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The Jess Walton, Doug Davidson, and Tricia Cast Interview – The Young and the Restless

Courtesy/CBS

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto/CBS

This week on The Young and the Restless, friends and loved ones of Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper) gather together for a remembrance on the 1-year anniversary of the passing of the Grand Dame of Genoa City!  And as we know in story thus far, Katherine left specific instructions of how she wanted her party/celebration that honors her in the hands of her long-time friend and often times foe, Jill (Jess Walton)!  For the special episodes, which will begin airing on Tuesday and Wednesday, Y&R brought back fan favorite Tricia Cast (Nina) who notices during the celebration that there seems to be trouble in paradise between Paul (Doug Davidson) and her bff and his wife, Christine (Lauralee Bell). In addition, actor Michael Fairman (Murphy) makes a return when Murphy has been given his own set of instructions from Mrs C., and that doesn’t sit well with Jill!

But with this being the 1-year anniversary marking the death of the character of Katherine Chancellor, it has also been a year and a few months since the passing of the iconic and beloved Jeanne Cooper, who died in May of 2013.  How are her co-stars and Y&R family dealing with the loss a year later of this remarkable woman and talent?  On-Air On-Soaps talked with three cast members who have each shared a long-standing unique and profound relationship with Jeanne: Jess Walton, Doug Davidson, and Tricia Cast.

In this very special tribute interview, Jess, Doug, and Tricia share what it has been like at the studio without Jeanne, some of their favorite personal stories that are, for anyone that knew her, or are fans of hers, quintessential Jeanne!  Plus, the trio weighs-in on if they feel the number one soap has done a good job at keeping Katherine Chancellor in story enough, and they give us a preview of what is happening with their characters on the day of the gathering at Chancellor Park.

There isn’t a day that goes by for many that knew and loved Jeanne that don’t miss her panache, humor, graciousness, often cantankerous nature … and how she loved, in her own way, all of us.  For anyone who was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with this woman, she left an indelible mark, as well as on the millions of fans of The Young and the Restless.  This one’s for you, Jeanne!

MICHAEL:

The three of you were so close with Jeanne Cooper, personally and professionally.  What has it been like for each you, a year or so later, coming to the studio and realizing she is not there?  Do you still feel her presence with you?

JESS:

Courtesy/CBS

I kind of feel like, “The joke’s over. Where are you?”  It’s really dawning on me personally, that it’s becoming more and more real all the time.  I so miss her energy in scenes.  Whenever you would walk on to the stage with Jeanne everything came alive in a way it doesn’t without her.

TRICIA:

I am not there at Y&R all the time, and when I was there filming these episodes it was really apparent that she wasn’t there anymore.  I think she is there in spirit.  We all laugh about her and talk about her, but you can’t walk into her open door dressing room anymore and get cursed at!  (Laughs)  It’s kind of empty.

DOUG:

I have to remind myself she is in a different form, in a different place, and when that happens I am saddened.  I think her spirit must spend a lot of time around Y&R, because I feel her presence, and what she would say if she were here.  It’s almost like she is speaking silently inside of my head.  There are aspects of it like with Jess, where you feel, “My gosh, I guess she is not coming back.”

JESS:

You just reminded me that she gave us so much power of personality, and the staying power of it, and the fact that she is still there, and she is so much a part of everything.   I wonder if that’s why it’s not even more painful?  She filled us up so much, didn’t she? … More than an average person would.

DOUG:

I didn’t see her everyday, even when she was here.  There would be long periods of time, but I would still feel her presence in her heart and soul, and that hasn’t changed.  She had a huge aura that radiated beyond her physical being even when she was alive. 

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

For me, I so remember an interview I did years ago with Jess and Jeanne.  I came to Jeanne’s dressing room, and sat on the floor and chatted with the two of you.  I remember Jeanne saying to me, “Come in, dear” or “Come in, love”, and giving me a kiss.   And just being there with Jess and Jeanne, and seeing how remarkable the two of you were together, and the banter, and the fun they had with each other, was truly special.  Jeanne’s presence was always so welcoming.  It’s weird now when I do visit the set, and still expecting to see her there.

DOUG:

Once in a while the link is posted of that comedic video they did with Jeanne and Jess in the dressing room to me.  It is just so “both of you.”  It’s amazing to watch.  And it’s a moment frozen now for eternity.  You can look at it over and over again.  Jeanne has the audio version of her memoir, Not Young, Still Restless, and I have not been able to bring myself to listen to it.

JESS:

I have listened to it, Doug!  It’s exactly like she’s right there!  It’s like she is back with us.

DOUG:

Yes, there is a sample of it on Amazon.com, and I said to myself, “I am not ready for that yet.”

JESS:

I can’t think of anyone who was uncomfortable with this woman.  She made everybody feel like she had known you forever.  She would bust your balls on anything at all.  What a heavenly creature she was, and devilish.

