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Eileen Davidson Talks On The Rebirth Of Y&R’s Ashley, And Those Heartbreaking Scenes As DAYS Susan!

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Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

On CBS’ The Young and the Restless, Eileen Davidson’s Ashley Abbott is back in the thick of things, and all the juicy drama, now that the citizens of Genoa City have learned she is not the bio-daughter of the respected and beloved, late John Abbott.

Ashley is now trying to reconcile her feelings for her once MIA mother, Dina Mergeron (Marla Adams), who has come back to town, and in the process caused all sorts of havoc for her daughter’s life.  However, what Ashley, and her brother, Jack (Peter Bergman) and the rest of the family soon found out is that Dina is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, as the top-rated series explores the harrowing effects of this condition not only on the person going through it, but their loved ones.

To say 2017 has been a banner year for Davidson on the daytime soaps is an understatement. Not only has she been turning in powerful performances as Y&R’s Ashley, but soap fans just saw her wild and successful return on Days of our Lives as Susan Banks – the one of a kind character she first portrayed back in the late 1990’s on the NBC daytime drama series.  Only this time, viewers got to see all the colors of the character from hilarious, to sad, tragic, and deeply tormented. While Eileen has been uber-busy on the soaps this year, she also made the decision to discontinue appearing as part of the cast of the hit reality series, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Davidson to get her thoughts on: all those high stakes scenes of Ashley and Susan’s, what viewers can expect as Ashley’s conflicts and empowerment continues on Y&R moving through December into 2018, and much more.  Here’s what this all-star had to say about it all!

A few months back while Ashley was being honored with the Innovator of the Year Award in the cosmetics world, her long held secret became public.  She is the biological daughter of Brent Davis, and not John Abbott.  Ashley also figured out that Graham (Max Shippee) had an agenda in all of this to bring her and her family down.  This secret was held on to for so long on Y&R.  Did you remember who knew the secret, and who didn’t?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

EILEEN:  Yes.  I remember Victor (Eric Braeden) knew, and Jack (Peter Bergman) had found out, and that was it.

Those scenes where Ashley confronted Graham at the awards dinner were so intense, and then later how devastated she was after her mother blurted out the truth that Brent Davis was her real father.  What did you think of how the drama played out after so many years had passed?

EILEEN:  I thought it was great.  I wanted to play that beat through the years, and it was never fully fleshed out.  Whenever a new writer would come on-board, I would say, “By the way, this is kind of just laying there for all of these years, and I think it is a really important part of the family dynamic, and could be used in such a stellar way.” I was really happy they decided to go with it.  Sally Sussman (Ex-head writer, Y&R) started it, and then Mal Young (Current head writer and EP, Y&R) took it over.

At the end of the debacle, Ashley was alone with Jack at the Abbott home.  A sad Ashley said, “One good thing is that daddy died believing I was his daughter.”  That said in deference to the man that she loved and raised her as her father, the late John Abbott.

EILEEN:  She holds John in her heart forever as her father, and she never wanted to hurt him.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

How has it been having Marla Adams back on the canvas, and working with her again?

EILEEN:  It has been really fun to sort of mine this whole story, and then to go forward with the Alzheimer’s storyline. I think that is very timely and very reminiscent of what Y&R has been about in terms of doing topical stories through the years.

How does Ashley feel about this whole situation now?  Does she still loathe her mother?

EILEEN:  I think it’s easier to have feelings of not hatred, but certainly a betrayal.  Dina made a promise to Ashley that the secret would never come out, but it’s easier to have those feelings and to hold on to them when you don’t have a parent that is struggling with Alzheimer’s.  You can’t really blame them when you have all the information.  I guess that changes the dynamic now that Ashley knows her mother has Alzheimer’s.

Ashley seems to have many opposing views with Jack on just about everything at this point!

EILEEN:  Yes, and coming up there is going to be a lot more of that.  It’s a very multi-layered story.  It’s not just Dina’s Alzheimer’s, but what is does to the family members.  In the case of the Abbott family, it affects the business dynamic, as well.

We are seeing Ashley now exerting her power again.  It’s nice to see her in the driver’s seat.  She recently let Gloria (Judith Chapman) have it that she is back in charge at the office, and Ash is having sex with Ravi (Abhi Sinha).

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

EILEEN:  I think this whole situation with Dina’s Alzheimer’s has made her look at her own life and kind of made it about showing how to seize the day, and how to kind of do all the things she has kind of rationalized not to do, or taken the time to do.  Maybe, she is not thinking that Ravi is going to be her husband, but she sees this person who cares about her and who she cares about, and it’s like, “Why not?”  It’s the same thing for her in business. For a very long time she has always questioned Jack’s judgment, and him stepping away from the business.  Although it’s a compassionate choice, it’s not necessarily the smartest choice.  So again, Ashley sees it as bad decision-making on his part.

