How WATCH ABC Changes Will Affect Viewing of 'GH,' 'The View' and 'The Chew'; Shows Also on Hulu Plus

How WATCH ABC Changes Will Affect Viewing of ‘GH,’ ‘The View’ and ‘The Chew’; Shows Also on Hulu Plus

 
Kambra Clifford, West Coast Editor
'GH' Head Writer Robert Guza Jr. Leaving? Not True According to Insiders

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) – UPDATE: Soap Opera Digest has updated their report on their website citing comment from an ABC representative indicating that Guza is in fact not leaving "GH."

PREVIOUS: Soap Opera Digest is reporting on their website that "General Hospital" Head Writer Robert Guza Jr. is on his way out as the soaps Head Writer. According to network insiders however, the report is "not true" and "absolutely false." Under normal circumstances, when a rumor is denied or not confirmed by the network we'd receive a standard "no comment," which did not happen in this case thus giving credence to the possibility that Soap Opera Digest is reporting false mistaken news on their website.

Digest Report:

Guza's Future at GH in Question
We're hearing that Robert Guza, Jr. is on his way out as GENERAL HOSPITAL's head writer. ABC Daytime doesn't comment on rumors, but an insider tells us there's a good chance it's true.

Guza returned to the ABC soap in April 2002 when he was named co-head writer alongside Charles Pratt Jr. He took over sole head writing duties in early 2006 after it was announced that Pratt had decided to leave the drama series. Under Guza's current reign, "General Hospital" won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team in 2003 and 2009. The series won for Outstanding Drama Series in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

  • General Hospital
  • Soap Opera Digest
  • Robert Guza Jr.
  • Charles Pratt Jr.


    John Gregory Willard Tries Out for Role of Ryan on 'DAYS'

    (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — We had previously reported that NBC's "Days of our Lives" was seeking to cast the contract role of Ryan, who is described as a "17 to 18-year-old Caucasian or African American male." According to the breakdown released at the time, "Ryan is the all-American high school idol. Gorgeous, well-built quarterback of the football team. Popular, confident and charismatic…the world is at his feet for the taking." Recently, Soap Opera Network received a link to a clip of actor John Gregory Willard screen testing for the role. While the clip was posted on the Vimeo website about a month ago, there has been no word on whether the show has cast the role. "Days of our Lives" is currently filming two to three months in advance, while the character is scheduled to debut in May.

    Since beginning his career in 2006, Willard has appeared in a number of films that have included some of Hollywood's top elite including Kristen Stewart in "The Yellow Handkerchief" and Chris Evans in "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond."

    • Days of our Lives
    • Comings & Goings
    • Chris Evans
    • John Gregory Willard
    • Kristen Stewart
    • The Yellow Handkerchief
    • The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond


      'One Life' Head Writer Ron Carlivati Talks Erika Slezak and Importance of Viewers

      (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On Sunday, March 13, Soap Opera Network chatted with some of your favorite actors from "All My Children, "One Life to Live" and "General Hospital" at a press party held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. The event took place immediately following the 7th and final production of "ABC Daytime Salutes Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS" charity event. In our first of a series of interviews, we thought it would be best to start things off by talking with "One Life to Live" head writer Ron Carlivati.

      Carlivati came to "One Life to Live" as a writer's assistant in 1996. Since then he found himself taking on the positions of script writer and breakdown writer on one of daytime's longest running soap operas. But what is different from being a writer on the show to now being the head writer of said show? "Well suddenly it is all on my shoulders," said Carlivati. "I have to come up with who is going to do what to whom; this one is going to get pregnant; this one is going to shoot this one. I have to get it approved by the people above me, but it's really up to me to come up with the overall stories." As head writer, Carlivati works with a team of writers in scripting the daily escapades of Llanview's dynamic citizens. So how much influence could a writer have on changes in a storyline? "I have an amazing team that I work with and they have great ideas. I will change ideas in midstream because they have awesome ideas also," Carlivati shared.

