Friday, October 29, 2010


When Terri Colombino (then Conn) auditioned for As The World Turns in 1998, it was for the role of Georgia, Sam's long-lost daughter and Lucinda's even longer-lost niece.

Jaime Dudney (daughter of country legend Barbara Mandrell) got the part, instead. (Where is Jaime now? Teaching acting back home in Nashville!)

But, the ATWT producers were so impressed with Terri that they created the role of teen-age troublemaker Katie especially for her. (Which was a neat trick, as Margo and Craig's baby sister was only born in 1989 and had, in fact, been played by Anne Sward's (Lyla) real life daughter, Cori Ann Hansen, for five - mostly unseen - years.)

The soap wasn't Terri's television debut, however. She'd already appeared on the television series, Breaker High, below:

And for a look back at Katie and Brad's classic, laugh out loud wedding...

Where is Terri now? About to debut as Aubrey on One Life to Live!

Click on the Comments section below and let us know: Do you prefer her as a blonde or a redhead?


Mel offered Mindy and Rick a chance to sit down with Hudson's biological father, GQ, to talk out their issues. Rick was stuck at the hospital, but warned Mindy not to go to the meeting without an attorney.

Unfortunately, Kevin Fowler was busy - his grandmother had been arrested on her wedding day ( Mindy heeded her Twitter followers' advice and asked Beth to come along and represent her. Beth pointed out that she wasn't familiar with the case. Mindy replied that Beth was very familiar with knowing when Mindy was about to put her foot in her mouth.

Beth agreed.

Mindy dropped Hudson off at Billy and Vanessa's for babysitting. While there, she decided not to tell Vanessa about Dinah's role in Reva and Josh learning that Jeffrey was alive - and had kidnapped Colin with Marah's help.

Want to know how Reva feels about her daughter hooking up with her presumed dead husband? Read Mindy's tweets, now in chronological order at:

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Marley returned to her and Grant's table, where he'd struck up conversation with Kevin.

"You can call me Uncle Grant, if you like," Grant teased his former attorney fraternally.

"My last uncle was suffocated with a pillow. By my father."

"Duly noted," Grant paled a little himself and chomped down on an unlit cigar.

Kevin smiled and stood, "Good to see you again, Marley," walking away to refresh his drink.

Grant was about to signal for a wandering waiter to do the same, when he caught the odd expression on Marley's face, and lowered his arm. "What's wrong?"

"Lorna is pregnant," Marley said, her mind swirling with so many emotions that her voice managed to come out utterly neutral.

"What makes you think that?"

"I just saw her in the bathroom, turning about seven distinct shades of green."

"Maybe she just has the flu."

"People with the flu, stay home. People trying to hide a pregnancy, discretely upchuck in the bathroom."

"Well, well, well...." Grant leaned back in his chair. "I'm amazed Jamie isn't shouting the big news from the rooftops. And even if they are keeping it quiet from the general public for now, I'd assume Kirkland would have told me..."

"Kirkland doesn't know. Neither does Jamie."


Marley struggles to reconcile her past with Jamie to her present with Grant, GQ drops a bombshell on Steven, Alice's family gangs up on Spencer, Lila calls Matt out on his behavior, Lorna is forced to continue her lie, and the Harrison wedding comes to a most soapy end.

All at:

No poll this week. We want to hear your thoughts in your words. Tell us what should happen next either on Facebook: or at the SoapOpera451 Message Board:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This week on Eye on Monticello by Mariann Aalda (Didi): Nourishment for the stomach... and the soul!

Check out our latest installment at:
By Nicole Walker

When little Faith Snyder was SORASED to a pre-teen in 2006 to tackle storylines that included having a crush on her (second cousin by adoption) Parker Munson, dealing with her parents’ continually imploding marriage and battling an eating disorder, I couldn’t help but remember and wonder about another little girl who was Faith’s age, a little girl who had been a Snyder and almost Faith’s sister.

A little girl named Hope.

Flashback to 1998: David Stenbeck, the long-lost son of career criminal James Stenbeck, was corrupted from a merely ambitious lawyer to the rotten apple of his father’s eye after learning of his true parentage. In a long, twisted tale that involved a pregnant Lily giving birth while being held hostage, David deciding, after playing midwife, that he wanted to be a daddy, Andy Dixon having a one night stand with exotic dancer Denise Maynard in Chicago and unknowingly getting her pregnant, a little baby selling and a little baby switching, Lily and Holden ended up raising Andy and Denise’s daughter, Hope, for nearly a year while their daughter was practically being raised right under their nose by the mysterious Reid Hamilton (David Stenbeck in disguise) who moved to Oakdale months after David’s ‘death.'

The switch was discovered when little Hope developed an illness and it was revealed that neither Lily nor Holden could be Hope’s biological parents. A little detective work led Lily and Holden to Denise Maynard, who had arrived in Oakdale to track down the baby girl she had regrettably sold, and together the parents figured out the truth, each getting back their respective baby girls (although, for a while there, Lily and Holden were all to happy to keep Hope as well; but they relented when they realized how much Denise loved her daughter and wanted her back). Reid’s ‘daughter’, Melinda Hamilton, was renamed Faith Snyder and Hope Snyder became Hope Dixon. Denise finally enlightened Andy Dixon about his daddy status, and while initially overwhelmed at the thought of being a dad, Andy embraced creating a family with Hope and Denise, to the point of faking paralysis to keep Denise tied to him since she was in love with another man. Soon his lies were exposed, Denise left him, Andy left town to get his head straight, and shortly after that Denise and little Hope left Oakdale for Chicago to start their lives anew.

Now, given even that brief, torrid history of Hope and Faith, is there not just oodles (yes, I typed oodles) of story to be told not just with Hope, but with Hope returning to Oakdale and coming face-to-face with her onetime family and the girl whose life she almost had?

What if Denise and Hope didn’t find their happily ever after in Chicago? What if Hope’s health became an issue again, prompting her, Denise, and Andy (finally!) to come back to Oakdale to be treated by her grandfather, Dr. John Dixon, and/or step-grandfather, Dr. Bob Hughes? Would Lily and Holden, upon hearing about Hope’s health issues, gravitate back to this little girl they had called their own? Would Faith be curious about the girl Lily and Holden once believed to be theri daughter? Would Hope look at the Snyders, the family that was once hers and feels loss, anger, resentment? Might she befriend her ‘sister’ Faith while insinuating herself back into the Snyder fold in order to get back the family she lost?

