Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Interview: Alina Adams Brings Soaps Into the Digital Age

While you might not know Alina Adams by name (yet), you do know her by her body of work. She’s worn many hats in the soap-opera community, including writer, host, content producer, developer, etc. She’s authored soap-opera tie-in books “Oakdale Confidential,” “The Man From Oakdale” and “Jonathan’s Story,” and is also the woman behind the “Another World” website, which has carried the show on into the 21st century even though the NBC version was canceled in 1999. Alina is also the writer of Mindy Lewis Bauer’s Twitter feed (twitter.com/MindyLewisBauer), the writings of the popular “Guiding Light” character, who chronicles the ongoing drama that’s still happening in Springfield, after “Guiding Light’s” 2009 cancellation.

Perhaps most forward-looking of all Alina’s projects is the development of enhanced electronic books which, in addition to standard text, features video, music, graphics and links relevant to the story. An enhanced e-book can be experienced on tablets, iPads, smartphones and computers — all you need is an Internet connection and a free Kindle app. I spoke with Alina recently about electronic innovations and the future of soaps.

Daytime Dial: One of your first interactive projects in the genre was to bring “Another World” back via storytelling on AnotherWorldToday.com. How did you decide on the format in which to bring it back?

Alina Adams: TeleNext had put up reruns of “Another World” on hulu.com. It was 2009, exactly 10 years after the show had gone off the air. I suggested we do some out-of-the-box thinking. Instead of just telling people: “Here are some reruns. Watch these episodes,” we’ll update the story. Let’s work with the characters that were in the episodes that they were showing and use the episodes on Hulu as flashbacks, and combine text and video in a completely new multimedia format.

DD: And then when you incorporated Mindy with that by having her refer to “AW” on her Twitter feed, that was a great tie-in.

AA: Everybody loves a crossover! You could either pick up new readers — or in this case, new followers — or you won’t. It’s highly unlikely you would lose anyone as a result of it. So it’s a win-win situation.

DD: Mindy’s “Guiding Light” Twitter started as a promotion for the 25th high-school reunion of the Four Musketeers (Phillip, Beth, Rick and Mindy), and you guys decided to keep it going. Back then, it was affiliated with “Guiding Light,” but you’ve decided to continue it on your own since the show’s cancellation.

AA: TeleNext knows this is going on. They can’t officially sanction it, but they are not taking it down. It says right there on the profile: “This is no longer affiliated with TeleNext.”

DD: I also love the interactive quality of Mindy’s Twitter, where she asks her followers for advice on what to do in certain situations.

AA: Twitter is terrific that way. It creates immediacy and intimacy. And believe me, the fans definitely have their opinions on how things should be handled, and they aren’t afraid to voice it.

DD: Tell me about your enhanced electronic book “Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime’s Greatest Moments.”

AA: I reached out to the fans on transmedia — Facebook, Twitter, fan clubs, soap sites — and I asked them to tell me their favorite, most memorable moment from the beginning of soaps until now. I received a wonderful avalanche of responses. Once I compiled those lists, I went to either the actor, writer or producer who was involved in the scene, and I got the story of how the scene came together.

For example, after Linda Dano tells you about what it was like to shoot the intervention scenes on “Another World,” there the scene is — you can click a button on your tablet and watch it. I developed the idea as a fan and as a consumer. If you’re reading a book that’s telling you about something great that happened, you want to see it right then, and we now have the technology to make that happen.

Read more about Alina Adams and her innovations for the future of soaps at alinaadams.com. And if you need a belated gift for the soap lover in your family, go to amazon.com and order “Soap Opera 451” for immediate download.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Interview (Days): Deidre Hall Knows Beauty

We all know Deidre Hall as the brilliant and gorgeous Dr. Marlena Evans on “Days of Our Lives,” who she’s played for the better part of 35 years (with a few years off here and there to work on different projects). And in those 35 years, plus the time she spent as a model before that, you can bet she’s learned a trick or two about beauty. So she and longtime friend Lynne Parmiter Bowman have written all their beauty nuggets down for the masses in the book “How Does She Do It? A Beauty Book.” (Available at amazon.com. Or you can go to deidrehall.com for details on how you can order an autographed and/or personalized copy.)

Daytime Dial: What made you decide that now was the time to write a beauty book?

Deidre Hall: Lynne and I wrote “Kitchen Closeup,” and that was fun. But what I know is beauty. It seemed a little bit daunting at the time, writing up a beauty book, but then it just all really came together, and that was it. I figured, I’ve done 35 years in front of a camera, so, if I haven’t learned a thing or two about beauty, then I should just pack up my tent.

DD: You collaborated with Lynne to write this book — how did your partnership in writing come about?

DH: It doesn’t feel like working with her, and that’s the truth. We talked earlier about having spent so much time together [while working on “Kitchen Closeup”] sitting around the kitchen table and her stirring and me writing, or her writing and me stirring. We’ve shared these kinds of health issues and food issues for so long that it was natural to write that book.


And then it was natural to write the beauty book, because we also spent that amount of time in front of a mirror. “Oh, what’s that color? Where did you get that? I want one of those!” It’s what women do. Women share the wealth. And we’ve spent a lifetime doing that. And finally we thought, “You know what, we seem to know a lot about things that people don’t seem to really know about.” And so that’s what it was. It was fun, fun to put it down on paper, and it was a labor of love.

DD: One of the things I like about the book is that the advice and tips you give are good for twentysomethings, thirtysomethings, fortysomethings and beyond. Was that a goal of yours, to reach out to many age groups, or did you have a specific group in mind when you set out to write this book?

DH: Part of our conversation in writing the book was saying there’s nothing for women over 50 out there! They care! We all care! Why are there not beauty secrets for women who have sagging skin and lined skin and dry skin and that sort of thing? We wanted to make sure that that was also included in what we wrote.

DD: I know some people, myself not included, are critical of plastic surgery, saying that it’s “cheating” in some way. What are your thoughts on plastic surgery?

DH: I love it! I love that we have an option of changing the way we look if it makes us feel better. And it’s just as simple as that. There’s no judgment on it. There is no criticism of it. It’s a wonderful option for people who want to take it. The No. 1 surgery in this country is breast augmentation. Women spend more on that than any other surgery combined.

DD: While this is a beauty book, it’s also a good self-esteem booster for women, kind of empowering. Was that one of your intentions when you were writing it?

DH: We didn’t set out to change women. We just set out to sit down with them and say: “Honey, come here. I want to share something with you.” Wow, that’s a complicated question. We know that women at their very core like to share the neat stuff. So, that’s what we meant to do. Just share with women everywhere the things we’ve learned over many years.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Interview: Catching up with Claire Coffee

Claire Coffee, photo by Whit Anderson
Daytime fans will remember Claire Coffee for her two-year stint on “General Hospital” as Nadine Crowell, the nice sister of crazy nurse Jolene. Now she is pulling double lawyer duty: as a demon lawyer on NBC’s “Grimm” and a regular lawyer on TNT’s “Franklin & Bash.” I spoke with her recently about her roles, and the vast difference between the two.

Daytime Dial: “Grimm,” which is a modern-day retelling of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales,” is very inventive and super scary. What about the show caught your attention and made you really want the part of reaper/assassin/lawyer Adalind Schade?

Claire Coffee: I think the look of the show is so neat. They combined a lot of elements that people are familiar with, but it’s also kind of police procedural with fairy-tale elements. I just really like the whole idea of the show. I like the genre of television in terms of what I want to watch myself. As for my character, I really wanted this one because I’ve never gotten to play any sort of supernatural character before. I’ve played lawyers before, and she’s a lawyer, but I’ve never played an evil witch who has fight scenes and kills people. I got to put some new special skills on my resume through this job.

DD: What’s good about this concept is you have so many Grimm’s tales to choose from — conceivably, the show could go on for decades!

CC: That’s what’s so great. I’ve been reading a lot of the “Grimm’s Fairy Tales,” and I think the ones that we are all familiar with are certainly the best of the bunch, but there are hundreds. They are all very moralistic tales. In the morals of the stories, the characters die or get killed or eaten constantly. It’s not for the Disney Channel — that’s for sure.

DD: Can you give me some clues as to what is coming up later in the season?

CC: The show’s going to be exploring this new world that Nick (Burkhardt, played by David Giuntoli) is coming to and the politics of this magical realm — who’s good and who’s bad — and the unpredictability of not knowing where people stand.

DD: Now, what about “Franklin & Bash”? I know you recently started shooting for the second season.

CC: I do know a little bit about what’s going to happen. Fun times ahead; that’s all I can say.

DD: You play lawyer Janie Ross in “F&B,” but I’d say she’s a different kind of lawyer altogether from your “Grimm” character.

