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THE JEANNE COOPER INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

Jeann CooperBy Michael Fairman

Listen to the audio:

[display_podcast]TV SOAP:

Where were you when the 5.4 Southern California earthquake hit?

JEANNE:

I was sitting in the courthouse on the witness stand in Santa Monica. Seriously, it’s a long story. It was absolutely amazing! The court clerk dove underneath the desk, the two councils and the plaintiff got under their desk, and the judge got under his desk, and I am sitting there, and I go, “It’s just an earthquake, you guys!” Well, the court recorder started laughing and said, “Are you still testifying?” I said, “No. I am just looking at the great leveler… fear!” I looked at the ceiling to make sure nothing was coming down. After the shaking, everyone was crawling out from underneath the tables, and the judge was walking back up to his chair and said, “I think we will recess for about an hour and half.” It’s amazing how frightened people can be during earthquakes, especially when you see damages, when we see the quakes around the world, and when 1,000 get killed. That’s an earthquake!


TV SOAP:

I want to go back to the night of the Emmys. You’re sitting in the audience. Your name is called, and then what happened?

JEANNE:

The name I heard barely, but I was thinking, “That is the way my name sounds?” I am not kidding. First of all, I was not going to go to the Emmys. I’ve gone, gone, gone. It’s always a 110 degrees heat, and I have gone many times. Like Meryl Streep, you just sit there and somebody else’s name is called and you go, “OK, they won.” So, I did not bother to look for anything to wear, and then Gino Colombo, my dear friend, told me about this gown and was insistent I go look at it. So I did, and it was pretty and cool and different. I tried it on, and looked at it and went, “OK, I will go.”


TV SOAP:

So, when your name is called you hear, kind of, “Jeanne Cooper”…..?

JEANNE:

My knees were so weak. I could not move, and my son, Colin who sat in front of me, and my son, Corbin Bernsen who sat in back of me, were all excited to be there with me. All of a sudden there is a seat filler in Colin’s seat and I was going to say to him, “Help me!” I turned to look for Colin, but I saw Doug Davidson (Paul) and I flew to him, and hugged and kissed him, and I was looking at Crystal Chappell (Olivia, “GL”) and she was rooting for me all the way. It was so sweet and kind. There was Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) and Christian LeBlanc (Michael) and Peter Bergman (Jack) at the table screaming and happy, and everyone was on their feet. Gina Tognoni (Dinah, “GL”) who had just won Supporting Actress was sitting at the table directly across from us. I said, “Help me up the bloody stairs!” And she said, “Yes, m’am!”

TV SOAP:

To set the record straight, this was your 10th nomination.

JEANNE:

I was nominated ten times in daytime, and two times in primetime.

TV SOAP:

This year, all the soap experts felt that you had your best two back-to-back episodes you have ever had in competition. Did you feel that way?

JEANNE:

Absolutely! Everyone who saw it said the same thing. After awhile everything seems to run together. But, basically these showed two elements of Katherine, and several people who voted said, “They were the best they had seen!”


TV SOAP:

Then I remembered in the pressroom, you acknowledging that you did this for “everybody who wanted this for me,” which I thought was so touching and so moving. Is that how you still feel about it at this point?

JEANNE:

Absolutely! Everybody who wanted it for me, and the press always wanted it for me for such a long time. So, the gratification was disbelief, and one thing that was totally amazing was Susan Lucci (Erica, “AMC”) was there…. and she had the greatest smile on her face. I said to her, “I am the only one who knows exactly how you felt!”

TV SOAP:

I kept thinking to myself the same thing… does anyone realize or know that you had been nominated this many times? With Susan, there were 19 times, but I said to my constituents she has been up ten times. They said, “No!”

