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56 January 18th, 2013 Michele Lee, Joan Van Ark & Donna Mills Knots Landing Reunion Interview!

Courtesy/CBS

Yesterday, after the taping of today’s airshow of CBS’ The Talk, On-Air On-Soaps went backstage and had our own very special Knots Landing reunion!  As fans saw, Michele Lee (Karen), Joan Van Ark (Valene), and Donna Mills (Abby) appeared on the daytime talker to reminisce about perhaps the greatest primetime soap of them all!

And if that wasn’t enough, Michele, Joan, Donna, along with Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing) will be seen this coming Tuesday night, January 22nd on a very special episode devoted to Primetime Soaps on PBS’ Pioneers of Television series, at 8PM EST!  Make sure to also check local listings in your area.

In the meantime, to get you ready for Tuesday’s stroll down memory lane we sat down with the legendary and beloved trio to talk to them about: some of the greatest moments of ‘Knots’ history, why the show is missed by so many fans, if they would be up for a Knots Landing reboot, where they see their characters today, and much more!  It was a special treat for us to chat with Michele, Joan, and Donna, and we hope this “quickie” interview is a treat for you too!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Let’s kick this off by discussing one of the most memorable cliffhangers of all-time on Knots Landing.  I am referring to when Val’s twins were taken from her.  In the final shot of a monumental season finale there was a slow motion shot of Valene turning as the babies were driving away in a car!  It certainly was an, “OMG, Poor Val!” moment!

JOAN:

I know! It’s the only time that an episode of Knots Landing was the number one show of the week!  I am so proud of that.

MICHELE:

I called all my friends …

JOAN:

… She called all four of them!  (Laughs) I remember when I met Los Angeles Laker greats Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  I recall Magic saying, “When you got the twins back, and Karen came in, and Val was at the bottom of the stairs, and Lilimae cried, you cried, and everybody cried, that was the best!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Why do you think that Knots Landing resonated with so many people?  Fans still tell me to this day it is their favorite primetime soap … ever!  And just for the record … it was mine too! Never missed an episode!

JOAN:

It was because it was about real people, and not cartoonish, or people who were over the top that were pushing it a bit.

MICHELE:

Dallas and Dynasty were huge hits about materialism and flaunting what you had.  We lived in a cul-de-sac and it was mostly about that before that bitch Donna Mills came in! (Laughs)

DONNA:

… And got them out of the garage, and out of all those boring places they inhabited! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

I am so glad the Pioneers in Television special on Primetime Soaps, which airs on Tuesday night, has clips and interviews with the three of you!  I know Dallas and Dynasty are also represented, but if ‘Knots’ wasn’t in there, there would be blood! (Laughs)

DONNA:

Courtesy/CBS

I thought that it was really fitting that ‘Knots’ was included in the special, because it meant so much to people at the time and still does!

MICHELE:

We were on opposite of the biggest hits on television … Hill Street Blues. We were doing continuing stories; shows like Hill Street Blues were self-contained. Yes, they explored the relationships with the characters and with each other, but they did not have character arcs in terms of continuing story.  And I will say and bet my bottom dollar, that because of a show like Knots Landing it influenced primetime shows of today.  No matter how fabulous the writing is, and the awards they are bestowed, such as great programs like Homeland, and all of them, you see the relationships on them and that is what I think we started.

JOAN:

They do that on every single show that is a hit now.  I think truly, and I don’t know how many times this had been said, but I can only do this in banner headlights.  I think Knots Landing was the original Desperate Housewives.  The truth is what Michele is saying; that every show now is following the template that we set of a continuing story, which then hooks the viewer.  You get to know and love the characters, and so you invite them into your bathroom, living room, bedroom, wherever.  You invite those people into your life Thursday night at 10PM, or whenever that show you love is on.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

What happened with Constance McCashin (EX-Laura)?  She was never really as evidently popular as the three of you were, but one amazing actress!  Why did she get “killed-off”?  It was a very big deal at the time!  And there was nothing sadder than the episode where Karen, Val, and Greg watched Laura’s videotape that she left behind!  Hankies!

