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The Gina Tognoni Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto

Courtesy/CBS

It was one of the most sought after roles in the history of daytime for any actress to play. After quite the search to find the successor to two-time Daytime Emmy winning dynamo, Michelle Stafford, The Young and the Restless has found their gal in Gina Tognoni  to step into the shoes of Phyllis Summers!  Soap fans know of Gina’s stellar work from her first daytime role as Kelly Cramer on One Life to Live, to her two-time Daytime Emmy winning star turn as Dinah Marler on Guiding Light.  Now the journey begins for the Y&R audience to see just how the talented Tognoni will put her own stamp and spin on firecracker Phyllis!

And as it written in the soap opera handbook 101 … when one actress is put in a coma to facilitate her exit, but then goes to another soap, only to wake up from a coma as a different character … the original soap has the character wake up from a coma as another actress!  Got it?   But with that, both Michelle Stafford now Nina Clay on GH, and Gina Tognoni now Phyllis on Y&R, both have roles befitting their acting chops!

On-Air On-Soaps had the pleasure of sitting down with Gina at the set of Y&R for one of her first interviews back to the soap fold where we gleaned: just how she landed the primo role in Genoa City, how she views the character of Phyllis, and what she thinks of her new leading men, Joshua Morrow (Nick) and Peter Bergman (Jack). And Gina gives us some subtle, yet definite clues as to what to look for when Phyllis finally awakens for her comatose state.  And let’s be real here … hell hath no fury like a Phyllis scorned!

In addition, Gina addresses the sad fate of her former soap homes, Guiding Light and One Life to Live, plus getting into the groove at the number one soap playing the kickass Phyllis, who fans are just waiting to spring back to life and into action!  The story picks up stream on the Monday, August 11th episode of Y&R when Gina makes her on-screen debut.  And now, here’s our enlightening and entertaining chat with the new Phyllis in town!

MICHAEL:

Was there ever a time you thought: “I would like to be on the number one show, Y&R?”

GINA:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Yes, yes, and yes! A few weeks ago I stayed in Melody Thomas Scott’s (Nikki) dressing room, which I have to say is epic!  It is incredible.  My whole life I have admired this show.  It is number one for a reason.  It is not only beautiful to look at, but there is just a certain type of class with this show, and I say that in the best possible way.  It was no more evident when I got the job from the phone calls I got from everybody, but especially the phone call I got from Peter Bergman (Jack).  And, can I just say, he was my first call!  Peter is truly the ambassador of The Young and the Restless.  He is truly authentic, and what a gift to be working with him.

MICHAEL:

Did Peter Bergman say to you, “Gina, you don’t know what you have gotten yourself into?” (Laughs)  And then did he say, “You have big shoes to fill!”

GINA:

(Laughs) Actually, it was a kind message congratulating me and saying how happy he was.  I kept that message on my phone for a really long time, because it meant a lot to me.  It’s people like Jimmy Freeman, our associate producer and former show publicist, who call and open their heart and tell you a little bit about the show.  And from there it was the hair and make-up team, directors, wardrobe; it has been awesome and rare.

MICHAEL:

I heard you blew everyone away with your audition tape and screen test!  So what were the scenes that you performed? Everyone kind of wants to know how this all came about that the show ended up choosing you, since this role is so identifiable to Michelle Stafford (Nina GH) who was your predecessor in the part.

GINA:

Photo Credit: DuffImages.com

So, I have loved Michelle Stafford’s work.  I think she is fabulous, and that is why this role is so amazing, because she is fearless.  I identify with that.  With that being said, I was in New York.  I put myself on tape and I sent it to the Y&R casting director, Judy Blye Wilson.  There was a casting call for the role that was open to all.  It was interesting.  I didn’t know if I was going to go back to daytime, or what I was going to do, or what was going to be in my path.  I thought, “You know what?  We are going to try and see if this is the right match.”  So the show called me back and said they wanted me to come out to L.A to screen test.  And when I came out here, I was so open to the fact that maybe this isn’t the right thing, but if it is, it will be.  Then when I arrived here and got to the studio, and being here the day of the screen test, it just felt like Kismet.  It felt right.  So I performed two scenes: one with Peter Bergman and one with Joshua Morrow (Nick).  And initially the scene I sent in from New York was between Phyllis and Sharon.  I love that relationship.  It’s a real fierce relationship.  I felt that I understood that.  I was then happy to see they were going to focus on the two guys here.  I think that was important to see what the chemistry is like.  Peter and Joshua are two different entities, and what is wonderful is that Phyllis has two important men in her life.

MICHAEL:

What was your first impression of Mr. Morrow?

GINA:

Joshua is gorgeous inside and out.  He is a bright light, and he has been here a long time, and he is still so humble.  That struck me, along with Joshua’s ability.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Joshua told me in a recent interview that he wants the fans to give you a shot and a chance to win them over as Phyllis!  What were the audition scenes with Joshua like?

GINA:

It actually was an aggressive scene between Phyllis and Nick that was a fight layered with a lot of passion.  Whereas the Peter scene was about Jack’s trust and how the hallmark of their relationship was that they always had trust.  And with Nick, there is a fire.  Now, Joshua is a beautiful man! (Laughs)  And I am a married woman in real life! (Laughs)  I am looking at him, again thinking that he is just so humble, and yet he is so funny!  I love being around anybody who can make me laugh.

