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Erika Slezak Interview – One Life to Live Farewell

In her final video interview with On-Air On-Soaps as a cast member of One Life to Live (taped at the series final press junket) six-time Daytime Emmy winner and the star of the series, Erika Slezak chats with Michael Fairman in a heart-tugging and emotional interview as Erika prepared to say goodbye to her 40 year run as Viki. In addition, Erika explains why she had decided to lend her name to the Prospect Park online project that ultimately fizzled, and what she will miss the most from her time in Llanview.

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Webbie
Webbie

ES is a class act, all the way. I guess this interview was done before PP pulled the plug on their plans. I hope that she finds another place (soon!) that will appreciate and utilize her incredible talent. She’ll be missed.

jcs1956
jcs1956

I saw the interview and got all excited when i heard ES say we will be going on the internet! I thought we all had our Christmas wish 🙁

Lori
Lori

She also mentioned “cable”????? Ok.. so P.P fell through… could we be looking at the surprise from The View to be cable… PRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Barb
Barb

Yes, we are still waiting for our Christmas Wish to come true! ES is a class act as well as all those who have entertained us on this Soap! OLTL is on fire and has been for a long time – I just can’t believe it is over! We can still fight for this genre! They just have to give it back to us. It can’t be over! 🙁

Susan M.
Susan M.

Erka Slezak is talking about going on the internet in your interview with her.. And that she agreed to do it.. I’m confused??????????? I read that wasn’t going to happen now…………. Am I WRONG????? Did something change????? Should I get my hopes up or not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Please let me know……I Love you Erika Slezak (Viki) & everyone else.. I am heart broken & so upset!!! Im recording the last five episodes nt. wk. Please answer my QUESTIONS!!! I need to know !!!! Also is Michael Easton going on GH & any others of OLTL???? I’m Curiou about what Ms. Slezak was talking about again, going on the internet jan. 16????? Again please answer all my question… I want to know it really matters to me!!! ONE LFE TO LIVE FAN FOREVER(love all those guys on OLTL)…PLEASE ANSWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Susan M.
Susan M.

Michael Fairman answer comments for SUSAN M. Shes waiting for the answers to all her questions….

Susan M.
Susan M.

Can’t get past that special code to send you a message,,, To contact you on your site.. This is the only way I could do it… Question if Michael Easton (John) is going on GH…What about Melanie Archer (Natlie) & baby Liam, will they be joining him as well? They are a family now… Please answer my question.. Waiting for your reply.. This is very important to me!!!! Thank you so much Mr. Fairman

Jeanette Viti
Jeanette Viti

See, for a second I thought there was hope but now I see there isn’t. I just hope theres something, “We the fans” can do to help. I just can’t understand how there wasn’t enough ratings, ” as they claim.” I just don’t believe that. I have read somewhere that Brian Fronz yanked the show because he had a personal problem with soaps and he felt that the fans can be “retrained” to like new shows, such as The Chew and The Revolution. Now I read this online, around the time I first heard ABC was pulling All My Children and One Life to Live. I’m sorry Mr. Fronz, but you can’t “Retrain” the fans into liking anything, and you can’t force the fans into watching what you want us to watch. You have no idea, Mr. Fronz how much you have messed up, by canceling All My Children and One Life to Live. Everyone is not into your so-called self help shows and cooking shows. And I am italian, I love italian food, but putting Mario Batelli on The Chew will not make me watch the Chew, I will watch something else if I really want to eat italian. By you canceling “Our Soaps” many fans, like myself will be cancling you and ABC.

teresaseckel
teresaseckel

im sorry that oltl is going off the air as long as it is on the internet then thats fine and i love erika she is such an awsome person i was just wondering if she is a religous person if i could get that information then that will be good please send me an email on that if it is possible thanks to u viki for the wonderful entertainment u hv given me ilv u and may god bless u

WOWZEM
WOWZEM

I will not View, I will not Chew, my soaps are gone, what will I do? It’s unbelievable, inconceivable, ratings will be irretrievable. I hear Oprah wants to grow, easily done, just pick up our show!!

Jim
Jim

ES is grace and class. She better be writing a book about her time on the show. If Lucci can do it, darn it, so can she.

david
david

Fine interview, but so depressing the show is not continuing, which Erika didn’t know at the time. Hard to watch, at times, knowing her hopes for the future of OLTL didn’t materialize.

Cindy
Cindy

yes, it was hard to watch, and wondering what she would have been saying had she known this was truly the end. So sad.

david
david

She probably would have said what she said in a recent TV Guide interview: “This is pure fantasy and the audience loves it. They know it’s outrageous. They know it’s not real. It’s just fun. What really annoyed me about our cancellation was the reason we were given. We were told the daytime audience doesn’t want entertainment anymore and that they just want information. Well, that’s the biggest load of bulls–t. People always want entertainment! I’ve had so many emails from people who are really upset that soaps are being replaced with reality shows. They don’t want to watch food at one o’clock in the afternoon and weight loss at two o’clock. They want to sit down, put their feet up and relax and enjoy for a bit.”

david
david

Cindy – Or Erika would have said what she said in another recent interview with Smashing Interviews where
she rightly criticizes ABC and The Chew: “I’m not too pleased with ABC. ABC has let so many people down by cancelling these two shows. It’s all about money. I understand that. But, how much money are they going to make with The Chew and The Revolution? I don’t know if anybody is watching The Chew. The problem is they’re all trying to be television personalities. They scream and laugh and they talk over each other, and it makes it impossible to watch. I’ve said this to one of their producers. I asked, “Can’t they just speak one at a time?” He said, “No, no, no, they can’t do that. They have to show enthusiasm.” But, you can’t understand them and you can’t hear them.”

Petra
Petra

Erika is one Beautiful Graceful Lady .. God Bless

leanne
leanne

very upset that i lost all my children but to loose oltl too is a shame.i have been watching this since i was a child with my mom .its a shame that abc is doing this to fans

natt t
natt t

i was so sad today.i have been watching one life to live since i was eight.and you watch them for so long that they become part of your daily rutine.the show is great and so are the actors.i wish they would of changed there minds and at least let the show continue online.all i can say is so many people do not want to watch the shows that are going in place of one life to live.best of luck and and hope some day they bring the show back. sincerly one of your biggest fans.

Jessica
Jessica

This is heartbreaking to watch. Seeing her excitement of Prospect Park and then knowing that it’s going to be shattered. I wish there was something to be done especially putting it on cable.

iluvssw
iluvssw

I am with you Jessica, this really breaks my heart. I feel the absolute love in her words. Thank you Michael, wow!

Heather
Heather

Thank you for all the memories Vicki. Hope to see you again in the future in your own primetime sitcom Erika “Vicki” Slezak .

RIP OLTL (1968-2012)

MEG
MEG

MY HEART IS BROKEN

Susan M.
Susan M.

so is mine!!!!!!!!!!

