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THE JEANNE COOPER INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

jean-mainshot.jpgMonday on “The Young and the Restless”, Mrs. “C” took a husband! That’s right; the grand dame of Genoa City married the ever-faithful Murphy in front of friends, families and a schnokered Jill. Just another marvelous moment in the history of one of soaps most valuable treasures… the character of Katherine Chancellor.

For 36 years, Jeanne Cooper has played the “The Duchess” with spunk, spirit and humanity that has made her a daytime legend. And what becomes a legend most? Well, for starters plenty of accolades: A Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series in 2008, something many of us hope she may repeat in 2009. With the Daytime Emmy Award nominations a week away, and Jeanne in the running
for her spectacular turn in the Katherine/ Marge “doppelganger” story 2.0, fans and soap pundits are keeping their fingers crossed that her name is called in the finals. Jeanne had already been given a Lifetime Achievement Award Daytime Emmy in 2004. In 2009 Jeanne was honored with the AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Award for her contribution to American culture.

Now at 80 years old, and better than ever, Jeanne is at the top of her acting game. With powerhouse performances and carrying a front burner storyline for quite some time, Jeanne could not be happier… and neither can legions of “Y&R” fans. I had the pleasure to chat with Jeanne in this revealing, honest, funny, and heartfelt interview to share with you at “On-Air On-Soaps”. The two of us go back many years, and I have always had a very special place in my heart for Jeanne… which enables us to talk about a myriad of subjects! From her thoughts on Katherine’s new hubby… to flipping the Katherine/Jill mother daughter story on its ear… to working with Jess Walton and Brenda Dickson, as her two “Jill’s”…to the young talent in Genoa City…..to the state of the Daytime Emmys…and to her battle with addiction. As you will learn, Jeanne’s proudest accomplishment is set for May 15th when the Springboard Center opens its doors in Texas. Now to revisit the golden moments of Jeanne’s and Katherine’s life, I give you, “The Divine Mrs. C”!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

How has it been working with the other Michael Fairman (Murphy)?

JEANNE:

He is a dear and a good actor. He is very giving, and not a selfish actor at all. He has done a lot of things in his career. He is a pro and comes prepared. The thing of it is, when you work in daytime, and how confusing that is; it has now taken him this long to know that you don’t count on anything for sure. Your 30 lines can be ripped down to two, if we need to for timing. Sometimes, he is so sweet and naïve. It’s hysterical!

wedding.jpgMICHAEL:

Now that Katherine married her new hubby Murphy, do you think it has any staying power or will last?

JEANNE:

With Katherine’s history of husbands, you are bound to die or go somewhere. (She laughs) We just got married and she finds that Murphy makes her happy. Katherine is a person who basically, since her first husband and her original happiness, has never really been a content woman. She has tried to be fair in her power. Looking for happiness at this age and this stage of the game, she finds somebody who is a great deal like Rex, but he is a simpler soul than Rex. She is just grateful that he took care of her and helped her find her identity, and that he believed in her. And if she was Marge, it was OK. If she was Katherine, it was OK. He did things that made her happy. Going to the diner, being a waitress, these things from the other side of the track… Katherine was aware of this side of life. She had empathy for it, for people with middle class economic values. She always cared but she never lived there, but she survived through the kindness of this man. It didn’t matter if he was 22 or 120, and vice versa.

MICHAEL:

Are you glad you have a love interest? Or, did you not envision a simpler man pairing for the grand dame of Genoa City? To me, I never saw Katherine with this type of a guy.

JEANNE:

I agree with what you’re saying. This is like saying, “Your hand can reach across the track”, but it can’t. I don’t think someone who is bait and tackle and fish is what Katherine envisioned for herself. Katherine married him in a sense, to appease him.

MICHAEL:

You are portraying an older citizen having a romance at 80 years old. I think it’s important to tell. How do you feel about the telling of their story, and how are you playing it?

JEANNE:

I feel their differences will make problems. Murphy will realize he just doesn’t fit into that element of life, and that’s all right and it doesn’t hurt him. I think he realizes Katherine can’t do bait and tackle. She has a worldwide industry to run. It’s like Jill said, “Welcome to the world, Murphy. You’re running with the sharks now and you are a fish out of water.” He has got to know that, and he can’t come in with his country bumpkin mentality and settle every argument. Also, don’t forget I am not playing madly in love Katherine; that I found love at this late date in life. I want the audience to say, “She’s not a 100 percent,” but it’s a sweet thing to do. Katherine is not about to become part of a ‘darling’ little couple. She is too powerful for that. I have talked to Maria Arena Bell (Head writer, “Y&R”) about that. Katherine cannot be just satisfied with bait and tackle. I do not think Doris Duke in any way would be happy with someone who drove a cab.

