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The Brad Bell Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful – Soapmaker Of The Year 2015

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

Inspiring bold choices, adding in long overdue diversity, garnering critical acclaim and mainstream coverage for being on the forefront of the national conversation of the plight of the transgender community, while continuing in the daytime tradition of classic soap opera storytelling, and sprinkling in a few shock and awe moments and major surprises, these were all major factors in deciding On-Air On-Soaps highest honor of Soapmaker of the Year 2015.  Without question this year that achievement and accolade goes to the executive producer and head writer of The Bold and the Beautiful, Brad Bell.

It’s been quite some time that a daytime drama has broken ground in such a comprehensive and compelling way with the story of Maya Avant (Karla Mosley), who viewers learned earlier in the year was born as “Myron”.   Maya’s story became one of the most compassionate tales told in soap opera history with new wrinkles and twists, while expanding the Avant family by bringing in Maya’s parents and sister to the canvas.  The soap was right on target with its story choices, as this was the year that also saw everyone in America and across the world watching the real-life story of Caitlyn Jenner unfold.  But Brad Bell and his fearless team continued to push the envelope in 2015, with the sudden death of Aly Forrester (Ashlyn Pearce) in virtually the same place her mother met her maker years before.  Then there was the inspirational story of actress Linsey Godfrey (Caroline) who returned to the show after a harrowing real-life accident, and Bell was able to utilize her and give her story through the classic, “Who’s the daddy?” tale with a twist.  Caroline’s pregnancy is fraught with drama for potentially years to come.

On-Air On-Soaps spoke with Brad about his honor, and took him through the year of storylines on the screen to get his comments, during a 2015 that was also somewhat transitional for him.  No longer did he spend all of his time in Los Angeles at the B&B offices at CBS.  Brad found himself writing in Hungary, while accompanying his wife, the ambassador to that nation, Colleen Bell.  And, why not?  B&B continues to be the number one show worldwide, while firmly remaining in the #2 position of the daytime dramas in the U.S.  It was a good year to be bold and beautiful in so many ways for our culture, and that goes for this soap, too.  Here’s our Soapmaker of the Year, Brad Bell!

MICHAEL:

2015 in the world of soaps will be remembered as a very impressive year for The Bold and the Beautiful.   As you have seen, I am not alone in my thought-process, as other critics/pundits have been extolling year-end accolades for your show.

BRAD:

Courtesy/CBS

It’s a year I will look back on and be very proud of, and one that was very unique in the history of B&B.

MICHAEL:

Let’s touch on the year on B&B, and discuss what you have done with the show that has you as our choice for Soapmaker of the Year.   Obviously, first and foremost, the transgender storyline involving the character of Maya has been front and center, and told so beautifully.  You touched upon several of the issues facing the transgender community.  What can you say about what you’ve told within that story as you reflect on 2015?

BRAD:

I think we really tried to analyze progressive thinking vs. traditional thinking.  Creating the character of Maya as this transgender character has opened our minds up as writers.  It hopefully had the same effect around the country and around the world, as we see what a beautiful person she is, and how she is being treated by the Forrester family.  But also, there were many obstacles and many ahead.  It’s not just a fairy tale for her, but something that hopefully mirrors reality in the good, the bad, and the ugly.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

The writing of the wedding of Maya and Rick (Jacob Young) was such a poignant episode, and the showdown scenes between Maya and her father Julius (Obba Babatundé) were riveting.  It was also a great decision to bring Maya’s parents on to the canvas: Julius and Vivienne (Anna Maria Horsford).  Take me through how you and your writing team made the decision to craft the scenes, and the confrontation during the nuptials?

BRAD:

I thought that things were going so well for Maya that we needed to bring someone in who didn’t agree with her choices, and who had issues with who she has become.  The father was that character.  We created a character that was traditional, stubborn, stuck in his ways, close-minded, and charming all at the same time.  As soon as I saw Obba Babatundé’s tape, I knew he was the man for this role.  He is just an incredible actor. What he has found together with Karla Mosley has just been gold for us.  Patrick Mulcahey wrote the dialog for that episode, and he just killed it as he always does.  Those scenes really came together, beautifully.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Through this journey of telling Maya’s story, was there anything as the executive producer and head writer of the show that you were surprised to learn about the transgender community, or what they are facing?

BRAD:

Yes.  I definitely have a greater understanding of what they are facing.  Getting to know more transgender people and to be able to be part of the community now, you find out we are all much more similar than we are different.  We have the same basic needs, wants and desires.  Everyone should have the right to express themselves, and to reach their goals, and to be who they want to be.  The people in the trans community are brave, and they are original.  It is great to live in a country where this is possible.  I think there are many challenges, but yet there are many successes to be where we are far, and ahead of most countries in the world.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/Pop

You took the transgender story one step further with the surrogate arc, where Rick and Maya want to have a child, but enlist Maya’s sister Nicole (Reign Edwards) to assist them in the most major way.  Was the decision to tell that story, basically about a “where do we go from here” with their relationship, because now Rick and Maya were a happy couple, or was it about exploring what would happen to a couple in this situation?

