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

Errol Lewis, Publisher and Editor in Chief

Monday, June 7, 2010 at 12:43 PM ET by Errol Lewis

Photo: Florian Schneider/Hallmark Channel

( — Just hours after news broke out that Vanessa Marcil was returning to ABC's "General Hospital," the actress herself speaks out on her return to the soap after nearly a seven-year absence and what's in store for Brenda Barrett this time around.

"I feel so lucky to continue to be allowed to visit ‘General Hospital’ and honor where I came from,” says Marcil. “I am humbled by these great people and a character that I truly love."

According to ABC, "Brenda Barrett's return to Port Charles comes at a time when the three most important men in her life – Sonny [Maurice Benard], Jax [Ingo Rademacher] and Jason [Steve Burton] – are all in crisis. Brenda's in trouble herself – when is she not? – possessing an explosive secret. Only she doesn’t even realize it's something devoutly to be kept secret. Brenda has no idea the havoc this little indiscretion will wreak or that she'll send the lives of loved ones hurling into chaos."

"Fans can now rejoice, Vanessa is returning to 'General Hospital,' said Brian Frons, president, ABC Daytime. "'General Hospital' has always been dedicated to the strong history of our characters. Fans and viewers alike will be thrilled with her storyline and will agree that her return was worth waiting for."

Marcil's return is set for Wednesday, August 11. It is unclear at this time how long she's expected to remain. During her last return in 2003, she was only contracted to appear for six-months.

"General Hospital" airs Weekdays on ABC. Anytime on

  • General Hospital
  • GH
  • Ingo Rademacher
  • Steve Burton
  • Maurice Benard
  • Vanessa Marcil

    Monday, June 7, 2010 at 10:56 AM ET by Errol Lewis
    Updated Monday, June 7, 2010 12:14 PM ET

    Photo: Florian Schneider/Hallmark Channel

    ( — "General Hospital's" ratings are about to skyrocket now that the soap has reached a deal with Vanessa Marcil to reprise her role as Brenda Barrett later this summer, at least that's what the ABC soap hopes will happen.

    According to USA Today, Marcil first hits the air beginning with the Wednesday, August 11 episode, which finds Brenda returning "to Port Charles with a big secret that, of course, is sure to wreak havoc." What secret that may be, no one knows.

    "Brenda arrives in Port Charles with a secret that will impact Sonny, Jax and Jason," said Brian Frons, president, ABC Daytime to

    "General Hospital" has been trying to make a deal happen with Marcil for the past two years and the show came close in 2008, but unfortunately things didn't work out schedule wise. "We were trying to fit it in this past year, but it didn't work out, so maybe in '09 we'll find a way," Marcil said in a late 2008 interview with Soap Opera Weekly. "It's definitely in the cards at some point." Of course, nearly two years later, the cards were dealt in a way that benefited both parties.

    "We are so thrilled to welcome Vanessa Marcil home to 'General Hospital.' Vanessa is a wonderful, talented actress and her portrayal of Brenda makes her a force of nature in Port Charles," said "GH" executive producer Jill Farren Phelps.

    Vanessa joined the cast of "General Hospital" as the conniving Brenda Barrett, whose mission was to tear apart Jagger Cates (Antonio Sabato Jr.) and Karen Wexler (then played by Cari Shayne), in 1992. In 1998, she opted to leave the cast of the series and join FOX's "Beverly Hills, 90210" as Gina Kincaid. She returned to "GH" in 2002, but moved onto NBC's "Las Vegas," which also starred Josh Duhamel (ex-Leo, "All My Children") and James Caan in 2003. The series was canceled in early 2008 during the infamous Writer's Guild of America strike.

    Marcil's brief return to the ABC soap in 2002 marked the series' best ratings performance in nearly a decade. During a single week in the all important February Sweeps period in 2003, "GH" had 4.1 million households and 5.3 million total viewers tuned into the trials and tribulations of Brenda and her series of men (Sonny Corinthos and Jasper "Jax" Jacks).

