DC #713: EXCLUSIVE — Michele Val Jean Reflects on #GH50 and Career in Soaps

She made television history when she was named the first black person to serve as head writer of a daytime drama. On today's episode of the Daytime Confidential podcast, Michele Val Jean joins Jamey Giddens, Luke Kerr and Jillian Bowe as that soap opera, ABC Daytime's General Hospital, celebrates its 50th anniversary on April 1. 

The veteran scribe, who also wrote for Generations, Santa Barbara, Port Charles and currently pens scripts for The Bold and the Beautiful, dishes about her historic career and so much more on today’s Daytime Confidential podcast!


EXCLUSIVE: Cameron Mathison Dishes Hot in Cleveland, Belle's and All My Children

Cameron Mathison's work schedule might even make Ryan Seacrest ask how he does it all. The in demand actor and TV personality has more projects going than a New York City urban planner!

Tonight the All My Children alum guests on TV Land's smash hit sitcom Hot In Cleveland; then in February he will appear on the premiere episode of TV One's new laffer Belle's. Currently, he's in Toronto shooting a rom-com with Jennie Garth and has another flick coming out soon for GMC! Is it any wonder he and Prospect Park experienced scheduling difficulties when it came to booking him on their continuation of All My Children?

Don't be too bummed, Ryan Lavery fans. I recently caught up with Mathison for Daytime Confidential  and The Good Morning America correspondent is still hopeful he'll turn up in Pine Valley at some point.

Daytime Confidential: What can you tell us about your character?

Cameron Mathison: First of all, he’s written very funny. Right from the beginning, he cracked me up. He’s the best friend to Valerie’s [Bertinelli] boyfriend’s character. He’s a little bit cocky; he’s a little bit excited about getting named Cleveland’s most eligible bachelor. He’s got a little bit of a quirky thing about him. He’s a word shortener. He kind of does one of those cheesy words like, delicious is now “delish”, and expeditious is now “expidish”; he’s one of those guys. He’s also got an interesting characteristic, he’s only got one testicle! So his nickname is “One Ball Bill” and it becomes a bit of an issue with the girls and the guys. He doesn’t want anyone to know, but they’re talking about it behind his back. It’s kind of funny. READ MORE

EXCLUSIVE: Days of Our Lives' Freddie Smith Dishes Bullying, Scandal Crest and Sonny "Showing Some Skin" in Salem

Days of Our Lives hunk Freddie Smith has been making a lot of headlines lately. His character Sonny Kiriakis recently endured a gay bashing and now is posed for a star-crossed romance with Will Horton played by Chandler Massey. As if all of that isn't enough to keep Smith busy, he spends his free time speaking out about bullying and has joined the cast of ACME's upcoming improv soap Scandal Crest.

I caught up with Smith to talk Scandal Crest (He'll be playing Romeo Jones, secret lover to Ophelia Sterling played by Molly Burnett!), exercising an actor's muscles and to find out when we're going to see Sonny get some in Salem!

Daytime Confidential: You're a busy man, Mr. Smith! Your character Sonny Kiriakis is beginning a love story with Will Horton (Chandler Massey) on NBC's Days of Our Lives;  you're speaking out against bullying and now you're doing ACME's new improvised soap opera Scandal Crest. You must have one of those amazing smartphones like the one Samuel L. Jackson hawks in those commercials, that cooks your meals, schedules your appointments, etc.?

Freddie Smith: Yeah, I have been very busy lately which is always good for me. Luckily, my schedule allows me to do all of  these amazing things at once.

DC: What exactly is an improvised soap? I'm kinda having a hard time picturing baby switches, demon possessions and DNA test result swaps without benefit of a 70-page script!

This is the first time I have ever heard of an improv soap as well. That is one of the reasons I hopped on board so quickly. I feel there are no limitations having a improv soap, so I'm excited to be working on the project with such an amazing cast. Seeing as there is no script, who knows how crazy the storylines will become? They could be even more exciting than baby switching!

EXCLUSIVE: Exiting DAYS Starlet Molly Burnett Talks Booking Gigs For MTV, Hallmark and Starring in Improvised Soap 'Scandal Crest'

Take heart, soap lovers already mourning the loss of Molly Burnett from the suds. The soon-to-be exiting Days of Our Lives actress has already found a new soapy gig. She'll be co-starring in ACME Comedy's upcoming improvised, online soap opera Scandal Crest.

I caught up with Burnett to get all the deets on Scandal Crest, which will reunite her with former DAYS co-stars Freddie Smith and Eric Martsolf. I also found out what else the talented young actress has been up to since leaving DAYS, including booking a guest star spot on MTV's upcoming Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous and a new Hallmark movie!

Daytime Confidential: You're on your way to becoming for webisoaps what Jamie Lee Curtis was for horror flicks — the go-to girl! First you did Empire, then Venice, now you're doing Scandal Crest for ACME. What do you like about doing these kinds of projects?

Molly Burnett: Acting is my first love. I just like to work. I am very privileged to have been given the opportunity to participate in these great projects. There is a lot of freedom with web series, and the people that are running them, along with the casts, are such a pleasure to work with.

DC: After starring on Days of Our Lives for four seasons, you're an old pro at mastering tons of dialogue and blocking, but Scandal Crest will be an improvised soap opera. How on earth will that work, and are you nervous?

MB: Improv is such a temperamental thing. It's really easy to take something too far and lose the humor. Am I nervous? Sure, but it is reassuring knowing the talent I'll be surrounded by. READ MORE

EXCLUSIVE: Blake Berris Talks Meth Head, House of Last Things and Springing Nick Fallon From Jail on Days of Our Lives

Longtime Daytime Confidential readers will likely remember I wasn't very happy when Blake Berris was let go from Days of Our Lives back in 2009. Imagine my pleasant surprise when news broke that the amazingly-talented actor was bringing lovable geek-turned-murderer Nick Fallon back to the series!

I recently caught up with Berris—who has been making a name for himself on the indie film circuit—to talk about what brought him back to soaps and his upcoming turns in buzzy films like Meth Head and House of Last Things. Berris also previewed the storyline which finds Nick's cousin Julie (Susan Seaforth Hayes) organizing the Horton family effort to get him paroled. How will Melanie (Molly Burnett) react to Nick getting out? Will the plot twist have anything to do with Burnett's exit from the series? Keep reading to find out.
Daytime Confidential: Welcome back to Salem! I know you've been really busy doing a lot of edgy, indie projects lately, like Meth Head and House of Last Things. What made you decide to return to Days of Our Lives?

Blake Berris: They basically gave me a really great offer. What they wanted to do with the character sounded like a really awesome storyline, so I kind of just decided to do it.

Photo by Michael Abrams READ MORE

EXCLUSIVE: Brian Gaskill Keeps It Real About Soaps and Giving Back to Children

Daytime vet Brian Gaskill recently held an event for a good cause.  This past May, he was named the director of Garden State Players’ (a non-profit theater company in New Jersey) inaugural summer theater camp.  Celebrating his new spoken word poetry album, Make It Real, Gaskill held an intimate reading at Keyport’s luxe Trinty Resturant, a staple of the quaint Bayshore town.  Proceeds from this night of poetry went to help fund the company’s production of  Footloose.  The musical’s profits will then go towards benefitting a local children’s hospital.  
I chatted with the Models, Inc., All My Children, Port Charles, Guiding Light, As The World Turns and The Bold and the Beautiful alum before he took the stage to perform the material in front of an audience for the first time. Gaskill shared the details of his new gig, as well as what he thinks about the current state of television, and the fan efforts to resurrect daytime soaps.
Daytime Confidential:  How did you become involved with Garden State Players?
Brian GaskillLauren [Raad], who runs it, is somebody I went to high school with.  She was actually a freshman when I was a senior at the performing arts school at Red Bank. I had started posting stuff on Facebook of these pamphlets that I made up in trying to pursue teaching.  ‘Cause I’ve done it at Red Bank Regional, and other places; I’ve had other workshops at places. When she saw this thing in this organized fashion, and I started to put it up there, she said, “Hey why don’t you come back home to New Jersey and teach for the summer?  We want to start a school for the theater company,” and I was just excited about it.  I wasn’t sure I was going to come at first, but then I decided that [I could] continue [to] do what I’m doing, and could pursue my career, but also broaden my life.  In the sense that when I’m waiting for other jobs, I don’t want to be a waiter, who’s you know, it’s okay to do that, but I’m 42 and I have other things to offer the world, and I love working with kids. I just always wanted to make it [teaching] a part of my life.  Even when I just did it—showing up and helping places, being there for kids, especially for high school—it is something that I’ve always been drawn to.  So, it’s just being part of an artistic community, and starting with her company at the ground floor and helping build it up to do more.  Right now they’re doing Footloose, but then in the future to do more original productions, and make it a real theater company, and help be a part of it. 
DC:  You grew up around here, right?
BG:  I did.  I grew up in Neptune and Ocean Grove, and I was bussed to Red Bank.  READ MORE