CC: Oh yeah — I wear similar suits, but the bad guys are VERY different.

DD: It must be fun for you to get to play two completely different characters like this, at the same time.

CC: It’s really fun. It’s fun to have two jobs, first and foremost. I’m very grateful for that. I feel very lucky that both sets are so pleasant to work on, with people who are really cooperative and have a great sense of humor. That’s a plus.

DD: You are living the dream of almost every girl who grew up in the ’90s by starring with Mark-Paul Gosselaar and James Van Der Beek.

CC: Including myself! It’s too bad I didn’t get a job like this when I first came to town — or maybe it’s a good thing, because I probably would have lost my mind. Mark-Paul and James are similar in that they’re total pros. They know how to work, but they also know that it’s all about the team, and they are very good at being helpful. It’s funny, they get mistaken for each other a lot. We did a joke about that on one of the episodes.

DD: What are some funny moments on the set?

CC: There was one scene where my character and James’ character, who plays my boyfriend, get in a fight, and I run off and the camera holds on James. He says: “Can we please just not hold on this tight angle of me watching a girl walk away?” Because all of “Dawson’s Creek” you could make a montage of Dawson looking, weeping, watching a girl walk away. That was pretty funny.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interview: Catching Up With Tim Griffin

Tim Griffin is one of those actors who you’ve probably seen in just about everything. The classic “Everyman,” Tim has been on "General Hospital," "24," “Party of Five,” “Grey’s Anatomy," "Cold Case," "Bones," Lie to Me" and ”ER.” He's also starred on the big screen, most recently in “Abduction,” “Fair Game,” “Super 8,” and “The Men Who Stare at Goats.” And now, you can catch him weekly on NBC’s “Prime Suspect” as Det. Augie Blando. I spoke with Tim recently about Det. Blando and how much fun he and the rest of the cast are having working on “Prime Suspect.”

Daytime Dial: When you first heard that the British hit “Prime Suspect” was going to be remade for American audiences, were you a bit apprehensive about how fans would receive the new show?

Tim Griffin: It wasn’t really until we started doing the initial press work that I realized, “OK, this is a sacred institution,” because I was a huge fan of the British series, too. It’s almost like a trial by fire that you have to go through. Can it be envisioned, reimagined with an American voice? Our partners are the original producers of the original “Prime Suspect,” so we have that entire canon of scripts at our disposal, and we have Peter Berg [as the executive producer and director]. It’s like its own new animal.”

DD: That’s very smart to do it that way, rather than trying to remake the British series, verbatim, you create your own niche with the original as your guideline.

TG: Right. That’s when it’s successful. If you look at shows like “The Office.” You can’t get more beloved than Ricky Gervais and the original “Office.” But I’m a huge fan of the American “Office.” I did “Leatherheads” with John Krasinski for four months. I think he’s one of the funniest people on the planet, and he’s not even one of the funniest people on that show. It’s just like they’ve created this quirky animal that’s so them. I can’t imagine it not set in Scranton, Pa.

And it’s the same thing with our show. This thing was such a perfect fit for Manhattan Homicide, but I think it’s also brilliant as a fan of the show. It’s not like they just used the title “Prime Suspect” and threw away the entire canon. There was an episode where the remnants of a murder in a storage facility were discovered, which was registered to the killer’s mother. Well, that’s right out of the original “Prime Suspect,” where you had this crazy, Joan Crawford-type mother who’s protecting her son. The son seems completely normal on the outside, but he’s got something about him — both Helen Mirren’s character in the original and Maria Bello’s character in our show can see something is off with this guy. When I see that, I can tell as a fan of the original show that they used that plot device, but they retold it in such a way that it’s almost like you’re not even aware that you’re watching sort of a tribute to something that came before. I am very happy that they are our partners, and that we have access to those brilliant cases and scripts.

DD: Tell me about your character, Detective Blando.

TG: The funny thing is, this wasn’t even the part that I was originally read for. And now looking back on it, I can’t imagine playing any other character. He is sort of like the class clown of the squad. All of these people have a dark humorous streak to them, because there is no way to do this job without a sense of humor. It doesn’t mean I’m any less effective as a homicide detective, just the guy who will always employ my natural personality. As an actor, I am normally brought in to do the heavy dramatic lifting or just outright comedy, so it’s nice to do a nuanced character like this. I’ve rarely gotten to do something that really sort of blends both. I don’t know if it’s because they saw that character in me or they tailored the character to fit my personality. It’s probably a little bit of both. I originally read for Kirk Acevedo’s character, who was originally named Detective Carter, but I can’t imagine anybody else playing Detective Calderon.

DD: The entire cast that Peter Berg has assembled for “Prime Suspect” is really phenomenal. What is it like working with them?

TG: We were amazed that they had assembled that cast, because normally you’ll get a couple of luminaries — you’ll get an Aidan Quinn and a Maria Bello, and they’ll populate the rest of the show with nonthreatening pretty people. But Pete was adamant that he wanted every single character to hearken back to shows like “Hill Street Blues” or “NYPD Blue,” where everybody has a distinct voice. So they went out and hired probably the most accomplished cast I’ve ever been a part of. Pete Berg and Alex Cunningham were given carte blanche to hire the best actors. Hopefully they’re not sitting there thinking, “We should have gotten more pretty people.”

DD: What is life on the set like?

TG: We had an episode that aired a few weeks ago where we’re trying to destroy the killer’s ironclad alibi. He checks in at this restaurant at, let’s say, 10 minutes past the hour. He makes a call from his phone, and then it’s surmised that he might have made it from the restaurant to the murder site where he dumps the body. Is it physically possible to do this with New York traffic? Maria speculates, what if he ran it? Then they have me, Kirk (Acevedo) and Maria all run the route. That was such a fun day. We were all just riffing on each other all day long, and then we go into a bar afterward and have a few cocktails.

DD: You’ve been fortunate to have had quite a varied acting career so far. Has that been your intention, or the luck of the audition?

TG: I will tell you, I didn’t go out to do it intentionally. I think it comes with the volume of work that I’ve done. I do strive to not be pigeonholed. But I’ll tell you, there are certain characters that if you are going to be known for something, you’d better be proud of it, and this is one of those characters. Hopefully in five years I won’t be like, “If one more person calls me Augie, I’m going to punch him in the face.”

You know who I love, who I feel is absolutely brilliant? Jared Leto. I am a huge fan of all of David Fincher’s films, and when I saw Jared in “Panic Room,” I was like, “This is the kid from ‘My So-Called Life’?” Can you imagine if that was the only thing he ever did, and everybody called him Jordan Catalano? When I saw the video for “The Kill” (by Jared’s band, Thirty Seconds to Mars), I was like, this better not be that pretty boy. Do you really have to be an amazing rock ‘n’ roll musician too? There are certain people who are just ridiculously talented, and God bless him, he’s one of them. Let him go conquer every arena in the world. I’m just going to stick to acting.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Interview ( Days): Christie Clark Is Counting Her Lucky Stars

As viewers of “Days of Our Lives” have been noticing, old faces are new again. With the influx of veteran actors reclaiming their space in Salem in recent months, one can’t walk through Horton Square without tripping over Jack, Marlena, John, Austin or Carrie. Christie Clark, who returned in September to her role of Carrie Brady-Reed, is thrilled to be back home on the set — a little older, a little wiser and ready to have some fun.

Daytime Dial: What made you decide that this was the right time to come back to “Days”? I know you came back earlier for Alice, but what convinced you that now was the time to return with more permanence?

Christie Clark: Well, (executive producers) Greg (Meng) and Noel (Maxam) are manning the ship, and they have a ton of heart, and they really want to make the show succeed. You can tell there is something different in the air this time around. It’s really inspiring to work with, when the writing is good and the character development is great. It inspires all the actors and trickles down, and it’s just positive energy galore at “Days” right now. All the actors are inspiring me to do good work.


And now we have 15 weeks off a year, and it used to be that we would work crazy hours, like 70 to 80 hours a week. We would get to work at 6 in the morning and sometimes leave at midnight. Now they are kind enough to bulk my shows into three days, so I get to spend time with my family in San Francisco on my days off.

DD: I know you have young children, so it’s great that they are able to accommodate you to be able to see them a lot.

CC: Oh, yeah. It’s a dream job. I’m eating humble pie now, because I have two or three days of being a little soap star and cruising in my two-seat convertible, and then I fly home and I’m back on diaper duty and dishes. Right now I’m living what all the people who watch “Days of Our Lives” are living, and I’m just counting my lucky stars.

