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35TH ANNUAL DAYTIME EMMY NOMINEE ROUND-UP

By Michael Fairman

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Listen to the audio:

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TV SOAP:
What was your initial thought when you heard you were nominated?

YOUNGER ACTRESS NOMINEE
EMILY O’BRIEN (Jana, “Y&R”):
I had so many thoughts, but I remember saying audibly, “No way, no way no way.”  I was stunned and so excited!

SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE
TRACEY E. BREGMAN (Lauren, “Y&R”):
I was watching the east coast feed of “The View” and they announced four people in my category and stopped.  When they stopped at four, I went, “Oh my God!  Are there only four nominees this year?”  And then Ali Sweeney (Sami,”DAYS”) announced there was another one, and then Bryan Dattilo (Lucas, “DAYS”) misread my name.  So, what I did when I called Peter Bergman to congratulate him, I said, “I am now so excited to be part of the Bergman family!”  He was so hysterical, and when he called me back he went, “Tracey Bergman, this is Peter Bregman calling!”  So, we had this whole thing going all day long on Emmy day.

YOUNGER ACTRESS NOMINEE
RACHEL MELVIN (Chelsea, “DAYS”):
My reaction to it was when my mom called me.  We had relatives on the east coast who had seen the east coast feed of “The View”.   It was my grandmother’s birthday and they had called to wish her happy birthday.  And they said, “Tell Rachel congratulations.”  Then they called to tell me while I was on my way to work, and I was shocked.  I reacted in a very unpredictable manner, which was that I was very shocked and in awe of it all.  Now it’s sitting with me and it’s weird, in a great way.

YOUNGER ACTRESS NOMINEE
VAIL BLOOM (Heather, “Y&R”):
I went, “Holy Moly!”  I was surprised and thankful, and it’s really lovely to be recognized by your peers.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE:
JUDI EVANS (EX-Bonnie and Adrienne, “DAYS”):
I thought someone was mistaken.  I thought it must be somebody else’s name that was called.  I was in denial and shocked!  I never thought I would hear my name again!
(She laughs)

YOUNGER ACTOR NOMINEE:
DARIN BROOKS (Max, “DAYS”):
It was actually interesting when I first found out I was nominated.  I was totally out of it because it was so early in the morning in LA when they were announced.  I was like, “What time is it?”  My initial reaction was confused and still being half asleep.  It was really cool because I was hanging out all day with Tracey Bregman from “Y&R”.  She and I are in the same acting class.  That day we were going to rehearse in the midst of my having to be at “DAYS”, so we were hanging out and text each other all morning.  We spent the day together hearing, “Congratulations!” from people.  I called Rachel Melvin when I found out.  I called her and all we wanted was a nomination.  For us to be recognized for our work is just fantastic for us.

LEAD ACTRESS NOMINEE:
MICHELLE STAFFORD (Phyllis, “Y&R):
I was on my computer and Stephanie Sloane, from Soap Opera Digest, sent me an email, “Congrats.”  Then I went downstairs to my phone and got a message from Carolyn Hinsey of Soap Opera Weekly that said, “Michelle Stafford, congratulations, you got nominated!”   I am just honored.   It’s really great.  That’s really the win, because you have been chosen out of this huge group of people.

LEAD ACTOR NOMINEE:
THAAO PENGHLIS (Tony, “DAYS”):
I was thrilled, pleasantly surprised, honored, and excited to be among the other actors in the category.  I am the Emmy rookie nominee in my group!  They have all won Emmys before.  I guess I am the dark horse.  The fact that I got in means, people are being objective about the work, which gives me some hope.  I certainly don’t feel I am out of my league.

TV SOAP:
What episodes/scenes did you choose to submit in your acting category, and why?

EMILY O’BRIEN:
I submitted two very different episodes.  The first was the episode with Colleen and Kevin held at gunpoint by my character in the freezer.  And, the second episode was a very vulnerable, yet endearing, side of Jana in the hospital with Kevin.

