Connect with us

Interviews

21

The Don Diamont and Rena Sofer Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Photo Credit: G Toucas/Kathy Hutchins

Viewers of The Bold and the Beautiful knew there was quite the contentious relationship going on between Quinn Fuller (Rena Sofer) and Dollar Bill Spencer (Don Diamont).  After all, she gave birth to his son, and never told him about it, especially since he told her to go get an abortion all those years ago.  Flash forward, Quinn and son Wyatt show up in Los Angeles many years later.  Bill learns he has another son.  Quinn seems to be a little off-her-rocker, or is she really?  But that’s nothing to the story beat shocker that occurred recently when B&B went a bit 50 Shades of Grey on their daytime television audience!

It seems that Quinn and Bill like to get their freak on!  Yup, a little S&M seems to be the order of the day when these two hit the sheets, the floor, or wherever!  After Brooke decided to marry Ridge, a scorned Bill went on bender and who shows up ready to play … Quinn!  Clearly with any passionate disdain for another person, there could be a sexual spark give the right situation, right?  But when their scenes aired recently, it certainly was the talk of the soap world and those on the set of The Bold and the Beautiful!

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with Don Diamont and Rena Sofer to get them their thoughts on playing kinky, what happened when they saw this dangerous liaison in the script, and where they think Quinn and Bill’s “relationship” can go from here! Are they just two peas in a pod who like to journey to the dark side, when alone in a room together?

In this candid chat, Don and Rena give the details of their on-screen romp with self-effacing humor and insight that we found most refreshing … and wildly entertaining.  We think you will too!

MICHAEL:

What was your reaction when they informed both of you that Quinn and Bill are going to have some kinky sexcapades?  What did you think when you saw it back on the air?

DON:

Courtesy/B&B

Depending on how far they were going to take it I thought it was great, but initially it was written differently.  I thought there was more bloodshed in the original.  So that got toned a bit.  I thought that was good.

QUINN:

As it was … it was like watching porn! (Laughs)  I remember when it aired.   I was watching it alone in my living room and I watched it under a pillow! (Laughs)  I could not believe it.  I could not believe I am alone with like a hundred pillows on top of me going, “Oh, my God!”

DON:

It was little Cinemax-ish, not that I watch that stuff!  (Laughs)  But I don’t think daytime has ever done anything quite like this before.

QUINN:

No. We are the first!

DON:

Courtesy/CBS

It’s totally fits in with the history of Bill and his wheel house.  I thought it was absolutely appropriate.  Listen, I think Bill and Brooke could get pretty freaky too!

QUINN:

No way!  No!

DON:

Rena is very territorial about her S&M! (Laughs)

RENA:

(Laughs)  No, because if Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) were anything like that you would have seen it before.

MICHAEL:

Rena, what was your initial reaction that they were making Quinn, of all the characters, go there with Bill?  It certainly seems plausible given what we have gotten to know about Quinn that she is somewhat “twisted”.  (Laughs)

RENA:

Courtesy/CBS

I was like, “Hell yeah!”   I couldn’t wait for many reasons.  Oh wait, I couldn’t wait to touch Donald!  All I think to myself is, ‘My life would yet to be complete if I could be in a hot physical confrontation with Donald!’ (Laughs)  Anyway, for me, my excitement about the story is, I know this hasn’t been done on this show and I know this is new.I want to offer something different to The Bold and the Beautiful which isn’t another character who is pining and crying over this guy and that guy.  I like who Quinn is and the relationship that she has with Bill, and the fact she doesn’t want to marry him.  She doesn’t want to have a relationship with him, but she wants something from him and she is not afraid to go and get it, without being this teary, crying woman.  And so when I read that I thought, ‘This is a very interesting way to go if we can make this work and if he can be in love with Brooke.  This doesn’t touch or change that.  This is this other side that is being fulfilled for both Quinn and Bill that is not a story viewers are used to seeing.

MICHAEL:

It seemed to us that since in an episode that aired back in November, when Quinn cuts Bill in the neck with his little dagger necklace, that the stage was set for this to happen later on down the line.  That was a bit freaky too!  Do you think they planted the seed then?

DON:

Maybe that planted the seed, I don’t know.  She is, after all, the “Quinn of Darkness”. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

RENA:

When I originally came on the show we didn’t know where Quinn was going.  What happened is: they started writing all of these crying moments for me and at the beginning, when I started to lose my son, it worked.  Then I started to cry about everything!  I went to the powers-that-be and said, “I don’t do that.  I may not be like other actresses on this show that connect to that type of performance, and who are great at that.  I don’t want to be in competition with that.”  So, I just started to play opposite the lines.  I just took it to a different place and they started writing in that sensibility.  And because they didn’t have a clear story for Quinn in the beginning, I wanted to be clear of who this woman was. Quinn has given everything up for her son and she has never gotten out of that.  She still does everything for her son …everything for his name … and everything for his happiness.  The first time she really steps out of that to do something for herself is with Bill … and that was why it was so exciting for me.  This was the first scene I have done that wasn’t surrounding Wyatt and Hope and Liam.  But it was more like for Quinn, “This is what I want.”

DON:

She has totally been fixated on Bill since she was 17 years-old, but she had to focus on Wyatt instead.

RENA:

Of course!  He’s right!  Quinn was a child when this happened to her.  When Bill happened to her, she was like 17 years-old.  And for me, let’s not forget he was the same age.  So it’s not like Bill was a pedophile.  She has never matured from him in her mind.

DON:

Courtesy/CBS

It certainly makes it lot more interesting.  In my mind, I play that Quinn has been obsessed with Bill since her pregnancy and the break up.  I have to play in my back-story that she was sort of stalker-ish, and he knew she was a bit of freak and over the line from the very beginning.

RENA:

I say, that once Bill opened Quinn’s eyes up to it, she was down for it.

