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44 August 7th, 2015 SOAP BOX with Martha Madison & Michael Caruso and Special Guest Michael Fairman Dish Latest Soap Writing Regime Changes & Tony’s Geary’s Exit!

Photo Credit: MF Soaps Inc.

On Thursday’s episode of Soap Box on TradioV, host Days of our Lives and Winterthorne star Martha Madison welcomed guest co-host, Winterthorne creator Michael Caruso, and special guest On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman to chat on all the latest happenings in the world of daytime soaps.

During the broadcast, the trio discussed the major writing regime change at General Hospital which saw head writer Ron Carlivati being let-go, and being replaced by Shelly Altman and Jean Passanante as the daytime drama’s new co-head scribes.  Plus, the trio touch on how head writer Chuck Pratt Jr. is  giving Y&R some of their best overall total viewer ratings in recent years, and they tease DAYS 50th anniversary story from new head writers Dena Higley and Josh Griffith set to kick-off on-air later this month.

In addition, in one of the most controversial episodes in recent months, Tony Geary’s (Luke Spencer) final General Hospital airshow was bantered about, and how some fans expected one thing and felt disappointed, while Tony and the series delivered another.

Watch Soap Box with Madison, Caruso and Fairman after the jump.  Then let us know what you think about the writing regime changes, Geary’s exit, and more topics that were discussed on this episode!

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  1. Jenn says:

    Great discussion! I feel the same way about Tony’s interview. I know Michael Logan was really proud of the interview but it was so negative and disrespectful to so many people. It ruined his exit story IMO

    Reply

    Kelly replied

    I’m just happy that the writers didn’t kill off Luke like Tony Geary wanted them to.

    Reply

  2. su0000 says:

    I loved the interview!!
    Michael, you are the King, indeed!
    I feel your heart in your reporting and love for all the soaps!
    {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{ BIG HUG }}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

    It was an eyeopener ..

    I luv RC and am fearful of the change..
    I honestly am not a fan of Jean and Shelly, they are lackluster writers which is obvious from Y&R 2014 ..
    Ron just needed a rest and a co-writer to help out with the heavy load ..
    (I feel Ron had a hard time with Tony, Tony’s wants and needs, with the writing of Tony’s exit story = stress)

    Thanks, Michael!
    0oohh and- you gotsa great body! ;)

    Reply

  3. 4ever DAYS says:

    I’m dying of suspense…and I love it! I love how Martha doesn’t spoil thingsl!! I hope Martha has Thaao Penghlis as a guest on Soapbox because he also knows how to leave people salivating for more info pertaining to DAYS!

    Winterthorne is almost here…August 27th!

    Reply

    kelly replied

    Yes!!! I also hope Martha has Thaao Penghlis as a guest.

    Reply

  4. MC says:

    Great interview, Michael. I thought it was very interesting how the Logan interview had such a different tone than any of the other exit interviews. Gee…Wonder why?

    I do think that it is wrong to say that “everyone” knows about Tony & Genie’s relationship offscreen. Unless you are big fan and track down BTS info, you’re just a fan of L&L.

    The problem with Tony’s exit is that the network once again made the decision to make it about what Tony wanted and not about what the fans wanted.

    If anyone would have said, you know what Tony, we’ll let you walk off into the mist and your final scenes can be with Maurice. But you have to have a final scene with Genie it doesn’t have to be sappy, it can just be “thanks for the memories” , and I’m sorry but we’re going to throw in some flashbacks and a montage. Because we have 30 years of show and it was all part of Luke’s journey. And it’s not only about you, it’s about the fans who have been there right along with you.

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    I, too, listened to the interview–and still find it hard to believe that Tony Geary wielded that much power–that the network would bow to his wishes rather than to the fans who give the network the coveted ratings. Guess they just short-changed the viewers once again–or were simply “asleep at the wheel.”

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    I agree with you; TG should have paid homage to his fans as his fans paid homage to him all the years he was invested in the character of Lucas Lorenzo Spencer that we came to love. (Don’t know the other “Fluke,” or evil character the embittered actor became. Still so hard to believe that TG had, was given, or simply took that much power. Can’t imagine how very hard it must have been on the other (professional) actors working along side him. Talk about stress!

