On Saturday, July 23, 2011, “General Hospital” held its annual fan club weekend event at the Sportmen’s Lodge Event Center. Incidentally, in the year that followed many were left wondering if the 2012 event would ever come to be amidst all the drama and rumors surrounding the cancellation, reincarnation (through the Disney/ABC Television Group/Prospect Park Productions deal that wasn’t) and ultimate demise of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” and the possible effect it would have on “GH” itself. On July 21, 2012, “GH” did indeed holds its annual fan event – again at the Sportsmen’s Lodge Event Center – with a renewed focus and much hope for the future.
“General Hospital” cast members Steve Burton (Jason Morgan), Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth Webber), Kelly Sullivan (Kate Howard/Connie Falconeri), Scott Reeves (Steve Webber), Lisa LoCicero (Olivia Falconeri), Jason Thompson (Patrick Drake), Dominic Zamprogna (Dominic Falconeri), Chad Duell (Michael Corinthos), Jen Lilley (soon-to-be ex-Maxie Jones), Drew Cheetwood (Milo Giambetti), Rebekah Montoya (Delores Padilla), Brandon Barash (Johnny Zacchara), Bradford Anderson (Damien Spinelli), Sean Blakemore (Shawn Butler), Laura Wright (Carly Jacks), Julie Marie Berman (Lulu Spencer-Falconeri), Haley Pulos (Molly Lansing), Erik Valedez (Trey Mitchell), Robin Mattson (Heather Webber), Nathin Butler (Ewen Keenan), Lindsey Morgan (Kristina Corinthos) and Richard Steinmetz (Joe Skully Jr.), were joined by “One Life to Live” turned “GH” stars Kristen Alderson (Starr Manning) and Michael Easton (John McBain), along with the soaps new executive producer Frank Valentini, on the stage as they greeted some of the soaps biggest fans.
For more than half an hour they all took fan questions, while Erik Valdez created a running joke within their answers alluding to shirts coming off. Of course, it couldn’t be helped as Valentini revealed a new boxing set had been built similar to the steam room set seen frequently on “OLTL.” Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) arrived late and was only on hand for the fan autograph signing sessions that took place immediately afterward.
Before Bradford Anderson took the reigns from “GH” Fan Club President Debbie Morris, Valentini was asked if he wanted to say a few words to the audience gathered. While he kept his responses short and sweet, he did reveal that he had arrived late to the party due to an important commitment. “I was at the Director’s Guild meeting this morning with some of the directors from daytime,” he said referring to the Director’s Guild of America (DGA), which is the union that represents directors in movie and television productions – despite being an executive producer, Valentini frequently directs episodes of his soap operas. “This is my first fan club event. I’m really excited about the show and I’m excited about this cast and I think it’ a great day for celebration, so don’t let me get in the middle. Let me share it with you,” Valentini concluded.
Despite receiving pre-prepared questions, Anderson decided to take the unusual approach of giving the fans the chance to ask their own. He walked around the room and had each person he chose say their name and ask their question of a “GH” cast member. The first question asked was how much time the cast have off each year. While the question was directed at the entire cast it was agreed, in particular by Burton and Zamprogna, that Bradford should be the one to answer it for them. “As you guys know, we have a new episode practically everyday. So that means we have to make a new episode practically everyday, and what we’re doing now is we’re trying to do more in less time so that we can save money to keep our fare show on the air for all of you,” the actor answered.
Thanks to the presence of Valentini some of the questions directed at the cast ended up being directed at him instead – in part due to Burton’s insistence on Valentini answering one particular question that referenced the timeslot change for the soap. The exact question was “Do you think the change in the timeslot for ‘GH’ is gonna screw up the ratings?” Burton, deciding it wasn’t something he could answer, immediately jumped up and over the legs of his co-stars to hand the microphone over to his boss who was all the way across the other side of the stage. As fans and cast members laughed over Burton’s gesture, Anderson joked “Aren’t you glad you showed up Frank?” Always the trooper, Valentini said “I think there is always risks in having a timeslot change, but I believe that our audience is loyal enough, but more importantly smart enough, to say ‘okay, now we have to watch GH at 2 so we’ll take our naps at 2, we’ll take our lunch at 2, we’ll take our breaks at 2.’ Here on the west coast it’s at 1 o’clock and I think that’ll be better. I actually think on the west coast it’ll be better for us than on the east coast, where it’ll be more of a challenge.”
