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Mishael Morgan Talks on Her Return to Y&R and Tackling the New Role of Amanda Sinclair

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

So, just how did The Young and the Restless lure back one of the series most powerhouse actresses to take on a brand-new role? Mishael Morgan, who earlier this year was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her gut-wrenching final performances as Hilary Curtis, reveals in a new interview with Michael Fairman TV, what went down to bring her back to the CBS Daytime drama.

As fans know thus far, after appearing as ‘Ghost Hilary” through the late spring and summer, Y&R’s creatives worked behind the scenes to get Morgan back on screen without tainting Hilary’s ultimate demise.  That is when they came up with the role of the sexy yet tough lawyer, Amanda Sinclair.

So, enter Mishael in a new wig and style that defines Amanda as her own character.  Question is, since Amanda is a dead-ringer for the late Hilary, are they related? And, what will ultimately be proven to be in her DNA?  In story, Amanda entered the scene as the often-mentioned Chance Chancellor’s attorney.  She shows up in Genoa City to contest the legitimacy of the late great Katherine Chancellor’s will and the fortune she left to Devon (Bryton James).  With Devon directly in Amanda’s line of fire it sets the stage for potential fireworks down the line.

We sat down with Mishael backstage at Y&R for this informative and entertaining chat as we officially welcome back this truly kick-ass performer.  Here’s what Mishael shared below.

Photo: JPI

What transpired behind the scenes to make it possible for you to come back to Y&R?

MISHAEL:  Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R) kind of gave me a little bit of a heads up.  They called me back to come in and do the ghost episodes as Hilary, and it happened really quickly.  It was like, “Hey, Mishael, do you think you can do this?  Yeah?  Okay.  We’ll work it out with your team.  Alright.  We’ll see you tomorrow.” (Laughs) It was really, really fast.  I was hesitant for a second about the whole Hilary ‘ghost thing’, because I felt good about how we wrapped up Hilary’s storyline.  I’d only left for a couple of months, and I still felt funny about it, but I was like, “I’ll do it.  She’s a ghost … so she hasn’t returned from the dead.  So, it’s fine.”

Originally, I was concerned that they were going to have you as Hilary keep popping up as a ghost to Devon for an indefinite amount of time; when the show has already done that with Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) and his father, John (Jerry Douglas).  Because of your previous performances, and Emmy-nominated performance for the final arc of Hilary’s story, I thought, in the end, it might detract from that.

MISHAEL:  Yes, and I think that’s how I felt too, but I agreed to do it because they said that it was going to be a max of seven episodes.  So, while I was doing that, Tony was on set watching the scenes.  Next, he just called me up and said, “Well, how do you feel about coming back?”  I was like, “Coming back?  Hilary is dead.  Like, Hilary is dead-dead.  Is this going to be an alternate universe?” (Laughs) He said, “Well, no.  You’d be coming back as a different character.”  That was really intriguing to me, because one of the reasons why I left was because I felt like creatively I’d played a character from beginning to end, and it felt like it would just be nice to go off and play somebody new.  I never in a million years thought that I could come back to Y&R and actually play someone new!  That was weird to wrap my head around when they said, “You’d play a new character,” but then when they said she was going to me a lawyer, my ears really perked up! I’ve always wanted to play a lawyer, because I have the background where I wanted to be a lawyer in real life.  So, then I’m like, “OK. Now I get to play a lawyer on TV.”  They really got their hooks in to me with that … and just hooked me in from there.  Then, I got open to the idea and the story that Josh Griffith (head writer, Y&R) wanted to tell.

Photo: JPI

Once you learned the idea of the story from Josh, it seemed that things happened very quickly!  We all found out about your return via a social media post where you got to tell the fans yourself that you were coming back … but as a new character.

MISHAEL:  It happened relatively quickly in terms of me tentatively coming back, but then they still had to write the story.  So, everything wasn’t really confirmed until a couple of weeks before I started taping again.  We were in talks for about two months, and we worked it all out.  I said, “I’d do it,” and then it was 100% confirmed around August of this year, and I was airing in September.  It was kept was very, very quiet.

Are you still figuring out what Amanda’s back-story is?

MISHAEL:  I am.  I feel like every writer is a little different, and I feel like Josh likes to keep things very close and tight to his chest so that you kind of don’t know what’s happening.  Josh gives you enough information to play a little bit of something that is coming down the pike, but he doesn’t really disclose everything.   I’ve gotten little hints, and I kind of know where we are going, but I still don’t know the whole back-story of Amanda.  I’m still trying to figure her out.  If she’d been the polar opposite of Hilary, I think it might have been easier, but if you read her description, she’s very much like Hilary: A-type, strong, driven, all of those things.  Hilary had this very malicious, unscrupulous side to her, but I don’t know if Amanda has that.  In terms of the general description of the character, they’re very similar, which I was happy about just because I like playing strong women on TV.  If they had said, “We’re bringing on this character, and she is homeless” … or somebody who was super quiet… that would pose a different set of things for me as an actress.  I think seeing strong women of all different colors, shapes, and sizes is so important right now on TV, and it is very relevant.  I am happy to be a part of that.

Photo: JPI

What was it like playing all of these entrance scenes as Amanda where your former and current scene partners had to suspend belief? There’s Bryton James, Christel Khalil, Daniel Goddard, Jess Walton, and you, and Amanda walks in like, “Hey there!” (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  We just laughed about it.  It’s one of those things that is so funny, and it can only happen in the world of soaps.  A lot of the fans said, “This is weird,” in the beginning, but the fans love the show, and they accept it, and they do suspend their disbelief, and then it becomes normal.   We just had fun with it.

