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B&B’s Annika Noelle Talks Hope’s Behavior, Thomas and Liam, and Keeping a Straight Face in Scenes with Lil Nas X & James Corden

Photo: CBS/Gilles Toucas

This week, The Bold and the Beautiful is celebrating their 9000th episode milestone. On Tuesday, the daytime drama aired a special Steffy-Centric show marking the occasion, and served up an on set gathering at their CBS soundstage filled with speeches, cake, and photos to preserve the big day.

Then on Wednesday, none other than Grammy Award-winning superstar, Lil Nas X, and talk show host, James Corden made their B&B debuts in their hilarious highly-publicized cameos.

During the B&B 9,000th presentation, Michael Fairman TV caught up with series heroine, Annika Noelle (Hope) to get her take on the latest in the life of her soap opera alter-ego. From the looks of it, Hope and Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) can’t seem to stay away from each other, as Hope appears to be giving her reinstated top designer more than just a third or fourth chance at turning his personal and professional life around, much to the protest of her husband, Liam (Scott Clifton). So, where does Annika think Hope’s story is going from here? Read below and find out.

Photo: CBS

First of all, what was it like being in the scenes with Lil Nas X and James Corden that just aired? Hope was having lunch with her dad, Deacon (Sean Kanan) at Il Giardino, when the two of them show up as the busboy and the waiter. How did you keep a straight face when the cameras were rolling?

ANNIKA: It was amazing, I’m such a fan of Lil Nas X and to watch him and James Corden together was so entertaining. It was so hard to keep a straight face and not laugh. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Photo: CBS

Is Hope really falling for Thomas? What do you think is going on with her?

ANNIKA: I don’t think so. She is in love with Liam and he has always been her be-all and end-all.  However, Hope has been so controlled about not wanting to be her mom (Brooke) and so she is so tightly-wound in regards to that.  The feelings she feels towards another man (Thomas) …  I can say, she is feeling something.  However, it’s totally throwing her for a loop.  She doesn’t know how to reconcile that.  It’s really triggering a lot of repressed issues that she dealt with about her mom, and growing up in Brooke’s shadow, and all of that judgment that kind of got past down to her.  All because of her mom’s actions.  Hope is kind of spiraling a little bit right now. She’s having a hard time, but we will see where it goes.

Courtesy/CBS

How do you and Matthew Atkinson continue to play the scenes where Hope and Thomas end up in rather comprising situations or positions and get through those? For instance, Hope trips on her dress and falls on top of the guy on the couch, or the times she puts on a dress to model it for him, and it gets very flirty and seductive?

ANNIKA: I am sure there is a blooper reel of Matt and I somewhere, because you know you have to hold and sustain eye-contact for a very long time on a soap when they want the scene to go on for a while, and before they yell “cut”.  There have been quite a few moments where we just start laughing hysterically. I’m hoping our supervising producer, Casey Kasprzyk can put those together and do something fun with them.

Photo: CBS

Liam and Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) seem to be spending a bit more time together as of late. What do you make of it?

ANNIKA: They are having a few solo talks of late, so I don’t know what will transpire with that, but it’s a soap, so you never know.  I do like Steffy and Finn (Tanner Novlan).  I think they are a hot couple and I think they balance each other really well.

Photo: CBS

What do you want to happen to Hope next?

ANNIKA:  I saw some people theorizing. I would love Hope to develop Dissociative Identify Disorder (DID) because I think it would kind of justify the subtle change in her after everything Thomas has done. Finally, that rebel inside of her that she forgot to express, that she has repressed for so long, and that kind of freedom, could get put in that other personality. I think that would be a fun thing to play – the good girl and the bad girl.

Photo: CBS

Would you like to see Hope develop DID? Do you want Hope and Liam to stay together?  Would you like to see Hope in a relationship with Thomas as twisted as that would be? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Janie WaguespackMargheritaGerricaConnie TaskerHSM Recent comment authors
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Kay
Guest
Kay

She has made Hope her own I think she has a subtle beauty and a subtle way of acting that to me is refreshing . I hate the writing for the show but she is indeed a treasure

Isis
Guest
Isis

Completely agree

*Dot
Guest
*Dot

Leave Hope & Liam be. If you want her to have some kind of meltdown, her & Liam should somehow,someway have another baby of THEIR OWN that’ll be more bonkers than D.I.D.(&YES,I know exactly what I’m talking about).
The writers started to go in a great direction w/ Dollar Bill, Ridge then Deacon but now, they really want to screw it all up again-NO. BROOKE & TAYLOR writing is abt time✌️

