"There has always been, basically, the 3 networks, and they sort of dictated what the country was going to watch," Donna Mills told Byron de Arakal of 'Orange Coast' magazine. "Now (in 1982) with cable and all that, if you want Shakespeare – if you want that on a constant basis – you can have it. If you want the 'Dukes of Hazzard', you can have that, too. But there are different types of people who want those things. I think television should offer all those different avenues. I think it will do that. It didn't before. The network programming, for the most part, I think caters to the lowest common denominator of the American public, rather than the highest." 

Donna was turning 40 when she won the part of Abby on 'Knots Landing' in 1980. She pointed out to Frank Sanello of 'Newspaper Enterprise Association' in 1988, "People have found there are just so many stories you can do about young people. Their experience is limited, and so is their depth. I think in the last 10 to 15 years (say from 1973), we've found that people, not just women, of a more advanced age are more interesting. People are looking good longer. Nobody looks or feels old at 40 or 50 anymore, and I think that's great." 

Of her previous roles before 'Knots Landing', Donna conceded, "I got real sick of playing those victims. I think maybe 95% of the roles (dating back to 1966) I played in television movies or all kinds of things like that, were victims. Somebody was chasing me, somebody had done me wrong, somebody was going to rape me. I got real tired of that. It gets to be all the same after awhile, after you do it a lot (some 15 years)." 

Of playing Abby, "It's just much more exciting to play the bad guy. The bad guy is always the person that makes everything happen. He's the focal point of the drama, usually. He stirs up the trouble and makes it happen. Rather than have things happen to you, you're making them happen. That is a lot more energizing, a lot more interesting to play. It's a much more active role . . . They have created her in such a way over the past year (during the 1981-82 season) that she's much more 3 dimensional than most villains on television . . . She is a pretty well rounded character." However Donna stated, "My greatest obligation is to the viewing audience, and I'm concerned a great deal about the young women who watch our show. For this reason, I work very hard to see that Abby is vulnerable and not mean all the time." 

"The problem with television," Donna made the observation in 1982, "basically, is time. There's not enough time to do something as well as you would like to do it. That's why we work 16-hour (*) days. We try to do it with as much quality in the script as we can with the amount of time we're given, with as much quality in the production as we can with the amount of time we're given, and with as much quality in our acting with the amount of time we're given. It's hard, it's frustrating sometimes because there isn't enough time." 

(*) Dan Logan, also of 'Orange Coast' magazine noted in 1986, "Her usual work day starts with makeup at 6.30a.m., a 7:30 rehearsal and an 8:00a.m. shoot. She spends 3 or 4 days a week on the set of 'Knots Landing'. If she doesn't have to spend the day on the set, it's interviews, photo shoots and business meetings (**)." Donna added, "There's such a large cast of characters that we don't have to be there every day." 

(**) Donna starred in at least 6 movies between 1982 and 1989 and about 11 movies in the 1990s. Donna observed, "Films ultimately end up on cable and the networks, so a TV name sometimes helps sell them to the small screen." Donna maintained, "A good project has a strong story, something that combines character and plot. I don't like things that are totally character, and I don't like things that are totally plot. You have to be interesting. There is something about interesting people doing something interesting while something interesting is developing in the story."

Of time, Donna reasoned, "I, on the other hand, think features sometimes take an exorbitant amount of time that's not necessary. To take a year to shoot a film, you really don’t need it. It isn't warranted, it's self-indulgent. Television, unfortunately, is the other way; you don't have enough time."  

Dan reported in 1986, "Reputed to earn $40,000 (***) an episode for her work on 'Knots Landing', this morning (back in October 1986), she's already put in 4 hours on the set of 'Knots' before she arrives for the day's photo session." During the interview, Dan saw Donna "lets her hands float in the air, waiting for the fingernail polish to dry, in preparation for the next public appearance." 

(***) Donna had said, "In the scheme of things, while doing a television show, the last consideration is always the actor. Unfortunately, the business has sort of been designed that way because of the unions. The money is the first consideration, and then what's going to be the most expedient thing to do . . . You can't win. The money considerations will always take precedence. They just will." 

On television, Donna believed, "80% of the time women are over made-up in daytime because they use incandescent light rather than natural light. Incandescent is for night. Particularly for daytime, water down the makeup so it doesn’t get too thick." 

At the start of the 1980s, some 76 million households reportedly had access to a television. In the 1983-84 season, about 50 million viewers tuned in to watch the season finale episode of 'Dynasty'. That season, 5 of the top 11 prime time shows on television were soap operas: 1. 'Dallas', 3. 'Dynasty', 7. 'Falcon Crest', 9. 'Hotel', 11. 'Knots Landing'. First-run soap opera episodes became "one of the weekly events on television". Donna theorized, "I think people have always liked human drama, what happens with interrelationships with people. That has always fascinated them, and that's why daytime soaps have been on for 25 years (since say 1954). It has not just fascinated the ladies. It fascinates men, too. There are infinitely intricate human conflicts and relationships, and there is an infinite variety in those conflicts."

"On Sundays, when I don’t have to work," Donna confessed, "I like to stay in bed and read the paper. I love it when tennis is on TV, and I’ll watch that. Staying in bed all morning is really a luxury for me."

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