      Since taking over head writing duties in 2007, Carlivati and his team secured the soap its third Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team in 2008 (previously "One Life" won in 1987 and 1994). So what's it like for the man knowing that he's in charge of spearheading the shows creative future? "It is an incredible responsibility," the writer said. "I take it very seriously. I love it. It is a great job. I'm actually the same age as the show [42 years], so I think that 'One Life to Live' and I are on parallel tracks. The show started in 1968 [July 15], and I was born in 1968. Here we are 42 years later and I've been writing on it for 15 years, so 1/3rd of the show I've been involved in."

      Through out "One Life to Live's" more than forty years on the air, the show has had numerous special episodes to honor its history. From campy storylines in the episode "Trading Places" in the early 2000's, where Todd Manning (then played by Roger Howarth) dressed up as Viki Davidson (Erika Slezak), to as recent as last year's episodes where cast members (including Kristen Alderson) sang songs from the heart in a series of episodes dubbed "Starr X'd." Does Carlivati expect to continue the tradition? "We have a great one coming up that's to honor Erika Slezak [Viki] for her 40th anniversary on the show. She's basically the whole show and that's coming up in April. Her anniversary is actually in March, but the episode falls in April. It's going to be a fun day," the passionate writer said. "I love doing stuff like that. When we had the 10,000th episode or the 40th anniversary, it gives you the opportunity to really focus in and be like 'ok, this is really going to be a special show for the audience.'"

      At the end of the day "One Life to Live" is written to provide entertainment to its millions of viewers, but how much influence does the audience have in the stories that are written? "I was a fan before I worked there. I like to think that because I am a fan that I sort of know what I would want to see. That feeds into what I do," said Carlivati. "I feel that I do have a huge amount of respect for our fans because we wouldn't have a show without them. It definitely influences what we do. I like to have a lot of those inside jokes, or little nods to the audience, to let them know that we do hear what they are saying."

      In the last year alone sister soaps "All My Children" and "General Hospital" have gotten new opening sequences. Fans have long clamored for "One Life" to get a new opening as well. Does Carlivati see one in the shows future? "I don't know. That is Frank's [Valentini, Executive Producer] doing. I'm sure I would be told if it happens, but I don't know anything about it," he said.

      Speaking of openings, in the past the show had started with episodes displaying a title card. Now they are no where to be seen. So what happened? "We did it for a long time. It was actually Frank's idea," said Carlivati. "We used to title the episodes before they were seen on the air. We would just title them for ourselves and Frank had the idea to start putting them on the screen. We did it for a couple of years and I loved it. I actually miss it because now when we're writing I'm like 'oh, I know what a great title that would be for that.'" The concept really did give the show more of a primetime feeling… "I think that was the intent. I'm not sure exactly why they decided to discontinue it, but I loved it," he said.

      With the popularity of telenovela's where a set of stories play out on screen for approximately three months through a limited series on Spanish networks like Univision and Telemundo, fans often wonder how much planning goes into the American soap operas. "I try to have a plan in mind, but I do like to be open to new ideas. If you set a plan in stone, it changes every time," Carlivati said. "We'll say this is what we're going to do in January, this is what we're going to do in February, March, etc. When you actually get there it doesn't happen that way because something takes off and you go in another direction. As long as you have some goal in mind," he continued. "The pregnancy is the easiest thing in the world because you're like 'ok, I know nine months from now there's going to be a birth. There's going to be somebody trapped in a snow storm going into labor.' You can frame your story in over a year's time. You're going to have the pregnancy and the delivery. I think that is what worked well with the story we just did."

      Ultimately, when it comes down to it fans look forward to the revelations of big secrets. Storylines involving secrets and lies are always the most highly sought storylines playing out on soaps. "One Life to Live" upped the ante with major Who's the Daddy? drama. "The audience has waited for so long, so they want to see that pay off," said Carlivati. "I think that is why our double wedding was so successful because people were dying to see those reveals come out like 'Who's the father of Jessica's baby? Who's the father of Natalie's baby? Who is Rex's father?' They were ready for all of that to come out."

