December 26th, 2012  |  Leave a comment

The Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati Interview – General Hospital & One Life to Live

Photo Credit: Getty Images/S. Bergman

2012 was an emotional and topsy-turvy year for soap fans filled with sadness, disappointment and frustration as One Life to Live aired its final episodes after an incredible 43-year run.  On the flip side, an excitement and a renewed spirit on-screen and behind-the-scenes at General Hospital gave viewers a thrill a minute! Two men led the charge and were responsible for orchestrating two incredible feats within the same calendar year, for the fans and for the soap genre, that may very well have given network executives, the mainstream, and naysayers pause that daytime is not dead after all … but alive and well and kicking!  We are talking about current General Hospital and former One Life to Live, executive producer Frank Valentini, and head writer Ron Carlivati.

From giving the most proper of send-offs ever witnessed for a canceled soap, and throwing every thing but the kitchen sink in to pay homage to the legacy of Llanview for its enduring and loyal fans, even through an incredibly difficult and heartbreaking time, Cartini, as they are now known, delivered.  And after going out on top with ratings that showed “the proof is in the pudding”, Frank and Ron next took over the wheel that drives General Hospital.  They revitalized the show giving it new life and infusing it with new energy, and in doing so, also upped it’s ratings with astonishing returns of fan favorites while sprinkling stories and utilizing characters throughout the entire canvas of Port Charles.

On-Air On-Soaps is proud to give our highest recognition of the year, our “Soapmakers of 2012” honors to Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati for their achievements.  We chatted with the dynamic duo after they were informed of their honor, to get an inside look at why this collaboration has been so successful that it has caused a major turnaround of two of daytime’s most recognizable and popular dramas.  Plus, we take a look at how they were able to stun viewers with One Life’s final cliffhanger, how they have continued to delight GH fans with stunning blasts from the past, and what the future may hold as we head into 2013.  As many fans know, reports are circulating that Prospect Park is gearing up its second attempt to bring OLTL and AMC online in the new year.  Because Prospect Park has yet to release any “official” statement on the situation, Frank and Ron had no comment at this time.

So here now are the two gents that are truly the hitmakers, and creative team beyond compare … Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati!

MICHAEL:

When you were crafting the ending of One Life to Live, and watching the final episodes of what you had created together, how were you able to deal with this huge loss at that point?

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

It was a very emotional time, and at that point that it was airing, we knew it was not going to continue on.  That was the end of One Life to Live.  And while it was incredibly sad, it was also gratifying in a way to see how it all came together at the end.  I think because it was also a story about the end of a soap opera “Fraternity Row”.  Through that we were able to mourn along with the characters, but not just mourn, but also celebrate. It was very satisfying in a lot of ways to me just because I think it did end on a perfect note.

MICHAEL:

You were able to give the audience that precious and emotional second to last episode, which contains Viki’s speech about soaps operas.  Then, following that go out with the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers, showing the audience that Alison Perkins for all intent and purposes, had the believed-to-be-dead Victor Jr. captive.  Did this cliffhanger, where Victor Jr. was going to be alive, come to you at the last second?  Or, was this planned for a while?  And, how did this all come about?

RON:

We knew for a while that we wanted Victor’s re-appearance to be the very end of the show.  It was really Frank who pulled it off, and was able to sneak Trevor St. John (Victor Jr.) into the building so that it didn’t get out.  And you know Michael better than anybody, how everybody knows everything, and while I think there was some speculation about Victor may be re-appearing, I don’t think people really knew for sure. So I think it really provided a classic soap shock to see Victor like that.  And in some ways, even though it was a cliffhanger, it was very satisfying to see him alive.

FRANK:

Courtesy/ABC

What Ron was able to do with the writing was to really give the audience sort of what they wanted, and even more than they wanted.  That speech of Viki’s was not only apropos to the scene, but apropos to what we were going through … sort of what we were living through on our side of the television, and also for the viewers on the other side of the television.  What better way to say to the audience, “We love you. We get it,” than with that episode, and in particular with that speech.

MICHAEL:

Frank, One Life to Live was where you got your start in this industry and where you went up through the ranks to become its executive producer.  I also know that the late Paul Rauch was your mentor there.  How were you processing dealing with the ending of One Life?  After all, One Life was your baby with Ron!

FRANK:

I think the human spirit is very interesting, in that you find ways of coping.  I am sure there was a lot of denial, but when we first heard the news I went back to the studio and I told everyone we are going to go out in a blaze of glory.  And, that we were going to savor and enjoy the last few months together producing a show that we all loved very much, and that we were going to honor the show, and honor the audience, and honor ourselves, by doing the best we possibly could.  I think we achieved that.  I actually believe that the sums of our parts exceeded any expectations that any of us ever had.