DOUG:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

And then she would disrespect everyone to their face from the highest echelon of CBS and Sony … and for some reason no one took offense to it at all.  And, she was spot on with her comments! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Tricia, you actually stayed with Jeanne at her house?

TRICIA:

I did, and she was just a darling.  Jeanne opened up her house to me and let me be who I was.  I was not always terribly social.  So she would let me go hide in whatever room in the house, and sleep in the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on.  Then, I would creep out of my room, and we would laugh at the silliness on the television, or she would just go on with stories that were fascinating about old Hollywood and her old times, and her as child and her upbringing.  I really feel very grateful for that special time I had with her, and if I would tell her that it was very nice of her to open up her home to me, she would curse at me again! (Laughs)  I would say to her, “Thank you so much Jeanne for having me,” and she would say, “Shut up!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Jess, after a year or so later, where do you sit with that final scene between Katherine and Jill, where Katherine goes up the stairs and says “goodnight” to Jill?  Do you think: “I can’t believe that was my last scene with her!”  Or, do you think: “I am so glad I have that on tape between us!”

JESS:

It was so magical that we even had that scene, because nobody knew that would be her final scene …

PAUL:

Courtesy/CBS

Oh, she knew! (Laughs)

JESS:

She was getting weaker and weaker, and it was magical. You are right.  I was reminded of it when we did those scenes for the memorial this time.  I was reminded when Katherine married Murphy (Michael Fairman).  He had given her a tiny, tiny ring, and after a while Jeanne got really tired of it and missed her diamonds, so she would put these huge rings over it.  And I am reminded of it because Colin (Tristan Rogers) gave Jill this little band, which kind of looks like stainless steel, and now I am kind of tempted to do the same thing Jeanne did! (Laughs)  She used to make funny remarks about Murphy all the time.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Doug, you were so close to Jeanne in real-life, but as for your character of Paul Williams, he was more ancillary in the life of Katherine Chancellor.  As an actor, do you feel that proved difficult during last year’s very emotional memorial episode honoring Katherine?

DOUG:

Paul certainly was not as close to Kay, as Doug was to Jeanne, which was part of the difficulties playing those scenes. You had to tell Doug to shut up and have Paul just be respectful.  Corbin Bersen (Jeanne Cooper’s son, who plays Father Todd on Y&R) was there and he brought part of her ashes to put in the urn.  I mean, so much of it was for me: “Is this real?” Or: “Is this the play?”  That was a hard line to draw that day.

TRICIA:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

There was a lot to draw on that day.

DOUG:

There was so much energy, and it was on the heels of the other show we put together, where the cast sat around and talked about Jeanne.  And, that was only after a few months after she died.  So, it was pretty raw in all of her hearts.

MICHAEL:

How do the three of you feel the writers have done keeping Katherine Chancellor alive in story?  We have had a few stories coming out of Katherine’s passing.  Do you feel Y&R has kept her enough front and center in people’s minds?

JESS:

It’s not difficult to do.  They have kept her alive with his music box story, but the fans still talk about her all the time.  When I said earlier what a true gift she was to all of us, it’s impossible to ever forget her.  It’s almost impossible to believe she is on another plane, and she is in the minds of the fans every day, like I am talking hundreds of thousands of people!  So, her vibration still lives on so strongly.

MICHAEL:

So now leading up to this week’s 1-year anniversary of Katherine’s death, she has written letters again from the great beyond? (Laughs)

JESS:

Courtesy/CBS

She has written letters to be delivered at this time.  Colin and Jill had been off on their honeymoon and it’s very, very emotional for Jill to see Katherine’s handwriting, to hear the voice out of the cosmos, and it’s very amusing how she gives all of these specific instructions for her party.  It’s fabulous, and it has all those emotions that are mixed in with Jeanne.  She was the sweetest lady in the world, and then she would make you almost want to strangle her! (Laughs)  The letter was very much her.  I am so glad the show is keeping her alive in that way.  It’s going to be a fabulous episode.  And, to see Tricia there is great, and Michael Fairman back, who plays Murphy, was wonderful.

MICHAEL:

And then I hear Nina returns to be part of the remembrance, and she is not too happy to see that Paul and Christine (Lauralee Bell) are having marital issues, ( Last year at this time, Paul and Christine got married at Katherine’s memorial service) due to the attention Paul is giving hapless Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott)!

TRICIA:

The nerve of him!  Not cool!  Nina sees that Paul is not exactly pining for Christine at the moment.  All he can do is watch Nikki, and true it’s out of concern for her, but still it doesn’t sit well with Nina. This is: 1) her best friend Christine: 2) that marriage was supposed to last forever, and for Nina she is saying to herself, “If it wasn’t me you chose to spend your life with, than darn it, it better be my best friend!”  It’s a tough moment for Nina.  I think she actually channels Mrs. Chancellor a little bit, and tells him “what’s what!”

