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The Genie Francis Interview – Pretty & The Young and the Restless

Courtesy/S.Fleming/CBS

Courtesy/CBS

Who says you can’t reinvent yourself multiple times over after portraying one of the most iconic, identifiable, and memorable characters of the soap genre and pop culture?  Well, don’t tell that to Daytime Emmy winner, Genie Francis.  The former Laura Spencer of General Hospital has gone on from her life in Port Charles’ sturm and drang, to her new role as mother-from-hell (sort of) Genevieve Atkinson on The Young and the Restless, to her starring role in the Hallmark series of made-for-television movies The Note.   But now Genie is taking another left turn in her stellar career, playing Dr. Kate, the pageant therapist, in creator and writer Steve Silverman’s hit comedy web series, Pretty! (www.prettytheseries.com)

If you missed the season-three premiere of Pretty, you will want to make sure to watch Genie, as she is plopped in amongst the zany and outlandish pageant-crazy Champagne family!  Francis will also appear in several more webisodes, where her Dr. Kate tries to make sense of it all … something we don’t think anyone can do with these folks!  On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Genie, not only about being part of a series on the web, but the consistent rumors that she is heading back to General Hospital, her current role as Genevieve on Y&R and what’s in store for fans of the show who have been missing Genie on-air.  And yes, she tells us about working with her CBS co-stars, including fan favorite Daniel Goddard (Cane) who plays her on-screen Genoa City son.

We also take a look at the genre today as opposed to when Francis first started in the glory days of daytime, and where she feels some much needed transition did not occur that might have saved the soaps from becoming extinct.  And what about that Oprah Show appearance with her and Tony Geary (Luke, GH), and being trotted out as part of the soap star legend spectacular?  Genie tells us more on what went down behind the scenes. We think that any long time soap fans will enjoy this interview with Genie, in which she tells it like it is, with honesty, humor, and as an actress who has been through it all in the tough world of show biz, and let’s not forget … the woman is still quite young!  Here’s the incomparable Genie Francis!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/PrettytheSeries

Genie, you came into being on Pretty through your former on-screen GH mom, Denise Alexander (Ex-Lesley Webber) who also appears in Pretty in the role of Louise Kirkpatrick.  How did she get you to even consider doing something like this wickedly funny and off the wall comedy web series?

GENIE:

I got a call from Denise Alexander telling me how much she loved this script, and Steve Silverman, and how fun he was to work for.  And since Denise is in the show too, she said, “It would just be great if you would do it, and would you consider it for me?”  And I said, I would, because this woman has been so good to me all of my life.  And, she has never asked me for anything in return.   So it was sort of a chance for me to do something for her.  So based on that … I made my decision to do it.  Then, I went through a very busy time in my life with making this movie for Hallmark, and working on the soap and getting my kids back into the first week of school.  I was just running around like a crazy person and I did not really read the script of Pretty till right before I had to go to work.

MICHAEL:

So you said “yes”, but had not read the script, and truly had no idea what you were getting yourself into or involved in.  You must trust Denise implicitly!

GENIE:

Yeah, because I basically made the decision that I was going to do this for Denise!  And then, I was very pleasantly surprised that it was this cute, funny, interesting group of people, and that it was actually a really fun experience.  So that’s it.  That’s the whole story. (Laughs)

Courtesy/PrettytheSeries

MICHAEL:

In Pretty you get to play Dr. Kate, Pageant Therapist!  I thought you were so funny! And it was so great, because we don’t get to see you like that.

GENIE:

Oh, I am so glad to hear you say that.  Thank you for telling me that.   And you’re right; you don’t get to see me like that. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

When you watched back the season three premiere webisode, with you front and center, did you think you were funny?

GENIE:

I was happy with the thing I did, that was much in the style of the hit comedy show The Office, where I was talking about the gold curtain and the lighting.  And that was great because I did what I wanted to do, which is that style made famous by The Office.

MICHAEL:

So were you acting by yourself in many of those “therapy” scenes with the cast of characters, which includes a hilarious cameo from The Bay’s Mary Beth Evans? Or, were they in the room with you?

GENIE:

Courtesy/PrettytheSeries

Sam Pancake (Michael Champagne) and Stacy McQueen (Annette Champagne) were there and Mary Beth Evans was there. But then there were others who were not there.  All of my part was done in like four hours!

MICHAEL:

Did you come in the way you were going to interpret the character and that was how you were going to play, Dr. Kate?  Or, did Steve Silverman give you more direction? Or, was it a ‘I’m going to run with it, here you go’ type of scenario?