MICHELE:

The real answer to that is we had many main characters.  And as the show goes on and advertising dollars get less, (and every show went through this) they had to save money.  And not that Constance was not an incredible actress, and not that the audience was “killing” themselves because she was going to be leaving, but the producers and the writers had to decide.  People remember that storyline because Constance was so brilliant.

JOAN:

She had a look too!  Constance was very classy and very east coast.  She was not as “California” as some of us.  She was amazing, working with William Devane (Ex-Gregory Sumner).  It was very special, and of course people miss her.  It was that same season that Julie Harris was written-off as my mother, Lilimae Clements!

MICHAEL:

So Joan, you are just about to reprise your role as Valene Ewing when you go tape your much-anticipated scenes in the TNT Dallas reboot!  But I hear you are not part of J.R.’s (the late Larry Hagman) funeral or memorial episode!  Is that true?

JOAN:

Courtesy/CBS

They are filming the funeral as we speak. You’re surprised I am not there?  My heart is broken!  The truth of the matter is Valene and J.R. had no love loss.  I am going to assume that is the reason.  My heart, as I said, broke that I would not be at the funeral graveside.  I do know the storyline that they have for Val and Gary, and the payoff will be when I go down there next week to film it.

MICHAEL:

Donna, you played a delicious evil bitch so well!  Abby was so iconic, she ruined so many lives!  Do you think Michele and Joan were jealous of you because you got to play bad, and they were, for all intent and purposes, goody-goodies?  And speaking of the three of you, Michele was the only one who was ever nominated for an Emmy from ‘Knots’!

DONNA:

It was great fun playing the bitch, and more fun than anybody could imagine.  But, I think we made it look too easy.  It seemed so natural and so right that it did not seem like acting.  I think that is one of the reasons we did not get nominated much for Emmys.

MICHELE:

I think also we had the moniker of being a soap opera, no matter how brilliant our actors were, they just saw it as a “soap opera” and that might have hurt our chances.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Much has been made about all the big stars that appeared on ‘Knots’, including Alec Baldwin, who played Val’s brother!

JOAN:

He was Val’s brother, and there was a picture of us in the Hollywood Reporter, and you would not recognize either one of us.  I was pregnant with the twins on the show and had a scary David Bowie-esque mullet, and Alec did not look anything like the Alec Baldwin we know and love now.  

MICHAEL:

Joan, on The Talk you got very emotional reminiscing about Knots Landing, and working with these women.  Is it still emotional for each of you thinking about the 14 years you were together performing on the most beloved television shows of all-time, and that you have forged lasting relationships with each other?

MICHELE:

I will say first, that I truly love these women.  And, we have so much fun.  And, yes we do see each other socially.

JOAN:

We are in some way closer now, oddly enough, because we do see each other, and we socialize with each other.

DONNA:

Courtesy/CBS

Now when we see each other we can talk to each other, as opposed to being on a set when you are running here and there.

JOAN:

Right! We would have other obligations, and which set to be on to think about.  But now it’s chitchat about: how is Donna’s daughter, Chloe … or Michele’s son, David?  And it just goes on, and on, and on from there.  It is truly delightful.

MICHAEL:

It has been much bantered about that everyone would love to see a Knots Landing reboot, especially since the success of TNT’s Dallas revival.  Don’t you think it would be great to see where each of you characters are now, and then to see their grown up children and how that affects and intertwines their lives, similar to how Dallas has done it?

MICHELE:

No!  It would not be good, because my children would be too old, and then they would have children, and then I would be a grandmother!  I am not playing a grandmother, but maybe a great grandmother! (Laughs)

DONNA:

I would play a grandmother!

JOAN:

Oh, I would love it!  I want Valene to be a biker grandma!  The same way as in Sons of Anarchy!  I want Valene in black leather and studs.  I want Valene to be so different; either the head of a studio like Sherry Lansing, or I want her to be a biker grandma.

DONNA:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Abby I think is running a small country somewhere!

MICHELE:

Karen could be wearing all the clothes the biker grandma would be wearing, but at home!  (Laughs) We are all strong women, and it might be boring in the reboot with us all being strong women at one time, don’t you think? (Laughs)  Look, if it’s done right and written right, it would be great if there was a reboot.