MICHAEL:

And as we have seen with other soap operas that were canceled, they go out with a whimper.  But for One Life, it left ABC with the ratings stronger than they had been in years, and on a creative high, as well.  The two of you had to be proud that you went out the way you did!

FRANK:

Courtesy/ABC

Yes, that was our goal.

RON:

Absolutely!  What was nice is we did not limp to the finish line, we went out on top.

MICHAEL:

What is the collaborative process between the two of you that has allowed you to maintain this amazing working relationship, where there are both stellar writing, and then the ability to bring everything to life on-screen?  What do you think has made this such a successful pairing?

FRANK:

Our roles are very clearly stated.  Ron is the head writer and is in charge of the story.  I am the producer, and I am in charge of producing the show. But at the same time our relationship has a lot of fluidity to it in terms of: that I will ask Ron what his opinion is on production things, and he will ask my opinion and my feedback on story things.  I am a big believer in collaboration, but at the same time I think you need to have a singular vision, and Ron’s vision for General Hospital as it was for One Life, is so clear and so true with a very clear sense of storytelling.  I think that is what the audience responds to. My job is to make it all come to life, and it is kind of a pleasure to do that.  There are situations where complications come up where an actor is leaving the show, or we get a note that something might need to change, and we sort of huddle up together to make it work.  We always have each other’s back.

MICHAEL:

I remember Ron, when we talked a while ago during your time at One Life, about how we were both amazed at how those terrifying ice scenes played out on air when Gigi (Farah Fath) fell threw the ice!  I recall you saying something along the lines of, “I can’t believe how production pulled this off!”  I am sure that happened again recently on General Hospital with Faison’s false face!

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

Yeah!  My mouth is still hanging open from watching Faison’s face melt off.  It’s one thing for us to write, “He throws fondue in his face and his mask melts off,” and it’s very similar to saying, “Oh, the ice cracks and she falls through the ice.”  Then Frank says, “Yeah, you wrote a nice movie, but how are we supposed to do that?”  And then Frank says, “Oh, I know!  We’ll just light an explosion under some plexi-glass and crack the ice.”  That just blows my mind!  Similarly, I expected to see with Faison they throw something in his face, and he throws his hands over his face and screams… and when he takes his hands away, the mask is sort of mostly gone.  Of course, that is not what they did, and that is where the production and the writing meet.  Frank did this unbelievable job with his team of having this mask literally melt off the guys face!  Frank told me I was going to be pleased, but I had no idea till I actually saw it. (Laughs)  The sight of Faison with Duke Lavery’s hair still on his head is etched in my brain!

MICHAEL:

Frank, do you ever say to Ron, “What the hell are you thinking?  How are we going to pull this off?”

FRANK:

All the time!  (Laughs)  I get nervous when I first read stuff that I think is either too expensive to do, or too overwhelming.  Then, I sit with it for a while and then we try to figure out the best way to do it, because that’s our job.  Our job is to carry out the vision of the writers, and if you create a situation with the writers where they feel like every time they come up with something that, for lack of a better expression, is “bigger than life” then you are hampering their imagination.  There are already so many constraints put on the writers in terms of: actors availability, guarantees, airdates- Monday through Friday, also sort of set constrictions.  So why would you want to add another constraint to your creative team in terms of imagination?  That does not seem like the right thing to do.

RON:

Photo Credit: NY Times

Frank has also given me and the other writers the ability to “go for it”.  He will say, “You write it full out, and we will tell you if it’s something we are unable to do.”  He really doesn’t ever hold us back, or restrict us.

MICHAEL:

As we look back at 2012, there you were transitioning from One Life to being named the new executive producer of General Hospital, after the Prospect Park deal to bring  OLTL online stalled.   So at that point, Frank, did you call Ron and say, “Ron, do you want to come with me to GH?”  However, it had previously been reported that Ron was coming to write GH before the Prospect Park talks began anyway.  Confusing, eh? (Laughs)

RON:

There was some talk that I would come to General Hospital in some capacity, which I was looking forward to no matter what.  But I think it was great that it worked out that Frank and I could continue our partnership that we have.

MICHAEL:

When the two of you came to GH, you inherited what was an ailing show at that point.  It was also a very one-note show …very heavy into mob stories and focusing on the same core characters.  You can see now how the two of you have constructed GH.  It moves so much faster, it involves so many more characters, the scenes are not too long, and it reminds me of the pacing of One Life to Live, but a completely different show.  Would you agree with that?

