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THE BILLY MILLER INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

billymain.jpgMICHAEL:

Did you know that you were originally reading for the pivotal role of Billy Abbott on “Y&R” when you auditioned? How do you feel about this new guy you are inhabiting?

BILLY:

It was not quite clear what I was reading for. The jist of the role was definitely someone I know, and definitely a lot of fun. It’s obviously a little less devious than the character I played on “AMC”, Richie. But this guy definitely has got an edge, and he is a bit of a bad boy. It’s fun, but he is a bad boy you might want to take home, but he is not the kind that will slit your throat before you get there. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

Billy did show some signs of humanity when his grandmother Katherine had died. He seemed genuinely upset.

BILLY:

It was more than that. It was his grandmother and the one person he can’t BS. Even though he had spent years away from his grandmother, you know he really doesn’t know who he is. He is stuck between two powerful families, and she was really a rock to him and a best friend to his father, and known what he is all about. So it was tough loss for Billy. It was awkward to be in that family home with the family he is about to double cross, and he is conflicted. Which side does he really belong on? With tragedies like ‘Katherine’s’ death, that wakes you up to where you are supposed to be.

MICHAEL:

How has it been working with your new on-screen mom, Jess Walton (Jill)?

jesswalton.jpgBILLY:

She is great. I had researched who I would be working with before I came on the show. Jess is a lot of fun and very helpful. We joke a lot, and Jerry Douglas, who plays my father John, has different sides and different back-stories of who actually was a better parent…Jill or John. He would say in jest, “She did not know anything about you. She is a schemer. I raised you. I loved you,” and it’s a real broken marriage. I love it. It’s great.

MICHAEL:

Elizabeth Hendrickson plays Chloe, and you had both worked on “AMC”. Did you know each other at all from back east?

BILLY:

She had left New York before I got there, and we have become good friends. All my friends that are still there are friends of hers. She is great. Elizabeth is a wonderful actress and she can turn it on and off. She is a lot of fun to hang out with here. Daniel Goddard (Cane) had a quote and I will steal it: “It’s easier to be jerks to each other than acting like that in real life,” otherwise, you don’t know how far you are going to take it. It’s fun, and also, Christel Khalil as Lily, is gorgeous and fun to work with.

MICHAEL:

So, is Billy trying to woo Lily?

elizabeth.jpgBILLY:

Billy not only came back for this Jabot deal, but he is one of those guys when he sees something he is a go-getter. He decides to go chasing and he does. His brother is the object of Billy’s spite. Billy’s last relationship was with his cousin Mackenzie did not work. So he had fun with Chloe, and she is a hot girl! Chloe was a little nutty and Billy is a little nutty, too. He is not a callous guy; he does not kick girls out of bed. He is like, “I am what I am and you are what you are. We pleasantly collided once in awhile with no strings.” But as you get older, those aren’t the rules you can live by.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Billy will soon have a revelation that Chloe is pregnant with his child?

BILLY:

Oh, he will have a revelation and I am not sure which way it will go. There are a lot of problems here. Billy is being pulled in a lot of different directions. He might always not make the best choices. He is in the dark about being the father. It could throw a wrench in all his plans. It certainly would throw a wrench in mine in real life. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

Peter Bergman (Jack) and you certainly have some smug scenes together as the conniving Abbott men. How is working with Peter?

bergman.jpgBILLY:

Peter was a big reason I got this job. I tested with him. He called me in New York to make sure I was being taken care of, because he moved from New York and “AMC” to LA. I also screen-tested with Elizabeth Hendrickson. Peter is like an older brother, and it’s interesting because Jack is more of a father figure to Billy than a brother. And since John is gone, and Jack is so much older, and the two of them are so much alike it’s difficult. Billy could be scummy where he could go down the road, but Jack can be really scummy. However, Jack would never do anything to intentionally hurt his family. Billy knows Jack is holding stuff over his head, and he has to help justify it for himself and carry on.

MICHAEL:

Did you know in advance from “AMC” that they were killing off your character, Richie; therefore, you could go after other roles?

