Gina Tognoni will splash "Red" across the screen.
Soap fans last saw Phyllis “Red” Summers in a coma after learning the true paternity of her daughter, Summer Newman. Throughout Summer’s life, the ‘whose the daddy’ storyline has been a contested topic because of love triangles, quadangles, and whoknowsangles. When Michelle Stafford left the television show after 15 years, a reason for the character’s absence had to be quickly created. While fatherhood swung between Nick Newman and Jack Abbott, a larger rivalry arched between Phyllis and Nick’s ex-wife, Sharon Newman, ramped up.
After a sordid tale of Nick then Jack being the father, the truth was revealed that Sharon changed the correct results in order to cause trouble. And that’s where fans were left: watching Phyllis seize in bed after surgery to prevent a blood clot from killing her, falling into a coma, and without any sort of real resolution. There was no Maury Povich “you ARE the father” moment.
Tognoni’s best known for playing Kelly Cramer on “One Life to Live” and Dinah Marler on “Guiding Light.” She earned both Emmys during the run on “Guiding Light,” and returned occasionally to play Cramer when time allowed. Recently, shes been seen on former costar Crystal Chappell’s web soap “Venice.” As the soap genre began crumbling on network television, many stars started producing smaller series online. In fact, Stafford began her own web series “The Stafford Project,” which began airing in three days after her final appear on “Y&R." The offical Facebook recently annouced in April that it will begin recording its second season soon.
In an interview with Michael Fairman on August 1st, Stafford asked the fans to not blame executive producer Jill Farren Phelps or head writer Josh Griffith "You don’t leave a show you love after 15 years because of one person, or two people. At least I don’t. That just doesn’t make sense. But, if people are pissed, I can see why they might find Jill and Josh an easy target. Nobody should be mad at them."
Tognoni will offer a different take on the character. And may find it hard to make soap fans happy after Stafford originated the character in 1994. Soap fans are known to be outrageous and dedicated.
Ask ABC after the cancellation of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”
The show’s audience seems excited at the recast since many wanted Tognoni as Phyllis or Victoria Newman.