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The Don Diamont Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

The lip-smack heard around the world on The Bold and the Beautiful, had a vulnerable Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) and Bill (Don Diamont) giving into their attraction to each other, albeit for a minute.  Soon the reality and the gravity of what they had done would come back to bite them!  You see, just as soon as Bill and Brooke headed home to Los Angeles there was previously MIA Katie (Heather Tom), who had vanished due to her post-partum depression, waiting for her husband!  Now what was Bill going to do?  Or … Brooke for that matter?

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with daytime heartthrob Don Diamont to get his thoughts on this latest wrinkle, which could eventually cause a seismic shift in the relations between the Logan and the Spencer families!  Meanwhile, Dollar Bill had been up to his neck in manipulations in his attempt to keep ex-girl-on-the-side Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) happily married to his son, Liam (Scott Clifton), and away from Liam’s true love, Hope (Kim Matula)!  Now that much of his machinations have been exposed and caused havoc for his family including Caroline (Linsey Godfrey), Diamont has been at the story forefront painting a rather complex side of Mr. Spencer!

But while there are big changes on-screen for soap veteran, Diamont, over this past summer, there were big changes in Don’s personal life.  Don married his long time girlfriend, Cindy Ambuehl, in a romantic ceremony outside of Monte Carlo surrounded by his sons, castmates and friends, and as you will read, it was a magical time for his family.  And, family means everything to Mr. Diamont!  Here now is Dandy Don!

MICHAEL:

When you got the scripts that said, “Bill kisses Brooke,” or “Brooke goes to look for an MIA Katie with Bill,” how much of the story did you know?  When Ronn Moss (Ex-Ridge) left the series, did you know that this is what was going to happen?

DON:

Courtesy/CBS

I had an idea that we were going to move in that direction. 

MICHAEL:

The reason I ask, is that the last time we chatted you had said you think Katie and Bill are a great couple, and this new romantic entanglement could lead the viewers now questioning who to root for!

DON:

I do think Katie and Bill are a great couple and I love working with Heather Tom (Katie).  I think it reflects in our work.  Although, if Heather hated me, it would still be as good. (Laughs) But I don’t think that is the case, but having said that, we still went through the Steffy period, and that was challenging for Bill and Katie.  As this story progresses with Brooke, I am sure it will present its share of challenges, as well.  My feeling was that it has to be a real love story that has to develop with Bill and Brooke, as he has a real love story with Katie.  But, it has to be a real love story, and they have to be driven together and not an overly contrived fashion.  It is Bill’s sister-in-law, and Katie is Brooke’s sister.  Given Brooke’s history, that whatever story gets told, it has to be very compelling that would push these two people together that would otherwise not go anywhere near that.

MICHAEL:

The groundwork was laid out very well for Brooke and Bill to share that kiss.  Brooke was frantic to find Stephanie’s engagement ring that she gave to Brooke shortly before she died.  Bill was then the one to find it and hand it to Brooke.  There was symbolism in all of that for the future, for sure, and then … BAM … they kissed!

DON:

They both were in very vulnerable places.  At that point, as far as Bill knew, post-partum depression or not, Katie wanted a divorce.  She did not want to be a mother to their child, and she in her own right, wanted a divorce.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Next, Bill and Brooke head back to the Spencer home after Stephanie’s passing, and lo and behold …. there was Katie!  And your face in the scene was priceless!

DON:

Yes, there she was! (Laughs)  You know, Heather and I had talked about playing this scene.  Bill was and is conflicted.  He would be conflicted even if nothing had happened with Brooke.  Katie was back and like, “Oh, I am back, and everything’s wonderful and it’s all good.”  No it’s not!  You left and put us through a very difficult time.  Bill obviously was not aware of the ordeal Katie was going through, and that made this more difficult as well.  So, add to that, the feelings the Katie helped create – the feelings he now shares with Brooke – and obviously it wasn’t, “Katie’s home and everything is great. Oh, joy!”

MICHAEL:

So is Bill buying the post-partum depression from Katie as the reason for her checking out on him and baby Will?  Is he Ok with that?