BILLY:

Executive Producer Julie Carruthers at “AMC” explained to me in advance that they were killing off the character, but they wanted to keep him around for awhile and weren’t sure for how long. So I went on about auditioning, and put myself on tape when the “Y&R” role came about. I flew out to LA to test and I was still working on “AMC”. Then I found out I got it, and everyone at the set in New York was happy for the good news! So I went back to “AMC” to finish the role. I think I finished work five days before I had to start work out here. So, I had to move everything back to LA, and I got off the plane and came straight to the studio. I am getting used to these quick moves.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Melissa Claire Egan, who is now doing a fabulous job as your former whacked-out sister, Annie, on “AMC”?

melissa.jpgBILLY:

Melissa was great, and that was my freshman year, you know what I mean. We would tease the hell out of each other, as would Alicia Minshew (Kendall), Rebecca Budig

(Greenlee), Thorsten Kaye (Zach), and Cameron Mathison (Ryan).

MICHAEL:

Do you have any favorite “Richie” moments?

BILLY:

There are days when you go to work, and I take everything personally, not only in my work but in everyday life. There are days I am very competitive and more competitive with myself than anybody else. And there are days when I beat myself because that is not what I wanted to do. And there are days when I feel slightly satisfied, and those are the good days. I am not at the caliber that I am trying to get to. I am very lucky to have a job, but it’s also like a scholarship to learn to hang out with Jess Walton, Jeanne Cooper (Kay) and Peter Bergman (Jack). You should bring your notes and put your study hat on to be a better actor. That’s what I did in New York, and that’s what I am doing here. There are some good moments when I am believable, and there are times when I am bad and it’s not worth watching.

MICHAEL:

Looking back on “AMC”, was Richie a tough role-playing that evil?

BILLY:

People who are bad don’t believe they are bad. There is a lot of vulnerability to Richie, too. Richie was messed up. He was locked up for seven years as a kid.

MICHAEL:

Richie also fell for Babe Chandler, originally played by Alexa Havins. How was working with Alexa?

billyblack.jpgBILLY:

She was great! As soon as I got on the scene, she and her husband Justin Bruening (Ex-Jamie) showed me around, and I screen-tested with her, too. I have yet to see them since I have been out here in LA. Justin is so busy working right now, and he is such a nice guy.

MICHAEL:

How would you compare working at “Y&R” to “AMC”? Are they completely different?

BILLY:

I think there is just an overall difference in energy in New York. LA is a more laid back town, and so much traffic, too. In New York, its go, go, go. I don’t know how that translates. Maybe because I was at “AMC” it was kind of rushed. I thrive on that. I like that. When they give me a call time that was suppose to be an hour earlier, that is the fun stuff. I hate sitting around. The storylines and the pace have more of a rhythm here at “Y&R”, and the storylines are simpler here, more family oriented. You don’t have an outlet here with a character like Richie, although, it was fun to play that. I look at it as; I wish I were less worried about how long I was going to be there. I loved playing Richie’s ghost, and then there was the writer’s strike and how that affected things. When it came to a definitive end, and you knew who the guy was, it takes about a year for all that to materialize. It became fun! Richie, the ghost, was more entertaining then Richie. He was scary, and downright evil, and did not try to hide it. Ritchie’s ghost was actually the alter ego of his sister’s character, Annie, because there was no ghost.

MICHAEL:

Now at “Y&R”, what would you love to see happen to Billy?

BILLY:

I don’t know yet. I am enjoying what they are doing. I would like to play more with Chloe, because the actress is great, and it’s a great character. She is good, and it’s an interesting character. I like this Billy with an edge.

jeanne.jpgMICHAEL:

How has it been to work with Jeanne Cooper (Katherine), who just celebrated her 80th birthday?

BILLY:

She is brilliant, man! Jeanne comes from an era where she had to be really theatrically trained. You see a lot of actors who cut corners in their training. She is so funny and she has earned the right to say whatever comes out of her mouth. Whenever there is a cracked joke, it breaks the ice. She is brilliant, and she knows what she is doing. Jeanne knows what she wants from somebody else. It’s good to have support, not that fluff, going, “That’s great kid.” Jeanne will say much more than that, which is so wonderful.

MICHAEL:

Would you venture off to do primetime, or is daytime a comfortable home for you right now?