DON:

Bill is clearly a freak, and when we first established him, he was the playboy of playboys!

MICHAEL:

And that he was in actuality going to turn out to be the “Christian Grey” of daytime TV?  (Laughs)

DON:

No, no he wasn’t…

RENA:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

I was Christian Grey! (Laughs)

DON:

I think that is something they share in common.  I think that Bill is aware that she is a wild-card from way back, and that she has an obsession, and she has directed it at Wyatt (Darin Brooks) all these years, instead of Bill.  Now she is showing up here.  Now there maybe is more she wants from Bill than she will admit, and even to herself!

MICHAEL:

Isn’t there a moment for Bill, that after he went there with Quinn and had sex with her, that in the aftermath there was a moment of, “Oh, God.  What did I just do?” 

DON:

Oh sure, of course he has been thinking that!

MICHAEL:

So now that Ridge (Thorsten Kaye) didn’t marry Brooke.  Does Bill truly want Brooke back?

DON:

He wants Brooke, and this was a romp to get over Brooke, so he thinks!

MICHAEL:

So why then has Quinn has been acting weird for months … prior to this little S&M binge?

RENA:

Courtesy/CBS

Him!  (Laughs)  We don’t know Quinn’s back-story, or why she appeared on the scene on The Bold and the Beautiful, and what she had to do to survive and succeed in this business.  We don’t know how she made her money and how she bought the jewels for her jewelry, and who she got involved with.  I am hoping we get to tell that at some point in the future so people will understand including myself, why she made the choices that she made.  But until then the story is simple: she fell in love with Bill, he dumped her, she was left with another child, this child was apart of him and she told him, and he gave her money and dropped her off to have an abortion, and told her to get rid of it!  So she projected her obsessions, her love, her neediness, and her growing up on this perfect son, Wyatt.  And by the way, do you not know people in your life who think their children can do no wrong, and are the most perfect things, and yet they are kind of a freak? (Laughs) I am not saying being proud of your child, but I am proud of my children, but I often have this conversation.  My little one said to me, “Mommy, if I ever want to go on American Idol, would you support me in doing it?”  And I said, “If I thought you were an amazing singer, I could encourage you.  If I thought you weren’t, I would encourage you not do to something like that, or train until you could.”  I don’t believe my own personal children, (although I have quite a brilliant child) that they are perfect no matter what. Quinn is a different story.  Quinn thinks Wyatt can do absolutely no wrong, and she would do anything to protect him.

MICHAEL:

Don, did you let your wife watch these sex scenes with you and Rena?  How do you handle something like this with your spouse?  (Laughs)

DON:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I will suggest that she not watch, because just the imaginary …. who wants to see that? After I suggest it, then it’s up to her if she chooses to check it out.

RENA:

I had to watch it under a pillow! (Laughs)

DON:

This is what my wife likes to say to my children, “Hey guys! Let’s watch daddy today. Let’s see daddy’s job!”  It’s so funny.  Then, she will freeze the frame it on the TV.

MICHAEL:

Don, what would you say about working with Rena?

DON:

She brings it, and that is the best thing I could say about any actor.  But that is the biggest compliment you can pay any actor.  You’ve got to be ready and you got to be prepared. Rena is prepared weeks in advance.  I think that is a great thing.  Her choices are clear and strong, and she has a great sense of humor.  For me, if you don’t have a sense of humor that’s a problem and that’s important.  We have a lot of fun.

MICHAEL:

Your turn!  What has it been like working with Don?

RENA:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

First of all, I like his little dagger. (Laughs)  When I first got the job at B&B, I told Donald’s cousin, who I am good friends with.  She said, “You are going to love working with Donald.  He is the nicest man you will ever meet.” And honestly for me, I hate working with people that aren’t prepared. I hate working with people who don’t take what they do seriously, or complain about it constantly.  I love the fact that he is also prepared and can do it quicker than me.  I need to prepare days ahead. He can pull it together much faster than I can.  I think it’s because you have been doing this much longer than me! (Laughs)  If I didn’t have Donald’s support, I wouldn’t be able to create this character and if he wasn’t up for the play.  As an actor, you want to play.  You want to be prepared and when you come to set, you want to be able to see what happens.  He always gives back what I am giving him and vice-versa.  That’s what fun about this and it remains to be to this day.

MICHAEL:

Rena, you made such an indelible impression playing such a unique character on daytime soaps, when you portrayed Lois Cerullo on General Hospital.  And now Quinn is turning out to be very unique in her own right.  Are these the types of characters you gravitate towards?

RENA:

I like playing original characters.  I don’t like playing the same character.  I think soap operas tend to have the villain, or have the heroine, or the ingénue, and as actress you need to get out of the box.  So for me and the great thing about (B&B executive producer and head writer) Brad Bell is that he wrote this character and said, “I don’t know what we are going to do with her yet.” And he let me do what I wanted to do, and he watched what I was doing, and he is now moving her towards that and now I am having a blast.   I do like playing somebody you haven’t seen before like Lois Cerullo on General Hospital.  She was an original.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

What on earth was going on with the crew when both of you were filming the sex scenes?  What were they doing? (Laughs) Did they all gather around to gawk?

RENA:

I will just say this; and by the way, I didn’t know we had that many crew people on our show until we were shooting that! (Laughs)  Afterwards, they move on to the next scene and we are kind of laughing about it and they go, “Wait, wait, and wait.  We have to do the voice over of when Liam walks up and he hears Quinn and Bill going at it.”  They basically wanted to sit us in a room with all these people around us going moaning and groaning and going, “OH, YES!”, and we couldn’t do it.  We were laughing to hard. And B&B producer Ed Scott went, “C’mon, we need to get through the day!” (Laughs)

DON:

So later, I went into ADR doing the audio tracks going, “AHHHH” and moaning and groaning!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Rena, how is Darin Brooks to work with as your on-screen son?

