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Sean Kanan Talks On The New Season of His Streaming Series ‘Studio City’ and The Life and Times of B&B’s Deacon Sharpe

The second season of the Emmy-Award winning, digital streaming series, Studio City is now available on Amazon Prime. The six latest episodes bring us back into the series of an aging actor, Sam Stevens, played by soap vet, Sean Kanan, who is one of the stars of the soap opera, Hearts on Fire, in the role of Dr. Pierce Hartley.

Throughout Studio City, viewers go on the journey of Sam’s foibles through life off-camera juxtaposed with his life on-screen. A sundry of delicious characters enhances the premise of the series portrayed by the likes of: Carolyn Hennesy, Anna Maria Horsford, Justin Torkildsen, Lilly Melgar, Tristan Rogers and more, all names familiar to soap fans.

While Sean is busy promoting the latest season of Studio City, and his book Way of the Cobra, he is also continuing to appear on The Bold and the Beautiful as bad boy – trying to straighten out his life after years in prison – Deacon Sharpe.  Since his return last year, Sean has been mixing it up in stories with the likes of Kimberlin Brown (Sheila) and Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke).


In this chat with Michael Fairman TV, Sean weighs-in on: what could be next for B&B’s Deacon, the struggles and the joys of continuing his streaming series, and the homage Studio City is to the soap genre and much more. Check out what he had to share below.


How challenging was it to shoot this season of Studio City?

SEAN:  When we do this thing on a shoestring, everything needs to fall into place in order for it to happen properly.  We know that everybody involved with the show was going to potentially get other projects, or do other things   One of the biggest issues we have, is that a lot of times, we didn’t know what locations we had because Studio City is the real world, and then it’s the show within a show (Hearts on Fire).  So, with the show within a show, those actors aren’t in the ‘real world’. For instance, Tristan Rogers (Doc), is only in the ‘real word’, so, if we have a location that isn’t for the ‘real world’, we can’t shoot Tristan because he doesn’t exist there.  We would have to literally decide what we were writing (sometimes the night before) based on the locations we could get.  It was just an enormous challenge.

Sarah Brown (Laurie) was not a part of the newest six episodes as well as some others cast members. Will she and others be back at some point?

SEAN:  Sarah was directing a podcast, and we kind of had to look at who was available to us, and what stories we needed to tie-up, and hopefully we are going to wind up doing another five episodes to finish up this season.  Then, hopefully we are able to get the actors who weren’t able to do the first six to come back and do the second five.

What I liked about the new six episodes is that I thought you built-in some really solid scenes for the actors.  How did you feel about the outcome?

SEAN:  We make the best show that we can make with the resources and time that we have.  I was glad that we got to develop the story a little more with Delilah (Juliet Vega), Sam’s would-be-daughter.  We always try to do something that’s socially responsive, and diversity is certainly and important issue in Hollywood, without a doubt, but I also think that you need to see the comedic side of everything.  I thought there was some really funny stuff about that with Sam doing the podcast and the scene with Anna Maria Horsford (Jolene) and Will Roberts (Dennis), where she comes in, and she’s like, “The production is too white.”  I thought that was some funny stuff there.  I loved the monologue my wife, Michele, wrote for Carolyn Hennesy (Gloria) about the soaps – that thing about how all of the soaps are dead, and Carolyn just railed in support of the soaps, about the soaps being this dependable thing.  For a lot of people, soaps are their point of emotional contact.

Photo: StudioCity

I talk to fans all of the time and for many times soaps are their lifeline.  Your character, Sam, lands a part in action-adventure film and screws that all up while on set. Where did that plot point come from?

