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The Hunter Tylo Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

It’s Taylor’s time!  That is the mantra around The Bold and the Beautiful set these days, and in particular for long time series stalwart Hunter Tylo (Taylor Hayes Forrester)!  As fans know, a mega-shift happened for the first time in the 25 year history of the canvas, when two of the core four … Susan Flannery (Stephanie) and Ronn Moss (Ridge)… decided not to re-sign with the show and have since been written out.  Ridge is somewhere out of the country tootling around Europe. Stephanie died on-screen of lung cancer.  Those departures have paved the way for some complicated and excited stories ahead for Tylo, and what looks to be a potential new love interest in John McCook (Eric Forrester).  Will Taylor become Stephanie 2.0?

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with Hunter Tylo in her dressing room to find out what is behind and what is driving Taylor these days, as she tries to pick up the pieces after Stephanie’s death which has also re-ignited her long running feud with Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang).  As Hunter fills us in, a subtle metamorphosis has begun which could ultimately lead her to become of all things … the matriarch of the Forrester clan! But will it really happen? There are lots of single eligible women on B&B who would like to get their claws into Eric Forrester!

How does such a beloved star, such as Hunter, deal with balancing languishing on the back burner to a front-burner story?  How has she coped with the loss of her long-time cast mates?  These questions, and Taylor’s questionable psychiatric practices, involving Katie (Heather Tom), are just a few things we touch upon in this fascinating interview with one of daytime’s all-time most fascinating stars, Hunter Tylo!

MICHAEL:

Before Susan Flannery left the show, you had a heartbreaking moment at the goodbye party, when Taylor hugged Stephanie.  How was it for you being part of that episode, and saying goodbye to Susan? 

HUNTER:

Courtesy/CBS

That last day, when we were taping Stephanie’s going away party, I was dreading it.  It was just one of those things where you feel like you have to get dressed for a funeral, or something.  The only thing I could do is keep reassuring myself that Susan is O.K.  She is healthy and she is going to go on to do other things.  I even asked her several times, “Are you sure now?  Maybe you will work this out?”  And she said, “No.  I really want to go do other things.”   So I had to make sure she was O.K.  Once I knew it was something she really wanted and needed, I could understand that.  It is a lot of work being on a soap, and she has done this for so long.  She deserved it.  So then I was able to bolster myself through it.  I understood what this meant for her as a woman moving on with her life and enjoying her life now, because she has worked her rear off.   But when we got to the last scene – where Stephanie is saying goodbye – I believe she added the line, “Please forgive me.”  That was hard, that was really hard.  It was a hard day, and it was so much so that even when we were done filming I had a hard time saying goodbye to Susan.  She actually did have more scenes to shoot the following week, but I was not in that week.  So I did not want to make it any more difficult on Susan, because she was not finished yet.  We later shot those vignettes for the video they gave to Stephanie, where each character said something to her.  They let me sort of adlib in some of my own thoughts.  I said, “You are my hero,” which is true.  I got to express it that way to Susan.  I did not know that Brad Bell (B&B head writer and executive producer) decided to write it … that Taylor would not be with Stephanie on her death bed moment!

MICHAEL:

Was it shocking to you that it was Brooke who was with Stephanie at the end instead of Taylor, given all that Brooke had gone through with Stephanie during Stephanie’s last-go round with cancer?

HUNTER:

I knew whatever the reason would be, with the long history there, there was going to be some pay-off.   I did not know what it would be, but now looking at what he has done with the story … it’s genius!  It’s absolutely awesome, because it motivates so many things for Taylor.  It brings out so many things in her that have been dormant.  I think it also infuses Taylor with this drive to now do every single thing that Stephanie ever told her to do, that she would always battle with herself morally about.  Whether it be right to take her place?  That is a great question.  As well as, should Taylor forget about what other people think or feel?  So now it’s really cool!

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

Did you have a meeting with Brad Bell (B&B executive producer and head writer), where he informed you that after Susan departed the show that he had major plans for you as Taylor to stir the pot… sort of as a next generation Stephanie?

HUNTER:

No.  I never like to know and never really worry about it.  If an actor truly puts their hand into that creative mix, I think that now the actor has an agenda.  So to me, I treat it as if it’s like God unfolding our own lives.  Whatever happens to me I need to react to it on-screen genuinely.  There is a tendency for actors to go to the powers-that-be and go, “Look, I don’t want to do this, because my character is going to look bad.”  I feel if you don’t trust where the writing is going to go; you are going to set yourself up for disappointment … a lot!   Our characters have to lose too, in order to come back and win. In soaps, the power has to go back and forth, and that can be hard to take when you are working and you want to have that drive to come in and perform the material.  Sometimes it is hard to come in here when your character’s is on the downside. You don’t really get too excited where you might go, “Oh!  I have got to do this stupid scene?” (Laughs)  I like that Taylor had a down period where she was losing, losing, losing, because it really does give her some place to go now.  It does breathe some life into this show, because we lost two major characters.  We needed to have a dynamic change.  I don’t know if that is just how life plays out, because we did not know that Susan and Ronn Moss were going to leave.  Or, if it’s just Brad’s genius to reserve certain characters and bring them back when it’s time.  All I can say, it’s working out really well. I think it will be a nice way of having the show come around full-circle.

MICHAEL:

So, since you did not talk to Brad directly, what was your first clue when you saw the scripts that Taylor is becoming somewhat manipulative?

HUNTER:

She is not manipulative; that is the thing.  She is very much a psychiatrist-type of person.   Taylor will rationalize herself into anything, and then she will believe it.  There are some things coming up that will be shocking that will definitely make Taylor fans happy! These are some things the fans have been complaining about for a long time.  I had no idea things were going to go to this other place until I saw the script the day before we taped it!  There is an incident where Stephanie left Taylor and Eric without saying goodbye, and so they bond over being denied closure.  That was the first moment where I went, “Hmmm. What is happening there?”  It’s been very true to life, and true to the personalities, true to the history of the show, and true to all of the things that were set up.  This also sets up nice dynamics for Katherine Kelly Lang’s character of Brooke.  When Brooke and Taylor go at it, it really gets a lot of people wound up.  I said this brings the show around full circle with everything Stephanie was fighting for, and now the battle has been set for these two to really go at it.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

If Taylor and Eric were to become a bonafide couple on the show, how would you feel about it?

HUNTER:

I love working with John McCook (Eric).  He is just the happiest person ever on set.  He is the funniest person on set even with his old jokes! (Laughs)  We love that! (Laughs)  I can see Eric and Taylor as a couple. Whatever has held them back in the past romantically is that they have always had a respect and affinity for each other, or their love for Stephanie.  Once, a long time ago, they toyed with this pairing and everybody felt like, “Taylor would not do that.  She loves and respects Stephanie too much.”  They put the kibosh on that storyline.  I am happy where the story is right now.

MICHAEL:

I have to say, Taylor did some very bad psychiatry on poor Katie!  She literally was telling her how badly she was suffering from post-partum depression and such, over and over again! (Laughs)

HUNTER:

Yeah, well you don’t usually tell the patients their worst fears! (Laughs)  Then again, there are many people who have gotten into psychology careers who have taken on that choice of a job, because they have real issues of their own that really never did get resolved! (Laughs)  You can actually get psychology licenses from online courses, and so there are some bad psychologists walking around out there.  I think Taylor is one of those people who glazed by some of the analytical things she needed to do towards the end of her PhD. (laughs) I think maybe she put on a good act, and then of course, as all of her personal traumas happened to her with losing Ridge and the death of her daughter, all of Taylor’s baggage came out!  Things weren’t really resolved for her.  Taylor has her issues.  I think that is what makes her an interesting character, though.  It’s kind of a cool to see a character that doesn’t have her act together!  If Taylor really had it together, who would care?  You have this character who is telling everybody how to do things, and then you watch them screw up their own stuff.  Taylor can give the medicine, but she can’t take her own!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

So what did Taylor want?  Does she want Brooke with Bill?  So therefore, somewhere down the line she can go after Ridge all by her lonesome with no competition from her rival?

HUNTER:

No. What Taylor was doing was warning Katie that Brooke is up to her old tricks, and she is going to start coming on to her husband.  Taylor already had that figured out, that Brooke would start feeling needy because she lost Ridge, and all of a sudden, there would be a little kiss between Brooke and Bill.  And … Taylor was right!   I think Taylor planted one too many fears into Katie, though!

MICHAEL:

So Taylor wants Bill and Katie to stay together?

HUNTER:

She wants Bill and Katie to stay together.  Taylor is just trying to tell Brooke to mind her own business.  But then, again Taylor isn’t minding her own business! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What did you think when Ronn Moss made the choice to leave B&B after 25 years? After all, he was your on-screen love interest for many, many years!

HUNTER:

Courtesy/CBS

I was shocked!  When I heard about Ronn and Susan, I thought they must be at an impasse contract wise, or Ronn is really bored and he will just take a couple weeks, or a couple months off, and he will be right back.  I think over the holidays is when it really sunk in for me more.

MICHAEL:

It’s great to see both you, and John McCook, being given some front-burner material to play!

HUNTER:

Viewers are going to see a whole new strength with Eric Forrester. And for John McCook that is great, because for a long time he was in the background of the show, too.

MICHAEL:

Taylor’s son Thomas (Adam Gregory) did not get the CEO position in the end at Forrester Creations!  What do you think about that plot point, and how it ultimately affects Taylor?

HUNTER:

I have got to say, when we were watching the deathbed video that Stephanie left us, I literally got mad!  I screamed, “What?  Oh, my gosh!”  Taylor’s son had been set up to lie by Stephanie to set up Brooke, which got them all in trouble, which then caused Taylor to have the disastrous wedding, and then Stephanie pulled the rug out from under Thomas.  I was so mad!  But I have got to say, that is how genius it was of Brad to have Stephanie do so many annoying things.  It leaves us so much to play, and somewhere to go.  Now of course, Stephanie’s picture is hanging right over the fireplace and now we have to look at her all the time! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Oh, but wait!  Taylor will have her picture up above the mantle soon at the Forrester mansion!  She will be the one to go, “Let’s just take this old picture of Stephanie down!”  You’ll see! (Laughs)

HUNTER:

Do you see the dynamic though?  For years, Stephanie was trying to tell Taylor to do something that she did not have it in her to do, and then Stephanie took Brooke under her wing.  It totally makes these characters true.  Now Taylor is exactly in Stephanie’s shoes when the show first started.  She had lost her husband.  She had lost everything and Brooke was taking everything, and that is what made her fight.  Now of course, Taylor would want to step up and Taylor actually takes on the persona of Stephanie!  That is what I have chosen to infuse Taylor with.  We will see Taylor change in many ways.  I actually have Taylor taking on Stephanie’s mannerisms, and the way that Susan would say certain line, and it’s been kind of fun.  All I need now is one of Stephanie’s pant suits! (Laughs)   I told wardrobe this!  I told them, “Just give me a pant suit and broach!”  And so wardrobe said, “No.  Let’s just put her in the jacket of the pant suit and heels.”   I said, “That is an awesome! That will be just back in Brooke’s face!  Perfect!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Is Taylor going to be a much more aggressive mama bear when it comes to her kids, Thomas and Steffy?

HUNTER:

I think Taylor is feeling this is her moment to be the mama bear and the matriarch, and to step up to the plate and start fighting for her kids.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Does Taylor want her pregnant daughter Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) with Liam (Scott Clifton) … even though Liam is the most indecisive male character ever seen on B&B?

HUNTER:

She does want Steffy with Liam, even though she wants to slap Liam. (Laughs)  I can hear Susan Flannery’s voice in my head when we would be running lines with Ronn Moss going, “Well, Ridge is really pretty, but he’s not smart!” (Laughs) I get the same feeling when I see Liam in these scenes where he can’t decide between Hope and Steffy! I am like, “C’mon already!”  That is the beauty and the frustration of the characters on our show, and what they have to overcome.

MICHAEL:

Did you watch the final scenes between Susan Flannery and Katherine Kelly Lang, when Brooke sang Stephanie through to her passing?

HUNTER:

I did not see it, but I heard it was breathtaking and touching.  I don’t even know if I would have made it through it.  I don’t know how Katherine did it.  I know I am glad I did not have to say goodbye to Ronn or Susan on-screen.  For me, I think it would take me a few days to recover from after playing those moments out, because you do have to go to a place of loss, and it’s hard to recover from that psychologically, a little bit.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Have you and Katherine discussed what is happening between Taylor and Brooke now?

HUNTER:

No.  Once we realized the rivalry was back on, we had to quit talking and chit-chatting in the make-up room.  We have to, and that is what is sad about this for our job and to service the storyline.  We can actually get to know each other well, but when you are two characters in a rivalry you have to really watch it, because then any comfortability will show through on camera.  We have to put distance between us and not bond too much. We cannot look comfortable with each other.  We need to look like we are in a place of competition.   Katherine and I try to work with each other as actors.  We will run lines and we respect each other.  For example, trying to talk about what is going on with politics on television, we can’t do because we can’t bond on anything.  It sucks, I have to say.  I really like Katherine.  As people, and as women, we have a lot of common.  We both love horses, we love cooking, and we love to do stuff with our kids.  So it t becomes a kind of a shame when the storyline gets like this.

MICHAEL:

Can we expect a roll in the mud, or chocolate cake fight in the near future between Brooke and Taylor?  Fans love that!

HUNTER:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Oh, I don’t know!  We do love that, and I am clapping right now. (Laughs) We have had the mud fight, and we have had the coy-pond fish fight.  We will come up with something really good, messy, and super sexy!

MICHAEL:

What are fans saying to you on your Twitter account about Taylor’s latest behavior change, and where her story is going?

HUNTER:

I have not been on it in for a little awhile.  Since the end of October 2012 … my life has been insane.  Everybody in my family has a birthday.  Then it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then there are more birthdays!  We just had my daughter Katya’s, and my oldest son’s birthday in January.  Usually in the spring I will get back on Twitter, and then it will be a good time for me to interact with the fans more.  I do know though, that whenever Katherine and I would banter with each other on Twitter, we did it in character! We found out that was a huge mistake, because it started pitting the fans against each other.  We had to regroup. For a while we had to un-friend and un-follow each other, and now we are friends on there again. We had to let the fans know, “Look. Wait a second. We can’t have you bad-mouthing.  Now it’s going into personal lives.  When it does that … that is not cool!”   Twitter is a weird real world.  People want to joke, but when people tend to make it too close to home with anything that is a touchy subject, people mistake what someone intended, and then that becomes bad. 

MICHAEL:

But let it be noted, the Brooke and Taylor fans are intense!

HUNTER:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

The Brooke/Taylor fans are intense!  I think we are going to see this happen again, but what I want the fans to know more than anything is this: Katherine and I really do respect each other.  We love each other as people.  They should not get our characters confused. The thing is that we love doing the scenes we do. We do know how to goad each other and push each other’s button.  We do know a little about each other in real life that we know how to get to each other emotionally.  So the fans may see on-screen intense emotions when we are talking, but there is nothing that they need to get so wound-up about that they say something ugly.  I would not want anyone to say anything ugly about Katherine.  She is a sweet and adorable person, and she works her butt off!  We all go through different things in our lives, and no one needs that Twitter stress.  I am excited about where the characters and the show are going.  I hope we can all keep encouraging each other to watch the show and get excited about what is going to happen next, and those types of things.  I think the fans are going to be really excited, and that which drove them to watch B&B in the first place, I think they are going to feel excited about that all over again.

MICHAEL:

How is your daughter Katya doing after her battle with Retinoblastoma so many years ago?

HUNTER:

She is doing great.  Fifteen years later, that is how old she is.  She is a survivor and a fighter.  I had a lot of faith in her, but I wondered how it would all turn out, and so I am just really celebrating her life.  Isabella just turned 16 and that was really scary, and we won’t even go there! (Laughs)

Courtesy/Amazon.com

MICHAEL:

Will you ever consider writing a follow-up to your first memoir, Making a Miracle? So much has happened in your life personally and professionally since the last book.

HUNTER:

I was working on a follow-up, but there have been so many changes that all of a sudden my life got really busy again.  I will go back to it.  I would like to write some more encouraging things to people based on my life experiences, and now there is even more to talk about.  So we will let things keep unfolding.  There will come that right time to put it all together.  I have notes that I have been keeping about everything.

MICHAEL:

Did you make a New Years Resolution for 2013?

HUNTER:

You are going to think this is weird and boring, but mine is to get back to do doing all my ballet and gymnastic stretches.  It was something that I thought just because I am becoming a certain age that I was not going to stop; doing my hair fun, or dressing fun, or working out or riding bikes.  I have always liked to ride a mountain bike, but I always thought there must be some period where you go hang that up.  But now, I have been doing it more than ever, like riding through mud puddles and all sorts of crazy stuff.  So far I am happy to report, that I have kept my resolution and I have been doing my stretches every single day. 

Courtesy/CBS

MICHAEL:

In closing, what should Taylor fans watch for in the months ahead?

HUNTER:

I would say to watch to see how many things Taylor does that Stephanie always told her to do.  I think Taylor always thinks she has all the answers and she has an agenda, but I do think she will have her heart in the right place.  However, now I don’t see Taylor compromising or giving up on things she really wants these days.  I think she has already done that enough in the past, and has seen where it has gotten her! (Laughs)

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gilda
gilda

Great article, I have always followed her work.

Jean Lockyer
Jean Lockyer

What work?!!!

gilda
gilda

Movie, book, All My Children, etc. She’s a lovely person.

Claudine Squares
Claudine Squares

I think Taylor is a poor excuse for a psychiatrist. She can’t keep herself together. She could not raise her baby ! She gave it to Brooke to raise.

P
P

Love Hunter and her portrayal of Taylor!

B&B Fan
B&B Fan

Taylor can’t carry this show. Bell is making a big mistake giving her more air time. Many will tune out because we don’t want to see her on our screens. And putting her with Eric is another huge mistake.

Margot
Margot

I certainly agree with you B&B Fan.

dannielle
dannielle

i agree terrible mistake

TayFan4Life
TayFan4Life

Haters Get over it!…It’s Hunter’s time to shine…she’s been in the background long enough!…if you don’t like it too bad…change the channel…you must be insane to think brooke can carry this show on her own…she is nothing without Stephanie or Taylor to fight with…If Hunter leaves it’s a wrap for this show I truly believe…this show cannot stand to lose anymore main players like Taylor.

Jean Lockyer
Jean Lockyer

To be honest, I’m over the B&B. It has become so boring, Liam and Steffy are really not doing the series and favours. They bore the crap out of me. Perhaps I’ve outgrown B&B or it’s outgrown me. Either way, I don’t bother to watch it anymore. Hunter Tylo is the worst actress I’ve ever had the misfortune to witness

Tay Fan 101
Tay Fan 101

LMAO!!! Haven’t the ratings gone up lately? Enuff said. Bell knows what he is doing! Gooooo Taylor!!!

B&B Fan
B&B Fan

NO the new ratings out are down with Taylor on our screens we lost 125,000 viewers from the week before. So NO Bell doesn’tknow what he is doing but will soon once he sees Taylor is not bringing up the viewership but making it go down. And Brook can carry this show way better then Head bobblng and Arms waving Taylor anyday.

Tay Fan 101
Tay Fan 101

New ratings are 2.6. Sorry, but yes that means the rating did go UP from 2.4. Sorry, but I doubt Bell cares that some people don’t like it. He knows who is important to the show and who is not. And I am also sorry that you think Taylor/Hunter is ‘carrying the show’, because no one has been saying anything like that except YOU. Thanks for acknowledging her impact.

Right
Right

On the contrary. I was not sure about the pairing with Eric at first, but now I am convinced that the show has found a replacement for it’s matriarch. It’s perfect.

kelly-ann jones
kelly-ann jones

who should carry the show brooke logan
what has brooke dont for the show ohh yea he return tanked the ratings that week
the thought of her getting stephanies shares caused outrage resulting in the bb call line crashing the thought of stephanie dying in her arms caused outrage from fans the only mistake was pushing brooke front burner
brooke logan a washed up cat kitten who can only play 1 type of rolls

Gillian
Gillian

I’ve been watching BB since AMC was cancelled. I find Brooke and the Logans’ feelings of entitlement annoying and think it is refreshing to see Taylor with a backbone.I fastforward through most Hope & Brooke scenes.

David
David

Great interview! I like Hunter Tylo but i’m very disappointed by Taylor! Taylor is not Stéphanie! She would be with Thorne or Bill! Not Eric! I don’t understand Bradley Bell! The Bold and The beautiful become an incredibly stupid soap opera. Marcus, Dayzee, Maya, Katie are deadly boring! Where are Deacon, his son, Amber, Kristen, Felicia, CJ??? Fortunatly, Rick, Brooke and Bill are here!

linda
linda

i think taylor is a pure ecuse for a doctor an please dont put her with eric she has interfered with every ones life shes just a poor excuse for a women or doctor

barbara
barbara

taylor has always been a poor psychiatrist and doesn”t have much insight into her own feelings-she has always been jealous of Brooke and repeatedly misjudges her-she should be as kindhearted as Brooke .I don”t think she is -she is so blind to her own lack of insight

Pam
Pam

I totally agree with you Linda. I can’t stand Taylor. She thinks she is so high and mighty, and all she is , is a trouble maker. Taylor thought it was just fine for Steffy to break up Liem and Steffy but not for Hope to go after what was taken away from her. Taylor should move to Paris and go after Ridge and leave Eric alone.

k/kay
k/kay

Hunter Tylo is really a very nice lady when she lived in LV I lived in her area also and would run into her from time to time I am glad she is getting screen time again. Brad Bell has to realize their are some of us out here that are worn out with the triangle for two years of Steffy/Liam/Hope I remember when they were going to go down that road of Eric & Taylor but backed off for good reason then, but now it feels right just once let Taylor win it all. So in other words it is back on my DVR.

k/kay
k/kay

I would also like to thank you Michael for helping straighten out this rumor that KKL & HT did not get along two soap columnists actually three tried with the help of soap fans to start a war back when Ronn Moss left it was tacky. Thanks again for asking the right respectful questions. You are indeed a gentleman with the soap actors!

CC
CC

How classless of Hunter Tylo. She seems to be the one unable to separate the character from the actor. Susan and Kelly played enimies for years, yet are close in real life. come now Ms. Tylo. Your jealousy is shining through, loud and clear, lol.

k/kay
k/kay

Maybe you might want to do some research on Ms. Tylo she and Kimberlin Brown/Sheila became very best friends they went into business together etc then when Ms. Tylo and her husband Michael were thinking about getting a divorce Ms. Brown testified against her saying she was an unfit mother. I think I personally would think twice before I became close to a co-worker again. It was very nasty and I would not want to go thru that again.

Tay Fan 101
Tay Fan 101

There is no rule that states any actress needs to be friends with any co-workers off camera. If that were the case, no one in Hollyweird would have jobs. Who needs phony work related friends? I am sure Mrs. Tylo has had more than her fair share of those. LMAO! She hasn’t been employed in this business for over 20 years for nothing. Obviously, she knows her business well. To hell with friendships! Keep the money and keep it moving!

Robin
Robin

Michael does it again. GREAT interview!!! Very revealing. That said…I HATE TAYLOR, ALWAYS HAVE, ALWAYS WILL! And she’s nothing like Stephanie (who was likeable, Hunter!!!) Taylor is an entitled, preachy, holier than thou, self serving bitch! Ok, feeling better lol. The character is so unlikeable and unrelatable. Stephanie was evil but fun and likeable. I really miss her!!!!!!
Hunter is right when she talks about her character being someone who rationalizes her bad behavior then believes the rationalization. Liam is spineless and Steffy seduced him while he was engaged. Remember Taylor?? Bring back Bridget and Nick! OMG I need to a life lolol. Great interview.

Deb
Deb

It is about-damn-time! Ok Hunter, I’m sticking with this for awhile longer ONLY because you are getting a serious storyline … If Hope and Liam walk down the aisle a 5th time that’s it! The Hayes/Forresters need to move to the front burner for a LONG time … (OMG I just saw Brooke meet Carter … so I guess she has a new one to have sex with!) She is so condescending all the time and second guessing Eric about HIS choices at the company! Ugh … you still need a scen where you get to slap her! (for all the Team Taylor folks out here…we’d slap her and her fake phoney daughter too! All the Best Hunter … you are my (51), and my (70+ YO) parents’, favorite!

Dawn L. Hayes-Stewart
Dawn L. Hayes-Stewart

Actually had the pleasure of meeting Hunter and (now-ex) husband, Michael Tylo, years ago. She is a completely lovely, down-to-earth person who really appreciated that I didn’t call her by her character name (I actually forgot it for a moment!). I think it’s great that her character is getting a chance to be the pseudo-bad girl for a change. You can only sit back and take “stuff” for so long, in life and in soaps. So Hunter – don’t “go gentle into that good night” and we cheer you on!

Cathy
Cathy

It would be a blessing for Taylor & Eric to be together! They belong together and I know Stephanie would approve. I think this is what she wanted all along.

Tay Fan 101
Tay Fan 101

Thanks for the article Mr. Fairman…..Taylor/Hunter are the reason that I watch this show and I LOVE watching Taylor shine in all of her new material. It is about time the show started to put her character on front burner again. I had almost given up on this show. This shake up gives me something to look forward to.

Dolphinrocks
Dolphinrocks

Taylor is the only reason that I have endured the B&B over the years.When Hunter left the show I stopped watching until I heard that she was returning.I am loving the New Taylor and loving that she has a back bone now and that she is ready to take on the world..Ya never mess with a woman scourned and it’s great to see Taylor take on everyone who has wronged her and her family.I also love Steffy and Thomas..If Taylor and Eric get together then so be it..Bring it on..Team Taylor all the way..It’s great to see that Taylor front and center where she belongs…We love our Taylor….

oldsoapfan1969
oldsoapfan1969

I been watching this soap since the the very first day. I always loved Taylor’s outlook. Since Stephanie died, Taylor flipped a script. The way she is now on the show isn’t Taylor! It’s like she should take her own advice like she gives to her patients. Take into consideration you wouldnt tell your patients to do the things your doing. They will tend to look up to you (on the show) and see your not following your own advice.

Shari
Shari

I’m another Hunter/Taylor fan and love this article. Thank you Mr. Fairman.

I used to DVR to either watch part, FF’d the rest, or delete it completely, now I’m watching live and love that Taylor is front-and-center, with a story. It’s a long time coming. I see Taylor as a Mama Bear, just like Stephanie used to be, so I can definitely see the comparison.

I’m not sure why anyone would have a problem with another character becoming front-and-center, isn’t that what soaps are all about – BALANCE.

Hunter Tylo/Taylor is a very important part of B&B and it’s about time she is acknowledged.

Tayfan4ever
Tayfan4ever

Great article! I am so excited and looking forward to seeing Hunter front and centre once again on B&B!! I have watched the show since Day 1 and the best thing that ever happened to this show was bringing on the character of Taylor portrayed by Hunter Tylo.

Wanda
Wanda

I am for Brooke all the way!!

mmb
mmb

Thanks for the interview.. honestly.. u interviewed Don, KKL, John and Heather before this and I wasn’t interested in what they had to say abt their characters on the show. those characters do nothing for me. i am not interested in brooke incest for the nth time, nor am i interested in watching Bill strut his stuff ard. stallion?? give me a break!! i dnt care if katie recovers or dies, all I have been interested is in Taylor, cuz she is BEAUTIFUL of BnB. Hunter Tylo is an amazing actress who portrays Taylor best and I only watch BnB for her. I am more than thrilled for her to finally get the well deserved screen time.. abt time! and abt time,, taylor fought for herself and claimed what is rightfully hers!!

And i feel sorry for all the haters who bash an actor because they are obsessed with a fictional character of Brooke. very sad to see people stoop so low.

GO HUNTER TYLO!! UR TRUE FANS HAVE UR BACK AND WILL SUPPORT U ALWAYS!! TAYLOR ROCKS AND THERE IS NO BNB WITHOUT HER. without taylor, brooke will just look like a lost cow in the meadow.. more than she already is 😉

Crispy829
Crispy829

So ready to see Taylor/Steffy & Thomas come out on top (FINALLY!!!!!) for a change. It is long, LONG overdue from all Brooke & her whiny getting their way far too long. I’m sick and tired of Brooke always being justified, propped up and put on a pedestal as the queen, with her pion children never taking responsibility for their actions and always expecting things to go their way. Brooke is and always will be needy, and her children, Rick and Hope are no different. I’m Team Taylor all the way; looking forward to them emerging as the family to control the next phase of Forrester Creations. Stephanie in her evil ways new what she was doing by stripping Thomas of her shares. She knew that he has what it takes to emerge w/o benefit of using stupid tactics but talent to get him to the top. She knew that Steffy would wear her name and personality proud. And as for Taylor being the “Mama Bear”…..I say BRING IT OWN!!!!

Now I’m still on the fence about a Eric/Taylor relationship. I don’t want Taylor to be a Stephanie number two. I want her to be her own woman. If they are going in the direction of a romance between Eric/Taylor, please don’t rush it. Ease some of us like me into it. Don’t slam us with the nastiness just yet because right now it’s vomit worthy. And I’d like to see Eric grieve a little more and Taylor to continue being the true Mama Bear insuring that her children are not cheated out of their “true” legacy.

Here’s hoping the Hayes/Forrester clan reigns supreme for a while.

Desi
Desi

I love B&B but Taylor needs to get a grip on reality and realize that Stephy is getting a dose of her own medicine. It’s about time that B&B wrap up this story line with Liam/ Hope / Stephy , it’s getting real old fast. Get creative writers “Yawn”

TeamTaylor
TeamTaylor

What a great interview! Hunter is what got me hooked on this show!! It’s about time she is finally up front and center again where she belongs. She is a one of the show’s long time veterans, and much needed. Believe me, Hunter’s fanbase is worldwide and just as big as anyone else’s. We watch for her. For the longest time, Brooke has been on screen every single day. It’s time to share the limelight.

Taylor_Fan
Taylor_Fan

Thank you for this interview Mr. Fairman!!
The only reason why I still watch B&B is because of amazing Hunter Tylo as Taylor.
I am so happy that Taylor is finally front and center again, standing up for herself and her kids. Go Taylor!!!

Danielle
Danielle

Taylor is the reason I started watching the show and it is about time she got a good story. I think many of the Brooke fans are so selfish — Brooke is already the show hog and has been for years and they begraudge Taylor (and Hunter) being front and center for a while—- many people don’t like Brooke and I am glad that Bell offers us a choice. I would NEVER support a woman/character who would screw her son-in-law for a year and do what she did to her own daughter. That is disgusting — but that is exactly who Brooke Hogan is.

Honestly, given Brooke’s long sordid history on this show, it is surprising that she has any fans at all. She has been despicable since day one.

HunterFan
HunterFan

Thank you so much for this wonderful interview. Im a day 1 viewer and Im thrilled to see Hunter/Taylor back on my screen. I had tuned out because the stories were so predictable that the Logan’s were always going to win. Glad to see Taylor and her children for once just may stand a chance unless Brad pulls the rug out from under us. Hunter Tylo is a beautiful person inside and out and her class comes shining through in this interview.

Gale
Gale

I have always enjoyed watching Hunter Tylo playing Taylor. She is an amazing actress. It is great to see her on the screen more. I’d much rather see more Taylor and less Hope. I can even tolerate Brooke more than I can Hope. KKL and HT are both exceptional actresses.

Skyla
Skyla

Great interview, I really enjoyed reading it. I’ve always been a fan of Hunter Tylo since I was a kid and admire her as a person very much for how much strength & grace she has, and how she’s come through so many hard times. I believe she put alot of that into her character Taylor but the writing did not always allow Tay to stand up for herself. I am so glad they are finally doing that. So many people I know are tired of The Logans always come out on top when for the most part they are some of the most manipulative people on the show. It’s time for Taylor and her family to come out on top for once and I for one am excited to watch. I was close to tuning out of B&B recently when they started propping Hope again over Steffy, feeling like I was gonna watch a redux of Queen Brooke & Cinderella Taylor, but seeing the recent changes I’m excited about the show again. I can’t wait to see how this plays out and hope that Taylor will finally for once come out on top, it’s time for the nice girl to get some happiness for a change.

WasATayfan
WasATayfan

I have been watching B&B for many years now, I used to be a Taylor Fan and when she was dead in a scene I got sad and was on strike with the show until they brought her back, but now I am not a Taylor fan. She is a hypocrite and acts as if she is too holy. She makes it seems as if she doesn’t break a glass. She is always so meddling and her character makes it seem as of she wants to be like Brooke. She hates her so much, yet deep inside Taylor wants to be as desirable as Brooke. Now, her interview sounded as if it was Taylor herself speaking. She cannot separate her true life with her character. I can totally sense that she envy’s KKL in real life. If Taylor becomes the new Stephanie Forrrester, I am on strike again. The show is becoming more predictable by the minute, I just watch Y&R and I’m done with soap world. If Bell continues with this merry go round storyline and putting Taylor as the new Stephanie, all I can say is Goodbye B&B, I can do something better with those 30 mins of my life a day…

HunterRocks
HunterRocks

Sounds like a typical Brookie pretending to be a Tay fan. LMAO! Very transparent and immature. Nice try. I am sure Bell will be crying in his soup over you as he continues to write more fabulous storylines for the lovely Hunter, who can carry her own stories, has a huge fan base and can act. She has shown so much perserverance and it is nice to see the powers that be recognize her ability by moving her to the forefront. THANX BELL AND STAFF FOR RECOGNZING TAYLOR IS A POWERHOUSE. Please let her wear the pantsuit and broche!!!!

Right
Right

Great interview. HT appears to be a very professional, very focused actress. Her performances are always enjoyable. Looking forward to see more of her.

Misha
Misha

Great interview with Hunter! Taylor will make a hell of a matriarch for the show

JJ Phoenix
JJ Phoenix

Excellent interview there Micheal , LOVEEEE Hunters Wok the main reason i watch lov it lov it lov it i can actually start watchin bnb again

Sandy
Sandy

If Taylor is on my screen more often, I will stop to watch. I’m so tired of her whining.

Jake
Jake

Thanks for the great interview Michael! I Love HT and Taylor, glad she is getting more screen time!

daring sally
daring sally

The show does have some boring characters on it now. Marcus and Dayzee and Amber can all go away and no one would be the wiser. Boring is an understatement. Hope should have remained virginal and soft-spoken. Why mess up a good thing? The writiers need to get on the ball with this show before it slip down a volcano. Bill and Brooke should have never kissed. They should have made him a villian but one that loved his wife with all of his heart. Brooke is not all that. Get her a man from some other planet and leave Katie alone.

Jean
Jean

taylor needs to go. if she hooks up with Eric i will quit watch the show.

Brandy
Brandy

I’m not being disrespectfull to Hunter Tylo but I don’t think she is a good actress .
Katherine Kelly Lang is a underated actress her story lines are horrible in spite of that her talent shines. I think she has such natural beauty very beautiful women. I’d like to see her with Eric and keep the story line genuine. I think the show would be better without

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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Interviews

Y&R’s Jason Thompson Talks On: The Self-Destructive Billy Abbott, Victoria, Phyllis, And Katie’s Disappearance

As February sweeps kicks in to high gear on The Young and the Restless, Billy Abbott (Jason Thompson) and his ex-wife, Victoria Newman (Amelia Heinle) are once again in each other’s orbit.  First, Billy was not too happy to learn that his nemesis, Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard) shared some passionate kisses with her.  In fact, he went running to Cane’s imprisoned wife. Lily (Christel Khalil), to give her the lowdown.  Next, their child, Katie has gone MIA, but as viewers saw on Friday’s cliffhanger she is somehow heard singing through the walls at the Newman Ranch. Previously, Katie said she was playing with an imaginary friend, but someone is lurking around and watching the Newmans every move!

And let’s not forget, Summer (Hunter King) is back in Genoa City!  The last time she hit town she all but destroyed Billy – his gambling addiction returned, she tried to seduce him, and he slept with her as revenge against Phyllis for her having sex with Nick (Joshua Morrow), and we could go on!  After all the hurt, and the dissolution of their relationship, Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) and Billy are not seeing eye to eye on much, but saying they will try to work together.  Can they?

To fill us in on all the drama, Jason Thompson chatted with Michael Fairman TV and weighed-in on: the future for Villy, Philly, what he has learned from working on two major soaps; General Hospital, where he played the popular Dr. Patrick Drake, and Y&R, his thoughts on his recent Daytime Emmy Pre-Nomination in the Lead Actor category in what was a banner year of storyline for him in 2018, and much more.

Insightful, driven, and talented, Jason is one of the standouts in our genre.  Check out what he had to share below.

What did you think about the plot point that had Billy going to visit Lily in prison, and once there, he informs her that her husband, Cane has been kissing on Victoria!?

JASON:  What I think about it is somewhat irrelevant.  It wasn’t hard for me to rationalize it.  In the moment, Billy was hurt and pissed off.  He is irrational sometimes.  Once he got to the prison, I think he second-guessed himself.  Lily did a pretty good job of convincing him that she needs to know what is going on in order to just live in a certain amount of truth in this situation.  Billy felt that it would be worse for her wondering what was going on on the outside without knowing the truth.  I think that in that moment, he was convinced that telling her the truth was the right thing.  There was a part of him that wanted to get back at Cane, and when Billy gets hurt, he seems to lash out a bit and then sometimes he kind of recoils.  Could he have let it go?  Probably.  I think it’s an interesting thing for Lily and Billy’s relationship; to be honest.  Billy has always respected Lily.  I think that he’s always looked at Lily as someone who does the right thing, and was a good wife, and a good mother, and all of those things.  He thinks that she is in a rough place and wanted to offer her a little bit of support, and that’s the way that he did it.

Photo: JPI Studios

Where do you think the show can go now with his relationship with Cane?  They have been contentious all this time, anyway, and now this has happened.   How do you think this will resolve, or would it ever resolve?

JASON:  I think it’s one of the most interesting relationships Billy hasI don’t know that it will ever resolve.  I don’t know that Billy thinks too much about Cane either way, but in saying that,  there is still no one that can get under his skin and quickly!  In an instant, Cane can be Billy’s enemy and I think that’s great.  I always think there is story for Billy and Cane.  In our working relationship as well, I think we both get a different energy out of each other that inevitably ends up in the characters.  That’s always fun.

Photo:” JPI

How does Billy feel about Victoria now?  She’s been struggling since her relationship with J.T., making out with Cane, etc. 

JASON:  Billy does have feelings for VictoriaI think it’s a number of things that contributes to this.  I think it’s where he finds himself in his life.  He has been kind of hurt by the woman he loved (Phyllis).  He had everything for a moment that he wanted … he had the job, he had the girl, and if he had just done the right thing and had a little bit more self-control, he probably would have been in the best place of his life.  So, when all of those things get pulled away, the one constant is just when he goes to see his kids and they smile, and they don’t know what’s going on in the outside world.  I think the only people who don’t judge him are probably the kids.  There’s something really comfortable about that situation.  No matter what happens, there’s always going to be a little something with Victoria.  She’s always very supportive (not that she hasn’t been very, very upset with him, at times), but there is always something about their relationship that will keep him wondering if they should be together.  I think it will probably be like that for the rest of their lives.

Billy is still unaware that Victoria, Nikki, Phyllis and Sharon are all part of a cover-up in J.T.’s murder.  How aware is Billy in the depths of the abuse Victoria suffered at the hands of J.T.?

JASON:  There was never really a big realization about how dramatic, hurtful, and volatile the whole situation was.  It was a shock to hear all of that obviously, but he has no idea about the depths of it all.

Photo: CBS

If he found out, how do you think he would react knowing what Victoria had gone through?

JASON:  I think he would probably want to kick him again and then re-bury him. Billy has got a lot of flaws, but there is one thing that he will do, and that is always stand up for his family, and that includes Victoria.

Currently, it is just devastating for Billy when Katie goes missing.   He’s like, “I can’t go through this again after what happened with Delia,” and I know you didn’t play the Delia material, because you weren’t on the show at that time.  However, this does give you the opportunity to tap into all of that.

JASON:  Yes!  I mean, that is his biggest fear … going through all of that again.  I think that he would rather not be on the planet than go through all of that again.  What happened to Delia is never going to ever leave him.  I can’t imagine that something like that ever really does.  You just deal with it on a daily basis probably, and things come up, and you feel it all over again, and this is one of those moments.

Courtesy/CBS

I think that you being a father of two children now in your own life; really gives you a perspective when you play these things types of emotions and scenes out.

JASON:  Definitely.  Peter Bergman (Jack) and I were having a conversation about how much life and living, and trying to live a full life, really helps you with your acting.  I work really hard on my craft, but the most important thing that I can do for my work and my career is live a full life.  With the kids and everything else in my personal life, that to me is something that I can always draw upon.  It’s hard to even let myself go there sometimes, because of how scary it would be.  But yeah, I think Billy is not far off from that.  That character has a lot of life and is tied to this volcano and it’s just waiting to erupt, and that eruption is good and full of liveliness fear, and anger.  Some of that comes from hurt, and some of that comes from pain, and some of that comes from a good time, and some of that comes from addiction, and it makes it fun for me because there’s always something to play.  When I talk about what I think of a particular story line, I don’t think of it as, “Oh, I would never do this,” or “I would never do that.  That doesn’t make any sense.”  I try and make sense of everything.  That’s my job.  I just try to find a reason why Billy would be in that situation; instead of trying to find a reason why he wouldn’t be.

Photo: JPI Studios

Would you say that the situation with Katie will draw Victoria and Billy closer together?  At the end of Friday’s episode, they hear Katie’s voice in the wall, so they know she is alive.

JASON:  I think so.  One step up is often two steps back with them, but they are always connected in that way.  The kids do that, and what they’ve been through in the past, and like you said, I wasn’t necessarily there for a lot of that, but it’s in this character.  I would never say never with Victoria.

Photo: CBS

So, where is Billy at with Phyllis?  You and Gina Tognoni played that coupling to the hilt and the show separated them.  Major romances are never really ‘done, done’ on soaps.

JASON:  I mean, it only gets worse with Phyllis.  I’ll say that.  They’re not in a good place.   We have gone through some changes behind the scenes.  So, I have no idea what is happening as far as storyline.  I think there is always going to be something unresolved with Phyllis, but that’s the good thing about this kind of stuff.  You can put these two people together when you have two actors who kind of embrace it, and work at it, and have a natural chemistry, which in turn helps the characters have chemistry.  When Gina and I talk about what we did and accomplished with our characters, to be honest, it’s a little bit of a bummer that they are kind of apart right now, because we had a lot of fun.  We really enjoyed working with each other.  We felt like there was a lot more there to continue to explore, but like you said, it’s never over.  As far as the way that he sees Phyllis … it’s interesting.  I think as an outsider, he kind of looks at her as a selfish person who is going to get and grab whatever she wants, but I feel like he does understand her differently than other people do.  I think he’s looking at Nick and Phyllis and shaking his head like, “You can’t be serious.” (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI

You have had quite a gold mine of leading ladies in your daytime career from: Kimberly McCullough (Robin) to Kelly Monaco (Sam) while you portrayed Dr, Patrick Drake on General Hospital, to Gina and Amelia at Y&R.  I have to say that of all of the leading men on daytime, I think you’ve had consistently some major romantic kickass scene partners.  What are your thoughts on that?

JASON:  Yeah, I have been very fortunate.  I can go back thirteen years now and talk about how much Kimberly helped me out in the beginning, and how patient, and impatient (laughs) she was in a lot of ways.  Kimberly taught me a lot about how the business is, and to hold onto your values, and that it is very important to collaborate with your directors, and your writers, and your producers, and with other people that you work with.  You then see new things.  I’m constantly seeing things in other characters where I’m like, “That would be really interesting to shine a light on.”   I think there’s something really interesting about Sharon (Sharon Case) and Billy.  I think Billy could bring something out in Sharon that somebody else can’t.  That’s what is exciting for me as an actor – trying to find something different and trying to bring life that is not necessarily there yet.  I have had a lot of trust from writers, from producers, and from networks.  I have been very fortunate in that way.

Hunter King has returned to Y&R as Summer.  She played havoc in Billy’s life her last go-round.  I know now she is currently after Kyle (Michael Mealor) and not after Billy, but does Billy blame her at all for his spiral back into his gambling addiction?

JASON:  Realistically, if  Billy were really being dead honest about it and trying to really work soberly in his life, he would say there’s nobody to blame but himself.  There’s definitely that conversation that could be had between them about the situation that they found themselves in.  They both hurt each other pretty badly, and the people surrounding them.  I think there is probably a little bit of blame that can go around on both of them, but I don’t think he really sits back and blames her for falling back into addiction.  She might have been one of the triggers, but I think that he was really responsible for that.

Congratulations on your Daytime Emmy Pre-Nom in the Lead Actor category!  It’s quite a talented group of ten actors that made it through to the final round of competition. You certainly had a stellar year of material!

JASON:  I had a ton of great storylines last year, and it just kind of kept going, and kept going One thing I will say that really helped me out is my relationship with Mal Young (Ex- EP and head writer, Y&R).  We got along really well.  He helped me out by letting me know six months ahead of time where we planned on going with the story.  So, I was able to understand and slowly build the depths of hurt, and the gambling, and how it got further along, and the lies.   I was able to understand where we were going and the plateau that we needed to get to, which was very helpful for me. I worked with amazing people constantly; every day was like something different.  The hard part in this next round of voting is trying to find something that represents the whole year.  When I look at that list of pre-nominees, I’m proud of the work that daytime actors do … everybody from a little bit of a younger guy like Billy Flynn (Chad, DAYS) to icons like Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) , and Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH).  What Maurice brought to my life as an actor and still does has been wonderful, and on the other side of that you’ve got Peter Bergman, who is like a real brother to me now, and we’re really close.  It’s a nice comradery between everybody in the category.  It’s a great group of people to be included with, and aside from the competition part of it, that’s the really cool part.

Photo Credit: JPI

So, let’s talk about your on-screen, mom, Jess Walton (Jill).  I’ve heard you say publicly how much you really like working with her, and she with you.  What can you say about when you do get some scenes with Jess, and get to play that mother-son relationship?

JASON:  That’s another one that you can loop in with all of the other women I’ve worked with.  It’s a different kind of relationship, but talk about a soap icon! Jess Walton is right up there.  She’s a pro, and she’s got this little girl inside that is the sweetest thing alive, and her little giggle.  I can say that relationship is just there with her.  I would love for her to be there more.  If there’s one person that can tell Billy to just, you know what, she’s somebody that can give him a little whipping, and he’d be like, “Okay mom, you’re right.” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Finally, you are on this juggernaut of a show that just celebrated yet another milestone, 30 years at #1.  You go from a historic show like GH, to another here at Y&R that keeps celebrating these milestones that nobody will ever overtake.  All of this has to be a ‘pinch yourself’ moment for you?

JASON:  Yeah, I definitely pinch myself.  I think at this moment, all four soaps that are left are having monumental anniversaries and celebrations, because the truth of it is, it’s really incredible what soaps have done in our history.  With playing Patrick on General Hospital, I still look back on that time and that character, and am just so grateful that I was able to bring him to life.  Every once and awhile I wonder what Patrick’s doing.  On the other end of that, to come over to Y&R with a show that is now 30 years at number #1, and the pride that they have, and the support that they have from the network, there’s a real kind of challenge that we have in order to keep that up.  It is not about the slogans, or the glitzy ad campaigns in the magazines that say, “Hey!  We are #1 for 30 years.”  While that’s very important, what’s more important are the people who have gotten us there for the last thirty years.  We have to show them respect by doing the best that we can and continue that. That’s what drives us. You can feel it in the building.  To take on a character like Billy, who has been a part of that for a very long time, there is a pressure that comes with that, but at the same time, there is an excitement of taking on this character and continuing to make him relevant, and a part of this great soap’s history.

So, do you want Billy to end up with Victoria, Phyllis, perhaps Sharon, or someone else? Who do you think has got Katie and is watching the Newmans?  Are you rooting for Jason to receive a Lead Actor nomination for his work on Y&R in 2018?  What do you think about the other sentiments shared by Jason in this interview, and what was your favorite part of our discussion? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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