Michael E. Knight

Our long national nightmare is over — Michael E. Knight is back on TV! The three-time Emmy winner, best known for his multi-decade run as Tad Martin on All My Children, has landed a juicy guest gig on the July 14 episode of Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva (airing Sundays, 9/8c). He'll play Charles Van Horn, a lawsuit-happy curmudgeon who is representing himself in a court case involving his dog's unplanned pregnancy. TV Guide Magazine had a chat with Knight to score some scoop on his role and, of course, to get his thoughts on the AMC Internet reboot. Will he ever return to Pine Valley?

TV Guide Magazine: This guest shot sounds like a hoot! Are you moving into Clint Eastwood-Grand Torino territory?
Knight: Yeah! My character is totally one of those, "Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!" kind of guys. He's the ultimate a--hole neighbor who is suing for $250,000 because somebody's Rottweiler impregnated his Maltese. He's a lawyer in a loveless marriage, a real s.o.b. whose only thrill in life is suing people. I got to cross-examine a witness for the first time in my career, which was the coolest. [Laughs] I've always wanted to do that! I had a ball because it's all played for comedy. Now that I know I've got an a--hole lawyer in me, I want to see if there's a corrupt politician in there, too.

TV Guide Magazine: Are you a Drop Dead Diva fan?
Knight: I love the show! And what a terrific group of people! The whole time I was grinning from ear to ear. I first had a meeting with [executive producer-creator] Josh Berman who was just fantastic. If all my meetings were that nice, I would die of sheer happiness. And it went on from there — the cast and crew were awesome and working in Peachtree, Georgia, was a trip. That show is such a beautifully oiled machine. They actually had an incredible craft service table which was a shock after my last few years in soaps where, if you were lucky, they'd throw a stale donut at you. [Laughs] After you work in a bubble for 30 years, you forget what else is out there! It all seemed to be very blessed, a God-given gift. I'm so proud to be a little part of Drop Dead Diva history. 

TV Guide Magazine: Speaking of history, we gotta talk All My Children. Have you been watching?
Knight: Yes, and I'm just thrilled for those guys. I'm so happy it's now being run by Ginger Smith and that Agnes Nixon is back where she belongs. I wish them all the best. I've not seen a lot, but what I've seen I have loved. Debbi Morgan [Angie] and Darnell Williams [Jesse] are as amazing as ever. I love seeing Thorsten Kaye [Zach]. I really like the new Pete [Robert Scott Wilson]. I'm just so happy to see the show back in the hands of people who want to see it work, people who really care about it. I'm also very happy for the fans, who have been so patient and so damn loyal. I'm praying the show finds its niche, not just for everyone who works on it and loves it, but for the TV industry in general. Let's face it, internet programming is the future and that's where a lot of our favorite shows will wind up. But the person I'm happiest for is Aggie. This is her child, her legacy. AMC has so much of her heart in it and she's still fighting to make sure it has a place in this world. She so deserves success with this. No one in this business has affected my life as much as Agnes Nixon. I owe her everything. And God bless Prospect Park for having the balls to make this happen. This is pioneering stuff and they're figuring everything out as they go along. So I hope everyone will be patient. Give it time!

TV Guide Magazine: Would you entertain the idea of going back for a visit?
Knight: Oh sure, not only would I entertain it, I feel it's my responsibility to go back at some point, at least for a little bit, to explain what happened to Tad.

TV Guide Magazine: You've left Cady McClain [Dixie] high and dry!
Knight: Now she knows how I felt. [Laughs] She died twice and was gone for ages. Now she knows what I had to deal with! I love Cady. 

TV Guide Magazine: Wasn't it revealed that Tad's gone undercover?
Knight: Deep under cover! [Laughs] In my mind, he's working as a short-order cook for a Mexican drug cartel. 

TV Guide Magazine: So you're really up for a visit? You're not just yanking our chains?
Knight: For sure I will be back. You know, the reason I didn't want to continue with AMC when Prospect Park took over was that I had done the show for 20 years straight and one move cross-country in two years was enough for me. I was tired! Plus I felt I had done everything there was to do on the show. I came back from the dead. I was twins. I had amnesia. I did everything but give birth and marry Erica! But I'm definitely up for a visit so, yeah, Tad will make his presence known in Pine Valley. Maybe not really soon but someday. And I mean that. 

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