DD: You and I are the same age, and I started watching “Days” around ’90 or ’91 — right after high school — and to me, those were the glory days. And looking back, you can see that was a really great time for the show, so I was really excited when I found out all these people were coming back to recapture the magic of that time. What were your thoughts when you heard about that idea?

CC: I am right there with you. I feel like it was the glory days too, but that’s because I was working a lot, and I was enjoying those story lines. But so many people come up to me and say that “I started watching it in early ’91-’92 and my whole sorority or my whole sewing class watched it.” People would get together as a group and watch it and talk about it. And it seemed popular then, so when they approached us about getting all that back — the romance and the light and the airiness and the beauty — of course I was all for it! I love working, so if they are going to try to touch on when I thought it was the best, then great! Sign me up!

DD: What were those first few days back like for you — stepping on the set and seeing everybody again?

CC: It was a trip. It's like a funny dream being back in the same place and with the actors that you worked with 16 years ago. Like with Patrick (Muldoon, who plays Austin). We feel the same age, we feel that it's been no time at all, but that was a long time ago! It's weird, but hopefully we've grown up a little bit and matured a bit. It's like riding a bike. I was nervous the first day, thinking, "Can I memorize these lines again?" And that muscle memory is still there for memorizing lines, and it's still the same faces in the crew. Like, Jackie is still on the boom; Mike and Johnny are still behind the camera. People never leave "Days," because it's such a good job. And I'd say 85 percent of the people who work there now, I know them and have worked with them for 20 years.

DD: Now we have the story line of Carrie defending John, which has her at odds with Austin, who isn't so sure of his innocence — because we need some drama. What can you divulge about how it will take its toll on their relationship?

CC: It's something that Carrie's never seen with Austin before, because he had a terrible upbringing, and family has always been a big thing for him. And for him to suddenly not see that and not react the "right" way is irking Carrie, and it breaks her heart. I just want to shake him to wake him up and say, "What are you doing?" So that definitely creates friction, but it doesn't break us up — at the moment.

DD: And it doesn't help now that Austin is living with Sami.

CC: That doesn't help at all! I don't like that one bit!

DD: They have always had this rivalry, Sami and Carrie. When you first came back and everybody is all grown up and mature — I was afraid that you weren't going to have that rivalry again. So, I'm really glad that we're starting to see that emerge. The path is being set.

CC: There's just been too much bad blood. You can't just forget it, and the writers are doing a wonderful job of acknowledging that. I think in the past I've come back, and I have completely forgiven Sami. To me as an actor it's like, "I can't do that!" And now these writers are really doing a fabulous job of expressing that rivalry. I tell Austin: "I don't like you staying with her. I don't trust her." I want to trust my sister, but I don't yet.

DD: You have two daughters in real life, and you on the show do not have any children. I think you are the only female of childbearing age who doesn't. Last we heard, you guys were going to try to start a family. Has there been any discussion of your trying to do that, or is that something that is way in the future?

CC: I think they will definitely do something with that in the future — there's been a good amount of practicing.

DD: And you've got to catch up with Sami. She's got like what, 12 kids by now?

CC: I know — she's got four! It's crazy! I've got some catching up to do. Maybe I'll bust out some twins to kick-start the whole thing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interview (Days): Sarah Brown Returns to Daytime

Sarah Brown is no stranger to daytime soap operas. The 36-year-old award-winning actress has been a part of many of daytime’s casts, including “General Hospital” (as two different characters at two different times), “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “As the World Turns.” Since she’s made her mark at ABC and CBS, it’s only natural that the time has come for her to conquer NBC and join “Days of Our Lives.” Sarah made her debut a few weeks back as Sami’s new boss, Madison James. I spoke with Sarah recently, and she told me all about her new role.

Daytime Dial: I was very excited to hear you’d be coming back to daytime, especially in a role like that of Madison James. What can you tell me about your character?

Sarah Brown: Madison is a tough cookie. She’s got a very strong sense of who she is and what she’s in town to do, which is take over the world, basically. She’s come to Salem, and she wants all of Kate Roberts’ business (Countess Wilhemina Cosmetics). She’s a tough CEO in the sense that she’s a businesswoman. She knows, she researches, she does her homework, and she speaks all the languages that she possibly can to help develop strong relationships between herself and her distributors. She works all the time. She doesn’t really have much of a personal life. She’s there to work and to succeed and to build and grow her business bigger and bigger. She’s smart enough to know how to deal with both women and men in the business world.

DD: How did the “Days” cast welcome you to the fold?

SB: They just made me feel so at home. I came into the make-up room, and every person in there that was working or not working took the time to say, “Hey, we’re really excited you’re here,” “Welcome to ‘Days of our Lives,’” and “You’re going to have fun here.” Everyone here is wonderful. It’s a great place to come to work.

DD: In your daytime career, you’ve played lots of different types of characters. So far, what do you like best about playing Madison?

SB: I love that she’s a fashionista. I like wearing pretty clothes when I go to work, because I run around in my jeans and T-shirt all the time, so I like having that time in my day where I get to get all made up, put on pretty jewelry and be super girly that way. It’s fun because when you are running around in your day-to-day life, sometimes you forget to do that or you don’t have time.

I also really like the idea of playing a businesswoman who is conducting legal business and sort of getting to shine a light on how the world is changing around us, and how women are more and more in a position of power — how they handle it, how they are treated and how they have to work twice as hard all the time and be twice as good at everything they do in order to be taken seriously.

DD: Now, what about these sparks we are seeing between Madison and Brady?

SB: She can’t be all business. Nope, there’s got to be drama and romance, romance, romance. Yeah, there’s a big spark between her and Brady. It’s there immediately and it stays, and it’s underneath everything while they’re trying to run this company. Right now she’s more interested in building her business and building her company, but she’s super attracted to this person she works with. I think it bothers her a little bit. And it causes some problems for her, both personally and professionally.

Friday, October 28, 2011

First Day on the Set of Dallas

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Interview (Days): Jack Is Back — And He Wants Jennifer!

As part of the rejuvenation and regeneration of “Days of Our Lives,” yet another familiar face has returned to Salem, and “Days” enthusiasts couldn’t be more excited. Matthew Ashford has returned to town, after being held prisoner in Afghanistan while working on a story, and plans to reclaim his life — ex-wife Jennifer and daughter Abigail included. Of course, it won’t be easy, as nothing is on soaps, but I’ve got my money on Jack Deveraux’s ability to charm his way back into his family’s life. I spoke with Matt recently about his return to Salem.

Daytime Dial: I know you’ve kept busy doing other projects and televisions series, so how did it come about that “Days” producers were able to lure you back to the show?

Matthew Ashford: I had gone in some years back and had a good conversation with the producers at that time, and they were very upfront. They told me, “We really like you, love your work,” and all that good stuff, but they didn’t have anything available for me at the time. They were actually trying to clear the deck a little bit anyway. I appreciated the honesty, because it’s better than them saying things they think you want to hear, but then nothing comes of it. I understood that, so I kind of moved on.

It started up not too long ago, Jack’s name had been coming up in dialogue — Jack’s doing this; Jack’s doing that — but still no call on my end. Then kind of out of the blue, I get a phone call and they ask: “Are you around? What’s your schedule? What’s your level of interest?” And I was interested. They said: “We have a story that we are interested in writing. We think there’s some really exciting things we can do with the character of Jack.”

DD: As an actor, that’s always good to know.

MA: Exactly! That’s what I’m looking to hear. They have written some really fun stuff, some very challenging things, and that’s what brought me back. There’s a lot of great stuff coming — they have definitely been true to their word. They are interested in the character of Jack. It’s a far more complicated playing field now with Jennifer and this Dr. Dan, and Abigail is now a grown young woman who has her own wants and needs. So coming to terms with that, and then there’s other people in town that I’m just starting to get to play with, which is all very, very cool.

DD: I never did buy the story that Jack was “on a walkabout” to find himself. I knew he had another, better reason for leaving his family. I’d say being held hostage is a good reason. Now that Jack is back, what does he hope to accomplish?

MA: He’s come back to regain his life. That’s the reason everybody comes back to Salem, to regain their life. He has always wanted Jennifer, and I think he’s honest and sincere when he says that. Melissa (Reeves, who plays Jennifer) just returned to the show with the passing of Alice, and I think the audience was like: “Yeah, we like this. We like seeing her again. She’s got roots here, and we like those roots.” I just think those characters are important. They are important to the story. They’re important as characters.

DD: Jack has a way of coming back into Jennifer’s life just when she has decided to start over and commit to another man …

MA: That’s kind of funny, isn’t it? How’d that work out? I would think that would be highly annoying to any girl. At least Jennifer has never used the word “stalker,” but I guess you could say in some way he’s a wife stalker.

