Monaco shines light on daytime with 'Dirty Soap'

NEW YORK (AP) - September 23, 2011

"How can you forget there's a camera in your face?" she asked. "You have to edit yourself in life, period, no matter who you're around, no matter what you're around. You're constantly aware of your surroundings, and if you're not, you're a complete moron."

The "General Hospital" actress, who has played Samantha McCall Morgan since 2003, would know. She recently signed on to "Dirty Soap" on the E! Network. The show, produced in part by former "All My Children" cast members Kelly Ripa and husband Marc Consuelos, follows young, hot soap stars to give a behind-the-scenes look at their lives.

The 35-year-old Monaco says she took the job because she knows it's important to bring attention to the troubled soap opera genre.

"The daytime community is in such dire need and in such trouble that they need a show like this," she said.

Her words aren't extreme. "All My Children" airs its final episode Friday. "One Life to Live" will go off the air in January.

One way General Hospital" has gotten more attention is by having actor James Franco take on a recurring role of a demented artist named Franco. He's had four different short stints on the show.

"I know there's been speculation in the past of `What's James doing coming to `General Hospital'? There has to be a bigger, greater picture," Monaco says. "I let that steer me for a while in a direction of not really appreciating him being there, and I've definitely changed my opinion on that."

She continued: "You're an Oscar-nominated actor coming in and hanging out with us and trying to put daytime on the map again."' Aside from "General Hospital," Monaco has the distinction of being the first winner of "Dancing with the Stars."

"I will take that to my grave," she jokes.

Monaco says she knew almost immediately the show was a phenomenon. "As long as they keep casting the way they're casting and staying current and updating the sets, they'll be good," she said.

She doesn't dismiss the idea of a "Dancing with the Stars" all-star season with former champions competing against one another.

"They'll do that when the ratings start to drop. For sure," Monaco said. "I'm already prepped for the call."

But, would she do it?

"I'd fight with myself for probably a week or two of the pros and cons. It's the Gemini in me," she said. "And then I'd be like, `You can't back down from a challenge, Kelly!' and then the other side would be like, `Yes, you can! They're really good dancers!"'

"General Hospital" airs weekdays on ABC. "Dirty Soap" premieres Sunday at 10/9c on E!



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