SEAN: It came from a couple different places.  I think that there is not a male actor alive, who some part of him doesn’t harken back to when he was a little boy and doesn’t want to be an action star.  I think the funny thing about it is, of course, Sam is right on the precipice of being over the hill for it, and he’s not going to let that stop him.  Natalie Burn (Shelby Brock) is a legit action star.  She’s a terrific martial artist.  Our director, Timothy Woodward Jr. has done some action movies.  So, we sort of said, “Okay, we’ve set this thing up where Sam wants to get this film.  Let’s give him the film and have him struggle abysmally.”  Marching orders for Studio City are always to keep as much mishigas on Sam’s shoulders as we can.  You never want to see the lead of your show succeeding wildly because that diffuses all of the conflict.  I do think I’ve had some really great dramatic stuff.  I really liked the scenes that I had with Delilah in the sixth episode, and I loved the stuff with Tristan, and I loved the stuff with Lilly Melgar (Becky).  I thought it was really funny.  Lilly killed it and so did Justin Torkildsen (Jacob).  I thought Justin was great.


I thought when you utilized on-camera testimonials from the cast and the EP, that was really a hilarious piece to add to the story.

SEAN:  That was great.  I’d love to take credit for that, but it was Tim’s idea, and it was a really great idea from a production standpoint, because you can do one of two things.  You can either do a whole show where you’re using those, or you can chop them up and use them throughout different shows. From a production standpoint, we had to build some things into the show to insert those when we needed.


You also cast celebrity publicist, Anthony Turk, as a network executive in the series.

SEAN:  Yes. Way back when I created Studio City, there was a part for a publicist, and I had talked to Anthony about doing it.  We had eliminated the publicist part until Lilly became the publicist; which ended up in a completely different plot point.  I always knew I wanted to put Anthony in the series, because I think he’s a good actor. I was like, “You know, I didn’t write this part for you, but I think you can do it,” and I was really happy with how he did it.



I also liked the scene with Anna Maria Horsford’s Jolene where she tells Sam to keep his mouth shut while he is working on set. 

SEAN:  She is so fabulous.  I love that woman.  She is such a talent, and I was so happy when she got nominated for a Daytime Emmy last year.  I have such an affection for everybody on our show, because they really put their heart and soul in it, and it just means so much that they show up, and they support, and they do great work.

What I noticed is that the way Timothy Woodward Jr. captures you as an actor.  There is so much going on in the reaction in your eyes of what is happening to Sam.  He realizes the, “Oh, my God,” of each situation as he realizes what he just stepped into, or he finds the humor in it, or when he lets out his frustration, as he did with his daughter in the sixth episode.

SEAN:  That was one of my favorite scenes.  I wrote that one.   It was great because it’s my real-life stepdaughter, and I thought she really stepped up, and I was so proud of her.

For the first time in the realignment by the television academies, Studio City will now be competing at the Primetime Emmys instead of the Daytime Emmys, if the series receives nominations.  How do you feel about that?

SEAN: We are really excited to be competing with the big dogs now at the Primetime Emmys, and rather than being intimidated by it, we are saying, “This is the universe opening up and saying, ‘this is what you need to do,’ and so let’s embrace it.”  It’s going to be exciting.  In my 35 years in the business, I’ve never been to the Primetime Emmys.  So, we shall see.

Photo: StudioCity

Justin Torkildsen’s role greatly expanded this season.  In story, do you see Jacob attempting to thwart his Aunt Gloria and take control of Hearts on Fire as the EP? 

SEAN:  I don’t know if the goal is for him to take over for Gloria.  It certainly was a lot of fun to see what happened when he got just a little taste of power.  He’s got his own agenda, and I also love that he wants the love from his Aunt Gloria.  He’s not just a young guy trying to ascend the power ladder of the show.  He really does want his aunt to be proud of him and to love him, and she’s a tough nut to crack.

There was scene after the network executive tells Gloria, “You’re out, if you don’t fix the show.”  Doesn’t Jacob gloat in it for a minute?  Doesn’t he want payback for how she treats him?

