Deep Soap: Lisa Rinna Returns to Her Roots on ‘Days of Our Lives’

Lisa Rinna on Days of Our Lives (NBC)

Lisa Rinna is the latest 1990s cast member to return to “Days of Our Lives.”  The original Billie Reed first appears in the March 8 episode. The entire Roberts family: Kate (Lauren Koslow), Austin (Patrick Muldoon), Lucas (Bryan Datillo) and Billie, will be on the canvas together for the first time in years. Rinna spoke about her return to the show on a conference call.

+ Look for Billie to be involved in the war between the cosmetics company she founded, Countess Wilhemina, and rival Mad World.   “I do come back to do something with my mother, [Kate]. So you will first see me with my mother. Billie created Countess Wilhemina and we’ll see how that plays out,” Rinna says.

+ The show is not revisiting the Hope/Bo/Billie triangle. “From what I’m seeing, that is going to be a been there, done that [type of thing],” she says. “And I have a child with Bo obviously, but we are in a platonic relationship.” Instead, look for her to possibly become involved with Daniel (Shawn Christian). Rinna is aware that Daniel previously slept with both Billie’s mother, Kate, and her daughter, Chelsea, making this potential couple a sort of sexual hat trick. “When you’re passionate about somebody it could override many, many things, so we’ll see. I love that there’s that kind of obstacle. It’s never easy in a soap. It’s either going to be the person I hate and that hates me or somebody that has major obstacles to overcome and that’s what we love about soaps. “

+ Rinna credits her television brother Muldoon with inspiring her return to the show. “I’d seen Patrick about a year ago. I started running into him. One of the reasons why I decided to go back to the show [is because] he kind of put a bug in my ear when he started going back, I thought, That could be fun. That could be an interesting thing.”

+ The former co-host of “Soap Talk” is not thrilled about the end of SoapNET or the shows that have replaced “All My Children” and “One Life To Live.” “I was flipping through the channels and I was like, ‘What’s the difference between ‘The Chew’ and ‘The Revolution’?’ There is none. The real estate has changed dramatically and that we can all see, I think. I think it’s sad to lose such great shows.” However, she is optimistic about the future of daytime dramas. “The shows that are left are very strong soap operas I think and so what I’ve seen just personally that’s changed is the budgets and the way they’re run, they’re very efficient now so that they can stay on the air.”

+ Rinna hopes that fans will tune in to see her, but does not feel responsible for raising the ratings of the much improved but still low rated soap. “You always feel pressure in this business. But I’m not really thinking about that, to be honest. I hope to be able to help keep the show on the air. It would be really nice to bring enough viewership and attention to it and bring people back so that we can keep soaps on the air. If I were able to help in that way, it would really make me feel great. But you can’t put that kind of pressure on yourself because people either want to watch you or they don’t.”

Record High Mortality Rate

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So many deaths, so little time. I have mixed emotions about the plethora of deaths that Ron Carlivati has penned in his first two weeks at the helm of “General Hospital.”  The fallout from Robin’s (Kimberly McCullough) death has been compelling and heartwrenching. All of the performances have been Emmy worthy, with Jason Thompson’s note perfect performance as a grieving husband and Tristan Rogers as a father who feels irrational guilt about his daughter dying as stand outs. Watching the news of her passing travel through the town of Port Charles, impacting each character differently is classic soap storytelling.

Then there was the hilarious death of The Woman in White. In one episode, we finally got an explanation for all her weird behavior. She’s Helena’s long lost daughter who was brainwashed and assigned the task of killing Ethan (Nathan Parsons) as retribution for Luke’s (Tony Geary) decades ago killing of Helena’s son Stavros. Then, when the WIW refused to kill Ethan while Luke looked on, Helena has her henchmen shoot her. It was ludicrous in the best way — and in keeping with the Cassadines campy history. “Don’t worry viewers. You will never have to see her face again!”

This week brought two more deaths. “One Life to Live” alumna Starr (Kristen Alderson) drove through Port Charles en route to Llanview with her boyfriend Cole (Van Hughes) and toddler daughter Hope. Minutes after Cole proposed, Anthony’s (Bruce Weitz) car plowed into them, after someone shot out his tires. The car teetered on the edge of a cliff. Starr made it out, but Cole and Hope were trapped in the car when it fell and exploded — something which we barely saw thanks to daytime’s budgetary concerns. Dante announced that they were dead without actually finding the bodies. Cole? Sure. He’s a recast. He would not have ended up living happily ever after with Starr at the end of OLTL if the writers had known she was heading to GH, since she is clearly destined to be Michael’s (Chad Duell) love interest. But Hope? A pre-schooler, on a show where another toddler just died? That’s cruel and gratuitous. Yes, it sets up a hell of a reason for Todd (Roger Howarth) to go after Sonny for revenge, since everyone thinks Sonny did it. But it’s just so mean. There’s a mile of wiggle room given the lack of bodies. Young Hope may be found in a few weeks wandering through the woods, surviving on the sandwich bag of cheerios that she had in her pocket, proving that Cramer women are born survivors.

The show is 100 times better than it was. I am looking forward to watching every day both for the performances and to see what happens next.  But fans have been clamoring for a more upbeat GH. I am hoping for a miracle — and that once Carlivati clears the decks of the newbies — Maggie (Kodi Kitchen) is on her way out too — happiness will return to Port Charles.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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