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS Photo Credit: JPI

So Nina wants to help Christine, even though Paul dumped Nina to be with her bff?  That’s awfully nice of her! (Laughs)

TRICIA:

Yes.  She wants to help Christine, and since Paul dumped Nina she is thinking, “You better be there for my girlfriend!”

MICHAEL:

So Doug, what is going on here?  Paul is clearly drawn to Nikki because of the revelation that they now share a child together in Dylan (Steve Burton), and all that has happened.

DOUG:

I don’t know if that’s exactly the case. Nikki has a lot of stuff going on in her life right now.  I think as with any friend, at least from Paul’s perspective is that she is pretty needy right now.  She has been batted around by Ian Ward (Ray Wise) and she has these health issues, and she is not handling the little bumps in the road so well.  She actually looks pretty doggone fragile.  I think Paul just wants to make sure that she is OK.   I think Paul loves Nikki, but I don’t think it’s the kind of love that everyone else seems to be worried about.

TRICIA:

You’re lying to yourself! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/Pinterest

Doug, what did you think when they made Dylan, Paul’s biological son?  Did you like it … or were you like, “Where is this coming from?

DOUG:

I think a little of both.  I think the long-term story that we have they spent quite a while building is certainly interesting.  And, it was interesting coming on the heels of Paul having lost one son, and then it’s not like I can teach Dylan (Steve Burton) how to ride a bike, or play ball.  He is a grown man.  So, that is a very odd position to be in, and for Dylan as well.  I think that part is interesting, and to have to figure out what’s next is also interesting.  I think that requires the writers to consider the possibilities, and not just jump to the lowest common denominator.  I mean, Paul and Dylan do care about each other, but now it’s just blood related, so it’s a little bit different.

MICHAEL:

Can viewers expect an emotional and touching show when Y&R marks the 1-year anniversary of Katherine’s passing this week?

DOUG:

I think it’s more story-related this time, and the fact that she has more letters is pretty interesting!  Katherine has us turn inside for our feelings, and that is kind of interesting that even in life on this planet, she is assisting in the lives of the people in Genoa City.

MICHAEL:

So we know Jill got a letter this time from Katherine, but does everyone else get a letter by the time the gathering happens?

JESS:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

No, we don’t all get a letter, but Murphy reads her words to all of us and her instructions about something.  What is very interesting about it is it psychologically makes you feel like she is there talking to you.  It really does.  It’s like she is still alive, and talking to them. They really use her voice, or how the character of Katherine would speak in the letter, and the language that she would use.  It’s a device that works.

MICHAEL:

How was it to film those episodes this time?  Was it emotional for you?

JESS:

It was emotional when I was reading Katherine’s letter in the Chancellor living room … that was very emotional for me.

DOUG:

I think every time we get together as a group, it’s hard not to feel her presence and remember her.  And, the characters that are involved in this particular episode are probably the people in real life that knew Jeanne the best.  So, it’s hard to not talk about her and not feel her.

MICHAEL:

Will Katherine send Jill off on another goose chase … ala “The Music Box Mystery”?

JESS:

Courtesy/CBS

I have no idea, Michael, because the “Music Box” is still going strong!

MICHAEL:

I thought that was going to be wrapped-up! (Laughs)

JESS:

Yeah I did too, and it’s still going strong … and there you go. (Laughs)

DOUG:

I was surprised.  Y&R has re-signed the music box!  It has its own dressing room now! (Laughs)

JESS:

It has a special slot on the prop box! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Who has Jeanne’s dressing room now at the studio?

DOUG:

Courtesy/DougDavidsonTwitter

It’s Daniel Goddard’s (Cane) dressing room.  He gets it when he’s there taping.  If he’s not there, whoever is working, and in that day, might get it.

JESS:

But it will always be Jeanne’s dressing room.

DOUG:

When Corbin was in, he was in her dressing room, which was harder for him than he expected.

MICHAEL:

So Tricia, you just come back for a few episodes?

TRICIA:

Yes, and I am very happy that they called me in for this.  It was great chance to see everybody and laugh, play, and act. What a gift!

MICHAEL:

Fans are always excited when you come back to the show.

DOUG:

Maybe, she can come back to the show and rag on somebody else next time!  (Laughs)

JESS:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

You could come back and stay in Katherine Chancellor’s house with us!  And maybe then Chance (John Driscoll) could come back.  It would be great!

TRICIA:

It would be.  A house full of us would be good!

DOUG:

A house full of people that really don’t like each other! (Laughs)

TRICIA:

What better soap opera!

MICHAEL:

Can each of you share a story or little nugget about Jeanne?  We have all had such fond memories of time we shared with her.  I know it’s hard to single out one thing, but what comes to mind?

TRICIA:

There are so many, but there would be times we would sit together an eat ice cream and poke fun at Dancing with the Stars, or whatever show was on.  I just remember watching it at the time and just laughing.  Jeanne’s laugh was so infectious.  I loved making her laugh!  That was amazing.  If I could get a chuckle out of Jeanne my day was made!

