Tristan Rogers Returning to “General Hospital” – But the Soap’s Future is Uncertain
Robert Scorpio is headed back to “General Hospital.” Tristan Rogers will be returning to the soap in February where he will reunite with Finola Hughes, who is also reprising her role of Anna Devane. The 1980s icons are returning as part of Kimberly McCullough’s, who plays their daughter Robin’s, exit storyline. TVLine reports that this is not just a cameo. Rogers will be a part of the show for “the forseeable future.”
Rogers most recently played Colin on “The Young & the Restless.” He has been an outspoken critic of GH’s portrayal of criminals as heroes as well as the backburnering of older characters in recent years. The hiring of Rogers may signal that the show’s new headwriter, Ron Carlivati and executive producer Frank Valentini are going to make some significant changes in the show’s content and tone.
However, they may not have much time to turn the show around. While attending the ABC executive session at the TCA convention, I asked ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee when and if the network would make a decision about GH. Here’s what he said: “I don’t know when we’re going to make a decision about that. I’ve come in, sort of, very recently to that whole decision. So we’ll see. We will have to make a decision at some point. I don’t know when we will make that decision. I have to say I started my life in soap operas. My first job was as the second assistant director on a Brazilian soap at 7 o’clock. Not the greatest soap ever made, but I loved it. In Rio. And then I worked on soaps in the UK and I’m a fan of “General Hospital” but we have not made a decision and don’t really have a time frame for it either.”
That does not sound like a vote of confidence. I do believe that Lee is sincere about being a soap fan because he has greenlit “Revenge” and the upcoming “GCB,” the two soapiest new shows on TV, but he doesn’t seem to have any investment in GH as a brand. He’s in charge of primetime. He had nothing to do with ABC Daytime when Brian Frons was running it, and now Vicki Dummer, president of ABC’s new non-scripted Times Square Studios has taken over. It seems like the network is just waiting to gauge the performance of “The Revolution” before making the final decision about GH.
The other soap related news that came out of the TCAs was that DisneyJr. will officially replace SOAPnet on March 23rd. SOAPnet was originally slated to disappear in January. Faced with airtime to fill and no more new episodes of “All My Children” and “One Life To Live”, the network has taken to airing classic episodes of the soaps late at night. It’s worth setting your DVR.
“Days of Our Lives” Has The Element of Surprise
I love it when a soap does something completely unexpected that makes perfect sense. It was spoiled weeks ago that “Days of Our Lives” Will (Chandler Massey) was going to attempt to blackmail E.J. (James Scott) about his grief sexcapade with Sami (Alison Sweeney), and that E.J. was going to counter-threaten to out him. What nobody knew was that E.J. also had much more damaging ammo on Will: that he shot E.J. years ago, at one of his weddings to Sami and let his father, Lucas (Bryan Datillo) take the fall. At the time that storyline aired, back when Will was a dark haired, gawky tween, it really seemed like that was where the story was heading. But the writers never picked up the thread. (I also thought Will was going to turn out to be the one who shot E.J. in the head last year. Will is a theoretical E.J. killing machine!) Kudos to the new regime for expertly using backstory to craft a juicy tale in the present.
These scenes were tense, suspenseful and darkly hilarious as E.J. calmly made the naive, impulsive Will his bitch. Will busted into the DiMera mansion, demanding money to get out of town, and triumphantly delivering what he thought was his knockout blow: he witnessed the couch sex. E.J. then did something so daring it’s rarely seen on TV: he lit up a little cigar. Hey, if the DiMeras can create a Rafe lookalike they surely can conquer lung cancer. Then he lowered the boom: Will ought not to attempt to blackmail somebody who knows all of his dirty secrets, revealing that he remembered Will shooting him, and said nothing at the time because he was saving that tidbit for a rainy day. Will’s jaw dropped right along with mine. Will proved he is truly Sami’s son, quickly recovering to call his bluff by telling him to call the police and have him arrested. That was when E.J., seemingly on the basis of overhearing Will’s distraught conversation with Marlena about his “feelings” and watching him interact with the openly gay Sonny, informed Will that he also knew he was gay without ever using the word.”You’re very confused at the moment. Very mixed up. Emotionally, I mean. I wouldn’t know this from personal experience, William, but I hear that prison is not a very nice place. Especially for a man of your particular disposition.” Never before has gaydar been used for such evil. I like that this isn’t about Will being gay. It’s about Will’s not entirely rational fear of other people finding out he is gay. It’s progress that Will’s sexual orientation is being treated like any other soap secret, not a Public Service Announcement. It’s even better that E.J.’s true ace in the hole is that he can have Will charged with attempted murder, and can now make him do his bidding. This is edgy,original storytelling. Keep surprising me, DOOL.