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    Not everybody is a Luke and Laura fan..
    The ones who were not watching during the Luke and Laura era, could care less .
    So, not all the fans were upset..
    A great number didn’t care lol

    It is what it is .. look at the good and put the bad behind ..
    (its done and over :) A new day tomorrow..

    kelly replied

    MC – If the Powers that be had told Tony they were throw in some flashbacks and a montage he would not have cooperated. Tony might have had Luke say goodbye to friends and family on the phone. He had an incredible amount of power on that show.

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    So hard to believe that TPTB gave away so much power–to the detriment of the show and to low ratings which are endangering the show’s very existence, isn’t it?

    Aria replied

    Mc, you are right on about how the network should of handle TG exit, it’s hard to swallow the crap they gave us as an ending. Let’s hope they’ve learned from this, although I doubt it.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    Not one of you know for a fact how much writing power Tony had or how much input he had with his exit..
    Of course they listen and agree or disagree with him and of course they give leeway after all Tony gave half his life to GH and is a GH legend..

    Tony’s exit story has given him his 8th emmy..
    I do believe for the black n with 52nd, he will receive his 9th emmy..

    hopefully people will someday will also see the good of his exit :)
    there were many great moments..
    Tony and JJ were phenomenal as were bobby and Luke, there were many great heartfelt moments, we felt them and cried…

    Harry replied

    I have spoken at great length about this subject and no one needs to hear me blabber on anymore.
    However, I do have to completely concur with Nancy. Ultimately the producer and head writer hold the power over the actor–or they should. Even if Tony said he did not want a goodbye scene with Laura which paid fidelity to their history while achieving some kind of soapy closure, they should have listened to the fans and given us what we wanted. I did not want Luke and Laura to run off into the sunset together but I did want a graceful bow of farewell.

  5. Gmbenet says:

    I enjoyed the “behind the scenes” insights about soaps as Michael discussed with Martha and her guest host. I also appreciate Michael’s comments about being careful about making comments on social media and sites such as this one, taking into consideration the feelings of the actors. That is definitely something to keep in mind.

    Having said that, I would also like to offer a little food for thought from the perspective of someone “beyond the fourth wall”. I agree that actors are human and have feelings. They are people who do their jobs and feed their families, etc. as others do in other professions and walks of life. I also am aware that the actors are rarely the ones who write and produce tv shows, including soaps. So the point is well taken that we should be careful when making comments on social media regarding actors. I agree.

    However, the writers and producers of tv shows (and network execs) are the ones responsible for putting out the CONTENT of shows. They often do so without regard for the people behind the fourth wall. Before the coming of social media, it was difficult to near impossible for viewers to send timely feedback to the powers the be behind tv shows. Social media has changed all of that.

    A year or two ago, one of my followers on Twitter criticized me for making comments that he did not like regarding a plot on my favorite soap opera. (I was not criticizing the acting, just the plot.) I told him my comments were a mild version of what went on in beauty salons I went to as a child. The ladies in the salon had a field day voicing their negative reactions to soap plots. By comparison, their criticism would make mine seem VERY mild. My point is, that the criticism of tv shows that is being expressed now days via social media has always been. Television execs just did not have access to it. So it seems shocking and new….But “there is nothing new under the sun”.

    People do not always enjoy what television executives want to put on the air. After being subjected to objectionable material for so long, viewers are taking advantage of the “new voice” that they have through social media. This may be a rude awakening for some in the entertainment industry, especially if they are used to receiving “adoration” from fans. It must be quite sobering and even quite painful to learn that viewers do not think what they do is “all that”. Nevertheless, welcome to the reality that has always existed beyond the fourth wall!

    Reply

  6. jeremy says:

    Thank goodness, Tony is no longer with GH.. His exit was boring and Ff throughhis scenes. Good Riddance!!!

    Reply

    kelly replied

    Tony will come back for a few weeks now that the hated Ron Carlivati has been fired.