      In part two, we'll speak with "One Life to Live" Executive Producer Frank Valentini and finally learn whether the soap will get that highly sought new opening sequence and learn more about Valentini's work ethic.

      • One Life to Live
      • Frank Valentini
      • Erika Slezak
      • Kristen Alderson
      • Ron Carlivati
      • Roger Howarth
      • Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS


        James Franco Back for More 'General Hospital'

        (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Despite a less than thrilling performance as co-host of the "83rd Annual Academy Awards" on ABC last month, the network has asked actor James Franco to return to "General Hospital" once more as the deadly artist known simply as Franco.

        According to the network, on Friday, March 25, Franco will again make his presence known to a Port Charles citizen. This time to Carly Jacks (Laura Wright), when Franco gets in touch with the hotel owner with a very important message.

        To find out what Franco is up to next, tune in to "General Hospital." Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.

        • General Hospital
        • Laura Wright
        • James Franco
        • Oscars
        • Comings & Goings
        • Academy Awards


          A New Face for Baby Emma on 'GH'

          (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — "General Hospital's" Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough) and Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) are getting a new face for their baby girl. Not a face lift sillies (who'd do that to a baby anyway?), but a new actress is taking over the role of Emma from departing twins Jessie and Gianna Salvatierra.

          According to ABC Soaps In Depth, Francesca Cistone will take on the role beginning with the Wednesday, March 23 episode. Cistone is the daughter of Danny Cistone, who recently appeared on the soap as Jules, one of Theo's (Daniel Benzali) men who taunted Sonny (Maurice Benard) on the Thursday, March 10 episode of the soap with a lead on Brenda's (Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo) kidnapping.

          According to In Depth:

          No explanation has been given for the reason behind replacing the twins, who've been sharing the role since 2009, and setsiders report that Francesca — a fraternal twin herself –4 is just a few months older than Jessie and Gianna.

          • General Hospital
          • Francesca Cistone
          • Jason Thompson
          • Kimberly McCullough
          • Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo
          • ABC Soaps in Depth
          • Danny Cistone
          • Gianna Salvatierra
          • Maurice Benard
          • Daniel Benzali
          • Jessie Salvatierra


            Thom Bierdz: The Writer, The Artist and the Missing Chancellor

            (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After a 20 year absence, actor Thom Bierdz (Phillip Chancellor III) returned to CBS' "The Young and the Restless" in 2009 with the revelation that his character was gay – one of the few out characters currently portrayed on American soaps. As the only openly gay actor appearing in a soap opera, Bierdz took time out of his busy day on Wednesday, February 16, to speak with Soap Opera Network about his most recent return to daytime's top soap, his passion for art and his Amazon bestseller "Forgiving Troy," which delves into the mind, the life and the heart of a man dealing with trauma through the power of the written word.

            Your name is very unique, and sometimes can be pronounced incorrectly by individuals. Is it pronounced like Tom Beards? Did I say that right?

            You did! Beards, like facial hair. I kind of wish I would have spelled it like that when I moved out here [Los Angeles, CA] because it's such a hard name to spell. Plus, with the name T-H-O-M, I think it's hard for people to find me online and stuff. In retrospect, I would have spelled my name much more simple.

            You came back to "The Young and the Restless" after a LONG absence [20 years] in 2009. Now, the character you portray was reportedly dead and then he came back to life, but he was in hiding because he didn't want his family to realize he was alive because he had secrets he was hiding [Exhausted]? Tell us more about that.