BILLY:

The money is always better in primetime. Sometimes you want to build a career, because you never know when it’s going to end. But, there is something about daytime work that is immediate. You get to work everyday. You have a lot of dialog to say, and sometimes in a way other people wouldn’t say it. There is a rhythm and a challenge in soaps, and you don’t get that anywhere else. On primetime sets, you sit around for a few weeks and say a couple of pages. I like daytime because you work all the time. I am a workaholic, and I need to be doing something. If “Y&R” wants to work me everyday, I am here. I have nothing else I would be doing. I am learning everyday.

MICHAEL:

You are taking on the role as a recast of a once popular character on “Y&R”. At least now, enough time has past since David Tom made his mark in the role of Billy Abbott. Does this type of situation cause any hurdles for you as an actor?

BILLY:

This role is a big role. It’s not something to sneeze at! It’s tied into major families and major characters and it’s difficult. I am filling the shoes of several people, including David Tom, who was a fan favorite as Billy. At times, fans can be difficult, but you can understand why. They don’t want to let go of something they had back in the old days. I saw it with Sabine Singh as Greenlee on “AMC”, trying to replace Rebecca Budig. I have been lucky with the feedback. The fans have been nice, so we will see. They are entitled to their opinion. They have watched the show for thirty some years and over 9,000 episodes. So come on, they get to pick what they like, and it’s your job to try and deliver.

billyhand.jpgMICHAEL:

Did you study or watch the other Billy’s work?

BILLY:

I watched it on You Tube because I needed to research the role for the job. I saw David Tom, who did a great job and is a great actor. I just thought being cast off out of your home and being exiled, does put an edge to a person. I wanted Billy’s return to be a more formidable guy, not somebody who would be afraid of Cane.

MICHAEL:

What are your holiday plans?

BILLY:

I am going back to Texas for a bit to see my family. I am staying in LA for Christmas, and get reacquainted with the city, and finish unpacking. I have a dog, Jones, who I will spend time with. My dog is a mix of English American Bulldog and Bull Mastiff… my type of dog. I love big dogs, being from Texas.

MICHAEL:

What do your parents say about your soap opera success?

BILLY:

They are very happy, and it’s paying off, and it’s fun. I am very lucky, and persistence can pay off. My dad is a huge 260 lbs Texas guy. He has “Soap Opera Digest” in his briefcase for work and he goes, “Looky here! This is my son. He is on TV, kissing all those pretty girls!”

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natalie
natalie

does billy have a girlfriend!!?? LOL

bmfan
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I think he said before that he was dating somebody, but I could be wrong. He is so hot.

Julie
Julie

Oh man Billy you are HOT HOT HOT and SEXY SEXY SEXY

Interviews

Executive Producers David Michaels & David Parks Chat On The Moments That Made The 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Ceremony

The 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards are in the record books, and with it came surprising victories, emotional tearjerker moments, and a show that ended up with more heart than the fluff we often see within many entertainment award shows.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Daytime Emmy show executive producers, David Michaels (who also serves as the SR. VP Daytime Emmy Awards for NATAS) and David Parks to gain some insight on how they pulled off some of the major moments of the evening including: a surprise appearance by Amy Poehler, Kathie Lee Gifford’s daytime TV send-off, Shemar Moore’s touching tribute to the late Kristoff St. John, and of course, that Emmy-winning acceptance speech from Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek, who is currently battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

On the soap opera side, there was the long overdue win by GH’s Maurice Benard (Sonny), former GH star Hayley Erin (Ex-Kiki) receiving her Younger Actress award from her idol, none other than Alex Trebek, and B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy) receiving the Lead Actress trophy in a tough category of industry heavyweights.

In a year that was tumultuous for the producers and for NATAS with a threatened boycott by the network soaps, requests for more rule regulations and transparency, and the ongoing situation where the Daytime Emmys have not returned to be televised on cable or network TV, but have found success on streaming and social media platforms, we checked-in with Michaels and Parks for a Daytime Emmy post-mortem, and to get the lowdown of their thoughts on daytime’s biggest night of the year. Here’s what they shared.

Photo: NATAS/Getty

Let’s talk about some of the big moments that happened throughout the Emmy ceremony and how you pulled them off.  One, of course, is the Amy Poehler surprise as the presenter of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Judge Judy that nobody knew about.  How did you find out that Amy was a Judge Judy fan, and how did you keep her appearance a secret?

