The Colbys Writer Paul Huson Has Agreed To An Interview With Me


Telly Talk Hero
I found and contacted the writer/producer Paul Huson who was one half of the Bast - Huson production team that ran The Colbys. He has agreed to give a written interview about his time running the show.

I contacted him on kind of a whim, without even really thinking about what I wanted to ask him. I have set up this thread so that you can share any questions you may have about the show and I can compile some sort of list to interview him with.

Please have a think and post your questions in this thread.
I have tried to tag as many Colbys/Dynasty fans as I can think of here, sorry if I have left people out.

@Snarky's Ghost @Willie Oleson @Gabriel Maxwell @Michael Torrance @Richard Channing @Ked @Gatsbyesque @Ome @James from London @Matthew Blaisdel @Mel O'Drama @Jermaine @JROG @Zable @Daniel Avery @Carrie Fairchild
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Telly Talk Hero
Oh..... I forgot I told him that I would message him tonight about the details of the interview. I was hoping to have all the questions in by Monday and perhaps send Monday night as I am working all day tomorrow.

Willie Oleson

SoapLand Battles Moderator
Think, think, think!!
-who were the little bridesmaids from Jeff & Fallon's wedding?
-were there story drafts for season 3, and if so, did it include additional storylines regarding the mysterious death of Zach Powers' wife?
-were there any other (ex-) Dynasty actors you wanted for The Colbys? Kate O'Mara perhaps?
-would it have been possible to use sci-fi elements on a prime time soap, or would the UFO be explained in a similar vague way as they did on Dynasty?
-why was The Colbys so good, and yet so underrated?
-which character was the most difficult to write for?

OMG, I could go on and on!


Telly Talk Member
Congrats on getting that interview! :)

'd love to know:
From your perspective, what was the biggest challenge to crafting the stories you wanted for the show?
What was the process that led to the spaceship finale?
Which character was easiest to develop? Most difficult?
What effect did the Dynasty pop culture phenomenon have on the writer's work for the Colbys?


Telly Talk Star
-Why were aliens added in? What inspired that choice?
-How were the aliens going to affect season 3?
-Was there any discussion in having Dominique be more prominent in the show, during either of the two seasons or the third?
-Were Zach Powers and Bliss Colby really going to be written out for the third season?
-What was it like working with Barbara Stanwyck, and what were the circumstances for her leaving?
-Was Francesca going to die, or would she return for season 3?


Telly Talk Hero
I don't really want to go on about the Aliens as I think that was something that Richard Shapiro came up with. It's been mentioned a few times that Esther called up the writers and told them about it and anyone who laughed would be fired... Or something like that.
I'd be more interested in asking if Huson and Bast would the plot be resolved by having Fallon have a nervous breakdown in season 3. That it was all psychological? That's always been my assertion.
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Gabriel Maxwell

Telly Talk Addict
Has he seen The Colbys since it came out on DVD 3 years ago and what does he think of it today? Was he perhaps impressed by what they managed to do with it then (again - from today's perspective), or on the other hand, was there anything he wished they did differently?

Also, how did the show change from what it was in the very beginning of season 1 until it went off the air at the end of season 2? Tonally or otherwise. And how would that have affected the show going forward? Was there a conscious attempt to make it different from the parent show, give it its own unique tone / voice?

By the way, the French fan site has already interviewed both Huson and his now late partner Bast, so perhaps the answers they gave then have already covered some of the things you may intend to ask now (or use it as a starting line for further questions):

Matthew Blaisdel

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Oh man, this is SO exciting.... have to think about it for a while now, what i'd like to ask.. :dance:

Matthew Blaisdel

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Okay, here we go... i hope i covered it all. I left out the UFO. :p

Dear Mr. Huson, what are your biggest regrets for "The Colbys"? Any major things you were forced by TPTB to change that you wish you haven't had to? Any ideas that looked good on paper but not really worked out then onscreen?

What's your favorite storyline of the whole show and why?

Which one is your least favorite storyline of the show and why?

If you had to pick one single episode from the whole show to watch, which one would that be, and why?

Which was your favorite character from Season 1? And which one from season 2, and why?

Were you dissappointed, that Joan Collins and Linda Evans didn't want to appear?
What plans did you have with Collins or Evans, just one appearance like Jack Coleman, or would you have liked to involve them a little further, like it happened with Diahann Carroll and Gordon Thompson (Adam)?

