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The Jacob Young Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Courtesy/CEG

It has been over eleven years since Daytime Emmy winner, Jacob Young, has appeared on his original daytime stomping grounds, The Bold and the Beautiful. Now, one of soaps favorite “bad boys”, (as the former JR Chandler of AMC), comes home to reprise the role of Rick Forrester! After all, who doesn’t remember all the twists and turns of the Rick and Amber relationship back in the day? In this new interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Jacob reveals “not so fast” about going back to revisit history, and that Rick has a lot to prove this time out!

Now as many longtime daytime fans know, Jacob just completed an amazing eight year as JR Chandler on All My Children. AMC had its network television conclusion on ABC last month on September 23rd. Shortly before that time, Jacob and B&B had announced that he struck a deal to come over to the international hit, and thus would not be continuing with AMC when it moves to the Internet in the early part of 2012 in its new home, The Online Network. Jacob fills us in on his difficult decision to leave Pine Valley, his thoughts on the controversial network TV finale which saw JR aiming a gun at the citizens of Pine Valley, and how he is ready to turn the page on life as a Chandler, and embrace life again as a key member of the Forrester clan.

We have always found Jacob to be one of the most endearing, honest, and refreshing actors to speak with in the genre. And so, On-Air On-Soaps is thrilled to bring this one-on-one chat with Jacob to you, as we welcome the original Rick home!

MICHAEL:

Jacob, you decided to come back to The Bold and the Beautiful instead of staying with All My Children with its move online. Why the decision to make such a BOLD move?

Courtesy/CBS

JACOB:

The issue with leaving AMC was about the uncertainty. Is there going to be a future? How serious are they about the online venture? How is it going to work? And I had just recently heard a rumor that they are actually moving all the sets out of the studio. Now I know with One Life to Live their team is signed and their people are pretty much ready and gung-ho. But I knew there was going to be a little resistance with AMC. Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing, but with The Bold and the Beautiful it was my first job. So there is this sort of romanticism about my first break into Hollywood.

MICHAEL:

I remember interviewing you back in 1997-1998, when you were first at B&B. It seems so long ago, but look at where things are now! The old adage proves true, “Never say never”!

JACOB:

It has gone full circle. I am lucky to be one of the actors in a diminishing market to have some place to go, especially now with the way the economy, and jobs, and the uncertainty of our future, and the new great depression upon us. So, it’s nice to just be able to have a job and be a wanted.

MICHAEL:

Did you talk with Brad Bell, the executive producer and head writer of B&B, about story before you decided to sign on the dotted line? B&B has proven tricky sometimes when big name actors come to the show, because of the focus on main characters and that the show is only a half-hour long … so you can only pack so much story in that amount of time.

JACOB:

Courtesy/CBS

Thirty minutes certainly does not allow that much time for storytelling, but I said, “Brad, it really does not matter to me where you want to put me right now. I just want a chance to have everybody warm back up to him, and be worked into the story somewhere so people will start seeing Rick, and becoming use to and comfortable with me again.”

MICHAEL:

Seems like an excellent plan, so Rick is not shoved down the audiences throat!

JACOB:

Right. I have totally taken a different approach on this. The writers have caught on, or are just on the same page with me. Rick is going to stand up for what he believes in, but his approach is a little more tactful. He wants a fresh start. Now, obviously all those old rivalries will pick up and probably blow up in his face, but at least Rick is making efforts to try and mend relationships with the damage he did in the past.

MICHAEL:

You are not telling On-Air On-Soaps fans that you are going to be a complete good-guy are you? Soap fans have come love you as a badass! (Laughs)

JACOB:

(Laughs) I am sure there will be a time when I go straight for the throat. I know there will be that dichotomy with Thomas, because he is fighting for his position in the family. Rick is still a little older than him and wants to make sure he settles down a bit.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

Do you ever look at Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) and go, “You play my mother?”

JACOB:

Every day! (Laugh) She is my mother, but she is absolutely beautiful and dateable! She is more than dateable! I find myself stammering on myself when she is talking to me. She is being genuine and I am like, “Uh-Uh-Uh.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And then John McCook (Eric) plays your dad! That must have been very cool for you to come back and get the opportunity to work with him again.

JACOB:

Well, I really bond with John on an almost a real father/son level. We always had that relationship even back in the days. He is the guy that takes everyone under his wing and makes everyone feel comfortable. If we could all aspire to be that kind of person and say, “hello” and embrace and hold and be friendly, I think the world would be a better place.

MICHAEL:

Rick finds out that his former flame, Amber, and Marcus had a child immediately upon arriving back on the scene!

JACOB:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

Yes, that was right off the bat at the beginning of my return. Rick found that out, and he says to Marcus, “So, you and Amber are an item?” And Marcus tells him they are absolutely not together. And then there is some small talk and that opened up a little story arc that is happening with that. This was one of the things Brad and I talked about.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Rick would really forgive Amber for all she has done to him in the past?