So soapers, do you still miss Knots Landing, and would you like to see a reboot?  If so, how would you structure the show?  Looking back at the storylines and history of ‘Knots’, what was your favorite moment? Who was your favorite character?  Let us know!

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  1. sean says:

    Thank you for the interview. I also made sure to see The Talk. I still say Donna Mills was the sexiest woman in the 1980′s and she still has those eyes “The eyes have it” was a perfect title for her.

    Reply

  2. Patrick says:

    Donna – on acting…. “But, I think we made it look too easy. It seemed so natural and so right that it did not seem like acting.”

    That’s the Truth…. for 14 years… these ladies kicked it…. ALL!

    I will say…. Donna Mills… to this day… is probably the only actor… I’d take leave of my senses’… and wanna tell HER OFF! How dare you! How could you! ie: Valene…. the twins… Gary…. Brilliantly “Acted”. Toure de Force…. Thank You Ladies.

    ——————————–

    Knot’s was the BEST.

    Reply

  3. Deb says:

    ‘Knots’ was always my favorite night time drama. Loved it. Thanks for a nice walk down the cul-de-sac.

    Reply

  4. Margot says:

    Always liked knots. Would love to see a reboot.

    Reply

  5. LisaJ says:

    Did I miss them on The Talk? I thought that was next week, to coincide with the PBS Special. Is there someplace online I can see their segment? (other than the obvious youtube).

    Reply

    maria replied

    IT still on go to the talk and u can find it

    Reply

  6. Justin says:

    The show is available on CBS.com

    Reply

  7. susan M. says:

    I watched this show years ago.. I rememeber Valene’s twin babies being kidnapped. I
    am not sure yet that I will watch it. Joan Van Ark still wearing her make-up the same
    like she wore it on Knots Landing . She looks worn out (a little wash for the wear). Other two look good.

    Reply

    Gloria replied

    She just had too much plastic surgery. Too bad. She is still Valene tho and once she starts playing her role u will not see her and think of her face getting ruined. Still and all she is great.

    Reply

  8. Ella says:

    So great to walk down memory lane. Such a fun interview! Michelle Lee & Donna Mills are such funny women! Knots was one of my favorite shows ever. Poignant, humorous with characters you love & love to hate. I would love a Knots reboot.

    Reply

  9. Joe says:

    The is no better and never WILL be a better TV SHOW than Knots Landing…period. There is great TV from the past and current, but, no other show captured the drama, the heart, the laughter and the suspense of Knots Landing. If ANY show should do a reboot it’s Knots. We saw their families grow, how wonderful it would be to see what they were up to now. Thank for the interview Michael…I stopped everything to read it :)

    Reply

    Patrick replied

    The is no better and never WILL be a better TV SHOW than Knots Landing…period.

    ——————-
    Spot On…. This was the creme de la creme of ALL TVLand….

    Reply

    Joel replied

    Joan Van Ark would look beautiful if it wasn’t for her ugly face

  10. Max says:

    Miss Knots Landing to this day. One of the best shows ever on TV.

    Reply

  11. Bart says:

    “Knots” was the best nighttime soap EVER – hard to believe it’s been nearly 20 years since it left us all wanting more…!!

    Reply

  12. Keith says:

    I want seasons 3-14 released on DVD!

    Reply

  13. SZima says:

    I loved Knots Landing and would like to see a re-boot, but in order for it to be successful today, they would have to feature the younger generation, as Dallas does. They would need to pull in the younger demographic, as well as the old-time fans, in order to survive.

    Dallas has done that quite well. The vets are still very much involved in the stories, but more in supporting roles, while the younger generation is driving the stories.

    It would be fun to see where these ladies/characters are today, what they’ve accomplished, how their kids have turned out and what they’re doing. Maybe TNT will give Knots a shot…and while they’re at it, maybe Dynasty and/or Falcon Crest too. ;)

    Reply

  14. heidi says:

    Loved Knots Landing! These ladies look so lovely! Donna Mills was always my fave! Would love to see them in a reboot!

