Sunday, April 21, 2013

INTERVIEW: Jerry verDorn Has "High Hopes" For The New 'One Life to Live'

Jerry verDorn

When One Life to Live returns on April 29, two-time Emmy winner Jerry verDorn will once again be playing Clint Buchanan, a role he took over in 2005, after 26 years starring on Guiding Light. We Love Soaps spoke with verDorn about the return of One Life to Live in a brand new interview from the set in Stamford, Connecticut. Read it below:

We Love Soaps TV: I spent last year working as editorial director for Soap Classics, and part of my job was watching old reel-to-reel tapes of Guiding Light. I saw a lot of early Ross Marler. Did you ever think your old soap episodes would come back in some form?

Jerry verDorn: No! I first started doing a soap in the mid-'70s, I forget which one it was. It was kind of a medium where you did one, and it went into outer space, and then you did another one and moved on. To have it be rerun in any form, at that time, was really foreign. It was kind of unusual, but good, for the fans to see those discs come out.

We Love Soaps TV: We're now getting close to the new One Life to Live premiere. In the year where it seemed like it was dead, did you have an inkling the show might return?
Jerry verDorn: The two gentlemen [from Prospect Park], Jeff [Kwatinetz] and Rich [Frank], spoke to us in the old ABC studios. I never met them that day but I remember thinking, "These are two very competitive gentlemen." They have good resumes and are competitive.  When it fell through and they still had 11 more months to do something I said to my wife, "I doubt they are just going to let it expire and give it back." So I was a little bit taken aback but not completely surprised when it got rejuvenated.

We Love Soaps TV: Was there any question you were going to return?
Jerry verDorn: I thought about a few of the bare bone details like where it was.

We Love Soaps TV: Do you live in New York?
Jerry verDorn: [Joking] No, a thousand miles away in northern New Jersey. But there are hotels here.

We Love Soaps TV: Do you commute every day?
Jerry verDorn: No, I'm too old for that. So once I got a few of those details down like who was writing it and who was the executive producer I agreed because I wanted to be part of, in the context of show business, a piece of history.

We Love Soaps TV: Have you worked with [head writer] Thom Racina before? I can't think of a crossover there...
Jerry verDorn: I don't think he ever wrote for a show I was on. Our claim to fame is we did The Maury Povich Show together in the '90s. [Laughs] They know the show well now and it shows in the scripts.

Erika Slezak & Jerry verDorn - Photo: TOLN

Erika Slezak & Jerry
verDorn - Photo: TOLN

We Love Soaps TV: Does this feel like the old One Life to Live set?
Jerry verDorn: You know, it was the weirdest thing to come around the corner in week one and there was the Lord library. I spent so many hours there and, of course, Erika [Slezak, who plays Viki] spent months and months and years in that place. It was like a new and improved Lord library. The floor plans were the same so we felt right at home. It was just kind of very eerie.

We Love Soaps TV: Do watch any web series or TV in general?
Jerry verDorn: Not a lot of TV in general but I check out my friends on Venice and Gothan and some of the other ones. When I told my sons we were going to do this and that it was happening, and dad was going to come out of retirement, both of them, who are in their mid-20s, kind of looked at me and said, "It's about time." They seldom watch TV on the TV. They might for the basketball tournament and the Super Bowl. But in their daily lives they are watching it on their iPad and everything else but a TV. That generation is very much now "on demand". They want to watch it when they want to watch it.

We Love Soaps TV: What should people be most excited about with this new One Life to Live.
Jerry verDorn: The quality and look of the show is just creamy, it's really good. And the words are good too. We've been shooting pieces of many different episodes so I'm anxious to see all of one show. In my experience, my instincts tell me this could be good.

We Love Soaps TV: Do you think the 30 minute format will be better?
Jerry verDorn: Well, we're not exactly like a 30 minute show.

We Love Soaps TV: You're right. A 30 minute show on TV today is more like 18 minutes [plus commercials].
Jerry verDorn: The hour show I just left on ABC was what 41 minutes?

We Love Soaps TV: On a good day.
Jerry verDorn: [Laughs] On a good day! I haven't been told how it's going to happen but there's going to be the opening stuff, then an ad or whatever and the show starts and goes. You get the whole arc of that day's episode.

We Love Soaps TV: That's how TV started, shows were "brought to you by something" and then you watched.
Jerry verDorn: For the medium of soaps, continuous stories that go every day with no hiatus, this is a really cool format. I have high hopes.

We Love Soaps TV: Is there anything you can preview?
Jerry verDorn: It's hard to tell shooting out of order! [Laughs] We're shooting by sets so whatever takes place in that set we do it. We have been talking about weddings... I think it's going to fun.

EDITOR'S NOTE: One Life to Live returns April 29 on The Online Network, available on Hulu, HuluPlus and iTunes in the United States, and FX Canada in Canada.

- INTERVIEW: Erika Slezak On The Return Of One Life to Live
- INTERVIEW: Catching Up With One Life to Live's Kelley Missal
- INTERVIEW: On the Set of One Life to Live with Rob Gorrie
- INTERVIEW: One Life to Live's Laura Harrier Is Excited To Be In Llanview
- INTERVIEW: Josh Kelly Loves Being Part Of One Life to Live's 'Beautiful Family'
- INTERVIEW: One Life to Live's Tuc Watkins On Playing David Vickers The Past 19 Years, And His Indie Soap Award Nomination
- INTERVIEW: One Life to Live's Shenaz Treasury On Landing An American Soap, and Rama's Roving Eye
- Prospect Park/TOLN News Hub

Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting We Love Soaps TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and Rockland County. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series Imaginary Bitches and Empire. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps, worked as a producer on the first two seasons of Emmy-nominated The Bay, and is executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals.  He appeared in Francophrenia and the documentary Soap Life in 2012.