Or might Hope and Faith have forged a friendship and bond because of their shared history and Hope become another legacy character interwoven into the fabric of Oakdale? One who allowed the show a unique opportunity to explore the journey of a bi-racial city kid from Chicago having to learn a whole new world as she strived to live in the less colorful Midwest with her father’s family, family that she barely knew, that she wasn’t sure she was a part of but was curious about nonetheless?

A lot of story was waiting to be tapped with this character. The Hope Dixon/Parker Munson/Faith Snyder/JJ Snyder teen quadrangle romance alone would’ve been gold, for Pete’s sake!

But alas, Hope was left in Chicago, living her presumed happily ever after.

Which, given just how quickly one’s life can take a turn when they hit the city limits of Oakdale (or any soap town for that matter), maybe was for the best.

Check out Denise, Andy, and Baby Hope in the below ATWT clip from Thanksgiving 1999 below (at around the 2:30 mark)!

What other opportunities do you think were missed on As The World Turns? The return of John Dixon and Iva Snyder’s son, Matthew John ‘MJ’ Snyder? Jennifer Munson’s possible doppleganger half-sister, Carolyn Crawford? Kirk Anderson returns to finally tell us what he’s been up to all these years? Something or someone else? Leave your ideas in the Comments below!


Nicole Walker is the Associate Producer of Another World Today. She holds an MFA in Screenwriting from Columbia University.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

By Alina Adams

I love old people. Primarily on TV, but, still....

Old actors can be very interesting to talk to. The late Helen Wagner (Nancy; ATWT) and I once had an awesome, bonding chat about how young people don't know how to use proper grammar anymore. And about why Alison and Chris shouldn't live together before marriage. "If you love him," we agreed. "Marry him. If you don't, they why are you together?"

Marj Dusay (Alex; GL) is always hilarious. As is Don Hastings (Bob; ATWT). Unlike many of the young actors just starting out, they can speak in complete sentences and actually express coherent thoughts that might be of interest to someone other than themselves. And when I interviewed Mark Pinter (Grant; AW) last year, he told me, "When I first started in daytime, it was 1979 on a show called Love of Life. I’ve done a lot of daytime, and I always found myself getting close to older actors: Shepherd Strudwick (Professor McCauley on LOL; James Matthews on AW), Ron Tomme (Bruce; LOL), Bill Roerick (Henry; GL), Larry Bryggman (John; ATWT). I would watch them work on the set and just steal everything I could from them. Because if you admire actors, you steal from them. It’s a wonderful thing."

But, I have to confess, the old people I really like are the imaginary ones.

When I kicked off my soap watching career in 1980 with General Hospital, yes, Luke and Laura were what first got my attention. But, by the end of the summer, the story I was really interested in was Lesley/Rick/Monica. And, since I was only ten years old at the time, they seemed really old. But, they were also a lot more interesting.

While ATWT tried to reel me in with the story of Lily and Holden (Martha Byrne and I are almost exactly the same age), I wanted to see John and Lucinda (and, earlier, when they were still Justin Deas and Margaret Colin, Tom and Margo).

On GL, sure, The Four Musketeers were okay, in their teeny-bopper-ish way, but Alan was who really held my attention, and later, when I was in college, the one and only Roger Thorpe.

These days, however, my favorite old people are the ones featured in Another World Today. Here's a trade secret: Old people are the easiest to write for.


Because they have so much history with everyone else on the canvas, the scenes more or less write themselves. You don't have to manufacture conflict or drama, it's already there. You don't have to come up with outlandish plot twists to force things to happen.

On AWT, I will use any excuse to get Rachel and Alice in a room together. Then stand back and just watch the fireworks (oh, and take notes).

This week, we are featuring the wedding of Spencer and Alice, two characters so far outside the traditionally desired youthful demographic that, on most shows, they are usually only trotted out for weddings and major holidays.

I realize that unlike a producer who works with actors, I don't have to worry about availability, contracts or budgets, so the comparison is somewhat unfair.

But, from a creative standpoint, give me old people over young people any day.

Young people are... how to put this nicely... dull. They haven't lived long enough to earn their angst. They haven't really suffered, they just think they have. (To be fair, GL's Beth had certainly experienced her share of real suffering before she was even old enough to drink, and so had Phillip, to some extent. But, that's what lifted their tale above standard-issue teeny-bopper fare. Lily Walsh, on the other hand, was just spoiled. Her biggest problem was having too many parents who loved her and were willing to sacrifice anything for her happiness.)

But, as always, this could be just me. For those who started watching soaps as teens, which stories did you find more compelling: The ones featuring your age group....

Or the ones with, you know, grown ups....

Tell us in the Comments section, below!

Monday, October 25, 2010

By Susan Dansby

When I started working at GUIDING LIGHT in 1984, I was 29 years old, and my goal was to be a television director. I was told that the only way to the director's chair was to start in the office; so, that's what I did. And I sloooooowly began working my way up: first as back-up production assistant, then full-time production assistant, then associate director. Five and a half years later, I still hadn't directed.

But a good friend was dying of AIDS. This friend also happened to be someone who so believed in my directing talent that he had commissioned me to direct his original play. What was I afraid of?

I decided one Sunday that I was going to go into that studio on Monday and demand that my boss give me a directing shot! I marched into work, filled with determination and spunk, and was told my boss had been fired. Fired?!

Who was going to replace him? Nobody knew.

In a way I was relieved. There was nothing I could do about this, right? But I knew that was just my fear talking. So, I planned a next step. The Procter & Gamble executive for the show - a lovely man named Ed Trach - would be overseeing the executive producer duties (from Cincinnati!) until a replacement was found for my old boss.

So I called Ed, and - well, that's an embarrassing anecdote I recount in my book: How Did You Get That Job? My Dream Jobs and How They Came True.