GENIE:

Steve jokes about this, since I waited till the night before the shoot to read the script, but I was really busy.  And I have to take each job one at a time or I get confused.  So I just go one job, and one day at a time.  So I called Steve the night before and I went, “Ok. What do you want from me here?”  And he basically said, “I want you to be the voice of reason, because that would be the worst nightmare for the character of Michael Champagne, which would be to have to face the voice of reason.”  And I said, “Oh Great.  I can do that.  See you tomorrow.” (Laughs) There have been years that I have had in the past where I have not done a darn thing, but this happened to be during a busy time.  Like I said, Steve knew exactly what he wanted from me, so he facilitated that beautifully and quickly.  He got what he wanted.  The guy is very professiononal, smart, and very talented.  He deserves all the kudos.

MICHAEL:

So, would you come back and do another season of Pretty?

GENIE:

Oh yeah!  I would for him.  For him I would do it, because I think Steve is cool.  I don’t know that I would do it for just anybody.  Denise was right when she said, “I needed to do something that I have never done.”  I think she did not steer me wrong.  She involved me with somebody who is actually interesting creatively, and for that I am grateful.

Courtesy/Prettytheseries

MICHAEL:

The Mary Beth Evans therapy scene was hilarious!  Wasn’t she Sara Garrett from The Bay who was confused that she was in the wrong therapy office?

GENIE:

Yes.  I also thought that Mary Beth’s long monologue about all the things that happen to her was terrific. (Laughs) She did a really good job at it, and it was hard for me not to laugh while she did it!  I was happy to see her dealing with the monologue that way, because there are so many times in soaps that we are asked to do these ridiculous speeches, and we always say to ourselves, “This could be comedy real easily, if we could just play it that way.”  And there she was playing it that way.  And I thought, “Good for her!”   I was proud of her and impressed with her ability.

MICHAEL:

So on The Young and the Restless you came on as Genevieve, and you had said in interviews it was like breath of fresh air for you.  After years of playing “put-upon” Laura Spencer on GH, you got to play an eerie bitch!  How did that feel?

GENIE:

I will tell you it made me feel immediately lighter in my person.  I just felt like I don’t have to wring my hands and cry all the time, and worry and focus on the pain, you know. Now the focus of this new character was: how do I entertain myself, even if it’s at your expense?  It’s kind of like the character in House.  I just say what I want to say because it tickles me.  That was a fun-freeing part of the character to play and I enjoyed it.  I think they are changing Genevieve now a little bit, where they are leaning towards making her a more traditional heroine model, which is also OK with me.  They have a very big show to tackle, and how they want to use me in their show should be their decision, and I don’t have my heels dug in.  We know that Genevieve has this caustic side to her that is not gone.  Right now she is in a happy moment in her life and there is a little bit of softening going on, which I think is good.  Ultimately, she should have both.  She should have her tough side and her soft side.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

It was interesting because fans and soap pundits where saying, “Was Genie channeling her inner Helena Cassadine?”  Through your portrayal of Genevieve, were you at all doing that?

GENIE:

At times I was in the very early part of playing her, and then it started to change a bit as we went forward because I started to make her funny.  I don’t think Helena was ever funny.  Then it also started to be more fun for me to play.  I know that a lot of my cast mates thought it was funny, and I liked it.  And honestly, I don’t know how the audience receives it because we are so in a vacuum.  It’s very hard to tell.  You can use Twitter to try and ask people.  But even that represents a small group of people, and it’s not inclusive of everybody.  It’s uncomfortable being in that sort of a void, and seeing how people are receiving it.  I am hoping that the networks know more than me. (Laughs)  I am just grateful for every day of work they give me, and whatever they write for me.  I try to bring it to life as fully and as completely as I can, because that is what I am hired to do.

MICHAEL:

I think people were worried once they wrote off Tristan Rogers ( Ex-Colin, Y&R) and they saw less airtime from you that you were leaving Genoa City as well, and that you were rumored to be heading back to General Hospital.  So what would you say to that?

GENIE:

Well first of all, the rumors about me going back to General Hospital are just that… they are just rumors.  I wanted to go back to General Hospital for many years and they did not want it.  And I am quite sure, even after my Oprah Show appearance, they were not interested. 

MICHAEL:

Well, to this moment that stuns me!  I am damn sure, you were stunned too.

Courtesy/HarpoProds.

GENIE:

Yeah, I was little angry that they would put me out there as part of Luke and Laura and then not follow-up with a job offer.  They were getting me to do free press for their show, but not offering me any employment.  So to tell you the truth, I have really quite had it with that.  It is not fair.  I was very grateful that someone like Y&R’s executive producer and head writer, Maria Arena Bell said, “Well, I am interested and I will write for her.”  And in fact, CBS really embraced me in a very nice way.  They gave me lots of press.  They worked hard at creating a character.  I could not have asked for more from them.  I really couldn’t have.  I am very grateful to them at trying to re-launch me on a soap!

