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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.

Courtesy/StudioCity

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.

Courtesy/StudioCity

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.

Courtesy/StudioCity

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.

 

Courtesy/StudioCity

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.

Courtesy/StudioCity

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.

Courtesy/StudioCity

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.

Courtesy/StudioCity

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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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 with. Most on twitter, and FB saying it is Taylor, that would be different.

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 is her.I may like her then, right now she act child-like and it’s annoying, not cute.

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.

FinnSteffy4everww
I personally can’t stand the new Taylor and am hoping she leaves town once Ridge throws her over for Brooke.

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 act 17 now. Hunter Tylor was better/mature/beautiful & not silly-acting, like a teen girl, a child at times, it’s annoying, not cute, and please change her jeans! same one’s on all the time. But, Actress KA is a nice looking good actress.

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.

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 so foolish and I can’t help feel sorry for him, he’s going to be sorry when Quinn catches him.

Sean one of my favorites. Great interview.

Interviews

The Bold and the Beautiful’s Kimberlin Brown Teases to Fans: “There’s Something Coming Up, But It’s Not What They Think”

Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown) is now a married lady! Yup, after a small, very small intimate ceremony she married Deacon Sharpe (Sean Kanan) on recent episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful.

Deacon’s daughter Hope (Annika Noelle) showed up for the nuptial to support her father, but Sheila’s son, Finn (Tanner Novlan) happened by Il Giardino, to pick up some food only to stumble upon his mother’s wedding, causing more trouble in his marriage to Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood).

All of this, after Deacon figured out that Sheila didn’t really die at the hands and butcher knife of Steffy, back in February of this year, but it was really her lookalike Sugar who had plastic surgery to look like Sheila many years ago ( one of Sheila’s more heinous acts) who was killed. Thus, setting the stage for Sheila’s return.

Photo: JPI

Kimberlin Brown visited You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel for an exclusive livestream one-one-one chat where a myriad of “Sheila-esque” subjects were discussed.  Here are a few of the more intriguing excerpts below.

After Kimberlin was informed she was exiting the show, did she have any idea, if or how, they were going to bring her back via the Sugar connection? Brown shared “I didn’t. As a matter of fact, when Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer B&B) called me asking if I would come back to the show, I said, ‘Well, how are you gonna pull this one off?’ And he goes, ‘we’re researching it right now.’ So, I guess that’s where their research took them to Sugar, and Sugar was on The Bold and the Beautiful at one time with me as well. Remember, when we had all of the Forrester boys, and we were holding them against their will and and at the foundry? Robin Mattson played that part brilliantly, and then back on The Young and the Restless is when she ‘unfortunately’ had the surgery to look like Sheila, unbeknownst to her.”

Photo: JPI

With Sheila being married to Deacon, does she think it will last more than a month, before her vendetta streak against others takes major hold of her? Kimberlin weighed-in, “I think for the first time in Sheila’s history, she has found a man who truly does love her. And yes, she does love him. Sheila desperately loved Eric Forrester too, but there were too many people around her that would never allow that to happen. And even though there are people around Deacon that prefer that this doesn’t happen, he’s actually stood up to them and said, ‘No, this is who I want to be with. She makes me happy. There are a lot of things that  make me a little crazy, but I go crazier when she’s not there’.  Sheila has finally found true love, I believe, and it’ll be interesting to see if she can hold onto it, and it’ll be interesting to see if a good man in her life can truly make a difference in hers.”

Photo: JPI

Everyone has waited and hoped, that when Lauren makes cross-over appearances to B&B she will bump into Sheila, but still years later that has never happened. Brown feels it’s just a matter of time, sharing, “I believe that they will cross paths one day. It’d be too good to not have that happen. Tracey Bregman and I, really did create something fabulous together. It was at the time, villain against really not a good girl, but a girl that never wanted what she had until Sheila wanted it. So it’s definitely a storyline that I think could resurface, there’s no doubt about it.”

Photo: JPI

Finn’s adoptive mother Li played by Naomi Matsuda may not be what she appears to be either. Might we look forward to the two moms going at it again?, Kimberlin teased, “Working with Naomi Matsuda is great. She’s fun a lot of fun to work with. But let me tell you what, Li has a mean streak. She really does. I have a feeling it may come out, or it may not, but she’s no angel herself.  She may be one calling the tea kettle black, you know?”

Photo: JPI

Fans of B&B have come up with many scenarios of where Sheila’s story is going, from an attempted murder mystery of her, to a plan to get Hope and Finn closer together to put the screws to Steffy. Kimberlin previewed, “There’s some big stuff happening on the show coming up that. I wish I could say more.  I got the script and when we were filming it, I was going, ‘Oh my gosh, this is just too good.’ There are a lot of characters involved in it. There’s something coming up, but it’s not what they (viewers) think.”

