Interview with the cast of “All-American: Homecoming”

TV Interview!

"All-American: Homecoming" poster

Interview with actors Geffri Maya, Peyton Alex Smith, Sylvester Powell, Cory Hardrict, Kelly Jenrette, Camille Hyde, Mitchell Edwards and Netta Walker, and executive producer Nkechi Okoro Carroll of “All-American: Homecoming” on The CW by Suzanne 1/27/22

This was a really fun panel. These actors really seem to enjoy their work and have a lot of congeniality with their fellow cast and crew.   I watch MANY shows on The CW (mostly superheroes).  I watched 5 episodes of this new spin-off. It started slowly but started to get better by the end of the third episode. It’s basically a soap opera set in a fictional HBCU, just as the original show is a soap opera set in a high school. That one is mostly about football. This one is about baseball and tennis. I’m sure you’ll recognize a lot of the actors from the first show. However, you can watch this and enjoy it even if you’ve never seen the show from which it’s spun off.

Nkechki (whom they refer to as “NK”) answered the first question from a journalist about what role will HBCU* experiences play in the series. She said Bringston University, where the show is set, is a character itself on the show. Even though it’s not a real institution, it seems real because it’s the “life force of the show” and it’s everything for the students. She also asked whether the show is still about football, and whether there are new characters (besides the ones from the original show). NK answered that show is about tennis and baseball, as well as about “HBCU life in general.” She also took a moment to praise the cast as beautiful and amazing. She can’t wait for us to get to meet the characters of the show because she feels like they’re her friends. She continued on to explain that the cast is mostly new people who represent “”the absolute spectrum of what it is to be young and Black and at an HBCU.”

I then asked her if there was a particular real-life campus that she based Bringston on. She replied, as expected, that it’s “an amalgamation of a few different campuses.” She complimented their production designer as “brilliant” because they sat down and envisioned what they wanted, and then they brought it to life. Viewers who went to an HBCU should recognize the campus as being similar to the campuses in DC, Atlanta and other places. NK confided that she didn’t go to an HBCU, so she wanted to create her own. I asked a followup question about whether she directed her actors to train in tennis and baseball ahead of time, or did they hire actors who already knew how to play. As I’d hoped, she asked the stars Peyton and Geffri to give their two cents. Peyton, whom you may know from “Legacies” on The CW, plays baseball star Damon Sims. Geffri plays tennis star Simone Hicks. I was happy to be in a conversation with Peyton because I was so unhappy when they wrote him out of “Legacies.” Now I see that it was for the best because he’s able to go on to bigger things in this show.

Peyton joked, “Uh, honestly I’m just a natural-born talent in like whatever I do.” There was laughter and NK jokingly said he was going to let him talk. Geffri told us truthfully that she hadn’t ever held a racket until they found out about this backdoor pilot. Once they knew it was going forward, she found a good tennis coach and started working hard on the sport. She said that tennis is “beautiful” and that it takes respect and work with your “full mind, full body and full spirit.” She hopes we can see it and feel it. I assured her that it worked out great from the four episodes I saw.

Peyton then answered more seriously. He used to play but hadn’t played baseball in about 17 years. When they shot the pilot, he was very scared as soon as he got up on the mound, since he was playing “super athlete.” After that, he and Sylvester worked on pitching and batting with a scouting coach with the Atlanta Braves. They did a lot of work not only baseball, but just working out in general as well. Then he flew to Bellingham, Washington to work with the college kids there at Western Washington University. He said he “had no idea that was a place.” Ha ha! I have a friend who teaches there, and I felt the same way when I heard he was moving there. “Where the heck is Bellingham?” Anyway, he said it was great to see the kids in their environment, and it not only helped him with playing but with his acting. He gave an example: “we see how those kids react to the coaches.” He gave baseball props because he discovered that it’s not an easy sports. He used to think it was boring to watch, but now he knows more about it and finds it interesting. NK then praised him for being “so incredibly locked.” I’d never heard that term before, but I assume she means that he’s very focused.

NK then praised Camille. She really nailed the part in her audition, and then she was asked if she played tennis, almost as an afterthought, and she answered with a list of her tennis accomplishments. They were shocked but knew they found the right actress to play Thea. They never have to use her double because Camille is “unbelieveable.” She’s their expert, in fact, if they want to know how they’re portraying tennis correctly.

Camille said that it was lucky for her that she and her character had a lot in common. She never lost a match when she was in high school. She brought some of that “can’t lose” attitude in her acting as well. The mentality includes, “even if we come close to losing and we win, it wasn’t good enough. So you train harder, you work harder and that’s, that’s definitely just scratching the surface of what it means to be a college tennis athlete. Um, there’s never enough serves you can hit in a day. There’s never enough drills you can do in a day. That’s how I was until, you know, my hands are bleeding and the blisters were all popping on my feet, but you know, that’s what it means to be a college athlete.” She says they definitely earned their respect.

The cast was also asked by a journalist about whether they tell people when they go in to audition whether they can play the sport or not. He said he would be worried that someone said he got it wrong if he wasn’t very good at it.

