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For Y&R, No Hughes Ain't Good News

080520finolahughes.jpg
Finola Hughes by Ron Tom/ABC
In the May 26 issue of TV Guide — on sale this week — I ran an interview with Finola Hughes, aka Anna Devane on ABC's General Hospital, about her upcoming guest stint on CBS' The Young and the Restless. But just after that issue went to press, execs at ABC and GH had a collective cow over Hughes's temporary defection and pressured the actress to drop out of the Y&R role.

ABC has now issued the following statement: "General Hospital always planned a big summer storyline revolving around the characters of Anna Devane and Robin Scorpio as the mother-daughter relationship continues to grow in the face of Robin becoming a mother for the first time. Upon learning Finola Hughes had booked a role in a short story arc on a competing daytime drama, General Hospital requested that she honor her commitment to our show, and she graciously obliged."

Y&R had set Hughes for a four-episode appearance as Zara, the flirty, opportunistic mother of Sabrina (played by Raya Meddine). The character is due to arrive in Genoa City June 19, just in time for Sabrina's wedding to mega-mogul Victor Newman (Eric Braeden).

Word is, the powers at the CBS-Sony soap are furious that their big casting coup was squelched and that Hughes caved in to ABC. A Y&R rep insists the deal with Hughes was signed and sealed — otherwise she wouldn't have been allowed to get on the phone with me to discuss the role (the "exclusive" was set up by a show publicist). Hughes herself told me that there was no scheduling conflict with the two soaps, and that she is not currently under contract to GH (as a free agent, she also hosts Style's How Do I Look?).

Y&R exec producer Josh Griffith is refusing to discuss the situation, choosing instead to send out this statement: "We think Finola is an exceptional actress. We're sorry things didn't work out, and we'd love to work with her in the future."

Y&R has yet to replace Hughes, who was due to begin taping May 28. Here's what the actress told me about the character: "Expect fireworks. Zara is quite the troublemaker and has a very complicated relationship with Sabrina. She deserted her daughter for years, leaving her in boarding schools while she flitted off to live her own life. Now she's back and thrilled that Sabrina is marrying a billionaire."

Some folks close to the situation point to this battle over Hughes as more evidence of ABC's growing animosity toward CBS. A couple of weeks ago, Disney-ABC's SOAPnet.com web site posted an unsubstantiated Perez Hilton item that outed a popular CBS soap star. The recent Daytime Emmy nominations didn't help: CBS scored a whopping 23 acting nods, while ABC — which will air the Emmy telecast — got only three. — Michael Logan


Posted by TV Guide Staff
May 20, 2008 12:13 PM
Gag me!!! Sabrina looks older than her mother???? I'm glad Anna isn't defecting to Y and R because it has become one of the most boring soaps on TV. I've almost dropped it from my viewing as I already have GL. Go ABC soaps!!!
Posted by Brenkis
May 20, 2008 12:49 PM
Big summer story, my foot.

Robin is on 3 minutes a day twice a week.

Give me a break, GH.

You just don't want Y&R drawing in some of your viewers to watch Finola.
Posted by hugitout
May 20, 2008 1:03 PM
Who was the CBS soap star that Perez Hilton outed?
Posted by richierich61
May 20, 2008 1:09 PM
Van Hansis.
Posted by hugitout
May 20, 2008 1:13 PM
Was he ever in? B-)
Posted by Raftrider
May 20, 2008 1:19 PM
GH better ante up with a real story for Anna next time around.
Posted by mmehazel
May 20, 2008 1:38 PM
This is the most petty stunt I've ever seen.

How unprofessional. This really makes ABC look like a bunch of desperate thugs.

It's pretty clear that Finola Hughes was under no legal obligation to drop out of the Y&R role -- as Logan pointed out, she isn't under contract -- but I'm sure ABC made it clear that if she wanted to preserve her longstanding relationship with them (and get future work as Anna), then she might want to back out.

The networks want it both ways now -- they want to keep stars on recurring to avoid expensive contracts, but then also demand the loyalty that a contract ensures.

That's ballsy! I can't believe they have the nerve to pull that!

If an actor isn't under contract, he/she has every right to seek additional acting work elsewhere. Period.