Brian Greene
Brian Greene

Thanks So Much Erika–We Love You!! 😀 😀

Susan M.
Susan M.

Miss you ERIKA ALREADY!!!!!

patti j jackson
patti j jackson

i love u (Vicki) and all the rest of OLTL TEAM. Im still in shock that after 43 wounderful yrs Abc is taking it off the air.if it wasnt 4 the soaps i wouldnt even have local channels. when i got dish network i told them i had to b able to watch my soaps or i didnt want satellite at the time i got dish charged me $5 extra.id be willin 2 pay extra now 2 watch them.If the soaps cost 2 much 2 air why in the world didnt abc ask us if we where willin 2 pay 4 them?i love u all n wont say good by

Jacob
Jacob

I have been watching OLTL since summer 2010 (i am 15 yrs old) and i can really say i will miss it. There is not character on that i did not like (yes at some points i didnt like what they were doing but liked them). I love all the Buchanans, Balsoms, Cramers, and Lords love them all. Erika next to Jeanne Cooper you are my favorite show matriarch and you will be missed. I hope one day you will continue on the internet if they change their minds and do it or you get picked up by another station like CBS or NBC or maybe you and other members can move on to other soaps. Y&R, Days, and GH could always use a new character to twist things up and i believe you can do that. You, Kassie, Kristen, anyone of y’all could do it. LOVE YA

liz
liz

Thank you Michael for the wonderful interviews. Words cannot express the sadness I feel. I have watched both OLTL & AMC since the beginning.

It feels like a whole branch of my family got on a bus that is going to crash and kill them all. The worst part is that I know in advance that they are going to die and I’ve know for months but can’t do anything to stop it.

I am very thankful for the great storylines that will take us to the end but sometimes the sadness is just too much to bear. I have been crying since the day before Thanksgiving and need some light in my life again.

OLTL, you have always been there for me. You have been the one constant in my life. No matter what was going on, I could escape from my miserable existence for an hour every weekday.

Thank you, OLTL and Agnes Nixon for all you’ve meant to me.

FU ABC. After you kill GH, I will NEVER, EVER, watch you again! You RAT BASTARD!

gloria
gloria

WOW-I could not have said it better although I have said practically the very same words in many other posts since Nov. 23. I DREAD this Friday-I just keep thinking this is a nightmare & I will wake up from it.

You are so right about the shows being a constant in our lives-no matter what else-good or bad is going on. We could count on one thing in this life, if nothing else-our beloved shows.

I almost wish I just turned on the tv Jan. 16 & it was not there instead of knowing since April 14, then the seemingly good news in early July-oh, I was so happy till the worst news of all on the worst possible day, the night before THANKSGIVING. Just a rollercoaster of emotions for nearly a year, it is wearing me down.

All these tributes this week, even in People Magazine a great article about the show but My God, it is about the ENDING of the show!

Agree with your sentiments towards ABC. I am done with it after GH. I really don’t watch ABC now, I watch the soaps on Soapnet which we are also losing.

What a way to start the New Year.

sandy e
sandy e

Oh this is just GREAT.Another stupid food show or a bunch of Doctors telling us our liver is turning green. Leave alone and let the soaps begin.

anastasia
anastasia

I don’t understand. I was under the impression that OLTL and AMC were not going to go on as an interent series, yet these interviews were just done this week, and they seem to imply that they are?

Heather
Heather

They were done before November 23

Mariah
Mariah

Im soooo upset my mom watched this growing up I have watched this growing up & it’s just sad 2 c such a great show b canceled 4 another food show…isn’t. That y they have food network?!?!?! I mean really…

Kathi Butler
Kathi Butler

This is the saddest cancellation of ANY show in the history of television! Erika and ALL the rest of the cast of OLTL are going to be missed EVERY day. I can’t even imagine my life without OLTL in it!! I have been watching OLTL for over 40 years…I used to pretend I was sick so I could stay home from school to watch it. I, to this day, have many VCR tapes with old episodes on them…and I will probably be watching those alot in the future. I can only HOPE & PRAY that a cable network will see what a goldmine OLTL is & resurrects the show!! Even if it were an internet only show, I would be happy! Godspeed OLTL….I will miss you……

DIANE AND CAROL IN DC
DIANE AND CAROL IN DC

WE ARE SO SAD ABOUT THE SHOW ENDING, IT IS LIKE WE ARE ABOUT TO LOSE FAMILY. WE HAVE WATCHED EVERY SHOW SINCE IT STARTED. WE TAPE THE SHOW EVERYDAY IN CASE WE ARE NOT HOME.

OUR PRAYERS WITH EVERYONE OF YOU.

I HOPE SOMEHOW YOU WILL BE ABLE TO RETURN.

Vicki
Vicki

I started watching OLTL in 1968 when I was 15 because the character’s name was Viki(spelled differently) and I had never seen a TV show with the star having my name. I got hooked immediately. While Gillian Spencer(orifginal actress) was very good, when Erika Slezak came on no one else could be Viki in my mind. Not only was she beautiful, but she had chemistry with everyone. She and Lee Paterson were amazing together, and when Joe died, I didn’t think Viki could capture that chemistry again, but Erika and Clint Richie were golden. Jerry ver Dorn also has chemistry with Viki and I hope the two of them get a happy ending. I wish Erika all the luck in the world and thank her for making my “namesake” such a wonderful person.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Nicely stated. As for Jerry ver Dorn, one day (years ago) I had the show on, and wasn’t QUITE watching BUT was listening…. I heard a voice that sounded like Clint Richie’s. I thought, GEE…..has Clint come back, I thought he was retiring for good this time (I loved him dearly). Anyway, I look up and it’s Jerry ver Dorn. I though, this guy is going to FIT into this ROLE just fine with the viewer’s BC he sounds like Clint and he can act. He is believable. Strange bc he actually favors Asa in the face, and maks a Perfect brother for Bo after ALL those many years Bo (Robert Woods) spent with Clint Richie. And, Woods, Richie, and Phil Carey (Asa) use to HANG OUT TOGETHER on their time away from set. They were really like Father and Brother’s. If you Google Jerry ver Dorn, THERE IS A PICTURE OF HIM WHEN HE WAS YOUNGER that looks like a YOUNG Clint Richie, and of course he sounds like him, and looks like Aso. OTLT did some incrediable work in this recast. There are NO country boys in soaps like the Buchanan fellows. <3

Doe
Doe

Michael, how fortunate for you that you could interview Erica. There is no better actress on soaps and never will be. She has electrified us with her amazing performances, especially her many alters. She is always consistent and in control. She is the consummate actor. Just thinking of all the years that she has given us. I am sad that she as well as her fellow actors wil be gone . I do believe she will probably do Broadway. She is perfect for the stage. Also, maybe a mini-series. I will hope. Michael, you were so caring in your interview. I know you touched her heart as well as mine. Great interview,,,,,

