Frank Valentine teases Genie Francis' return, new love for Liz and the Nurses Ball
With "General Hospital" heading into its 50th anniversary this April, the ABC soap has been scoring big with fans by bringing back familiar faces of yesteryear. Executive producer Frank Valentini teased more big things ahead when MSN TV caught up with him, including Genie Francis and Jon Lindstrom's returns, Nurses Ball drama and a new romance for Liz. Valentini also discussed the online reboot of his former show, "One Life to Live."
Before we get to the straight Q&A, recent rumors suggest John McBain (Michael Easton), Todd Manning (Roger Howarth) and Starr Manning (Kristen Alderson) will be called back to "One Life to Live" for the online reboot. Nothing has been confirmed, but when we spoke to Valentini on Jan. 10, he was feeling optimistic about keeping them in Port Charles.
"I can't really talk about that, because there's a lot of legalese involved," Valentini hedged. "But everything's going to work out. The conversation is happening. I know it's all going to be great."
MSN TV: It's been a good time to be a soap fan. "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" are coming back from the dead, "Days of Our Lives" has been renewed and Genie Francis (Laura) is back to work at "General Hospital." What made decision makers suddenly realize the value of soaps?
Valentine: It is a great time. A lot of people are paying attention to the good work that the existing soaps have done and said, "You know what? There's fans out there. Let's honor them." I don't think it's just happening by accident and luckily, we're riding a nice wave of ratings and good publicity and we're able to continue the upward surge so we can try new things and branch out a little more.
Is it bittersweet that "One Life to Live" is continuing without you back at the helm?
I'm not sure bittersweet's the right word. I'm excited for all my friends in New York and excited for new life to be breathed back in to those two shows. I talked to Agnes [Nixon, series creator] last week and she's excited that her babies have been brought back to life.
Over in Port Charles, you've brought old favorites like Finola Hughes, Robin Mattson, Ian Buchanan, Tristan Rogers and Lynn Herring back into the fold. Kin Shriner returns to "General Hospital" Feb. 19 and your most recent coo is, of course, Genie Francis, returing Feb. 11. What can we expect from Laura's return?
You can expect a lot of surprises and a lot of fun. I met with Genie. She looks gorgeous. She's excited to be back. Everyone on the show is ready to embrace her back into the family. We've got a great story. She's going to be back with a nice big secret.
Is this a long-term arc or a 50th anniversary special visit?
Just wait and see. If I tell you how long it's going to be, it's just going to spoil it, in either direction. [Editor note: Valentini has since confirmed this is a full term casting hire, not a guest gig.]
Jon Lindstrom's Kevin is also heading back to town Wednesday, Jan. 30. What can we expect there?
Yes, Jon Lindstrom is taping today. I'm excited to work with him. I've always thought he was a great actor. We have some fun stuff with him and Lucy that the audience is going to be excited about.
On the other side of this, how do you feel about Steve Burton joining the cast of "The Young & the Restless"?
I wish him all the best.
February is coming fast: What can we expect during sweeps?
We'll be teeing up to the Nurses Ball, which will start at the end of March into the anniversary, which is April 1. Slightly in contrast to what's happened in the past, where it was sort of a one-off event, the Nurses Ball will be weaved into story. Big things will happen at the Nurses Ball and it will go for more than one day.
So February will be about planning the big event?
Yes, and the planning is exciting: How are they going to pull it off? The money just got pulled. Sabrina (Teresa Castillo) and Patrick (Jason Thompson) are working together, and what's going to happen with that? A lot of good questions will be answered.
Speaking of Sabrina, she's a character that has been somewhat polarizing, as you're probably aware.
No. I thought everybody liked her!
Some fans feel she has a storyline that should rightfully be Liz's. Robin was Liz's best friend, but Sabrina's the one saving the Nurses Ball and getting involved with Patrick.
But that's just wrong, because Liz and Patrick are like brother and sister. It would be creepy if they were together. And Liz has a new love interest on the horizon.
You've got to wait and see. It's someone who's on the canvas right now.
Are his initials A.J.?
Fans love Liz and are concerned about her storyline.