You’re like, “Hi, do you like my new hair?” (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  That was the thing too.  (Laughs) I don’t even think Christel even saw my hair until she came to set, and she was like, “Oh wow! I like your new hair.”

Photo: JPI

What happened when you and Christel taped the scenes where Lily sees Amanda for the first time, after the former contentious relationship of Lily and Hilary that ultimately changed the course of both their lives?

MISHAEL:  For me, it was super fun and easy because I don’t know any of the Hilary/Lily back-story.  I just play very oblivious like,“Hi, I’m just here.” (Laughs)  So, it’s very easy for me, but I almost envy a lot of the other characters who have to play all of these layers because Lily does have that back-story because she was charged for Hilary’s death, and the guilt associated with doing something like that, and also the hate that she had for Hilary.  Then overcoming that hate, and then going on that entire beautiful journey that they had together as women.  But now having that as a layer, and adding on top of it this woman who looks exactly like Hilary, but is a completely different person, is really interesting. Even for Bryton, I feel like he has a golden opportunity as well, because to have that love of your life, and then a new love of your life there in Elena, and then see a woman who looks just like your ex-wife is, I’m sure, really difficult.  Your mind would just be exploding!

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How did Bryton find out that you were coming back, and what was his reaction to the news?

MISHAEL:   Well, I came in for the ghost episodes, and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.  I told him before we finalized this new deal.  He’s a friend of mine.  I wanted to get his opinion, and he was like, “You should do it!”  I was like, “Really?  It feels so weird because I just left a year ago, and I was so happy and content with leaving, so it feels weird to come back.”  He was like, “No, it will be fine.”  He’s like, “The fans will love you either way.  They’ll want you back.”   I was worried about how the fans would feel because it is such a quick return.

Photo: JPI

What is the feedback you’re getting from the fans thus far on your transformation from Hilary to now Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I feel like it’s pretty positive for the most part.  There are always going to be a couple of fans who are skeptical … or who don’t like the storyline … and even if they don’t like it they say, “This is kind of weird to bring her back as a different character.  We miss Hilary, but we love that Mishael Morgan is back, so, that kind of makes it all OK.”

The story that brings Amanda to Genoa City revolves around the legitimacy of Katherine Chancellor’s (the late Jeanne Cooper) will, and she comes in and says there was a counterfeit will etc.  She’s the messenger at this point and her client is Chance, correct?

MISHAEL:  Yes, Amanda’s client is Chance.

Isn’t she starting to question the legitimacy of her client?

MISHAEL:  Yes, but I think she still believes that it was Chance.  She’s kind of wondering now … because she even accuses Jill (Jess Walton).  She’s like, “It’s your grandson.  He’s all out to lunch.  He’s not getting back to anybody.”  Jill is very much in the headspace where she is like, “Well, this is probably not my grandson.”  Amanda is like, “I’m pretty sure it is.”  So, I think Amanda still thinks that it is Chance, even if he is a criminal, and even if he is doing something tricky.

Photo: JPI

How did Amanda get contacted by Chance in the first place to take this case?

MISHAEL:  It was an email, and then Amanda spoke to him on the phone …  or at least to who she believed was Chance.  He signed the papers, he scanned them over, and he forwarded Amanda the retainer. She had no reason not to believe that it was him.

So, when Amanda came to see Devon and company, she had no idea that there was this lookalike of her that was intertwined with this family?

MISHAEL:  No, but then after Devon tells Amanda about all of this, she sees pictures of Hilary online, but this is all done off-camera.

Does Amanda now suspect that she could be a twin? 

MISHAEL:  I think so.  I’m kind of playing that or keeping that there.  I’m kind of playing that as part of the reason why I want to stay in town because Amanda is intrigued by this other person who looks like her.  This could possibly be family.  I think it adds an extra layer as to why she wants to stay on Genoa City.  It is not just because she likes this person, or that person.  I think it is because she wants to figure out her connection to this person who looks just like her.

Photo JPI

We’ve seen Amanda be a little shifty.

MISHAEL:  Maybe a little bit. (Laughs)

What do you think we, as the audience, should be feeling at this point about Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I think we just have to wait and see.  Hilary had a lot going on before I left, and this is a new character who is slowly building.

I think that one of the things that daytime shows often have done wrong is that when they bring in a new character, they shove them down the audience’s throats too fast that they get sick of them.  I don’t know if that’s the tactic for the emergence of Amanda, more of a slow burn?

MISHAEL:  I feel like they are definitely doing a good job of building her character slowly and adding layers.  It’s not all coming out right away.  I feel like people should be feeling excited to try and figure out who this woman is because that is what it is eventually going to be leading to.  Right now, we are all just together in trying to figure out who she is.  I feel like everybody is really excited (and I am too) to get going, but even when Hilary came to Genoa City, it took about a year for her to catch her stride.  I think it’s going to take a while to really understand the meat of this character and how she fits into everyone’s lives.

Photo: JPI

Do you think Amanda feels badly about what is going on with Cane and Devon with the will, and how it would change both their lives forever?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  I definitely think that she feels badly about that.  In the beginning, it was very much her job.  I think when Devon is contemplating giving over his fortune, it makes Amanda see him in a different light, and her empathy for him starts to increase because she sees that he is a good guy, and that there wasn’t anything that he did that was malicious.

I think there is an attraction brewing here between Devon and Amanda.

MISHAEL:  Possibly.  I mean … Devon was attracted to someone who looked like Amanda.

Photo: JPI

Will she like him if he has no money, though?