            That is right. My character died in 1989, and in 2009 the writers and producers brought me back with the storyline that I faked my death for twenty years because I was gay and couldn't tell anybody about it. So it was really cool. By that time I was an out gay actor, so for me to return to such an integral job 20 years later was a real gift, especially to do it was the authenticity of who I really am. I'm really happy to be a part of "Y&R," especially to be the gay part of "Y&R."

            Whose decision was it to bring the character back as a gay character? Was it a combination of you discussing returning to the show and they decided to do it then? At what point did they decide to make the character gay?

            I had several meetings with Maria Arena Bell [Head Writer/Executive Producer of "Y&R"] and Josh O'Connell [Associate Producer] and they wanted to revise Phillip, as did I. It was really cool.

            So between the conversations you had about returning, it was also decided you would bring the character back as an out character? One of the few we have in daytime…

            I had no interest in coming back and doing the same thing I did, even though it is a great job. I had already done that. To be able to do something different was very exciting for me as a man. On a bigger level as an actor. As a man it meant a lot to me to do something different.

            So what have you been up to since your time on "Y&R" in the '80s up until your return and even now?

            You know, I'm so into painting and I've been into painting my whole life. I never thought it would be my main career and it is. What I've been doing for the past several years has been doing commissions of pets and families. A lot of soap opera fans contact me through Facebook or online asking me to paint people or pets that are important to them. I love doing that. Apparently, I'm quite good at that.

            There is an upcoming film called "Stick Figures," and apparently your art work will be displayed in the film. Explain how that works to us.

            I don't know any more details than that. I really respect the actor/writer/producer [Matthew Montgomery]. The protagonist is an artist and they'll use my art for that.

            Between "Y&R" and your painting, is there anything that has caught your attention? Are you interested in doing any Broadway plays or any theatre work?

            I'm not interested in doing theatre at this point, but I'm very interested in night time and primetime series. I've had my first audition in 10 years for one last week. I'm more excited to do that now that I'm acting again.

            Can you say which show you auditioned for?

            It was for a new pilot coming out directed and produced by Michael Patrick King [NBC's in development "Mann's World"], who did "Sex and the City," and I'm not in it as far as I know [Laughs].

            So Phillip, he's back on the show. His son, Phillip, I guess you want to say Jr., but they call him Chance, supposedly died a couple of months ago in a similar way that Phillip died, in the sense that he faked his death. Now the character is back again and giving his kidney to his half brother. What's going on there?

            Genoa City can have some extreme dramatic moments. They knew that Chance wasn't really going to die when they wrote that he was dead. He went into the witness relocation program and now he's back. That's great, not only for me because I get to act with John Driscoll [who portrays Chance], but Tricia Cast [Nina] is just phenomenal. She's had so many emotional scenes this past year with both of her sons. She's just great.

            How long is your character back in town for?

            That's a good question. I believe they are going to use me more this year than they have in the subsequent years, but I have been back every couple of months since 2009. I'll probably be back more regularly this year.

            If you weren't on "Y&R," could you see yourself on any other daytime show?

            Yes, sure. I like the idea very much of me being able to paint for a living and act. I have time for both of those. I really like that.

            Is there any other character in daytime that you could say you wish you were playing?

            Who I think is so great is Sean [Kanan], who plays Deacon, he's just so good at what he's doing. I do several accents. I would love to do a dual role with one of my accents and play a heterosexual as well. As for me wanting to do somebody else's character, there is nobody I can think of right now.

            You've been acting for a long time now. What can you say about your roles in such shows as "Murder, She Wrote" and "Melrose Place" or TV movies? How are they different from who you are currently playing on "Y&R?"

            "Y&R," because it is ongoing, I can be more of myself there than I could be in "Murder, She Wrote" and "Matlock" and these other movies and TV that I've done. That's really fun that I can bring my organic self to this.

            In 2009, you released your book "Forgiving Troy." The story is about your search for understanding the circumstances behind the tragic death of your mother. What can you share about your personal experiences during such tragedy and how you've been able to cope?