The cleaned-up version? I harassed Ed into giving me a shot at directing an upcoming audition session. And that's how I came to direct the Melinda Sue Lewis and Hampton Speakes auditions at GUIDING LIGHT.

Kimberly Simms landed the role in that particular incarnation of Mindy Lewis. I don't remember much about her audition except that Kimberly was the actress who looked the most like Krista Tesreau (the original Mindy). I also remember that she didn't force a Southern accent (wisely), and that she had sincerity and vulnerability.

I remember more about the Hampton Speakes auditions (the role was won by the amazing Vince Williams). All the actors auditioned with Jordan Clarke (Billy Lewis). And though Jordan - always a pro - helped each auditionee give his best performance, Jordan seemed to have a real connection with Vince.

What got Vince the job? He had this moment where he had to recount his adventures as a football star. Instead of just "saying the words," Vince physically recreated the moment of running with the ball, scoring the touchdown, and hearing the cheers. I can still see him doing that.

After the taping was done, I added my two cents, and said Vince should get that role. Soaps are so fast, producers need actors creative enough to bring something to the table instead of being spoon-fed.

Vince Williams has since passed away; but I will be forever grateful to him, and to Kimberly Simms, for taking my direction and making me look good on that all-important first day.


Was there a ghost on the set the day Susan directed Kimberly and Vince's auditions? Find out, here!

Catch up with Kimberly Simms at Soap Opera Digest.


Lorna took Jamie's free hand and squeezed it reassuringly. "Spencer will be good to her."

"How can you be sure?"

"He's old. It just wouldn't be smart of Spencer to go around treating people like crap so close to his looming Pearly Gates appointment. And a guy like Spencer, he always plays the odds. At this stage of the game, he's got to be in serious atonement mode. Though I can't imagine what he could ultimately do to make up for siring Grant."

"If you look at it from a Star Wars point of view, it's not the man but his progeny that's the true legacy. And Spencer and Grant couldn't ask for a better legacy than Kirkland."

"That's thanks to you, not them. Don't give either Spencer or Grant any undue credit."

"Work with me, Lorna. I'm doing my best to convince myself not to bust into the bridal suite and tell Alice that she's making a huge mistake marrying a man who once dated Iris, of all people, while simultaneously flirting with my mother."

"So, do it then. Alice would listen to you, you know she would."

"I've played the loud-mouthed, overbearing, inflexible, judgmental, his-heart-is-in-the-right-place-but-it's-really-none-of-his-business role before. It did not end well."

"Paulina and Jake?" Lorna hadn't really known Jamie all that well while the conflict was going on, but she'd been in town and picked up enough to recall how everything ended.

"I was relentless. No matter how many people told me to cut Jake some slack, I wouldn't back down."

"Well, given your history with him... Jake almost ended up being Steven's father. He raped Marley. "

"Yeah, well, as right as I felt I was not to let Jake or anyone else forget what he'd done — which, given my own insight since then, is grossly ironic — Jake was Paulina's mistake to make. It wasn't my place to so much as have an opinion, much less act on it. By forcing the issue, I drove her to choose."

"And she chose Jake."


On Spencer and Alice's wedding day, the three Harrison men share a bonding moment that prompts a heartfelt confession from Grant, Alice offers Jen advice on accepting another woman's child (she's so been there/done that), Amanda and Lila pull out their claws, Felicia extends an olive branch to Lorna while deliberately pushing Marley's buttons, and Jamie attempts to learn from past mistakes.

All at:

We want to hear from you! Another World Today is committed to fan interaction and input. Let us know where you'd like to see the story go at the SoapOpera451 message board ( and the Official Facebook page (

Friday, October 22, 2010


ATWT: A Tale of Two Lilys

GL: Ron Raines (Alan) Sings!

EON: Where Are They Now: Jennifer Taylor (Chris)

AW: Cynthia Watros (ex-Annie; GL) Plays Vicky!

Commentary: ATWT's Craig, GL's Edmund and AW's Grant: Were They Really All That Bad?

Give us your thoughts in the Comments' section and let us know what sorts of features you'd like to see here in the future!



GQ Todd, biological father of Mindy and Rick's adopted son, Hudson Lewis Bauer, held a press conference announcing his intention to seek full custody. (Read more about it at: ).

Phillip offered to help Rick and Mindy keep Hudson - the Spaulding way. Mindy was leery but, much to her surprise, Rick told Phillip to do anything he had to. Even if it meant asking the question, "What Would Alan Do?"

When Mindy questioned Rick about his willingness to be ruthless, he exploded, "Look where being Mr. Nice Guy has gotten me: Mel's got Leah convinced I'm out to ruin her social life, Harley swept Jude off to Greece, and don't think I don't know what they call me at the hospital. Dr. Death. You want to know why I have the highest mortality rate? Because I take patients other doctors give up on. Nice Guy Rick, Good Guy Rick, just dump everything on him, he won't complain. Well, I'm sick of it. Hudson is our son. We did everything the way we were directed. And still we got screwed. I think it's about time we fought back. Phillip knows what he's doing. I say let him."

Later, Mindy confessed to Billy that the situation with Hudson had forced her to think more about her own biological mother, Rose, and how Rose didn't actually want to give Mindy up.

"What if we do win? And then, ten years from now, fifteen, twenty, forty, it doesn't matter, Hudson finds out what we did and how we did it? And that he had a father who wanted him all along. How is he going to feel?"

"I don't know," Billy asked, "How do you feel?"

"I don't know. Rick is convinced that fighting for Hudson is the right thing. We're the only parents he knows, we love him."

"You've got your doubts, though."

"Not about loving Hudson, not about being his mother. But, about keeping him.
I can't tell Rick. He says he's already lost enough family. I can't let him down."

"Even if it means letting Hudson down?"
Billy wondered.

What should Mindy do next? Tweet her your advice at:

And to follow along daily in chronological order, go to:


Which ATWT and GL actors can take any script given to them and make it work?

What vital lesson did Elizabeth Hubbard's (Lucinda; ATWT) complaining teach a fledgling writer?

Why should a kiss never be just a kiss?

(And what's wrong with asking too many questions?)

