Connect with us

Interviews

19

The Eric Braeden Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Getty Images

This week on The Young and the Restless the CBS soap opera honored its iconic star, Jeanne Cooper, with a two-day memorial episode for the beloved character she played for almost 40 years, Katherine Chancellor.  One of Jeanne’s longest running co-stars, who was deeply touched by the loss of his long time friend on-screen and on-off, is the indominatable Eric Braeden (Victor Newman).  Now the question remains, with the reading of Katherine’s will next week, how might it affect the mighty Victor?

Over the last several weeks, while there was plenty of attention of viewers waiting to have a good cry at Katherine’s memorial episodes, there was also controversy brewing at Y&R with the swift departure of head writer Josh Griffith, who Braeden took to Twitter to publically defend Griffith’s stories, and who voiced his displeasure over a change at the top.  In this new interview with On-Air On-Soaps, we ask the Daytime Emmy winner, where he sits with it now?  And, that raises the age old question: has any writing regime in the history of the show even come close to the way that Y&R creator Bill Bell told stories and constructed the show?  Eric certainly weighs-in heavily on the matter.

In the coming weeks on Y&R, look for more bombshells, especially when Victor finds out that his son, Adam’s (Michael Muhney) secret investor is really his nemesis, Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman)!  Braeden gives us a preview of a major fallout!  And what about the entire Newman clan?  Will Victor ever let Victoria (Amelia Heinle) run Newman?  Will Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) share with Victor the secret contents of her letter from Katherine?  Or, will it cause a rift in the star-crossed lovers marriage, yet again?  For the answers to this, and Eric’s thoughts on the exit of Michelle Stafford (Ex-Phyllis) and not getting much air time to work with his other on-screen son, Joshua Morrow (Nick).  Read on for our chat with the always candid, tell-it-like-it-is Mr. Braeden!

MICHAEL:

As this week’s viewers witnessed the memorial service of Katherine Chancellor on Y&R, going back a step, how difficult has it been for you dealing with the loss of your longtime cast mate and friend Jeanne Cooper?

ERIC:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

It was difficult for me.  I must say Jeanne’s death touched me more than I would have anticipated.  It really hit me, and I thought about it a lot.  I suddenly realized I have been working with her for more than 30 years!  That is a helluva a long time.  I was very fond of Jeanne, and loved working with her.  She was such an intrical part of Y&R that it affected me more than I thought it would.  Jeanne’s memorial service, which was held at her house with her sons Corbin and Colin, and her daughter Caren, was so moving, nice, and so real.  Jeanne was an extraordinary person, and you can see that in her family.  Her children are some of the most stand-up people I have known.  As direct as Jeanne was, I was just as direct, obviously. (Laughs)  So, I had such a huge fondness for her, I must say, and as she got older and frail I even felt more protective of her.

MICHAEL:

I remember you speaking at Jeanne’s memorial.  It was so authentic and touching.

ERIC:

You know, that during the memorial service when Corbin spoke there was a dove right behind him, and it stayed there during the entire service, as if it was Jeanne listening.  I have never seen anything like it, right over his shoulder!

MICHAEL:

Do you think the fans will be touched by Katherine’s memorial episodes?

ERIC:

Yes, I think so.  It was a difficult day.  We had scenes where different people are involved; it became very difficult with the other actors, and for the crew.  But it was certainly appropriate.  I look forward to seeing the episodes.  I remember after we finished shooting Katherine’s memorial service, Corbin spoke and said some very lovely things, and how strange it was for him … how art and real life meet.  He is talking as the son from the stage of where his mother spent most of her life.  Very strange in ways, and very moving.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Do you have a favorite of all-time of yours and Jeanne’s?  You had so many scenes together as Katherine and Victor.

ERIC:

What comes to mind is what I said at her real memorial service.  It is the first time we had a scene together.  She came up in the inevitable Jeanne Cooper way, and grabbed me by the “privates” and said, “Ok, big boy. Let’s see what you got!”  And I said to myself, “I am going to get along with her!”

MICHAEL:

Nikki knows the content of her letter from Katherine, and so too does Paul, but Victor does not know what it says.  Both are dealing with the loss of Katherine in their lives.  Would you say Nikki is hardest hit by her passing?

ERIC:

I would say Nikki is obviously hit hardest by it, because Kay was her confidante and best friend.  I can say a lot of surprising things will play out over the next few weeks.  I loved it.  It’s great stuff!

MICHAEL:

Often times, fans recently have been vocal that Y&R has focused on newbies that they don’t know or care about in favor of the veterans.

ERIC:

I think every since I have been on the show, during the summer months they have made the mistake to try to garner the attention of the young demographic, and that is an edict from above.  So all networks think they have to grab the attention of a young demographic, and without realizing it, it’s the old demographic that is your core audience.  I have heard these complaints for 33 years every summer.  Nothing has changed.  I think it’s a corporate decision that is made on top, but I think it’s a mistake.  I don’t think the facts support the hypothesis that it gets more young people to watch the show. But that is the thinking industry-wide, and wrongfully so.  It is the older demographic who has the financial wherewithal to buy things anyways, or to give permission to the younger kids.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

How do you feel the writing of Y&R was, during just exited head writer Josh Griffith’s tenure?

ERIC:

As you know, whenever there is a change, it takes a while to get adjusted to it.  I am happy with the storylines right now.  I was happy before, and so as an actor you learn to do the best with what you are given.  I must say, I can’t complain at all about what I have been given.  There was only one time in 33 years that I was blatantly unhappy, and only once during someone’s regime as a head writer, but not for a long time.  I love working with Maria Bell, and I loved working with Josh Griffith.

MICHAEL:

You have voiced your displeasure on Twitter over the departure of Josh Griffith as head writer, and what kind of criteria a person should have to be put in that position to write the number-one soap. (Reports have been that Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman are the new co-head writers at Y&R, although unconfirmed by the show) What are your thoughts on the subject now?