Kate
Guest
Kate

Leave Thomas out of lope relationship Thomas and Douglas be PROPPING them since 20189 why can’t Tom MOVED on hope is so spoil AN say hope in love with Liam then why couldn’t Thomas àccept a date with that model hope be controlled Thomas life and it gross Liam cheated on her over a doll

Gerrica
Guest
Gerrica

It is Thomas’s problem that he didn’t accept the date. Hope wasn’t trying to stop him. The “doll” was Thomas’s problem, Liam didn’t know it was a fake. They need to stop using Lope to PROP Thomas. Let him change somewhere else.

Janie Waguespack
Guest
Janie Waguespack

Absolutely keep Hope & Liam together, I love them and their love story. I think they should have another child together as well.

Doug
Guest
Doug

I totally agree. The story lines sure could use a fresh thought or two. But most everyone are truly fine actors.

Chels
Guest
Chels

This is so well put. Shes a real one for sure.

Isis
Guest
Isis

Hope and Thomas together would be the most disturbing and disgusting thing this show did after making Bridge destiny after Ridge raped Brooke

Chels
Guest
Chels

I NEVER want to see Hope in a relationship with Thomas. He did terrible things to her. He kept her child from her and even before that he used her grief over still birth to convince her her only chance to be a mother was Douglas. I don’t even like her giving him another chance, she’s done it too much and he is never sincere.

Isis
Guest
Isis

Same girl, same

Cathy
Guest
Cathy

Oh please don’t have Hope and Thomas have an affair. He has done horrible things to her. I wouldn’t trust Him at all. He is so vile and always plotting to get Hope to love him. Don’t do it. Liam still pines over Steffi. Get some new stories. Oh yeah, please finally kill off the evil devil who lives on and never dies.

Brenda
Guest
Brenda

I wish that the writers would bring Caroline(Jr.)back. This would reveal how much of a liar that Thomas really is. Thomas forged the letter to make Hope believe that Caroline wanted her to be Douglas’ mother. I am wondering why that storyline has not been addressed to catch Thomas in another lie to show how deranged and obsessed that he is to Hope.

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

After watching BB daily since the first day it aired in 1987, April 19, the day the evil guest appearances were on BB, was my last day ever watching. Great job alienating your viewers for life!

Donna
Guest
Donna

She should be with Thomas and leave their son out of it, enough drama for the poor kid.

Lisa Curenton
Guest
Lisa Curenton

If they hire the old One Life To Live writers it would be great…these guys can’t do it

Melon
Guest
Melon

Hope and Liam are beyond boring and only have brother/sister chemistry. Meanwhile she and Thomas have passion and intensity and loads of chemistry. So I say bring on Thope and bring back Steam too!!

A. Womack
Guest
A. Womack

Yes! Yes! Yes! Hope snd Thomas could liven up this soap.

Gerrica
Guest
Gerrica

No absolutely not

Sandra Harrellson Edlund
Guest
Sandra Harrellson Edlund

I’m ok with her & the DID , but not for long, and please do it without sleeping with Thomas & cheating on Liam ! Same for him, NO MORE HE & Steffy please! We love The Hope she’s always been ! Let her finally put Thomas in his place !

Val
Guest
Val

Hope is discussting there is no woman that would be attracted to someone like Thomas after he stole her baby made her think he was dead many other countless things it’s just gross that she would dream of being with him in any shape for my way

A WOMACK
Guest
A WOMACK

Thomas didn’t steal her baby. Hope and Liam are boring with a capital B.

Carol
Guest
Carol

Keep hope & Liam together! PLEASE

DB
Guest
DB

There is definitely an attraction she feels for Thomas ,but it’s not sustainable because it may be more of a lust not love factor. And in the end I think Hope is who she is and she will choose Liam over Thomas.

Leslie
Guest
Leslie

I would love for B&B to show another side to her LOL not necessarily an identity disorder because that is a very serious disorder. I think that instead of going to the extreme, that B&B could actually just show another side to Hope. I’m tired of the good girl stuff and hope always being the victim. That’s not real life! Even the best people make bad choices at some point in life! They always have hope on the straight and narrow and it limits her storyline. And why does it have to be that she pursues Thomas and Thomas is… Read more »

Susan
Guest
Susan

I agree with Leslie

A womack
Guest
A womack

I agree 100%

Vm
Guest
Vm

Hope fought so hard to get Liam when he was dating her and Steffy, and now she is doing to mess that all up with Thomas. I would NOT like to see her fall for Thomas. Leave her with Liam.

