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Daytime Royalty Interview with Matthew Ashford
Topic Started: Jun 26 2012, 11:04 PM (14,836 Views)
lysie
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Earlier today, Daytime Royalty had the chance to catch up with Matthew Ashford. See what he had to say about his exit, rumors of his return, and his co-star Melissa Reeves!

We heard you were ready to talk!
Iím doing a lot of different things. I was waiting until after the Emmys, and now I think I can really take the chance to talk to some folks, and I wanted to do it before too much time has passed and I get caught up in other things. Iím still on the show basically, so itís kind of like Iím gone but not gone. We shoot so far ahead now, and Iím on very good terms with the people there so itís not like...thereís a change in the story at this moment. I believe now more than ever that you never know.

Letís rewind a few months. What happened?
Things seem to come out of nowhere, but they really donít. After we first came on, there was a moment of kind of coming together. Jack seemed to be kind of catching a lot of flack from Abigail and Jennifer. Daniel was in the mix, and all of a sudden there was this point where they were maybe all going to try to date each other or something, and when that all didnít seem to go anywhere and Daniel kind of backed out, the bottom fell out. The energy kind of left. I felt that. I know that Missy and Shawn felt that, too. You feel it. Something changed. It didnít feel right. So I think it was happening back then. There was a shift going on already, and I donít really know for sure who is behind most of the change. Thereís a lot of cooks in that kitchen. I know I have a really good working relationship with Ken Corday and Greg Meng, and I donít know the other folks too much over at the other places, but thereís just different ideas about what kind of a show it is and what kind of a show it can be. That happens on all the shows. I could feel something was going on. I just felt like I wasnít working much.

When Daniel left town, I knew that wasnít good for anybody. It wasnít good for me; it wasnít good for Jennifer, and it wasnít so good for him. Maybe it will work out. I donít know. But it certainly wasnít a good sign for me. These characters need conflict. Maybe that conflict wasnít the best conflict. I donít think the audience cared for it too much. I think Jack took it all lying down. I would have preferred if he had maybe accepted Jennifer at word and then said, ĎIíll go look for my list of girls, too, and maybe start seeing some other people.í Maybe pursue some other avenues all while keeping an eye on her. I think that would have been fun. I just think that there are a lot of characters on the show, and I just donít think they are writing for them. I know when Sarah Brown came on the show I was like, ĎWow. Iíd love to work with Sarah.í That wasnít meant to be. She was there and working with Brady. We tried to do the best with what we had, and hopefully we did.

Weíve just heard some recent casting news, Eileen Davidson and Greg Vaughan. Did those hirings have anything to do with your firing?
Well, whenever some people leave that opens the door for them to bring other people on. So yeah. Thatís kind of what happened. If I had ever had a chance, I wish I could have switched the Devereaux name for DiMera. Itís kind of gold plated. Although, there have been DiMeras that have come and gone, but itís been a good thing. Different writers just want to go in different directions. I think Eileen is a wonderful actress. Sheís beautiful and talented. She had the chance to play so many characters, and Iíd have loved to do that, so I canít blame her. Iíll be curious to see whether she gets paid to play all of those characters this time because of the budget, but how much fun is that. Itís connected, but not necessarily that they get rid of one so they can bring in someone else.


Last year around this time, we were getting a lot of conflicting information about your return. How did all of that happen?
I still donít know exactly what happened because we were the last to know. There had been initial contact in May, and then it was kind of put on hold while they got all their ducks in a row, I think. I think that they had started something with me, and it kind of grew. I think they were looking at all of these people and kind of lining it up and figuring out how it was going to work. There were changes in the writing team at that time as well. Itís very hard to turn it all around at once. They couldnít just stop and change and go. I think I came on after they had made some adjustment to the storyline, so they could bring me on and bring the other people on at the same time. Make it one big moment. The thing with the falling in the cake was just kind of an homage to times past, but it wasnít really the story they wanted to tell which turned out to be fine for me. I landed in the cake and was covered in frosting and a big mess. I wanted to have that scene with the frosting all over my face. They said I couldnít do that. They didnít want that to happen. And Missy was starting to laugh and crack up anyway. I just thought it would be a wonderful thing to kind of have us having a serious fight and have cake all over my face. The problem is with the way the show was set up, no one even noticed that Jack was back covered with cake.