JEANNE:

Most people thought I had won 5 or 6 times, like Tony Geary (Luke, “GH”)…. and Tony Geary who is a good friend of mine, said in the winners circle in the press room, “OK. Let’s show ‘em what the vets are like, baby!” He was so cute and I adore him! Everybody was so pleased for me. That’s what was touching. So many people had wanted this for me for so long, and frankly, I just did not really think I would get it. I will say that I was the coolest one in the heat at the Emmys though, in my dress.

TV SOAP:

In the pressroom, what did your son, Corbin, say to you upon your winning the Outstanding Lead Actress award?

JEANNE:

Corbin had tears in his eyes. He said, “I lived to see it,” and I said, “You lived to see it? I lived to see it!” Corbin flew in for the ceremonies, and that was a complete surprise. There was a pat on my shoulder, and I turned around and I said, “Hi. Corbin!” His brother was going to be my escort that night, and he said, “I am going to fly in and be her other escort!”

TV SOAP:

Where is the Emmy?

JEANNE:

I went and put it next to my Lifetime Achievement award, and now I felt I had come full circle. I got so many flowers, candy and gifts throughout the house, and coming from as far as Canada and England. The response was marvelous. The gift giving was a bit awkward, but people wanted to personalize something. I think everyone reacted, like, “Jesus! She finally made it!” Career wise, it probably was one of the most rewarding evenings, because it wasn’t just going there and planning it.

TV SOAP:

How was the annual Lead Actress nominee luncheon? Did you have a good time?

JEANNE:

It was fun. Michelle Stafford always makes those things fun, which means she is always nominated. (She laughs) It’s the third luncheon we have gone together, and Maura West (Carly, “ATWT”) and Nicole Forrester (Cassie, “GL”) were so delightful, too. I actually thought the Emmy might go to Nicole.

TV SOAP:

Did you like the roundtable Emmy table seating, as a throwback to the telecasts of year’s past?

JEANNE:

I loved the surrounding of the tables, and I have said forever, “Can’t we have a humongous luncheon at the Waldorf like it used to be?” It was glamorous and fun and it said, “This is a daytime event,” and at nighttime you are dressed to the hilt and hot in the jungles! It just has no chic to it, as far as I am concerned!


TV SOAP:

With “Y&R”, what do you think we can expect to see from Katherine in the coming months? And, do you have new writers on board now?

JEANNE:

Oh-ho…restoring the tapestry of the show! Katherine has big storyline coming up in two weeks that will carry on ‘till the end of the year… easily… Thank God! It is front-burner stuff! It will deal with Jill and Katherine, and many offshoots of that relationship.

TV SOAP:

In the past, you have been vocal in your opinion, and unhappy that Jill was made your daughter, and were hoping for a reversal. Will that be addressed?

JEANNE:

That will be approached. There is another character coming back that everybody loves and has been missed for a long time, so I am looking forward to that.

TV SOAP:

Will you get a romance?

JEANNE:

No, but I probably will at some point. But the thing of it is, it’s a character coming back that I love and the audience loved, and was dispensed with! In fact, the man that participated in that storyline called me from New York (an actor, who participated in that storyline). You know who I am talking about? Isn’t that exciting?

TV SOAP:

So, that will happen in a couple months?

JEANNE:

I think so, because Katherine needs a real friend.

TV SOAP:

Is Katherine still writing her autobiography, or was that dropped for good?

JEANNE:

They are so busy with “Restless Style” that I don’t know what happened to Katherine’s book. What do you think has been wrong with the numbers on the show for a while? The audience knows about work-place stuff. But we are also changing gears now, so things will be back on the upswing.

TV SOAP:

Have you seen a difference in the scripts with Hogan Sheffer and the new team at the helm?

JEANNE:

This last week, absolutely! The tapestry of what “Y&R” used to be is there, but hands are tied and false egos are involved. You are pulling for artistic achievement, but you have to protect the numbers and that’s what corporate does. We almost have a full page of writers now who are dealing with a few issues. I think, through the corporate side and the production side, they will make sure everything is right on board and we will be full steam ahead.

TV SOAP:

What would you still love to see happen to Katherine, that you have never gotten the opportunity to play?