    Reply

  15. Michael says:

    I live near five minutes from the famous cul de sac on Crystailaire Place in Granada Hills.

    Reply

    Mark replied

    That must be cool to be able to walk over there any time that you like! Although I live in CT, I got to walk around the entire cul-de sac during a visit to Los Angeles in 1986! It was very exciting to see it for real…. since I watched Knots Landing on TV every week since the premiere! If they decide to film at the cul de sac again for a Knots Landing revival, will each of the homes still be recognizable after all of these years?

    Reply

  16. Chaz says:

    Best nighttime show ever. There practically had to be a death in the family in order to miss an episode. Within 30 seconds of the show ending each week a friend and I would be on the phone…”Do you believe that!”, ” Oh, my god what is going to happen next week”, etc.

    Would I want a reboot? Not sure. Sometimes you cannot recapture greatness.

    Reply

    Gloria replied

    Sure you can. Give it a chance.

    Reply

    Mark replied

    I agree! Look what has happened with the Dallas reboot. It is a huge success and every bit as exciting as the original series!

  17. Christy says:

    theme song is in my head right now! I still have the last 2 epsodes and a special on vhs. just watched it a few months ago. it was still as good as I remembered it.

    it would be nice if cbs did another special.

    Reply

    Mark replied

    Glad to find out that I am not the only Knots Landing fan who still has the last 2 original KL episodes and the special that followed it on VHS tape! Although I watched Knots Landing, Dallas, Dynasty and The Colby’s….. KL was ALWAYS my favorite prime time soap! If they announce a new special, reunion movie or a series reboot ….. I will pull out the last two episodes and the last reunion movie (named KL: Back to the Cul-De-Sac) and watch them all again for sure!

    Reply

  18. Christy says:

    oh, and I always loved watching Page and Greg…. and watched her in Desperate Housewives and the funny movie Noises Off, and him on whatever – movies, Stargate SG1 (as the president of U.S.) and I have a great christmas movie he was in – A Christmas Visitor – but they’re alway Page and Greg to me!

    Reply

  19. jeff says:

    Michelle lee and Lisa hartman we my favorites. I miss this show so much never missed a show in 24 seasons. Trafford it if I couldn’t be home VCR lol. Please bring the show back.

    Reply

  20. jeff says:

    Oops 14 seasons

    Reply

  21. gloria says:

    It was so great to see the girls on Knots Landing. I would love to see them come back. Why cant they have a reboot and where they are now. Please come back.

    Reply

  22. Tina says:

    I agree with you Gloria. It was said when it went off the air.

    Reply

  23. gloria says:

    They should have Valene cheating on Gary lol

    Reply

  24. Rolli says:

    I loved the show and now is the time to do it. COME BACK PLEASE KNOTS LANDING

    Reply

  25. gloria says:

    TV is not the same all of these reality shows. Knots was happening. PLEASE COME BACK…..Remember when Abby buried Peter. They should have detectives looking for her cause DNA has changed sooo much. Then have Abby get away with it… Have Gary go after Page, Valene becomes a flirt.

    Reply

  26. gloria says:

    I loved them all

    Reply

  27. maria says:

    I miss Mac

    Reply

  28. MBmomof3 says:

    The PBS special was excellent. I Loooooved all the primetime soaps, but Knot’s Landing was my fave!

    Reply

    Glo replied

    Knots was my favorite also…

    Reply

  29. Murielle says:

    thank you very much for the interview with these three fantastic actresses. In France, too, Knots Landing has many fans. This really is the best of the series and over the years, my passion increases.

    Reply

  30. Glo says:

    Knots was the best show. Anyone remember Ginger and Kenny? I wish Abbey, Val, Karen, Mac and Page would be great in a reboot. WHen Abbey buried Peter they shoud have Detectives come back because of DNA. Mac Kevin Dobson, represents Abbey and she gets away with it. Have Val cheat on Gary and be wild for a few episodes. Just wish it would come back. They should have thought of this years ago. All this time wasted. Please KNOTS COME BACK. Gloria

    Reply

  31. John says:

    Been sad cause Knots is not comeing back

    Reply

  32. John says:

    I think Karen, Val and Abbey would be the young and old generation. The show would be a hit with them. They look great!!!! Page would be a great help tooooo.