MISHAEL:  I don’t know… I mean, Hilary definitely wouldn’t. (Laughs)

What do you think about working with Brytni Sarpy (Elena)? I see a triangle or quadrangle brewing and I see catfights in your future!

MISHAEL:  I love Brytni.  I definitely see that because Elena is definitely in the state of mind where she can’t stand this Amanda character.  The second she walked through the door, she couldn’t stand her.  I’m sure there are going to be some catfights coming.  I’m sure that it is going to be very entertaining for everybody! We’ll see.

Because you were considering being a lawyer … wait until you get into the courtroom set for some scenes!

MISHAEL:  I know, I’m excited for that!

Christian LeBlanc (Michael) always loves the courtroom monologues because he says it’s like doing a stage play.  Will you be up for that?

MISHAEL:  I think it’ll be ready for it.  I had a little one already to kind of warm up.  I won’t tell you what it was about.  I was like, “I can do this,” and I think it would have been even more fulfilling if there were an actual jury there where it feels like you’re performing.

Photo: JPI

What kind of lawyer is Amanda?  Does anyone know? (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  Well, right now she specializes in estates and trusts, but the one thing that I do know about attorneys is that technically with your license you can kind of do anything.  It is just that your experience will be in a specific area.  So, certain people may not want you to defend them, because you’ve never defended people in these cases.  I feel like it is not the same as a surgeon.  A surgeon specializes in the heart, and they don’t really do anything else, but as an attorney, you can kind of do anything.  You can defend anyone if the price is right and you feel confident.

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When you were thinking of being a lawyer, did you think of the kind of lawyer you wanted to be?

MISHAEL:  Well, when I wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be an international human rights lawyer.  So, something very different.  I wanted to save the world.

You know what they should do?  Maybe Amanda could have a courtroom show.  Instead of Judge Judy, it could be called Judge “Mandy”!

MISHAEL:  Put people in their places.

That’s if Amanda doesn’t get a talk show gig on the side, like Hilary did with GC Buzz! (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  With the courtroom cases, and the talk show, that would be a lot.

Photo: JPI

We talked about Hilary and taking her through everything she had gone through, and it really was the perfect ending when she passed.   Do you look back on that time and that work which we all loved so much?

MISHAEL:  Yes, I do.  I still look back on it, and I feel so blessed to have gone through that journey with her and to have created such a great character.  There are times when I’m like, “Yeah, coming back as Hilary would have been a lot of fun,” because I read the lines, and I know how Hilary would say everything, and now I have to figure out how Amanda says it – and it never feels the same, because I got so used to this being Hilary’s home.  I feel like Amanda is a little more like me, so there is a little less playfulness happening.

You want more of that which is reminiscent of Hilary, or not as much with Amanda?

MISHAEL:  I feel like naturally there is not as much now with Amanda, but I do want more of the playfulness to happen. It’s fun to play that on camera.  I feel that’s the fun of acting and pretending in that you get to be less of yourself, and more like a character.  Hilary was so different from me that it was just so fun to play her.  I feel like I’ve got to find those things in Amanda that make her unique and different that I can indulge in.

Photo: MMorganInstagram

In real-life you’re now a mom of two.  When you leave your kids to come to work, is it hard for you?

MISHAEL:  It is, but it’s okay because my husband stays at home with them.  We bounce back and forth.  He doesn’t work when I am working, and the days when I am not working, I am at home, and I get to enjoy time with them.  Then, when I am working, he stays home, and he gets to enjoy time with them.  It sucks to leave them, but at the same time it’s great to know that they are getting to spend time with their father, and I’m getting some ‘me time’.  I think that is necessary, because being a stay at home mom was a lot harder than I thought.  It is exhausting, and you are always on call.  You feel like you’re a surgeon.  It is just too much at times.

You always have the best Instagram photos with your kids and their outfits.  Are you going to have them dressed for Halloween?

MISHAEL:  Oh, yes.  They are going to dress up.   My son is going to be a firefighter, and I am going to be the fire, and my husband is going to be the fire hydrant, and my daughter is going to be the fire dog, the little Dalmatian!

Were you thrilled that you had a daughter this time, after previously having a son?

MISHAEL:  Yes.  At the time, I was okay with whatever the gender turned out to be.  I know everybody says it, but as long as they’re healthy, that is the most important thing.  I even thought about if I did have another boy, there would be that brother bond.  I grew up with sisters so to give him a brother would have been great, too.  Everybody always wants to have one of each because you want to be able to see what a boy would look like, and what a girl would look like, and their temperaments and all of that.  So, it’s nice that we got one of each.  We are happy.  We are good.  No more kids in my future.  (Laughs)  I shouldn’t say that too much because what if I do get pregnant, and my kid is like, “I was definitely an accident, Mom?” (Laughs)

We don’t know who Amanda has ties to at this point, but would you like to see her in another romantic relationship with some guy who is not Devon?

MISHAEL:  I would like to see that just because it would be something that kind of defines her as her own kind of person with her own journey and her own likes and her own dislikes.  I even feel that if she just ends up with Devon, it would be kind of weird.  We don’t know if Hilary and Amanda are related, but if they are related somehow, you would not have the same experiences, you would not have the same connections as this person.  As far as who I would want to work with, I don’t know.  I don’t know how to judge.  Well, Sean Dominic (Nate) has been awesome.  It would be kind of cool to be with Sean character-wise, because if Amanda ends up with Nate, that’s a relative of Devon, so Devon would have to see that all of the time … so that’s interesting.

Photo JPI

How is working with Sean?