How do you think about the whole crossover thing with Dynasty characters in general, did you like it or was it tiresome?

Why was Garrett Boydston written off the show for good in the S2 premiere?

Did you plan for Channing to return... maybe later on with the baby? Or was her character never to been heard of again?

Did you know from the beginning of Season 2, that Barbara Stanwyck wouldn't return, or were there still hopes to persuade her to return for a couple of episodes, because Connie was kept alive for half the season without appearing, what do you remember about the circumstances?

What were your plans for season 3 as far as you remember?

Did you have any mayor storys planned for the way ahead future, maybe season 4 or 5? Maybe a major death, like for example killing off Jason at some point? Any other mayor things that were supposed to happen, that would be of interest for the fans of the show?

What do you think about what Dynastys Season 9 did to the Colbys? That Miles and Monica were not Jasons kids and that Sable was raped by ... who knows who the father of the twins was.
Could that have happened on "The Colbys" as well?

Did you plan for Phillip to return at a later point?

Was Frankie supposed to die in that car crash at the end, did you plan to reconcile Jason and Sable again?
I always imagined Frankie surviving, but being paraplegic and needing a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

Were there plans for Bliss and Kolya to return, or did those characters ran their course for good by the end of Season 2?

And now i would really like to use this opportunity to thank you for "The Colbys", Mr. Huson. I'm a 44 year old guy from Germany and i love The Colbys since 1986 when i first saw it. I recorded all episodes on VHS (12 tapes) and rewatched them from time to time. I moved across continents over the years and those Colby-Tapes always went with me!
I was so happy to learn of the DVD release few years ago, i've been hoping for that for ages, and now i'm a very proud owner of the DVD-Box, to me it's one of the most precious items on my DVD shelf. Do you have the DVD-Box as well?
Thank you for those fantastic 49 episodes, although today i still wish there would have been twice as many ... at least! :)
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Willie Oleson

SoapLand Battles Moderator
Some more...I don't care if they're stupid questions or not. @Alexis can cherry-pick the ones he likes to use for the interview.

-did the cast and crew experience a lot of pressure to make The Colbys a hit show?
-what do you like the most about the prime time soap genre?
-in case you've watched them, how do the classic soaps compare to the modern prime time soaps?
-unlike Dynasty, The Colbys did not have all the main characters in the opening credits. What was the reason, if there was one?
-eventhough it only lasted two seasons, The Colbys is a cult favourite amongst soap fans. Do you take pride in it?
-do you know why The Colbys DVDs were so expensive? (well, we've all asked ourselves that question, didn't we?)
-any other TC characters that should have appeared in Dynasty's last season?
-on The Colbys, it was less obvious whom to root for. Was this intentional or did the story write itself, as it were?
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Telly Talk Hero
Well there are certainly a lot of questions. I will likely try and trim it down or combine some into one question based on subject or relevance. I don't want to present him with a phone book size questionnaire. lol

Matthew Blaisdel

Telly Talk Enthusiast
Nah... just do the phone book. That might be our one and only chance! :D


Telly Talk Well-Known Member
As Gabriel pointed it out, some questions had already been asked to him here :

[About his commitment in the show]:
Our friends the Shapiros asked us to write and produce it, in 1984. It sounded like fun.

[About his contribution in the conception of the show]:
Almost everything except for Fallon and Jeff. The Shapiros and Pollocks had the notion that Jeff should be given half of Jason Colby's sister's money, in order to spin him and Fallon off into their own series, but that's all. Pretty much everything else was ours.

[About what was imposed by Esther & Richard Shapiro]:
We had a free hand, but where we needed help with the soap opera technique (and there is a very definite technique), they were always ready to help, especially the Pollocks, who were experts in the field.

[About the ideas which materialized and the ideas that never did]:
I can't think of one idea that never materialized. We were pretty much left alone. The Pollocks and Shapiros had their hands full with Dynasty.

[About the atmosphere between the actors, writers, and producers]:
It all appeared fairly cordial to us.

[About the work with legendary stars Barbara Stanwyck and Charlton Heston]:
They were professionals, and I think their work on the show showed this. As professionals, when they'd give feedback on their scripts, (particularly with Heston) it was generally helpful.