No one even missed that cake afterwards!
No one the rest of the night ever saw it or commented on it. The cake was flat. I hit that cake and there was nothing left of it. It was gone. The stunt guy who did it for me was wonderful. It was amazing. Youíre right. The whole cake thing was one part of the show. They were trying to do a lot of things there, and Iíve got to hand it to them. Theyíre doing that. It was very intense. Everyone had different storylines they were bringing with them, and if they had seen me with the cake theyíd have had to stop because you canít see that and not say, ĎWhat is that all about?í. So we had to make that adjustment, and then it got really heavy. Abigail was a whole new actress, and she was just loaded for bear. It got all intense, and she was all up in my face for about three or four weeks. They were really trying to get a little bit of everything going.

What were your expectations when you returned?
I wasnít sure what was going to happen. I learned to stop expecting things and just appreciate things. I got a strong sense that they wanted me back, and that was the best thing. So if I had expectations, it was that they were going to write something for me, and they did. It didnít continue, but what they did write was story. I donít think thereís anybody on the show, maybe one or two people, who wouldnít say ĎIím not on enough. I need to do more.í Everybody feels that way because they enjoy what they do. I donít think thereís anybody there that hates acting or hates the character. Once you start getting a chance to play it a little bit, itís enjoyable. Itís what most of us dreamed of doing, and weíre getting to live that dream.

My expectation was to be able to play and working with some good writing and directing. I got some of both. Heís not there anymore, but Noel Maxam was really wonderful to work with as a producer/director. He had great energy. He is young... younger than me. I think. He believed in it. He really helped me. I enjoyed the writing that was coming out then. It was good stuff. Maybe overall there could have been tweaks. I always enjoy working with Missy. I really enjoyed working with Shawn Christian. From my characterís point of view I felt like he was a very serious threat. I could see that Jennifer was happy with him, and that was tough. I thought that was the most credible challenge that Jack has had to face. I feel like a lot of people didnít like that. I donít know. But to me it was a good challenge. Jennifer was able to finally say to Jack, ďYouíre not happy with yourself, and I canít be with someone anymore who is so unhappy with himself.Ē And Daniel has his own problems, but heís basically happy. Jack has never been happy. There were some interesting new things. Believe it or not, we were kind of maturing on some level. It was good.


What happened to the PTSD story?
I think they feel that they did it to a certain extent. If you look at most of the storylines, theyíre very truncated. Theyíre short and to the point. Theyíre told quickly, and they get on with it. Rather than taking six weeks or two months and working a few times a week to explore something, weíre exploring it in a week and a half or less. When the PTSD showed up, it showed up big, and then he went to therapy and had this kind of breakthrough with Marlena. As soon as he had that breakthrough, I pretty much figured he was going to find some way to deal with it. Itís not resolution, but heíll find some way to deal with it. PTSD does not go away. You learn how to manage it and cope with it. I think thatís a more powerful to deal with it, and to tell you the truth, it does come back. We play it some more. Thereís an episode coming up. Itís really more of a chronic condition. It didnít have a huge amount of play, but it did have some. I imagined that it would become a part of who he is. Yes, we could have done more with it. We didnít. But we did manage to get something out of it, and we did some good with it. It could have been more, but at least we got what we got.

After the Atlanta event, there were some quotes going around in which you said NBC wanted a younger show. What did you mean?
I donít think thatís what I really meant. Thatís kind of a negative thing to say. That kind of came back to me and wasnít really what I was trying to express. That wasnít my intention. I donít know. Whatever it was, it didnít come back. Everyone is trying to do their best. Iíll tell you one thing, though. Iíve really come to believe that for myself, Ken Corday and Greg Meng really do care about me and definitely Ken has really believed in my character. But itís not all his call. A lot of people want to blame him, but like I said, thereís a lot of cooks in that kitchen. You see a lot of Hollywood movies really struggle because of that, and this may be some of the same situation. Kenís alright in my book, and soís Greg.

Jack has come and gone a lot. Why do you think that is?
It comes back to writers and writersí style. Heís not alive anymore, but with Jim Reilly I donít think it was anything personal. I just donít think he ever really got my character or cared for him. I think that others really liked me and wanted me on the show, and I donít think Jim could figure out how to use me, so he used me to the best of his ability at that time. Which wasnít very satisfying, but I worked! Overall it was a little frustrating, but we do our best I guess. I remember him saying once that he had nothing personal against me, and I believe him. A lot of great writers just hear the voice of a character, and then another just doesnít. The characters donít work for everyone. If you donít like a character, wait five minutes and another one will be on. If you really watch characters come and go, youíll see a lot of writers are just kind of dumb to certain characters. Thatís why when it comes together, itís just a wonderful thing. Thatís why itís so great to work with people like MIssy where we can just take something simple and have some fun with it. Thatís when it really pays off to have good people to play with and seasoned actors to work with that are going to find something good and fun. Everyone is working as hard as they can.