Cory joked, “Fake til you make it.” He was joking, but Geffri confided that she was always told to say yes on auditions when asked if she could play something, and then go practice to make it real. She did say that it “just depends on the person.” Peyton said he’s seen that go wrong before where someone said they could play basketball but had to leave, embarrassed. Mitchell admitted that happened to him. He told the people at the audition that he could play basketball, but he couldn’t. He was terrible. Sylvester jokingly consoled him by reminding him that he’s a football player. Then Geffri joked, “But you know what they said, Mitch? They said, That boy got beautiful skin, though.'” They joked around some more.

Cory added in that you should always tell the truth, get the job, work hard and “keep your faith.”

Geffri admitted that she told them for this part that she can’t play, but she promised to learn. NK confirmed that Geffri did say exactly that. They just hoped that would be enough so that they could do the spin-off. Geffri joked that she would never tell NK no. She jokingly said, “’Are you an astronaut?” Yes. I am going to spacecamp. Yes.'”

A reporter asked how good they think they’ve become. Peyton joked that after the series was over, in about 6 years, he’s going to play professional baseball. Geffri teased that he woudl be going pro in the spinoff of the spinoff.

Geffri then answered seriously that she definitely sees growth in everyone’s playing. She already knew Camille before the series and thinks that she has grown as a person. She thinks, while “there’s always room for improvement” she thinks she’s improved at tennis and will continue to work hard at it because it “requires dedication.” She added that it’s also very fun to play.

NK praised them all for their hard work, which she saw in the many hours of footage that she had to edit for the series. They had very little notice to get in shape for the pilot and learn how to play well. She applauded them for not only their hours of commitment to playing but also acting, learning lines, and showing up for long days of shooting. Also, some of them had to learn to dance. Netta plays Keisha, who’s a dancer and choreographer, so she had to really work hard to “nail the routines we give her,” and Mitchell has to sing as well. She saluted their “bringing excellence, which is the theme of the show.” She felt honored for them to all bring their A games to the series.

Peyton also added that he felt if he worked really hard on the baseball, then it became easier, so then he could focus more on his character and the art of acting.

Another journalist asked about what the characters find out or learn as they go through this time in their lives where a lot of change happens.

Netta talked about playing a college age young person on the show, which she can really relate to because she made a lot of the same mistakes and going through self-discovery. She feels like they’re doing it in a way that’s not filled with bias, which is unusual. Then having the “extra layer of Black excellence on top of it” makes it even more enjoyable. She told us that when you’re at an HBCU, you have to be at your best: “you gotta be on. You can’t slack, edges better be laid, hair better be pressed, outfits better be on top, and everyone’s been doing it for it.” She’s happy to be playing Keisha, who’s the top girl socially at the school.

Cory cracked that Keish is the one they all wanted to be in college; “She’s the “it” girl.” Netta joked back at him that he couldn’t possibly think that way because his face “is perfectly symmetrical”.

Camille added that her face is symmetrical, too, but she credits everything to their stylists, who put together their clothes, hair, makeup, etc. It makes their jobs easier because it “represents us in our community and Black excellence and the hair and you know, how much, you know, young, Black culture, a lot of it is hair. A lot of it is style.” She believes that it will translate well on the screen. Geffri agreed with that and went on at length about HBCU and the black excellence they represent. She feels privileged to show what this life is like to young kids who might be thinking about going to college.

Cory took the opportunity to praise NK for creating this world. He’s happy to be a “positive influence in these young male figures lives, and especially this Black experience.”

NK redirected the praise toward the cast, saying that she capture “lightning in a bottle” with all of them. Meeting Geff, in particular, inspired her to create this world. There was a lot more to this panel, but you get the idea about the show and how much this cast loves each other.

*HBCU refers to historically black colleges and universities, in case you didn’t know. Famous examples include Spelman, Howard and Xavier University.


"All-American: Homecoming" posterALL AMERICAN: HOMECOMING”

Mondays (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) on The CW

ALL AMERICAN: HOMECOMING is a young adult sports drama set against the backdrop of the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) experience at Bringston University, where Black excellence is a way of life. The series follows Simone (Geffri Maya, “All American”), a young tennis hopeful from Beverly Hills who is trying to fight her way back to great after some time away from the court, and Damon (Peyton Alex Smith, “Legacies”), an elite baseball player from Chicago who is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. After Simone’s aunt Amara Patterson (Kelly Jenrette, “Manhunt”), a journalism teacher and activist, exposes a scandal that threatens to derail the school’s beloved baseball program, new coach Marcus Turner (Cory Hardrict, “The Chi”) is determined to bring a championship back to Bringston the honest way — with Damon’s help. Damon will adjust to his new normal with fellow baseball player and childhood friend JR (Sylvester Powell, “Five Points”) by his side. Meanwhile, as Simone struggles to find her footing, she will get a little guidance from Thea (Camille Hyde, “Katy Keene”), the super-competitive queen bee of the Bringston tennis team, and Keisha (Netta Walker, “Come as You Are”), the school’s unofficial mayor, who will help Simone learn how to live her best life. As they contend with the high stakes of college sports, Simone and Damon will also navigate the highs, lows, and sexiness of unsupervised early adulthood at a prestigious HBCU.

ALL AMERICAN: HOMECOMING stars Geffri Maya as Simone Hicks, Peyton Alex Smith as Damon Sims, Kelly Jenrette as Amara Patterson, Cory Hardrict as Coach Marcus Turner, Sylvester Powell as JR, Camille Hyde as Thea Mays, Mitchell Edwards as Cam Watkins and Netta Walker as Keisha McCalla.

ALL AMERICAN: HOMECOMING is from Warner Bros. Television and CBS Studios in association with Berlanti Productions, with executive producers Nkechi Okoro Carroll (“Rosewood,” “The Resident”), Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Riverdale”), Sarah Schechter (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Riverdale”), David Madden (“You”) and Robbie Rogers (“All American”).

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

All American: Homecoming -- "Start Over" -- Image Number: AHC101a_0697r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Rhoyle Ivy King as Nathaniel Hardin, Geffri Maya as Simone Hicks and Netta Walker as Keisha McCalla -- Photo: Ser Baffo/The CW -- (C) 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Zoom Christmas Event with Eric Martsolf

TV Actor Event!

Christmas Concert Zoom poster

Christmas Concert Zoom Event by Suzanne 12/12/21

I’ve only been to one Zoom event with celebrities and fans before. It was a free event in December, 2020, with actors from “All My Children,” a show I watched for over 25 years before it was canceled. Anyway, this was hosted by Alan Locher, who has a whole channel on YouTube where he interviews soap stars and others. I enjoyed watching it, but unfortunately, I don’t have time to watch all of these events. Between this, the virtual Comic-Cons and so many others…it’s just too difficult. I avoid most of them.

A friend of mine regularly attends “Days of Our Lives” online charity events. I’d never been to one before. The idea of paying to see celebrities is a little weird for me, since I interview them all the time for this site. However, this one was a little different because it was a Christmas musical event, so I decided to go – even though it was a bit expensive at $75 per ticket. I love Christmas, and Christmas songs, and I love “Days,” too.

Eric Martsolf and fans on ZoomEric Martsolf (Brady) hosts regular charity events with his fans, so he hosted this special Zoom Christmas concert. Other Days actors joined him. Eric is very funny and really plays the clown for his fans. First Eric sang “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas.” He has quite a good singing voice. Most of the people singing here do, but this was just for fun with a few fans, singing Christmas carols. However, most of them did have the songs memorized, at least. Eric was drinking some “holiday cheer,” but I don’t know if it was real or not. We all had fun. I sure did. I wish I could have talked to him, but there were about 30 fans there, and he knew many of them from past events, so he said hi to the ones he knew.

He thanked Penny MacGregor, the Canadian lady who runs StarImage Entertainment (the ones that put on these events). He talked about Christmas a little bit and then greeted us. He looked at us on his screen and welcomed the new visitors like me. He noticed that there were two Suzanne’s! He read the names and said, “We got like 16 Suzanne’s…wow!” That certainly made me laugh.

He played some fun Christmas games with us. I really didn’t play because I didn’t know the answers to the questions he would throw out about Christmas songs or lines from holiday specials. I really enjoyed listening to it, though.

Carson BoatmanHis first musical guest was Carson Boatman, who plays Sami and E.J.’s son, Johnny. They joked around for a few minutes and then Carson sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Hallelujah” (which really isn’t a Christmas song, but okay!). He has a nice voice and plays guitar well.

After Carson was Matthew Ashford (Jack), who was with his wife, Lana, and two kids. They were all wearing matching plaid Matthew Ashford and wifeChristmas outfits, which was adorable. His kids were shy, so we didn’t see them much on the video (especially the little girl). They sang a song that sounded vaguely familiar to me, with the lyrics “Burn little candles.” I think it’s actually a hanukkah song, but I’m not sure. Eric chatted with them for a bit. Throughout the show, Eric joked about how much time his character spent in the hospital this year. After their song, Matt and his wife read the old “Yes, Virginia” letter. It was written in the New York Sun, but Matt said it was written in “The Spectator” (the Days of Our Lives’ newspaper that his character works on). That was cute.

Lindsey Arnold and Carson BoatmanNext was Lindsay Arnold, who plays Sami’s daughter, Allie (Johnny’s twin). Carson was back with her, playing the guitar while she sang. She sang “Santa Baby” and then an Adele song, “Make You Feel My Love” (definitely not a Christmas song). She has a beautiful voice (probably the best of all of them). Carson sang some harmony with her on the second song. It was really sweet. They seem like good friends. Lindsay and Carson chatted with Eric about Christmas, about singing and about the show. Eric said they should start a band, like the actors on GH did with Port Chuck (Good idea!).Wally Kurth