BRAD:

I just thought getting to know these characters, and what Karla and Jacob put into them also, and the natural outgrowth of who they are would be the desire to have a family.  So, how do we get that done?   It did line up beautifully for Nicole to come to talk to them, and for them to make this request.  You can see how on one side it makes complete sense – it’s a younger daughter’s gift to her sister – but you also see how other people might find it to be outrageous.  It’s a great arena for drama.  This story is not going to be a bed of roses for any of them; it’s going to be difficult.  Everybody’s going to weigh-in.  Now to have Rome Flynn with us playing Zende, and Felisha Cooper playing Sasha in the story mix, plus there is much more we will hear from the Avant parents that will make the next chapter, I think, as exciting as the first.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

You continued to integrate the transgender community into your stories.  You had transgender models in a fashion show, and you had Scott Turner Schofield (Nick), the first trans male actor in a role on a soap making daytime history.  It was commendable that you did not take a sensationalistic approach to Maya’s story, but carried this initiative and weaved it within the show.  What has been the response from the trans community?  Have people reached out to you with emails, letters, or in person?

BRAD:

Yes, it’s been great.  The letters of gratitude has been very special.  People are actually using some of our episodes in classrooms.  To hear stories like that where they are looking at scenes and discussing them is so exciting for me.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ESPN

Soap operas always used to tackle, and were ahead of the curve and on top of it, on telling social issues.  I don’t feel the genre has been on top of it for a while now.  I feel you and your team brought that back with the transgender storyline.  As it turned out, it was kind of the perfect storm with Caitlyn Jenner’s real-life story happening at the same time.

BRAD:

That is what I am most proud about for 2015 in story.  This is something we need to be doing.  It is something that historically when soaps are good, that is why they are good, because they are mirroring and analyzing the sociology of our time, and what we are confronting within communities.  It’s great to be on the forefront of this, and to be writing this story and to be well into it.  And then, to have Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) making her announcement of transitioning, the timing could not have been better on this one.

MICHAEL:

You recently received a WGA nomination from the Writers Guild, and are up against General Hospital for the Daytime Drama series writing award that will be announced and handed out in February.  What episodes did you submit for contention?  Additionally, can you share with the fans of the show the collaborative process of your writing team?

Courtesy/CBS

BRAD:

We submitted episodes involving Maya’s story.   As the head writer I come up with the plots, and work very closely with Michael Minnis.  Then Patrick Mulcahey joins us on story conversations frequently.  Then I have a great team of dialog writers including; Michele Val Jean and Tracey Kelly, but we are all in it together.  This team has been together a long time now.  We have had very little changes.  One year you are on to something, and the next year you take a turn.  People drop out of the show, which allows you to highlight other people.  Looking at Jacob Young and Karla Mosley, who were a bit back-burnered, to have them come up and embrace these roles the way they have has been outstanding.  Karla has been such a great spokesperson for the story.  I have the same writing team, but the transgender story has totally reinvigorated us.  We are looking for the next socially relevant story.  We are not done with this story by a long shot.  We are going to follow these people in the next stage of their lives, which will be very exciting.

MICHAEL:

There were other major storylines on B&B, and performances as well.  Chief among them is Linsey Godfrey (Caroline), who after being in a terrible accident early in 2015, returned to the series and delivered dramatic performances in the Caroline/Thomas/Ridge story.  What can you say about the decision to create this story, where a kind of ‘out of it Caroline’ would have sex with Thomas (Pierson Fode) and we would find out Ridge (Thorsten Kaye) can’t father a child?   And oh-oh, voila’ she is pregnant?

Courtesy/CBS

BRAD:

First, Linsey is a very raw, and authentic actress.  This story falls into the category of classic storytelling, not just for soap opera, but from the beginning of time.  It involves a powerful man in Ridge Forrester, and the secret he is keeping from his wife, and from his son!  The architecture of this one is strong, and the actors are committed to the material, and this will roll out beautifully in 2016.  I am so happy to be working with Thorsten Kaye (Ridge), Pierson (Thomas), and Linsey.  This will be a tight one, but the drama that will unfold should be pretty potent.

MICHAEL:

So, were you sitting there one day and you went, “Ah!  I’m going to have her pregnant by her husband’s young son!”  How does Brad Bell’s mind work to come with these classic soap stories?

BRAD:

Courtesy/CBS

The thing is before the “Ah-ha” moment, there are usually months of grinding your teeth and pulling your hair out with me going, “What do I do?”  (Laughs)   I always say it’s like being in a dark room feeling around and trying to find a way out.  It’s been a very different for me this year.  I have been in Budapest for most of it.  So that has been a new dynamic.  I have had a lot of alone time, and a lot of quiet time.  I go to my apartment there in the fifth district. Colleen says to me, “Don’t complain.  I have heard you for 25 years complaining that you wanted this solitude.”  So, now I have it and it’s a bit painful! (Laughs)  However on the flipside, it’s also really great for a writer to be alone with their characters for hours at a time.