TRACEY E. BREGMAN:
Where Lauren sees Sheila for the first time, played by Michelle Stafford, in the exact replica of Fen’s nursery.  She basically says to Sheila, “You deserve to die.”  And, there is a very heartfelt scene where she thanks Paul for being the most unbelievable friend, ever.  Then, she goes home and sees the baby, and starts to melt down.  As she starts to melt down, she tears down the entire nursery and then flips out.  The second show I submitted was, when I find out Gloria contaminated the crème.  I confront her and find out that Michael has known all along and lied to me.  Then, I confront him about what kind of marriage and relationship we have.  There were a lot of scenes where I go from strong to vulnerable and crazy, and I thought it would show range.  I am the worst judge of my own work.  So, either Christian, Michelle, Greg or Kristoff, have picked almost everything I have ever submitted.  Michelle Stafford’s vote was the one I went with, because there was a little discrepancy of which tape was going first and which was going second.  That was a whole psychology, as well.  But, Michelle yelled the loudest.

RACHEL MELVIN:
I chose the one where I found out that Nick and Billie slept together.  There was one scene in there where I felt it was the best scene I had done all year.  It was good to me because I felt I was really in it, in the moment.  I poured my heart and soul into it.  I knew if I submitted that and I didn’t get nominated, I had submitted my best work.  On the second tape I was not crying at all.  It was when the sorority girls set up Ford.  I chose that one, which showed a different side of Chelsea.

VAIL BLOOM:
The two shows I submitted complemented each other, because they both involved the storyline with my father, Paul.  The first one was the episode where Paul confesses he is my father and I think he is going to confess a crime.  I picked that because it had a range of emotions and had a dramatic circumstance.  I thought that it was unusual for a younger actress to have that meaty material.   When I first started working, I don’t think anyone realized I was only 24.  I did not tell them when I auditioned, because I knew I was playing a young lawyer and I sort of tried to deepen my voice a little.  It did make me a bit nervous playing a bit older, but it worked out well.

JUDI EVANS:
I submitted a show with Bonnie and a show of Adrienne.  The show with Bonnie was when she and Conner snuck into the morgue to steal Bonnie’s husband’s bones.  They were well-written scenes and really funny.  As Adrienne, I picked the episode where Adrienne goes under cover in the mental institution to help Steve get his memory back and rescue him.   I am hoping that shows a range.

DARIN BROOKS:
I submitted the episode in “The Cheatin’ Heart” for the Save the World Campaign.  That’s when Ford Decker comes in, and I pick a fight with him, and it’s intense.  The other episode I submitted is when Stephanie and Max are cleaning up, “The Cheatin’ Heart” and we have the slow dance.  It showed some fun comedy stuff.

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
I chose the scenes when Sheila escapes, and it’s kind of a creepy, yet humorous show. The second one is when Nick had amnesia, and Phyllis had to go sell herself.  I loved that one.  It was so heartbreaking.  I loved it because it was painful to watch.  I liked evoking that emotion in others.  The reason I chose the Sheila tape was because Christian LeBlanc and Kristoff St. John were like, “Michelle, why aren’t you picking that Sheila scene?”  I go, “I think it’s a little too… watch me, because I am playing a dual role.”  But they said, “Yeah, but it’s really good.”  The other tape options were more of a bum out.  The Nick in the hospital episode I knew there was no question.   I listen to actor’s opinions, no one else.  Actors know, and those who have done this game were hands-down and overwhelming positive about the tape combination.  So basically, if I lose, it’s their fault!
(She laughs)

THAAO PENGHLIS:
I submitted the show when Andre was dressed up as the clown with Sami in the hospital.  It just was so interesting because clowns can be really sad people inside, which is why I had them put a tear on the clown make-up.  But, Andre was a bit of a menacing clown, as well.  And the other episode had scenes with Andre and Kate, and also scenes with Tony at his father’s grave.

TV SOAP:
Who was the first person YOU called to tell them you were nominated?

EMILY O’BRIEN:
I honestly don’t remember.  I know I called my mom, my sister, and a few of my theater professors from school.

TRACEY E. BREGMAN:
I will tell you that Christian called me as they were reading my name, because I had text he and Michelle.  I go, “Hey guys, People magazine said you guys would be nominated.” Christian was on the phone talking to me and I go, “Stop talking, I think they just said my name and if you stay on the phone with me, I will tell you if you were nominated.”  So, he stayed on the phone with me.  He was calling me from his car somewhere and, of course, I text everything to Michelle.  Then Michelle, Christian, my husband and I, all went out for dinner that night to celebrate.