Judy
Guest
Judy

Why does Hope dress so “boring” for a big time fashion icon? They could make her a bit more trendy!

Rose
Guest
Rose

I would like everyone to stop flipping and flopping from one partner to another for a while, it’s exhausting to watch. There’s nothing [reality] about that !

Donna Fox
Guest
Donna Fox

I would like to see hope be that bad girl with Thomas see were this storyline can go she with Liam during the day then she goes out at nite secretly with Thomas for some steamy nite .

LAA
Guest
LAA

Please do not have Hope leave Liam for Thomas. That is so messed up on so many levels. Can we just leave a good relationship alone for once and have hope and Liam be amazing together!!’n

Kayla
Guest
Kayla

Michael, I think Annika made comments because of Lope fans, People have their panties in a bunch. I am tired of plain vanilla and that is what she is. I love JMW but when does Annika gets her time to shine? Don’t she want Emmy consideration at all. For once Hope made me what to know more about what makes her tick. I want substance from her. I am tired of everyone on the shows singing her praises like she is so good, forgiven, loyal. she sounds like a pet. Annika is a good actress I loved her in True… Read more »

Kayla
Guest
Kayla

I forgot to add I do not character with Thomas period. I do not believe that a fine ass man would be this obsessed with a girl who detests him and if the show make something happen, Thomas would be the bad guy manipulator. Hope and Liam relationship and Liam running around like chicken little made me sick

Myra Florence
Guest
Myra Florence

I’d like to see Hope and Thomas together. They’d be really hot

HSM
Guest
HSM

Hope stay with Liam!

Connie Tasker
Guest
Connie Tasker

Connie,,,I think she should be with Thomas .they make a much better couple ,can’t stand laim ,all he does his winne, and Thomas is hot

Margherita
Guest
Margherita

Looks like Thomas is getting into cahoots with Sheila per the shadow with facial hair.

Days Of Our Lives

Peter Porte, Miranda Wilson and Colton Little Tease Dimitri’s Love Interest, Who’s the Daddy & The Future of Andrew & Paul

Following recent revelations on Days of our Lives, which include that Dimitri Von Leushner (Peter Porte) is the biological son of Megan Hathaway (Miranda Wilson), thus making him a DiMera, Megan moving back into the DiMera mansion after her prison term, and Andrew (Colton Little) being kidnapped, the performers who take on these roles chatted with Michael Fairman on Friday during a livestream conversation on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel.

Courtesy/Peacock

During the live chat a myriad of subjects and upcoming story teases came up including: if there might be the love interest for Dimitri. Peter Porte shared, “Yes, there certainly will be. There will be two. One, out of perhaps, we’ll say necessity, and one out of heart’s desire.”  As to if ‘said’ relationship will show Dimitri’s obsessive side, Porte expressed: “I think he goes through a full journey of emotions. I don’t think he fully reaches obsession. I would say he reaches a level of extreme devotion.”  When Porte found out who the character would be that Dimitri seemingly falls for, the actor said, “I was certainly surprised.”

When we posed the question to the DAYS fans in the live chat, as to who they think will be Dimitri’s love interest or interests, guesses ranged from Gwen (Emily O’Brien) to Sloan (Jessica Serfaty) to Leo (Greg Rikaart). Could any, or two, of those be right?

Miranda Wilson and Porte weighed-in on the mother/son bond and troublemaking duo of Megan and Dimitri.  Wilson shared: “I think it’s fair to say that Dimitri is a grown man and probably has his own mustache twisting to be doing without Megan to be involved.  I just think that what is going to be coming up now is a beautiful relationship between the two.”  Porte followed with, “At the heart of it, Dimitri would do anything for his mother, anything.”

Photo: Peacock

Another mystery on DAYS fans minds is just who is the bio-dad of Dimitri? Is it someone on the canvas? Someone from the past? Porte previewed, “He certainly has a name and a title, but I don’t know if we’ve met him yet.” Wilson added, “I don’t believe he has been on the show.”

