Tuesday, April 14, 2009 8:33 PM ET | By Errol Lewis

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) –  Actor Billy Dee Williams joins the cast of ABC’s “General Hospital” later this year, reprising his role on “General Hospital: Night Shift” as Toussaint DuBois.

Last seen on the SOAPnet original series as a janitor at General Hospital, Toussaint will “return to Port Charles during a tour break with the Saints,” confirms a ‘GH’ spokesman.

“He’ll want to see Epiphany [Sonya Eddy] and other residents in town.”

In “Night Shift,” Billy Dee found himself working side-by-side with trained killer Jason Morgan (Steve Burton) and saving lives through crashes, births and other various life threatening matters. This will be the first time the actor has appeared on “GH.” He is one of the few “Night Shift” stars to transition over to the mother soap. Most recently Nazanin Boniadi (ex-Leyla Mir) from season one transitioned to the soap until her character was killed off in January 2009 after parts of General Hospital exploded.

Williams first airs in June.

“General Hospital” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet.  Check local listings.

Discussion: Billy Dee Williams is Back in Port Charles

  • General Hospital
  • Billy Dee Williams
  • Sonya Eddy
  • General Hospital: Night Shift

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 6:54 PM ET | By Errol Lewis

    (SoapOperaNetwork.com) –  “The Young and the Restless” bumps young star to recurring status.

    Bryton Eric McClure was born August 17, 1986 to an African American father and a European American mother. He currently portrays the role of Devon Hamilton on the CBS drama series “The Young and the Restless.” He joined the cast in 2004.

    Now known professionally as just Bryton, the actor is said to have been dropped to  recurring status by the CBS drama series.

    According to sources of TV Guide Canada’s Nelson Branco, “Bryton will be asked to go recurring à la Tracey Bregman. He just hasn’t been told yet.” It should be noted that Tracey Bregman, who portrays Lauren Fenmore on the soap, is said to prefer recurring status to a contract. It provides her with more free time to do other things outside of the soap world.

    A “Y&R” spokeswoman had no comment.

    Bryton won the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series and the 2009 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series for his work on “The Young and the Restless.” His previous credits include a starring role in the ABC sitcom “Family Matters” from 1990-1997 (the series moved to CBS in 1997). He portrayed the role of Ritchie Crawford on the comedy series.

    In addition to his acting credits, Bryton is also a recording artist. He debuted his first single, “Ooh, The Way I Feel About You,” on the German TV series “Stars 2000″ and has performed live on numerous occasions for an international audience through appearances on television networks including Viva, ZDF 5, Giga TV and Disney Channel. He is an active spokesperson for various charities. In 1996 he founded “RADD (Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drunk Driving) Kids.” Bryton also was awarded the Michael Landon Award for his charitable contributions in the entertainment community.

    “The Young and the Restless” airs Weekdays on CBS. Weeknights on SOAPnet.  Check local listings.

    Discussion: ‘Y&R’s’ Bryton McClure Bumped to Recurring Status?

    • The Young and the Restless
    • Family Matters
    • Bryton McClure
    • Tracey Bregman

      Monday, April 13, 2009 8:30 PM ET | By Errol Lewis

      (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — As a new Michael is set to join the cast, “General Hospital” is ready to reduce the appearances of two contract players.

      According to published reports, actors Rick Hearst (Ric Lansing) and Megan Ward (Kate Howard) have been bumped to recurring status by the ABC Daytime drama series. Ironically, Hearst recently re-signed a new contract after joining the cast in 2002. Ward joined the cast in May 2007.

      Rumors began circulating last month that five stars from the soap would get the axe following recent budget cuts at ABC Daytime. It is understood that instead of being let go completely, both actors agreed to being placed on recurring status. At press time, an ABC spokesman had no comment.

      In related news, Drew Garrett joins the cast as Michael Corinthos III beginning Thursday, April 24 (first day of May Sweeps). He replaces Dylan Cash, who had consistently played the role from March 2002 through May 2008. Cash last aired on December 29, 2008. Last year, Michael was shot in the head following an ordered hit on his father, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard). The hit was ordered by Claudia Zacchara (Sarah Joy Brown), Sonny’s wife, but was carried out by Dr. Ian Devlin (Seamus Dever). Currently Claudia is playing cat and mouse with Jerry Jacks (Sebastian Roche), who recently came back from the dead and knows all about Claudia’s involvement in the hit.

      Although Garrett joins the cast in April, don’t look for him to say a word until May, when Michael open’s his eyes for the first time in a year.

      “General Hospital” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet.  Check local listings.

      Discussion: GH Casting Report: April Edition

      • General Hospital
      • Rick Hearst
      • Sarah Joy Brown
      • Dylan Cash
      • Maurice Benard
      • Megan Ward
      • Drew Garrett
      • Sebastian Roche

        Monday, April 13, 2009 7:45 PM ET | By Errol Lewis

        (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Legendary soap opera actress, Deidre Hall (ex-Marlena Evans, “Days of our Lives”), to guest-host online radio show “Hollywood CLOUT” during the week of April 13-17, 2009.