DAVID MICHAELS:  I want to just say that what a great job our co-host, Sheryl Underwood did in announcing it, because she saw the name on the teleprompter for the first time during the live show.  I was going to tell her that morning, but as she said, “If I was a bucket, I couldn’t hold water.”   So, very, very, very few people knew.   All through the scripts in the rundown, Amy was listed as “Presenter X.”   What happened was, the day after the press release about Judge Judy came out, Harlan Boll (NATAS publicist) forwarded me an email from a publicist that I didn’t know saying that he wanted to talk about his client presenting on the Emmys.   I called him, and he claimed to be Amy Poehler’s publicist, and I didn’t know him.  He said, “Amy Poehler is Judge Judy’s biggest fan.  She wants to present the award.”  The only stipulation is that it has to be a surprise.  Then, I went on IMDB-Pro, and checked him out, and he was indeed Amy’s publicist and for a lot of other celebrities, as well.   I called Judy’s people, and I said, “You’re not going to believe this,” and they went to Judy, and she just loved it.  I don’t even know why Amy wanted it to be a surprise, but we had to honor it.  It obviously would have done us more good pre-publicity-wise if it wasn’t a surprise, but we honored it.   We actually kept a secret in Hollywood!  I mean, David Parks knew, and maybe four other people.  I think that maybe what I am proudest of … keeping the secret.

Photo: NATAS

David Parks, did you think it would really happen?

DAVID PARKS:  You know, I am often a naysayer about things, but I actually did.  There was something legitimate about it once David vetted the manager.  There was really never any scare or anything that was like, “Oh, all of the sudden she’s busy.  All of the sudden she’s been offered this other thing.”   It was kind of like, it got arranged, and we didn’t have to do anything until that week, and then, we had to figure out the best place to drop her off and how to get Amy inside the venue with as few people as possible seeing her.   She could not have been nicer about it all too.  I mean, we got her to the closest spot, and nobody on my team knew.  Like David said, it was “Presenter X.”  Everybody kept asking.   I was like, “Not going to tell you.  Then, you don’t have to worry about keeping the secret.”

DAVID MICHAELS:  I was just very taken with how gentle and kind Amy was.  She looked me in the eye and actually thanked me for letting her do this.  She was so gracious and sweet.  The whole thing was just a great experience.

Courtesy/NATAS/Getty

Another memorable moment occurred at the end of the night, when Shemar Moore (Ex-Malcolm, Y&R and now S.W.A.T.) honored his dear friend and former on-screen Y&R brother, the late Kristoff St. John (Ex-Neil Winters) before announcing the winner in the Outstanding Drama Series category. Were you aware that Shemar was going to go off-script and talk about his love and respect for St. John?

DAVID MICHAELS:  Obviously, to this daytime community, Kristoff was very special.   I made him last in the In-Memoriam segment, which obviously was the most I could do as a producer, because there were over 30 other people who passed as well. Before he took the stage, Shemar came to the producers table and he said, “Are you sure?”  This was in regard to him saying a few words about Kristoff.  I said, “Shemar, as long as you say that you’re going off the script,” because he was.  There was nothing in the script.  I just said, “If you go out there and speak from the heart, I will have no problem with it, and I think that everybody will have no problem with it.”  He went out there, and he just killed it.  He was brilliant. I was sitting there at the producer’s table crying.  He destroyed me.  I think everybody really appreciated it, and I thought it was the perfect way to go into the final award.

DAVID PARKS:  I thought it was very genuine.  You can still feel his pain.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Next, you were able to get Kathie Lee Gifford to attend the Daytime Emmys to honor her.  How did that come together?  I assume she did not have a speech written when she addressed the crowd.  Kathie Lee is all about being “authentic”.

DAVID MICHAELS:  Correct, she actually had no speech written.  I saw her right before she went on, and she said, “Well, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.”  I said, “You’re supposed to go out there and be Kathie Lee.  You’re supposed to tell the community what you think of them.”  I also added, “I doubt this is the first time you’ve improvised,” and she laughed.  The result is what you saw, because she had not seen the tribute video before we played it, and the ladies of The Talk had actually asked to introduce Kathie Lee, because they adore her.