Many DAYS fans are also hoping that there be will be more to the burgeoning love story of Andrew and Paul (Christopher Sean). Colton revealed, “I have a real-life love and affinity for Christoper Sean, because he is just a ball of light and energy and a good human. I don’t think my success on the show would be anything if he hadn’t taken me under his wing and showed me the ropes. So much kudos and love to him. Getting to play opposite of someone like that as a love interest, is a treat and a joy. I think it’s really sweet, a lot of it is happening off-screen. I know the fans have expressed they want to see it on-screen.”  However, Little teased, ‘There is some good stuff coming up with Andrew and Paul. Stay tuned.”

Photo: NBC

When Miranda Wilson first appeared on Days of our Lives, it was back in 1984 as Megan was revealed to be the daughter of Stefano DiMera, played by the late, great Joseph Mascolo.  This week, Megan made her way back to the DiMera mansion and Miranda weighed-in on her relationship with her late on-screen father, and more. “Joe was a very dear friend,” she detailed. “When we worked together in the past, he was truly a father figure for me. DAYS was my first professional job in Los Angeles. The fact that Joe was there for me and we worked together so frequently, and he had a lot of time for me, meant the world to me. So, it was bittersweet being back (in the DiMera mansion), and him not being there. It still touches me, but at the same time, the character of Megan has her edge and she doesn’t let this show. As the actress, there was a lot of tenderness, that the character didn’t necessarily display. The whole ‘being back’ thing was amazing.”

Courtesy/Peacock

You can watch the entire livestream featuring Peter, Miranda and Colton below.  The talented trio also chat on working with Steve Burton (Harris, DAYS) and Colton’s opportunity to work with the one and only Dick Van Dyke who is making a guest appearance this fall on the soap.

Now weigh-in: Who do you think will be the love interest or interests for Dimitri? Who do you think will turn out to be Dimitri’s father? Are you hoping for more Andrew and Paul? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Melissa Claire Egan Chats On Tackling Chelsea’s Depression Storyline, and Being the “SuLu” of The Daytime Emmy Nominations

While the 50th annual Daytime Emmy Awards have currently been put on hold until there is a resolution of the WGA Writers Strike, that doesn’t mean we can’t continue our series of spotlighting the nominees who will be going for gold when the ceremonies are rescheduled.

The Young and the Restless’ Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) delivered what was one of the most gut-wrenching performances in recent memory, when Chelsea attempted to end her life via suicide, only to be saved at the last minute by an astute Billy (played by Lead Actor Daytime Emmy nominee, Jason Thompson). The conversations and intensity of that moment, and the scenes that followed, had an impact on so many viewers and shed a light on mental illness and people battling with depression. Clearly, something that many in this country have been grappling with, especially during and coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For Egan, this marks her seventh Daytime Emmy nomination, and her second in the Lead Actress in a Drama Series category, in a soap career that started in Pine Valley as All My Children’s troubled Annie Lavery, before coming to Genoa City as grifter, Chelsea Lawson.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Missy, who is an expectant mom-to-be with her second child, to discuss portraying her harrowing nominated scenes, and being the current ‘Susan Lucci’ of the Daytime Emmy Nominations. However, for Susan, it was 19 tries before her iconic Emmy victory in 1999. Let’s hope it doesn’t have to last that long for the talented Egan!

Courtesy/CBS

Congratulations. I knew this nomination was in the cards for you. What scenes did you end up deciding to go with on your reel? I assume, it would be from Chelsea’s suicide attempt and her battle with depression?

MELISSA: I did. I put in two episodes worth of everything that happened: on the ledge, and the aftermath, the next episode that followed. It was when Chelsea and Billy are in the hotel room and she’s still going through the stages and she’s angry at him for stopping her. She’s like, “You had no right to stop me on that ledge. That was my choice. You had no right. You don’t get to tell me what to do in my life.”  I like that those scenes showed kind of the levels of it. I talked to Dr. Dan Reidenberg (Managing Director at National Council for Suicide Prevention) a lot in preparing for the scenes about what happens after. i.e., “You’re in shock, and then in anger if you get stuck. You had emotionally planned to die and come to terms with that, and then what happens after that, if it doesn’t happen.” So, I really liked that episode as well, so I put in both of those.

Is it hard for you to watch your work, or are you good with it?

MELISSA: You know, it depends. I don’t watch my work all the time. I did watch these episodes because I wanted to see how they turned out. They were so important to the story, and it’s definitely hard to watch yourself with a critical eye. I don’t always watch, but I did watch these.