    "General Hospital" airs Weekdays on ABC. Anytime on

    • All My Children
    • General Hospital
    • Las Vegas
    • Vanessa Marcil
    • Antonio Sabato Jr.
    • Cari Shayne
    • Josh Duhamel

      Monday, June 7, 2010 at 1:48 AM ET by Errol Lewis
      Updated Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 4:03 PM ET

      Photo: Ken Corday

      ( — On Tuesday, May 25, Soap Opera Network sat down with "Days of our Lives" Executive Producer Ken Corday at the NBC Experience Store in New York City in conjunction with his book signing for his latest release, "The Days of our Lives: The True Story of One Family's Dream and the Untold History of 'Days of our Lives.'"

      "The book is about the story of my family before the show went on the air in 1965, because my mother and father's story was fascinating to me," said Corday. "They met in New York, during the depression, and had a background in theater, then radio and then television before my dad sold 'DAYS' to NBC in 1965 and we moved from New York to Los Angeles."

      What made you write the book? Why now?
      Originally the book was written because my children never got to know my mother and father. So it was a biography about them. As I wrote the book towards the end of my mother and father's life, it became about the story of the show. So I kept writing and kept writing right up through today. Then I went back, because writing is re-writing, during a down period. For the reader it is about how did our family's life and the shows life crossover? What parallels were drawn between the two? What happened in our lives that we used on the show? What happened on the show that strangely enough was reflecting our lives? For me it was just a wonderful experience. It was kind of like a love letter to the viewer. In broad view, that was what it was about. There are chapters about the heroes, chapters about the heroines, and then of course throughout all that is my biography and the history of the show.

      Photo: Source Books

      What makes the book different from being your basic historical timeline of the shows history?
      There were things in the book you would never know about the show even from talking to some of the cast members. There is one chapter called Behind the Scenes, which is not a tell all, but more instances that have happened that defy gravity and description, some of them spiritual, some of them just outlandish, and it happened behind the scenes. I think that the reader would find some of those things fascinating.

      'Days of our Lives' has been able to beat the odds and stay on the air despite obstacles getting in the way. What have you been able to do differently in order to keep the show on the air?
      What we're dealing with today is a shrinking market for network television and we've had to in a way re-invite the wheel without really changing the look of the show. It started with NBC saying, 'we will pick up the show, but you're going to have to operate at 40% less cost.' I said to them, 'I don't know how I'm going to do that.' While thinking it over with the head writers, we said 'ok, we have to present the same interesting and entertaining show, we just can't use as many cast members.' We do a set number of shows per week now, when we used to do one every day. In that way, we are able to take 10 weeks of the year off. This means that we are not being charged for the studio cost. It was just a way of reshaping things, which I like to call 'turning the hour glass over again.' Amazingly, and to the network's surprise, the show grew 10% in ratings from the previous year, which NBC can't say about any of their other shows between 2008 and 2009 [Corday laughs].

      On November 8, 'DAYS' will celebrate its 45th Anniversary. Does the renewal make things that much more special?
      It is more special because we didn't know until about 6 months ago whether we were going to celebrate a 45th anniversary. For the show, its performance is based on ratings as well as the target audience. And 'DAYS' has performed so well that NBC has renewed us through September 2011.

      What has kept the show on the air as long as it has been? How does it stand out from the rest?
      You have to give the viewer what the viewer wants to see. You just can't put people on the show with all new faces. I know in the months to come a lot of familiar faces will be coming back to the show as our matriarch, Alice Horton [Frances Reid], passed away. For a period of two weeks, we really dealt with it in an organic manner. By bringing back familiar faces from the past, and keying that off with you know 'here is one actor or another whose characters are still viable,' it wasn't a question, why not re-introduce them? That really is our secret – the wheel is not broken. I think that will be the formula for future success of the show. It is also really about romance – by keeping [couples] apart for as long as possible, but without turning off the audience. We will always have couples breaking up, while always giving the audience 'Hope,' which I could use in two different ways [Corday chuckles], that the couple will get back together.