JACOB:

I think he can forgive, but you never forget, and that I think is going to be the barrier. Amber is very supportive of Rick taking an active interest in the family.

MICHAEL:

In addition, Rick came back to town and instantly wanted to help Hope with her relationship mess with Liam.

JACOB:

Yes, absolutely. He wanted to help Hope. You see that caring side of Rick that was not there that much before. He really loves his sister. He wants her to be happy with Liam, because that’s what she wants. However, Rick thinks Liam is a dirt bag, but if his sister loves a dirt bag, then that is how it’s got to be. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

So if there is an open playing field for Rick Forrester, in terms of a romantic interest, who would you like to see him paired with on the canvas?

JACOB:

There are very few women on this show that are in my age range. Brad and I were talking a little bit about that. Maybe down the line we will recruit in someone new.

MICHAEL:

Yes! Maybe there was a woman from Rick’s past while he was away in Paris whom they need to bring in.

JACOB:

John McCook said maybe there was someone he met down in shipping and maybe she is someone who is European. That would make for an interesting storyline. We will see how the cards fall. Right now, he is really just trying to figure out if he wants to stay in town, or go back to work for the International Side of Forrester Creations.

MICHAEL:

Now Rick is going to get involved with Thorne and Taylor as they maneuver their takeover of Forrester Creations!

JACOB:

Yeah, it is sort of everyone coming together going, “OK. We have really got to make a run at this, because we are falling short as far as the fashion is concerned. We have got to put our heads together and rise above.” I think Rick’s intention is to work with Thorne and Taylor. Now it may be to stick it to the other Forresters, but I think it’s mainly about the competition and putting the brand back out there. Rick wants to be the guy to help bring that together.

MICHAEL:

What does he really do for Forrester? Do we know? Or, should we make it up? (Laughs)

JACOB:

Courtesy/ABC

(Laughs) He was running the international team from a business perspective, because Rick is not a designer, although they recently have hinted that maybe he is designing a little bit. And, I can’t draw and neither can Rick, apparently! (Laughs) I would say, Rick takes an active role internationally in sales and business, and works on some creative ideas. I think he agrees with Thorne and Taylor right now; that there has to be change and has to be a movement that happens that puts Forrester back on the map!

MICHAEL:

Will we see Ridge and Rick at odds again? Remember; while you were away from B&B there was that “balcony” drama story point.

JACOB:

Yes. absolutely. There is always this “tread lightly” kind of attitude between him and Ridge, because you know at any minute they could blow up at each other. Rick is trying to resolve that stuff and come in with a fresh slate.

MICHAEL:

OK, but would you say the fans should trust that?

JACOB:

No. Absolutely not! (Laughs) There is definitely a storm brewing.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Let’s talk about the controversial ending of All My Children and the finale episode, which has been all the buzz for the last several weeks. There you were in the closet with a gun in the final episode. And the talk is, “Did JR shoot himself? Or did he shoot somebody?” What did you think about how it ended?

JACOB:

I will tell you this, the way they had written it was not the way they had edited it. It was definitely changed in the editing and I can tell you now. Originally, JR was supposed to unload a bunch of rounds of fire. He was basically going to take out everybody he was at odds with. And then, I got a change in the script like a day before the taping, saying that there is just going to be one shot fired. So then they taped the show with my gun out as if I was shooting somebody, and there was a billow of smoke and the whole thing. So it was definitely not JR that got shot. But now with this, they could change it that JR did kill himself, especially with editing. And actually, it was one of my ideas to begin with, where I said to them, maybe we should leave it to where maybe he killed himself.

MICHAEL:

What many are speculating is, since AMC already knew you had signed at B&B before the final episode was taped, that perhaps they changed the original scripted ending because they knew you were not continuing on with the online.

JACOB:

I was already in talks with B&B, but they did not know that. I don’t know how much that has to do with the decision of the ending, because they had written that before all of this happened. But keep in mind; JR still had that plane ready to fly out of town.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Originally, ABC had been planning a two-hour finale for AMC, before it was going to continue online with Prospect Park. Did they shoot a second hour of the finale that is in the can, that would further explain what happened if that were to be put up online as the premiere episode?

JACOB:

No, unfortunately not. Now they could re-edit from that point of what we shot, where JR makes a run for it. I was not satisfied myself. I just think the ending was not clear enough. The gunshot sounded muffled and I felt like it should have rang out, but maybe if it was a close-range shot to himself… who knows? The Prospect Park team did come to me and make me an offer, and it was not the offer that I wanted. So I passed softly. But I just don’t see how the show will be the same if not everybody agrees. I know everybody is still emailing each other, and we have an email chain where we talk about the negotiations. So I have some insight on those things.

MICHAEL:

Talking with your former castmates, it would seem that most people on the outside truly don’t understand what they went through and the toll it took on them. The cast was moved from coast to coast, they were promised many things and were disappointed, and there were constant cancellation rumors. Right now, they don’t know who is going to be producing and writing the show …

JACOB:

…We had so many days cut back, and instead the network would air historical episodes. It was just not a good year for All My Children. We were hoping there would be enough momentum to carry us through another few years, but ABC pulled the plug. So absolutely, there is a lot to think about. Because you have to understand from the actor’s perspective if that could happen there, it could happen again with a new team as well. There is also consideration of where is all their funding coming from? How much are they going to be able to raise? How long will they keep it afloat? But, I can tell you personally for me and my career, to come to B&B was the right move. Regardless of the terms of how I left B&B years ago, Brad and I have a great relationship. He is one of those kinds of guys that I can just talk to about anything, and its vice-versa. With other executive producers, that is your boss, and you need to tiptoe a little bit. But with Brad, I can talk to him on a one-to-one level. So he is excited about it, and I am excited about it.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

So, did you come in with a laundry list of storylines for Brad Bell to consider?

JACOB:

No, I really didn’t. I knew he was going to get cracking on it and wherever it’s going to land, it’s going to land. Then, it’s really up to me now to put the emphasis on particular scenes to help control things a little bit. And, that was always my intention with JR … which was to make him emulate and become more like his father, Adam Chandler, every day. And so by manifesting and bringing it into the story, the writers had nowhere else but to go there. But it was the best thing for JR.

MICHAEL:

Five-time Daytime Emmy winner, David Canary (Adam/Stuart Chandler) came back for the final week of All My Children. He was so riveting to watch, and every time he is on-screen he commands it! It must have been such a nice button on the AMC experience to have some final scenes with him.

JACOB:

David makes other actors, better actors. He is fantastic to watch. When I found he was coming back, I welled up with tears. I was just so excited to be able to see him. You spend so much time with somebody on such an intimate level, and it’s so cliché, but it becomes family. I will tell you this … every day David Canary would compliment me. He would say out loud to people, “You know, Jacob is very talented.” I am like, “David, are you serious? You should be looking at yourself!”

MICHAEL:

What did your castmates say to you when you decided to leave AMC and come to B&B? I know AMC creator, Agnes Nixon had some very choice, but humorous words for you on that.

Courtesy/ABC

JACOB:

They were all excited for me and they said it was the right move. They were happy that I was going to an internationally successful show. Michael Knight (Tad, AMC) called me right as the story broke. He said to me, “Jacob, are you going over to B&B?” And I go, “Yeah, and it’s hard for me to let people know.” And he said, “I am so happy for you. It is the right move for you.” So that felt good coming from my peers that they had the same sentiments.

MICHAEL:

In a way, there had to be some emotion tied to your decision to leave AMC. I am sure there were moments of it being a “hard call”. What will you miss most about playing JR?

JACOB:

A lot of people feel without the Chandlers what is All My Children? So I was tossing around new title ideas, “All My New Children.” (Laughs) Some of the things I will miss most about playing JR is what came out of his mouth, and even making him a homophobe at the end! (Laughs) I would read the scripts shocked, but also at the same time, this is who he is. I will miss his spontaneity and getting a bit vulgar. I mean, there was no edit button on him. As far as his drinking at the end, that storyline seems a bit recycled. I wish he would have recovered a bit from that and been a responsible drinker.

MICHAEL:

So are you good with putting JR to rest and moving foraward to play Rick on B&B?

Courtesy/ABC

JACOB:

The only thing I was upset about was the ending of AMC and how cryptic it was. I wish there was more of a through line on that. But, I do feel like a page has turned and not to be cliché, but it has. It is behind me now. It is weird for me to be back at B&B in the sense that it has been so long, and so much has happened in between. For myself, it is about the uncertainty within my abilities to rejuvenate Rick and bring it back. But at the same time, it is challenge and I love challenges. I have different days where I feel gung-ho and other days where I feel, “I hope this is the right place.” But this is natural, and with anytime in life that you make a change, there is that transition period. They say: uncertainty is what normally brings about the right decision.

MICHAEL:

You are scheduled to meet the fans at the end of October on the east coast in the personal appearance series, A Tribute to Pine Valley. How were you able to get time off to do that while you are taping another soap? What are you going to say to people when they come up to you at the fan events and tell you how much they miss JR, and you have some very emotionally-charged moments with them? Are you going to tell them to check you out on B&B?

JACOB:

Well, that is the thing. I told production I had this previous commitment. I said, “Here’s the deal. I think it’s important number one for AMC, because it’s only a core group of actors who are doing it. And secondly, if people don’t watch CBS and want to know what I am doing, I can absolutely plug in B&B. I can also tell them that B&B is only thirty minutes, and to help them make the transition to decide to watch it. It is hard to do, but I am always proud of the decisions I make, and hopefully the fans will feel that as well. And I think if they truly care about Jacob Young and are interested in following my next career move, they will do that. Some of the soap fans network hop anyway. It was interesting. I was at a Bold and Beautiful autograph signing, and I had not even aired yet on the series. A lot of fans I saw there were the fans I see at a lot of All My Children fan events. So I think fans will move around a little bit.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

In closing, what do you want say to your fans, and fans of B&B, that they should be on the lookout for from your revitalized Rick Forrester?

JACOB:

He is going to surprise you. He is going to bring back the core of what Rick is about and stood for back when we first knew him, but with an edge, and without being a complete jerk. He is going to be fighting for his position in the family again. He has learned a lot while he has been away working for the international side, and he is ready to put his stamp on the company. I always say there is a big main difference between JR on All My Children and Rick on B&B. Rick has nothing to prove, he came from a loving family that cared about him, and he could always talk to them, whereas JR had nobody and especially at the end! It’s going to be a very exciting time for me and the viewers over at The Bold and the Beautiful that is for sure.

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Bren
Bren

This is great! I appreciate his candor. I think he made the right decision going back to B&B.

Sarah
Sarah

We’re with you Jacob! can’t wait to see the original new Rick in more action.

Y&R best
Y&R best

Jacob Young is the one and only Rick Forrester. So glad to see him back. I hope we will see less Liam and the youngsters and more about Eric, Stephanie and Rick.

ellen
ellen

this was fabulous. Thank you, Michael, for taking the time to interview Jacob. I always love his interviews, and I’m enjoying him as Rick.

ethel
ethel

jacob was very candid and most of all seemed very satisfied with his decision to go back to b&b –
this was the most down to earth interview i have read from an amc actor since the online ending of amc & maybe it’s because jacob has pretty much settled somewhere else……………i was already watching b&b because i followed don diamont there y&r – lol
thanks michael for posting this interview

Marley
Marley

thanks for the great interview.
I admire Jacob’s honesty and insightfulness and I look forward to seeing more of Rick in action on B&B.
´
jacob’s comments on AMC’s ending are very interesting. I wonder if he’s still working on the documentary that he was shooting about AMC’s last days?

Nancy Wizner
Nancy Wizner

I’m sure Jacob made the right decision for himself in returning to B&B. My only question is “WHY THE RESISTANCE WITH AMC?” Millions are waiting for AMC to start up in January and now there is a rumor that it won’t? Even PP can’t stick to their word!

Nancy Wizner
Nancy Wizner

Is AMC a go with PP or not? Jacob seems to be hinting that it is not.

ethel
ethel

in what part of this interview did jacob seem to be hinting that amc is not a go with prospect park?? are you referring to the section where he talked about where pp will be getting their funding & the amount of the funding??

Nancy Wizner
Nancy Wizner

Very first question. Why did Jacob decide to go back to B&B rather than stay with AMC. He made a few statements to make me think and everyone is already wondering what’s going on with PP. Two of the cast has resigned. Haven’t heard anything lately. Only dead silence!

Ina
Ina

Kinda in aw about it watched it for 40 years off and on. Hope they all have something to do like old suzan lucci. Maybe she can revamp the show? They come and go like the rest of us. Will miss the show though

kay killgore
kay killgore

Does anyone know about Young just signing a short contract with B&B and then going back over to PP for AMC?

Angelmi
Angelmi

I fell in love with Jacob as Lucky on GH, and really loved him as JR on AMC, I am so excited to have him back on B&B, since I missed him the first time as Rick, he is doing a great job back there, and made the right decision not to wait for AMC on the internet.

Thanks for this interview.

annie
annie

jacob young is one of the best actors ever , he could pass for brad pitts brother, i am an avid fan, good luck mr. young

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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Days Of Our Lives

Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey Interview – Day of Days 2018

Days of our Lives stars Freddie Smith (Sonny) and Chandler Massey (Will) chat with Michael Fairman at NBC’s Day of Days 2018 celebrating the 53rd anniversary of the long-running daytime drama series.

During the interview, the duo tease what’s to come for #WilSon with Paul’s (Christopher) departure from the canvas, Will getting his memory back, and the trouble that will soon arise when a certain someone is “back from the dead”.

Freddie and Chandler also talk about being a soap power couple on-screen, and reveal some of their favorite scenes, and chat up the new DOOL app and their fun content within it.

Watch below our latest chat with Freddie and Chandler.  Make sure to check out all the Day of Days 2018 interviews with the cast of DAYS on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube,  Make sure to “subscribe” to view all the features and videos/

Now, let us know what you thought of the conversation with Freddie and Chandler below, and what was your favorite part of it, via the comment section below.

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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

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