            It is a story that I really felt that I had to share. It's extreme hardship and is inspirational as well. It is my family story. I get a lot of people taking it into their hearts. I found so many more people relate to this story than I thought. I thought people would see it from an entertainment perspective. I had no idea that so many people would relate to the characters.

            When I read about your life history, it was very shocking to hear all of the things that have gone on in your life and how you've been able to progress to where you are today, knowing that all of that has happened in the past. Like you said, it is an inspirational story. I have a family member of mine who has a mental illness [bilpolar], and it just puts things more into perspective about the importance of family, love and life.

            It is extreme and my brother is schizophrenic, paranoid schizophrenic, and so many more people than you think are in relation to that or have been. It is great for me to be able to share openly about it as does my incarcerated brother…he's very open about it. He's seeking to be the best that he can at this point and I'm helping him along and he's helping me along. We're brothers loving each other, despite him killing mom years ago and his illness and him being in prison. We're still brothers, we're still there for each other because that is what my mom would want. Plus, he's my brother. I'll be there for him forever. He is a very special guy to me. He is my baby brother. I know he is haunted. I can understand. I can empathize at some points. He calls me from prison a couple of times a week. I see him once a year, and he is watching "The Young and the Restless."

            Interested in purchasing Thom's book? You can get an autographed copy through ThomBierdz.com or you can purchase through Amazon.com.

            "The Young and the Restless" airs Weekdays on CBS. Anytime on CBS.com.

            (Y&R scenic photography courtesy Howard Wise/JPI)

            • The Young and the Restless
            • Sean Kanan
            • Thom Bierdz
            • Tricia Cast
            • John Driscoll
            • Interviews


              A hitman with a painful past. The only way to protect his son was to give him up. But just because he's no longer in his life, doesn't mean he stops loving him. Starting Thursday, March 17 on "General Hospital," it's the moment every mother fears. And now, three parents must wait, pray, and hope for a miracle. General Hospital. Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet.

              • General Hospital
              • Promos



                James Scott on EJ DiMera and the Tale of Two Taylors

                (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — During a stop in New York City at the NBC Experience Store within 30 Rockefeller Plaza (NBC's corporate headquarters), while promoting the new coffee book "Days of our Lives 45 Years: A Celebration in Photos," cast and crew members from the show sat down with Soap Opera Network to discuss their characters, their lives and much more. In our first interview, actor James Scott (EJ DiMera) talks about the Taylor switch (see Livingston OUT! Braun IN!) and why his character is so bad!

                English born actor James Scott joined the cast of NBC's "Days of our Lives" in the contract role of EJ DiMera in May 2006. Since then, he's seen his character go from a seemingly harmless, but definitely womanizing, race car driver to a corporate lawyer and for the most part as the dastardly evil son of Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo). So how does his portrayer see the character right now? "He can be a little bit bad at times," said Scott. "He's just really an insecure guy for the most part who doesn't deal very well with many situations." One could argue that he's in for a big situation when EJ starts playing with fire with wife Nicole's (Arianne Zucker) sister, Taylor Walker. "EJ has just met this girl [Taylor] and he feels something for her," the actor shared. "I don't think he quite knows exactly what it is, but he feels drawn towards her in a way. I think you'll have to wait and see exactly what happens. It is a good story."

                Natalia Livingston, who had been portraying the role of Taylor on the soap since the characters debut in late January, was fired recently after the show decided to take the character into a different direction. Said direction included the casting of actress Tamara Braun, who portrayed the role of Ava Vitali (who ironically was one of Nicole's few friends) in 2008, to take over from the departing Livingston beginning in late April. So how does Scott think the change will affect the current storyline? "I have to say I think it'll be surprisingly seamless. I had worked with Tamara, but not a tremendous amount. Obviously, Tamara and Natalia are very different actors. It has been a big transition in the story," said Scott. But what insight can he share into the decision to change actors? "I don't know why they decided to make the switch. From what I was told, they were taking the character in a new direction. I don't know what that direction is, but we'll have to see. I really enjoyed working with Natalia. I don't really understand why they switched the two actors around. I'm sure they had their reasons and at some point we'll see."

