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THE ERIC BRAEDEN INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

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Playing the ruthless businessman Victor Newman on “Y&R” for more than 28 years, Eric Braeden still thrills fans with his powerhouse performances. Particularly in 2008, he gave a star turn that many feel should be recognized. The series brought back star-crossed lovers Nikki and Victors’ relationship to the forefront, and reignited the relationship between Victor and Ashley, as well.

In this honest and direct interview, Eric only tells it like it is. We discuss the exit of fellow cast mate and long time friend, Don Diamont. We talked about The Daytime Emmy voting system gone wrong, the aging of his on-screen daughter, and upcoming retribution for those who wronged Victor Newman. Eric also spoke about the “Dream Team” regime that has revived “Y&R” back to its rightful place as one of the most compelling dramas on television, as well as Braeden’s pet project,
“The Man Who Came Back”.

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

What are your thoughts on Don Diamont (Brad) being ‘let go’, since he had been part of the Genoa City canvas for so long?

ERIC:

I was very sad about that, to be quite frank with you. He did some of his best work in the last months, where he played the ‘shifty’ guy and the bad guy and you don’t know quite what he is up to. I think he played that extremely well. I always think that’s a mistake to let people go that have been part of the fabric as long as he has been. Furthermore, he was related to people on the show, and personally, I think those things are a mistake. If you want to want to save money, then cut down on hiring new actors.

MICHAEL:

It’s a hard pill to swallow, to see people lose their jobs.

DonsLast.jpgERIC:

My heart goes out to him. I don’t know why the decision was made. Who knows? That is why when I do my movies I control everything. I don’t like other people to control things.

MICHAEL:

The animosity grew between Brad and Victor (on Don Diamont’s final weeks on the show) over both being Abbe’s father. Victor was showering the young girl with
lavish gifts, while Brad got pissed off.

ERIC:

Victor is Abbe’s father, but that does not mean that affection and love have to come naturally, and you can’t force that. I hope it won’t continue that he buys all sorts of things, and buys her love. I am tired of that. Hopefully, they will grow closer. Victor is basically a loner and does not trust anyone. He grew up in an orphanage and was abandoned when he was seven years old. So, he is sometimes a little awkward because he does not trust affections either, not really, and the moment there is the slightest inkling, I think he goes against that person to protect himself.

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MICHAEL:

Victor’s romantic life finally got a jump-start after the death of Sabrina, when Eileen Davidson returned to the show as Ashley. And this brings up something you and I discussed over the years, that “Y&R” never really played out the Victor/Ashley romance re-do.

ERIC:

I agree with you, and I love working with her, but I love working with Melody as well. With Eileen, I always felt it was an unrequited love story that should have been started a long time ago, and for various reasons it wasn’t. I always thought it was an honestly felt love story with great material for conflict with Nikki.

Diamontein.jpgMICHAEL:

Now your daughter Abbe has grown into quite the teenager within a blink of an eye. Yup, SORAS (Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome) has hit another of the Newman kids. How do you explain it?

ERIC:

Well you know what happens, as I have told you before. Victor Newman sends his children to Switzerland and they go to a clinic and they eat Swiss cheese and learn how to yodel. That combination while there makes them go through enormous growth spurts and they suddenly jump by ten years. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

In 2008, and now through the beginning of 20009 on “Y&R”, you have been front and center and have delivered powerful performances as Victor Newman. You were in the running for the in-house pre-nomination Lead Actor category for Daytime Emmy consideration. (Braeden eventually did not make the in-house final cut) This year you submitted yourself, even though in the past, I know you have been vocal about participating in the Emmy process.

ERIC:

You know when I think about that Michael, I don’t think much about the Emmys. I really don’t. It’s irrelevant ice. There are other people who are just as deserving. I wanted to pull out of that years ago. It’s nice if you get them. Does it translate into anything? No, it doesn’t. It’s just another piece to put on your mantle. The point is, how do you judge certain performances? It’s so hard. Let me give you an example: I recently saw some performances that were fantastically written and played. They were scenes by Peter Bergman (Jack) and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), and between Joshua Morrow (Nick) and Sharon Case (Sharon)… all good stuff. This happened in the last few days. Where do you draw the line and whom do you choose there? Melody Thomas Scott (Niki) and I had some good scenes when Sabrina was dying, and all that. There are so many good actors on the show, and how do you decide between them? How many times have I watched the Oscars where I say, “How could you give it to this person and not that person?” Sometimes, they give it to someone because of age and for all the wrong reasons. Besides, it’s a pain in the ass to get dressed up in a tuxedo. I appreciate very much that you, the soap community and fans, think I gave a wonderful performance last year. That is very satisfying to me. There is so much politics involved in the awards process. I have a bad taste in my mouth about it all, but it’s a nice show, the Emmys, and I am not denigrating the show per se, but do I want to be there? Nope!