JEANNE:

I always wanted Katherine to go into politics… sort of like the Anne Richards of Texas, who was the Governor of Texas and who was very blatant. She was so fantastic! She was one of the most dynamic and forward in her thinking. I think politically, Katherine would be great, but that became a Jack Abbott story on our show.

TV SOAP:

Was the sudden departure of Raya Meddine (Sabrina) a bit of a shock to the cast, or to you, as it had been made out to be by Internet rumors and reports? Do you think it’s just to get Victor and Nikki back together?

JEANNE:

I think Victor and Nikki days are over, because there are a lot of people who are star-crossed lovers, and as they become older, the general reaction is “They will never be parted.” You will always want Victor and Nikki back together, and they probably will from time to time, but you cannot at this point have Victor going off and impregnating another woman. The audience at home, at some point, will not like what happens. The wives will turn to their husbands and say, “Can’t you ever settle down?” And that’s who Victor is, unless you make him settle down. I don’t know if Eric Braeden (Victor) is willing to give up that part of the character at this point. He always wants that challenge, which is part of life and he does it very, very, well. And so does Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki). They are superb and accepting of these types of situations.

TV SOAP:

If you were to say a few words to describe working with Melody Thomas Scott, what would they be? In storyline, Nikki and Katherine are best friends. Is Nikki about to go off the deep end?

JEANNE:

Melody is delicious, and extremely talented. We have things coming up in tapings tomorrow that you have not seen this girl do in years. It’s called: “Study All Night Long” because it will blow you right through the roof. I wish I could tell you what she is doing, but I can’t. I have her on the telephone line, and I have Nicholas on the phone, and it’s boom, boom, boom, with all directions towards Nikki! It just reeks of the Bill Bell (creator and former head writer of “Y&R”) and it’s written by Janice Ferrari, who of course, was one of the prime writers for the show back in his heyday.

TV SOAP:

What about a few words to describe Dan Goddard (Cane), your on-screen grandson?

JEANNE:

He is such an “Aussie”. He is a pure delight, and absolute candy. He is kind and a deadly serious actor, and wanting to know more. He is very curious about everything, and it’s always a pleasure to do scenes with him. To do scenes, where he is all prepared and you attack it in a different vein, and he looks at you, and his talent really comes out because he rises to the occasion, which is great!


Jess WaltonTV SOAP:

And finally, a few words about Jess Walton (Jill)? “She is _ _ _”

JEANNE:

Delightful… neurotic… talented and neurotic… and talented and fun… and neurotic and talented! And, she has two new dogs!

TV SOAP:

And my last question is, when you won the Emmy what did Jess say to you?

JEANNE:

Jess said before I left, “Tonight is going to be your night, and I am not going to be there!” So, if Jess had come, I wouldn’t have won! (She laughs)

General Hospital

GH’s Chloe Lanier Talks On Nelle’s Twisted Plots, Her Co-Stars & That Cliffhanger “Ending”

Recently on ABC’s General Hospital, Chloe Lanier’s Nelle Benson created even more havoc for Carly (Laura Wright), Michael (Chad Duell), Julian (William deVry), Brook Lynn (Briana Lane), and of course, her son, Wiley.

However, is Nelle really gone after her ‘fall,’ which has left her MIA and Carly believing she is responsible for her sister’s ‘death’? But as we know with Nelle, she keeps secretly planning her next move and loves to slowly torture those who she believes have wronged her. There is also the ongoing mystery of just who is Nina’s (Cynthia Watros) daughter, especially since Nelle has the other half of the necklace so near and dear to Nina; leaving viewers pondering if it could mean they are mother and child, or is this all a red-herring?

One thing is for sure, Daytime Emmy winner, Chloe Lanier brings it each and every time she returns to GH. She gives always give the storylines a much needed injection of drama, drama and more drama. No one is quite like Lanier in the soaps either; she can play tough, vulnerable, manipulative, and street smart, like nobody’s business.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Chloe to get her answers to some of our burning questions for her and her portrayal of naughty Nelle, and how one of her co-stars helped her through a very difficult time in her life.  Here’s what she had to say about it all.