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Ok…… Susan, Michael Fairman, Tonja Walker OR anyone else with inquiry as I.
After Prospect Park pulled out (somewhere around the 24th) after the Nov 18th, finale taping. it was a long…. fallout on the internet, and various soap sites, abc.com and the like. Everyday, I would seach all over the internet looking for an update from Prospect Park, THEN…………on December 7th , Prospect Park CAME BACK and annouced that they were still looking for investor’s…..(Keep in mind THIS was Dec 7, AFTER their announcement NOT to move forward). Also, I read the December 7th statement from PROSPECT PARK on THIS SITE. So, I am confused Michael, irregardless of what U answered for Susan. If someone COMES BACK and announce THEY ARE STILL LOOKING FOR INVESTORS, that means that it’s NOT DEAD in the sand, right? So what I want to know is, Prospect Park still looking for investors OR have they given up on this idea ALL TOGETHER…… ? Someone please.
I read these replys from people and it’s heartless. People need therapy from what they are suffering from this loss. I had tears of JOY to my eyes when I read Prsopect Park was still looking on Dec 7th. Has that changed?

Heather
Heather

Keep in mind that Prospect Park never confirmed this news coming from Variety Magazine. It may all be a rumor.

And even if this is true, the actors will never accept to work in an non-union environment (the story suggests that PP is trying to bypass the unions). Finally, virtually all the actors from OLTL have moved on to other projects after the annoucement on November 23. So it’s fair to say that OLTL will not come back.

To be honest with you, I got over the cancellation of OLTL (although Friday’s episode will be emotional). But I do encourage you guys to send these soap bars to ABC. It may be all that’s needed to do to save General Hospital from an eventual cancellation. Two years ago, ATWT fans sent soap bars to CBS studios and the network has not canceled any other soap opera since then.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Thanks Heather.
Well, I dont know about that news coming from Variety Magazine BC I read it on this site under the title Buzz, or interviews, listed on Dec 7th. Read it here only.

Heather
Heather

It was from Variety Magazine on December 7, 2011. Michael Fairman only reported the story from Variety.

The story has never been mentionned in any mainstream media (other than Variety).

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Hey Heather thanks again. Anyway, I just read from seeing it posted here, “NYC Soap Bubble Busted”, so I went on line and read it. Then I went to the store and read the NYC Post, to make sure I didn’t miss anything. which I didn’t other than the pictures posted with the article. Didn’t see the pictures on line published with the article. This has become a BIG DEAL, and very sad. I mean this site is NONE STOP ABOUT T HIS ORDEAL, along with abc.com. I can’t even clean my house and get myself ready for tomorrow. I wonder what Susan Lucci thinks of the BIG DEAL and OUTCRY over OLTL??? Yes, we rallied behind AMC, but we have taken OLTL to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY LEVEL, making it none stop in the social media, sending soap, canceling cable for the DISH, writing the other networks on behalf of OLTL. I wonder what Susan Lucci thinks about that?

barbara t
barbara t

I read this in variety to ,and have heard nothing since ,Ive searched everywhere for some glimmer of hope,but nothing.I think that prospect park should say something ,more than they did when they said the soaps were not going to the net.because it has kept me hoping that one life to live will go on ,but how can it ,everyone is leaving ,doing other projects .What hurts is we didnt loose the soaps once we lost them twice.and p.p. should, come out ,come out where ever you are ,and say it ,one life to live is over .I just wish they never got my hopes up ,these next 5 days are going to be hard on me ,Ive watched for 43 years.there is no other soap that can compare to one life to life.

Heather
Heather

Well, I wouldn’t said that OLTL was canceled twice because the show didn’t aired elsewhere than on ABC. Passions has been canceled twice, but not OLTL.

I don’t know if you guys read the interview Erika Slezak conducted on January 3, It’s worth reading. Do a google search by typing ” smashing interviews” and “Erika Slezak” and you’ll find the page. It’s a very interesting interview.

barbara t
barbara t

yes they did,we were told by prospect park there putting them on the net , they were saving the soaps. for a couple of months we kept hearing this cast member signed ,there moving or keeping the abc studio even signed for music rights,for months we were made to believe in january after one life to live ends it will continue the following week along with all my children .so we did loose them twice,Once by abc then by pp,I dont know about you but I cant in words tell you how happy I was that prospect park was going to save all my children and one life to live,canceled or were not going to do it ,same thing we lost the soaps twice.

Heather
Heather

I agree with 1loveabcsoaps that most of the backlash comes from the cancellation of OLTL rather than AMC. For every AMC fan who is angry that their show is canceled, they are two OLTL fans that fell the same that their show is being canceled.

But I will give AMC and Susan Lucci their due. All My Children is probably the most popular soap opera outside the soap opera community. If you ask someone who doesn’t watch soap operas if he knows about One Life to Live or The Young and the Restless, chances are the answer will be “no”. But everybody knows All My Children. Lucci has brought mainstream attention to this show ever since the 1970s. All My Children probably had the highest heterosexual male audience among all soap operas. People on the NFL and the NBA watched All MyChildren. Charles Barkley even lamented the demise of AMC this past December on Conan O Brien’s show.

All My Children is without a doubt the most well-known soap opera even though (during its final years) the show was not exactly … well you know … good. And I agree that most of the fan outcry comes from OLTL rather than AMC. Still, AMC has its fanbase and it is shame that this once great show is now a thing of the past.

ethel
ethel

i ahve been an oltl viewer since viki was married to joe riley & yes eriika slezak is the heart & soul of oltl – she is an awesome actress & she has 6 emmy’s to prove it!

Colleen Kaleta
Colleen Kaleta

I realy hope something good happens and this great cast and show will be up and running again in good hands instead of the hand at ABC,,They have a good thing and dont even appreciate how good it is.. I will miss OLTL along with My mother who is 72 my son who is 27 we have watched it for years,,and now more family members have started to watch..it breaks our hearts..

Lisa
Lisa

I’m heartbroken that OLTL will not contiune. These final episodes have been fabulous. I have enjoyed every second and can’t wait to see what else they have for us. ABC why oh why… I would send in money today if I thought it could help!

Brian Del Piano
Brian Del Piano

I AM NOT LOSING HOPE. I have NO CLUE why a cable network will not PICK UP OLTL. The cost to run the show, and pay the actors…..CHARGE A SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE TO THE “SOAP OPERA NETWORK” and YOU WILL HAVE THE MONEY, THE SPONSORSHIP…..Apparently the AUDIENCE is ALIVE AND WELL. GIVE THE MILLIONS of OLTL FANS THEIR SHOW!! GIVE US OUR DAILY SLEZAK FIX!!

Susan M.
Susan M.