    Reply

    jeremy replied

    when that happes, im tuning out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    su0000 replied

    Ron was not ”hated”
    I luved Ron, Michael liked Ron, my friends etc..
    Tony does not hate Ron..
    Why you saying people hate Ron.. he has more fans than not.
    hate is very strong word, a destructive dark emotion..

    Harry replied

    Suoo, I think Kelly was being tongue in cheek.

  7. nancy dillingham says:

    Loved it also that the actress from Days said she thought TG could have put aside his differences with Genie and should have given the fans what they wanted. She knows the power of fans! Good for her!

    Reply

    susan replied

    What were TG’s differences with Genie? I thought the two of them got along and were friends.

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    I don’t know–but the speculation on the radio show was that TG did not want a parting scene with Genie nor did he want any “retrospective” scenes to be shown when he left as they often do with other actors’ leaving. I guess that’s why Lulu handed a letter to Genie addressed “Angel” on the day TG left. That must have really hurt Genie. Still, in her video “goodbye” she thanked TG and said, “I love you.” That’s class–and it seemed heartfelt.
    And remember the interview where Genie said (when they asked her to return for a “last adventure” before Geary’s departure, she asked, “Are you sure Tony wants me there?” That indicates some sort of “bad blood” between the two. And TG said in a later interview (as did Genie when also asked) that there are bound to be disagreements (he likened it to other pairings like Fred Estaire and Gingers) when a couple works together for 37 years. But, to Genie’s credit, she came on and did her work as a professional, as she has always done, though TG would hardly look at her, touch her, or even give her anything to work off dramatically in their scenes together. It was certainly a marked diffference and coldness as opposed to the way they communicated in earlier years–and evoked so much chemistry. Don’t know what happened–but TG has been very vocal in excluding her from any conversations he has had about his work. Instead, he talks about Jane Elliot being “his great acting partner.” (SAY WHAT??!!) There is also a somewhat conciliatory later interview where TG said of Genie: “Those blue eyes! That porcelain skin! She gave me love. She made me feel like I was someone worthy. I gave her danger. Those were the gifts we gave to each other.” What to make of it, I don’t know. Tony Geary has been all over the place in these so called “exit” interviews (Michael Fairman commented on the contradictions). And one day after saying he was gone for good, TG gave the interview where he said he might come back for “six-week” stints if the story was good enough or had a twist. Geary comes off as angry, petulant, and unprofessional in a lot of his comments–and, as I said, downright hurtful remarks directed at Genie specifically. Maybe he does need a lot of rest and a lot of introspection.

  8. nancy dillingham says:

    I found it very interesting indeed that Michael Fairman was also disappointed in TG’s last day. And I could sense the personal hurt that Michael felt especially since he had been a supporter and champion of TG all these years.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    hi Nancy..
    Just because one didn’t like Tony’s last day doesn’t mean all the great accomplishments of Tony is put aside..
    Tony is a legend, and him having a not so good last day, eh that’s just show business LOL ..
    It is said by a great many that the 52nd black & white episode is indeed iconic.. and noted by reporters as one of the greatest episodes of all time…

    It was not all perfect but a good deal of the last 3 weeks were notably phenomenal and awesome :) ..

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    And, suOOO, I say NOT! to the idea that the 52nd anniversary epi being “one of the greatest episodes of all time.” That, in my opinion–and I’m entitled to it because I have been watching since the inception and development of the character of Lucas Lorenzo Spencer–was the one episode that did the most damage to the show. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: that episode totally violated the character of Luke Spencer and made him and the whole Spencer family VICTOMS. I’ll say again: no one wants to watch a VICTIM–and, I should think, no one wants to play a VICTIM. There’s no percentage in it for either the actor nor the viewer. One does not want to BE a victim nor does one want to identify vicariously with a victim. For many years this viewer watched a person (LUKE) rise above his past and his insecurities and become a victor over them, all the while gaining love and insight into himself–all this with humor and grace and the most fun a character ever had. Then the 52nd anniv. show–and all that went down the tube (literally) in one fell swoop.
    Tony may be a legend to some; to this viewer he is a very tarnished one.