DON:

He is many things, and idiot is not one of them.  So yeah, he gets it, but it still makes him feel like he is on unstable ground now.  So here is who I thought she was, and yeah, the post-partum depression was a big part of this.  But, is there more going on here than that that is going to potentially rear its ugly head?  She is not the same person Bill thought he married.  It’s unsettling for him and he is not sure what to do.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

He wants to be a father to baby Will, right?  This is his chance to be a dad after missing out on years raising his other son, Liam!

DON:

No question.  He loves this baby.

MICHAEL:

One can assume this will cause conflict with Liam down the road, because he was Bill’s first born son?

DON:

I would imagine once Will is an infant and goes to boarding school and returns as 17 (laughs), I would think down the road that two male Spencer’s would be a great story to tell!  Will would be the golden child, for sure.  I would guess Will probably will be molded more in Bill’s image.  I already suggested putting a sword around his neck! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Yes! They need to cast a little Don Diamont who looks like you!  In real life, you are a father to a ton of boys! (Laughs)  There isn’t one person we have ever met who knows you, who does not say you are the best father.

DON:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I try.  Being a dad is something I always wanted to be.  When I was a kid, I had valued my relationship with my dad, and I lost that pretty young.  I wanted that and I thought it was very important.

MICHAEL:

You finally got married to your long time sweetheart, Cindy Ambuehl, over the summer.  How was the wedding?

DON:

We went to Rome, Venice, and Monte Carlo.  The wedding took place June 12th in Eze, which is this magical storybook medieval city.  It was perfect.  As I said, because we had waited to get married, the boys were older, and we all had many years together.  So, a lot of our collective life experiences were brought to bear.  It was very much like we all got married.  It was very emotional for everyone.  Cindy walked out, and Luca, my eleven year old, just started crying.  Let me tell you, I was having to hold everyone up at my own wedding! (Laughs) My son Alexander made a speech on behalf of all the boys, and he got emotional and everyone started crying.

MICHAEL:

I remember chatting with you and Cindy on the red carpet at B&B’s silver anniversary party!  She was so funny and charming.

DON:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Cindy is hysterical; she has an amazing sense of humor.  She is a very funny.  When she was still acting comedy was her real passion.  She had two sitcoms, and she had guest-starred on every sitcom from the 90’s: Seinfeld, Frasier, Wings, and on and on.  She looks like she does, and is hysterical on top of it.  She often brings me to tears and I beg her to stop because I am laughing so hard that I am doubling over in pain.  And on top of that, she is gorgeous, brilliant, a hard worker, and an amazing mom … and she puts up with me! (Laughs).

MICHAEL:

This role as Dollar Bill Spencer seems to be the defining role in your daytime career.  So many of your peers feel that you really “pop” with this character.  Would you say that you have really immersed yourself in this role, like none other?

DON:

What happened on Y&R and the way it happened was difficult, and when Brad Bell (B&B’s executive producer and head writer) called it was a job, so that was great.  So when he described the character to me it was over the phone, but then we later sat down and he told me he had created this character for me.  I just immediately understood and knew Bill Spencer.  I was able to create a life experience in my head for him, and had just a great give-and-take collaboration with Brad.  He gave me the outline for this guy, and he gave me the “ball” and the freedom and trusted me.  I felt that from him.  Brad expressed to me that he had very high hopes for the character and that he created other leading male roles over the years for this show that were not so successful.  I promised him that I would not let him down.  In creating Bill, I was able to bring some elements to me that are right there and other elements that we all have that are smaller parts of who we are, and parts of your personality that you handle; like Bill is quick to temper.  I, Don, am not so quick to temper, so you bring that, but it’s there and you bring it more to the forefront.  I relished the opportunity to bring Bill to life.  I thought this is an opportunity to bring a unique and dynamic character to the show.  It is my job to make him complex, contradictory, and a Type-A person.

MICHAEL:

When I talked recently with Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) she was saying, “Oh God, I don’t want Brooke to be paired with another man so soon after Ridge.”  And … here Brooke was kissing Bill!  Did the two of you have any talks about that and address any concerns?