Courtesy/ABC

What did you think of the courtroom antics of Nelle during the custody hearing for Wiley?

CHLOE:  I mean, showing up in a wedding dress was her first mistake. Then antagonizing everyone in the room was probably her second. But she’s so wounded—so broken from her childhood. She doesn’t have the proper emotional tools to combat her self-destructive behavior.

Which showdown or confrontation between Nelle and Michael stands out to you?

CHLOE:  I particularly loved the scenes where Nelle, nine months pregnant, leaves Michael in the rigged car, hoping it would explode. It’s rare that you’re given comedic material on a soap, so that was particularly exciting for me. Also, Chad’s reactions always make me laugh. He’s great.

Photo: ABC

What is it like working with Chad Duell as feuding exes and parents of Wiley? 

CHLOE:  Chad is so easy to work with. He’s been doing the show for so long and is very technically gifted. The writers graced us with some meaty material that we were able to sink our teeth into.

Photo: JPI

What does Nelle think of Willow (Katelyn MacMullen)? She really hates her, huh?

CHLOE: I don’t believe she hates her. She’s envious. Willow is the exact opposite and oftentimes we’re afraid of what we don’t understand. Particularly someone like Nelle, who was raised by a con artist and taught to exploit and manipulate anyone she comes across. So when she sees someone so pure, so innocent, she immediately distrusts her because that behavior is so far outside the lines of how she operates.

What was it like taping the fight scenes between Carly and Nelle, where Nelle “Plummets” to her death?  

CHLOE:  Shout out to Amanda Hall and Heather Bonomo, our amazing stunt doubles for those scenes. They were fantastic.

Courtesy/ABC

When you and Laura Wright get the scripts; where Carly and Nelle are having a huge showdown, are you thrilled about getting the chance to play the emotional beats of those moments? What if it’s a fight scene?

CHLOE:  Those scenes were such a joy, because we got to explore some of the deep roots of Nelle’s trauma, and Carly explicitly said, “I believe you love your son.” That, for me, was important.  Because despite all of her failings, she truly did love her son—in her own warped, off kilter, way.

Photo: Paul Smith

Nelle has really been blackmailing Julian, until he turned the tables on her on the pier?  What has it been like acting opposite Will deVry in those scenes?

CHLOE:  I love Will. He and I actually have the same acting coach, so our prep and how we’re working is from a similar place. What I love about Will is the confidence he has in his stillness. He’s lovely on camera, so connected.

Photo: ABC

Nelle has the other half of the necklace belonging to Nina.  What do you think if it turns out that Nelle is Nina’s daughter?  It is quite possible, tho, that she is not, and it’s all a red herring. How has it been working with Cynthia Watros?

CHLOE:  Cynthia is one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever met, truly. We haven’t known each other for long, but earlier this year, and not many people know this other than my close friends, I was having glaring mental health issues stemming from unresolved trauma. I was going going going for so long that I couldn’t run away from it anymore. I had never dealt with any of it. She saw it and could tell I was silently struggling and reached out. You don’t forget kindness like that. So I’m very grateful for Cynthia—and of course, therapy. I would be flattered if they decided to make Nelle Nina’s daughter.

Photo:ABC

What do you think about how the writers have kept finding ways to have plot points that get all the other characters in trouble and make it look like they did something to Nelle, but she ultimately has her own diabolical plans for them with her actions? She is pretty smart!

CHLOE:  Nelle is the perfect victim, and her love language is sabotage. She’s also a narcissist, so she’s always going to think she’s the smartest person in the room. She’s basically a walking version of Taylor Swift’s song, Look What You Made Me Do. I love that the writers gifted me the opportunity work with almost everyone on the show. Josh (Swickard) and I always had a great time together. And Maurice (Benard)—god he’s hilarious. I would have loved to work with Briana Nicole Henry (Jordan) more though. I love watching her work. She’s going to have an amazing career.

