Thursday, December 10, 2009

Claire Labine Answers YOUR Questions

Following my interview series with Claire Labine, many inquiring minds still had many questions.  Fortunately, Ms. Labine has generously agreed to answer your follow up questions here at We Love Soaps!

Just leave a question for Ms. Labine in the Comments section below BEFORE Friday, December 11th, at 2 p.m. ET.  I will ask her as many as our time permits.  (If you already asked a question in the comments during the interview, then don't worry, I have it, it will be asked). 

To read the full interview with Ms. Labine, click here.


  1. Hello Ms. Labine - Love your work -

    Do you know Harding Lemay? What did you think of Another World during the 1970's? What about Douglas Marland? Any stories to share about ABC chief Jackie Smith? Any chance of a Ryan's Hope reunion on SoapNet?

  2. What about writing novels based on the projects she would have written for television? She is a wonderful writer and would love to read her words if I can not see and hear them.

  3. Ms. Labine,

    Thanks for the many hours of entertainment you've provided me over the years. I've enjoyed your work so much.

    Three questions:

    1. Of the several times you left Ryan's Hope, which writer do you think did the best job of following in your footsteps and remaining true to your vision of the show? Why?

    2. Your reign at General Hospital was my favorite. Is there anything you would have done differently during your time there? If so, what and why?

    3. Is it true that writer's get a bonus and residuals for creating new characters on the soaps? And do those residuals for character creation continue as long as the charcter remains on the canvas, even if the writer has left the show? Over the years, the soap press has had conflicting reports about this.

  4. I really enjoyed your work over the years, and am glad you continue to care enough about the industry and fans to talk about your stories.

    What did you think of John Blazo as Pat? Did he want to leave, or was he replaced? In many ways, I liked him almost as much as Malcolm Groome, who was, of course, excellent. I thought he was a good fit as the somewhat invisible child of the Ryan family.

    Do you ever wish you had put Jack and Siobhan together?

    Is there any truth to the rumors that on GL, around the time you were writing, Olivia and Holly were going to get involved?

    Right after you left OLTL, Eli, the HIV-positive teenager Carlotta Vega adopted, vanished without a trace. If you had stayed, what story did you have planned for him?

  5. Ms. Labine,

    It's an honor to have the opportunity to say hello to you and ask you questions. It may be cliche and over the top to say, but you are true "daytime royalty" and we were privileged to have you in the industry.

    Real quick: I loved you at GH, and I know your time at OLTL was brief. I'm curious, though - how did you come up with the storyline at One Life in which Blair had her daughter taken from her in a custody battle with Todd Manning, who then became romantically involved with Tea Delgado? It has been rumored that the Tea character was originally modeled in part after Jill from Ryan's Hope; is that true? How was the decision made to focus on Tea and Todd rather than Blair, who spent much of your tenure in a coma?

    Also, did you have any role in the multiple personality or "DID" story One Life embarked on with Todd in 1998, or was that all taken up by the writers after you left?

    I loved many of your new characters including Mel Hayes, and the material with Carlotta Vega and Eli, who another poster mentioned, and I wish your stay at One Life could've been longer. Thank you for taking the time out to talk to us.

  6. Ms. Labine,

    Thank you so much for your work. You are my favorite soap opera writer!

    I was curious about what your original story plans had been following the death of Frank early in Ryan's Hope--for example, Delia's path would have been very different if she had actually killed Frank! Also, what was your original idea for Mary's exit story? (As I understand it, you wanted to kill off Mary when Kate Mulgrew left.) Another person already asked about Jack and Siobhan, but I would love to know your thoughts on them--they had so much chemistry, and their scenes together were so compelling!

  7. Dear Ms. Labine,

    Thank you for Ryan's Hope, your intelligent writing has gotten me through many rough patches.
    Rosie O'Donnell hinted once in her blog she was trying to bring back Ryan's Hope. Is that still a go?

    What writers have influenced your work?

    On Guiding Light, what did you think of the San Christobel storyline?

    And this is very cheesy...

    Is it possible to get Trent Jones' "Jillian" on an MP3 or on Itunes? Ever since I heard it on SoapNet it's been in my head.