But he’s back to find his life in Salem again. The writers want to dig into the who, what, when, why and where of everybody, and they’re not afraid to look at old story lines and go from there. But they also are bringing to it a new look, a fresh perspective and excitement and energy, and they are willing to look at things a little differently. I’m excited to say that there are things that will be brought up and you will say, “Oh wow, I didn’t think we’d get into that.” And we are, and it’s good.

DD: With this return to its roots, “Days” fans old and new are very excited to see what’s in store for them, and for their favorite characters.

MA: It’s very good because a longtime viewer will say: “Yes! I remember that!” And a younger viewer might say: “Well, that’s kind of weird. What’s that all about?” But hopefully it will be told in such a way that the younger viewer and the longtime viewer will be able to come together. And that is what I think is the smart thing to do: Let people enjoy their passion for the show together. When Ken Corday talks about how this is a family show, it’s every generation of people sitting down together saying, “Yeah! I like that,” or “That was really important when I was your age too.” It’s all very exciting.

DD: It also must be exciting, and complimentary to you as an actor, that “Days” wanted you to return to help roll out the new/old “Days of Our Lives.” Looking back, you’ve been involved in most of the more-fun and fan-favorite story lines.

MA: I just think we found a level of communication and trust, and that, for us, was paramount. Some of the other stuff was window dressing. Oh they (Jack and Jennifer) were on a cruise, or stuck in a cabin in a snowstorm, or in a train, or in a Wild West show, or wherever the heck we were. I think the important thing is the connection between these characters with all the roadblocks they threw up in between. So, yes, I’m eager to do that. I think we have had some wonderful scenes already. It doesn’t mean that they are happy. It doesn’t mean that the scenes are easy, but there is definitely a connection. I’ve had to rely on Missy very much as we’re jumping back into this, and she’s been wonderful in supporting me. Just jumping in, it takes two to tango, and fortunately she’s been very supportive and very helpful.

DD: Jack always seems to be getting himself into something — please tell me that won’t change.

MA: Oh yes, I hope he continues to get into something. I hope he never gives that up. He’s always trying something. Some people say you can’t be goofy and bumbling and also be taken seriously, but I hope we don’t have to make it a strong distinction between the two, because he’s overcoming obstacles. Like I said, I just hope that he gets into things seriously, really gets in the middle of it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Interview (YR): Eileen Davidson's Alexis Peterson Is on the Case

Most of daytime fans know Eileen Davidson as Ashley Abbott, whom she’s portrayed on “The Young and the Restless” off and on since 1982. But many might not know that she is also an accomplished author. Along with co-writer Robert Randisi, she has penned four “Soap Opera Mystery” novels, the latest installment being “Swingin’ in the Rain.” In “Swingin’,” Eileen explores the world of swingers’ clubs as a backdrop to murder.

Daytime Dial: Here’s a question I am sure is on everyone’s minds: What made you decide to set your new book in the world of swingers?

Eileen Davidson: I had heard about different people living in Malibu who were into it. And I was like, “You’re kidding!” It was just really shocking, and it seemed like a great backdrop for a murder mystery. After I did some research, I discovered how prevalent it is in society. I’m fascinated that so many people are into it, that it’s kind of a very well-kept secret. And I’m wondering if they ever run into each other at the dry cleaners or in the carpool line.

DD: How did you research it?

ED: This is a true story. I was at Scott Baio’s birthday party, and a woman came up to me and said she was a big fan of my books and asked when I was going to write the next one. And I said, “Well, I’m kind of in the middle of writing it now.” And she asked, “What’s the premise?” And I told her, and she goes, “You’re not going to believe this, but one of my good friends was the manager for one of the top swingers clubs in L.A. for 10 years.” So I gave her friend a call, and we spoke for an hour, and she gave me so much information. She told me everything, and everything she told me I put in the book: game rooms and the dark room, where everybody denies going into, but it’s always full.

The club she managed is closed now, but she said: “I know of someone who is running another one. And if you want to go, I can get you in there.” And I was thinking I should go there for research, but then I thought, Do I really want to do that? So I told her that maybe someday I’ll check it out. But I don’t know.

DD: In theory, it seems like a good idea, but then when it gets down to it ...

ED: Exactly! Exactly! I guess my Catholic upbringing is alive and well.

DD: I like that you incorporated Alex’s fears now that we’re down to four network soaps. What are some other bits of soap business that you bring to your books?

ED: The opening scene of the book actually happened to me in the ’80s while I was filming a scene for “YR.” We were filming the scene at a park in the pouring rain, and I had a crewmember underneath me trying to push me up this steep, muddy hill that I needed to get up, and I kept sliding down. So, I have some guy under me, not in the shot, trying to get me up there, and I keep falling down. We laughed so hard, because I could not get up that friggin’ hill.

DD: I am really enjoying the slow development of Alex and Jakes’ relationship. It’s realistic, and it’s getting better and stronger. Do you purposely keep her relationship with Jakes grounded so that Alex herself does not go crazy?

ED: That’s a good way of putting it, actually, because there is so much crazy stuff going on around her that there has to be something that is a grounding force besides her daughter. So, it’s just kind of the way the relationship evolves. When he was first introduced it was not supposed to be like a love interest, but it evolved that way in the first book. It was just sort of this natural evolution.

If you want to get in on the mystery, buy Eileen’s book “Swingin’ in the Rain” on amazon.com, or wherever books are sold. And check out her first three books while you’re at it!

Heather Lindell Stars in PBS's "H.M.S. Pinafore"

(PRESS RELEASE)

PBS ARTS FALL FESTIVAL KICKS OFF OCTOBER 14 WITH CLASSIC GILBERT AND SULLIVAN ROMP

Broadcast date:
Friday, October 14, 2011, 9:00 p.m. ET/NEW YORK
Friday, October 14 -- 9:00pm PCT 50.1 - PBS SoCal - HD on KOCE in Southern California

For other areas, please check your Local Listings

Guthrie Theater’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” leads nine-part series that includes Pearl Jam, Bill T. Jones and six more dance, music and opera performances

Starring: Heather Lindell (ex-Jan Spears, "Days of Our Lives") as Josephine

Introduced by: Rainn Wilson

Directed by Joe Dowling, choreography and musical staging by David Bolger


One import, Heather Lindell (last seen on Broadway in "La Cage aux Folles") is fetching as Josephine, the captain's daughter, and she has ample opportunity to show off her impressive pipes.

MSPMag.com 06/27/2011
Heather Lindell, in the role of Josephine, had breathtaking vocals - several of her song finales seemed to ring out through the theater long after the song had finished.

The Examiner.com 6/25/2011
The acting is terrific, of course (this is the Guthrie). Ditto the singing; the wonderful G&S music comes through with resounding intensity. As the lovers Heather Lindell and Robb McKindles sing gorgeously and their scenes together are very funny.

HowWasThatShow.com 06/25/2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

What happened on AMC?

For those who missed it, here's a brief summary of what happened on the final episode of "All My Children" last Friday. It definitely left viewers hanging, ensuring that many will watch as the soap transitions to an Internet format in January.

It was a beautiful conclusion, mostly, to a long-running, beloved soap, bringing back several old characters and reuniting them with their loved ones. Stuart (David Canary) turned out to be alive and went on to presumably live happily ever after with Marian (Jennifer Bassey). Jamie (Justin Bruening) confronted his troubled brother JR (Jacob Young), trying to get through to him. Brooke (Julia Barr) surprised Adam (also played by David Canary) by buying his mansion back for him. At a party at the mansion, Randi (Denise Vasi) announced that she might be pregnant, while Brot (JR Martinez) and Natalia (Shannon Kane) celebrated their engagement. Jack (Walt Willey) demanded that Erica (Susan Lucci) choose between him and a movie career. Tad (Michael E. Knight) gave a heartfelt speech to all his friends and family (and “AMC” fans) who have been with him over the years. Adam asked Brooke to marry him, and she said yes.

Then things quickly took a dark turn and left viewers hanging. After Jack walked out on Erica at the party, she opened the door to find JR standing there with a gun pointed at her and we see him pulling the trigger. If fans want to find out what happens next, they’ll have to watch the soap when it continues on the Internet, through production company Prospect Park, in January.

Interview (Days): Doc and John Bring Back Family Values

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ve heard about all the recent changes over at “Days of Our Lives.” In a valiant attempt to return to its glory days of family, romance and just plain good storytelling, “Days” is pulling out all the stops, including luring back fan favorites such as Deidre Hall. Deidre has played Dr. Marlena Evans off and on for almost three decades, and she returns to much fanfare today, Sept. 26. I spoke with the “Days” star recently, and she told me all about her return to the show.

