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The Heather Tom and Don Diamont Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

The Bold and the Beautiful’s Dollar Bill Spencer had certainly taken things way too far in the past, and has made some very questionable and unethical decisions when it comes to family, relationships and business.  But, this most recent power play took the cake!  In an attempt to keep his son Liam married to his former flame, Steffy, he cunningly made sure a fraudulent diagnosis was made about Steffy’s medical condition after her injury in Cabo!  However, Bill’s wife Katie got wind of the deception and was willing to blow Bill’s deceit sky-high, except he took drastic measures to make sure the info wouldn’t come out.  So what’s a hubby to do?  Lock his wife up in a tower!

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with two of your favorite daytime performers, who you first came to know on The Young and the Restless, and then fell in love with all over again in their more recent roles on B&B.  Heather Tom (Katie) and Don Diamont (Bill) sat down with us to talk about the complexities of playing their feisty on-screen romance, and clued us in if Steffy would indeed be the ultimate spoiler in their relationship… or, could it be something else that could eventually tear them apart?

There is no doubt after talking with them, that as far as Heather and Don are concerned, they are having the time of their lives, and both concur that they have the best scene-partner anyone could ask for.  So read below as we go inside the minds of the explosive Spencer clan with the Daytime Emmy Award-winning actress, and one of soaps all-time heartthrobs!

MICHAEL:

B&B fans were in for a shock when Bill decided to lock up his own wife. It was sort of a twisted house arrest when he kept her prisoner in a tower to keep her from revealing his deception!  Female viewers of the show have always loved Katie, because she tells it like it is.   But what happened here?  She seemed to go right back to Bill after being in lock-down? (Laughs)

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

HEATHER:

I hope I am empowering women, except you’re right, she always goes right back to him!  I think that is the part of it … that these two have always had this push and pull and the appeal of that.  And even though it is stroking his ego, what is she going to do?  Go date the bus boy?  She is ruined, done!  (Laughs)  Honestly, she understands who she married. And it has never been about Katie “walking out”.  It was not about that.  It was to alter his behavior in some way.  I just feel like it’s going to take a lot for her to walk away from this relationship, but that does not mean she isn’t going to call him on his crap.

DON:

She knew full well who she married when she married him!  It’s like the ying and yang of who this guy is, and all that he is, that is so attractive.  There is the flip side of that where he is a very challenging personality, and she is going to try to manage that, and she loves him!  And, he loves her!

HEATHER:

There is a part of me after this whole tower incident that was concerned, because after it was all done, like five minutes later, we were having sex and everything was cool! (Laughs) So, hopefully viewers will catch the show where it is more about, “What can I do?  I love him!”  I have said this.  And, it’s more of, “What are you doing?  Do you really think Liam is going to be cool with this?”  It’s saving him from himself.  Hopefully, I can maintain that moral strength without looking like a doormat.

DON:

I think she has done that and shown enormous strength.

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

MICHAEL:

What about Steffy?  Doesn’t Bill still carry a torch for her?

DON:

That is a different kind of love.  In Steffy, as I have always said, Bill sees a reflection of himself and there is nothing Bill likes more than himself.  It’s that kind of attraction. Steffy feeds his ego and some his behavior as well.  Katie is the voice of reason and his conscience, and the angel.  She appeals to the goodness in Bill.

MICHAEL:

When you initially saw the scripts that had Bill imprisoning his own wife in the tower, what went through your minds?

DON:

I think initially when I heard about it I was concerned, because throwing her in the tower you walk a fine line with Bill Spencer, and anything that smacks of physical abuse or domestic battery.  He is not redeemable at that point and so we have to stay away from that.  So we called Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) who then said, “No Don.  It’s going to be romantic and hot, and it’s going to be great.”  (Laughs)  Then the script came and did say, “Bill grabs Katie by the arm…”  So, we worked all that out to make it all more Harlequin Romance than OJ Simpson! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Heather, did you have reservations on playing the material?

HEATHER:

We are always very conscience of going right up to the line without crossing it.  I think that’s what Brad wanted.  We still wanted it to be fun, even though it was heightened drama.  We wanted it to be fun to watch and I think it was. There were some light and humorous moments in the midst of the crazy drama, like throwing me over his shoulder and then he has a speech where there is just my butt   …

Courtesy/CBS

DON:

…  I am talking to her ass … (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Viewers did not know till the next episode where Bill exactly took her!  He just threw her over his shoulder and whisked her away… somewhere!

HEATHER:

Right, and we actually got to shoot at Brad Bell’s house, which is beautiful and gorgeous, and that is always fun.

DON:

My back was out to where I could barely stand.  I wanted to moon Heather, which I did, but I started to laugh and it dropped me to the floor!

HEATHER:

With his pants down around his ankles …

DON:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

… Then, idiot that I am, I got myself back up to do it again and I started to laugh again and it dropped me to the ground again!   You can see on the air shows when I come out of the house to chase her, you can see I am walking a little weird.  I could not stand straight and could barely walk!

MICHAEL:

What does Katie think now of Steffy?  Where is she at with that?