  8. Dear Claire,
    Under yours and your son Matthew's head writing during your brief stay at One Life to Live, I witnessed some of the best character development and witty dialogue the show has ever had. The episode when Mel's mother, Mary "Dr. Maude" Boylan as played by the marvelous Helen Gallagher, came to meet Dorian and her Kramer girls for the first time with granddaughter Dorothy (Mel's daughter) at La Boulais, was just so incredibly charming, sophisticated, elegant, yet tense and dramatic. I also loved the chemistry between the characters of RJ Gannon and Jacara Principal, whom together created Bluejay/Indigo Records. And to top that off, there was Club Indigo's transgendered mixologist, Wendi Mercury, who was a sympathetic ear to Llanview's denizens. OK, where's my question? How do you come up with all these brilliant characters and just make it work?

  9. First I just want to thank you Ms Labine for all of your hard work and love for soaps over the years.

    My question...What if anything do you think can be done to revitalize the soap opera genre?

  10. Ms. Labine - Ryan's Hope is still one of the things I miss most about my youth! Thanks for your contributions to that show, and to the soaps genre.
    My question: What do you think is the future for soap operas?

  11. Ms Labine

    First off I would like to thank you for the fantastic story of Sonny and Brenda. I always wondered how you would have written Sonny off the show in 1998. Would you have had Sonny leaving Brenda at the altar? I am dying to know how you would have sent him off.

    Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer our questions

  12. Hi Ms. Labine,

    I enjoyed your work on both Ryan's Hope and General Hospital and was wondering if you'd ever return to GH as head writer if ABC asked you. The show is in DESPERATE need of a fresh vision and I think you would bring back some HEART to the show. What do you think?

  13. Was their ever a character on any of the soaps you have written on that you couldn't stand but the network wouldn't let you write them out?

  14. Dear Ms. Labine,

    I loved General Hospital under your pen; in particular, the Spencer family. Even if Tony Geary didn't love it, I adored seeing Luke and Laura start a family with Lucky. Lucky is my favorite soap character thank you for creating him.

    With Jonathan Jackson's recent return to GH as Lucky, I was just wondering how you envisioned Lucky's character originally. What role did you think he would play in Luke and Laura's life? Did you envision them being good parents? Does it bother you at all that GH spent most of the last decade having Luke and Lucky at each other's throats?

  15. Hello Ms. Labine - I was a huge fan of your work on General Hospital. I do have a question, as much as I loved the character of Sonny under your writing I really dislike how GH is now all about the mob. Sonny and Jason are two criminal characters that now rule all and it is so disheartening. The hospital is all but gone. The show is dark and soulless. Do you have any thoughts about why GH went in this direction? Do you ever regret placing so much focus on the mob and Sonny Corinthos?

  16. Ms Labine- Your "voice" is greatly missed on Soaps.

    A comment first- I can't begin to tell you how special GH was during your run, characters I loved to watch like Lucy Coe and Felicia were given some of the best definition and dramatic material of their lives, everyone lived up to the storytelling!


    I know you did not really have to face this as they were already gone from the show, but do you think you could have found a way to weave Robert and Anna into the types of stories you were telling on GH, and what type of role could they have played?

    Did you have any specific plans for Mary Mae Ward that were cut short by her real life death?

    I read that the storyline that reintroduced the Cassadines was based on an idea you had for the return of Luke and Laura, that somebody needed a bone marrow transplant and that is what brought them back to town. Any truth to that one?

  17. Can you comment on why ABC has not shown the second half of the Ryan's Hope run on SoapNet? They have given various reasons including the cost of music rights. RH is such a great show, perhaps the best-ever American soap, and it would be wonderful for the old and new fans to get to see the entire run all the way through at least once.

  18. please comment on the almost male rape jail scene with major heartthrob character (beanie) on love of life (soap) in 1974 ? ? a taboo topc in mid 70's.

    also,the horsemeat/cafeteria story on love of life ?

    didn't u bring back beanie's (nickname) mother to love of life ?? soap started & was about a good & evil sister who had lover who had niteclub & then evil sister left show for long time ??