DOUG:

I think what happens to me now is the Chancellor Mansion set is usually stored in a visible location on the way to the CBS commissary, if it’s not up.  I have her voice in my head and part of the sorrow has lessened.  I don’t think there is a day for me that goes by, in or out of the studio, where I don’t hear her saying something to me, or have a memory, and for me it’s just knowing that she is still around.

JESS:

Photo Credit: CBS

I was just reminded recently, because somebody brought this up on Twitter, that there was this segment that I think Entertainment Tonight had done years and years ago … like in the 80’s!  And, it was Jeanne and I on stage, and it was around the time Barbara Crampton was on Y&R as Leanna Love, and Jill was trying to think of something to call her.  And she called her: “Bubble butt”, and they wouldn’t let me say, “Bubble butt.”  So I just came out with “Fish head”, and Jeanne loved, “Fish head”.  And I kept going; “I can’t say ‘Fish head’… it doesn’t make any sense.”  And Jeanne was going, “Please!  Please say ‘Fish head’”. (Laughs)  And if you go on Twitter you can find it, but it was a perfect example of how we used to sit in the dressing rooms, back in the day when we both smoked for hours.  Jeanne’s set was up last in the afternoon, so we had hours to kill.  We would go over every bit of comedic material, and we would sacrifice our characters to work up to a punch line for the other one. (Laughs)  We would make ourselves look foolish, so the other one could have their moment.  It was the most beautiful partnership, and it didn’t even make me so sad, but what it left me with was wonderment that I didn’t even appreciate more at the time of what a wonderful combination of people we were, whose intention was the same, which was to make the story great, and to make the duo of Katherine and Jill interesting and entertaining.  We loved the comedy of Jill and Katherine.

MICHAEL:

Jess, you have to pinch yourself when you look at the legacy you have left with Jeanne!  Those classic fights between Katherine and Jill are the best!  The hose scene, the cake fight, the attic, I could go on!  When I was culling clips for the 40th Annual Daytime Emmys clip package on classic soap catfights, I watched so many of those moments and just laughed out loud!

JESS:

Courtesy/CBS

Remember the hose in the face?  I came at her with that hose and I just sprayed it in her face … and it was just awful! (Laughs)  What I did to that poor woman? (Laughs) Oh God, it was so much fun.  I wish I could relive some of those days.

MICHAEL:

That’s the thing; Jeanne was so much fun, a vibrant lady, exceptional!

JESS:

She was so much fun, and it was always fun with her and we would drive over the hill together to come to work at CBS.  Because most of our scenes were together, we would meet up on Laurel Canyon and we would drive along to the studio waving to each other!  Her in her seafoam jaguar, and I was in a Volvo wagon, and I would always pass her! (Laughs)  She loved that! (Laughs)  Jeanne was incredible.

 

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Gloria Zimmerman
Gloria Zimmerman

Thank you for this lovely conversation between these wonderful Y&R actors! One would think a person would get used to the fact Jeanne is gone but she isn’t ! This week is proof of that .a year has passed already but when you scratch the surface of the story lines Jeanne keeps popping up as though she were rehearsing for her scenes …. People let us never forget this dynamo wrapped up in a beautiful smile !keep looking up and Jeanne don’t forget us the loyal fans… Farewell lovely Lady 🙂

Liza
Liza

It’ so nice to hear all the stories about Jeanne. Thanks for a heartwarming interview.

I only wish Y&R would do the same with Katherine Chancellor’s story. I hated that Katherine Chancellor’s memorial turned into Christine & Paul’s wedding. Now it sounds like the 1 year anniversary is about Paul & Christine’s relationship. Who cares? I’d love to see some flashbacks of Katherine Chancellor intertwined with the future of Kay and Jill’s long story which began back in 1973. Shouldn’t Kay’s anniversary episode be about her relationships, her estate, and her company? She has 40 years of flashbacks and story to pull from, they shouldn’t have to go off topic.

I sure hope that music box ends up returning Chancellor Industries to Jill. Jill opening up a little hotel boutique seems silly given her past. Jill may have done something like that when she was 20, but she has come a long way since then. Launching the Jabot Men’s line, major stock holder , CEO of Jabot, then CEO Chancellor Industries…. now starting up a teeny hotel boutique????. Watching Jill take over Kay’s role at Chancellor would be something to turn in for, watching her put together a hotel boutique…..not so much.

Size matters when it comes to interest in a story. I remember when Neil Fenmore died leaving a very young Lauren with this huge corporation, a chain of upscale department stores, to run. That was amazing, if he had left her a simple boutique no one would have cared. All the females roles have been diminished. They have been stripped of money, influence, and ambition they had pre-2005. The women of Y&R used to plot and dream, now they cry, and cry, and cry as they react to the men around them.

LOu
LOu

I agree. Chancellor industries should have been left to Jill, not Victor. And I agree with your comment about the roles of women being diminished. They have become sniveling little women from the 50’s, not the powerful women of 2014.