While not giving anything away, Valentini did reveal that “we have a really great story that’s gearing up for the fall and we’re going to get a lot of promotion from the the network,” which according to the producer includes the recent blurbs popping up that reminds viewers of the change just before the end of each episode of the soap.
On a posting on the Official “General Hospital” fan club web site, Debbie Morris revealed that “Yes, we are already working on plans for a fabulous 50th Anniversary Fan Club Weekend, like no other….so stay tuned!” If you were unable to attend this year’s festivities, make sure to keep one weekend in July 2013 (TBD) on your radar so you can go next time.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “General Hospital” DVR Alerts for the Week of March 12, 2012.
GENERAL HOSPITAL: DVR ALERTS
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Four stars of “One Life To Live” will be joining the cast of joining “General Hospital.” It was announced today that the characters of Blair (Kassie DePaiva), Starr (Kristen Alderson), Todd (Roger Howarth), and John (Michael Easton) will move from Llanview to Port-Charles.
ABC Press Release:
EMMY NOMINATED KASSIE DEPAIVA AND EMMY WINNER ROGER HOWARTH,
ALONG WITH FAN FAVORITES MICHAEL EASTON AND KRISTEN ALDERSON,
JOIN THE CAST OF ABC’S “GENERAL HOSPITAL”
Frank Valentini, executive producer of “General Hospital,” announced today that Emmy Award-nominated Kassie DePaiva and Emmy winner Roger Howarth, along with fan favorites Michael Easton and Kristen Alderson, will reprise their “One Life to Live” characters and head to “General Hospital” as part of a new storyline for the multi-Emmy Award-winning daytime drama. Production begins late January 2012 in Los Angeles.
“We have a very exciting story planned for the citizens of Port Charles, with Sonny Corinthos at the center of it! I am confident viewers and fans alike will be excited for the arrival of John (Easton), Starr (Alderson), Blair (DePaiva) and Todd (Howarth),” said Valentini. “Incorporating characters from ‘One Life to Live’ continue the legacy of the show as we weave them into ‘General Hospital.’”
With many television, film and stage credits to her name, DePaiva played the role of beautiful Blair Cramer on “One Life to Live” since December 1993. In addition, she played good-girl Chelsea Reardon on the daytime drama “Guiding Light.” Horwath returned to portray Todd Manning on “One Life to Live” in 2011, a role he originated from a day-player to a compelling long-term character. Performing at many prestigious regional theater centers, he has many theater credits to his name, and in addition appeared in the television series “Prey” and in the primetime teen drama “Dawson’s Creek,” as well as the daytime drama “As the World Turns.”
Easton joined the cast of ABC’s long-running “One Life to Live” in 2003 as John McBain.
A published poet, he also played vampire Caleb Morley on the ABC daytime drama “Port Charles,” among many other television and film credits. As for Alderson, she continuously played the role of Starr Manning on multi award-winning “One Life to Live” since March 1998, the precocious young daughter of Blair Cramer and Todd Manning.
Garnering eight Daytime Emmys in 2011, “General Hospital” airs at 3:00 p.m., ET, 2:00 p.m., PT on the ABC Television Network, and on SOAPnet at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. Winner of a record-setting 10 Emmys for Outstanding Daytime Drama, the program celebrates 49 years of broadcasting on April 1, 2012, and is the longest-running dramatic serial on ABC, having aired close to 12,500 episodes. The show is produced by Time Square Studios for ABC Daytime.
“General Hospital” was created by Frank and Doris Hursley. Frank Valentini is the executive producer. Mary O’Leary, Mercer Barrows and Michelle Henry are producers. Ron Carlivati is the head writer. Full episodes of “General Hospital” are available on ABC.com immediately following its air on the network for users to watch online.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — A compilation of Twitter and Facebook posts from the cast of “One Life to Live” following word that Prospect Park was dropping plans to resurrect the show online only five days after the soap wrapped production on its ABC run.