So thereís not some behind the scenes conflict with someone who keeps firing you?
No. I think it was literally that I didnít fit into Jim Reillyís world view, and thatís just the way it is. And I also have to take some responsibility because I liked my character as he was. I didnít want to change him into another person. The character was offbeat and different. Maybe the reason that some people like to see him is the same reason other people donít know how to use them, ĎThe only one who can put up with him is Jennifer.í Some characters arenít everyoneís cup of tea.

There have also been a lot of rumors about a rift between you and Melissa Reeves. Is there any truth to any of that?
No. Not at all. Unfortunately, people look for something, anything they can, to come up with reasons why this or that. Whatís made me really sad is that many times Missy has come under fire for things sheís had nothing to do with. Women get blamed. Some really really cruel things get said and written, which makes me sad. And unfortunately these people claim to be fans of mine, and then they say these things that are kind of cruel and heartless against someone Iím working with, and they donít think that that might affect working relationships. I end up having to really kind of bolster her up when people write stuff like that. Itís unfortunate.

No, nothing. Weíre great friends. We rely on each other, and itís always been this way. People are going to feel what theyíre going to feel, but it doesnít help. Being negative doesnít help anyone or anything. Missy is not that kind of person. Maybe they didnít like what they saw, but it wasnít something personal. We all try to do the best we can with what weíve got. We try to be supportive of storylines. What I liked about the pairing of Jennifer and Daniel was that she was really opening up. She was happy with another person, and it was a real thing. I liked it. I found it to be a real challenge. One that was largely unexplored. I got a chance to work a little bit with Shawn. That was a lot of fun. I wish we could have done more with that stuff, but again it comes down to time. But no. Missy is wonderful to work with. She always has been. Sheís been delightful to work with the whole time.

What has fan reaction been like for you the last few months?
Itís been very... people are very up in arms and very upset because they feel like theyíve really been pulling for this to happen. Thereís a lot of disappointment, and Iím disappointed too. I think the disappointment is felt by a lot of people. This isnít something that the production or the writing team wanted to do. They know that switching back and forth isnít good. Nobody likes that. Itís tough. There was this amazing Twitter campaign like a week or two back. They trended me. It was very cool. The business has changed so much. Itís happening right and left. I appreciated it. Itís a lot of peopleís energy and efforts, so I have to express my appreciation for what everyone is doing and trying to do. Theyíre expressing their strong emotions using the technology of the day. I think it does. Everyone is becoming more and more aware of the Twitter world. Theyíre aware of Twitter campaigns. Youíve got to remember that people like Ali were online the last time I was on the show, and there was campaigning then too. The writing campaigns are kind of a pale comparison. I know the writers were watching and listening to it and trying to get a feel for the pulse. No one knows how to maintain and how to do this. Weíre all just trying our best. The writers were trying to listen to the fans, but there is just so much information. If youíre a creative person, youíre trying to say, ĎIs the dog wagging me? Am I wagging the dog? Whatís going on? Am I being wagged? I donít know!í Itís tough. If I was a headwriter, I think that it would probably mess with my head. My hat is off to anyone who is trying to do that. The fan response was very sweet. You hear people are really disappointed, and you donít want that. Nobody wants that.

Who wrote your exit?
Marlene and Darrellís names were still on it, but I donít know how it works exactly. At a certain point, others might start changing it or they might have changed it. They might be told to please make these changes or adjustments, and ultimately weíre all answering to the man or to the woman. Their names were still on the scripts when I left, but I donít know if they got direction from someone else. I donít think I got anything from the new writers, but that doesnít mean that the new writers didnít have some say. Thatís what happened when I came on. They were changing storylines and cutting things short. And that was very hard because youíd see people who were committed to storylines, and then theyíd just go. Iíve been on both sides of it, and itís never easy. The only think you can do is just try to do your best and keep your dressing room clean because you never know when it may be your last day in there. There are producers coming from three different entities. There are a lot of cooks in that kitchen.

What can you tell us about your exit?
Well, itís a real cliffhanger. I actually have come to like it. I like it. We got to have a table read, which was pretty fun. We got to sit down with this director, his name was Steven, and he came from AMC. It was fun to work through it like that.

