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The Darius McCrary Interview- The Young and the Restless

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Next week on December 29th on The Young and the Restless, all eyes of long-time fans will be watching the debut of the new Malcolm Winters, played by Darius McCrary. It’s the role made famous by Criminal Minds star and former soap heartthrob, Shemar Moore. Moore won a Daytime Emmy and was uber-popular in the role of the wayward Winters brother. When Moore decided not to return to Y&R (this time) the show put out an extensive casting call for Neil’s younger brother, who is also the biological father of the cancer-stricken Lily. Yes, a short refresher course: One night when the late Drucilla had taken a double dose of her cold medication, (which left her somewhat groggy), Malcolm stopped by to check on her, and well, the duo ended up in bed together! And after their “romp,” Malcolm realized he had made a terrible mistake, and that mistake would change and alter the Winters family for years to come. Recently, Malcolm’s whereabouts have been unknown, and in this On-Air On-Soaps first look interview with Darius, he tells us all will eventually be revealed.

While this is McCrary’s first soap, he has quite an extensive resume. Darius is best known for his role as Eddie Winslow on the hit television series Family Matters. It was there that he met and worked with another member of the current Winters clan, Bryton James (Devon). He has also starred in many motion pictures and television specials.

Journalists, message boards and discussion threads have not been most kind to Darius’s arrival because they are saying; “He looks nothing like Shemar Moore!” But, who does? Recently, Y&R execs told On-Air On-Soaps that the show really wants to delve back into the origins of the original concept for the character – edgy, and street savvy. Can Darius McCrary change people’s minds? Will Y&R viewers give a new actor in a prestigious role an opportunity to make it his own? McCrary says he is definitely up for the task!

Listen to the audio:

The Darius McCrary Interview – The Young and the Restless

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MICHAEL:

The time has arrived and shortly we will first see you as Malcolm Winters. I remember coming up to the offices here one day and seeing a slew of young actors vying for the role. How did this come about for you? You auditioned like everyone else, right?

DARIUS:

I did. I was not in here with a whole lot of people, but the day that I was brought in, it was not really crowded and there was a short list after the audition. I was just happy to be there.

Malcolm Arrives

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MICHAEL:

You knew this was a choice primo role that Shemar Moore had played and won a Daytime Emmy for his portrayal. So where were you when you found out you got the gig?

DARIUS:

I was traveling and going to visit family and take care of some business, and my manager called and gave me the news and I was ecstatic. I keep telling everybody that signing on this show to me is just as big as me signing on to a film with Julia Roberts or Brad Pitt. I say that because this is a coveted role, number one, and also it’s a great show. I had no idea Y&R was as popular as it is!

MICHAEL:

Did you know that it was thee top soap on daytime?

DARIUS:

I had no idea. I have always wanted to do daytime television, but past handlers and agents had steered me away from it because they would say to me, “Darius, you have already passed that mark in your career. You have done prime time and feature films and continue to go upward,” and I go, “Are you kidding me? Do you know who Erica Kane is? Do you know who Luke and Laura are?” (Laughs) Growing up, my mom was an All My Children and One Life to Live fan. Then I got into General Hospital as a kid because of Luke and Laura. I never really watched Y&R, but my Aunt Cathy does. So my Aunt was ecstatic when she found out! And one of the things that is beautiful to me as an actor and entertainer is that relationship you develop with a fan, when they follow your career, and they follow you to where they feel like they know you, and television enhances that when you have a long-term gig or a long-term role. I learned that on Family Matters and they call me, “Eddie”. Last night I ran into some fans and it was funny. They go, “Oh, my man! Hey, my dude! Wassup, Eddie Winslow?” And I am like, “Hey, wassup guys?” I say, “ Hey, guys, I don’t care what you call me, but can you spread the word that I am now Malcolm Winters? Malcolm is my name.” And they go, “That’s cool dude. But Eddie is my man!” (Laughs) Soon I will be Eddie Winters! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

You have the task of overcoming the mark that Shemar Moore left in this role. There are skeptics that say you look nothing like him. And, “How can Y&R recast this role?” Do you feel you are up for the task? And, does that pressure play with your mind?

Shemar Moore2

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DARIUS:

No. I have been doing this long enough to know a few things. Look, Shemar is a great guy and a great actor, and a beautiful human being, but he is Shemar and I am Darius. I have been doing this since I was nine years old. So whatever the role is, I am going to do the best I can do. The only thing I am concerned with is stepping on the stage in front of that camera and giving the best performance I know I can give, day in and day out as an actor. The way I look at it is, it’s just like if I was playing football, and if there was a running back before me who put up some numbers and he gets traded and I come in and I get to run that backfield. Believe me, I am going to step on some heads to get the numbers and the yards that I have to. Also, it makes it easy to do when you are working with a group of consummate professionals who are extremely gifted. This is an unselfish group of actors here at Y&R, who are completely thorough.

MICHAEL:

Did Kristoff St. John (Neil) and Christel Khalil (Lily) give you any Malcolm pointers, or bring up Shemar to you on set?

DARIUS:

Nobody brought up Shemar and it’s cool. It has not been a thing of “Oh, Shemar did this.” Everybody is giving me the love and respect to allow me to do what I do as an actor, and that was one of the beautiful things about this from the beginning. When I went in I did not know what to expect. I have never read for a soap before. I am all about breaking barriers and challenging myself, that is why everything I have done on my resume is different. I have never played a cop again, and I have never played a boxer again since I played Muhammad Ali. That was a challenge, being darker than him, and the film won Best Television Movie and I was a part of that. I was in Mississippi Burning, which won an Oscar.

MICHAEL:

You were in the original Mississippi Burning?

Neil and Malcolm

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DARIUS:

Yeah! I was nine years old, but I look at the journey. Everybody trips off the destination, but you have to enjoy the journey. This is a part of the journey I am enjoying. And as I was saying, when I went into the audition Maria Arena Bell (co exec prod and head writer, Y&R) and Paul Rauch (co-exec prod, Y&R) were wonderful. They knew what they wanted, but they allowed me to do what I am capable of as an actor, and that is the best gift a producer or writer can give an actor when you are reading for something. “This is what we want. We know what we want. Do what you do.” And when you meet in the middle, it’s magic. Every time I read the lines for this role, I feel it. I feel like I know this guy.

MICHAEL:

What can we expect from Malcolm’s return to Genoa City?

DARIUS:

All I am going to tell you is, there is a whole lot of tension, and let’s just say there is a ‘family matter’. (Laughs) There are family issues going on. He comes back to make things right with the family.

MICHAEL:

Is his brother, Neil glad to see him? Or, will he punch him?

Malcolm and Cane

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DARIUS:

Let me tell you something… Neil is a piece of work, man! Kristoff is great. It’s so cool that I get a chance to work with him. I have known his work for a long time. He is so solid as an actor.

MICHAEL:

Are we going to like this version of Malcolm? Is he a good guy who, shall we say, will be extremely flawed?

DARIUS

We are all flawed in life, but some characters in soaps are more flawed. I have been doing my homework going, “What’s wrong with these people?” (Laughs) I think we will feel and care for Malcolm.

MICHAEL:

It’s great that Y&R is bringing in another black character to once again expand the Winters family. How do you feel about what it represents to have you here in this role?

DARIUS:

I think it’s a wonderful thing to have African-American characters. Look at life. It’s not a white world or a black world; there are all kind of people in it. It’s showing growth, and in today’s world there are so many outlets. I don’t believe there are any more blockbusters films. Back in the day with music, people would wait up all night for the music store to open to get their favorite CD, and if it were sold out they would come back again. The thing I love about soaps, and from what I know about this is its run in a very old school way, which I like, since I have been doing this entertainment thing for a long time. But I see that there are some new barriers that they can break. I feel that by being part of Y&R, I am hoping that new viewers who haven’t watched soaps before will tune-in.

Christel Khalil hug

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MICHAEL:

Will there be a lady-love for Malcolm?

DARIUS:

Malcolm loves the ladies!

MICHAEL:

A few words about working with Christel Khalil?

DARIUS:

She is bright and extremely great to work with. It was sad to come back and see that Lily had cancer, and it was tough emotionally as an actor, to give what you need in a scene and thinking of the dire situation she is in and absorbing that. It’s a trip!

MICHAEL:

You know the baby mama, Drucilla, took some cold syrup and Malcolm sort of took advantage of her, and that is how Lily came into this world?

DARIUS:

Man, I was like; “This Malcolm is something else!” It’s crazy, because I like this character because he has got some baggage, and it gives you somewhere else to go as an actor and stretch.

Darius and Bryton

©JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

Who else have you enjoyed working with thus far?

DARIUS:

I got to work with Daniel Goddard (Cane). I am very impressed how he retains his lines and that is a trip, and Bryton James (Devon) of course. I used to hold Bryton in my arms. He was my ‘baby boy,’ and I look at him now all grown up and handsome and stuff. It’s so funny; I have to tell this story. I was so out of it. So, in the story Devon has his hearing aid on…

MICHAEL:

…The cochlear implant…

DARIUS:

….Right, the cochlear implant, and so I said to him, “Hey Bryton, I was watching you the other day. What kind of Bluetooth was that, man?” (Laughs) Bryton has been showing me the ropes, which is a trip. You never know the difference you can make in the life of child. I worked with him when he was little Richie on Family Matters, and we picked up right where we left off.

MICHAEL:

Have you met Genoa City and Y&R’s living legend, Jeanne Cooper (Katherine)? You are truly not a member of the cast unless she welcomes you into the fold!

Darius leatherjacket

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DARIUS:

She is actually wonderful, and she is a joy and funny, and she did welcome me. Jeanne told me, “To get my lines right, because she is ready to get the hell home.” Doug Davidson (Paul) on my first day gave me some great advice. I am not too technical in my acting, and I feel when I get too technical it becomes unbelievable. My thing in this day and age, with reality television and so much other stuff that is going on, is people want to feel the reality. They want to relate. Back in the days with James Cagney movies, they were acting and really ‘givin’ it to ya’, and that was cool, because people wanted to escape. People still want to escape, but today’s escape is different. People now want to know that there are people out there who have more problems and are a train-wreck! This is why I think it’s difficult for sitcoms these days, because people are not going to believe, joke, beat, beat, joke, because there ain’t nothing to laugh about. We are in a recession! Folks are dying overseas! It ain’t funny right now. That is another reason this transition for me into soaps makes sense for me, because I would get to work at my craft every day. I would be able to play this very real character. Doug said, “Even though we are working so fast, don’t rush your lines. Take your time with your moments,” and that stuck with me. Because, what I have been finding is Malcolm has been having a lot of moments with Lily, Cane, and Neil. It’s important stuff and with my character coming back, there is a lot of information that needs to be disclosed. Peter Bergman (Jack), I call, “My man, Jack.” It’s really funny. I always said I would never call people by their character names, but I am finding myself doing it. Eric is “Victor”, and I call Michelle, “Phyllis.” Yup, I am doing it. I have been watching the show and now I am being sucked in, and I believe these people. I am sucked into Genoa City!

MICHAEL:

Will we know what’s happened to him in short order, during the time Malcolm was away?

DARIUS:

No. You are going to have to continue to watch, ‘cause Malcolm will blow your mind!

For more with Darius make sure to listen starting Friday to The Scott and Melissa Reeves Show on syndicated radio, when he appears as the special weekly soap guest.

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He ain’t Malcolm and I will never accept him. That is that! Y&R is messed up for this casting messed up!

your right about one thing,Y&R is messed up, that is for not letting my gurl Vicki Rowell back on the show and for doin the most stupide dicision of firering my other gurl Davetta Sherwood as Lily for that Valley “sista” Chrystel khalil who’s interpretation of lily is sooooooooo terible. man it’s been almost 4 years she’s been gone and I am still scraching my sculp tryin to figuer out wat spell the was under wen they made that decision.

I enjoyed this insight into Darius’s mind and how he appoaches acting. He seems very intelligent and soft spoken. He has a very good background that should carry him far.I believe fans should stop thinking of Shemar Moore and this man will probably knock it out of the park. I look forward to his debut as Malcom. We need some excitement on the show and hopefully he will bring it!

wow! i can’t wait to sere this!

I think he will be a great replacement for Malcom…He is a great actor..before you know it every body will forget that Shelmar ever played Malcom…I am looking forward to seeing him…

HA! Nothing personal against Darius, but he ain’t Y&R material, and he certainly ain’t an appropriate replacement for Shemar. I suspect they’ll get enough emails at CBS to at least rethink this choice for sure!

I can’t wait to see Darius as Malcolm….I think he’s going to be great as Malcolm. I’m just wondering who his love interest will be….I think Y&R did a great job casting the new Malcolm. Way to go guys!

I think they got him dirt cheap sorry we all know these day’s it’s about the bottom line i see a recast just like tucker or they will try to make us care but in the end like Eva he will go away

yesssssssssss!!! can not wait.i called all my home girls.the ones do not watch soaps will be watch when darius arrive!!!!!!!!!

I AM GLUED TO THE TV RT NOW!!!!! Me & all my girlfriends (about 10 of them) are all taping and watching!!! We haven’t watched soaps in ages!!! But now, it’s on! WE LOVE YOU, DARIUS! I hope he does some kind of Y&R event where we can meet him!!!! <3

I love Darius I know you will make a great Malcolm because I have watch your acting skills in family matter and you were great. I wish you much success in your new role.

Not a good replacement. He doesn’t look old enough to be Lily’s father.

oh my gosh! im way too excited for darius as the new malcolm! i think hes got the talent in hand and he sounds genuinely excited to be part of Y&R. ive been watching Y&R for about 15 years now, and they change actors all the time. I think with darius on board we’re gonna get to see more of malclom for lengthier periods of time, which is great because I really missed the character. now, to get dru back!