Find out the answers to all of the above - and more! - by listening to Emmy winning scribe Susan Dansby's latest soap-writing webinar at:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Trifecta of Evil or Triumvirate of Heroes?
By Nicole Walker

Craig Montgomery.

Edmund Winslow.

Grant Harrison.

Many soap fans look at these three men as villains you love, villains you hate, or villains you love to hate.

Me? I adored these dastardly men as my true soap heroes. They were the ones I wanted to see get their happily ever after, get the girl (which often meant stealing them from the so called ‘good’ guys), have strapping sons and adorable daughters, and smite their enemies (who often considered themselves victims of these men) to become the alpha males of their small Illinois towns. Or, in Edmund’s case, the principality of San Cristobel.

No, I don’t have a thing for the 'bad boy.' I have a thing for complex, flawed, vulnerable men, which yes, Craig, Grant, and Edmund were. Sure, they’ve done not so good things, things that could be considered heinous or downright evil.

But, I ask you: Who on a soap opera hasn’t?

Everyone on soaps has lied, cheated, misplaced a baby, stolen a little money, blackmailed, and/or issued death threats at one point or another, and come close to following through on them. And yet these three men, heroic anti-heroes in my view, have been unfairly saddled with the label of villain for reasons that simply leave me baffled.

Why? Because when you examine the facts, how could one not side with Craig Montgomery over the self-righteous Dusty Donovan? Or pray that Edmund ‘The Dark Prince’ Winslow finally toss Reva into a bottomless pit? Or wait for the day that Grant Harrison wrestled Kirkland from Vicky’s arms to finally be a father to the child that had been long denied him

What facts are these, you ask? Well, let me tell you-

Fact #1: They hired stellar actors. If you want me to truly hate the guy, you get the ugliest block of wood you can find to play your villain, not the likes of Scott Bryce, Hunt Block, Jeffrey Meeks, and Jon Lindstrom, David Andrew MacDonald, and Mark Pinter! Because you’ve lost half the battle when you give roles as fun as Craig Montgomery, Edmund Winslow, and Grant Harrison to actors who are not only going to run with them, but relish the challenge of making them rootable no matter what loathsome, eyebrow raising harebrained scheme they are asked to portray. You’d think that Craig kidnapping his own daughter or Edmund stealing a baby and leaving her mother passed out on the side of the road or Grant shooting himself and framing the mother of his child for his attempted murder would make me hate these men. But, you know what? I never did. Due in large part to the acting prowess of the characters' portrayers as well as -

Fact #2: Having your so-called heroes be, do, and act even worse than your supposed villains. Seriously, I’m supposed to side with Jennifer Munson over Craig when the woman endangered her own child to set Craig up so that he’d lose his paternal rights to a child that hadn’t even been born yet? Or, think that Vicky taking an abandoned kid and giving it to Grant to raise, while hiding their child with Jake and Paulina is cute and perfectly understandable when Grant’s only real crime was that he was Kirkland’s father and the guy Vicky wanted to be the father, Grant’s brother, Ryan, wasn’t? Or think it’s okay for Cassie, Reva, and Jeffrey to knowingly emotionally and psychologically manipulate a man with a recorded brain injury by using the memory of the man’s dead brother? In many cases where Craig, Grant, and Edmund did something ‘heinous’, the hero had provoked them into acting by doing something equally ‘heinous’. More often than not, Craig, Grant, Edmund were giving back as good as they got and their ‘victims’ were upset that these men just weren’t going to take being attacked lying down. And really? What person would?

Fact #3: Everyone in town and their cousins in the next town would tell everyone over and over again ‘[Insert Maligned Hero’s Name Here] is evil!’ Seriously, everyone! Including temporarily reformed underworld crime lords (I’m looking at you, Carl Hutchins!) who have yet to see any kind of justice brought down on their heads for their wrongdoings other than being drugged and taunted at a really weird costume party. You have an entire town pile on a character with gleeful sneering and you end up begging for the guy to be loved by the audience. You’re making him the underdog to be rooted for! Especially when his attackers are people with their own skeletons clattering against each other in the closet.

Fact #4: For evil men, Craig, Grant, and Edmund were made very vulnerable (i.e. human) through either their children or their tragic pasts. If you want me to buy the line that Craig is a bastard, then don’t give me his tragically losing his son in a car accident and this loss affecting him the rest of his life and then have everyone rub his nose in it. Because I’m going to side with Craig for wanting to knock everyone’s block off. If you want me to hate Edmund for his greed and quest for power and adulation, then don’t let me know that on top of being the scorned, unloved child of a philandering King, he suffered from a personality altering brain injury in his youth that left him unable to emotionally connect with people, most importantly his brother. You’re muddying up the waters with all that stuff and making me wonder why Richard (later Jeffrey) and Cassie and Reva don't realize that Edmund is less an evil monster to be mocked (and really how dumb are you to mock a ruthless monster?) and more a man with a severe mental affliction, who, oh I dunno, may need professional help to have it managed and possibly surgically fixed? I mean, was I supposed to think Jeffrey was right to psychologically manipulate/terrorize a man by playing the ghost of Richard, Edmund’s adored and resented dead brother?

When you take all this into consideration, it becomes obvious that, while not paragons of virtue, Craig Montgomery, Grant Harrison, and Edmund Winslow weren’t the Devil’s spawn, happy to unleash chaotic Hell upon the ‘innocent’ citizens of their small Illinois towns just for the fun of it. At least not most of the time.

Most of the time these men were like all the other men, i.e. heroes, in town. They were looking to get theirs- love, power, family, and acceptance.

Just because Craig, Grant, Edmund happened to play for keeps didn’t make them any less heroic than Jack Snyder or Jake McKinnon or Jeffrey O’Neill.

It just made them different.


And, let's be honest, more fun to watch.

Nicole Walker is the Associate Producer of Another World Today. She holds an MFA in Screenwriting from Columbia University.

Jamie informed Morgan, "Lorna told me about you two hooking up again after she'd left Bay City."

"She did?" Morgan's eyes widened. "Wow. That's a surprise. I thought we'd kind of taken a vow of silence around that entire misguided episode."

"Yeah, well, she let me into the circle of trust."

