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News for the week of 03-Aug-2015

by Carol Banks Weber

L.A. Times writer Greg Braxton got a favorable response about Luke and Laura from their most avowed anti-fan, Tony Geary (Luke), in a recent feature July 26. Geary still had no use for the soap supercouple, but he did soften a bit when describing his longtime co-star Genie Francis, who plays Laura. “Those clear eyes, that porcelain skin. When Genie looked up at me, I really felt like somebody. She gave me romance. I gave her danger. That was the gift we handed each other without realizing it,” he said. Francis gave as good as she got, “Nobody knows why lightning in a bottle happens… We had a powerful emotional connection to each other, and that comes through in our scenes. We could tell what the other was thinking. I was also very intimidated, very young. But I was very determined to go toe-to-toe with him. We fueled each other. It was a crazy ride for both of us.” In his exit interview with TV Insider’s Michael Logan earlier the previous week, Geary panned parts of his exit story as implausible considering the history. Yet, in this L.A. Times interview, things looked better. “They've given me a terrific wrap for my character. He's been a difficult, eclectic character to find a logical motivating conclusion for, but they've done that.”

In an interview posted several days later with Entertainment Weekly’s Lynette Rice, Geary kind of reversed course again regarding his exit from soaps by allowing that he’d be amenable to a return for “six weeks or so,” provided his story “is interesting and it works out.” Excuse me, but didn’t he do that when he was on GH for years anyway, what’s different now? Additionally, Geary seemed to revise his previous stance against portraying Luke further by claiming he’s still not done with the “infinitely fascinating character. He’s one you can take out of modern context, put in the 16th century, and give him a sword. I really don’t think we have exhausted what he can do. It depends on the writers and how far they want to look. We had just been repeating ourselves for a while. I had become a dad, a grandfather. There was no way I was going to stick around to become just another guy. If they come up with something, a twist, I would come for it.” In the interim — heavy sigh — he’ll remain happily pursuing acting and acting studies in his Holland home away from home.

In lighter news, Tony Geary’s (Luke) on-screen sister Jackie Zeman (Bobbie) bid a fond farewell in the July 26th interview with Michael Fairman, while getting psychic on everyone. She let slip that before she first worked with Geary, she envisioned an Indian man saying Geary’s first name, and herself and Geary as actors — genders switched — onstage in Paris in a previous life. When she tentatively broached the subject with Geary, wondering how he’d take this wacky info from this stranger, she was heartened to hear him welcome her telepathy as natural. He told her he was going through past life regressions and knew that Indian man as his spiritual guide. For Zeman, sharing Geary’s final scenes together was fulfilling in every way. She was glad to see that TPTB didn’t cut any of their important moments and that the writers gave them meaningful dialogue that spoke to their 37 years on GH. “I was very pleased when I read the scripts, because you could tell that they just took time with them. They were so beautifully written. They gave it a throughline throughout the show that it gave substance that we spent enough time together as brother and sister, and that it wasn’t a two-minute scene shoved in and done, and moving on,” Zeman explained. “There was some depth and sentimentality put into it, because when you stop to think about saying goodbye to someone in real life that you are so attached to, and so emotionally committed to, and has given such allegiance to with your heart, soul and body to for so many years, that deserves a few minutes of goodbye. I was glad they gave that to us on the show, and that they didn’t cut any of it before it made it to air. I can say; that everything we shot they put on the air, which is really nice.” Zeman plans to return to Amsterdam to visit her friend Geary later on.

Laura Wright (Carly) also had the honor of sharing Tony Geary’s (Luke) final scenes. That they were pivotal, emotionally moving scenes? Even better. Wright talked to Michael Fairman about them and her own little ad lib in a July 27th update. That ad lib, calling Geary’s Luke “My sweet boy,” went over so well with the veteran, eight-time-Emmy-winning actor. When she asked if she could insert that term of endearment, he welled up. “I added that because that was the last thing she said to him before she left, and he never saw her again as the young Luke on the 52nd anniversary episode. There were a couple of other things I changed to try to tie it in to the last time we saw Lena. I wanted to connect all of that for him, and so when I asked if I could add that line, Tony got tears in his eyes.” Unlike Geary, Wright had praise for both executive producer Frank Valentini and head writer Ron Carlivati. In praising the recently replaced head writer, she reminded viewers of all the wonderful contributions they enjoyed under his care when a lot of the cast remained silent after the announcement of his replacement. That took an awful lot of class. (She was one of the few GH actors on Twitter to compliment Carlivati after the announcement, too.) “The Ron and Frank team saved General Hospital, period. Ron came in and made changes that needed to be done. He brought back core characters that had not been seen forever that the audience just loved. The first characters that pop into my head are Lucy Coe (Lynn Herring) and Felicia (Kristina Wagner) … especially Lucy with the Nurses Ball. Frank is definitely a huge part of that as well, and I am not taking anything away from Frank, who is still there and tirelessly working for us. I love Ron. I love him personally, and there is nothing more fun than sitting next to Ron at the Daytime Emmys! (Laughs) I adore him, and his writing, and his talent, and it’s all there. I wish him the best. Ron is so talented, and so I am just calling this a ‘nice break’ for him, because I am sure Ron is going to kick ass somewhere else.”