        Joining Hall on Monday’s edition (April 13) will be Author, Rory Freedman (“Skinny Bitch”), talking about the “Meatless Monday” campaign on Air America. On Tuesday (April 14), look for Sex and Relationship Expert Alison Armstrong and on Thursday (April 16), look for “Wheel of Fortune” spinner Vanna White. Other guests include Congressman Dennis Kucinich – talking about the dangerous organic farming/genetically modified food bill circulating through Congress, friends of Hall’s from “Days of our Lives,” Holistic Doctor Paul Campbell and boy who does telepathic readings.

        “Hollywood CLOUT” is a national radio talk-show dedicated to “Pollywood,” a combination of Hollywood celebrities, politics, social issues and activism. The show is regularly hosted by personality Richard Greene.

        This isn’t the first time Hall has hosted “CLOUT,” she appeared as a co-host several times over the past year. Previously, the actress started her career as a DJ in Florida.

        On the web: http://www.airamerica.com.

        “Hollywood CLOUT” airs Weekdays at 9:00 PM, ET/6:00 PM PT on AirAmerica Radio or in select cities including New York, Los Angelas, Chicago and Detroit.  Check local listings.

        Discussion: Deidre Hall Guest-Hosts ‘Hollywood CLOUT’

        • Days of our Lives
        • Deidre Hall
        • Hollywood CLOUT
        • Richard Greene

          Monday, April 13, 2009 7:15 PM ET | By Errol Lewis

          (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On ABC’s “General Hospital,” Dr. Robin Scorpio recently gave birth to a baby girl, but finds herself unable to bond with her. Mother’s across America suffer through the same problem day after day untreated, now the soap has joined together with Postpartum Support International (PSI) to get the word out with the hope of helping mothers everywhere.

          On Thursday, April 16, immediately following that days airing of “General Hospital,” look for an informative Public Service Announcement (PSA) on postpartum depression. The PSA is in conjunction with the ongoing storyline centering on Dr. Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough) and her battle with the illness following the birth of her daughter, Emma, a few months ago. Robin married Emma’s father, Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) in December 2008 after three years of courting.

          “As our viewers expect to be entertained each day, they also want to be educated when an important medical issue is integrated into storyline. I am sure some members of our audience are directly affected with postpartum depression or know someone who is, and we believe it is important to direct our audience to the organizations that can help them,” said Jill Farren Phelps, Executive Producer, “General Hospital.”

          During the all important May Sweeps period, Robin will finally come to terms with her affliction and will decide to seek professional help. Later, she will join a support group that will be cast with real-life mothers who had suffered through postpartum depression.

          “PSI is honored that the producers and writers of ‘General Hospital’ felt the topic of postpartum depression was an important one to share with their audience, ” said Birdie Gunyon Meyer, RN, MA, President, PSI. “Millions of women’s lives can be saved by ending the fear and isolation of sufferers and offering access to treatment resources. We are grateful to ABC Daytime [for] following up with a public service announcement and helping to raise awareness of what is truly the most common complication of childbirth.”

          In 1997, Carly Jacks (then played by Sarah Joy Brown) suffered through postpartum depression and went untreated. Many, including Robin Scorpio, didn’t believe that Carly was suffering with the problem and attributed her lack of mothering skills to a newborn Michael Corinthos as Carly being Carly.

          “General Hospital” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.

          Discussion: ‘GH’ Launches PSA on Postpartum Depression

          • General Hospital
          • Jason Thompson
          • Kimberly McCullough

            Sunday, April 12, 2009 8:05 PM ET | By Errol Lewis

            (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — ABC Daytime and SOAPnet have signed on as presenting sponsors of Stagecoach – California’s Country Music Festival taking place on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.

            Actors Steve Burton (Jason Morgan, “General Hospital”), Bobbie Eakes (Krystal Martin, “All My Children”), and Bree Williamson (Jessica Brennan, “One Life to Live”) are set to appear as part of Weekend Festivities.

            Stagecoach features artists from the country, bluegrass, folk, roots rock and alt-country genres performing in three distinct performance arenas. Now in its third year, Stagecoach also boasts such activities as a BBQ competition and expanded camping area with amenities exclusively available to campers. This year’s lineup of performers includes headliners Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Reba McEntire, and Kid Rock.

            “We know through research and our past experiences with country music events that country music is one of the popular music categories among our fan base, “said Adam Rockmore, Senior Vice President, ABC Daytime and SOAPnet Marketing. “The benefit of sponsoring this event is two-fold: we are able to super-serve our daytime fans and also gain exposure and credibility with a whole new audience, ultimately enabling us to grow our viewership.”