MICHAEL:

You have had such amazing material! For instance, when the show decided it was going to revisit the ‘doppelganger’ storyline, how far ahead did you know about it? And, how did you carry such a heavy workload?

JEANNE:

I knew a month ahead of time. Now I have a week off for the first time in six months. I have been working four weeks in a row, 12 to 14 hour days. I was in the dental chair for five hours getting stuff done that I should have done three months ago!

MICHAEL:

The Katherine/Marge “doppelganger” story was so great! Did you know it was going to turn out this good?

michaelGregoryGang.jpgJEANNE:

Oh, I knew. I felt good about it, and they were recreating something that happened 20 years ago, and out of all of this, and the ‘funeral’ alone, take a look at all the people you had returning to the show. Michael Gregory (Ex-Clint), who has been absent from the show for 20 years, he has been a friend of mine. We have talked two to three times a month for the past 20 years. I would go to New York, and he would go to the Daytime Emmys with me as my escort a lot of times. He comes out here, and we laugh, and we are going to be meeting in Las Vegas next time.

MICHAEL:

Tricia Cast is back as Nina, and this time she is sticking around for awhile!

JEANNE:

Tricia has been flying back and forth from Tennessee, and next time she comes out to tape she is staying with me. She is such a pro. TV Guide’s Michael Logan said years ago, and we did not know how to interpret it back then, but he said, “Of all the actors who can never be identified as daytime divas, but are among the finest ever, are Jeanne Cooper and Tricia Cast.” But, we were not your typical actresses. He said, “How novel of “Y&R” to bring these people forward.”

MICHAEL:

Recently, you were the centerpiece of “Y&R’s” 36th Anniversary episode when Marge was front and center!

JEANNE:

We had Maria Arena Bell (Co-executive producer and head writer, “Y&R”) do the “Our Town” version of Genoa City; having Marge being exhumed and sitting on the couch that was our 36th Anniversary episode. They had so many calls from that.

MICHAEL:

It was an homage!

JEANNE:

Basically, Katherine is the center of the show and she is the color wheel and off of her anything can spin! I can go into anybody’s storyline and be accepted. They can come into mine, but they can’t go into each other’s and be accepted. Maria brought the audience in by saying, “This is Genoa City. This is what the people do and who they are, and it’s this specific group of people in the city.” Where Lynn Latham (ex-executive producer and head writer, “Y&R”) was trying to show breaking news on people you never heard or cared about. Lynn saved us. I don’t care what anyone says, she got us to the top, and then started to make the show it never was meant to be. The ship sailed out of the harbor, and it was a different show, and then made it into something that it wasn’t, and it went down the tube.

mariabell_jeanne.jpgMICHAEL:

How do you like Maria’s writing?

JEANNE:

You are talking about Maria! She trained under Bill Bell Sr. before she married Billy Bell. She has been a highly respected writer in magazines, and what have you. She is the best!

MICHAEL:

What is coming up that fans can look forward to
with Katherine?

JEANNE:

Katherine will be involved with a character coming back to Genoa City who has not been on the show. And, through that character all hell will break loose; business wise, relationship wise… you name it, it will happen. It will affect everybody, and it’s not John Abbott! It’s a real human being. (She laughs) It will shock the shoes off of you on how the person comes back, and why!

MICHAEL:

Jess Walton (Jill) and you…are you glad they split up Katherine and Jill as mother/daughter?

JEANNE:

I did not like it and Maria either. Maria never wanted them to be mother and daughter. I had explained that I never had been happy with it, because it happened in such a ludicrous way. It happened to accommodate others. First, there was Elizabeth Harrower (Ex- Charlotte). She started out as an actress and she was a writer for Bill, until they had a falling out. I wanted Elizabeth to have a last shot at being an actress. She was a brilliant writer. She wrote all the good material for Katherine that every happened. I said, “Isn’t there something?” to Jack Smith (Ex-head writer, “Y&R”), at the time. He said to Elizabeth, who was undergoing chemo at that time, “Do you want to do this?” He put his thinking cap on and this is what he came up with. It was feasible if Katherine was young and crazy and drunk, and had the affair when she was separated from her first husband.

jess_jeanne_knife.jpgMICHAEL:

But you were very vocal about not wanting Katherine to be Jill’s biological mother?

JEANNE:

I never wanted to be her mother, because I thought it would take some of the fire away from their arguments. It was amazing in the soap magazines. They would say, “Jess and Jeanne were televisions super-couple,” and we were. We go back and forth with this off- set in our dressing rooms, and it’s so marvelous to have that kind of fire again. It’s great to be able to create an attitude towards a scene, and that sort of thing.

MICHAEL:

What did you think about the recent cake fight during Billy and Chloe’s wedding, which signaled the reigniting of the Katherine and Jill’s feud?

