Kimberly McCullough Returning
to “General Hospital”
Robin Scorpio will finally escape from her kidnappers. Kimberly McCullough, who has played the beloved character since she was a child, is returning to “General Hospital” this fall. For the past year and a half, the residents of Port Charles have mourned Robin, but GH viewers know that she was actually kidnapped by the daytime equivalent of the Legion of Doom. McCullough has made brief appearances as Robin has come tantalizingly close to regaining her freedom, but Soap Opera Digest reports that this time, the actress has signed a contract with the show and this will not be a “blink-and-you-miss-it visit.” In other words, Patrick will finally find out that his wife is alive. The length of McCullough’s contract was not revealed, so she could be back for months rather than years. Followers of McCullough on Twitter know that the actress is pursuing a directing career and has just completed a successful fundraising campaign via Indiegogo to direct an independent romantic comedy, “Creve Coeur, MO.”
On a personal note, I could not be more thrilled that Robin is returning. Not only is she a core character with connections to much of the canvas (Patrick’s wife, Anna’s daughter, Liz’s best friend, Maxie’s sister), but she is the missing piece of the current Britt/Olbrecht/Jerry/Faison storyline. Even if this is a short-term return, it will get Robin out of limbo and Patrick (Jason Thompson) and Anna (Finola Hughes) out of the dark. As long as Patrick doesn’t end up deciding that he would rather be with Sabrina than Robin, then I will be a happy soap fan.
Suzanne Rogers Celebrates 40 Years at “Days of Our Lives”
When Suzanne Rogers joined “Days Of Our Lives” as Maggie back in 1973, plaid polyester pantsuits were in fashion, Richard Nixon was still in the White House and computers took up entire rooms. A lot has changes since then, but, as her co-star Susan Seaforth Hayes revealed at an on-set anniversary celebration on Tuesday, Rogers could still fit into her vintage wardrobe. The petite actress still wears the same size clothes. Rogers spoke movingly about her decades on the show and Maggie’s evolution from ingenue to matriarch. “It doesn’t feel like 40 years because I love what I do and I love the people that I work with and I realize that may sound cliched to some of you, but it really is a joy to drive through that lot every day that I have to work and I have been doing it now for yes, 40 years… A wonderful woman [DOOL co-creator] Betty Corday saw something in this little teeny redhead. I think NBC, or maybe Bill Bell, didn’t think I was sexy enough, but she saw something and she wanted me on the show… [Ken Corday’s] kept me on the show when NBC and writers probably did not want me here or the tides had changed as they do when you get older, and they say, “Okay, let’s move toward the younger people. But all of us have people in our family who are older than us and people that are younger than us and you need all of us.”
Executive producer Ken Corday also sang Rogers praises saying, “Suzanne is an angel of the first degree. She is such a gift to all of us. If you’ve got a problem, go see Suzanne. If you can’t figure something out, go see Suzanne. For anyone who comes in here, fresh, young, green, new to the show, it doesn’t matter, talk to Suzanne because you will never find a better sounding board. You will never find on the show a better actor. Suzanne has never delivered a dishonest moment in all of her years here.”
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“The Young & the Restless” Remembers Katherine Chancellor
This week on “The Young and the Restless,” the show’s longest running character, Katherine Chancellor, died. I was prepared to use up a whole box of tissues, but I found myself dry-eyed through most of the scenes for an odd reason: They did not live up to the memorial episodes that aired months ago for the woman who so memorably portrayed Katherine for 40 years, Jeanne Cooper. Those special episodes, in which the stars of the show broke character to share their memories of Cooper, were so poignant and heartfelt that it was difficult for the scripted episodes to live up to them.
The writers faced a difficult task. Katherine had to die off-camera. Cooper’s last episode was not particularly memorable, unlike the final episode of another soap veteran, “General Hospital’s” John Ingle, in which his character sacrificed his dose of a life-saving medicine to save a child, which was scripted to be his final appearance. Cooper’s illness struck so suddenly that there was no time for the show to prepare for it. I could see why the show opted to have most of Katherine’s nearest and dearest gather at her house because they received invitations from her. It allowed for numerous characters to learn of her death at once when her husband Murphy returned from their vacation alone. But the choice to set the episode during a storm complete with cliched shots of lightning undercut the sadness of the situation. It was only the memories of the two women who knew Katherine best, Jill and Nikki, who moved me. Jess Walton perfectly captured Jill’s feelings of loss as she realized that her whole adult life was defined by her relationship with Katherine, as they moved from enemies, to mother-daughter, to no longer mother-daughter, to friends and back again. Katherine was always the yin to Jill’s yang. Nikki lost both her best friend and her surrogate mother. The performances of Walton and Melody Thomas Scott elevated what was, at times, pedestrian dialogue that made Katherine sound more like one of “The Golden Girls” than the complex, sometimes morally ambiguous character that she was. I hope Katherine’s upcoming funeral will better capture one of the most memorable women in daytime history.