RENA:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Well, let’s just face facts, that Darin could never be my son.  Other than that, I am having a great time with him, but I am not old enough to be his actual mother.  But I love working with Darin.  He is up for rehearsing and he is up for playing.  Even though I play his mother, the two of them grew up together, so they talk to each other in scenes as friends, and that is what I am really enjoying.  It’s very realistic, you know.  Quinn raised him as she was raising herself, so there is this great camaraderie.

MICHAEL:

Don, where do you want this all to go for Bill?  What do you hope happens next to him?

DON:

Where I want it to go is to keep it interesting with twists and turns and everything like Bill has been through in the last five years.  It has been a great character to play, and he has so many colors.  Brad Bell is the best boss.  He is collaborative, he gives you freedom, and he does work off what you create.  I never know what is coming, or what is around the next corner, which makes it so much fun to play.

MICHAEL:

Rena, what do you hope for Quinn moving forward?  What would you like to see happen to her?

RENA:

What I would like to see happen for Quinn is that I would like to see Bill show up at Quinn’s house one day.  He has a fight with Brooke.  Then he shows up at Quinn’s.  She will make him work for it, but she will definitely take him.  I would love to see that for the fans, so they can see something different.  I think it would be fun to see a different relationship emerge from this experience. But, I would like to see it not be one-sided.  I would like to see her as a freak of nature, and definitely her thinking, “This is not where I want to be, but I do have a couple of hours, and so, why the hell not?”

Courtesy/B&B

MICHAEL:

Some viewers have been concerned that B&B would end up painting Quinn as a psycho, so there becomes nowhere to go with her after they make that full major character turn!  Final thoughts?

RENA:

I don’t think Quinn is crazy. Everyone wants to call her “crazy” and I indulge in what they want to do.  But in my mind when I am playing Quinn, there is nothing psychotic in what she is doing.  She knows exactly what she is doing, and why she is doing it!

Leave a comment | 21 Comments
Advertisement

21
Leave a Reply

avatar
17 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
17 Comment authors
AnnaPamdaring sallyMonica.sarah16 Recent comment authors
newest oldest
Vern
Vern

Awesome interview. Very candid and the actors seem to have great rapport.

Madison
Madison

Quill is hot!! C’mon writers go with something fun and different for a change! Everyone knows Bill isn’t going to be Brooke’s last anyway. Go team Quill

mary papcun
mary papcun

I like Quinn but I love brooke with bill

Mary Mary
Mary Mary

I love Quill!

Mary Papcun
Mary Papcun

I don’t like them together long, the sex is sick he is better with brooke, at one time I though it was with Katie . Katie and bill were good together at one time but they changed him, even though they are not together he doesn’t care for Katie and will he is only for the sex not the real feeling of a good man with a family. Katie is beautiful

mandy
mandy

I love brooke bill together better hate Quinn Wyatt which they leave town

LCA
LCA

Thanks for the interview. I like both actors, not sure I like the SL of them at all. I thought they were going to turn Quinn into a Bunny Boiler with Bill and Brooke. Now I have to wonder why they filmed so many kinky scenes yet we’ve only seen the one when Bill was drunk and immediately regretted it and went to see Brooke and ask her to reconcile. Bill also set Quinn straight when she called them lovers and wanted to be a family with Bill and Wyatt! (That wasn’t crazy Quinn?!) Spoilers of at least two other times have simply not played out . Did B&B change the story? Or did the CBS censors have a say? Now that is a question I would like to see the answer to!

Michele
Michele

I like Bill and Quinn together. Great job DD and RS!

mary papcun
mary papcun

Bill and Katie were the best but I think Brooke is the best for bill

jasmine
jasmine

I like to see Brooke and Bill together but seeing Quinn and Bill that is so wrong Quinn is not family to Bill she only wants sex to make him release his inter beast to her that happened one time but not again its see who lose Bill will always win but not you Quinn or your son to good luck with that

Kristi
Kristi

Thanks, Michael, what a great interview! It sounds like the actors are enjoying their work together, and it’s nice to watch a character that isn’t another weepy, teary woman in a story that is not all about a woman mooning over a man or some ridiculous instant, out of the blue, love. Kudos to Rena Sofer for creating a character that is different, and to both her and Don Diamont for their sense of humor and rapport.

Lenora
Lenora

Thank you Rena for bringing a woman of this century to my afternoon TV. All women are not sitting in a corner winning over a man, must have a man, a man left me boo hoo.

You are G-R-E-A-T!!!

jaybird369
jaybird369

Quinn TRULY ROCKS!!!!! Brooke (on the other hand) has become WAY TOO ANNOYING!!!!! Enough said.

jsnkth
jsnkth

Rena Sofer is amazing-been loving her since Loving. She and Bill are too much alike for this to go further than a plot device to break Brill up. Quinn needs to live out her sick soncest fantasy: put her with Rick. Or THOMAS.

Or RJ.

sarah16
sarah16

With the return of Deacon Sharpe rumour has it something’s going to happen between Quinn and deacon can’t wait!!!!

Monica.
Monica.

I love Quinn and Bill. He and Brooke are boring. Quinn brings out a different side of Bill. They sure maka hot love.

daring sally
daring sally

They should’ve kept Quinn distant toward Bill. The writers make all of the women sex slaves to men. They make them vulnerable and needy. I did not see this coming with the Quinn character. They should have kept her mysterious and strong and away from Bill. He should have been the one lusting after her and not being able to get her. Please let there be just one strong woman on the show that can hold out. I am so done with these storylines of weak, silly, sex-straved women. And Maya don’t know what or who she wants. Please make it stop!

Pam
Pam

Love you Quinn. I hope to see you soon on B&B. You are an amazing actress that is so versatile. Seen you on Criminal Minds the other day as a complete different character. Keep up the great job. We the fans love you. Forget about the LOPERS. They’re irrational and can’t separate the character played from the real person.