[About the Nielsen Ratings and the reasons that could explain the show never became a hit]:
Time slot. We were destined to be placed opposite Cheers which was very popular at the time. Unfortunately viewers would watch Cheers and record us, to watch later, not vice-versa, so we wouldn't show up on the ratings. Whenever Cheers was off the air or into re-runs, we would take the evening. Spelling tried to get the network to change the time slot, but they wouldn't.

[About the ultimate episode and the adding of science-fiction - your idea?]:
No, it was not our idea, it was our friend Richard Shapiro's brainwave. He felt Fallon's « alien abduction » as a cliffhanger would make it impossible for the network to cancel the series. Unfortunately, it didn't work. They cancelled it anyway.

[About the way the abduction would have been approached next season]:
Bill and I conceived it to be an hallucination.

[About the original ideas for the next season]:
Frankie and Philip's fate would have depended on their contracts, ditto Channing's fate - had she had an abortion, she would have been out of the show I suspect. However, whether we ourselves would have continued with the show would have depended on our contracts, too, and Spelling and the network were in no position to even negotiate deal memos with cancellation looming as a distinct possibility.

[About the reasons of Barbara Stanwyck's departure after only one season]:
I gather she never wanted to work for more than one season -- I believe she needed the money.

[About his memories of Barbara Stanwyck's possible return in season 2]:
No, I'm afraid I don't (remember).

[About the rumor that Diahann Carroll was supposed to join the cast as a regular in the season 3]:
This may have just been a publicity plant, but I can't really say. There certainly weren't any story lines, that we knew of.

[About the rumor that Ricardo Montalban was about to leave the show before it was cancelled]:
Not as far as we knew, but again, it would have depended on how his contract was negotiated and whether the network would have met his price.

Best souvenir: it was one of the most pressured, fun, entertaining projects I have worked on. My best memory I suppose is of working daily with the Pollocks and Shapiros. Also Don Roos was a bright spark to work with.

Worst memory: attending a luncheon on the Dynasty set for the Monaco royal family and suddenly realizing I was wearing white sports socks with my formal blue suit. (Now that's a Colby's/Dynasty style dilemma!)


Telly Talk Well-Known Member
And for the late William Bast :

[About his contribution in the conception of the show]:
We created the characters, except those that crossed over from Dynasty.

[About what was imposed by Esther & Richard Shapiro]:
They « imposed » nothing on us; in fact, they were a tremendous help, with advice and guidance, as this was our first experience with the concept of nighttime soap opera. We were in charge of our show, but we all worked together to make the show the best we could.

[About the ideas which materialized and the ideas that never did]:
Your guess is as good as mine. Too long ago to recall and too many to keep track of. But, generally we held sway when we wanted something enough.

[About the atmosphere between the actors, writers, and producers]:
Between actors and producers, the best! Both producers and writers were on the same team. As for actors, only Mr. Heston and Ms Stanwyck required some patience. We were in charge of the writers for our show; being writers ourselves, we handled them as we would have wanted to be handled.

[About the work with legendary stars Barbara Stanwyck and Charlton Heston]:
Heston was often quite helpful, while Stanwyck was surprisingly cooperative, as well. Sometimes surprising how stars manage to control their egos and cooperate, especially if there's a prospect of a long run and a lot of loot, or a fear of not getting the best lines.

[About the performance of Stephanie Beacham]:
Ms Beecham is a splendid actress in my eyes. Stephanie is always a superior actress, which is why I wanted her for the part.

[About the Nielsen Ratings and the reasons that could explain the show never became a hit]:
Combination of time-slot and the heavy dose of Dynasty as a recent comparison, though not at all like The Colbys. It would have been idiotic to try to compete with Dynasty. We wanted our own special style and voice. Fortunately, our executive producers were our good friends and we all got along well, because they trusted us and respected our opinions. That doesn't always happen in our business. Too much one-upmanship goes on. We did our best and enjoyed.