            Stagecoach is part of the ABC Daytime and SOAPnet initiative, “Soap Nation Tour,” presenting stars of “All My Children,” ”General Hospital,” and “One Life to Live” to more fans in more cities on an ongoing basis. Previously, the best way to get in touch with your favorite stars was courtesy of the popular ABC/SOAPnet Super Soap Weekend, which ended its thirteen year run at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (previously Disney-MGM Studios) in 2008.

            Joining Burton, Eakes and Williamson will be Melissa Claire Egan (Annie Lavery, “All My Children”), Brandon Barash (Johnny Zacchara, “General Hospital”), Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth Webber, “General Hospital”), Kirsten Storms (Maxie Jones, “General Hospital”), Jason Thompson (Patrick Drake, “General Hospital”) and Laura Wright (Carly Jacks, “General Hospital”).  The actors will introduce musical acts, interact with fans on the Mane Stage and hold autograph sessions and participate in giveaways from an ABC/SOAPnet branded RV and tent onsite. Talent appearances are subject to change.

            To reserve tickets for a full weekend of entertainment and view a full artist lineup along with a complete breakdown of available ticketing and onsite camping/RV options, go to http://www.stagecoachfestival.com. Prices start at $299. A limited number of general admission tickets, camping and RV packages are available.

            “All My Children” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.
            “General Hospital” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.
            “One Life to Live” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.

            Discussion: ABC Daytime and SOAPnet Present Stagecoach

            • All My Children
            • One Life to Live
            • General Hospital
            • Kirsten Storms
            • Laura Wright
            • Steve Burton
            • Jason Thompson
            • Brandon Barash
            • Rebecca Herbst
            • Bree Williamson
            • Bobbie Eakes and Melissa Claire Egan
            • Kenny Chesney
            • Brad Paisley
            • Reba McEntire
            • Kid Rock
            • Stagecoach

              Happy Easter and Good Friday!

              Thrusday, April 9, 2009 10:56 PM EDT | By Scotty Gore

              (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — May your Easter and Good Friday holiday celebrations be safe and happy.

              From all of us here at Soap Opera Network, we would like to wish each and every one of our members and guests a safe and wonderful Good Friday and Easter Sunday. May the Easter Bunny overflow your baskets with eggs and goodies, and may the Lord bless you today as always. Praise God for your friends and loved ones, and remember that He is the real reason for this holiday. Set aside time to spend with your family this weekend and thank you for your continued loyalty to SON. Have a blessed Good Friday and very happy Easter!

              Thursday, April 9, 2009 6:00 PM ET | By Xavier Toups

              (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Nancy Curlee is a former soap opera writer who has written for Guiding LightShe began writing for the show in 1985 as a Script Writer and quickly rose up the ranks, holding positions as Breakdown Writer, Script Editor, Associate Head Writer, Co-Head Writer and then eventually becoming the show’s Head Writer from 1990 – 1993 (she shared the position with James E. Reilly, Stephen Demorest, and Lorraine Broderick). She is a three time Daytime Emmy winner (including one as part of the Head Writing team in 1993) and a Writers Guild Award for the 1991 season.

              Curlee graduated from Hollins College, in 1979, with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She also attended college at University of East Anglia in England for a year. Curlee is married to Stephen Demorest, who is also a soap opera writer. The two met in June of 1985 in Pamela K. Long’s (GL’s Head Writer at the time) living room. Within two weeks, they started dating each other and have been together ever since. They have three daughters and currently reside in North Carolina.


              Xavier Toups: What have you been doing since leaving GL in 1993? What are you currently doing now?

              Nancy Curlee: I’ve always kind of needed to disappear into a cave for big stretches. That’s hard to do with three daughters who need more of me than that allows. I’ve spent the last several years really focused on my family. We’ve done some traveling. I’ve done a little acting, for fun, in local plays and some student films. I’m only now getting back into doing some writing, short stories, mainly. And I am loving it.


              Toups: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

              Curlee: I’m not so sure you decide so much as discover that you are. I was making books out of paper towels by age five.


              Toups: When/Why did you decide to become a soap opera writer?

              Curlee: I began as a screenwriter, and sold a couple of features before moving on to gainful employment. The movie scripts were romantic comedies, but were never produced.


              Toups: How did you get your first job in the soap opera industry?

              Curlee: Maeve Kinkaid (Vanessa) was a family friend through the Streeps – she’s married to Harry. She put me in touch with Proctor and Gamble’s scriptwriting development program. Then producer, Gail Kobe, who liked my sample script, had lunch with me. We talked and laughed all afternoon, and finally she sighed and said, “What am I going to do with you?” Being 26 and appallingly dumb, I said, “Hire me?” Thankfully, she did.


              Toups: Did you watch soaps before joining Guiding Light in 1985?

              Curlee: I did. As the World Turns, All My Children, and of course, Guiding Light. I always knew that [they] were so much better than they were given credit for being.


              Toups: Were there any soap writers whose work you admired while you was growing up and watching soaps?

              Curlee: I really loved Doug Marland, and though I didn’t know it at the time, Patrick Mulcahey. Those stories and scripts in the late 70s, early 80s were brilliant.


              Toups: As a Script Writer and Breakdown Writer, were there any specific episodes that you were really proud of?

              Curlee: I wrote Reva’s wedding to Josh, and a lot of the scenes between Josh and Marah at the time of her death. I loved those. And many of the Alex and Alan Spaulding scenes, my favourite being a moment where they were lunching at the Club, waiting for HB Lewis to join them. Alex explained HB would be late, and Chris Berneau asked if he had to finish his “chores”? I can’t think of a funnier word coming out of Alan Spaulding’s mouth, and Chris was so perfect in his delivery. I also did the Cliff House scenes between Holly and Roger, and they were both so good, they could have made the phone book sound like high art.


              Toups: What were your duties as Script Editor?

              Curlee: I was in charge of tracking and continuity, and essentially read and edited all scripts for story irregularities, and where necessary, cleaned up the dialogue.


              Toups: Did you have a favorite position, since you were in every position on a soap opera writing staff?

              Curlee: Scripts are great fun, particularly if you have enough trust from the headwriter to expand and put your own stamp on them. (See Patrick Mulcahey.) But headwriting was the best, because as exhausting as the work was, it was just glorious to get the whole boat moving in a direction you liked, to weave all of the characters and stories, to have things appear, recede, come back. It’s like a Victorian novel on speed.


              Toups: In 1989, you were promoted to Co-Head Writer. What was your role in that position under Head Writer Pamela K. Long?

              Curlee: We shared responsibilities for stories. I was able to put the Roger/Mindy/Billy/Alex story in motion, which had great legs, I thought, and focused on actors I particularly liked. I did a lot of the layout of the week, which meant breaking the stories down into episodes.


              Toups: Then in 1990, you promoted again to the Head Writer position, along with the late James E. Reilly, and your husband Stephen Demorest. Then later, Lorraine Broderick joined the Head Writing team. Can you tell us how you felt when you were given this huge responsibility?

              Curlee: The hard part was gaining the trust of the executives, so that they eventually loosened the reins and allowed us to steam ahead with stories they were initially reluctant to sign off on.


              Toups: As a team, what was the Head Writing process like? How were the responsibilities distributed?

              Curlee: It varied according to the people involved. I am naturally the bossiest, so they were gracious enough to let me drive a lot of the time. Stephen is brilliant at lay out, particularly with mysteries. Jim Reilly was a genius at upping the ante and also taught me how to infuse the show with more energy and run mini-stories that were really fun and entertaining. He was great fun and a pleasure to work with. I worked less with Lorraine who didn’t stay long after I returned from a maternity leave. Patrick was a soul mate, loved all of the same stuff Stephen and I did. He was especially good at the Cooper family stories, and Buzz Cooper in particular. He had such a great way of turning a story slightly askew and telling it from a very specific vantage point you might not have considered before. I think Buzz Cooper was his baby, and I loved what he did with that.


              Toups: James E. Reilly has been one of the most talked about Head Writers in the last two decades. What was it like to work with him as Co-Head Writers?

              Curlee: Jim was a prince of a fellow – a great big heart, a wild sensibility, and he was just the most fun. We definitely came at story telling from different places, and it was a shotgun wedding. But I learned so much from him, and had a ball while doing it. He was so good at the big stroke, the grand gesture. He was also my salvation in learning how to work with the executives when we were embattled for a time. You can’t imagine how much and how hard we laughed holed up in those airless little rooms at CBS.


              Toups: How was Head Writing a soap with your husband, Stephen Demorest, like?

              Curlee: Stephen’s strengths are so different from mine, it was a blessing we had each other. He is meticulous, methodical and really, really smart. He was an island of calm in turbulent waters. I’m much more prone to big bursts of enthusiasm, and was always so emotional about it all. He was so good at plugging holes, dotting i’s and crossing t’s and knitting it all together in a way that made it hold. He’s also very dry and funny. And pretty cute, too.


              Toups: Sometimes having “too many cooks in the kitchen” can be the downfall of a soap, but how did the Head Writing team keep the show on such a creative high?

              Curlee: You had bloody better have a lot of respect for each other’s talents, and really trust each other to present a unified front to the execs, first of all. With Stephen and Jim and Patrick, we really had each other’s backs. We recognized what each person brought to the table. We knew a rising tide lifted all boats, and so we made it work. I was the youngest, the “girl”, and the bossiest. But we adored each other, and trust me, that COUNTS.


              Toups: The dialogue was so crisp during your tenure, what did you look for in Script Writers?

              Curlee: People who avoided clichés, found a fresh way to say things, had essentially the same sensibility about the characters and the show, in general. How lucky were we to have Patrick, Courtney Simon (who is unbelievably good), and Lynda Miles working on the same show?