MISHAEL:  Lots of fun.  He actually has the same birthday as my dad.  He’s a really cool guy, and we get along great.  That is half the battle because every now and again (and you rarely hear about it) you can’t stand the person you’re working with, and every time you get into scene work with another character, you’re always wondering, “Am I going to get along with this person?”  I love Bryton because we definitely have a special connection when we are on camera and when we are working together.  We’ve known each other for so long, and we’ve done so many amazing scenes together, and I think there is a lot of trust there.  It’s easy to just work with him.  That being said, the challenge of working with another character would be great as well.  We’ll just see where the chips fall.  Either way; I’m going to have a blast.

So, Camryn Grimes (Mariah) and you obviously have this great relationship together on-screen.  Mariah was Hilary’s dear friend.  Did you ever see her performance after Hilary died and her heartbreaking monologue on the set of GC Buzz?

MISHAEL:  Yes, I did.  It was amazing.  She’s an amazing actress.  She’s an amazing person.  I was so happy to work with her, and I am so happy to be back, because we are such good friends.  My first day back on set when I walked in, Camryn was the first person I saw.

Photo: JPI

Did Camryn know you were coming back to the show as Amanda?

MISHAEL:  Yes, she knew I was coming back.  We had a big hug and everything like that, and we were laughing about the fact that she’d come back to Y&R too as a whole different character.  So, I was like, “What pointers can you give me?” I would really love to figure out how Amanda and Mariah can work together.

The big question … I wonder if Amanda will have friends in Genoa City? (Laughs)

MISHAEL:  I think she would.  I mean, I know she is a little uptight, but I think she’ll have friends.  I hope so.  I don’t know who though. Guess everyone will have to stay tuned to see.

So, are you happy to see Mishael back at The Young and the Restless? What do you think of the character of Amanda Sinclair thus far? Do you want to see her with Nate, Devon, or someone else on the canvas romantically?  Do you think it will turn out that Hilary and Amanda were twins? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Stacy
Stacy

I’d actually would love to see Adam and Amanda hook up they would be explosive!

Semaj Debose
Semaj Debose

Amanda and Nate have amazing chemistry in there scenes together they would be an amazing couple

GramS
GramS

I thought I would love Nate as played by this actor. He played a gay man in Greenleaf and was full of personality so I was hoping he would bring some of that personality to y&r and Nate. I see no chemistry between him and anyone. He seems flat and monotone in all of his interpersonal relationships with both male and female characters. We know Mishael can act circles around anyone so the writers need to put her with someone of equal caliber.
Great interview Michael!!

Aurora
Aurora

If the actor has shown that he can be full of personality once, he can do it again! So, I’m inclined to think that the problem is not with him or the character – but with the WRITING for Nate.

And he is not the only actor or character who could be ever so much more interesting and dynamic with better, more developed writing. I’m getting discouraged with watching wasted potential.

GramS
GramS

I’m actually sick of all the complaints of writing and writers. We have had several writers in the past 8 years and complaints galore with all of them. Seems they can’t win ever since fans were able to connect thru the internet.

Momo
Momo

I’m glad to see her back. Just not sure how Amanda will work her way back into everything. Plus, what will make her stay in GC?

Therese
Therese

I’m elated that Mishael is back! I loved her as Hilary. Still trying to get used to her playing Amanda. But there are a bunch of possibilities for her. I see Nate falling for Amanda and jealousies and problems arising in Devon and his girlfriend’s relationship because of it!

Aurora
Aurora

Ah yes! Devon’s lovely, elegant girlfriend Elena!

Lots of quad possibilities.

Ramona
Ramona

Ecstatic that Mischael is back! Amazing actress. Can’t wait to see how they develop the Amanda character and how she is related to Hillary.

Violet Lemm2
Violet Lemm2

I didn’t like the Hilary character, but am warming up to Amanda, and have read she is possibly a twin of Hilary’s. Now that Devon is on his own, I bet he and Amanda will get closer. He was attracted to Hilary before, so I see history happening. Looks to me like Nate is showing interest in Amanda, but he was also pretty cozy with Elena. I definitely did not like him with Abby. Abby needs a strong, maybe older type. I loved her and Stitch, but that was ruined by bringing in the troubled step-son.

Aurora
Aurora

Devon is still very much with the lovely woman he has chosen to share his home, his life and his love – Elena. Her leaving to help her Uncle Jett with his medical problems is only short term. She will return; and, to quote Devon when she left, “I will be happy when you come back home.”

So, whatever happens with Devon, Elena, Nate and Amanda may be a story that goes on for a long time.

Violet Lemm2
Violet Lemm2

Oh Aurora, I bet you believe in the Tooth Fairy too!

Harry
Harry

Ahem, Violet Lemm, are you suggesting there is no such thing as the tooth fairy? Next thing you are going to tell me is that there is no such thing as Santa Clause!

Violet Lemm2
Violet Lemm2

Harry, I do believe in Santa, but if the tooth fairy was real, I’d be a very rich lady.

Aurora
Aurora

Just thought you should know that Devon is not yet “on his own” as you said in your statement. That he is still in a committed relationship with Elena – unlike what you indicated originally. That’s what we are currently seeing in the onscreen story.

You spoke about Elena in the past tense and I wondered if you thought her leaving to help her uncle was a permanent departure. It is not and the actress is still taping and her character was included in November previews. Apologies if I misread your comments.

We all know that breakups and partner switching happen all the time on soaps, so things can change quickly. No need to talk about the tooth fairy when we all know soap reality.

As for my last sentence about a possible longer story with this quad – Devon, Elena, Nate and Amanda, I’m just repeating an idea I’ve read in several places. Being able to play around with a foursome of family, friends and lovers is hardly “tooth fairy” imagining. It’s what happens on soaps! We all get that.