    Reply

    jeanette replied

    Yes I agree they all look beautiful and bring back Paige she was fantastic and the Greg and Paige storyline was brilliant

    Reply

  33. Lori says:

    I have been checking to see if that show has gone into syndication every 6 months ever since it went off the air. They brought back the Waltons reruns so why not Knots Landing. It was the best show ever. Anyway, you asked about a favourite scene. Donna Mills – not the greatest scene but one I have never forgotten. Early morning, and getting out of the shower. Her hubby Greg had been doing everything in his power to see what she looked like without make-up on. When he opened the door she spun around, and bam…closeup of her batting those beautiful blue eyes with a full-face of make-up on…and he looked defeated. On a different note, it has been nice to see Ted Shackelford on the Y&R. Although the writing has been horrible for his character, he pulled it off. I do agree with the comment about bringing Paige back as well – she added the punch and the rebel. (Plus I loved her hair..lol)

    Reply

  34. francine ames says:

    I would absolutely love a return to Knots Landing-I loved every character on that show-they were all very special and very talented-I can’t even find the original series-I have the first 3 seasons and can’t find any more-please help me locate the complete series thankyou

    Reply

  35. Steve Riley says:

    how can i watch my all time favorate KNOTS LANDING new 2013 …………i still have all series on VHS but they geting a bit worn out now.

    Reply

  36. Maria Fresse says:

    I Loved Knots Landing! I Loved them all but Valene and
    Karen were my favorites. I would love a reboot of Knots Landing.

    Reply

  37. Maria says:

    I loved all the three main female characters, Val, Karen and Abby as they were really good and great actresses. There were times when Val was a bit of a goody two shoes but then she was supposed to be a really nice warm person. I think Abby played by Donna Mills was so good that I did hate her for a while which meant that she was just very good at the part. I am watching this series on CBS Drama now and thinks its just great and most enjoyable. Shame they don’t make soaps like that anymore.

    Reply

  38. Tracy B says:

    Knots is and will forever be my NUMBER ONE ALL-TIME favorite show! I love these women!!!

    Reply

  39. Tracy B says:

    Constance was a great actress and I remember watching the episode where they all gathered to watch her final video as if it was yesterday. Damn..I love this show.

    Reply

  40. norma page says:

    when is the knots lading coming back

    Reply

  41. Tim Jones says:

    Knots Landing was the best “sope” of all time. Watching the rerun now in the U.K…..Please bring it back as Dallas was !!!

    Reply

  42. Sharon Marsden says:

    I have been watching this on CBS and it brings back so many memories. I was working full time when it first showed so missed a lot. So thrilled to see all of it now. Such strong female characters made the show well ahead of its time. Loved the fashion and hairstyles. Can’t wait to see it from very beginning as I didn’t know CBS were showing it until a few weeks after it started so missed some of Sid and Karen’s traumas. I’d love a reboot . I’m 61 now and watched it when I was young and now I’m a mum of 2 grownup boys. Reminds me of my crazy years ago awea

    Reply

  43. Moira Chappell says:

    I love knotts landing still watching it on season 10 please bring it back

    Reply

  44. Tonya O'#Hagan says:

    I loved Knots Landing. Karen looked and had the same personality as my mum so I loved her for that. Abby Ewing was the best character and actress ever. She was sexy, so glamorous and I remember as a young girl wanting to have clothes like hers. to this day I love chiffon pussybow blouses and clutch bags and I put that down to Abbey Ewing. Please resurrect Knots Landing it was totally Fantastic

    Reply

  45. jeanette says:

    Please bring knots landing back I am currently watching it on CBS and my favorites are Paige and Greg. Paige is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. All the cast are brilliant . I am trying to get the full series on dvd with no luck anybody know if its available .

    Reply

  46. wanda222 says:

    My favorite primetime soap drama of all time…who can we write to petition a return for the show

    Reply

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