RON:

I think that is true.  I can only write how I write.  I have a certain style and a certain groove that I got into at One Life to Live, and the pace at which I moved stories.  I adapted it to General Hospital.  I like to write for the whole canvas, and while I get that there are certain people who are your “Stars” or your “A-players”, I like to play with all the toys in the box.  It’s more fun and interesting for me to write for everybody.  What has also been great is to be able to reach into the past and pull out the characters I knew growing up watching GH and that I was familiar with.  Lucky for me that they allowed me to bring a lot of these people back.

Courtesy/ABC

FRANK:

But also, everyone we brought back has been able to create, instigate, and multiply story for the main characters on General Hospital that you want to see.

MICHAEL:

It’s been amazing!  First of all, putting Finola Hughes (Anna Devane) on contract was brilliant, and watching her work this year has been incredible.  I would have to say that her performances, along with Jason Thompson (Patrick), were top notch through the entire year, and they delivered in spades with the material given to them, as well as so many other talented performers in the cast!

FRANK:

I agree that Finola and Jason are fantastic, but it’s hard for us because we love them all.  It’s definitely like having thirty children, and we think they all are equally special.

MICHAEL:

Frank, when you look at what you have accomplished in 2012 with GH, and with your targeted projections for the series moving forward, are you pleased with where the show is heading, and where you have taken it so far?

FRANK:

Courtesy/Twitter

At this particularity juncture, we are dark for the holidays.  I think this is a really great time for everyone to consider the amount of work that we have done.  We will show our Christmas reel, which is sort of something we have a little fun with it, and we also honor the hard work we have done throughout the year, and kind of look at it and say, “Wow, that was great.”  I think that is a good starting point to start to begin to contemplate what 2013 will be like.  Obviously, we are in production already for the beginning of the year and we have some amazing stuff.  Ron has written some terrific, terrific stories for January, February, leading into March, and into our 50th Anniversary in April, which we are really looking forward to doing.  It’s all very exciting!  Honestly, there is never that much time to sit back and think, but over the holiday break we will sort of be thankful for what we have been able to accomplish and honor that, and then move forward from there.

MICHAEL:

Ron, you must have been tickled-pink knowing the history and the back-story of General Hospital, and then being green-lighted and able to bring back all these beloved characters and blast from the pasts from: Lucy Coe, to Anna Devane, to Faison, and I could go and on.  Were you not pinching yourself over this during the 2012 daytime television season when this all came to pass?

RON:

Absolutely!  While I want to write a show that is modern, current, and contemporary, I think that soaps are also about nostalgia, and the history, and the legacy, and that is what makes them so special.  Here we have a show that is going to be 50 years old, and it’s a gift to be able to draw from that history.  I think it’s also a reward to the audience for watching and being so loyal for all this time, and to tell them that we haven’t forgotten those characters, either!  And while it’s great to see the returns, I don’t think you can necessarily just trot people out for the sake of seeing them.  Like Frank said earlier, they have to generate a story.  That had been my goal with any of these returns in how can they affect the current canvas as it is in 2012 and 2013.  But yes, it’s been an absolute thrill to be able to write for Helena, Robert, Holly, Lucy Coe, Heather Webber, and Faison. General Hospital means different things to different people, but to me when I see those faces, that really feels like GH to me.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: ABC/Getty Images

The decision to bring Roger Howarth (Todd Manning) and Michael Easton (John McBain) over to GH from One Life to Live, would you say that has worked out well for you?  Of course, you got a lot of pushback from fans of GH in bringing these characters and Starr over to Port Charles.  Would you consider bringing other Llanview residents over to GH if it made sense, and if you have the rights to the characters?

FRANK:

If it’s story-dictated, and we are able to have the rights to those characters, I don’t see why not.  But again, on bringing the three One Life to Live characters over to GH, I think the initial pushback was before anyone ever saw it on air.  I can understand the fervor in which the GH fans protect their show, and I honor that, because I am the same way – I am always very protective of the shows I work on.  However, we are now here at GH and the keepers of the gate.  I think we have proven in the last eleven months, how much we love and honor this show, and how we have kept this show pretty much intact as much as we could within our ability.  Bringing in those returns also provided story for the characters of: Michael, Sonny, Jason, Sam, Carly, Tracy, and Luke, and all the people you want to see.  Instead of bringing on new actors in new roles, why not bring on someone who you know is going to be a phenomenal actor, and who is going to be able to work well on the canvas.  The actors on GH love the actors from One Life to Live. They understand what the motivation was and how we were able to make it work, and at the same time, bringing back Helena, Robert, Anna, and Lucy Coe, as an example, we have sort of given everybody everything.

MICHAEL:

With Kimberly McCullough (Robin) agreeing to keep the story of Robin’s disappearance percolating, was it you, Frank, who convinced Kimberly to keep coming back to GH after she had wanted to exit permanently?

FRANK:

Courtesy/Tumblr

I was actually the person that talked to her to convince her, but when she saw what Ron wrote she absolutely wanted to do it.  Kimberly is so fantastic!  We are very fond of Kimberly, and we honor and respect that she is working on her directing career, but we kind of don’t want to let her go!  So we are willing to make it work, which is in the best interest of the show.  We work around her schedule, and we try to squeeze some fun stuff in when we can.  It’s not easy, and it can sometimes be costly, but overall, I think it’s worth it.

MICHAEL:

Is there anything you will be willing to offer up as preview for fans of GH, coming up right after the New Year?

FRANK:

You know, I never like to give anything away!  I will say we worked extraordinarily hard in November and December.  And January will prove to be just as exciting as November and December were.

MICHAEL:

Everyone, I mean, everyone from soap fans, pundits, you name it, wants to make sure that you submit One Life to Live for the Outstanding Drama Series category, since this will be its final year of eligibility for the Daytime Emmys … along with your submissions for General Hospital.  You should do this!

FRANK:

We might.  We have been so busy that we haven’t gotten around to filling out the paperwork.  It’s just been a little bit of crunch time now.  But, thank you for the suggestion, we will definitely consider it!

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

OK, please do!  The fans are hoping with those last two incredible weeks of episodes in January that you will submit something so One Life has a proper chance to be honored.  I am passing that on!  And Ron, everyone is thrilled that you and your OLTL team scored a nod for the WGA Awards too!

RON:

Thank you.  I was lucky to be able to submit One Life to Life for the Writers Guild Awards and receive a nomination this year.  And with the Writers Guild the submissions work differently than the Daytime Emmys.  So what happens is: I submit three scripts and they don’t watch the shows, they just read the scripts.  The judging has a lot more to do with the words, and not necessarily the performances.  And you can pick three for the eligibility period, and the three that I submitted for the Writers Guild all tied-in to the “Fraternity Row” story.  It is when they first learn that the soap opera is going to be canceled.  There is one in the middle where they are fighting to save it, and I think the third one is the second to last episode of One Life to Live, where they watch the last show with Viki’s speech in it.

MICHAEL:

The episode with David and Roxy on the set of “Fraternity Row” that dovetailed into the fantasy episode, was that submitted to the WGA?

Courtesy/ABC

RON:

That was in the eligibility period, but I did not submit the fantasy episode.  I submitted the one where Roxy wakes up after it.  I believe it is the episode on the Blanca talk show and Roxy trying to use David to fight to save the show.

MICHAEL:

In closing, Frank if you were to tell me what the best qualities of working with Ron are, what would you say?

FRANK:

Obviously, he is the best writer I have ever worked with, and the cleverest storyteller, and reading his scripts are just a joy and fun for me.  Even though this is my job, I get a thrill at reading one of his scripts, even when they are crazily overwhelming in terms of production.  But they are fun to do.  Ron is a great collaborator, and an incredibly smart person who I get to learn from, and that is what I am most interested in.

MICHAEL:

OK Ron, your turn.  What would you tell me about collaborating with Frank and what it is like to work with him?

RON:

“Eh, he’s alright.” (Laughs)  We touched on it a little bit; he gives me creative freedom to go anywhere I want to with story.  He does pull me back from the brink.  I think he is the voice of reason in this relationship.  I am the one who pushes the envelope and wants the show to be more and more outrageous, and while I think Frank appreciates that, he is the voice of sanity that keeps the show on an even keel.  I think he saves me from my worst impulses, and indulges me in my best impulses.  And in addition, his skills as a producer are spot on.  Time and time again when I watch the show, I am always blown away what he and what everyone here – cast and crew – are able to accomplish.  I see it on paper and it’s one thing, and then I see it and watch it on TV and it’s another thing all together. It always exceeds my expectations, and that is largely due to Frank.

Photo Credit: Steven Bergman

MICHAEL:

So see Frank, there you go … you’re the voice of sanity! (Laughs) Congratulations again on the top honor of 2012.    I think there is no question that the two of you have been the true driving force of the daytime soap genre.  Well-deserved!

FRANK:

Michael, we know you are such a big supporter of the show, and we wanted to thank you. This is a great honor.

 

 

  1. CTwildheart says:

    I hope they find time to submit OLTL for the daytime emmys!

    Reply

    susan M. replied

    Me too! OLTL deserves to be nominated for best daytime drama!!!!!! Can’t get enough of ONE LIFE TO LIVE!

    Reply

  2. Linda Marshall-Smith says:

    Hi Michael,

    Great job on this interview. Thanks for asking such astute questions. Thanks to Frank and Ron for their candid responses.