MICHAEL:

So are you aware of the “Phick” fans and the “Shick” fans, and that never the two will meet? (Laughs)

GINA:

I learned about it.  I am like scared of these people! (Laughs)  Let me tell you, I am going to wear horse blinders, because I am NOT going to read what people are saying.   I will purposely not read what people are writing for awhile.  I have to focus on the work.

MICHAEL:

What happened when you found out you had nabbed the role of Phyllis?  How did you find out?  Who told you?

GINA:

Courtesy/IMDB

Let me just put like this: It was completely on facebook and quickly on the Internet. And that happened well before any of my family members knew, and it just shows you the speed of social media.  It got out there fast when it was announced.  I truly, when I left this building for the screen test, knew I was proud of my work.  I had stepped out of my comfort zone.  I pushed it, in my opinion, but I knew that’s what this particular role needs.  As Phyllis, you have to really just go for it!  And, we don’t know the way the fans are going to go with this.  I am like: “Well, I hope they like me.”  I remember after the audition seeing Y&R executive producer Jill Farren Phelps’ face.  She looked happy, but there was still another girl to read for the role.  Everyone gets a fair shot, but the cards went my way.  Now the way I found out was through a text message from a friend who said, “Oh, my God.  I just found out you got the role!”  When I found out I got the part I couldn’t believe it, and I was so thrilled.  Then, I had a moment of: “Oh, my gosh!  How am I going to do this?”  I was concerned how I was going to work out the flying back and forth from the east coast, and the logistics of it all.  As everyone knows, soaps are at an insane speed.  Every day there is new stuff for everyone to learn.  I was used to that stuff, but the travel I had not done.  But what is unbelievable is that it is all working out quite well.  Typically, I will fly in a day before I tape an episode, or if it’s for four episodes, even better.

MICHAEL:

But you had to have a “pinch yourself moment” when it sank in that you were going to be the actress to play Phyllis.

GINA:

I was speechless.   I think I thought, “Wow! Wow! Wow!”  Because in my mind, Y&R is the number one show on the planet!  This is the number one role on the planet, so this is it!  In Jill Phelps’ words: “This is as good as it gets!”  And it’s true.  I am a very lucky girl, but I am blessed.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto

You had worked with Y&R’s executive producer Jill Farren Phelps previously, correct?

GINA:

Yes.  I worked with Jill a million years ago when I was at One Life to Live.  She said to me, “You grew up pretty good.”  And that just meant so much.  Jill is wonderful to work for.  It had been so long since we had worked together, but to get this role was still a fair fight.

MICHAEL:

Michelle Stafford sent you a tweet congratulating you on becoming the next Phyllis. What did you think of her doing that?

GINA:

I think it was classy.  Look, I loved what she did with the role, and I think I identified with it.  Dinah and Phyllis could have been from the same family, in fact, they might be cousins! (Laughs)  I pray that the audience gives me a chance, but what I am going to do with all of my heart is express the spirit of Phyllis.

MICHAEL:

And what is the spirit of Phyllis to you?

GINA:

She loves with all of her heart fearlessly, and she is not afraid of what that looks like, and that is interesting to play.

MICHAEL:

Are you nervous that no matter what you do, you will not be accepted by the Y&R viewing audience?

GINA:

Courtesy/CBS

I think it’s human nature to fulfill people’s expectations, but if you go too far in that direction in your mind, you are toast.  I am excited, but if turns too much to nerves, I watch that and keep an eye on that.  I will say; you need all the strength you can get for this role! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What happened when you met Y&R legend Eric Braeden (Victor) for the first time?

GINA:

I met him the other day, and he is like an icon!  And in that voice of his, he went, “It was so nice to meet you!” (Gina screams)  I said back to him, “You are so cool!”

MICHAEL:

And what are your thoughts on your on-screen nemesis Sharon Case (Sharon)?

GINA:

I love Sharon Case.  First of all, Sharon is the most beautiful girl ever.  I have not worked with her yet, but she gave me a hug, and I gave her a hug.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Who have you worked with thus far from the cast?

GINA:

Peter Bergman, Hunter King (Summer) who plays my daughter.  That girl is wicked talented.  I love her energy, and I was drawn to her right away.  Matt Atkinson, who has been great as Austin, the character of Dr. Cutler, and I have worked with Eric Braeden.  Victor came to visit Phyllis.

MICHAEL:

So here you are, two-time Daytime Emmy winner Gina Tognoni, and it’s your first day on set at Y&R, and your first scenes, and you have to pretend that you are in a coma! (Laughs) 

GINA:

My first scenes were me lying in a coma.  I kept thinking, “I hope my hair color is correct and I hope my eyes are not twitching,” and they were!  I got a note that I was twitching a little. (Laughs)  Must have been too much coffee! (Laughs)  But it was fine, and it is actually the best way to get to know somebody – to be able to be there and not talk, but to listen.  So that was all O.K.

MICHAEL:

So you obviously know the story, and there are major issues and bombshells surrounding Phyllis waking from her coma.  First on the list is revealing Sharon switched the paternity test, and Summer is Nick’s bio-daughter.  Please tell me, Phyllis is not going to wake up with amnesia?

GINA:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto

Well, you don’t know.  You don’t know what place Phyllis has gone to, and what she has seen while she was gone, and we don’t know what she has seen.

MICHAEL:

Well, knowing Phyllis she has probably got a few tricks up her sleeve!

GINA:

Yes.  I will tell you when you talk to anybody who has been in a coma, when they come back … they know they have come back.  They could have either passed on, or come back, and Phyllis is back and there is a reason she is coming back, and that intrigues me.  I think that is fabulous.  There are quite of bit of undercurrents going on here!

MICHAEL:

I think there is a huge revenge element in there, too!  After all, everyone else has moved on with their life, while she was stuck in this coma!

GINA:

Which is interesting, because now she has to get integrated back into her life.  So physically, where is she?  There are all of types of wonderful questions that come up for an actress: is she 100% strong?  So we are going to see a journey, and the audience is going to have to watch very closely, because it’s going to be subtle.  It has to be built brick by brick.

MICHAEL:

Which is so interesting, because Michelle Stafford’s new character on GH was in a coma for 20 years!  You two are the comatose twins!

GINA:

Courtesy/ABC

I love that, and I know!  It’s going to be like Frick and Frack, right?  It’s going to be … who was the best coma patient?  It’s very weird that we both have those storylines, but that’s also what is kind of cool about it.

MICHAEL:

So, as you know, fans were very worried about who was going to take over this role. They had seen so many of their favorites depart The Young and the Restless for one reason or the other over the last year and half, that they wanted to make sure that someone truly capable of performing this role got the job, in their opinion.  What has been the pulse you are getting from fans in their reaction to the news that you the new Phyllis?   On my site, it was extremely positive … which is a rarity these days! (Laughs)

GINA:

Honestly, the manifest I got was: “Oh, we are so happy.”  I know they were happy I was coming to the show.  Now, there will be no negativity! (Laughs)  I don’t want to hear it! (Laughs)  I am a very spiritual girl, so I would not have flown all the way here!  So we are going to embrace that.  When you take on a character, you take on a character, and then you open the door and trust, and have that responsibility.

MICHAEL:

OK, let’s get down to it.  Who do you want to have love scenes with?

GINA:

Courtesy/CBS

(Laughs)  I think I am in great hands with Peter Bergman, or Joshua Morrow!  And then Cady McClain (Kelly) and everyone else is going to hate me for it! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Do you know where the character of Phyllis is heading, let’s say, six months out from now?

GINA:

I do not know six months out.  I have never in my career on daytime known story six months out.  Let’s just say that I know there is quite a bit of conflict coming up with Sharon, and a lot of concern over Summer, and then Phyllis fighting her way back and being integrated again.  I know there will be specific things to accomplish for her!

MICHAEL:

Do you want Phyllis to have a knock down drag out catfight with Sharon?  I think many fans really want to see it!

GINA:

I think she needs to step in the ring with Sharon, but I think there needs to be a discussion!  (Laughs) And I think the fans will get plenty of that!

MICHAEL:

You know the entire back-story of the tumble down the stairs that Phyllis took in a confrontation with Sharon?

GINA:

Courtesy/CBS

Yes.  I knew Phyllis took a tumble. There is a debate whether she was thrown down the stairs, or if she fell down the stairs, or if Sharon pushed Phyllis down the stairs.  Of course, Phyllis will probably see it as Sharon pushed her down the stairs!  And, as I said, when people come back to life from this kind of situation they come back with a sense of purpose, and fans will see that.  That will be very clear.  She is back to establish relationships, make some relationships good, to get some clarity on things with Avery (Jessica Collins) and Kelly!  The thing is Jack seems quite happy right now with Kelly, and that relationship is going quite well, and the fans certainly like it.  However, Jack and Phyllis had a connection   He is in many ways Phyllis’ soul mate.  She has two soul mates, the other being Nick.

MICHAEL:

Nick is really Summer’s father.  What do you think will happen when Phyllis realizes this?  I think this will draw her back to Nick!

GINA:

Ideally, yes, in a perfect world.  I think Phyllis has a soft spot for sex with Nick! (Laughs) But also having that soft spot for everything with him … she wants it all.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

Fans have loved you from Guiding Light, and they have loved you from One Life to Live.  Both shows have now gone, for all intent and purpose, to soap heaven.  Can you share a few thoughts on your experience on Guiding Light?  You had left GL early before the show wrapped.

GINA:

What happened there was my contract was up, and it was time to go.  It was something when I look back at it that almost felt like I left the funeral early.  I wished I had stayed through to the end.  I loved my experience on Guiding Light.  It was amazing, and I loved playing Dinah.

MICHAEL:

Do you think the role of GL’s Dinah prepared you to be able to take on a role like Y&R’s Phyllis?

GINA:

Oh, yeah!  I am sure I will use a lot of strength and fire that we saw in Dina, and yet, Phyllis has a very different core.

MICHAEL:

On One Life to Live you came back to the role you originated of Kelly Cramer, and continued on shortly before the show went off the air.  Can you touch upon your feelings for the show that gave you your first soap break being canceled?

Courtesy/ABC

GINA:

My heart broke for that show.  It felt very unfair that it was canceled.  OLTL fans were so supportive and vocal about the show being canceled; you would think in these days that it would be enough to keep it on the air.  I think for the TV version, Frank Valentini (former EP OLTL, now EP GH) and Ron Carlivati (former head writer OLTL, now head writer GH) did a good job of wrapping it up.  It broke so many people’s hearts to take something off the air that meant a lot to so many.  I feel grateful to be on The Young and the Restless as there is an appreciation here for what we do.

MICHAEL:

What did you think about your final turn playing Kelly on One Life?

GINA:

I feel like Kelly’s storyline was stuck somewhere between first gear and neutral, but here at Y&R I feel thrilled to be working with all five gears with the Phyllis storyline. Case closed! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And now in another twist of irony, Michael Easton, your former love interest on OLTL, is now involved with former Genoa City Phyllis, Michelle Stafford, on General Hospital!

GINA:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Damn him! Damn her!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

In closing Gina, what would you like to say to the fans … those that are in your corner, and those who may be your toughest critics, as you begin a new chapter in your soap life as Phyllis?

GINA:

I have so many people rooting for me that I do not take it for granted.  I love that, and I cherish that.  I promise, to the people that I have not won over yet, that I will work very hard to do that.  I will put my heart and soul into this, because I want to, and I have to, and I will do this character justice.  And you be nice!!!! (Laughs)  I plan to go for it with this role.  It’s going to be balls to the wall!

 

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Max
Max

Love Gina and cannot wait!! Loving Michelle as Nina too.

Phyllis Newman
Phyllis Newman

I LOVE GINA SHE IS MY FAVIRETE ACTRESS EVER SHE’S GOING TO DO GREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT

steve
steve

I hope Gina stays on the y and r for a long time.She is foxey

Jeffrey Sweeney
Jeffrey Sweeney

AWESOME INTERVIEW!!!! I am so excited that Gina is taking over the role of Phyllis Newman; I was a HUGE fan of her work as Dinah on GL.

Sharon
Sharon

Me too… I loved her on GL…. I was really upset when they said Phyllis was leaving the show…. but when I saw her on the other soap one day… Made me really mad she would leave the top Soap on tv to go there…. I am so excited for Nina to play this part now….

Michael
Michael

I am so looking forward to Gina’s take on Phyllis starting next Monday! It’s going to be fun to watch!

Susan
Susan

If this story plays out in real life (not reel life) I doubt Phyllis will remember anything before falling. After a severe head injury like that most cannot immediately remember what caused the accident, if they ever remember. I have never seen Gina in anything but will give her a go. I still can’t stand nu-nu-Billy. He has no chemistry with anyone. The other one who needs to go is Stalker Stitch. What a creep.

Eileen Hargis
Eileen Hargis

Stitch isnt a stalker, he is the good guy u will soon see. Burgess has great chemistry with Melissa who plays Chelsea. Gina is a terrific actress. Watch and learn.

Enola Barrett
Enola Barrett

I totally agree,can’t stand Stitch either.And we all know that in the soap world,they don’t always do what is reality. Phyliss could wake up and remember everything all at once.

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Susan, I just call nu-nu-Billy, Old Bill now. Much more fitting for a man of his years.

marion
marion

It’s funny everyone mentions the new billy as being old.truth is he is younger then Victoria.He is 40,she is 41

Linda A.
Linda A.

The one character I REALLY want to see leave town — PERMANENTLY — is IAN WARD! He is Satan personified! I can’t STAND him! He totally creeps me out! I usually don’t support Victor’s schemes, but ANYTHING he can do toward accomplishing that goal is just FINE with me! I heard a suggestion that they should kill off Ian and there’d be a “Who Killed Ian?” storyline. I know that’s SO cliched, but there’d be plenty of suspects! Sounds good to me! :^)

You’re right, Susan. New nuBilly doesn’t have chemistry with anyone — I’m still getting used to him myself — but Burgess Jenkins is a good actor, and he’s DEFINITELY easy on the eyes! ;^))

Someone other than Michelle Stafford as Phyllis? Yeah, that’s going to take a LOT of getting used to. But, as for Gina Tognoni as nuPhyllis, I didn’t watch her other soap work on a regular basis, but from what little of it I HAVE seen, I know she’s good, and if we give her even half a chance, I think Gina will make the part her own. We’ve had to get used to a nuPhyllis before, years ago. Remember Sandra Nelson, anyone? :^)

jonboy
jonboy

While I found her boring on OLTL I will give her a chance. My fear is that, like with many recasts, the actor attempts to make the character “their own” and suddenly the character you’ve known and loved is a virtual stranger. Presently I don’t know who this Billy is. But he’s not the Billy I’ve enjoyed for years (even with David Tom).

Leslie
Leslie

I haven’t seen Gina’s acting before, but unlike other recasts, Gina sounds like she “gets” what Phyllis is about. She seems to value what this character’s past brings to her future. While I’m sure the character might change a bit over time as she continues in the role, this interview goes a long way toward making me feel excited and hopeful that this is going to be a perfect recast (and I agree that it’s time to rest the role of Billy). Good luck and welcome, Gina!

Susan
Susan

I agree with recasting Billy. David Tom would have been good if they had given him time to settle back into the role. Billy Miller is going to be the new Jason on GH. Michelle Stafford and Billy Miller to GH. JFP killer of soaps, is doing her job. T he only story that interest me now is Nick, Sharon and Mariah. I love Joshua Morrow. His smile lights up the screen. Sad to see what was once a great soap decline in ratings. While they boast they are #1 this is true. But, there are only 4 soaps left.

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

This newnuBilly seems to me is actually oooooollllllllddddddddBilly. In that he’s been SORAS’d like 25 years! Its like having Peter Bergman playing the part of Billy, but without the good acting. Don’t like this version of Billy at all. Maybe now we should call him Old Bill. He and Victor can get together and tell Victoria how to run her life. They’ll finally have something in common.

(For the record, I really don’t blame the actor. I blame casting, writing and production for this debacle. I thought David Tom was warming back into the role and doing fine.)

Kathleen Karp
Kathleen Karp

I hate David Thom as Billy! So glad they recast that role. He just didn’t work. The new ( old) Billy is o.k. but they could have done a better pick. Also don’t like Gina Tognoni as Phyllis but I’ll keep an open mind and we’ll see what happens.

jonboy
jonboy

I disagree about Burgess Jenkins. For a former prime-time actor I’m astounded that his acting skills are so poor.

louisa
louisa

LOVE her from OLTL. I don’t watch Y&R, but will check it out now.

B.J.
B.J.

I love Gina, and will be delighted to see her again. GL was my favorite soap for years.

There’s no doubt she has the acting chops to portray Phyllis.

k/kay
k/kay

Lovely Lady! I really wondered about her age but with the new hair cut and PB looks dam good for 60 she will probably make it work. She has a couple of things working for her that Maura West did not playing the Dianne character she is not having to play a love interest for Victor/EB because he is 30 years her senior and they will not be showing Daniel so she does not have to deal with that issue. Wish her the best I just hope they do not waste her talent and throw her with Dylan. Let’s be honest JFP loves to have SB in every storyline.

Kathleen Karp
Kathleen Karp

Gina Tognoni is not 60! Who are you talking about?

k/kay
k/kay

@Kathleen PB stands for Peter Bergman/Jack he just turned 61 I think. Sorry I confused you Gina is only 40 and I was concerned she was going to look to young next to Peter Bergman/Jack.

SR
SR

I loved her on G&L. Looking forward to supporting her . I am a Phick fan and can’t wait to see what happens! go Gina.

scotty m
scotty m

she is amaaaazing! thrilled about this and pumped to see her on Y&R. Phyllis can’t wake up soon enough!

Enola Barrett
Enola Barrett

I loved Gina when she played Dinah on GL…..and will enjoy seeing her as Phyliss,never really liked Michele Stafford that much anyway…so I am glad for the change.

Aunt Libby
Aunt Libby

ME TOO!!!!

MsErica
MsErica

Me THREE! Never liked MS; loved Gina as Dinah. She’s gonna kill it!!!

A Baptiste
A Baptiste

I remember Robin Stasser so annoying as Christina Karas on All My Children but she was totally transformed and hit the ground running as One Life’s Dorian. My instincts tell me that although Gina’s Kelly Kramer was ehh (sorry) she has “grown up good,” indeed and is gonna kick a… and take names on Y & R…this is her time!

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Her stint on Dinah on Guiding Light worked so well, I hope she channels Dinah during her portrayal.

Lawrence
Lawrence

I can’t wait for her to debut as Phyllis. She is an amazing actress. I loved her as Dinah on GL.

Sue
Sue

Did not care for MS, did not like her acting. Welcome Gina, nice to see the change.. That being said U better take it easy on Sharon or she will kick your ass!! LOL

juju
juju

as if…

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

I was a fan of MS as Phyllis. That said, she was really phoning it in for a long time and I welcome the change. I think Gina will be great. (I’m a Sharon fan too)

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

I love this interview, and absolutely adore Gina. Her being cast as Phyllis on The Young and the Restless is going to be good; while she wasn’t my top choice of actress (Sarah Joy Brown was), I have a strong feeling she’s going to really connect with the audiences and her fellow cast mates. I hope the drive of Phyllis returns; during Michelle’s final years the fire of Phyllis kind of disappeared. I’m excited about her joining, from the video of her and Joshua and Hunter, there seems to be a great familiar connection there. Gina and Hunter even look like mother and daughter, so this casting could work out so well. I miss Dinah, though! She was great!

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Another great interview. Loved her as Kelly on OLTL. She can really generate great chemistry with both male and female cast members, so I don’t think fans will be disappointed. It’s always hard when you are in placed in the role as a recast of a classic soap role, such as Phyllis. I am really looking forward to having Phyllis back in G.C. and I think Gina T will be awesome.

Break a leg, Gina!

Barbara Cummings
Barbara Cummings

I think Gina is a perfect fit to replace Michelle. I loved her on Guiding Light and she played a great role in Guiding LIght. Congats Gina wake up soon as we have missed you. You will be accepted as the Y&R fans don’t worry about that. I only watch CBS Soaps so get out of that coma and start some trouble Y&R needs it. Good Luck!

