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Executive producer dishes casting, romance and the time shift for 'Katie'

By TVDeeva Deanna Barnert Sep 7, 2012 7:27AM
ABC's "General Hospital" is getting bumped to a new time slot in most markets to make room for "Katie," starting Monday, Sept. 10. To celebrate the move, several Port Charles locals went on location in Long Beach, Calif., for explosive scenes airing that week. MSN TV caught up with executive producer and master of tease Frank Valentini over the summer to talk about what he has in store for "General Hospital," how his former show, "One Life to Live," fits into that future and the state of daytime in general.

 

Bing: More about "General Hospital" | Frank Valentini

 

It's shaping up to be an Indian summer in Port Charles, where the action is heating up. Not only has Jerry Jacks (Sebastian Roché) returned to poison the proverbial water, with his brother Jax (Ingo Rademacher) in tow: There was also a surprise appearance by the original Duke Lavery (Ian Buchanan). The return from the dead was so scandalously delicious it had Duke Lavery trending on Twitter, but that was just a tease. With Port Charles locals hitting the waterfront to thwart Jerry's deadly plan, Lavery won't get into the action until October. 


In another surprise twist, Steve Burton (Jason) recently revealed he's leaving "General Hospital," with his final scenes airing Tuesday, Sept. 25. Many fans are crowing that it's the wrong time, since his love triangle is just heating up. Considering all the returns and casting Valentini teased, however, fans may not have time to miss the mob strong arm ... OK, that's unlikely! But Valentini is promising more excitement and casting coos, and it's all leading up to the "General Hospital" 50th Anniversary in April.

 

Plus: Must-see, new fall shows | New fall shows to avoid

 

MSN TV: You've been teasing big returns for September. We've already seen some doozies! Who is on your wishlist?

 

Frank Valentini: I wouldn't want to give it away, because there are so few surprises in life. The first wave starts in September and then it will go until April. One thing you need to remember with me is that I'm a planner. I've always got my eye on the future. What no one can deny is that I've brought more variety to the show. It will only continue in that vein.

 

"The Young and the Restless" recently went through a regime change. If there's a housecleaning over there, would you be open to bringing back Genie Francis as Laura Spencer?

 

Absolutely.

 

What about the character Scotty Baldwin (Kin Shriner)?

 

I hope so! I'm a big fan. He's a great character.

 

Since signing onto "General Hospital," you've managed to mix in returned Port Charles favorites and former "One Life to Live" characters to recreate the canvas. Can you talk about how you've gone about rebuilding the show?

 

Maybe not rebuilding, but remodeling. The show was in terrific shape, but there needed to be some tweaks. It's much more my taste, my sensibility, for the show to go just a little bit faster, but I thought there were some key characters missing – not in terms of who they were, but certain archetypes. Bringing on some of the people from "One Life to Live" was a little bit of a way to honor the "One Life to Live" audience and also to create a story that was good for the current cast.

 

To what extent do you still keep your eye on your former "One Life to Live" players?

 

We would bring people on if it made sense. We brought Kassie DePaiva (Blair) back for a four-episode arc and it made sense: Her daughter was making her debut. She wants to support her daughter. We'll never do something that doesn't feed "General Hospital," as well. Starr performing helped tee up the Michael/Starr relationship. That was important for us to do. Then it also furthered the relationship between Todd and Carly. Kassie is a great actress and that's exciting, but it was also a great way to move something forward in the Port Charles world. 

 

Is Kassie coming back?

 

Yes, Kassie will definitely be coming back.


And Melissa Archer (Natalie, "One Life to Live") has never looked better. Can we get Natalie in town?

 

She's a giant fox! There's legal issues, in terms of the Prospect Park deal, which I can't talk about. All I'll say is Melissa Archer is a very good friend of mine and I adore her.

 

Will it be revealed that Todd did not kill Victor?


Absolutely. See, we have all these great surprises that can be played out. The future is very bight and we're very excited about it.


What other elements have you focused on bringing back to Port Charles?

 

Romance, and I think I've been able to do that and explore romance in all of its forms. Not just candles and baths, but with the intimacy that exists between two people and what that means and how fragile and wonderful that is.