Next we got to hear Wally Kurth, who plays Justin. Eric introduced him as being not only a veteran but a really nice guy. He does double soap duty because he also plays Ned on “General Hospital.” He’s had a band and sung for years. He did three songs. I love him, so I was happy to see that. He played guitar as well. First he sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” His voice wasn’t quite warmed up enough, so it cracked a few times. He and Eric joked about it. When someone sings regularly, they get used to things like that. These are professionals, so they just laugh it off and Wally Kurth singinggo on. The show must go on! His other two songs went very well. He sang “In the Bleak Midwinter,” which is a beautiful and rather obscure Christmas song. I’m pretty sure I sang it in choir years ago. They asked him to learn it for an episode of GH, but then they decided not to use it, so he sings it at Christmastime now whenever he has a show. It’s a sad but beautiful song. Then he did “White Christmas,” including the Jacob Young and one of his daughtersintroduction part that you don’t always hear. I saw him sing with his band about 20 years ago at a GH fan event, so it was great to hear him again. When Wally mentioned GH, Eric said, “General Hospital? What’s that?” as if he’d never heard of it. It was cute.

Next there was Jacob Young, who’s never been on Days, but he’s been on “General Hospital”, “Bold and Beautiful” and “All My Children.” He’s a soap vet. He was playing guitar and singing along with his two daughters. They were all wearing Santa hats and looked very festive. One of them was playing bongos. They definitely won the cuteness award for this event. Jacob sang “Blue Christmas” very well. Then his older daughter and he did a duet with “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” I know that might sound creepy, but it was very cute. Then their last song was “Feliz Navidad,” which featured the younger daughter on the bongos. Clearly they had practiced these songs. It was great to see Jacob again. I don’t know why one of the soaps doesn’t hire him back. He’s still Bill Hayes, Susan Seaforth-Hayes and Amy Shaughnessygorgeous. In case you didn’t know, he has been singing a long time and had a CD out years ago. You can hear his more recent music on his YouTube channel.

Then came the highlight of the event, which was the arrival of Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Doug and Julie). Bill is 96, so he was sitting down, but he did sing and was very alert (My mom was born 2 months after him!). Susan is 78 and stood behind his chair with her arms around him. It’s clear that they’re just as lovey-dovey in real life as they are on the show. Helping them out was a much younger woman named Amy. Eric exclaimed that she’s Shane Donovan’s niece, but he didn’t explain that. I looked her up, and she is indeed Amy Shaughnessy, niece of Charles Shaughnessy (Shane). I have no idea why she was there singing with Bill and Susan, though. She does have a vocal performance in music degree, so perhaps they hired her for the event? I have no idea. It’s quite intriguing. At any Eric Martsolf singingrate, they sang this beautiful song. It was very touching to see them. Eric made sure to tell them what a thrill it was for him and for fans to see them. They all dressed in red, as Susan Banksyou can see, and looked ready for the holidays. Plus, their two Lifetime Achievement Daytime Emmys were right there next to them!

After that, Eric sang “O Holy Night” in a very heartfelt way. That’s a tough one to do, so kudos to him for even trying that.

Then they had “Susan Banks” drop by. This is a silly character on “Days” played by Stacy Haiduk. Stacy showed up in the full Susan wig, teeth and outfit. She was very funny! She didn’t sing. Instead, she read “The Night Before Christmas.” She Eric singing and thanking us!was amazing. She played the whole thing sideways as if Susan couldn’t figure out how to hold her phone the right way. Eric played along, too, having fun with her.

After she left, Eric sang “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” and he ordered us all to sing along. Then in some places he unmuted some of the fans, so we could hear them sing, too. It was very cute and everyone enjoyed it. He thanked us all and talked about how it was a highlight for his year and that he hoped it was for us, too. We all said Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays at the end. It was so much fun. The two hours and fifteen minutes flew by, and we definitely got our money’s worth. If they have this event next year, you should make sure to attend!

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

The event virtual ticket

Leverage Appearances

Where to see your favorite “Leverage” stars!

Leverage: Redemption cast

Aldis Hodge  (Alec) stars in “City on a Hill” Sundays on Showtime and has many new movies coming out, including playing Hawkman in the DC Comics movie “Black Adam,” in 2022. He appears Monday, 11/7 on “The Jennifer Hudson Show.”

Christian Kane (Eliot) has 3 new movies coming out soon. You can see his musical events here. He will star in season 2 of “Almost Paradise,” now on IMDB TV.

Noah Wyle (Harry) is working on a movie, “A Dolphin In Our Lake.”

Aleyse Shannon (Brianna) has a new movie coming out, “Beauty.”

Jeri Ryan (Tara) appears in  “Picard” on Paramount+.

Richard Kind (ex-Brad) does voices in “American Dad” on TBS, appears in “THe Goldbergs” Wednesdays on ABC, and in “Everything’s Going to Be Okay” on HULU. He has several movies coming out. 

Kari Matchett (Maggie) guest-stars on “Supergirl” Tuesday, 9/7 on The CW.

Mark Sheppard (Jim) appears in the new CW series “Walker: Independence” Wednesdays.

Visit all our other TV appearances pages!

Back to the Main Leverage Page

Parker and Eliot

Interview with Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy

TV Interview!


Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy from panel for "Doomsday Mom" on Lifetime - photos from Lifetime and actors' social media

Interview with Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy in “Doomsday Mom: The Lori Vallow Story” on Lifetime by Suzanne 5/19/21

I’ll admit I did gush a little talking to these fine actors. I’m familiar with them all from their previous TV roles. I literally grew up watching Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy in the 70’s, and I saw Marc Blucas and Lauren Lee Smith in their great scifi/fantasy roles later on. It was hard not to tell them how much I enjoyed their work. They were very kind and even made some fun jokes during the interview. This was a press call that was part of a series of calls we did all on that same day for Lifetime movies this summer.


Moderator: Hi all, our next panel is Doomsday Mom, The Lori Vallow Story.  I’d like to introduce our cast Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy.

Hi everyone. Question is for Lauren, how familiar were you with the Lori Vallow case before taking on this role? And what was the most surprising thing you learned about the case that you wanted to make sure it was portrayed on screen and the same to you, Marc?

Lauren Lee Smith: Wow, no, I actually wasn’t. It was at a time where I think we were all in full blown, lockdown covid craziness and I was up here in Toronto with my young daughter just trying to sort of keep sane and there was no TV around. So I had no idea about this story. It first was brought to my attention through our director, actually Bradley Walsh. He had reached out to me a couple of weeks before shooting and we were just sort of catching up and he was asking me like what I would like to do next and then I was like yeah I’m really looking for something you know to sort of sink my teeth into and challenge me in a new, exciting way. And yeah, it’s sort of it all, one thing led to another and and then yeah, I found out that that I would be coming to do this with him. And I think what surprised me the most was, you know, just the initial sort of the initial reaction of finding out the story in general and finding out exactly who this this woman is and what had happened. I think the initial shock.

Moderator: How about you Marc?

Marc Blucas: You know, for me you know I had known about it and it’s I guess in the in a very peripheral kind of way and it had been a year since everything had happened. So you know, the first thing I did as we probably all do, is you get on the Internet. Boom, you type these two in and the first thing that came up was the mug shot and to me two things came to my right mind right away when I saw them that really attracted me to the project and taking on the role of Chad which was when I saw that I saw two people, and this is going to sound very shallow at first, but you kind of look at Lori on the surface and in a very just first glance way, it’s like, oh, there’s a you know,very attractive, you know woman there and then you see Chad and I was like, oh, maybe not so much, and I was like oh what was the initial draw? And the other thing I thought about that about that mug shot was that in his face I saw remorse an in hers I didn’t and from what I had recalled the story and what I just started the research of it, It was kind of like it really felt like and again we have a lot here, we don’t have all the answers to just yet, but that Chad really started going, taking Lori down a very committed path and at some point in their journey, it’s almost like she leapfrog him in in the in the power dynamics or in the commitment of their beliefs. And I just thought that was a fascinating study, not only is as an actor, but as a singular character, but seeing how we could make that relationship evolve because what the public know, we already know that the public knows so much. So what Lauren and I and Bradley had all talked about is like, what we don’t know is what happened behind closed doors between these two people and exploring that to see this journey and how they get to make these decisions that they made, I thought, was an interesting study.

Moderator: Thanks so much. Our next question is from Jamie.

Jamie Ruby (SciFi Vision): Sorry, forgot to unmute there for a second. Thanks for talking to us guys. So obviously these characters are based on real life people but what I want to know is what part of yourselves did you bring into the roles?

Lauren Lee Smith: Well. That’s a tough one, but.

Marc Blucas: Well, I’m a passionate person. That there.

Doomsday Mom poster

Jamie Ruby (SciFi Vision): You know, maybe there’s a better way to say it, how did you connect to them as people? Maybe that was a better way to phrase it.

Marc Blucas: Uh, I again, I, it was kind of said in jest, but you know…look, I mean at the end of the day, these are not great people and it’s our jobs as actors to kind of find how we can like them ourselves and portray something that’s three dimensional and real. And at the end of the day, I just said it in a way, it’s just like hey look I’m a very committed and passionate person and I’m about different things that I think that Chad was committed and passionate about and what he tried to do or what he tried to bring people together as a leader, I guess in this.  But there’s no, you can’t question the fact that they had a conviction of what they believed, and I may not be in the same category in what they believed, but having that kind of conviction I could relate to and start there from.

Lauren Lee Smith: Yeah, exactly like that’s really sort of all you can do. You know with these characters is find exactly that and then you know just trying to come and find the little moments you can of sort of humanity, you know, I’m a mother, so trying to sort of find those moments where you know you could see her love for JJ and for Tylee and sort of really infused that as much as possible. But yeah, other than that it was that wasn’t the easiest part of this job.

Jamie Ruby (SciFi Vision): Patrick, Linda anything to add?