Pam
Pam

Quinn, please keep growing out your beautiful dark hair. I remember when you had long think flowing hair in all those movies you were in, and on GH. It makes you look youthful and sexy. Just an objective observation. Nothing more.

Anna
Anna

I HATE Quinn! Everything about her! And that son of hers! Bill should be with Brooke and Brooke only! Not with psycho Quinn or baby Katie.
And i wish somebody pushed her from a bridge or something…

Anna
Anna

You know what i’m waiting for??? Liam throwing Quinn from a cliff…..

Interviews

Melody Thomas Scott Chats On 40 Years As The Young and the Restless’ Incomparable Nikki: The Men, The Booze, The Drama

Today marks Y&R icon Melody Thomas Scott’s 40th anniversary with the top-rated daytime drama series.  While CBS plans to air a special standalone episode (Nikki is in the slammer for confessing to J.T.’s murder, and she will reflect on her life in an emotional look-back), Michael Fairman sat down with the popular and beloved star for a deep dive into four decades in the life of stripper-turned-socialite, Nikki Newman for The Michael Fairman Channel.

During the interview, Melody first addresses her sadness at the loss of her longtime friend and co-star Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters): “I adored him.  I love him to bits.  I loved working with him; such a wonderful actor.  I don’t even know if he knew how good he was.”

When discussing Nikki’s colorful past, and when Y&R planned to have Nikki strip again decades later, Melody revealed she did refuse to play it: “That’s right, and I very rarely put the kibosh on anything on this show,  I was 48-years-old.  The head writer called me and I was up in hair and make-up.  They heard me say, ‘I’m 48-years-old .. that’s just not happening.”‘

Photo: TheMichaelFairmanChannel

Over the years, Nikki has faced many battles, perils ,and demons including her addiction to alcohol which has provided many a juicy story for Thomas Scott.  As to the fans always loving to see a ‘boozy’ Nikki, Melody remarked;  “Yes!  They love it!  I have great fun with it and I think it’s wonderful.”

During a segment of the conversation, Michael shows Melody some photos of Nikki’s past loves, and gets her thoughts on why Nikki fell for those men, and what it was like working with her co-stars through the years: John Enos (Bobby), Doug Davidson (Paul), Heath Kizzier (Joshua), Wings Hauser (Greg), Don Diamont (Brad), Vincent Irizarry (David), Peter Bergman (Jack), Sean Kanan (Deacon, and of course, her longtime on-screen partner Eric Braeden (Victor).

Later, Melody reminisces about her time working with the late great Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) and when asked by Fairman what she thinks Jeanne would say about her 40th anniversary milestone, Melody replied: “She would say, ‘I’m (bleeping) proud of you Mel!”‘

Photo: CBS

Check out the entire interview with Melody below (make sure to also subscribe to the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube for more feature interviews), and following that the special CBS promo honoring Melody’s 40th anniversary with Y&R.  Then let us know, what has been your favorite Nikki Newman moment over the last 40 years? Share your thoughts via the comment section below,

Continue Reading

Interviews

Executive Producer Michael Levitt Previews The Adorable 2019 ‘American Rescue Dog Show’

Dog lovers everywhere get ready! Coming your way on Sunday, February 17th and Monday, February 18th, the good folks at the Hallmark Channel will air a two-night special event (8pmET/7pmCT) that puts a spin on the traditional competitive elite dog shows, while at the same time championing an important cause for man’s best friend.

The 2019 American Rescue Dog Show honors some of the cutest rescue dogs from around the country going paw-to-paw in categories that will tickle-your-funny-bone, bring a smile to your face, or, potentially shed a tear.  This marks the second year for this oh-so-heartwarming show, where in its first year, it beat the Westminster Dog Show in the ratings; much to the delight of rescue dogs and their families, who take these wonderful animals into their homes.

The brainchild behind the concept is the executive producer of the event. Michael Levitt (Skin Wars, Daytime Emmys, TV Land Awards), who spoke with Michael Fairman TV to give us all the inside dish and insight into why this dog show is so personally important to him, and how its goal is to create awareness about the plight of millions of abandoned dogs in shelters each year, and to inspire viewers to think about rescuing one of these loveable pups.

Levitt has a collection of notable hosts and judges along for the ride who bring this one-of-a-kind doggy competition to life from the world of TV, film, and animal advocacy.  So, for the lowdown on the competition and more, here’s what Michael shared.

Photo: Crown Media

For those who want to check out the two-night event, is the American Rescue Dog Show in the same vein as the Westminster Dog Show, where the dogs are competing? 

MICHAEL: The format of the show is similar to a fancy dog show, such as Westminster, however, on the American Rescue Dog Show, we aren’t “judging” the dog.  In our show, they all have to be rescue dogs that are spayed or neutered in order to compete, and we are not judging them based on their bloodlines, we are celebrating their cuteness in such categories as, “Best in Wiggle Butt,” “Best in Couch Potato,” “Best in Snoring,” “Best in Special Needs,” and  “Best in Senior Dog” – those are obviously some of the most important.   We have the fancy arena floor with the judges and the tuxedos.  We filmed it at the Pomona Fairplex, which is the same place that they film the Beverly Hills Dog Show.

And you have a bevy of dog-loving celebrity judges along for the ride, too!

MICHAEL: Yes, and this year we are lucky to have the support of celebrity animal advocates that include: Lisa Vanderpump, Debbie Gibson, Brandon McMillan, host of CBS’s Lucky Dog, Bill Berloni, who is the dog trainer to a lot of the dogs on Broadway, and Dirty Job’s Mike Rowe.  Our prerequisites for them to be a judge were: they all needed to be rescue-friendly.  So, they either needed to have a rescue dog of their own or support rescue in some way.  Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell are the hosts this year, along with Ross Matthews and Home & Family’s Larissa Wall, who served as co-hosts and cover all of the action ringside.