    Happy New Year,
    Linda Marshall-Smith
    http://www.soapdom.com

    Reply

  3. Allison Kelley says:

    Love these guys! Great great work on GH and love every minute. Glad Frank is able to keep the reins on Ron and the writing. The fact that its not too ridiculous is the reason I stay tuned. I love the show and the characters. Want more happy good characters and less annoying, “mental”, hateful villains. Fun to watch the cute, silly, funny, maybe a little ” bad” characters, the best. Keep up the fantastic work!!!

    Reply

  4. Cindy says:

    When are they EVER going to start writing for Elizabeth? It’s been a year and she hasn’t had one real storyline! WTH

    Reply

    Susannah replied

    I agree, where’s Elizabeth’s storyline? Especially when Frank says,” It’s definitely like having thirty children, and we think they all are equally special.”
    I really don’t think you consider Elizabeth special since she’s nothing more than a prop for other new characters and has no story of her own. As long time fan of both General Hospital and Elizabeth in particular, it’s disappointing.

    Reply

    Shirley Sharp replied

    I totally disagree. It may have been sometime since she has had some thing special. She is still an asset to the show.

  5. heidi says:

    Awesome interview Michael and you weren’t kidding about it being big!!! Love those two and love what you got out of them! Thank you Michael!!! You so love this stufff and we get so much more because you do!!! Everyone from the soaps seems to enjoy working with you and it just tramnlates to great stuff for us and for them! Love GH… it’s my fave and love what Frank and Ron are doing with it! Still the best cast and crew and they make it so much fun! Again… great interview everyone… thank you!!! Can’t wait to see what happens next! Thanks Michael!!!

    Reply

  6. emtk says:

    Great interview! They both are so gifted! I loved OLTL and I’m really liking GH since they took over. Congratulations to a wonderful year at both shows!!

    Reply

    susan M. replied

    Ditto!!!! Like GH so much better since Frank & Ron have come aboard..

    Reply

  7. MEG says:

    RON AND FRANK HAVE MADE GH WORTH WATCHING AGAIN,THEY JUST NEED TO BRING ON TREVOR ST JOHN TO FINISH VICTOR N TEA’S STORY.

    Reply

    susan M. replied

    YEH!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

    Alan replied

    Victor and Tea’s story can be finished on OLTL when it comes to the internet with new episodes.

    Reply

  8. Dr. Donald G. Boudreau says:

    “Thank you” for a great interview Michael, congratulations, and for your skillfully illuminating the stellar achievements of the binary weapon team of directing and writing prowess, respectively of, Valentini-Carlivati. Their rank professionalism and the interplay and synergy honed between the two of them – your interviewing skills here made manifest–in heralding the creative drive and process of these two masters of their crafts. The noteworthy on-screen magic that they have created for their many millions of viewers on the large canvasses of #OLTL and #GH, these past years, in sharing this mutual love affair that they and their fan bases have for this important American storytelling tradition, sets a high bar standard of achievement for current and future generations of not only of directors and writers, but for fans and casts and crews alike. Messrs. Carlivati and Valentini, like many of the veteran ensemble actors and actresses who have appeared on these stories canvases under their stewardship, are ceaselessly striving to always bring their personal best, their “A” game to the fore, on the screen for their audiences. And moreover, more often they not, they are deliveringf extraordinary results, often beyond their fans wildest expectations or imaginations. And millions of us, their fans all across America, accordingly defend, respect and honor them and their arduous labors, as they were challenged, tested repeatedly, and shouldered under not always the best treatment and conditions which they should have been accorded, given what they do for “our stories,” (note the possessiveness). And thus, many of are wisely planning on taking Viki Buchanan’s advice of “tuning in tomorrow” for the prospective renaissance during early 2013, as two of Agnes Nixon’s most beloved works, “One Life to Live” and “All MyChildren” shall hopefully and rightfully be returning to their loyal audiences forthwith on the Internet and, somewhere, on our television screens. May Luna Moody’s Soaps Goddess and Madame Delphina make it so…

    Dr. Donald G. Boudreau
    Author, “American Business and Daytime Dramas”

    Reply

    heidi replied

    Well said!

    Reply

    Nancy replied

    Thanks for the always great words.

    Reply

    susan M. replied

    I agree with you Dr.Donald G. Boudreau 100% about ONE LIFE TO LIVE & ALL MY CHILDREN!

    Reply

    Barb T replied

    Great commentary! Well said.

    Reply

    Mary replied

    I agree with you about the two talented men from OLTL and GH and of course Michael for the wonderful interview…..

    Reply

  9. Doe says:

    Wonderful insightful interview, Michael. These two men are mutally gifted. It’s great to witness the results of their combined work, be it OLTL or GH. They are really prolific and genious in their output. I am pleased to be able to watch what they have done with GH and their bringing OLTL actors on to the scene. As a long time fan of both shows, I salute you. And I will be waiting to see how you will bring Kimberly back……

    Reply

  10. Lisa Jaworski says:

    Fantastic interview! Thanks a million Michael! Love, love, love your blog! Keep it coming!