RACHEL MELVIN:
I did not call one person, because they all called me.  That was really ‘rad’.  I was at work all day, and it felt like my birthday because so many people were calling me.  Darin Brooks did call me, and we said congratulations to each other.  We both are still in shock and disbelief.  I like to think we are humble about it, because we can’t believe it ourselves.

VAIL BLOOM:
I think I called a few friends, more like five of my friends.  All my family called me first, because a lot of them are on the east coast and heard about it on “The View”.

JUDI EVANS:
I called my husband Michael.  He was over the moon with joy.  He is my biggest cheerleader, along with my friend Debby O’Conner.  My son happened to be home from school that day, so he was screaming and running through the house when he heard about it.

DARIN BROOKS:
First person I called was my Dad in Hawaii.  I don’t think my mom even knows.  She went to China last Monday with my Aunt, to see the sites there.

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
I called my parents…. always.  My mom is always so excited and wonderful.

THAAO PENGHLIS:
My brother was actually visiting me from Australia, so I got to share it with him, and then we called my sister and my other relatives back in Sydney

TVSOAPS:
What is the best and worst part of being an Emmy nominee for the next two months?

EMILY O’BRIEN:
There is no worst part!  I just wish I could get a ticket for all of my friends and family. From now on, I will just enjoy the ride until the big night!

TRACEY E. BREGMAN
It’s interesting that normally at this juncture we are scrambling; going through and looking at more episodes for the second round of voting.  But, since they have changed the voting process, there is calmness in me, because it’s decided already and they know the winner. The fun part is congratulating everybody, and picking the dress.

RACHEL MELVIN:
The worst part is the anticipation of it all.  I don’t think there is a bad part, because the right people already know who the winners are.  There is only one judging panel, and what’s done is done.  To be nominated is what I wanted anyway.  I have been fortunate enough to attend and watch the Daytime Emmy show for the last two years and to have fun.

VAIL BLOOM:
The best part is that everyone here at “Y&R” is supportive, and there is such camaraderie.  Tammin Sursok is one of my closest friends, and I was really excited to see her on the ballot.  She is away from “Y&R” right now doing a film in Vancouver.  We texted each other when we both found out.  It was exciting!  And I just love Emily O’Brien’s work.   I have been enamored with her work.  She is really unassuming and a hard worker.  It’s great being one of the three girls from “Y&R” getting nominated in the younger category.

JUDI EVANS:
I can’t think of a worst part, just the anticipation.  I know it’s going to sound really corny but to be honored by your peers and that other people in this industry took notice, is really humbling and wonderful, actually.

DARIN BROOKS:
The best thing is that I hope it will open up another door for other things, as well as the recognition.  The worst part about it is just waiting and waiting till June 20th to find out who won.  But I am really excited, and I can’t wait!

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
The best is being a nominee, and most people in daytime did not get a nomination and a minority did.  It’s a complete honor! It’s a game. It’s not like in sports, where truly the best teams win.  I mean we don’t’ have an act-off! (She laughs)  Its not really the best actor wins, it’s the people who are fortunate enough to have two good shows, and what did they do in them and with them.

TV SOAP:
Michelle, what do you think about your competition for the Outstanding Lead Actress prize?

Audio

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
I talked to Nicole Forrester and was familiar with her work, and I think she is great. I am familiar with her from before too. Crystal Chappell is always great, and I think she had a great year this year. Didn’t her character get raped? She may take the Chachki.  Those are big Chachki moments exactly.

TV SOAP:
And Maura West got it last year, so that may be that?

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
Didn’t Maura have cancer this year? Well there you go, she may get the Chachki.  She may take it.

TV SOAP:
Jeanne was in the “Y&R” Out-of-the-Ashes storyline…

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
Oh, I thought she was really good in those, Oh she may take it!

TV SOAP:
Then it could be you?

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
Who knows? There it is.

THAAO PENGHLIS:
I don’t think there is anything bad.  The trouble is, the only time you get what it is all about, is at the end of it.  You forget, you haven’t taken the time to enjoy the process.  For me its like, I have taken this long journey and then finally seeing what I went through.  Certainly being nominated by my peers, and acknowledgement from my producers and the fans, helps the ride along.  I am quite sure the night of the Emmys will be nerve-wracking, even if you go up on stage and win.