MICHAEL:

Did any of your stories exceed your expectations in 2015?  Were you shocked to see a certain story come out so well?

BRAD:

Yes.  There is always disappointment, and great, great surprises.  This story with Caroline, Thomas and Ridge, far exceeded my expectations.  The performances, the writing, and the production all fell together so well here.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Now you have “accidental serial killer” Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) running around on the loose causing “accidental” havoc.  (Laughs)  She knocked Aly (Ashlyn Pearce) to her death, and then pushed Ivy into electrical wires on her way to being electrocuted!  Aly’s death was a surprise twist that was kept under wraps so well, that nobody saw coming.  It made for one of the most surprising moments in soaps in 2015.

BRAD:

It’s interesting when the pieces fit.  It’s wonderful, and when they don’t fit you have to kind of shock yourself, and shock your characters into making them fit.  Ashleigh Brewer (Ivy) has taken all of these tumbles, and been “electrocuted”, and been through so much from day one since she joined the show.  From the beginning she was falling into the Seine River in France (Laughs).  But, it is evolving into a new chapter of the story which is very exciting for Scott Clifton (Liam) and Steffy, and for the Spencer brothers, and also Quinn.  Rena Sofer (Quinn) has been awesome on the show, and she has been patient.  Now the spotlight will turn to Rena in 2016.

MICHAEL:

What can you say about having Jacqueline MacInnes Wood back in 2015 as a major component of B&B?  Steffy is such a polarizing, and popular character around the world.

BRAD:

Courtesy/CBS

Jacqui is a beautiful spirit on camera and off, really high energy, but a super sharp actress.  I am so glad to be working with her.

MICHAEL:

It must have been hard for you as well to have Ashlyn Pearce leave the show, who was finally getting a chance to shine in the material you were giving her, and then to have to sacrifice her in terms of story.  We understand that these are decisions that head writers and executive producers have to make along the way.  What can you share about killing Aly?

BRAD:

Ashlyn is a great actress, and she has a great career ahead of her.  I think the actors understand this going in that this is something we have to do as writers.  We have to surprise people.  We have to kill people, and do the unexpected.  They are players on the show until they can’t be.  Ashlyn just killed the material, especially at the end of her run.  She is phenomenal!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

At the beginning of 2015, lest we forget, “Drunk Brooke”!  Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) got to deliver some memorable performances, especially when she was getting sloshed at Bill (Don Diamont) and Katie’s (Heather Tom) wedding!

BRAD:

I think Katherine did such a great job, and it’s great to see her character unhinged.  I mean, Brooke without a man, she would have to turn to something! (Laughs)  Brooke is one of two remaining run-of-show characters, and at an interesting point in her life.  She is empty nesting, which comes with a whole array of issues and challenges.  We are starting a whole new chapter with Brooke, and Bill and Katie in 2016.

MICHAEL:

Earlier in the year, you had a soundstage at CBS dedicated to you in honor of B&B’s milestone of producing an incredible 7,000 episodes.  Your plaque is right across the hall from the soundstage dedicated to your father, the legendary Bill Bell Sr. (Co-Creator, Y&R and B&B).  This has truly been special for you.  What do you think now when you sit back and take in what that dedication ceremony meant?

BRAD:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

It is an incredible honor, and we have had such a great working relationship with CBS. They are great network to be on.  They are very helpful, and they really care. They care about their fans, and their viewers, and their employees.  I am thankful to CBS for the honor. It’s an honor for everyone who works on that stage every day, and around the world dubbing us into different languages, and everyone in the office.  It was a great moment.

MICHAEL:

When you are at CBS, do you ever walk by the plague with your name on it, and smile?

BRAD:

Yes! (Laughs)  My son Oliver was here visiting with a friend from Budapest, and he showed him the plaque, and then his friend said, “Where’s the commissary?” (Laughs)  But yes, it’s very special that it is up there.  I am grateful to everyone who spoke at the dedication, especially my wife.  Now that I am the spouse of the Ambassador to Hungary, I am realizing, and fully appreciating, perhaps for the first time, what that role is about, and how challenging it could be. Colleen has been so wonderful as my partner all of these years.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

The production, marketing, and publicity team at B&B, under your guidance also needs to be commended for their accomplishments this year: you had the first Pop-Up fan event in New York in the series history, and launched a B&B You Tube channel in the UK.  No other daytime drama has done this type of creative outreach in so many different aspects, as well as consistently planning taking the show on remotes worldwide, and integrating story within it.  Tell me about the BOLD team.

BRAD:

These producers including: Rhonda Friedman, who has been with us from the beginning but left us just before Christmas; and the consistency and the enthusiasm of Casey Kasprzyk and Mark Pinciotti who are the creative younger producers; and veterans such as Cynthia Popp and Ed Scott, we have the perfect blend of creativity, and continuity.  We love being with each other.  So, if we say let’s go to Australia, or let’s go to Israel to do a location shoot, we are thinking first and foremost: “That’s going to be fun time and a party!” (Laughs)  And then we think that we have to get the work done, which we know we will do. (Laughs)  But honestly, we all just like to hang out together.  I think our enthusiasm comes through, and it shows in our events with the fans in the U.S and around the world.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Now that we walked down memory lane, let’s look to the future!  In a broad stroke, what can you tease fans of B&B to look forward to in 2016?