HEATHER:

I think Katie realizes that Steffy did not have anything to do with this one particular incident. (Laughs)  Listen, Steffy and Katie are never going to be friends, and she is never going to want Steffy in her life.  She is more than willing to have Steffy out of Liam’s life, and that is her ultimate agenda.  Ultimately it may back fire on her.

MICHAEL:

Sides are clearly drawn between Bill and Katie of where they see Liam and Steffy’s relationship!  How can Bill be OK with his son being with Steffy instead of himself?

DON:

We went through Katie’s heart problems, and it made Bill keenly aware of Katie and how good she is for him.  Certainly Steffy marrying his son makes her off limits to Bill.  So that is helpful.  Bill actually believes Steffy has the attributes to compensate for Liam’s weaknesses … the woman behind the man.

MICHAEL:

And Katie wants Hope with Liam, because Steffy is so appalling?

HEATHER:

Courtesy/CBS

Yes, but I also believe Katie believes that Liam and Hope are meant for each other.

MICHAEL:

Since you have known each other since Y&R, when the two of you knew you were going to be paired romantically on the show, were you nervous?

DON:

I remember the first time watching Heather on camera and going, “Wow. What a gifted kid!”   I also thought she was wonderful.

MICHAEL:

So, there was no trepidation that you would be playing on-screen lovers?

DON:

No.  In fact, they looked at doing it with us as Brad and Victoria.  Then when Heather left, I did that story with Amelia Heinle (the current Victoria, Y&R)!   So when I was coming to B&B, I don’t know if Brad Bell had any idea who he would pair me with, because initially it was going to be Donna, played by Jennifer Gareis.

HEATHER:

I was campaigning for it.  Jeanne Cooper, (Katherine, Y&R) was being honored by AFTRA and Adrienne Frantz told me that night that Don was coming to B&B!  So at the dinner I texted Brad, “Put me with Don!”  And I don’t know if that made any difference really or not…

DON:

Courtesy/CBS

Well as my story moved along, I saw that it looked like they were moving towards Bill and Katie, and I was so happy.  There is nobody I would prefer to work with than Heather.

MICHAEL:

We hope this will be a couple that will last and not break every ten seconds, like many couples on B&B!

HEATHER:

In B&B terms, we have been married for 25 years! (Laughs)

DON:

I think Brad does feel that way, and I know he likes Bill and Katie.

HEATHER:

I think its more interesting to try to struggle to be together.  Who knows whether they succeed or not, but in my opinion it is more interesting to watch the struggle and the fight than having them just cut and run at the first sign of trouble.

DON:

They are great real couple and it works in a visceral way!

HEATHER:

I also like that they have kept us together as long as they have.  I like the fact we don’t implode, then get back together, then implode.  I think if and when we do break up it’s going to have to be something really big, and the stakes are going to have to be really high. That is a more exciting path to be on than this circular pattern of getting married, divorced, and getting married, and divorced.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

MICHAEL:

When you saw Heather do her outstanding work in the more recent heart storyline, what did you think?  It must have been amazing to be a part of those scenes and to watch her work in those?

DON:

I know what is coming with her!  When I watch the air shows I can be a viewer at that point, and it’s different than being in the scene.  She is brilliant, I will say that.

HEATHER:

I have to say likewise for Don.  He has been given some amazing material and he has just taken this material and run with it.  It’s such a testament to who he is as a person and an actor.  He has defined this character that is very unique and is a force!  I can’t imagine working with anyone else!

DON:

And it’s a testament to Brad also that he gave me the outline of who this guy was   He gave me the leeway to flesh him out and make him who he is.   I don’t know if this is exactly what he saw. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Bill and Katie have really become very integral to the show and now there are even  more Spencers being added to the mix!

HEATHER:

I like that they are building the Spencer family.  Now the niece is coming on the show, and anything that fleshes out the Spencer family is a really good thing.

DON:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

It’s my take and my belief, and I have built this in the subtext of Bill, it is that we have talked about Bill Sr., and the abandonment issues and the contentious relationship between them, and how that has affected him, but what we have not addressed what is at the heart of Bill’s womanizing nature and objectification of women into his forties!  Katie kind of reels him back in, but his tendency is to be dismissive and objectifying. Generally, with that type of guy, it’s a mother issue.  I have that story in my head of what she was like, and what made Bill angry, and a womanizer, and also where that anger that lives in him comes from.   I think that is important to flesh Bill out even further, and that will also, of course, give Katie insight into Bill, at least on camera that we have not addressed.  I think Katie has brought it up, but Bill has just shot it down.

MICHAEL:

If Bill cheated on Katie with Steffy would she actually leave him?

HEATHER:

I think that would be the bottom line, but you never know.  It might be interesting to watch someone battle back from that.  A lot of couples battle back from that, but I think it would be more interesting to watch them do that and fail than wipe out the marriage.

MICHAEL:

Ditto, Don?

DON:

I think somewhere in the back of her mind from the beginning Katie has thought, “This is going to be at times absolutely hellish, but I am not going to walk away.”