Daytime Dial: What made you decide to return to “Days”; how were they able to coax you back?

Deidre Hall: It was a combination of things. But mostly, it was two words: Greg Meng. Greg and I went on a book tour with both of our books. He wrote “Days of Our Lives 45 Years: A Celebration in Photos.” It’s a fabulous tabletop book. So, we traveled together for several months, and we would sit at a table autographing hundreds of books at a time. And people would come up to me and say, “When are you coming back to ‘Days’?” I would say, “I have no plans to come back to ‘Days.’” And Greg would say, “Oh, but we would love to have her back.” And we would both smile, and that would be the showbiz rap that we would do.

At one point, a woman came up to me and asked, “What would it take to get you back?” And I looked at Greg and I said, “Well, I would have to be invited.” And Greg looked at me and said: “Well, none of us had ever thought of that. You’re invited!” He set about a plan that didn’t just include bringing me back, but to bring “Days of Our Lives” back to its heyday — to the family core values we all loved many years ago and the audience has resonated to. And he’s done it!

DD: What are you allowed to tell me about the circumstances of Marlena’s return?

DH: John has almost completely recovered from this illness that had befallen him (and why we went off to Switzerland). And we return back to Salem to dedicate the Horton Square. Also, there has been a terrible crisis in Salem that is revealed in those first five or six episodes. And it affects every single person in Salem. And we are back because of it and we are integral to it, and it kicks into motion an incredible series of dramatic turns.

DD: I started watching “Days” back in about ’90-91, and I always thought it was the best soap on because of all the reasons: romance, family, drama. How excited are you to be able to explore these cornerstones? Because Marlena really embodies all of those as a character, as well.

DH: Exactly everything you just said — that is what the show is. You hit it right on the head. It’s so empowering and enriching to be able to play it now. Marlena is stronger, is more devoted to John than ever before, and has a fierceness that we haven’t seen in her before. She’s taking no prisoners. And when this drama starts to unfold, you will see her tested and tested and tested, and she steps up every time. It is so thrilling to play this sort of woman who is utterly empowered. And there is no room for doubt. No room for hesitation. She is solid, and she is there.

DD: Since we saw Marlena last in January 2009, what has Deidre been up to? Have you been doing other projects? Traveling? Charity work?

DH: I have done, oddly enough, all those things. During the break, I took my son David to Brazil on an Operation Smile mission, which is dealing with children with serious disfigurements. And that was life-altering for both of us. I took him to Washington, D.C., where we campaigned for the Child Nutrition Act, which passed! I wrote a book called “Deidre Hall’s Kitchen Closeup.” It’s a lifestyle book that answers the dreaded three words, “What’s for supper?” As a mom, I know that’s a continual struggle. But it’s a lifestyle book, too, so it’s got great helpful hints, and even if you don’t cook, it’s really funny. It’s a funny book. It’s available on Amazon.com.

DD: What has it been like for you these past few weeks being back on “Days”?

DH: It is like coming back to your family, and stepping onto the stage or even stepping into the studio, and a sea of smiling faces coming toward us — arms flung open and “Oh my gosh!” I came back a few days early, and having the time to sit with your friends and catch up and: “How are the kids? Oh my gosh, they are in college now? And how is your mom?” Just friendships that have taken a little bit of a vacation, and they are right back in place.

DD: Of course we’re excited that you, Drake Hogestyn and Christie Clark are coming back. But I’m also excited to have Marlena interacting with Sami again, because she’s always been the problem child, but now she’s an adult, and she’s been through so much. Are you excited to explore that dynamic again?

DH: We haven’t seen that much play out yet, as that hasn’t been in the script. I know that a big crisis arises in Salem that puts her marriage with Rafe into play. I can’t say more than that, but Sami and EJ are deeply involved. Both for different reasons, and it affects their relationship.

DD: When you left back in 2009, “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light” were still on the air, and now they are gone. Soon “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” are going to Internet platforms. That leaves what I call the Big Four. What are your thoughts on this turn that the daytime soaps have taken, and how do you think this return to the show’s roots will help?

DH: It will survive because it’s what we’re longing for right now, and the show will give the audience, old and new, what it’s always wanted now, when it means the most. Which is a return to core values, a place to find comfort and replenishment, and we are as good as our word. We are your family, and we are there for you. And they’ve figured out a way to produce the show on the budget required to do it without sacrificing what is on the screen. We’re in very healthy shape, so look for us to be around for a long time!

I am also hoping to extend that relationship with the fans through Facebook (search “Deidre Hall”) and Twitter (twitter.com/DeidreHall). I’m tweeting all about the show. I’m pretty good at it, and I’m finding a new relationship with the fans, which is closer and more intimate, and that’s nice for me.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Goodbye, All My Children

[(ABC/Rick Rowell) TOP ROW: TATE BERNEY. SARAH GLENDENING, THORSTEN KAYE, MACKENZIE ALADJEM, CHRISTINA BENNETT LIND, DANIELLE PARKER, CAMERON MATHISON FRONT ROW: JAKE VAUGHN, THORSTEN KAYE, ALICIA MINSHEW, ELLAH MILLER, IAN SLATER, SUSAN LUCCI, WALT WILLEY, REBECCA BUDIG]
As if you needed the reminder, don't forget to watch ABC's final episode of All My Children. After almost 42 years, the show will no longer air on ABC. Although it will move to an online venue at Prospect Park, there is no definite start date, nor any definite info on who will return for the revamped AMC. Even La Lucci, the grand dame of AMC, has not committed one way or the other yet, but we do know, she isn't happy about ABC's decision to cancel the show.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Interview: Catching Up With Nancy McKeon

Nancy McKeon, while best known for her role of Jo Polniaczek on “The Facts of Life,” actually got her start on daytime television. She appeared on the now-defunct “The Secret Storm” and “Another World” before donning a ponytail and plenty of attitude on the hit ’80s sitcom. Now soap fans and “Facts” fans can watch Nancy this weekend on “Love Begins” on the Hallmark Channel (premieres Sat. Sept. 17 at 9/8c; see local listings for more days and times). I spoke with Nancy about her new movie, as well as her “Facts” family.

Daytime Dial: What was it about the movie and the role of Millie that caught your fancy and made you want to be a part of the production?

Nancy McKeon: I have two little girls, and my primary job is here with them, so when I choose to step away, the timing has to be right, and this was. It was summer, so they could come with me. They don’t really know Mom’s “other” job. They just know my cooking, cleaning and carpooling.

And I love the Hallmark Channel. I’ve done some other things for them, too. I love the stories they tell and this group of people; they were pretty terrific. Right now it is more important, because this way my girls can actually watch the work. There have been some things that I have done that are just too grown up for them to see for a while. So this was a chance for them to make fun of me in funny costumes and funny shoes and funny hair.

DD: There was a real chance that the role of Millie could be seen as a busybody instead of helpful, but she really is a kind and generous soul. Was it written like that, or was it something you brought to the role?

NM: I think a lot of it was there. You could very easily become Mrs. Kravitz if you want to, but it really wasn’t that kind of movie. In my life, I’ve had some really lovely people — teachers, my own mom — who I was able to go to and talk to if I needed a sounding board of any kind. Seeing that and being able to come be in that particular role is just really lovely.

It’s different when you go back and do a period piece. You are able to remember times when people really talked instead of texted or emailed real quickly. You really kind of got to sit down and have a cup of coffee or tea, and talk about life and your desires or expectations and fears. It was interesting being around that group of people, because all of a sudden I find myself the older one on the set. I’ve always been usually the younger one on the set, but now I’ve transitioned into having been around so long.

DD: How was everyone to work with?

NM: They all were great. We had lots of chats about work and school and things that they are interested in. Everybody was just fantastic.

DD: What do you hope viewers take away from the movie?

NM: It’s just nice to be able to sit with the family and watch a story, and maybe remember that talking is worthwhile and sometimes taking a chance is worth it. You do have to be a little fearless, a little vulnerable, but it’s worth it in the end.

DD: Do you still keep in touch with the gals from “The Facts of Life”?

NM: I talk with Lisa (Whelchel, “Blair”) and Charlotte (Rae, “Mrs. Garrett) all the time. Lisa doesn’t live too far from me, so she comes down to the ranch all the time and hangs out. Charlotte has been here. Her sister lives in Dallas, so Texas is a middle point for us all. The others are usually working here, there and everywhere. We just got the award from TV Land, and we all got together for Charlotte because she is an incredible lady. She was an incredible teacher, and I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to work with and learn from her.