    nancy dillingham replied

    And the word is VICTIM (sorry for the typo) always and forever, thanks to TG and RC and TPTB. And did you notice, suOOO, as many commentators have also noted, that the steam just went out of TG and out of the character of Luke Spencer after that so-called “greatest” epi? He never recovered and the joie de vivre went out of the character and that’s what I always loved about TG’s depiction of Lucas Lorenzo Spencer (the name ever reflects that!) Too bad, Tony; such a miscalculation on your part. So you went out, in the words of the poet, not with a “bang” but with a “whimper.” That is not the Luke Spencer I loved!

    nancy dillingham replied

    PS Say what??!! I just viewed the letter on line that Lulu gave to Laura from Luke. Looking closely (and I did) it looks like “Angel” is spelled “Angle.” Take a look for yourself–it’s posted on Genie Francis’ twitter account by GH fan or some such.
    Is this someone’s sick joke–or just an honest mistake????
    You decide!

    Timmm replied

    Yes, other than L&L’s wedding, black and white #52 was Luke’s finest work EVER!

    Harry replied

    I agree, Nancy. What could have been, what should have been and would might have been is very vexing. What a missed opportunity.
    I wonder what that letter said?
    Dear Angel:
    Have you met Nina, Franco, Madeline, Ava, Denise and Morgan? Cause, they’re just AWESOME!

    k/kay replied

    Nancy got back picked up your book very good and just so you will know my brother in law sits on one of the boards of ABC they are toast unless numbers come way up!

    Reply

    k/kay replied

    I am not try to be vengeful but the number crunchers are out! Take care

    nancy dillingham replied

    Thanks so much, k/kay! Glad you liked it!
    Thanks also for sharing the info about your brother-in-law sitting on an ABC board. I am afraid that GH WILL be cancelled. And it’s so frustrating because as I’ve said often, it didn’t have to be that way. TPTB could have remained true to the Luke character and the Luke and Laura story and the numbers would have soared. We longtime fans have held on so very long with so many hopes only to have them dashed.

  9. Rose says:

    I found this interview with Michael very enlightening. Since I only read MF for my soap news realized concerns and questions about GH, Tony/ Laura, Tony, RC firing/or not to fire, new/not so new writers, how ABC daytime has missed the fan mark in big ways over the years, were shared by a lot of others outside this column’s universe.

    Was already looking forward to Winterthorne, but I’ve never watched Days. I really liked Martha Madison and have always liked Cassie. So will have to do a bit of catch-up and tune in.

    But my main focus is in preserving the integrity of what is GH as the lives and generations in Port Charles move on in this fairly volatile transition period. So much as changed on the tv and viewing landscape, it’s just hard to envision afternoons without GH. Bad enough without OLTL and AMC.

    And like most of us have commented…just continue to have good storytelling. It never ages, even when we are in space looking back at Earth.

    And…hope maybe ABC, CBS and NBC will invest in soap-writing apprenticeships so we can always have new writers with a firm knowledge of the legacies they are writing for learning the craft of this type of storytelling. Or in baseball terms a…farm team and bullpen system.

    Reply

    Rose replied

    Also appreciated Michaels remarks about some opinions. Yes everyone has a right to express their opinions, but sometimes they can get a little nasty and personal towards each other, a character, or actor. Mostly on MF we’re all better than that, with an occasional bad hair day comment. But sometimes when someone rationalizes their remark by saying “it’s about the character, not the actor,” how do you think the actor who is trying to do a professional job with a script given to them feels? And apparently this kind of stuff can show up on other social media like twitter.

    There’s enough of it in politics…keep it out of our soaps.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    hi Rose-
    Some people are just everyday nasty and unpleasant..
    They usually are the ones who flood the internet with their own unhappiness by raggin on whatever’s with negative hate stuff, it makes them feel better to complain and rant. (perhaps their therapy lol) LOL :)

    A negative comment is different than a hate everything venting rant ;)

    and- it the fans with their bad attitudes dropping their hate for GH on social media that will assuredly help a soap get canceled.. /fact ..