Patrick Duffy: Well, we have the easier track of these characters. We had to be the sort of calming, and rational side of looking at all of these horrific things that were happening. So, you know, we were grandparents in and of itself and as a grandparent myself I know what that feels like and I could then was able to completely support what Linda was doing as really the fire brand of the two characters that we played. She was the relentless one that was in pursuit of justice in an ongoing situation, which is even more difficult in making this film. And I credit everybody from Karen and Ann and the actors Marc and Lauren and Bradley and everybody with being able to thread that fine line of fiction that we are doing based on a real story but keep these, especially those two characters, you know keeping them in a humanity arena so that it does not become,

I mean it in this way, it does not become cartoonish, in its evilness that it that everybody has to recognize a bit of humanity that contains that devilish nature and we are in control of it most of the time. And that, to me, is the interesting part about the script, and let the two lead actors were you know, really tasked with doing which is amazing and plus the fact we never except for

one little Christmas dinner scene, we never shared the camera with either of those two characters, so we had our own little movie going that you guys didn’t even know about.

Marc Blucas: That’s why you said yes to the job we know.

Lauren Lee Smith: We get it.

Linda Purl: I think the you know as Lauren said and Mark two that we’re all parents, and so it ignites certainly the Mama bear in me and I mean it. It’s actually unimaginable. Thank God, you know, the horror that this that this tale unfolds. But I think that that you know unbelievable journey of not knowing where your loved ones are, was interesting to visit.

Moderator: Thanks Jamie. Jay, You’re up next.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Hello everyone, thank you for doing this. Actually my question is for Patrick and Linda is nice to see you together, since we know you’re together and I hope that doesn’t sound too and ingracious. But were the two of you cast a package deal in this? Or was one of you cast 1st and super suggested the other person?

Patrick Duffy: Well, we were driving to Colorado from California when the phone rang and we almost made a U turn but we said no we gotta, we gotta get back to change our underwear and then go back to work so. But I actually I think you know, in deference, I think Linda’s name might have been mentioned first in terms of this when I look at the chronology and the phone messages, and then you know the conversations that all of your people have when you’re doing these things, so you know, I think the sequence was Linda and Patrick, not Patrick and Linda.

Linda Purl: I think it was Patrick and Linda.

Patrick Duffy: But it doesn’t matter. It was our first chance to work together. Yeah, you know, first chance to actually play a husband and wife, which was even more, and the other thing that Linda keeps saying, and so I’m stealing all of her good lines, that it’s the first time as actors we’ve ever walked to the set holding hands with the person you’re with.

Linda Purl: It felt weird but yeah, I guess it’s OK. At the end of a scene, I guess, Patrick patted me on the bottom and said nice job honey and I thought, well, that’s the first time that’s ever happened. It was fun.

Patrick Duffy: It was wonderful and yeah, and it was a great thing for us because you never know.

Linda Purl: It could have been a disaster.

Patrick Duffy: We could have completely polar opposite ways.

Linda Purl: That’s how you’re gonna do the scene?

Patrick Duffy: Yeah, well, I usually have a drink before every scene.

Marc Blucas: It was at least reassuring. I was so glad to see you were still together. Are they flying together? Or independently?

Linda Purl: Quarantine was the challenge. It was like are we gonna make it through 14 days of quarantine? But we did. Yeah it was fun.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Thank you both.

Moderator: Thank you so much. Suzanne. You’re up next.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Hi, thanks for the call, I’m so familiar with all your guys’ work. I grew up in the 70s, and so I love Patrick and Linda from so many different things, especially “Dallas”, of course– One of my favorite shows growing up… and Marc from “Buffy” and other projects, and Lauren from “Mutant X” and so many great things. So I’m just honored to talk to you all.. but I was wondering, Linda and Patrick, if you could give us any background as to what you think your characters were like before the movie started, and then how they progressed. Some of us haven’t actually seen the movie because it wasn’t on the screener site, so…

Linda Purl: We don’t know that much really. I mean just what’s available on the on the Internet and what the script gave us, but they seem to be very hardworking, family-oriented people, smart, successful in their careers and then suddenly this. You know, they were a very closely knit family, we would say, right?

Patrick Duffy: And if you’re– if you’re asking the question personally, what happens to us after doing something like this? Although we weren’t in the depths that Lauren and Marc were, but you, you are affected by it, especially when you have children. And now that I have four grandchildren, and, it is inconceivable, first of all, to right-minded people that these things actually occur… and you enter, going into this, reading the script, I’m doing it but in the– in the heat of the scenes — of which we were together as a couple. It builds, and your fascination and repulsion build at the same time as to what these human beings have to go through and what they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. And you get just a smattering of it by having occupied their space for a moment, and you look at your children differently because you know what the potential is, and it does affect you, and it affected me, not deeply, in the sense that I’m tormented by it, but I am aware of it in different depth now of what the potential is in the human being. And it’s frightening and encouraging in terms of who you look at as your characters in this film.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): And Linda, did you have anything to add to that?

Linda Purl: oh thank you, well…

Patrick Duffy: I don’t see how she could.