Barbara from Atlanta
Barbara from Atlanta

I agree as well. I’m disappointed in how the show has used Katherine’s death. Everything seems unoriginal: I’m not sure where the music box storyline is going but it really seems to me to be a knockoff of the “red swan” storyline that was used on Another World when the actor who played Mac Cory died suddenly. Also, Chancellor Park seems like a copy of Horton Square on Days that is suppose to honor Tom and Alice Horton. Of all the ways that the show could remember the Duchess, a park would be the LAST thing that would come to my mind.

Chancellor Industries does belong with Jill. I’ve thought it was strange that Jill barely batted an eye at Victor receiving it and then simply folding into his operation. With Jill’s history, there could have been a MAJOR battle between Jill and Victor over it. Instead, Jill is “stuck” with this music box business and Colin. Frankly, I’m disappointed in the writing for Jill. Not only has she been stripped of her lineage (no longer a Foster) but she barely has ANY involvement with her sister, Lauren, or her son. When exactly was she in a scene with Billy? Has Walton even acted opposite the new actor playing him?? Far more needs to be done with Jill than what we’re getting. This character has been butchered over the past decade and it really is a shame.

Here’s what I would love to see: Jill winds up owning Chancellor Industries. The business gets its own set — maybe an office or conference room — with Kay’s portrait hanging prominently in it so Jill can talk to it from time to time. Meanwhile, Chance returns to town to work at Chancellor with Jill. I personally would love to never see that park again!!!

DE fan
DE fan

very well put!!!

Sally
Sally

Yes, I am also SO sick of that park!!!

Jess Walton
Jess Walton

Michael, what a wonderful interview……you are so good at what you do! You really bring all your subjects to life! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

jaybird369
jaybird369

Jess…I totally agree. I TOTALLY ENJOYED reading the interview!!!!! I LOVE to read, period!!!!! Thank you…Jess, Doug and Tricia. And, yes…Michael Fairman is so good at what he does!!!!! Thank you, Mr. Fairman. And Mr. Fairman…your website TRULY ROCKS!!!!! Thank you.

Take care, Jess. XOXOXOXOXO

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Thank you, your cast mates, and Mr. Fairman for a lovely interview!

alistaircrane
alistaircrane

Nina needs to be back full time!

Lois
Lois

I really miss Jeanne- it always feels like something special is missing….RIP Jeanne

Jake
Jake

Its time to make Nina the new Katherine Chancellor. She should have gotten the mansion so she could but heads with Jill Abbott.

bernie tauer
bernie tauer

I miss her she was a great lady

bernie tauer
bernie tauer

An a great actress

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

Katherine shouldve had a half sister and it should be Mamie Johnson who was the Abbots housekeeper…Jill was Johns wife and she and Mamie didnt get along…Mamies neice was Dru so she also has ties to the Winters family…Mamie could return to town as half owner of the Chancelor estate and be in constant conflict with Jill like Katherine and Jill were for years…just a thought!!!

DE fan
DE fan

Such a fab idea. You should write for them! 🙂

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

The death is Jeanne and Katherine still lives on with the show, and the struggle everyone has in their every day lives. And I feel like this one-year tribute to the both of them is really going to be a great remembrance of what an extraordinary woman Ms. Cooper was, and what a tremendous and bold character Katherine was too! Mrs. C, we miss you!

kalamaty
kalamaty

THanks for sharing this wonderful interview! Wonderful to read their personal accounts!

Sam
Sam

Enjoyed the interview piece. Been a Y&R viewer for 30 years. Truly miss Mrs. C. RIP.

Loretta Singleton
Loretta Singleton

Wow this was so good to read and I remember her last scene when Jill was about to help her and she threw up her hand and then started up the stairs and Jill ask do you need some help going up the stairs and Ms C look up and say I can manage turn around and say good night I knew when she walk up those stairs that was the last time we would see Ms C. I can see her now pointing her finger and telling you how she feels love this Lady and all The Casts of Y&R. R.I.P. Jeanne Cooper/katherine Chancelor WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU AND YOU WILL BE TRULY MISS. I am crying as I write this I can see her smile love you Ms C

Robert Clark
Robert Clark

Thank you all for remembering a woman who was and is such apart of my childhood and life. I starting watching Y/R with my Grandmother. When I watch it and see Ms.C. it brings back memories of my childhood. I know Y/R has a special Angel looking after the cast, crew and it’s fans. Thanks for the memories.

Tami Ply
Tami Ply

I have been a Y&R fan since day one! Jeanne Cooper has always been my absolute favorite! I miss her soooo much! And just as everyone else,…I cherish all the memories and awesome scenes that she made epic! Wish she was still with us! She will forever be a part of the Young and Restless! Love you and miss you Jeanne!!!