Violet Lemm2
Violet Lemm2

Aurora
Sorry if I offended in any way. I have watched these shows for 100 yrs. and in this case it just seems very probable that sending Elena away gives Devon and Amanda a easier chance to get together. Elena doesnt like or trust Amanda, and it would make it harder for she and Devon to get closer. No, I wasn’t insinuating a permanent departure for Elena, but just an easier and quicker way for Devon and Amanda to get friendlier.
Unless Amanda is a real phoney, wearing a Hilary mask, I think they will get together.

Aurora
Aurora

I agree that these absences are often contrived plot points. However, knowing what has been publicly shared about actors’s vacation times, I don’t think there will a lot of difference between Elena’s screen absence and Devon’s. In this specific situation,I think that this couple of weeks period may be more about setting up Nate and Amanda in each other’s orbit – rather than Devon and Amanda. This, too, makes sense if one subscribes to the widely-voiced theory that the writers will play a quad with Devon, Elena, Nate and Amanda.

It’s not as if the writers haven’t already teased a related triangle in the past. To quote a blogger I just read: “… let’s flash back to when they first reintroduced Nate to the canvas. You’ll recall that he would occasionally walk around half-dressed in front of Hilary, and it was very clear the show was preparing for a Devon/Hilary/Nate triangle. … it sure feels as if we might be heading down that road again, except this time with Elena thrown into the mix for good measure.”

We might have a few changes of partners before this over!! All traditional soapiness!

Violet Lemm2
Violet Lemm2

I see the points you have made, and agree that this quad as you called them, will indeed be playing musical chairs, so to speak, in the future.
On another note, I think Chelsea will be getting back with Adam and their son. How do you feel about that idea? I think it was inevitable once they were both back in GC, so goodby Nick. Will he ever find the right woman?

Harry
Harry

I think Mishael is a very talented actress. Therefore, when she left Y&R I thought she was moving on to greener pastures. I feel it’s disappointing to have her coming right back to Y&R playing Hillary’s double. How predictable! How trite! And how boring! In other words, Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care. In fact, I fast forward through her scenes with Duh Yawn.

Lisa Howard
Lisa Howard

I want to see Amanda send Adam get together. I live that Mishael is bac!

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Knots Landing’s Joan Van Ark, Michele Lee & Donna Mills Share Backstage Memories, Watch Back Classic Scenes & Remember the Cul-De-Sac On Its 40th Anniversary

The primetime soap that lasted longer than them all was not Dallas, Dynasty or Falcon Crest, but Knots Landing! The series about the lives of the people of the cul-de-sac at Seaview Circle in Southern California ran on CBS from December 27th, 1979 till May 13, 1993.

Throughout Knots’ run, the show centered on the lives of female characters; most notably Joan Van Ark as Valene Ewing, Michele Lee as Karen Fairgate MacKenzie and Donna Mills as Abby Cunningham Ewing (yes, there were several other married names too!).

What made Knots Landing so special was its more ‘grounded in reality’ storylines (than over-the-top on the other primetime soaps), while also delivering the soapy goodness and those riveting cliffhangers and those gut-wrenching performances that had millions of fans tuning in every week on Thursday nights.

Who can ever forger the 3-year story arc of Val having her twins taken from her at birth, or Sid’s death that left Karen a grieving widow, or the moment we saw Abby’s other side as mother lioness with her children, trying to deal with her daughter Olivia’s drug problem.  These were only some of the unforgettable moments and portrayals by these three women.

To commemorate Knots Landing’s 40th anniversary. Michael Fairman sat down with Joan, Michele and Donna at Donna Mills’ home for this very special deep-dive conversation for his You Tube channel, The Michael Fairman Channel. 

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Knots Landing's Joan Van Ark, Michele Lee & Donna Mills Share Backstage Memories, Watch Back Classic Scenes & Remember the Cul-De-Sac On Its 40th Anniversary

During their conversation the ladies share: what they thought of it each other the first time they met … if there was any competition between them, their thoughts on the leading men on the show that included: Ted Shackelford, Don Murray, Kevin Dobson, William Devane and more.   In addition, they dish on the wealth of talent that came through the show including: Alec Baldwin, Julie Harris, Howard Duff, Halle Berry and so many more.  Plus, if there were a reboot of Knots’ just where would Val, Karen and Abby be now!

In some of the most heartfelt and touching moments contained within the interview. Michael had chosen several clips from ‘Knots’ to play back to the women to get their reactions and thoughts to those fan favorite moments.   A must-see for all die-hard and longtime  “Knots” fans.

We won’t spoil anymore, but suffice to say, we hope you check out the full interview below featuring Joan, Michele, and Donna.

Then, let us know what were your favorite moments contained within the interview … and share your favorite ‘Knots’ memories during its run via the comment section.

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General Hospital

Sean Kanan, Tristan Rogers & Timothy Woodward Jr. Talk On The Making Of New Digital Drama ‘Studio City’ & Respect For Soaps

Just as we closed out 2019, the world of digital dramas saw the debut of a riveting new show, Studio City.  The series initial season can be binged watched in its entirety on Amazon Prime, which follows the life of Hollywood actor Sam Stevens and the cast of “Hearts on Fire“, America’s number two daytime drama, as they navigate the chaotic world of soap operas and their own messy personal lives.

Studio City was co-created, executive produced, and stars longtime daytime favorite, Sean Kanan (Ex-AJ, General Hospital, Ex-Deacon, B&B).  In it, Kanan plays Sam, who plays a doctor on the soap-within-the show, and whose life off the set provides the back-drop for much of the drama and heart and soul of the series.