              Toups: How did you come up with three years worth of storylines without feeling burnt out?

              Curlee: By the end of my time there, frankly, I was burned out. More to do with endless meetings defending our work and pitching and justifying, than with the writing itself. But it is hard, under any circumstances, to maintain that kind of quality. I probably should have relinquished more control of it, in hindsight. I felt very protective of the material and the actors, and had a hard time saying okay, that’s good enough if I didn’t think it really was.


              Toups: Do you have any favorite moments from the Writers Room that you can share?

              Curlee: You know, the best times came when we were so tired we were slapdrunk, and bordering on insane. At that point, people would just say anything, the more outrageous the better. If a starlet were being especially difficult on set, we’d contemplate giving her a wasting disease of the skin. There were also times we would be so invested in the way a particular scene should play out, we’d get teary eyed doing the dialogue for it.


              Toups: What storylines did you not enjoy writing?

              Curlee: I wasn’t really very plugged into the Francesca/Mallet story we told after Jim and Stephen and I began…just wasn’t invested and felt like it was a drag. I was a little embarrassed by the way in which Roger Thorpe was initially brought back, after I had fought so hard to get him there. (Anybody remember the mask and the undersea cave? Right.) I thought Marcy Walker was a brilliant actress, but the character of Tangie was a mess…too abrupt and superimposed to be woven in well. And I loved Ellen Parker. ‘Nuff said.


              Toups: What storylines did you really enjoy writing?

              Curlee: When the edict came down on Ellen, we were determined to at least make it as important as it should be. I think that two weeks of writing and acting was perhaps the best we ever did as a company. Ellen, Peter Simon, Maeve Kinkead, all of them really, were brilliant. I loved the love stories we launched in the beginning, Harley and Mallet; Mindy and Nick McHenry, and the archetypal struggle between Mindy and Alexandra; Alan Michael and Eleni and Frank Cooper; Billy and Vanessa and Nadine. Holly and Roger. The murder mystery that kicked off with Blake dangling her feet in the pool at the Club, and screaming her head off when she discovered the body. I loved Jenna and Buzz and Roger scenes. Hart and Bridget and Julie and Dylan.


              Toups: What is the one single storyline during your Head Writing tenure that you feel represents the best of your work?

              Curlee: The stuff I enjoyed the most is listed above. I think the fans would be able to answer that better than I could.


              Toups: Who were some of your favorite characters/actors to write for?

              Curlee: Alexandra, Roger, Billy spring to mind, because they were just so big. All of them really. Rick Hearst as Alan Michael used to deliver his lines with exactly the same cadences I had heard while writing them. Eleni? Holly? Blake? Vanessa? Harley? All of them were favourites in some way or another.


              Toups: Who was the most difficult character to write for and who was the easiest?

              Curlee: For me, Tangie was the hardest and least successful, mainly because we never had time to develop her the way I would’ve liked. That’s honestly the only one who comes to mind…all of the others felt natural as breathing.


              Toups: What type of storylines do you love?

              Curlee: Love stories, domestic/family drama, mysteries.


              Toups: What type of storylines do you hate?

              Curlee: Convoluted corporate business stories.


              Toups: In 1985, Charita Bauer died. How did the writers respond and how did they try to move the show forward from such a loss?

              Curlee: I had begun doing writing workshops for P&G, but had not yet joined the show that spring of 85, so I wasn’t there. I’d watched and loved her for years and so I felt her loss as keenly as any viewer. The Bauers had been so marginalized at that time, I don’t think she it was made as important as it should have been.


              Toups: Was it difficult writing Alex as the head of the Spaulding family after the tragic loss of Chris Bernau (Alan Spaulding)? What was that transition like?

              Curlee: Beverlee McKinsey was up to anything we asked of her, but Chris Bernau’s Alan was painful and his absence was keenly felt.


              Toups: Roger Thorpe returned to the show in 1989. Who made that decision and why did they think it was time to bring him back?

              Curlee: Pam Long had never seen Roger, so when we heard he was available, I convinced her to write him in. The execs were another story, feeling it would violate a reality they felt had been firmly established with his death. We actually sat and studied his fall from cliff, hitting rewind again and again, arguing over whether his head had made contact with a rock, with the execs. It’s hilarious in retrospect, but at the time, deathly serious. Finally, I got Ed Trach to concede that there were “no skeletal remains”, the be all end all in soap opera resurrections. Ed, by the way, was Roger’s greatest fan, and no one was happier and more grateful for his scenes a year or two down the road.


              Toups: What is the key to writing a successful complex villain like Roger?

              Curlee: The clear understanding that nothing is really black or white…it’s the gray zone that’s most interesting. As I’ve said elsewhere, the villain always thinks he’s the hero, especially in Roger’s case.


              Toups: How hard was it to transition the show after Kim Zimmer left in 1990 to a more ensemble piece, since Reva was such a huge character that was given a lot of airtime?