  19. tell about the great character..jeff (mayor) & his marrriage to meg on love of life.jeff threatened ben's (meg's son) life.ben married for money.he was like his evil mother.meg didn't like ben's playboy life & she stopped giving him $ & ben wanted to marry betsy crawford to get her half a million that betsy said he could get,but ben was already married.meg didn't know he was already married.was this your story or paul's (your co writer0?
    did u write the vietnamese woman & war vet story & the prostitue & pimp story on love of life ?
    aslo the bruce is dying & finds ..his wife vanessa a new lover story & bruce's daughter from a extramarital affair story ?

  20. Thank you, Ms. Labine, for agreeing to answer our questions, and thank you so much for all of the enjoyment that your writing has brought me and so many other viewers over the years. You always wrote up to your audience, and I truly believe that as I was growing up I learned things from your stories.

    (And thanks, Damon, for giving us this opportunity. I am sorry that this is so lengthy - believe me, I would be honored if you were able to pick out even one of these questions that you might want to discuss further in your interview.)

    My questions:

    It sounds like you and the late, great Paul Avila Mayer accomplished something at Love of Life that a lot of people who have loved Guiding Light and As the World Turns probably wish that somebody could pull off today. From what I've read, you were able to turn around what many people saw as a completely antiquated soap, while drawing from history and rebuilding the core families (and the ratings went up!). Obviously, that was a very different time in daytime, creatively and financially, but do you think that anything like that could happen for a soap today? If so, how do you think it could be accomplished?

    In your mind, where are the characters of Ryan's Hope today?

    I've read that you had developed and pitched a new soap to CBS during the years when you were away from RH. Was this an earlier version of what almost became your GH spinoff in the mid-90s, or was it something else? Can you tell us about it?

    Were there any shows you would have liked to have written for and/or were approached about writing in the years after RH went off, before you went to GH? How did you come to decide to write for GH, after several years away from the genre? I'm sure glad that you did - that's how I came to know your work, and as a result I've checked out every show you've been involved with since and fell in love with Ryan's Hope reruns on SoapNet - but I always wondered how GH came about.

    You were at ABC when it was bought by Disney (and probably when it was bought by Capital Cities before that). In retrospect, at the time Disney took over, it seemed like all three of those shows were doing some really groundbreaking things (none more so than your GH, of course), and then a few months later, not so much. Do you have any thoughts on how the new ownership affected the way the ABC daytime lineup was run?

    I loved hearing you talk about how much you enjoyed writing for Holly, Buzz, and Billy on Guiding Light. I remember some of those scenes, and I sensed that at the time. Were there any other GL characters you wished you could have written for, either who were on the canvas at the time but not utilized very much or who were already gone from the show by then?

    For that matter, it must have been a daunting experience learning 65 years worth of history for a show that had really lost so much of its core by the time you arrived. It seems like without very many longtime cast members or a reliable video archive, if the people in charge didn't want an incoming writer to honor GL's history, there weren't necessarily a lot of sources at your disposal to catch up. Was there anything in the show's history that you wished you had known more about sooner and/or been able to draw from in your own stories?

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  22. Sorry, I asked so many questions that Google cut me off. Just a few more questions...

    I wonder if you have been able to catch OLTL at all in the past few years, and if so, what your thoughts are? I've read that you were indirectly responsible for its current head writer, Ron Carlivati, first getting hired as an assistant over a decade ago, and then of course he worked for you while you were head writer. OLTL certainly has its share of problems these days, like all of these shows, but I feel it's truly a cut above the rest and it's the only soap I now look forward to watching. I have actually seen moments in the recent past that really remind me of a "Claire Labine show." Do you see yourself as having been a mentor to Carlivati? Are there any other writers whom you have mentored in the past who you think might do particularly well in the head writer position, if given the chance?

    Speaking of which, do your son and daughter, Matthew Labine and Eleanor Labine Mancusi, have any interest in working in daytime again? It seems like they must have learned a great deal about the form from you and from their experiences writing with you. Are they involved in any other creative endeavors these days?