Eva Watson
Eva Watson

Love Y&R. Miss Ms C. The people are so real. Good storie. Great writers.

damien
damien

don t understand why we have kelly and a recasted phyllis who will never last( lets be honest) when we can just have nina back full time on our screens!! a character who everyone cares about with plenty of storyline potential, history and a amazing actress portraying her! baffles the mind…

Barbara from Atlanta
Barbara from Atlanta

AMEN

Mary SF
Mary SF

Timeless beauty never fades; the blooms of youth my whither and fall to winter’s touch of cold death, but the vibrant promise of spring lingers in slumber yet.

Iakovos
Iakovos

This is a gift, Michael Fairman. Thank you for this interview. The conversation reminds me of the Y&R I loved and I miss now.

mary
mary

I have watched Y&R since day one. I record it every day. I felt like I lost a member of the family when Mrs. C past away. I miss her wit, charm. She could make you laugh, cry, and cuss right along with her. There was never a dull moment when she was in a scene. I was so afraid they were going to try to replace her when she died. It would of been a disaster. You could never replace her. She was one of a kind and I am so glad that I got to watch her for all those years!

Carol
Carol

I miss Jeanne Cooper. What a Great Lady. Thank you for the
Memories. Keep the rest of actors on show, so it stays alive.

Deb
Deb

I loved reading this article and thanks for sharing. It’s great that the Y&R had the 1 year celebration of her passing on the show. I remember watching it when she told Jill goodnight for the last time. Jill asked her if she needed any help and Katherine turned around and snipped at her no I can manage(I believe this was her words). Katherine then finished up the stairs. Katherine will be missed by all.

Timmm
Timmm

I dont know why things can be so obvious but never done. Katherine and Jill had a bitter sweet relationship. Katherine is dead. You have to bring someone in that Jill can spar with now. Katherine could have had a long lost son [Corbin] or daughter come into town looking for their inheritance. Giving Victor control of Chancellor would make good business sense but one, who does benefit from it and two, story line wise, Victor has no competition now. I would have liked to see someone challenge Victor. Even Tucker, bring the original Tucker back and have him and Victor be enemies. Plus Tucker and Jill have a history together and Tucker could have a past with Colin which would make him more interesting. Its time to clean this BS up. I understand losing Jeanne was a shock and writers had to scramble but lets put this whole big mess in the trash and start fresh!

Liza
Liza

I like the original Tucker too. William Russ’s Tucker had oodles of chemistry with Jill and could give Colin some competition. The only problem is MAB went too far with the Tucker character, he became unappealing…gross really. Maybe nuOldTucker could have had a brain tumor?

DE fan
DE fan

the 1st tucker with the white hair and overweight was too old looking for her, but had a hell of a lot more charm

Lisa
Lisa

This was a great interview, thanks for sharing!

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Great interview to honor a great lady. Clearly she is loved and missed by all who knew her and her multitude of fans.

She is one-of-a-kind and will never truly be gone. She is immortal through her body of work and the legacy she left on the lives of those she touched.

wil
wil

I have watched this show for most of its running.. I have always enjoyed the part of Nina, played by Tricia Cast.. I was so glad to see her character brought back after the death of Jeannie Cooper.. and also to have her back for the memorial.. It would be great to see her back on the show again, and living in the Chancellor Estate.. I am sure that Katherine Chancellor would have wanted it that way..

Tracey
Tracey

Thank you for the interview. Jeanne Cooper was a treasure. I miss her.

General Hospital

Dominic Zamprogna Speaks Out On His Decision To Leave GH, His Final Scenes With Emme Rylan & How Dante Exited The Canvas

A few weeks ago, General Hospital fans watched as one of the series beloved stars, Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) exited the show in scenes opposite his longtime on-screen love interest, Emme Rylan (Lulu).  For nine years, Zamprogna brought authenticity, emotion, and heart to the son of Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero) to life.  While Dante’s journey started out with a bang, literally (thanks, Sonny!), over the years it appeared he was taking a backseat in meatier storylines.  All the while, Dante and Lulu remained one of the more popular duos with the viewers.

After much reflection, Zamprogna decided it was time for him to walk away from a place that became his second home.  His desire now shifted to play different characters in different projects, but it was not without taking many things into account with his life-changing decision.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Dominic to glean more insight into: if there was anything GH could have done to make him sign on the dotted line again, what went down to make those final scenes seem so rushed, how it was to say goodbye to his co-workers in front of the camera and behind the scenes, if he would consider a return at some point, and how would he feel if GH now planned on recasting Dante, and much more.

For us; we recall meeting Dominic for the first times just six months into his time at General Hospital for our first interview together.  We were instantly struck by his sincerity, humor, and his eagerness to learn from some of the best in the business.  Now exiting as a “soap vet“, per se, it is a full-circle moment that we had the time to conclude his GH journey with this conversation.  Here’s what Dom had to say about it all.

What were the factors that contributed to your decision to exit GH?  Was there a pivotal moment where you were feeling, and recognizing, that you were underutilized that you felt you needed to make a change? 

