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The Christian LeBlanc,Tracey E. Bregman & Max Ehrich Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

You better be a damn good actor to hold your own with members of Genoa City’s Baldwin/Fisher Family!  This fictitious clan puts the capitol “D” in dysfunction with their sordid pasts, messed up relationships, and schemes gone awry.  However, the duo of Lauren Fenmore Baldwin and her husband Michael Baldwin, are one of The Young and the Restless most enduring couples, even though they have not been together for decades.  Six years in soap time is an eternity, especially on the number one soap!

Recently, the powers-that-be at Y&R chose to age Lauren and Michael’s tot of a son, Fenmore, to a teenager (another victim of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome) and with that comes new complex problems for the Baldwins, and as it appears “Fen” may be a chip off the old block … sort to speak.  The talented Max Ehrich was cast as the new Fen, and since he has begun to air in the part he has received high marks, not only from his scene partners, but daytime fans, too.

On-Air On-Soaps had the opportunity to sit down with Daytime Emmy winners Christian LeBlanc (Michael) and Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren) and Max Ehrich to discuss how Max’s entrance on to the canvas has given this long-loving, long-suffering couple some exciting new dilemmas!  And as for Max’s Fenmore, he is turning out to be a hand full with an obsessive eye on pretty young Summer Newman, and getting into some deep trouble that will have far-reaching consequences for the teen scene and the adults, since Y&R has kicked off its very timely cyberbullying storyline.

One thing is for certain: watching and listening to Christian, Tracey, and Max together, it’s very clear why they click so well on-screen and off!  So here now, to spread a little Christmas cheer, is our conversation with The Baldwins of Genoa City!

MICHAEL:

Christian and Tracey, when you found out that Y&R was going to SORAS your on-screen son, and now make him a teenager, what were your initial reactions?

TRACEY:

Courtesy/IMDB

The funny thing is that it never occurred to me if they aged my son that we would have been married longer.  You know what I mean?  Michael and Lauren were celebrating their sixth anniversary, and I went, “How can we have been married six years and have a fifteen-year-old?” Oops! (Laughs)

CHRISTIAN:

First let me say we love Robbie Tucker, who played little Fen, but there is more that we can do now with Max, and there are a whole lot of levels we can play now, than the two of us waiting, for God sakes, for Fenmore to grow! (Laughs)  Max was good from the get-go.  Having to walk in and being thrown into the insanity is not easy!

TRACEY:

And … Max fit in from the moment he walked in, because he is insane like all of us! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Max, did you know about the quirky Fisher/Baldwin clan before you started on Y&R?  Who was the first in the clan you met?

MAX:

Y&R is my grandpa’s favorite show!  He has been watching it since 1973, but that is beside the point (Laughs).  When I had my final callback for the role of Fen, it was with Christian.  It was this really intense scene that I think they used for some other character.

TRACEY:

Yes, it was a Nick and Noah scene, and I know this because my son actually auditioned for the role of Fen.

CHRISTIAN:

It was really interesting during the casting process.  They had a whole lot of different types coming into to play 15, but they were not going to cast a 15-year-old.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MAX:

I also tested with Summer, which at the time was Lindsay Bushman.  But, coming on to Y&R has been an amazing ride so far.

MICHAEL:

Max, are you able to get Christian and the rest of the gang to simmer down before shooting a scene with you?  That can be a tall order, I hear! (Laughs)

MAX:

(Laughs) I think when we are all on set together we all feed off of our energy.  We all are very emotionally exhilarating, and so it’s always great to do a scene with these two, because I think we all just go to these levels together, and it becomes fun to make TV magic!

MICHAEL:

Were you ever intimated by the fact that you were going to play the son of three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Christian LeBlanc and Daytime Emmy winner, Tracey E. Bregman?

MAX:

I kind of put Hollywood smoke and mirrors away.  Fenmore does not know they are Emmy winners. (Laughs) So to me as Fenmore, they are my parents.  So the answer would be: no, I was not intimated.

MICHAEL:

When you envisioned the teenaged son of Lauren and Michael, were you hoping that he would be just as quirky and messed up as Lauren and Michael had been in their early days?

TRACEY:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I was always hoping that they would show the dark side of our child, because both Lauren and Michael have dark sides.  That is something they both work hard on to suppress, that comes out now and them.  So I was really hoping they would do exactly what is happening right now.   I mean, exactly!

CHRISTIAN:

What was so interesting in the audition process is a lot of these actors came right at you in the scene, and the “older” came through and so it became a very different scene.  And then Max came in to do what I consider a very difficult thing.  I thought about it because I think I was around 26-years-old playing 16 on As The World Turns.  So what Max did is he played a 15-year-old coming at his father.  This was a son coming at you, a young son. Again, I know the difficulty of that, but it was really sweet what Max did with the material in the audition.

MICHAEL:

Max, so it apparently had not been hard for you to play younger than you are. Would you agree?

MAX:

I am only playing a few years younger than myself, but that age is a very vulnerable age, and an age when so much happens.  I still find myself relating to Fen a lot.  He came on the show very innocent and wanting to oblige by the rules.  However, we all have a dark side.  I am so happy that I get to explore some darker territories of the character, and that is fun for me.

MICHAEL:

When the three of you found out that Y&R was going to launch into a ripped-from- the-headlines-of-today storyline about cyberbullying and the effects it has on the kids and the families involved, what were your thoughts?

TRACEY:

I was thrilled, because it is a sore subject and it is very prevalent in the times we live.  I think they are telling the story very well.  The storyline really has legs!  This story is going to go, and go, and go.

CHRISTIAN:

Courtesy/Nickelodeon

And it’s unexpected!  Fenmore is not the “bully-ee”!  This could be set up any number of ways, but I think the writers did a great job of setting up this story so well for this particular family.  I thought it was so interesting that they did not bring a young good looking kid on for a couple on the show as the hero.  All three of our characters are very human characters with all these very human flaws, and capable of doing the right thing for the wrong reason, or doing the wrong thing for the right reason.  The writers have given us gold, and that is something they do not dole out a lot.  You have this family that is not going to be killed-off tomorrow because they are so evil.  You have this family that people can relate to where you go, “Oh, he screwed that up, royally,” but that is very real.  Right now, Max has a very difficult thing to do as Fenmore, and he is doing it beautifully.

MICHAEL:

Fen is really fixated on Summer, so much so that now he is willing to do anything for her!  This is not good and spells big trouble!

MAX:

Everything he does is for his love for Summer.  He has this obsession with her.  Every action he does stems from that.

MICHAEL:

I think what is interesting is both Lauren and Michael have had obsessions of their own in their pasts, too!

TRACEY:

I was the object of an obsession by Fenmore’s Uncle … by the way!

CHRISTIAN:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Yeah, don’t forget, Kevin (Greg Rikaart)!  Michael is nothing without Lauren, who saved him and saved his brother… and then the focus has been this child by Michael and Lauren.  I will never forget a line we had under Lynn Latham (Ex-EP and head writer, Y&R) where Lauren says after receiving the news that she is pregnant: “We are happy Michael, aren’t we?” And Michael goes, “Are we?”  Initially it was about, “Yeah! We’re pregnant!”, and then it became about, “I don’t know how to be a good parent.”

TRACEY:

You know Lauren’s father died early on, and she had a horrible mother.  We had no role models.

CHRISTIAN:

Right.  And we did not get that standard scene with lines like, “Oh, the baby.”  It was more like, “Oh, now what?”

MAX:

I think that is awesome in a sense, and that is so realistic, especially with younger people such as 16-years-old getting pregnant.  But also at any age to have a child, I mean, I don’t know, but I am sure it’s very overwhelming.  I think what is cool about this is that if you see a family portrait, and you think it looks like perfection and if you tear apart, what is behind it is when you realize we are all human beings.  That is what it comes down to, especially for our on-screen family.

MICHAEL:

What is Fen doing?  Assisting Summer in the cyberbullying of Jamie?

MAX:

Courtesy/IMDB

Well, first I was trying to get her to stop.  Then she continues with it and he becomes the assistant!

MICHAEL:

Bullying is so prevalent among teens today, and has caused so many suicides.  Were you bullied in real-life, Max?

MAX:

Yes.  I personally experienced it.  I went to middle school in New Jersey, and I was always into the arts, and I got bullied.  I experienced it a lot.  So to be on the other end of it, the only thing that has been sort of an awakening is that a lot of these bullies are having their own internal struggle, and that is what I realized.  They may have something going on at home and they don’t know who to take it out on.  Summer is doing it because of her own struggle with her mom.  I don’t think she is a bad girl.  Fen just likes someone who is doing stupid things.