DAVID PARKS:  It really did come off well, because there was this concern about it not being a Lifetime Achievement Award(Not that she doesn’t deserve one, but that just wasn’t what it was this year.)  We were figuring out, how do you make this moment that is special without overshadowing the Lifetime Achievement Awards?  Kathie managed to do that.  I think it was her then winning in the Outstanding Informative Talk Show host category along with Hoda Kotb that really made it one of the most talked about moments of the show.

That award was positioned after Kathie Lee’s tribute, correct?

DAVID PARKS:  Yes, and on purpose, because in the case that she doesn’t win, you don’t want her out there kind of bumming out about it.  In all of these moments you have mentioned, the serendipity of it worked out really nicely for us.  Judy got honored, and unfortunately for her she didn’t win, but it didn’t destroy the moment.  In Kathie Lee’s case, it elevated the moment.

Courtesy/NATAS

Talking about serendipity, with Amy, Kathie Lee, Shemar, and Alex, it was almost like an organic perfect storm, and the next day people were talking about the Daytime Emmys in the mainstream press more than they had in recent years.

DAVID PARKS:  You picked up on this inclination that you have to fight sometimes to entertain, entertain, and entertain.  I think this year kind of proved that you don’t have to throw out the dog and pony show. It kind of works that you honor people, and they come out and they give these heartfelt speeches, and those mean more than those extra segments – whether it’s song or dance, or jokes, and you can tell the things that we cut out this year.  I think what it’s all about is …  getting awards, giving awards, and honoring people for their achievements.

How do you feel your co-hosts, Sheryl Underwood (The Talk) and Mario Lopez (EXTRA) did this year?  You seem to like this pairing as you have had them back multiple times now.

DAVID MICHAELS:  I thought it was Sheryl’s best year.  We didn’t give Sheryl big comedy moments, but everything she did felt so heartfelt and right.  They were there throughout the show.  They got their moments.  They got their beginning, middle, and they got their end.

DAVID PARKS:  I think as producers there was a little bit of a gift in watching what happened with the Oscars this year because it actually showed, (I mean, I’m sure it’s not what they wanted initially) not having a host kind of stream-lined that show.  People were like, “Yeah, the Oscars were pretty good this year.”  We talked about that a lot.  We don’t need to over think this.  It’s already been proven what happens if we don’t give as much to our hosts.

Photo: NATAS

Let’s talk about Alex Trebek.  That was such a huge moment when he accepted his award; winning Outstanding Game Show Host, and when he took the stage to present the Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series award.  I heard he wasn’t not feeling well at all at the ceremonies, as we all knew he is battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

DAVID MICHAELS:  I know Alex pretty well.  So, I could tell he wasn’t feeling well; even though that wasn’t what he was putting forth.  It’s interesting though because Alex originally told us he wanted to stay backstage the whole time, but once he got to the ceremony that was not what he wanted to do.  So, Alex was in the audience, and he actually surprised me.  In a similar way to what I said to Shemar.  I said, “When Alex gets out there, he’s going to get a standing ovation,” which he did, and that was the moment when I said, “Alex, if you want to say something, go ahead,” and he didn’t.  I was shocked.  He just came out and presented the Younger Actress award.  So, if Alex had not won, he never would have said anything because that’s when he got the emotion in and all of that.  He definitely took a chance.

So, Alex presents ‘Younger Actress’ and made Hayley Erin’s (Ex-GH) life, because when I did my interview with her backstage, all she talked about is what this meant to have her idol, Alex Trebek hand her the award.  Talk about serendipity!  Now, when Alex accepted his award for Outstanding Game Show Host, did you have any idea what he was going to say, because coming out of the Emmys, people were buzzing about what he shared on-stage.

DAVID MICHAELS:  No, and quite honestly, I got scared when he started that speech when he was saying he didn’t want a sympathy vote, but that’s Alex.  He will totally bring it, and then turn it around.

