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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 Executive Producer Anthony Morina Talks On Daytime Emmy Drama Series Win For Neil’s Memorial & Honoring Kristoff St. John

Last Friday night, The Young and the Restless was named the Outstanding Drama Series at the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards broadcast on CBS. The show won on the strength of their submissions, which centered on the death of Neil Winters; including when the residents of Genoa City find out of his passing, and the subsequent heartbreaking memorial service in his honor.

However, what made those hours of television unlike anything seldom seen; were not only was Genoa City saying goodbye to Neil, but the cast was saying their goodbyes to their beloved friend and colleague, Kristoff St. John (Neil) who had passed away suddenly back in February of 2019.

Y&R’s executive producer, Anthony (Tony) Morina accepted the award for the top-rated CBS Daytime drama during the Emmy telecast, which now makes Morina a five-time Daytime Emmy winner himself!

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Tony on the series emotional Emmy win, and what it meant for him to win the gold for these incredibly moving and special episodes that were at its epicenter paying tribute to Kristoff in the best way the soap opera could. Here’s what Tony shared on the Y&R Drama Series victory and more.

Photo: JPI

Congratulations on your Outstanding Drama Series win. The episodes that you submitted were at every level, so gut-wrenching, sincere, and beautiful.  What did you think about the process that you went through to make these right for Kristoff and the character of Neil?

TONY:  Occasionally, when you are in this business, as you know, you work so hard to achieve certain things, sometimes you think you’re achieving something, and you’re not, and sometimes something shows up that surprises the heck out of you, and this was kind of it for me.  But what didn’t surprise me, of course, were the actors’ ability, the director’s ability, and the crews’ ability, and for these episodes it was at such a high level.  Sometimes there is an emotional element, or an otherworldliness thing that takes over.

Photo: CBS

Yes, because it was all so real and raw; in that we were watching the characters who loved Neil Winters mourn him, but we were also watching all the actors who loved their co-star.

TONY: When everybody was in that church set and were giving their eulogies, it felt like everybody was so behind each other, and everybody just cared for each other so much because they cared so much for Kristoff.  All the eulogies that people were doing were a page and a half to two pages.  They were really long, but you could feel the emotional tension, and you could feel how people just felt.  Kristoff was a very unique special person, who ended up going through some rough times, but he really was beloved.  Sometimes you love people, and sometimes you say somebody is beloved.  Whenever you saw him, he put a smile on your face.  He made you feel like he really cared about you.  Those shows came together really out of this feeling of love.  We did two whole shows that day.  We did that whole show and the show that came after it.  I don’t know how many hours of a day it was, but people had so much emotion attached to it that those shows really kind of took over themselves with everybody just trusting and letting go and supporting each other.  I got a text from Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R) saying how it was one of the greatest experiences he’d ever had in terms of how it all came together.  Those shows just meant a lot to us, and I really felt that if we didn’t win, I’d be perfectly fine with that, because I was just so glad that we were able to do these episodes, and people got to see it.

Photo: JPI

At what point did you decide, “We are going with this to submit for the Emmy!”

TONY:  I actually knew that day.  I think, I actually said to Josh Griffith (head writer and Co-EP Y&R), “This is going to be our Emmy show … or one of our Emmy shows.”  The other show when everybody finds out Neil died was an incredibly powerful show to me too, but I knew that day when we shot the funeral that you rarely see that kind of rawness.  When you get into this business, and you want to become an actor, it’s tough, but you know that in the end what you want is to get into a position where you can share who you are as a person in an artistic way.  I think the Neil memorial gave people a way to say, “This is why I do this because I get to really share myself, and I get to express how passionate I am and how much I care about other people.”

Photo: JPI

Shemar Moore (Ex-Malcolm) came back to honor his dear friend and on-screen Y&R brother.  How was it having him on set with you to share this experience?

TONY:  Shemar was amazing.  He was there until the bitter end of our tape day.  He could not have been kinder and more supportive of everybody, and really laid out his emotions, and it was like that with everybody.  I would say this was the the most amazing experience I have ever had.

What do you think Kristoff would say?  I think he would be very proud that you gave Neil a real proper sendoff.