"Is that a fact? You know, Jamie, far be it for me to get between a.... But, there are a lot of layers to Lorna that — "

"Okay, I'm going to leave now."

"Wait," Morgan pulled Jamie back, forcing the elevator to depart without him. "I'm sorry, that was a real dick move on my part. I apologize. I was just caught off guard, that's all. Fact is, Lorna was the one determined to keep things hush-hush; prevent Felicia from ordering wedding invitations and some kind of veil for her with a hat. Lorna and Felicia, they can get a little combative discussing hats. It's very odd. Not that Lorna and I would ever do anything as fancy as what Felicia would organize anyway. Quick zip to city hall. That's how we did it."

"Did it?"


Morgan puts Jamie to the test, Carl offers Marley a new way to look at her relationship with Grant and Donna, Jen sees through Steven, Matt refuses to back down over Allie, and Lila ponders the opportunity to get back at Amanda and Kevin by reviving a classic Bay City feud!

Read the latest episode at:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


With the news that Daytime Emmy winner Cynthia Watros (Annie; GL) will be guest-starring on Desperate Housewives as an unhinged friend of Bree's (Marcia Cross; ex-Liz, EON), Soap Opera 451 shines the spotlight on Cynthia's lesser-known daytime stint, as a fill-in for Jensen Buchanan's Vicky on Another World in 1998.

Watros is featured below alongside Tom Eplin (Jake), Anna Stuart (Donna), Ellen Wheeler (Marley), future Gladiator and Mystic River actor Spencer Treat Clark (Steven) and Sean Rademaker (Kirkland), who would go on to play the first Jonathan Randall on GL! (Whew, that's quite a line up!)

What are Donna, Marley, Steven and Kirkland up to in Bay City 2010? Find out at:!
By Mariann Aalda

I recently had an opportunity to catch up with my former EON castmate (and dressing-roommate) Jennifer Taylor (Detective Chris Egan)

MA: So, Jennifer, what have you been up to since we last saw each other... what has it been, two years, now?

JT: More like four years, but who's counting. LOL Anyway, The last few jobs I’ve had were; the realtor in DeRailed, John Heard’s wife in The Lucky Ones, and Stacy Keach’s secretary for the first season of Prison Break.

In addition to the occasional local commercial, I continue to operate a business I’ve had now for about 17 years called the Painted Board Studio (, where I work on my own oil paintings. (I started painting when I was on Edge of Night and haven’t stopped.) My favorite painting is called The Wedding , 3’x6’:

I never paint knowing what the painting will be – that would ruin the surprise – however, at the time, I had just completed an intense master acting class where I worked hard on the character Roberta in a scene from, ''Danny and the Deep Blue Sea'' by John Patrick Shanley. It was later that I could see the psychological aspects of the play peering out from the painting.

I also enjoy custom painting furniture:

And murals:

Painting furniture brings me pleasure to know that I’m able to help ‘save and recycle’ a lot of old furniture pieces just by using paint in a really cool way and painting murals is just fun!

Lastly, and this has nothing to do with the arts at all, I started a website called Lily’s List,, (named after my daughter) which is a student loan gift registry designed to help anyone with a student loan pay it down – One Gift at a Time.

The debt college kids are incurring is unfathomable to me (can you imagine being 22 with an average of $23,000 in debt right out of school? Many have MUCH more than that!) I want to help educate kids on how to think outside the box when it comes to paying down their loan and so, with three women friends, I created a website to do just that - we only launched a few months ago but already have been publicized on CBS Money Watch and in the Chicago Sun Times.

Someday I hope to return to NY or LA for a bit to try to find more acting work now that my kids are grown, but in the meantime, my husband and I enjoy life right where we’re at.


Mariann Aalda played DiDi Bannister-Stoner on Edge of Night from 1981 to its final episode on December 28, 1984. She also played Grace Battles on Guiding Light and Lena Hart on Sunset Beach. She is currently starring in M.O.I.S.T.! -- the "sex-istential" comedy-with-music celebrating the seasoned woman -- which she co-wrote/produced/performs with Iona Morris (ex Fiona Griffin, As The World Turns).

Check out her latest installment of Edge of Night Today at:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Six Scenes with a View of Writing Soaps - Breakdown/Script Technique
By Susan Dansby

Tonight we get to the heart of the thing (figuratively and literally) and you learn how to make your writing stand out from the pack when being read by someone who can hire you/publish you. It'll include:

-- My personal "one-for-nothing" process which helps with procrastination and helps you mine the nuggets in your breakdown.
-- 10 things you must "never" do when writing breakdowns.
-- Quick and easy prompts that can make your breakdown/script sing.
-- Gearing up to write the 2nd toughest scene in a breakdown: the Act Break

Tonight at 7PM Eastern.

To sign up for the free webinar, go to:

By Alina Adams

Having already outed myself as a soap geek (well, duh), a figure-skating geek, a trashy novel geek, and a name geek, I feel safe to add another title to the list: musical theater geek.

Yes, I love musicals. So does Michael Fairman. Which is why, when we were both working on the E! show Pure Soap in 1994 and Ron Raines - fresh off a long and distinguished career in musicals - joined the cast of Guiding Light as Alan and was still in the process of losing his theater affectations and acquiring his soap legs, we couldn't help tagging every grand Spaulding pronouncement he made with the phrase, "In Camelot!" (Trust me, it was very funny at the time. If you loved soaps. And musicals. And were easily amused.)

Try it yourselves!

Below is Ron's Alan making his grand re-entrance to Springfield society....

And in performance as Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha (also making a heck of an entrance) from right before he joined GL!

To check out Ron's CDs, click here.

Monday, October 18, 2010


"Do you believe young Mr. Todd has a right to his child?" Carl challenged Rachel.

"In theory? Yes, of course."

"How about in practice, then?"

"In practice... I saw what getting an out of the blue father did to Jamie and Matt. I look at the hell that Grant put Kirkland through when he resurfaced. And yes, I'm sorry, but also at the tailspin finding out about you sent Ryan into. In every case, these lives were upset not for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the men involved."

"Grant had a choice. I did not. Like GQ Todd, had I known about my son from the start, none of the subsequent distress and heartache would have been necessary."