    Reply

  11. Nancy says:

    Absolutely fantastic article for the two best people, best at their craft, my life is so much better with them in it. I really do not know how to express my gratitude to Frank, Ron and of course Michael. Always great articles.

    Reply

  12. stephanie says:

    hi i think you guys are doing a great job but i could i have more liz time she is the only reason why i watch i dont care if people get mad but she has been my favorite since the first day she stepped into port charles thank you!!! happy new year

    Reply

  13. Judi May says:

    Nice interview, but it does not change a thing. We, the fans will continue to boycott all things ABC and Disney until our ‘stories’ are restored to their rightful place.

    Reply

  14. Patricia Fritz says:

    I just want to hear the OLTL will be airing again. I don’t care how, just soon !!!

    Reply

    susan M. replied

    Me Too! I want OLTL back because I miss this soap a lot!

    Reply

  15. danicajolie says:

    Love the interview and that they took the time to give us more insight into our shows.

    Reply

  16. Bruce says:

    These guys r the absolute best!!

    Reply

    susan M. replied

    Yes they are !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  17. louisa says:

    Great interview. I love Frank and Ron and want to see them return to (the new) OLTL. They have really turned around GH!

    Reply

  18. Lori says:

    All the gushing makes me sick. Please call them out on the lack of diversity, not using half the cast, and plot points masquerading as storylines

    Reply

    Cindy replied

    Lori, seriously??? I’ve been watching soaps since the early 70′s and Frank and Ron are without a doubt, the best team I’ve ever seen. Your criticism is astounding.

    Reply

    susan M. replied

    I agree with Cindy 100% !!!!!

    Michael (not Fairman) replied

    I too am surprised at all of the negativity toward Valentini/Carlivati. I would not say they are the best team I’ve ever seen (having watched soaps for 35 years), but in this era (for the last 20 years) of lackluster (at best) writing and terrible producing, they’re such a breath of fresh air because they actually give me something that’s entertaining and worth watching. It’s not quite what soaps were in their heyday, but I enjoy it and I look forward to it (something I haven’t been able to say very often in the last two decades of soap watching, which was often out of pure habit), and it might very well be the best we can expect in the current environment. It might be that they’ve found the very best balance they can–even with its imperfections, and I’m certainly aware of them–that will actually satisfy (to the best possible) all of the different people (viewers, network executives, etc.) they have to please. Most days, I’m grateful. GH is watchable and often very satisfying. (The other three surviving shows generally are not, at the moment.) I didn’t expect to see that in a soap again, but I had it in the last year of OLTL, and they’ve managed to do it again with GH (which I wasn’t sure would be possible, because magic doesn’t always survive being transplanted from show to show).

    I guess I can see the criticism if someone was enjoying the last four or five years of GH (i.e., the mob and crime-centered storylines), but the ratings were falling (because, I would argue, it had become repetitive and had run its course), and that show (i.e., Guza-JFP-style GH) was probably going to be gone within a year or two anyway. Still, for those who were enjoying it, I can see that it might be hard to watch GH now, because the focus is so different, and it feels like such a completely different show now compared to a year ago.

    Jim replied

    I agree with Lori. Ron is rehashing old OLTL storylines. Trey was Ford 2.0. Connie was Niki/Viki/Bess/Jess. There are only so many characters who can come back from the dead before a soap loses credibility. GH is once again top heavy with actors with very little screen time. Ron’s writing on OLTL put the soap on the path to extinction and he only upped his writing game when he didn’t want to become the next Ellen Wheeler.

    Reply

    ashlee replied

    At the very beginning, I was not impressed. Killing off Cole and Hope was just beyond cruel. Killing Cole would have been enough to enrage Starr. Starr already mourned that child once on OLTL, and dead babies has been. WAY over done on GH. Also, Sonny and the mob were given more airtime and prominence at first, when fans were screaming for the opposite. But slowly and gradually, GH built up to the fall and winter and the results have been spectacular. All the returning vets is like soap nirvana and a reminder of how good soaps were and still can be. And now, FINALLY…Sonny is a minor character, and many of his scenes seem inserted, forced, and unnecessary to the very fabric of the show. It thrills me. Nothing against Maurice, but he dominated the show for 15 years in dark, depressing, misogynistic, violent stories. The show, in different ways, has approached the Claire Labine glory days of quality. The New Years episodes harken back to classic soap where umbrella stories rope in all the favourites and there are consequences that drive story. Two of the most endearing newcomers ever to hit the airwaves are Sabrina and Ellie. It would have been nice if they were given some family ties, but they still could…either or both could be a Quartermaine through Jimmy Lee Holt. Or some other connection to the vets. This GH is a testament to what can happen when a writer writes, a producer producers, and no other cooks are spoiling the broth. I have been living spoiler free since January, and what a thrill ride. Frisco pops up on a random Tuesday, Laura shows up on the docks…plot twists are so exciting when I havent read them first. If the show can sustain this brilliance, then it will be in grand shape for a long time. I dont know how on earth they are bringing this show in under budget, but they somehow are working financial miracles without sacrificing any of the cast. Keep it up!