I’m privileged and proud to call them my friends. We had a great time when doing that show. It was really great for all of us. We’ve been very lucky and very blessed. It’s nice to be able to be adult friends and enjoy each other’s company.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Interview: 90210's Michael Steger Is Excited About the Future

(photo credit Geno Nicholas)
The kids of West Beverly High School have finally graduated. Some will go to college; some will go right to work. But you can bet on one thing staying the same: They all will have their fair share of drama when the fourth season of “90210” premieres on the CW Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 8/7c. Recently I spoke with series star Michael Steger, who plays Navid Shirazi, and he gave me the scoop on what viewers can expect from my favorite guilty-pleasure television show.

Daytime Dial: When you first auditioned for the “90210” reboot, did you have any apprehensions or doubts that the show even needed a remake?

Michael Steger: I didn’t think any of the remakes were going to make it. I was very skeptical at first. I started going to more and more auditions for the show, and what got me really interested is when I found out Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah from “Freaks and Geeks” were on board.

DD: While I enjoyed the throwback of having some of the original “90210” cast on the show, I was happy when the show began to focus on the new characters and phase out the previous ones — that’s when it really hit its stride and found its focus.

MS: Yeah, the first season it seemed like we had like 50 cast members, which was really ridiculous. Whenever the vets were in the episode, Navid was out. I was like, “Aw, man! What’s going on?” We had to share a lot of screen time with everyone, so it got tricky. But now, the writers are in a place where we are all really enjoying where the stories are going, and they keep on surprising us with both funny and dramatic stuff. It’s good.

DD: What are some story lines you have enjoyed playing?

MS: The whole thing with Navid putting Adrianna through rehab and dealing with that situation. I thought it was a very difficult story line. It was so hard to pull off, and I felt like we told a great story. That was one of my favorites. And his relationship with Silver starting up has been amazing.

DD: It’s been great to be able to see Navid really grow up and mature through the years.

MS: Yes, especially when he finally put his foot down and ended things with Adrianna. He found some backbone and he was like, “You know what, I can’t take any more.” He made a huge change in his life, and I think that change came with a lot of fear. It was the best thing Navid could have ever done. That was the best part about playing the character — the idea of him maturing from a boy to a man.

DD: What can we expect for season four?

MS: We’ve all graduated. Navid is not going to college. In fact, he’s at the helm of the production company. His entire family went to Switzerland because of his father being charged with child pornography. So, Navid ends up moving in with Silver, selling his car and just putting all of his money into his business. Silver becomes his assistant. But he’s still being haunted by his dad’s past. Ex-business partners who happen to be pretty upset start showing up.

DD: What about the rest of the West Bev gang? What are they up to?

MS: Navid is going to be working with Dixon, but he’s no longer working FOR me. Also, my sister ends up not getting on the plane and stays in town, wanting to move in with me and Silver. With Max and Naomi and the whole pregnancy bombshell at last year’s finale, they address that in the first episode. Navid does see Ade again, and it’s a very awkward situation, but they do talk in the first two episodes.

DD: Much like your characters, you must be excited to graduate into the real world of adulthood and the story lines that will bring.

MS: Oh yeah, definitely. I feel like there is so much more you can do outside the high school. There are so many more mature story lines. We’re not confined to the walls of West Beverly, and it feels good. We’re doing a lot more location stuff. The sets look amazing, and we’re at the beach more than usual. I’m excited, because there’s going to be a lot more action going on.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Interview: Days' John and Marlena Return!

Drake Hogestyn and Deidre Hall
When we last saw John Black and Marlena Evans in Salem, they had just married and were immediately whisked away to Switzerland, which was the only place in the world where John could get the proper care he needed in order to recover from the toxic syringe that had left him paralyzed. That was in January 2009. And, as you know, in the soap world, a lot can happen in the meantime. Starting Sept. 26, John and Marlena are back — in a big way. They are helping to usher in what is being called “Days 2.0”: a return to family, romance and good old-fashioned storytelling. I spoke with Drake Hogestyn recently, and he is thrilled to be a part of this new “Days.”

Daytime Dial: Without getting yourself into trouble, you must tell me everything you can about John and Marlena’s return.

Drake Hogestyn: In the time they’ve been gone, John has been working on his recovery. There is an event in Salem, the opening of the Horton Town Square, in honor of Tom and Alice Horton, and John and Marlena make an appearance. John is just starting to get the full capacity of his extremities back. Another event unfolds, and that is that certain authorities have been waiting for John Black to land on American soil, because there are some issues that will create an umbrella story line that defines all the characters.

On Sept. 26, we’re turning a page of “Days of our Lives.” We’re bringing back a lot of fan favorites — when I walked on that show, it took me three hours to get from the parking spot to the dressing room, because I saw cameramen that I haven’t seen in forever; we’re laughing and scratching in the hallway. I walked down the hallway between Studio 2 and 4, and they are breaking for lunch, and out walks Matt Ashford and Christy Clark and Patrick Muldoon, and it’s just this warm, fuzzy feeling of throwback in the history of “Days.” We’re laughing and crying, and the energy that’s going through NBC right now, and “Days” in particular, is just amazing.

What we’re going to do is, we’re going to take the audience back to that period of time when our show was at the apex. When everybody was on board in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when we had engaging stories and compelling actors and very well-defined, character-driven stories. And that’s what we’re doing now.

DD: That’s exactly when I started watching, around 1989 or 1990, and it was, without a doubt, the best soap on television. So I am thrilled you are going back to those roots.

DH: This is exactly what I’m talking about, Cindy. That’s when everybody was on board with the show. We had all that romance; we had action, adventure, intrigue and mystery that “Days” was famous for, and that’s what we’re going back to. With Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas, they know the history of the show. They’ve been there. They came aboard with Jim Riley, even though Jim had some crazy story lines that came out of left field.

As long as the actors played the thread, played the grain of truth in there, the audience would always be on board. The stories are contemporary, and by that I mean they are torn right out of the headlines of the front page of every paper in the nation of what is going on with the economic times, and John is right in the center of all of that right now. These are topics people are going to relate to because it is affecting their lives, and how are we going to play that out on “Days of our Lives”? That is the interesting, organic part of it.

DD: With John Black back in town, I know one person who could really use his guidance: his son, Brady.

DH: We had one scene and almost everyone was there, and Marlena says, “Everybody’s here,” and I said, “Not everybody.” And she knew that I was looking for Brady. After the highlight of the night is over, I do approach him. It goes as John expected. There have been conversations between the two of them while John was away, and John has been disapproving of choices Brady has made in his life. But it looks as though Brady is starting to try to change his life around on his own. We’ll see, but I do think there are some great dynamics there.

DD: Are you looking forward to working with the newer actors, many of whom came aboard while you were gone?

DH: Definitely. I’m looking forward to working with Eric (Martsolf, who plays Brady). Our ships were passing in the night back then. He came on board at the very end of 2008 — I was anchoring my ship somewhere else, and he was setting sail. That’s a very interesting transformation too, and the same thing with Galen Gering. These actors came over from another show (“Passions”), and they were finding their shoes of the characters on “Days of Our Lives,” and it was very established at that time. Now, it’s like I’m entering their show, and you can see how comfortable they are with their characters and the relationship their characters have formed with other characters on the show. Now John and Marlena are entering that orbit. Now we’re finding how to work with these other actors who are now established on the show. This is a really nice dance that is going on. I’m enjoying it a lot.

DD: Are there some quintessential John Black-type scenes you are looking forward to playing?

DH: That’s a really good question. As you get older, you have to change also. You’re not going to be the swashbuckler. Every once in a while, they might throw me a bone like that. But what I wanted to do, what I think is cut out for Deidre (Hall) and myself, is to take that audience back and put them emotionally in that warm and fuzzy, safe place, especially in these troubling economic times where marriages are dissolving left and right over financial ruin. If you stay strong as a couple, and you are holding hands, and you love each other, and you believe that the power of two can get through anything. That is going to be our goal: to keep the audience on board, the ones who got us there for all those years.

And I don’t take anything for granted. You’re only as good as your last show. When I played professional baseball with the Yankees, you were only as good as your last game. So, every day you roll up your sleeves, and you can’t wait to show America what’s on the next page. And right now, with the engaging story we have, everybody is just bringing it with both barrels right now. I think the audience is really going to respond to this in the most favorable way. And when they turn the show back on, and they see some of these old fan favorites engaging again, it’s going to put that audience in that great place.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Interview: Catching Up With Beau Mirchoff

Beau Mirchoff/Ron Tom/ABC
Many fans will remember Beau Mirchoff from his year-long stint on “Desperate Housewives” during the 2009-10 season, where he played Drea de Matteo’s son, Danny. Nowadays, he plays a character who gets himself into cringe-worthy situations, and while they are not quite the life-or-death situations his character on “Housewives” got into, to many teens, it might seem so. Beau plays Matty on the new MTV teen comedy series “Awkward.” If you remember your teen years like I remember mine, then you know everything is a big deal in high school. Beau takes me through these awkward times and spills the beans about this new project, which airs on MTV Tuesday nights at 11/10c.