"But, was it ever necessary at all? For goodness' sake, Carl, you only told Ryan the truth to keep him from dropping you off a multistory building. You can hardly claim his well-being was your primary concern at that moment."

"And you can hardly claim that your own contrary stance isn't coming from a place of equal selfishness."

"I don't understand. I have always taken complete and utter blame for what I put Matt and Jamie through. I recognize that they resent me and I can't fault them for it."

"But, you can fault any and all men interested in standing up and claiming their children, regardless of the mother's wishes. After all, wouldn't your life have gone much, much smoother had you been allowed to pick your sons' fathers after the inconvenient fact of conception? The sainted Mac for Matthew, the legitimate Russ for Jamie...."

For more on Rachel's past, click here and here.


Donna puts Spencer, Lucas and Carl on notice, Grant makes GQ an offer he can't refuse, Lorna wonders what Morgan is up to, Amanda and Lila draw battle lines, Dean meets Lori Ann to Frankie's ambivalence, and Marley faces a tough choice (with your help) when Carl invokes the past!

Get it all at:

Sunday, October 17, 2010


In 1984, As The World Turns was auditioning young actresses for the newly created role of Lucinda Walsh's pre-teen, tomboy daughter, Lily. (She was slated to become a love interest for John Dixon's ward, Dusty Donovan.)

Ultimately, it came down to two actresses, Lucy Deakins and Martha Byrne. Byrne's biggest credit up to that point was the low-budget, cult classic movie, Anna to the Infinite Power, which she made at age 12. (See trailer below.)

Deakins got the job. She also, shortly after, got offered the lead in a feature film, The Boy Who Could Fly. But, ATWT wouldn't let Deakins out of her contract. So the movie's director continued auditioning other young actresses - including Martha Byrne who, in later years, would recall that even while she was trying out, the director kept talking about really wanting Lucy Deakins.

Eventually, Deakins left Oakdale to do the The Boy Who Could Fly anyway. (Below)

And the producers went with their original second choice for the role of Lily Walsh... Martha Byrne.
By Alina Adams

Just a few days after I mention her seminal, multi-generational family saga, Evergreen, as a perfect soap opera substitute, author Belva Plain is dead at the age of 95.

For those who never had the pleasure of reading her soaps-in-a-book as I called them, below are some of my favorites:

Friday, October 15, 2010



Mindy tried to make sense of what Reva just texted her from Andorra - Jeffrey is alive, involved with Marah, and he's the one who kidnapped Colin in order to smoke Edmund out of hiding.

Marah attempted to defend herself to Mindy, swearing that what she and Jeffrey did was for Reva's own good - they wanted to take Edmund out once and for all. As for their becoming lovers again, that just sort of... happened. (Mindy cynically figured it ran in the family. Marah/Jeffrey/Reva.... Reva/Josh/Billy/HB.... Or maybe it was something in the Springfield water. After all, Beth and Lizzie shared a few men, too. And then there were Phillip and Alan and their women....)

When both Reva and Marah stopped answering Mindy's long-distance calls, she hightailed it over to Jonathan's, demanding to know how he could have kept the truth about Jeffrey from Reva, too?

Jonathan threatened Mindy never to tell Reva about it and she agreed - on one condition. Jonathan stop fighting with Lizzie over how she was raising Sarah. Jonathan grudgingly agreed.

Driving home, Mindy got a call from her lawyer. Hudson's newly discovered biological father, GQ Todd, had decided to sue her and Rick for custody of the baby...

What should Mindy do next? Tweet her your advice at:

And good news for those who hate reading backwards. Mindy's daily Twitter is now available to be read in chronological order. Check it out at:
By Alina Adams

I decided that I wanted to work in soaps when I was 10 years old. (That summer of 1980, my two favorite shows were General Hospital... and Lost in Space. So, obviously, I was still transitioning.)

It wasn't until I was 13 that I discovered trashy novels. (My two favorite books that summer were Master of the Game and To Kill a Mockingbird. So, obviously, I was.... something).

Or, as I thought of them: Soaps on Demand.

This was before the the Internet, before Hulu and DVR and (at least in my house) even before VHS (early adapters, my parents were not. They were among the first Jews to leave the Soviet Union for San Francisco, CA, and that was enough pioneering for them, thank you very much.)

Trashy novels to me (especially the multi-generational family saga kind that, fortunately, were huge in the 1980s) were soaps I could enjoy anywhere, anytime, at any pace I liked (and I read fast). Trashy novels weren't limited to an hour a day (during school hours, no less! Where was the fairness in that?). They didn't take frustrating breaks on weekends (if anything, weekends were library time!). And the sex scenes were very... informative.

Back in the 1980s, there were over a dozen soaps on the air. I used to go to sleep at night, repeating the titles to myself alphabetically, the way Soap Opera Digest organized their synopses. Now, we're down to six.

So, as a service to all those mourning the daily dose of melodrama in their lives (I know I am), I offer a list of my all-time favorite family saga trashy novels, in the hope that they might become your Soaps on Demand, too:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

By Alina Adams

I am reading a book called You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story by Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn (and I highly recommended it; it's very funny, though perhaps only to me... their relationship is eerily similar to mine and my husband's.)

But, anyway, on page 20 of the hardback edition, Ms. Gurwitch writes:

I had my share of "showmances," including my soap opera costar, who called me my character's name while we were having sex....

Intrigued, I instantly whipped out my trusty researcher skills (I was a researcher for the Daytime Emmys from 1996 to 2005; you know those factoids that the announcer intones while the winners are walking up to get their awards? That's me!), and gleaned the following:

Annabelle Gurwitch played Gina Daniels on Guiding Light in 1984 and 1985.

Who was Gina, you ask? (I know I had to ask.)

Gina was a member of the Galaghads, the street gang Lujack ran with before he learned he was a Spaulding, fell in love with Beth, and started hearing Almost Paradise playing every time he turned around.

So who was Annabelle Gurwitch's soap opera mystery man?

I'll keep reading and let you know if I find out anything more!