I love Liz. I love Becky [Herbst]. She's fantastic. But something needs to be built. That character's been bounced around. She's got three different children from three different men. If she's going to say, "I love you" to somebody, it's got to be real and it's got to mean something. She's not going to jump right into it. That's not who she is. Everyone's forgotten a little bit what makes Liz the character we most identify with and most want to be. Becky's got the acting chops to pull it off and make you go through every step of the relationship with her.
With all this in the cards, can fans still expect more juicy casting returns?
Bunches! I can't [say who, yet]. I'm not being coy. We just don't have the legal documents signed. But it's the 50th anniversary! How often do you turn 50?
"General Hospital" airs weekdays on ABC.
The classic game show has been upgraded with newer technology
Who remembers the celebrity game show, "Win, Lose or Draw"? Disney Channel has recreated a kids version of it, premiering Monday, March 3. (The show will air Mondays through Thursdays).
On "Disney's Win, Lose or Draw" Disney Channel and Disney XD stars team up with kid contestants to compete and win prizes in a battle of drawing skills, creativity and wits. Justin Willman hosts the contemporary version of the popular game show, which also features new technology such as motion-control illustration, interactive multi-touch screen displays and other fun challenges.
"Disney’' Win, Lose or Draw" premieres Monday, March 3, at 5 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel.
Rosalee is confronted by her future mother-in-law
At long last "Grimm" returns this Friday.
Looking forward to the "Monrosalee" wedding? Here's a first look of this clip featuring Monroe’s blutbad mother (Dee Wallace) confronting Rosalee about her concerns towards the upcoming nuptials.
Grimm airs Friday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
Tina Fey, Rob Lowe, David Schwimmer among the stars connected to possible fall shows
The fall TV season is taking shape. Networks have ordered dozens of new pilots starring familiar faces like "Friends'" David Schwimmer, "Dexter's" Jennifer Carpenter, "Southland's" Benjamin McKenzie and "Grey's Anatomy" alum Katherine Heigl, and from proven producers like "The Mentalist's" Bruno Heller, "Sleepy Hollow" creators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, "How I Met Your Mother" bosses Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, "30 Rock's" Tina Fey and "Arrow's" Greg Berlanti.
Here are links to reports from the major networks:
The NBA star lends his voice to 'Marvel's Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.'
Bosh plays Heimdall, the "all-seeing, all-knowing guardian of Bifrost" that first detains, and then works with the Heroes to save the realm.
"Marvel's Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H." airs Sunday at 8 a.m. ET/PT on Disney XD.
This tech-heavy series is becoming more about character development
"Intelligence" airs Mondays at 10 P.M. PT/ET on CBS.
‘Kickin’ It’, ‘Lab Rats’ will premiere Feb. 17
“Kickin’ It” returns to Disney XD for its fourth season on Feb. 17. Leo Howard (“Jack”) will make his directorial debut later this season. Howard was officially inducted in the Director’s Guild Association, and at 16-years-old, that makes him the youngest person to direct an episode of a television series.
Here’s a first look at the season premiere, with stars Mateo Arias, Howard, Jason Earles and Dylan Riley Snyder.
Following "Kickin' It" is the season premiere of "Lab Rats” with a special one-hour episode. This season will feature guest star appearances by Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Karan Brar from “Jessie”, among others.
Here’s a first look at the first episode, “Sink or Swim”
Kickin’ It premieres February 17 at 6 p.m. ET/PT, followed by Lab Rats at 6:30 p.m. PT/ET on Disney XD
'Nobody does bad like the Ewings'
The second season of "Dallas" averaged 3.8 million viewers, and made headlines when Larry Hagman, star of the original "Dallas" (who was reprising his role as J.R. Ewing on the reboot) passed away during production.
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Gillian Anderson also appears in two-part Season 2 premiere
The season opens with Will (Hugh Dancy) determined to fight for his innocence as Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) and Jack (Laurence Fishburne) try to wrap their heads around the fact he's behind bars.
Cynthia Nixon will appear in the first three episodes as FBI investigator Kade Purnell.
You can see these photos of Nixon on set, first on MSN TV:
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"Hannibal" premieres Friday, Feb. 28, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.