ERIC:

It was upsetting to see that Josh was gone.  I am so use to changes, one becomes unoit to it after a while, but I was surprised.  Obviously, someone who knows the history of the show and is familiar with the characters should be the new head writer.  I don’t like change.  I did not like Maria Bell leaving, and now I don’t like that Josh Griffith leaving, but that is part of the business.  I am not aware of the reasons why Josh is gone.  I was upset on Twitter about his departure, but I have had changes for 33 years on Y&R, and the only real calm time was under Bill Bell, as we all know.  There was a sense of continuity which has not been replicated since.  Bill simply did not tolerate any interference … none!  Hopefully, the show continues in a successful way.  I think Jill Farren Phelps (Y&R executive producer) is doing a good job, and Josh was doing a great job, and we had just gotten use to that.  I am against that change, period.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Adam’s secret backer in business, is of all people, Jack!  What do you think will happen when Victor finds out?  It’s on the verge of happening!

ERIC:

Well, just fasten your seat belt.  That is all I can tell you!

MICHAEL:

Did Victor want things to go well with having Adam at Newman Enterprises?  Or, did he not want it to go well?

ERIC:

I think for Victor initially, part of him wanted it to go well, and he was hoping against hope that Adam would become someone he wanted.  But, we must always remember from the moment Adam came into Victor’s family, or the periphery there of, that the moment he came back into Genoa City he has been nothing but trouble.  I mean, people forget the things he has done, and the list goes on and on, and so it makes for interesting drama.  I think every father has a desire to get along with his children, no matter how wayward one of them has become.  Anyway, it is a very interesting storyline.  Again, fasten your seat belts!

MICHAEL:

The reading of Katherine’s will is coming up.  Could the contents in the will be paramount to Victor and his future business dealings?

ERIC:

I would say there is another bomb about to go off!  You bet!

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I am hoping Victor won’t screw with Katherine holdings.

ERIC:

Victor is a businessman, but he is very respectful of Katherine.

MICHAEL:

How does Victor feel about Nikki’s multiple sclerosis?  Has it changed or impacted him in some significant way?

ERIC:

Obviously, Victor is very concerned for her, and it gives him pause in his business endeavors to not forget what Nikki is going through.  I think it has struck a chord in him that he wants to be more affectionate to her than usual.

MICHAEL:

When you call Billy Abbott (Billy Miller) “Billy Boy”, which is so funny, where did that come from?

ERIC:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I think it’s very funny.  I love working with Billy.  He is a character. (Laughs) The “Billy Boy” thing came from me.  I remember using that when I shot my nemesis in my film, The Man Who Came Back.  I shot him in the balls and I said, “I shot you in the balls, Billy Boy!”   And that stuck with me!  “Billy Boy” I just love that!  It rolls of your tongue. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Why does Victor not want Victoria in charge at Newman?

ERIC:

That isn’t quite true.  I adore Amelia Heinle, and I love working with Billy Miller.  Unfortunately, there is always friction between father and daughter.  And in my real life, I would hate friction with my own kids or grand kids.  That is one thing about Victor I never really liked, but it’s conflict and drama and we need that.  But my God, I would be so warm and giving with my own daughter, of course.  I enjoy having dinner with my son more than any other person, and we are very close.  My grandchildren I just adore.  Victor gets to show part of that, but for my taste not enough.   But what a great conflict with “Billy Boy”! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

How does Victor view Adam as opposed to Victoria in business?

ERIC:

He does not trust Adam business-wise, but he wants to trust him.  Adam is always up to shenanigans that makes Victor very disappointed.  It must be horrible in real life to have children like that.  Again, we are doing a drama and need conflict.  As far as Victoria, I think Victor thinks she is very capable, but in the end he doesn’t trust anyone.  So let’s be frank, he wants to run the ship himself and that ain’t going to change.  So, would he like to be close to his kids?  Of course, yes.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Why do you think the Jack Abbott/Victor Newman clash has worked so well over decades?   Do you attribute it to you and Peter Bergman as actors?  Or, the story?

ERIC:

That is a good question to ask, and very difficult to answer.  I think it is to the way that Peter Bergman plays Jack, and the way I play Victor.  We piss each other off.  It’s as simple as that.  I respect Peter as an actor enormously and we certainly get along, but then we start acting these scenes, and they are full of vinegar and poison.  That is due to how we both interpret our parts.

MICHAEL:

Did you think the role of Victor would last this long?  You must moments of “How cool is this”.  You are playing this delicious role that many actors only dream about getting to play once in their lifetime!

ERIC:

I have many moments of how cool this is, when you think of how hard it is to keep a job in this business.  We have 150,000 actors registered in the union, in which 1% makes a living.  I have been doing this show for 33 years, and I have been in the business for 50. The longest I have been unemployed is for three months.  I consider myself very fortunate with this job, and very proud of this show.  Do I wish I had more say and power as I have over some films, such as The Man Who Came Back?  I would be lying if I said “no.”  But you do the best within the parameters that you have been given.  This is too fleeting of a business.  This medium is so fast.  We shoot 80 pages in one day, and what they write about we find out about 2 months later.  So, I am reconciled to the limited parameters of Y&R for me as actor.  We have 25 characters most of the time on the canvas.  So I am very happy where I am, and the kind of life I have had.  There is no question about it.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Soap operas over the last five years have faced numerous network television cancellations.  A few, AMC and OLTL moved to a new online platform and format.  How do you think soaps are doing now?  What do you think of how CBS Entertainment Daytime SR. VP Angelica McDaniel has been doing in her position, since being put in charge of the day part that Y&R resides in?