Photo: Crown Media

So, did the judges get along?  Did they differ on their top picks?

MICHAEL: The judges absolutely got along famously, but as a producer of the show, I was a fly on the wall listening to them when they were deliberating as they were picking a winner.  That was quite entertaining, because each of them had a strong point of view on the dog, or dogs that they thought should win the competition. We found ourselves throughout the filming just turning to each other and saying, “I don’t know how the judges are going to pick just one, because they are all just so incredibly special.”

How was Lisa Vanderpump? 

MICHAEL:  Lisa was wonderful!  When she was being interviewed by Rebecca and Jerry O’Connell, they asked her what she would say to a potential family that is about to buy a dog from a breeder, and it was such a profound moment, because as someone who comes from her socioeconomic level, from her privilege, to see that she has embraced rescue might be incredibly meaningful to someone who might think that rescue dogs are second-hand animals.  Lisa Vanderpump disproves that just by being there, and being a part of it.

Photo: Crown Media

How did you decide on Rebecca and Jerry as your hosts with the most?

MICHAE:  I have a long history with Rebecca from producing my show, Skin Wars, which she hosts.  I knew that she and Jerry had four rescue dogs of their own, and that she is incredibly passionate about rescue and shedding light and creating awareness about the plight of animals that are sheltered.  They were not only organic and authentic to the cause, but they were a lot of fun and clearly had a lot of natural chemistry.  They also brought their own rescue dogs to the show, as did Lisa Vanderpump.  So that was fun.

You have two wonderful dogs of your own.  So, this is your passion project!

MICHAEL: This is a true labor of love for me, because in 2011 when my sister, Jennifer was dying of cancer, my partner and I decided to rescue a dog, and we rescued a pit bull named Trooper, and Trooper rocked our world.  My sister met him four days before she died, and it’s that old adage of “Who rescued who.”  Trooper really was there for me during a really difficult time of my life. I learned first-hand how special not only rescue dogs are, but pit bulls, and that really was the beginning of my animal advocacy.  I ended up taking a year off from producing just to rescue dogs.  I realized at the end of that year, that as a rescuer, I am saving one dog at a time, but as a producer, I could do so much more to bring awareness to the plight of animals in our shelters by creating rescue-themed programming.

Pit bulls seem to always get a bad rap.  Do you feel that way?

MICHAEL:  They absolutely get a bad rap, and after we rescued Trooper, we rescued another pit bull named Nelson, and it was really the two of them who inspired me to get heavily involved in rescue and to be an advocate for pit bulls.  With pit bulls it is such a unique human-animal bond that you don’t find with any other breed.  All they really want to do is please their humans, and it is absolutely true that when you hear these horrific stories about pit bulls on the news, these are rare incidents of pit bulls who have fallen into the hands of bad people who have treated them badly.  It’s really unfair to profile and entire breed of dog, because all dog breeds have some dogs that have behavioral problems.  I have come in contact with thousands of pit bulls, and I have only met one that was human-aggressive, and that dog was severely, severely abused.  Every other pit bull I have come in contact with has been nothing but incredibly sweet.

Photo: Crown Media

So, last year’s American Rescue Dog Show is currently in the running to earn a Daytime Emmy nomination in the ‘Special Class Special’ programming category!

MICHAEL:  Yes, “Special Class Special”. (Laughs)

You obviously know who wins this weekend’s American Rescue Dog Show competition.  Were you happy with the winner? 

MICHAEL:  Yes, but you can imagine how difficult it is for the judges to pick a winner because every single dog in the competition is beyond adorable. It is really the dogs who deliver on the show, and that’s what makes the show so heartwarming.  The real purpose of the show is to inspire the viewers to rescue their next dog from their local shelter, or rescue organization, so that people who are watching turn to the person they are with and say, “Honey, I didn’t know you could get a pure-bred dog at a shelter!  Let’s rescue our next dog!”  We have really powerful segments in the show about the joy of adopting a senior dog, or a special-needs dog.  We do a segment on debunking the myths about pit bulls, and we have messaging on why it is important to spay and neuter your dog.  So, through this wonderfully entertaining program, we are also educating people and hopefully touching their heart and their soul and inspiring them to be a part of the solution by rescuing their next dog; instead of being a part of the problem by purchasing a dog from a pet store or breeder.

Photo: Crown Media

When you look at what you have to take on as a producer when you do this type of show; as opposed to any other type of production you have helmed, what are the major differences?

MICHAEL: The biggest distinction is that on this show we are dealing with living animals, so I take that responsibility very seriously.  First and foremost: is the safety and well-being of the dogs that are participating on the show.  We have to consider everything from making sure that the animals are up-to-date with their vaccinations to having veterinarians on hand, having production personal on-hand standing by with treats and pooper-scoopers. This also means that the dogs are being treated like VIPs.  So, we have a VIP room, but that stands for “Very Important Pooch”, and all of the dogs that are participating have their own dressing rooms with a star on it and their name.  There were over 130 dogs that actually participated from all over the country.  In addition, we had a gifting suite like they do on the Oscars and Golden Globes, but on this show, they didn’t get swag bags, they got “Wag Bags”.

Knowing you as I do, it seems a lot this creative from the categories in the competition, to the backstage VIP room, are very YOU!

MICHAEL:  I have an incredible team of producers who I collaborate with.  None of this would be possible without the good people at Hallmark being such incredible animal advocates.  Specifically, Bill Abbott, who is one of the few network executives in the industry who is really walking the walk and doing so much to be supportive of dogs and cats who need homes.  So, this is right up my alley, because creatively I am so passionate about it that it is so easy to come up with fun ideas that hopefully resonate with the viewers.

Photo: Crown Media

Are there any other fun moments that you can tease?