TVSOAPS:
Now you have to find something to wear for the big night.  Have you thought about that yet?

VAIL BLOOM:
Everyone was telling me I have to get a dress.  I hadn’t gotten so far as to know when the Emmys were, and everyone kept asking me what day.  The dress thing boggles my mind.  I don’t have designer, designer dresses.  I don’t know what vibe to go for.  It will be fun, but a bit overwhelming!

TRACEY E. BREGMAN:
I have already picked mine.  This is the same designer that dressed me, Mark Zunino.  He has worked for Nolan Miller.  He designed my dress a couple of years ago.  Personally, I had never seen a better dress in my life, and this year it’s really cool and classic.

JUDI EVANS:
I have actually thought more about my son’s tuxedo than my dress. (She laughs) I met up with somebody yesterday at a photo shoot who is going to help me with my dress.  If it were up to me I would pick up something from Target.  I have about that much fashion sense!

DARIN BROOKS:
Of course not!  I don’t know what to do about that yet.  I might go out and buy a suit.  I kind of like pin-stripped suits, and last year I went black shirt and black tie.

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
It’s early to think about a dress.  Sometimes, I don’t decide till a week before.  I am kind of ‘last minute girl’ in my life.  I kind of like the game of putting it all together.  I try not to get too serious.  Then, the whole thing becomes too heavy and then it’s not very fun.  I think I work best under pressure

TV SOAP:
Thaao, what do you think the best and worst part is of being a Daytime Emmy nominee for the next two months?

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Interviews

Sharon Case Celebrates 25 Years On The Young and the Restless; Shares With Fans: “Thanks For Going On The Ride With Me”

Over the weekend, The Young and the Restless Sharon Case reached her 25-year milestone in Genoa City! For Case, who was the third actress to take on the role of Sharon Collins, and once believed she would only last six months on the top-rated CBS Daytime drama, has become an integral part throughout the years to the drama and the romance that happens on the canvas on Y&R.

To mark the occasion, Case sat-down with Michael Fairman on the set of Crimson Lights at CBS Television City where Y&R is taped; to take a stroll down memory lane, and to share her thoughts with her legions of fans on the life and times of Sharon Collins Newman.

Photo: CBS

From her character’s wrong-side-of-the-tracks beginning, to meeting Nick Newman, to many of the memorable storylines and moments that were among her very favorites including: when Nikki, Phyllis, Sharon and Victoria buried J.T., and of course, to her leading men through the years, Sharon reveals some backstage and on-camera Intel.   As viewers know, Sharon Newman had also had her share of catfights through the years in longstanding conflicts with both Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) and of course, Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), and Sharon discusses those moments too.

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Sharon and Michael also relive when Cassie’s death, was first aired on the show, and the impact that story has had for decades on everyone who worked on and has watched Y&R over the years.  In addition, Sharon discusses how she felt the night she won the Daytime Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series back in 1999.

At the end of the interview Sharon relates this message to the fans of Y&R: “I have always felt like these 25 years wasn’t just working here and playing Sharon … or working here with all the wonderful people … it’s just as much about going through it with all of you, especially because of social media, but even when we didn’t have it, we always knew that you were there and we were partners with you … because it really is sort of a partnership.  I really have felt like we have been in this together the whole time.  We don’t have a studio audience, but we know you’re there, and we love hearing from you.  It really was just as much about you – this journey I have gone on, than it was anything else, so ‘thank you’ for being there and watching the show, and being faithful to the show, and thanks for going on the ride with me.”

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Now below, watch Sharon’s 25th anniversary from the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.  For more feature interviews on the channel make sure to “subscribe”.

Then, let us know what has been your favorite storyline of Sharon’s through the years?  Comment below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Elizabeth Hendrickson and Greg Rikaart Talk On The Return of Chloe and Kevin

Fans of The Young and the Restless were overjoyed to learn a few months ago that Kevin and Chloe played to perfection by Greg Rikaart and Elizabeth Hendrickson were headed back to the CBS Daytime drama following the regime change at the top.

Rikaart had previously with the series for 14 years before he was taken off-contract, and then journeyed to Days of our Lives to take on the role of Leo, while Hendrickson went to General Hospital to take on the role of Margaux Dawson, only to eventually head back to Genoa City.