  19. Brenda says:

    I have a whole new respect for these two guys. I really miss OLTL, and I really love what they have done for GH. These were my two soaps every day, so Iove them both. But GH was starting to be to mob oriented for me. So glad they are sharing the love. Us soap fans could not ask for two more talented people to be our creative force. Thank you both for sharing your gift with us.

    Reply

    ashlee replied

    Lol. STARTING to be too mob oriented?? Since 2001 WHEN phelps and Guza took over, this became a show about three people and a bunch of corpses. It was 12 YEARS of misery and depression.

    Reply

  20. susan M. says:

    I want to go back to Llanview and see all my favorite characters AGAIN! Because I dearly
    miss them all ! I never felt this way about to many shows but OLTL is the exception..It made me laugh, cry , and get excited to watch it five days a wk. This soap was and is pure excitement !! So I hope the PP deal is a done deal! Don’t want to be dissappointed for a second time………….Loved the interview!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to see LUKE & ROBIN back in PORT CHARLES real soon! I miss them.

    Reply

  21. janet says:

    Michael,FrankenRon great interview.Thanks for giving us fans a reason to think you are actually listening to us. Love the Robin story. happy she will get to be a director,and we will get to see her rescued by her parents. Loved the fondue,Faison Is great .His killing Jason and kicking him in the harbor made my day.Could you have him return to do the same to Sonny? please! Didn’t watch much of OLTl but most of the actors have been on other shows I watched.Roxie,on Ryans Hope Clint on Guiding Light.etc.I had stopped watching GH for seven years to much mob.The show now is great. Love it. I do like Ellie,and am very happy to see Lucy also.Billy Warlock was my favorite AJ but Sean looks more like Michael,so I am giving him a chance.How bout using his karate skills on Sonny. To much Sonny means I have to dvr the show so I can FF him.So when he is not on I watch all in real time live.commercials and all. TPTB should be happy about that.best to you hope you win the writers prize,and all the emmys come next year.

    Reply

  22. Chaz says:

    I for one will be totally pissed if they do not “find time” to submit OLTL for Best Drama. The show, and the cast, deserves that honor and to deprive them of that when there are no more chances would be a shame.

    Reply

  23. Liz Arnold says:

    Thanks Michael for the great interview. I got all choked up reliving the final days of OLTL. Ron & Frank have definitely saved GH from extinction. It’s better than its ever been.

    I wish that they would have commented on Prospect Parks’s latest stab at bringing AMC & OLTL back from the dead. In a perfect world, they would be able to helm the return of OLTL & continue their outstanding work on GH. I’m sure that if PP succeeds at bringing our stories back, it will be bittersweet for the two of them.

    I just want Frank & Ron to know how grateful I am for their guardianship of GH. I have nothing but love & respect for this dynamic duo. While some have complaints, I am not one of those haters. It’s been a great ride on GH this year & I can’t wait to see what happens next!

    Reply

  24. Barb T says:

    Michael, enjoyed the interview. Thank you for your great interviews. I am so glad Frank and Ron took over GH and gave it a “reboot.” The show definetely needed it. GH had been my primary show for so many years, but for a few years, I only watched out of habit. However, I wouldn’t miss an eposide of OLTL because the stories were so much better. Now that energy is being used on GH and the fans of GH are the receipants of the great stores and energy!

    Reply

  25. Tina Gray says:

    Great job, Michael. And, of course, to the geniuses of OLTL and GH, I was honored to meet both of you last November. No matter how the resurrection turns out with OLTL, I will continue to be a GH fan and a Ron and Frank fan – excuse me – a Cartini fan!

