Posted by TVita
Sometimes, my job really doesnâ€™t suck. Like, say, when I fly to L.A. to spend the day on the set of SOAPnetâ€™s new prime-time series General Hospital: Night Shift. Not only was it exciting to walk into my favorite daytime world, but it was a rare treat to get the inside scoop on a show that features a setup thatâ€™s new to both the network and the daytime genre as a whole. Taking the action out of a long-arc format and into one of stand-alone episodes, the show, as the name would suggest, focuses its action on the night shift of the titular hospitalâ€™s ER â€” with locations including, Iâ€™m told, a tryst-ready supply closet or two. Thereâ€™s none of that tawdry action going down today (darn), but thereâ€™s plenty else for me to see.
Hanging out in the green room with Bradford Anderson, Jason Thompson, Steve Burton and more of the Night Shift cast was fantastic, and I just had to share the love. Weâ€™ll be covering the show and my set visit in our July issue of Channel Guide Magazine, of course, but I just couldnâ€™t let all of my stories from the set wait until then. Weâ€™re a little more than a month away from the showâ€™s July 12 premiere now â€“ just enough time to really get you excited about it with some interviews and insight from the set.
Nestled just below the Hollywood Hills on a largely residential street, ABC Studios could be easy to miss. Up past the gate, the tree-lined parking lot is unassuming enough â€” until you spot the rows of trailers that usually house the actors of Greyâ€™s Anatomy, which also films there. Entering the General Hospital building, I was a little surprised at how nondescript it all is. Dorm-like hallways are lined with dressing rooms, hair and makeup, and such. I quickly found that the real hub was the centrally located green room. Lined with comfy couches and stocked with a healthy supply of tabloids, this room multi-tasks as a home base for extras, a meet-and-greet lounge for fans, and is where I sat down with Spinelli himself, the hilarious Bradford Anderson (who, by the way, took the day’s “I’d love like to get a beer with this guy!” honors).
Howâ€™d you get â€śhiredâ€ť for the night shift?
I was asked, and that excited me, because that meant someone liked me! Actually, the way I found out was through Steve Burton. A lot of the stuff I do on the regular GH is with him, [and] we have a lot of fun together â€“ our characters have a good chemistry.
Is it tough keeping track of what Spinelli is doing on “GH” and what heâ€™s doing on “Night Shift?”
Itâ€™s cool! Spinelli is fighting for the girl on General Hospital, and he is fighting for a girl on Night Shift â€¦ the competition, it seems, for Spinelli on [Night Shift] is Jason. Iâ€™m not sure Jason is in the mood for a twentysomething blond, so if Spinelli can find a way to win the girl, at least heâ€™s not competing with other suitors, so thatâ€™s a plus!
Has “Night Shift” been a real adjustment to shoot?
The first day that we shot, which was location shots and exteriors, that was a little bit different, but itâ€™s just like an extra work day. Normally we work on Fridays, but this time of year we have Fridays off, so now we just donâ€™t have Fridays off! The new relationships are fun â€“ those are kind of the new things: working with different people and new relationships. Itâ€™s kind of like when youâ€™re in school and thereâ€™s a holiday. â€¦ [when you come back], youâ€™re walking down the halls and itâ€™s the same, but somethingâ€™s different!
How long have you been in L.A.?
I moved out to L.A. about a year and a half ago. I went to NYU â€“ I grew up in New Hampshire, and for a little bit I was doing regional theater outside of New York. In the fall of 2005 I moved out here.
Have your fellow NYU alums ever given you crap for being on a soap?
No, not really! A couple of my friends that still live in New York are on New York soaps, and in New York â€¦ soaps are some of the best gigs to get, because you can actually still do [theater] shows at night. Theyâ€™re one of the best money jobs in New York, because thereâ€™s not that many TV jobs in New York. So soaps are a big deal! Out here theyâ€™re not such a big deal; youâ€™re kind of lower on the totem pole. But I think that people that come from theater all have the idea that work is work, so weâ€™re all pleased whenever weâ€™re working.
Have you had any early response from fans about “Night Shift?”
Theyâ€™re incredibly interested and curious about it. To see your favorite characters in a completely new environment â€“ well, not a completely new environment, but I think theyâ€™re just excited to have another opportunity to see their favorite characters do something that theyâ€™re not used to seeing them doing.
Soap fans are known for being really passionate; whatâ€™s the strangest fan encounter youâ€™ve had?
Iâ€™m on MySpace, so Iâ€™m privileged enough to get a lot of response. Thereâ€™s been some strange messages, but I see all of them as positive. Iâ€™ve only started to do events; I did a publicity event at the University of Florida, and everyone is â€“ thereâ€™s so much joy and happiness when you meet soap fans! Itâ€™s all new to me, but itâ€™s fun.
Check back soon for another report from the Night Shift!