Photo: NATAS

DAVID PARKS:  There was a side thing that you probably didn’t know about.  We got approached by a guy looking to buy fan tickets, but they had a group who needed ADA (Americans with Disabilities) seating.   It turned out be a group of cancer patients who were terminal.  The group was SayYEStoHOPE.org.  They weren’t asking for anything.  They just wanted to be able to sit together. So, we comped them all.  I’m at the red carpet, and this group is coming up the stairs, and one of the guys from the venue says to me, “This is the ‘Say Yes to Life’ group.”  So, I start talking to them, and one of the women just had chemo that day, and they were so excited to be at the Daytime Emmys, but what they were really excited about was to see Alex Trebek.  I wish there had been a way to either acknowledge them, or to let Alex know,  because they are big Daytime television fans,  but Alex meant so much to them in terms of being a cancer survivor, and a cancer patient, just like them.

Were you worried about Alex on Emmy night?

DAVID PARKS:  I thought he looked pretty good considering what I knew he had been going through.  It was actually this past week when I read about how on Jeopardy, he was doubled over in pain on the floor.

DAVID MICHAELS:  Yeah, if you saw that CBS Sunday Morning interview, it was pretty extreme, and they showed a clip from our show, by the way.  Similar to what David described with Judge Judy and Amy, Alex stood by the monitor to see if Jeopardy was going to win, which it didn’t, and Alex was just like, “Okay,” and off he went, and I got a big hug.  Just knowing him, I think he put out a lot of energy to be there, but I think he was glad to do it.

Courtesy/NATAS

Let’s move on to another amazing moment which was General Hospital’s Maurice Benard (Sonny) finally winning his second Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor.  The crowd went crazy!  What did you think about how that happened . … and the fact that Maurice didn’t have a speech prepared?

DAVID MICHAELS:  I honestly believe Maurice that he didn’t think he was going to win.  It’s been many years since he had, and I also didn’t think that any of the other nominees could complain about losing an award to Maurice, because he’s the king.  He kept saying he couldn’t cry up there, and then, he cried up on-stage.  It really was about doing the Alzheimer’s storyline with Max Gail (Mike, GH) who totally reminds Maurice of his real father, and then, to have Max win as well, I just think it was a very emotional moment for him, and it was beautiful.

DAVID PARKS:  What impressed me is that often times you think actors should be so good at giving speeches, and they’re horrible at it because it’s not scripted.  So, when somebody does give one, and it’s really heartfelt and all of that, it’s really refreshing.  It’s kind of nice, especially on such a big award.

Photo: NATAS

DAVID MICHAELS:  In addition, Kyler Pettis (Ex-Theo, Days) win for Younger Actor in a Drama Series, was one of the most emotional things I have ever seen.  For years, I have been impressed with his portrayal of the high-functioning autistic young man.  It was always very moving to me.  If you watched the show and the close-up on him when they called his name, Kyler immediately was crying.  It really moved me.  I spoke to him the next day at The Talk, and he was completely blown away.  I just don’t think he thought this was going to happen.

What went into the decision to make the opening number “Sing!”?  Obviously, a big part of that was you were celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street.  And, I hear Mario Lopez’s son got to see the Muppets backstage, up close and personal?

DAVID MICHAELS: They always say don’t work with children and animals – but we did it – children – a dog – and two Muppets!  The dog – of course was Q-Tip – the shelter dog who came on with Lucky Dog’s Brandon McMillan. The kids were mostly from a community theatre production of MATILDA – and Joely Fisher connected us.  They included one of Joely’s daughters, Rebecca Romijn’s twins and Gary Busey’s son!  It was my concept and our musical director’s arrangement.  I thought it would be a great, positive way to start the evening.  It is always a joy to work with the Muppets – and Ryan and Leslie who do Elmo and Abby are amazing.  When Mario’s son, Nico, came in, I wanted to be careful to not shatter any illusions – so I took him over to the Muppets and he stared at them and he whispered to me: “Are they real”?  I said “Of course they are – just like you see them on TV.”  Nico says, “Can they talk?” I  say, “Of course they can.”  Then, Nico says, “Does someone have to help them talk?”  Now I am nervous and I pause, “Well … what do you think?”  He says, “I think they have some help”  Then,  he walked around back and saw the puppeteers.  The most adorable sweet child on the planet!

Photo: NATAS

There was a lot of behind the scenes drama and difficulties in the months prior to the Emmys; including the independent investigation, requests for more transparency in the awards system, the four soaps potentially boycotting, etc.  When you look back at what it took to get here, how do you feel about the outcome?