Dear Michael
I watched the last episode of ONE LIFE TO LIVE today….. I was Not happy with the ending at all!!!!!!!!! It was an abrupt ending…Some stories in part were kind of resolved….What happen with Natlie & John??? They just got back together and what else? ABRUPT with this story line!! And Victor is ALIVE!!! and todd is going to jail for a crime he didn’t COMMIT!! Another ABRUPT ENDING!!! Clint just proposed to Viki…And Matthew & Destiny are parents to a baby boy!!!! ANOTHER ABRUPT ENDING!!!! The writers left you HANGING!!!! It’s not a ending , but a beginning which would lead into more stories, more OLTL!!! We were ripped off!!!!!!! Short changed!!!!!!! Im VERY UPSET!!!! It just can’t end there…..So much more stories to go!!!! Again not happy at all with how the writers ended OLTL!!! I could cry!! How dare Mr. Frons cancel OLTL!!!!!

Susan M.
Susan M.

Michael PLEASE REPLY To above comments about OLTL last episode (1/13/12 )Please answer my e-mail above!!!!! I’m very upset!!!!! I will be waiting for your response about all the comments I made.. PLEASE REPLY!!!! OLTL FAN FOREVER!!!!!

Carol
Carol

I have been watching OLTL and AMC since the beginning…these people became part of my family…I love them so much I don’t know what I am going to do without them…ABC really screwed us big time….how can they replace such class acts with these two stupid shows and how could they say that the ratings went down…OLTL I will miss each and everyone of you terribly but I wish you all the best of luck as you continue your careers elsewhere…Your fan for 43 years…

Robin
Robin

I just finished reading everyones posts from above and agree with it all! My grandma watches ABC soaps and my mom watched all 3 when I was younger but as far as I know just watched OLTL and GH in recent years. I am 35 and grew up watching ABC soaps from childhood (grew up with “Robin Scorpio), though I really only ever watched OLTL and GH. I too, like someone mentioned above, would play sick throughout the school year to catch up with what was happening, since it was before VCRs and DVRs, then would watch to my heart’s content when summer vacation came. My little brother, though he didn’t like to admit it, would even ask me what was going on with certain characters, since he didn’t want to seem uncool and watch it all of the time with me. I now have an 8 1/2 year old son, who has also watched since he was a baby and is extremely sad as I am that the show is over. When he was a toddler, he’d dance to the opening music of the show and knew every character’s name. I thought OLTL had been saved until I’d started seeing the previews for the crappy show that’s taking it’s place and realized the time slot sometime in December. It’s litterally brought me to tears multiple times this week and even as I’m typing, because again as someone else mentioned above, no matter how low you’re feeling in your own life, your soaps are kind of like your family and a constant to take you away for a little bit 5 days a week.

To ABC: YOU SUCK! We do NOT need or want any more talk shows or reality tv! We watch to escape our own sometimes miserable realities! Anytime you have come up with a good show, it doesn’t last but a season or so, if that, then it’s cancelled and replaced with shit tv! Defying Gravity, The Gates, V – just the first 3 that popped into my head among many, were good shows! The Bachelor, again, really? How many info talk shows do you want us to swallow back to back no less? Well cancelling soaps that people have enjoyed for longer than I’ve been alive is taking it too far. Don’t you care that you’ve pissed off millions of women in this country and probably some men too? Well, when no one is watching the crap you’ve put in it’s place, maybe you’ll have the balls to admit you f’d up and do what’s right, but I’m guessing that won’t happen.

linda otey
linda otey

It is 6:26am on Saturday 1-15-12 and I am just now listening to these interviews ,and it is so much sadder to me (and I have been sad enough all week) but, now to know the cast wanted so much to continue the story online. I hope something changes and they can still do this. I am sick about it. I have loved the show for so long but have never gotten to know the actors from any other venue, and now after these interviews I know I was right when I thought they were special. Thank you ,Michael for conducting these interviews. I hope you will do more ,and I will never forget these actors and the many wonderful hours they have given to their audience. Please come back,and I will never watch anything that moves into the time slot of One Life To Live. I wish the very best to all of you. Linda Otey

Deanna
Deanna

Thanks for the interviews with Viki Lord Riley Buchanan and her daughters. Man, if all the people who claim they will not watch ABC after this Sept., actually follow through as promised. We might make the powers that be wish they had never hired that jackass egomaniac, Fronz. But I think it is a little late to save anything at this point. GH, just like the two valient shows before it, will be toast and, if we are not careful, so will the genre. I was thinking, while watching, that it was a shame that all the soap mags, interview shows and any other soap related people and projects, didn’t get on board with pp. Hell, maybe even some of the soap actors that made a few bucks over the years. Or at least help Maria Arena Bell save her two shows, if nothing else. Because, if they don’t help save them, what will they do once the genre is as dead as the old radio programs? What will you do when there is no more Viki Lord Riley Buchanans to interview? How many times can you interview Jeannie Cooper, Jane Elliott and Anthony Geary, or Maurice Bernard? And, yes, there may be one less TV channel, if former fans have their way, but I have my doubts it will be replaced by a much needed soap channel, unless someone has the guts to point out the way. Any takers, big guy? Just give it some thought. Is there really anything left to lose that fans haven’t already. So many want to do something. Is there, logically, anything we can do to save the last four of these great shows?

Judi
Judi

Viki, I still miss OLTL! I have to watch these taped interviews with Michael and it hurts ….. I tried so hard to keep OLTL on air so did millions of viewers! I tweeted, fb, emailed, sent letters, to ABC to please not cancel OLTL to no avail… Shame on the CEO”S OF ABC!!! becasue they didn’t and still don’t listen or seem to care about the viewers and fans. The people that make them money!!!!! One soap left!! GH!! hard to believe as I said to others here, I have watched OLTL for years and years.. I am in my 40’s now and I use to run home everyday after work and watch OLTL as I taped it … and I would call my family, friends, co-workers and we would talk about the characters and what was going on… life family.. that is how OLTL still is to me… Sometimes I catch an actor of OLTL doing a commercial .. Shame on ABC for letting actors so talented go!! I believe some where down the road some people with alot of money and a brain will breath life back into OLTL.. and realize,,, Hey they already have a fan base,, so lets just make some money!!! a no brainer… I asked Oprah on her OWN network along with so many others on twitter and fb,, but her shows are geared toward interviews and spirituality…. I tried… I miss you Erika ( Vicki) I still see you with that smile when they are playing the beginning of the song and showing everyone and they saved you the best for last and that smile… Good luck sweetie.. I still won’t give up and I thank Michael for keeping us all informed .. I know if Michael Fairman had the backup he would have a network of soaps, could even change that name to Llanview!! Hugs!

