General Hospital's Michelle Stafford Previews ABC Soap's Live Episodes: 'It's Not What You Would Expect'

General Hospital Live Shows

When One Life to Live strayed from the soap script in 2002 and went live for a week’s worth of episodes, Michelle Stafford — who at the time played Phyllis Newman on CBS’ The Young and the Restless — got very jealous, very quickly.

Like, throw-a-vase-at-your-rival’s-head-and-plot-a-complicated-revenge-plan-ending-in-a-Friday-cliffhanger jealous.

“I remember going, ‘Oh my God,” the actress tells TVLine, “I want to do that here.'”

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Fast-forward more than a decade, and Stafford is finally getting her wish. As part of its ongoing 52nd anniversary celebration, ABC’s General Hospital — thanks to the musical-chairs world of daytime drama, Stafford is now a series regular on that soap — will broadcast live shows today and Monday (check local listings).

On both days, the cast will go through the entire episode twice: Once at 11 PT (for those markets where GH airs at 2 pm) and once at noon (for those markets where the soap airs at 3 pm). Ironically, viewers on the West Coast will see one of the taped live broadcasts in the show’s regular timeslot.

Like many of her co-stars, Stafford has experience in live theater; she says she intends to pull heavily from that part of her background when the cameras start rolling Friday.

Of course, the vagaries of live theater have made her aware she might have to bail out — or be bailed out by — a scene partner, which is why she’s stoked to be sharing scenes with castmate Roger Howarth, who plays somewhat-insane-artist Franco to her crazy-yet-compelling Nina.

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“I’m good with saving somebody in the scene,” Stafford offers. “And Roger is really good with it, because a couple of times… he’s saved me.”

Though Stafford was forbidden to give much scoop about the without-a-net episodes, here’s what we could gather. A wedding will take place — maybe the recently engaged Brad and Lucas? “It’s not what you would expect, and I don’t think it’s who you would expect, either,” she says.

It’s almost a given that Nina and Franco will share a scene or two during the big experiment, but Staffford says she also acts opposite another character. “I’m not allowed to say. But… it’s random. And it’s really a turn that I did not expect.”

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Furthermore, “A big secret comes out” — likely related to Jake really being the much-missed Jason, though that’s just our guess. And finally, “somebody gets to get revenge on somebody, which makes them feel very good, and then somebody has a dire situation.”

In other words, it’s just another day in Port Charles, N.Y. And if you catch Stafford stammering a line or tripping over a prop, don’t be so sure it’s a mistake.

“I was thinking of pretending like I flubbed, just so the audience goes, ‘Did she? Or did she not?’,” the actress says, laughing. “And, of course, I’m going to have my friends watch and [I’ll] be like, ‘When I touch my nose in the second scene, that’s when I’m saying hi to you.'”

She laughs harder, then adds, “Don’t tell [executive producer] Frank [Valentini] that part.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. wrstlgirl says:

    Love Michelle Stafford but I feel for her in this role. Nina and Franco are so bad it’s embarrassing. I know who the wedding is and it’s ridiculous.

    • Shugar says:

      Michelle is my FAVORITE scientologist! She makes me want to move to Cali so I can go to their Celebrity Center! I want to go clear!!!

  2. bj says:

    “It’s almost a given that Nina and Franco will share a scene or two during the big experiment”

    Of course it is.

    I can’t stand the characters.

    I bet Ned and Olivia are getting married but why would Nina or Franco be there?

    • wrstlgirl says:

      From what I understand the wedding is completely out of left field. I’m curious to see why these two wed because it makes no sense :-)

    • casper says:

      Never cared for Nina and Franco…..they need to go away along with Obrecht. Bring back Monica, Epiphany. Really sick of Sabrina, Elizabeth, Jordon and Shawn, T.J. and Sloane. I’m glad I record the shows so I can fast forward when they come on. Enough of the mob stuff.

  3. Hee says:

    Jason Thompson (Patrick Drake) tweeted that he’d scratch his head as a hello to fans. Watch for it.

  4. Eric7740 says:

    Love Michelle Stafford, love her in this role. Although I do miss her as Phyllis on Y&R, because the Ms. Tognoni, although a fine actress, is just not Phyllis. Keep rocking GH Michelle!!!

  5. BrightLight says:

    Well I’m about a week behind on GH. I just finished watching the first episode after the Nurse’s Ball so I think I’ll spend all weekend catching up and watch both live episodes back to back on Tuesday.

  6. aph1976 says:

    I can’t wait to see the live episodes on General Hospital today and Monday.As for Michelle Stafford i’m sure she’ll do a great job but it might help her that she is working with Roger Howarth who did some of the live episodes on OLTL in 2002.So he might be more prepared in case there are slip ups.Plus he may know how to improvise in scenes when he has to.

  7. carolyn says:

    It could be Olivia and Ned. Even though she’s going on maternity leave and Wally is going back to Days. Who really knows? Can’t wait.

  8. KayCeeCee says:

    I’m excited about the live show.

  9. p whitby says:

    Does sam have to filter through all the men surely she dont think all men are suppose to.

  10. Maria Diaz says:

    I am so in love with Franco and Nina, there so much fun to see together. And I’m loving Hayden and how she giving Elizabeth a hard time. But due to the bombing verdict, how can I see what happened on the show

    • bj says:

      Try going to the website for the network that airs the show in your area. I was lucky, I just flipped over to our local Canadian station and watched the last 12 minutes.

  11. Marge Grone says:

    NO,NO,NO Please don’t stay live I hated it. It totally took away from the show. Don’t think i would even continue watching it. I loved this show till now.

  12. Donna Johnson says:

    Yikes! I found the live show to be slow and boring! After all the advertising of going live I thought the content would be much more interesting.

  13. susan says:

    I thought the live show was better then the taped episodes. They all did a great job. For the 1st time really loved Hayden as she told off Elizabeth but you know she’s the one getting killed. I just hope she has the chance to tell Jake/Jason and Sam before that happens.

  14. Yes, love live GH! ..not so much another breaking news story that ABC NEWS NY, NEVER fails to interrupt constantly, and can’t wait 20 minutes for the story on the news! Sick of it!

    • bj says:

      The worst part was they cut into the live show and we still had to wait well over a half hour to hear the verdict.

  15. don says:

    The cast performed so well that we got impression that it was a taped episode well done. can’t to see when happens monday at 2PM ,11PT

  16. casper says:

    Hate when ABC New York breaks in for their so called Breaking News….always when GH is on.
    They just can’t seem to wait till the program is over with. Sick of this Hayden character. Make her disappear along with the kid that plays Spencer.

    • maria diaz says:

      Omg I agree Spencer is soooo annoying. Playing a spoiled little rich kid. Maybe his story line should be him getting lost in the streets and seeing how bad it is when you don’t have money. Sounds mean but it can be done tastefully