JEANNE:

We had a fun time between the two of us, and the cake worked for us. It was the turning point and every one was emailing the studio going, “Thank God. Thank God, they are at it again, and they are on the right track!” People absolutely ate it up!

MICHAEL:

Many people want to know if you and Jess Walton are close?

JEANNE:

Jess and I are very close friends. I protect her back, and she protects mine. We are always there for one another, and there is no two ways about it.

MICHAEL:

What about your first Jill, Brenda Dickson, who has seemed to land herself in hot water with the law in Hawaii?

brenda.jpgJEANNE:

Look, I love Brenda and she loves my family. She has known my family for 35 years, and I adore her, but she has a penchant for bad mates. The thing of it is, when we are dealing with Hawaii and the good ole boys, they can gang up on you and you don’t have a chance. I mean, what a dumb thing to do over the house? In Hawaii, law is a whole different thing, and forget the court system. Brenda never did anything to me, but to love me and be a friend. I loved her and I was her friend. When any one had problems with her; there was always more than one side to anyone and any story. Of course, she was erratic, but that was Brenda and that made her Jill.  Bill saw that, and John Conboy (Ex-executive producer, “Y&R”) to this day will tell you, “That’s Jill!” However, Jess Walton has done a hell of a job of doing the part her way.

MICHAEL:

You turned 80 years old this past October, won a Daytime Emmy last June, was honored with an AFTRA award at the beginning of 2009, and the head storyline of your career on soaps. Quite a thrilling time for you! What do you want people to know about turning 80?

80thblowout.jpgJEANNE:

I wanted people to know that age is just a number. It cannot stop you and you certainly can’t do a sprint like when you were younger, but that’s not what you are all about when you are 80, either. If you are productive, breathing, talking, and have something exciting to look forward to every day of your life, or try to, that is a good way to live. But, if you think you were 39 one day, and now you are 80 and life is passing you by, that is not a good way to think of it. It is the date you were born. It’s not to celebrate how long ago you were born, but that you were born. That’s all a birthday means to me.

MICHAEL:

How did you celebrate your 80th birthday?

JEANNE:

Lee Bell (co-creator, “Y&R” and “B&B”) set something up and it smacked of Lauralee Bell (Ex-Christine, “Y&R), too. What they did was have a birthday party for me. It was business and loveable people that I like in the business. No one was invited for the sake of “they better be invited.”

MICHAEL:

The guys on the show… you have a special connection it seems with many of them!

JEANNE:

Don Diamont (Ex- Brad, now Bill, “B&B”) is my sweet baby, and Doug Davidson (Paul). They are like my other two sons! Michael Graziadei (Daniel), Greg Rikaart (Kevin), who is a dreamboat, and Billy Miller (Billy), are so reminiscent of our guys when they were younger. We have that mature younger group now. I love doing scenes with the kids.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of the younger set, you and Adrienne Frantz (Amber) sparkle together!

AdrienneJeane.jpgJEANNE:

Adrienne is probably one of the finest talents I have worked with. She has been a dedicated professional. She is prepared, and she knows what she is going to do and she does not change it, because it’s well thought out before she performs. She is typically of that group that is wild and woolly, and has a great time. I have to keep saying to her, “Make sure you get some rest.”

MICHAEL:

Do you think Amber is really related to Katherine?

JEANNE:

I have often wondered if Amber is my grandchild because of my affinity for her. I just fell in love with this kid and her work. She is so damn talented, and she is a redeemable character. They won out, because we had such good chemistry working together. Maria saw that and now totally writes for it. She has Katherine have her favorites… like little Kevin. Katherine likes slightly demented people, because that is the kind of person she was.

MICHAEL:

You know, Katherine Chancellor is more popular than any of the younger kids on the soaps!

JEANNE:

I will tell you, Maria Bell by integrating and putting an older person out there in a major role, delivered ratings more so than other great ideas that went south.

MICHAEL:

What have you thought of Greg Rikaart’ flawless performances during his storyline with “Stockholm Syndrome”?

greg_jeanne.jpgJEANNE:

Greg is consummate. He has the material to play and did an unbelievable job

MICHAEL:

What is it about Michael Graziadei that you think pops off the screen?

JEANNE:

Michael Graziadei reminds me of movie stars in the heyday, like a young Paul Newman… that’s where he would fall. Graziadei is poised and focused. He could have a small part in a scene, but he will have a beginning and middle and an end to it. I love to watch him grow on our show. He is a light-hearted, and a dirty kid. (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

Have you always wanted to be a successful actress?