SEAN:  I don’t know if he does.  I think he certainly does like to see when Gloria gets her little comeuppances, but when push comes to shove, I think he’s really got her back, I do.  Justin is so naturally funny.  He’s a great guy to have on set.  He’s got a great attitude, and he’s a very good actor.  I was really struck by a moment in season one where he’s coming up the stairs, and he had this abject fear of interrupting Gloria, and Justin didn’t have any lines.  He just played it beautifully with no dialogue.  I was like, “We’ve got to give Justin more to do,” and for me, it was nostalgic to work with him again because the very first scene I had on The Bold and the Beautiful was with Justin.

Photo: JPI

What can you say about Carolyn Hennesy; who often is the quintessential scene-stealer in Studio City when she appears on-screen?  Does she go with the script or ad-lib parts of the dialog?

SEAN:  She’s a gorgeous, red-haired, flaming beast.  She definitely did some wonderful ad-libbing to elevate what was on the page, and she made it her own, and that’s one of the things that I love the most about her.  I love that I can write a 20-page scene and give it to, for example, Tristan Rogers, 20 minutes before and know that he’s going to nail it.  That’s one of the things that I love about working with Daytime actors.   Say what you want, but when the chips are down, and your back is against the wall, a Daytime actor is going to be the one who can take the dialogue, digest it quickly, and give you a good performance.  With the way that we are run and gun in our style of shooting, you have to move really quickly.  I’ve worked on a lot of films, and with people who are recognizable in the business, and sometimes they get overwhelmed when they have more than a couple of pages in a day … and you know what we do in Daytime.


When you were writing the new season with Michele and Tim, was it laid out pretty definitively, or did it evolve?

SEAN:  We laid out some large arcs.  We knew the storyline that we wanted to do with Natalie and with Will.  Natalie, actually joined us as a co-executive producer.  She is Ukrainian and has family there.  So, she had a lot going on.  I just feel like she really stepped up.  She really helped the production both as an actress and as a Co-EP, and we were very fortunate to have her, and have her at a time when it would be completely understandable when her ability to even act would have been compromised, yet alone have the facility to Co-EP.  In addition, we knew we wanted to deepen the relationship between Sam and Delilah.  We had a different idea with what we wanted to do with Doc, and we wound up doing something another way than what we had originally discussed.  Sometimes, you have to make these decisions that are sort of production-based and you have to alter storyline.  Of course, we knew we wanted to continue to create the storyline that like a lot of soaps, Hearts on Fire was potentially on the chopping block.  At the same time, we really wanted to illustrate that the soaps are full of people who are talented, gifted actors, who love what they do, they work really hard, and they don’t always get the respect that they deserve.


It looks like Doc might be having a change of heart?  Will he begin chemo to save his life?

SEAN:  That’s what we are thinking, and we are hoping to bring Patrika Darbo back in, and finding out where she’s been and having some really nice scenes between, she and Doc.  I think things are going to develop between Dennis, who is the producer, and my character, Sam, and we are going to learn that all has not been revealed of who Dennis really is.


What did you think when you saw your performances in the latest six of Studio City?

SEAN:  I’m always super critical of myself.  I like the stuff with the podcast because I thought it was really organic, and I thought it was funny.  I loved the stuff with Lilly.  I always see things that I could fix and do better, but I also saw stuff that I liked, and I really liked a lot of what was going on with Juliet.  We had another take where Sam really breaks down, and unfortunately, we had a sound problem with that one, and we couldn’t use it.  That was really crushing to me, but again, you make the show that you can make. Michele and I always joke and say, “Making a 50-million-dollar movie is easy.  You want to really produce something?  Produce it when you have no money.”

Photo: JPI

What did your wife, Michele, say about how she thought the latest season of Studio City turned out? 

SEAN:  I do have to say that Michelle really stepped up this season of Studio City.  She ran the show.  She is an executive producer, but she was also the supervising producer, in charge, responsible for crewing up.  She amazes me to no end.  I couldn’t be prouder of her, and I’m so honored that she and I were able to both win out at the Daytime Emmys.  We have very different skillsets, which is great.  There are not a lot of areas where we overlap, but we compliment, and that’s why I love working with her.