Kanan has surrounded himself with quite the acting company which includes: Carolyn Hennesy (Diane, GH), Sarah Brown (Ex-Carly and Claudia, GH, Julia, ATWT, Madison, DAYS and Agnes, B&B), Patrika Darbo (Ex-Nancy, DAYS and Ex-Shirley, B&B), Scott Turner Schofield (Ex-Nick, B&B) and the one and only, Tristan Rogers (Robert, GH, Colin, Y&R).   In addition, feature film director, Timothy Woodward Jr. (who turns out to be a soap fan and appreciates the genre), is the man behind the camera directing the story and the cast through the ups, downs, laughs and tears of the story in Studio City,

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Kanan, Tristan Rogers, and Woodward to find out: how Studio City all came together, what their hopes are for it in the future, and about the tears (those who have watched the series have shed in episode 6) and pivotal moments portrayed by Sean, Tristan, and Patrika Darbo that have helped create a buzz for the show.  Check out what these gents had to share below.

Photo: Studio City

Sean, in the stellar cast are many daytime notables including: Carolyn Hennesy, Sarah Brown, Patrika Darbo and Tristan. Did you reach out to them individually… and tell them what you had cooking with Studio City?

SEAN:  (Laughs) Did I reach out to them?  I had to beg them.  When you do a project like this, nobody is getting rich yet.  This really was a favor and a labor of love.  Patrika and I have really worked on more projects together than I can count.  Carolyn was on my radio show.  There was nobody else I wanted for their parts then Carolyn, Patrika, and Sarah. The idea of Tristan came a little bit later because I had written the character, but the character was actually very different.  He was actually a homeless guy.  He was a guy who had been a doctor and had been strung out on Vicodin, and had had a mishap in the operating room, and lost his license and then became homeless, but he was sort of this homeless sage poet who was giving Sam these bits of wisdom.  Ultimately, through meetings and compromises, it evolved into what it is now, and then, once that happened, I was like, “There’s no reason Tristan can’t play that,” and everyone signed on after a lot of coaxing, but they all did it for me.  I’m so grateful for that because it wouldn’t be what it is without those wonderful people in the series.

TRISTAN:  What happened was he said, “Will you do this part?”  I said, “Yeah.”  Sight unseen.  I figured Sean is an actor with relatively good taste (laughs) so he’s not going to give me a piece of s**t to do.  (Laughs)   Then, he sends me over some copy, and the copy is really good.   So, we set the week up, and that week turned out to be three weeks from hell for me because of my schedule!  I was doing General Hospital.  Then, I had Young and the Restless come in on top of that.  Then, I was doing The Bay, and somewhere in all of this I was doing Studio City.  So, I’m trying to figure out how I am going to do all of this.  In the meantime, Studio City said, “No, we’ve got to do it at a particular time because of the location.  We can’t get it at any other time, but these times…”  I said, “Okay,” and I’m thinking to myself, “God, how the hell am I going to make this work,” because I wanted to do everything, and I didn’t want to have to cancel anything.  I wanted to do it all because all of the projects were so good.  The Young and the Restless project was just an absolute joy to do working with Jess Walton (Jill).  We got Y&R all done in one day   So, I liked that.  After I finished that, was the day I started Studio City, and we were shooting  in a high rise where Sean and his wife Michele were living at the time.  They shot in a vacant apartment next door.  Right away, I was totally impressed with what was going on.  The level of production was really high.  I got the dialogue as I walked on set, and I had to sit down quietly because it was about a page and a half monologue, and I had to think, “Okay, what am I going to do with this guy?  How am I going to play him?”  Timothy Woodward is just fantastic.  He came along, we had a chat together, and he sort of said, “What are you going to do?” and I told him how I was going to play it, and he said, “Okay, go.”  We got it all in one take.  Bang.  I love that.

Photo: Studio City

SEAN:  There was a lot to do obviously, but we shot Studio City over five days.  We literally shot this at almost a soap opera pace.   I don’t think too many other actors; except for daytime actors could have pulled this off.  So, we were really blessed to have a bunch of pros.

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TIMOTHY: Every one of them were extremely talented in their roles.  Patrika blew my socks off.  Tristan did what he did, I mean, he’s amazing.  Sarah was great.  Carolyn Hennesy was great   I do a lot of feature stuff, and you know, we are shooting only 4 or 5 pages a day.  Sometimes 6.  So, it’s not often that I am handing someone a 7-page scene and saying, “Hey, go,” especially the day before, and they’re nailing it every single time and being able to deliver every single time, and hitting their marks, which makes the editing process so good.  They’re able to do it, especially when you keep the writing grounded on the side of it that’s about behind the show, but it still has dramatic moments.  You’re giving the actors a lot to chew on, but they all performed the material so well.

Tristan, in story, you play Sean and Sarah Brown’s step-father. There is a major scene in episode 6 between Patrika and Sean where Sam learns about his biological father, and then there is a scene with you and Sean in the aftermath of that.

TRISTAN:  Yes, they are my adopted kids.   Sam is going through a low part in his life, and my character has to kind of sit him down and go, “Listen, kid.  You’re a good guy.  Don’t ever be told that you’re not a good guy.  You’re my son, and I love you, and there’s not a day that goes past that I don’t love you.”  When you’re on the set at the time, it was an extremely emotional scene.  Very, very emotional, and the fact that we got it right the first time, made the intensity better.  If I had had to go back and do that again, it would have been slightly different. That’s the way I work.”