JEANNE:

I never wanted to be a star! I wanted to be an actress. “Star” is so temporary, and an actress is a way of life. When you think of Glenn Close or Shirley MacClaine you don’t say, “Movie star”… you say, “actress”. A movie star has a hell of a chore to make sure she is botoxed, and stitched together right, and is terribly glamorous, and has “T&A”. After her time is gone, if they keep attempting it, they get laughed at. So, she better know how to act. An actress is a way of life. Being a star is a selfish and acheivabable way of life, temporarily

MICHAEL:

Who are Jeanne’s acting idols?

JEANNE:

Ava Gardner was a good actress. She was a very down to earth human being, it was no b**s with her. You would watch Ingrid Bergman. You saw how she knew what she was doing, and she just happened to be beautiful. She never, ever met the criteria of movie star, but that is what she was. I think that Simone Signoret was wonderful, and Olivia De Havilland was great, too.

MICHAEL:

You were honored by AFTRA! How cool is that?

JEANNE:

I am as old as AFTRA, and its true! They are 80, too! As an actress, you have to be protected by a union, fighting for the rights and upholding it. It’s important for pensions and things later in life, and a fair shake with all the new media that is emerging right now.

emmy.jpgMICHAEL:

You are up for a pre-nomination at the Daytime Emmys for Lead Actress, and we will find out if you made the final cut on May 14th. What did you submit?

JEANNE:

It was a combination of Katherine and Marge. It was a ‘dive’ scene. Marge was drunk. You know, they changed the rules and you are only allowed one show now.

MICHAEL:

What do you think about the fact that the Emmys were not going to
be broadcast at all, by any major network that carry soaps, before
the CW stepped in?

JEANNE:

I think it’s degrading. I think it’s unacceptable, and I am humiliated and offended. I will tell you why. Daytime kept the three big fat networks alive for so many years while they jerked around so many pilots a year that were never sold. They used up the tremendous revenue of the 70’s and 80s that we brought them, so that they could afford to jerk around. And that’s how I feel about it.

MICHAEL:

CBS did not want to air them and it was their turn this year, and they currently have four soaps on the air!

JEANNE:

How about that? It was CBS’s time and they did not do it. I can see why NBC would pass, and I understand that. I would much rather have a luncheon and let the Academy handle it, and it’s not televised, and the press and the nominees, and the presenters are there. I never approved of them of going nighttime, ever! They did it because it made them a fortune, and when it stopped, they did not want anything to do with it.

MICHAEL:

“Y&R” is doing better right now than it has in awhile. Why do you think?

JEANNE:

At a time when unemployment is like it is, usually entertainment prospers. We picked up some new viewers, and that is Maria’s hard work. We have picked up some new viewers and proved a point.

mf_queenfaces.jpgMICHAEL:

What was the point of Katherine’s Restless Style photo shoot?

JEANNE:

I don’t know and I don’t ask questions. It was about Katherine being the Queen of Many Faces, and that is because of her life, and her storyline. She is the Queen of Genoa City and The Queen of Many Faces.

MICHAEL:

Of the 36 years you have been on “Y&R”, do you have a favorite storyline?

JEANNE:

I loved it when Katherine got drunk and threw herself over the ship, and got picked up by Felipe and hauled off into the jungle, where she was very, very, happy. I thought that is whom they would find for me now, Felipe, but 20 years older and extremely rich. He came to Genoa City because when he took me to be picked up by the consulate, he was hiding from the Cuban people who wanted his skin! What a great thing that would have been for Katherine! And Katherine could have felt a little more intimidated by him rather than Murphy being intimidated by Katherine.

MICHAEL:

How much of Jeanne is Katherine?

JEANNE:

Katherine is a control freak, but I have taken a lot of her strength in my later years. Basically, I am very empathetic to situations and people. I feel for my country right now and pathos I have never felt. I am a product of the depression in many ways, and so is any one who is 75 years old and over.

facelift.jpgMICHAEL:

You broke new ground on daytime with the first cosmetic facelift. Looking back, what did you think of that decision to let the cameras see you so raw in real-life?

JEANNE:
It was probably one of the best things I ever did for people! So many people did not have the courage; not only to get their facial stuff done, but to have reconstructive surgery. I was doing it because gravity was yelling, and I said, “I’m coming. I’m coming,” and by doing so, it achieved so much good from it. It took the stigma away from saying you have to look like you are falling apart because you are getting older. I broke down barriers .

MICHAEL:

What are you most proud of?

JEANNE:

I think my proudest moment will be coming up in Midland, Texas, in the middle of May, where not even two years ago there was bare ground, and now there is a three million dollar structure called the Springboard Center, which is a center for addiction. I am the spokesperson for the center. To see a structure that has patients in it, and to try and restore human beings and give their souls back to them and become productive people, is so fulfilling for me. Hopefully, it will become a franchise. It’s important that you stay there to find out why you do what you do. Their website is www.springboardcenter.com. You know, I played the alcoholic and then they sobered up Katherine, and I started drinking!