ERIC:

I think Angelica has proven that she is very passionately in support of our show.  I like that very much.  I appreciate that very much.  Look, we have been number one for a very long time, and there is a reason for that.  We try to make it as real as we can.  We stay away from the fantasies, and away from the science-fiction stuff.  We can’t do certain things as well that other people can do in films, or nighttime television. This is about being real people, and their real emotions.  I have always insisted in playing my role as realistically as I can.  I think that is the key to success in our medium.  We just need to have good stories.  Our medium is not made for something fantastical, or out of the ordinary.  It is made for real emotions.  That is what people want to tap into.  What is art about?  Art is about people looking at something, or watching something, or reading something, and going, “That’s interesting.”  You transport them into the lives of the artist whether its music, or daytime soaps.  Within that enjoyment of looking into other people’s lives, you need people to be as real as you can be as the artist, so you identify with them.  If people can’t identify with it, you lose them.  I think the medium is here to stay if the people who write soaps understand perfectly well that the audience needs to buy into the characters, and that’s all.  We have done that to a greater or lesser degree on this show, ever since I have been here.

MICHAEL:

You are up on Twitter a lot more now!  How do you like being part of social media? I know a few times you may have encountered some controversy while on there, as of late.  (Laughs)

ERIC:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I must say I love it, because you get immediate feedback, and you begin to in the 33 years I have been here, be intimately aware that there is an audience out there and that is the reason you are here to begin with.  We in Hollywood often times become cynical of what we do, because we are not in contact with the people who watch.  And when you do films, you are just totally out of touch with the people who watch you, and who pay to see you.  Twitter is an avenue where I really appreciate the audience, and learned that the audience is very smart.  They know exactly what is going on, and I resent the condescending aires of certainly people in Hollywood as if they don’t know … they know!  The audience knows when something is phony; they know when something is real.  They really know it immediately, and Twitter gives me an immediate feedback. So one lesson I would teach Hollywood executives, some actors, and directors, is don’t ever under-estimate the intelligence of the viewing audience.  You make a huge mistake when you do that.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Michelle Stafford leaving Y&R was a big loss for the show?

ERIC:

I am very upset that Michelle is gone.  She is one of those rare actresses who doesn’t come along very often.  She is very unique, and very passionate about her profession.  When she comes on the screen, it lights up the scenes and pops!  For whatever reasons she left, partly personal reasons … I don’t know, and I don’t want to know, but I am sad she is gone.  It’s a loss.

MICHAEL:

Michael Muhney and you play two very strong-willed characters.  What is it like acting in a scene with him when you go toe-to-toe constantly?

ERIC:

Well, I have never been worried about someone else’s strength, that does not bother me. Michael is very good at what he does, and so the scenes work well.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Do you wish you had more scenes with Joshua Morrow? Viewers don’t get to see the connection between Victor and Nick much at all anymore!

ERIC:

It saddens me, because Joshua is my first son on the show and he couldn’t be a nicer guy. He is a very good actor.  Joshua has one of those casual all-American attitudes, where sometimes you underestimate what he does.  I don’t.  He can star in any medium, as far as I am concerned, nighttime television or film.  So sometimes it saddens me that he and I don’t have a closer relationship as Victor and Nick, as father and son, on the show.  I am so sick of Victor interfering in others people’s lives!  I don’t give a shit, but unfortunately I have too.

MICHAEL:

Will Victor ring Sharon’s (Sharon Case) neck for changing the paternity test on his son, Nick, when that eventually comes to light?

ERIC:

More than that!  She also set fire to the damn ranch!  Yes, I am asking “Paul, God dam it. Find the culprit, will you?” (Laughs) And he hasn’t yet; he walks around with that silver briefcase all the time.  It must be so heavy; when he comes home he needs a rest.  (Laughs) Anyway, Doug Davidson (Paul) is wonderful to work with.  The only problem when Doug and I work together is we have a difficult time keeping from laughing.  With Dougie, when I see the glint in his eyes, it’s difficult to keep a straight face with him … it really is!

MICHAEL:

So as we conclude our chat, we can leave the fans knowing that truly all is OK from where you are sitting with what’s happening now with Y&R, and in the near future, for Victor Newman?

ERIC:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

To be frank with you, I am happy with the storyline.  I was sad to see Maria Bell go at the time, because it was the last of the Bells that went.  It really affected me a lot.  I have a good relationship with both Jill Farren Phelps, and Josh Griffith.  I am an actor and paid to do what people write, one must not forget that.  But if I had to do it over again, I would have decided years ago to direct more.  I like to have complete control of stuff, and that is the one frustrating thing of being an actor on a soap.  If you star on a primetime series or a film, you have far more power.  In daytime, your power is limited and you can’t affect things.  And, that I would never do again.  I have seen too much; I know too much.  I know what I think is right.  So my interests are that I learn my lines, I do as well as I can, but then when it’s over, I am on to the rest of my life.  So that is one thing I would change if I had to do it all over again.  I would start directing earlier, I would be more involved in the writing, and have much more control over it, than I have allowed myself to be.  But having said that, are you kidding?  I am very happy playing Victor Newman. And look, we all have complaints about this and that, that are life and part of the creative process. We don’t always agree, but we pull ourselves together and in true show business style, you say, “Let’s go.  Let’s get it done, and do it the best way that you can.”

Leave a comment | 19 Comments

19 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

what a guy. what a guy! He’s funny. I love how he tweets Doug about “who burnt the damn ranch”.
Fun read.

Great interview with the icon himself! Always loved his absolute candor, and love his affection for his costars!

Wonderful hearing from Eric.