[About the reasons of Barbara Stanwyck's departure after only one season]:
Probably mostly money, but somewhat also her behavior. Network pressure made it necessary, but I felt it a stupid move. Sorry to see her character go, but relieved that Ms Stanwyck herself left the show. As you must have heard by now, some actors bring magic, some bring headaches. Once a star, always a least that's the presumption, regardless of reality. Often, especially with older successful actors and actresses, some artists cling to their past glory and assume they're still « the star of the show » (even if they're not) and behave so, which often creates problems for the rest of the cast, especially the leading characters, who are in fact the stars and don't usually appreciate being superceded by actors playing lesser parts, former stars included.

[About his memories of Barbara Stanwyck's possible return in season 2]:
Only vague...

[About Emma Samms and how she played her role as a victim]:
In fact, her role was meant to be that of a victim, and she fulfilled that requirement perfectly, I thought. That's what good acting is all about; you play the character you've been hired, which is mercifully not always the same old, same old.

[About the ultimate episode and the abduction of Fallon - your idea?]:
(Not our idea) By that time, I wished I was on another planet myself, and wanted out. (Come back next season and find Fallon on a distant planet???)

[About the way the abduction would have been approached next season]:
Your guess is as good as mine. Redundant. Never got to address the issue, show dropped from net schedule next season.

[About the original ideas for the next season]:
Too long ago to recall details. Wouldn't have put that much work into next season, as there might not have been one...which there wasn't.

[About the rumor that Diahann Carroll was supposed to join the cast as a regular in the season 3]:
Don't recall.

[About the rumor that Ricardo Montalban was about to leave the show before it was cancelled]:
Not to my knowledge. He is a saint and would never have abandoned ship, not unless we cut his part down too much, of course, which we weren't about to do. One of the best actors on the show, so why lose him?

[About Elizabeth Taylor being considered for a role]:
Proposed the idea, but it was shot down by Aaron, who may have had a previously disappointing experience working with Ms Taylor, though I do not know if that is true or not. Some things in our business remain mysteries. The final casting was out of my hands, though I would have loved having her come aboard. It might have saved the show in the end.

[About his best souvenir of those days]:
My best souvenir is the People's Choice Award that we won, not to mention the fun we had working with our friends, the Shapiros, executive producers on both Dynasty and our show.


« Paul Huson, my sometime writing partner, and I were hired to create a « spin-off » of Dynasty by its creators/producers, Esther and Richard Shapiro, who were already too busy writing and producing their series to take on the major task of creating another series simultaneously. So, The Colbys was all ours to create with their guidance, but sans interference, which we did. Having never dealt with the challenging task of creating and writing a continuing saga, especially in the shadow of Dynasty, the highest rated show on TV at the time, we bit the bullet and wrote the pilot script, which the Shapiros submitted and promptly got a go-ahead from the network. From the start, the show was ours to run, though the Shapiros were there to keep us on course, should we stray too far. We did get away with some material that the network was shy of, but the Shapiros had faith in us and supported everything we wanted. The show performed well, considering the time slot ABC grave us, but it never quite matched the popularity of Dynasty, though it pleased ABC enough to pick it up for a second season. The rest is history.
As for dealing with the likes of both Stanwyck and Heston week after week...,let's just say it took a lot of...skill. Nonetheless, we had a great time doing it, thanks mainly to our dear friends, the Shapiros, who were there to run interference...
Paul Huson gets the credit for the sci-fi stuff, though we ultimately went the route of believability, so Fallon was spared her trip to outer space. It was never our intention to sacrifice drama for fantasy; Fallon's abduction was intended to be all in her mind. The end result was entirely network. By the end of that first year, we were almost relieved that the show wasn't being picked up. As for what might have happened, that's entirely up to you.
As for Ricardo, I have no idea what his thinking was, and never got a chance to find out. He was certainly a pleasure to work with; would that all actors were as amenable.
It was rather sad that the show didn't get picked up, but, frankly, it was also a major relief. Fun while it lasted, but too much of a grind finally. As for the atmosphere, the cast couldn't have been more respectful, though working with Heston was largely up-hill - he's quite brilliant, but equally demanding. »

Matthew Blaisdel

Telly Talk Enthusiast
No, not that exciting. I was living on the beautiful island Gran Canaria for some years, which is left hand of northern Africa.
I always wanted to live in a paradise for a while, where other people can just go on holidays for a week or two. :D
Some lucky chances gave me that opportunity and i took it and lived there like a king ... and when all the money was spend, i went back to good old Germany. :lol:
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