Wednesday, April 15, 2009 11:15 PM ET | By Scotty Gore


(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — SOAPnet invites you to spend Mother’s Day with Blair Cramer and Starr Manning.

It has been one hell of a ride the past two years for Llanview’s popular mother-daughter duo, who have dealt with everything from teen pregnancy and losing a child, to being stabbed by a serial killer and held hostage by a convicted rapist. But, just in case you missed any of the drama, SOAPnet is offering fans a chance to relive some of Starr and Blair’s most memorable moments from the past two years, while celebrating their unique relationship.

On Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10th), the network for soaps will host a three-hour “One Life to Live” marathon highlighting the strength of Starr and Blair’s relationship, beginning at 3:00 pm ET/PT. In the first episode (#9955, original airdate 06/17/07), Blair goes into overdrive to help make Starr’s prom a magical experience when her daughter receives an invitation at the last minute. The second episode (#10191, original airdate 05/20/08), features Starr being treated at the hospital after falling down a flight of stairs, and ultimately being forced to admit to her mother that she is pregnant. And in the final episode (#10309, original airdate 11/10/08), Starr and Blair grow closer as they wait to see the baby after Starr gives birth.

SOAPnet owns the world of character-driven soapy drama, from daytime and primetime dramas to reality shows and movies. The network features same-day episodes of popular daytime dramas including “All My Children,” “Days of our Lives,” “One Life to Live,” “General Hospital” and “The Young and the Restless”; favorite primetime series “The O.C.,” “One Tree Hill” and “Beverly Hills 90210″; and original programs including “Greg Behrendt’s “Wake Up Call,” “Being Erica,” “MVP” and “General Hospital: Night Shift.” Wrapped in a 24-hour environment, SOAPnet is the one destination for stories focused on real emotions and revealing truths about intriguing, yet flawed characters.

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


Discussion: SOAPnet Celebrates ‘Starr-Crossed’ Mothers


  • One Life to Live
  • Kassie DePaiva
  • Kristen Alderson

    My View of Llanivew: April 15 Edition

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 2:07 AM EDT | By Scotty Gore

    (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — A critical look back at the successes and failures of recent Llanview returns.

    Since becoming Head Writer of “One Life to Live” in 2007, Ron Carlivati has brought back for than his share of former cast members and characters. Ranging from Tina Roberts and the original Marty Saybrooke, to Jackie McNaughton and Madam Delphina, Carlivati has interwoven both major and minor past “OLTL” characters into various storylines. However, not all of those returns were met with widespread success.

    Being able to lure an actor or actress back to their old Llanview home is one thing, but penning a sensible storyline for their character is another issue entirely. Long-time “One Life” fans were amazed and delighted a year ago when news broke that the show had forged a deal with Andrea Evans, to bring the actress back to the show she had fled from eighteen years earlier while being stalked by a crazed fan. We were promised a beautifully written storyline that would make it seem as if the character of Tina hadn’t gone MIA for nearly a dozen years. But that promise and hope, soon turned to bitter disappointment.

    Relegated mainly to interacting with Tess, Natalie, and Jared, Tina was reduced to a bumbling idiot. While she was not always the most intelligent person in Llanview, the Tina of old did have more common sense than this latest incarnation. She was portrayed as overly dramatic, spoiled, and immature. Where was the conniving, hardheaded Tina that fans fell in love with? The one that tried to blackmail Niki Smith (who was pretending to be Viki) into divorcing Clint Buchanan, worked to gain control of the Buchanan fortune by marrying Cord, and passing off Gabrielle’s baby as her own son with Cord? At least, Carlivati did bring back Tina’s old flame and former partner in crime, Cain Rogan, for her to interact with. But still, more scenes with sister Viki and brother Todd would have been nice, as would have been scenes showing Tina going around town visiting with old friends and adversaries, and realizing just how much Llanview had changed while she was away. There was not even one scene with Tina and David Vickers, whom she slept with, while mistakenly believing that he was her half-brother. True, she did have a dog named after him, but still it was not the same as having David and Tina together having a confrontation or, at the very least, a civil conversation. Instead, however, most of Tina’s time was spent either in Llanfair, Cristian’s loft, or in Mendorra, as part of that over-the-top homage to the past during “OLTL’s” 40th anniversary episodes last summer. But on the positive side, at least Tina did interact somewhat with her daughter Sarah, even if another child, her son CJ, was not even referenced. And at least Tina got to share some brief screen time with ex-husband (and quite possibly true love) Cord Roberts. But after six months, Tina was gone almost as quickly as she had arrived, but hopefully it won’t be a dozen more years before she returns.