Linda Purl: I thought it was brilliant. It was, really. I was in the Grand Canyon with my son, who was then about 8 years old, and I lost him for the ten longest minutes of my life, and it’s an out-of-body electric shock experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. So I was able to, you know, sort of conjure that up when we’re looking for justice, when we’re looking for the grandkids, or were when we know my brother’s been killed. And so, but I think you know, as Patrick says, you just drop to your knees grateful that your family is safe, and it tends to highlight that gratitude in our lives when you walk down, even for a few minutes, the road of these people who have lost so much. I have no idea how you recover from that.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): And Lauren, what do you think? How do you think the character or the real person… however you like to interpret it… how she went from two loving parents to becoming this person who ends up killing her own children?

Lauren Lee Smith: Yeah, I mean, that’s definitely something that I had to sort of, I think, play around with in my own sort of interpretation of this character, even though, you know, it’s…. she’s very much alive and we, you know, know certain facts about her. I think for me, just on a personal level, to sort of dig into this, this character and sort of not, justified, but… give you know some sort of back-story and create this sort of, you know, back-story in my own head for her, so, you know… it’s very strange. I don’t know, I don’t… I don’t. It’s unimaginable to me how someone can go from, you know, having this sort of… being brought up in this loving family, which is is what we’ve been, you know, told to believe to, you know, becoming this person who would do these absolutely heinous things. So, yeah, I guess the only way that that I was able to sort of come to terms with it is to sort of… yeah, to really come up with my own back-story that perhaps, you know her, her past and her childhood, and her personal life, and whatever is maybe… not exactly, what we evolved, you know, read or seen or believed up until this point, that there perhaps is some major trauma or some major incidents or some… whatever it could possibly be to bring her to the point that she, you know, is at, and was at in her life. I answered it, took it upon myself to do that.

Marc Blucas: You’re being very sweet for not throwing me under the bus.  Suzanne, the reality is, is that when we both got there, we were freaking out, and I had called Lauren immediately, and I said, alright, ’cause that’s the big question, right? How did they go from everyday people that, we assume, think and decide and have a moral compass in a certain direction… suddenly getting to the point where they’re going to kill their kids and then walk around in Hawaii, and think that, like, as if nothing has happened, and we literally sat there and got Karen and Bradley on the phone after we made our, you know,4 gigabyte list of questions that we had. This is real, and how do we tackle this? Because this is it, and it goes back to what I had said before, a little bit, about that kind of, like, commitment and passion for something that you suddenly get so– the blinders get on so much that everything — all the collateral damage that happens — you, end up not seeing. And so, it was almost– I give Lauren a lot of credit because it was, it was kind of a two-part process of creating Chad for me. Like, I– we really, kind of, had to approach these characters together, in a sense, as one, because, I was in the process of gaining weight, so I kept saying, can we meet back at the croissant place? We kind of kept going to anywhere I could eat massive amounts of food to keep gaining weight for the role and trying to tackle and make sense of that question, and going through beat-by-beat of saying, “OK, here’s the arc of this, when does this moment happen?” Where they decide to go beyond the point of no return, almost.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Alright, thank you, guys, great answers.

Moderator: Thank you so much. We have time for one more, and if there was anyone who had a question and wants it answered, feel free to email us, and we’re happy to get answers for you. So Rick, you will be our last question.

Rick Bentley (Tribune): Thank you. Hey Patrick and Linda, you play characters that are one generation of removed from the central story here. I’m just wondering when you go into those characters when you start thinking about them, did you think of them as people who should have felt guilty should have felt some responsibility, should have would have been in complete denial, I mean, how do you know where you start from on a point with parents of people who are parents of people who are involved with something like this?

Linda Purl: Well, I don’t think denial, although maybe we missed that, maybe we should have. No, I think that you know their merit in this in this story is that they. Is that they fearlessly sort of faced this possibility and became the champions for truth and protection. And I think that’s sort of a cautionary tale maybe to take away from the film, in that in these kinds of situations don’t fail to act. These people did not fail to act and all their actions and seeking of truth and pushing the police and the detectives it was. Too late, but in another instance it might not have been, and so you know in these kinds of horrid situations any one of us you know, God forbid we’re in it, but you, have to, you have to be vigilant and you have to be forceful.

Patrick Duffy: Yeah, I think there is an element of self-reflection when this happens.  Maybe not regret or denial, but you know, as a parent, now my children are in their 40s but, you know when there would be rough patches in their upbringing where they might do things outside of the box that I thought was appropriate behavior, here is an element in me that says should I have foreseen this? Should I have forestalled this? Was there something I should have or could have or might have said that just would have deflected it enough? So for my character in this, although Linda’s character was much more doggedly active, my character was written as somewhat more passive and quiet, and I think part of that was that self-reflection of he was the, you know, quote, unquote, chauvinistically sounding, but the bread earner, the man of the family. And yet all of this happened, how could that happen on his watch had to be part of his processing, so that was the only thing that I could say where I might have felt a bit responsible as a character for the outcome, not that I thought I the character did anything wrong, but what could he have done, I think was the divergent point for me of accepting responsibility partially for what happened.

Linda Purl: And that’s probably human nature too. In any disaster, there’s that lovely phrase, magical thinking, and that we all know what on earth, no matter how irrational, what could I have done? How could I have changed things? How could I have missed the signs? I mean, I think we all go through these kinds of thoughts.



Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 9
(L to R): Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Linda Purl, Patrick Duffy
Doomsday Mom is based on the true story of Lori Vallow (Lauren Lee Smith), who gained national attention when her children, JJ and Tylee, were reported missing from their Idaho home in the Fall of 2019. As investigators learned of Lori and her husband Chad Daybell’s (Marc Blucas) involvement in a doomsday-prepper group, a trail of mystery was revealed spanning five states and numerous questionable deaths, before the bodies of JJ and Tylee were found in the backyard of Chad’s home in June 2020. Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy also star.

Doomsday Mom is produced by Lighthouse Pictures for Lifetime, with Sony Pictures Television distributing. Karen Glass and Tom Mazza of Everywhere Studios and Judith Verno of Peace Out Productions serve as executive producers. Stephen Tolkin wrote the script and Bradley Walsh directs.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy in "Doomsday Mom: The Lori Vallow Story" on Lifetime

Primetime TV Book Review: “Conversations with Legendary Television Stars”

Book Review!

Conversations with Legendary Television Stars: Interviews from the First Fifty Years (Screen Classics) book cover

“Conversations with Legendary Television Stars: Interviews from the First Fifty Years” by James Bawden and Ronald G. Miller Review by Suzanne 7/23/20

This is a very enjoyable book for any fan of classic TV and movies. These two journalists (fans themselves) have interviewed 39 stars from TV of the 50’s and 60’s, over many years, and put them in this book form.  As someone who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s (and watched many re-runs), I loved to read it. The stars don’t hold back, either, about themselves or others in show business. There is a lot of juicy gossip.

For instance, I knew MacDonald Carey (Tom Horton of “Days of Our Lives“) was an alcoholic, but I had no idea that Bea Arthur and Deanna Durbin both were, too. I also had no idea that Gregory Peck was bothered by the fact that Audrey Hepburn got more attention for her role in “Roman Holiday” than he did. There are many, many of these types of tidbits included in the book.

The only thing I would complain about is that there aren’t more stars and more photos (in color).  Yes, all the photos are in black-and-white — just like TV back then.

This is the third book by these two authors! Check them all out on Amazon.  Conversations with Legendary Television Stars: Interviews from the First Fifty Years     Conversations with Classic Film Stars: Interviews from Hollywood’s Golden Era  and You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet: Interviews with Stars from Hollywood’s Golden Era)


Conversations with Legendary Television Stars: Interviews from the First Fifty Years
James Bawden and Ron Miller

During television’s first fifty years—long before cable networks, Hulu, Netflix, and the like—families would gather around their television sets nightly to watch entertaining shows such as I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, M*A*S*H, The Beverly Hillbillies, Fantasy Island, and The Rockford Files. Many of the stars of these beloved shows have passed away, but their presence remains intact—not only through their television show performances, which are still viewed and appreciated today, but also through stories they told in interviews over the years.

Seasoned journalists and authors James Bawden and Ron Miller have captured provocative and entertaining interviews with important figures from TV’s first fifty years. These thirty-nine interviews, selected from conversations conducted from 1971–1998, present a fascinating glimpse of some of television’s most influential performers. Featured are exclusive interviews with major stars (including Donna Reed, James Garner, and Ricardo Montalban), icons of comedy (including Lucille Ball, George Burns, and Milton Berle), TV hosts (including Dick Clark and Ed Sullivan), and notable musical entertainers (such as Glen Campbell, Mary Martin, and Lawrence Welk). Each chapter of this volume explores the subject’s television work—with detailed behind-the-scenes disclosures—and includes additional information about the subject’s performances in film and on stage.

Praise for Conversations with Legendary Television Stars

“Make room on your bookshelf for Bawden and Miller’s latest release, Conversations with Legendary Television Stars. They’ve brought back the lost art of conversation, and their style creates an intimate setting, like having a chat with a famous actor or actress over dinner or drinks. Dirt is kicked up and fun, informative, and surprising nuggets are exposed.”—Robert Crane, coauthor of Crane and My Life as a Mankiewicz

Conversations with Legendary Television Stars includes interviews based on Q&A sessions Bawden and Miller undertook with an impressive array of stars and leading character players from US television and films over the years. The coauthors’ professionalism as reporters and experience with the interviewing process make this an engaging, informative, and fascinating sequel to their other works.”—James Robert Parish, author of Hollywood Divas: The Good, the Bad, and the Fabulous

“Readers can turn to any page of this treasure chest of recollections and find insightful, often humorous, and always fascinating remembrances by some of the greatest names in entertainment history. Bawden and Miller have expertly crafted a collage of the industry’s most vital voices as they reminisce about their lengthy television careers, as well as their adventures in film, on radio, and onstage. This work is an essential tome for entertainment historians and casual film and television buffs, offering a vibrant portrait of a bygone era and a keen reminder of the wild changes in public tastes and entertainment styles during the twentieth century.”—Brent Phillips, author of Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of TVMEG.COM or its other volunteers.

Dick Clark photo in book