Daytime Dial: As someone in my 30s, I wasn’t expecting to like “Awkward” as much as I do, but I have to tell you, I absolutely love it! It’s smart, funny, well written and well acted.

Beau Mirchoff: I think so too. I think there are diverse characters and that people of all ages can relate to the situation and to the characters. It’s a show about teenagers, but I think there is a little bit of everything for everyone. My mom is in her 50s, and I guarantee you this will be her new favorite show. I’m glad to be on something that people are really talking about.

DD: Tell me about your character, Matty, and the things about him that appealed to you as an actor.

BM: The characteristics that appeal to me are he’s lovable and he’s loving. Matty’s thing is, he wants to be perfect; he wants his family to be perfect, and he doesn’t want anything to look negatively on his family. He constantly wants to be liked and to please people. And does he do that in the wrong way sometimes? Yes, of course. I think most teenagers don’t have a clue how to handle most situations. They might think they do, but they don’t.

DD: While this is told from a girl’s point of view, the writers do a great job of showing how being a teen, whether girl or boy, is just plain difficult.

BM: I think they are often very similar, emotionally. Guys put on the fa├žade that everything is cool, but deep down I think they have some of the similar problems with image, popularity and fitting in — finding a girl and being loved and all those types of problems.

DD: This seems like it would be a fun set to work on.

BM: It was awesome; it was fun; it was happy! Everyone was great and supportive. We always would run lines and talk about our scenes and our characters, trying to find new things in scenes that we hadn’t found before. We’d come up with new, creative ideas and run them by Lauren (Iungerich, executive producer/creator/writer). Every once in a while, I’d come up with a really good idea and it would work. Life on the set was creative and fun.

DD: Another fun and creative set you worked on was with the folks at “Desperate Housewives.” What was that experience like?

BM: Educational. I learned so much from all the people on that set with all those actors and actresses. They are pros and they know what they’re doing. I was very grateful to get that job. Not just for the recognition and whatnot, but to grow as an actor. You can only learn so much in acting class, but when you’re on set, it’s a whole different thing. I learned a lot from Jeffrey Nordling, who played my father, and Drea de Matteo, who was my mother. A majority of my scenes were with them. You learn a lot from just watching them work, and you see how they do it. That was what was most beneficial from that.

DD: I am a big “Sopranos” fan, and was so happy to see Drea on the show. How cool was it that she played your mom?

BM: Yeah, I had a big crush on Drea. I hope it didn’t read on camera. That would have been creepy, since she was my mom, but it probably came out. It’s inevitable. She’s quite attractive and so great at what she does.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Interview: Catching Up With Nicollette Sheridan

You can’t mention Nicollette Sheridan without thinking of her most recent alter ego, Edie Britt of “Desperate Housewives.” However, when you watch Nicollette in her new Hallmark Channel movie, “Honeymoon for One” — which premieres Saturday, Aug. 13 at 9/8c — Edie will be the furthest thing from your mind. In “Honeymoon,” Nicollette plays Eve Parker, a woman scorned who decides to travel to Ireland on what would have been her honeymoon. Along the way, she discovers love in the form of the breathtaking countryside, a sweet preteen named Kathleen, and a handsome (and irksome) outdoorsman named Sean.

Daytime Dial: What brought you to the Hallmark Channel, and to this movie in particular, “Honeymoon for One”?

Nicollette Sheridan: First of all, I really liked the character and I liked the movie. Hallmark is making beautiful movies that everyone can watch. And at times, they are dealing with slightly edgy material, so Hallmark has come a long way. And I do love that their movies are something the whole family can watch.

DD: Tell me about your character, Eve.

NS: Eve is hiding from herself and her intimate relationship by immersing herself in her work. I think a lot of people are guilty of that, and when something traumatic happens, she is forced to look at her life and make huge changes. And as we know, your career doesn’t wrap itself around you at night, and keep you safe and sound. Being present and being aware, and having a life filled with love, friendship and trust does. When you reach outside yourself and you do for others, it enriches many more lives, including your own. And that’s what I really liked about her journey.

DD: What were some of the aspects of her character that you could relate to or that you were really proud of?

NS: Well, she’s a very kind person, and she means well. Then again, she really needs to pull her head out of the sand and see what’s going on around her. And she’s a strong character. I like that she’s not a victim. It’s very difficult to go through a relationship breakup. Especially when somebody cheats on you, and though these things are very painful in her life, the outcome is a much better path.

DD: It’s very exciting and brave of her to go off on her own to a foreign country to clear her head and decide what she wants to do with her life.

NS: And it’s very out of character for her to do something like that, but her friends urge her to go. When she does, it’s very awkward at first, but she transcends all of that.

DD: What was Greg Wise, who played Sean, like to work with?

NS: Greg is a fantastic actor, and he’s very playful. We had a lot of fun shooting this film.

DD: And the location was just gorgeous! Where did you film, and what was the actual filming like?

NS: It was just stunning. We were in the most beautiful places. And I’d never been to Ireland, and coming from England myself, you have that expansive countryside, but it’s a much wilder feel in Ireland. I loved it over there. And of course I’ve been riding since I was a tiny little thing, and so for me to be out there and belting across the countryside on that white horse was heaven for me. It was just breathtaking over there. People are so nice and warm and friendly, and I’m looking forward to going back when I don’t have to work so I can really explore the country.

DD: A movie of yours that I absolutely loved you in was “Noises Off!” Do you hope to do some slapstick comedy like that again? Everyone in that movie was absolutely brilliant and I know you’re good at comedy. You’re good at the romance and the drama, but I just loved you in the slapstick, physical comedy.

NS: Thank you. That was a very special movie. It had an incredible cast, and we would all convene at a roundtable in the morning, and everybody would tell stories and just share in a way that I’d never experienced on a set before. Basically we rehearsed it as a play. And then when we were ready to start shooting, we would shoot eight pages at a time, all in one shot. It was pretty demanding, physically, because as you remember, we were up and down the stairs and all the backstage business. The outtakes from that film were hilarious. I do love physical comedy as well as drama, so hopefully there will be a bit of everything to come.

DD: What are your thoughts on all these remakes that seem to be happening? I know TNT is doing a remake of “Dallas.”

NS: I know! I just saw an ad for it. It looked exciting. There was a nostalgia that came with seeing the ad for the show, and I think the music and those faces that are so familiar to so many people … I think there is something comforting about it. And it looks exciting! You’ve got all those colorful characters, and I’m sure they are all going to do an incredible job with it.

Larry Hagman looked great and Patrick Duffy, and I noticed that Brenda Strong, who was Mary Alice on “Housewives,” is in it. I’m thrilled for her, because she’s a beautiful actress and one of the loveliest human beings that I know.

DD: If they decided to do a “Knots Landing” remake, would you be on board, or would you say, “Good luck, but my time on ‘Knots Landing’ has passed”?

NS: I haven’t heard about anyone speaking of doing that. I think that “Dallas” was a lot flashier than “Knots Landing.” “Knots Landing” was really the down-home, simpler, more-pained version. Just very real people going through real situations, but I haven’t heard if they are interested in remaking that.

DD: I know you’re involved with a lot of charities, especially animal charities. Can you tell me a bit about them?

NS: It’s always wonderful to place animals in homes, because there are so many unwanted furry friends that need a beautiful family to go to. So, that’s something that I like to help with. Also, I got involved with Guide Dogs for the Blind. It is such a wonderful gift to be able to pair up somebody in need with a set of eyes and a companion. That was a very fulfilling thing to be a part of.

Recently, there is this charity called Ride On that is with horses. It’s for the disabled — both physically and mentally, adults and children — and just through the love that you get through working with and riding horses. It’s an incredibly healing experience and gives them a sense of accomplishment to be able to ride and to be able to bond in that fashion. I’m going to have a little bit more free time coming up, so I’m actually going to get to be more hands-on with the people and the horses. Animals are such a gift.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Interview: Catching Up With Brandon Quinn

Brandon Quinn has played everything from gigolo Spencer Bullitt on “The O.C.” to an eye-candy boyfriend on “Entourage” and even a teen wolf on “Big Wolf on Campus” (way before it was all the rage to be a shapeshifter). Now Brandon is playing a role he’s always wanted to play, that of a cop, on the Lifetime Television new original series “Against the Wall,” which premieres Sunday night, July 31, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Brandon told me all about his new show, and how excited he is to be a part of something of this caliber.

Daytime Dial: Were you as surprised as I was to see that this new show, a police procedural, was for Lifetime Television, as opposed to TNT or FX or another cable network along those lines?

Brandon Quinn: Oh my gosh, big time. The folks at Lifetime are in a position now where they are really trying to re-identify themselves, and this show is definitely unlike anything else they have right now. I really feel like it’s going to put them on the map. I’m really proud of this show. I would stack our show up against any other show in its category on network television right now. Lifetime could potentially have a really big hit on their hands if all goes well. It’s hard to say what people are going to respond to, but I just can’t imagine viewers not responding to the show.

DD: Tell me about the show, and your role of Richie Kowalski.

BQ: It’s a family drama first. It is a police procedural, but it’s a family drama about a family of three generations of Chicago police officers. Dad is a patrol cop, along with my older brother, middle brother, myself and then the youngest sibling, Abby —the only girl in the family — who was a patrol cop and decides to join Internal Affairs. Which if you know anything about cops, it’s cops on one side, Internal Affairs on the other side. They investigate the cops that are considered the traitors. So, it creates a huge upheaval in the family.

I play Richie Kowalski, the youngest of the three brothers. Richie’s a really good guy. He’s got a good sense of humor. He’s an excellent cop. He has a lot of integrity. He takes his job really seriously. Richie and Abby have an extremely close relationship. We have the closest relationship of all the siblings, she and I. I’m her shoulder to cry on, her confidant. I don’t judge her for the decision she made to join Internal Affairs.

DD: How excited were you to play Richie when you first got the script for the pilot?

BQ: I’ve always wanted to play a cop. What kid at some point in his life isn’t obsessed with cops and robbers, if just for a day? For the longest time I actually really wanted to be a cop when I was younger. So, right away I was like, “Awesome. I’ve always wanted to play a cop.” Then once I read the script, I loved the character of Richie. He’s this blue-collar, down-to-earth guy’s guy. He’s a family man. He’s really close with his wife. He’s a really good friend, and he loves football — and these are all traits that I possess. I come from a blue-collar middle-class family that shaped who I am as a person. It’s easy to be Richie, because it isn’t a stretch. I just opened myself up, and the rest was on the paper.

DD: This show has such a great cast — what are they all like to work with?

BQ: It’s such a dream job — you couldn’t ask for a better group of people. From Rachael Carpani all the way down to the guest actors, they’ve all been tremendous, and it’s literally one of those jobs where I keep pinching myself. Content of the show aside, it’s all about the people you go to work with every day who help inspire you. It starts with Kathy Baker and Treat Williams, who are two veterans who have been doing this for years. They really set the tone, and they are both so down-to-earth and great. Kathy is so motherly and a very approachable, sweet woman.

And Treat, he really wants to give us our time in the spotlight. He’s like: “I’ve had my time. This is your guys’ time.” And Rachael is absolutely phenomenal. The show wouldn’t be nearly as great if we didn’t have the cast we did, and we all get along so well. Honestly, there’s not a diva in the bunch.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bill & Susan Hayes Appearance

(Click on Flyer to Enlarge)


Although they spelled Susan's name wrong in the flyer. Oops!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Interview: Catching Up With Poppy Montgomery

Poppy Montgomery is a familiar face to many TV viewers. She is a veteran of many TV series, most notably CBS’ “Without a Trace,” as well as “Party of Five,” “NYPD Blue,” “Glory Days” and much more. On July 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, you can catch Poppy in Lifetime Television’s original movie “Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story.” I spoke with the gorgeous Aussie recently, and she told me about portraying such a private and interesting woman who created the magical world of Harry Potter.

Daytime Dial: J.K. Rowling is known for being very guarded about her private life and is very reserved. Did you have any reservations about taking this role, especially since Ms. Rowling was not involved in the production?

Poppy Montgomery: I had enormous reservations. I’ve been a Harry Potter fan long before I did this film, and I’ve read all the books and I’ve read them since I was in my 20s. I read the first one right when it came to the States. I didn’t want to do anything in any shape or form that was exploitive or tabloid-y. So, when they sent me the script, I definitely had reservations, because I knew that it was unauthorized. I knew that she wasn’t collaborating on it. It was based on a book that just told the facts, basically, from her childhood through to the present. And when I read the script, I found that it was a love letter to J.K. Rowling, and it really was a story that was inspirational for other people. I didn’t think that there was anything about it that was not good, and so then I changed my mind.

DD: Just watching the movie was so inspiring; I couldn’t wait to be creative once I was finished.

PM: Right? You just feel so inspired by her, which is exactly what I loved about it and why I wanted to do it. And that inspires you to be better, because she was so driven. The fact that the first Harry Potter book was written basically in one of the darkest times of her life and she pushed through, and as a single mother with very little money, this extraordinary book was born. I just think it’s incredibly inspiring.

DD: What were some things about J.K. that you hadn’t known prior to filming this, and that had perhaps surprised you?

PM: I didn’t know that her mother had been ill for so much of her life, and that must have deeply affected her, because I’m really close to my mother. I didn’t realize really how bleak and difficult things were for her. I’m a mother of a 3-year-old, so to be alone at the age that she was in her 20s with a baby and having left the marriage that wasn’t working, and being so poor, and still being able to have this enormous creativity and write this book under those circumstances. The power of her spirit is something that I wasn’t as aware of until we did this movie, and I just thought it was extraordinary.

DD: I was very happy to see that it was, like you said earlier, a love letter of sorts to the elusive author …

PM: Me too. Like I said, when I was sent the script and I knew that she wasn’t involved directly, I had strong reservations. But the script told such a beautiful story. Her books have affected millions and millions of children and adults all over the world. It’s magic — she’s been responsible for getting kids to read books again. And I just think it’s a story that everybody can relate to and hopefully be inspired by, and that was what drew me to it.

DD: What were some things about J.K. that you could relate to and you found enjoyable to portray?

PM: Her tenaciousness, her drive, her never-quit attitude were all things that I really dug into and loved. In fact, it made me a better person, made me work harder and want to be better. I love the way her mind works, her funny, irreverent, unusual, magical mind. I found that to be fascinating. To try to even get inside that for a minute was really intriguing to me.

DD: Tell me a bit about your role on this fall's new CBS series, “Unforgettable,” and the role of Carrie Wells.

PM: I play a woman who has hyperthymesia, or total recall. It’s a person who can remember every moment, in vivid detail, of her life as though it happened five minutes ago. You could ask: “What happened on June 20, 1984?” and she could tell you every single thing — what she was wearing, what she had for lunch, if she had a fight with her boyfriend. It’s extraordinary. It’s a blessing and a curse, because you can forget nothing, and sometimes there are things that we need to forget.

My character is an ex-cop who couldn’t be a cop anymore, because the condition obviously didn’t allow her to forget any of the hideous things she saw. It’s also what made her an extraordinary cop, and basically she’s pulled back into the cop world through a number of circumstances, as well as her ex-lover, played by Dylan Walsh.

It’s a love story, it’s a mystery, and it’s a cop show. There are so many elements going on that it’s almost impossible to describe. It’s very compelling — and it’s directed by Niels Arden Oplev, who directed “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” He’s just a genius. The writers are amazing. Ed Redlich wrote it, and I did “Without a Trace” with him the first couple of years. It’s a fantastic group, and it’s on CBS, and they do amazing shows.

DD: How were they able to lure you back to network series television?

PM: The script was amazing. I’m obsessed with Niels and had been long before I ever met him, because I’ve seen “Dragon Tattoo” maybe 30 times. I’ve worked with CBS since I was a baby, so it’s like coming home again. CBS is like my family. It’s such a great place for me to work, and I feel like they support their shows so wholly and completely that it is just a joy. Everything about it lined up for me.

To see a strong female character leading a show is very exciting. Now that my son, Jackson, is 3, and I spent two years after “Trace” really just being with him and being a mommy, I felt really ready to go back to work. I’m very proud of the show. I think it’s quite extraordinary and really good.

DD: I know fans will be glad to see Dylan Walsh regularly again. What is he like to work with?

PM: My darling Dylan — I love that man. He’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met in my life. We’re on set and he just makes me laugh. I’m like, “You have to stop making me laugh so I can shoot the scene.” It was like that with all my co-stars on “Trace” too. Anthony LaPaglia is Jackson’s godfather; Roselyn Sanchez is my best friend. We’re all still very, very close. And I never thought that could happen again, and it did with Dylan and the cast on this show. We all instantly just bonded and became friends, and everyone is amazing. So — knock on wood — that’s a huge blessing as well.