HEATHER:

Courtesy/CBS

She does not want to try to corral him, and for him to not be who he is.  She likes that he is a powerful, strong man.  She does not want him to be some whipped pansy.  That is not who she married.

DON:

Early on when I was on the show and Bill had scenes with Donna, a concierge came to the door and gave him something.  As she left the scene, and I put this in, I bend down, because she was kind of a cute girl.  I just watched her go, and that is not who he is anymore.  The Steffy pull is different than that.  Bill is not just “a dog” anymore.  That has changed.   He is not a dog, and he is not looking to get laid, and compromise their relationship over a piece of ass.  I think Katie is secure in that.

HEATHER:

Steffy just pushes every button she has, and every insecurity. That is just the way it is.  I like that dynamic.  I like when they play it and I miss it when they don’t have it on.  I think it’s fun to play and it’s fun to watch.

MICHAEL:

What would you say about working with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy) and Scott Clifton (Liam)?

HEATHER:

I love the Spencers!  I love working with Jacqui, and the chemistry works both ways.  It works with chemistry between a man and woman sexually on a soap, and it also works between rivals.  I think we have really good chemistry together.  We go head to head and both of us try to win our points.  One person does not always have to be right and one person does not have to be wrong.  I think that one person does not have to be the winner.  I think as far as Scott Clifton goes, I think he is wonderful and a wonderful part of the Spencer clan.  When all of us are in scenes together, you know the ball is never going to get dropped.  It’s a great group.

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

DON:

The growth in Jacqui from two years ago when I started on this show is fantastic!  I would not have known two years ago if Jacqui would have had the chops.  She did the bitchy stuff really well, but the subtleties and the emotional stuff…

HEATHER:

… Lately, she just comes from such a place of pain and you just know it.  She is amazing.

DON:

It’s great!  That is why she can get away with being that bitch now, because you see the vulnerability in her.  It used to be, “I’m just bitchy.”  Now that she is bringing out that emotional depth to it, it’s taken it to a whole new place, because you cannot work opposite of Heather and not bring that to the table.  If you don’t bring that to the table you are chewed out and spit out, and it never works.  Jacqui’s growth has been astronomical over the last few years, and that is what made it work. As far as Scott, he is so great.  He makes great choices, and he has great clarity of who his character is. The dynamics between father and son and the contrast works.  The chemistry we had from day one was all very real. That is what I like so much about the Spencers.

MICHAEL:

They are one soap opera family that is never boring!

HEATHER:

We are not nice!

MICHAEL:

People don’t want to see nice on television!

Photo Creditl: Kathie Hutchins

HEATHER:

We are not nice, but we are not despicable.  I think there is somewhere between nice and despicable.  I think that is where we live, and I like that.

MICHAEL:

Don, if you were to tell me three words to describe working with Heather, what would they be?

DON:

She is funny.  She is together. She is gifted.

MICHAEL:

Heather your turn, three words or so to describe working with Don.

HEATHER:

I was going to say funny, too.  I think the one thing I admire is his loyalty to his family, and how much he is a family man and a father.  So, I would say, loyalty.  I would also say talented.  I feel we got so lucky with his character and what he has done here. I was at a point before he came on the show where I was like, “I don’t know where they are going with Katie.”   I truly believe the reason I am on the canvas is because he is here.

MICHAEL:

Heather won last years’ Outstanding Supporting Actress at the Daytime Emmys.  Scott Clifton won last year’s Outstanding Younger Actor at the Daytime Emmys, and, B&B won for Outstanding Dramatic Series.  Don, were you kind of thrilled that your show and your acting partners won some of the top prizes?

DON:

Courtesy/CBS

Let me tell you something, when I was fired the day after thanksgiving after 21 years on Y&R that was such a huge and traumatic and painful situation.  Then when Brad created this new character and told me right off the bat, “I really have high hopes for this character,” I felt this pressure.  It was like, “Whew! I got a job!  Great!” Then it was; “Now I got to make this character and bring this guy to life that Brad envisioned, or with within 13 or 26 weeks I could be moving on again!”  So having said that, Brad gave me the opportunity, and he won his Emmy.  And what I told him was; the year I started on Y&R your dad, Bill Bell Sr., won the Emmy.  The year I started with you, you are going to win the Emmy.  So you are going to win the Emmy and I will take credit for that one. (Laughs)  Of course, I am being tongue-and-cheek.  So we won and Brad yelled to me, “You are my lucky charm” as we are leaving the stage.   So I don’t know if I ever won an Emmy, if I would feel more elation than I did for him on that night, because the opportunity his father gave me in the mid-80’s was tremendous.  I lost my dad and my brother very early on during my time with the show, and Bill Sr. was very paternal with me.  That was not necessarily difficult, but it struck something in Bill and we had a beautiful relationship all those years.  Then Brad gave me this opportunity.  I fully understood that “Wow, what huge shoes to fill!  To be the son and take over the legacy!”  Brad’s dad has all those Emmys up in his office, and so just to get one it had to mean so much to him.  I really got that.  It was no different seeing Heather win, even though she has been nominated a thousand times before and won.  I said to Heather, “You are going to win.” I completely believed that and I completely believed Scott Clifton was going to win.   I also said, “If she doesn’t win, I want to see what does win”. I was elated and it was incredibly gratifying that that she won having been Mrs. Bill Spencer, and then Scott being my on-screen son.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of the Daytime Emmys, this year new voting rules have been instigated to try to level out the voting process and make it more fair with the actors having to submit only a short two-minute reel as an example of their work to get a pre-nomination.  Was it hard for you to find a two-minute gem, and what do you think of this new process?