POOR, POOR CHOICE FOR MALCOLM!!

I think we all should give Mr. McCrary a chance jus like the Y&R.
It’s tough to step into someone else role when that person ( Mr. Moore)
is still being seen around and about. Mr. McCrary is a professional. Let him do his best to entertain you. Remember, this is a soap opera.

This was a bad replacement. He looks nothing like Shemar Moore. Furthermore he is too young. I think they should have gotten Charles Divins( Passions) or Terrrence Howard ( Hustle &Flow).

I think Darius is a good replacement – he is a good actor and good-looking…I look forward to him being on the show, but people need to understand that it’s just a TV show — if Shemar Moore doesn’t want to come back, then he’s not going to – get over it. There have been many recasts that have been great: Billy Miller, Amelia Heinle, etc…

I think this is a bad replacement. Shemar Moore made an indelible mark on the role of Malcolm Winters. I loved seeing him. Darius was great on Family Ties but doesn’t fit in the role that Shemar vacated. Sorry, but he doesn’t. I think I see a recast as well. Please, oh please, bring back Victoria Rowell. Dru is sorely missed. Please don’t recast her role. I will quit watching Y&R for sure then.

Kudos to Darius for accepting this role. Bah, Bah to Y & R’s directors for offering the role. Too bad Darius wasn’t hired for a new character. He is a consummate, charismatic actor. Shemar was not a good actor when he got the part. He was mediocre at best. He was visually striking, pleasing to the eye, to say the least. That’s all. But that’s what made the role acceptable and exceptional.
Hopefully Darius can get another more suitable acting job in movies. Or maybe a full role, not replacement, on another Soap.

nothing against Darius, But not casting Shemar Moore is the worst mistake CBS could ever make!!!

Glad to see Young and the Restless finally get a handsome dark skinned brother. Never really cared for Shemar Moore. Darius is a great actor and has a beautiful singing voice.

They did a horrible job of casting Malcolm. Darius can not act. And he is not sexy.

Y&R I cant believe how you murdered Malcolms role 🙁 Darius is a poor actor.

I think that Darius McCrary is a wonderful addition to The Young & The Restless cast. Thank you Darius for taking over this role and putting your own spin to it. You are an exceptionally talented actor, and very handsome & sexy as well. I think you are doing a wonderful job in this role. Make it your own, as you are already doing and I love it!!

he is not a good actor Y&R needs to recast this man bad sure does not fit the part

LET THE MAN DO HIS JOB….GIVE HIM A CHANCE.

I think from the comments stated, that some of the people do not simply want to accept Darius Mcrary due to the fact he is not light skinned, which I believe is the biggest issue. I mean really who says when you recast an actor that they have to look just like the one who vacated the job. I think Darius has and will continue to add more dimensions to the character. The fact that he is also a great singer is something they could not do with Shemar. I think Darius will hold his own for many years.

Days Of Our Lives

Matthew Ashford and Melissa Reeves Talk Return to DAYS for Doug’s Funeral, Susan Seaforth Hayes, and Their Enduring Friendship

Last week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode which is tentatively scheduled to air on December 3rd. The story will feature emotional and heart-tugging scenes of Doug Williams funeral and honor his portrayer, the beloved Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th at the age of 98.

While the actors, producers, and crew took a lunch time break to pose for some pictures and speak with the press, they knew they would have to get back to taping the funeral, which was going to make it a tough day, but also cathartic for all who loved Bill Hayes.

Several returns have thus far been announced including; Melissa Reeves reprising her signature role of Jennifer Horton (a part she first played in 1985), and Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux. Reeves had last appeared on the show back in 2021, and she was replaced by Emmy-winner Cady McClain in her absence when Jennifer was in storylines. In real-life, Melissa had moved full-time to Tennessee along with her husband, Scott Reeves (ex-DAYS, GH, Y&R). Now, and as previously reported, Reeves will first appear back on DAYS for the Thanksgiving episodes with the Hortons.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Matt and Melissa during the 15,000th episode celebration to get their take on: being back for these special episodes, how it has been working with and watching Susan Seaforth Hayes portray Julie’s grief over losing Doug, and how they have supported each other through the years. Check out what they shared below.

Melissa, you are back on the set of Days of our Lives for this very emotional and special moment in the series history. How does it feel?

MELISSA: Oh, my goodness. I am honored. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but to be here for Bill. He was like my real-life dance partner. He taught me how to ballroom dance. And to be here for Susan, of course, who’s just been our sweet hero this whole week. We’re just following her lead. She’s just been this incredibly strong example for us in the midst of this trial and season of her life. She is like just lifting us all up with her. It’s been incredible.

I was at Bill Hayes memorial service which was truly incredible and I know at the time you were in Tennessee. It was moving and celebratory of his life, all at the same time.

MELISSA: That’s all I have heard. I have to watch it on You Tube. They said it was just a real celebration of his life and I love that.

Photo: JPI

This must be difficult for Susan Seaforth Hayes depicting the death of Doug, when she is still grieving the loss of her beloved husband. (Susan pictured above with the returning Stephen Schnetzer who plays her on-screen brother, Steve Olson).

MELISSA: I’m sure Susan has those moments at home by herself, but she’s so good at being a leader and leading all of us. We’re following her, you know, and she’s like, “This is how I want to feel today.” And we’re just going along with her, you know? It’s so sweet.

Photo: JPI

How is it to see Matt Ashford again live and in-person?

MELISSA: You know, Matt and I can go years without talking, or seeing each other, and then the minute we see each other we’re chatting away.

MATT: Melissa was out on set doing a scene yesterday on the phone talking to a stage manager; as she was telling some really tough news on the phone. I’m like crying in the background, literally, I’m off-stage crying.

MELISSA: And then we get like back into normal life, and we’re like, okay, “What’s happening? What’s happening with this … or what’s happening with that?”

I had read, Melissa, that you were in touch with Matt about if there night be a possibility for you to reprise your role as Jennifer for these special episodes?

MELISSA: Yes. Well, Matt was like, “Hey! Would you want to come back? “And I was like, “Matt, you know, I would always come back. ”

MATT:  Every time I come here to Days of our Lives, they ask, “Where’s Missy? How’s Missy?” Everybody backstage says, “I miss her.” All of the crew is asking about her and saying, “It would be nice to see Missy. Nothing wrong with you Matt, but …”  They said, “Where is she?” I said, “She wants to come!”

Photo: JPI

There are some beautiful photos of Missy and Bill and Susan thorough the years that I found. It just reminded me of just the deep and entrenched history we all have had with the show, personally and professionally.

MATT: Missy is roughly the age where Francis Reid (ex-Alice Horton) was when she started the show, which is just crazy.

Photo: JPI

I’ve always said Missy was going to be the next generation Alice. Do you feel that Jennifer is the heir apparent matriarch of the Horton family?

MELISSA: Yes. I mean, this has been greatest blessing of my life, and that would be great. I told Ken Corday (executive producer, Days of our Lives) when I was 17 that this show would be my life. Ken always told me, “This is your home,” and I’ve always felt like that.

How have gotten through the scenes watching Susan Seaforth Hayes as Julie go through the loss of Doug?

MATT: Susan is bringing her best performance life for her and Bill. I mean, she’s a showbiz baby. She always has been one hundred percent, and she’s doing it for him, and this is who they’ve always been. So, you’re seeing this amazing performance colored by her life. She has her private life as Susan, but she has enough plugged into Julie that she’s done amazing work. The director, producers and writers are giving her room to live in these moments and it’s quite wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Have you already broken down in tears during the taping?

MELISSA: Yesterday, but today’s taping of the actual funeral I think they want us to try and be just more celebratory.

MATT: I mean, it is a beautiful long life for Bill Hayes and his character of Doug Williams, and so it will be about that. Then, you get a bunch of us together in the church pews, and there’s going to be hijinks.

MELISSA: We all have been through the waves of grief. You have that awful cry and then all of a sudden you feel okay.  There are those family situations we are portraying where you’re like, “What do we do? What do we do now? You know, no one knows what to do. But, it’s so sweet. I’m looking forward to seeing how the scenes all turn out.

So, are you glad that Matt and Melissa are back for the 15K episode and Doug’s funeral? From what we can tell, it’s going to be quite an emotional journey for Days of our Lives fans, and especially the performance of Susan Seaforth Hayes, 

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Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Talks on Decision to Make Days of our Lives 15000th Episode About Doug’s Funeral, and Previews Chances for WGA Award

This week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode. In of it itself, that is an incredible accomplishment for the long-running soap opera currently streaming on Peacock.

However, this on set gathering was a bit different. Though the show is celebrating their achievement, they are also in the middle of taping scenes surrounding the death and the funeral of Doug Williams, played by the late Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th of this year at the age of 98.

As previously revealed many longtime favorites are back to honor Bill and the character of Doug including: Gloria Loring (Liz), Melissa Reeves (Jennifer), Matthew Ashford (Jack), Maree Cheatham (Marie), Victoria Konefal (Ciara) and Stephen Schnetzer (Steve) to name but a few.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV was in attendance and spoke with Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati to gain some insight into how the 15,000 episode was crafted and the decision to honor the character of Doug Williams and Bill Hayes as its epicenter. In addition, Ron weighed-in on this Sunday’s April 14th WGA (Writers Guild of America) Awards, where he and his writing team are facing off with General Hospital for the daytime drama prize. Here’s what Ron shared below.

Was this your idea to make the 15,000th episode centered around Doug’s funeral and passing?

RON: It was. When you’re looking at it, and laying out the calendar for the whole year and you see 15,000 is coming up, we’re like, “What are we going to do?” And then, we got the news that Bill had passed away and something kind of clicked. I was like, “We should honor Doug on that show.” So then, we started to kind of build around that … when does he pass away? How does he pass away? Who could come back? You know, it’s a lot.  I’m very pleased with the returns that we got as there’s so much that you could do. We wanted everybody we could get. So, we put together a wish list and Janet Drucker (co-executive producer, Days of our Lives) made it happen.

Photo: JPI

You have Melissa Reeves back as Jennifer, when the role was last played by Cady McClain. What has it meant to have Missy back for these shows?

RON: It was so nice to see Missy Reeves. I think Cady has done such a good job, but on the 15,000th episode to see Missy as Jennifer, it’s a big deal. So having her was great, and overall, the milestone was a big undertaking, because you want to live up to it. You want the 15,000th episode to be good. Now, it has a lot of real emotion that you’re playing. because for the cast and the crew they’re honoring Bill Hayes just as much as we’re honoring Doug Williams.

Photo: JPI

Was it hard for you and the team to write this episode?

RON: Yes. I’ll tell you why it was hard to write.  When I wrote, for example, Asa’s (Phillip Carey) death on One Life to Live or Victor’s (John Aniston) on DAYS, Asa is a different type of character. Like, you could have characters going, “Oh! I’m glad he is dead.” You could have different points of view, but with Doug, you’re not having that. Every person loves this man. No one had a bad relationship with him. So, you’re challenge as a writer is how do you make it that not everybody’s saying the same thing and doing the same thing. And so, we tried to find ways to make the episode about all the familial relationships and yet, how do you make it about Doug and yet broaden the scope.

Photo: JPI

I had spoken to Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), a week after Bill’s memorial, for an interview. She said that she felt very fortunate that you did include her on discussions of how you would tackle Doug’s passing. How did that conversation go?

RON: First, I attended Bill’s funeral, which was incredible. I said to so many people it was an emotional service, but it was hard to be sad at this. The guy had an incredible life and it was an incredible celebration. And so, you’re sitting there watching this knowing that you now have to write something similar. And how do you write something that lives up to what you just witnessed? I wanted to talk to Susan to get her thoughts about, you know, how much do you want this to be about keeping Bill separate from Doug. How comfortable are you sharing your grief. She was incredible to talk to. It was a great chat.

You’re in the middle of taping these major scenes for the 15,000 episode to air in December. How do you think it’s going? Have you seen any of the scenes?

RON:  I haven’t seeing anything. I mean, we were still making changes to the script up till this morning!

Photo: JPI

The Writers Guild Awards are this Sunday, April 14th and once again this year there are two daytime drama nominees, General Hospital and Days of our Lives. How are you feeling about your chances this year?

RON: It is often just GH and us in the category. I’ve won three years in a row, so I’m kind of feeling like it’s their turn.

Photo: JPI

What episodes did you submit for contention? If I recall, they had to do with Victor’s memorial.

RON: The episodes we submitted were centered around Victor’s funeral. I think one has story with Vivian (Louise Sorel). We had some fun stuff, we had some emotional stuff at Victor’s death, and I am pretty sure that our submission was three episodes right around that time.

Did you make the decision to go with those episodes because there was a mix of humor and drama?

RON: I like to have some humor, but it was also the funeral, then there’s Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) giving birth, and then Vivian’s crashing the reading of the will. So, we had a lot of fun and it’s hard sometimes to pick three that tell a story, as opposed to submitting for the Daytime Emmys, where the writing team only submits two shows. So, we shall see how it goes on Sunday.

Courtesy/Peacock

So, are you looking forward to the emotional 15,000th episode of Days of our Lives? Do you think DAYS will take home the WGA writing award for daytime dramas for the 4th year in a row? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

(INTERVIEW) Eric Martsolf Previews DAYS Stars on ‘Weakest Link’, How He Fared in the Game, Plus Welcoming New Tate, Leo Howard

Tuesday night on NBC’s Weakest Link (9 p.m. ET/PT), the stars of Days our of Lives test their knowledge, and try to win big money for the charity of their choice on the newest season of the popular game show hosted by Jane Lynch. In case you miss it, you can also catch the episode on Wednesday streaming on Peacock.

The question on everyone’s mind is … who will be revealed as Salem’s weakest link? Who will be left standing at the end of the game? DAYS favorites: Eric Martsolf (Brady) Brynn Dattilo (Lucas), Galen Gering (Rafe), Martha Madison (Belle), Victoria Konefal (ex-Ciara), Zach Tinker (Sonny), Tina Huang (Melinda) and Lindsay Arnold (ex-Allie) play while literally having the task of throwing their co-stars under the bus. The contestant who receives the highest number of votes leaves the game throughout, as Lynch declares their exit with the now iconic phrase, “You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.” 

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric Martsolf, who daytime fans know is great as a host in his own right and oh-so-fun at playing any trivia game you throw at him. Martsolf gave us the inside scoop of what it was like to be on the set and backstage in a rather nerve-wracking environment, and trying to come off as smart while Jane Lynch roasts you at the same time!

Photo: NBC

In addition, Eric shared his thoughts on the new Tate, as Leo Howard takes over the role of his on-screen son from Jamie Martin Mann on the April 5th episode of Days of our Lives, plus working with Emily O’Brien as Theresa, and the loss of the legendary Bill Hayes. Check out what Eric had to say below.

Did you know about the game before? Had you watched the original version of the Weakest Link, or this latest incarnation?

ERIC: I was very, very familiar with the game because I found, as someone who enjoys hosting, that has to be one of the best hosting gigs out there because they just have extreme liberties in belittling the contestants, and it’s all done in jest of course, but it’s great. Jane Lynch is a master.

Did you get to meet Jane Lynch before she hit the stage for the taping?

ERIC: I don’t think any of us met her prior to being on the set. So, we’re standing there behind our podiums and these cyber lights just point all in one direction. At one point when we’re out there, it was kind of a hurry up and wait thing. We’re just like, “When is this going to start?” Then, here Jane comes and in all her glory in a beautiful navy-blue suit. She just prances onto stage and just glares over at us, and starts making fun of a silly soap opera actors like you wouldn’t believe. It was just great. I’ll let the public see what how she crucified us. But it was all done in fun.

Photo: NBC

Did she crucify you?

ERIC: I don’t think anybody got out unscathed to be honest with you.

For those that don’t know the game, you try to eliminate those that are the weakest in answering questions.

ERIC: Correct, and therein lies the problem. Historically, I think the Weakest Link is comprised of contestants that don’t really know each other, and in this case, you have not only coworkers, but almost family members because we all know each other very, very well. It’s a tight circle and even more so when you’re on the same show. So, we all went in into it pretty nervous because the premise of the game is to expose the inadequacy of people’s knowledge of general facts and information. So, essentially, you’re voting each other off because you don’t think they’re as smart as you are and that they’re the least smart in the group. So, I mean, that in itself is pretty, pretty tough to swallow. It was really hard, because you have to look at your friends in the eye and go, “yeah, I don’t think you’re going to get the next couple questions. You’re not the smartest, you’re not the crispiest chip in the bag. I’m going to let you go. ”

Did you feel bad about some of the eliminations?

ERIC: At one point, without giving away any spoilers, I voted off someone that without a doubt, has more smarts and education than I do. I just felt silly. But, you know, the way the game was going, I just felt it was the right. There is a bit of strategy involved. I’m worried about the airing of this particular episode because I did fumble some questions that people are going to turn their heads and go, “Really? You didn’t get that one?” It’s so much easier to answer these questions at home in your pajamas than it is, you know, looking at Jane Lynch in the eye with 6,000 lights at your face in front of cameras. Your brain tends to wander. So yes, we all had had some answers that we couldn’t believe we didn’t get at the time!

Photo: NBC

Did it get very competitive?

ERIC: There was little competition there. If I recall, it’s Galen and Bryan that went at it a little bit and had some laughs. But again, I can’t stress this enough, it was all done with fun. At the end of the day, every one of us wanted to win. I think the smartest person did actually come out victorious.

Now in the game, for those that have never seen it, you’re on your podium, and then Jane gives a question, right?

ERIC:  It’s a firing squad of questions. You only have a certain amount of time to answer. If you get the correct answer or the wrong answer, you immediately, go to the next contestant and you have a certain amount of time. And then, at the end of that line of questioning, everyone gets to vote as to who they believed was the biggest dummy in the group. (Laughs) Some questions are simple. You know, “What color is Santa Claus’ suit?” And then, the next question is “What is 648,000 times 14?” or what’s the population of some obscure country? So, that was the biggest challenge. Someone else might get, “What is the main ingredient of a banana split?” And my question could be like, “How much is 9,430 times x 59 million?” There’s an intimidation factor that Jane Lynch brings to it when she’s staring you down.

Photo: NBC

When the cast finished the entire game, what happened backstage?

ERIC:  The best part was there were these post interviews that the Weakest Link conducts where you have to go into a dark black room. I think my first question was, “How did you feel about that wrong answer?” They don’t let up. They just keep jabbing at you. “Did you feel ridiculous getting the wrong answer to that fourth-grade level question?” (Laughs) There was also a lot of trash talk with that happened after the show. It got so competitive. If I recall, we were all supposed to go out together and get a meal with everybody, and that never happened. They’re like, “I’m not eating lasagna with you right now. You just voted me off!” Now, even the first person that gets voted off, you’re going to be shocked, because I thought this person would probably win it. In the game, you want the best people to remain on the panel because that’s what drives up the money.

Photo: JPI

Later this week on DAYS, we will see the debut of your new on-screen son, Leo Howard, taking over from Jamie Martin Mann as Tate.

ERIC: How about that?  I just did a post on Instagram, because I saw that Jamie Martin Mann had liked and hearted a post about Leo Howard coming on the show. I just thought that was so classy of him. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, “This is the new guy. Embrace him. He’s good. I’ve met him. He is a good guy.” It’s about handing off the character baton sometimes, sort to speak. I was really proud of those guys. I reached out to Jamie. He just wants to go to college and be a student. I understand that. That’s important.

Photo: JPI

Is that challenging for you as an actor since you’ve built this relationship with the one guy as your son, and now you’ve got to pivot and create a different kind of energy with someone else taking on the part?

ERIC: Leo Howard has been in the industry for a while, with some very good credits to his name. He brings a certain charisma to this role that I think people are really going to love. And yes, he’s older, but he plays younger, and he has that ability and he’s pulling it off brilliantly. I can’t wait for people to see him, but of course I miss Jamie. Emily O’Brien (Theresa) and I really grew to love him very quickly because the storyline got so deep, so quickly, with the drug intervention and then him getting beat up in in prison. I mean, as a father, that’s the kind of stuff that you have nightmares about, you know, your kids being in pain.

Photo: JPI

I still love the fact that Emily O’Brien is still noticeably wearing a blonde wig as Theresa. What are your thoughts on how the transition has been for you, and for her pivoting to a completely different role?

ERIC: I hadn’t worked with Emily much before, because Gwen and Brady never really crossed paths. We all saw the transition that she had to make. When I became Brady, the character hadn’t been on the map for three years.  When she became Theresa, she walks out one gate and comes through the other as Theresa. We all had a good giggle about it. That’s hard to ask an audience to go,  OK, I’m Gwen, now I’m Theresa.” I was scrolling through X (formerly Twitter) and I saw a couple posts from fans that said how they were really weary, at first, about accepting Emily O’Brien as Theresa. But after today’s episode, they shared, “I’m loving her as Tate’s mom, and the chemistry she has with the family.” I texted Emily and I said, “I just want to let you know that you’re just bringing it home really brilliantly, and people are starting to come around.” I think they’ll do that with Leo Howard too.

Photo: JPI

What had it been like without the iconic Bill Hayes (Doug Williams) coming to work and being part of the Days of our Lives cast since his passing?

ERIC: You really do miss that presence in the hallways. He was a song and dance guy and I am a song and dance guy. as well. I kind of find myself the lone singer in the makeup room sometimes, but I could always count on Bill. He’d be humming some old tune from the sixties. I’d start humming along and he’d just kind of lean over and take a look at me, and give a little smile. Everyone else was probably irritated at us, but we just kept singing along. and it’s like 6:30 in the morning. I think Bill was a lot like the late John Aniston (ex-Victor), in the sense that I don’t really feel like he felt he was working. He was just always having fun right up until the end. That little number he did with his wife, Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), and Dick Van Dyke (guest starring as Timothy Robicheaux), where he was singing along, he was just living it. It was so cute and so adorable to watch.

Photo: JPI

Your final tease for the Weakest Link tonight is, “Fans should watch because …”

ERIC: Fans should watch it because if they thought we were smart before, wait till they see the show.

You can check out the cold open for tonight’s Weakest Link “Days of our Lives special” below.

Now let us know, will you be watching Eric and his co-stars, past and present, attempting to showcase their knowledge on the ‘Weakest Link? Intrigued to see Leo Howard and Eric in scenes as new Tate and his father, Brady? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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