Photo: JPI

It’s clear that Finn wants to appease his wife, to stay away from Sheila, but seemingly can’t. “I mean, he definitely has Sheila in him. It is her son,” shared Brown.  But, I think it’s really difficult for him to be in that position. I believe that he wants to give Sheila an opportunity and wants to get to know her. He feels a pull towards her and being he doctor that he is, he wants to explore that and figure out why, be it good or bad. But, Steffy is just not going to allow that to happen. So for Finn to always being stuck in the middle is definitely going to cause conflict.”

Watch the full conversation with Kimberlin below.  Then let us know, based on Kimberlin’s comments, what do you think is the big story coming up on B&B she previewed? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Interviews

OLTL’s Erika Slezak Recalls Viki’s Breast Cancer Battle, Pays Tribute to Andrea Evans, and Shares Heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to Those Who Reached Out on the Passing of Her Daughter, Amanda

One of the all-time classic breast cancer storylines of the soaps was that of Viki’s on One Life to Live. Back in 2000 and into 2001, the character went through many trials and tribulations trying to face the disease, which again afforded the iconic Erika Slezak to be featured in another dramatic storyline, which at the same time helped so many female viewers.

As part of last week’s virtual event, Daytime Stands Up – A Benefit for Stand Up To Cancer – We All Have a Story, Slezak chatted with co-host Michael Fairman about her remembrances of the important storyline, the passing of her co-star, Andrea Evans (ex-Tina) to breast cancer, and took a moment to address the fans and those who reached out to her following the sudden death of her daughter, Amanda Davieback at the end of January of this year.

While Erika has still been in mourning, she took the time to be a part of the night and wanted to contribute her voice to the benefit, and we cannot thank her enough.

Photo: ABC

Speaking on how Viki dealt with her diagnosis of breast cancer, and at the time being in a relationship with a younger man, Ben (played by Mark Derwin), Erika shared, “It was a very good story to tell because Viki, who had always been strong and by herself and tough and ‘I can deal with anything’, suddenly couldn’t deal with it. She was afraid. There was the whole relationship with Ben that was going on, and she didn’t want him to be a part of it. So that was separate, and the day that Vicki checked into the hospital, the last shot was me sitting on the end of the bed, sort of my dangling my feet over it, completely alone because she didn’t want anybody else to know.”

“Ben was around in the hospital and eventually found out that she was there and wanted to be a part of her life. But she didn’t want it,” Erika added. “She couldn’t deal with it. It was a frightening thing for her because it had been caught too late to treat. She had to have a mastectomy and a reconstruction and she had never been faced with such a very personal trauma. I mean, yes, she had Niki and all the others (Viki’s alters), but this was a physical thing that she could not control. It was a very powerful story, I think.”

Photo: ABC

One of the memorable moments from the story was when Viki sang the Gloria Gaynor hit, I Will Survive. Slezak remembers, “That was at Crossroads. She was singing to herself, I Will Survive, and she was desperately trying to believe it, as we all do when we deal with something horrible.”

In tribute to her former co-star, Andrea Evans, who started on One Life to Live as a teenager in 1978 and who died in July of 2023 at 66-years-old, Erika expressed, “Andrea grew up so beautifully and she was so talented that the person that she really was, who was a a kind and loving woman, could play so many different levels of Tina. I had such admiration for her for that. It wasn’t in her nature to be Tina, but she played the hell out of it. She really did. Her first day on the show, her hair was down to the back of her knees. She was just a kid, and she grew up to be a wonderful woman.”

Courtesy/SRodriguez

Speaking emotionally about Andrea’s personal life, Erika recalled, “I think one of the proudest moments of her life is when she got her daughter Kylie, she was so happy. Audrey, Andrea’s mother, used to bring Kylie to the studio, all the way from California she would fly in. I first met Kylie when she was a year old.  I watched her slowly grow up and it was wonderful. Andrea was a fabulous mother. I never met her husband Steve. I wrote to him after she passed, and he wrote me back a very, very sweet letter. But when Andrea met Steve, it was like her life was almost complete, and then she had Kylie, and that was complete. And it is so, so sad that she died so young.”

Photo: JPI

During the conversation, Erika took a second to acknowledge all those who contacted her with their condolences, thoughts and prayers on the passing of her daughter, Amanda, sharing, “I thank all the fans and the people who have written to me. I’ve saved every single card. I’ve responded to every single person because the amount of people who reached out to me is just astonishing. I have a pile that it’s two feet high of cards and letters that people wrote to me. And I’m very, very grateful because this is the hardest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”

You can watch the conversation with Erika below on the replay of Daytime Stands Up – A Benefit for Stand Up to Cancer. The six-time Daytime Emmy-winner appears at the 34:17 mark in the show. Below that is a playlist of scenes from Viki’s breast cancer storyline on One Life to Live.