ERIC,, I WAS WATCHING THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS YESTERDAY. AND I THOUGHT THAT JACK ABBOTT WAS GOING TO GET YOU MAD ABOUT NEWMAN ENTERPRISES. I SAID GET HIM VICTOR . JACK THOUGHT THAT HE HAD YOU FOOLED. ABOUT ADAM IS PLAYING ON THE DIRTY SIDE WITH JACK ABBOTT. I WILL BE WATCHING YOU ON THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS TONIGHT GET HIM VICTOR

ERIC THIS THING ABOUT ADAM MAKES ME SICK. HE IS A SNAKE IN GRASS FOR WHAT HE DID TO YOU AND NIKKI NEWMAN. I HOPE THAT YOU WILL LET HIM GET A WAY WITH IT. I WONDER WHAT NICK THINKS ABOUT HIS BROTHER ADAM DOING WHAT HE HAS DOING TO YOU AND THE NEWMAN FAMILY. HE IS AS BAD AS SHARON NEWMAN THAT SORRY NO GOOD. BECAUSE SHE IS TRYING TO MESS WITH NICK”S WEDDING PLANS. SHARON HARRISON

The one thing I hate is that the writers on both of these regimes screwed up the relationship he had with Sharon it was always a father/daughter if you will. The one storyline I know he hated was when LML was running the show and had him cutting out paper dolls that was indeed an eye roller.

I so loved reading your interview..thank you so much..Eric is the backbone of the show..with Jeanne gone he makes it still feel like family..they have added to many young actors to fast ..so it gives me comfort to see Eric as often as possible ..
Great interview…just wonderful…
Thank you..dd

This was such a great interview. I have such respect for Eric saying all that he said and being truthful about it. He is right about tweeting…it gives you that personal bond with the actors.

loved the interview!

I would have liked to know how will treat Adam when they find out ,the baby is Adams will he be there for Adam and his son .

In person, the first thing u learn about him is that he has a wicked sense of humor! He is truly so interesting to listen to and I value that he twitters to me fairly often, the first thing he that he said to me at the autograph table was a tweet I sent to him while he was in Monte Carlo earlier! Eileen n Vegas

I loved every min. of this interview. He is a legend! He demands respect, and gets it in the end.

I do hope it all plays out the way; that all is well, and like OKAY:-)

What an awesome interview. Eric is admirable in every
human way possible. Both on and off screen. If only he would follow
me on Twitter!!
And Michael, as always, your interviews are excellent !
I really enjoy all of them.

Love how he came up with Billy Boy. haha Eric is so fun to talk to on Twitter, he is very intelligent , and so funny..

Honest, straight forward, insightful, consummate actor, respectful of fans and dam smart. He rocks! Great job Michael.

great interview hes a classy guy!

I admire Mr. Eric! I started watching this Y&R soap when Steve Burton jumped over from GH, but it turns out, my most favorite scenes are with the Victor character! Michael Fairman, you do a great job interviewing also 🙂

PLEASE BRING PHYLLIS BACK AND GET RID OF SHARON . IT TIME FOR HER TO GO|||

My mother has watched Young and the Restless for as long as I can remember, and I am now 48 years old. She is going to be 82 September 29, 2013 and she
was diagnosed with stage 4 mouth cancer barely a month ago and it is progressing VERY quickly. She would be so thrilled to have an autographed pic from the cast…..especially Murphy. Obviously she would love it if he could call her, or better yet visit her, but I know I have to be real!!!! If there is anyone out there who knows how I could accomplish this in a quick manner I would be so grateful. Moms name is Carole. She doesn’t know I am doing this, but my brothers and sisters all agree that this would really be an awesome gift hearing from the The Young and the Restless cast who have been family to her and a huge part of her life ; )

Thank you and God Bless!

Kerry

P.S. Victor…she has always been in love with you too!!!! (As have I!)

Interviews

Y&R’s Melody Thomas Scott Talks on 45 Years as Nikki Newman, the Keys to Playing Drunk, And Those Genoa City Relationships

February is ‘Nikki Newman Month’ in soapland as the The Young and the Restless iconic Melody Thomas Scott celebrates her 45th anniversary in her leading role.

My how time flies! Nikki has had numerous marriages, and some to the same man, battled her addiction to alcohol too many times to count (and we loved it all), and faced so much heartache in the process.

Currently, on all-new episodes of the top-rated CBS daytime drama series, Nikki can’t quite get a grip as Jordan (Colleen Zenk) is out there and in the middle of her next master plot to make Nikki suffer, all the while Nikki is drinking again. Thanks to the heinous plot concocted by Jordan and Claire (Hayley Erin) that revealed itself last November.

Photo: JPI

In a special conversation for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Melody shared her thoughts on a myriad of subjects including: her current story, those long tape days at Victor and Nikki’s weddings, why she plays drunk better than anyone on television, plus we take a mini-deep dive into Nikki’s past.

Y&R fans were stunned when the powers-that-be had Nikki kidnapped and then hooked her up to an IV of booze. Just how much did Melody know of the story going in? She elaborated, “I knew Nikki would be terrorized. That’s all that I knew. I thought that sounded like great fun. I didn’t know for a little bit that she was going to fall off the wagon in the process of it. And then when I heard how it would happen, I was thrilled to bits. I did kind of want to have a little leader (or crawl) down at the bottom of the screen saying, ‘Hey, people don’t put an IV with vodka in your arm because that will kill you.’ But, poetic license, I suppose.”

Photo: JPI

Melody also weighed-in on if she thinks Nikki will stop drinking anytime soon, expressing, “She just can’t get out of this. Then of course, Jordan’s not letting her out very easily. Just when Nikki thinks she is mentally strong enough to never take another drink, well, of course she does, because something else happens. I think it’s also a learning point for people who are watching the show who may have an addiction problem. Now, I could be wrong, but I think it’d be highly unusual for somebody to be just mentally strong to be able to stop.”

If you wondered if Melody enjoys playing a drunk Nikki, look no more, “I do. That’s simply for selfish reasons,” she shared. “That’s for my enjoyment. I take great pleasure in it. It’s fun for me, and just the process of pretending to be drunk. I love the end result. I try not to do too much because there’s nothing worse when an actor is overplaying drunk. So you have to kind of keep it a little bit underneath (the surface). However, sometimes because of Jordan, Nikki does get much sloppier than I normally would play it.”

Photo: JPI

In recent episodes, it seems that Jack (Peter Bergman) and Nikki are gravitating more to each other, as both are drawn together through their shared experiences with addiction. Victor (Eric Braeden) is not happy that his arch-nemesis is helping Nikki try to stay sober. Could Melody see Jack and Nikki becoming romantic again? “I love Peter. I mean, Peter was my second favorite husband on Y&R. It would be wonderful, but I don’t know if the fans would go for that,” she explained. “They’re so invested in Niktor that I think they would really be upset about that unless Victor did something really crummy, then I could buy that.”

Photo: JPI

One of the more ‘out there’ stories during Melody’s 45-year run, was when Nikki was paired with Crazy Edward, and he took her home to meet his mother … who was in an urn! You would think maybe Melody didn’t like the story .. but think again! “Bill Bell (co-creator, Y&R) was writing the show in those days, and Bill kept that information pretty tight. I don’t remember us knowing even a week in advance. Maybe, we would get our scripts, three or four days in advance and that was it. You knew nothing about future story, but I loved the story,” she raved. “It was almost Hitchcockian, shall we say. The actor who played Crazy Edward, Paul Tulley was so magnificent and such a sweetheart. We loved working with each other so much, but man, when that red light came on the camera, he scared the you-know-what out of me. He was absolutely terrifying. But then, the minute the scene was over, we’re fooling around and laughing and everything. He was so good. So good!”

Photo: JPI

According to Melody, the pairing of Victor and Nikki was not something she, nor Eric Braeden, initially thought would made sense: “I was a little terrified when I heard that he and I would be doing scenes. I thought, ‘What, what?’ He also wondered, ‘What am I going to be doing working with that young kid, that snotty kid?’ We had no idea what Bill Bell saw. He had a vision with us and somehow knew that we would have chemistry. It didn’t take Bill long to show us in the scripts why he put us together. Then, we started to see it. Although, it was hard to imagine at first, certainly we knew it worked by the time Nikki had baby number one during the ‘Who’s the father?’ storyline. Nikki and Victor weren’t even married yet. So, we did figure it out pretty early on.”

Photo: JPI

From her early years as Nikki Reed, Melody reflected back on some major story points in her character’s history, relating, “I actually did like her in the very beginning when she was just a little brat living with her sister and her father, who of course ended up trying to rape her…  and she had hit him over the head with a lamp … and he died. I did not care for the stripping storyline at all. Only because I knew that I didn’t have the natural dancing ability. I wasn’t fluid enough to really look good up there stripping. I know they hired wonderful choreographers and everything for me, but I just didn’t feel worthy of being up there … I guess is what it was. Of course, now I look back on it and I think, ‘Oh, I guess it wasn’t too bad.’ Later, there was a strip she did in the Colonnade Room. At the time, she was married to Jack. Victor’s sitting there with some other woman and she’s drunk. I saw that scene recently, and I thought it was great. I didn’t at the time, but looking back, I thought, ‘Wow, that was good.'”

Photo: CBS

Watch the full 45th anniversary conversation with Melody below.

Now let us know, are you enjoying Nikki being back on the bottle? Would you want to see Jack and Nikki try their relationship one more time? What has been your favorite storyline of Melody’s over the last 45 years on Y&R.  Let us know in the comment section.

 

Continue Reading

Days Of Our Lives

Days of our Lives Legendary Susan Seaforth Hayes Talks on the Horton House Fire Storyline, Mourning the Loss of Husband Bill Hayes & His Near-to-Final Performances

It has been an emotional time for longtime fans of Days of our Lives and beloved veteran, Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie Williams). On-screen, the iconic Horton home was burned to the ground in what appears to be a storyline-dictated decision that shocked many. In real life, Susan is mourning the loss of her husband and DAYS enduring favorite, Bill Hayes (Doug Williams), who passed away at 98 in January. Over the weekend, during the 2024 SAG Awards In Memoriam tribute, Hayes was remembered along with other motion pictures and television stars whom we lost over the past year.

Since the Peacock streaming soap opera tapes months ahead of air, the Horton home fire and its aftermath are currently playing out in all-new episodes with more on this story featuring Susan to come. Bill Hayes also appeared in several of these episodes making it all the more touching and heartfelt.

When Julie came back to the Horton home to see what remained of it after the fire, Days of our Lives fans were treated to a heart-tugging episode that streamed last Wednesday, February 21st. In it, newly-taped scenes of a young Tom (Zach Chyz) and Alice (Sydney Kathrann Smith) Horton telling the story of how they came to live in the house to raise their children, juxtaposed with Julie and Doug (and members of their family and friends), surveying what’s left of the beloved house, brought many a tear.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Susan Seaforth Hayes for this very candid and heartfelt conversation to get her feelings on the Horton house fire, and being given the opportunity to have a storyline at this point in her storied career. In addition, Susan provides some insight on what it was like for her ailing late husband to tape scenes at DAYS shortly before his death, what the series plans to do about writing off the character of Doug while honoring the legacy of Bill Hayes, and how she knew she had the greatest love affair that anyone could hope for in their lifetime, which in turn, has inspired all of us.

Photo: JPI

I was shocked when they decided to burn down the Horton house. Were you at first devastated … and did you know that there would be a big story surrounding it?

SUSAN: I did not know how big a story was with it. I knew that many years ago, another regime had planned on trashing the set and getting rid of the set because nobody cared about the Hortons anymore. It was stopped by one person, and I was eternally grateful for that. This time I thought, “Oh, my goodness! I guess I’ll be meeting people for a cup of coffee at the Horton Square. No home, no roots, no reason to be called in,” and thinking that’s the end of Julie. That’s the end of Doug and Julie. Then, when they began to structure a story around it, I think all of this came up during the writer’s strike. So of course, I was curious to see how this was going to turn out. I enjoyed the aftermath, because in the aftermath, and a little bit before the fire, if you saw the show, I get to talk a bit about the history of the household and the people in it.

Photo: JPI

In the special episode that aired last Wednesday, Julie gave Leo (Greg Rikaart) the family tree history of the Hortons for his story in the Spectactor.