Photo: JPI

You are also busy with The Bold and the Beautiful.  How has this most recent return been for you as Deacon Sharpe?

SEAN:  Oh, my God, it’s been fantastic.  The Bold and the Beautiful consistently ranks as one of the best professional experiences that I have ever had.  I love the people I work with.  I love the creative freedom that I have on the show.  I love what they write for me.  It’s just great.  Listen, I’ve done four Daytime shows, and by far and away, this has been the best experience.   It’s a great role.  I’m the only guy who has ever played Deacon, so I’m fiercely protective of the character.  I know I’m coming into a really big storyline right now, which is very exciting.  I can’t say anything about it yet, but I’m going to be working with a character who I haven’t worked with very much before, which is very exciting.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Kimberlin Brown receiving an Outstanding Supporting Actress Daytime Emmy nomination? I believe you are in some of her submitted scenes.

SEAN:  I think it’s incredibly well-deserved. She just brought so much to it, and I’m just honored that I was able to be a part of what she did.

People are saying you’re going to get all wrapped-up in the Li (Naomi Matsuda) Sheila, and Finn (Tanner Novlan) storyline.

SEAN:  Well, I guess I already am to a certain extent.  I like to think that in his infinite wisdom, Brad Bell (head writer and executive producer, B&B) knew that Kimberlin and I would find humor in an eccentric relationship; rather than just being two kinds of ‘baddies’.  Deacon is not nearly as bad as Sheila, but rather than be two people with somewhat aligned wants and needs, I think hopefully Brad was like, “I think they’re going to come up with something interesting,” and I think we did.   The fight that Deacon had with Ridge (Thorsten Kaye), that is not something that you see on Daytime all the time.  That was really exciting and fun.

Photo: JPI

I love that Deacon’s home-away-from-home is the supply closet!

SEAN:  I was teasing Brad.  I said, “If I get a raise, do I get a Swiffer?”  I love it.  In terms of Sheila and Deacon, I didn’t know if we were going to wind up in the sack together or not, and I thought, you know, if that happens, that would be interesting, too.  By my calculations, Deacon has now been out of jail for how long, and he has not gotten any action.  No action for a guy who just got out of prison for 5 years.  So, I don’t know what’s going on in that broom closet. (Laughs)

What was it like working with Katherine Kelly Lang during the whole ‘New Year’s Eve drunken night with Brooke’ story?

SEAN:  You know, Kelly and I really were able to capture lightening in a bottle many years ago, and I think it was wonderful.  I always wondered, what was going to happen all this time later if we worked together again?  Are we going to be able to come up with something great?  I love working with her.  Poor Kelly, just broke her ankle, which is terrible, but she is a champ.

Photo: JPI

Do you think there is still chemistry between Brooke and Deacon?

SEAN:  Yeah, I do.  I try to create chemistry with anyone I work with, men or women, but don’t we do that in life?  We always want to be interesting and sexy with anyone we talk to.  Ultimately, what we are trying to do on some level, is we are always seducing as human beings.  That’s where I come from as an actor.  You’ve got a goal.  You’ve got a series of actions that you use to get the goal.  You usually fail a couple times in the scene, so you change the actions, and you try to overcome the obstacles.

Right, and seduce people …

SEAN: … And seduce.  Deacon is a very adept seducer.  I think a lot of it was from being a conman.  I think now, Deacon is finding that he can be seductive by being authentic.  I think that’s new to him.  I think ultimately, when you’re authentic, that’s a way more powerful brand of seduction than something that is some sort of a manufactured, fabricated, external seduction.

Photo: JPI

So, what would say in a tease of what’s coming up for Deacon on B&B?