    Reply

  26. BornSoapStar says:

    I agree with Judi May – ABC/Disney is a BAD word in my house, and Lori- after 33 years of watching GH I officially quit the show thanks to Ron Carlivati. I am still a believer in Frank Valentini as a true supporter of the genre (although I’m starting to doubt some of his casting choices), but I believe Ron Carlivati should be told by his superiors to stay off Twitter and stop insulting fans. The majority of the GH storylines since his arrival are merely reruns of last year’s OLTL storylines. Several talented GH veterans have little to no storylines while OLTL actors and newbies chew up the screen time. While I commend their attempt to revive what is left of the Quartermaine clan, they dishonor GH’s history with the continued lack of Hardy/Webber storylines…and the rumor of killing off another Webber as the show approaches it’s 50th Anniversary is disgusting. The Corinthos abomination, Besonhurst broads and Davis coven are not core families. Should the show be canceled, which I still believe it will be, I think it is sad that GH fans will not get a finale like OLTL that honors it’s own history- but rather a hybrid finale of GH/OLTL.

    Reply

    k/kay replied

    As far as the character of Liz if they are not going to use her bring her over to Y&R as a recast Mac, she would be great.

    Reply

    heidi replied

    k/kay… who is Mac? I haven’t been watching Y&R up until about two years ago and I am missing who Mac is? Love Rebecca and would love to see her utilized more anywhere.

    k/kay replied

    Katherine Chancellors grandaughter she is the child of Katherine’s son Brock she was involved with Billy she first came on the scene in 1999 I think played by 4 different actresses. She married the character of JT and they both left town. A great character the original was great but she left acting to pursue being a plastic surgeon in real life. The last actress who played her was Clementine Ford Cybil Shepard’s daughter and in a word she was awful. RH would be great and a great triangle for Billy & Victoria. Google the character Mackenzie Browning and it will give all the back history.

    heidi replied

    thank you k/kay! from what you said… I agree!

  27. bc says:

    isn’t “port charles” a fictional ny locale? there should be more Asian american doctors. gh’s lack of Asian american doctors is an aspect that should be critiqued. it’s like the epic failure of nbc’s “e.r.” w/ racial diversity. “e.r.” was chicago based. it kept being “critically acclaimed” and yet it lacked Asian american representation. 15% of chicago doctors are Asian american. that percentage for chicago doctors is more than latinos and African american doctors combined. yet the “writers” of e.r. only managed to create 2 Asian doctors. Ming na portrayed 1 char and parminder nagra’s british doctor was the other char. Both female characters of course bec hollywood doesn’t want to portray Asian american males as romantic leading men. It would be realistic for hollywood medical dramas and soaps abt hospitals to have more Asian american doctors. hollywood loves to preach abt “diversity” and yet the casting does not reflect this. Asian american chars like from the movie “21″ are portrayed by white actors. These chars are based on real Asian american math students from MIT and yet the film cast white actors. The film was produced by kevin spacey and there was no backlash from the mainstream manhattan media against the film’s racism. If hollywood made a film abt real lgbt people and the characters’ orientation were portrayed as straight then everyone would scream homophobia.

    Reply

  28. Mary Lou says:

    Great interview! I am a huge fan of Cartini. Their work on both shows has been stellar!

    Reply

  29. bonnie says:

    I am happy that they are using the whole cast on GH and steerring away from the mob . I wish the oltl characters would take a backseat., to the Gh allumni. I love some of them but a few of the oltl characters are terrible.Starr being forced down are throats is annoying to me. Looking forward to a interesting year .

    Reply

  30. Pam says:

    PLEASE bring One Life To Live back.

    Reply

  31. Leyla Mir says:

    For their 2012 NYE episode, we had Starr, Trey, Ellie, Britt, Sabrina & Todd have major screentime even though they weren’t even on GH a year ago. The pacing of their storylines is a complete mess. Plots are dropped and pets are propped. Sigh.

    Reply

  32. Lisa says:

    How come he didn’t want to use the supporting cast he already had like Jason Cook, Steve Webber. Elizabeth Webber is also only used to prop other couples such as arguably the worst daytime leading couple the show has ever had in Jasam, low rating on wedding, critically panned story lines (Franco) and now she is hardly used except for characters no one who has only watched GH really cares about. Oh and so many moaning blonds. He spits on and disenfranchised her fans, then stomps on them by giving her little to do afterwards.

    Reply

  33. mcbam says:

    I hope RC develop a storyline witth MICHAEL EASTON AND KELLY MONACO

    We know the JasamFans won’t be fighting for our Jasam!

    So the writers are bound to do John and Sam+ Daniel and Liam

    Reply

  34. Kelly says:

    What a great interview!
    And I agree with those who are shocked at all the negativity.
    Great entertainment, creativity, balance, & love how they’ve brought favorite characters back
    A

    Reply

  35. Kelly says:

    AND HOW THEY COMBINED ESTABLISHED FAN BASES OF 2 SHOWS!
    What a great team.
    Wish the fans would pull together as a team instead of whining.
    ★★★★★

    Reply

  36. Kelly says:

    I don’t think plots are dropped either, they’re giving everybody screen time & are DANCING AS FAST AS THEY CAN

    Reply

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