              Curlee: I thought Kim was amazing, and GL is fortunate to have had every second of her that they’ve ever gotten. It wasn’t Reva’s fault that the show was unbalanced. I was always more in favour of the show as an ensemble piece, but there was no reason Kim couldn’t have been part of that. There was some resistance at one point about bringing her back, but it never came from the writers.


              Toups: Were there any plans to bring Reva/Kim Zimmer back during your Head Writing tenure?

              Curlee: See above.


              Toups: The Blackout storyline in the summer of 1992 was such a popular story. Who initially came up with the idea and why was that such a big story?

              Curlee: Wasn’t that terrific? I was on maternity leave, so I honestly don’t recall. I know Stephen and Jim and Jill were working together really well at that point, but don’t know who had the initial seed.


              Toups: Was Jenna supposed to be a short-term character and if so, why did the show decide to expand the role?

              Curlee: Stephen created Jenna, and then we all fell in love with her (and Fiona Hutchinson). The romance we created between Buzz and her was just a colossal stroke of luck in terms of chemistry and plot, and we couldn’t bear to let her go.


              Toups: In 1993 the character was Buzz was introduced, was it difficult writing for him when the character’s daughter, Harley, who went in search of him, left soon after he was introduced?

              Curlee: Harley was there for long enough to ground him, and to have a good storyline with Mallet, as well. By the time she left, he was pretty well grounded in the show.


              Toups: What were the challenges of writing young characters, like Bridget and Michelle, so realistically for the most part, since younger characters are awfully written in general?

              Curlee: It helped to have a daughter of my own around Michelle’s age. And with Bridget, well, it helped to have a memory. And an actors of that caliber.


              Toups: Why did you feel the need to bring Bridget on the canvas, since Maureen was the only surviving Reardon?

              Curlee: First choice would’ve been Nola, but I wanted a young Nola, and that was the model for Bridget.


              Toups: Was there any intention of pairing Bridget and David Grant romantically?

              Curlee: We always thought they were a natural, but even that recently, the network was reluctant to do an interracial story line.


              Toups: Was it difficult writing for African American characters, since the Grants had such a prominent role on the show?

              Curlee: Well, I grew up in the South, and contrary to popular wisdom, black people and white people live in closer proximity to each other there, and tend to know each other a lot better than in more segregated urban environments. It would’ve been nice if we’d had more African American writers, but we didn’t have anyone coming through the door at that particular point, though of course they were out there. I just hope African American viewers felt it was authentic enough.


              Toups: How did Beverlee McKinsey’s sudden departure impact the storyline plans?

              Curlee: It was a huge disappointment to see her go, but I loved Beverlee as a friend as much as I did as an actor, and it was the right choice for her.


              Toups: The decision to have Roger and Holly sleep together 15 years or so after the infamous rape, why did you think it was time for Roger and Holly to connect sexually again?

              Curlee: Because the truth is, that was only one truth among many between those two characters. Holly was 19 when she fell for Roger. I just loved watching them together, in every single facet of their complicated relationship.


              Toups: What was the reasoning behind making Maureen the only one to see and accept Roger for who he really was and never judged him?

              Curlee: Maureen was an old soul, and there always was such a sweetness in Roger underneath all of the scar tissue. At the risk of using a beat to death cliché, it was not unlike Rhett Butler and Melanie Wilkes. She had the calm center that helped him be his best self in her presence.


              Toups: So many writing regimes have never really understood the character of Alan-Michael Spaulding (played by Rick Hearst), but the character seemed to come into his own during your tenure. What makes this character special and so difficult to write?

              Curlee: Stephen and I both grew up with a lot of kids like Alan-Michael, so writing him was not much of a reach. And as with all people, not just privileged trust fund babies, it’s never just one thing, is it? He had so many colors, and so did Rick Hearst. It was fun to play them all.


              Toups: What made the Alan-Michael/Eleni/Frank triangle such a good triangle to write for?

              Curlee: Oh, man. They both just loved her, didn’t they? And there was such a classic contrast there…the earnest, good, hardworking son of immigrants against the darker, more complex, even dangerous, rich kid? But that darker kid having a vulnerability that gets to the girl? Think East of Eden, and you’ve got the prototype.


              Toups: Were there any characters you wanted to introduce but didn’t get the chance to?

              Curlee: Dozens. But it would’ve had to be done organically, over a long stretch.


              Toups: Is there anything you didn’t write that you wished you had?

              Curlee: A more complicated relationship between Maureen and Roger, which would’ve had to have been done with great care, and I’m not even sure it would’ve been romantic.


              Toups: Why did you stop writing for soap operas?

              Curlee: There’s never just one reason, no matter what anyone says. My husband says I tried to be a racehorse, in a business that was really designed for a plow horse. Then again, he really likes me, and resented the way I was “handled” down the stretch. Basically, I felt we’d done something special, with the help of a lot of people, and then when it was really flying, people tried to wrestle it from us and make it something else, or put a different stamp of personality on it that was unnecessary.