SEAN:  All I can say is that I’ve been told that I’ll have an exciting story coming up, and I’m looking forward to it.  I always like when I get the ball, and you never know what another actor is going to bring out of you.  Whenever I work with someone who I haven’t worked with, I hope that they are going to allow me to tap into a part of myself that maybe I haven’t demonstrated before.  That’s what I look for, and that’s what keeps me enthused in this job.  We do have to give the same information a lot in Daytime.  That’s just the nature of the beast.  The challenge is, “How do I do this in a way that is not only interesting for the audience but allows me to stay engaged as an actor?”  If you start getting apathetic as an actor, you start doing bad work, and I can’t do that.

Have you checked out the latest six episodes of Studio City? What do you hope happens next for Deacon on The Bold and the Beautiful? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section below.

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MichaelaJackieViolet LemmGeena MarieSick of Taylor in California Recent comment authors
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Steve Kanan give great interviews, and he look good in his promo photos,and video, ruggedly sexi Ok, I’m praying to the soap gods at the CBS tV network we get to see Taylor with Deacon. I am thinking it is her. Thank you, Michael Fairman, another great interview with a real tv star, I love him since Gh days. look great, at middle age.(Not at all old yet) that’s way past 65 70s and up.)But, I love him, no matter what, and I will be looking out for his new storyline with a female actress, he has not yet worked… Read more »

Geena Marie
Geena Marie

Peyton 6023…8581 hello.i’m glad he said a new sl for him. I hope to see him in scenes wit’bridget too.But, i would like to see him and krista allen(taylor) get together too. Bell would be stupid not to use him in a new storyline with Taylor. (I hope it is her.)both are single(it would make sense)let taylor be with him. It’ll be diff, interesting to say the least, while reuniting soulmate ridge & brooke.) I can’t stand her, as she is right now. You’re right, they are NOT OLD people yet, so let’s get taylor and deacon together, IF it… Read more »


I’m going with Taylor Hayes character. I don’t know who else he hasn’t worked with, other than Paris, and Taylor, but would be more drama in it, if he and Taylor have scenes. Maybe even get a little physical. Taylor need some 1 because Ridge is in love with his wife, Brooke.

Violet Lemm
Violet Lemm

I personally can’t stand the new Taylor and am hoping she leaves town once Ridge throws her over for Brooke.

Sick of Taylor in California
Sick of Taylor in California

First, Violet, I too believe it’s Deacon and Taylor, as the “only 1 he has not worked with.” I hope. Let’s get her out of Ridge orbit. He will never at all put Taylor before his beautiful (desire/passion/love/true love)for Brook. & I agree with you Violet. Today,I gotta say this, without cussin’ over here in english or in spanish lol I will be nice respectful to Michael Fairman nice Soap site boards forum to simply say I can’t STAND taylor. The taylor fans only big her up(give her props) because they are jealous of the blonde 1 on the show.Taylor… Read more »

Violet Lemm
Violet Lemm

Sick Of Taylor in California, also
I agree with every non-cussin word you said. She’s a Physchiatrist for Gods sake not some kid running around in her bare feet. She makes me sick. I was thinking the same thing about her jeans and the heavy jacket not very suitable for L.A weather.


Bring back the original Taylor and Ronn while at it. I still can’t see the current actor as Ridge. I like him just not as Ridge.

Violet Lemm
Violet Lemm

This show looks very promising. Regarding Sean’s chemestry with Brooke, who does he not have it with? I bet the mops and brooms can’t wait for him to open that door! Aside, Iam so sick of Ridge and his posturing with these two wives. They have no pride and his ego is so big its a wonder he doesn’t explode. Who does this has-been think he is, Ronn Moss or ? These women groveling at his feet make me sick and he just stands there watching them like a tennis game. Like father like son.,Eric fooling around with Donna is… Read more »


Sean one of my favorites. Great interview.

Days Of Our Lives

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

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


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

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

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

Photo: Peacock

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

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

Photo: NBC

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photos: ABC, CBS,

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

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

You know, Finola Hughes, right?

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: NATAS

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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General Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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


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

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

Photos: ABC, CBS, NBC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: NATSS

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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


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