Kristen Alderson (Starr): “Extremely sad sad news… No #prospectpark deal for AMC or OLTL. So many lives affected by this… #RIPoltl”
Hillary B. Smith (Nora): “I want to b careful what I say right now. I am so sad for the fans. I am so sad for all of us who were robbed of the 7 months to plan. I wish there had been more communication. This was not about AFTRA! The guilds and unions were talking. The endings were changed to accomodate the move. I wish they would have left us alone. So sad!!!! no, I believe they did what they could, just had no idea what a soap cost. Don’t hate them for ignorance. Endings were changed! So unprofessional. You will al still be satisfied. The ride to the end is still worth it!!! I promise. Meanwhile, LONG LIVE VENICE!!! no but ABC chose this deal. It was on the interrnet. I still feel that ABC will regret this decision. I love you all! I m sorry! But the show is worth the ride. Enjoy through January!!!
Mark Lawson (Brody): “Sorry to hear Prospect Park was unable to pull it off. A sad day today for all the fans. A sad day for all of us who were part of the One Life family. But I know we all brought our best these last few months and can be proud of how we finished the game. Thanks OLTL for all you taught me.”
Michael Easton (John McBain): “I’m sorry to say it’s done. Still Much to be thankful for. Happy Thansgiving. I love you all. MY THOUGHTS ARE WITH ALL OF YOU TONIGHT…I know how disappointing this news is to many of you. We tried to fight the good fight, we fought to the end to get the ratings up, but it wasn’t enough. We’re sorry we let you down. I just wanted to thank you all for the years of kindness, love and support you’ve shown me and my family. If you get a chance at some point, maybe say a prayer for the wonderful crew members of “One Life To Live”, many of whom are supporting large families, that they may find work soon. God Bless. Happy Thanksgiving.”
David A. Gregory (Ford): “So sad to hear. Again, thank you everyone for all your support… Keep watching! Its gonna be a great finale week starting January 9th.”
Robin Strasser (ex-Dorian): “I know NOTHING about Prospect Park’s purported pick-up-or- drop out of #OLTL-I depend on SOD+SID+other postings. If I knew-I’d tell YOU. I’m rooting Prospect Park finds the funding, even if I was not picked to be a start-up contract player. Hoping good things happen for ALL. Sad+disappointed-tho not surprised. Statement sounds a bit blame game- Actors/Directors/Writers terminated by ABC were amped 2 rock 4 PP! I believe OLTL actors who accepted PP offer from git-go would’ve knocked it out of ballpark right through last tape day-even without that. #OLTL cast: talented, smart, great looking, edgy, uniquely+singularly creative. How much do I admire and miss them?-let me count the ways.”
Shenaz Treasury (Rama): “OLTL ended, Im so bummed. Now I may really need to be in LA.”
Jerry verDorn (Clint): “Hello everybody.Thank you all for your kind birthday wishes. I enjoyed the day prepping for the Thanksgiving Feast. Much to be thankful for and a little something to grumble about. Don’t blame Prospect Park but rather blame the economy. They lost some financing that was too hard to replace. Start-up money is near impossible to find these days. Who knows what may happen. I guess my birthday present this year is retirement. Love to all.”
Kelley Missal (Dani): “Just saw the news that #OLTL won’t be moving on to the Internet after all. so sad but at least they gave it the chance it deserved!!”
Matt Walton (ex-Eli): “My heart goes out to my #AMC and #OLTL alumni. What a backwards world we live in right now. A bold response is coming soon.”
via Press Release
After five months of negotiations with various guilds, hundreds of presentations to potential financial and technology partners, and a hope that we could pioneer a new network for the future, it is with great disappointment that we are suspending our aspirations to revive “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” via online distribution. It is now becoming clear that mounting issues make our ability to meet our deadlines to get OLTL on the air in a reasonable time period following its January 13, 2012 ABC finale impossible.