Michael Fairman sat down with the popular on-screen duo recently on the set of Crimson Lights at CBS Television City for a special conversation via The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

When discussing what happened behind the scenes that led them back to Genoa City, Liz expressed: “It was definitely a surprise to get the call. I wouldn’t say it came out of nowhere because I saw Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) was coming back and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) was coming back, and it looked like they were getting the gang back together.  I wasn’t sure if I was next on the list, but when I did get the call, I was really excited, and so I chimed in with my better half (Greg) and he was too, so then I was like, ‘Well, let’s do it.”  Greg related: “I had a conversation with Josh Griffith (head writer, Y&R) and expressed that it was nice being back in the building. and a little bit later, I got a phone call inviting me back.”

Photo: JPI

If viewers have followed recent developments on Y&R, Chloe and Kevin kidnapped Billy for is own protection (Jason Thompson) to a cabin, after he tried to kill Adam.  In the ensuing scenes, Kevin injects Billy with a syringe filled with a drug to knock him out.  Rikaart shared, “Doesn’t it make sense, that if anyone had something on them to knock someone out it would be Kevin .. on the ready!?”

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Liz said of Billy’s deteriorating mental health state and working with Jason Thompson (and Billy’s revenge against Adam): “Chloe also knows that Delia would not want her father to take revenge.”  As far as working with Jason Thompson, Hendrickson shared: “Jason is really, really wonderful.  I have known him personally outside of the soap world from mutual friends.  And in getting to work with him, Jason is just great. He is a really solid guy, as well.

Photo: MFTV Inc

Later, Liz and Greg weigh-in on their favorite all-time scene together.  Greg admitted, “The first one to come to mind is our New Year’s scene, because that is when we first got together. and the build-up to that was a really long time coming. I thought it was so beautifully played where Kevin had finally given up on the idea of them being together, and he is out with spray tan girl and it’s New Year’s Eve and all he is doing the entire time is complaining about Chloe. Meanwhile, Chloe is home in her pajamas eating ice cream with Esther – it was very much a throwback to a John Hughes 1980’s rom-com.”

On their return to Y&R, Greg concluded:  “I think the fans are excited that we are back, and I think that fuels my excitement too, because when I was gone I really missed this place and knowing people missed having me here, I realized I wasn’t crazy …. this was something special.”

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So are you happy to see Liz and Greg back on Y&R? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. But first check out their video interview!

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General Hospital

GH’s Michael Easton Talks On Finn’s Hayden-Less Story, Finola Hughes & Favorite Soap Roles

It was a pretty wonky summer for General Hospital’s Dr. Hamilton Finn (Michael Easton), especially concerning the women in his life.  After proposing to Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) she exits to go deal with her twin sister, Alex, thus facilitating Hughes’ summer break from the series.

Meanwhile, another great love of Finn’s life, Hayden (Rebecca Budig) re-emerges on the canvas during Liz (Rebecca Herbst) and Franco’s (Roger Howarth) wedding reception, and is now clearly involved in some story with Jasper Jacks (Ingo Rademacher).  But what about the unresolved feelings and story with Hayden and Finn? After all, she left him and Port Charles and had his child (who is apparently alive) but is not letting her ex know that little fact.

Meanwhile as a doctor, Finn has had to deal with numerous medical infectious disease crisis’, with the latest being what happened to Sasha (Sofia Matteson) at the hands of the evil Cassandra Pierce (Jessica Tuck), who Finn would love to put behind bars for all of her nefarious drug-related crimes and for what she previously perpetrated on him.

Michael Fairman TV recently caught up with one of our favorite gents in daytime, Michael Easton, to get his thoughts on the on-screen developments in Port Charles, what he hopes is ahead this fall, a look back at some of his favorite soap roles (from One Life’s John McBain to Port Charles’ Caleb Morley), why One Life to Live was such a gem of a soap and a special time for him and his enduring soap career, and much more.  So, here’s what Michael shared in our irreverent entertaining, and candid chat.

Photo: ABC

Hayden has been back.  But you and Rebecca Budig have not thus far shared many scenes together.  Do you think we will eventually circle back to their story?