Photo: ABC

Do you think Nelle can ever be redeemed at this point?

CHLOE:  Redemption is a weird one for me, because I don’t believe that people are inherently good or bad. We’re all human. We all have flaws, make mistakes, have regrets, experience shame. We have the ability to grow and we learn from our past. Nelle has done and felt all of those things, to a degree, but continued to do the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. A character either has to change or they die. So, I’ll say this—if Nelle is alive out there somewhere, I hope she’s going to therapy.

Photo: JPI

What has been the hardest scene for you to play emotionally in the time you have been playing Nelle?

CHLOE:  Probably the scene with the newborn, where Nelle runs into Brad on the side of the road. I had never held a newborn baby before, so I was TERRIFIED. I realized I was the only thing in that moment keeping that baby alive…a very bizarre and life altering feeling, I’ll say.

So, have you enjoyed Chloe’s performances? Do you think Nelle is plotting from afar?  What would you like to see happen in the storylines with  baby Wiley, Nina’s child, and more? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Chandler Massey & Freddie Smith Discuss Their Departure From DAYS, New Beginnings & WilSon’s Journey

This week, Days of our Lives viewers saw the highly-anticipated exit off the canvas, for now,  of Daytime Emmy-winners, Chandler Massey and Freddie Smith as Will and Sonny.

Tuesday marked their final airshow, while the actors found out they were being written-out of the show and had filmed their last six episodes over seven months ago, because at that time and before the pandemic, DAYS was taping far in advance of air.

Now with this leg of their journey complete as the popular Salem duo, Chandler and Freddie are embarking on new chapters of their lives, as Chandler details his move to Atlanta and Freddie in a few weeks to Florida.  But as they discuss in this very special conversation with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, they are not stopping acting either.

During this “farewell for now” interview with Michael, the two actors open up about their final scripts, their last tape day, how both characters helped many individuals come out and come to terms with who they are via watching Will’s coming out story, Will and Sonny’s on-screen relationship and more.

In addition, Freddie discusses what happened when he auditioned for the role of Sonny and what he thinks helped land him the gig; Chandler shares a story about a fan that is very moving, and that his biggest regret was not getting to play the wedding scenes between Will and Sonny (Guy Wilson at that time had stepped into the role of Will).   The duo also reveal their favorite and least favorite storylines they were involved in, and much more.

Watch the full interview below.

So, what do you think about what Freddie and Chandler had to share during our conversation? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Melody Thomas Scott Talks Harrowing Childhood, Growing Up In Hollywood, Nikki’s Storylines

This week, The Young and the Restless’ iconic, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) new memoir, Always Young & Restless: My Life on and Off off America’s #1 Daytime Drama,” from Diversion Books, is available everywhere.

For everyone that follows Melody, this book has been several years in the making with some starts and stops, but in it she does not hold back and reveals some very painful details and moments from her upbringing when she was raised by her unstable grandmother and more.

Courtesy/DiversionBooks

Melody also talks about reuniting with her estranged father when he suddenly awoke from his coma while she was by his side.  Throughout her lengthy career in Hollywood, Melody has worked with some of the greats including: Clint Eastwood, Brian DePalma and Alfred Hitchcock.

Now in a conversation with Michael Fairman on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Melody opens about her decision on the stories she told in the books, her favorite and least favorite storylines as Nikki on Y&R, working with Eric Braeden (Victor) and the entire company of the CBS daytime drama where she has been for over 40 years, and how she hopes her memoir might help others; including those stage moms and children considering life in front of the camera and more.

To watch the full interview with Melody, check it out below.

Then let us know, what have you been most surprised to learn about Melody this past week as her memoir has come out? What is your favorite or least favorite storylines of Nikki’s on Y&R over the years? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Video du Jour

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

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