The holidays are going to be a struggle for the Abbotts. After all, Dina did abandon all of the children and the family when she left Genoa City many years ago.  I would think those are complicated feelings for Ashley, Jack, and Traci (Beth Maitland) to deal with?

EILEEN:  Well it is, but again, you have the Alzheimer’s component to this now, so you can’t really judge Dina on things that happened years, and years, and years ago.  In this situation, if you are trying to get retribution and trying to make her pay, there is just not that much in that kind of reward.  What joy do you get out of that?  You feel like you are torturing a sick woman.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Where does Ashley stand with her daughter, Abby’s (Melissa Ordway) recent choices, and what has happened to her with Zack (Ryan Ashton) and now Scott (Daniel Hall) romantically? Wasn’t Ashley always meddling into her daughter’s personal life? (Laughs) Remember Ben?! (Sean Carrigan).

EILEEN:  She used to meddle, but now Ashley is really trying not to do that. (Laughs)

With Mal Young now head writer at Y&R, how do you like the scripts and what you are seeing?  You are such an iconic part of Y&R, and have been through many writing regime changes over the years, so I think you would have an interesting perspective.

EILEEN:  I think the Abbotts are now front and center.  I know Mal writes quite a few of the scripts himself, because of how personal this Alzheimer’s story is to him. When he does that, he kind of wants to shine a spotlight on that character of Dina and that storyline. We’re seeing a lot of standalone episodes that are quite dramatic, and even though they are integrated into the storyline, they have that standalone quality to them.  So that’s nice, because a lot of the actors are feeling that they are getting to show their talent.  I certainly feel that way

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Which is great, because you and I have talked over the years about how your ardent, loyal, and passionate fans, who love Ashley, are always saying, “Yeah we love her, but where is her story?”  What I have liked on Y&R over the last half of the year is they showcased you.  It’s hard when you are there and they are not utilizing you, from the audience vantage point, and I can imagine from your point of view, too. This feels really good now, would you agree?

EILEEN:  Yes, I would absolutely agree!

Days of our Lives viewers just witnessed a few weeks ago your performance as Susan Banks, which was absolutely a brilliant piece of work.  It was just beyond thrilling to see you inhabit that character once again with the complexity of the humor, and the absolute devastating torment and sadness that is running through her, when she was revealed to be the one who kidnapped Will Horton (Chandler Massey).

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

EILEEN: Thank you!  I have to say it was one of the most intense things for me, because from the minute I first spoke to Ron Carlivati (head writer, DAYS), I said, “I wish she had gotten to be grounded in reality. You can’t play this character just for laughs.  It’s a very tragic situation.”  It was a very fine line and challenging, and a large part of the reason I wanted to do it was to kind of show different notes I wanted to play as an actress that I don’t get to play that often.  That is this kind of surreal humor, and then just gut-wrenching tragedy.  Susan has had a very tragic life.  So, to be able to play both those things in the scenes was pretty amazing – the humor and the tragedy. I thought it made it very compelling for me.

When Susan had her breakdown, I literally watched that episode and wept my eyes out.  At the recent Days of Days event at Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles, NBC premiered their November sneak preview for DAYS up on the Jumbotron in front of the fans in attendance. Being there in real-time, while everyone watched it on the big screen, it was revealed that you were going to be playing, for a beat, Kristen DiMera, when Kristen lets out this diabolical laugh.  Seeing the audiences’ reaction, and how they react to you and the characters you portray on DAYS was an unbelievable experience.  There were just audible gasps and excitement when they saw those characters come to life.  It was a real rock-star moment, Eileen!

EILEEN:  Wow!  That is so nice to hear.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You had a very tight time constraint to film your return as Susan on DAYS, correct?

EILEEN:  I would shoot at DAYS on Mondays, while doing Y&R the rest of the week, because we are dark on Mondays here.

During the time you were taping DAYS and Y&R at the same time, what was that like for you going home at night and bouncing from learning Ashley’s lines to Susan’s lines, and keeping everything straight in your head, when things were so hectic in your shooting schedule?

EILEEN:  It is not any problem at all to go from one character to the next.  The writing is completely different, and the characters are completely different.  I am actress, and so it’s a gift to be able to do and play different things.

When you got to play Susan’s sis, Sister Mary Moira again for a small beat, what did you think of that opportunity, let alone playing Susan again for that very important arc?