MICHAEL:  First of all, it is amazing having Rebecca back.  I’d like to say that I had forgotten how beautiful and talented she is, but I didn’t.  She stays with you, and her performances resonate.  So, coming back to work with her is like falling back into it.  For selfish reasons, I am somewhat disappointed that I thought when Hayden came back; she would completely turn Finn’s life upside down.  So, to be honest with you, I don’t know much more than what you are seeing is going on.

I don’t understand why the show is keeping that apart.  That’s what people wanted to see when Hayden came back, because many fans loved them together.

MICHAEL:  I’ve taken a hit anytime I’ve run into fans because I think (any fans that follow that couple), when they left, are a little disappointed in what they are seeing in that the girl who left is not the girl who has come back.  I think that has been the difficult thing for Finn.  It’s almost like she has reverted back to a character she was a few years prior to that.  In terms of having his life upturned, it hasn’t been upturned because she has been rather cold to him.  So, it probably isn’t the way I would have told the story, but maybe they have some great stuff up their sleeve.  I think the stuff that we have had together has shown promise.  Hopefully there will be more, because I enjoy working with her so much.

So, there’s a baby.  Does Finn ever think the baby Hayden said died, could be alive?

MICHAEL:  I don’t think he does.  I think he (just from Finn’s nature) would believe that she would never to that to him.  I imagine his thought would be, “What did I ever do to you?  You would do this to me,” because he was clearly in love with her, and she broke his heart.  I don’t think he ever sees that coming.  I know it’s hard because the audience all knows that, and it’s hard to play the person who is not in the loop when everybody else knows the truth, but you have to play that.  You have to play that you don’t watch the show.  I think Finn has to come from that place that she would never do that, and I think that will probably take it to a place (if that is the case) that will just make the fall that much grander, but again it is incredible having Rebecca back.

Photo: ABV

Has Rebecca said anything to you like, “What’s going on?  I’m barely talking to you on the show?” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:  Yes.  I don’t want to speak for her, but I think she probably thought it was going to be more the character that left who was coming back.  I think we’ve all been a little surprised, but maybe the writers have some great surprises up their sleeves, and this will play out.  It’s just different than I thought it would play out.

Finola Hughes had gone off on her summer vacation for awhile which put a pause in what’s next for the Anna and Finn romance, as well.

MICHAEL:  Well, you work with me long enough, and then you need some time off, right?  It’s like PTSD, right?  You need a three-month treatment plan to make it back.  So, I don’t blame her for taking some time off. (Laughs)

Finn proposed to Anna with this impromptu-at-her feet-moment at the Nurses’ Ball.  Did you like the proposal?

MICHAEL:  The only thing that I would have done differently is that I originally thought she said no, just because I love playing uncomfortable, embarrassing moments.  I would have had a lot of fun with that because being embarrassed in front of groups of people is something that I would like to play.  I do that quite often in my own life. (Laughs)  I didn’t watch it back, but in the moment, it felt really nice.  She’s lovely.  Who wouldn’t propose to her?  So, there wasn’t a great deal of difficulty in doing that.

Photo: ABC

Do you sense the on-screen magic between Finn and Anna?  

MICHAEL:  I hope we both bring each other out of our comfort zones a little bit.   I think Finola embraces that, and I embrace that.  I think we both sort of pull each other a little bit.  When the writers write it that way, especially early on, there was a lot of great dialogue and banter, it was like a very adult-type of movie for a while, and I really enjoy that.  It is like Sullivan’s Travels or something like that.  That’s a really dated reference.  Who else do you know that is going to pull out a reference to Preston Sturges movies?  (Laughs) How about Moonlighting?  Even that might be dated now, but it’s closer.  (Laughs)  I think that’s it.  She’ll go with it.  Sometimes just in the flow of it, stuff comes out, and nothing goes by Finola.  There is no ad-lib or gesture that you can make where she won’t go with you on it.  She’s such a pro, and she is so good at that.

Photo: JPI

You’re both smart actors, in a way.  

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MICHAEL:  She’s smart.  She’s really smart.   She’s extra smart, and I’m a little bit under, (laughs) and she balances us out.

Do you think Finn will finally help apprehend Cassandra?  How is it when you get to work with Jessica Tuck?

