It’s villain vs. vixen and hunk vs. stud, as fifteen of daytime’s hottest stars battle it out on Wheel of Fortune. On Saturday January 28th, Soapdom attended the taping of Soap Stars Week at Sony Pictures Studio in Culver City, and had the chance sit down with several of the celebrity contestants.
To help kick off the 23rd season of the popular game show, Wheel of Fortune partnered up with SOAPnet to make this exciting week a reality. As Deborah Blackwell, General Manager of the sudsy channel stated, “We’re honored that Wheel of Fortune came to SOAPnet, as the ambassador of the soap community, to facilitate a week dedicated to soaps.”
Following in the channel’s humorous slant on soaps, Wheel of Fortune will dedicate each night to either Hunks & Studs, Young Hotties, Soap Idols, Vixens and Villains or All Time Favorites, depending on the traits of each actor’s character. While the celebrities will be playing for their favorite charities, they will be paired up with one of their fans who will be playing for cash and soap-themed prizes, courtesy of SOAPnet. The non-celebrity contestants will also be placed in a drawing with the grand prize consisting of a VIP visit to the set of one of daytime’s most popular soaps.
Before the taping of each segment, the actors made their rounds with the press on one of the sound stages across from where the show actually tapes. The stars sat and talked with K-BIG radio, Soap Opera Update, TV Guide, Soapdom (of course!) and SOAPnet.
Manning the mike for the soap channel was none other than Matthew Ashford (Jack, DAYS). His role of interviewer came about when he was asked to be an alternate player, “If somebody falls down the stairs going up to the big wheel, I step in. I’m here in case anything should happen.” Since his job was just to sit around and wait, “They said ‘We got Matt here, let’s put him to work.’” A job that suited him just fine. “I love to chat away and talk, but this gives me a chance to do it with a microphone in my hand.” Soapdom asked Ashford if this was the start of a new career. “It could be, it could be.”
We don’t know if he’s technically a Hunk or a Stud, but Kamar de los Reyes (Antonio, OLTL) let us know his strategy for playing. “I am going in there with the mindset that I’m gonna get bankrupt. Because I know that if I go in there with that mindset, I will come out winning it all.” His main goal for coming out on top was to benefit his charities. “I’m hoping to raise as much money as possible.”
de los Reyes is playing to bring money home for two worthy causes. The first one is The Gabriel Project, which raises money for children from third world countries with heart ailments. “[They] go to Tanzania and The Gabriel Project pays for the flight over, their housing costs, anything they need outside of the hospital, the parents, all of that.” His other charity is weSPARK, which raises money for cancer awareness. This one is particularly...
....close to his heart as, “My mom was a breast cancer survivor, so anything I can do to help in that.”
Regardless of how good they actually are at solving puzzles, the stars receive $10,000 for their charities. A fact that seemed to please Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth, GH). She let us know she was relying on the person she’ll be paired up with, “I think I’d have a heart attack if I had to do it by myself. They better not count on me.” So who is this Young Hottie playing for? According to Herbst, “I’m playing for The Smile Train. It’s a non- profit organization that provides free [cleft surgeries for] children whose families can’t afford it.”
Another Young Hottie, Galen Gering (Luis, PAS) who’s also playing for weSPARK, seemed to think it’s anybody’s game. “Sometimes you’ll look at the puzzles and it’ll just click and other times you can be down one last consonant or vowel and you can’t figure it out and you’re just like, ‘Pork Shoulder? – What?!’ Like it doesn’t really like ring true. So, you know, if you get some puzzles that hit and you’re there at the right time, obviously everybody has chance at winning.”
To round off the Hottie category, Ricky Paull Goldin (Gus, GL) is playing for the Suicide Prevention Center, which is a nationwide hotline. “It’s a lifeline, the real deal and a hope line.” He let us know the 1-800-Suicide line is not just for “people that are thinking about killing themselves, but people that either have lost hope or people that need help in coping with someone they love, that they’re worried about.” This line is available “24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” he revealed.
As for the actual show itself, Soapdom asked if Goldin was a connoisseur of the game. He let us know that “I like Jeopardy. But I’ve been trying to brush up on my Wheel of Fortune.” While he may not have much of a flair for solving the puzzles himself, he clued us in on how his alter ego would approach the situation. “If [Gus] was to come here to play Wheel of Fortune, he’d probably steal the money from the rich Wheel of Fortune people and give it to the needy people.” Although they’re not actually stealing, these celebs are doing pretty much the same thing.
As for Lorenzo Lamas (Hector, B&B), an occasional Wheel watcher, he’s here not only for his charity but to have a good time as well. As he told us, “Today, it’s just a gas. It’s fun to come in and see my buddies that I’ve known form different soap operas and to be able to talk about [my charity] and to hear about their charities too.” He went on to commend the game show for all the money they are dolling out. “It’s just terrific that Wheel of Fortune is doing this and has in the past donated as much money to organizations that A) need the funds and B) the public awareness, you know [which] is so crucial to having charities survive and thrive over the years.”
So what charity is this Hunk representing? “I’m playing for Angel Flight. Angel Flight is a nonprofit organization that provides air transportation to individuals and families that have health care needs.” Lamas not only donates money, but as a pilot himself, he likewise donates his time. “I fly kids up to Fresno to go to camp -- kids that have been burned in accidents or kids that are suffering from leukemia.” He feels this charity is so important because, “A lot of times an individual that’s suffering from a debilitating disease or illness won’t be well enough to make the trip in their car and won’t have the financial means necessary to purchase commercial airfare.”
Over in the Idol category, Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R) shared the details of the charity close to his heart. “I’m playing for an organization called Everybody Dance. This is a group that provides quality dance training for economically underprivileged kids in Los Angeles.” He went on to explain, “It stared six years ago with 22 students. There are [now] over 2,000 kids who are putting on tap shoes or ballet shoes and taking jazz class regularly, and these are kids who would never be near professional dance.” How he got involved with this organization goes beyond his own interest in dance. “Friends of [mine] lost their daughter, a 14 year old girl whose life was about dance, and they transformed their lives to be about her legacy and this is an extraordinary legacy to see. It is amazing.”
Another worthy cause receiving money from this fun filled week is The Rape Treatment Center in Santa Monica, California courtesy of Corbin Bernsen (Durant, GH). We had to know what the self assured Villain thought about his “Before and After Phrase” guessing skills. “Am I really good at it? No, I’m not.” But that doesn’t matter to him, as “I know I get the ten grand for the charity [either way], so I can go out there and make a fool of myself.”
Which really is what this week is all about. Be sure to tune in beginning Monday, February 27, 2006 to see these popular daytime stars, as well Susan Flannery (Stephanie, B&B), Deidre Hall (Marlena, DAYS), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R), Alison Sweeney (Sami, DAYS), Kristoff St. John (Neil, Y&R), Ty Treadway (co-host, Soap Talk), Lisa Rinna (co-host, Soap Talk), and Jack Wagner (Nick, B&B), try their luck at spinning the big wheel. While you’ll have to check your local listings for stations and times, Soap Star Week on Wheel airs February 27-March 3.
|< Prev||Next >|