Interviews

Melody Thomas Scott Chats On 40 Years As The Young and the Restless’ Incomparable Nikki: The Men, The Booze, The Drama

Today marks Y&R icon Melody Thomas Scott’s 40th anniversary with the top-rated daytime drama series.  While CBS plans to air a special standalone episode (Nikki is in the slammer for confessing to J.T.’s murder, and she will reflect on her life in an emotional look-back), Michael Fairman sat down with the popular and beloved star for a deep dive into four decades in the life of stripper-turned-socialite, Nikki Newman for The Michael Fairman Channel.

During the interview, Melody first addresses her sadness at the loss of her longtime friend and co-star Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters): “I adored him.  I love him to bits.  I loved working with him; such a wonderful actor.  I don’t even know if he knew how good he was.”

When discussing Nikki’s colorful past, and when Y&R planned to have Nikki strip again decades later, Melody revealed she did refuse to play it: “That’s right, and I very rarely put the kibosh on anything on this show,  I was 48-years-old.  The head writer called me and I was up in hair and make-up.  They heard me say, ‘I’m 48-years-old .. that’s just not happening.”‘

Photo: TheMichaelFairmanChannel

Over the years, Nikki has faced many battles, perils ,and demons including her addiction to alcohol which has provided many a juicy story for Thomas Scott.  As to the fans always loving to see a ‘boozy’ Nikki, Melody remarked;  “Yes!  They love it!  I have great fun with it and I think it’s wonderful.”

During a segment of the conversation, Michael shows Melody some photos of Nikki’s past loves, and gets her thoughts on why Nikki fell for those men, and what it was like working with her co-stars through the years: John Enos (Bobby), Doug Davidson (Paul), Heath Kizzier (Joshua), Wings Hauser (Greg), Don Diamont (Brad), Vincent Irizarry (David), Peter Bergman (Jack), Sean Kanan (Deacon, and of course, her longtime on-screen partner Eric Braeden (Victor).

Later, Melody reminisces about her time working with the late great Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) and when asked by Fairman what she thinks Jeanne would say about her 40th anniversary milestone, Melody replied: “She would say, ‘I’m (bleeping) proud of you Mel!”‘

Photo: CBS

Check out the entire interview with Melody below (make sure to also subscribe to the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube for more feature interviews), and following that the special CBS promo honoring Melody’s 40th anniversary with Y&R.  Then let us know, what has been your favorite Nikki Newman moment over the last 40 years? Share your thoughts via the comment section below,

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Interviews

Executive Producer Michael Levitt Previews The Adorable 2019 ‘American Rescue Dog Show’

Dog lovers everywhere get ready! Coming your way on Sunday, February 17th and Monday, February 18th, the good folks at the Hallmark Channel will air a two-night special event (8pmET/7pmCT) that puts a spin on the traditional competitive elite dog shows, while at the same time championing an important cause for man’s best friend.

The 2019 American Rescue Dog Show honors some of the cutest rescue dogs from around the country going paw-to-paw in categories that will tickle-your-funny-bone, bring a smile to your face, or, potentially shed a tear.  This marks the second year for this oh-so-heartwarming show, where in its first year, it beat the Westminster Dog Show in the ratings; much to the delight of rescue dogs and their families, who take these wonderful animals into their homes.

The brainchild behind the concept is the executive producer of the event. Michael Levitt (Skin Wars, Daytime Emmys, TV Land Awards), who spoke with Michael Fairman TV to give us all the inside dish and insight into why this dog show is so personally important to him, and how its goal is to create awareness about the plight of millions of abandoned dogs in shelters each year, and to inspire viewers to think about rescuing one of these loveable pups.

Levitt has a collection of notable hosts and judges along for the ride who bring this one-of-a-kind doggy competition to life from the world of TV, film, and animal advocacy.  So, for the lowdown on the competition and more, here’s what Michael shared.

Photo: Crown Media

For those who want to check out the two-night event, is the American Rescue Dog Show in the same vein as the Westminster Dog Show, where the dogs are competing? 

MICHAEL: The format of the show is similar to a fancy dog show, such as Westminster, however, on the American Rescue Dog Show, we aren’t “judging” the dog.  In our show, they all have to be rescue dogs that are spayed or neutered in order to compete, and we are not judging them based on their bloodlines, we are celebrating their cuteness in such categories as, “Best in Wiggle Butt,” “Best in Couch Potato,” “Best in Snoring,” “Best in Special Needs,” and  “Best in Senior Dog” – those are obviously some of the most important.   We have the fancy arena floor with the judges and the tuxedos.  We filmed it at the Pomona Fairplex, which is the same place that they film the Beverly Hills Dog Show.

And you have a bevy of dog-loving celebrity judges along for the ride, too!

MICHAEL: Yes, and this year we are lucky to have the support of celebrity animal advocates that include: Lisa Vanderpump, Debbie Gibson, Brandon McMillan, host of CBS’s Lucky Dog, Bill Berloni, who is the dog trainer to a lot of the dogs on Broadway, and Dirty Job’s Mike Rowe.  Our prerequisites for them to be a judge were: they all needed to be rescue-friendly.  So, they either needed to have a rescue dog of their own or support rescue in some way.  Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell are the hosts this year, along with Ross Matthews and Home & Family’s Larissa Wall, who served as co-hosts and cover all of the action ringside.

Photo: Crown Media

So, did the judges get along?  Did they differ on their top picks?

MICHAEL: The judges absolutely got along famously, but as a producer of the show, I was a fly on the wall listening to them when they were deliberating as they were picking a winner.  That was quite entertaining, because each of them had a strong point of view on the dog, or dogs that they thought should win the competition. We found ourselves throughout the filming just turning to each other and saying, “I don’t know how the judges are going to pick just one, because they are all just so incredibly special.”

How was Lisa Vanderpump? 

MICHAEL:  Lisa was wonderful!  When she was being interviewed by Rebecca and Jerry O’Connell, they asked her what she would say to a potential family that is about to buy a dog from a breeder, and it was such a profound moment, because as someone who comes from her socioeconomic level, from her privilege, to see that she has embraced rescue might be incredibly meaningful to someone who might think that rescue dogs are second-hand animals.  Lisa Vanderpump disproves that just by being there, and being a part of it.

Photo: Crown Media

How did you decide on Rebecca and Jerry as your hosts with the most?

MICHAE:  I have a long history with Rebecca from producing my show, Skin Wars, which she hosts.  I knew that she and Jerry had four rescue dogs of their own, and that she is incredibly passionate about rescue and shedding light and creating awareness about the plight of animals that are sheltered.  They were not only organic and authentic to the cause, but they were a lot of fun and clearly had a lot of natural chemistry.  They also brought their own rescue dogs to the show, as did Lisa Vanderpump.  So that was fun.

You have two wonderful dogs of your own.  So, this is your passion project!