MICHAEL:  We are celebrating the perfectly imperfect.  So, we love when a dog decides to roll on his back in the middle of the arena and decide he wants to get a belly rub in the middle of the competition.  We had a dog decide that he had to go potty on the middle of a flower arrangement on the arena floor.  Those are the moments that give the show its heart and feel-good sensibility.  We had a couple of dogs in the “Best Wiggle Butt” category where one of their forever parent brings them out initially, and their other forever parent was on the other side of the area, and we removed their leash so that they can run from one parent to the other so that we can really see their butts moving, but … we had a few dogs get so excited that they ran right out of the arena! (Laughs)  They ran right through the tunnel off stage and come running back in, and the whole audience erupted into laughter.  It’s just magical.

How did you find these dogs to compete? 

MICHAEL:  We put out a call-to-action on social media, and we got thousands of responses. People submitted their rescue dogs in as many categories as they qualified for, and they submitted photos and videos. Then, we have a team of producers and rescue experts who go through all of the submissions, ultimately picking the top semi-finalists in each category who come to Los Angeles to compete.  We had a wonderful partnership with Pedigree Foundation in which they provided $100,000 in grant money for the dogs that win for the rescue that saved him or her.  So, in the ten semi-final categories, each winning dog received a $5,000 grant for the rescue that saved him or her, and then the ultimate winner of the competition, which is crowned the title, “Best in Rescue,” received an additional $30,000 for the rescue that saved him or her, again, courtesy of Pedigree Foundation.  We also had a partnership with adoptapet.com, which is the largest online resource for people to find rescue dogs in their own communities. Throughout the show, we have a call-to-action for people to go to hallmark.com/bestinrescue and look for the adopt a pet icon … they click it… then enter their zip code … and they are instantly linked to thousands of available dogs in their own community who are patiently waiting for a loving home.

Photo: Crown Media

The dog handlers are the owners of these pets?

MICHAEL:  Yes.  We call it a member of their “forever family”.  Several of the dogs on the show are service dogs now, or companion animals, working in senior homes or working with military service people suffering from PTSD.  We celebrate each and every one of them.

Is your hope to do a third annual show, and keep the dog rescue competition going?

MICHAEL:  Yes!  My hope is that this show continues to be on for many years to come and be a platform for the 8 million animals that enter our shelters each year and are patiently waiting for their forever home, and that we can continue to be a voice for these dogs that don’t have voices of their own.  Of all of the shows that I have produced over the years, this one is going to be the most meaningful to me, and is going to be my legacy, because it is such a beautiful thing that I can bring my work and my passion together to hopefully make a difference in the lives of all of these animals.  As a result of this show, we heard from numerous shelters across the country that there was a definite uptick in adoptions.  That warms my heart beyond compare.

In closing, you know what they say:  it’s easier to work with animals than humans! Thoughts? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:  Every show has its challenges, but I would much rather deal with a diva Chihuahua than a diva celebrity.  So, on that level, this show is pure joy to make.

So, will you be watching this heartwarming, creative two-night rescue dog event?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below, but first, check out this behind-the-scenes video of how the American Rescue Dog Show is put together with co-host, Ross Matthews.

Continue Reading

Interviews

Y&R’s Jason Thompson Talks On: The Self-Destructive Billy Abbott, Victoria, Phyllis, And Katie’s Disappearance

As February sweeps kicks in to high gear on The Young and the Restless, Billy Abbott (Jason Thompson) and his ex-wife, Victoria Newman (Amelia Heinle) are once again in each other’s orbit.  First, Billy was not too happy to learn that his nemesis, Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard) shared some passionate kisses with her.  In fact, he went running to Cane’s imprisoned wife. Lily (Christel Khalil), to give her the lowdown.  Next, their child, Katie has gone MIA, but as viewers saw on Friday’s cliffhanger she is somehow heard singing through the walls at the Newman Ranch. Previously, Katie said she was playing with an imaginary friend, but someone is lurking around and watching the Newmans every move!

And let’s not forget, Summer (Hunter King) is back in Genoa City!  The last time she hit town she all but destroyed Billy – his gambling addiction returned, she tried to seduce him, and he slept with her as revenge against Phyllis for her having sex with Nick (Joshua Morrow), and we could go on!  After all the hurt, and the dissolution of their relationship, Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) and Billy are not seeing eye to eye on much, but saying they will try to work together.  Can they?

To fill us in on all the drama, Jason Thompson chatted with Michael Fairman TV and weighed-in on: the future for Villy, Philly, what he has learned from working on two major soaps; General Hospital, where he played the popular Dr. Patrick Drake, and Y&R, his thoughts on his recent Daytime Emmy Pre-Nomination in the Lead Actor category in what was a banner year of storyline for him in 2018, and much more.

Insightful, driven, and talented, Jason is one of the standouts in our genre.  Check out what he had to share below.

What did you think about the plot point that had Billy going to visit Lily in prison, and once there, he informs her that her husband, Cane has been kissing on Victoria!?

JASON:  What I think about it is somewhat irrelevant.  It wasn’t hard for me to rationalize it.  In the moment, Billy was hurt and pissed off.  He is irrational sometimes.  Once he got to the prison, I think he second-guessed himself.  Lily did a pretty good job of convincing him that she needs to know what is going on in order to just live in a certain amount of truth in this situation.  Billy felt that it would be worse for her wondering what was going on on the outside without knowing the truth.  I think that in that moment, he was convinced that telling her the truth was the right thing.  There was a part of him that wanted to get back at Cane, and when Billy gets hurt, he seems to lash out a bit and then sometimes he kind of recoils.  Could he have let it go?  Probably.  I think it’s an interesting thing for Lily and Billy’s relationship; to be honest.  Billy has always respected Lily.  I think that he’s always looked at Lily as someone who does the right thing, and was a good wife, and a good mother, and all of those things.  He thinks that she is in a rough place and wanted to offer her a little bit of support, and that’s the way that he did it.

Photo: JPI Studios

Where do you think the show can go now with his relationship with Cane?  They have been contentious all this time, anyway, and now this has happened.   How do you think this will resolve, or would it ever resolve?

JASON:  I think it’s one of the most interesting relationships Billy hasI don’t know that it will ever resolve.  I don’t know that Billy thinks too much about Cane either way, but in saying that,  there is still no one that can get under his skin and quickly!  In an instant, Cane can be Billy’s enemy and I think that’s great.  I always think there is story for Billy and Cane.  In our working relationship as well, I think we both get a different energy out of each other that inevitably ends up in the characters.  That’s always fun.

Photo:” JPI

How does Billy feel about Victoria now?  She’s been struggling since her relationship with J.T., making out with Cane, etc. 

JASON:  Billy does have feelings for VictoriaI think it’s a number of things that contributes to this.  I think it’s where he finds himself in his life.  He has been kind of hurt by the woman he loved (Phyllis).  He had everything for a moment that he wanted … he had the job, he had the girl, and if he had just done the right thing and had a little bit more self-control, he probably would have been in the best place of his life.  So, when all of those things get pulled away, the one constant is just when he goes to see his kids and they smile, and they don’t know what’s going on in the outside world.  I think the only people who don’t judge him are probably the kids.  There’s something really comfortable about that situation.  No matter what happens, there’s always going to be a little something with Victoria.  She’s always very supportive (not that she hasn’t been very, very upset with him, at times), but there is always something about their relationship that will keep him wondering if they should be together.  I think it will probably be like that for the rest of their lives.

Billy is still unaware that Victoria, Nikki, Phyllis and Sharon are all part of a cover-up in J.T.’s murder.  How aware is Billy in the depths of the abuse Victoria suffered at the hands of J.T.?

JASON:  There was never really a big realization about how dramatic, hurtful, and volatile the whole situation was.  It was a shock to hear all of that obviously, but he has no idea about the depths of it all.

Photo: CBS

If he found out, how do you think he would react knowing what Victoria had gone through?

JASON:  I think he would probably want to kick him again and then re-bury him. Billy has got a lot of flaws, but there is one thing that he will do, and that is always stand up for his family, and that includes Victoria.

Currently, it is just devastating for Billy when Katie goes missing.   He’s like, “I can’t go through this again after what happened with Delia,” and I know you didn’t play the Delia material, because you weren’t on the show at that time.  However, this does give you the opportunity to tap into all of that.

JASON:  Yes!  I mean, that is his biggest fear … going through all of that again.  I think that he would rather not be on the planet than go through all of that again.  What happened to Delia is never going to ever leave him.  I can’t imagine that something like that ever really does.  You just deal with it on a daily basis probably, and things come up, and you feel it all over again, and this is one of those moments.

Courtesy/CBS

I think that you being a father of two children now in your own life; really gives you a perspective when you play these things types of emotions and scenes out.

JASON:  Definitely.  Peter Bergman (Jack) and I were having a conversation about how much life and living, and trying to live a full life, really helps you with your acting.  I work really hard on my craft, but the most important thing that I can do for my work and my career is live a full life.  With the kids and everything else in my personal life, that to me is something that I can always draw upon.  It’s hard to even let myself go there sometimes, because of how scary it would be.  But yeah, I think Billy is not far off from that.  That character has a lot of life and is tied to this volcano and it’s just waiting to erupt, and that eruption is good and full of liveliness fear, and anger.  Some of that comes from hurt, and some of that comes from pain, and some of that comes from a good time, and some of that comes from addiction, and it makes it fun for me because there’s always something to play.  When I talk about what I think of a particular story line, I don’t think of it as, “Oh, I would never do this,” or “I would never do that.  That doesn’t make any sense.”  I try and make sense of everything.  That’s my job.  I just try to find a reason why Billy would be in that situation; instead of trying to find a reason why he wouldn’t be.

Photo: JPI Studios

Would you say that the situation with Katie will draw Victoria and Billy closer together?  At the end of Friday’s episode, they hear Katie’s voice in the wall, so they know she is alive.

JASON:  I think so.  One step up is often two steps back with them, but they are always connected in that way.  The kids do that, and what they’ve been through in the past, and like you said, I wasn’t necessarily there for a lot of that, but it’s in this character.  I would never say never with Victoria.

Photo: CBS

So, where is Billy at with Phyllis?  You and Gina Tognoni played that coupling to the hilt and the show separated them.  Major romances are never really ‘done, done’ on soaps.

JASON:  I mean, it only gets worse with Phyllis.  I’ll say that.  They’re not in a good place.   We have gone through some changes behind the scenes.  So, I have no idea what is happening as far as storyline.  I think there is always going to be something unresolved with Phyllis, but that’s the good thing about this kind of stuff.  You can put these two people together when you have two actors who kind of embrace it, and work at it, and have a natural chemistry, which in turn helps the characters have chemistry.  When Gina and I talk about what we did and accomplished with our characters, to be honest, it’s a little bit of a bummer that they are kind of apart right now, because we had a lot of fun.  We really enjoyed working with each other.  We felt like there was a lot more there to continue to explore, but like you said, it’s never over.  As far as the way that he sees Phyllis … it’s interesting.  I think as an outsider, he kind of looks at her as a selfish person who is going to get and grab whatever she wants, but I feel like he does understand her differently than other people do.  I think he’s looking at Nick and Phyllis and shaking his head like, “You can’t be serious.” (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI

You have had quite a gold mine of leading ladies in your daytime career from: Kimberly McCullough (Robin) to Kelly Monaco (Sam) while you portrayed Dr, Patrick Drake on General Hospital, to Gina and Amelia at Y&R.  I have to say that of all of the leading men on daytime, I think you’ve had consistently some major romantic kickass scene partners.  What are your thoughts on that?

JASON:  Yeah, I have been very fortunate.  I can go back thirteen years now and talk about how much Kimberly helped me out in the beginning, and how patient, and impatient (laughs) she was in a lot of ways.  Kimberly taught me a lot about how the business is, and to hold onto your values, and that it is very important to collaborate with your directors, and your writers, and your producers, and with other people that you work with.  You then see new things.  I’m constantly seeing things in other characters where I’m like, “That would be really interesting to shine a light on.”   I think there’s something really interesting about Sharon (Sharon Case) and Billy.  I think Billy could bring something out in Sharon that somebody else can’t.  That’s what is exciting for me as an actor – trying to find something different and trying to bring life that is not necessarily there yet.  I have had a lot of trust from writers, from producers, and from networks.  I have been very fortunate in that way.

Hunter King has returned to Y&R as Summer.  She played havoc in Billy’s life her last go-round.  I know now she is currently after Kyle (Michael Mealor) and not after Billy, but does Billy blame her at all for his spiral back into his gambling addiction?

JASON:  Realistically, if  Billy were really being dead honest about it and trying to really work soberly in his life, he would say there’s nobody to blame but himself.  There’s definitely that conversation that could be had between them about the situation that they found themselves in.  They both hurt each other pretty badly, and the people surrounding them.  I think there is probably a little bit of blame that can go around on both of them, but I don’t think he really sits back and blames her for falling back into addiction.  She might have been one of the triggers, but I think that he was really responsible for that.

Congratulations on your Daytime Emmy Pre-Nom in the Lead Actor category!  It’s quite a talented group of ten actors that made it through to the final round of competition. You certainly had a stellar year of material!

JASON:  I had a ton of great storylines last year, and it just kind of kept going, and kept going One thing I will say that really helped me out is my relationship with Mal Young (Ex- EP and head writer, Y&R).  We got along really well.  He helped me out by letting me know six months ahead of time where we planned on going with the story.  So, I was able to understand and slowly build the depths of hurt, and the gambling, and how it got further along, and the lies.   I was able to understand where we were going and the plateau that we needed to get to, which was very helpful for me. I worked with amazing people constantly; every day was like something different.  The hard part in this next round of voting is trying to find something that represents the whole year.  When I look at that list of pre-nominees, I’m proud of the work that daytime actors do … everybody from a little bit of a younger guy like Billy Flynn (Chad, DAYS) to icons like Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) , and Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH).  What Maurice brought to my life as an actor and still does has been wonderful, and on the other side of that you’ve got Peter Bergman, who is like a real brother to me now, and we’re really close.  It’s a nice comradery between everybody in the category.  It’s a great group of people to be included with, and aside from the competition part of it, that’s the really cool part.

Photo Credit: JPI

So, let’s talk about your on-screen, mom, Jess Walton (Jill).  I’ve heard you say publicly how much you really like working with her, and she with you.  What can you say about when you do get some scenes with Jess, and get to play that mother-son relationship?

JASON:  That’s another one that you can loop in with all of the other women I’ve worked with.  It’s a different kind of relationship, but talk about a soap icon! Jess Walton is right up there.  She’s a pro, and she’s got this little girl inside that is the sweetest thing alive, and her little giggle.  I can say that relationship is just there with her.  I would love for her to be there more.  If there’s one person that can tell Billy to just, you know what, she’s somebody that can give him a little whipping, and he’d be like, “Okay mom, you’re right.” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Finally, you are on this juggernaut of a show that just celebrated yet another milestone, 30 years at #1.  You go from a historic show like GH, to another here at Y&R that keeps celebrating these milestones that nobody will ever overtake.  All of this has to be a ‘pinch yourself’ moment for you?

JASON:  Yeah, I definitely pinch myself.  I think at this moment, all four soaps that are left are having monumental anniversaries and celebrations, because the truth of it is, it’s really incredible what soaps have done in our history.  With playing Patrick on General Hospital, I still look back on that time and that character, and am just so grateful that I was able to bring him to life.  Every once and awhile I wonder what Patrick’s doing.  On the other end of that, to come over to Y&R with a show that is now 30 years at number #1, and the pride that they have, and the support that they have from the network, there’s a real kind of challenge that we have in order to keep that up.  It is not about the slogans, or the glitzy ad campaigns in the magazines that say, “Hey!  We are #1 for 30 years.”  While that’s very important, what’s more important are the people who have gotten us there for the last thirty years.  We have to show them respect by doing the best that we can and continue that. That’s what drives us. You can feel it in the building.  To take on a character like Billy, who has been a part of that for a very long time, there is a pressure that comes with that, but at the same time, there is an excitement of taking on this character and continuing to make him relevant, and a part of this great soap’s history.

So, do you want Billy to end up with Victoria, Phyllis, perhaps Sharon, or someone else? Who do you think has got Katie and is watching the Newmans?  Are you rooting for Jason to receive a Lead Actor nomination for his work on Y&R in 2018?  What do you think about the other sentiments shared by Jason in this interview, and what was your favorite part of our discussion? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

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

The Michael Channel

Recent Comments

  • Harry: “Y&R certainly deserves this. The only thing which made this idiotic, maddening and never ending JT storyline bearable…
  • Harry: “I agree. Violet, I have learned to keep my big mouth shut on such matters and not judge so quickly.…
  • Harry: “But Dante isn't staying around long--why is it we lose Dante but are stuck with boring Chase? That actor…
  • Harry: “Hmm...could be, Timm. I mean, they're doing amazing things packaging and mailing freeze dried items these days.
  • Timmm: “Neil is Alexis's new fire hydrant! [Shrink] I think Chase has more possibilities than Nathan ever did. Willow is to…
Advertisement

Power Performance

Kate Mansi as Abigail

Days of our Lives

Airdate:12-24-2018

Advertisement

Popular