      Speaking of couples, I started watching 'DAYS' in the mid-1990's and my favorite character is Sami Brady [Corday interjects and says 'me too!']. From her days trying to get Austin, while finding love with Lucas, to getting with EJ, to her drama with Rafe and now she's toying around with EJ again. Is that the type of storylines you are referring to when it comes to couples?
      Yes, that is what I was referring to. I truly believe the viewers want Sami and Rafe together. You know, Sami can be her own worst enemy and this time she's not doing it in a vindictive way. She's just being pulled in by this not so nice guy [EJ]. That will come to a conclusion sometime right after Labor Day. I think viewers will be very happy to see Sami being the strong Sami, who is taking things into her own hands. I wish I could tell you the plot points, but I can't! I can say you can expect a lot of surprises and viewers will get what they want.

      Back to the book. How long did it take you to write?
      About three years, believe it or not. The first draft was a set number of pages, so after writing and re-writing, it was a matter of tearing things down. You have to keep it on track for the reader. There were parts that were more personal, that had nothing to do with the show, that were pulled out. and then I was going through the steps of finding the right publisher to publish the book. Strangely enough, Source Books, which is based in Chicago, and is the publisher of the book, I found that it was the perfect fit with them. They made an overall deal for three years with us, not just for this book, but a coffee table book in November, and others to follow. Coincidentally, there was the creator of 'Days of our Lives' along with my father, Irna Phillips, who also created 'As The World Turns,' 'Guiding Light' and 'Another World,' who was from Chicago. She never left Chicago, so here we are 45-years later coming full circle.

      What kind of books can readers expect through your deal with Source Books?
      There will be three of what I like to call extended romance novels, about couples that aren't on the show now. For instance, Patch and Kayla, John and Marlena and Jack and Jennifer. Some of that may change [Corday hints] if one or two of those characters returns.

      For more from Ken Corday about the life and death of Frances Reid, who died in February, check back next week for part two of our interview.

      "Days of our Lives" airs Weekdays on NBC. Anytime on

      • Days of our Lives
      • Ken Corday
      • Frances Reid
      • The Days of our Lives: The True Story of One Family’s Dream and the Untold History of ‘Days of our Lives

        Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 4:16 PM ET by Errol Lewis

        Photo: Arianne Zucker

        ( — Arianne Zucker's (Nicole Walker, "Days of our Lives") Lowd Suga line of jewelry and accessories gets a mention in new book, "Young, Restless & Broke" by Michelle Yu and Blossom Kan, which hit stores in April.

        In an interview with Soap Opera Digest, Zucker says "I always appreciate when people think of me to write about. There are many people to choose from and in Michelle Yu's case, she chose me."

        The authors inked a deal with Zucker in January that includes an option to buy the book along-side a necklace set created specifically for the book. To get a look at the jewlery included in the set, go to Lowd Suga's Website.

        To purchase the book, head on over to

        "Days of our Lives" airs Weekdays on NBC. Anytime on

        Click Here for More "Days of our Lives"
        • Days of our Lives
        • Arianne Zucker
        • Michelle Yu
        • Blossom Kan
        • Young
        • Restless & Broke
        • Lowd Suga

          Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 3:28 PM ET by Errol Lewis

          Photo: Jill Johnson/JPI

          ( — "General Hospital" has upped the ante on the Franco (James Franco) storyline as the ABC soap has cast Academy Award ® nominated actor Bruce Davison in a three-episode-arc starting in July, reports TV Guide Magazine's Michael Logan. Davison will appear as Wilhelm Van Schlagel, Franco's art dealer.

          According to an ABC representative speaking to Logan, Franco's return will "wreak havoc on Jason [Steve Burton] and Michael [Chad Duell] and everyone else in Port Charles. His grand finale will be yet another art exhibition that’s more wild and crazy than his last one."

          Davison's appearance on "GH" is credited to casting director Mark Teschner, who stated that "Bruce is one of my favorite actors—I met him in a restaurant a few years back and told him so,” Teschner says. “I wanted a very special, unique actor to be in scenes with Franco, and he was the first idea to pop into my head."