DON:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

No.  We did not really talk about it.  (Laughs)  I think her concerns were the same as mine and Heather’s; that the integrity of all concerned not be comprised.  We will see how this plays out as we move forward.

MICHAEL:

What are your thoughts on this situation?  Do you think Katie and Bill can come back from anything and endure it as couple?  Or, do you think Brooke is a real spoiler and threat to their relationship?

DON:

I think where Katie is at now is not good, especially if they can’t come to a meeting of the minds.  Bill feels this is not the Katie that he married.  This is a person living in fear, as opposed to this wallflower of a person that had all this stuff within her that he saw and yanked out of her.  Bill made her more in his own image.  Then, Katie became more of a powerhouse and a go-getter.  That is not who she is right now.  She is strong in other ways, but not that person.  We will see how it unfolds.  I think it’s great story.

MICHAEL:

There will probably be at least 327 episodes to come now of Brooke and Bill looking longingly at each other, with nothing advancing! (Laughs)

DON:

I don’t read facebook, or the blogs, or Twitter, just because I don’t want to know what people’s opinions are, or what the reactions out there are.  I just like to do my work and do my thing, and not let it be colored by opinion … everyone else can do all that.  I don’t really know what the reaction of Bill and Brooke is at this point.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

From the reactions we have seen, the fans are more disappointed in Brooke because she just apologized to Stephanie for her behavior with all the Forrester men and taking them from her.  Then she kissed Bill, and to many it made her look bad.

DON:

She thinks Katie is gone at that point, and that Katie wants a divorce.  Brooke is dealing with her own vulnerability of the Ridge situation and losing Stephanie, her best friend.  I think moving forward it’s important that Brooke fights against whatever feelings clearly she has for Bill, and genuinely tries to make Bill and Katie work things out in their marriage.

MICHAEL:

B&B’s first on-screen same sex couple: Joanna Johnson (Karen) and Crystal Chappell (Dani) were back for a short-arc after Caroline’s “accident”.   What did you think about the way Bill handled the reveal of his sister’s sexuality?

DON:

Who would have expected that Bill would respond that way, and be OK with his sister’s sexuality?  I was glad that he responded in that way.  It was very important.  I said from the very beginning, “Bill is probably very Republican with his wallet, but he is very liberal in his social views.”   He does not care who sleeps with whom.  Bill is not about that … Jewish, Gentile, Muslim, Gay, Straight… he doesn’t care.  If you mess with him, no matter what you are, you are in trouble! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Photo Credits: L Bohm & K. Hutchins

Would you like to see the show delve more into Karen and Bill’s brother-sister relationship and dynamic?

DON:

I like our scenes, and I like our dynamic.  Crystal is great, too.   I liked the scenes with Crystal where he is thinking, “Oh, yeah. She is into me. C’mon! You’re telling me, I don’t know when a woman is interested in me?”  I thought it would be kind of funny, if Crystal’s character was finding herself into Bill! (Laughs)  That would have created a riff between Bill and his sister, Karen.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of Bill’s sudden alcohol “problem”? And is it really a problem? Or, do you think he will get this under control?

DON:

He doesn’t have anything to get under control. It’s not a problem. Bill is not drinking any more or any less than he ever was. Bill really sees it more as Katie having a heightened sensitivity since having gone through her recent near death experience, almost losing the baby and her post partum depression.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Everyone in town is furious with him: from Hope, Caroline, Liam etc.  How was it to play all of those heavy confrontational scenes?  Bill even got so upset that he “stabbed” himself with Liam’s little dagger charm on his necklace! Is he unraveling?

DON:

Confrontation plays right into Bill’s wheel house so that is a non-issue.  There are certain things that Bill certainly doesn’t like being challenged about but he is always up to the task. I relish the opportunities to play those scenes. Those kinds of scenes get your juices flowing. Lastly, as the audience found out, Bill did not actually stab himself.

MICHAEL:

One day Bill will get shot by any number of suspects, and they can do a “Who Shot Bill?” whodunit!  Of course, Bill lives though it! (Laughs)

DON:

You mean like Dallas’ “Who Shot J.R.?”   This would then be “Who Shot B.S?” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Well … Bill did have a part in the machinations that ruined Hope and Liam’s chance at happiness that inevitably pushed Liam into the arms of Steffy!

DON:

Courtesy/CBS

Bill got Deacon out of prison to throw an emotional wrench in Hope’s world, and then that would hopefully stop the wedding from happening.  Deacon showed up in Hope’s hotel room while she was getting ready for the wedding.  However, Hope and Liam did get married, as Bill had made clear.  Hope showed some emotional fortitude and Bill respected that.  He did welcome her into the family, and he meant that.  It’s not his fault that the wedding wasn’t legal, and that they neglected to take care of the paperwork.  It was really on Rick.  Rick was the one who created the problem, and that has been Bill’s position this whole time.

MICHAEL:

Were you on set for Susan Flannery’s (Ex-Stephanie) farewell party day?

DON:

As I said to Susan, my first episode was with her and that meant a lot to me.  Bill being introduced in scenes with Stephanie brought gravitas to Bill right off the bat.  It was an honor for me to work with her, and to start out what I hoped would be a nice long run here.  I valued my scenes with Susan.  The first eight weeks I was on the show that story arc revolved around Stephanie.  I worked with her quite a bit.  I have so much respect for her as an actress and as person, and it was really wonderful for me.  I was glad I got the time with her that I did.  The entire send-off was beyond well deserved.  If anyone deserved that kind of send-off, both in story and in terms of the party we had here, it is Susan. My hats are off to Brad Bell for all of that.  I give Susan a lot of credit too for giving Brad the opportunity to send her and the character off in the manner in which she he and Susan deserved. 

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

In closing, do you want the audience to like Bill, hate Bill, or ultimately both?

DON:

Interesting question and nobody has ever asked that.  I think that both are the answer.  I think Bill is very entertaining and a likeable hard-ass.  Even though he gets in his own way, genuinely he believes he is doing the right thing.  The commitment to his family is clear.  I think there are some people out there who love to hate him, and some who love him, and some who want to be Bill!  It’s all of that.  But overall, I think he is very entertaining, and coming up he will be smack dab in the middle of a huge firestorm with the women in his life.

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annesha
annesha

I would love for you and Steffy to fid your way back to each other, what do you think about that?

kimmie
kimmie

cause they truely deserve each other, thats why bill fights so hard to keep steffy near, he wants her but is with katie so next best thing give er to his son, just keep it in the fam right dolla bill

Dee Bickford
Dee Bickford

I love Don. When he was on YR, and love him on BB more! His character is basically good.. But he is all man! So good to look at too, so that sure doesn’t hurt. 🙂 I can see lots of chemistry with Brooke. In spite of her history. That’s life in the soaps! I agree with Bill about Hope too! I don’t like her with Liam! It actually surprises me how much I dislike her character. I am sure she is a lovely person. So credit for my dislike is given to the writers. 🙂

Jeffery
Jeffery

It’s so refreshing to see Don so vibrant on B&B after his Brad seemed to diminish over many years on Y&R. B&B is like daytime’s answer to Greek mythology, and Bill Spencer is a formidable god. Of course, we can love and hate him at the same time. His sexiness counterbalances the absolute jerk that he is. He’s both bold and beautiful! Without Don in the role, I don’t think we’d get that complexity. It’s compelling, to say the least. So glad to see this talented guy not going to waste.

carla
carla

we want Bill & steffy together!

Lee
Lee

I absolutely LOVE Bill and Steffy as a couple. Those two were so hot!!!!!!!!! What were the writers thinking breaking them up!

Jane
Jane

I soo love the Bill Spencer character, when he appears on screen i find im holding my breath just waiting to see what will happen next. Don – you are wonderful to watch, keep it up!

sam
sam

Love Brooke and Bill together

Joanna Maria
Joanna Maria

Bill’s heart belongs to Katie, Brooke or Steffy won’t change. Bill always “has” feelings for another woman when feels hurt, abandon or betrayed by Katie. Does Anyone See a Pattern Here?

Joanna Maria
Joanna Maria

I meant Steffy and Brooke won’t change this!

beth garvin
beth garvin

I have been watching b&b and y&r for 20yrs. I think bill and steffy looked good together! hope and liam should have 1 more chance without anyone messing with em. steffys plane should crash and she would lose the baby.

lori
lori

i totally agree

Christine
Christine

There are other less dramatic ways to lose a baby then a plane crash. Most pregnancies don’t make it through the first trimester because the baby isn’t meant to be in the first place.

Sheila E. Hollingsworth
Sheila E. Hollingsworth

I love to see you on B&B Don, you are so goodlooking!!!!! You also have a very beautiful wife & family, so proud of you!! Keep on doing your thing we love YOU!!!

anothercc
anothercc

I would love to see Bill, Karen & Dani in a storyline. The possibilities are endless. Dani could go nose to nose with Bill in business and be all protective of her family at the same time. $Bill & Dani Warfare will be an opportunity missed if it is not explored.

Hillary
Hillary

I love Don & Bill. However, the Steffy/Liam/Hope triangle is soooo tired. Stop. Please. I honestly don’t even care who Liam is with anymore. They can all go fly a kite for all I care. Is he the only hot, rich, available guy in LA? C’mon, B&B you’re killing me with this!

Wanda
Wanda

I loved Brad on Y & R. I despise Bill. The only woman on B & B that deserves him is Steffy. They are both just a like and deserve each other.

Shari
Shari

I love DD and loved Bill until he decided to change his thinking of Brooke. Not only is Brooke the sister of Katie, she just turned Bill into all the other men (cough) on the show. I’m not a huge fan of Katie’s nor do I want Bill with Steffy (prefer her with a new hot guy) but Bill was the man you loved to watch because he meant business. Sorry, but Brooke brings him down and I don’t think we’ll see the man that Bill was when he originally showed up.

Next thing, he’ll be giving Brooke his FC shares. Very disappointed where Bill is headed.

erica
erica

disagree, finally an exiting storyline with the Bill and Brooke forbidden romance instead of everydays of the old Hope/Liam/Steffy triangle, so so played out, they try to recreate Brooke/Ridge/Taylor triangle we get it but it is not the same..Steffy although a dynamic character is not tornado Brooke Logan and Ridge had far more sex-appeal, charisma than Liam back in the day..i would say Hope is less dull than Taylor but Taylor was particularly gorgeous back in the day, Hope is just pretty..so not the same..i am not sure it can endure years like old school Brooke, Ridge, Taylor were able to do..so giving a front burner story to exiting and charismatic characters like Brooke and Bill would be a good move ! Heather Tom is a great, charismatic actress although Katie can be boring..(she was so much better as Victoria, a far better character imho, it is like the reverse for Don with Brad and Bill characters, Bill is so much better than annoying, obnoxious, boring Brad !) so i say Brad Bell : Brooke/Bill/Katie triangle GAME ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lily
Lily

Sorry, but there is nothing exciting about seeing Brooke act like a hoe who can’t keep her hands off her relatives significant others once again. Not looking forward to another boring triangle.

k/kay
k/kay

Lily I agree Don Diamont’s statement about the character of Brooke keeping integrity. What a joke and just for the record KKL wants to be front and center all the time the show has and still is a snoozefest.

Cris
Cris

Love Don As $ Bill

ZALINA GOSINE
ZALINA GOSINE

BILL IS HOT,BROOK IS HOT,LET;S SEE SOME FIREWORKS WITH THEM….

julie
julie

yep finally an exiting story, makes me want to watch ! Yep scandalous, soapy, forbidden, sexy, they have chemistry so go go Brooke and Bill, write this story Bold and Beautiful, we want to be entertained !

jessica hutson
jessica hutson

Am I mistaken? Isn’t the actress who plays Carolines mother , the same actress who was Ridges wife/lover years ago ? I think she died of cancer? Im sure its the same woman! and her name was Caroline, too! Help me please, figure this out!!!