SUSAN:  I’ve had a couple of good long soliloquies about the past. I’m fated to be the character that does that because I’m the one still standing. I must say, I do enjoy doing them. Emotionally, all I have to do is rerun some of the actors and my own family in my mind and the emotion starts to come, you know, the emotion starts to flow.

Julie talks to Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) immediately after the fire. She is upset that the Horton family Christmas ornaments are gone. Fans were not happy that they could possibly have burned up. Thank God! There was a happy ending when they were located and unscathed, or there would have been hell to pay! 

SUSAN: I knew that they were in the prop room and that they still existed. But how much they were going to put a story around their loss, I did not know. We don’t get to ponder the plot. We just get to show up and start doing it. I think on this particular matter, something as important as a structure of the original set of the show, there’s been quite a bit of interest. So, I can appreciate that.

Photo: JPI

I was thinking, ‘Did they decide to burn the house down, because they were finally retiring the old Horton home set?’ What was the purpose of it?

SUSAN: They’ve done everything to make quicker set changes, which is remarkable and very efficient right now. The set designer said, “I’ll be interested in your input,” which was nice. The one thing that I loved that had been done, didn’t work. You couldn’t shoot into it. It was a federal mirror over the mantle. I loved it. The size was perfect. I was just delighted. And then, we tried to shoot it, and because of the roundness of the mirror, you got a perfect view of camera one and camera three. So, it came down.

This is Julie’s project to renovate the home. She’s determined to bring back all the memories and redo it?

SUSAN: Absolutely, which is another nice note to play for my character. She’s determined to make the house something that her grandparents would recognize and still feel comfortable in.

Photo: JPI

What did you think of the episode that just aired where the show incorporated flashbacks of a young Tom and Alice Horton?

SUSAN: Well, I set it up. They had their own their own lovely scenes. I read them, and I’m sure the audience was charmed.

What do you remember when you first came to DAYS, and you were in that house, in that set?

SUSAN: What did I notice about the set? I noticed that it was a strange shade of green. (Laughs) It was explained to me that that dull color meant that your face would pop on color TV. I understood that. I loved the little window up the staircase. I’ve always loved that. And at one time, there was a model of the house that sat on the set on its own little pedestal, a little playhouse of the exterior of the house. Whenever the house was on (and remember this is when we were a half-hour and practically live, but not live, because there was no editing), there would also be the sound of a barking dog whenever we reached the Horton house neighborhood. We never saw the dog, but I’m sure his name was “Spot”, and I’m sure he belonged to someone.

PhotoL JPI

You shared so many scenes with Frances Reid (Alice) and MacDonald Carey (Tom) in the Horton living room set and up till they passed. Did they get along well with Bill? Looking back, how was your relationship with them?

SUSAN: They loved him. Well, Mac and Billy had worked together before in theater. Mac was very kind to me at the beginning and helpful. Frances was as well. As Frances got older, she got a bit testy. When someone says, “You’re not going to read the line like that … are you?” It catches your attention. (Laughs). I got peeved at Frances from time to time, but her intent was always to make everything as good as it possibly could be. I saw her come back from her stroke. learn to talk again, learn to do it all again. Not do it easily, but to do it at all was wonderful, and the same with Mac. In his last shows, he was very frail, but we’re actors. We liked being there.

Photo: JPI

During the taping of the episodes surrounding the Horton house fire, Bill was mostly in them with you. How was Bill doing at the time you taped these scenes?

SUSAN: He was okay. He was up for it. He had difficulty moving at that point. So, they restricted his movement a lot. Bill always enjoyed coming to work a lot, and it was extremely difficult for him because he was blind, and didn’t move very well. And now, to do a scene with people who may or may not, have rehearsed with you, who may or may not, give you the exact cue, and when they are attempting to have you look each other in the eye, you can’t see who’s eyes they are, that was the hard part. The easy part was working with him, which was lovely and was a gift. It was a gift from Corday Productions that he was able to work within three weeks of his death, which I thought was super and extraordinary.

Photo: JPI

That is amazing. Did Bill understand everything that was going on at the time of the tapings?

SUSAN: Absolutely. He understood what was going on. He just couldn’t see it or touch it.

The timing couldn’t have been easy for you with Bill’s declining health, and that the show was going to burn down the Horton home where you shared so many scenes and memories.

SUSAN: Well, it hasn’t been my greatest stretch. But I knew that life would be like this. I’ve had five decades of an absolutely wonderful, blessed marriage and a chance to work and a chance to live in my own home and travel, all good. And now, we’re going to have the epilogue. And the epilogue is the hard part, seeing rapid change around you and losing the people that were the center of your life. I’ve just been very fortunate to have cultivated some wonderful friendships, and to have a wonderful large family of Hayeses.

Photo: JPI

You do realize that you and Bill were the gold-standard of what we all should be lucky enough to have in our lives. What an incredible, beautiful, passionate, loving marriage that the two of you had. You don’t see marriages like that anymore. We were all just in awe of the two of you. To us, it was the greatest love affair. You got to have that which is so extraordinary.

SUSAN: I know, and it was all Bill. I mean, any idiot could have been married to Bill Hayes and been deliriously happy. The guy was so perfect in every way that you really would have to pick something and blow it out of proportion to ever complain about any of his traits of character. He was just all good character, goodwill, and good humor. I just followed along and tried to live my life for him, with him, and follow his style, which I hope to carry on. I hope to be as good to people as he was to people, and, not be selfish.

Photo: JPI

I always remembered how the two of you would come to the studio with your suitcases, ready to work no matter what material, large or small, they gave you. You showed up. You just had such great work ethic and you don’t see that as much anymore.

SUSAN: At the moment, it’s hard to find it everywhere. I think it’s probably generational. You cannot get too angry at people that are still holding up their phones in the one rehearsal that we have. I think it’s more convenient to receive your work electronically, but somehow it doesn’t seem quite as real. You don’t have a script in your hand anymore unless you print one up yourself.  Sometimes you haven’t met the person you’re working with. Well, that’s not unusual, but no rehearsal at all, that’s kind of marvelously new.

Photo: JPI

Does Julie lean on anybody for emotional support as she tries to rebuild the Horton home. Who’s there for her?

SUSAN: As far as I can tell, nobody. I’m supposed to be the wise woman, and Marlena (Deidre Hall) is supposed to be the other wise woman. I haven’t had any scenes with Marlena for help. I would think Marlena would be the person I would be going to for grief counseling, for friendship, for all of that. I haven’t seen it in the scripts, yet. I’m still deeply entwined with Chad’s (Billy Flynn) storyline.

How is Billy Flynn to work with?

SUSAN: A pleasure. Billy Flynn has grown a lot as a human being and as an actor since I’ve known him. I’m really enjoying his company and really enjoying doing scenes with him. We rehearse and then we get on other subjects and laugh and talk and inform each other. We’re interested in a lot of the same things. He’s a new parent. He’s really devoting himself to that, to that experience in the best possible way. So, I’m lucky.

Do Julie and Chad try to figure out who set the fire?

SUSAN: Oh yeah.

Photo: JPI

I kept thinking about how Julie got burned in the kitchen fire years ago and her face was scarred, At the time, your mother Elizabeth Harrower was writing DAYS and wrote that for Julie. Did you hate that story?

SUSAN: Well, I know where the story came from. It came up from something in mother’s own life. I knew the people involved, and I wasn’t crazy in love with the idea. Then, when it was supposed to go for six weeks and went on for months and months, I was concerned. Mainly, I was concerned that my face was going to be affected because of the appliance, the scars, that I was wearing. I was told by a dermatologist, “You’re going to have a little beard after this. Ripping your face every single day to get this off is going to be hard on you.” But, I seem to have survived.

Has the show even addressed with you how they plan to handle writing-off the character of Doug Williams, and how they want to honor Bill?

SUSAN: Only in the smallest way. I had a conference call with the producers and our head writer last Friday. I was informed about the immediate, immediate future. I’ve also been promised that they’re going to keep me busy. It’s a cast of over 40 people. I’ll be happy to show up and to be included.

Photo: JPI

I was just hoping that whatever they decide to do with the character of Doug that they were going to run it by you, first.

SUSAN: They have, and they have been very sweet about it.  I’ve got to tell you, this regime, they have a sign up on the wall now, that says, Things we expect on this stage.”  The first one at the top of the list is “kindness.”

Have you watched your work back all these years? I know some actor’s never like to watch the scenes they taped.

SUSAN: I think you learn by watching yourself, if you have an open mind, and if you are not hypercritical, or dismissive. I cannot be dismissive of a character that has given me such a wonderful life. I’m still interested in Julie, perhaps I wouldn’t have been if I’d been on the show for three years and never returned to it. But I’m quite interested in her now, and what she has to offer as a member of this ensemble.

Photo: JPI

Julie’s ties to the whole history of Days of our Lives from this point on are very important. How do you feel about that?

SUSAN:  There are those that don’t care about the history of the show. I know that. I know there are those that only care about continuing with something snappy to keep eyes on the screen through action, adventure, drama, death, kidnapping, missed opportunities, all that, which I suppose that’s what the audience craves. But, that’s not just what the show can do. What the show can do so well is character. There’s a lot of people over 70 who are still on the show now. I’m the oldest one, but I’m not the only one. We’re coming up on the 60th anniversary. I don’t think the show is worn out. And if it is, it’s had a remarkably successful six decades.

Lamon Archey (Eli) is back on DAYS for a stint. What has it been like to work with Lamon as his on-screen grandmother?

SUSAN: I think he’s terrific and visually he is so beautiful, so appealing. I think both Eli and Lani (Sal Stowers) are very appealing as characters. I’m delighted to be connected to Eli as a family member. That was a lucky break for me.

Photo: JPI

Do you think DAYS fans are going to continue to be emotional in the aftermath of this fire and all the story that comes out of it? Do you think we’ll be touched by what Julie goes through to get the remains all cleaned up for a new house?

SUSAN: I think anybody in America who’s gone through a disaster, and have unfortunately had the disruption of their home, will be sympathetic and interested in how it all turns out. It’s a nice note to play. We haven’t had to do that very often. We just go from one lovely apartment to another without much discussion. I think this is the one set that meant a lot to people. I was very sorry to lose “Julie’s Place,” as it turned into kind of a sandwich shop. I still loved having a business, a tangible place to be, and an alternate place for people to meet.

Photo: NBC

Upon reflection, what was your favorite scene with Bill? Was it when Julie and Doug got married on-screen, or was it something else that was much more intimate?

SUSAN: I think our last scene is going to be more important, emotionally. I think the first wedding was beautiful, but the material around the time of our second wedding, when Brenda Benet (ex-Lee) came back on the show and Doug stood up to her and says, “I’m not going to be manipulated anymore,” was also strong. There has been a lot of very important times – when Doug was killed-off by James Reilly, and we met in the tunnel of light. That was a day. That was a difficult day, which I certainly can’t revisit right now emotionally. When Julie found out Doug had run off and married her mother, Addie, that was a day. It was a day because, I went to the producer at the time, Jack Herzberg, and said, “Is this it? Am I not going to work with him anymore?”And he said, “Right! That’s it. You’re not working with Bill Hayes anymore.” We were not married at the time, and I thought I was going to go through the floor! That wasn’t a happy day.

Photo: JPI

In terms of Bill’s final day on the set with you, did you know that it was his last, and what would turn out to be his last scene?

SUSAN: Well, they didn’t know. But I knew. I had been allowed to rewrite it. So, I can’t tell you Bill’s last line now, of course, but I will in time.

What do you think about the sentiments shared by Susan on her late husband, and this storyline? How do hope the show properly honors Bill and Doug Williams when the series writes-off the character? Are you enjoying the Horton house fire story arc or does it upset you too much? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

Continue Reading

Interviews

Trevor St. John Chats On His Latest Film ‘A Good Enough Day’, His Y&R Leading Ladies and the Loss of Kamar de los Reyes

The Young and the Restless multi-talented Trevor St. John (Tucker McCall) most recent film dropped last week on Amazon Prime, AppleTV+ and Tubi. Not only does St. John star in it, but he directed and co-wrote the feature, as well.

A Good Enough Day features St. John as Tyler Hamilton, a terminally ill photographer who has been saddled with enormous grief over a loss in his life for over 10 years, while trying to tie up loose ends before his death. Wanting to right his fractured relationships, Tyler interacts with his sister, and his daughter via phone calls in two haunting and moving moments in the film. St. John shot all of the scenes in the movie in his home state of Washington.

During a recent livestream conversation on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Trevor spoke on the character he portrayed, the making of the film, the poignant phone calls and the takeaway he hopes lingers in audiences’ hearts and minds. In addition, Trevor shared his thoughts on his experience thus far on Y&R, and being in story with two strong leading ladies, Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and Zuleyka Silver (Audra).

Photo: AGoodEnoughDay

Many fans recall Trevor’s stellar performances as One Life to Live’s Walker Laurence/Todd Manning/Victor Lord Jr.  Recently, he and many other members of the OLTL family, suffered the loss of actor Kamar de los Reyes (ex-Antonio Vega). St. John takes a moment to share his thoughts on losing one of his dear friends. Coincidently, Reyes’ wife, Sherri Saum (ex-Keri, OLTL, ex-Vanessa, Sunset Beach), also appears in A Good Enough Day.

Speaking on embodying A Good Enough Day’s Tyler Hamilton, and what the journey he is going through during the film, Trevor shared, “We did our best to make this man, not all one thing or the other. If you heard the other end of those phone calls he was on, you think this guy’s a real piece of work. But then you realize he really suffered. He didn’t choose the grief, and maybe he made some choices out of that grief. Maybe he did not do enough to resist being all consumed by it. But as you pointed out, how can anyone know what that’s like to go through what he did?”

Photo: A Good Enough Day

As fans of St. John’s may know by now, when Tyler speaks to those on his phone, it all seemed so raw and real. Trevor gave us the secret as to why it worked so movingly and effectively. He explained,”The calls were shot and performed in a really unique way. We gave each character a very detailed biography. In particular, the detail of their relationship with Tyler, and their particular family life in the present day. But, we didn’t tell them anything else. So, none of those actors were ever told or were given the full material. We just said, ‘Here’s what you know about this man. Here’s in great detail what’s happened in the past 10 years and maybe even before. That’s all we are going to tell you. He’s gonna call you and you answer the phone as if this is all you know.'” Trevor added, “It was very risky, but once we shot that first scene I thought, ‘I think we might be able to get away with this.'”

Photo: A Good Enough Day

The beauty of A Good Enough Day is that it requires the viewers to think, interpret and go along on Tyler’s journey without hitting you over the head of exactly what is happening. However, by the final moments in the film, and we mean after the credits roll, you know everything you need to know. Trevor shared on laying out the movie: “You have to, you have to reveal everything. By the end, everything must be revealed. The question is the timing. The question is the intensity with which you peel layers away of information. The goal is to have the audience thinking, ‘I’m not sure I know precisely what’s going on here but man, I can’t really look away. I wanna see what happens next.'”

Photo: JPI

On The Young and the Restless, St. John has been in a red hot storyline with two-time Daytime Emmy winner, Eileen Davidson (Ashley Abbott), where Ashley’s sanity is now completely in question., Trevor expressed on sharing scenes with Eileen,”She’s terrific. She’s such a dear person.” St. John is also quite impressed with her recent work, “She’s become so open to the unexpected and the unknown, and that’s where you want to be. She’s a wonderful playmate and a really great person, supportive, and just super talented. I’m very lucky to be working with her.”

The CBS daytime drama currently has the relationship between Tucker and Audra taking several turns. St. John shares he is not sure where it’s ultimately leading,”That’s very difficult to say. When I get these scripts, I’m surprised as the audience. So I’m intrigued. Tucker has definitely some legitimately strong feelings for Audra.  She’s his best friend. She might be his only friend. The connection with Audra is profound. Whether he can communicate it, whether she can communicate, is another matter. But there’s something inherent there, something built up over years.”

Photo: JPI

So, just how is working with Audra’s portrayer, Zuleka Silver? Trevor remarked, “I just adore her. I light up when I’m around her. She’s just a lovely person and talented and we have great fun together. I like to tease her a little bit, but she’s also open to the unexpected, which for me, if you’re any good, you gotta be prepared for curve balls, you know, because as a human being you don’t know what’s gonna happen next. If you’re a good actor, you’re receptive to all of that, and she’s like that. ”

Photo: JPI

Back on Christmas Eve of 2023, Trevor’s former One Life to Live castmate, Kamar de los Reyes (ex-Antonio), passed away after his battle with cancer at the age of 56.  St. John opened up on this personal loss, explaining, “That was hard. He was a good friend of mine, a dear friend. I miss him. I miss him terribly. It still hasn’t even penetrated completely that he’s gone. It’s just that stage where you don’t believe it. He was a beautiful man. I saw Sherrie recently and she’s doing okay, all things considered. She’s got a nice support system. My heart breaks for her, and his family, and his boys. I appreciate you asking. It’s been very difficult.”

Photo: JPI

In case you missed it, watch the full interview with Trevor below, followed by the trailer for A Good Enough Day. 

Now let us know, if and when you watch Trevor’s film what was your reaction to it? Then, who do you want Tucker to end up with on Y&R? Audra, Ashley or someone else? Let us know in the comment section.

 

Continue Reading

Video Du Jour

Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

Recent Comments

Power Performance

Kim Coles as Whitley

Days of our Lives

Airdate: 7-24- 2023

Popular