          The actor received an Oscar® nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category for his work in the 1991 film "Longtime Companion."

          "General Hospital" airs Weekdays on ABC. Anytime on

          • General Hospital
          • Steve Burton
          • James Franco
          • Chad Duell
          • Bruce Davison
          • Mark Teschner
          • Longtime Companion

            Friday, June 4, 2010 at 5:47 PM ET by Errol Lewis

            Photo: Wireimage

            ( — Another celebrity drug problem means just another day in the crazy world called Hollywood.

   is reporting that Chace Crawford, who currently stars on the CW series “Gossip Girl,” was busted early this morning in Plano, Texas for possession of marijuana under 2 ounces.

            It is understood that the actor was in a car with a friend in the Ringo’s Pub parking lot when they were discovered by police.

            Crawford was charged with a misdemeanor.

            • Gossip Girl
            • Chace Crawford

              Friday, June 4, 2010 at 3:20 PM ET by Errol Lewis

              Photo: ABC

              ( — A look at what’s happening on “General Hospital” during the week of June 7, 2010.


              Dante and Brook continue to reminisce on their past together, which includes a moment they were caught in a compromising position, which spurs multiple questions from Lulu on Monday, June 7. Jason questions Spinelli on Carly’s revenge plan, while Carly continues her plot with Brook to make Lulu jealous. Carly rents the apartment across from Lulu and Dante for Brook. After Sonny asks if he was ever abusive to her on the Friday, June 4 episode, Carly admits to Sonny that yes, they were in an “emotionally abusive relationship.” Sonny wants to go to therapy sessions with Kristina. Sam is afraid Johnny is using Kristina to get back at Sonny. Helena denies Tracy any medical aide on Wednesday, June 9, despite her worsening condition. Kristina goes to see Michael in prison on Thursday, June 10. Skye asks Ethan to befriend Kristina.

              The Inside Story: Admitting the Truth
              Jason is out to get Carter for all the problems he has been causing Michael, but on Monday, June 7, Carter has the upper hand. On Tuesday, June 8, Michael tries to explain to Jason what Carter has been doing to him, but he has an emotional breakdown. Wanting revenge, Jason seeks out Carter on Wednesday, June 9, but Michael tries to stop him. Unfortunately for the young boy, Carter is ready for another round of taunting on Thursday, June 10, but can Michael defend himself from his attacker this time around? Meanwhile, Jason has had it with Carter and takes matters into his own hands on Friday, June 11. As Carter crumples to the floor dying in the shower room, he tells Jason, “Franco says hi.”

              A Closer Look: The Jealous Married Man
              Patrick prepares for a romantic dinner date with his wife, Robin, on Tuesday, June 8, but while Robin is away on a trip to Africa for the next few weeks, Patrick begins to display his jealous tendencies when it comes to Lisa. On Wednesday, June 8, after a successful surgery, Patrick and Lisa agree to have dinner, but when Lisa invites Steve to tag along, Patrick isn’t happy. On Thursday, June 10, Maxie bares witness to Patrick’s jealousy when it comes to Lisa’s personal life and warns the good doctor to be careful. Patrick uses Carly to make Lisa jealous on Friday, June 11.

              General Hospital News and Headlines:

              “General Hospital” airs Weekdays on ABC. Anytime on

              • Laura Wright
              • Steve Burton
              • Maurice Benard
              • Lexi Ainsworth
              • Dominic Zamprogna
              • James Franco
              • Chad Duell
              • Josh Wingate

                Friday, June 4, 2010 at 2:38 PM ET by Errol Lewis

                Photo: Bradley Ross

                ( — Despite Michael’s (Chad Duell) wishes that Jason (Steve Burton) stay out of it when it comes to Carter’s treatment of him, Jason takes matters into his own hands when he kills the prisoner on the Friday, June 11 episode of ABC’s “General Hospital.” Of course, being cliffhanger Friday, look for actor Josh Wingate, who portrays Carter, to exit the soap on Monday, June 14.