And the outing of another network's star is just unbelievable. The fact that Perez Hilton would do it isn't that surprising -- that swishy little toad is pond scum -- but the fact that a (formerly) reputable network would be party to spreading it is unconscionable.

And, let's get real -- I'm sure ABC has a few stars that could be outed as well.
Posted by Chappy Quiddick
May 20, 2008 1:46 PM
Yes, pretty ballsy of ABC to get so territorial when Anna Devane is a recurring character who just floats in and out.

And regarding the gay thing - yes I'm SURE ABC has a few mo's of their own.
To quote the late great Tallulah Bankhead - if a man isn't married by the age of 35 he is either gay or very smart.
Posted by SharonTateFan4ever
May 20, 2008 1:58 PM
More important than returning as Anna, ABC also owns the Style Network. So if she betrayed them with CBS, it could affect her regular job on How Do I Look?You've gotta love corporate synergy!
Posted by jaebianca
May 20, 2008 2:15 PM
How CBS constantly wins the Emmys is beyond me - the acting, directing and writing on all of their soaps is the triple threat of boredom for me.

That rant aside, this was pretty petty - and typical - of ABC daytime.
Posted by JaySix
May 20, 2008 2:24 PM
ABC also owns the Style Network. So if she betrayed them with CBS, it could affect her regular job on How Do I Look? - jaebianca

Well, since she dumped the Y&R gig, the point is probably moot now. However, that could very well have been part of ABC's overall threat...er, I mean, strong suggestion.

It'll be interesting to see just how "big" her summer storyline is.

It's amazing to me that these soap producers still get away with the old "big storyline coming up" routine.

Usually this promise is made to gullible actors who, for some reason they like enough to keep on contract, but not enough to give actual story to.

Literally hundreds of times over the years I've seen that scenario play out.

I remember reading last year that Thorne on The Bold and the Beautiful had a "big" storyline coming up.

Well, what he had was an asinine three-week whirlwind drug addiction/romance/almost-wedding plot-let with Donna.

Since then, I think he's been seen maybe 10 times, usually with just a line or two.

And yet, next time Winsor Harmon's contract is up for renewal, the producers will give him the same BS, he'll believe it and sign the contract, and a statement will be issued calling him a "valued member of the cast."

Then Thorne will have a two-week brain tumor, after which he'll miraculously recover and then be seen only on holidays and weddings.
Posted by Chappy Quiddick
May 20, 2008 2:41 PM
"How unprofessional. This really makes ABC look like a bunch of desperate thugs."

Ditto! Bad enough that they set up long time fans 2 years ago by bringing in Tristan Rogers, Emma Samms and Finola Hughes, only to drop them and concentrate on...Sonny. Yes, stories glorifying mobsters and murders is the way to go! insert sarcasm

They don't utilize their veterans; concentrate on stupid teenies, forget about telling us stories of adventure, romance and relationships, instead for the past 12 years or so, GH has become the Mafia of Port Charles.

They didn't do ANYTHING to deserve Emmy nominations, imho.

And I don't understand why actors can't guest star on competing networks, especially if they're not under contract and/or their characters aren't being utilized (if that makes sense).

Oh. Wait. I forgot. This is ABC I'm talking about. Never mind.

~Sangeeta
Posted by Geets226
May 20, 2008 2:45 PM
Man although I love Anna Devane it would have been great to see a real woman go toe-to-toe with Victor Newman. I think it's about time he bow down and respect a woman who can blow him out of the water instead of acting like every woman is beneath him. It would have been great if she came in there all Alexis Carrington and knocked him off his perch and Fiona is just the actress to do it to the mustache. Also ending this stupid storyline of Sabrina the slut. But I Would never want to lose Anna for any reason.
Posted by Justeace
May 20, 2008 2:45 PM
And Geets what the heck did Y and R do to earn nominations? I've watched it since it began and it is one of the most boring soaps on the air at the moment----barely above GL--which I've dropped altogether. I can watch Y and R in 10 minutes. AMC is the best of all right now. It has brought back core characters from 25 years ago and it's like they never left. Y and R is all over the place. The writing as certainly gone downhill since Ed Scott left.
Posted by Brenkis
May 20, 2008 2:55 PM
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