HEATHER:

Oh Gosh!  It was horrible for me to have to find a two-minute reel.   I second-guess.  I sleep on it and I wake up the next day and I go, “No!”   So it was awful.  I think the new concept of voting may be an improvement.  I decided to put myself in Lead Actress because I said, “What the hell!”  What I will say is, I watched all the Supporting Actress clips, and Gina Tognoni (Kelly, OLTL) submitted a two minute thing that was unfreakin’ believable!  I would not have not seen that scene if it wasn’t for this voting process.  I would know Gina is a great actress, and I have always known that and she has done great work, but I would not have necessarily seen that and gone, “Wow”!   There is something to it.  But then you think, “Are you really going to be judged on 2 minutes of your work?”   We will have to see how this all works itself out.

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

DON:

I am in lead actor category for consideration, and it was not hard for me to choose my scene.  I don’t know what the right system is, because again, I have never been nominated.   And this takes you back to the way the pre-nominations were previously with the show nominating the actors, because those people know your body of work through the year.  I also see where that can create a popularity contest, because if you are not liked, you won’t get in.  As Heather will tell you, I have never been known for shaking hands and kissing babies.  Would that come into play, maybe?  I think it can’t hurt if you are well known, and if you have relationships with people.  That is why politicians walk around and stop in cities doing what they do.  Having said that, I don’t know what voting system for the Emmys is perfect, and this one does at least says, “Ok. I am not familiar with this persons work, so let me see them.”  I think as in my case, people may know I play the cock-sure Bill Spencer on B&B, but they have not seen the work.  So this gives them an opportunity to check it out and perhaps change their perception on an actor and their performances.  If I got nominated this year, absolutely then, this is the best system ever! (Laughs)

 

 

 

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So_Superflous
So_Superflous

I’m interested to see how the Spencer’s come into there own as a family unit with Karen and Caroline coming in. I Love Bill and Katie but still want more of Steffy/Bill/Katie to kinda going their love.

BETTYEJ
BETTYEJ

After reading the first thing that HT said was enough for me. I see why the males run over these weak women on this show. Because they let them.

Leah
Leah

I’m a Bill and Steffy can myself, but I really enjoy this interview. Two phenomenal actors!

Leah
Leah

Ugh! I meant “fan” not “can” haha

sandy
sandy

I think Bill and Steffy have better dynamics, i love HT but they make the women in this show so weak, unfortuneatly, they have written Katie that way too…

Mandy
Mandy

Thanks! Love Bill and Katie! Don and Heather seem so down to earth have fantastic chemistry. “Batie” are definitely my favorite B&B pairing and I love reading that Brad Bell loves Batie as much as I do <3

Sheila E. Hollingsworth
Sheila E. Hollingsworth

I love Katie & Bill together, they are sooo goodlooking!!!!! He needs to stay true to Katie cause she can give him all he needs, what else could he ask for! I get sooooo mad at Liam & Steffy & Hope, why do they need to TELL everyone their business, just do it then they can know AFTER the fact!!!!!!! Love B&B hope it doesn’t go off the TV like others did.

Mitchell
Mitchell

Bill and Katie are by far my favorite daytime couple! What a delightful interview! Don and Heather have done a great job making me believe two such opposite characters can make a perfect couple. The fact that Bill and Katie are so different makes the couple more appealing.