DOMINIC:  When you named me the “Most Underutilized Actor of 2017!” (Laughs) Well, my plan was never to stay forever.  But half-way through my second contract,  Emme Rylan (Lulu) and I were approached by our producer on set, who said words to the effect of: you guys have been on the sideline, time to get you into the game.  That led to the Dante cheating storyline, which gave us story for about a year … which was great!  But as that ended, so did any subsequent storylines, it seemed.  In the year that followed, I started entertaining thoughts of leaving.  By the next year, I started talking about it with my wife, Linda, who had started to notice that maybe I wasn’t happy anymore, and I wasn’t.  That’s not a good feeling, especially if you’re bringing that energy home with you.  Then, I made the mistake of going on social media, which is a terrible place to go sometimes.  But fans were saying the same sort of things I was feeling.  Was it all due to story or lack-thereof?  No.  I was starting to crave playing other roles, and that’s hard to do when you’re under contract.

Were discussions even had with Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and the powers-that-be about your feelings of dissatisfaction over not being utilized more in storylines?

DOMINIC:  The discussions happened late.  Not until the negotiation process, actually.  I’m no squeaky wheel I guess, but I also don’t feel it’s in my job description to be one.  I did put out a few ideas here and there, but they didn’t happen.  I know other actors have tried the same and it didn’t lead to anything for them, either.  I was a creation of Bob Guza (former head writer, GH), and maybe I was spoiled by the amount of great writing I received while he was there.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

There had to be some sadness in walking away from GH.

DOMINIC:  Oh yeah… it was sad.  I built that character, and now here I was walking away from it, and essentially my second family.  That’s been the hardest part.  Lifelong friendships were made, and memories.  However, it’s been over a month and a half since I’ve been at GH and I feel happy.  I’ve been up in Canada shooting Tin Star, which has been a great experience.  I’ve stayed in touch with everybody and I miss everybody, in fact, I just spoke to Mo (Maurice Benard) yesterday, and I’m in class with Emme (she won’t leave me alone).  But, I feel like I made the right choice for me at this moment.

To clarify; were you actually trying to work out a deal to stay put, but both sides just could not hammer things out to a satisfactory conclusion?

DOMINIC:  We did try to work out a deal.  After more talks and conversations, I felt maybe we were going to get things done.  I was being told things would change and maybe shift things in the direction we wanted to go.  But at the end of the day, it’s gotta be in writing.  I feel like I’d been told similar things in the past which hadn’t come to fruition.  I was also reminded that it was me who needed to sign my name on that dotted line and live with that decision, and I chose not to do so.

If someone would have said to you: “We have an “A” story for you, and you are going to be driving it,” would you have been more apt to stay?   

DOMINIC:  There was talk about us sitting down and talking about storylines, but that didn’t end up happening, not sure why.  And even if it did, I don’t know that it would’ve changed my mind about leaving, anyway.   But just to be clear: I have no anger towards anybody.  It’s all a business at the end of the day.  Both sides did what they felt was right.  For me, I just felt this chapter had come to an end.

Photo: ABC

When, and how did you tell on-screen scene partner, Emme Rylan that you were leaving?  Was she happy for you and your decision?

DOMINIC:  Emme knew really early on.  Once January rolled around I was like: “I have been thinking for the last six to nine months that I am going to go.”   I wanted her to know, because we have been a couple for five years on the show.  Emme was very happy for me.  I went, “Wait a minute!  Don’t be this happy.  I’m leaving.” (Laughing)  

What happened when you told your on-screen mom, Lisa LoCicero ?

DOMINIC:  She was sad, but she is also said, “You’re in your prime, go see what’s out there!”   I wouldn’t have done this move if I did not get support at home.  My wife is the rock and the one that makes this household go.  Some things outside the show were starting to happen; I had a nice screen-test for a pilot, and then I booked these four episodes of Tin Star.  When you have choices in life; you have power and control over your future.  I think Emme and Lisa as actors realized that.  That’s what made them happy for me … for the future.  The last nine years were exciting.  However, when you can have a little bit more say in what you are doing on a day to day basis, that is empowering.  So, in saying, “no” to something, and saying, “Thank you, but that’s not what I am looking for right now,” that can feel good.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

It was a shame that through all the regimes that they rarely wrote any scenes between Dante and his father, Sonny.  What was Maurice Benard’s reaction when you told him you were leaving?

DOMINIC:  It has been pretty publicized that he and I were dissatisfied at the lack of  storyline, or scenes together.  Maurice asked the powers-that-be, “Why aren’t we working together more?”  We never had a clear answer as to why.  He didn’t know from one day to the next what was happening with my contract talks.  Mo saw me smiling one day and asked, “So does that smile mean you’re staying?”  And I said, “No, that smile is because I’m leaving.” (Laughs)  I said that more to mess with him, and make him sad.  He said, “As long as you are good financially, then I am all for anybody getting out of here and seeing what else is out there.” Really, Mo talks people into leaving so he can get more screen-time. (Laughs)

Let’s talk about the final airshow, and the story that came out of left field to facilitate your exit.  Was that written quickly to accommodate a shooting schedule or contract completion?  It felt rushed to the viewing audience.