DAVID PARKS:  I’ve used this analogy a couple of times already, and I’m not a woman, but I think this is kind of what childbirth must be like.  The pain of it is so great that you think, “We can’t get through this,” and “Never again,” and afterwards, you see the baby, and all of the pain goes away.  You’re like, “Hey, we did it, and it worked.  It was really good.  It was enjoyable.”  I think, as a producer, you don’t really want people to know the difficulties.  If people understand the difficulties of getting to that night, you’ve probably done something wrong.  At the same time, I’m the last guy to crave attention, but for the people who were aware of the challenges that we had this year to see what we’ve pulled off, and when they say, “Holy cow.  Your set, your show, the smoothness…”  that is gratifying. You know, the stuff people are experiencing in the audience or the stuff that they see on the screen is what ultimately matters.  You learn from the mistakes, but at the end of the day, as long as that experience is good for the nominees, the winners, and the fans, that is what really counts.

People always want to know how it goes backstage with the handling of the envelopes.  Do you have it plotted out so that nobody except the accountants knows the winners until the big moment on-stage?  How does that work?

DAVID PARKS:  So, this year we actually had two accountants backstage.  The envelope went from the hand of the accountant to the hand of the stage manager, who then gave it to our trophy people, who give it to the presenter.  We had our fancy, new envelopes which everybody seemed to like, but literally, nobody on the staff even touched the envelopes this year.

Photo: NATAS

It seems like you have built-in a failsafe to minimize any potential complaints.

DAVID PARKS:  People always can, I guess.  It’s always been completely above board, but this year it was just even another step.  It’s important because the integrity of the awards is important.  I laugh a little bit, when somebody thinks they know if they are going to win or not because they’re trying to read something into the position of a camera in the audience.  We even added steps with how we shot it.  We told our cameramen, “Hold your shot for like 5 seconds after the announcement has been made.  So, even though your person isn’t getting up, we don’t want you to relax.”  We don’t want the person to think they’re not going to win.  The worst thing that will happen is somebody thinks they’re not going to win like a half a second before the announcement, it’s not a life-altering thing, but we still want to make the experience perfect for all nominees.

DAVID MICHAELS:  Our director Greg Gelfand, I think is the best in the business.  This is all a big pain in the butt for him.  He’s just trying to direct a show, but he was totally with us.  Greg said, “Okay, you’ve got it.”  The cameramen were great, and Greg was great.   Again, I’ll say for the 8 millionth time, I don’t know who is going to win.  It was very exciting and it was very surprising.

DAVID PARKS:  I always tell people that if anybody wanted to have proof that we don’t know in advance, all they have to do is watch David’s reaction at the producer’s table.  We find out at the same time as everybody else, and he’s like, “Oh, my God!  They won!?  That is an upset.  You don’t understand, Dave.  That is like an upset.”

Courtesy/NATAS

DAVID MICHAELS:  I know the soaps more than David does, but I’m like a little boy back there when I see who is winning.  I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” (Laughs)  The accountants sometimes will look at me like, “Did I do something wrong? (Laughs)  Look, there’s not much more we can do.  I was very proud.  I was very proud of the presenters, and I thought it was a great mix of all of the genres and the whole industry, and everybody was great in their own unique way.  There was some new blood at the show presenting and with the winners.

DAVID PARKS:  I have to interject my half into the little bit of love fest for David, because if there is one thing I think I hammered on David more than anything else this year was that we have to shorten the show.  The difference between three hours and three and a half hours or three hours and twenty minutes, is a huge difference.  I kept pushing David to simplify, to come up with simpler ways, or less verbose ways to do presentations, and he rose to the occasion, and before the show, he was like, “I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think I could have made this any shorter,” and I went through the script and there really was so little that could have been trimmed.  David really did a great job of answering the call and writing something that got us through a lot faster than last year.  We got a lot of comments after that said it didn’t feel like three hours.  Part of that was that it wasn’t three hours and thirty minutes.  It was actually three hours.

DAVID MICHAELS:   David Parks is the perfect foil for me and me for him.  Because we are so different, we don’t fight, but we will have words sometimes, and one of us will win, but it’s always the right decision.  One of the reasons I love working with him so much is that if he is giving me a hard time about something, there is a reason for it, and I have to really consider what he is saying.  I think that is a really healthy way to work.