Giulia
Giulia

They’re are horrible together and KILL is the worst couple of daytime

Toni D
Toni D

I agree! Not only has their chemistry DIED and NEVER been resuscitated, they represent the WORST kind of relationship! I’ve loved Heather Tom since Victoria Newman on Y&R, but COME ON! She comes across like a PATHETIC, WHINY DOORMAT! She complains that her husband does ALL this stuff then she turns around and FORGIVES HIM?! REALLY?! THIS is what a STRONG woman does… when a man puts his EX before at EVERY GIVEN OPPORTUNITY, but it’s not surprising that he shows her no loyalty since she shows him NONE!! She is who she accused Steffy of being when she was hassling her through the blood clot fiasco! A PATHETIC woman hanging onto a man who doesn’t love her!! PUH-LEASE!!
It would be one thing if she was DOING something to work on rebuilding what SHE initially helped BREAK when she kept running away when he would heel–I mean do what she thought he should! SHE SAID IT–she thinks she’s supposed to be saving him from himself!! Look at the “blood cot” situation, a REAL woman would have WALKED on him or if she STAYED, proven her loyalty by NOT telling on her husband… If I married to a man like that–which could ONLY happen if I was a soap character cuz I’d have beat that A$$ a LONG time ago and taken him for ALL he was worth–I would NEVER have STAYED with ANY man who could do that to ME… BUT if I DID STAY there is NO WAY I’d give him and his secrets up!! Loyalty to spouse… WHERE IS THE CLEAVING?! It’s like a game for her to see if she can keep her marriage AND get her neice a WIN against Steffy even AFTER she sabotaged his relationship between him and his son!! WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH HER?! She’s TWISTED!! Not as twisted as $Bill, but it’s expected with him cuz he always WAS… Katie’s just another HOgan family HYPOCRITE trying to play the golddigger game better than that SKEEVY big sister of hers!! I’m SICK of the HOgan Half Hour and am ONLY holding out for the Stephanies, and $Bill who at least are ENTERTAINING in their soapy insamnity!! HOPEFULLY, the NEW Caroline Spencer is NOT like the LOWgans just cuz she’s blonde!! Or it’ll be just ONE MORE REASON to fast forward… or skip the episode altogether!! Will Bell EVER get over his LOWgan obsession and show some BALANCE!!

Joanna
Joanna

I love Bill and Katie. They are such a powerful couple. They have the best chemistry and romance! I want to see more of them. They need more airtime and a new story! Great interview! Thank you Michael Fairman.

allison
allison

I love bill and steffy they are the best couple on the shower

General Hospital

Bryan Craig Talks Javi In ‘Grand Hotel’, Recasting GH’s Morgan, And His Post-Daytime Career

When Grand Hotel finally makes its highly-anticipated debut this summer (Monday night, June 17th) on ABC, soap opera fans will see some very familiar faces in primo roles as this sudsy drama, based on the Spanish series Gran Hotel, tells the story of a family-owned hotel in Miami, the people who run it, and all of the secrets they keep from one another.

Brought to you by executive producers Eva Longoria and Ben Spector, the show explores the family dynamic of the Mendoza family. Longoria herself will play a mother in four episodes of the show, as well.

General Hospital fans will take note that Daytime Emmy-winner, Bryan Craig (Ex-Morgan Corinthos) is front and center in the cast as Javi Mendoza, the troubled son of the family who has some major obstacles in front of him.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Craig during the recent ABC TCA’s Press Tour for the network to get some insight into his new role, how he would feel if GH would recast the role of Morgan (he recently propped up former DAYS star Billy Flynn as a potential viable candidate) and what it has been like post-daytime in his burgeoning career in film and TV.  Here’s what he had to say about his TV life past and present.

What has this experience been like for you taping the episodes of Grand Hotel and working with such a stellar cast?

BRYAN:  It’s been incredible   It feels like it went by so fast.  It’s an awesome group of people.  We’ve got a fun show.

How would you say your character of Javi Mendoza stacks up against GH’s Morgan Corinthos?

BRYAN:  I think it’s one of the most layered characters that I’ve ever played.  There’s a lot going on with Javi.  He has a big disability, kind of like Morgan did.  It’s a physical disability, and there are a lot of challenges that come along with that.  He also has a substance problem.  So, some of the same issues and in the same world that Morgan was in.  Javi is a very troubled character, but he is also a lot of fun, and a ladies’ man … and sleeps with a lot of women! (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you think the audience will care for Javi, though?  

BRYAN:  Oh yeah, one hundred percent.  He was written in a very kind-hearted manner.  He’s a great guy, who has had a tough life.

Did they put you through a audition process to nab the role in Grand Hotel?

BRYAN:  They had read hundreds and hundreds of people for this role.  I came in at the tail end of it, and then the process went pretty quickly.  I read once, and the next think I knew, I was in a room with Eva Longoria and director, Ken Olin.  Then two days later, I was testing with Eva, and then I got the call that I had the part.

You’re a part of the core family, the Mendozas, on Grand Hotel, and on GH, you were part of the Corinthos clan.  How do the family dynamics stack-up?

BRYAN:  It’s pretty special.  There are a lot of similarities.  It feels like we have kind of shifted GH into prime-time.  In Grand Hotel, we have Demián Bichir, who plays Santiago Mendoza, and he is my Sonny Corinthos now.   They gave us a very heavy, heavy storyline … just like they gave Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH) and me.   So, I think the fans are really going to buy into it.   ABC, (I think) wanted to marry that bond a little bit, and I feel it was very apparent in the writing.  This network has been very good to me.

Courresy/ABC

Did you know that your co-star Denyse Tontz was in Prospect Park’s All My Children reboot as Miranda Montgomery and had a soap past, as well?

BRYAN:  Yes! I did know that.  Denyse plays my sister on Grand Hotel and we work together a lot on the show.  There were quite a few people on the show who came from soaps.  Even some guest stars who came in were big in soap at points.

So, this kind of all  worked out for you!  You left General Hospital, and landed a major primetime series, plus your other movie roles!

BRYAN:  It was a scary move, but it worked out.  I did a few things; a couple of movies, and I did a show for CW for a while, and then this.  So, it’s been back-to-back.  I’ve been fortunate.