MICHAEL:

It was life imitating art?

JEANNE:

I started drinking after I decided I was not meant to be married to the man I was with. I would have panic attacks and my guts tied up… and then brandy hit it, and it relaxed the muscle. Pretty soon the stomach started calling for the brandy, and it was not difficult to fall into it all. However, it was “Y&R’s” creator Bill Bell Sr, and my son who said, “You have to stop this.” Thank God, somebody knew I needed help.

MICHAEL:

Katherine’s granddaughter is back on air in the form of Clementine Ford. How do you think she is doing as the “new” Mac?

JEANNE:

She almost has it coming around, and it takes time to walk into a new role or a recast. She has a slight saltiness, which is good for Mackenzie. Clementine is delightful. I am enjoying watching her.

MICHAEL:

How is working with Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki), who on-air is Katherine’s best friend?

JEANNE:

It’s like a soft glove, and a comfortable house, and deep respect… and vice-versa.

JeanneCooperFace.jpgMICHAEL:

What would you still love to do as Katherine?

JEANNE:

I would really like to see her open an orphanage stateside; rescuing the nine and the ten year olds, and for her to do something good with her money, and take in the boys and girls who are going to be in foster homes.

MICHAEL:

Katherine wrote a book. Would you, Jeanne Cooper write your memoirs?

JEANNE:

Yeah. I might. Telling on people is not my way of dealing with things, but some of the interesting stories might be good, so
there is a possibility. We will see!

Interviews

Y&R’s Christian LeBlanc and Michelle Stafford Talk On Their Enduring Friendship, Sharing Scenes & Preview Special Episode

Coming up on the Monday, January 10th episode of The Young and the Restless, the CBS daytime drama series will mark the 30th anniversary of Christian LeBlanc as Michael Baldwin.

In it, Michael will being trying to figure out what’s next in his life, after he has been a successful legal eagle for decades, with the assistance of several characters and some memorable flashbacks that might inform him.

Photo: JPI

LeBlanc debut on Y&R back at the end of November in 1991, and has won three Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series throughout his time in Genoa City.

To celebrate Christian’s 30th anniversary, Michael Fairman welcomed Christian and his longtime co-star and dear friend, Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) for a special conversation on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel along with some memorable clips.

Photo: JPI

During the chat, Michelle and Christian reveal their favorite scenes together, how they met, the key to their enduring friendship, and and how they have gone through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Later, Christian shares his reaction to the on set celebration in his honor with his co-star and previews his special episode.

Photo: JPI

In addition, during the holidays, Michelle helped organize a toy drive for the second year in a row to help children and families in need along with the NAACP and the National Action Network, which Christian participated in along with several Y&R cast members, and they discuss how the toy drive came together during these trying times for everyone.

Courtesy/CLeBlancIG

Now below, check out the full interview with Christian and Michelle, followed by the promo for LeBlanc’s special episode.

Let us know in the comment section what your favorite part of the conversation was, what are your favorite Michael and Phyllis scenes through the years on Y&R and share your congratulations to Christian on a job well-done for his 30-year milestone.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Joshua Morrow Chats On Nick’s Standalone Christmas Eve Episode

Nick Newman (Joshua Morrow) is one tired Santa! After delivering presents to the less fortunate for Christmas, he is tuckered out, and thus will begin the special episode The Young and the Restless is serving up on Friday, December 24th.

The Christmas Eve airing of this all-new standalone episode marks the fourth time in Joshua Morrow’s career that he has been featured like this on the top-rated CBS soap.

In this story, Nick will try to come to terms with where his life is headed when he is taken on a journey through his dreams. Enter plenty of your other favorites from the Newman clan and more, who will definitely make an impact on Nick.  At the end of it all, will Nick come away with some revelations and reflections? Will he learn anything that will change him for the better and give him a clear direction?

As viewers recently witnessed, Nick and Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) called it quits in heartbreaking scenes, leaving Nick once again at a loss in the love live department.  Will he, in turn, eventually reunite with Sharon (Sharon Case), when all is said and done?

Michael Fairman TV talked with Joshua to get insight and a preview on what to expect during this holiday episode including: if he feels Nick is adrift, how he sees each of the characters from Adam (Mark Grossman) to Victoria (Amelia Heinle) impacting his alter-ego, and of course, Nick’s relationships with the women in his life.  So, with that, ‘ho, ho, ho,” here’s our yuletide chat with Mr. Morrow.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

How did you feel when you got a script for this special Christmas episode, and that it was all centered-on Nick?

JOSHUA:  My first reaction was, “Do people really want to see more of Nick? (Laughs) When you see an episode like this, you instantly know that you’ve got to do a lot of work. You’re basically in every scene, and I think it’s pretty common knowledge that I learn my lines in the morning when I get to work. However, on those days, you can’t do that, so you just know that you’ve got to prepare, and everyone is counting on you.  I like doing my scenes as fast as possible, but when you have that much material, you’ve got to put the time in.  As an actor, you hope it’s written well, and that you perform it the way they want you to, and you just go from there.

It’s not about which women Nick should sleep with next?  (Laughs)

JOSHUA:  I think all of Nick’s dreams are women-based. (Laughs) He’s walking around town going, “Who’s next?”  No, it’s a dream about figuring out who he is.  He is going through this kind of loop in his life where he’s not entirely sure where he is, where he should be, what he should be doing, how he’s treating people … it’s just kind of a look inside himself to see if he can come up with any solutions because he knows that what is happening and what he is doing right now is not working.  He doesn’t necessarily know why or how he got to this place, but with the help of some family, hopefully he will figure it out in the dream.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Sounds like Nick is very much at a crossroads here.

JOSHUA:  Yes, that’s a good description of it.  He’s just kind of wandering, and the biggest thing (and he’s been going through this a lot throughout his whole life) is that he just doesn’t know why he gets to this place.  It’s like, is it something he’s doing?  Is there something wrong with him?  He’s just questioning a lot of things, so during the holidays, it seems like the perfect time to come up with solutions for oneself.

So, in his dream, should viewers expect to we see different characters coming to him, like we’ve seen in other Y&R episodes similar to this?

JOSHUA:  Yes, in the dream, we’re seeing his family coming into his life, and they’re talking about who he is, the good parts about him, sometimes the bad …

… Wait, Nick has bad parts about him? 

JOSHUA:  Well … just maybe some things that he needs to improve on. (Laughs) Without him knowing it, I think Nick is kind of hard on people.  If they don’t necessarily think like he is, without knowing it, he tends to hold that against them.  Just because somebody doesn’t think like you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re wrong.  He is just struggling with where he is in life.  He is wondering if he is doing things right.  The dream comes up, and it helps him realize some things.

Photo: JPI

You and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) did some wonderful scenes recently that aired when Phyllis and Nick broke up.  Do you remember taping those?  How did you feel about the on-screen relationship going south … again?

JOSHUA:  For me, Stafford is my bro.  When you start doing those types of scenes, you realize it’s the end of something for now.  I realized that there was a window when I was with her every day, laughing, making fun of each other, doing the fraternity style comedy that we do with each other.  I did those scenes with sadness because I knew that they were breaking us up and that I wouldn’t get to see her every day, but they were great.  Michelle is such a freaking tornado of talent. I was excited to see her really do the thing I think she does best, which is just unbridled passion, whether it’s positive or negative.  She obviously crushed it.  I was just happy to be a part of it.  I don’t have to do much heavy lifting in those scenes. I just wanted to be there for her.  I think that the scenes did turn out very well.  I wasn’t happy to do them, but I always want to do good work.

Photo: JPI

So, where is Nick at with Sharon (Sharon Case) at this point?  How does she impact him in the holiday episode?

JOSHUA:  Sharon is in the special episode offering Nick a lot of advice and guidance.  Sharon is one of Nick’s biggest cheerleaders.  She is constantly trying to make him feel good and better about things that he does.  They’re really good friends.  They are coparenting, you know.  I’m no dummy, obviously the writing is on the wall as to where this will lead, but the journey of how they get there will be the question.  I don’t know when it will happen, but obviously Nick and Sharon have a tremendous history, and anytime they get together it is usually beautifully told.  I don’t know for certain because I don’t ask, but if that is indeed the path that they are going down, I am sure that it will be something the long-time “Shick” supporters are very happy with.  Like I said, there is no romantic anything at the moment. They’re nothing about that.  It’s just that around the holidays, it’s tough not to have someone, and they’re there for each other.  They’ve got kids, and they’re just trying to have a good Christmas.

Photo: JPI

Nick and Adam (Mark Grossman) have a very contentious relationship that is very complex. How does that figure into the equation?

JOSHUA:  It’s an interesting dynamic because Nick is forever grateful to Adam.  I literally think he has saved every one of Nick’s children’s lives at some point in their past, and maybe even Noah a couple of times (Laughs) It’s a delicate relationship because whether he mentions it or not, Nick is jealous that Victor (Eric Braeden) seems to turn to Adam now.  Despite all of Nick’s, “I want to do my own thing, leave me alone, etc.” it really hurts him that Victor turns to Adam when the family needs it.  For all of Nick’s, “I’m my own man,” he still really believes in the strength of the Newman family.  He will always have its back, and if it’s being threatened, like it was with what Nick perceives Ashland (Richard Burgi) to be doing, and Victor doesn’t come to Nick to help with that (or … he does in the beginning, but when it comes to an end, he basically casts Nick aside), that really bothers him.  It’s hard not to take that out on Adam. Still, he doesn’t trust him fully, and he is always kind of on edge around him.  It’s a delicate balance of trust and acceptance with Nick and Adam.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

Does Nick feel like the ‘odd man out’ with Victor, when it always seems that Adam and Victor team up?

JOSHUA:  He absolutely does, and again, Nick had brought a lot of this on himself.  He is constantly saying, “I’m going to do me.  I’m going to make my own decisions.  I don’t want you impacting any of those,” but then when Victor turns to Adam and not Nick in a very important situation that involves his sister, Nick is pretty hurt by that.  Nick does feel like Adam has come into his relationship with his father.  They’re working together very closely.  It seems like Adam had Victor’s ear.  It seems like Victor trusts Adam – at this point, maybe even more than Nick.  That definitely bothers him. I don’t fault Victor in this because all Nick has done is stomp is feet and say, “I don’t like the way you handle things,” and, “Leave me alone.  I’m going to handle things my own way.”  It’s an interesting situation for Victor to be in because I think he wants Nick to be in the fold.  He wants Nick to be there whenever he needs him, but Nick has not made that easy.  He is very hardheaded when it comes to the family dynamic at times.  Nick has created all these difficult relationships now in his family, except with his mother.  He and Victoria (Amelia Heinle) are at odds.  He and Victor are always staring each other down at opposite sides of the fence, and then Adam comes in, and threatens what he perceived to be his role in the family, and that also kind of leads to the whole dream.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

You brought up Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott).  How do you see the bond between mother and son?

JOSHUA:  Nick and his mother have always had an extremely close relationship.  Nikki leans on Nick to bring peace in the family, and Nick leans on her to talk him off the ledge at times because he does overreact, and he acts impulsively at times, while Nikki is very cool, calm, and collected at all times.  Usually, he does everything she asks of him.  Nick is very clearly a Momma’s boy, and he always will be, and if his mother needs him, he is going to step up and do what she wants.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

In terms of his sister, Victoria, how does Nick feel about their stormy relationship?

JOSHUA:  I feel like they are not contentious now, but there is a level of sadness because they’ve always been the best of friends.  They have always relied on each other for everything, and now that has been completely cast aside.  They realize they are no longer each other’s person, the person they go to for anything: advice, support, comfort, whatever.  That is gone for each of them now.  It started with the Phyllis situation with the hotel, and now, it is certainly taken to another level with the Ashland thing.  I think that’s what the overall feeling is between the two of them at this time.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

What’s amazing is that you, Amelia, Eric, and Melody are all really close in real life.  It’s like you truly have a second family.

JOSHUA:  It’s a real family.  The four of us are, for sure.  Without question, my favorite scenes to do on the show are when the four of us are together because we really are so close. Those dynamics are the fabric of what the show is about.  It’s not just the Newmans, but with the Abbotts and the Winters as well, and when the show highlights that, and really puts those small details at the front of the show, the fans realize that you don’t need those big, dynamic stories.  You don’t need the big explosive things.  When you just see those tender moments between those family members, that is everything.  That is the Bill Bell (Co-Creator, Y&R) playbook.  It’s easy to play because we care so much about each other, and I think it comes across on the screen.

Photo: JPI

Now, you’ve got a new Noah in Rory Gibson, and you got a new Faith in Reylynn Caster, both who came on to the show in the last several months.  How are they doing, and how has it been for you to adjust to working with them as their on-screen father?

JOSHUA:  It’s been awesome.  I’ve always said it’s a very tough job because I fall in love with these kids who play my children, and eventually they go off and do something else, or when they are little, sometimes there is a window when they turn about four, where they go, “I don’t want to be here! (Laughs) But when they’re babies, they’re just kind of in your arms, and it’s hard not to fall in love with them, but then when they get older, I see them grow up and turn into young adults.  Rory is an absolute stud. I did screen-test with the actors auditioning for the role of Noah, and he went first. I’m not exaggerating when I say two beats into our rehearsal, not even the actual screen-test in front of the network, I locked eyes with him, and I went, “This is him.  What are we doing?  I don’t need to do this with anyone else.”  He’s got a soul to him that is really amazing to watch.  He’s got depth.  He’s a really tremendous actor.  He’s a good kid, too.  He works hard, and he really wants to do well, and he’s humble.  In the special episode, Rory steals the dream. He does a scene in this show that is going to break women’s hearts around the world.  I am excited for people to see what he can truly do.  The sky is the limit for this kid.   I love having him here.  I super miss Robbie (Robert Adamson, Ex-Noah).  I love him like he is a son of my own, but Rory has taken this role and done something really good with it.  So has Rey-Rey.   She is obviously a tremendous talent.  Losing Alyvia Alyn Lind (Ex-Faith), who was one of the great loves of my life, killed me.  However, I couldn’t be prouder of her.  We text weekly about what’s going on with her, and she’s off crushing it, and the world is not ready for Aly, trust me!  Rey-Rey has come in, a beautiful, talented, young girl, who really wants to do well, and she fits right into the Newman mold.  I’ve been very, very blessed.  The casting department has really knocked it out of the park with these two.

Photo: JPI

I know Hunter King (Ex-Summer) is not on the show right now, but I know you two are really close.

JOSHUA:  Yeah, good grief.  It’s hard for me.  Probably Hunter and Amelia are the two others loves of my life along with Aly.  Hunter and I will text each other constantly, making fun of each other.  We have such a special relationship.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her.  I just know that she will be back someday.  I don’t know why.  Whereas I know Aly is gone forever.  She is off, and she is going to be a huge star.  Some fish outgrow their ponds, and I said that about her when she left.  Aly is off to a much bigger world, but I have a feeling (and maybe it is more of a hope) that Hunter will come back to me, and I say “me” because nobody loves her more than me. My kids are just everything to me on this show.  Honestly, it is one of the things that keeps me coming back for now almost 28 years.  I love them.  They’re all great people.

Photo: TMorrowTwitter

What are you and your wife, Tobe, and the family, going to do for the holidays?

JOSHUA:  We always go snowboarding.  We didn’t go last year obviously because of staying safe from COVID, but we tend to go Colorado every year, and we will be doing that again.  My oldest is away at college this year, so it will be fun to get him home and go off and do what we do.  I remember when I was in my teens learning to snowboard, I was like, “Someday, I cannot wait to lead a bunch of sons down big mountains!” and I’ve been doing that for years with them.  Two years ago, my middle son, who is just this testosterone-raged-alpha-male, finally said, “Dad, I’m leading us down.”  I was like, “Okay.”  He is the one son who has surpassed me in speed, and now we follow him. (Laughs)

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Now let’s talk College Basketball! (Laughs) Gonzaga has already had two losses and it seems every week there is a new team at #1 in the rankings.  Who do you think is looking good? 

JOSHUA:  I only watch Oklahoma hoops. (Laughs) The days of going off to March Madness with all my friends and acting like jackasses for multiple days are gone because I have soccer and lacrosse commitments with my family, but I am still equally as passionate about Oklahoma basketball as I’ve ever been.  I always say it, and it is definitely more heart than mind, but Oklahoma is going to win the national championship this year.

Okay, Joshua.  We will put it out there in the press!

JOSHUA:  You’ve got to put it in the universe!

So, looking forward to Nick’s Christmas journey on Y&R? Which women in Genoa City would you like to see Nick have a relationship with next? What advice would you give Nick Newman to get his life on track? Share your thoughts on this, and our conversation with Joshua, via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Chandler Massey & Zach Tinker Chat On ‘WilSon’, Being Recasts, ‘A Very Salem Christmas’ and that Drag Show

Chandler Massey (Will) and Zach Tinker (Sonny) are back for another streaming special, reprising the duo of “WilSon”.  Massey and Tinker can now be seen in the holiday film, Days of our Lives: A Very Salem Christmas now on Peacock.

In a new virtual interview with Michael Fairman for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Chandler and Zach talk about their scenes and their participation in the Salem Christmas tale.

Courtesy/Peacock

As many know by now, in story, Will has to act fast to come up with a story for his script with his Christmas Eve deadline approaching.  Sonny decides he will assist Will and help conjure up the story, and thus we get an altered version of Salem from the guys that plays on the history of Days of our Lives.

Photo: JPI

During the conversation, Zach weighs-in on being a recast for Sonny (previously played by Freddie Smith), and Chandler shares that it’s always challenging to step into a role played by someone else – something he also had to do when he began on DAYS.

Courtesy/Peacock

In addition, the two discuss reprising their drag roles of Amanda Bottom and Sonny Delight for the holiday number to help save Salem business owners from eviction in Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem.

The actors also banter about the importance of maintaining a presence for ‘WilSon’ as one of the only LGBTQ on-screen duos as part of a daytime soap opera.  The question is: will the airshow write them back in?

Photo: JPI

Chandler also weighs-in on: if he was writing Will’s holiday script, what would he like to see befall the good citizens of Salem? You’ll hear his answer.

Check out the interview with Chandler and Zach below.

Now let us know, are you enjoying Chandler and Zach as the new version of WilSon? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Cameron Mathison talks with Michael Fairman on taking on the role of GH’s Drew Cain, the latest developments in Port Charles for Drew. his busy career outside of soaps and the loss of his mother and his public battle with cancer.Leave A Comment
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