MICHAEL: This is a true labor of love for me, because in 2011 when my sister, Jennifer was dying of cancer, my partner and I decided to rescue a dog, and we rescued a pit bull named Trooper, and Trooper rocked our world.  My sister met him four days before she died, and it’s that old adage of “Who rescued who.”  Trooper really was there for me during a really difficult time of my life. I learned first-hand how special not only rescue dogs are, but pit bulls, and that really was the beginning of my animal advocacy.  I ended up taking a year off from producing just to rescue dogs.  I realized at the end of that year, that as a rescuer, I am saving one dog at a time, but as a producer, I could do so much more to bring awareness to the plight of animals in our shelters by creating rescue-themed programming.

Pit bulls seem to always get a bad rap.  Do you feel that way?

MICHAEL:  They absolutely get a bad rap, and after we rescued Trooper, we rescued another pit bull named Nelson, and it was really the two of them who inspired me to get heavily involved in rescue and to be an advocate for pit bulls.  With pit bulls it is such a unique human-animal bond that you don’t find with any other breed.  All they really want to do is please their humans, and it is absolutely true that when you hear these horrific stories about pit bulls on the news, these are rare incidents of pit bulls who have fallen into the hands of bad people who have treated them badly.  It’s really unfair to profile and entire breed of dog, because all dog breeds have some dogs that have behavioral problems.  I have come in contact with thousands of pit bulls, and I have only met one that was human-aggressive, and that dog was severely, severely abused.  Every other pit bull I have come in contact with has been nothing but incredibly sweet.

Photo: Crown Media

So, last year’s American Rescue Dog Show is currently in the running to earn a Daytime Emmy nomination in the ‘Special Class Special’ programming category!

MICHAEL:  Yes, “Special Class Special”. (Laughs)

You obviously know who wins this weekend’s American Rescue Dog Show competition.  Were you happy with the winner? 

MICHAEL:  Yes, but you can imagine how difficult it is for the judges to pick a winner because every single dog in the competition is beyond adorable. It is really the dogs who deliver on the show, and that’s what makes the show so heartwarming.  The real purpose of the show is to inspire the viewers to rescue their next dog from their local shelter, or rescue organization, so that people who are watching turn to the person they are with and say, “Honey, I didn’t know you could get a pure-bred dog at a shelter!  Let’s rescue our next dog!”  We have really powerful segments in the show about the joy of adopting a senior dog, or a special-needs dog.  We do a segment on debunking the myths about pit bulls, and we have messaging on why it is important to spay and neuter your dog.  So, through this wonderfully entertaining program, we are also educating people and hopefully touching their heart and their soul and inspiring them to be a part of the solution by rescuing their next dog; instead of being a part of the problem by purchasing a dog from a pet store or breeder.

Photo: Crown Media

When you look at what you have to take on as a producer when you do this type of show; as opposed to any other type of production you have helmed, what are the major differences?

MICHAEL: The biggest distinction is that on this show we are dealing with living animals, so I take that responsibility very seriously.  First and foremost: is the safety and well-being of the dogs that are participating on the show.  We have to consider everything from making sure that the animals are up-to-date with their vaccinations to having veterinarians on hand, having production personal on-hand standing by with treats and pooper-scoopers. This also means that the dogs are being treated like VIPs.  So, we have a VIP room, but that stands for “Very Important Pooch”, and all of the dogs that are participating have their own dressing rooms with a star on it and their name.  There were over 130 dogs that actually participated from all over the country.  In addition, we had a gifting suite like they do on the Oscars and Golden Globes, but on this show, they didn’t get swag bags, they got “Wag Bags”.

Knowing you as I do, it seems a lot this creative from the categories in the competition, to the backstage VIP room, are very YOU!

MICHAEL:  I have an incredible team of producers who I collaborate with.  None of this would be possible without the good people at Hallmark being such incredible animal advocates.  Specifically, Bill Abbott, who is one of the few network executives in the industry who is really walking the walk and doing so much to be supportive of dogs and cats who need homes.  So, this is right up my alley, because creatively I am so passionate about it that it is so easy to come up with fun ideas that hopefully resonate with the viewers.

Photo: Crown Media

Are there any other fun moments that you can tease?

MICHAEL:  We are celebrating the perfectly imperfect.  So, we love when a dog decides to roll on his back in the middle of the arena and decide he wants to get a belly rub in the middle of the competition.  We had a dog decide that he had to go potty on the middle of a flower arrangement on the arena floor.  Those are the moments that give the show its heart and feel-good sensibility.  We had a couple of dogs in the “Best Wiggle Butt” category where one of their forever parent brings them out initially, and their other forever parent was on the other side of the area, and we removed their leash so that they can run from one parent to the other so that we can really see their butts moving, but … we had a few dogs get so excited that they ran right out of the arena! (Laughs)  They ran right through the tunnel off stage and come running back in, and the whole audience erupted into laughter.  It’s just magical.

How did you find these dogs to compete? 

MICHAEL:  We put out a call-to-action on social media, and we got thousands of responses. People submitted their rescue dogs in as many categories as they qualified for, and they submitted photos and videos. Then, we have a team of producers and rescue experts who go through all of the submissions, ultimately picking the top semi-finalists in each category who come to Los Angeles to compete.  We had a wonderful partnership with Pedigree Foundation in which they provided $100,000 in grant money for the dogs that win for the rescue that saved him or her.  So, in the ten semi-final categories, each winning dog received a $5,000 grant for the rescue that saved him or her, and then the ultimate winner of the competition, which is crowned the title, “Best in Rescue,” received an additional $30,000 for the rescue that saved him or her, again, courtesy of Pedigree Foundation.  We also had a partnership with adoptapet.com, which is the largest online resource for people to find rescue dogs in their own communities. Throughout the show, we have a call-to-action for people to go to hallmark.com/bestinrescue and look for the adopt a pet icon … they click it… then enter their zip code … and they are instantly linked to thousands of available dogs in their own community who are patiently waiting for a loving home.

Photo: Crown Media

The dog handlers are the owners of these pets?

MICHAEL:  Yes.  We call it a member of their “forever family”.  Several of the dogs on the show are service dogs now, or companion animals, working in senior homes or working with military service people suffering from PTSD.  We celebrate each and every one of them.

Is your hope to do a third annual show, and keep the dog rescue competition going?

MICHAEL:  Yes!  My hope is that this show continues to be on for many years to come and be a platform for the 8 million animals that enter our shelters each year and are patiently waiting for their forever home, and that we can continue to be a voice for these dogs that don’t have voices of their own.  Of all of the shows that I have produced over the years, this one is going to be the most meaningful to me, and is going to be my legacy, because it is such a beautiful thing that I can bring my work and my passion together to hopefully make a difference in the lives of all of these animals.  As a result of this show, we heard from numerous shelters across the country that there was a definite uptick in adoptions.  That warms my heart beyond compare.

In closing, you know what they say:  it’s easier to work with animals than humans! Thoughts? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:  Every show has its challenges, but I would much rather deal with a diva Chihuahua than a diva celebrity.  So, on that level, this show is pure joy to make.