We believed the timing was right to launch an Online TV Network anchored by these two iconic soap operas, but we always knew it would be an uphill battle to create something historical, and unfortunately we couldn’t ultimately secure the backing and clear all the hurdles in time. We believe we exhausted all reasonable options apparent to us, but despite enormous personal, as well as financial cost to ourselves, we failed to find a solution.
While we narrowed in on a financial infrastructure, the contractual demands of the guilds, which regulate our industry, coupled with the program’s inherent economic challenges ultimately led to this final decision. In the end, the constraints of the current marketplace, including the evolution and impact of new media on our industry simply proved too great a match for even our passion.
In our opinion, new models like this can only work with the cooperation of many people striving to make them happen, and we would like to thank and praise the numerous people who tried to help and showed us incredible support. We are extremely grateful to the fans and media who showed great support to us through this process, to ABC who did everything in their control to help, and we are especially grateful for the support and encouragement from many of the Soaps’ cast and crew themselves.
We hope that our efforts are not lost, and that we somehow created a dialogue and movement on the feasibility of first run, network quality content online.
Of special note, we would like to thank Frank Valentini (Executive Producer), Ron Carlivati (Head Writer of OLTL), Agnes Nixon, many of the cast of OLTL including Michael Easton, Ted King, Kelley Missal, Melissa Archer, and of course Erika Slezak all of whom signed on quickly and did all they could to help, as well as our own Christine Sacani. Cameron Mathison and Lindsay Hartley also get our sincerest thanks for their support. We feel terrible we couldn’t come through for them and we were very much looking forward to working together.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — December may bring the first signs of the winter season, but as the month begins things will be heating up on “One Life to Live” when several familiar faces return to the canvas as the show’s ABC run prepares to come to an end.
The week begins on Monday, December 5 when Matthew Conlon next appears as Tomas’ (Ted King) acquaintance M. Claude Calmar, when John McBain (Michael Easton) becomes suspicious of what the shifty Frenchman has to say.
On Tuesday, December 6, January LaVoy reprises her role as the pie-totting waitress Noelle when she and Moe (John Rue) have a special surprise for Shane (Austin Williams). In the same episode, after taking a brief hiatus from “OLTL,” Amanda Setton reappears as an incarcerated Kimberly Andrews (aka Aubrey Wentworth) when the character receives a visit from some unexpected guests. Meanwhile, Nigel (Peter Barlett) gets an earful from Clint (Jerry verDorn) about the women in his life.
Brian Kerwin returns as Viki’s most recent ex-husband Charlie Banks on Monday, December 12, when he encounters someone from his past while at the Bon Jour Café in Paris, Texas.
Tuc Watkins is back yet again as David Vickers Buchanan on Tuesday, December 13 when he pays a surprise visit to his family. Once in town, however, he is quickly sought out by Roxy (Ilene Kristen), who has an usual request for him when she asks him to help save something very important to her.
All this…plus as the residents of Llanview settle in to watch their favorite soap “Fraternity Row,” will fans receive a special treat? Tune in to find out!
In Other News…
Brittany Underwood (Langston) reportedly shot scenes on “OLTL’s” final ABC tape date (Friday, November 18) alongside her onscreen beau Jason Tam (Markko).
David A. Gregory (Ford) has posted on Facebook that his upcoming [tentative] airdates include November 23, December 13 and 19, and January 5, 6, 9, and 10.
Farah Fath (Stacy/Gigi) reveals on Twitter that the “First scene I ever taped on #OLTL was w/ the queen Erika Slezak. Last scene I will ever tape was w/ Erika Slezak.”
Nick Choksi (Vimal) states that “there’s about 10 more episodes of ‘OLTL’ that I am in between now and the 13th of Jan when it all come to a close.”
Peter Austin Noir who, as we previously reported, will play Statesville Prison Johnny Rocket in January, has posted more information about his upcoming “OLTL” appearance on his website. The actor writes that the show contacted him on October 26 and that he taped his scenes on November 10. Look for him to appear on screen on Tuesday, January 3.