              Toups: I’m going to say a couple of names and I would like to know how it was to work with them. First, Pamela K. Long:

              Curlee: Pam was chock full of native talent and with relatively no experience accomplished some wonderful things.


              Toups: Patrick Mulcahey.

              Curlee: What can I say that I haven’t already? I love him.


              Toups: Jeff Ryder.

              Curlee: A dedicated, enthusiastic guy who tended to get all of the blame and none of the credit for his years as headwriter with Pam Long.


              Toups: Richard Culliton.

              Curlee: One of the best soap writers ever. I just loved his scripts.


              Toups: Nancy Williams Watt.

              Curlee: Loveable and hard working and great, great fun.


              Toups: Trent Jones.

              Curlee: Another wonderful writer, Trent and I had a real brother/sister relationship. We laughed, we cried, we threw pencils at each other… I think he’s great.


              Toups: Gail Kobe.

              Curlee: A great nurturer of young talent.


              Toups: Robert Calhoun.

              Curlee: A pro, who really put his neck on the line for me at a certain point. I’ll always be grateful and have great affection for him.


              Toups: Jill Farren Phelps.

              Curlee: For all that has been written, slamming Jill, no one should ever question how much she loved GL. She loved good writing and good actors, and was one of the best technical directors I ever worked with. There was a time when she and I finished each others’ sentences, and I’ll always remember that fondly.


              Toups: Ed Trach.

              Curlee: He absolutely loved GL, and told me when he retired that he was prouder of his affiliation with the show during our time there than he ever had been. His departure really marked the end of an era, and it really hasn’t been the same since.


              Toups: If you returned to television writing, what type of show would you like to write for or create?

              Curlee: I think Friday Night Lights may be as close to the kind of show I would write as anything on the air right now. I felt that way about Once and Again with Sela Ward, too. My big love is for family drama and love stories, done with an ensemble cast.


              Toups: What was your reaction when you heard Guiding Light was cancelled?

              Curlee: I felt like a great old family member had passed away, or more accurately, had been taken off life support. I wish that her problems had been addressed and repaired before she reached that stage. Having said that, a show with that kind of history, and that kind of cast, is always revivable. Had the network or P&G indicated any willingness to seriously try to do that, she could have gone on forever.


              Toups: At its heart, what do you believe Guiding Light is all about?

              Curlee: For me, the Guiding Light was always a porch light, just outside the Bauer’s kitchen. Outside, a bad moon may be rising, forces gathering to do you harm, foes behind bushes…Outside, friends may be treacherous, lovers untrue… But if you ran like hell, and made it to the porch, and banged through that screen door, inside there would be warmth and light and the smell of good things cooking. The Guiding Light was about love and home truths and compassion prevailing. For me, anyway, that’s what it was all about.


              A special thanks to Dan Gobble and Alvin O’Brien for contributing to this interview.

              Other interviews with soap opera writers: Sara A. Bibel, Tom Casiello , Karen Harris

              ‘One Life’ Prom Dress Give-Away

              Wednesday, April 8, 2009 11:51 PM EDT | By Scotty Gore

              (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Want to go to prom, but can’t afford a dress? Then “One Life to Live” may be able to help.

              For many high school students, prom is the most magical time of the year. That will certainly be the case at Llanview High next month when The Pussycat Dolls perform “Jai Ho (You are My Destiny),” the English version of the popular song from the Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaires.” But the fun doesn’t end there. “One Life to Live” is teaming up with the website DonateMyDress.org to sponsor the Dream Dress Contest, giving twenty-eight lucky teen girls a prom night to remember.

              With the nation in the grips of an economic downturn, increasing numbers of teens will either dress down for their high school prom this year, or simply skip the event altogether. However, “One Life to Live” wants to make a difference by giving away twenty-seven beautiful gowns to be worn in the show’s upcoming Llanview High prom episode on May 13th, plus Kristen Alderson’s (Starr) very own prom dress. The gowns, varying in styles and colors, will be worn by Alderson and castmates Brittany Underwood (Langston), Camila Banus (Lola), Dana Sipovich (Becca) and Shenell Edmonds (Destiy), along with several extras. Total value of the dresses is $5,600.

              To be eligible, applicants must describe in three hundred words or less why they feel they deserve one of the prom dresses. Only those teenage girls who are whose family is in a tough financial predicament and unable to afford a dress, are encouraged to apply. All entries will be verified by contacting the teachers of the girls who sign-up. The gowns range in size from 0 to 8. And those who are not selected to receive one of the dresses worn on “OLTL,” are urged to contact their local DonateMyDress chapter, for help in finding a prom dress. Interested parties can enter the contest and read the official rules by clicking here. But hurry, the deadline is midnight edt on April 24th, 2009. Best of luck!

              “One Life to Live” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.