MICHAEL:

Any thoughts now with Garin Wolf and Shelly Altman co-head writing GH and it being a different regime? If they were to come to you now and ask you to come back, would that make any difference for you?  Would you consider it?  Even though Jill Farren Phelps is still the Executive Producer over there?

GENIE:

First of all, I think Jill is a very good producer, and I have nothing against Jill.  She is very smart and very talented.  I think she was stuck in a bad situation too.  I think it’s great that GH has a new creative team writing the show.  I hope it’s going to help them.  I would like to see them go on and do well.  But I suspect, they can’t make me an offer or do anything because they don’t know how long they are going to be on the air.  They can’t write a contract with me, when they don’t know what tomorrow holds.  You know what I am saying?

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Exactly!  GH is the show that unfortunately looks the most vulnerable right now compared to the rest of the soaps that are left, because of the moves made by ABC Daytime to shift and change their programming perspective.

GENIE:

Right!  ABC does not appear to have a commitment to the soaps that the other networks are holding on to.  I think that is the reason.  It’s not that I would not give them a chance to have me back.  It’s just that I don’t want to quit a three year contract to go for three months or so there.  It does not make sense for me, and there you have it.  I mean, I am thrilled to be back working again, and these people at Y&R have made a long-term commitment to me.  I am working with them and it’s a nice relationship.  I prefer to continue there where they do have a long-term picture in mind, and they haven’t given up.  They are not just biding their time just waiting to be canceled.  They want to keep working.

MICHAEL:

For the Genie Francis fans that adore you, let’s clear something up. When you are not on Y&R that does not mean you are off the show.  That means they are pushing forth other story and you are still going to be in the mix?  Right?

GENIE:

What happened was, I went to do a movie and the fans and some magazines assumed I was done.  But it just meant that I went to Canada for a month for another “Note” movie that I signed on to do before Maria Bell hired me for Y&R.  So for that reason, she had to write in my contract she would let me go do the film.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Tristan Rogers as his on-screen wife, after years of working with him in a different capacity at GH?

GENIE:

Courtesy/ABC

I loved working with Tristan.  I loved it.  I think he is a great guy and it is sad not to have him anymore on our show, but I hope he will go back to General Hospital.  I think they should pick him up.  And, I just want to say I hope GH makes it.  I really don’t want them to go off the air.

MICHAEL:

It’s hard for people not to see you, and Jonathan Jackson (Lucky, GH) and Tony Geary (Luke, GH) together again.  It’s like the three best actors on daytime!  There is a piece missing.

GENIE:

That is very sweet of you to say, but that piece has been missing for a very long time. And the piece was willing to come back, and honestly, they have been unwilling for whatever reason to give me a contract position there.  What can I do?  Someone else was willing to give me a contract position, and so I snapped it up.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Daniel Goddard (Cane, Y&R) as your son?

GENIE:

I think he is a great and he has been a sweet friend to me.  Daniel is very easy to get to know and very open.  I enjoy him and I enjoy working with him.  I hope that now that they are changing my character a bit that I will get some more realistic scenes with him that are a bit more about the relationship about these two people, and less about the agenda of getting rid of the evil dad.  So now we can delve into the history of these two people, which I think Daniel plays very well.  And I think it’s interesting for my character too.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/S.Fleming/CBS

Did you go, “Gosh. I have such a good-looking on-screen son!”

GENIE:

You know what I did?  The first day I said to him, “How old are you?” (Laughs)  He is nine year younger than me!  I could not conceive at eight, I am sorry.  Anyway, we giggle about that, but that is television, you know. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And how is working with Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R)?

GENIE:

I love working with Peter and I got into his dressing room once.  And, I went into his bathroom, and Oh my God!  The guy has like 21 Emmys on the wall and these photographs, and that is the most intimidating bathroom!  I am like, “21 Emmys!  I am so out of my league here!”  And I laughed and laughed.  But it was terrific. The truth is I think he is possibly the best leading man I have ever had.  And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  I love that he is really concerned about making it about the best scene it can be.  And there is a critical difference there.  Some soap actors want to make the best “them” they can be.  They want to steer the story to make it all about “them”, and I drive everything their way and that is all not who Peter is.  He just wants to make a great scene and he is concerned with your half of it as well as his.  And for that reason, I always listen to him and never question his judgment.  So when he says, “Hey Frankie, try this?”  I do.

MICHAEL:

“Frankie” is your nickname?

Photo Credit: Getty Images

GENIE:

It is my nickname that has been in my family for a long time.  But, I am using it over at Y&R because of Jeanne Cooper (Katherine).  There is one Jeanne over there, and it ain’t me.  I am Frankie to those people. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Should fans expect more with Jack and Genevieve?

GENIE:

I hope so.  I would like to continue to work with him because he is just so good, and Peter is so nice.  I did do a couple scenes with him that I was really proud of, and they were right before the two of them make love for the first time.  There were two scenes where Genevieve bares her soul to him.  And through that, the audience hopefully got more insight into who this woman really is.  That day was fun because we had some really nice long scenes.  Now most of the scenes they write these days in soaps are a page to a page and half, and that can be very tough.

MICHAEL:

Isn’t it so different than back in the day?  Soap operas would have two or three person scenes that would go on forever!

GENIE:

We used to have two or three character scenes that went on for nine to ten pages, almost like a play!  We just don’t have that anymore.  I just don’t know why we don’t have that anymore.  It doesn’t work as far as I am concerned.  You keep skimming the surface and never get anything deep or meaty.  I don’t like it.  I prefer the older way of writing where we really got a chance to lose ourselves in the material and the other actors.  And then some wonderful surprises would come out of it and thus the material would have more depth, and a scene would have more depth, as a result of it being a “scene”.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: PR Photos

I was there the night you won the Daytime Emmy, and I was so thrilled for you.  And I remember thinking that this was something that I felt should have happened many times over, and was a long time coming.  Did you feel like it was a defining moment?  And where is your Emmy?

GENIE:

My Emmy is by the TV cabinet by the television set, because they sort of go together.  In a weird way, it was sort of anti-climatic because it feels like it was done posthumously!

MICHAEL:

I know.  I couldn’t agree more. (Laughs)

GENIE:

It seems a bit like that, but that’s O.K. and you have to be grateful.  Better late than never, but who knows?  I got it at a time in my life when I could really be grateful for it and not tipped off balanced by it.  It didn’t blow up my ego, so in turn I would go act like a weirdo.  Now, when I was a teenager that might have happened.  Everything happens for a reason.  I am thrilled that they finally acknowledged my work, and that I got to put the little statue in my house.  I am glad I got the recognition.

MICHAEL:

When you and Tony Geary were on Oprah, it felt like such as short segment to me. Was it weird being on there?

GENIE:

You know what?  It actually really was.  I think the reason it feels like that to you is that they cut so much of that interview down. There were a lot of things that were said that were actually not included on the air show.  But I think to the producer’s credit, they cut out things that should have been cut out, and not have gone over the airwaves.  I think the Oprah Show and their producers are to be commended for how they put it together.  I personally thank Oprah for really taking the time.  And if you notice, she really teases out of me, “Well, c’mon. What do you want?”  She was like for the underdog in a way, and she was trying to give me a chance to speak to say what I wanted.  She made sure I got that moment.  I actually think the Oprah people handled that situation beautifully.  

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Do you and Tony Geary ever stay in touch?

GENIE:

You know, we really don’t.  He has always been a very private person and has kept to himself, and even in times of closeness, we were not particularly close.  I have not talked to him, and I don’t know what is going on with him at all.

MICHAEL:

When you think of that, and then the magic that happens on-screen between the two of you, it is truly amazing.  You must be proud of that and that you are iconic!

GENIE:

I am proud of what we created.  I think Tony is also proud of what we created.  And then when we do work together, we try to live up to it.

MICHAEL:

It had to be daunting from a very young age playing all of Laura’s crisis and despair up through being a grown up and a mother of several children.  Did you ever just want to yell, “Stop.  I can’t cry one more tear!?”

GENIE:

(Laughs) I enjoyed playing Laura right up until they had Lucky “die”.  And I played that as real as I could, and it was so tragic and so painful.  And then they kind of wrote the loss of a child through Tony eyes and they kind of put me aside.  So I really see that as the moment that they got off track with Laura.  For me, it was not much fun to play her from then on.

MICHAEL:

Even doing all of her heavy emotional breakdowns?

Courtesy/ABC

GENIE:

When my contract fell apart with them and I had to work with them for three or four more months, before I was going to be done, they finally wrote something for me. That was the Rick Webber situation and her losing her mind and going off into the straightjacket into a mental institution.  I loved that.  But I had to get fired to do it! (Laughs) It actually wasn’t a firing, it was a mutual decision. We both were done with each other at that moment, but out of it came some really exciting acting that I did enjoy immensely.

MICHAEL:

What did you think of Luke and Laura’s re-wedding?  Perhaps some of the biggest tearjerkers in soap history as we watched Laura slip away from her family and the man she loves, and she could not do anything to stop it.

GENIE:

When I did the re-visit for six weeks that I got my Emmy for, I had a lot of fun.  I enjoyed playing someone who had a physical ailment. Laura had a chronic illness and then she would only be around for a short period of time, and then she would go back into her trance-like state.  It was based on the movie Awakenings.  And again, I enjoyed that too because there was a story.

MICHAEL:

You are an icon.  So, what is it like for someone like you who is witnessing the genre dying?  It’s hard for me and I have been covering the genre for so long.  Do you think things could have been done differently at some point, so it wouldn’t have gone this way?

GENIE:

I think one of the biggest problems that I see is that the great, great, great writers, and minds, who created this stuff, the Doug Marlands’s, the Gloria Monty’s, the Bill Bell’s, the Agnes Nixon’s …they did not replace themselves.  They did not grow a new one to pass the baton on to.  It was like they held the position and held the power and closed the door as if it was all mine, mine, and mine.  They didn’t grow a new generation of people to carry it forward.  There really isn’t that new blood and I think that is a shame.  I think there are a lot of talented and new writers that don’t want to write for daytime because it’s dying and nobody wants to be associated with something that is dying.  So in a way, we can’t get the fresh blood we need.  They did not groom a new person who was passionate about soaps.  I am not sure why that is, but they didn’t.

MICHAEL:

What is it like being Genie now as opposed to back in the heyday in 1981 with the historic Luke and Laura wedding that blew up through pop culture and brought in sensational ratings and numbers? Do fans still come up to you from everywhere?  How do you handle those types of encounters different now?

GENIE:

Courtesy/ABC

It is much mellower, when I meet the fans now. They are not hair pulling on me or crying.  (Laughs) It is much more,Oh my God!”   And then there is this very warm feeling I get from them.  Then, I sort of do a very genuine check-in with them.   And I will often ask them, “Well, what are you doing now in your life?  And how are your kids?”  And then I will tell them about mine.  So it’s sort of like class reunion time and I treat it that way, sort of a “You were watching and I was doing. What is your life about now?”

MICHAEL:

Deflection! Very good.  I like your style!

GENIE:

It makes sense, doesn’t it? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

I know you have had so many trials and tribulations through your relationship with GH, but you have to look at your life and be extremely proud of what you have accomplished.

GENIE:

I am very grateful that after 36 years I am still working and under contract.  That alone is such a huge gift.  Most of us in television and as actresses work a long time and then you don’t hear from us.  I have been at this for 36 years.  I am still able to earn a living at it.  I am grateful and happy for my life.  I do hope the soaps can continue on, but if they can’t, you will see it grow into something new.  If you look at primetime television, there are tons of continuing dramas with continuing storylines.  People love to tune-in to get more of the story next week and that is never going to go away.  I just watched The Hamptons for the first time; I think it’s a soap!  I don’t think we are going to see soaps completely die.  I think we are going to see the genre move into different time slots, where there is an audience.  There is not much of an audience in the daytime anymore.  Everybody is at work and busy.

MICHAEL:

When you went onto the Y&R set for the first time, were cast members falling over themselves going, “Oh my God. I can’t believe it’s Genie Francis!  And she is on our show!”

GENIE:

(Laughs) I was welcomed by open arms, particular by Jess Walton (Jill).  I was greeted by such warmth right away from Jeanne Cooper, who could not have been sweeter and nicer.  It was my second day on the set and she was having a union rep into her dressing room and rounding people up. She yelled to Jess, “Go grab Genie Francis!” So I was summoned to her room and I was there.  So right away, I was treated as one of the gang, and you really can’t ask for more than that.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/TimesColumnist

And finally, are you going back to work for the first time in a while next week? When can fans expect to see Genevieve figure prominently into story?

GENIE:

I have been doing one episode a week for the last four weeks.  I work this week and then in November I am working a lot.  I have got several episodes per week.  So I think the storyline that they have been planning and building must be coming to a head in the next four weeks of shooting.   We should look for Genevieve to be playing heavy as the year comes to a close.  Needless to say, there will be a lot of “me” in December on TV. (Laughs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Colin & Jill
Colin & Jill

We want Tristan back on the Y&R with Jill. GF can feel free to go back to GH.

Webbie
Webbie

I have to say I’m surprised that she went on record as saying that PB is her best leading man ever. Wow.