Teresa Castillo (Sabrina) let people know that she was again in the family way, expecting a son this time. She posted an Instagram family photo of herself looking slightly pregnant, her husband Shane, and their firstborn daughter Victoria, 1, with the caption: “Someone’s getting a little brother.”

Michelle Stafford (Nina; ex-Phyllis, Y&R) is also expecting her second child, via surrogate. Soap Opera Digest online posted the good news July 29, based on the actress’ Instagram announcement: “I may not be certain of many things in my life but the one thing I am certain of is that I'm a good mother... I am SO grateful to have more love in my life…” Stafford will add a second child to her family of two with daughter Natalia, 5.

Lexi Ainsworth (Kristina) reprises her role as Sonny and Alexis’s headstrong daughter, returning soon. She last left the role in 2011 to pursue her dreams, which included going to Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Lindsey Morgan replaced her briefly. Soap Opera Digest online broke the story last week.

At first it was a rumor. Michael Easton’s gone as Silas, probably in a body bag after Ava or somebody else murders him in cold blood. Within days of this rumor gaining speed, Daytime Confidential’s Jamey Giddens broke the news in his July 29th report that the rumor is true: Easton is off the show soon. Sure enough, this past Friday saw his character laying in a pool of blood, sparking a murder mystery this summer.

On July 31, Michael Easton (Silas) posted on his official Facebook a fond farewell to those who’ve followed him through GH. Never one for public displays of uncouth behavior and with his head down, focusing on what he loves, Easton wrote this fitting end: “It always hurts to say goodbye. The sting is lessened because of the time I was able to spend with all of you. Not sure when our paths will cross again but in the meantime, my family and I extend our heartfelt thanks and blessings for all the support and kindness you showed us over the past three years. You made us feel loved and we send our love back to you.”

Michael Easton’s people also posted on Facebook a call for interested fans to participate in a final Q&A interview. Instead of going to the press like everybody else does, Easton is going to the viewers. Email with your questions and he may answer them.

Michael Easton fans have responded in kind with a petition asking the current PTB to reconsider letting the actor go. The fans are hoping to present the petition to executive producer Frank Valentini at the GH Fan Club Weekend, August 6-10. As of Sunday, August 2, the petition has drawn 1,515 signatures. Organizers are aiming for 2,000. Hurry and sign!

When one door closes… Rebecca Budig (Hayden) returns soon, and on contract this time, it was also announced by soap media last week. The rumors are flying that she’s related to Elizabeth. Budig honestly didn’t think she’d be asked back, much less in a more permanent capacity. But when executive producer Frank Valentini gave her a call with the offer, she was all for it. Budig already reported to work. She’s excited about the possibilities, now that TPTB and the fans are really invested. “I feel like they might invest more into Hayden,” she said via Soap Opera Digest online. I think, coming in and doing what I did before, I was there to serve a purpose for the story, and it was great, but they weren't really developing a character. Now they can develop Hayden more and I'm excited to find out who she really is and all that kind of stuff.”

Gossip for the week of 03-Aug-2015

by Carol Banks Weber

I don’t get it. One day, Tony Geary (Luke) is talking like he’s done with soaps and so done with his soap character. The next, he’s all about returning if the story’s right up his alley and insisting he’s not sick of playing his endlessly fascinating character — like nothing happened. Is this seeming about-face because head writer Ron Carlivati was replaced — the announcement made days after Geary’s July 20th interview with Michael Logan? Hey, I’m not the only one asking. The question’s already been posed on Celebrity Dirty Laundry.

Why is Antonio Sabato Jr. going on Twitter to join the GH bandwagon? “They are serious @valentinifrank THE FANS WANT ‘JAGGER’ back!! Retweet peeps let's see if he sees it the second time. [July 31]”

With Rebecca Budig (Hayden) back on track at GH, might she turn out to be Rebecca Herbst’s (Elizabeth) other sister? The two actresses shared riveting scenes during Live Week, and share the Jason secret, as well as Nikolas in common, so this relational pairing makes sense.

If Michael Easton (Silas) is out, might Roger Howarth (Franco) be next? He’s the only OLTLer left, and not doing very well on this other soap.

Dammit, why won’t anyone tell Jake he’s really Jason when they find out? The latest rumor has Hayden disclosing this secret to her doctor, Patrick, who turns around and tells Anna, but then shuts up about it. WTF? Then, Nikolas swoops in and strong-arms Hayden to take back what she just said. If Patrick is found out by Sam, she’ll dump his ass faster than you can say JaSam. Wait, isn’t that the point?

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