MICHAEL:  Yeah.  I would imagine.  I love Jessica.  I think she is fantastic, and I always like when the “bad guy” doesn’t know they’re the bad guy.  I know when I played Caleb on Port Charles; one of the things I liked about him was that he never thought he was the bad guy.  I think that is always the right way to play a bad guy, and Jessica certainly doesn’t play it that way.  She plays it like she is just really devious.  She is lovely. I sort of look at it like a team, and anytime you lose good players, your team is not as good.  So, anytime someone says something about someone coming back who is a really good actor, it’s great when they come back.

Photo: JPI

How does Finn feel now about his brother, Chase (Josh Swickard)?  He just can’t seem to get himself to show his affection towards his younger brother.

MICHAEL:  He does love him, and that’s right.  That’s the conflict, but it’s hard to be mad at Josh because he is the sweetest kid.  He looks at you with those big brown eyes, and you go, “Why am I being such a jerk to this guy?  He’s just too nice, but it’s good.  I think we’ve slowly developed a rapport, and it’s just one of those things that I think every so often, daytime gets right where you can almost tell something in real time.  It wasn’t rushed.  It’s taken a year, and they are sort of coming around to one another, but there are still a lot of secrets.  That’s coming up.

Photo: ABC

Where would you rate Finn in the scope of your characters?  I mean, for me, McBain will always be #1.

MICHAEL:  Is McBain 1?  (Laughs)  You and Steve Burton (Jason, GH).  I’ve never sat and ranked them. Obviously, I played McBain the longest, and it was probably the character who was the most like me I did ride-alongs with cops in New York City for like a month.  So, I was able to ground him in some reality for myself, and I was able to stick to that.  We had a great adviser on the show for over a year who was a former New York City detective, gold shield guy.  Someone once asked why the police department was so good at One Life, and that was it.  They really embraced it.  We didn’t have people sneaking out of the jail-cell with a bobby pin picking the lock. (Laughs)

It was a bit grittier on One Life.

MICHAEL:  I enjoyed that.  McBain not saying “I love you” for 10 years, being on daytime and being able to do that – now that is quite the accomplishment!

Photo: JPI

I remember when McBain FINALLY told Natalie (Melissa Archer) “I love you.” I lost it, but then again, I am sucker for soapy goodness like that. It was a big moment.

MICHAEL:  It was.  Then, he had to kind of retract it and said, “I was drugged.”

Yeah right, he had that “What did I do?” moment.

MICHAEL:  “What did I do?”  That’s right.  So, that was a challenge, and that was really interesting.  Port Charles’ Caleb was probably the most fun to play because that was just an incredible amount of freedom.  There was no grounding it in anything.  It was the biggest sandbox I’d ever played in.  If you wanted to walk over to the couch, you walked over to the couch.  You did whatever you wanted to, and obviously, getting to work with the lovely Kelly Monaco (Ex-Livvie, Port Charles, now Sam, GH) every day… it was just nice.  Caleb only had one intention.  He was in love with this girl, and he just wanted to be with her, and anytime you get one specific need as an actor, it makes it so easy. You’ll stop at nothing to be with this girl, and that’s so fun to play.

Photo: ABC

Right, and Kelly Monaco and you have amazing chemistry when you have been paired romantically together in story.

MICHAEL:  Yeah, I think those things exist in a special place, and they probably belong in that special place.  Although, I thought it was an interesting dynamic for a period of time, it would have been interesting to see where that would have gone on GH with McBain, and Jason, and Sam, because there was something there that they could have built on very slowly.  I don’t know what would have happened, but I think that dynamic was the only dynamic that could have worked for a period of time.   I don’t think Fin would work, but that one dynamic would have been interesting when you have the cop, the outlaw, and the girl who comes between them.

Photo: ABC

One Life to Live recently would have celebrated its 51st anniversary if it was still on the air.  Back in July, I posted these photos of major characters through the years.  I received so many “likes” and so many comments on social media such as, “I miss it so much. Bring it back!”  What can you say about those enduring One Life fans and being part of that one-of-a-kind show?

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MICHAEL:  They’re the most beautiful fans.  All of the daytime fans are beautiful, but I think it was a really nice connection with the One Life to Live fans, and we got to know so many of them working in New York on the streets, you came out of the studio, and people were right there.  So, you really got to know them.  You got to engage with people.  I love that show, and I miss it.  Otherwise, I still stay in touch with a lot of them.  I think that speaks to it.  I have lifelong friends who I met on that show, which never happens.  Usually, you walk out of a show on your last day, and you’ll never see anybody again.  You’ll all say, “Yeah, let’s exchange numbers.”  I walk out of there and I go, “Thank you, and I’ll never see you again.”  I don’t even lie to people.  Like, I know I’ll never see you again, and I never have except for that show, and I am still in touch with so many of those people.  So, I think that spoke to how close we were.