Prospect Park executives Jeff Kwatinetz and Rich Frank have confirmed to Soap Opera Network that the production company has signed “One Life to Live” cast members Tuc Watkins (David), Josh Kelly (Cutter), Florencia Lozano (Tea), and Shenell Edmonds (Destiny) for the online version of the ABC soap pending final Guild agreements.
In a statement, the company said “After the ABC television network finale airs in January, ‘One Life to Live’s’ David, Cutter, Tea and Destiny will be reunited with previously announced characters including Erika Slezak’s Victoria and Kassie DePaiva’s Blair Cramer.”
With the signing of Watkins, Kelly, Lozano and Edmonds, Prospect Park has now signed a total of 13 current “One Life to Live” cast members including the aforementioned Slezak and DePaiva. On Friday, September 30, Prospect Park announced deals with Melissa Archer (Natalie Buchanan Banks), Kelley Missal (Danielle Rayburn), Sean Ringgold (Shaun Evans), Andrew Trischitta (Jack Manning) and Jerry VerDorn (Clint Buchanan). The company previously announced the signings of Ted King (Thomas Delgado), Michael Easton (John McBain) on Tuesday, September 6.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On Friday, September 30, Prospect Park officially announced actors Melissa Archer (Natalie Buchanan Banks), Kelley Missal (Danielle Rayburn), Sean Ringgold (Shaun Evans),Andrew Trischitta (Jack Manning) and Jerry VerDorn (Clint Buchanan) will be joining already signed Ted King (Thomas Delgado), Michael Easton (John McBain), Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer) and Erika Slezak (Viki Banks) when “One Life to Live” is transitioned over from ABC to the web beginning in January 2012. Since the announcement, Soap Opera Network has reached out to a number of the signed stars and today Missal explains why she signed on.
“I felt very blessed to be asked in the first place,” said Missal earlier this month when Soap Opera Network caught up with the actress outside of the “7th Annual Rock Show for Charity” event held at the Soho Playhouse theater in New York City. On making the decision to continue with the soap online, “Obviously you have to go through a bunch of decisions and a lot of factors come in, but ultimately I love ‘One Life to Live’. I love the people that I work with and I really wanted to be part of this new project going into this new era of TV on the internet. I was just really excited that I was asked and I’m really excited to be part of it now.”
With only nine actors signed on so far for the online version of “One Life to Live,” and some stars coming forward with news that they do not plan on staying with the show when it is transitioned to the web, Missal wishes everyone well. “I wish the best of luck to everyone who is staying on and everyone who is going. I just want to say that I’m very blessed and very thankful.”
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “One Life to Live” casting odds and ends for the month of October and beyond.
Tonja Walker shares more details into her upcoming return to “One Life” as Alex Olanov, tweeting “so far I’m told I have a story, but I’ve only shot four episodes. Hope its only the beginning!” She also says that she “was happy with the way they [the writers] wrote Alex this time,” but that she can’t discuss her scenes with Farah Fath (Gigi/Stacy) and Josh Kelly (Cutter). Walker also tweets that her scenes will air in November and promises to post her airdates soon.
As we previously reported, Paul Hickert will appear on “OLTL” on Monday, October 17 as “Kentucky Cop #2.” Yesterday, the Murray (KY) Ledger & Times posted an interview with Hickert, who played football for Murray State University from 1984-87 on their website. The Clearwater, Florida native, who now calls New York City home, spoke about his upcoming guest spot on the soap, notes that he will have several lines on “OLTL” as a cop, although he couldn’t say much about why his scene takes place in Kentucky, only that one of the show’s major characters finds their way there. Hickert also has a small role as an FBI agent the movie “Tower Heist,” debuting in theaters on November 4th. The film, directed by Brett Ratner, stars Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, and Matthew Broderick. Click here to read a related interview with Hickert from the Murray State Athletics Official website.
According to various sources, including the actress’ Facebook page, Teresa Patel will be joining the cast of “OLTL” in mid-October in an unnamed role. At this time it appears to be a minor role, however, that has yet to be confirmed.
