Interview: Ryan Paevey gets meta about Hallmark Channel’s A Little Daytime Drama

In order to save her daytime soap drama from cancellation, head writer Maggie must convince Darin, fan-favorite actor and her real-life ex-boyfriend, to return to the show. Alice, the show’s creator and producer, wants to retire and hopes to pass the baton to Maggie if the soap can be salvaged. Photo: Ryan Paevey Credit: ©2021 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Hugh Tull
In order to save her daytime soap drama from cancellation, head writer Maggie must convince Darin, fan-favorite actor and her real-life ex-boyfriend, to return to the show. Alice, the show’s creator and producer, wants to retire and hopes to pass the baton to Maggie if the soap can be salvaged. Photo: Ryan Paevey Credit: ©2021 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Hugh Tull /

Ryan Paevey got his start on General Hospital, and now the actor is returning to his roots – kind of – in the brand new Hallmark Channel movie A Little Daytime Drama. I had a chance to chat with Paevey about the role and how the whole experience is best described as “meta.”

Paevey is a familiar face around the Hallmark Channel. He’s starred in countless movies ranging from Christmas classics to some of the network’s most beloved romantic comedies. Though acting seems like second nature to him, being outdoors is where the Southern California native is most content.

Whether it’s releasing a trout at Mammoth Lakes or saying hello to a friendly caterpillar, or photographing some of the most idyllic spots on his hikes, Paevey manages to capture his love of the outdoors so that he can share it with others. “Well, you know, it’s a pretty world out there. You got to go out there and see some of it,” he said.

When it comes to work, though, it’s all about staying busy. “I like to work. I’m a workhorse by nature. That’s just who I am. That’s how I am. I don’t sit still very well. I gotta be doing stuff. So as long as my universe is constantly in motion, then I feel fulfilled,” he said. And stay busy he does, often appearing in several movies throughout the year.

Ryan Paevey says A Little Daytime Drama was a “meta” experience

Unlike other actors who appear frequently on Hallmark Channel, Paevey notes that he’s under contract so instead of picking a choosing roles, he’s simply available to play whatever role comes his way. It just so happens that the scripts that come to him are utterly perfect. “It’s a big machine. So somebody’s job [at Hallmark] is definitely to play human Tetris, so to speak, and see which pieces fit together the best.”

Paevey is a huge gaming fan so our interview was sprinkled with video game references. I told him I’d just bought the new Super Nintendo Hallmark Keepsake Ornament for my sister and he thought that was great. “Between Mario, Super Metroid and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, I cannot tell you how much of my life I’ve pumped into Super Nintendo.”

Like his love for the outdoors, Paevey spoke fondly of his love for gaming. “I’m still a huge gamer. I mean, obviously the technology has gotten a little more advanced. But I still play a ton of video games. I miss them.” He misses them, he said, because he had to limit how much he played or he’d lose track of time like many of us.

“I’ll sit down in front of the TV and I’ll look over and then all of a sudden I’m like, oh my God, I’ve been sitting here for six hours! I lost the whole day. I lost a whole day. Like the sun is setting. Sometimes that’s what happens too. Like the sun will be coming sideways through a window. And I’m like, oh, the sun is sideways! It’s sunset! Oh man, no, no, no, no! I sat down at lunch. It’s like 6:23 PM. We have a problem. I had a whole bunch of stuff I was supposed to do today. And I did none of it. So these days, unfortunately I have to leave all my video game stuff off. Cause if I sit down, it’s over!”

In A Little Daytime Drama, Paevey and costars Jen Lilley and Linda Dano relied on their experience working on soaps to give the movie a splash of reality. In fact, Paevey and Lilley both worked on General Hospital and came very close to working together. “We both come from the same soap background and very briefly from the same soap. We really narrowly missed working together. She played Maxie on General Hospital for a little while, shortly before I arrived on the scene, which is funny because Maxie is the character that Nathan, the character I played, ended up marrying. Isn’t that funny how things happen? Yeah. There’s a weird synchronicity in the universe sometimes.”

Speaking of synchronicity, I asked Paevey if landing the role of an actor on a soap opera was a little more meta and he said that “meta” was a word he used a lot while filming A Little Daytime Drama. “Meta was my word! I used it so many times while we were on that set. There were so many times of art imitating life and all this meta, like, frame inside of a frame inside of a frame moments. It was fun. And it was kind of surreal,” he laughed.

After talking to so many Hallmark Channel actors I’ve noticed that many of them have branched out to write, direct or produce films. When I asked Paevey if the thought had crossed his mind, he was quick to say that he has thought about it a lot. “I don’t have a writer’s mind, but I definitely have a producer’s mind. So down the line, there will probably be films that I produce and films that I direct. At present, we have nothing concrete on the schedule, but the irons are in the fire so at some point it’ll happen.”

And when it came time for one of my favorite questions to ask Hallmark actors, Paevey was ready. I’m always curious to know what would happen if Hallmark executives called and asked for a dream destination to film. “Oh man, I’ve got a whole bunch. I’ve got a whole bunch. I’ll give you three. I’m using examples from films that I’ve seen them do and locations that they’ve gone to. They’re not shy about Europe and I’ve seen films ranging from London to Romania,” he said. “I might have a little something somewhere in between those two locations later on at the end of the year so you guys will have to wait and see about that.”

The avid outdoorsman would love to get to a tropical location if the opportunity presented itself. “Any place tropical,” he continued. “I think they went to Fiji and as an aside, selfishly, I’d love to sneak some surfing while I go to a place like that. I saw them go to Africa for Love on Safari and the African continent is still a continent I have never set foot on. So I would love to do those things. And I guess those are all kind of selfish motivations. There’s places that I’d like to go. But you know, with enough discussion and collaboration with the story writer, I’m sure that we could find stories that are set in those places that make sense where we also all get to scratch our travel itch a little bit, shall we say, and go to these places.”

Speaking of traveling, when I spoke with Paevey he was just a few days from leaving to shoot a new Christmas movie in Canada and he’d just returned home after meeting fans in Tennessee at the Roma Drama Convention. Paevey enjoyed meeting with fans and connecting with fellow Hallmark actors.

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He shared that he’d had an “eye-opening” experience when he realized how many members of “Hallmark Land” played guitar. “We all ended up hanging out in the hotel bar one night and had a little mini Paul Green concert. And someone else who was there, who was really spectacular on the guitars was Trevor Donovan. Man, I had no idea, but these guys are really like musically gifted. And I, I mean, I found it mildly emasculating, but very, very inspirational. So I like, I went home and I was like, all right, I’m picking up a guitar. I gotta learn. I’ve got some catching up to do.”

I want to thank Ryan Paevey for taking the time to chat with me about A Little Daytime Drama, which premieres Saturday, August 21, on the Hallmark Channel.