So, will you be watching this heartwarming, creative two-night rescue dog event?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below, but first, check out this behind-the-scenes video of how the American Rescue Dog Show is put together with co-host, Ross Matthews.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Jason Thompson Talks On: The Self-Destructive Billy Abbott, Victoria, Phyllis, And Katie’s Disappearance

As February sweeps kicks in to high gear on The Young and the Restless, Billy Abbott (Jason Thompson) and his ex-wife, Victoria Newman (Amelia Heinle) are once again in each other’s orbit.  First, Billy was not too happy to learn that his nemesis, Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard) shared some passionate kisses with her.  In fact, he went running to Cane’s imprisoned wife. Lily (Christel Khalil), to give her the lowdown.  Next, their child, Katie has gone MIA, but as viewers saw on Friday’s cliffhanger she is somehow heard singing through the walls at the Newman Ranch. Previously, Katie said she was playing with an imaginary friend, but someone is lurking around and watching the Newmans every move!

And let’s not forget, Summer (Hunter King) is back in Genoa City!  The last time she hit town she all but destroyed Billy – his gambling addiction returned, she tried to seduce him, and he slept with her as revenge against Phyllis for her having sex with Nick (Joshua Morrow), and we could go on!  After all the hurt, and the dissolution of their relationship, Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) and Billy are not seeing eye to eye on much, but saying they will try to work together.  Can they?

To fill us in on all the drama, Jason Thompson chatted with Michael Fairman TV and weighed-in on: the future for Villy, Philly, what he has learned from working on two major soaps; General Hospital, where he played the popular Dr. Patrick Drake, and Y&R, his thoughts on his recent Daytime Emmy Pre-Nomination in the Lead Actor category in what was a banner year of storyline for him in 2018, and much more.

Insightful, driven, and talented, Jason is one of the standouts in our genre.  Check out what he had to share below.

What did you think about the plot point that had Billy going to visit Lily in prison, and once there, he informs her that her husband, Cane has been kissing on Victoria!?

JASON:  What I think about it is somewhat irrelevant.  It wasn’t hard for me to rationalize it.  In the moment, Billy was hurt and pissed off.  He is irrational sometimes.  Once he got to the prison, I think he second-guessed himself.  Lily did a pretty good job of convincing him that she needs to know what is going on in order to just live in a certain amount of truth in this situation.  Billy felt that it would be worse for her wondering what was going on on the outside without knowing the truth.  I think that in that moment, he was convinced that telling her the truth was the right thing.  There was a part of him that wanted to get back at Cane, and when Billy gets hurt, he seems to lash out a bit and then sometimes he kind of recoils.  Could he have let it go?  Probably.  I think it’s an interesting thing for Lily and Billy’s relationship; to be honest.  Billy has always respected Lily.  I think that he’s always looked at Lily as someone who does the right thing, and was a good wife, and a good mother, and all of those things.  He thinks that she is in a rough place and wanted to offer her a little bit of support, and that’s the way that he did it.

Photo: JPI Studios

Where do you think the show can go now with his relationship with Cane?  They have been contentious all this time, anyway, and now this has happened.   How do you think this will resolve, or would it ever resolve?

JASON:  I think it’s one of the most interesting relationships Billy hasI don’t know that it will ever resolve.  I don’t know that Billy thinks too much about Cane either way, but in saying that,  there is still no one that can get under his skin and quickly!  In an instant, Cane can be Billy’s enemy and I think that’s great.  I always think there is story for Billy and Cane.  In our working relationship as well, I think we both get a different energy out of each other that inevitably ends up in the characters.  That’s always fun.

Photo:” JPI

How does Billy feel about Victoria now?  She’s been struggling since her relationship with J.T., making out with Cane, etc. 

JASON:  Billy does have feelings for VictoriaI think it’s a number of things that contributes to this.  I think it’s where he finds himself in his life.  He has been kind of hurt by the woman he loved (Phyllis).  He had everything for a moment that he wanted … he had the job, he had the girl, and if he had just done the right thing and had a little bit more self-control, he probably would have been in the best place of his life.  So, when all of those things get pulled away, the one constant is just when he goes to see his kids and they smile, and they don’t know what’s going on in the outside world.  I think the only people who don’t judge him are probably the kids.  There’s something really comfortable about that situation.  No matter what happens, there’s always going to be a little something with Victoria.  She’s always very supportive (not that she hasn’t been very, very upset with him, at times), but there is always something about their relationship that will keep him wondering if they should be together.  I think it will probably be like that for the rest of their lives.

Billy is still unaware that Victoria, Nikki, Phyllis and Sharon are all part of a cover-up in J.T.’s murder.  How aware is Billy in the depths of the abuse Victoria suffered at the hands of J.T.?

JASON:  There was never really a big realization about how dramatic, hurtful, and volatile the whole situation was.  It was a shock to hear all of that obviously, but he has no idea about the depths of it all.

Photo: CBS

If he found out, how do you think he would react knowing what Victoria had gone through?

JASON:  I think he would probably want to kick him again and then re-bury him. Billy has got a lot of flaws, but there is one thing that he will do, and that is always stand up for his family, and that includes Victoria.

Currently, it is just devastating for Billy when Katie goes missing.   He’s like, “I can’t go through this again after what happened with Delia,” and I know you didn’t play the Delia material, because you weren’t on the show at that time.  However, this does give you the opportunity to tap into all of that.

JASON:  Yes!  I mean, that is his biggest fear … going through all of that again.  I think that he would rather not be on the planet than go through all of that again.  What happened to Delia is never going to ever leave him.  I can’t imagine that something like that ever really does.  You just deal with it on a daily basis probably, and things come up, and you feel it all over again, and this is one of those moments.

Courtesy/CBS

I think that you being a father of two children now in your own life; really gives you a perspective when you play these things types of emotions and scenes out.

JASON:  Definitely.  Peter Bergman (Jack) and I were having a conversation about how much life and living, and trying to live a full life, really helps you with your acting.  I work really hard on my craft, but the most important thing that I can do for my work and my career is live a full life.  With the kids and everything else in my personal life, that to me is something that I can always draw upon.  It’s hard to even let myself go there sometimes, because of how scary it would be.  But yeah, I think Billy is not far off from that.  That character has a lot of life and is tied to this volcano and it’s just waiting to erupt, and that eruption is good and full of liveliness fear, and anger.  Some of that comes from hurt, and some of that comes from pain, and some of that comes from a good time, and some of that comes from addiction, and it makes it fun for me because there’s always something to play.  When I talk about what I think of a particular story line, I don’t think of it as, “Oh, I would never do this,” or “I would never do that.  That doesn’t make any sense.”  I try and make sense of everything.  That’s my job.  I just try to find a reason why Billy would be in that situation; instead of trying to find a reason why he wouldn’t be.