Photo: JPI

Were you and Roger Howarth (Franco/Drew) always close on One Life, or are you closer now because you do all of the personal appearance events you do together?

MICHAEL:  Well, Roger and I have known each other; it must be going on… 25-30 years now.  So, it was pre-One Life.  I think at some point we both had long hair, and both had done daytime, so we were pretty interchangeable.  I think one time they called him about a part I did, and one time, they called me about a part when he left.  I actually know Roger because I did a series called 413 Hope St., and Jesse Martin was the lead in it.  It was a Damon Wayans series for Fox.  So, I had known of Roger, but I really got to know him at a New Year’s Eve party in like 1995/96.  Obviously, I’ve become really close to him now because we never did appearances or that sort of thing, but I think we have both sort of gotten over ourselves a little bit now. (Laughs)

Because you weren’t very visible before.  That goes for both of you!

MICHAEL:  No, and that’s by default.  I don’t think we ever discussed it.

Photo: ABC

It wasn’t a conscious decision?

MICHAEL:  No, I just thought (especially when I came back to daytime to do Caleb) it was just more interesting if people didn’t know a lot about me because the character was that.  So, it took me a while to ease into it, and also, I just had to get over myself.  I had a fear of engaging with large groups of people for a while.  In a strange way, Roger and I have kind of gravitated to each other.  I think we are both similar types.  Between the two of us, we make up one real man, you know?  Each of us is like half a man. (Laughs)

Together you can conquer.

MICHAEL:  We are a good crutch for each other!  He picks up my half, I pick up his.  That’s the solution.

So what do you think GH viewers can look forward to coming up with Finn?

MICHAEL:  I’m assuming at some point he is going to get his world turned upside down when he finds out about Hayden and the baby, and how he is going to react to that will probably be interesting.  I hope that’s going to happen.

Photo: ABC

If he became an addict again, how would you feel about that?

MICHAEL:  I think him struggling and getting over that would be interesting.  I would hope that wouldn’t be his reaction, but I guess that always hangs over your head.  Certainly, him falling apart would be interesting.  I think your faith in the universe would be crushed in that moment.  I don’t know how he would react.  I’m just really curious to see how that would shake out and to play that.  I think it would be a challenge.  I think you’re always looking for some way to turn everything … and I invite that.  I always think that sometimes in daytime we play the gimmick, but you should always play to the heart of the story.  What’s going to make you feel something?  If you feel something as the character, as the actor, I think the audience will feel something with you.  I think it is maybe one of the things that we have gotten away from a little bit is that emotional attachment.  When I watch shows that really move me, it’s still that emotional attachment between two people, and at the end of the day it should still be a love story … no matter what it is.   I think that is the heart of what we should be doing.  I think every poem should be a love poem of some sort.  I know they have to weave the other stuff, the science fiction, and the memories, and the missing babies, and the twins, but at the heart of it, it should really be about two people finding themselves in love.

Are you working on graphic novels, movies?

MICHAEL:  I’m always doing something, Michael.  It keeps me balanced, and it keeps me from losing my mind.

Photo: JPI

Will you be producing and directing any new short films?

MICHAEL: Trevor St. John (Ex-Todd/Victor Lord Jr. OLTL) and I are always talking about doing a short film.  Every time we drink too much beer, next thing you know, we are going to be doing a movie.  We have many beers, and then we shoot a film.  Then, we call our friends like Kamar de los Reyes (Ex-Antonio, OLTL), and Sherri Saum (Ex-Keri, OLTL), and Dan Gauthier (Ex-Kevin OLTL), and we go, “Now you guys, drink many beers, and you will join us on this film.”

See, now I get how movies are made!  

So, are you hoping that GH tells more of the story between Finn and Hayden?  Are you hoping that Anna and Finn make it to their “I do’s? What would you like to see happen to Finn? And finally, of all Michael’s soap roles which has been your favorite? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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