  

What's your take on the soap fan backlash against the talk shows?

 

I'm all about moving forward. Katie [Couric] is so talented and wonderful. She has supported our show and will continue to support our show. And we support her. It's a nice fit, now. There's more variety. Certainly, I would like to see "One Life" and "All My Children" come back, but the reality is we're in a different economic environment now in the television business.

  

During the "General Hospital" TCA panel, there were several past tense references to the wrecking ball threatening the show. Do you feel you've passed the danger zone?

 

Absolutely. We really have. It's time to move forward. It's very exciting for people to talk about the end, so they can be the first one to predict it. Let's embrace these shows and enjoy them. Soap opera is an original American art form that has so much equity that needs to be explored, and I'm here to make sure it's exploited and explored.

 

"General Hospital" airs weekdays on ABC. Check local listing for possible time slot change in your area Monday, Sept. 10. 

 

Are Sarah and Hank getting back together?

By MSN TV Partner Fri 10:51 AM
In this sneak peek of the "Parenthood" season finale, Hank (Ray Romano) impresses Amber (Mae Whitman) and Sarah (Lauren Graham) with his Hank-like concern as they deal with Ryan's hospitalization.

Watch it first on MSN TV:

This clip, along with the promo clip NBC showed for next week's episode, hints at a reunion for Sarah and Hank. Are you rooting for the couple? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The season finale of "Parenthood" airs Thursday April 17 at 10PM ET/PT on NBC.
 

Get a glimpse of Marsden’s character in the animated show starring Jack McBrayer

By MSN TV Partner Mar 25, 2014 10:04AM

In a new episode premiering March 31, James Marsden will guest start on Disney XD’s “Wander Over Yonder”.


Marsden reunites with "30 Rock" co-star Jack McBrayer in this episode where the hero Sir Brad Starlight (Marsden) enlists Wander (McBrayer) as his goofy sidekick and Sylvia as his noble steed on his quest to save Princess Demurra from the evil Dragon King, King Draykor.


See this pic first on MSN TV: Wander is ecstatic to fulfill his fairytale dream of rescuing a princess, but Sir Brad Starlight is not interested in sharing the spotlight and reminds Wander at every turn that there's only room for one hero.


“Wander Over Yonder” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD

 

Kim Kardashian, Wendy Williams hear what regular folk really think about them

By MSN TV Partner Mar 18, 2014 9:18AM
In the the new series from Oxygen, "Celebrities Undercover" will feature two celebrities concealing their true identity with the use of prosthetic make-up to find out what unsuspecting fans and friends really think of them without the distraction of their famous personas.

The season premiere will feature Kim Kardashian, and executive producer Wendy Williams will get a taste of her own medicine as well. In this clip watch Kim K. undergo an impressive make-up overhaul in prep for undercover work: going to a group job interview as a Kardashian fan hoping to become her own new assistant. 

Watch the video:

Other stars features this season include T-Pain, Fantasia, Joey Fatone, Lil’ Kim, Chili, Anthony Anderson, Jaleel White, Adrienne Bailon, Ice-T and Coco.

"Celebrities Undercover" premieres March 18 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen.

 

Host Justin Willman and Disney stars dish on the new show and offer up advice

By MSN TV Partner Mar 14, 2014 11:15AM

(Disney's Win, Lose or Draw /Adam Taylor, Disney Channel)By Minh Nguyen


It didn’t take long for memories of the original “Win, Lose or Draw” game show to come flooding back as soon as we stepped foot on the set of Disney’s resurrected show of the same name.  Gone was the ‘80s living room set, replaced with bright vibrant colors, fun props and technology everywhere. Host Justin Willman (“Cupcake Wars”) commanded the stage as Disney stars Dove Cameron and Joey Bragg from “Liv and Maddie” battled it out against each other with their teammates.