Betty
Betty

Yes, the actress is the same one. And yes, Caroline of years ago did die. The actress is playing Caroline’s twin sister Karen.

Ridge had married Caroline many yrs ago, she was his one and only. Then she got leukemia and she died. I don’t recall if we (audience) knew she had a twin sister at that time, but she did appear a few times through the years as Karen after Caroline died.

Sherrigoree21
Sherrigoree21

I want to see real drama! I want to see Bill and Steffy and Liam team up Hope! I want Hope to wigged out! I also want to see Bill tell Katie that he don’t want to be her no more because she not woman enought and Bill and Brooke go on vaction I want to see it all.

lulu
lulu

Bill and Brooke : exiting !!! We want to see that Brad Bell, don’t stop this story for pete’s sake, i began to watch again this soap with this direction, hep you want triangle alright..write a Katie/Bill/Brooke triangle and give us a break from Hope/Liam/Steffy triangle.

michelle
michelle

I wish the story line with Liam , Hope, and Steffy woul change up Liam can never make up his mind who he wants, Hope is so immature. I hope Steffy just leaves him standing.

Christine
Christine

Ugh. So many comments complaining about storyline … to Don Diamont mostly … especially after he said he does NOT read these comments.

Thank you, Michael, for another amazing interview. I have really grown to admire Don Diamont from his Y&R days. It is just a shame how poorly things went there after all those years, but he must have a little bronze statute of Brad Bell on his mantel because that man has really given him something! He is about as front burner as you can get for a half-hour show. I’m so happy for him.

I’m also happy that he and his longtime lady love finally got married. It must be weird to be together all those years and then actually be married. It was like that for me after I was with my boyfriend for 9 years and we got married. It is kind of surreal.

I could care less how the story plays out as long as the show keeps it as real as a soap opera can meaning that the characters keep their integrity and the direction is believable.

kelly-ann jones
kelly-ann jones

DD pimps which ever storyline than can keep him front burner

jaybird369
jaybird369

More and more, as Dollar Bill Spencer on B&&, Don Diamont TRULY ROCKS!!!!! Also, more and more, the Brooke/Bill/Katie love triangle has been so wonderfully well-written and all…so far. And, Dollar Bill himself is so wonderfully BAD-ASS…LOL!!!!! Looking back on it now, I now realize and understand as to why Bill tried to break up Liam and Hope (and more than once, too). Liam acts like such a whiny and lovesick MORON and Hope’s wholesome and Puritan-like behavior is BEYOND ANNOYING!!!!! And don’t even get me started on Taylor…who is WAY TOO MUCH of an annoying and meddling busybody!!!!! One final thing: BELATED CONGRATULATIONS to Mr. Diamont and Cindy and their getting married last year. Don and Cindy…CHEERS!!!!!

shidda
shidda

I love Don always!! I dont care who he be with as long its not with NASTY BROOKE!! i LOVE THAT MAN EVERYTIME i SEE B&B

Alice Croom
Alice Croom

I love bill&brooke together this is the only reason I watch.katie treated bill like a child telling him what he can do and what to do.now she is using his son to control him and I don’t like that, too many woman today are doing that, do what or you can not see your child.i want to see bill and brooke grow old together.i would like to see more passion with bill and like I did with brooke and ridge I loved to see them make love it was so hot.

General Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CMT

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

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

Courtesy/CMT

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CMT

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CMT

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

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

Courtesy/CMT

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

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

Courtesy/CMT

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

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

Photo Credit: CMT

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

Photo Credit: ABC

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagram

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

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

Will Enation be touring more coming up?  

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

Photo: JJacksonInstagram

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagramm

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

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

Good point!

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

PETER:  Oh, damn! (Laughs)

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

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

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This week, a shocking move leaves Victor stunned! What will happen when the mystery around J.T. is revealed, and the fallout from it begins? Check out this explosive promo from Y&R. Leave A Comment

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