Tralala
Tralala

Yep poor Tony…lol

kay killgore
kay killgore

Hey I loved her on GH she is toning it down some on Y&R, it does not surprise me at all the things she said concerning Peter Bergman. They are so sexist over at GH and they are going to fall. Why because they are only about the male characters. Ask Nancy Grahan how they treat them and a few others. My husband used to walk by and catch a glimpse and still swears MB uses cue cards. Oh and ask Jackie Zemen about them I know the excuse is the plactic surgery she had well if it had been a man he would still be on the show.

soapbaby
soapbaby

Lovely interview. I love how candid and honest Ms. Francis is. GH’s treatment of her is possibly the biggest blunder the show has ever made. And that says a lot considering how the show has eliminated The Quartermaines and focused on the mob. Laura was the soul of The Spencer family and now that family represents what GH currently is: morose and depressing. Luke, Lulu and Lucky are all drug-dependent, selfish, hateful characters. Luke has been ruined by the current writing and it is evident in Tony Geary’s every scene that he is more concerned with himself rather than the overall story. It’s most evident in the s/l of Luke killing Jake. Tony Geary went on record as saying that he enjoyed that story. Tony Geary is very talented but incredibly myopic and it seems that Jonathan Jackson is very similar. Now, GH completely dismantles the legacy of Luke and Laura as Luke goes on ad nauseum about how his marriage to Laura “trapped him”, he never wished to be a parent and that he was a serial cheater while married to Laura. WTF?! Luke and Laura’s love story was the most iconic romance in all of soaps. It’s legacy has been destroyed. And with it, my care if GH ever survived. I doubt the show will last the year and it definitely won’t last to see it’s 50th anniversary in 2013. Good riddance.

Webbie
Webbie

I have to admit I never noticed this about TG. Interesting. Thanks for enlightening me a little. It’s a shame that the legacy of this once-amazing couple has come to this. And with the 30th anniversary of their wedding just days away, it’s even more evident how far from the fairytale this story has fallen. But if you were to ask TG, he would probably say that what we are seeing is the real Luke. I think he was “over” the romantic aspects of his character a long time ago. THIS is what he likes to play and wants to play, at least at this point in his career. I don’t think he cares anymore what the fans think or want. As a romantic and L&L since 1979, I’m sad beyond the beyond. I wanted a sunset ending for this couple, as sappy as it seems. And if GH was smart, they would have tried to do this too and gotten Genie back, no matter what it took.

Tralala
Tralala

if it is the case Tony Geary is really a smart actor, the challenge and the portray of human being flaws are far more interesting, complex and important than the sappy romance and i say that whereas i love/loved Luke and Laura (above all for the awesome chemistry between the actors and back in the day the layered storytelling of their love story)..as an actress i totally get it Tony, you should have tried prime time man.

JT
JT

Not nice, Stephen Nichols was your BEST leading man and certainly the most interesting!!!

m.k.
m.k.

With Genie now at Y&R , I am hoping she will eventually get a scene with Stephen Nichols. They shared such great chemistry together as Stefan and Laura on GH. I’m not expecting any romantic pair up, but a scene would be nice. 🙂

Ron Klopfanstein
Ron Klopfanstein

Much as I’d like to see her back on “General Hospital” as “Laura”; I’m happy that she’s someplace where she’s happy and treated with the respect she deserves. She has earned a role that is at par with her experience and ability. “GH’s” loss is ultimately “Y&R” and Genie Francis’ gain. Good for her.

(I wonder if she meant “Revenge” when she mentioned watching a new TV drama, “The Hamptons”? We can certainly forgive her for not remembering the title considering the massive amount of work she is doing!)

Michelle
Michelle

Thank you for this wonderful interview. I love how forthright and honest Genie is. I think she’s was spot on about the old guard of soaps not training/mentoring the next generation.

bonnie
bonnie

Jeannie has it right being a gh fan forever they really left her hanging and the truth about the show now is the writing and they dont develop the charcters enough to make us care Women who watch soaps like mysself like the drama the emotional family dynamics more than the violence and mob activities and crazy whodunits that make no sense. The writers they need are the soap fans that are in there 40 and 50 they could write better then the writers they have now. The Reason the MIchael and Abby story is a fav because we have a history with michael and his strugles. Just like Laura after she killed and had to cover it up with family. We knew her as a young girl Ihope they dont do the same with Abby and Michael. They need to bring back family drama Love Geanie

Tim
Tim

I’m so over the workings of Maria Bell. Her writing is disjointed and bounced around like a monkey with ADD. Instead of trying to create another lame story for Genie, Bell should have done the story of Colin, Cane and Jill justice. I like GF, but Bell ruined Colin by bringing Genevieve on. And now… making Genevieve heroic? I loved wathcing Tristan and Jess. They were fun, but now Bell has ruined that and most of the other characters. Bell’s crazier than Genevieve with all her rewrites and undoing and revisions. I used to love this show but Bell has just become CBS’s version of Bob Guza. I’m convinced that CBS is pulling a Frons and letting Bell ruin this show.

aria
aria

i enjoy ms. francis being so forthcoming but i suspect all her y&r praising could be call premature, afterall she hasn’t been there a year yet, and while she is entitled to her feeling about gh, I doubt very much that the young and the restless doesn’t have a few stars over the years who felt mistreated ( victoria rowell.) and they also have their sexist macho stars like Eric Braeden. and as for her remark about peter bergman “possibly” being the best leading men she ever had, I think she’s still in the honymoon faze with that comment. still love you genie, but you don’t have to kiss your new costars butt, remember your an icon and their not.

kay killgore
kay killgore

Soapbaby right on the money about TG I just am glad to know there are other fans out there who felt the same way. The most disturbing part he seems to lavish each slam to their history. That is why I do not think it would work if GF comes back how do you retract all these rewrites what happened to his angel he use to call her.

TweetMaxine
TweetMaxine

General Hospital will be off-the-air by Spring. The announcement will come in January. Abc wants Katie Couric in place well before the 2012 elections. The Conventions are in July/August, but the Primaries start in the Spring. Also, Tony Geary is GAY. Not sure why our esteemed interviewer never asks about that. Why does he need protecting? Let the WORLD know, spread-the-news ….Tony Geary GAY GAY GAY !!!

Sarva
Sarva

Tweet Maxine, you say gay as if there is something wrong with being gay. Are you accusing or telling the world what the world has known for many years? Do you dislike gay people or just gay actors who don’t talk about their sexuality?

Michael
Michael

The esteemed interviewer never asks because (a) it’s irrelevant, (b) many people already assume it’s the case, so if it’s true, it’s hardly news, and (c) nobody really cares anyway (except you, apparently). Hope that clears it all up for you. Have a nice day.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Damn: I didn’t know that.

In Genie Francis interview she spoke about of Tony being very private and I was, GOOD. (I can relate to that). Now, after reading Genie’s interview, I read these POST, and I’m like ok, gay, explains him being so private, and the long vacations far, far away for long periods, BUT who cares, anyway? I didn’t know, BC I’v known him to be with woman. Michael, that was a Helleva interview you conducted; I was thinking that while reading it. I would love to write for your site if your ever needed a writer. Jeer!
Happu New Year!

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Michael, I meant to Cheers!!! Genie Francis couldn’t have given that type of interview without the right reporter/ interviewer asking the RIGHT questions…..

Happy New Year!

Jo
Jo

And? So are lots of men in Daytime. What exactly is your point?

kay killgore
kay killgore

Personally I could care less if Tony Geary is gay and Ms. Francis has to much class to even respond to such a question and in the final scheme of things what does that have to do with anything. I just wish TG would have objected to some of this character destruction of he and Laura but maybe he does not have that much clout after all! The gossip is still out there that she is being killed off on Y&R. If so and GH does get cancelled I think she should be part of the send off the woman started on that show at age 14 and she & TG did make magic together on screen.

Michael
Michael

Terrific interview; I love the fact that Genie is willing to be so candid while really not stooping to being particularly negative. In particular, she states her case about feeling overlooked and neglected by GH and ABC without going overboard: here’s what they did and here’s how it made me feel, and I wanted to go back and they wouldn’t commit to it, so I’ve moved on.

The one thing I have to say that I think she’s wrong about is that people like Marland and Nixon and Bell didn’t nurture the next generation of writing and producing talent. They did–and the networks drove them away. Working in soaps now is very, very different than it was 20 years ago, and many talented people (Nancy Curlee comes to mind, as do the Dobsons and Claire Labine) just won’t do it anymore. I’ve often said that I’m not sure Marland would still have been willing to work in soaps had he lived. And Agnes Nixon herself had been sidelined by ABC for a number of years until they recently started paying attention to her again. It’s not that the next generation of talent wasn’t nurtured, it was that they were strangled by the networks.

Mary
Mary

I thought the interview was great . The part that stood out to me was when the writers made the story of Lucky dying all about Luke and I think they are doing the same disservice to Liz on Gh right now. I don’t watch Y/R but I have friends who do and are loving GF on it. I am glad she is not coming back to Gh either it is not a soap for woman really the writers seem to write male dominated story lines . I also think Gh hasn’t got long either cause the writers don’t seem to want to do anything to save it. I agree about there not being any talent left writing for daytime TV but I think that is also true of primetime.

Jo
Jo

I feel sorry for this woman. She has NO idea how Y&R works and seems totally clueless that her character is bombing badly. They keep trying to make her work, and it’s just not clicking. Sony will dump her and she will have missed the chance to go back to her iconic role. Mark my words, this woman will be gone from Genoa City in under six months.

Joe
Joe

It is very odd that there was no mention how poorly this character and storyline on Y&R has been received. I hope Genie lands on her feet because if Maura West is any indication Genie Francis hasn’t a prayer of lasting much longer. Which is a shame because she is very talented and pretty. I got to add but does anyone remember the Laura and David Hamilton affair and then murder. Well, I think Genie was only 15 or 16. That girl had major talent even back then. Simply amazing!!!!!

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Yup, I remember the David Hamilton storyline. Amazing!

And Genie is real. Reading her interview, you got the feeling you were dealing with a real person, not ego, showbiz, talk for the camera and all that. But the truth, and she didn’t tiptoe around (just like a true Gemini) which I commented on below.

Louise
Louise

I feel Genie was a tremendous child/teenage actress but developed sloppy acting habits in her later years. She must have used “you know” in between every other sentence and coasted on her ability to cry on cue. I also think GH spoiled her and she got lazy. Now that she’s having to really act a new character Genie’s flaws are showing. Not saying the woman doesn’t have talent but she has to remember how to “act”. And, I just can’t believe how she’ll never mention Stephen N. and the Stefan/Laura magic. Is she clueless?

Sylvia
Sylvia

I have loved Genie for as long as I’ve watched GH and this interview was candid and open, without being negative.

I love her on Y&R, and, no matter how much GH has tried to ruin L&L’s legacy, they can’t for for fans who were there at the beginning and remember it!

So, my L&L love continues – as does my admiration for Genie and Tony (I don’t listen to his interviews – LOL!)

Tweet Maxine
Tweet Maxine

Hey everybody guess what? It’s not 1981 anymore and Actors’ personal proclivities and peccadiloes are totally fair game. There’s no such thing as privacy anymore. Even people that aren’t on TV have no privacy. Didn’t Genie sleep with Kin Shriner way back when? Why is she never asked about that?

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Who said Genie slept with Kin Shriner (Scotty)? I never heard that?

WHERE did you hear that from and WHEN…….?

Paul
Paul

My goodness, I just love Genie’s honesty and I wish nothing but the best for her. She sounds very happy 🙂

m.k.
m.k.

Watching Y&R I finally did see a scene with Genie and Stephen Nichols. They still have that tremendous chemistry and even though they are paired with different people, I am glad they are on the same show and I hope they run into each other again in upcoming scenes. They should since they are now both paired with the Abbot siblings.

Jonnie
Jonnie

I personally don’t care who she is with…although Luke and Laura was one of the best chapers in any Soap….however, I love her and very pleased she is on my Fav show…Y&R!! Keep up the good work Genie!!

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Wow, Genie! U give a helleva interview. And in TRUE Gemini form, you are HONEST and you dont TIPTOE over what you believe the Truth to be. I have ALWAYS gotten the scence that you were GROUNDED as a person, down to earth, and not like some of those other soap actress’s we know…. lol Genie is a class act, with how she handels the fans that come up to her. She speaks with them as IF she KNOWS them, “What is your life like now?” Class. With Genie knowing fans watching keeps her employed, (it’s like) having JUST a bit of concern that the person standing before her is about some substance other the soaps, (just in case another conversation comes up, is there substance with this person beyond soaps?). Genie, I grew up watching you, and I love you. Now, I’m pissed at G.H, finding out you expressed an interest in going back and they wouldn’t have you. I will tune in to see you NOW on Y & R, since I know you didn’t chose a return to daytime with Y & R, over G. H. Should G.H rape and retire in the next year, please promise me that you will go back to end the Luke and Laura storyline the right way for your fans, along with yours missing son(s). All the Best Genie. Happy New Year 2012.

jaybird369
jaybird369

As a longtime fan of Genie Francis, I am so glad that she is on Y&R now!!! Trust me…GH’S loss is most definitely Y&R’S gain!!! I quit watching GH about 3 years ago because some of the storylines and some of the characters just weren’t cutting it for me. And, besides, I’ve ALWAYS thought that Y&R was a better written and a better directed show. I still do!!! Most of all, it is BEYOND refreshing to watch Genie play Genevieve, a (new) character that is feisty and no-nonsense, yet that also has shades (or whatever) of softness and vulnerability. I hope and pray that BOTH her and Debbi Morgan (another recent casting coup for Y&R) get to stick around on the Y&R canvas for a very LONG time!!! Genie and Debbi…CONGRATULATIONS LADIES!!!

General Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CMT

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

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

Courtesy/CMT

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CMT

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CMT

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

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

Courtesy/CMT

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

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

Courtesy/CMT

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

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

Photo Credit: CMT

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

Photo Credit: ABC

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagram

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

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

Will Enation be touring more coming up?  

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

Photo: JJacksonInstagram

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagramm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

Good point!

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

PETER:  Oh, damn! (Laughs)

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

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

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Next week on Y&R, Hilary is fighting for her life, but the prognosis is not good. Friends and loved ones come to the hospital and ask for forgiveness and to tell her to fight. But how can she? Watch the latest promo from CBS Daytime below. Leave A Comment

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