Courtesy/ABC

How would you feel if General Hospital, ultimately, recast the role of Morgan?

BRYAN:  You know, if it was to behoove the show, then so be it.   I feel like it was a pretty nice end for me there, but I can’t sit here and be selfish and be like, “I’m the last person who could play that role!”  Would that be awesome?  I mean, yeah!  But, who knows?  They’ve got to do what’s best for the show.

GH’s Maurice Benard had great story in 2018 with the Alzheimer’s storyline involving Sonny’s dad, Mike Corbin (Max Gail).  Had you been checking it out at all?

BRYAN:  I know!   I do keep up with Maurice a lot.   We are good friends.

To remind those who have not seen the trailer to Grand Hotel check it out below.  Will you be watching Bryan in his exciting new role on Grand Hotel? Will you be OK with a Morgan recast on GH, or hope the show will wait for Bryan to return one day? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Melody Thomas Scott Chats On 40 Years As The Young and the Restless’ Incomparable Nikki: The Men, The Booze, The Drama

Today marks Y&R icon Melody Thomas Scott’s 40th anniversary with the top-rated daytime drama series.  While CBS plans to air a special standalone episode (Nikki is in the slammer for confessing to J.T.’s murder, and she will reflect on her life in an emotional look-back), Michael Fairman sat down with the popular and beloved star for a deep dive into four decades in the life of stripper-turned-socialite, Nikki Newman for The Michael Fairman Channel.

During the interview, Melody first addresses her sadness at the loss of her longtime friend and co-star Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters): “I adored him.  I love him to bits.  I loved working with him; such a wonderful actor.  I don’t even know if he knew how good he was.”

When discussing Nikki’s colorful past, and when Y&R planned to have Nikki strip again decades later, Melody revealed she did refuse to play it: “That’s right, and I very rarely put the kibosh on anything on this show,  I was 48-years-old.  The head writer called me and I was up in hair and make-up.  They heard me say, ‘I’m 48-years-old .. that’s just not happening.”‘

Photo: TheMichaelFairmanChannel

Over the years, Nikki has faced many battles, perils ,and demons including her addiction to alcohol which has provided many a juicy story for Thomas Scott.  As to the fans always loving to see a ‘boozy’ Nikki, Melody remarked;  “Yes!  They love it!  I have great fun with it and I think it’s wonderful.”

During a segment of the conversation, Michael shows Melody some photos of Nikki’s past loves, and gets her thoughts on why Nikki fell for those men, and what it was like working with her co-stars through the years: John Enos (Bobby), Doug Davidson (Paul), Heath Kizzier (Joshua), Wings Hauser (Greg), Don Diamont (Brad), Vincent Irizarry (David), Peter Bergman (Jack), Sean Kanan (Deacon, and of course, her longtime on-screen partner Eric Braeden (Victor).

Later, Melody reminisces about her time working with the late great Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) and when asked by Fairman what she thinks Jeanne would say about her 40th anniversary milestone, Melody replied: “She would say, ‘I’m (bleeping) proud of you Mel!”‘

Photo: CBS

Check out the entire interview with Melody below (make sure to also subscribe to the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube for more feature interviews), and following that the special CBS promo honoring Melody’s 40th anniversary with Y&R.  Then let us know, what has been your favorite Nikki Newman moment over the last 40 years? Share your thoughts via the comment section below,

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Interviews

Executive Producer Michael Levitt Previews The Adorable 2019 ‘American Rescue Dog Show’

Dog lovers everywhere get ready! Coming your way on Sunday, February 17th and Monday, February 18th, the good folks at the Hallmark Channel will air a two-night special event (8pmET/7pmCT) that puts a spin on the traditional competitive elite dog shows, while at the same time championing an important cause for man’s best friend.

The 2019 American Rescue Dog Show honors some of the cutest rescue dogs from around the country going paw-to-paw in categories that will tickle-your-funny-bone, bring a smile to your face, or, potentially shed a tear.  This marks the second year for this oh-so-heartwarming show, where in its first year, it beat the Westminster Dog Show in the ratings; much to the delight of rescue dogs and their families, who take these wonderful animals into their homes.

The brainchild behind the concept is the executive producer of the event. Michael Levitt (Skin Wars, Daytime Emmys, TV Land Awards), who spoke with Michael Fairman TV to give us all the inside dish and insight into why this dog show is so personally important to him, and how its goal is to create awareness about the plight of millions of abandoned dogs in shelters each year, and to inspire viewers to think about rescuing one of these loveable pups.

Levitt has a collection of notable hosts and judges along for the ride who bring this one-of-a-kind doggy competition to life from the world of TV, film, and animal advocacy.  So, for the lowdown on the competition and more, here’s what Michael shared.

Photo: Crown Media

For those who want to check out the two-night event, is the American Rescue Dog Show in the same vein as the Westminster Dog Show, where the dogs are competing? 

