Monday, August 23, 2004

Miami's 'Idol' gets a 'Life'

By Lauren Bishop
Enquirer staff writer

Just five months after he appeared on American Idol, Miami University graduate Matthew Metzger returns to the small screen today as Duke Buchanan on the ABC soap One Life to Live.

And he's not at all bitter that he had the misfortune to compete in the first group of Idol semifinalists with the two contestants who later became the final two - Fantasia Barrino and Diana DeGarmo.

"I can't complain about how things turned out," he said by phone from New York, a day before he appeared at the grand opening of the Cincinnati Mills mall. "It allowed me to come out here and do something I love. It's been just a wonderful experience."

Metzger, 24, says his acting experience was limited to high school plays, a class at Miami and a part in an independent film shot in Northern Kentucky.

But after he appeared on American Idol, he received an e-mail from ABC, asking him to attend a general audition in Los Angeles. Two screen tests in New York later, they offered him the part. He says it was only then that he realized that he had actually watched One Life to Live in high school, after a girlfriend got him hooked on it.

Naturally, there have been countless plot twists and turns on One Life to Live since Metzger's high school days. For one, Duke Buchanan is now a college student caught in the middle of a custody battle. Plus, he's got his eye on Adriana Lord (Melissa Gallo).

Metzger's own life is a little more stable. He's now settled in New York City, which he was surprised to find he liked. "If you actually stop and talk to people out here, they're really great," he says.

But don't get your hopes up, female fans: Metzger plans to wed fiancee Natalie Witwer, another Miami grad who was Miss Ohio 2002, next month.

One Life to Live airs 2 p.m. weekdays on Channels 9, 2.


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