MICHAEL:

So, as the story plays out do you think this will band Lauren and Michael together as mother and father, or do you think it could cause a rift in the relationship due to how they each decide to deal with what Fen has done?

TRACEY:

Lauren sees her son as I see my son … that the sun shines all the time and the angels sing when they walk through the door no matter what they do.  As a mother, you want to see the good side of it.  I think like most mothers, Lauren will protect her son, no matter what.

CHRISTIAN:

Lauren and Michael fell in love as adults acknowledging each other’s dark side, and kind of a little fearful of their dark sides.  It’s interesting. Michael had dealt with Kevin and Terrible Tom and that history.  So Michael was being bullied by Terrible Tom, and then he left.  For Michael, it’s always truly about his ability, or inability, to protect the people he loves.  Kevin will always be that person that Michael owes, and dealing with his obsessive compulsion behavior for good, or for bad.  So how do you treat your own son after Michael let Kevin be tortured and left him?  So now, for Michael, seeing how obsessive his son has become and doing something that he despises, sets off so many red flags for him.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

MICHAEL:

Where would you like to see this storyline go?  And, how would you like to see it resolved?

TRACEY:

We want to do a musical episode!  I’m serious.

MAX:

We do want, too!

CHRISTIAN:

Max is in a boy band in real life, and he is in a show with Peter Porte (Ex-Ricky) where he sings.  So a musical could be fun.

MAX:

Seriously though, what I want is some resolution, of course.  I want Fenmore to find his heart.  He is not evil, whatsoever, but he has just fallen into a trap.  I think he will find his way out.

MICHAEL:

Jeff Branson (Ex-Ronan) left Y&R again, and from a recent interview it was reported that Jeff was to have more of the burden of this cyberbullying storyline being Jamie’s mentor.  But since his departure, it became more of Michael’s story with Fen.  Is that how this went down, Christian?

CHRISTIAN:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Ronan was mentoring Jamie.  Now I don’t know, if he was here and Ronan was dating Phyllis, how the bullying would end up?  You never know.  I so want Jeff Branson and Jennifer Landon (Ex-Heather) back on the show.  I do miss those two.  Jeff left because he is a working actor, and I do miss having him in a storyline with me. But this is how daytime is made.  You just never know how long someone might be staying put.  We all know at a certain point that what we are told ahead of time can happen, or can’t happen, because this has to be a very flexible medium, and we live real-time.  We are just so thankful that it ended up this way, and we have this amazing story to tell.

MAX:

When I heard about the storyline I would have with Summer, there is only so much you can do as a teenager on the show… such as, rebel or go drinking, or do something bad.  So when I heard this storyline and where it was going, I was very very excited.  Having Hunter King (Summer) on the show now is great, and Daniel Polo (Jamie).  They are just great actors to work with.  I know there have been a lot of changes on the show in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes since I first came on the show.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of that, how is it for you having new executive producer Jill Farren Phelps and returning head writer, Josh Griffith helming the show now?

TRACEY:

It’s been great, and the transition has been smooth and the writing has been rich and full.

CHRISTIAN:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Each one of these different producing and writing regimes has given us some terrific material.  Maria Arena Bell (Ex-EP and head writer, Y&R) gave me the chance to see Tracey do bitchy Lauren!  I have never seen her do that!  It was stunning.  We have been given good stuff, and it goes all the way back to Bill Bell (Creator, Y&R).  It’s not easy to capture lightening in a bottle.  I give credit to any person who is willing to step into those shoes, because I cannot imagine the pressure on anyone who tries to do that and write for 30-plus characters.  Now we have Jill Farren Phelps and Josh Griffith as our executive producer and head writer.  The proof is in the pudding, and they are on set and very hands-on.

TRACEY:

They are very hands-on.  When you come on set, they are there.

CHRISTIAN:

And I go, “Why are these people on my set?  I have to focus!” (Laughs)

TRACEY:

Josh Griffith watches us a lot.  I like that.  It’s to see how to write for us, I am sure. Either that, or he is going, “What the hell was I thinking?”  (Laughs)  I really appreciate it, because I remember going, “Wait a minute. Is this when I do…”  And I was able to run over to Josh for clarification, and it was great and extremely helpful to my performance.

MAX:

My favorite thing I ever did on the show was my first scene.  Tracey and I were backstage and I don’t know why it felt like a vaudeville moment, (laughs) but Tracey turned to me and said, “Welcome to the show, kid!”  It was just the way she said it.  I knew it was the beginning of fun and madness.  And outside of work, I have had Thanksgiving at Tracey’s, and at Christmas I will probably spend it with Tracey’s family. All my family is in New Jersey, so I am a Bregman now by osmosis, I guess.  (Laughs)

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

Max, what does your family think of you being on the number one soap, The Young and the Restless?

MAX:

They love it!  As I told you, my grandfather is a huge Y&R fanatic.  He has been predicting things all the time that happen in the storylines!  He will say to me, “You’re mean.  You are doing bad things.”  I have to tell him, “It’s my character, not me.”  My whole family is very thrilled.

MICHAEL:

Tracey, I truly think that Lauren is suffering from chronic PTSD, after everything she has been through with Sheila!  I mean, I would, too!

LAUREN:

Honestly, what was really cool is that I talked about being Fen’s mother.  And, the fact that I had to send him away so much because of Sheila, and it affected me as a mother, and how it continually affected me because of the things I did early on to protect my children.  “Maybe, I was not the kind of mother I thought I should be.”   These were thoughts Lauren constantly has had.

MICHAEL:

So what would each of you say is the best part of being a member one of the most fascinating TV families?

TRACEY:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The fun part is when the whole Baldwin/Fisher family is together.  I remember thinking how we are all pieces of a puzzle that fit perfectly together, but they are not perfect edges.  Some jut out, some go inward, but the pieces imperfectly fit together once they are joined together.  I just love working with the incredible talent of Max and Christian, but also they are really, really good people.  I love to come to work because of these people.

CHRISTIAN:

I always bring up the moment where Lauren and Michael were watching a concert on the show.  We are sitting there and the crew took a break, however, we are still holding hands as Michael and Lauren.  We are just talking away while the crew is on a “five”, and they come up to us and go, “Hey guys, we are on break.”   I have always had a comfort level with Tracey physically right off the bat.  We have been lucky to have this family built around the character of Michael.  When Greg Rikaart walked in, there was an immediate sense of trust, and then came Judith Chapman (Gloria).  When you see, Judith and Greg, and Tracey and I in a scene together, it feels seamless while we are doing it.  There was just a level of trust between us that was never discussed.  We never had to hammer it out.  Sometimes, chemically you really have to work hard with other actors to attain the same level, and that has nothing to do with skill.  It has to do with chemistry.  It has to do with relationships.  Then to see Max walk in, who right away had this skill level, was great. Daytime can be very difficult just because of the speed and the pace of it.  I remember thinking, “Oh, I hope they are not going to cast some freak, who will have such a problem with us?” (Laughs)  It has been such a joy to come to work, even after 20 years now.  I come through those double doors here, and like Tracey, I’ve got to tell you, I am still interested.  Even on my worst days, it’s fun to be here.  I still feel like I am on a playground!

TRACEY:

We laugh! I mean, we did a lot of scenes the other day where we had to stand in the background for the very last scene.  I think we were on set for three and half hours, and while standing there I pulled out my phone because I was done with my dialog, and up came next week’s script.  I went, “Ooh!”  I started reading it thinking, “I can’t wait to do these new scenes!”   Look, we are very blessed.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MAX:

In closing, I have worked on my fair share of projects.  I don’t think I have ever come to work and felt such a sense of family.  We are an on-screen family, but off the stage we are like an artists’ family.  We have fun, and yes, we are dealing with very serious subjects in our stories.  We always check in with each other to see if we each are O.K, and yes, we have to focus on our own intentions, but we also look after each other.  It’s just a level of comfort that allows me to go to emotional places.  It’s been great to be on a show that gives me the opportunity to work with such fun people.  I have to mention that Jill Farren Phelps and Josh Griffith have been really welcoming to me, and it could not be better.

 

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MK
MK

What happened to the story that Fen was coming out Gay, did they chicken out?

robert
robert

Interesting

Mary SF
Mary SF

Chemistry between actors is often that intangible ingredient that makes some soap relationships work and others don’t. It is obvious the actors that make up the Baldwin clan work well together and it shows on screen. And now that ME is having more scenes with CL and TB he is growing on me. I only wish he would pick a hair style and stick with it, but other than that- he is holding his own with the role. Lauren and Michael are one of my faves on the show- I am glad they have left them alone to have a real marriage- so it might have only been 6 years actual time, but it feels longer because they haven’t constantly broken them up and brought them together again. I wish they would do that more often with other couples. I hope new regime will continue to show a marriage can rough spots without divorcing the minute they do. PS- Great interview.

Linda
Linda

It actually has been eight years together for Lauren and Michael as a couple and seven years married. Thanks for the interview. I love that Christian, Tracey and Max are so positive and excited about their story. I love Michael and Lauren as a couple and it is wonderful we are seeing them more on screen and getting heavily involved in family drama. The Baldwin-Fishers actors are all so talented and have been neglected too long. Good to see things changing.

Doe
Doe

I liked this interview very much, Michael. The three actors seem very comfotable with each other , and when the were talking they nade it seem so easy. I like where their story is going, However, you know Fen i s going to make trouble for Jamie. Chtistian and Lauren will have a big problem with Fen. I hope this byllying story will be better than some of the other soaps that have done the same story,

Beacon
Beacon

I wish you’d asked Tracey about Kimberlin Brown. Kim’s available to return to the show, she loves the character of Sheila but Victoria Rowell, Kim’s friend, said on twitter that a certain actress is “guarding the gate on that one” preventing Kim’s return. I can’t believe it to be Tracey. I always felt Kimberlin brought out the best in her.

Days Of Our Lives

NATAS President, Adam Sharp Talks On Daytime Emmy Review Findings & Plans For Change To Competition Process

In the aftermath of the letter that was sent to NATAS from daytime drama executives and producers demanding immediate change to the Daytime Emmys contest procedures, guidelines, or they would boycott participating in the upcoming 46th Annual competition, earlier today NATAS and its new president, Adam Sharp, released the findings of an independent investigation into the allegations levied against the academy and its annual competition.

After the full findings came to light , seemed to address most of the concerns raised by the four network soaps, Michael Fairman TV spoke with Adam Sharp to dive into what the reports means for change and evolution of the Daytime Emmys, and if it can resolve the issues so that General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Days of our Lives will come to the table and participate in the only kudofest honoring excellence in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes for daytime programming,

Here’s what Adam had to say about the key points addressed in our conversation below.

Transparency was a key issue noted by the soap producers in their concerns levied against NATAS.   One of the points centered around if NATAS had prior knowledge of the winners before the opening of the envelopes at the ceremony and the integrity of the contest.  What can you detail what the investigation found?

ADAM:  On the matter of whether anyone had prior knowledge to the winners, the reports clearly state that there is no evidence to support that. To the concern raised on the arm’s length distance necessary between us and the accountants we use to tally the votes, again there is no evidence to suggest that there was anything short of what you would expect of the standards of the competition. What it did find was that there were processes that either by virtue of generosity and us trying to be helpful when they asked, or by a lack of documentation to make people aware of policies and procedures, that created the appearance of unfairness, or unbalance in the process that may have been completely unintentional.  For example, the report noted that we did not have a published procedure for appealing decisions or filing any concerns or complains.  Some of this started because of one entrant in a digital category that raised concerns, and it was certainly elevated when the four soaps sent their letter, but without a published procedure, you’re really putting the onus on the entrants to know who to call and how to bring their concern.  So, that creates a system where there’s an imbalance because someone who doesn’t know who to call, doesn’t get the same hearing.  Likewise, if someone has made a mistake or technical error in their entry, and they happen to have entered the process early, and we catch it, we, in the past, have gone back to people and said, “Hey, I don’t think you intended to do this.  Would you like to resubmit?”  But if someone is entering at 11:59:59 on deadline night, they won’t necessarily have that.  Again, completely unintentional, but it could be argued that it created an imbalance or bias in the process, and the report made that clear.  For those types of things, we are going to crack down and be more consistent about our policies.  I told Brent and David that it’s going to mean saying no a lot more often in terms of giving waivers and extensions, and the types of things that we have done in the past to help people along. It is going to mean being more transparent and public about what our policies and procedures are so that every entrant has the equal set of knowledge to work from.

Courtesy/NATAS

Does this mean a demotion for David Michaels, Senior VP Daytime Emmy Awards?

ADAM:  Absolutely not.  That’s something that I want to put a very strong pin in right here.  David led the 2018 Daytime Emmys to record participation and a growing audience.  This new resourcing of the team allows him to be more singularly focused on doubling down on that success for 2019.  The Daytime Emmys are the only entertainment award show to have posted year-over-year audience growth from 2017 to 2018, and more than 30% increase in the number of entries.  The report rightly noticed that we did not do enough administratively to scale to that growth and to bring the resources to manage that added audience, and that added interest from competitors.  So, now we are going to make sure that David and Brent Stanton (Executive Director, Daytime Emmy Awards) each have the support and focus they need to be successful.

When the letter from various soap producers pointed out a “conflict of interest” for having the executive producer of the Daytime Emmys ceremony also be the awards administrator, many were wondering how that would shake out, or how NATAS planned to deal with this complaint.

ADAM:  Obviously, “conflict of interest” is a legal term of course, but I think that what the reports found was that it was not a conflict of interest.  It was a conflict of time, and many of the more specific errors that were raised in the report, as I said to David, occurred in the 25th hour of the day.  So, that is where it was really a resourcing problem, and a lack of procedure and policy problem.  The lack of resourcing created the environment for something to go wrong, and the lack of policy and procedure created an ad hoc nature for how we address those problems and made that ad hoc response open to questions because there was no prior documentation that this was how these things should be handled.  So, hopefully we have addressed each of these areas going into 2019, and that gives us a chance at a fresh start with the community.

 

Courtesy/NATAS

In response to the internal investigation findings, you mentioned you would bring additional resources to the Daytime Emmys, additional help in the operations, and you would add a “second pair of eyes”.  Would you potentially let people know who is in those positions that would be working with David Michaels and Brent Stanton?

ADAM:  Yes, so we are absolutely at a minimum committed to adding one full time position, and a handful of part time positions for that initial vetting process of the competition; that review of entries to make sure they meet the technical requirements, rules, and guidelines of their categories.  Now, in the past, there would be one individual, one set of eyes conducting that review, but now, we are modifying our policies such that before any adverse decision is made, such as disqualifying an entry, a second pair of eyes review it and give their independent assessment of the technical criteria and qualifications of the entry, so that there can be more confidence that multiple perspectives were employed before making any decision that could have an adverse effect on an entry.

Could a daytime drama actor participate and submit their work on n their own without the show being a part of it, if let’s say, the soaps won’t participate as a whole? And on that note, what would be the plans moving forward for the Daytime Emmys if the soaps decide not to participate in the competition?

ADAM:  If an actor or actress wishes to enter on their own with their soap still not participating: our rules permit anyone to enter independent of their program.  So, there is not a requirement that a show participate for an individual performer on that show to participate.  That said, they need to have the actual material to submit, and certainly a performer on that show is not necessarily the owner of that show and the owner of that content.  So, the question of whether they would have the necessary access to and rights to the video material to submit, that would be a question to the show producers as to what they would allow of that. In terms of the Daytime Emmy ceremonies moving forward without the soaps, the old saying goes, ‘the show must go on,’ and hopefully, it won’t come to that.  We have had constructive conversations with each of the broadcast soaps and believe our response and support goes a long way to addressing their concerns.  So, we are looking forward to having them.  Of course, they have a number of colleagues in digital drama, children’s programming, gameshows, and the rest of daytime television that we still expect to have a robust program at the 46th Annual Daytime Emmys in May of 2019.

You had mentioned that when you saw the results of the report that you felt it was very thorough, and you felt it pointed out things that needed to be fixed.

ADAM:  Yes, the report was exceedingly thorough and fair.  It delivered criticism where criticism was due, and there were a number of areas where we should have and must do better in the management of the Daytime Emmys and our other awards competitions.  I think the report certainly examined every issue that had been raised by members of the Daytime community and then some.  It allowed us to think about what actions we can take as a team to address each of those points.  I don’t think any awards show in our space has ever undertaken such an in-depth introspection of their procedures, yet alone made it public.  So, hopefully we are a trend-setter here.

The report indicates that NATAS will work more closely with the Television Academy (ATAS).  That seems to always be a point of contention.  How do you see yourself improving participation with them to engage that academy in more of the process?

ADAM:  So, the relationship between the two academies has strengthened incredibly in the past year, largely through the leadership of our respective chairman, Terry O’Reilly, the chairman of NATAS, who was elected earlier this summer and Hayma Washington at the Television Academy.  Obviously, they are going to have a new election soon as Hayma is retiring from the role.  So, we can continue that momentum into 2019.  What we note in our response to the report, was that one element of concern raised in the letter from the four soap producers was the mix of Television Academy members on our judging panels, and we want to be responsive to that.  We are prepared to make Television Academy membership a much higher priority in our consideration of judges for these panels, but obviously accessing that membership and engaging that membership requires a deeper partnership with the Television Academy, and we will see to that.

You are starting the call for entries on Monday, November 12th.  If the daytime dramas don’t participate within the timeframe you’ve given, do you see yourself adjusting the timeframe for the soaps if they were to say, “We want to work somethings out before we commit,” or are you just going to move forward if they are not participating in the deadlines you’ve set?

ADAM:  Our deadlines are going to be rather firm for all entrants.  We have a show date set for May and a process that moves backward from there in terms of the time that is needed.  Certainly, the fact that we have added additional review steps and procedures makes that timeline even more critical.  So, we are not going to be in a position to be extending extensions really to anyone.  In fact, the report specifically discourages granting extensions to anyone because that could create the appearance of unfairness that some types of entries get more time than other types of entries.  We welcome everyone, and if by the entry deadline there are particular genres, programs, or individuals that choose not to participate, we will miss them, hope they attend the show in May, and hope we can reengage them for 2020.

If the soaps did not participate in the 46th annual Daytime Emmys, but decided to come back later, it is my understanding that there would just be one drama category whereby web series and daytime soaps would be competing together in that.  Is that potentially what could happen?

ADAM:  I don’t want to go too many branches down off a tree of ‘what if’s,’ but our policies and guidelines do allow that if a category does not have a sufficient number of participants to be competitive, then that category can be eliminated or merged with another category or have its entries moved into another category for the competition.  So, we will look at all of the categories once we have the entries to see which ones remain viable and which ones do not.  Certainly, the fact that we do have digital drama categories gives us a place to contribute to have a drama competition regardless of what mix of entries we have.  I suspect that once you combine those, it becomes very difficult to uncombine them in the future, but obviously the call to entries is revisited every year, so, I can’t think of any long-term prognostications beyond 2019.

Since you are relatively new to your position with NATAS, you probably weren’t expecting that the producers that signed the letter demanding that change and issues be addressed in regard to the Daytime Emmys or they would boycott, would be something you would be dealing with off the bat.  How did you feel about it?

ADAM:  Well, I’m obviously rather new to the role.  My first day as interim president was the day after the Daytime Emmy show this year.  I was only named the permanent president last week.  It was certainly a trial by fire.  I would not say that I had enough history with the daytime drama community to have any expectation one way or another, and I think that is also true of our chairman, Terry O’Reilly, who came into office on July 1st.  That said, in a world of looking for silver linings, I think it gave us an opportunity for a blank slate and a fresh start.  By the community raising these concerns to our attention, and allowing us to conduct this deep review and make it public and be responsive to the issues they raised, it gives us a lot more opportunity to strengthen that relationship in 2019 than if a lot of these concerns had just continued to deteriorate and be whispered about at various cocktail parties, but never really spoken up and therefore, never really addressed.  So, while it was a painful process and there were parts of this report that were difficult to read, I think it gave us the opportunity to start from scratch and to put some of that history behind us.

So, do you think NATAS has addressed the concerns of the daytime dramas? What did you think of the points raised by Adam Sharp in this interview? Do you hope the Emmys will continue as usual with all four network soaps participating? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Interviews

Eileen Davidson Farewell Y&R Interview: From Her Exit Storyline, To Her Co-Stars, And Her Decision To Leave

In a candid and heartfelt conversation, The Young and the Restless exiting Daytime Emmy-winning star, Eileen Davidson sat down with Michael Fairman to discuss her decision to exit the series after playing Ashley Abbott on and off since 1982.

Eileen’s final episodes are now airing on the CBS daytime drama series.  Just how will it end for Ashley?  How will she leave the canvas?  How sad will be her goodbyes?  Y&R fans are counting down now to just a few more airshows that feature Eileen.