Miss hearing Trevor St. John‘s (ex-Victor, Jr.) voice? If so, then you may be in luck. On Monday, October 17, John asks Téa (Florencia Lozano) if she wants to hear the voicemail Victor left Shaun just before he was shot. Also, in the same episode, Todd (Roger Howarth) has another vision of his late mother Irene (Barbara Rhoades).
Sara Oliver booked an Under 5 role on “OLTL” earlier this month.
“One Life to Live” recently released a new casting call, this time for the role of “Jill.”
Farah Fath (Gigi/Stacy) tweets that she will be taping scenes every day this week on “OLTL.”
Here comes the judge. Look for the dayplayer roles of a judge and assistant district attorney to appear in scenes in late October.
ABC Soaps in Depth clears up a little confusion among “One Life” fans, tweeting that “For those asking, although it didn’t sound like him, that WAS Michael Easton doing the voice of baby Liam last week!”
Looks like there is about to be another catfight on the show. Last Thursday on her Facebook page, Shenaz Treasury (Rama) posted this picture of herself in make-up while on set with a scar on her cheek.
Sean Ringgold (Shaun) posted this picture of himself on September 30 with his onscreen girlfriend Kearran Giovanni (Vivian), showing their characters all dressed up while taping scenes for “OLTL.”
Get ready for some big Starr and Todd scenes soon. Kristen Alderson (Starr) tweeted on October 6 that she had “Filmed some classic Starr/Todd scenes today! You guys are gonna love it. Roger and I had so much fun filming. =)”
On October 1, Austin Peck (Rick) tweeted “I’m having so much fun with Mr. Rick Powers. He maybe a sociopath…but like in the best possible way.”
Shenell Edmonds tweeted that she returned to “OLTL” on October 3 after being on vacation.
And Julia Davis, the show’s make-up artist made several tweets last week on her Twitter page about cast and crew having several long days filming on set.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On Saturday, October 1, the National Board of Directors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) met for the final time in 2011, as previously reported. One of the topics of discussion was Prospect Park and its transitioning of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to the web in January 2012. While exact details of the meeting are still unknown in that respect, a representative speaks to Soap Opera Network exclusively on where things stand at this time between the actors union and Prospect Park.
It has been nearly three months since Prospect Park announced that they had licensed the rights to “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” from the Disney/ABC Television Group with the intention of transitioning the soaps to the web beginning in January 2012. Since that time, AFTRA, better known as the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union, has been relatively silent on how the transition would be possible, until now. Soap Opera Network has learned exclusively that despite a number of actors from both “AMC” and “OLTL” signing on for the 2.0 versions of the soaps, talks between Prospect Park and AFTRA are still ongoing and that a deal between the actors union and the production company has yet to be signed.
Although “One Life to Live’s” Melissa Archer (Natalie Buchanan Banks), Kelley Missal (Danielle Rayburn), Sean Ringgold (Shaun Evans), Andrew Trischitta (Jack Manning) and Jerry VerDorn (Clint Buchanan), Ted King (Thomas Delgado), Michael Easton (John McBain), Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer) and Erika Slezak (Viki Banks) and “All My Children’s” Cameron Mathison (Ryan Lavery) and Lindsay Hartley (Cara Castillo) have already signed on despite no official deal between AFTRA and Prospect Park, an AFTRA rep tells Soap Opera Network “we are still in negotiations with Prospect Park. There is no agreement as of yet, but we are in discussion and when there is something final to announce we will announce it.”
Many of you have wondered why more cast members from “One Life to Live” have signed on to the web version of their show, pending a Prospect Park/AFTRA contract agreement, while not as many have signed on from the “All My Children” cast, but the AFTRA rep assures us that “we’ve been keeping the cast members of both shows advised as to the terms of the progress and the status of the discussions with Prospect Park.”
Actors from “All My Children,” which ended its television run on September 23, 2011, are left in limbo in the interim of a deal between AFTRA and Prospect Park, leaving many to seek new soap roles (Debbi Morgan, ex-Dr. Angie Hubbard now on “The Young and the Restless”), return to the soap that launched their careers (Jacob Young, ex-JR Chandler returned to “The Bold and the Beautiful”), or just deciding to take a much needed break (Michael E. Knight, ex-Tad Martin).