Now let us know, what did you think of Viki’s breast cancer storyline? Erika’s words on the late Andrea Evans and her “thank you” to all for sending their condolences to her and her family during their difficult time? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

 

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Interviews

Y&R’s Eileen Davidson Talks on Ashley’s DID Storyline, the Challenges of the Alters, and Working with Trevor St. John

The Young and the Restless two-time Daytime Emmy-winning actress, Eileen Davidson, has recently been given the ball by series executive producer and head writer, Josh Griffith to tell the ltin the latest of Ashley Abbott’s emotional struggles. This time, Ashley has splintered into multiple personalities: Ash, Mrs. Abbott, and Belle.

Given Ashley’s history (which has included several mental breakdowns), Y&R has chosen to revisit her psyche in a brand new twist in 2024 by launching a Dissociative Identify Disorder storyline. When things spiraled downward to her marriage to Tucker (Trevor St. John), and a flashback to a car crash which took her unborn baby in 2003, Ashley began to hear voices in her head and her alters began to emerge.

Speaking live on a virtual appearance on Tuesday on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Davidson shared her thoughts on the storyline, how she crafted Ashley’s various alters and what she thinks of her co-star, Trevor St. John.  Here’s a few key remarks from the chat below.

Photo: JPI

Eileen talked about Ashley’s overall emotional make-up, explaining, “Everybody always talks about her being so strong and so together, and they don’t like seeing her weak. I’m like, ‘Ashley’s never been as strong and together. She’s had issues from the gate out of the gate … years … forever.’  She had amnesia. She had all sorts of issues. I love her fallibility and her vulnerability.”

Taking on the different personalities is a challenge, but Davidson pointed to one, in particular, that she feels is the hardest to play, “Ash has been the most difficult one,” explained the actress. “Because I didn’t want to do anything too broad and too ‘teenagery.’  So it was just trying to be honest about somebody who’s kind of young and sees the world in a certain way and is perhaps defensive and is an angry teen.”

Photo: JPI

However, embodying Ms. Abbott was a lot easier for Davidson. “It wasn’t hard for me to figure her out,” she expressed. “It was the very first time she was introduced on paper. She’s in Tucker’s hotel room. She’s breaks in. I’m like, ‘Okay. she’s sitting in the chair and it, it says kind of like a ‘Sharon Stone-type moment.’  I felt pretty comfortable embodying that in control, kind of toying with a man. She knows how to put on vulnerability and softness to get what she wants, but is always in control. And her ugly side shows more and more as the story has been coming out.”

The newest alter to emerge was Belle. Davidson shared how much she knew of the alter before she began playing her, stating, “They gave me southern, flirtatious, likes tequila, and always looking for a guy’ and I was off to the races. It’s been really, really fun for me. I didn’t want her to sound like she’s from the South completely, because Ashley is not from the South. It’s just a persona of how Ashley thinks a southern person sounds. So, she’s not playing a southern character. She’s playing a personality that thinks she’s southern. It’s very different.”

Photo: JPI

Currently, it looks like Tucker’s life may be on the line as Ashley’s alters want to get rid of him once and for all.  Eileen explained why, revealing, “The most fascinating thing about DID and what I kept trying to inject into the performance is these alters are created to protect somebody. They all believe they’re protecting Ashley. Ms, Abbott thinks the way to protect Ashley is to kill Tucker because Tucker’s caused Ashley so much pain. So I mean, from that aspect, it’s good daytime drama.”

A lot of times in DID storylines, a very traumatic event from the childhood is revealed which caused a person to fracture into a multiple personalties. When Davidson was asked if she thinks something will come to light that the audience never knew happened to Ashley, she responded, “You would think so, right?  I mean, why not? The one thing that’s true about Ashley is that she had a traumatic childhood. Her mother abandoned her when she was very young, and then found out in her early twenties that her father wasn’t her biological father. So, who knows what happened. Whether or not they choose to explore that, I’m not sure. You have to kind of keep reinventing things to keep them interesting. I think like that stands true for characters (on a soap) as well.”

Photo: JPI

Over the years, Eileen has worked with several leading men. When asked how she feels the dynamic is working with Trevor St. John, she enthused, “I love working with Trevor. I just told him you breathe fresh air into the scenes. We work well together. We don’t really know what the other one’s going to do (in a scene), but we play off of each other. There’s a huge trust factor and that has been there from the get-go. When I first started working with Treb, I told him, ‘We got lucky.’ When you meet somebody out of the the blue and you start working together, we just had something and it just worked beautifully. I always know that when I work with Trevor, it’s going to be a terrific experience.”

Photo: JPI

Watch the full conversation with Eileen below.

Now let us know, which of Ashely’s alters do you enjoy seeing the most? Do you think something happened to Ashley as a child that we never knew about that is causing her DID? Share your theories via the comment section below.

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