BRAD:

I think we are going to have a great balance of issues, of villains, and some new villains appearing, and some romance.  I mean balanced in the most unbalanced way possible. (Laughs)   It will be an incredibly dramatic year.  The characters are all in a great spot.  It’s not a year of building or transitioning, but it’s a year of payoffs.  The New Year is going to explode.  I fully expect 2016 to be the best, if not the best ever, certainly over recent years, and the one to watch.  

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Callie
Guest
Callie

Great interview, Michael!

I’ve been glued to my screen watching Ridge and Caroline’s romance this year. I’m really hoping it continues for a long, long time and the baby turns out to be his.

Scoma60
Guest
Scoma60

B&B was so good a few months ago but it’s now awful. The storyline of Liam/Steffy/Wyatt/Ivy is vapid and the ping ponging of emotions makes no sense. B&B needs to ship Thomas back to Europe. No matter how they gloss it over he violated Caroline. He’s creepy as hell. He doesn’t respect women at all. He’s pushy with Ivy, making a bet to bed her, screwing underlings,etc…
Ridge/Caroline have disappeared. An 18 yr old being pushed to be a surrogate.

Aj
Guest
Aj

Time for the Return of Phoebe Forrester!!

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

The Maya story, and family are the utmost in poor storytelling, poor acting, and read the boards, UNLOPULAR. Maya is a bully, a liar and a greedy deceitful skank. The tranny story was offensive I every way possible. The show basically wrote it , that it’s all ok that Maya is a creep…a bigot…cause it’s a tranny. So it’s ok. And Nick?? That blow hard ass. He actually came across as another intolerant, judgemental bigot. Showed how hypocritical and pathetic the ten my community is. Who can forget that ass thinking that Brooke should be more concerned for the lying… Read more »

Maryann V.
Guest
Maryann V.

I couldn’t agree more.

denisefan
Guest
denisefan

Yep…….

Gigi
Guest
Gigi

Could not agree more. The worst story yet on B&B. Nobody was thrilled or liked it. The boards are overrun with disgruntled fans. Maya and Rick have never paid for the horrible things they did to others. Can’t stand Nicole and the parents. They are not good actors, boring and add zilch to the show. And now the Steffy show. Sorry, she does zilch for me as well. The mop of overkill extendions is pathetic. I certainly do not see this show as an award show. What planet is Fairman on that he thinks Bradley Bell is such a terrific… Read more »

Marc Lormand
Guest
Marc Lormand

I’d recommend you take out a mirror and look at it. Starting back at you will be the definition of a ‘bigot’.

The transgender story is outstanding! Very well written, acted, and produced. Kudos to Brad and his entire ensemble.

Shrly pab
Guest
Shrly pab

Bring Taylor back ,do not break up Liam and Steffy I read Ivy and Steffy will be at the top of the stairs and some one will fall just as Liam open the door and walked in the house it better be Steffy falling down those stairs and not Ivy so Liam can realize how much he Love Steffy and don’t ever want to lose her you better not let Ivy fall that is a bit too much we don’t want to see any thing happen to Ivy any more for Liam to feel sorry for her we are sick… Read more »

wendy
Guest
wendy

This crap of making Steffy the bad guy really stinks!! And now Ivy crawling back to Liam and begging him to come back is also stinkareo!!!!!! Brad Bell! COME UP WITH SOMETHING BETTER!! KEEP LIAM AND STEFFY TOGATHER!!!!!!

Mary
Guest
Mary

Keep Katie and Bill together. I really love them

Beth
Guest
Beth

Thanks for the interview. Giving credit where it’s due, the transgender story was not only groundbreaking, but the best kept secret in Daytime, second only to Aly’s death, which was the second best kept secret in Daytime. The ability to stun the audience, mostly in a good way, is as rare today as the telling of a groundbreaking storyline like Maya’s. For those reasons, kudos to Brad Bell for a job well done in 2015. However, so many of the other stories on B&B this year were repetitive, dull and often infuriating, and I’d include the Thomas/Caroline/Ridge storyline in those… Read more »

Geena
Guest
Geena

With the Ridge/Thomas storyline, we need Taylor!! If HT cannot come back, I am open to recasting. Taylor doesn’t have to be on permanently but I definitely think she is needed for this particular storyline.

Monica.
Guest
Monica.

The best of B&B? I Think not. Maya and Rick bullying everyone and getting a slap on the wrist for it because Maya is a transgender don´t fly with fans. So transgendrs can´t do anything wrong due to fact that they switched their gender? I agree on the crap pulled on Ridge, Steffy and Thomas. Why all the hate on the real Forresters of the show? Yes, real Forresters. Eric is Ridges father in the Eyes of the law. He should be with a woman his own age, not running around with a Little girl . Steffy Forrester is the… Read more »

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

What? The transgender story was popular and well-received? If you read the soap boards and polls, it was one of the worse story. And now it’s supposedly being shown at schools? That’s pathetic. So you’re telling students you can be a bully, feel entitled to everything, lie about having a child and signing those rights away when the child isn’t even your’s and once you become transgender, all is forgiven and no one can say anything because they’ll be called prejudice. Brad has never written a good social issue. They were all a joke, and I certainly would question the… Read more »

kevin
Guest
kevin

I wrote and asked Brad Bell to hire Jaime Lyn Bauer and have her play opposite of John McCook, wouldn’t that be wonderful to have John and Jaime together again. Do you all remember them as Lance and Laurie on Y&R? I never did get a reply back…Brad, please offer Jaime Lyn Bauer a job and bring her to the B&B.

Patty
Guest
Patty

Here is hoping that Liam and Ivy will be left in 2015 !!! They couldn’t find a more BORING pair. Send them both back to Australia !!!! This whole accident routine with Steffy is beyond ridiculous !!!!!!! Bring a man with some back bone onto the canvas for Steffy — no more boys — please !!!!

Ramona
Guest
Ramona

I’m loving the new storylines…love the way finally Steffy is feeling the hurt and pain from all her plots, scheme’s, and undermined, bully ways, its time for Steffy be hold responsible for her out of control bully ways…Y&R, GH,DOOL, has defective and police stations, hospital, rescues squares, along with love compassion storyline’s, which has brought them as #1, I think B&B Bradley Bell and writers need to reviews the storyline’s that draw attention and boost the rates up…..reviewing a lot soap websites and polls is requesting the re-cast of Hope Logan or bring back Kim Katual for Liam …his characters… Read more »

Linda
Guest
Linda

I agree on recasting Hope, we the fans has been asking for over a year for them to bring Hope back, I think it will bring a nice twist bringing her back, I’d like to see Hope and Liam back together, married and have a family with no interference from anyone else, Bil or Steffy. I don’t like Maya, I don’ t like what Maya and Rick did to Caroline and others and then everyone looks the other way. Now Maya is the wonderful model? Really. And all the crap Rick pulled is all forgiven. I think bring Mr. Avant’s… Read more »

Lisa Ann Nesbitt
Guest
Lisa Ann Nesbitt

Bradley Bells could you put in the show is because they need my help and also bring Hope Logan back so she can go back to liam and give something that know body can and also can you fine a man for Brooke and Sasha because theyonly go after other people man like Katie own and also Nicole make sure sash and Brooke fine they own man and leave them married men alone please Bradley Bells .

Mary
Guest
Mary

Love Katie and bill. Please brad have them stay together . Brooke should be with ridge

Keriannb
Guest
Keriannb

Brooke made me laugh today saying Bill the love for her life!!!! WTH!! Yes her and Bill sizzle but Brooke sole mate and destiny as she said 5 million times is Ridge. Obviously not Tk version of Ridge but Come on those words rang hollow! Get Carter a SL stat and please don’t let Nicole keep this up I find it bizarre! Maya and Caroline personlalties been rewritten some many times I can’t keep up!!! Wyatt and Stepahie are fabulous. lIam turned into a border my dufus!! he way better as computer geek! Wake up Liam can’t possibly be so… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Really why Katie and Bill again… can’t we have ONE Stable couple on the show??? Quinn is a big waste of time … Steffy belongs with Liam and Wyatt belongs with ???? The new Avant daughter has Biotch written all over her face ugh!

Dianna
Guest
Dianna

Watch the show today been watching for 20 +years 2016 has got to be more not so predictable Wiatt & steffy come on Wiatt has to quit getting sloppy seconds or 3rds hope the writer has better story lines this year for Katie , Bill, & Logan -brook were is Caroline& ridge?

Peggy
Guest
Peggy

I think it would be extremely interesting to see Hope return to Liam while Steffy is with Wyatt and see all four of them all in love with each other and start acting like interchangeable couples. I also think the Quinn and Liam “Adam and Eve” thing is hilarious. However, Quinn having sex with Liam is shocking; almost seems like incest and I can’t see this ending any other way than Quinn getting fired by Steffy and disowned by Wyatt.

General Hospital

GH Alum Sydney Mikayla Talks On Her Daytime Emmy Nomination, Decision To Exit & Her Former Co-Stars

It’s been quite the banner year for Sydney Mikayla (Ex-Trina Robinson, GH) thus far, and she topped it off with her second Daytime Emmy nomination, when a few weeks ago she landed in the Younger Performer in a Drama Series category.  That means, Mikayla will be vying for the gold statuette, but also against some of her dear friends and former co-stars from General Hospital.

Back in March, Mikayla revealed she was leaving the ABC daytime drama series to focus on college full-time where she is a freshman at UCLA. With Sydney’s departure came recasting the role of Trina and the part went in to the capable hands of Tabyana Ali, who is currently appearing on the soap and carrying on the Trina Robinson torch.

As the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards are just around the corner (they air live next month on June 24th on CBS), Michael Fairman TV caught up with the very busy Mikayla, to get her take on all things Emmy including: the scenes she chose for her nominated reel, working alongside with Nicholas Alexander Chavez and creating what would become the popular “Sprina”, the factors that led to her departure and more. Here’s what Sydney shared below.

 

Your former co-stars and fellow ‘Younger Actor’ nominees, William Lipton (Cameron) and Nicholas Alexander Chavez (Spencer) appeared on my Daytime Emmy Nominations livestream special, and both share how thrilled they were that that you got nominated.  I know you’re friends with them, but they just could not have spoken more highly of you.

SYDNEY:  That’s so sweet!  I’ve loved working with them for so long.  It just feels so great to know that they said that.

Photo: ABC

What was on your Emmy reel submission that landed you the nomination?

SYDNEY:  I was a little bit nervous this year, more than last year, because last year was the first time that I ever had a storyline.  So, for this year, I was definitely like, “I’m not really sure how this is going to go,” because there’s just so many new elements that were happening with everything that was going on, for example: Trina getting a more acclimated relationship with her mom, and then we had Cyrus (Jeff Kober) come in for a little bit.  I chose the best moments that really showcased my acting, even though it wasn’t a cohesive storyline from start to finish on my reel.  I’m really glad it worked!  I was a little more on pins and needles for this one, and ultimately, it turned out great.

Photo: IG

Was Nicholas Alexander Chavez in any of the scenes you submitted?

SYDNEY:  He was! I got to show that soft side of Trina, which I really didn’t think we got to see, especially in my first Emmy reel, and her being vulnerable.  We never see Trina really make a mistake, so that was really fun.  Not that her relationship was a mistake, but more that we never get to see her slip up or say the wrong thing, or just put herself out there, and put her heart on the line. I enjoyed being able to play that and then being able to put it in my reel.  Nicholas just made it so easy … what an amazing co-star.  He just made me feel so comfortable.  It was just really fun to do and to include.  I also had scenes with the teen scene …there’s five of us! Of course, I had to include Trina’s standoff with Esme (Avery Pohl).  I think, it was actually the last clip I put in on my reel.

Which was a great scene!

SYDNEY:  Yes, and Avery is so sweet, but she plays evil so well.  So, that was also so incredible to do, just that standoff of: ‘Who’s going to win!?  Trina?  Esme?  What’s going to happen?  What’s going to go down?’  No one knew, so that was really fun, too.

Photo: JPI

Did you include scenes between you and Eden McCoy (Joss) as bff’s Trina and Joss on your Emmy reel?

SYDNEY:  Oh, of course, of course! It was some of those heartfelt bestie moments of her just kind of consoling me, and making sure everything was okay between Trina and Esme. I like those heartfelt moments that Trina had with one of her closest friends on the show, and a great friend in real life, as well.

When you found out you were nominated, who was the first person you called … or was your phone blowing up and you were receiving lots of congrats?

SYDNEY:  This year, with being on a college campus and being in person for the first time, it’s really easy to get sick.  So, I was not feeling too great. I was sleeping in my dorm when the nominations came out.  I still keep in contact with my makeup artist from the show, Ali, and she’s so sweet.  We were texting, and she was like, “By the way, congrats”, and kind of kept texting me, and I’m like, “Congrats for what?” I looked, and I was like, “Oh my gosh!  I got nominated!”  So that was pretty funny, and I screamed through my whole dorm!  I posted a video on Instagram because I wanted to keep everyone in the loop, and I really do feel so grateful.  I feel all of the support from my friends, and family, and the fans of the show. I always try to make a video every year to try to just be grateful, or say ‘thank you’ because I really want to key everyone into this journey.  It was a little bit of a shock, but definitely in the midst of not feeling too well, it was the highlight of my day, for sure!  Now, I am feeling that heat of finals at school, but I am so excited. The Emmy definitely breaks up the stress a little bit, so I’m very grateful.

Photo: ABC

Was there somebody you called to let them know you were nominated, though?

SYDNEY:  I actually called Nicholas and William, first, to say congratulations.  William had called me before I had woken up, and then I called him back, and then of course, I called my mom and dad.  It was also a surprise to them.  I think it was just because I had been so laser-focused on school that looking at the Emmy nominations really wasn’t the priority this year.

Could you believe how popular ‘Sprina’ became so quickly?  They weren’t even a bonafide duo yet!

SYDNEY:  I could not!  I was really shocked, but I was excited to see how much the fans loved it, and how much the fans kind of lived through it. That in turn, gave us more of that ammo to really build that story and build that tension, and to always kind of play those moments in between.  Nicholas did a really great job of that, and of challenging me to always have that subtext, under the lines.  I was really shocked to see how quickly the popularity of Sprina blew up, but I’m grateful that the fans loved it for as long as they.  I hope that they continue to love it with Tabyana Ali playing the part.  She is such an incredible actress and powerhouse.

Photo: ABC

You were so popular in the role of Trina, and now Tabyana is bringing her take on the role.  Do you check in on GH? 

SYDNEY:  Don’t cancel me, but no! (Laughs) I don’t have time to watch TV!  I’m very serious.  I’ve just had so much going on here.  I’m also part of clubs, and leadership is also something that’s very important to me.  I love planning things, and when you’re planning things, that also takes up your time.  So, doing that along with school and just trying to keep my GPA up, I just don’t have the time to check in on it.  I think that was kind of part of it for me too.  On a spiritual level, I always believe that you can’t receive other things in your life, great things, acting or otherwise, until you are able to let things go, and so for me, I knew when I was leaving, I really would have to leave mentally and physically. As much as I love General Hospital (and I really cannot wait to see everyone in person, I really can’t wait to have that big reunion!), I really don’t feel like any part of me is still clinging on to General Hospital. I’m so grateful that the audience has also received Tabyana so well, because that’s exactly what I’ve always wanted.  So, I’m really happy for her, and I’m really happy for both of us.  I think we are both in a great place.

Was making the decision to leave GH a difficult one for you?

SYDNEY:  Honestly, no.  I always kind of knew in the back of my mind that it would have to come at some point because as much as I love General Hospital, I’d really been working for college for all of my life.  I wish someone had told me that colleges really don’t look at anything past high school because I was working really hard in elementary and middle school too!  But that’s my point, I’ve always had this dream of, “I’m going to go to college.  I’m going to get that second education.  I’m going to do really well.  I need to get my degree, and possibly even get my doctorate.”  We’ll see if I even want to go that far, but I know for sure that going to college and getting that bachelor’s was really important for me.  So, I knew that took precedence over anything else in my life.

Photo: ABC

What are you studying?

SYDNEY:  Right now, I’m studying sociology.  That might change.  Honestly, as a freshman it’s just been really general classes, still kind of general science, general math.  We’ll see as time goes on if I still want to stick with sociology. So, that’s also been really fun, and just meeting people, and experiencing the college life.

You’re in a gender-neutral acting category at the Daytime Emmys …   Outstanding Younger Performer. How do you feel about that because you’re actually competing against your former castmates, Nicholas and William, in the same category?

SYDNEY:  Coming to college, you meet a lot of people who are non-binary. I’ve always wondered how that would work when we are going to have more actors who identify as non-binary as our generation starts to get older and as we start getting cast in these movies. I actually think we are kind of moving towards the future and in the future, it will all be smooshed together for all of the categories.  We are going to eventually do away with the Best Actor and Actress because a lot of people don’t identify as either.  I think either way, whoever wins is going to win.  I’m just really glad to be nominated, and it works for me!

Courtesy/ABC

If a role came up in a movie or project that interested you, would you do it, or are you just only concentrating on your studies?

SYDNEY:  We’ll see kind of where life takes me.  It would definitely depend on so many things, of course, but if an opportunity were to present itself, it would definitely just be by a case-by-case basis.  Of course, I’m definitely open to doing things in summer too. During the school year, like I mentioned, it’s really important for me to get this degree.

Photo: SMikaylaIG/ABC

Is there any favorite moment you had from your time on General Hospital as Trina that you wish you could have included in your Emmy reel, but didn’t?

SYDNEY:  There were so many good moments!  If I could include any moment, I would include one of the blood scenes.  I had never worked with fake blood, and it was sticky, but ultimately a good experience.  I was acting, but there wasn’t much of me talking.  It was more everyone being concerned for me, like, “Why is she covered in blood?  What’s going on?”  So, I don’t think I included that as much, but if they just wanted me to include amazing makeup, then I could have put it in there!  So, it’ll always be in my heart.  It’ll always be in my personal reel, and I hope that counts for something!

Photo: TimSchaeffer

I’m assuming you like picking out a dress, and then walking the red carpet?

SYDNEY:  I do!  It’s actually funny because I don’t usually enjoy hair and makeup on a day-to-day basis, but I do think I enjoy the creativity of doing my own look for the Emmys.  I get to be somewhat a little different, like a super awesome version of myself.  I wonder, for celebrities who have to go to red carpets every week if they really like it, but for me to do it a few times a year, I really love it.  I love choosing the aesthetic that I’m going for.  This year, I’m definitely trying to do something classy and stylish.  I’m super excited for you guys to see because I’m beaming even as I talk about it now!

The Daytime Emmys are back to being in-person, after two years of being virtual.  Didn’t you have to tape an acceptance speech last year when you were nominated, in case your name was called?

SYDNEY:  Yes!  It was so funny, one of our producers, Nneka Garland, called me, and she was like, “Oh, it’s going to be in person,” and it just like, snapped for me: “Oh, this is going to be live!” I’m looking forward to that this year.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone, giving everyone real, in-person hugs!  I can’t wait!

So, are you rooting for Sydney to take home the gold in the Outstanding Younger Performer category at this year’s Daytime Emmys? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

The Young and the Restless Daytime Emmy Nominees Talk Reactions, Reels, and Their Co-Stars

All of the nominated performers from the cast of The Young and the Restless, who just recently received Daytime Emmy nominations for the upcoming 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, chatted with Michael Fairman collectively in an exclusive on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel. 

Y&R received the most nominations of any daytime program in this year’s race leading the pack with 18.

Sharing their reactions to being Emmy-nominated, plus what scenes they submitted on their reels; that landed them in the position to be going for gold were: Outstanding Lead Actor nominees, Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott) and Jason Thompson (Billy Abbott), Outstanding Lead Actress nominee, Mishael Morgan (Amanda Sinclair), Outstanding Supporting Actor Nominees, Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) and Jordi Vilasuso (Ex-Rey Rosales), Outstanding Supporting Actress nominee, Melissa Ordway (Abby Newman), Outstanding Younger Performer nominee, Alyvia Alyn Lind (Ex-Faith Newman) and Outstanding Guest Performer Nominee, Ptosha Storey (Naya Benedict).

Throughout the virtual roundtable interview, several of the actors who have won previously including: three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Bergman and two-time winner, Bryon James as well as past winners, Jason Thompson and Jordi Vilasuso gave words to the wise if they should win a gold statuette. In addition, the Y&R Emmy nominee ensemble shared the secret to their collaborative process when working with one another in the fast pace of daytime dramas, and much more.

You can catch the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on June 24th on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ to see if these Y&R nominees names will be called when the envelopes are opened.  In the meantime, you can watch our candid, informative, and heartfelt conversation below.

Now let us know, what did you think of the scenes the Y&R Emmy-nominated performers shared that they submitted? Happy to see them in the race this year? What was your favorite moment from the virtual roundtable? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Michael E. Knight Chats On: Taking on the Role of Martin Grey, Friendship with James Patrick Stuart, and All My Children’s Tad

Last Thursday night during a livestream interview, General Hospital’s Michael E. Knight chatted with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel about returning to daytime in the role of legal eagle Martin Grey, and mixing it up with some of the most famous notables and actors that currently and historically have graced the screens on the ABC daytime drama series.

In case you missed it, the replay of the conversation with three-time Daytime Emmy winner is now available.  During the chat, Knight reveals what is has been like to play the on-screen half-brother of Genie Francis (Laura), if he enjoys the courtroom scenes in which Martin had to defend some of the most notorious in town including Nelle Benson (Chloe Lanier), and more.

Courtesy/ABC

Fans of GH are also enjoying the romantic pairing of Lucy Coe and Martin, pairing Knight with another soap vet, Lynn Herring.  Michael shares that it’s nice to see, and appreciates, the writers creating a fun relationship for a couple that is middle-aged instead of always seeing the younger sets escapades all of the time on daytime TV.

All My Children fans, of course, recall Michael’s memorable performances through the years as Tad Martin, where he became synonymous with Pine Valley.  After AMC came to its conclusion in 2011 on ABC and 2013 with Prospect Park, Knight finally returned to soaps in 2015 in the recurring role of Dr. Simon Neville on The Young and the Restless before joining the cast of GH in 2019.

Photo: JPI

During the interview, Michael shares behind the scenes stories of working with his on-screen parents, Mary Fickett (Ruth) and Ray MacDonnell (Joe), his enduring on-screen love story with Dixie (Cady McClain), and the heyday of AMC in story, with his on-screen sister, Jenny played by Kim Delaney. When Michael came to GH, viewers recall he actually got to share an inside moment with Kim and the fans, when Martin met Jackie Templeton, then played by Delaney.

During the livestream, Michael recalled several of Tad’s wives, and when one fan asked if Cady McClain might come to GH as Dixie, and that maybe she could be a woman from Martin’s past, Knight shared that it could be interesting.

Photo: ABC

In a surprise appearance later in the livestream, James Patrick Stuart (Valentin, GH), who has an enduring friendship with Michael, and happened to be at Knight’s house, shared some memories of his time as Will Cortlandt on All My Children. Now decades later, things have come full-circle for the good friends as they share screen-time on General Hospital as Valentin and Martin.

Stuart is a Daytime Emmy nominee this year for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category at the upcoming 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, and we took a moment to congratulate him on being acknowledged by his peers for the second year in a row.  Currently, James is pulling double duty shooting his Disney+ show, Villains of Valley View, while also taping GH.

Photo: JPI

Watch the replay of the livestream with Michael E. Knight below.

Then let us know, are you enjoying Martin and Lucy together? What do you think of the idea of Cady McClain coming to GH? Do you want to see more Valentin and Martin scenes? And, what are your favorite memories of Michael’s time as Tad on All My Children? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Cameron Mathison talks with Michael Fairman on taking on the role of GH’s Drew Cain, the latest developments in Port Charles for Drew. his busy career outside of soaps and the loss of his mother and his public battle with cancer.Leave A Comment
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