MICHAEL: The format of the show is similar to a fancy dog show, such as Westminster, however, on the American Rescue Dog Show, we aren’t “judging” the dog.  In our show, they all have to be rescue dogs that are spayed or neutered in order to compete, and we are not judging them based on their bloodlines, we are celebrating their cuteness in such categories as, “Best in Wiggle Butt,” “Best in Couch Potato,” “Best in Snoring,” “Best in Special Needs,” and  “Best in Senior Dog” – those are obviously some of the most important.   We have the fancy arena floor with the judges and the tuxedos.  We filmed it at the Pomona Fairplex, which is the same place that they film the Beverly Hills Dog Show.

And you have a bevy of dog-loving celebrity judges along for the ride, too!

MICHAEL: Yes, and this year we are lucky to have the support of celebrity animal advocates that include: Lisa Vanderpump, Debbie Gibson, Brandon McMillan, host of CBS’s Lucky Dog, Bill Berloni, who is the dog trainer to a lot of the dogs on Broadway, and Dirty Job’s Mike Rowe.  Our prerequisites for them to be a judge were: they all needed to be rescue-friendly.  So, they either needed to have a rescue dog of their own or support rescue in some way.  Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell are the hosts this year, along with Ross Matthews and Home & Family’s Larissa Wall, who served as co-hosts and cover all of the action ringside.

Photo: Crown Media

So, did the judges get along?  Did they differ on their top picks?

MICHAEL: The judges absolutely got along famously, but as a producer of the show, I was a fly on the wall listening to them when they were deliberating as they were picking a winner.  That was quite entertaining, because each of them had a strong point of view on the dog, or dogs that they thought should win the competition. We found ourselves throughout the filming just turning to each other and saying, “I don’t know how the judges are going to pick just one, because they are all just so incredibly special.”

How was Lisa Vanderpump? 

MICHAEL:  Lisa was wonderful!  When she was being interviewed by Rebecca and Jerry O’Connell, they asked her what she would say to a potential family that is about to buy a dog from a breeder, and it was such a profound moment, because as someone who comes from her socioeconomic level, from her privilege, to see that she has embraced rescue might be incredibly meaningful to someone who might think that rescue dogs are second-hand animals.  Lisa Vanderpump disproves that just by being there, and being a part of it.

Photo: Crown Media

How did you decide on Rebecca and Jerry as your hosts with the most?

MICHAE:  I have a long history with Rebecca from producing my show, Skin Wars, which she hosts.  I knew that she and Jerry had four rescue dogs of their own, and that she is incredibly passionate about rescue and shedding light and creating awareness about the plight of animals that are sheltered.  They were not only organic and authentic to the cause, but they were a lot of fun and clearly had a lot of natural chemistry.  They also brought their own rescue dogs to the show, as did Lisa Vanderpump.  So that was fun.

You have two wonderful dogs of your own.  So, this is your passion project!

MICHAEL: This is a true labor of love for me, because in 2011 when my sister, Jennifer was dying of cancer, my partner and I decided to rescue a dog, and we rescued a pit bull named Trooper, and Trooper rocked our world.  My sister met him four days before she died, and it’s that old adage of “Who rescued who.”  Trooper really was there for me during a really difficult time of my life. I learned first-hand how special not only rescue dogs are, but pit bulls, and that really was the beginning of my animal advocacy.  I ended up taking a year off from producing just to rescue dogs.  I realized at the end of that year, that as a rescuer, I am saving one dog at a time, but as a producer, I could do so much more to bring awareness to the plight of animals in our shelters by creating rescue-themed programming.

Pit bulls seem to always get a bad rap.  Do you feel that way?

MICHAEL:  They absolutely get a bad rap, and after we rescued Trooper, we rescued another pit bull named Nelson, and it was really the two of them who inspired me to get heavily involved in rescue and to be an advocate for pit bulls.  With pit bulls it is such a unique human-animal bond that you don’t find with any other breed.  All they really want to do is please their humans, and it is absolutely true that when you hear these horrific stories about pit bulls on the news, these are rare incidents of pit bulls who have fallen into the hands of bad people who have treated them badly.  It’s really unfair to profile and entire breed of dog, because all dog breeds have some dogs that have behavioral problems.  I have come in contact with thousands of pit bulls, and I have only met one that was human-aggressive, and that dog was severely, severely abused.  Every other pit bull I have come in contact with has been nothing but incredibly sweet.

Photo: Crown Media

So, last year’s American Rescue Dog Show is currently in the running to earn a Daytime Emmy nomination in the ‘Special Class Special’ programming category!

MICHAEL:  Yes, “Special Class Special”. (Laughs)

You obviously know who wins this weekend’s American Rescue Dog Show competition.  Were you happy with the winner? 

MICHAEL:  Yes, but you can imagine how difficult it is for the judges to pick a winner because every single dog in the competition is beyond adorable. It is really the dogs who deliver on the show, and that’s what makes the show so heartwarming.  The real purpose of the show is to inspire the viewers to rescue their next dog from their local shelter, or rescue organization, so that people who are watching turn to the person they are with and say, “Honey, I didn’t know you could get a pure-bred dog at a shelter!  Let’s rescue our next dog!”  We have really powerful segments in the show about the joy of adopting a senior dog, or a special-needs dog.  We do a segment on debunking the myths about pit bulls, and we have messaging on why it is important to spay and neuter your dog.  So, through this wonderfully entertaining program, we are also educating people and hopefully touching their heart and their soul and inspiring them to be a part of the solution by rescuing their next dog; instead of being a part of the problem by purchasing a dog from a pet store or breeder.

Photo: Crown Media

When you look at what you have to take on as a producer when you do this type of show; as opposed to any other type of production you have helmed, what are the major differences?

MICHAEL: The biggest distinction is that on this show we are dealing with living animals, so I take that responsibility very seriously.  First and foremost: is the safety and well-being of the dogs that are participating on the show.  We have to consider everything from making sure that the animals are up-to-date with their vaccinations to having veterinarians on hand, having production personal on-hand standing by with treats and pooper-scoopers. This also means that the dogs are being treated like VIPs.  So, we have a VIP room, but that stands for “Very Important Pooch”, and all of the dogs that are participating have their own dressing rooms with a star on it and their name.  There were over 130 dogs that actually participated from all over the country.  In addition, we had a gifting suite like they do on the Oscars and Golden Globes, but on this show, they didn’t get swag bags, they got “Wag Bags”.

Knowing you as I do, it seems a lot this creative from the categories in the competition, to the backstage VIP room, are very YOU!

MICHAEL:  I have an incredible team of producers who I collaborate with.  None of this would be possible without the good people at Hallmark being such incredible animal advocates.  Specifically, Bill Abbott, who is one of the few network executives in the industry who is really walking the walk and doing so much to be supportive of dogs and cats who need homes.  So, this is right up my alley, because creatively I am so passionate about it that it is so easy to come up with fun ideas that hopefully resonate with the viewers.

Photo: Crown Media

Are there any other fun moments that you can tease?

MICHAEL:  We are celebrating the perfectly imperfect.  So, we love when a dog decides to roll on his back in the middle of the arena and decide he wants to get a belly rub in the middle of the competition.  We had a dog decide that he had to go potty on the middle of a flower arrangement on the arena floor.  Those are the moments that give the show its heart and feel-good sensibility.  We had a couple of dogs in the “Best Wiggle Butt” category where one of their forever parent brings them out initially, and their other forever parent was on the other side of the area, and we removed their leash so that they can run from one parent to the other so that we can really see their butts moving, but … we had a few dogs get so excited that they ran right out of the arena! (Laughs)  They ran right through the tunnel off stage and come running back in, and the whole audience erupted into laughter.  It’s just magical.

How did you find these dogs to compete? 

MICHAEL:  We put out a call-to-action on social media, and we got thousands of responses. People submitted their rescue dogs in as many categories as they qualified for, and they submitted photos and videos. Then, we have a team of producers and rescue experts who go through all of the submissions, ultimately picking the top semi-finalists in each category who come to Los Angeles to compete.  We had a wonderful partnership with Pedigree Foundation in which they provided $100,000 in grant money for the dogs that win for the rescue that saved him or her.  So, in the ten semi-final categories, each winning dog received a $5,000 grant for the rescue that saved him or her, and then the ultimate winner of the competition, which is crowned the title, “Best in Rescue,” received an additional $30,000 for the rescue that saved him or her, again, courtesy of Pedigree Foundation.  We also had a partnership with adoptapet.com, which is the largest online resource for people to find rescue dogs in their own communities. Throughout the show, we have a call-to-action for people to go to hallmark.com/bestinrescue and look for the adopt a pet icon … they click it… then enter their zip code … and they are instantly linked to thousands of available dogs in their own community who are patiently waiting for a loving home.

Photo: Crown Media

The dog handlers are the owners of these pets?

MICHAEL:  Yes.  We call it a member of their “forever family”.  Several of the dogs on the show are service dogs now, or companion animals, working in senior homes or working with military service people suffering from PTSD.  We celebrate each and every one of them.

Is your hope to do a third annual show, and keep the dog rescue competition going?

MICHAEL:  Yes!  My hope is that this show continues to be on for many years to come and be a platform for the 8 million animals that enter our shelters each year and are patiently waiting for their forever home, and that we can continue to be a voice for these dogs that don’t have voices of their own.  Of all of the shows that I have produced over the years, this one is going to be the most meaningful to me, and is going to be my legacy, because it is such a beautiful thing that I can bring my work and my passion together to hopefully make a difference in the lives of all of these animals.  As a result of this show, we heard from numerous shelters across the country that there was a definite uptick in adoptions.  That warms my heart beyond compare.

In closing, you know what they say:  it’s easier to work with animals than humans! Thoughts? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:  Every show has its challenges, but I would much rather deal with a diva Chihuahua than a diva celebrity.  So, on that level, this show is pure joy to make.

So, will you be watching this heartwarming, creative two-night rescue dog event?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below, but first, check out this behind-the-scenes video of how the American Rescue Dog Show is put together with co-host, Ross Matthews.

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Video du Jour

GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

The Michael Channel

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