created anything else for herself in later life. She feels rejected when her daughter doesn’t want what she has to offer — and it’s heartbreaking when you think about it that way.”

Courtney enjoyed acting with her co-star, Lucy Hale, who plays her daughter, Katie. Lucy is best known for her role on the critically acclaimed and now-defunct comedy-drama “Privileged.” Courtney gushes: “She is so solid. I kept telling her, ‘Don’t worry about getting another series; you’re going to be a movie star!’ Her work is very honest. And she’s so smart. She’s going to go far — mark my words!”

While Courtney did have fun on the set, it also was a sort of learning experience for her. “What I learned from Lutie is that you really have to keep your life going, keep it on a forward path. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to give everything to my son, because I do, but you need to have a full life. It doesn’t help you to get stuck in the past.

“It’s like, what if I were still wearing my Melrose Place baseball cap and asking people to call me Allison? It wouldn’t work. I’ve moved on. Even though with the new Melrose Place, it’s HARD to move on. You just have to move on and keep your life going in a positive direction.”

You can see for yourself that Courtney Thorne-Smith has moved on in her new movie, Sorority Wars, which premieres Oct. 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the Lifetime Television network.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

B&B: Such a Tease!

•Stephanie (Susan Flannery, pictured) learns the truth about her condition.

•Bill warns of a hostile takeover.

•Katie takes a stand against her sisters.

•Steffy spills Stephanie’s secret.

•Eric takes drastic measures to save his company.

ATWT: Such a Tease!

•Paul (Roger Howarth, pictured) is bothered by Meg's odd behavior.
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•Lily is left speechless when Holden comes home.

•Luke is disappointed when Noah misses an important moment.

•Liberty struggles with Janet's offer.