Courtesy/CBS

You know, this story resonated with so many people. I follow how and what people are reacting to, as part of being a journalist. This was one of those transcendent performances of the nominations. It felt so real, as I’ve told you before. It was really hard to watch, which I think was good. It put people in an uncomfortable place they don’t like to be. Jason Thompson plays the other part of it with the, “Oh, my God” of it all, and the, “What do you do when you’re faced with somebody that’s about to try to end their life?” What reaction did you get from viewers, or people that reached out to you after these performances aired?

MELISSA: Oh, gosh. It was so profound. It was so beyond words. The fans are always supportive, but I couldn’t believe the reaction of just people sharing on Instagram, on Twitter DM’ing me saying, “This was me, ” or saying, “This was my daughter, this was my aunt, this was my mom, this is my son. This was my cousin.”  Some people shared things like, “This happened to my cousin two weeks ago.” I just couldn’t believe how much it resonated with people.  I was so moved and so touched that people were willing to share and that it got a conversation started. It truly meant the world to me. I know for all of us at the show, it’s all you can hope for, is to hopefully help people feel less alone, and feel seen, and feel that it’s hopefully done properly. Like you said, that it is maybe uncomfortable to watch, but maybe in a good way.  It was pretty profound, and I will forever be grateful for that.

Courtesy/CBS

I had talked with Jason Thompson about how the two of you approached the emotional scenes together. What happened to get the two of you to the place you were able to deliver these performances? Did you prepare together before hitting the soundstage to tape?

MELISSA: We didn’t really, Obviously, Jason is such an amazing actor. We rehearsed it the way we always do. You know, we ran the lines and then we did each scene in one take, which is the norm there, too. If in the booth and the director, and Josh Griffith (EP and Head Writer, Y&R) who was watching, weren’t happy, obviously, we would’ve done it again. We did every single one of those scenes one time. We ran lines before and then did it. Actually, because of the director’s schedule, we had to shoot out of order. We shot the scenes in the hotel the day before we shot the ones on the ledge. There were definitely challenges involved.  At first, I remember thinking, “Oh gosh, we can’t do this. We have to shoot it in order.” But then, I was like, “You know what? We can, we can do this.” It just becomes a different challenge. We shot the scene in the hotel on a Thursday. We shot the scenes on the ledge late on a Friday night.  Jason did his research on his own. I did mine, but we came together. Obviously, we talked a lot about the scenes leading up to it for week.

Photo: ABC

Now, I remember when you and I have talked in the past and would kid, that you are the “SuLu” of the Daytime Emmy Nominations. Currently, this is your seventh Daytime Emmy nominations, with yet, a win.

MELISSA: I’m the Sulu!  I’ll take it anytime I can be compared to Susan Lucci. I know it’s wild, right? Number seven.

It is wild. However, I feel like this is the strongest reel you have had to enter into the Emmys.  It’s a game.  It’s being judged by people. It’s a competition. And unfortunately, you have to play the game, which is usually about the strategy of, “How does this reel connect to people, and how can people understand what’s going on it if they don’t know the show?” How do you feel about how this submission stacks up with the six previous ones for you?

MELISSA: I’ve always been proud of my reels and I’m so proud of the seven nominations in 17 years of doing soaps. However, because the material is so important and the material is so relevant, and it’s touched people in such a different way, it’s become the work I’m most proud of, for sure. The truth is: I’m so excited to be nominated again, but the real reward has been being able to affect people and touch people and help people. There’s nothing that can compare or compete with that. So, I feel like no matter what happens, I feel like the real reward is being able to tell the story and help people feel less alone. It really is.

Photos: ABC, CBS,

What a “Lead Actress” group to be nominated with.  Two of your castmates, Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) and Sharon Case, (Sharon, Y&R) along with Finola Hughes (Anna, GH) and Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy, B&B), are all in the category with you.

MELISSA: I know! It’s so exciting. It’s such a great group of women and great group of actors. And of course, having Michelle and Sharon on there is just icing on the cake. It’s so cool and so special.

You know, Finola Hughes, right?

MELISSA: Yes. I got to know Finola for our girl’s nominee luncheon, two years ago. We were both nominated together two years ago along with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, too.  She won that year. So, three of us were in this together two years ago, which is weird and fun. I was pregnant then, too. There’s like a lot of similarities. It’s all been these very ‘pinch me’ moments. I’m just so excited and so grateful no matter what happens.

Photo: JPI

If you get the opportunity to give an acceptance speech, will you have something written down if your name is called, or will you just wing?

MELISSA: No. I’ve never written anything down. But again, I haven’t had to. I always kind of think about it in my brain, in my thoughts, of what I would say, but I’ve never put a pen to paper, ever, which is probably not smart. I’m sure I would end up forgetting somebody very important. I just never have written it down. It’s just not my way.

Jason Thompson made a comment to me when he was a special guest on my Daytime Emmy nomination special.  He mentioned, like so many actors have to me in the past, that even as a kid, he would practice in the mirror, winning in Oscar and giving an acceptance speech.  Did you ever do that?

MELISSA: I will say the cool thing about the Emmy is … two years ago, we all got to ‘pretend’ win, and walk on that stage and a hold an Emmy and thank our parents, and then of course, four out of five of us did not win.  However, you got to experience what it would kind of feel like.  I’ll always have that in my back pocket if I continue to be the “SuLu” of my generation.

Photo: NATAS

If for some reason you continue to be the ‘Sulu,’ you’ll have to call Susan Lucci for advice!

MELISSA:  The next time I see her, I will definitely tell her. I mean, I can’t compare it to the ‘Queen’, but, you know, I’ll take any kind of comparison, for sure!

Photo: ABC

Will you be rooting for Melissa Claire Egan to win this year’s Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series? Were you affected and touched by Y&R’s suicide prevention storyline which featured Melissa’s performances as Chelsea, front and center? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Maurice Benard Talks On His Daytime Emmy Nomination, Sonny’s Journey with Bipolar Disorder, and His Advocacy for Mental Health

General Hospital’s Maurice Benard has often tapped into his harrowing real-life experience with bipolar disorder and manic episodes, and brought that to the inner life of the character of Sonny Corinthos. Over the years, Benard has been very open with his struggles with mental illness while becoming an advocate and shedding light on mental health through his You Tube series, State of Mind, his autobiography Nothing General About It: How Love (and Lithium) Saved Me On and Off General Hospital, and his numerous talk show and personal appearances.

In the early part of 2022, GH’s Sonny was on a downward spiral, off his meds, and in the throes of having his relationship with Carly (Laura Wright) hit the skids, while turning to Nina (Cynthia Watros) for comfort, help, and much more. Those moments and others, gave Benard powerful scenes to play, and it landed him a Daytime Emmy nomination this year in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series category. This marks the 10th time Maurice has been nominated. He has already racked up three Lead Actor Emmys previously: in 2003, 2019, and 2021.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with the popular star to get his take on: what this Daytime Emmy nomination means to him, how he sees the category in which he is included with four other talented actors, and how he hopes his road, and Sonny’s road to a better emotional place has helped others. We also reminisce on Maurice’s seismic first Emmy victory at Radio City Music Hall in 2003, and the lessons he’s learned for himself along the way, and come Emmy time.

Make sure to watch the 50th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Friday night June 16th live on CBS (9 pm EST) and streaming on Paramount+.  Now, here’s what Maurice had to say.

Photo: ABC

Congratulations on this Lead Actor Emmy nomination. I understand that you submitted scenes dealing with Sonny’s battle with bipolar disorder. Can you tell me what was on your reel?

MAURICE: First, I have scenes with Michael (Chad Duell) where Sonny wants to reconcile with him, and we talk about how many people have died. You can tell something’s off with Sonny. Then, he has scenes with Carly, where Sonny wants to get back with her and she didn’t want to, and then he’s very emotional, and he leaves, goes to the nightclub and he’s manic. I love those scenes. He goes home with Nina and she has to deal with someone who’s manic. Those scenes happened earlier in the year, and I think it was kind of forgotten about, but I felt really good about them, plus it was dealing with bipolar disorder. So, I’m very proud of the work and the writing was phenomenal.

Photo: ABC

There is this scene where Sonny is sitting with Nina on a bench and he leans his head on her shoulder admitting he needs help. Is that on the reel?

MAURICE: Yes, that’s at the end of my reel.

Courtesy/ABC

I remember when I saw it.  It was an episode that aired at the end of January of 2022.  I wrote it up and I gave props to you and Cynthia, because that was such an amazing scene. Sonny was really lost and off his meds, and Nina had never seen him like this and didn’t really know what to do.

MAURICE: Yeah, he had grabbed her really hard before that on the wrist, and it scared her and scared him that he did that. Then, Sonny admitted right after that, he needed help.  They sat on the bench and he was crying.

So, was that a difficult scene to play for you … or are those easy when you have to go into playing the manic-version of Sonny?

MAURICE: Yes, but it’s only hard in terms of what it does to me. I honestly think, if I didn’t have a mental illness, I wouldn’t have as much fear, because I don’t want to have another anxiety attack.  So, that’s the reason when I do those scenes afterwards sometimes, I’m feeling like, “Oh, God. Why did I do this?”

Wasn’t there a time years ago that you couldn’t play those types of scenes at all?

MAURICE: There was a time when I did a bipolar story where the show had it last too long. My wife called them and said, “Stop this already.” I was hearing my mom and dad in the scenes, and I knew I was in trouble.

Photo: ABC

Based on the subject matter of your reel, and where we are in the world today with mental illness, plus how you use your platform on ‘State of Mind’, this kind of would close the loop on your entire journey if you were to receive the Emmy this year.

MAURICE: Yes, It would. I don’t really anticipate trying to win Emmys and this and that. I’m just so proud of the story, that after this I’m not sure I’ll get this kind of story again.

Photo: ABC

Winning the Emmy for these performances, would afford you the opportunity in an acceptance speech, to address mental illness.

MAURICE: Yes! Look, the only thing that made me happy was getting things, and that’s a false happiness. You have to find the happiness within yourself, then everything makes you happy.  I couldn’t do that for 58 years.  Now, this is the first time I got nominated where my initial feeling was like a normal person. Of course, it’s great to be nominated, but I don’t get overly happy, because what happens is when you get overly happy or whatever, you’re gonna fall if things don’t go your way.  So, this time I’m feeling so good either way, but I would love to speak on mental illness. That’s why I would really love to win.

It’s all so prevalent and topical in society today what you are speaking about. In recent weeks, the news cycles have been talking about studies on loneliness that is gripping America right now. People are suffering from loneliness and depression. It has been difficult since Covid, and coming out of that, for so many people. 

MAURICE: Yeah, and I think now is the time that it’s really getting tough because sometimes it takes a while for it to hit and kick in. They say after two years is when it kind of starts kicking in.

Courtesy/ABC

And this nomination, like you just spoke to, is different. The last two times you were nominated and won was for the Alzheimer’s storyline. Those were difficult for you to play too, because your dad was going through the same thing at the time. Correct?

MAURICE: Yes. Anything I do that has mental illness or anything like that is very close to my heart.  I was very proud of those two Emmys because of the Alzheimer’s story and because my dad died of it.

Photos: ABC, CBS, NBC

So, what do you think about the actors nominated with you for Lead Actor? You’ve got Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), Jason Thompson (Billy, Y&R) Billy Flynn (Chad, DAYS), and Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B).

MAURICE: I respect all those actors. I really do. I’m not just saying that. I think they’re all damn good actors. I watch their work, each of ’em. I remember, I watched Thorsten Kaye with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy, B&B), and it was about drug addiction, if I recall, and they were just nailing those scenes. I watched Billy because he was on my show, State of Mind. Peter’s always, you know, Peter, and Jason is Jason, you know …fantastic! So, I’m into it, man.

When we had my annual Daytime Emmy Nominations Special last month, Jason shared he was stoked to be in the category with you. Did you mentor him at all while he was at GH?

MAURICE: No, no, we just had great talks. I didn’t do what I do with the younger actors. He was a little older, and he’s a hard worker. Jason has talent and it’s amazing. You know, I told him on the State of Mind that it’s not easy to go from being popular in one role and then go to another show and be very popular also. That’s not done very often. So, my hat’s off to him.

Photo: ABC

I also was talking with Finola Hughes (Anna, GH) and the two of you were all over mainstream press representing General Hospital for their 60th anniversary.  How was it for you to go to New York and then do the all of the guest appearances in support of the show? I know it’s hard for you to fly and you flew alone.

MAURICE: Yeah, and I almost got off that plane, but thank God I didn’t.  It’s amazing. I never thought I’d get to a place where people talk to me as much about mental health as they do about General Hospital.  I love it.

So, you have experienced walking down the street, for instance, and people stopping you to discuss mental illness over asking what’s going down on GH?

MAURICE: Yes. The driver that drove me to the airport, you know, it’s just about mental health. Then, in New York on the streets. I love it, obviously, although it can be a little draining. I was just about to get on the plane and this guy was telling me his brother is bipolar, and he’s worried he’s going to commit suicide. I’m thinking, “Oh, man.” But, it’s all good.  I’m proud of Sonny … I’m proud of everything I do with mental health … State of Mind … and everything.

Photo: ABC

I remember your first Emmy win in 2003 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The fans were going crazy for you – it was so loud in there. The only other time I ever recall anything that loud was when Susan Lucci finally won her Emmy after 19 tries. The entire Felt Forum erupted.  Do you remember going on stage to accept the Emmy, and where you were at that point in your life and taking that all in? Everyone was so excited and happy for you.

MAURICE: That one felt like catching the ball in the end zone and we’re all just celebrating. That was a different feeling. I will never feel that again, obviously, it’s your first one. You’ve been waiting 10 years and then ‘boom’ it hits, and it’s at Radio City Musical Hall. I remember my dad was there. Then, the other two wins were a little more subdued, but the second win was difficult because I didn’t have any speech prepared. I thought I was gonna lose for sure, because nobody picked me to win.  So, I was like, “I’m good” And then ‘bam,’ it happens. I’m like, “Oh, man. I don’t have a speech!”

And to your point, I asked all the nominees if they think it’s better to have a speech prepared and or just wing it? How would you respond to that knowing what you went through?

MAURICE: It’s never good to wing it. Somebody said to me, “Well, you didn’t have a speech, but it was great.” I said, “But you could still be great with a speech and it’s not so hard on you.” When you have a speech, at least you have stuff that you can say, and it’s ready to go.

Photo: NATSS

Are you going to attend this year’s Daytime Emmy ceremony?

MAURICE:  Oh yeah, I’m all good. I’m good, win or lose, I don’t care. I’m in a different place. I can have fun now and not feel nervous, or whatever, inside.

That’s amazing. That has to be a relief where you don’t feel that kind of weight coming down on you.  I can only imagine that it makes you feel lighter, emotionally.

MAURICE: There’s no better feeling than where I’m at inside my myself right now. I used to get nervous going to the supermarket, and I couldn’t talk to people. I put my head down. It’s such a different vibe for me now.

Photo: ABC

How did you find out you were Emmy-nominated this year?

MAURICE:  I found out, I think, on Twitter. It’s not like it used to be for me, because I was more intense with it. You have to understand something. I was so crazy that the night before the nominations, I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep at all. That’s where I was, and then if I get nominated or not, I’d have to go through that.

I know we all want some form of validation. I mean, let’s be honest. Of course, we all want to be validated for the work we do, especially in a creative industry.  I think everybody would love to win an Emmy, but as you were figuring out in your journey, it did not define you.

MAURICE: It’s like my friend.  He’s a billionaire, right?  I said, “What’s it like being a billionaire?” He goes, “Listen, I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.”  That’s the way it is, right?  Of course, you want to get nominated, then not nominated, but it’s just a different feeling that I have now about it from what I used to have.

Courtesy/ABC

I was so touched to see Sonya Eddy’s (ex-Epiphany) name in the list of nominees for Outstanding Supporting Actress posthumously. I know you worked with Sonya over the years. What did you think about her receiving this nomination and what can you say about the loss of your colleague?

MAURICE: Sonya was just a ball of happiness. I mean, she was always laughing, always smiling. We had a relationship where I’d make her smile and then I’d kid with her. She was just a beautiful, beautiful person.

Sonny and Epiphany would have some run-ins, but she fought with her feelings.  She liked her friendship with Sonny, and even those he was a mobster, she found the good in him.

MAURICE: Exactly. It was just sweet. It was just nice. And you know, that’s the thing, in life sometimes only the good die young.

Photo: ABC

Lastly, the late Nneka Garland, former producer at GH, was so pivotal to these Emmy nominations and the reels, and working on them for the cast and the show.  I know you worked with her for many years and her passing has been hard on everyone.

MAURICE: That’s a tough one. Nneka was very close to my wife, Paula.  They talked all the time. It’s sad, another one gone, and it’s these people who are just good people. It’s interesting what life brings, but it’s part of life. Nneka cared for all of us at General Hospital.

Photo: ABC

Please note: Jackie Zeman (Bobbie, GH) passed away a few days after our interview with Maurice was conducted, which is why it was not addressed directly in this interview. However, Maurice did take to Instagram to share his grief on the loss of his beloved co-star, expressing: “This hit me really hard, a gut punch. I think because Jackie was such a sweet, delicate soul. And I got to know her really well in the later years, I just loved her spirit I keep telling people life is not fair, we just have to except what is. I will miss you, Jackie we all will✝️”

What do you think about the scenes Maurice chose for his Emmy-nominated reel? Showing Sonny being manic and being off his meds? How Maurice hopes this potential Emmy win might afford him the opportunity to speak to others who live with mental illness? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

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