In case you want to join me, the book is available at (like I said, it is very funny):

Oh, and I finally finished reading Tina Sloan's book. She drops a few hints about on-set co-star flirtations, as well.

Check it out at:


"But, now you want to desert me for... Jamie?" Morgan tsk-tsked. "Seriously, Lorna? Jamie Frame?"

"What's wrong with Jamie?" Lorna asked, no longer hesitating to sound defensive.

"Nothing. He's a nice enough, boring, old — "

"He's not that old!"

" — Old enough — guy. Look, don't get me wrong; I like Jamie. He seems to be a good father, a dutiful mama's boy, and he's a competent doctor — no me, of course, but then who is? On the other hand, he is totally and completely wrong for you."

"How do you figure?"

"He's old," Morgan repeated, in case she'd missed it the first time. "And boring."

"He looks at me," Lorna said softly. "Like he can't bear to let me out of his sight."

"Okay. So, he's old, boring and needy. When did that become your type?"


Morgan balks at letting Lorna off the hook, Donna proves her usefulness to Grant... to Marley's dismay, Alice attempts to bring Amanda back down to Earth, Cass makes a confession to Kevin, Jasmine upsets Lila's plans, while Lucas, Spencer and Carl take steps to protect their interests.

All at:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

By Alina Adams

Yesterday, we featured a pair of ATWT alumni making guest appearances on Classic Trek.

Today, it's GL's turn. Check out Michael Zaslow (Roger) as a hapless ensign (seriously, dude, the landing party was Kirk, McCoy and... random guy. You had to know this wasn't going to end well for you....)

And Marj Dusay (Alex) as the woman who stole Spock's brain!


“It’s been a while since you and Cliff had your office here and damn near half of Monticello came under the spell of Louis Van Dine in his demented scheme to control the city,” said Chris.

“But half the city wasn’t diagnosed with a nervous breakdown and carted out off to a mental institution in a straight-jacket! snapped DiDi. “I haven’t been in this building in more than twenty years. Give me one good reason why I would want to go in there now."

“To build up your ‘fearlessness muscle,’ said Chris consolingly. “You have a horrible memory of this place and the best way to get rid of it is to replace it with a new one.”

“Facing that fear will help you face other fears,” said Mitzi.

“Like living without Calvin?” asked Didi.


Read this week's installment of Eye on Monticello by Mariann Aalda (Didi), here!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

By Alina Adams

Even before my first foray to Comic-Con in San Diego this past summer (ATWT wins! Yahoo!), I'd noticed a great deal of cross-over in soap fans and sci-fi fans. The genres do have lots in common, periodically tongue-twisting dialogue being the least of it (a former soap actor once told me the casting directors on the Trek series LOVE ex-soap actors, because they can deliver the technical mumbo-jumbo with straight-faced conviction).

In honor of the overlap, I thought I'd put up two clips where our soaps meet the stars. Today, the focus is on ATWT: Kathryn Hays (Kim) as the empathic (and mute, not a 'Kiddo' to be heard for miles) Gem, and Mary Linda Rapelye (Maggie) as a free spirited space hippie looking for Eden.

Today, the World, tomorrow the Light! Stay tuned!
Show Me What You’ve Got and Save Our Soaps!
By Susan Dansby

The As The World Turns fans have once again blown me away with their enthusiasm. Okay, I knew you had enthusiasm – but you guys have skills!

If someone had come to me when I was a brand new writer with the detail-loaded assignment I gave you last Tuesday, I’d have been cringing in a crawlspace for at least a week before writing a word. Instead, you folks have put the pedal to the metal.

Well, you’ve stepped up. So will I. I wasn’t going to read the breakdowns, but if you wrote one, send it in. You can email your submissions to:

Here are the conditions:

  • They must be in the format provided – double-spaced and no more than two pages.

  • Tell me what you want to hear. If you just want to hear what I liked about your submission (without any writer tips), that’s fine. If you’d like some writing tips, say so – and I’ll be glad to provide them.

  • If you’ve already progressed from breakdown to a Prologue scene, don’t let me slow you down. Send that as well, and I’ll gladly read both.

  • Submit your Prologue Breakdown and/or Scene by Friday 10/15.

I’ll be doing another webinar on Tuesday 10/19. There, I’ll give more tips on finessing the breakdown, and how to develop the story arc as you head into the mid-break (which comes after Act 2), and answering any questions you’ve got so far.

Here’s the link to register for the upcoming webinar:

Save Our Soaps

While we’re at it, I thought we might use this opportunity to bring some buzz to a couple of our remaining soaps. From Tuesday 10/12 until at least Tuesday 10/19, I’m going to commit to a daily viewing of Young and the Restless and All My Children.

If you like, you can watch one of those shows or another – and each day we’ll start a conversation about favorite tag lines of the day, or favorite first lines, or favorite reversals, etc.

This exercise will serve two purposes:

  1. You’ll build your writer muscles – now that you have more of an insider’s view of the process.

  2. These shows will get some buzz, and remind the powers that be that there are lots of people out here who are committed to watching drama in the daytime.

So, join me on Twitter daily ( and tell me what you think – and be there next Tuesday at 7 PM EDT for more writing tips from the world of soaps!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Laura Bell Bundy (Marah; GL) begins a guest-starring arc on How I Met Your Mother tonight.

Bundy originated the role of Amber in the Broadway musical, Hairspray. In the movie that came a few years later, the part was played by Brittany Snow (Susan; GL).

Click below to watch both Bundy and Snow on Guiding Light, alongside Paul Wesley, currently starring on Vampire Diaries, as well as each actresses' tantrum-y take on Amber.


"Grant won't be joining us?" Donna inquired politely.

"He's on his way," Marley explained. "Jamie's coming back from San Diego today and picking up Kirkland. Grant is seeing his son off."

"Jamie and Grant raising Kirkland together," Donna shook her head. "Victoria would be — "

"Happy to know that her son is loved and well taken care of by both his doting fathers," Marley cut Donna off. "Which is about two more than you chose to give me."

"Oh, come now, darling," Donna ignored the latter swipe to focus on the former. "We both know that, given a choice in the matter, Victoria would have preferred Kirkland stay with Jake. Jamie, she could have tolerated. The idea of Grant would have turned her stomach, same as it does mine."