MICHAEL:

You have an incredible fan base and viewers who want to know what Victor Newman is going to do next.

ERIC:

I really appreciate the people who are fans, I really do. Victor is going to go after those who tried to do him wrong with a vengeance, and that’s what my movie, “The Man Who Came Back” is about, as well. I do that well. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

You can’t shoot everyone in retribution, can you?

ERIC:

Well, I almost do, but not on “Y&R”. There would be nobody left! (He laughs)

TheManAd.jpgMICHAEL:

Speaking about your film, “The Man Who Came Back” was released direct to DVD late last year, and it spent time as the #1 DVD rental for films with non-theatrical distribution and the #10 film to buy, overall, and is still available. For those who still may not be aware of your project, how would you describe the movie?

ERIC:

“The Man Who Came Back” was 80 years in the making! (He laughs) It’s a western, and takes place in the second part of the 19th century. It’s a revenge story, where the lead character, myself, is falsely accused of a crime he did not commit… a lynching. They go after him and send him to prison. Obviously, he is full of rage and comes back and kicks-ass. It’s a revenge film, pure and simple, in a historic context. It deals with the second bloodiest labor strike in US history in 1887. The film has been doing extremely well.

MICHAEL:

You were both the star and the executive producer of the film, but had a host of other known Hollywood actors in the feature with you.

ERIC:

The cast is wonderful, with George Kennedy, an Oscar winner, who I have enormous respect for. He played my father on “Y&R” for a while. We had Billy Zane, who I worked with on “Titanic”, Armand Assante, Sean Young, Peter Jason, Ken Norton and James Patrick Stuart. It was a wonderful cast. I am eternally grateful to my fellow actors to make this possible. So, we had a hell of a time last year shooting it.

MICHAEL:

On “Y&R”, will we finally see enormous payback for Jack and an eventual huge showdown between the two rivals?

ERIC:

Eventually, there will be a huge showdown. Peter Bergman is wonderful actor, so it will come to that.

MICHAEL:

Chris Engen plays your son, Victor Jr. How do you feel about the plot point that Victor has let his own flesh and blood rot in a jail cell?

Melody-Eric22.jpgERIC:

Being a father, it would break my heart, and I could never do what Victor did to his own son. But, I understand it. It provides for good drama and good conflict, and probably a lot of people are angry with me for doing it. On the other hand, Victor Jr. was trying to frame me for a murder I did not commit, and he conspired with my archenemy. So again, it is Victors’ way of paying back. I think he wants to teach Victor Jr. a lesson as well. Victor Jr. was arrogant for awhile, and needs his wings clipped a little, I think.

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MICHAEL:

I so vividly remember the recent scene where Victor and Nikki were in the Mexican bar. It was such an emotionally packed scene, where Victor railed at her. It reminded us all of the old Victor/Nikki, showing us their complete and utter
dysfunction. Did you enjoy those moments?

ERIC:

The answer to that is simple, I like to play whatever comes naturally out of that situation. Obviously, Victor has enormous anger when it comes to her, because she was in front of him flaunting her relationship with that David character. She did not listen to what Victor was telling her and tried to defy him. And, all he wanted was for her to be successful and not embark on a political career, and it backfired. These are two strong personalities and she always felt that she lived in his shadow. Victor understands that, but yet, if you show disloyalty to Victor Newman, you are finished. That’s why these scenes are so good, because they are so real and visceral, and recently that’s what I saw happen between Nick, Sharon, Phyllis and Jack. Those are real scenes! They are so riveting.

MICHAEL:

“On-Air On-Soaps” voted Joshua Morrow the Most Underrated Actor of 2008. He delivers consistently great work, and yet he never really gets the recognition he deserves. Would you agree?

Josh-MOrrow.jpgERIC:

You bet! To be honest with you, I called him two nights ago and said, “What you have done the last few days is riveting and just fantastic. You should submit that stuff and keep it for reel.” You are right. I have talked to Joshua about this before,”Embrace what you have,” and he has done that more lately. He is an athlete, and some of us are sort of reluctant to embrace the whole acting thing. The best thing to do in those circumstances is to stop hiding it and embrace it. I think he has a big future, to be honest with you.

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MICHAEL:

The ‘Dream Team’ came into “Y&R” towards the latter part of 2008 and turned “Y&R” on its ear. It has revitalized the show to probably the best it’s been in many years. What do you think of co-head
writers, Maria Arena Bell and Hogan Sheffer,
and executive producer, Paul Rauch’s
accomplishments?

ERIC:

I pull no punches. Maria Bell has done the best job since Bill Bell. I have not met Hogan Sheffer, but you see the writers never let you know who is responsible for what, but I have to assume Maria had everything to do with it. I thought Lynn Latham gave it her best; I personally liked her very much. I think the regime before them was trying to undo the show and reconceptualize it, and I thought that was nonsense. But right now, it is back on track and better than ever before. Maria simply realized what works for the show. It does not take a brain surgeon to figure that out. But, unfortunately what happens is; some writers come in with such egos that they want to redo everything and reinvent the whole thing. Well, don’t do that! We have been number one for 21 years. I think Maria Bell is perfectly aware of what works for the show, and she has brought it back to that. I have never heard the actors so happy.

Eileen-Eric.jpgMICHAEL:

What do you think makes for Victor’s popularity? I mean, after all, you and he have been on more Soap Opera Digest covers than anyone else!

ERIC:

I don’t know. I am enormously grateful that is the case and it’s very flattering, and especially for someone who played bad guys. “Y&R” has been very good to me and I feel
intensely loyal to Bill Bell Sr. He
and I created the character together.

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MICHAEL:

What do you think about the current state of soaps and continuing budget cuts? Do you think that soaps are about to die-off?

ERIC:

I would be very saddened if it did. I am not privy to the financial structure, but I think someone is making money. We are in an economic down turn right now, so the advertising dollars are not as forthcoming as they were. But they have to be very judicious on how they go about pairing soaps down and how they go about making it more cost efficient. I just think letting Don Diamont go is a mistake. To me, it’s so clear; when you have an audience that is invested in the show, why hire new characters? It does not make sense to me. I am sorry!

meddin-Braeden.jpgMICHAEL:

Speaking of new actors who had come and gone, Raya Meddine (Ex-Sabrina) came on and Victor’s romance with her character was so quick. It was hard for viewers to digest, yet out of that came the storyline of the year, “Sudden Impact”. What were your thoughts on the relationship?

ERIC:

I loved working with Raya. She is a brilliant woman and a joy to work with. I think Victor and Sabrina was rushed along, but I think they had something else long term in mind. If that were going to be a viable relationship, it would have had to grow very slowly. I think there is one thing wrong in soaps. I think we jump into stories too quickly to tell the story. We don’t trust the vetting process and getting to know one another. It’s a slow process. Even Bill did that sometimes. I think it’s intrinsic in soaps. I think they make a mistake when they do it. It’s very interesting the things with soaps; that soap writers need to learn that there could be a lot of emotional moments played without dialog. If, for example, you have a party going on and you want to tell the story of two people falling for each other, have them look at each other. That’s real. Let it build up.

MICHAEL:

What can we look forward to coming up from Victor on “Y&R”?

BradenHead22.jpgERIC:

He is going to get even with those who tried to undo him, for certain. Beyond that, I hope that the relationship with Ashley will go well for a while, although there is a lot of history that could throw a monkey wrench into that business.

MICHAEL:

You don’t want Victor to go back to Nikki too quickly?

ERIC:

No. I think it’s painful to watch sometimes. And I think that’s all good drama, and what we sell in this business is drama and conflict.

