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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.

Interviews

Executive Producers David Michaels & David Parks Chat On The Moments That Made The 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Ceremony

The 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards are in the record books, and with it came surprising victories, emotional tearjerker moments, and a show that ended up with more heart than the fluff we often see within many entertainment award shows.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Daytime Emmy show executive producers, David Michaels (who also serves as the SR. VP Daytime Emmy Awards for NATAS) and David Parks to gain some insight on how they pulled off some of the major moments of the evening including: a surprise appearance by Amy Poehler, Kathie Lee Gifford’s daytime TV send-off, Shemar Moore’s touching tribute to the late Kristoff St. John, and of course, that Emmy-winning acceptance speech from Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek, who is currently battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

On the soap opera side, there was the long overdue win by GH’s Maurice Benard (Sonny), former GH star Hayley Erin (Ex-Kiki) receiving her Younger Actress award from her idol, none other than Alex Trebek, and B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy) receiving the Lead Actress trophy in a tough category of industry heavyweights.

In a year that was tumultuous for the producers and for NATAS with a threatened boycott by the network soaps, requests for more rule regulations and transparency, and the ongoing situation where the Daytime Emmys have not returned to be televised on cable or network TV, but have found success on streaming and social media platforms, we checked-in with Michaels and Parks for a Daytime Emmy post-mortem, and to get the lowdown of their thoughts on daytime’s biggest night of the year. Here’s what they shared.

Photo: NATAS/Getty

Let’s talk about some of the big moments that happened throughout the Emmy ceremony and how you pulled them off.  One, of course, is the Amy Poehler surprise as the presenter of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Judge Judy that nobody knew about.  How did you find out that Amy was a Judge Judy fan, and how did you keep her appearance a secret?

DAVID MICHAELS:  I want to just say that what a great job our co-host, Sheryl Underwood did in announcing it, because she saw the name on the teleprompter for the first time during the live show.  I was going to tell her that morning, but as she said, “If I was a bucket, I couldn’t hold water.”   So, very, very, very few people knew.   All through the scripts in the rundown, Amy was listed as “Presenter X.”   What happened was, the day after the press release about Judge Judy came out, Harlan Boll (NATAS publicist) forwarded me an email from a publicist that I didn’t know saying that he wanted to talk about his client presenting on the Emmys.   I called him, and he claimed to be Amy Poehler’s publicist, and I didn’t know him.  He said, “Amy Poehler is Judge Judy’s biggest fan.  She wants to present the award.”  The only stipulation is that it has to be a surprise.  Then, I went on IMDB-Pro, and checked him out, and he was indeed Amy’s publicist and for a lot of other celebrities, as well.   I called Judy’s people, and I said, “You’re not going to believe this,” and they went to Judy, and she just loved it.  I don’t even know why Amy wanted it to be a surprise, but we had to honor it.  It obviously would have done us more good pre-publicity-wise if it wasn’t a surprise, but we honored it.   We actually kept a secret in Hollywood!  I mean, David Parks knew, and maybe four other people.  I think that maybe what I am proudest of … keeping the secret.

Photo: NATAS

David Parks, did you think it would really happen?

DAVID PARKS:  You know, I am often a naysayer about things, but I actually did.  There was something legitimate about it once David vetted the manager.  There was really never any scare or anything that was like, “Oh, all of the sudden she’s busy.  All of the sudden she’s been offered this other thing.”   It was kind of like, it got arranged, and we didn’t have to do anything until that week, and then, we had to figure out the best place to drop her off and how to get Amy inside the venue with as few people as possible seeing her.   She could not have been nicer about it all too.  I mean, we got her to the closest spot, and nobody on my team knew.  Like David said, it was “Presenter X.”  Everybody kept asking.   I was like, “Not going to tell you.  Then, you don’t have to worry about keeping the secret.”

DAVID MICHAELS:  I was just very taken with how gentle and kind Amy was.  She looked me in the eye and actually thanked me for letting her do this.  She was so gracious and sweet.  The whole thing was just a great experience.

Courtesy/NATAS/Getty

Another memorable moment occurred at the end of the night, when Shemar Moore (Ex-Malcolm, Y&R and now S.W.A.T.) honored his dear friend and former on-screen Y&R brother, the late Kristoff St. John (Ex-Neil Winters) before announcing the winner in the Outstanding Drama Series category. Were you aware that Shemar was going to go off-script and talk about his love and respect for St. John?