"Are you seriously going to bash the very man whom you've just so publicly appealed to for protection?"

"I never said Grant Harrison didn't have his uses. Though the ones you've currently chosen to employ him for — "


Marley lays out her terms to Donna, Kevin levels with Lila, GQ makes a decision about Hudson, Dean expresses doubts to Felicia, and Lorna greets her mystery man.

All at:

It was great to see all the new fans on Facebook last week! Join the discussion at:

Friday, October 08, 2010



Mindy dealt with crises on two fronts this week.

First, Hudson's biological father, GQ, came to visit the baby, and Mindy ended up putting her foot in her mouth in a spectacularly non-politically correct way. Read the entire scene at:

Then, she finally got up the nerve to text Reva and tell her that Mallet and Dinah were deliberately misdirecting Revan and Josh from finding Colin.

Turned out that Reva already knew that. Her own detective work tracked Edmund down to India's castle in Andorra where Reva got the shock of her life - Jeffrey was still alive!

Not only that, but he was the one who'd kidnapped Colin (with Marah's help)! Jeffrey knew that when Colin went missing, everyone would suspect Edmund and that this would flush the ex-prince out of hiding.

Edmund retaliated by deliberately leading Reva to a still alive Jeffrey and Colin.

Reva texted Mindy that she didn't know what to do or whom to trust anymore! Got advice for Reva? Tweet it to her via Mindy and
By Alina Adams

I hear that, in conjunction with Kim Zimmer's return to One Life to Live this week, viewers were treated to some vintage Echo flashbacks. (May I say at this time that I LOVED Echo. I may have only been in Junior High School then, but I remember the whole story of Echo and her brother and Clint and the dead mother... awesome. When Kim joined Guiding Light some time later, it took me a while to stop thinking of her as Echo. And yes, I watched way too many soap operas as a child. And here I am now. Let that be a lesson to everyone.)

But, while Kim as early 1980s Echo is pretty cool, we've got an even older blast from the past. Kim as Nola on The Doctors. (I loved Nola, too. See the above re: too much soap watching, not enough fresh air.)

The clip below is a series of promos for NBC's soaps circa 1980. In addition to Nola on trial, we've got Doug and Julie on Days of Our Lives, bleeding Mitch and overall-clad Rachel on Another World, and the original, eavesdropping Iris on Texas.

Kim Zimmer assumed the role of Nola (and eventually got to audition Alec Baldwin for his first TV job) in 1979, taking over for Kathleen Turner. (Two years later, Kim played a small role in Turner's breakout movie hit, Body Heat, due to the actresses' strong resemblance.)

In her 2009 memoir, Send Yourself Roses, Turner speaks (not particularly kindly, but with a lot of humor) about her days in soaps. Apparently, Nola behaved so differently from day to day, that Turner just decided to play her as a drunk to justify it all.

Read all about it in:

And catch Kathleen drinking coffee and giving great thought to her future in these closing credits from The Doctors!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

By Susan Dansby

Thanks to everyone who attended the webinar. I'm glad we got to at least give a nod to most of your ideas. (For those who weren't able to make it, you can listen to the audio and look at the slides at:

However, I felt so rushed at the end, my instructions about the assignment were about as clear as mud. So here's the assignment for the next session.

Write a breakdown of the Prologue scene that takes place at Lily and Holden's Family Room with Terrace.

Your cast of characters: Faith, Holden, Lily, Lucinda and Luke.

The facts that must be established/action that must take place in the scene are as follows:

  • Somehow make it clear that Luke is working on the board of his foundation, and helping Lucinda write her widely anticipated memoirs, and still involved with Grimaldi Shipping.

  • Establish that Noah told Luke there would always be a place for him in Los Angeles (this can be done in a short flashback).

  • Access (perhaps through conversation with Lily, Lucinda, Holden or Faith) that Luke wants to go to Noah; but he has confusing feelings about it. He's not sure if Noah is still waiting for him as he'd said he would; and/or Luke's afraid Noah might get the wrong impression and think Luke's just lonely.

  • Lily and Holden have been dating for a while and are talking about getting remarried. Faith and Parker are together. Lucinda and John are still together. Luke is surrounded by couples and is wondering if he is ever meant to have that again.

  • The tag of the scene is Luke getting a one-way call that Noah has been taken to the hospital after a car accident. Noah's been shot.

Take a stab at writing a breakdown (synopsis) of what happens in this Prologue scene: how the beats flow together, and a general idea of who says what to whom. As an example, it should read something like this if the scene were happening in LA instead of Oakdale:

"Open in Noah's Hospital Room. He opens his eyes and quickly sits up, immediately reeling in pain. A police detective instructs Noah to lie down, asks him if he remembers anything. Noah replies that he knows who he is. He thinks somebody shot at him. The detective confirms, asks Noah if he's heard from his father lately. Noah's thrown. His dad's in prison. The detective informs Noah that his father's escaped and Noah immediately starts looking for his clothes. Where's his phone?! The detective tries to get Noah to calm down, but Noah insists that his boyfriend – his ex-boyfriend – could be in danger. The detective asks if that's (checking his notes) Luke Snyder. Noah's horrified. Has something happened to Luke? The detective explains that this Snyder guy was listed as Noah's next of kin. They called him, and he's on his way to LA. Noah says the detective might have just put a bullet in Luke's head."

Yes, I know that's overly dramatic and covers a lot less ground that you've got in front of you, but it gives you an idea of format. If a good line occurs to you, put it in the breakdown. Otherwise, keep it general. Your goal is to include the bullet points above in some sort of cohesive order that also happens to be dramatic.

If you have any questions, put a comment here or on my website and I'll get to it as soon as possible. I'm traveling the next couple of days, but I will get to it.

Again, I'm thrilled at your interest, and I've been impressed, surprised and enjoyed reading your ideas. Get just the breakdown for this scene done; and for our next session, I'll get into more of the nuts and bolts of dealing with the challenges of keeping it interesting, making the transitions seamless, etc.

To sign up for the webinar if you haven't already (if you signed up for the first session, you are automatically signed up for them all), go to: