Tag Archives: “Days of Our Lives”

Alison Sweeney Defends Anna Kournikova

Alison Sweeney

News of Anna Kournikova leaving “The Biggest Loser” after one season was accompanied by anonymous quotes that the tennis champ clashed with show staff and some of the contestants, and calling her “difficult” and “a nightmare.”   “Biggest Loser” host Alison Sweeney is quick to leap to her defense, telling us, “I didn’t have that experience.  I got to know her a little bit, and I thought she was a great addition.  She’s so sweet.”

Sweeney reports that they’re already six weeks into shooting Season 13 of “Biggest Loser” and that Kournikova hasn’t been replaced.  Instead, the trainer she calls a “super talented competitor” — show stalwart Bob Harper — is “going head to head in the competition” with plucky newcomer, trainer to the stars Dolvett Quince.

Tonight’s (12/6) “Biggest Loser” episode includes the Season 12 marathon, giving one previously-ousted contestant a chance to vie for the championship on next Tuesday’s (12/13) live season finale.  “‘The Biggest Loser’ finale is such an exciting show, such a fun show, such a celebration of what the show is all about and what people have achieved,” says Alison, who keeps those specials moving along at a quick clip. 

MEANWHILE:  As if handling the demands of two different “Biggest Loser” seasons at once wasn’t enough, there’s also her day job.  Sweeney, who has played the role of much-married bad girl Sami Brady on “Days of Our Lives” since her teens, admits it’s feeling pretty lonely lately, with nearly all the other daytime dramas either being retired or already gone.

“I miss the other soaps.  It’s really hard to say goodbye.  I know they have a lot of followers,” she says.  “I just hope we can keep ‘Days of Our Lives’ on the up and up and hold onto the fans.  There are so many different issues at play with the ratings.  You know how complicated daytime is.”

With her popular “The Mommy Diet” book (it comes out in paperback Dec. 13) and her new TV Guide Network “Hollywood Moms’ Club” show that she’s producing, one might wonder whether she’s getting ready for “Days” to come to an end.  But Sweeney tends to always have a lot of irons in the fire.

“I’m always looking for a new challenges, new fun things to do.  I hope that ‘Days’ goes on for another 46 years.  I’ve been so blessed to do the show,” she says.

She and her husband, highway patrolman David Sanov, have a six-year-old son and a daughter who turns three in January.  Asked whether things have gotten any easier as the children have gotten bigger, she answers, “I think the mommy guilt starts to ease off a little bit once they’re in school and have their own friends and their own plans.  I’m happy now that they’re a little older, they can come with me when I travel.”   

Are they likely to go into show business or law enforcement?  She laughs.  “My husband and I just hope they follow their dreams, like we did.”

Daytime Emmys Will Mark the End of an Era

Tim Gunn

Farewell, One Life to Live

The Daytime Emmy Awards are coming up June 19, and you can be sure that behind the laser-whitened smiles and designer duds, there will be plenty of daytime’s elite bidding the event a sad goodbye — and not just the stars whose shows have already been cancelled.  They know that by summer 2012, the daytime landscape might very well be unrecognizable.

With ABC’s axing of the 41-year-old “All My Children” and 43-year-old “One Life to Live” in April — on the heels of CBS’s dismissal of “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light” and NBC’s quelling of  “Passions” — it certainly does appear the days of the soaps are numbered.  Even ABC’s sole remaining daytime drama, “General Hospital,” is getting shoved out of its 3  o’clock timeslot in favor of Katie Couric’s forthcoming talk show next year.

Elsewhere, there are rumblings behind the scenes of current soaps getting little or no network love or promotional push these days.  But Emmy nominations they have!  “General Hospital” has 21, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” got 13 and 12, respectively.

The loss of viewership for soaps is leading to unscripted “lifestyle” shows instead.  If you’re into food, there’ll be “The Chew” on ABC, with familiar foodie faces such as Chef Mario Batali and Carla Hall.  And if you’re into getting thin after all that food, there’s the network’s “The Revolution,” on which the love-yourself-and-look-great gang, including the likes of Tim Gunn, will be around to talk about being your best self, weight loss, clothes that flatter and all that me-licious stuff.

Because there aren’t enough of those kind of shows on cable and prime time.

The proliferation of niche chat also, of course, has everything to do with the other big news of daytime — the Who Will Replace Oprah Winfrey Derby.  Couric and Andersoon Cooper have been busy assuring everyone that their respective forthcoming talk shows — his debuts in September — could never, ever replace her royal Oprahness.  (We thinketh thou dost protest too much, guys.)  Everyone who is already chatting it up on daytime, from Ellen DeGeneres to the gals on “The Talk” to Nate Berkus to Wendy Williams no doubt hopes to gain a few ratings points out of the deal as well.

Whatever, viewers who’ve enjoyed the daytime lineup as it’s been may well want to tune into the live-from-Las Vegas Emmycast on the 19th.  For a lot of the familiar faces, it’s going to be a last call.

ON THE OTHER HAND:  In case you haven’t heard — or haven’t already guessed — Oprah is going to be honored with the Crystal Pillar Award on the Daytime Emmy show (despite not doing that well in the Emmy noms department).  Honestly, if Oprah deification and derriere-smooching were a disease, we’d all be dead by now.

Chandler Massey NBC photo by Justin Lubin

ON THE OTHER HAND AGAIN:  Daytime Emmy nominee Chandler Massey of NBC’s “Days Of Our Lives” is an example of a hot property coming our way on a soap.  The handsome 20-year-old has the big-screen “16-Love” family-friendly romantic romp with Lindsey Shaw coming out later this summer.  And speaking of coming out, there are rumblings galore that his Will Horton character on “Days” is getting a boyfriend.

“I’ve been reading and hearing things, too, but the funny thing is the actors are the last to know,” he tells us.  There’s been talk and speculation around the set, in the makeup room, he says, but he insists, “I really don’t know.”

Massey does know how he’d feel about a “Days” gay storyline, which would be a first in the show’s 45-year history.  “It’s kind of got me excited.  If I had the opportunity to tackle this storyline, I would be absolutely thrilled.  It would be a challenge creatively for me, a fun thing to play, an amazing opportunity.”

Massey wants to do more movies, not surprisingly, but notes, “I’m very lucky and very grateful to be on ‘Days,’ and I’ll stay with them as long as they’ll have me, for the duration of my contract.”

MEANWHILE:  Massey, who lets us know that he keeps his hunky physique red carpet ready with some help from the Sunfare food delivery service, has special plans for the Daytime Emmy Awards.  “I’m flying my mom out from Georgia and she’s going to be my date,” he says.  “Both my dad and my grandfather are coming to Vegas as well for the awards, and to have some fun and play some slots.”

Najimy’s Sad Goodbye; Jennie Garth Acts her Age

“King of the Hill” fans hoped Fox execs would change their minds about canceling the animated series, but star

Kathy Najimy, (Photo from Kathy Najimy offical website)

Kathy Najimy, (Photo from Kathy Najimy offical website)

Kathy Najimy, who provided the voice of Peggy Hill, says it’s definitely over.

“Isn’t that terrible?  It’s the worst thing in the world. That was the best job I ever had,” says Najimy of the cancellation.  “I wasn’t surprised because they canceled us before and then they brought us back.  This time when they canceled us, I thought they might bring us back” – but it didn’t happen.  Still, “There’s always a chance they could sell it to another network,” she adds.

The final episode airs Sept. 13.

The actress-playwright-director-activist has plenty of other things on her plate as she’s currently penning a one-woman show and has a guest starring stint on Lifetime’s hit dramedy “Drop Dead Diva” Sunday (8/23).  “Margaret Cho emailed me and said, ‘Come do my TV show in Atlanta.’  She’s a person who, when she says come, I come.  I don’t even ask what it is.  I show up, get in a costume, and do what she says because she’s so brilliant,” gushes Najimy.  “At some point after you’re 20, you start caring about the quality of your experience.  The last thing I want to do is be involved with egos or stress. There was no drama there except in the script.”

The show hit a strong chord with the actress, who has always been an advocate for women’s issues.  “This show is great for Lifetime.  I think people want to support anything that sort of levels the field of all the craziness that’s going on with women and their bodies.  Brooke [Elliot] herself is such a surprise,” she adds.  “We’re not used to somebody coming from Broadway that we don’t know in TV land, and she has such a charming, easy way about her.  The truth is, it’s terribly difficult to play a model who has died and comes back in the body of a normal-sized lawyer.  She does it with such ease that we don’t question it.  I’m a big fan of hers and from what I’ve read from the reviews, America has really responded to her as well.”

FULLY DEVELOPED: It’s a different Jennie Garth than we’ve seen before on Candace Bushnell’s Sept. 10-debuting web series, “The Broadroom.” “I play a woman executive.  That was a fun thing for me – to step into my maturity a little bit and play someone my age.”

Jennie, who’s 37, could easily get away with playing years younger, but she’s not trying to.  She points out that her and husband Peter Facinelli’s daughters are now ages 12, six and two.

The couple have been juggling parental duty with their various assignments – she also has an as-yet-undetermined number of “90210” episodes to shoot this season, while he’s busy making the third film in the “Twilight” series, “Eclipse,” and will go into “Nurse Jackie” shooting as soon as he’s finished.

They have to make their schedules work, Jennie tells us.  “We have three little people depending on us.  You know, when he’s working I take it all on, because I’m not going to leave them with someone else.  That’s our job.”

LIFE IS TWEET: A funny thing happened during intermission at one of the Jonas Brothers’ recent L.A. concerts – when suddenly there was an outbreak of audience members spontaneously flapping their hands at the Staples Center.  Turns out it was the work of “Wizards of Waverly Place” star David Henrie, who was there taking in the show (so were teen faves Aly & A.J.) and communicating with his Twitter followers.  The 20-year-old actor instructed his fans who were on hand: “If ur on Twitter scream and wave ur hands like ur on fire.”  He then shot a photo of the audience from his seat and posted it, then Tweeted, “Wave ur hands and scream if ur in this pic.”  Others could only wonder what kind of mass insanity was taking hold.

“The Biggest Loser” host and “Days of Our Lives” actress Alison Sweeney is a frequent Tweeter.  She tells us, “It’s so much fun for interacting with the fans, sharing stories, taking photos at awards, I love it.  I get to see their reactions, or watch shows together, or even just talk about Shark Week or whatever.”  Naturally, her soap followers are a strong presence.  “Obviously there are fan groups who have different kinds of conflicting opinions about the show and my character’s love life.  It’s great to get that kind of feedback.”

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster