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THE GREG RIKAART AND EMILY O’BRIEN INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

rikaart.jpgBy Michael Fairman

Listen to the audio:

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TV SOAP:
Jana is in a prison uniform right now.  What has happened to cause her to be locked up behind bars?

EMILY:
Jana has turned herself in and is having a fun time with Phyllis right now.  At this point Jana is panicked.  She doesn’t know anyone in the prison environment, and she is latching on to Phyllis because she is the only one Jana knows.  She is trying to become close to her, because she doesn’t know anyone else.  Jana has just had this tumor removed, and she is so lost.

TV SOAP:
So, are we sure that the brain tumor that Jana had removed was the actual cause of her killing of Carmen Mesta?  Also, the evil she perpetrated on Kevin and Colleen, by locking them in a freezer and leaving them to die, months ago?

EMILY:
Jana thinks so and Kevin thinks so.

GREG:
That is what we are banking on, at least for Kevin.  The tumor was this great explanation for Jana’s behavior.  I think he never really understood why she did what she did.  Kevin is trying to create this whole defense for her; that everything she did was because of the tumor.  Whether or not that’s true is what we are banking on… right?

EMILY:
Yes.

TV SOAP:
Emily, did you know that Jana would be coming back, after you were written off “Y&R” a few months back?

EMILY:
I didn’t.  (To Greg)  I don’t know if you knew?

GREG:
I didn’t specifically know.  I always suspected, because I knew that Emily was very well liked and she is a strong actor and stuff.  Beyond that, I felt that story had not run its course yet, not just the relationship between Kevin and Jana, but also the explanation as to why.  There was not much closure on it.

EMILY:
I had no idea.  I thought when I went off the show the first time, that was it.  I didn’t know if I would be back.  But then I thought, that the writers could write in that she died or she ran away and was never coming back.  But, the show would continue talking about Jana.

GREG:
That was the other reason I thought she was coming back.  Months before she came back, Kevin was on the prowl trying to find her.  I remember telling Emily before she left, “I have a feeling you would be back.”

TV SOAP:
How is working with Emily?  How do you explain the way you ignite the screen together?  You both have told TV SOAP separately, that you have a mutual admiration society for each other.

GREG:
At least my explanation for it is, there is no explanation for it.  It’s just a chemistry thing, it’s either there or its not.  Pretty much from day one, working with Emily was effortless. You don’t have to try and turn it on; we go onto the set and work well off of one another. To me, chemistry is not something you can manufacture.

To hear this audio snippet, click back to The Global sections,
“New This Month” area.

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TV SOAP:
Is she a good actress?

GREG:
Certainly!  That is one of the many factors that play into how and why we have this chemistry.  If you don’t have a lot of respect for the work of the person you are working with, it would really be hard to create this reality with them.  I think Emily is terrific!  In fact, I will go on the record as saying, and I have been saying this since January when we had the scenes in the freezer that she locked us in, that I am absolutely certain she will get nominated for an Emmy this year.  And, I think she is going to win. She has such solid work, and routinely delivers. That is the other reason I am glad she is back, because the whole voting process is warped, in my opinion.  A lot of time what happens is, “out of sight… out of mind”.   If she did great work in January, and we don’t vote until December of that same year, then people forget.  But, now she is back and people are reminded.

TV SOAP:
Emily, what about working with this guy?

EMILY:
Well, you heard what he said?  That is why I love working with him.  No, I am kidding!  I am kidding! (She laughs)

GREG:
“He flatters me and I like it” (being Emily responding)

EMILY:
Yeah, exactly, I mean… look at him!  He is Greg, and he is great.  From the first day on the set he made me feel so comfortable.  He remembers I was a nervous wreck the first day.

TV SOAP:
Did you screen test with her?

GREG:
No.  I do know that they were specifically looking for someone who would be a good match for me.

EMILY:
See, I didn’t even know that.  I thought I was going to be on 2 or 3 days.  That was what the character description was, not recurring or anything.  When I started becoming his girlfriend on the show I thought, “OK.  This is great.”  The first day he made me feel totally comfortable.  I had so many questions like: “Where is this? And how do I do that?”  I thought when I came on the show that these actors were going to shun people and be only interested in what they were doing, but that wasn’t the case.  We are good friends off screen, and have so much fun together, and that reads on screen.  It really does read on screen.  I look up to him.  He is an Emmy winner, and well deserved.  I have learned so much from him, and it’s a privilege to work with Greg.

TV SOAP:
The recent scenes in the hospital were so meaty for Kevin and for you, Greg, as an actor.
When we last spoke, Kevin had not been utilized too much.  Now we are seeing the Kevin we know and love. Were those scenes hard for you?  Are you proud of the work?

GREG:
Certainly!  Yeah, it’s work I was proud of.  There was a transition before Jana came back to town where Kevin hated her and tried to kill her.  Here we are a relatively short time later, and he has power of attorney and her life rests in his hands.  He wants nothing more than for her to get well.  So, it was challenging making that transition by making it pretty quickly.

TV SOAP:
But this whole relationship is so twisted!

EMILY:
Jana is far too adventurous to be with someone normal.
GREG:
I know that Kevin was concerned when Jana found out that Ji’min died, and she was all concerned about it.  I was like, ”Wait, you don’t want to go take pictures of the body; you know, all that twisted stuff?”

TV SOAP:
To clarify, why is Jana in jail this time?  What crime is she paying for?

EMILY:
Jana turned herself in for murdering Carmen Mesta.

TV SOAP:
Do you also think that Jana could still have killed Ji’min?

EMILY:
You can’t escape from the hospital.

GREG:
Anything’s possible!

EMILY:
She is in prison for her past crimes, and she tried to murder Kevin and Colleen.  Right now she is in jail for the Carmen Mesta murder, only.

TV SOAP:
Emily, how do you justify the actions of Jana and portray such a complex character, and do justice to someone living with a brain tumor?

EMILY:
I did as much research as I could on this, because I did not want to insult anybody that had a tumor.  I really tried to read into it that if this kind of personality disorder happened, I do believe Jana thinks it’s a part of her that she has no control over.  I have read that it can happen.  It’s like another person controlling her.  It was that person that committed this crime, not the Jana who loves Kevin.

TV SOAP:
How is working with Michelle Stafford (Phyllis)?  It’s like “Babes Behind Bars”!

EMILY:
It’s fun, and it’s good.  The material is so absurd and we are so contrasting.  Jana is holding on to her with everything she has, and Phyllis just wants to get away from her.  Jana is freaked out!  I am always over Phyllis’ shoulder and in her personal space.

GREG:
I can’t wait to see it!

EMILY:
Its fun!

TV SOAP:
But now Colleen could be the real spoiler here.  Do you think fans can look forward to a Colleen/Kevin/Jana triangle?

GREG:
Yeah.  As much as I love working with Emily and the Kevin/Jana relationship, I think happily ever after is mind-numbingly boring… “Tumultuously ever after” is what I like to call it or say.

TV SOAP
But it is so twisted, considering Kevin’s past with Colleen!

GREG:
Jana tried to kill me, and I am in love with her.  Then I tried to kill Colleen, and then if she falls for me, the whole thing is warped.  I hope there is a triangle.  That would make wherever the Jana/Kevin relationship goes, that much more complex.

TV SOAP:
Has there been a scene where the two of you thought, “Gosh we were good.”?

EMILY:
A few.

GREG:
We are not a modest bunch over here. (He laughs)

EMILY:
They write such beautiful scenes for us.  There was this one in particular… the water
tower scene….

GREG:
Let me explain this.  We leave the coffeehouse and in the next scene we come back.  But, we had this wild adventure where we climbed a water tower, and all this stuff happened off camera.  We didn’t go climb a water tower, but we were really clear on our moment before, and what we did the moment we climbed the water tower.  I was making fun of her accent and stuff, and it was real.  There was that, and I loved the stuff when Jana was missing and Kevin had Michael take him to the site where the blood was.  Kevin was convinced that she was dead, but then found her, and then getting trapped in the freezer with Colleen. The whole gamut of emotions we went through, I thought was great.

TV SOAP:
What about the recent scenes where Kevin is holding Jana at gunpoint?  That was so intense.  Did you feel it came across the way you wanted it to?

EMILY:
I think seeing it live,  personally, you would have seen it differently.  Seeing it on a small TV screen, you don’t capture as much.  I did expect it to be bigger.

GREG:
It was really intense.

EMILY:
It was.

GREG:
It was intense.

EMILY:
You could see it on screen.  I was so overwhelmed, being back.  I was playing it into my character. When you see it, it’s always different then when you are feeling it.  It’s like a stage play.

GREG:
Lynn Latham (exec. prod. and head writer, “Y&R”) came down to the set to say that she was angry, because we were distracting her so much that she was unable to write.

TV SOAP:
Kevin gets to that quick-to-anger place that is riveting to watch.  Is that a part of you, Greg?

GREG:
Yeah, sure.  I read something once that said, by the time you are six months old you have experienced every emotion, like being angry… all that stuff.  It exists within me.  But tapping into it, I don’t know.   I remember when I first came here to the show; it was easier for me to tap into the anger because I had upheaval going on in my personal life. But now that I am sedate and content in my life, it was a bit more challenging, but I found it and I got it back.

TV SOAP:
Emily, in speaking with you, we do not hear an English accent.  But, you are from England and Jana has a thick accent.  Does that get tricky when playing this character?

EMILY:
No.  I can switch in and out of it very quickly.  I forced myself to lose the accent when I came to the US.  I got teased a lot.  So, it’s ironic that a lot of things I go out for, they want me to bring the British dialect.  I mean, my father still has a very strong dialect, and when I go back to England, I can pick it back up within a week.  I can switch in and out.

TV SOAP:
Do you catch her accent when acting with her?

GREG:
Well, I will make fun of it.  Sometimes in the scenes, I will do it on purpose.  As for me, I grew up in New York and I had a really thick New York accent.  I always found when I brought it back for an audition, (I tried really hard to lose mine, also) that I would be the guy from the Midwest trying to do the New York accent.  Because once I lost it, I couldn’t get it back.  So, it’s good that Emily has that in her arsenal.

TV SOAP:
What’s up next for Jana?

EMILY:
I don’t know.  Hopefully, it’s uphill for now.

Go to the GLOBAL section of my site to listen the snippet of this interview

So, are you looking forward to happy times between Jana and Kevin?

EMILY:
Of course, he is the love of her life.  I hope there is one day when she is back to normal.

GREG:
I want the scenes where Kevin is hogtied to the bed or something. Then the next thing you know, Kevin is off to the hospital because whatever we were doing has gone too far. That is the happily-ever-after for us. (He laughs)

TV SOAP:
All the crying and emotional scenes must take a toll on both of you, as actors.  Is it tough to leave the work behind at the studio, once the cameras have stopped rolling and you are heading home from a days work?

GREG:
I am better at it now; I used to not be able to.  It’s still hard, but I try and stick with it.  If it was something that was challenging and difficult, I will go, “Wow, I think we did it well.”   Instead of moping around and staying in that difficult place, I will say, “Wow, we just did some good work.  Now it’s over and let’s move on.”

EMILY:
I can just let it go after it’s over.  Greg and I can usually make a silly joke.  However, there was one scene, and it was the surgery scene.  I felt like the environment was so real and heavy, when I was lying on the operating table.  I had recently been in a hospital myself and gone through it myself.  Being there was really freaking me out, because there was a real doctor behind me, and a real paramedic on set.  I was lying there and I could not control it.  No one could see it at all, and it was scaring me.  It was fine once I got off the table.  I could not see anyone in front of me, and all I could see was all the medical devices.  I told Greg afterwards, “My hair is soaked.”

GREG:
She was crying.  It was funny at one point, because she was supposed to be unconscious, and there is this tear streaming down her face.  It was really sweet.

EMILY:
It’s easy for me when it’s rooted in reality, and that was the one scene where I left and thought it kind of freaked me out.  The rest is easy for me.

TV SOAP:
Greg, what should “Y&R” fans look forward to from Kevin?

GREG:
I think it’s funny that Kevin manages to grow and evolve and still stays the same at the same time, if that makes any sense?  I am sure we can look forward to more relationship trouble in the future, and more dirty deeds with Gloria, and more sibling rivalry with his brother.  It will be more of the same, yet it will be new, but with some of the same battles.

TV SOAP;
Greg, when TV SOAP spoke with you earlier in the year, you were adjusting to working in scenes with both Judith Chapman (on-screen mom, Gloria) and Christian Leblanc (on-screen brother, Michael.)  Has it gotten any easier for you?

GREG:
It’s one of those sink or swim things, where you have got to put up and then deal with it.  I think I have managed to stay focused in the moments where it can be challenging.  That being said, too, it’s the “eye on the prize”, and when the cameras roll, we all do good work together.

TV SOAP:
What has the fan response been, to Kevin and Jana being back together?

EMILY:
I went to a fan event and they all said they were enjoying this. They were all looking forward to Jana and Kevin getting back together, and being more normal.

GREG:
“Normal” they mean “abnormal!”

EMILY:
Yes, “abnormal together.”

Go to the GLOBAL section of my site to listen the snippet of this interview

What do the two of you do for fun together, when you hang out off the set?

EMILY:
Eat!

GREG:
We are both “foodies”. We have this big joke with these plans, that Kevin and Jana will become daytime’s first morbidly obese couple.  (He laughs) We are “foodies” together.  We go to movies together.  We saw the motion picture “Ratatouille” this week.

EMILY:
We have dinner parties.

TV SOAP:
But, you guys really pig out together?  What do you eat?

GREG:
Celery.

EMILY:
Hominy beans.

TV SOAP:
Oh, c’mon!

GREG:
We eat… trust us.

EMILY:
We won’t go to Dominos or Pizza Hut and eat something extremely greasy …

GREG:
It usually a night of dining with Emily, which is followed by a weekend of purging and celery! (He laughs)

EMILY:
Oh, man!

GREG:
Everything in moderation!

Interviews

NATAS President and CEO, Adam Sharp, Shares Details On Digital Drama Daytime Emmys, Ceremonies During COVID-19, and Keeping Winners A Secret

On Tuesday, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the hosts for the upcoming final two, of three, Daytime Emmy virtual ceremonies.  First up on July 19th is the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s Jai Rodriguez presiding over the night.  Then look for The Real’s Loni Love to take us through the Children’s, Animation and Educational Emmy Awards on July 26th.

Coming off a successful 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards back on broadcast TV for the first time in 11 years, and doing it during COVID-19 where everything had to be done remotely was no easy feat, and it was no easy task of ensuring the winners names would not leak before air in a pre-taped ceremony. But, NATAS President and CEO, Adam Sharp, and his team put together some safety measures that kept the drama alive of just who would win come Emmy night.

Now, heading into two more shows, Sharp chats with Michael Fairman TV and gives some Intel on what to watch for and look forward to on these upcoming ceremonies and just how the CBS broadcast of the Daytime Emmys came together and much more.  Here’s what Adam had to say.

Photo: CBS

So, let’s talk for a minute about the Digital Drama categories.  How many categories will you be doling out that night?  The Bay took home Outstanding Digital Drama Series already at the 47th Annual Daytime Emmys.

ADAM:  Seven: Two Leads, Two Supporting, Guest Performer, plus writing, and directing for a Digital Drama Series.

My understanding is that the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys will be live; as opposed to how the 47th annual Daytime Emmys were pre-taped?

ADAM:  Yes.  That’s the plan!

Phoo: CBS

How do you feel about that?  It certainly can add some unpredictability to the show.  I think people are a bit more forgiving in the imperfection of trying to deliver programming during COVID; because they’re now used to seeing their favorite performers on Zooms or whatever platform is being used.

ADAM:  I think with the telecast, from a production standpoint, we certainly played it somewhat safe, at least technically – in that everything was pre-taped and so on.  With our near decade away from being on a network and in primetime, I think there were a lot of advantages to that.  The program moved really quickly because you didn’t have to keep waiting for people to walk down the aisle.  I think it was great seeing the stars in their homes as well.  It felt really warm and intimate, which is important for Daytime because it is the most intimate part of television.  It isn’t something that you binge for 12 hours, and then wait a year to see what they offer next.  It a part of your daily life and you make a connection to these people.

How do you feel the response was to the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS?

ADAM:  The feedback we’ve been hearing has been really positive.  I think people liked the feel of the show, the earnestness and that intimacy, and I think people appreciated the steps we took to at least try to be at as close to tradition as possible; in that a lot of people sort of rolled their eyes initially when we said, “Everyone is going to record an acceptance speech,” but then, I think when the show actually aired, and people realized the nominees still didn’t know if they won, the presenters didn’t know who won, the hosts didn’t know who won.

Photo: CBS

Is it true that the presenters also recorded different, “The winner is” versions?

ADAM:  Yes.  The presenters each did five envelope opens, and we internally used a video-sharing application across the production team, and there was a sort of going from government parlance – the classified and the unclassified system – where most of the production team could not see anything that divulged a winner.  While there were eight editors working on the show, there was only one, and then in the last day, two, editors who actually could see who those winners were and fill in those holes throughout the show.  I think that the fact that you then had stars reacting on social media in real-time to their winning, it brought some of live excitement to Emmy night, because I think fans started to realize, “Oh, my God! She really didn’t know she won.”  For example, Kelly Clarkson, who did a very emotional tribute to her mother in the acceptance speech, shared her reaction to her win on social media where you experience the screaming, and jumping up and down on the chair moment.

Yes, that and others provided some very real moments.  When I chatted with some of the winners via Zoom (immediately following the broadcast) those also were so were so raw, and emotional.  I was thrilled that I was able to do that and sort of emulate what the “Winner’s Walk” backstage looked like in a virtual setting.

ADAM:  I think there is a certain aspect that when you are in the auditorium with all of the lights, with everyone there, you’re walking up on the stage to someone, you are so aware that this is a performance, you are so aware of the glare of the lights, and the cameras, and so on, that sometimes it can feel like you don’t have permission to emote. I think in many cases, when people can be at home, I actually thought most of the acceptance speeches seemed a lot more relaxed.  I thought they seemed a lot more natural.  I felt like you were seeing much more of the person as opposed to the performance.  So, that’s something we are going to try to capture on the 19th with the Digital Drama Awards. The envelopes are being sent sealed from the accountants to the presenters.  The control room is not going to know ahead of time who the winners are.  That is going to be at show time to the control room, so they’ll be taking in these close to 50 live shots from around the country throughout the presentation of the seven-category show.  The intent is to do the as much the same on the 26th.  Every day is a learning experience right now.   We have 10 ceremonies to produce this year in the COVID context, and that’s not even looking at 2021 yet.  That gives us a lot of opportunity to experiment, and we are going to get a lot wrong, and we are going to get a lot right.

Photo: CBS

When people watch the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys on July 19th, is it going to be a quick seven categories?  Are there going to be other packages in the show?

ADAM:  So, because it is only seven categories, we are giving the show a little more room to breathe.  Even though we have already awarded the overall top digital drama the night of the 47th annual Daytime Emmys, , we are going to do a little bit of a retrospective of the season of all of the shows, a little bit more than we had time for in the telecast.  There be some conversation before the reveal of the winner. We are experimenting with a few things there that you can’t do in the stage show version, and you can’t do in the pre-tape, but where the live nature of it, and the Zooming nature of it allows it.

Then on the July 26th Daytime Emmys for Children’s, Lifestyle and Animation programming, how many categories will be featured there?

ADAM:  About 20-ish categories, and then another bunch will be presented on social media afterwards the same way we did the night of the telecast.  This is absolutely a bigger show because Daytime is comprised of a hundred categories, and we are not even halfway through giving them out yet.

Photo: CBS

For clarification for the fans who read this, what kind of categories will they see presented in terms of “Family Viewing” or “Lifestyle”, etc?

ADAM:  That is going to include several categories that were not on the telecast.  So, for example, we had Entertainment Talk Show Host, but not Informational Talk Show Host during the telecast.  We had Culinary Show, but not Culinary Host, a lot of the craft categories for those shows, so the Lifestyle block is very much Talk, Travel, Culinary.  Then, we have the Children’s categories: Children’s Animation and Educational Programming, we have the Family Viewing categories, and you’ll recall this year we added a Young Adult track to the competition, so that will be in that show as well and wound up being extremely competitive in its first year.  That was a category that sort of spun out because of the growth of the competition where you had these programs that were still designed for a younger audience.  They were clearly designed for a teen audience, so you wouldn’t put them in a category next to a soap, for example. But they were dealing with more mature themes, and the closest thing in our history was when we still honored “After School Specials” back in the day, but then that category went away as that type of programming went away.  Now, as it started to make a digital comeback, it felt strange to have a nomination that was dealing with teen suicide, pregnancy, opioid addiction … and then the next nominee is… Big Bird!  So, as this genre really grew and it didn’t really have a place in Drama, it didn’t really have a place in Children’s, and now, it’s actually become a diverse enough category to be very competitive on its own, so we are really excited to see that.

Photo: ABC

When you watched the Daytime Emmys, Black Lives Matter was certainly present in a lot of the speeches and moments.  You also included the clip when Al Freeman (Ex-Ed Hall) One Life to Live, won Lead Actor, being the first African-American performer to do so.

ADAM:  There was a lot of need to acknowledge the moment.  So, from the coronavirus standpoint, the whole format of the show was an acknowledgement of the moment, and then certainly in the close, Marie Osmond reminding people to stay safe and stay healthy and so on.  I think that there wasn’t as much of a need to lean in too far on COVID, that was certainly understood.  On Black Lives Matter, I think it was very much raw. It was something that had to be addressed and had to be addressed tastefully.  I think that we were successful in that.  I think the Al Freeman moment was also important there because it did recognize without being too heavy handed that Daytime has always been very much at the forefront on social issues, not just race issues like that, but certainly the first gay marriage on television, the first gay kiss, the first abortion on television.  Now, you look at the show coming up on the 19th for the Digital Drama, where we have the first two trans performers nominated for performance roles, the first drag performer nominated for a performance role, and so in every way, Daytime has been at the forefront.  If you look at the nominees, the winners, the presenters, the Daytime Awards have consistently been the most inclusive, diverse, equitable of the awards ceremonies, and we continue to do that.

Did you have a favorite moment from the Daytime Emmys on CBS?

ADAM: I think for me, Cookie Monster presenting Culinary Show, as he stammers on nominees, and it becomes, “and the nom-nom-nom-nom-nom,” and he eats the envelope, that was something that in the high-stress moments of getting the show together, I could always go back to that cut and get a laugh and break the tension of the room.

Photo: CBS

Over 3 million viewers tuned-in to the 47th annual Daytime Emmys.  Do you think they will be back next year on network TV and on CBS? 

ADAM:  I hope so.  We certainly beat the average for the timeslot since they’ve gone into reruns.  While it was less total viewers than the last time we were on CBS, that was nearly a decade ago where viewing habits were very different.  But I think over 3 million was a very good sign.  I think it was notable that when you watched the show, almost all of the advertisers were traditional daytime advertisers that followed us into primetime.  CBS sold out the show.  There were advertisers who were actually clamoring to buy that time, and they bought every minute of it that was available.  I think we were really firing on all cylinders there.  I think we reengaged with the community.  I was deeply touched that Patrika Darbo accepted her invitation to present because while it was more of a quiet nod to those on the inside of the community than perhaps the audience, I think it was very important closure to some of the past struggles of the show that both of us have recognized those errors of the past, but the community moves forward together.

Photo: HutchnsPhoto.com

You gave Patrika Darbo the duties of introducing the emotional In-Memoriam tribute.  Was your intent to give her that piece?

ADAM:  Yes.  It really was that we, as an academy made a lot of mistakes in the past, and she, through no intention or fault of her own, was the victim of a lot of that.  You know, she didn’t prepare the reel.  She didn’t realize that she wasn’t eligible in the category, and so she, by virtue of that, sort of was the one who then had to bear the headlines of the Emmy being taken away and so on.  So, it is impossible to completely make that up to her, but at least to recognize her and her standing in our community was something that was very important to do.

Photo: JPI

How nervous were you that the winners would somehow be leaked before the 47th annual Daytime Emmys aired?

ADAM:  I was afraid, but I also knew that we were taking every step we could to ensure that security, and in many cases to the point of absurdity.  The logistics of chasing down all of those acceptance speeches, the hours that our lawyer spend on the phone negotiating the leases for video that was never going to be used, basically giving ourselves, for most of the show, five times the amount of work that we needed to just for maintain that security.  Then, even when people did know, keeping that segmented so that nobody would know the whole picture at once.  It definitely brought back memories of my government service.  The most terrifying was probably the hours between delivery to CBS and airing, because that’s when you know it’s getting closed captioned, it’s getting put up on a satellite etc, but CBS are old hands at this.  They do it with every Survivor finale and so on and so forth.  They were great at keeping the secret for us.

So, looking for to the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys that will be live? What did you think about the information shared by Adam on the making of the 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards? Comment blow.

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Photo: deCazotteFacebookPage

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch the full video interview below.

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

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Video du Jour

B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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