              Discussion: ‘One Life’ Prom Dress Give-Away

              OLTL PreVUE: Week of April 13 Edition

              Wednesday, April 8, 2009 5:00 PM EDT | By Scotty Gore

              (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Why must I be a teenager in love?


              Natalie and Jared dispose of their evidence, and are confident they are doing the right thing as far as Jessica is concerned. Viki offers Clint some food for thought concerning his relationship with Nora. Rachel is successful in getting Matthew to crack a smile. On Wednesday, April 15, Destiny tricks Justin and Becca into believing that Matthew may be hauling their sorry butts into court, charging them as accessories to his accident. Brody makes amends with Jessica. Clint and Nora drift further apart. Shaun refuses to help Destiny hunt down their brother. Baby Chloe is christened on Thursday, April 17. Cole confides to Marty that he is still in love with Starr. Starr confesses to Cole that Hope didn’t die of Rh disease, and they soon become determined to find the baby’s real cause of death.

              The Inside Story: Will the Real Murderer Please Stand Up?
              As he is taunting Todd, Zach considers raping Starr, but quickly decides that it would hurt Todd more if he just killed the girl. Fortunately, Todd is able to distract Zach long enough for Starr to run away. Meanwhile John, Llanview’s resident superhero, leaps from the heating duct and onto Zach, just as he pulls a gun on Todd. While they are wrestling on the ground for control of the weapon, Todd grabs the gun and fires a shot. Zach is wounded, however not fatally, and is promptly taken away by the cops. However, on his way out, Zach is confronted by Marty. The encounter brings back a memory for her on Tuesday, April 14. Even with Zach’s attack on Starr, John isn’t convinced that he is the KAD killer. Todd and Starr are grateful that neither was hurt. On Wednesday, April 15, John becomes even more convinced that Zach is not the culprit after watching Nora interrogate the convicted rapist. However, he isn’t sure what to make of a bloody knife found in Zach’s motel room. Todd tries to sway Téa into helping him get his kids back. The argument soon becomes heated, however, when Téa slaps Todd when he alleges that she wants him to make love to her. Before Téa even knows what hit her, she and Todd soon find themselves in a fierce embrace. Meanwhile, a smarter than he looks Cole realizes that he will now fail his drug test. Desperate to find a solution to his problem, he turns to Markko on Wednesday, April 15. At first hestiant to help his friend, Markko soon agrees to provide Cole with a urine sample. Across town, Langston is honest with Starr about Cole and Schuyler. Rachel learns that she has been assigned as Cole’s drug counselor. On Thursday, April 17, Todd and Téa enjoy a wild night of passion, before she pulls the rug out from under him. Nora receives unexpected information following analysis of the bloody knife. Cole informs Starr that he was the one who told Todd about her and Schuyler. By Friday, April 18, Mayor Lowell demands John be arrested after evidence surfaces linking him to the murders. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Bo is forced to order Talia and Fish to haul John in for questioning. Marty relates to John that Starr and Schuyler may be involved in an inappropriate relationship, and both unaware that they are being watched. And after hearing a noise outside, John makes a grizzly discovery when he goes to investigate.

              A Closer Look: Stand by Your Man
              Gigi feels remorseful, and is determined to set the record straight to Jessica. However, she soon hushes up when Rex arrives. With her heart breaking, she reiterates to Rex that she did sleep with Brody. Afterward, Roxy confesses to Gigi that she knows Stacy is blackmailing her, and suggests that they expose her following Shane’s transplant. Rex evades Shane’s questions about him and Gigi. Schuyler gets the wrong idea after seeing Stacy and Kyle together. Rex and Gigi team up to tell Shane that there is trouble in paradise, but fall short of mentioning their break-up. Stacy fakes being surprised when confronted by Schuyler. And on Friday, April 17, Roxy, Kyle, and Stacy place their plan in motion as young Shane prepares to undergo his bone marrow transplant.

              One Life to Live News and Headlines

              SON ALERTS: WEEK OF APRIL 20, 2009

              • Monday: Mayor Lowell orders that John be charged with attempted murder. Schuyler becomes increasingly suspicious of Stacy. Rex’s comatose father begins to come back to life.
              • Tuesday: Todd considers using John’s woes to his benefit. Viki figures out that Todd still has the hots for Téa. Lola wants to settle the score with Markko and Langston.
              • Wednesday: Antonio is there for John. The temperature rises between Todd and Téa. Cole finally wises up and does something responsible.
              • Thursday: John says farewell to Blair and begins life as a wanted man. Nora is unnerved to learn that Rachel is Cole’s counselor. David and Dorian take a long, hard look at their relationship.
              • Friday: Marty is determined to help John track down the killer. Schuyler demands to know what Stacy is hiding. Kyle blackmails Roxy in exchange for his silence.

              “One Life to Live” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.

              Discussion: OLTL PreVUE: Week of April 13 Edition