Photo: Studio City

Had you worked with Sarah Brown before; given you both have worked on General Hospital in your careers?

TRISTAN:  Never.  That was a great thing.  I had two scenes with her, and I loved them both, and I thought she was terrific,  What Sean and Timothy have done is  put together a really interesting bunch of people to totally dig and are part of the daytime scene, who are totally familiar with it, and know what it is all about, and make it different.  The only other show I can compare this to is GH: Night Shift.   We were never allowed to develop it, but that was where we were at.  I think we are making the same kind of broad steps here that we were doing back then.  Hopefully, we are given more of a chance to develop the concept of it. 

What can you say about working with Timothy? He obviously loves the soaps too!

TRISTAN:  He’s a good guy.  I mean, they couldn’t have gotten a better person to do the directing and put that side of it together.  He was the perfect choice: having an understanding of the background of daytime and basically liking it for what it is.  He was ideal!

Photo: Studio City

Timothy, you were a fan of The Bold and the Beautiful, correct? How did you come into Sean’s orbit?

TIMOTHY:  Yes … when Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) was with dad, Eric (John McCook), or something right before that. (Laughs)  That’s how long ago that was.  I started telling Sean all that stuff, and he sent this cookbook to my mom, and then, he called me.  We stayed in contact and started talking about a few things, and then he contacted me about being in the book he was doing, Success Factor X, and he wanted me to be in the book, so I said okay.  So, we just stayed in contact, and then, I called him about another project. Later, Sean said he had an idea for a show and he’s been working on it for a while, and said, “Here’s the idea.  What do you think?”  I said, “I think it’s something that I could be interested in,” (because I’d always watched soaps back in the day, and it’s something that my mom is a huge fan of) and you know, I could get down with doing it.”  So, we kind of met, shook hands, and said, “Let’s make it happen.”

Did you tell your mom you were working with Sean Kanan?

TIMOTHY:  I did!  She loved it.  Sean actually sent her a video to her phone wishing her a merry Christmas last year.

SEAN:  This guy is a feature-film director. Tim was like, “I think that would be a really interesting challenge.  I’d like to do a digital series,” and then it comes to pass that this sort of tough-guy film director from North Carolina, is a total closet soap freak! (Laughs)

Photo: Studio City

Timothy, in Studio City, when Patrika Darbo has this very emotional monologue about what happened to her and about Sam’s father.  Sean also delivered a powerful performance in the scenes, just through his reactions to her heartbreaking story. I just thought the way he played it was so moving.  You obviously did a great job directing that scene.

TIMOTHY: I said, “Sean, I’m seeing behind the camera.  I’m telling you man, you’re telling so much with your eyes.  You don’t have to say anything.  Don’t tell her it’s okay during the scene,” because his initial reaction was, “It’s my mom.  I want to tell her it’s alright.”  I was like, “No.  Don’t.  I don’t want you to do anything.  You need to absorb this; you need to be in that moment of where you just don’t even know what to say.   You feel for her, but you also have this self-inflicted pain yourself, and you just need to listen.  Just listen to her.  Zone out of everything else and listen to her.”  That’s what he did, and he did it really well.

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SEAN:  I remember that Patrika was incredibly generous because once we got her take; she was willing to go through all of that pain again so that my reactions would be as informed as it was.  Honestly I would like to tell you that it was me reaching into my big bag of actor tricks, but all I had to do was shut up and listen.  How can you not be moved by hearing that?  So, I just sort of shut up, didn’t have to hit my mark because I was sitting, and listened, and she did all of the driving on that, and she was just terrific and Timothy captured it beautifully.

Sean, when you envisioned the part of Sam for yourself; were you pleased about how it came across on screen?

SEAN:  Listen, the character is very close to who I am.  This guy is sort of a heightened version of me, but I am very much playing myself in this.  I’m playing myself in some situations that I have never had to deal with.  I was like, “If this is going to succeed or fail, it’s going to happen with me being my most authentic self, and it’s not someone else’s idea of who I am.  I’m going to show you who I am in this.”

Photo: Studio City

Trans actor, Scott Turner Schofield also appears in Studio City.  In part of his story, you are tackling a timely social issue of the plight of African-American trans individuals who are being murdered.  How did you come to the decision to include this arc in the series?

SEAN:  I felt it was important that we told a story that was LGBTQ and trans-centric.  I wanted Scott to be a character on the show that everybody knew was trans.  I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but maybe the character Scott plays is going to have a conflict with production and say, “Listen, I’ve got to be a trans character on the show because I need to sort of be a beacon to all of those people out there.  I’m living that life off-camera. ”  When you see him in his group and everything, and I think he is going to kind of stand up for himself, and that’s going to probably alter his story.  I thought it was important to be like, “My character knows he’s trans.  He’s my buddy who happens to be trans,” you know what I mean…. rather than it being this huge big thing.”

Was the goal to get Studio City released right at the end of 2019 to quality for Daytime Emmy consideration in the Digital Drama categories? 

TIMOTHY:  It was definitely something we think could get more eyeballs on the show, more attention to it if you will, in order to get it to the next level.  So, I think that’s important. Do this and get it even bigger … make more episodes and make them longer.  Sean keeps saying this series, is a love letter to soaps, and that’s what he told me he wanted to do.  You know what Sean is talking about.  There is somewhat of a disrespect level in our industry of, “Well, he’s on a soap,” and these people are so talented.  I mean, some of these daytime soaps have better ratings than a lot of the primetime shows.  You just read mainstream media or something about soaps, and you may think, “What?  There’s nobody watching it,” and then, you start looking at ratings and two and a half million viewers during an episode?  This is every day.  That’s a fan base.  There are dedicated people watching it.