Photo: JPI Studios

What would you like to see happen for the next Daytime Emmy Awards presentation?

DAVID MICHAELS:  I’d love for somebody to give us a million dollars so that we can do the most lavish show in the world.  I’d love to keep the heart going.   The one bad thing about finishing a good show is that you always take a breath and say, “Now … what do we do next time?”

DAVID PARKS:  For me, it’s that you always want to keep shows like this fresh.  It doesn’t always mean completely reinventing the wheel, but sometimes, you step back, and you think, “What can we do to freshen this up so that it’s not just a repeat?”  That can have to do with the set.   You just have to look at everything and also recognize that the best moments, as we learned this year, you can’t manufacture those.  They’re just going to happen organically.  So, you just have to create a show that allows those moments to happen, and like David said, money solves problems.  We will certainly be looking for additional sponsorship, and to build on the great ratings that we’ve had this year, and the fact that we have continued to build this event up over the years.

Courtesy/NATAS

Would you ever consider, or continue to try to get the ceremony back on TV, perhaps even on daytime television, if some network would offer you a spot to do it in?

DAVID MICHAELS:  There is nothing we wouldn’t consider.   Although I will say; that if the numbers are what we think they were this year, there were probably more than three times as many viewers as the last time we were on television.

DAVID PARKS:  I’ve always said that if they were to be on TV again, if they were to be on during the day, which is when our fans are watching TV anyway, it would make sense,  However, I have to say that I think the Daytime Emmys being at sort of the forefront of digital television puts us way out in front.  Eventually, this is how everybody is going to be watching TV.  It’s not going to be like, “Oh, we’re not on basic, terrestrial TV.”  It doesn’t matter.

DAVID MICHAELS:  You’ve got to realize that this audience is worldwide.  Being on television is not.  So, when you see that people are watching all over the world, that’s pretty amazing.

So, what did you think about what David & David shared about decisions made for the Emmy ceremony and the backstage tidbits?  How would you score this year’s Daytime Emmys? What was your favorite moment within it? Comment below.

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General Hospital

Steve Burton Interview – General Hospital – 46th Annual Daytime Emmys Red Carpet

On the red carpet at the 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, General Hospital’s Steve Burton (Jason Morgan) chats with Michael Fairman.

During their conversation, Steve weighs-in on the nominated scenes of Laura Wright’s which also featured him, and the friendship of Jason and Carly, plus how he told Maurice Benard (Sonny) that he had to submit himself in the Lead Actor category; an award in which Maurice won that night.

Later, Burton laughs as Michael reveals that in his recent interview with Coby Ryan McLaughlin (Shiloh), the actor said that he can and wants to take down the character of Jason; to which Steve rebutted here that it ain’t going to happen.

Finally. Steve talks on the success of his road show and podcast with buddy and castmate, Bradford Anderson (Spinelli)

Watch the interview below. Then let us know, do you like the scenes between  Jason and Carly? Do you want Shiloh or Jason to have the upper hand in their rivalry? Comment below.

For more red carpet and backstage interviews from the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards visit the Michael Fairman Channel here.

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Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Interview – Days of our Lives – 46th Annual Daytime Emmys Red Carpet

Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati chats with Michael Fairman on the red carpet at the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Carlivati and his writing team were nominated for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series; an award they won last year.

Ron reveals to Michael that the reels submitted in the writing category were different than those submitted for Outstanding Drama Series; with the writing submissions centering around Marlena (Deidre Hall) and John’s (Drake Hogestyn) wedding and her shooting … and then the aftermath in the hospital where Marlena’s children and John have to say goodbye to her fearing she will not pull through her medical crisis.

Later, Carlivati discusses how he has become more firmly entrenched in the land of Salem after being an ABC Daytime guy for most of his life; following writing for One Life to Live and General Hospital.

Watch the interview below.  Then let us know, what did you think of Ron’s choice for the writing award? Should DAYS have toppled Y&R on the strength of those reels? Comment below.

For more 46th annual Daytime Emmy Red Carpet and backstage interviews visit the Michael Fairman Channel here.

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

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