Is Jack going to die again?
I really canít say. I donít know. In my mind, no. I mean, look at someone like Stefano or all those people who were blown up in the safe house. We came in, and everyone was blown up. I was like, ĎWhat?í We were doing this stuff where people were freaking out, and I didnít know what to say because theyíre not dead. We know theyíre not dead. The audience is going to know theyíre not dead. You canít kill that many characters at once. Come on! Thatís not happening. It was kind of a strange moment for me. But whatever. It was there to push some buttons for Sami. Itís about other people. This is a place where things blow up and people donít die. And thereís Stefano. I mean, I know heís come and gone more than I have over the years. Heís been gone longer.

I think it might seem like more for you because it happened several times in a short period of time.
A couple of times when I left it looked like I was gone in the middle of my contract. The character never died. It was a DiMera plot. Every time I have to try and explain this, my stock in my character goes down.

It got complicated when you returned in 2004 because they had donated your organs when you died.
Yeah. That was very confusing. I didnít really watch it. I went to another show and was a serial killer there. I really liked coming back to that island, though. It was really cool. It felt like we were on this alternate Days world, and I didnít trust anyone. Thatís how I played it. I didnít know if they were real or not. It wasnít what they were expecting, but it was fun.

Thereís been a rumor that you were originally slated to come back for a suicide story. Is there any truth to that?
No. Not that Iím aware of. That could have been a very interesting take, especially with the PTSD thing. It could have been a very powerful choice. It might have required some more airtime. Unfortunately, a lot of soldiers who are coming back with PTSD are killing themselves. I never heard that, but I think the idea has some merit. I mean, even if the character had just tried and been unsuccessful. Thatíd have been very complicated. No, I donít know. Itís just a rumor.

Are you coming back?
Not that Iím aware of. I donít know. As far as I know right now, that is a rumor. Iím not back, but my character is still airing. As they say, Ďyou never know.í

What will the fans think of your exit?
I am not sure. When people donít want you to go in any event, thereís not going to be happiness with anything. I will tell you that the scenes were played well, and I donít feel like I got a chance to work like that since the PTSD stuff. I felt like at least I had a chance to actually do some work. I felt good about that. Thereís a lot of really good actors on that show, and I wish they were being asked to work.

Who chose Jackís wardrobe?
The wardrobe department. I donít really have a say. At that point, I was just appreciative of anything I got. Thereís been big budget changes, and I think weíre all pretty appreciative just to get what we can get. I know a lot of people would prefer if Jack wore suits, but you know, EJ wore suits. I think in their minds, EJ was the suit wearing guy and Jack was now a professor guy and not a suit guy.

Is there anything else youíd like to say?
I so appreciate the enormous support the fans have had for me for many years. The Emmys was a wonderful moment for me. Apparently, the writers had their first win in 34 years. That was special. Theyíre a great group of people. One of them told me they had submitted my episode, which I didnít know. I felt really good about that. I felt I had a hand in bringing back 20-25 Emmys for all those writers instead of just one for me. I felt like I was able to take their material and do something with it. I hope that people are not discouraged. I will always continue and wonít ever give up. I appreciated working on the show this year. I feel like this is the beginning of a whole new transformation for me. I was blessed to get the chance to work again with people I really like and on a show that I cherish.
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lysie
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Special thanks to Guinevere!
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nickyj12345
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I haven't even read this yet... BUT GOD HELP ME, I have been look forward to this.

I love you, Matt Ashford. Please come home to Salem!
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darraholic
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Ikagoddess <3

Great interview.

LOL at Matthew confirming Eileen's return :)

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SocRMum1
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Much prefers sweevil, snarky EJ over Father Figure Fucktard Eejiot.

Fabulous interview - yet again, such great questions that really get to the heart of what we've all been discussing.

He definitely is a class act. It sounds to me like he's tempered his disappointment and frustration quite a bit since Atlanta - a very different tone than how he sounded there. I see that as a good thing - why burn any bridges?

Nice to see him stand up for Missy Reeves. :)

Great job, DR and Guinevere!
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presley23
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Great, great interview!! I could not love this guy more!!

Another great job as always!! :)
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SoapGal1
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Wow. No wonder you couldn't talk Friends with me, Lysie.