SEAN:  It always bothers me when I see that; treating soaps like that because we work really hard, and there’s a lot of talented people involved with it.  It doesn’t always need to always be that whenever you see soap operas represented in “main series” projects, that they’re kind of the butt of a joke.  I was like, “That’s not going to happen because that’s not what they’re about.”

Photo: Studio City

Sean, you make things happen for yourself doing various projects whether it be: stand-up comedy, acting, books, etc and are one of the hardest working guys I know. Why do you think you have continually come back around, and in front of the daytime soap community all of these years?

SEAN:  I envy guys who have been on daytime consistently for 10, 15, 20 years, and there are times that I wish I were there and doing that, but I don’t necessarily know that if I were that guy that I would have had the wherewithal to write the books I have written.  I think I may have gotten comfortable, and you know, God bless.  I am in no way disparaging that because there is a lot to be said for that longevity on a series. I feel like on daytime I have always been kind of a hired guy.  I get brought in, I get let go, I get brought in, I get let go.  I never sort of maintained a sense of terra firma.  I always felt that it was probably going to be temporary, and I’d better figure out what else I’m going to do, which has given me opportunities that I have created to do projects that I am really passionate about like this one.

For more on Studio City, visit their website here.

Have you checked out Studio City on Amazon Prime yet?  If so, what do you think of it and the performances? Excited to see Sean and Tristan in different roles? Comment below.

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Interviews

‘The Bachelor’ Peter Weber Opens Up About Hannah Brown, Hannah Ann & Being Emotional In Front Of The Camera

While viewers watched how the emotional conversation that they “had to have” came to its conclusion (or did it, even?) on Monday’s episode of The Bachelor between Peter Weber and the women he fell for in her season of The Bachelorette, Hannah Brown, several other new “storylines”kicked off” such as”champagne-gate” between contestants Kelsey and Hannah Ann, and then the social media ‘Bachelor Natio’n frenzy over a shot included in the episode featuring a bottle of maple syrup popping up out of nowhere (later explained to be a supply that contestant Mykenna was going to use when having some alone time with Peter, presumably).

But while it looks for now that Peter is going to try to move past his lingering feelings for Hannah B. and be all-in to find love with one of the women in the running on his season of “The Bachelor”, Michael Fairman TV along with several members of the media spoke with Weber at the ABC Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour on some subjects we wall wanted to know his answers to.  Check them out below.

Photo: ABC

When asked if he watched back the premiere episode and what went down with his chat with Hannah Brown, Peter told us: “The Hannah stuff wasn’t easy for me to watch.  It wasn’t easy as a viewer.  You go on hiatus, like a lull, and then you relive it as it airs back.  So, that wasn’t easy, but you’ll see what that all means. I think you kind of see that there were true, genuine feelings that were still there in that episode, and it left me really confused.”

As to if he was prepared to be seen as so open and vulnerable in the process of finding love while having cameras on him all the time, Weber expressed: Yeah, that was one thing I took from Hannah.  I remember the beginning of her season, that first night, that first speech, it was all about being vulnerable, raw, and open with us, and I made that a big theme of mine, and I wanted to set that theme early on with the women.  You’re going to see me be that the entire time.”

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Knowing the intensity and spotlight it puts on him, Weber says he was all-in for being The Bachelor this season: “I was so excited.  What an amazing opportunity, and I knew it worked.  So, why would I say no.”

There is obviously a major stunning moment that the series is pushing that happens in the finale that appears to potentially change the course of Peter’s quest for love, or confuses it. Weber would only tease that:  “I tell everyone that is was the most beautiful experience (being on  “The Bachelor”) but the hardest of my entire life.  That last week, was the hardest week of my entire life.  It literally doesn’t stop until the last second … just a lot of unexpected stuff that I couldn’t predict, but I took it, and I feel like I’m stronger coming out at the end, but it was hard.  If I told you, then I’d give it away! I didn’t expect what happened to happen.”

Weber also weighed-in on if he feels his love life coming out of the series is set, sharing: “You guys will definitely enjoy this journey and feel it.  I can’t comment on that right now.”

Pilot Peter revealed that he has also apparently gone back to work at Delta: “I went back to work like a week after I finished filming (The Bachelor). I never actually took a leave.  It’s really nice being a pilot because the schedule is really flexible.  So, I just ended up dropping my trips and having friends pick up trips.  So, I’m really lucky that it all worked out.”

Photo: HutchinsPhoto.com

Over the course of filming, Peter was involved in a freak accident that will be shown that leaves him with a scar on his forehead: “I think it’s badass.  (Laughs) Listen, it was a freak accident, and it is what it is.  I wasn’t going to let it keep me down or bum me out too much.  I was in the middle of this whole journey, and you know, it’ll fade.  I didn’t lose my eye, so that’s like the biggest thing.”

Photo: ABC

Many are comparing Peter’s like of two women named Hannah! Both from the south and both had competed in beauty pageants, Hannah Brown and this season’s Hannah Ann, to which Weber played up the irony: ” I know!  Lots of Hannahs!   A lot of girls from Alabama.  That was a big theme, too.  I feel like I don’t have type now, but maybe I do.”

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Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk Interview - Day of Days 2019

So, what did you think of the conclusion of the chat between Hannah Brown and Peter on last night’s episode of The Bachelor? Do you think Hannah Ann is a frontrunner for that final rose of Peter’s “champagne-gate” and all?  What do you think will happen come the ending of the season as teased by Weber and what you have seen thus far in the first couple of episodes of the new season of the reality-competition series? Comment below.

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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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