    On the heels of Evans’ return as Tina, came one of lesser importance–Janet Zarish as Lee Halpern/Janet Ketring. No offense to fans of either the actress or the character, but her place in Llanview history is small compared to heavyweights like Evans, Thom Christopher (Carlo Hesser), Roscoe Born (Mitch Laurence), and James DePaiva (Max Holden). But still, bringing Lee Halpern back was a nice nod to the show’s history. At first, it appeared to be just a coincidence that “OLTL” had brought Zarish back to the canvas as a seemingly unrelated character nearly two decades after exiting Llanview. A few months later, however, it became clear that there was no coincidence, but that she was instead a miraculously returned from the dead Lee Halpern. But why? What purpose did that serve? The writers did have her interact with her old ‘boss’ Renee, who ‘employed’ Lee back in her Nevada brothel days. But the trip down memory lane stopped there. There were no scenes with other characters that she may have interacted with back in the ’80s (Viki, Clint, Dorian, Bo, etc…), nor was there any hint of Max Holden returning to settle the score with his old lover.

    If there is one thing I hate, it is bringing back an old character just to kill them off or have them go insane. They did it with Lee Halpern…murdered by the KAD serial killer. And it looks like they are going to do it to Zach Rosen too. “OLTL” brings back Joshua Phillip Weinstein as Todd’s old frat buddy Zach, who was part of Marty’s gang rape back in the day I might add, only to have him stir up a little trouble and then send him back to jail? Hmmm… ok. That makes perfect sense. No trying to redeem himself (whether genuine or fake) or anything. Zach returns only to demand money from Todd and hold Starr hostage and then gets arrested and disappears into the night? I know, I know. The show is trying to throw viewers off by making them think that he is the serial killer that has been terrorizing Llanview recently, but even that is nothing more than a red herring. Just wait and see, in a few months, Zach Rosen will be nothing more than a footnote again. And that is disheartening, because I hoping that “OLTL” would tell Zach’s story, the way they did for Todd and, to a lesser extent, Powell Lord III (the third rapist). But they ruined that opportunity, in my opinion.

    I also hate it when writers either make it seem as if recently returned characters are either still in Llanview or simply do not exist any longer. Case in point. Are we to believe that Madame Delphina is still in town, or has the physic moved elsewhere? The same for Jackie McNaughton. I suppose he still calls Llanview home, even though he is only seen one or twice every couple years. And whatever happened to Allison Perkins? Apparently she is still in a coma in a room somewhere at Llanview Hospital, even though no one in town speculates about her “secret” anymore, not even Jessica, who it was supposed to be about. We were told last year that Allison wasn’t expected to live much longer, but it appears that she is still with us. “OLTL” really dropped the ball on that one. I realize that it was largely due to the writer’s strike and Gary Tomlin taking over as head scribe during that time, but still. Even it wasn’t part of Carlivati’s vision, he should have at least came up with a logical ending for the storyline.

    The same can be said for making Talia Sahid the biological daughter of Carlo Hesser. After some initial interaction following Thom Christopher’s brief returns last summer and fall, Talia’s paternity became little more than an interesting side note. Where were the repercussions? There weren’t any. It was more like, okay so we made Talia the daughter of popular villain Carlo Hesser, now what? Unfortunately, “OLTL” never really answered that question. The best we can hope for at this point is that Carlo will return to Llanview to avenge his daughter’s death, after she meets her maker at the hands of the KAD killer next week. Now that would be good. Anytime Thom Christopher is in Llanview, it’s good. Just the sound of his voice still sends shivers up my spine. Carlo Hesser is a classic example of a soap villain; despite the idiotic situation the writers placed him in last fall, making it look like he slept with co-hort Jonas Chamberlin. Carlo is pure evil, and that’s why fans love him. Spencer Truman, Margaret Cochran, and Stacy Morasco are nothing more than very poor imitations of Carlo.

    Hank “The Cannon” Gannon. The name used to carry weight in Llanview. District Attorney, ex-wife of prominent lawyer Nora Hanen, best friend of Police Commissioner Bo Buchanan, brother or career criminal RJ Gannon. But then Hank, much like many other beloved characters over the years (Dr. Larry Wolek, Rev. Andrew Carpenter, Miles Laurence) just faded into the background, making it look as if the guy had never existed. But then, he finally returned. I was elated to hear that “OLTL” was bringing Nathan Purdee back to Llanview as the all-around good guy Hank. But now, not so much. While Hank’s return to town was mainly envisioned to escort daughter Rachel back to visit Nora (just when her mother needed her the most), Carlivati could have at least given Hank scenes with his old pal Bo. And I’m not referring to just “catching up on old times.” Not at all. If the writers were smart, they could have Hank help Bo get inside the head of the KAD killer that is terrorizing Llanview. After all, Hank was there when Marty was viciously gang raped, as well as when Nora defended the culprits in court. Hank is already tied to this storyline in that respect. So it would totally make sense for Hank to offer Bo a fresh perspective on the investigation. Then maybe Hank and Nora could butt heads again, and he could run against her to regain his old position as District Attorney. They would be great since his brother RJ is also returning to town this month. I think it could work, and would be much better than the alternative of portraying John McBain as Llanview’s savior. But then again, what do I know? I’m only a long-time loyal fan of “OLTL.”