EILEEN:  I was thrilled!  I was so excited.  With Susan, I think a lot of people don’t like it and they are going, “What. Is. This?” (Laughs)  They don’t get it, and I have always known that, and it just doesn’t matter to me.  People love Susan, or they hate her.  They may not get it, and that’s fine.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Now back full-time at Y&R, what are your hopes’s for Ashley moving forward?  Do you want her to finally find the man of her dreams? Do you care at this point? (Laughs)

EILEEN:  I think that would be something she has obviously not had in a very long time. (Laughs)  And again, depending on how it’s approached, it could be awesome.  It would be nice for her to find love again, whatever that looks like and at this point in her life, and with her trust issues with that.  In addition to seeing her struggle with it being her age, and not having found true love yet.  It’s another one of those things with the history of the character that provides a rich mining opportunity for the show.  But right now, Ashley has got her hands so full that it would just depend on how it’s integrated into the story.

What have you thought about Max Shippee’s portrayal of Graham, and the dynamic between the two of you?

EILEEN: Obviously, that is now her great nemesis, and that has been another layer that has been fun to play.

Many are talking about you being a major contender this year for Lead Actress for the Daytime Emmys.  You have had strong material on both Days of our Lives, and The Young and the Restless.  Any thoughts of what you will submit?  Will you throw your name in the hat?  You should!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

EILEEN:  I am really bad at this whole Emmy submission thing.  I feel like I am running for President, or something, or Queen of the Prom. (Laughs)  I feel really weird about it.  I am not good at picking material. I then might end up probably not picking my best work, because I would get so frustrated and go, “Oh, God. Whatever! (Laughs) I will pick this.”

But wait a minute … you won Lead Actress before.  Therefore, you must be doing something right!

EILEEN:  That was an easy submission that year.  I was only on DAYS that year, and I knew I had two specific shows that I knew would be great submissions, and they were chronological in their order.  I knew it was either going to be the ones with Deidre Hall (Marlena, DAYS) in them, or the ones with Eric Martsolf (Brady, DAYS).

2017 also saw you make the decision to depart the cast of the hit reality show franchise, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  How did that decision come about for you?

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

EILEEN:  At the end of the day, I was shooting my husband’s movie, working at Y&R, and taping DAYS on Mondays. It was pretty untenable to think about trying to get out to shoot ‘Housewives’ after work, and it was never super easy. I had to ask a lot of favors of Y&R, and it was just really, really tricky.  But now that Mal Young took over, I am actually spending a lot more time at work, and so it really would have been impossible to do ‘Housewives’ at the same time.  A lot about my decision was the scheduling, and ‘Housewives’ being a stressful gig.  I don’t know if I could have handled that stress with all I have to do now.

In closing, what can you tease for Y&R viewers to look for in the coming weeks with what is going on in the life of Ashley Abbott?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

EILEEN:  You will see more Ashley in the business world, and more on the Alzheimer’s storyline. Ashley is definitely going to fight for her mother, and she is definitely going to fight for what she thinks is best.

So, what are your hopes for Ashley as we move into the New Year? Do you think Ashley will be there 100% for her mother throughout her ordeal? Which man on the canvas would you like to see her become romantically link, if not Ravi?

What did you think of Eileen’s performance as Susan on DAYS and Ashley on Y&R? Would you say she is a frontrunner for a Lead Actress nomination in the upcoming 45th Annual Daytime Emmys race? Comment below.

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Kim
Guest
Kim

Correction: Victor, Katherine, Dina, Jack and Jill all knew the secret that Brent was Ashley’s father.

Fox
Guest
Fox

True, and they’ve probably forgotten this, but Victor actually told Nikki in confidence when he had Ashley move to The Ranch for awhile after her nervous breakdown over her paternity. And later, Kay told Brock, because she asked him to counsel Ashley about making amends with Brent before he died, which she ended up doing on his death bed at the hospital. And finally, Ashley’s step-brother, Rafael Delgado, and husband, Cole Howard, knew. Brent had told Rafael, and Cole found out during the 1998-99 art forgery storyline involving Rafael and Ashley.

Iakovos
Guest
Iakovos

I heart Ms. Davidson! Am so glad to have Ashley Abbott more prominent on Y&R. I have enjoyed this actor and this series for 30-plus years now, through thick and thin. It is because of the people.