DAVID MICHAELS:  Obviously, to this daytime community, Kristoff was very special.   I made him last in the In-Memoriam segment, which obviously was the most I could do as a producer, because there were over 30 other people who passed as well. Before he took the stage, Shemar came to the producers table and he said, “Are you sure?”  This was in regard to him saying a few words about Kristoff.  I said, “Shemar, as long as you say that you’re going off the script,” because he was.  There was nothing in the script.  I just said, “If you go out there and speak from the heart, I will have no problem with it, and I think that everybody will have no problem with it.”  He went out there, and he just killed it.  He was brilliant. I was sitting there at the producer’s table crying.  He destroyed me.  I think everybody really appreciated it, and I thought it was the perfect way to go into the final award.

DAVID PARKS:  I thought it was very genuine.  You can still feel his pain.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Next, you were able to get Kathie Lee Gifford to attend the Daytime Emmys to honor her.  How did that come together?  I assume she did not have a speech written when she addressed the crowd.  Kathie Lee is all about being “authentic”.

DAVID MICHAELS:  Correct, she actually had no speech written.  I saw her right before she went on, and she said, “Well, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.”  I said, “You’re supposed to go out there and be Kathie Lee.  You’re supposed to tell the community what you think of them.”  I also added, “I doubt this is the first time you’ve improvised,” and she laughed.  The result is what you saw, because she had not seen the tribute video before we played it, and the ladies of The Talk had actually asked to introduce Kathie Lee, because they adore her.

DAVID PARKS:  It really did come off well, because there was this concern about it not being a Lifetime Achievement Award(Not that she doesn’t deserve one, but that just wasn’t what it was this year.)  We were figuring out, how do you make this moment that is special without overshadowing the Lifetime Achievement Awards?  Kathie managed to do that.  I think it was her then winning in the Outstanding Informative Talk Show host category along with Hoda Kotb that really made it one of the most talked about moments of the show.

That award was positioned after Kathie Lee’s tribute, correct?

DAVID PARKS:  Yes, and on purpose, because in the case that she doesn’t win, you don’t want her out there kind of bumming out about it.  In all of these moments you have mentioned, the serendipity of it worked out really nicely for us.  Judy got honored, and unfortunately for her she didn’t win, but it didn’t destroy the moment.  In Kathie Lee’s case, it elevated the moment.

Courtesy/NATAS

Talking about serendipity, with Amy, Kathie Lee, Shemar, and Alex, it was almost like an organic perfect storm, and the next day people were talking about the Daytime Emmys in the mainstream press more than they had in recent years.

DAVID PARKS:  You picked up on this inclination that you have to fight sometimes to entertain, entertain, and entertain.  I think this year kind of proved that you don’t have to throw out the dog and pony show. It kind of works that you honor people, and they come out and they give these heartfelt speeches, and those mean more than those extra segments – whether it’s song or dance, or jokes, and you can tell the things that we cut out this year.  I think what it’s all about is …  getting awards, giving awards, and honoring people for their achievements.

How do you feel your co-hosts, Sheryl Underwood (The Talk) and Mario Lopez (EXTRA) did this year?  You seem to like this pairing as you have had them back multiple times now.

DAVID MICHAELS:  I thought it was Sheryl’s best year.  We didn’t give Sheryl big comedy moments, but everything she did felt so heartfelt and right.  They were there throughout the show.  They got their moments.  They got their beginning, middle, and they got their end.

DAVID PARKS:  I think as producers there was a little bit of a gift in watching what happened with the Oscars this year because it actually showed, (I mean, I’m sure it’s not what they wanted initially) not having a host kind of stream-lined that show.  People were like, “Yeah, the Oscars were pretty good this year.”  We talked about that a lot.  We don’t need to over think this.  It’s already been proven what happens if we don’t give as much to our hosts.

Photo: NATAS

Let’s talk about Alex Trebek.  That was such a huge moment when he accepted his award; winning Outstanding Game Show Host, and when he took the stage to present the Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series award.  I heard he wasn’t not feeling well at all at the ceremonies, as we all knew he is battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

DAVID MICHAELS:  I know Alex pretty well.  So, I could tell he wasn’t feeling well; even though that wasn’t what he was putting forth.  It’s interesting though because Alex originally told us he wanted to stay backstage the whole time, but once he got to the ceremony that was not what he wanted to do.  So, Alex was in the audience, and he actually surprised me.  In a similar way to what I said to Shemar.  I said, “When Alex gets out there, he’s going to get a standing ovation,” which he did, and that was the moment when I said, “Alex, if you want to say something, go ahead,” and he didn’t.  I was shocked.  He just came out and presented the Younger Actress award.  So, if Alex had not won, he never would have said anything because that’s when he got the emotion in and all of that.  He definitely took a chance.