Interviews

Y&R’s Sharon Case, Mark Grossman & Jordi Vilasuso Talk Love and Betrayal in the Rey/Sharon/Adam Triangle

This week on The Young and the Restless, Sharon (Sharon Case) and Adam’s (Mark Grossman) kiss took centerstage and went viral when a photo of the passionate moment was seen by Sharon’s husband, Rey (Jordi Vilasuso), and fiancée Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan), and many more citizens of Genoa City!

That moment looks to be a game-changer.  Now what will Rey do? Will he continue to try to salvage his marriage to Sharon? Will wheelchair bound Chelsea, hatch a plan to payback Adam and Sharon? Will Adam and Sharon meet up for some dangerous liaisons? There’s so much to this story left to play out.

Photo: JPI

In a new interview on The Michael Fairman Channel, Sharon Case, Mark Grossman and Jordi Vilasuso chatted candidly about their on-screen love triangle and more including: what happened when Mark auditioned for the key role of Adam, the character of Sharon’s battle with breast cancer, and who Sharon feels is Sharon Newman’s true love, Nick (Joshua Morrow) or Adam? Plus, the trio share their reactions to the news that their castmate, Sasha Calle (Lola) was tapped as the first Latina ‘Supergirl’ in the upcoming DC Universe film, The Flash.

During the conversation, Vilasuso said Rey was not blindsided by Adam and Sharon’s ongoing attraction: “Rey’s known for a long time, c’mon!  I had somebody on Twitter post all the videos on how long I’ve known about Adam and Sharon. (Laughs)  I had still had a beard on the show back then!  What’s he going to do?  I think this Adam sickness, this addiction, this pathology that he has, I think Rey hopes he can just arrest him and he will just go away for ever.  That’s playing in the back of my mind, like, ‘there’s no way Adam can keep up this behavior for much longer’.  Rey is crazy about Sharon. T here’s also some ego involved here, too of, ‘I got to be the guy here.  I can’t lose to this guy’.  But man, does Rey have a threshold for dealing with this stuff.  Remember, his (ex) wife had sex with his brother, and then she did it again, and now they are having a child together… and Rey was still able to move on.”

Photo: JPI

Case clarified from her previous 25th anniversary interview with Fairman, just who is Sharon Newman’s ultimate love, Nick (Joshua Morrow) or Adam?  Case had stated Adam.  The actress explained:  “When you think about what the character’s have been through, the history of The Young and the Restless, how stories are usually told – and what I mean by all that is Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) and Victor (Eric Braeden) have always been the “It” couple of the history of Y&R and they are very different.  They actually remind me more of Adam and Sharon then Nick and Sharon.  Nick turned out more to be the good son, while Adam was more in the image of his father, and it would be the obvious choice to guess that Nick and Sharon would be endgame.  I think soaps try to not go in the obvious way.  The two men that she has been married to, and were the biggest loves of her life, and both Victor’s kids, choosing between those that is why I said what I said, and why I think that’s true.  Sharon and Adam don’t have all of the pain, that Sharon and Nick have had from multiple cheatings and a loss of a child which is very hard for a couple to ever get past that.   I also think that Sharon and Nick are sort of together now anyways as co-parents and are such good friends.  They have a new relationship – they are not together in a romantic way – but their relationship is really great now and very full for what it is.”

Photo: JPI

Grossman shared that knowing Chelsea has a history of being con-artist, that she could potentially pull some stunts on Adam and Sharon to keep them apart:  “That’s always in the back of his mind.  You know, maybe she will start to con Adam and maybe he might pick up on it, maybe he doesn’t pick up on it, but obviously it’s a really sad situation that Adam is in.  There’s a lot going on in Adam’s life. It’s unfortunate that Connor (his son) is not there as he is off to boarding school, and then Adam wasn’t there because he went to Sharon’s wedding to peek his head in, and Chelsea had her stroke.  So there’s a lot of guilt there.  I think it’s really frustrating to him that he can’t have a conversation with this woman – who is his fiancée – and this is his fault and he caused all this.  But there’s always the underlying pull from Sharon, and after they kiss there are a lot of conflicted feelings there.”

Watch the entire interview with Sharon, Mark and Jordi below.

Now weigh-in: Are you Team Rey or Team Adam? Who do you want Sharon to ultimately wind up with? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section.

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Interviews

Catherine Hickland Talks On ‘ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway’, One Life to Live, and the Heartbreaking Deaths of Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds

Former One Life to Live star, Catherine Hickland (Ex-Lindsay Rappaport) along with many of her former co-stars, and actors from All My Children and General Hospital, will be taking part in tonight’s ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway livestream benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS which begins at 8 pm EST.  You can watch it here.

Ahead of the event, Catherine chatted with Michael Fairman exclusively for the Michael Fairman Channel from her home in Las Vegas; where she discussed being part of the live musical benefit that was originally created back in 2005 and lasted till 2011 as a one night only live event called: ABC Daytime: Salutes Broadway Cares.  Now 10 years later, the actors will revisit their performances as their production numbers from the past are part of the 2021 livestream to help those in need that have been hardest hit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo: ABC

During the conversation with Fairman, Hickland also talks on her lengthy soap opera career where she not only appeared on OLTL, but Loving/The City, Capitol, and Texas, as well. 

On a highlight, Catherine recalls playing One Life’s Lindsay and her ongoing on-screen feud with Nora Buchanan played by Hillary B. Smith.  She also speaks on her marriage to her former husband, Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad, AMC, now Martin, GH) and working in the daytime genre and then at one time getting burnt out.

Hickland, who is now married to Todd Fisher, opened up about the devastating loss of her mother-in-law, Debbie Reynolds, and her sister-in-law, Carrie Fisher, just one day a part back in 2017, and how the couple dealt with this tragedy.  The real-life duo now host, “Cat and Todd Live” on Facebook each week.

Photo: JPI

In addition Catherine will be participating in ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway’s Virtual One-on-One Meet and Greets with the stars on Saturday, February 13th.  For info on how to participate click here.

To make a donation to Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS click here.  With a screenshot of your donation, you can enter a chance to win either “Star Wars” or Debbie Reynolds memorabilia as detailed by Catherine in this interview.

Watch Catherine’s conversation below.

Then let us know, if you loved the Lindsay/Nora feud on One Life? If you watched the livestream of ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway? And, what was your favorite part of the interview with Catherine via the comment section.

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Days Of Our Lives

Linda Dano Talks Taking On DAYS Vivian, Heartfelt Memories of Another World & Felicia Gallant, One Life to Live, Winning a Daytime Emmy & More

Currently, daytime fans are getting to see one of the most beloved actress in the history of the soap genre, Linda Dano, on NBC’s Days of our Lives in the role of the villainess Vivian Alamain.

Dano is taking on the part originally made soap-famous by Louise Sorel, and last played by Robin Strasser. Now it’s Dano’s turn to bring her own style to the role as viewers have witnessed that Vivian has kidnapped Eli (Lamon Archey) and Lani’s (Sal Stowers) twins, thanks to Viv’s sidekick, Ivan (Ivan G’Vera), and the story and all the drama continues this week.

Photo: JPI

In a very special conversation on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Linda chats with Michael about the challenges she faced stepping into Vivian’s shoes, and working with the cast and crew at DAYS.

 

Linda also shares her sorrow over the heartbreaking cancellation, and then taping final episode of Another World, where she played her signature soap role of Felicia Gallant for 18 years.  During her run, Dano won the Outstanding Lead Actress Daytime Emmy in 1993 for Felicia’s battle with alcoholism, which as she reveals she is still stopped on the street about to this day.

Photo:NATAS

Soap fans will recall that Dano is the only actress to crossover to all of the ABC daytime dramas when she returned to One Life to Live, (following her time on Another World), in the part of Gretel “Rae” Cummings, and we learned that Rae was the bio-mother of Skye Chandler, played by Robin Christopher.

Photo: NBC

Throughout her career, Dano also appeared on Guiding Light and As the World Turns, hosted the talk show, Attitudes and is known as one of the fashionable people in the business.  Linda formerly helped dress many of your favorite soap stars, wrote a book on having just the right look, and is always on the cutting edge of the fashion world.

As you will see, the conversation was poignant, humorous, and candid, but what else would you expect from the one and only Linda Dano?  You can watch the full chat below.

What have you thought of Linda’s portrayal of DAYS Vivian thus far? Was your favorite soap role of Linda’s … that of AW’s Felicia Gallant? What story that she shared in the conversation did you enjoy hearing about the most?  Let us know via the comment section.

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