    Harry replied

    No Suoo, negative attention is still attention and will not get our soaps canceled. What helps soaps get canceled aside from the Network suits trying to number crunch is collective viewer apathy which causes them to tune out and which causes ratings to plummet.

  10. Rodd says:

    Really interesting show. I enjoyed all the insights and “food for thought” all three provided. I was happy to hear people I respect and with inside the industry knowledge reiterate that Ron (and Frank) saved GH from cancellation. So many comments on this board have tried to discredit them, so it was nice to have people in the know publicly acknowledge Ron’s (and Frank’s) contribution to GH.

    I was never a big fan of TG, was happy for him when he won Emmys only because it was a boast for GH, but he never blew me away with his acting ~ most of the time. I will say that the 52 Anniversary episode acting was an exception. That’s just me. Different strokes for different folks. What TG controlled and what others controlled, we may never know. His last day was a let down. Some of the previous days’ good-byes were touching, not all. IMHO, GH won’t suffer without him. I got used to his yearly months-long vacations from the screen and will think of this as just an extended time away.

    Martha, Michael F. and Michael C. were spot on on so many of their assessments; I loved it. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  11. Gert says:

    ExcelIent interview with you guys. Good Job. I love GH and started watching when AMC and OLTL were cancelled, as I followed John, Starr and Todd. It will be heartbreaking if GH is cancelled too. The negative comments are dismaying and this interview may help the naysayer viewers realize the harsh criticism impacts GH’s future. Very unhappy Ron C is gone. Here’s hoping the new writer’s succeed.

    Reply

  12. me3 says:

    Really great interview. Thanks, Michael.

    Reply

  13. janet says:

    I think ABC wants an excuse to cancel GH. t he ratings are down. Why are they down , because TIIC keep trying to destroy it. Too many cooks spoil the broth. They seem to be getting their wish . I will NOT watch the mob take over again. The interview we know Michael F tried, like Tony didn’t to be politically correct. Say the right things. MM knows where her bread is buttered. Fans make the show. Now I wouldn’t cross the street to give TG a glass of water if he was dieing of thirst. He made himself look like an ass. If fans had come back it was because they were L&L fans first. Dark evil Luke who cares. They even went so far as to have JJ and Luke talk and have Luke say he was happiest when he was raising Lucky with Laura ,sorry didn’t buy it. LAURA wasn’t even in the room. This ending was just as bad as the fluke BS . Tony wanted to destroy L&L he did . would I like to ever see him return ,NO Is it his fault yes. He browbeat tiic into giving them his way, and it blew up in his face Was anyone happy ? off into the mist? Only Tony. Now TIIC are making Laura evil keeping secrets. ? M Logan telling the truth was not anything but the truth. Tony may thing he is Guilguld SP but its all in his deluded mind. He was a soap actor ,now hes not. Its not looked down on by the fans to do soaps .We go to movies watch prime time and support them. .he hurt Genie it was written all over her face .WTH does he think he is ? He is willing to maybe return, don’t bother I know I wouldn’t watch if he did.

    Reply

  14. Cathy says:

    I enjoyed this interview. Thanks Michael. You were humble, respectful, grateful, honest, insightful and fair.

    Reply

  15. Lellingw says:

    I liked when the commentators said on the show if Tony wanted it all his way then he should have rented a theater, paid out the money, written the script, paid the actors, directed it etc. I Gould this video clip from 1982 in December when Tony did do that. It was a musical revue and he traveled to several parts of the country to perform. I’m posting a link to the clip with interview. http://youtu.be/f7EcgiLRDI8

    Reply

  16. Jamesj75 says:

    Well, after having watched the entire interview, I come away with one overriding thought: I have much more respect and admiration for Michael Fairman. I appreciated his honesty and frankness, mainly with regard to Tony Geary’s comments and attitudes, which many of us as fans found to be deplorable.

    Secondly, although I enjoyed the interviewers, the first part of their banter included much profanity. I’m not a fan of profanity. It diminishes a person…

    Reply

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