So, Alex presents ‘Younger Actress’ and made Hayley Erin’s (Ex-GH) life, because when I did my interview with her backstage, all she talked about is what this meant to have her idol, Alex Trebek hand her the award.  Talk about serendipity!  Now, when Alex accepted his award for Outstanding Game Show Host, did you have any idea what he was going to say, because coming out of the Emmys, people were buzzing about what he shared on-stage.

DAVID MICHAELS:  No, and quite honestly, I got scared when he started that speech when he was saying he didn’t want a sympathy vote, but that’s Alex.  He will totally bring it, and then turn it around.

Photo: NATAS

DAVID PARKS:  There was a side thing that you probably didn’t know about.  We got approached by a guy looking to buy fan tickets, but they had a group who needed ADA (Americans with Disabilities) seating.   It turned out be a group of cancer patients who were terminal.  The group was SayYEStoHOPE.org.  They weren’t asking for anything.  They just wanted to be able to sit together. So, we comped them all.  I’m at the red carpet, and this group is coming up the stairs, and one of the guys from the venue says to me, “This is the ‘Say Yes to Life’ group.”  So, I start talking to them, and one of the women just had chemo that day, and they were so excited to be at the Daytime Emmys, but what they were really excited about was to see Alex Trebek.  I wish there had been a way to either acknowledge them, or to let Alex know,  because they are big Daytime television fans,  but Alex meant so much to them in terms of being a cancer survivor, and a cancer patient, just like them.

Were you worried about Alex on Emmy night?

DAVID PARKS:  I thought he looked pretty good considering what I knew he had been going through.  It was actually this past week when I read about how on Jeopardy, he was doubled over in pain on the floor.

DAVID MICHAELS:  Yeah, if you saw that CBS Sunday Morning interview, it was pretty extreme, and they showed a clip from our show, by the way.  Similar to what David described with Judge Judy and Amy, Alex stood by the monitor to see if Jeopardy was going to win, which it didn’t, and Alex was just like, “Okay,” and off he went, and I got a big hug.  Just knowing him, I think he put out a lot of energy to be there, but I think he was glad to do it.

Courtesy/NATAS

Let’s move on to another amazing moment which was General Hospital’s Maurice Benard (Sonny) finally winning his second Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor.  The crowd went crazy!  What did you think about how that happened . … and the fact that Maurice didn’t have a speech prepared?

DAVID MICHAELS:  I honestly believe Maurice that he didn’t think he was going to win.  It’s been many years since he had, and I also didn’t think that any of the other nominees could complain about losing an award to Maurice, because he’s the king.  He kept saying he couldn’t cry up there, and then, he cried up on-stage.  It really was about doing the Alzheimer’s storyline with Max Gail (Mike, GH) who totally reminds Maurice of his real father, and then, to have Max win as well, I just think it was a very emotional moment for him, and it was beautiful.

DAVID PARKS:  What impressed me is that often times you think actors should be so good at giving speeches, and they’re horrible at it because it’s not scripted.  So, when somebody does give one, and it’s really heartfelt and all of that, it’s really refreshing.  It’s kind of nice, especially on such a big award.

Photo: NATAS

DAVID MICHAELS:  In addition, Kyler Pettis (Ex-Theo, Days) win for Younger Actor in a Drama Series, was one of the most emotional things I have ever seen.  For years, I have been impressed with his portrayal of the high-functioning autistic young man.  It was always very moving to me.  If you watched the show and the close-up on him when they called his name, Kyler immediately was crying.  It really moved me.  I spoke to him the next day at The Talk, and he was completely blown away.  I just don’t think he thought this was going to happen.

What went into the decision to make the opening number “Sing!”?  Obviously, a big part of that was you were celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street.  And, I hear Mario Lopez’s son got to see the Muppets backstage, up close and personal?

DAVID MICHAELS: They always say don’t work with children and animals – but we did it – children – a dog – and two Muppets!  The dog – of course was Q-Tip – the shelter dog who came on with Lucky Dog’s Brandon McMillan. The kids were mostly from a community theatre production of MATILDA – and Joely Fisher connected us.  They included one of Joely’s daughters, Rebecca Romijn’s twins and Gary Busey’s son!  It was my concept and our musical director’s arrangement.  I thought it would be a great, positive way to start the evening.  It is always a joy to work with the Muppets – and Ryan and Leslie who do Elmo and Abby are amazing.  When Mario’s son, Nico, came in, I wanted to be careful to not shatter any illusions – so I took him over to the Muppets and he stared at them and he whispered to me: “Are they real”?  I said “Of course they are – just like you see them on TV.”  Nico says, “Can they talk?” I  say, “Of course they can.”  Then, Nico says, “Does someone have to help them talk?”  Now I am nervous and I pause, “Well … what do you think?”  He says, “I think they have some help”  Then,  he walked around back and saw the puppeteers.  The most adorable sweet child on the planet!

Photo: NATAS

There was a lot of behind the scenes drama and difficulties in the months prior to the Emmys; including the independent investigation, requests for more transparency in the awards system, the four soaps potentially boycotting, etc.  When you look back at what it took to get here, how do you feel about the outcome?

DAVID PARKS:  I’ve used this analogy a couple of times already, and I’m not a woman, but I think this is kind of what childbirth must be like.  The pain of it is so great that you think, “We can’t get through this,” and “Never again,” and afterwards, you see the baby, and all of the pain goes away.  You’re like, “Hey, we did it, and it worked.  It was really good.  It was enjoyable.”  I think, as a producer, you don’t really want people to know the difficulties.  If people understand the difficulties of getting to that night, you’ve probably done something wrong.  At the same time, I’m the last guy to crave attention, but for the people who were aware of the challenges that we had this year to see what we’ve pulled off, and when they say, “Holy cow.  Your set, your show, the smoothness…”  that is gratifying. You know, the stuff people are experiencing in the audience or the stuff that they see on the screen is what ultimately matters.  You learn from the mistakes, but at the end of the day, as long as that experience is good for the nominees, the winners, and the fans, that is what really counts.

People always want to know how it goes backstage with the handling of the envelopes.  Do you have it plotted out so that nobody except the accountants knows the winners until the big moment on-stage?  How does that work?

DAVID PARKS:  So, this year we actually had two accountants backstage.  The envelope went from the hand of the accountant to the hand of the stage manager, who then gave it to our trophy people, who give it to the presenter.  We had our fancy, new envelopes which everybody seemed to like, but literally, nobody on the staff even touched the envelopes this year.

Photo: NATAS

It seems like you have built-in a failsafe to minimize any potential complaints.

DAVID PARKS:  People always can, I guess.  It’s always been completely above board, but this year it was just even another step.  It’s important because the integrity of the awards is important.  I laugh a little bit, when somebody thinks they know if they are going to win or not because they’re trying to read something into the position of a camera in the audience.  We even added steps with how we shot it.  We told our cameramen, “Hold your shot for like 5 seconds after the announcement has been made.  So, even though your person isn’t getting up, we don’t want you to relax.”  We don’t want the person to think they’re not going to win.  The worst thing that will happen is somebody thinks they’re not going to win like a half a second before the announcement, it’s not a life-altering thing, but we still want to make the experience perfect for all nominees.

DAVID MICHAELS:  Our director Greg Gelfand, I think is the best in the business.  This is all a big pain in the butt for him.  He’s just trying to direct a show, but he was totally with us.  Greg said, “Okay, you’ve got it.”  The cameramen were great, and Greg was great.   Again, I’ll say for the 8 millionth time, I don’t know who is going to win.  It was very exciting and it was very surprising.

DAVID PARKS:  I always tell people that if anybody wanted to have proof that we don’t know in advance, all they have to do is watch David’s reaction at the producer’s table.  We find out at the same time as everybody else, and he’s like, “Oh, my God!  They won!?  That is an upset.  You don’t understand, Dave.  That is like an upset.”

Courtesy/NATAS

DAVID MICHAELS:  I know the soaps more than David does, but I’m like a little boy back there when I see who is winning.  I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” (Laughs)  The accountants sometimes will look at me like, “Did I do something wrong? (Laughs)  Look, there’s not much more we can do.  I was very proud.  I was very proud of the presenters, and I thought it was a great mix of all of the genres and the whole industry, and everybody was great in their own unique way.  There was some new blood at the show presenting and with the winners.

DAVID PARKS:  I have to interject my half into the little bit of love fest for David, because if there is one thing I think I hammered on David more than anything else this year was that we have to shorten the show.  The difference between three hours and three and a half hours or three hours and twenty minutes, is a huge difference.  I kept pushing David to simplify, to come up with simpler ways, or less verbose ways to do presentations, and he rose to the occasion, and before the show, he was like, “I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think I could have made this any shorter,” and I went through the script and there really was so little that could have been trimmed.  David really did a great job of answering the call and writing something that got us through a lot faster than last year.  We got a lot of comments after that said it didn’t feel like three hours.  Part of that was that it wasn’t three hours and thirty minutes.  It was actually three hours.

DAVID MICHAELS:   David Parks is the perfect foil for me and me for him.  Because we are so different, we don’t fight, but we will have words sometimes, and one of us will win, but it’s always the right decision.  One of the reasons I love working with him so much is that if he is giving me a hard time about something, there is a reason for it, and I have to really consider what he is saying.  I think that is a really healthy way to work.

Photo: JPI Studios

What would you like to see happen for the next Daytime Emmy Awards presentation?

DAVID MICHAELS:  I’d love for somebody to give us a million dollars so that we can do the most lavish show in the world.  I’d love to keep the heart going.   The one bad thing about finishing a good show is that you always take a breath and say, “Now … what do we do next time?”

DAVID PARKS:  For me, it’s that you always want to keep shows like this fresh.  It doesn’t always mean completely reinventing the wheel, but sometimes, you step back, and you think, “What can we do to freshen this up so that it’s not just a repeat?”  That can have to do with the set.   You just have to look at everything and also recognize that the best moments, as we learned this year, you can’t manufacture those.  They’re just going to happen organically.  So, you just have to create a show that allows those moments to happen, and like David said, money solves problems.  We will certainly be looking for additional sponsorship, and to build on the great ratings that we’ve had this year, and the fact that we have continued to build this event up over the years.

Courtesy/NATAS

Would you ever consider, or continue to try to get the ceremony back on TV, perhaps even on daytime television, if some network would offer you a spot to do it in?

DAVID MICHAELS:  There is nothing we wouldn’t consider.   Although I will say; that if the numbers are what we think they were this year, there were probably more than three times as many viewers as the last time we were on television.

DAVID PARKS:  I’ve always said that if they were to be on TV again, if they were to be on during the day, which is when our fans are watching TV anyway, it would make sense,  However, I have to say that I think the Daytime Emmys being at sort of the forefront of digital television puts us way out in front.  Eventually, this is how everybody is going to be watching TV.  It’s not going to be like, “Oh, we’re not on basic, terrestrial TV.”  It doesn’t matter.

DAVID MICHAELS:  You’ve got to realize that this audience is worldwide.  Being on television is not.  So, when you see that people are watching all over the world, that’s pretty amazing.

So, what did you think about what David & David shared about decisions made for the Emmy ceremony and the backstage tidbits?  How would you score this year’s Daytime Emmys? What was your favorite moment within it? Comment below.

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General Hospital

Steve Burton Interview – General Hospital – 46th Annual Daytime Emmys Red Carpet

On the red carpet at the 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, General Hospital’s Steve Burton (Jason Morgan) chats with Michael Fairman.

During their conversation, Steve weighs-in on the nominated scenes of Laura Wright’s which also featured him, and the friendship of Jason and Carly, plus how he told Maurice Benard (Sonny) that he had to submit himself in the Lead Actor category; an award in which Maurice won that night.

Later, Burton laughs as Michael reveals that in his recent interview with Coby Ryan McLaughlin (Shiloh), the actor said that he can and wants to take down the character of Jason; to which Steve rebutted here that it ain’t going to happen.

Finally. Steve talks on the success of his road show and podcast with buddy and castmate, Bradford Anderson (Spinelli)

Watch the interview below. Then let us know, do you like the scenes between  Jason and Carly? Do you want Shiloh or Jason to have the upper hand in their rivalry? Comment below.

For more red carpet and backstage interviews from the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards visit the Michael Fairman Channel here.

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Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Interview – Days of our Lives – 46th Annual Daytime Emmys Red Carpet

Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati chats with Michael Fairman on the red carpet at the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Carlivati and his writing team were nominated for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series; an award they won last year.

Ron reveals to Michael that the reels submitted in the writing category were different than those submitted for Outstanding Drama Series; with the writing submissions centering around Marlena (Deidre Hall) and John’s (Drake Hogestyn) wedding and her shooting … and then the aftermath in the hospital where Marlena’s children and John have to say goodbye to her fearing she will not pull through her medical crisis.

Later, Carlivati discusses how he has become more firmly entrenched in the land of Salem after being an ABC Daytime guy for most of his life; following writing for One Life to Live and General Hospital.

Watch the interview below.  Then let us know, what did you think of Ron’s choice for the writing award? Should DAYS have toppled Y&R on the strength of those reels? Comment below.

For more 46th annual Daytime Emmy Red Carpet and backstage interviews visit the Michael Fairman Channel here.

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

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