During this interview for the Michael Fairman Channel, Eileen clarified many points that the audience has wanted to know about or come to understand, in particular, what led to her making the decision to call it quits, and would she ever return and how would she feel if the series recast her role.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

In regard to what went into her decision to depart Genoa City, Eileen expressed: “It’s something I gave a lot of thought to.  Not something you can just go, ‘Gee, this week I want to leave!’  I was really thinking about it for over a year ago.  I talked it over with my husband and he was very supported of me.  My son is in high school and my stepson had left the nest and it had gone by so quickly.  I was like, ‘Wait! What happened?’  I was spending a lot of time in my car commuting; like two hours a day, and a lot of time in my dressing room, because our days are longer here than they used to be, and a myriad of reasons went into it.  It was not just one simple thing.  It was actually a whole bunch of reasons.  Even though I won the Emmy (Eileen won Lead Actress back in April of this year) I had pretty much decided long before then.  (Winning the Emmy) That was like “Oh, my God!”  That actually made me feel my timing was really right … I get this incredible nod right before I’m leaving.”

The emotional part of leaving the place she has called her home away from home for Davidson is saying goodbye to her beloved co-stars including; her on-screen big brother, Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott).  As Y&R viewers know, over the years Jack and Ashley’s relationship, and Bergman and Davidson, have shared plenty of screen-time together.  Eileen also gives a very special thanks to the fans who have supported her through the years and who have followed Ashley’s journey.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Davidson expressed on her final storyline revolving the “Blood Abbott” clause and how it all ties up, “It’s such a great way to go.  It’s so awesome how this whole thing comes up, and you realize how being an Abbott has affected her to her core.”

Now below watch Eileen’s farewell interview filled with clips from her performances and time on Y&R, and more heartfelt topics of conversation.

Then in the comment section below; tell us what you have thought of Ashley’s exit storyline?  What do you hope happens for Ashley? What was your favorite part of this interview and the sentiments shared by Eileen?  

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General Hospital

Genie Francis Talks On Her Return To GH, Fans Outcry Of Support & Her All-Time Favorite Storylines

On Tuesday, Genie Francis participated in a Satellite Media Tour with television stations and press outlets around the U.S. chatting it up on her return to her iconic role of Laura on ABC’s General Hospital.

Francis, who quickly wrapped-up her run after she was taken off-contract with the show back in January of this year, saw her and Laura exit Port Charles swiftly in a story-move that felt stilted to the audience.

Courtesy/ABC

After a huge outpouring of support on social media, GH fans cried foul on the play and wanted one of the series mainstays of all-time back where she belonged.

Francis elaborate it on that in our interview on seeing the show of support: “I couldn’t believe how long it went on and how big it was.  I think part of that was it looked like they were finally giving me a story with the major storyline, and then they yanked it so quickly, and I think people felt cheated.”

GH listened and brought Genie back to the canvas with a new storyline that puts her front and center on the series, as Laura is unaware that her husband Kevin (Jon Lindstrom) is locked up in Ferncliff, while his evil twin Ryan (Jon Lindstrom) has taken his place. Now Laura is reeling from the strange behaviors being exhibited by her “husband”. Will she figure it out in time? Will she run for mayor again?

Photo Credit: ABC

During her conversation with Michael Fairman TV and the Michael Fairman Channel, Genie touched on what she knew was going to be happening for Laura when she came to the show: “I knew we were going to start with the Ryan beat, which I thought was great. Everyone loves a good sociopath (laughs) and Jon (Lindstrom) is a wonderful actor.  It makes for an exciting story!”

Genie goes on to say that she is: “Just happy to have story, because it’s awfully boring to just be hanging around. I don’t want to be window-dressing. If it came to that, I think I might just leave.”

As to if Laura has a vendetta against Valentin (James Patrick Stuart) who for all intent and purposes murdered her son, Nikolas, Genie weighed-in: “She absolutely has a vendetta. I think right now, Laura who has the biggest heart and is kind of like the heroine of the show in many ways –  but this is the one person on the planet who she truly hates, and it would be interesting if she had to go through the exercise of forgiving him, but I also like that there is that one place where we can see all of that negativity and evil come out. I like that Laura has a dark side.  I really like that.”

Courtesy/ABC

To find out some of Genie’s all-time favorite storylines and least favorite storylines and more on her return watch the video below and make sure to subscribe to The Michael Fairman Channel for more upcoming interviews.

What do you think about Genie’s return to GH thus far and the sentiments shared in this interview? Comment below.

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Video du Jour

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

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The Young and the Restless

Airdates: 10-24-26-2018

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