TONY:  Absolutely.  I also think Kristoff, would have thought that Neil deserved it, and would have loved it, a, it’s an interesting question because you have got to say to yourself, “Does Kristoff feel he deserves it?” As a character, he’d definitely feel he deserved it.  He was a part of that community.  He was a part of Genoa City.  Those were his friends and his family.  Would Kristoff feel he deserves that?  I don’t know if he would have felt he deserved it, but I know he would have loved knowing how much people cared for him.  I think that would have meant the world to him.  I really do.

Photo: CBS

I loved your acceptance speech.  I thought it was one of the better ones of Emmy night. 

TONY:  Thanks so much.  Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) has been amazing.   He gave me a lot of guidance on where to go, and my wife, Sally (Sussman Morina) really helped write the speech because the rules were you’ve got 30 seconds.  I really believe in the notion that when you have an opportunity to speak in front of people about something, it has some meaning to you and to other people.  I think you have to put thought into it because how many opportunities do you get in life to share about yourself and how you feel about people?  So, I really appreciate you saying that.

Photo: CBS

What did you think of your Y&R actors: Bryton James’ (Devon) and Jason Thompson’s (Billy) major Emmy victories?

TONY:  Well, personally, I am enormous fans of both people.  I like when nice, good people have nice things happen to them, and you know them.  First off, I was so happy for Bryton because I know he and Kristoff were close, and I know he was deeply affected, as Christel Khalil (Lily, Y&R) was, as everybody was, but they were like family.  I love Bryton personally, and he laid his heart out there.  As for Jason Thompson, people think the world of him, and I think he is an unbelievable actor.  I taught for years, and I have worked with a lot of actors, and I think Jason has such control of his work.  I’m impressed by him.  I’m just as impressed by who Jason is.  I think he’s deserved it other times too, and this was his first win; which must be very special for him.

Photo: deCazotteFacebookPage

During the In-Memoriam tribute on the Emmy broadcast, former producer, Lisa de Cazotte was also featured.  What can you say about your time working with her at Y&R and over your career?

TONY: I’ve known Lisa De Cazotte since Santa Barbara when Paul Rauch (former executive producer) brought her there, and that’s where we first met. Lisa was probably my favorite producer to ever be in the booth with because she let you be yourself, and she let you do your job, and yet, she still had control over the room and the studio.  She was a great touchstone for me, because when you are in this position, you need someone to bounce stuff off of or just say, “Am I really being an idiot here?” because we were old friends, she could say, “Tony, you’re being an idiot.”  (Laughs)  We miss her terribly.  She was really a loved person, and she was just fantastic at what she did.  I just miss her as a friend.

Photo: JPI

And of course, the In-Memoriam featured the late Y&R co-creator, Lee Philip Bell who also passed recently. 

TONY:  Yes, and that’s what was interesting about that speech I gave, because you had to mention those three people: Lee, of course, Kristoff, and Lisa – three truly linchpin important people in daytime drama for many years. Losing all three made it a particularly rough year for The Young and the Restless family.

I also wanted to talk about Eve LaRue (Ex-Celeste Rosales), who had never won a Daytime Emmy but she did for her work on Y&R! She was very emotional and moved by her win as Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series.  What can you say about Eva?

TONY:  She is such a lovely person and she did a great job for us.  I’m just glad for her because I know she had ever won before.

Photo: JPI

One of the clips shown on the Emmy broadcast that Y&R chose for air from Neil’s memorial was Victor’s emotional eulogy; which Eric Braeden delivered so beautifully.   I know how found he was of Kristoff; so it made that on-screen moment all the more heartbreaking. What can you say about Eric?

TONY:  Eric feels as deeply as anybody who I have ever known.  Really, he can come across sometimes as a certain kind of image for people on-screen, but he cares deeply, and is the most supportive actor of every other actor.  Eric has a depth and is a fantastic actor, and he knows how to use his talent.  He actually called me last night and left a message.  He just said, “Hey, I saw you on TV,” and then he just laughed for 5 minutes.  It was really very funny.  He’s not used to seeing me on TV, and so he just laughed.  It was hilarious.

What did you think of Y&R’s win for Outstanding Drama Series knowing they submitted the episodes of Genoa City finding out Neil had passed, and his funeral? Share your thoughts on Tony’s remarks via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Daytime Emmy Winners: Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Scott Clifton & Heather Tom Talk Winning the Gold & Returning to Work at B&B

This week, The Bold and the Beautiful has been airing encore presentation of Daytime Emmy-winning performances from some of the cast over the years as a prelude to tomorrow night’s 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS.

The weeklong Emmy celebration concludes tomorrow with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood’s (Steffy) Emmy-winning performance from last year which won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series prize for the first-time in her daytime career.

Michael Fairman chatted with Jacqui, along with five-time Daytime Emmy-winner and a nominee for Lead Actress again this year, Heather Tom (Katie) and three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Scott Clifton (Liam).  As daytime soap fans know, Heather and Scott hold the distinction of being the only actors to win in all three acting categories: Younger, Supporting and Lead.

In this candid and fun conversation on the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Jacqui, Scott and Heather remember the nights the won Emmy gold, their acceptance speeches, things they wish they would have said, and what it was like waiting for their names to be called, plus taking a stroll down memory lane and remembering when they taped their Emmy-winning performances.

Scott reveals why he chose not to submit himself in Lead Actor this year, even though he has some of the finest performances throughout the Baby Beth baby switch storyline,.

Later the trio talk about The Bold and the Beautiful being the first U.S. soap opera and first U.S. broadcast show back in production following the shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic and how B&B is looking to shoot episodes during the times we live.

Watch the full video interview below.

Then let us know, what was your favorite part of the moments shared by Jacqui, Scott, and Heather in the Emmy conversation?  Do you think Heather might tie Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki, OLTL) tomorrow night with her sixth win in the Lead Actress category?  What do you think of B&B’s return to production following the sentiments shared.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Thaao Penghlis Chats on His Daytime Emmy Nomination & How He Makes Tony DiMera One of a Kind

He has been one of the longstanding cast members of Days of our Lives and certainly of Salem’s notorious DiMera Clan; and while Thaao Penghlis may be off our screens for a time and then comes back again; though the years one thing has been true, he delivers top-notch performances in a way that is uniquely ‘Thaao’.

This year at the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards to be broadcast on Friday night, June 26th at 8 p. m. EST, Thaao is vying for the Outstanding Lead Actor prize amongst a formidable group of other daytime favorites.  And this makes it two years in a row that Penghlis has received an Emmy nomination although this time in a different category.

As fans know, Penghlis takes the art of acting seriously, and expects other he works with to bring their A-game, just as he does time and time again; whether it be playing DAYS dashing Tony or the evil Andre or when he portrayed Victor Cassadine on General Hospital.

Michael Fairman TV spoke to Thaao to get his thoughts on: receiving the Emmy recognition and what it means to him what he thought about his nominated scenes, plus what he might be doing at home during the ceremony, and where he hopes Tony DiMera’s future is headed.   Here’s what Thaao shared.

Photo: JPI

Tell me about what scenes you submitted that landed you a Lead Actor Emmy nod!

THAAO:  Well, the week I came back to DAYS, I had 11 shows, and this material was from one show of three I did one day!  When you think of other actors doing 150 shows, and I did less than 50 this past year, my choice is kind of limited.  So, when I came across these particular scenes, which were with Eric Martsolf (Brady) and with Arianne Zucker (Nicole), what I liked about it is that usually when you see other peoples’ work, its histrionic, it’s great tears, it’s drama – and what I was able to put together had a through line and an arc from beginning to end.  It makes it very logical when somebody is following your story, and you can show a whole ebb that makes sense.  I had some lines that were really difficult to say, like, “Coming back from the dead is not easy.”  When I get lines like that, I throw it away, and because of that, it becomes humorous.  I have to say I work well with Arianne.  She was great.  I found in the past, when I have worked with some actors, they step on your lines.  I found the best way to stop that is I put my hand up, and I say, “Hey!” and everything goes silent.  They go into shock mode, and I say, “I haven’t finished,” and then I go on.  (Laughs)  So, when Kristen as Nicole starts to talk to Tony the way she does, and she says, “You’d better behave…” I thought, “This is a DiMera you are talking to,” so, I just snapped back at her.  I gave her a, “Hey!”  So, she shut up, froze, and I went on.

Photo: JPI

Would you say your reel was more comedic … or both funny and serious?

THAAO:  It is both.  There are subtleties to it.  There is a teacher I know in Australia, and she is very critical.  She said, “I want to see your work.”  I showed it to her, and she wrote back, “Oh my, God.  How did you make those transitions so readily?”  I went, “Oh.  How did I do it?”  I didn’t think of that.  I think it’s an old technique.  It’s called having to do 3 shows in one day, and you had better get your stuff right, and it’s about how do you make a scene work?  There is one director who I did a miniseries with who said to me, “Where did you get your training from?”  I said, “Daytime.”  He said, “My God.  You certainly know how to have a camera follow you,”   Well, the camera has to follow your movement.  So, when I finished a transition, I’d move to another spot, and the camera had to follow me.  So, what happened in the arc of this Emmy-nominated piece is that I took charge and controlled the scene so that it became a scene of lots of transitions. And of course, charm, I did all of what I thought Tony would be.  He is a DiMera.  I have one of those looks. I don’t know where it comes from, maybe it’s as I get older, but I’ve learned how to work the camera where I may slam something first to get your attention, and then the camera comes onto your face, and you’re going, “Oh, what the hell is he thinking?”  So, I can play the dark side quite readily, and yet in my real life, I’m not so bad. (Laughs)

Courtesy/ABC

You have Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B) and Steve Burton (Jason, GH) also in your category, and these guys who are obviously been soap veterans like yourself.  What do you think about the group you have been nominated with? 

THAAO:  I never worked with Steve Burton, but hear good things.  I know Jon Lindstrom (Kevin/Ryan, GH).  He’s a lovely actor.  I have worked with Jason Thompson (Billy, Y&R).  He’s a lovely actor.  He is well-trained.  So, it is nice to see that the nominees are all vets.

Right, they are all vets.  It seems like a good group to be with. 

THAAO:  I agree, and I love that the Daytime Emmys are coming back to television.  I think it is an upswing when they think of daytime dying.  I think whoever made this happen is taking on the responsibility of taking daytime back.  It is why people love novellas.  People love the story, they love to follow the characters, and we’ve got fantastic fans.  I mean, what would we do without them?  You can’t sustain the show without them, and you pay a price, you have to know how to entertain them because once they know who you are and what you’re about, they get bored.  So, you have to be ahead of your audience all of the time.  That’s what I have always tried to do with both characters that I’ve played on DAYS

Photo: JPI

They’re doing a virtual ceremony this year.  How do you think you would dress while watching the ceremony?

THAAO:  You don’t wear a tux in your house, do you? So, I’ve invited some people for a celebratory time.  Lauren Koslow (Kate, DAYS) and her husband Nick Schillace (head of make-up, DAYS) and Leann Hunley (Anna, DAYS) are some of my great friends who have been very supportive of me through some tough times this year, and I’ve got a friend who has got  a wonderful restaurant, and he is going to cater it.  Probably it will be a group of 10.  You know, could you imagine being here on your own, in a tuxedo, with a glass of champagne? (Laughs)

I know, kind of awkward! (Laughs)  You’ll put something nice on for the big night, right?

THAAO:  Yes, you know me.  I’m always dressed.  What would you suggest?  Sweatpants on the bottom and a tuxedo jacket!  How about that? (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Now, you have been previously nominated for Daytime Emmys, too!

THAAO:  Yes, and last year I was nominated as well for Outstanding Guest Performer.  So, it’s kind of nice to be back-to-back, and in 2008, I was nominated for Lead Actor when I played the clown in the Tony and Andre storyline.  Thank God, DAYS recently DAYS had James Reynolds (Abe) wining in the Lead Actor category.  I thought, “Wow.”  That was for years and years of good work that he’s done, and also, Greg Vaughan (Eric) wining for Supporting Actor was very nice, but we haven’t had that many wins in the acting categories over the years.

Photo: JPI

DAYS tapes so far ahead of air; that what was once a seemingly major concern has paid off swimmingly during the coronavirus pandemic.  The soap is the only show to have enough episodes in the bank for months ahead when production shut down and enough even when other shows go back into production.  Who would have thought?

THAAO:  We used to think it was ridiculous that DAYS taped eight months ahead, but look at us now! Who would have thought is right?

What would you love to see happen with Tony when DAYS does resume filming new episodes again? 

THAAO:  I’d like to go back and play the head of the DiMera family.  I’ve never been granted that, and I think, at this stage, with the way I worked with Joe Mascolo (Ex-Stefano) it would be nice to see the transition just like Michael Corleone did in Godfather.

So will you be rooting for Thaao to take home the gold as Lead Actor in a Drama Series come Emmy night?  Do you hope DAYS writes Tony into upcoming story, and if so, how would you like to see him on the canvas? Comment below.

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