    As a longtime New Yorker - and a writer who has primarily written for shows taped in NY - what do you think about the exodus of NY-based soaps? (With ATWT and GL being canceled, AMC moving to LA, and every new soap that has debuted in nearly 15 years being based on the west coast.) You certainly proved at GH that good soap opera can be created on either coast, but still, it's hard to imagine Ryan's Hope or some of your other shows being produced anywhere but NY.

  23. Also, another question...
    What would Maeve think of Sarah Palin?

  24. where the heart is (soap) had a college.did u write the son/father with the same lover story ??

    was a 4th of july show wrote for one life (soap).but never shown ?

  25. why few blacks on ryan's hope ? why did doctor clem (with earring) & other important characters leave r's hope after three yrs ?? clem had a was unheard of for a soap during that time to have professional with a earring ! awesome !! why was bucky & bob characters given little to do ? whi makes decisions on which character should be focus ?

    if r's hope had been a hour..would it have lasted longer ? do u wish it had been expanded ? why were soo many characters written out after 3 yr contract eneded after show had been on air for three yrs ?? r us sorry u sold show ? some shows of r's hope were skipped ? did all shows survive ?? where did u find them ? will there be a dvd ?? does music rights keep all shows from being shown or was first four yrs the beat ? will shows from yr 5 be shown ?

  26. would u write g hospital again ? would u write or consult for all my children if u were given opportunity ?? if soo..should fans write ? would u like to write with agnes nixon or pam long ?

    u & hogan sheffer were hired about same time for g light & world turns ? i love your long scenes with two characters & seeing characters have lots of lines & hearing new words.

    would u have wanted to write for world turns ?? i think u would be great !! did u almost get world turns job ??

  27. do u live in brooklyn ?? seems that has been mentioned in articles. wish u would have write for world turns in brooklyn ?

    wish bob character on ryan's hope would have gotten more romance story.why was his romance short ? character was on for yrs & actor went to prime time tv.

    loved polly character on r's hope.

    will there be a dvd ? what woudl be happening on ryan's ??

    did u almost get job at world turns instead of hogan & either writer could have easily ened up at other soap ? did hogan like world turns & related to show better & not prince /island story on g light & got world turns instead ? hogan & u r great writers !! what did u think of that LONG,Long,long prince/ island away from springfield story ? should dr rick bauer (main family) & other bauers have been used more ? did u bring meta back ?

    what stories would u have written for world turns ? would love to see your multi generational stories on world turns ?

    what stories did u have on soap (where the heart is) ?

    can u show all of the ryan's hope shows somewhere ??? another channel or buy the shows ?

  28. will u appear at ryan's hope gathering or have a ryan's hope event ?

    what movies do u like ?? read that u go to movies .

  29. did claire graduate from the university of ky ?? did she write for children's weekday show named capt kangaroo ?? if long ?? was she fired from show ??

  30. would u write for another soap ??
    do u live close to world turn show ? wish u have wroet multi generational ,triangle stories for world turns.

  31. where the heart is & love of life (soaps) were on a long time.which stars did u admire ?? many were famous or became famous ?

    lots of r's hope message u read them ?

    glad longrunning character audrey on g hospital didn't get alzheimer's disease.

  32. I just started watching Ryan's Hope on SoapNet. Great show, interesting show. Despite what critics have said over the years, I get what you were trying to do with Delia and Prince Albert. It worked for me.

    In your mind was Delia an abuse survivor? How did she end up so desperate and needy and self-centered, yet overly emotional and fragile?

    I've come into show around 1979/1980 seasons. So I missed Ilene Kristen's take on the role. Did Delia remain consistent during both portrayals or did you alter the character when Randall came aboard?

    Also one other question. The Barry Ryan character has just appeared. When the character was first mentioned by John as a setup, he was the manager of a boxer. Then all of a sudden right before the character is introduced, Barry is the manager of rock singer. Was that a story rewrite, figuring managing a rock singer would be more appealing to audience than a boxer?

    Also, just how big was the Ryan house supposed to be? At this point, there are 2 kids, Johnny and Maeve, Delia, Jack, and sometimes Siobhan. A 6 bedroom house on the Upper West Side? Was John secretly working with Tiso?