    Not to leave anyone out, those discussed above are not the only former characters Ron Carlivati has brought back since becoming head writer. Others who returned included Asa Buchanan (following his death from a heart attack), Pamela Stuart (Asa’s 2nd and 6th wife), Dallas Jones (Clint’s old flame from London), Colin McIver (as a game show host in Rex’s dream), Jen Rappaport (also in Rex’s dream), Mararet Cochran (to haunt Todd, even in his dreams), Alex Olanov (who needs to return permanently, in my opinion), Kevin and Joey Buchanan (Viki needs her sons around), Rev. Andrew Carpenter (should be seen more than just weddings and funerals), Max Holden (the two 40th anniversary episodes just weren’t enough), Niki Smith and Jean Randolph (the best of Viki’s six alternate personalities), Mel Hayes (whose body was never found, so he could always return from the dead), Ben Davidson (who needs to stay dead), and Megan Gordon Harrison (even it was just an old flashback). And we can’t forget luring back Susan Haskell as the original Marty Saybrooke after getting rid of the mediocre Christina Chambers, and the genius of casting Erin Torpey as a grown-up version of baby Megan Buchanan. What a treat that was for those of us who grew up watching Torpey grow up on “One Life to Live” as Jessica.

    However, not all the recent returns on “OLTL” have been flops. In fact, at least one has been rather successful. Last December, Florenica Lozano brought Téa Delgado back to Llanview with all the spunk and spitfire that Téa is famous for. Téa has reminded us of her ferociousness in court, passion in matters of the heart, and tenderness when it comes to those she loves. It is the real Téa, and not some watered down version of the character. This is the same Téa who married Todd for $5 million and was pushed out of a window by Todd’s ex-wife Blair. For once, “OLTL” did justice to the character by bringing her back. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for most of the others Ron Carlivati has managed to lure back to Llanview for a visit.

    While I’m feeling somewhat nostalgic, here is a list of other characters I would love to see return to Llanview in the near future (in no particular order). Dr. Larry Wolek, his son Dan, and ex-wife Karen; Herb Callison; Ed Hall; Carla Grey; Cassie Carpenter; Wanda Webb Wolek; Max Holden; Kevin and Joey Buchanan; Kelly Cramer; and Viki’s brother Tony Lord (who’s to say he isn’t still alive somewhere?).

    For those of you unable to figure out the answers to the trivia questions from my last column, here they are (correct answers in bold): Question #1: What seasonally named soap actress was Megan Gordon’s main competitor for the fictional Daisy Award for Best Actress in 1989? Was it a) Autumn Days, b) Spring Skye, c) Summer Shade, or d) Silver Winters. Question #2: On Christmas Eve in 1993, Cassie Callison found a newborn baby, which she would later adopt and name River. But where did she first discover the little bundle of joy? Was it: a) at the mall, b) under her tree, c) in the church manger scene, or d) in the backseat of her car. Question #3: In 1978, what type of show did Pat Ashley host on WVLE? Was it: a) advice to the lovelorn, b) beauty makeovers, c) cooking, or d) talk show. And Question #4: In 1981, what was the ominous name of the Llanivew estate where Asa Buchanan had imprisoned his first wife, Olympia? Was it: a) Widow’s Peak, b) Timberdark, c) Ravenwood, or d) Moor Cliffe.

    Hope you enjoyed those questions, and that they didn’t prove to difficult for you. Now, time for this week’s trivia challenge: Question #1: In 1982, Tony Lord and Bo Buchanan attempted to mine an alternate energy source. Was it a) gravitomite, b) buchanium, c) solarmite, or d) llanvium. Question #2: In 2002, “One Life to Live” aired a special Fourth of July episode featuring musical numbers in a women’s prison. What was the title of that particular episode? Was it a) “Jailhouse Pop,” b) “Babes Behind Bars,” c) “Cell Block Party,” or d) “Stars in Stripes.” Question #3: Al Holden became a radio disc jockey in 2003, and referred to himself on air as the Voice of What? a) Romance, b) Choice, c) the Night, or d) Reason. And Question #4: Back in 1970, Vince “Vinny” Wolek was arrested after trying to transport some illegal cargo over state lines. But just what was it that he was his precious cargo? Was it a) alcohol, b) babies, c) cigarettes, or d) drugs. I’ll have the answers in the April 30th edition of the column. But if you are stumped and can’t wait, you may want to consult a copy of The One Life to Live 40th Anniversary Trivia Book by Gerry Waggett. Just a suggestion…. but one you might find useful.

    Well that wraps up another edition of “My View in Llanview.” Many thanks to those who regularly read and comment on my thoughts and ramblings concerning “OLTL.” I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter holiday, and that you have nice weather wherever you are today. Take care and I hope you’re join me again soon for the next installment of this column.

    And until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…

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


    Discussion: My View of Llanview: April 15 Edition



    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