Photo: JPI Studios

Would you say that the situation with Katie will draw Victoria and Billy closer together?  At the end of Friday’s episode, they hear Katie’s voice in the wall, so they know she is alive.

JASON:  I think so.  One step up is often two steps back with them, but they are always connected in that way.  The kids do that, and what they’ve been through in the past, and like you said, I wasn’t necessarily there for a lot of that, but it’s in this character.  I would never say never with Victoria.

Photo: CBS

So, where is Billy at with Phyllis?  You and Gina Tognoni played that coupling to the hilt and the show separated them.  Major romances are never really ‘done, done’ on soaps.

JASON:  I mean, it only gets worse with Phyllis.  I’ll say that.  They’re not in a good place.   We have gone through some changes behind the scenes.  So, I have no idea what is happening as far as storyline.  I think there is always going to be something unresolved with Phyllis, but that’s the good thing about this kind of stuff.  You can put these two people together when you have two actors who kind of embrace it, and work at it, and have a natural chemistry, which in turn helps the characters have chemistry.  When Gina and I talk about what we did and accomplished with our characters, to be honest, it’s a little bit of a bummer that they are kind of apart right now, because we had a lot of fun.  We really enjoyed working with each other.  We felt like there was a lot more there to continue to explore, but like you said, it’s never over.  As far as the way that he sees Phyllis … it’s interesting.  I think as an outsider, he kind of looks at her as a selfish person who is going to get and grab whatever she wants, but I feel like he does understand her differently than other people do.  I think he’s looking at Nick and Phyllis and shaking his head like, “You can’t be serious.” (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI

You have had quite a gold mine of leading ladies in your daytime career from: Kimberly McCullough (Robin) to Kelly Monaco (Sam) while you portrayed Dr, Patrick Drake on General Hospital, to Gina and Amelia at Y&R.  I have to say that of all of the leading men on daytime, I think you’ve had consistently some major romantic kickass scene partners.  What are your thoughts on that?

JASON:  Yeah, I have been very fortunate.  I can go back thirteen years now and talk about how much Kimberly helped me out in the beginning, and how patient, and impatient (laughs) she was in a lot of ways.  Kimberly taught me a lot about how the business is, and to hold onto your values, and that it is very important to collaborate with your directors, and your writers, and your producers, and with other people that you work with.  You then see new things.  I’m constantly seeing things in other characters where I’m like, “That would be really interesting to shine a light on.”   I think there’s something really interesting about Sharon (Sharon Case) and Billy.  I think Billy could bring something out in Sharon that somebody else can’t.  That’s what is exciting for me as an actor – trying to find something different and trying to bring life that is not necessarily there yet.  I have had a lot of trust from writers, from producers, and from networks.  I have been very fortunate in that way.

Hunter King has returned to Y&R as Summer.  She played havoc in Billy’s life her last go-round.  I know now she is currently after Kyle (Michael Mealor) and not after Billy, but does Billy blame her at all for his spiral back into his gambling addiction?

JASON:  Realistically, if  Billy were really being dead honest about it and trying to really work soberly in his life, he would say there’s nobody to blame but himself.  There’s definitely that conversation that could be had between them about the situation that they found themselves in.  They both hurt each other pretty badly, and the people surrounding them.  I think there is probably a little bit of blame that can go around on both of them, but I don’t think he really sits back and blames her for falling back into addiction.  She might have been one of the triggers, but I think that he was really responsible for that.

Congratulations on your Daytime Emmy Pre-Nom in the Lead Actor category!  It’s quite a talented group of ten actors that made it through to the final round of competition. You certainly had a stellar year of material!

JASON:  I had a ton of great storylines last year, and it just kind of kept going, and kept going One thing I will say that really helped me out is my relationship with Mal Young (Ex- EP and head writer, Y&R).  We got along really well.  He helped me out by letting me know six months ahead of time where we planned on going with the story.  So, I was able to understand and slowly build the depths of hurt, and the gambling, and how it got further along, and the lies.   I was able to understand where we were going and the plateau that we needed to get to, which was very helpful for me. I worked with amazing people constantly; every day was like something different.  The hard part in this next round of voting is trying to find something that represents the whole year.  When I look at that list of pre-nominees, I’m proud of the work that daytime actors do … everybody from a little bit of a younger guy like Billy Flynn (Chad, DAYS) to icons like Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) , and Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH).  What Maurice brought to my life as an actor and still does has been wonderful, and on the other side of that you’ve got Peter Bergman, who is like a real brother to me now, and we’re really close.  It’s a nice comradery between everybody in the category.  It’s a great group of people to be included with, and aside from the competition part of it, that’s the really cool part.

Photo Credit: JPI

So, let’s talk about your on-screen, mom, Jess Walton (Jill).  I’ve heard you say publicly how much you really like working with her, and she with you.  What can you say about when you do get some scenes with Jess, and get to play that mother-son relationship?

JASON:  That’s another one that you can loop in with all of the other women I’ve worked with.  It’s a different kind of relationship, but talk about a soap icon! Jess Walton is right up there.  She’s a pro, and she’s got this little girl inside that is the sweetest thing alive, and her little giggle.  I can say that relationship is just there with her.  I would love for her to be there more.  If there’s one person that can tell Billy to just, you know what, she’s somebody that can give him a little whipping, and he’d be like, “Okay mom, you’re right.” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Finally, you are on this juggernaut of a show that just celebrated yet another milestone, 30 years at #1.  You go from a historic show like GH, to another here at Y&R that keeps celebrating these milestones that nobody will ever overtake.  All of this has to be a ‘pinch yourself’ moment for you?

JASON:  Yeah, I definitely pinch myself.  I think at this moment, all four soaps that are left are having monumental anniversaries and celebrations, because the truth of it is, it’s really incredible what soaps have done in our history.  With playing Patrick on General Hospital, I still look back on that time and that character, and am just so grateful that I was able to bring him to life.  Every once and awhile I wonder what Patrick’s doing.  On the other end of that, to come over to Y&R with a show that is now 30 years at number #1, and the pride that they have, and the support that they have from the network, there’s a real kind of challenge that we have in order to keep that up.  It is not about the slogans, or the glitzy ad campaigns in the magazines that say, “Hey!  We are #1 for 30 years.”  While that’s very important, what’s more important are the people who have gotten us there for the last thirty years.  We have to show them respect by doing the best that we can and continue that. That’s what drives us. You can feel it in the building.  To take on a character like Billy, who has been a part of that for a very long time, there is a pressure that comes with that, but at the same time, there is an excitement of taking on this character and continuing to make him relevant, and a part of this great soap’s history.

So, do you want Billy to end up with Victoria, Phyllis, perhaps Sharon, or someone else? Who do you think has got Katie and is watching the Newmans?  Are you rooting for Jason to receive a Lead Actor nomination for his work on Y&R in 2018?  What do you think about the other sentiments shared by Jason in this interview, and what was your favorite part of our discussion? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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