                Wingate joined the cast of the soap in May as Carter, shortly after Michael was sentenced to five years in prison for killing his step-mother last fall. In a first for daytime, it quickly became apparent that Carter was possibly sexually abusing the young boy despite his father being the biggest crime boss in the North East, that being Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard).

                In an interview with TV’s Michael Logan, “GH” Head Writer Robert Guza Jr. explained that while many have assumed that Michael had been raped multiple times by the prison inmate, “I have never confirmed that he was and I’m not about to.”

                “Our focus right now is on the horrific experience of an 18- or 19-year-old who is thrown into a terrible situation like this,” said Guza. “I just didn’t want to make the story more specific at this point. However, that’s not to say that I won’t be getting very specific in three or four or five months down the line. This situation is going to rear its ugly head in a big way and Michael is going to have to deal with it. This is a story that needs to be parceled out.”

                According to ABC, as Carter crumples to the floor dying, he tells Jason, “Franco says hi.” That being the character of Franco, played by James Franco, who is returning to the soap later this month.

                In addition to his work on “General Hospital,” Wingate has appeared in such television shows as FX’s “Justified” and ABC’s “FlashForward.” He can next be seen in the films “Priest” and “Fuzz Track City.”

                “General Hospital” airs Weekdays on ABC. Anytime on

                • Jr.
                • General Hospital
                • GH
                • Steve Burton
                • Maurice Benard
                • James Franco
                • Chad Duell
                • Josh Wingate
                • Robert Guza

                  Friday, June 4, 2010 at 2:00 PM ET by Errol Lewis

                  Photo: Lisa Rose/JPI

                  ( — James Franco is marking his return to ABC’s “General Hospital” in a big way this summer as daytime’s most original soap opera breaks new ground in storytelling.

                  On Wednesday, June 30, “GH” welcomes actor James Franco back into the fold as his psychedelic character Franco returns to Port Charles after suddenly disappearing last fall.

                  “Working on ‘General Hospital’ was a great experience. I love the cast, writers, directors and producers. They have become a new family for me. I can’t wait for the work we will do this summer,” said Franco in a statement.

                  “We are so thrilled to welcome James back to ‘General Hospital,’” says Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps. “We had such a great time with him and are very excited that he decided to return to Port Charles to take care of unfinished business.”

                  Clues of Franco’s return begins to surface next week when Jason (Steve Burton) confronts Michael’s (Chad Duell) attacker, Carter (Joshua Wingate), who has been physically abusing the young boy since he was sentenced last month for killing his step-mother last fall. According to ABC, after Jason stabs Carter in the stomach on Friday, June 11, while in the shower room no less, Carter’s dying words will be “Franco says hi.”

                  Look for Jason to join forces with sworn enemy Dante Falconeri (Dominic Zamprogna), who is also Michael’s older brother, in a quest to track down Franco and be rid of the man once and for all.

                  “General Hospital” airs Weekdays on ABC. Anytime on

                  • General Hospital
                  • GH
                  • Steve Burton
                  • Dominic Zamprogna
                  • James Franco
                  • Chad Duell

                    Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 4:49 PM ET by Errol Lewis

                    Photo: Sean Smith/JPI

                    ( — In celebration of the “37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards,” the CBS Television Network will air a “Price is Right” themed edition of the awards telecast to be hosted by Drew Carey.

                    The special episode of “The Price is Right” will include appearances by “The Bold and the Beautiful’s” Patrick Duffy and “The Young and the Restless’” Peter Bergman. The episode airs on Friday, June 25 at 11:00 AM ET/10:00 AM PT.

                    According to CBS, Duffy and Bergman will appear early in the show as part of a “one-bid,” and then each will present their own showcase at the end of the show. The showcase winner will receive a trip to Las Vegas to attend “The 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.” The episode was actually filmed last week, Monday, May 24, on the “Price is Right” set in Los Angeles, CA.

                    “The 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards” will air Live from the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday, June 27 from 9:00 – 11:00 PM ET.

                    • The Bold and the Beautiful
                    • Peter Bergman
                    • The Price is Right
                    • Drew Carey
                    • Patrick Duffy

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