Friday, April 20, 2001
A striking trend in daytime casts
By CAROLYN HINSEY
The looming actors' strike has created an interesting phenomenon for soap opera casting directors: big names wanting in."There have been a fair amount," says Mark Teschner, casting director for "General Hospital" and "Port Charles."
He won't name any names, other than Michael Easton, who was just cast on "PC."If he hadn't been interested in the role, it would have been moot," adds Teschner. "But the pending strike probably did help, in terms of making the decision to do daytime when he has resisted it all these years. He's had a good degree of prime-time success [most recently playing Glenn on both 'Ally McBeal' and 'The Practice'] As far as I'm concerned, it's a great example of the right role at the right time with the right actor." Easton, who began his career playing Tanner on :Days of Our Lives," will play a mysterious character named Michael on "PC" through August.Soap actors belong to the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, while the unions that may strike are the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America. It's expected that, if the writers strike, management will continue to pump out scripts.
Teschner is not alone in spotting the casting trend."I've noticed a lot of big-name people saying they want to do daytime," says Michael Bruno, an L.A.-based manager with a number of daytime clients. "What people are realizing is that it's stupid to leave a soap opera for a series, because a soap opera is a series. And it's a great living." Bruno says that many prominent actors in LA. are instructing their agents to get them one of the six soaps based in L.A., as opposed to the four that tape in New York."That way if there's a strike, they can keep their houses," he explains, adding, "You'd be shocked at all the ex-'Baywatch,' 'Melrose Place' and 'Beverly Hills, 90210' actors that are suddenly in the daytime mix."Indeed, Ingo Rademacher, ho starred in the now-defunct itans," is headed back to "GH" to reprise the role of Jax in June. Vanessa Marcil (formerly Gina on "90210") is reportedly close to playing Brenda again.Bruno makes a fearless prediction. "The next time 'All My Children' is looking for a 45-year-old leading man for Susan Lucci, a call will go out to Perry King, Gregory Harrison, Greg Evigan: 'Are they ready?' Michael Easton was smart. Whether there's a strike or not, he walks away Aug. 1 with money in his pocket.
"EMMY PICKS: The Daytime Emmy Awards aren't until May 18, but Tom O'Neil, author of "The Emmys," has collected a gaggle of experts (this writer included} to predict the winners on his Web site(www.GoldDerby.com). The front-runners are "As the World Turns" and "General Hospital," which is no surprise, since they got the most nominations. DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL: Abe and Lexie Carver are slapped with a court order today on "Days of Our Lives" (NBC 1 p.m.). Even Abe's being a cop can't stop this DNA juggernaut.(Hinsey is executive editor of Soap Opera Digest.)