                "Days of our Lives" airs Weekdays on NBC. Anytime on NBC.com. Check local listings.

                • Tamara Braun
                • Days of our Lives
                • James Scott
                • Natalia Livingston
                • Arianne Zucker
                • Comings & Goings
                • Joseph Mascolo


                  IMDb

                  NBC’s “Days of our Lives” has cast newcomer Bren Foster in the contract role of Quinn, a character previously known as Fletcher in a recent casting call according to Soap Opera Digest. The character is described as being a “charming businessman with an edge. He can be clean cut or not. He is sexy, mysterious and savvy, has an easy way with the ladies but can be formidable if crossed.” The World Tae Kwon Do Champion’s first airdate will be in May and he’ll share his first scenes with Nadia Bjorlin‘s Chloe Lane.

                  Prior to joining “DAYS,” Foster is probably best known for his roles in the Australian soap “Home and Away” and drama “Sea Patrol.” He recently completed work on two American films, one called “War Flowers” where he played the role of John Ellis, a confederate sergeant alongside actors Christina Ricci and Tom Berenger, and “Bad to the Bone” where he portrays the title character Donnor ‘Bone’ Mason. He appeared regularly in the short lived National Geographic series “Fight Scene,” which delved into the world of mixed martial arts, fighting back and special ops.

                  Foster was born in London and moved to Australia when he was three years old. He started his acting career while in high school.



                  'Y&R's' Joshua Morrow Talks Lawsuits and his Desire for an Addiction Storyline for Nicholas Newman

                  (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — In an interview with Soap Opera Network, "The Young and the Restless" star Joshua Morrow (Nicholas Newman) took the time to talk about the outcome of the arbitration storyline set to air on the Tuesday, March 8 episode of the CBS soap, but he also sheds light on which storyline he'd like to tackle at some point in the future.

                  Morrow, who joined "Y&R" in June 1994, has found his character dealing with the rape of his high school sweetheart (Sharon, Sharon Case), the death of his adopted daughter (Cassie, Camryn Grimes), a divorce from two wives (Sharon and Phyllis, Michelle Stafford) and multiple kids, but what storyline has Morrow not played on "The Young and the Restless," but wishes he could act out in the future? "I guess something along the addiction phase. I don't think that Nick has ever really had a problem. He seems to have a wandering eye with the ladies, so one could definitely describe that as an addiction, but something addictive. I think that would be kind of fun just to see Nick fall apart a little bit. I'm always interested in the people who get to bare their sole like that on air, so I think that would be kind of cool."

                  While the the dynamics are completely different, what does the actor think viewers, who might be going through a similar situation, be able to take from the arbitration storyline taking place between Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) and his kids? "I think first and foremost that honesty must prevail. Victor has proven to be incapable of being honest to his children, which is very peculiar because the character is written where he always cares about his family. He's willing to do anything, but he sure makes some very questionable decisions about being forthright with them. I guess honesty and some compromise," said Morrow. "With Nick and Victor you've got two very headstrong people who don't really seem to want to bend on this. Once Nick joined this thing it became pretty serious and it carried a lot of weight to this lawsuit. I guess things like this happen in real life where the children are after their father's legacy and trying to carve out their own niche financially, but it is tough for me to think that children could go this far with their parent. It is a television show. It is dramatized to a very serious degree. I can't imagine families acting like this."

                  To find out the result of the case of Newman vs Newman, Newman and Newman/Carlton, tune into "The Young and the Restless" weekdays on CBS. Anytime on CBS.com. Check local listings.

                  • The Young and the Restless
                  • Sharon Case
                  • Joshua Morrow
                  • Michelle Stafford
                  • Camryn Grimes
                  • Eric Braeden








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