Awesome interview!! :cheer:
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supercool74
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I will repeat what was said already. Matthew Ashford is a CLASS ACT. Seriously. Not only can the guy act, but he's intelligent to boot. He gets it. He totally understands where the fans are coming from and knows that we are frustrated and disappointed...and I think he shares that with us. I really wish they would bring him back.
Edited by supercool74, Jun 26 2012, 11:46 PM.
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ChampagneRiver
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As always, Matt is much more gracious about the whole situation then any of these people deserve--and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Thanks for the great interview, DR.
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NavJLee8785
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Always the Panic Spreader

Matt is the epitome of CLASS!
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DesignatedShelley
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I love this man so much. TFP.

ETA: And this confirms a lot for me:

Quote:
 
Whatís made me really sad is that many times Missy has come under fire for things sheís had nothing to do with. Women get blamed. Some really really cruel things get said and written, which makes me sad. And unfortunately these people claim to be fans of mine, and then they say these things that are kind of cruel and heartless against someone Iím working with, and they donít think that that might affect working relationships.

If he's being honest, then that fits my perception of the situation to a tee.
Edited by DesignatedShelley, Jun 26 2012, 11:47 PM.
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Dreamy
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Great interview. I will miss MA & I do hope he returns soon!

BTW: He just confirmed that ED is back with DAYS!
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bomber
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Great interview but I'm gutted about a couple of things:
1. doesn't sound like we're going to see him back anytime soon.
2. If it's not Corday or Meng then i guess it's Tomlin who doesn'r "get" his character so as long as Tomlin's at Days Jack is gone.
3. Sounds like he's going to die in the explosion which I hate. I really wanted the door to remain open. I know dying on Days isn't really dead but it's still pretty final.

Great questions and I'm so glad he gave really honest answers, especially on the subject of MR and his future. Although I'm really disappointed the rumours of his return are false at least I've been put out of my misery and my resolve is the same, Jack's last episode is the last Days episode I'll be watching..
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Dreamer
Gone, But Not Forgotten!

MA's interview answered many of my questions. It was well done and very comprehensive.
Matt seems very open and honest about his thoughts and feelings about DAYS and the treatment of his character.

I liked that he specifically talked about the J/J/D triangle stuff, but the SL didn't fall out or flat, there was huge fan backlash. I liked that he wished Dannifer would prevail, so Jack could persue other woman. An interesting thought that so many of us posters wanted it to happen.

I like MA's support of MR, KC and Meng, obviously NBC & DAYS were calling the shots. I like that he mentions that he feels a sort of grief, when MR gets attacked for things that she can't control. Nice of him to mention that things get said and he needs to bolster her and their relationship. I assume that he means on and off screen. I never doubted their friendship, you don't share amazing on screen chemistry with someone if you are a complete odds with one another, no matter how great an actor you are. It is unfortunate that gossip and rumors get out there and create problems when there are none. I hate that!

Matt Ashford, 1st class person and 1st rate actor. DAYS should be honored to have him on canvas.
I hope to see MA again on DAYS, as Jack Deveraux, with a writer who know how to write for him. Jack is forever in our hearts, looking forward to this scene he talks about (re: PTSD)... anxious to see his exit.
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SoapGal1
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I'm confused...

Was this statement:

Quote:
 
It was there to push some buttons for Sami.


about the safehouse explosion or was it about how he exits??
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lysie
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SoapGal1
Jun 26 2012, 11:46 PM
I'm confused...

Was this statement:

Quote:
 
It was there to push some buttons for Sami.


about the safehouse explosion or was it about how he exits??
The safehouse explosion.
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lysie
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bomber
Jun 26 2012, 11:45 PM
2. If it's not Corday or Meng then i guess it's Tomlin who doesn'r "get" his character so as long as Tomlin's at Days Jack is gone.
No. Either NBC or Sony.
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SoapGal1
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lysie
Jun 26 2012, 11:47 PM
SoapGal1
Jun 26 2012, 11:46 PM
I'm confused...

Was this statement:

Quote:
 
It was there to push some buttons for Sami.


about the safehouse explosion or was it about how he exits??
The safehouse explosion.
Thanks!! ;)
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SoapGal1
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lysie
Jun 26 2012, 11:48 PM
bomber
Jun 26 2012, 11:45 PM
2. If it's not Corday or Meng then i guess it's Tomlin who doesn'r "get" his character so as long as Tomlin's at Days Jack is gone.
No. Either NBC or Sony.
I caught that he said specifically that there were three involved in the decision making.

I took that to be NBC, Sony, Corday Productions.
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CarlD2


That was very exhausting to read. You really hit all the questions just right.
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