Ray
Guest
Ray

People will always remember Elizabeth Hubbard, Susan Lucci, Erica Slezak and Kim Zimmer as the top actresses in daytime history. After watching Eileen on DOOL as Susan Banks, her name should be included in that list. I was not excited to hear she would be playing Susan again. In the past, I thought it was too one-dimensional and played for laughs. But the storyline with Will was AMAZING. I do not know which category she should submit, but her work should be rewarded. I am not sure the show will ever be as good as it has been with the… Read more »

Jake
Guest
Jake

Beverlee Mckinsey needs to be on this list; there www no one better

Michael (not Fairman)
Guest
Michael (not Fairman)

As does Susan Flannery.

Ray
Guest
Ray

Great call, Jake. I loved BK as Iris on “Another World” and “Texas” and also as Alexandra. Who could forget her scenes with Mac Cory and also when she found out about Roger’s affair with Mindy? I would also add Julia Barr and Colleen Zenk to the list.

JK
Guest
JK

Beverlee McKinsey AND Victoria Wyndham from Another World. Truly amazing actresses.

su0000
Guest
su0000

Michael Fairman—
You are the best of the best of interviewers !!! two thumbs up!

That’s all I have to say as I’m not an Ashely fan ..

Terry Wright
Guest
Terry Wright

I think Eileen is great on Y&R over the years but I think she shines on Days of our Lives. On Days she really shows her acting talents. If it was my decision I would rather see her on Days than Y&R. Eileen will do fantastic at whatever she decides to do.

Bradley
Guest
Bradley

Eileen Davidson has always been a wonderful actress. Her work recently on Y&R has been stellar, outstanding. Ms. Davidson has always and continues to be one of the most beautiful women on daytime TV. Thank you for the outstanding article!

Freeman Griffin
Guest
Freeman Griffin

Eileen Davidson is absolutely one of my five nominees for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, along with Deidre Hall and Arianne Zucker for Days, Rena Sofer for B&B, and Maura West for GH. I would be very happy for any of those five actresses to win the Emmy this year. My pick would be Deidre Hall for her work as Marlena and Hattie, but any of those five would be deserving. I loved her work as Susan but there are five other actress who I feel are more deserving: Marla Adams and Camryn Grimes for Y&R, Judi Evans, Lauren… Read more »

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

Well, Eileen didnt really share any inside scope to what lies ahead on Y&R. One thing I find interesting is she was asked a question about Max Shippee’s portrayal of Graham and she totally avoided the question! Wow, maybe she was less than impressed with him like several viewers were?

JK
Guest
JK

She also avoided what it is like to work with Marla Adams again. To be honest, I was disappointed she didn’t use the opportunity to credit the work of her colleagues.

Gia
Guest
Gia

Excellent performances by Eileen Davidson and Peter Bergman!!! Wow!

Jack apparently has been holding the Ashley issue for awhile when he blurted out that she was not John Abbotts child! That tea kettle apparently has been simmering regarding Ashley way too long. I like that Ashley is stepping out from shadows. Now if she can only resolve the problem with Ravi, which may be too late. She seems to take Ravi out of the box when needed and puts him back into the box and on the shelf when she is done.

Phil
Guest
Phil

Love, love, love Eileen Davidson! Kristen is my favorite character she plays! I wish she were on my screen full-time! Hope she returns again soon!

Dinah Anderson
Guest
Dinah Anderson

Wow great interview with Eileen Michael

ALEXA
Guest
ALEXA

I would love for Simon Neville to return to GC and sweep Ashley off her feet! They had fantastic chemistry on Y&R and it was so ridiculous for him to have been sidelined! He was a wonderful character and he was immediately accepted as a “keeper” by most of the fans… Ashley deserves to be in love AND loved and I truly think that Neville is the man for the job!! The actor was terrific, very handsome and he had great hair! What is the show waiting for- he and Ashlry were magic together

Fanny
Guest
Fanny

What a lovely woman, inside and out.

blake
Guest
blake

I love Eileen when she’s on Days of Our Lives. I don’t care who she is playing, but I would really love for Kristen to come back for stints. I believe the only Emmy she has won has been for playing Kristen on DOOL a few years ago, thank goodness!

Harry
Guest
Harry

Thank you for this lovely interview. Mr Fairman always delivers the best interviews because he has a genuine love for the subject matter. Eileen Davidson is a gem of an actress. I don’t always like Ashley but perhaps that only highlights just how talented of an actress she is. Because, see? In real life one seldom likes a person all of the time even if they love that person. The Dina Alzheimer’s story is being delivered tenderly and carefully while adhering to Abbott family history. Jack was really touching trying to deck the halls with boughs of holly while his… Read more »

rc
Guest
rc

Eileen should definitely submit her performance as Susan Banks from DAYS. The final scene in the bar when Susan has her breakdown with Sami, Marlena, etc. is the BEST! It was truly a tear jerker, which is a true testament for soaps.