The premise is pretty simple: two teams of three players (with the Disney stars on each side) compete in drawing contests to win prizes. Thrown into the mix are special challenges (like Shake, Rattle and Draw; Sit and Spin; The Wand) that take advantage of oversized props and fun gadgets. This season will also feature stars from Disney shows "Kickin' It," "Lab Rats," "I Didn't Do It,"  "Austin & Ally," "Jessie," "Dog With a Blog" and "Mighty Med" as well as stars from "Teen Beach Movie."


Over lunch, we were able to speak to Willman, Cameron and Bragg.


For people that aren’t familiar with the original game, how are you describing this to them?

Willman: The simple idea is just that it’s drawing Charades. You get your teammates to guess what you’re drawing. We have a team of writers who write these clues, and the words that they have to draw are so clever.


It's super high-tech, so the old original version was more markers on pads of paper, which was great at the time but here they have these massive touch screens and tons of software they designed just for the games that’s completely interactive.


Contestants have to do a bunch of crazy challenges in round two. Like drawing with a helmet on, where they can’t see anything or drawing with a unicorn stylus and that makes it way tougher but also much more entertaining to watch.


How are you enjoying being a part of the show?

Willman: As a live performer, I’m used to having that instant gratification of a live audience and this feels a lot like that. We’ve got 150 screaming kids, who are having the time of their lives just being there. It’s great because the jokes get instant payback. The excitement, I feed off of it. Even if it’s first thing in the morning, I don’t even need to have my coffee. As soon as that crowd starts to roar, I’m ready to go. It’s a blast.


Bragg: I like the rapid round. I can’t remember what it’s called. Where there’s one person drawing, and two people guessing, then we just switch.


Cameron:  I think the best part for me has actually been, (I know this sounds like such a canned answer), but has been getting to meet these kids. There was this great moment where, it was at the end of the first round when they all kind of flooded in and they hugged us. And some of them were crying, and I wanted to cry. We didn’t realize the gravity of how huge this really is, and “Win, Lose, or Draw” has been great that way. We’ve gotten to interact with a lot of kids.


Justin, what’s the best advice you ever received?

Willman: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”


Dove and Joey, you guys seem really polished. What kind of advice do you have for kids that get stage fright?

Bragg: Well, I was doing stand-up comedy, and I don’t mean to be that guy, but it’s one of the hardest things to go up there and say stuff that you’ve written. You don’t have music backing you. I wanted to do something that I’m going to remember. And I think a lot of that is “I’m going to embarrass myself,” but you’re never going to see those people that are watching you ever again. Just do it!


Cameron: I always had a fear of cameras because I grew up on stage. Most things in life are one of those things where once you try it, you realize how OK it is. I just don’t take life too seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyways. So, yeah. Just have fun. Do what you please.


“Disney’s Win, Lose or Draw” airs Mondays through Thursdays at 5 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel.

 

She still lives with her parents!

By MSN TV Partner Mar 13, 2014 10:55AM
Later this month, "Extra" host Maria Menounos will premiere her new reality show. "Chasing Maria Menounos" will give fans a peek into her life, including living with her longtime boyfriend and her immigrant parents.

In this interview with Oxygen's On-Air Personality Susie Castillo, Menounos reveals more about her upbringing and what to expect on her new series. Watch this first on MSN TV:


"Chasing Maria Menounos" premieres March 18 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen.
 

Princess Aslaug brings surprise and intrigue to this scripted drama

By MSN TV Partner Mar 13, 2014 10:17AM
Season 2 of History's "Vikings" is underway. Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) revealed she was carrying Ragnar's (Travis Fimmel) child, sending rippling effects into his kingdom. In this video extra, Sutherland talks more about her character and how filming went the second time around.


"Vikings" airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on History.
 

"It's not a good day, Mad Max"

By MSN TV Partner Mar 12, 2014 9:56AM

In this "Parenthood" clip, Max (Max Burkholder) wrecks havoc for Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Hank (Ray Romano) when he barges into the studio, interrupting their workflow.


Watch this clip, first on MSN TV:


Parenthood airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
 

The classic game show has been upgraded with newer technology

By MSN TV Partner Mar 3, 2014 11:36AM

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.

 

Watch a clip:


 "Disney’' Win, Lose or Draw" premieres Monday, March 3, at 5 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel.