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The Cady McClain Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Courtney Lindberg

Photo Credit: Courtney Lindberg

Over the last few months, Daytime Emmy winner Cady McClain has taken over the role of Kelly Andrews on The Young and the Restless from Daytime Emmy winner Cynthia Watros, and released her very personal memoir Murdering My Youth.  This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows the talents of this hard working actress, who is also an author and a filmmaker that always immerses herself in creative projects and different ways of self-expression.

McClain, who has been a prominent name in daytime soaps for decades, first with All My Children as Dixie, and then on As the World Turns as Rosanna, joined the cast of the CBS soap opera in 2014 and was immediately paired romantically on-screen with her former Pine Valley friend, Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott).  As the two characters draw closer … what will happen when Phyllis (the incoming Gina Tognoni) comes back to Genoa City and finds these two are intertwined?  And just what is Kelly’s relationship with Ben, err, Stitch (Sean Carrigan)?  In this interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Cady in her own inimitable style – with grace, humor, and intelligence – weighs-in on what might happen next to her latest on-screen incarnation … Kelly!

But before we get to what’s going down in Genoa City, we took the opportunity after being riveted and heartbroken reading Cady’s memoir, to talk to her about the tumultuous events that shaped her early life including; the sexual abuse suffered at the hands of her father, growing up in an alcoholic environment, her mother’s emotional and damaging outbursts, and how as a young child actress and even later into her early years on All My Children, she was footing the bill for the family and being used, for all intent and purposes, as their meal ticket!  The story is haunting, but true.  And at the conclusion of our chat, we came away with how Cady triumphed over her own tragedy.  Here’s what she shared …

MICHAEL:

When did you actually come to the decision to write the book, Murdering My Youth?   Was there any hesitation to bare your soul to the world in this way?

CADY:

Courtesy/Cady McClain

It was about five years ago that I started to write the story, and I originally started writing it as a fictional tale.  I wrote the entire book in the perspective of a third person, and then in the last year people kept pushing me to make it my story.  That was really terrifying.  I kept feeling like I had to warn everybody in the first few pages.  I would be saying, “Don’t worry if this upsets you!”  I put all these codicils in the front of the book to sort of make it OK for everyone, and that was a real process.  Probably the last year of writing the book was the hardest.  I wrote it because I had to, because I lived with this story inside me for so long, and for some reason writing it was not just cathartic in the way it released it, because I have been dealing with it and releasing it for my entire life.  For me it was about putting the personal into an artistic form, especially when putting it into words.  It becomes a story that no longer belongs to me; it belongs to the world.

MICHAEL:

You talk about the horrors and difficulties you suffered at the hands of your parents.  As a child actress, and throughout your early career, your mother would live off the money you made.  Did you feel at some point you were carrying mother around as a baggage, since you were in essence financially supporting her?  Were you still able to still find inside your heart love for your mother?

CADY:

Well, I absolutely loved her, and I felt she was my responsibility.  She was like a crazy child, and sweet and adorable in a lot of ways.  I remember doing a drawing when I was a little girl of a giant elephant on the back of a young girl, and that’s how it felt.  The elephant was just terrified.  I felt incredibly grateful that I could be strong and take care of her, but at the same time the things she did that were wounding were very hard to understand.  Also, the reason I wrote the book was to come to some compassion for her since she was wounded very deeply as a little girl.  I wanted to think of her as a person, and not as a mother who had to be fully responsible to a child … that was me.  By doing that, I felt more powerful, and more at peace.  I had to do the same thing with my dad. They were adults … but they were children.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

The sexual abuse early on in your life from your father you carried with you into your professional soap career, because you would have to play, as any leading actress would, love scenes!   How did you conquer the fear that would come with that given the traumatic event in your life?

CADY:

My very first love scene on TV was with Michael Knight (Tad, AMC).  I was stiff as a board and I was terrified, and this is one of the reasons I will be so grateful to Michael ‘till the day I die.  He was always incredibly intuitive and sensitive to me as a young girl.   He was incredibly kind.  He understood, and that helped me a great deal.  What was harder was when the production couldn’t make any adjustments for me!  Even when my mom died, I was working five days a week, and kicking holes in the wall from the stress and the difficulties of everything.  They wrote scenes where men would grab me and drag me across the room, and they had a stunt coordinator, and thank God for him!  He got me, and he saw me freaking out!  The funny thing is being here at Y&R and starting to have some love scenes again … I have to admit I was nervous.  I hadn’t done love scenes in a while.  I had just gotten married, and so thank God for Peter Bergman (Jack)!  Peter is a total gentleman, and we had these conversations.  And this is the thing … I sought out the help of good men.  Good men will help you get through this crap.  So thank God for the good men here, and at home, who allowed me to have my fear and work through my fear.  The whole point is… you’ve got to get to the other side!  I don’t want to stay stuck in hell.  I like sex!  I don’t want to live as a victim of one experience.

MICHAEL:

… And in the book you detail that while at AMC was when you were having the hardest time emotionally.

CADY:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Yes.  It was prior to my mother’s death, and leading up to that.  I was cutting my hair all the time!  I don’t know if anyone remembers the “Many Looks of Dixie”. (Laughs)  I almost had my hair shaved off!   It’s a funny thing.  A woman’s hair is her mane … her sense of power.  You can always tell how a woman is doing by her hair! (Laughs) Like, “Oh! She’s a bit Cruella de Vil today!”  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

It’s interesting that in your book, and when you read other performers stories, they always seem to get the acting, or performing bug, early on when they are children; when they receive an instant form of gratification when they perhaps sing, dance, or impersonate someone in front of the family, and see that they can entertain.

CADY:

There is a sentence in the book: “This is how performers are made. It’s when you can affect the happiness of another person by your entertaining.”  It’s how I became an actor.  I would tap dance and people would be happy.  It was like, “Hey, I will dance and sing.  I am making money.  Are you happy now?  Here, take the money!”  I always think, though, that I have been a creative person my whole life in terms of the outlets of writing, filmmaking, and songwriting…

MICHAEL:

 … And Suzie F*cking Homemaker!

CADY:

Courtesy/TOLN

(Laughs) And Suzie!  And even my short film Flip Fantasia was inspired by me walking through Central Park going, “I have so much baggage!”  I was thinking that I am literally dragging a dead body, my mother, around!  And that is where the idea for the film came from.  I thought I will turn this into a comedy, because it’s so bad that if I don’t laugh, what am I going to do?   I am going to jump off the Brooklyn bridge.  And that’s not cool; we don’t want to do that!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What has been the reaction you have received from people that have read Murdering My Youth?  Have others shared their personal stories with you?

CADY:

People with mothers who beat them, or people that were raped as children, all kinds of people have written me very, very personal stories; and how they have lived with this sense of fear as adults, and feeling alone, and unconnected to other people.  I think for me, one of the greatest gifts of this book was my way to not have anybody feel as alone as I did.  What makes us happy is to feel connected to one another and understood, and that sense of connection and understanding that makes life worth living.  You can move forward from things.  For me, to have that response from others was great.

MICHAEL:

Your sister is mentioned throughout this book, and in your story.  It seemed at times you were the one to take the brunt of the abuse from your parents.

CADY:

Courtesy/CBS

My sister gave me permission to write this book, but she was by no means unscathed from the horrors.  I just did not tell her story; this is my story to tell.  My sister deserves her privacy.  She is not a public person, and she is not on television, but we did go through this very much together.

MICHAEL:

You mention well-known former Hollywood children’s agent, the late Iris Burton. What a potty mouth on her!

CADY:

She was a children’s agent and my first agent for close to six years.  I remember she would say crazy things like, “Let me see your feet, honey!” or “Never wear that T-shirt again.”  She kind of was the beginnings of Suzy Homemaker! (Laughs)  Iris was kind of a monster.

MICHAEL:

Has your husband Jon Lindstrom (Kevin, GH) read Murdering My Youth?  Was he aware of much of your personal stories before you revealed them publicly?

CADY:

He knew some of it.  Most of the times he would want to hold me for a long time.  He is a great guy and a great hugger, too.  The love of a good person can really make things alright, and maybe that’s why in soap operas we tell stories about love.  We are all looking for that!

MICHAEL:

Everyone knows from your past work that you often have very high stakes and emotional scenes!  Do you think your work on the soaps has been, in a way, cathartic for you?

CADY:

Courtesy/CBS

It is not therapeutic; it’s an art form.  I love when a scene is well-structured and  well written, and I have a good scene partner and a good director.  It’s like a dance.  It’s dancing and everyone knows their steps.  It’s like Dancing with the Stars!  There are steps you must follow, and if you screw it up, you can screw up the whole dance.  There are times it can drain you.  I remember there was a time on As the World Turns where I was crying every day for five weeks straight about this baby.  I was ready to throw the baby out the window!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

In a recent interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Y&R head writers Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman discussed your work as Rosanna on As the World Turns as one of the reasons they knew you could play the part of Kelly Andrews.   Rosanna had an edge.  Does knowing that Jean, who was at one time the head writer of As the World Turns is writing for your character, give you hope that Kelly will be written to your strengths?

CADY:

Kelly is very different than Rosanna, or Dixie.  She is a fully adult woman with a really screwed up childhood … surprise! (Laughs)  Kelly has a lot of secrets.  I don’t see her as necessarily manipulative, but she is genuine.  She give her “male friend” Stitch a really hard time.  I was able to see in Kelly a strength inside all of that brokenness.  Depending on what they write, and Jean knows that I can do, which is awesome, this character can be terrific!  It’s nice to have people writing the show who know what I can do.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Were you surprised you got cast in the part of Kelly?

CADY:

Shocked!  Cynthia Watros (Ex-Kelly) is a powerhouse.  She was a real presence in this role, and she has a real strength about her.  So when they called me and said, “You’re in the running for the part,” I was like “Oooh!”  Then I thought: “How can I convince them that I would be right for this role?”  So, I put together this reel.  I had to prove what I can do, and I had to have people go to bat for me.  Then I had to prove myself once I got the job.  To get the opportunity is fantastic, but to keep the opportunity is very nerve-wracking! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Coming to Y&R can be nerve-wracking because there are some heavy hitters in the cast!  Did you want to make sure it did not become the “Cady McClain Show”? Sometimes it’s important in soaps, when people take over from another actress or are added into the canvas, that they are not shoved down the audiences’ throat too quickly.

CADY:

I think one of the most important things to me was to make sure that everyone here knew I respected them, and was happy to be a part of the show, and that I am not here to step on anyone’s toes, but to be an ensemble player.  This is not about me… it’s about being a member of the ensemble.  That’s how I am happiest, and that’s how I work best.  It also shows consideration for all the people who are working here for so many years.  I think everyone knows by now that I feel grateful to be here, and that I care about the show.  I want to do the work, and get out on time, and go home, and be with my husband and my dogs, and have a life.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

What is going on between Stich and Kelly?  Do you know what their “true” relationship is to one another?

CADY:

Kelly knows who Stitch is to her.  Their relationship is incredibly complex!   When their relationship is revealed, and you find out more of their history, it’s a devastating revelation for all involved.  I love working with Sean Carrigan (Stitch).  He is hilarious and really fun, and works really hard on all of his scenes.  We even text each other about how to develop our relationship more as actors working on characters.  He’s super cool.

MICHAEL:

So here you come to Y&R, and lo and behold, you are paired with your former AMC cast mate, Peter Bergman (Jack)!  What did you think about that, initially?

CADY:

The most beautiful thing is just looking at him in the glory days of All My Children, and the soaps, and being in New York when AMC was the top-rated show, and the world was young and we were all innocent.  The Internet did not exist, and we did not have cell phones!  We might as well be braiding our hair and singing love songs like hippies!  (Laughs) It was sort of post-70’s magic.  It was a magical time. When we moved down the street to the new studios, suddenly we became a corporate entity, and the show lost some of its sparkle.

MICHAEL:

How is Peter Bergman to act with?  Is he any good?  (Laughs)

CADY:

Courtesy/CBS

(Laughs) The most amazing thing about Peter is he has been here for 25 years, and you would think he just got the job yesterday.  He treats every scene with a passion and conviction, and he loves what he does.  Peter was so excited to work with me, which was so heartwarming.  We have had the same tales working with former AMC director Henry Kaplan, who was in my book.  Henry would say, “Do you love her?  Well show me!”  We would say those silly sayings to each other before a love scene to break the ice with one another.

MICHAEL:

So Kelly is truly, truly into Jack?

CADY:

She really likes him.  He is a nice guy, and sexy, and a turn-on for her.  I don’t think she knows why.  She is just drawn to him.  He is smart, and sophisticated.  Kelly is well-read and fought her way out of a tough upbringing to make herself into somebody, and to her Jack has become all of those wonderful things – confident in himself – and he has a rich history!  Apparently, Jack has been a bit of a playboy! (Laughs) Girls tend to find that very appealing … men who have experience.  It just means they know what they are doing when they get under the sheets, and that is good to know.  I prefer a little expertise, if you know what I mean! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And Kelly had now slept with Jack!  How was that? (Laughs)

CADY:

Peter and I sat around the dressing room and I said to him, and I love doing stuff like this. I said, “What do you think Kelly and Jack’s sex life is like?”  And we go, “Multiple Orgasms!” (Laughs)  Peter Bergman said that!  Why do you think Jack has had so many women!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Phyllis is coming back in the form of two-time Daytime Emmy Winner Gina Tognoni!  What do you think of Gina being cast in the pivotal role?

CADY:

I am thrilled that Gina has been cast.  I am a fan of her work, and am in awe of her talent. I can’t wait!

MICHAEL:

You know when Phyllis wakes up out of her coma she is going to come back for Jack!  And who should have her claws into her man?  Kelly!  I see fireworks!

CADY:

That seems like it’s ripe for that!  I do love a good catfight!  I remember I did one with Maura West on As the World Turns, where it was so much fun.  So we shall see what happens when Phyllis returns.

MICHAEL:

Where is Kelly at with her relationship with Billy Abbott?

CADY:

Billy has moved on, and they have made it very clear to each other that it was one time, and he made a mistake.  There is still a connection.  When you sleep with somebody you kind of know them a little bit better, and you have been intimate.  I think it’s odd now that she is with his brother, but everybody seems to have done that on Y&R! (Laughs)  These things do happen in real life, and we are trying to be adult about it.  But these stories are great because they turn into really tangled vines.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/IMDB

When you joined Y&R, David Tom was playing the role of Billy Abbott, and soon Burgess Jenkins will be taking it over.  What are your thoughts on the acting switch?  Have you met Burgess yet? 

CADY:

I met Burgess yesterday and he was lovely.  As a recast myself, I know how overwhelming the whole new world of Y&R can be!   I am looking forward to working with him and exploring more of the dynamic between these characters!  I hope I get to have a lot more with “Billy” soon!

MICHAEL:

Who in the cast made you feel the most comfortable from the minute you landed at Y&R?

CADY:

I am so grateful that Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) is who she is.  She does set the tone. She is just the loveliest star of the show.  We did a scene where she said, “I was just so mean to you, I have to hug you now!”  When I first got here she screamed to me: “Welcome to the loony bin” while wearing her slippers with her script in hand!  I just adore her.

MICHAEL:

Some fans online at first seemed to want to reject the notion of you as Kelly, and then they seemed to come around.  You are very active on social media, so what is your take on the fan’s reaction?

CADY:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

The fans online have been so supportive.  I love when people have watched All My Children, or As the World Turns, and say, “Well now I am going to watch Y&R because we love those characters, etc!”  And I am very interactive and accessible on Twitter, and Facebook, and stuff.  So I definitely read everything.  Even people at the beginning were like: “I don’t know if Cady is going to work as Kelly!”  However, they seem to be coming around, and I am so grateful for that.   I am doing a different take on the character and I am happy that they are supporting me, and their verbalization, if you will, of that support.  But I will say; message boards are not for the weak of heart.  It’s tough though, sometimes comments do hurt.  I want to say, “Please don’t hashtag me if you want to say something mean!” (Laughs)  Enjoy your meanness, but please don’t hashtag me … or my boss!

MICHAEL:

Recently, one of my favorite things you wrote on your website blog at CadyMcClain.com was the piece on your nose!  What prompted you to do that?

CADY:

So one day I was looking up most popular searches for my website blog.  So I put in “Most Popular Searches”.  It said, “Cady McClain” and then “Cady McClain’s nose”!  I thought that was so bizarre. (Laughs)  I guess it’s not a secret anymore that I have a prominent nose.  So, I thought I would address it, laugh at it, and so I wrote a blog about it.  The nose is out of the bag! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

So here you are the number one rated soap, The Young and the Restless.  Who else would you love to get the chance to work with that you haven’t had the opportunity to have scenes with yet?

Photo Credit: Courtney Lindberg

CADY:

I have not had the chance to work with Christian LeBlanc (Michael) and Greg Rikaart (Kevin). I think those guys are amazing, and Steve Burton (Dylan) is amazing!  I have not worked with him either.  There are so many good actors and actresses on this show.  It’s great to work with people who have been in the business as long as I have.  You can sort of talk to each other in short-hand, if you know I mean.  It’s like being a professional tennis player. You want to play against the best, and hit the ball back to you, and let me tell you, some of the best are right here in Genoa City.

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Harry
Harry

I had no idea Cady had such a hellacious childhood. The book sounds compelling and I will read it. And yes, I do remember she (Dixie) went through a period of changing her hair almost every month it seemed. Love, love, love reading about her experience with two of my favorite actors from daytime–Michael Knight and Peter Bergman–it always came through that both actors are very gracious and lovely.
I hope the writers can write decent stories for Kelly–she deserves it.
Thank you for the very interesting interview, Mr. Fairman.

A Baptiste
A Baptiste

Love and respect for this true star who keeps daytime alive with other greats. She had much responsibility while so young on AMC and delivered and still delivers. She is a strong, positive team player. And her book, it is brave and it has helped me, as a survivor of very similar abuse…and I am a man, these things do happen to men, too. I am so glad she is happy and I do think Cady may be part of daytime’s resurgance “in new ways” after all, bless her.

Ginger Willett
Ginger Willett

I love you and Jack together and I am thrilled you are on Y&R…hope we find out the Stitch connection soon!!!

Kim Huck
Kim Huck

This was a mistake to recast. i liked the other kelly. I really hope Phyllis never comes back

Harry
Harry

We have got to give our actors time to settle into their characters (for example–David Tom really deserved a fair chance). Cady is finding her stride and I really enjoy her scenes with Peter Bergman.

Megan
Megan

Well sorry Phyllis is coming back. So you better get ready.

Carole
Carole

I love her!

mollie
mollie

Love Cady, too! I was thrilled she was cast as Kelly. She works well with Peter/Jack, too.

My hope is that the audience gives her a minute to settle into the Kelly character and make it her own. Please, dear God, give Cady good script !

PS Susie F*cking Homemaker is a riot. Hope Cady does more 🙂

Conny
Conny

Thank you Mr. Fairman for this interview with Cady McClain. It is always nice to be ever so enlightened as to what make actors tick they way they do. You covered some sensitive material with Cady. But , also delivered it in a way that allowed to be professionally presented. Some of the the tools of Cady ‘ s personal life that was afore mentioned., I did not know. Through your interview, I’ve learned how much of an overcome Cady is and where she draws her strength from. I used to watch her as Dixie on AMC. Kelly seems like a much different character than Dixie.
I look forward to seeing how Cady will pull off the layers of Kelly and expose her us viewer in full character. I think her placement in Genoa City is a great asset to the show. So thanks again for bringing this interview to devoted fans like me.

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Cady is a class act, always has and always will be. I knew she would be perfect for the role of Kelly Andrews when they announced their decision to recast, and I was right! I paired her and Peter in my own webseries in 2012, and it’s almost as if I saw this coming from a mile away!

She is a strong woman to share her back story, and I applaud her through everything for doing it. It takes a strong and confident person to admit the things she’s admitted, while still holding strong in her own life. I applaud her for that!

Suzy F*cking Homemaker is hysterical; I love the comedic side that Cady has, and hope that Y&R will be able to play off of that in the future. Cady’s connection with the Y&R is strong and sustainable, and I cannot wait to see her inter-mingle with the rest of the heavy-hitters. She was the absolute perfect choice for Kelly Andrews, and I hope we have decades worth of material from her! Cady and Maura’s catfights on As the World Turns were always strong and fierce, and it makes me wish Maura was still Diane. But she’s doing fabulous work over at General Hospital as Ava Jerome.

I look forward to seeing Kelly interact with more of Genoa City’s elite cast; I hope she does get those scenes with Christian, Greg and Steve like she would like. Would love a friendship between Nikki and Kelly, too. I feel like Nikki could use a real girlfriend now that Katherine is gone.

Carole
Carole

Stranger things have happened like Nikki and Ashley being cordial, and Lauren and Christine having lunch together!

Izabel
Izabel

Loved reading this. Never really read too much on actors but its good to know a little about where they came from and how they translate that into roles.. Having said tthat, its hard not to judge character since all we see is their tv role. I liked cynthia watros’ version of kelly but now I tthink cady has a good chance to make the character more her own. Cozy for her and jack! Always liked her friendship with Lilly! And can’t wait to see the connection with stitch, hope its intense.

Mary SF
Mary SF

Admire her as a person and respect her as an actress, but sorry I don’t like her interpretation of Kelly. CW’s Kelly was dark, and you could tell the character was beaten down by life, but Cady’s Kelly is too light and almost bubbly that the transition is hard to adjust to.

I get the character is moving on, and has a new outlook, but I just feel something of the character’s personality was lost in the recast and I think it would have been more interesting to see CW take on Kelly learning to be vulnerable as Jack worked to bring down her walls.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Cady is doing what she can coming in at such important time in the character’s development— and perhaps it is was the writing that changed Kelly more than Cady did– yet IMHO I believe Kelly was more interesting complex character when CW played her– now I could take her or leave her.

Sherie
Sherie

Sorry, I don’t like her very much. I never liked the character of Kelly so it is hard to appreciate any one in that role. But I did prefer the original lady.

Megan
Megan

Cady is truly an inspiration to me and many others. Her book is a fantastic read that I encourage everyone to read. She’s one of a kind.

Timmm
Timmm

Cady is a huge upgrade from Cynthia. I can now believe that this Kelly and Jack would actually be together and I see Cady and Gina blowing their scenes out of the water! Cady, great job on Y&R and a greater job of overcoming your horrific childhood.

jaybird369
jaybird369

AWESOME INTERVIEW!!!!! And, as an actress, Cady McClain TRULY ROCKS!!!!!

Nikki
Nikki

Wow… Heartbreaking. Thank you for the very interesting questions.
I am not a fan of the recastt. The character has taken a very sharp turn which I don’t think is bad. The old Kelly was always angry. I think there is such a drastic change in character that you forget how Kelly first came to be. My problem is that I feel Cady is wY over the top n every scene. Not a fan f the acting.

Rapids
Rapids

How do we know if her story of abuse is true? It is easy to say bad things about the deceased.

Nita
Nita

Not so easy to think someone would make up such a horrific lie stemming from the unfortunate acts of the adults that were responsible for the care and well-being of a child. Not to speak ill of the dead, but what were the parents thinking? Just goes to show how God takes care of children and how strong it made her. I was a victim in some of the same ways, so it is not so hard to believe. What happened in your life that made you so cynical?

Rapids
Rapids

What happened in your life that you automatically believe every accusation made is true? I don’t know these people and either do you.

Lindy
Lindy

One does not normally question something like this without a good reason. What makes you think her story of abuse is not true?

Patrick
Patrick

this is my most favorite response of Ms McLain :

The most beautiful thing is just looking at him in the glory days of All My Children, and the soaps, and being in New York when AMC was the top-rated show, and the world was young and we were all innocent. The Internet did not exist, and we did not have cell phones! We might as well be braiding our hair and singing love songs like hippies! (Laughs) It was sort of post-70’s magic. It was a magical time. When we moved down the street to the new studios, suddenly we became a corporate entity, and the show lost some of its sparkle.

I love knowing and sharing with people… that I grew up in the 60s, 70s, & 80s…. before internet… before cable… before cell phones…

every thing went to heck and handbasket there after.

I cherish the memories that folks like… can recall and dream… we had the best of times.. and magical instilled

imagination, festive, endorphin, electrolytes, testosterone… whatever makes us trigger

is ours

Ms. Cady McClain : congrats on your new position @Y&R
Ms. Cady McClain : congrats on your nuptials with Jon Lindstrom
Ms. Cady McClain : you are not alone in your childhood trauma

Ms. Cady McClain : Thank you

Ms. Cady McClain : you are an invaluable presence in our genre

my best to you always

sincerely

Tracey
Tracey

Ms. McClain has always been a class act. <3 her.

General Hospital

Dominic Zamprogna Speaks Out On His Decision To Leave GH, His Final Scenes With Emme Rylan & How Dante Exited The Canvas

A few weeks ago, General Hospital fans watched as one of the series beloved stars, Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) exited the show in scenes opposite his longtime on-screen love interest, Emme Rylan (Lulu).  For nine years, Zamprogna brought authenticity, emotion, and heart to the son of Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero) to life.  While Dante’s journey started out with a bang, literally (thanks, Sonny!), over the years it appeared he was taking a backseat in meatier storylines.  All the while, Dante and Lulu remained one of the more popular duos with the viewers.

After much reflection, Zamprogna decided it was time for him to walk away from a place that became his second home.  His desire now shifted to play different characters in different projects, but it was not without taking many things into account with his life-changing decision.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Dominic to glean more insight into: if there was anything GH could have done to make him sign on the dotted line again, what went down to make those final scenes seem so rushed, how it was to say goodbye to his co-workers in front of the camera and behind the scenes, if he would consider a return at some point, and how would he feel if GH now planned on recasting Dante, and much more.

For us; we recall meeting Dominic for the first times just six months into his time at General Hospital for our first interview together.  We were instantly struck by his sincerity, humor, and his eagerness to learn from some of the best in the business.  Now exiting as a “soap vet“, per se, it is a full-circle moment that we had the time to conclude his GH journey with this conversation.  Here’s what Dom had to say about it all.

What were the factors that contributed to your decision to exit GH?  Was there a pivotal moment where you were feeling, and recognizing, that you were underutilized that you felt you needed to make a change? 

DOMINIC:  When you named me the “Most Underutilized Actor of 2017!” (Laughs) Well, my plan was never to stay forever.  But half-way through my second contract,  Emme Rylan (Lulu) and I were approached by our producer on set, who said words to the effect of: you guys have been on the sideline, time to get you into the game.  That led to the Dante cheating storyline, which gave us story for about a year … which was great!  But as that ended, so did any subsequent storylines, it seemed.  In the year that followed, I started entertaining thoughts of leaving.  By the next year, I started talking about it with my wife, Linda, who had started to notice that maybe I wasn’t happy anymore, and I wasn’t.  That’s not a good feeling, especially if you’re bringing that energy home with you.  Then, I made the mistake of going on social media, which is a terrible place to go sometimes.  But fans were saying the same sort of things I was feeling.  Was it all due to story or lack-thereof?  No.  I was starting to crave playing other roles, and that’s hard to do when you’re under contract.

Were discussions even had with Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and the powers-that-be about your feelings of dissatisfaction over not being utilized more in storylines?

DOMINIC:  The discussions happened late.  Not until the negotiation process, actually.  I’m no squeaky wheel I guess, but I also don’t feel it’s in my job description to be one.  I did put out a few ideas here and there, but they didn’t happen.  I know other actors have tried the same and it didn’t lead to anything for them, either.  I was a creation of Bob Guza (former head writer, GH), and maybe I was spoiled by the amount of great writing I received while he was there.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

There had to be some sadness in walking away from GH.

DOMINIC:  Oh yeah… it was sad.  I built that character, and now here I was walking away from it, and essentially my second family.  That’s been the hardest part.  Lifelong friendships were made, and memories.  However, it’s been over a month and a half since I’ve been at GH and I feel happy.  I’ve been up in Canada shooting Tin Star, which has been a great experience.  I’ve stayed in touch with everybody and I miss everybody, in fact, I just spoke to Mo (Maurice Benard) yesterday, and I’m in class with Emme (she won’t leave me alone).  But, I feel like I made the right choice for me at this moment.

To clarify; were you actually trying to work out a deal to stay put, but both sides just could not hammer things out to a satisfactory conclusion?

DOMINIC:  We did try to work out a deal.  After more talks and conversations, I felt maybe we were going to get things done.  I was being told things would change and maybe shift things in the direction we wanted to go.  But at the end of the day, it’s gotta be in writing.  I feel like I’d been told similar things in the past which hadn’t come to fruition.  I was also reminded that it was me who needed to sign my name on that dotted line and live with that decision, and I chose not to do so.

If someone would have said to you: “We have an “A” story for you, and you are going to be driving it,” would you have been more apt to stay?   

DOMINIC:  There was talk about us sitting down and talking about storylines, but that didn’t end up happening, not sure why.  And even if it did, I don’t know that it would’ve changed my mind about leaving, anyway.   But just to be clear: I have no anger towards anybody.  It’s all a business at the end of the day.  Both sides did what they felt was right.  For me, I just felt this chapter had come to an end.

Photo: ABC

When, and how did you tell on-screen scene partner, Emme Rylan that you were leaving?  Was she happy for you and your decision?

DOMINIC:  Emme knew really early on.  Once January rolled around I was like: “I have been thinking for the last six to nine months that I am going to go.”   I wanted her to know, because we have been a couple for five years on the show.  Emme was very happy for me.  I went, “Wait a minute!  Don’t be this happy.  I’m leaving.” (Laughing)  

What happened when you told your on-screen mom, Lisa LoCicero ?

DOMINIC:  She was sad, but she is also said, “You’re in your prime, go see what’s out there!”   I wouldn’t have done this move if I did not get support at home.  My wife is the rock and the one that makes this household go.  Some things outside the show were starting to happen; I had a nice screen-test for a pilot, and then I booked these four episodes of Tin Star.  When you have choices in life; you have power and control over your future.  I think Emme and Lisa as actors realized that.  That’s what made them happy for me … for the future.  The last nine years were exciting.  However, when you can have a little bit more say in what you are doing on a day to day basis, that is empowering.  So, in saying, “no” to something, and saying, “Thank you, but that’s not what I am looking for right now,” that can feel good.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

It was a shame that through all the regimes that they rarely wrote any scenes between Dante and his father, Sonny.  What was Maurice Benard’s reaction when you told him you were leaving?

DOMINIC:  It has been pretty publicized that he and I were dissatisfied at the lack of  storyline, or scenes together.  Maurice asked the powers-that-be, “Why aren’t we working together more?”  We never had a clear answer as to why.  He didn’t know from one day to the next what was happening with my contract talks.  Mo saw me smiling one day and asked, “So does that smile mean you’re staying?”  And I said, “No, that smile is because I’m leaving.” (Laughs)  I said that more to mess with him, and make him sad.  He said, “As long as you are good financially, then I am all for anybody getting out of here and seeing what else is out there.” Really, Mo talks people into leaving so he can get more screen-time. (Laughs)

Let’s talk about the final airshow, and the story that came out of left field to facilitate your exit.  Was that written quickly to accommodate a shooting schedule or contract completion?  It felt rushed to the viewing audience.

DOMINIC:  Left field is right!  I still had a week and a half left of work when they found out I wasn’t going to re-sign, and within twelve hours I had six exit scenes written.  So, it wasn’t done to facilitate anything but a set (Lante’s house), I think.  My final tape date was May 18th, and Emme and I had scenes on the Wednesday or Thursday before that.  I guess they wanted my last scenes that aired to be with Emme, and that might have been the only scheduling day that worked for the set and the actors, and maybe that’s also why it felt so rushed.  All I could assume is that they didn’t think I was really going to leave so they didn’t plan for it, or they chose to protect themselves in this way, by not making a big deal about it.  I had another week of scenes in the PCPD with Chase (Josh Swickard) and Michael (Chad Duell) that was shot afterward.  But they had nothing to do with Dante’s “secret mission!”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I thought, “Wait!  Is that it?  Is this Dominic’s final show?  Dante doesn’t say goodbye to his mother… his father … or his son, Rocco?

DOMINIC:  Yeah, that was tough for me.  After 9 years you think you’re going to get a little bit better of a send off.   You also, hope they’re going to honor the character.  Dante wouldn’t leave to go to the 7-eleven without saying goodbye to his mother and kids.   Maurice and I talked about that.  He said, “I guess, they don’t want people to feel really sad.  You and me doing some goodbye scenes, people are going to be devastated.”   I agree with that.  However, I also think it’s a soap and that’s what fans want … good, ole drama.  I would have loved to have had scenes with Sonny, Olivia, and Dante’s kids, but when you make a decision like this, how you leave on-air is not up to you.  Both parties are going to handle it how it’s best for them.   I was very grateful they gave Emme and I something to seek our teeth into. 

They were very sad scenes.  You are one of those actors that can take the material and connect with it while delivering it in a very subtle and heartfelt way.  How was Emme after your final scenes?

DOMINIC:  She was kind of crying the whole time, going “Damn you! Damn you.”   I was having fun with it, because I love making Emme cry.  It’s not a very difficult thing to do.  (Laughs).  We were both pretty teary-eyed, actually.  Then, when we finished the scenes and I looked over and I saw how upset the crew was, that’s what really got me.  Barbara, one of the camera operators actually jokingly apologized; suggesting that if my last shot was blurry it was my fault!  As an actor, when you make the crew feel something it kind of gives you some extra good feels. That was always the best feeling, talking to Craig (our stage manager), or Donna (head of makeup department) after a scene to get the honest truth on how you did.  I’ll miss them.

Courtesy/ABC

Viewers, watching Dante have this flashback about the guy who was responsible for Lulu going overboard the Haunted Star a few years ago, probably needed a moment to connect the dots.  Some viewers were going, “What?  Dante is going after the guy that tried to drown Lulu from two years ago?”

DOMINIC:  When I read that in the script even I went, “What?” Who’s that?”  I had no idea, either. (Laughs)

Then there was this:  Dante was so hard on Lulu for her pursuing her dream as a journalist and how it inadvertently got Nathan killed.  Then all of a sudden in your final scenes, Dante has a line to Lulu in which he says something to the effect of: I understand now – you got to do, what you got to do.  In story, prior to these scenes it was leaning more towards Dante and Lulu were going to break-up over what had recently transpired.

DOMINIC:  Which, who knows?  If Dante had stayed in Port Charles it could have been the direction they were going in.  It certainly looked like they were building toward conflict, conflict, conflict, but with me leaving it was much sweeter to leave on the note that we left on, instead of Dante leaving, because he can’t deal with being around Lulu. This all leads me to believe that they didn’t want to do anything too permanent to give them time to make the proper decisions.

Courtesy/ABC

What was the last day of shooting like for you?  Was it hard to get through?

DOMINIC:  It felt like a regular day, and my final scenes were up towards the end of the tape day. They had a cake afterwards.  Frank briefly spoke and introduced Maurice; who said a bunch of sweet words.  That meant a lot to me.  I said “goodbye” to everybody and took some photos, and that was it.  I already had my room packed up.  Once you’re ready to go, you’re ready to go.  Afterwards, I went out with Ryan Paevey (Ex-Nathan) and Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Ex-Carlos) for some beers and wings at the bar down the street.  It wasn’t until everybody came back after a two-week break that it felt real, because then I was receiving text messages from people saying, “We’re back.  Why the hell aren’t you here?”

The door has been left open for Dante to return.  Would you ever come back?

DOMINIC:  Of course, at some point.  But it might not be my choice, they might recast.  They told me they won’t, but who knows what’ll be done.  Do I think you can just recast a role?  No, I think it’s always a tough sell, but they’ve done it with bigger names/characters than mine.  I would be a little surprised, only because there hasn’t been much story for Dante in the last three years.  For me, as of now, I’ve moved on, and I’m very happy with my decision and my life.  It’s sad in other respects, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve read things that people have said on Twitter, and I want everyone to know I’ve seen it all and it means a lot to me.  People have been beautiful to me.  I’m truly overwhelmed by the love.  I thought there would be more of, “Who cares?” when fans found out I left.   I must have done something right during the years I was at GH.

Did you think when you made the decision to leave they would kill-off Dante? 

DOMINIC:  No, not at all.  I don’t think killing off Dante would be a good idea, especially after they killed Nathan, and also because of the climate we live in with police involved shootings and violence, in general.  In a perfect world as an actor, you crave the opportunity to have one last moment with the other characters that have been important to your character over the years.  That’s all I would have wanted for myself, and Dante.  I’ll take what I got though.  It was extremely meaningful because of what Emme and I had and built.  I feel we got to the heart and soul of those two characters in a pretty short amount of time in our scenes.

Courtesy/ABC

Speaking of Nathan, I think thus far those funeral scenes, which you were wonderful in, and the story arc revolving around his death, are GH’s best bet for an Emmy in the Drama Series category next year. 

DOMINIC:  I agree.  It was so well-done.  We’d all would like to go out like that!  Tragic, but it made for great TV and great soap.  It was phenomenally well-acted across the board.  Lots of Emmy reel stuff for Michelle Stafford (Nina) and Kirsten Storms (Maxie), and Kathleen Gati (Liesl), and hopefully for our directors and crew, also.  They did an amazing job bringing that to life.

This now leaves Josh Swickard as the lone cop now by default on GH.   he PCPD is notorious for being the worst cop shop in the history of soaps! (Laughs) They can’t ever solve a crime.

DOMINIC: (Laughs) I know!  What is Josh is going to do?   Maybe between Chase and Jordan (Vienssa Antoine) they will solve crimes.  Maybe, they’ll bring on a new cop.  Josh is a great guy and I enjoyed working with him.  At the beginning, we had that contentious relationship between the two guys.  That would’ve been fun if it lasted longer, where they had this continual real dislike for one another.  Who knows?  With Dante gone, maybe they will start solving some crimes! (Laughs) Maybe now the PCPD will be the greatest police unit in the USA.

Courtesy/ABC

Over your nine years at GH, would you still consider that your best storyline was coming on to the show and then having Sonny shoot Dante, only for it to turn out that he just shot his own son?

DOMINIC:  Yes, I think you have to.  That was my intro.  They had this story planned eight months before they even cast the role.  To get to that moment, was a classic soap cliffhanger.  I grew up watching soap operas with my grandparents, and if they had been alive for that scene they would have lost it, because it was something that ‘old school’ soap fans would really dig.  For me, doing that story felt so special.  ABC also pumped it with the promotion, and the promos, and the TV spots, and amped it up.  I didn’t feel it disappointed.  It was actually the audition scene that I had to perform to get the part!  Then six months later you get to say these lines that got you the part, and you hope you don’t whiff on the softball.

While putting together and producing the GH 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys, I included that moment between Sonny and Dante.  I remember watching the complete scene before editing it and the dialog was so good.  It still holds up to this day.

DOMINIC:  My manager was at the Emmys that night, and said what a great moment that was.  I meant to thank you for that, because I really appreciated it being in there.

Courtesy/ABC

Are there any other scenes that come to mind that you are most proud of?

DOMINIC:  I also really loved the scenes with Max Gail (Mike). He is a special guy.  There was so much in our scenes; where Dante finds him with Avery in the stables.  Those moments are going to stick with me for a long time.

On June 28th, the airdate of your last episode, you posted a tweet to the fans that read: “The love you guys have given me over the years and continue to give is overwhelming.  It is I that must thank YOU!”  I thought that was extremely touching and very appreciated by the fans.

DOMINIC:  I was thinking, “Man, I have to thank you, because I would not legitimately be here if you hadn’t liked this guy, Dante.”  It was bringing tears to my eyes reading what people were saying, and seeing how much love I was receiving.

Tell me about your role in the British-Canadian production of Tin Star?

DOMINIC:  It’s a recurring role,  I’ve been working on it since March.  It’s something very different from what I’ve been doing the last 9 years.  Can’t give much away, but I play a hired gun type of guy.  There are some great scenes and moments, and I was lucky enough to work with Christina Hendricks, John Lynch, and the legend, Tim Roth.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you feel now that you have had some time away now from GH, and have been playing another role, that the thought of playing Dante for you at this point is like: “Been there. Done that?”

DOMINIC:  I would never say Dante is done forever.  Right now for me, he is.  They left it open, hopefully they left it open for me, but every actor hopes that.  We want our cake and to eat it too!  I want to leave right now, but I want you to want me to come back some day.  No one wants their role to be recast.  But it’s an important character, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  Who knows what the future holds.  I left on good terms.  Just so everyone knows; I didn’t spring something on GH on the last day of my contract.  It’s important that I let people know that I didn’t just wake up one day and say, “See ya”.  This also wasn’t about money.  Sure, we want to be paid what we believe we’re worth.  But this in no way was about me asking for the moon, or I was going to leave.  It was a very, very difficult decision.

So, what do you think about how GH wrapped up Dante’s story for Dominic’s exit? Would you like him to return to GH sooner than later?  Do you think the role of Dante was problematic to write for?  What were your favorite scenes of Dom’s during his time at GH? Let us know via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Jonathan Jackson Talks Avery’s Love Quandary, Saying Goodbye To ‘Nashville’ & If He Would Return To General Hospital

With just three weeks before the series finale of CMT’s Nashville, Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson) finds himself in a major conundrum.  The woman he has loved and had a child with, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panetierre) has returned home after escaping a cult compound, just as Avery has opened himself up to the start of a new relationship with Alannah (Rainee Blake).  After not hearing from Juliette, added to the many times he felt she abandoned him and their child, will a betrayed and hurt Avery want to find a way to patch up their relationship … or try to keep Alannah by his side?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with five-time Daytime Emmy winner, Jonathan Jackson to get the lowdown on what transpired over the last few episodes and how it may end for Avery, as we inch closer and closer to having to say farewell to the Music City drama.

Since Nashville wrapped its sixth and final season a few months back, General Hospital fans have been wondering and hoping, if now is the time that Jackson would return to his role as the beloved Lucky Spencer, the son of Luke (Tony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis). Jackson originated the role in 1993 and stayed with the series till 1999.  He next returned in 2009 for a few years, then left again, and was cast on Nashville.  Jonathan made a special return in 2015 to appear in a storyline that reunited him on-screen with Geary one final time, before the soap icon retired from the show.  In this interview, Jackson addresses a return, some of his favorite moments of all-time on GH, what he learned from Tony and Genie, and more.

Those that follow Jackson are aware that his talent knows no bounds.  He is also focused on his music career, and his band Enation, which has been building on its success, playing recent sold out shows in Europe, while Jackson also had been on the final Nashville tour performing with the cast.  So, buckle up!  The next step in Jackson’s career will be one to watch.  Now, check out our insightful and heartfelt conversation below.

Avery is caught in a compromising position by Juliette, when she walks in while Avery is making out with Alannah, who has just has taken her top off.   What goes on in Avery’s mind at that point?  Is it, “Oh, no! I’m busted!” (Laughs)

JONATHAN:  It’s all sorts of things.  There is the visceral reaction, and then in his mind trying to figure what to do.  It’s sort of awkward, because they are in her house and her photos are everywhere (Laughs).  However clumsily and strange it is, he is trying to move on and get a life together with someone, and yet deep down he still has feeling for Juliette, which is mixed with anger and all of that.  He is having all different confusing conflicting emotions, all at the same time, and for Alannah as well.  It’s kind of a mess!

Courtesy/CMT

By the end of this week’s episode, viewers saw Avery and Juliette start to talk, with Avery letting her know just how he feels about her leaving him, and that he has decided to move out.  All Juliette is asking is that he keeps talking to her.  As Nashville moves toward its conclusion, the big question for the character of Avery will be … who is he going to end up with, if anyone?  I would assume many longtime fans would be rooting for Avery and Juliette, because they have gone through so much together.

JONATHAN:  Yes.  However, I have been receiving messages from fans, and talking to fans on tour, and they are slightly conflicted, too.  There is a lot of love for Avery and Juliette, but there is also frustration around the whole thing, and that they want Avery to move on and be happy. 

Courtesy/CMT

Where is Avery at with his relationship with Alannah?  He was getting close to her, and now she is attempting to put distance between them since Juliette resurfaced.

JONATHAN:  It’s difficult to pinpoint where Avery is at right at this moment.  There is a lot going on, and a lot of it is rooted in the fact that he went to Bolivia to try and bring Juliette home, and when she refused him that was so devastating for him.  The Alannah relationship snuck up on him. In some sense his heart is still attached to Juliette, but his mind is telling him it’s over, and that she is gone.  Avery and Alannah are connected to each other on a certain level.  It surprised both of them.  I think he has genuine feelings for her, but it’s also him pushing himself to move on from Juliette, which is something he has not been able to do.

Without Alannah, the band flounders with Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Avery, and then there is the health situation with Will (Chris Carmack).  Alannah’s presence really put a kink in Gunnar and Avery’s friendship.  She stared out with one guy, and was on her way to being with another.

JONATHAN:  Gunnar and Avery are really good friends and care about each other a lot, and it is certainly an awkward moment in their friendship.   In terms of the band, they lose Will who has been through this health crisis, and then Alannah.  The music components are kind of imploding and they are just trying to hold on to their friendship, and not have that implode along with the band.

Courtesy/CMT

Brad (Jeff Nordling) is making advances towards Alannah, and she originally tells Avery about it.  What does he think of the situation?  Now, she may do whatever Jeff wants her to do to get ahead in the music biz, since Juliette came back into Avery’s life.

JONATHAN:  I think Avery is trying to be supportive of Alannah.  It was a little bit of a blow for her to leave the band, but he generally wants to support her.  Avery has this instinct to be protective, as well.  He kind of has to hold himself back a little bit and not complain too much. He knows Alannah is an independent person, and may not want his help.  With the situation with Brad, Avery is aware of it, but she is walking into that in her own way.  It’s a moment for Avery to sort of step back and trust her that this is how she wants to go about her career.

Did you know Rainee Blake was going to be your potential love interest this season? Did you screen-test with her?

JONATHAN:  We did not screen-test together.  I think relatively earlier on I heard that this might happen, but it is one of those things were you never really know.  Often times, the writers and the producers bide their time and see how things develop as a couple, and how the audience responds to the on-screen chemistry.  You never really know if it’s going to materialize.  I actually did like how Avery and Alannah started to connect on the tour bus several episodes ago. The audience got a tease of a different side of Alannah, and Avery kind of brought that out.  Rainee was great to work with.

Courtesy/CMT

You have gotten the opportunity as Avery to tug on the heartstrings, as a dad raising his little girl, Cadence, all by himself, with a the runaway mother who never shows up.  How was the journey working with Hayden Panetierre?  You two had to battle, bicker, fight, and had to play all these ups and downs together to make the story work over many seasons of Nashville.

JONATHAN:   It was really amazing, and for me that is one of the things I will miss most about working on the show, and that is working with Hayden.  It’s such an interesting thing when you work with people for so many years, and all of the emotional ups and downs that the characters go through.  Often times, we would be doing a lot of intense and emotional scenes, but for whatever reason, we would find a way to have a lot of fun and find the humor when we are doing those.  I have a lot of love and respect for Hayden.  I think she is incredibly talented. We both started off in soap operas (Hayden was Lizzie on Guiding Light) and thus had a certain approach to our work, and our work ethic.  For me, it’s always a highlight in my career when I get to work with somebody that the scene is already great, because of the person you are working with.  We would constantly share ideas back and forth between us.  The thing about working on Nashville was the friendships we developed in the cast, especially going on tour with the cast and to experience all of that with everybody else.

Courtesy/CMT

What happened when you found out that this sixth and final season of Nashville would be its last?  Did you have any idea that this was coming down the pike when you wrapped season 5? 

JONATHAN:  No.  I don’t think anybody knew when we wrapped season 5.  We did not know till right before everybody else that this was going to be the last season.  We were in production maybe halfway through season 6.  I think that it helped having that time to adjust, and it gave us some time for reflection.  It really did help in a sense, because you know other shows they might wrap a month, or two later, and it’s over.  You don’t get to say goodbye, but we really did.  We got to say our goodbyes.

Courtesy/CMT

I can imagine that was heartbreaking.  When you think of the rollercoaster ride you and the cast had been through together which included: the cancellation by ABC, then the show coming back on CMT, only for it to be cancelled again, it’s quite a lot to deal with and not knowing if there is job security.  Do you recall your last day on the set?

JONATHAN:  I do remember it very well.  There were a lot of beautiful moments with people, and having so much love for the crew and so many amazing people that worked on the show.  We wrapped on April 10th and then we flew to the U.K. on the 12th   It was two days later that the tour started.  Even though filming was over, we were on a plane and then on a bus together, which was really good for all of us.  I know it was for me to have another ending.  In some ways, the end of the tour was even more emotional, because that really felt it was the end.

Photo Credit: CMT

Do you think there were more stories to tell on Nashville … or, do you think the series is going off the air when it should, as the stories can tend to get repetitive on any long-running series? Do you think this was the right time for Nashville to say goodbye?

JONATHAN:  I don’t know how other people’s perspectives are about it, but I know from my perspective, I think we told the story that was there to be told for these characters.  That is sort of the bittersweet reality of it.  It’s painful to say goodbye to a lot of people that I had become very close to, but at the same time, there was a sense of peace about it.  It really did feel like the right time.

What can you say tease about how Nashville concludes? The series finale airs on July 26.

JONATHAN:  One of the hardest things about being in a long form series; whether it be in the primetime format, or the daytime format, is often times the lack of resolution that takes place. You are pertually in Act 2 and in all the drama.  So, knowing that the show was over, allowed the writers to approach everything from the perspective of the end, and Act 3.  Certain storylines have resolution, and others are left open-ended.  There is a good overall balance from the writers of what the audience is going to experience with the end of the show.

Courtesy/ABC

I produced the General Hospital 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys.  I remember looking at some of your storylines and touching performances all over again that still hold up to this day.  One in particular was Lucky pulling tough love on Luke (Tony Geary) during his father’s intervention.  Lucky is such a valuable character on the canvas.  Would you consider going back to GH? 

JONATHAN:  My perspective on that is; I don’t really put that off the table.  I really don’t have plans to do that, because after coming off six years on a series, that is a lot.  I am definitely looking for other projects that have an Act 1, 2, and 3, that happen a little sooner than Nashville did.  I always have going back to GH on the table, because it’s like a family for me.  I have always said that that even when I left in the 90’s; that GH would be something I would come back to.  But, I am very committed and excited about what is happening with Enation, and excited about some other projects that are out there on the acting front. I don’t see going back to GH in the near future, but I never write it off.

When you last returned you did come back to be part of Tony Geary’s exit.

JONATHAN: Yes, yes, which I was really happy to be a part of.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Still years later, when you think of all the stories you portrayed as Lucky, is there one, or two that stand out to you among the rest?

JONATHAN:   There are many.  There were a lot of stories, and the writers wrote so much material, and that is a double-edged sword.  It’s great to have, but it was so much that I really couldn’t continue. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: ABC

I remember saying to you years ago, “You cry so well on camera. They are going to keep expecting you to cry, and they will be throwing scripts like that to you every day!”

JONATHAN:  And that is exactly what happened!   But for me, it’s the moments with the co-stars that I will always carry with me.  There are endless ones in my memory with Tony Geary. “The intervention” was certainly one of those moments.  I had those moments as well with Tyler Christopher (Ex-Nikolas, now Stefan, DAYS), and Becky Herbst (Elizabeth).  I remember having these scenes with Maurice Benard (Sonny) when scenes on the soaps were much longer.  And of course, earlier on, with Genie Francis (Laura) as well.  I feel like as an artist, I was really formed by Tony and Genie’s presence and observing them and watching how they worked.  I asked so many questions to them as I really wanted to learn.  They really protected me in so many ways, and yet gave me the freedom to try to find my own way through a whole process as well.  Those are the things that really jump out at me, as well as working through the scenes prior to filming, especially with Tony.  He and I would go pretty deep with what we were trying to figure out; what the scenes were, and what they were about, and how to approach it.  That part of the process was really memorable to me.  The unique thing I think in this industry for me was that I started at 11-years-old and got to come back to the show in my mid-20’s, and got to have that connection with another actor, and explore this father and son relationship.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I don’t think, and I really mean this, that there has been a father/son relationship on television like Luke and Lucky’s.   It was so multi-faceted.   Have you stayed in touch with Tony?

JONATHAN:  We definitely stay in touch.  Again, when I left General Hospital, I did not know if anything like that would happen again in my career where I would form sort of long-lasting friendships with people.  Most of the time you do a film and you get to know some people, and you go your separate ways, and that’s just how it is.  So I was really grateful for Nashville, because I feel like we were able to have those long-lasting relationships. I can’t really put into words my relationship with Tony.  It’s just a lot of love and gratitude, and respect that I have for him.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagram

Meanwhile, your music career is very exciting of late.  Last month, you played the Royal Albert Hall in London with your band, Enation.  How was that experience?

JONATHAN:  It was amazing.  I went overseas with the Nashville tour and then Enation did a couple of shows, and then we opened for Echo & the Bunnymen.  The last gig on that tour was at Royal Albert Hall.  I have loved Echo & the Bunnymen for such a long time, and so this was wonderful for us.

Will Enation be touring more coming up?  

JONATHAN:  We are looking to go back to Europe later this year, or the spring of next year, and are working out those details.  We are going to be touring in the United States later on this year.

Photo: JJacksonInstagram

Did your wife Lisa (Ex-Hannah, GH) meet up with you on this recent European tour?

JONATHAN: The Nashville tour ended in Ireland, and then my wife and kids came over for the last two shows there. Then, got to go around Ireland for a couple of weeks and drive around, and it was fun.

Did you notice a difference between the European music fans of Nashville as opposed to those in the U.S.?

JONATHAN:  Yes, and no.  One of the things I have noticed playing over there is that the distinction in musical genres isn’t quite as a sharp as it is in the U.S.  Over there, the radio seems to play a lot different kinds of music.  So, it was a pretty seamless transition for a lot of the people that came to the Nashville show.   We see a slight difference in the music fan base, and it mainly has to do with that they may go to a country show one week, and a couple of weeks later go to a rock concert, and not think twice about the genre.  It’s just they are looking for good music.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagramm

Hard to believe we are turning the page on another great character played by Jonathan Jackson as Nashville heads towards its finale.  What would you like to say to the fans, the #Nashies, who have loved, and have stuck with show every step of the way?

JONATHAN:  Just a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all the support, especially when the show was cancelled.  CMT saw the enthusiasm and support from the fans here and internationally, and that was a huge part for us to be able to get the last few seasons.  It has really meant a lot to us creatively to write that 3rd act, sort of speak, and have that sense of closure. I also would just say to the fans that have come out to the Nashville concerts as well, that it has meant so much.  We feel like we have had some beautiful moments with everybody, and so I am very grateful for that.

So, what do you think will happen to Avery at the end of Nashville?  Do you want him to end up with Juliette, Alannah, or by himself? Should GH try to lure Jonathan back to the his role as Lucky Spencer? Comment below!

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Interviews

Y&R’s Peter Bergman Talks On: Jack Finding His True Biological Father, His Co-Stars, And If He Would Like A New Love Interest

On The Young and the Restless turns out Ashley (Eileen Davidson) is not the only child raised as an Abbott; whose father is not John.  As viewers learned back at the end of March, Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) is not the biological son of the Abbott patriarch, either!  This has sent Jack on a pursuit to find out who he truly is, and who he truly belongs to, because being John Abbott’s (Jerry Douglas) son meant everything to him.

Once again, this story has given multi-Daytime Emmy winner, Peter Bergman an opportunity to play the complex layers of one of daytime’s best characters.  Recently, Jack had gone through his mother Dina’s (Marla Adams) old diary, where there was a key page missing out of it.  He then located a photo, which led him to believe that none other than late Phillip Chancellor II (played by the late Donnelly Rhodes) is his real father.  Is Jack a Chancellor?

Hell-bent on exhuming the body for DNA proof, Jack is getting massive pushback from just about everyone on Genoa City.  It is not helping the situation that Dina is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and her recollections of what transpired years ago when she had an affair, may not be accurate.  Now this week, Jack has a plan that may backfire and ends up involving his son, Kyle (Michael Mealor) in the process.  Will these two work together to get the proof of the truth?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with the actor’s actor, Peter Bergman to get his take on: the surprise story twist he never saw coming, if Jack has the purest of intentions, or if he is just chomping at the bit get his hands on Chancellor Industries, if he would like to see Jack have a new love interest, and more.  It’s always a treat to speak with Peter.  Here is what he had to say about Jack’s latest inner-turmoil.

Jack is not John’s Abbott’s son.  He is searching for the answer of who is his biological father.  Now, Jack believes he has found the answer in the photo he found that included Phillip Chancellor II, and then went to Dina to confirm the answer, even knowing his mother is battling Alzheimer’s disease.  Don’t you think he jumped on this notion of Phillip being his dad all too son?

PETER:  Jack has stumbled upon evidence that this is for real with the photo he found.  He went to Dina on what was a very lucid day for her, and she was pretty damn clear.  So, therefore it wasn’t just the ramblings of a lost woman.  Jack is very eager for an answer.  Could it be argued that he jumped on this as a possibility? Yes, and for a number of reasons.  First, he feels somewhat utter-less and needs to be connected to something, but he also knows his family, and the history of this family, and “Oh, my God” could that be a way out of this untethered feeling that he had.  So he is really grabbing on to this pretty quickly.  Second, it is not lost on Jack that part of inheriting all of Phillip’s traits might also bring him part of the Chancellor estate, which would belong to Jack and perhaps he could pick-up at the corporate level where he left off.  So that is exciting, but certainly not central to his thinking.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Everyone thinks from Cane (Daniel Goddard) to Jill (Jess Walton), to Billy (Jason Thompson) , that all Jack truly wants is to stake claim as an heir and to try to take control of Chancellor Industries.  Are they that far off from the truth?

PETER:  How honest is Jack being with himself?  We will find out!  He would want to stake his claim … and maybe a little bit more!

What was your reaction when you learned that Jack would be revealed to be the son of Phillip Chancellor II, when for decades you have been playing so much of what drives your character that he is the son of John Abbott?  Were you like, “What!??” (Laughs)

PETER:  I have been doing this much too long, to go “Why?”  I, quite frankly ask, “Where do you want to go with this?  Where do you want to take me?” The things that I have done in the past that I have fought the most have usually been the things that really led me somewhere.  I tell the story all the time of John Abbott dying.  They decided to bring him back as Jack’s conscious, and he would appear in scenes with Jack and talk to him.  I thought “C’mon. This is The Young and the Restless, and I am doing a ‘ghost’ storyline?”  I fought it and I didn’t like it, and I was wrong.  It was fantastic, and it worked great, and the audience liked it.  I learned from it.   I don’t go, “Whaaat?” that much anymore.  There have been a few of those including: the whole doppelganger story, while it confused me at times, and I thought this had gone a few steps too far, but it led us to Billy/Phyllis/Jack story. It was a direct line to that, and one of the most dynamic storylines I have ever been in.  So, I see this current story, and I go, “That is an interesting turn.”  Then, as an actor, I dig into it.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Jack wants to exhume Phillip’s body and everybody from Jill to Cane is objecting.  Esther (Kate Linder) is worried Mrs. C. will roll over in her grave if he does this move.  As we will see, Jack does not take “no” for answer.

PETER:  Jack eventually all but gives up, but then a door opens slightly for him to look at this a different way   Jack reluctantly walks through that door.

Do you think Jack has ever thought of the possibility of: “What if I am the son of someone from the circus … or the former pool boy at the country club?”

PETER:  I have thought it’s amusing when I have met people who have explored their past lives. They have always been a prince or a princess. They were never menial laborers.  I think he looks back and is kind of curious.  I think Jill points it out to him that he is not at all suspicious that he is the pool boy, or the golf pro’s offspring?  He knows the tryst happened at the country club, and so the first person you think of is one of the elite of the country club. 

Courtesy/CBS

It would be such a huge devastating fall for Jack if something like that turned out to be true!  Jack so wants to belong to a family that has wealth and prestige that goes along with their name.  I wonder what it would be like if he had to say, “Yes. It’s true.  I am the pool boy’s son!” (Laughs)

PETER:  I don’t know how that would fit Jack.

How is working with the latest Kyle, you’re on-screen son, played by Michael Mealor? The part had been recast multiple times and the actor didn’t stick.

PETER:  I cannot say enough good things about Michael.  This is an extremely disciplined, very talented, and very professional guy.  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him.  I think he is doing a great job.  Michael gets looser every show.  He likes to take big chances and try a lot of things.  We have had a lot of young actors on the show and what they do is try to project that they are cool.  They don’t go outside of the, “I’m going to be cool, and honest, and real.”  They say, “I am going to be solid, and make simple choices.”  Michael takes big chances doing large stuff, and going overboard  That’s scary do to as an actor, but I watch him in scenes with Hunter King (Summer) where he is trying to appear cool, but just her physical prescience gets to him.  You can see it in his performances and it’s wonderful to watch.   It’s lovely to see in a 26-year-old and it’s fantastic.  I have high hopes for Michael.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

This version of Kyle seems to be a bit of a chip-off-the-old-block.  He can play dirty just like his dad!

PETER:  As far as where Kyle is at … he is like Jack Abbott.  He is not a good guy, nor a bad guy.  Kyle is a bit of an opportunist with a heart, who wants to feel a part of things, but he also takes advantage of the situation, in a way that sometimes works against that. 

We saw Jack stumble and drink again as he fights his addiction when learning the news that John is not is biological father.  Do you see him stumbling again, and going back to popping pills and booze, if Phillip Chancellor II were not to wind up being his dad?

PETER:  I don’t know if he will see him spiraling, but it is worth saying for someone who is a constant and has a had guiding light of  ‘what’s right, and what’s wrong” and that now has been taken away from him essentially when John Abbot goes “Jack!”, that is a game-changer.  What we can expect from Jack now may change.  Jack isn’t as bound by “what would dad do” as he once was.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, we may be surprised with a turn in attitude from Jack?

PETER:  You may be surprised.  So much of his life, and certainly so much of what I play is that Jack has spent his whole life trying to be like John Abbott, because John Abbott is his father.   Now that is not so. So, how much effort should Jack be putting in to being like John Abbott?

Good point!

PETER:  It will be interesting to see where that goes!

We have seen many actors in the soaps portray drug and alcohol addiction. When Jack’s played itself out originally, it was one of the most harrowing to watch.

PETER:  He got to a dark place very fast.  It was out of control.  It was an important part of the Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) and Jack story, because he honestly did not have the strength to do it by himself, and he had somebody to help him through it   As it turned out, it was a formative experience for Jack and for Phyllis; one that they carry with them for the rest of their lives. They know things about each other that the rest of the world does not know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Billy recently read Jack the riot act, when Jack told his brother about being Phillip Chancellor’s son.  Having had it with Jack, Billy threw him out of his office.  Where do you think the relationship stands between the brothers at this point?

PETER:  It’s really hard for Jack.  He is still on the board at Jabot.  He has family ties there, and he still gets the checks, but it feels so weird for him, it really does.  He is trying to be a bigger man and let Billy do what Billy is going to do.  Deep down inside Jack has known Billy for a really long time, and when Billy sort of combusts, boy, does he go! Jack hates that Billy is holding the reins of Jabot, if things fall apart for Billy.

Viewers are seeing Billy turning to gambling again.  What would Jack do if he finds out what is happening to his brother?

PETER:  I don’t know what he could do.  I am not sure what he could do to stop the CEO of the company as things currently stand.  It’s hard for Jack to relax around Billy. It’s not a promising situation.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you think the Jack and Bill will ultimately be there for each other when the chips are down moving forward?

PETER:  Jack has a soft place in his heart for addicts for reasons we both know, and a soft spot for family.  It will be interesting to see how well Jack’s patience holds up, if Billy should go down that particular rabbit hole.

Do you think Jack might visit Chancellor Park and have a chat with the late Katherine about the revelation about Phillip and Dina?

PETER:  I think Jack is really trying to be realistic about all of this.  It could clearly be proven, but he is impatient.  He could wait for Chance and Phillip III to come back from their Himalayan trip, but he does not want to wait.  It’s just so easy if everyone would be practical about this, and get some fragment of Phillip’s remains, and there would be a DNA test.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Jack’s nemesis, Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) is having a lot of issues, too.  This includes his mysterious health diagnosis …

PETER:  Oh, damn! (Laughs)

How does Jack feel about Victor these days and the plight that he is in?

PETER:  Jack has such contempt for Victor.  However, Jack can occasionally see that Victor is important to some people, but Victor to Jack is everything that is wrong in the world.  As to the fact that he is struggling right now, does Jack wish bad physical health on him, or anybody?  No. However, if things didn’t go easily for Victor, Jack would not lose any sleep over it.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Don’t you think it’s time for Jack to have a real, honest-to-goodness, love interest?

PETER:  Jack should have a new love interest.  I think the writers and the producers of The Young and the Restless are paying me a lot for half of what I do.

Jack should find true love.  Someone who will be with him and whom he loves with all his heart, and someone who loves him back, flaws and all.  A romance where he is not manipulating her, or she is not manipulating him, for financial or corporate gain.   Do you think at this point that is even possible?

PETER:  I think that would be a swell thing, but that would be a daytime show investing in an actress that is over 40-years-old.  They have done it, but it’s a rare thing.  But yes, I do feel like we are seeing two-thirds of Jack.  There is another third of him that is completely unexplored and that’s a shame.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

We saw those heartbreaking scenes that aired last year where Jack had to admit to Ashley that his mother has Alzheimer’s.  How is he going to continue in his relationship with Dina knowing she has had multiple affairs throughout her life, and when married to John?

PETER:  This is a real difficult place for Jack.  Obviously, he has his mother back in his life in one sense, but his mother has been responsible for pretty much everything that has gone wrong in his life over the last two years.  It’s just one thing after another.  Had his mother been faithful to John, Jack would not be in this situation.  Had his mother not returned, we could have gone on with life as it was, and now all this mess is in part Dina’s doing.  Now, Jack has moved out of the house and so his mother is slipping away by the minute, and Jack is not around for it.  He keeps visiting, and he keeps stopping by, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough.  Jack struggles with that a lot.  He should be more in Dina’s life and be around for that, but being around for that means being in the Abbott house.  Everywhere he looks are reminders that he is not who he told himself he is for his entire life.

One of the more endearing moments came at this year’s Daytime Emmys, after Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R) took to the stage to accept her award for Outstanding Lead Actress.  She thanked you while you were in the audience.

PETER:  This is in keeping with my new plan for the Emmys each year,  What I do is: I try to get a nomination so that I can sit in the audience after I have lost and hear the winner for Lead Actress thank me personally. (Laughs)  I am two for two in the last two years! (Laughs) Gina Tognoni had won that category the year prior.  Eileen Davidson is the greatest, and she has been for all intent and purposes my leading lady on Y&R.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Now, Eileen Davidson has announced, and made the decision to leave her role as Ashley.

PETER:   I can’t say enough things about her.  I adore her … I adored working with her. She is every bit as good as everybody thinks she is.  She comes to work prepared   She never needs hand- holding or spoon-feeding.  Eileen is the real deal; had she been one of Jack’s lovers that would have been over a long time ago.  The fact that she is his sister is fantastic.  Now with her exiting the show, I will miss her terribly.

In closing, viewers should watch for Jack’s next move?

PETER:  Jack is not leaving any stone unturned.  He has to figure out who he is, and desperate times call for desperate measures.

So, do you think Phillip Chancellor II is truly Jack’s biological father?  If not, who do you think is?  What have you thought of Peter Bergman’s performance in the storyline? Would you like to see Jack have a new love interest?  If so, who would you like to see the series bring onto the show to play opposite him? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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This week on Y&R, Nick reveals himself to Victor as the one who has been masquerading at J.T.! Meanwhile, Lily and Hilary are involved in a terrible car crash, and Mariah and Tessa reconnect. What did you think of Nick’s revenge plot on Victor? Watch the latest promo from CBS below, then let us know. Leave A Comment

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