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Brandon Barash On Stefan’s Resurrection: “You’ll See Some Revenge, Corporate Takeovers, Losing a Memory … Maybe Gaining of Memories”

Dr. Rolf is at it again on Days of our Lives! While Jake DiMera has met his maker, apparently his twin brother, Stefan O DiMera is coming back to life.  That sets the stage for Brandon Barash to reprise his original DAYS role.

In a brand new interview with his on-screen brother, Dan Feuerriegel (EJ) on the Days of our Lives You Tube Channel, Barash talks on what viewers can expect once Stefan is completely back in action, and how he feels about taking on the darker twin once again.

Brandon teased: “You’ll see some revenge, corporate takeovers, losing a memory … maybe gaining of memories.”  With Stefan back in the DiMera mix, look for the two brothers to not always see eye-to-eye. Barashs shared that they’ll be, “Butting heads for sure”.

Meanwhile, will Stefan and his true love, Gabi (Camila Banus) reunite once she knows he is alive? Barash weighs-in on that and more ‘burning’ questions.

You can check out the chat below.

Now, let us know, are you glad that Stefan O DiMera is back on the Salem canvas? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS: Days of our Lives Ending Its Run on NBC, Moving to Peacock Starting in September

In a major move, Days of our Lives, the longest-running scripted series of all-time on NBC, is exiting the television network and will now be in its new home on the NBCUniversal streaming platform, Peacock.

The shift marks the end of DAYS’ nearly 57 year-run on broadcast television. Days of our Lives debuted on NBC back on November 8th, 1965.

Look for all-new episodes daily of the series to begin on Peacock starting on September 12th, along with the show’s library already available to stream for Peacock Premium subscribers.  According to a press release from Peacock, “The historic move to Peacock creates the ultimate destination for daytime fans to access the library, new episodes and Peacock Original Days of Our Lives: Beyond Salem in one place.”

In its place, NBC will fill the daytime drama’s current timeslot with NBC News Now, an hour-long news show anchored by Kate Snow, Aaron Gilchrist, Vicky Nguyen and Morgan Radford. According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC affiliates will also have the option to add local news to the hour.

In a statement, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming chairman Mark Lazarus shares: “This programming shift benefits both Peacock and NBC and is reflective of our broader strategy to utilize our portfolio to maximize reach and strengthen engagement. With a large percentage of the Days of Our Lives audience already watching digitally, this move enables us to build the show’s loyal fanbase on streaming while simultaneously bolstering the network daytime offering with an urgent, live programming opportunity for partners and consumers.”

NBC’s decision means it leaves only three daytime soaps on American broadcast TV: General Hospital, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. 

DAYS has found recent streaming success with its limited-series, Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem Chapters 1 and 2, which introduced the viewing audience to the Peacock platform.

To watch Days of our Lives on Peacock, you will need a premium-tier paid subscription at $4.99 per month. The service offers an an ad-free experience at $9.99 per month.

We will have more on this developing story.

So, what do you think of NBC removing DAYS from its daytime line-up, while moving it to their owned-streaming platform, Peacock? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Brandan Barash Shares Reaction to Jake’s Death on Days of our Lives: “It Was Fun Getting To Know You”

This week on Days of our Lives, Jake (Brandon Barash) met his untimely demise, when he was shot by a mugger.  Thus, signaling what would seem to be the end of the line for the character.

However, on today’s episode of the NBC soap opera, Jake visited a grieving Ava (Tamara Braun), so perhaps there is more than a ‘ghost of a chance’ that Barash is sticking around.

Photo: JPI

As previewed exclusively last month during our virtual interview with DAYS head writer, Ron Carlivati …the Salem scribe revealed there would be another death in Salem, following the murder of Abigail Deveraux DiMera (Marci Miller), and the character would be ‘dead-dead’.

However, speculation is running wild that with the return of Dr. Rolf, that perhaps Jake will be resurrected … or Barash will once again play Jake’s twin, Stefan O. DiMera!

On Instagram, Barash had some fun with Jake’s demise with comparison side-by-side photos – one of which features Barash as Jake covered in blood, and reading the Handbook for the Recently Deceased!

Barash captioned his pic: “How it started/how it’s going. #ripjake It was fun getting to know you. 🙏🥃”

So, what do you think about DAYS killing Jake? Do you think Brandon will be sticking around Salem? If so, as who? Comment below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Brandon Barash (@brandonjbarash)

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GH’s Nicholas Alexander Chavez (Spencer) talks with Michael Fairman immediately following his Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Younger Performer in Drama Series. Leave A Comment
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