Judie
Judie

I feel like Gina will fit in well. As for the Billy character…David Tom was much too young for the mature “Billy.” The current actor is better, but certainly hasn’t successfully “replaced” Billy Miller. Maybe “resting” the role is called for while they search for a more acceptable actor and at the same time perhaps have something happen to “Billy” that changes his personae before he comes back to Genoa City. If Josua Morrow ever leaves we are in deep trouble….same sort of charismatic actor as Billy Miller but more so.

Robbie
Robbie

So happy that she will be playing the new Phyllis. I remember when she was Dinah on GL. Ooh yes, they have the right one. It’s on now!!!! Welcome Gina!

Jim McGlynn
Jim McGlynn

Glad you are back have watched O.L.T.L. for over 20 years and Young and Restless longer. My mom and dad had watched it before me. Good Luck you will be put in the line of fire.

Jacqueline
Jacqueline

Being a 20 year fan of Y&R it’s always hard when someone leaves or is replaced . It’s takes time to think of them as That Person they’ve replaced. I’ve seen 3 Billy’s in this time and you just go along with the story line. It took me awhile for me to get to like the Phillis character but when I finally loved her, she went into a coma . Now another persons coming in. It’s like trying to replace Edith Bonker. That person was the character ….. And that’s how I feel about the people on Y&R. You could never replace Victor or Nicki, it just wouldn’t work. I’m sure we’ll adapt to this new woman replacing Michelle and appreciate her acting talents as much as we appreciated Michelle’s talents. Good luck Y&R.

Aunt Libby
Aunt Libby

Gina really did do a great job on GL as Dinah. I totally feel she will ROCK this character on Y&R.
On another note, I had heard a rumor that Stitch and Kelly’s mom actually set their dad on fire and Stitch took the blame and confessed to protect their mom. And nobody not even Kelly knows, and that is why she is so mad that their mother took Stitch’s side and supported him, just a rumor though.

SHAUN
SHAUN

ITS DEFINITELY GOING TO GET STEAMY QUICKLY IM GUESSING WITH THE SUMMER PATERNITY COMING OUT….GOOD LUCK GINA

Mary Ann Redeker
Mary Ann Redeker

I loved Guiding Light and loved watching Gina on that show! She is one of my absolute favorite soap actresses! I am a die hard fan of Y & R too and have always love Michelle Stafford. I was sad that she left the show, but when I found out who they case new in the role, I was so happy! I knew Phyllis would be back, better than ever, and I was ecstatic that I would get to see Gina’s work again! Y & R hit a home run here and I call it early: Gina will win another daytime emmy!

Delores S.
Delores S.

i am willing to give you a chance but RED left some mighty big shoes to fill. And Please make your hair the same shade of red. Thanks. and good luck.

Teri
Teri

Yes her hair needs to be redder!

Teri

Caroline
Caroline

This new Billy is a horrible choice! He’s waaaay too old looking and he is a terrible actor. Nobody can sufficiently replace sunnyboy Billy Miller!

Patrick
Patrick

Blech!

What happened when you met Y&R legend Eric Braeden (Victor) for the first time?

GINA:

I met him the other day, and he is like an icon! And in that voice of his, he went, “It was so nice to meet you!” (Gina screams) I said back to him, “You are so cool!”

honestly

seriously

???

hold on… this is the truth

Victor needs to go

if so much at Y&R is new…. to hold on to Victor has no resonance…. no reason… dull

MTS’ Nikki…needs to celebrate and MOVE

if it’s with Meredith Baxter Burney… then so be it… a one upsmanship… womanhood… would hold

Patrick
Patrick

that last picture… in the red dress

is fire : comeuppance : fearful… : lasting

go their

k/kay
k/kay

Patrick so glad to see a post from you I was beginning to think something had happen to you. Concerning Eric Braeden maybe he will remember her name in 10 years. I believe he said that is how long it takes for him to recall your name.

Angela Meredith
Angela Meredith

Great recast. Gina you’re perfect for this role. I loved Dinah! Good luck to you. As far as the new/ old Billy is concerned, people need to lighten up. Billy Miller moved on. So should Y&R. Yes he was special, but give this one a chance. So he’s stoic and not at all silly, but what’s going on in the story doesn’t call for comedy either. I wish you both Blessed long lived success.

Val
Val

Welcome Gina! I have watched Y&R since the beginning and I think you will fill MS’s shoe’s nicely. I can’t wait to see where the story goes! I just heard that Michael Muhney wrapped up the movie he was filming a couple of days ago, so I have a feeling Phyllis coming out of the coma is going to affect Adam’s storyline as well. I think once Phyllis reveals that Sharon changed the paternity test results, Summer is not going to be able to handle the stress of her life being turned upside down yet again and will take off. Once Heather King is gone from the show, I think they can bring Michael Muhney back as Adam (even though MM’s mother denies this is so). I predict that Chelsea will haved moved on with Billy, Nick and Sharon will break up because of what Sharon did, and Adam will get back together with Sharon when Chelsea rebuffs him for faking his death and spying on her. Whatever happens, it’s going to be good. I know many fans will disagree with me, but I am actually enjoying the storylines on this show for the first time in years. I think JFP has a lot of surprises in store for us over the next year or so.

SherryLynn
SherryLynn

I am so so excited to see Gina take on this role. I have never even seen her work before. But this interview was like looking at cookies and cakes through the window of a bakery. I can hardly wait for her to bring Phyllis’s character back to us.

Suzybel
Suzybel

Gina has big shoes to fill, but I think she’s up for it. I’m just glad Phyllis is finally waking up, I miss her. My only thought is, maybe her hair could be a bit more on the red side. Good luck!

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Phyllis’ hair wasn’t exactly red when she slipped into a coma, though. So they probably are keeping it a darker hue right now to keep something the same.

Analois
Analois

NO ONE can take Michelle Staffords place, just like no one can take Billy Millers place!!!!!! I’ve been watching for 40 years, I saw the first show! Some people you can’t replace and they are the ORIGINALS, Victor, Nicky, Catherine ( deceased), Paul, Lauren, Jill, Michael, Nicholas, and BILLY AND PHYLLIS.
You are making a big mistake!
If the cast doesn’t get better than this Billy, get Adam back, get the real Phyllis back and Billy Miller I’m afraid your #1 spot will fall!

Linda A.
Linda A.

I don’t think “Y&R” has to worry about losing its #1 status. I’m gradually warming up to Burgess Jenkins’s Billy, although I don’t think he’ll ever completely replace Billy Miller.

Another actress playing Phyllis? Yeah, I know it’s going to take some getting used to, but if any actress can do it, I think it’s G.T.

BTW, Jess Walton is NOT the original Jill, she’s a recast, but she IS the best. I remember when she first came into the role I took to her immediately, and I don’t think I’d ever done that with a recast before.

Analois
Analois

This Jack is not the original Jack either but he’s been there so long now he cannot be replaced. ☺️
It will be very hard to replace Phyllis but I guess we’ll see.
This Billy just doesn’t fit the bill, no pun intended. Billy Miller had it all, looks, personality, charisma. This guy does not ,nor did David Tom even tho he use to be Billy! Billy Miller is just awesome.
MM wasn’t the original Adam either but did fit the part sooooo well! Hard to see someone else being Adam. Good looks was not what Adam was about, it’s his mannerisms that made him Adam. The jury is still out on this guy. We’ll see. ☺️
I love Y&R, just not happy with all these changes! Love Shemar coming back, the other Malcolm just was no Shemar!!!.,!

Linda A.
Linda A.

Shemar Moore is coming back? Nice thought, but I doubt it. He’s still on “Criminal Minds.” Besides, why would he ever go back to daytime when he’s been in primetime for so long, now. That’d be like going back to dial-up when you’ve had broadband! :^)

Andrea
Andrea

I’ve watched GL’s Gina Tognoni as “Dinah,” and she truly made the show! The 2 Daytime Emmies she has won are a small example of Gina’s depth of character! I watched GL from 1979-the very end, and Gina was def one of the most exciting actresses I’ve ever seen,& she was a recast back then as “Dinah,” and she cleaned the floor (so to speak) of the former actress who played Dina,so well that whenever “Dinah Marler,” is spoken of -it’s with Gina’s name! She will rock this role! To those that don’t know her yet-give her a chance, cuz she will make heads role! I’ve never been into the Y&R, but I will start watching 8/11, just to see Gina’s acting once again! Truly amazing! Go Gina T!

pat coggins
pat coggins

I hated to see Michelle go but if anyone can do great as a recast its Gina. She is

an awesome actress and certainly seems to know Phyllis. Hope everyone gives her a shot.As for new billy. David toms was better than him tooo old looking for part. They will never sucessfully replace billy or micheal(adam)…….

Don
Don

She could be a good fit as phyllis time will tell but for the billy recast they should have write him off since billy miller left the series. I am willing to give her a chance in playing phyllis as she can.

Jared
Jared

I was also devastated when Michelle left, and I was disappointed that she signed on with a show that isn’t on Y&R’s level of excellence, for an invented role that was pushed on the GH audience. However, just like with Billy Miller, leaving was Michelle’s choice. Longtime viewers like me will remember that there was chaos in the late 80’s when Brenda Dickson was fired and Terry Lester left. Both Jess Walton and Peter Bergman took over the respective roles and they were quick hits with the audience and critics. Even on GH, Laura Wright was able to make lightning strike 3 times with Carly. SO recasts can be successful, even with the most iconic of roles. This happens when the decision makers understand the importance of the role when making casting decisions and when the new actor truly understands the core and motivations of the character. That said, Gina was the obvious choice under everyone’s nose, and Y&R did this one right. How can I say this without seeing the first airing of Gina as Phyllis? Because Gina is a proven professional actress with a track record of excellence. That is why I believe most of the audience is going to give her a chance (why they couldn’t do that for David Tom, I will never understand or forgive). Phyllis is arguably the most important character on daytime in the new century, and Michelle was the most recent reigning star of Y&R, even adorning every day’s opening credits as the lady in black. Y&R got this one right.

Long Time Fan
Long Time Fan

I agree with everything you said. David Tom may look to young, but he was familiar and I enjoyed seeing him on screen. This guy is too old to be Billy. No question about that. People who are long time viewers know that Billy is supposed to be younger than Victoria. He was a mid-life birth to Jill and John. I have to use my FF button everytime this NuBilly is on screen. I cannot stand to look at him. He does not look the part. He may have some chemistry with MCE, but he has none with the Abbotts who are supposed to be his family. No offense to the actor, but he is not right fo the part period! This guy looks almost older than PB. I loved Gina T. on GL. She is the perfect choice for this role. She is beautiful talented and will bring the rain when it comes to Phyllis Newman!!! JMHO!

Marcie Tatum
Marcie Tatum

I am so glad Phyllis is coming back she put the fire in the show an i think they need to offer the old Billy more money an let him come back he was amazing .

BlueHorn
BlueHorn

Am looking forward to Gina T as Phyllis; I think she has what it takes to make the role her own… and the latest Billy is more enjoyable than David Tom (and I’m surprised that I feel that way, but David T was ‘colorless’ as Billy after Billy Miller ‘made’ Billy Abbott ‘his’ character); just sayin’!! Looking forward to lots of Phyllis intrigue… and what are they doing to make Neil a ‘wimp’ and marrying the chick who is HOT for Devon (Brytan)?? I’m sorry to see Devon falling in lust with her, she is so memorable that I can’t remember her characters name. I’m surprised that Cane cut off Lily at the knees regarding the chick… oh well, guess Neil’s comments shook him up!!! Lily is ticked of at his letting her down; better look out Cane!!

Blake
Blake

I know Gina is going to kill it as Phyllis. If you saw how she played Dinah on Guiding Light then you know she has the look and the chops to play Phyllis. Amazing casting choice there Y&R!

Chaz
Chaz

Have been a fan of Ms. Tognoni’s since she first played Kelly on OLTL. Thought she was good in that role but outstanding as Dinah on GL. I have no doubt she will portray Phyllis with the same intensity and talent she has brought to her previous roles. She might, just maybe, convince me to tune in to Y&R again. I only hope they write for her and not make a mess out of Phyllis like they have for everyone else.

I watched a few minutes of the show last week and was as unimpressed with it as I had been 9 months ago when I tuned out. The Neil/Devon/Hillary story is nothing special, Dylan throwing furniture around a snore, and Summer and her criminal husband…please.

jaybird369
jaybird369

Chaz…VERY EXCELLENT POST!!!!! While I agree with everything you said, I would like to throw in my 2 cents and all. Like…

1. I (also) have been a fan of Gina Tognoni ever since her OLTL days. Furthermore, I am already ROOTING FOR GT to make the role of Phyllis her own. Y-A-Y GINA!!!!!
2. Chaz…RIGHT ON about that Devon/Hilary/Neil SNOOZE-FEST!!!!! Furthermore, that LOOSE CANNON Lily WORKS MY NERVES THE MOST!!!!! S-H-U-D-D-E-R!!!!!
3. Character-wise, The Incredible Hulk (to me) was WAY MORE BELIEVABLE AND DIMENSIONAL than that WALKING STIFF Dylan…LOL!!!!! Yep.
4. If Y&R is actually trying to redeem that Austin dude, then they should hook Austin up with someone else. And…preferably with a chick who is WAY MORE MATURE than that stupid and sniveling Summer. Summer=ANOTHER ONE THAT WORKS MY NERVES W-A-Y TOO MUCH!!!!! Stupid-ass chick.

Chaz…thanks for listening.

A-C-E-S!!!!!

Timmm
Timmm

With Y&R stumbling on Billy and Adam, I think they got this right. She and Michelle could be sisters and it sounds like Gina will incorporate the character and put her on mark on it.

Lynn Robbins
Lynn Robbins

I love that you all chose Gina. I have missed her acting since her days with Guiding Light. I met her at King Dominion in Virginia quite a few years ago… I think she is the perfect pick for Phyllis. Can’t wait to have her wake up and act.

arterbell
arterbell

Gina will do a very good job on young and reckless, I have watched her on guiding light and one life to live, she is wonderful.

dmr
dmr

I miss Guiding Light (before all of the cost-savings measures took place). I used to watch the show when on school vacation, when it was on at 10:00 a.m. EST. I was sad when the show ended. I watched the last week of the show and thought the writers did a good job at wrapping up the family arcs, storylines, and bringing back veteran actors. I’ve always liked Gina. I remember when she began on OLTL. The best of luck to her.

Tracey
Tracey

Gina will do a great job and put her own magic on portraying Phyllis.

fay johns
fay johns

Gina is great as Phyllis. Whose coat was she wearing on today’s episode. I want it. Oct 22 2014 please respond. Thankyou

Tams
Tams

Love the new Phyllis…I mean like, Michelle who????…For me its Gina all the way for Phyllis…Personally I would like to see a Phyllis/Sharon hookup…the animosity they have towards one another..lets just say that if one of them was a man…they woulda slpet together a long time ago….LOL!…Like Gina said Sharon Case is a beautiful woman and so is Gina!!..So really lets get that ball rolling…Nick and Jack can go sulk in a corner…who cares…

sherrie
sherrie

I had to watch for a few weeks to see how Gina is as the new Phyllis and she is great. Really connected with her . Keep up the good work. What took you so long Y&R to put her in that character?

marge symons
marge symons

Gina is perfect for this role, do not get rid of her.

Phyllis Newman
Phyllis Newman

Gina Tognoni YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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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