DOMINIC:  Left field is right!  I still had a week and a half left of work when they found out I wasn’t going to re-sign, and within twelve hours I had six exit scenes written.  So, it wasn’t done to facilitate anything but a set (Lante’s house), I think.  My final tape date was May 18th, and Emme and I had scenes on the Wednesday or Thursday before that.  I guess they wanted my last scenes that aired to be with Emme, and that might have been the only scheduling day that worked for the set and the actors, and maybe that’s also why it felt so rushed.  All I could assume is that they didn’t think I was really going to leave so they didn’t plan for it, or they chose to protect themselves in this way, by not making a big deal about it.  I had another week of scenes in the PCPD with Chase (Josh Swickard) and Michael (Chad Duell) that was shot afterward.  But they had nothing to do with Dante’s “secret mission!”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I thought, “Wait!  Is that it?  Is this Dominic’s final show?  Dante doesn’t say goodbye to his mother… his father … or his son, Rocco?

DOMINIC:  Yeah, that was tough for me.  After 9 years you think you’re going to get a little bit better of a send off.   You also, hope they’re going to honor the character.  Dante wouldn’t leave to go to the 7-eleven without saying goodbye to his mother and kids.   Maurice and I talked about that.  He said, “I guess, they don’t want people to feel really sad.  You and me doing some goodbye scenes, people are going to be devastated.”   I agree with that.  However, I also think it’s a soap and that’s what fans want … good, ole drama.  I would have loved to have had scenes with Sonny, Olivia, and Dante’s kids, but when you make a decision like this, how you leave on-air is not up to you.  Both parties are going to handle it how it’s best for them.   I was very grateful they gave Emme and I something to seek our teeth into. 

They were very sad scenes.  You are one of those actors that can take the material and connect with it while delivering it in a very subtle and heartfelt way.  How was Emme after your final scenes?

DOMINIC:  She was kind of crying the whole time, going “Damn you! Damn you.”   I was having fun with it, because I love making Emme cry.  It’s not a very difficult thing to do.  (Laughs).  We were both pretty teary-eyed, actually.  Then, when we finished the scenes and I looked over and I saw how upset the crew was, that’s what really got me.  Barbara, one of the camera operators actually jokingly apologized; suggesting that if my last shot was blurry it was my fault!  As an actor, when you make the crew feel something it kind of gives you some extra good feels. That was always the best feeling, talking to Craig (our stage manager), or Donna (head of makeup department) after a scene to get the honest truth on how you did.  I’ll miss them.

Courtesy/ABC

Viewers, watching Dante have this flashback about the guy who was responsible for Lulu going overboard the Haunted Star a few years ago, probably needed a moment to connect the dots.  Some viewers were going, “What?  Dante is going after the guy that tried to drown Lulu from two years ago?”

DOMINIC:  When I read that in the script even I went, “What?” Who’s that?”  I had no idea, either. (Laughs)

Then there was this:  Dante was so hard on Lulu for her pursuing her dream as a journalist and how it inadvertently got Nathan killed.  Then all of a sudden in your final scenes, Dante has a line to Lulu in which he says something to the effect of: I understand now – you got to do, what you got to do.  In story, prior to these scenes it was leaning more towards Dante and Lulu were going to break-up over what had recently transpired.

DOMINIC:  Which, who knows?  If Dante had stayed in Port Charles it could have been the direction they were going in.  It certainly looked like they were building toward conflict, conflict, conflict, but with me leaving it was much sweeter to leave on the note that we left on, instead of Dante leaving, because he can’t deal with being around Lulu. This all leads me to believe that they didn’t want to do anything too permanent to give them time to make the proper decisions.

Courtesy/ABC

What was the last day of shooting like for you?  Was it hard to get through?

DOMINIC:  It felt like a regular day, and my final scenes were up towards the end of the tape day. They had a cake afterwards.  Frank briefly spoke and introduced Maurice; who said a bunch of sweet words.  That meant a lot to me.  I said “goodbye” to everybody and took some photos, and that was it.  I already had my room packed up.  Once you’re ready to go, you’re ready to go.  Afterwards, I went out with Ryan Paevey (Ex-Nathan) and Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Ex-Carlos) for some beers and wings at the bar down the street.  It wasn’t until everybody came back after a two-week break that it felt real, because then I was receiving text messages from people saying, “We’re back.  Why the hell aren’t you here?”

The door has been left open for Dante to return.  Would you ever come back?

DOMINIC:  Of course, at some point.  But it might not be my choice, they might recast.  They told me they won’t, but who knows what’ll be done.  Do I think you can just recast a role?  No, I think it’s always a tough sell, but they’ve done it with bigger names/characters than mine.  I would be a little surprised, only because there hasn’t been much story for Dante in the last three years.  For me, as of now, I’ve moved on, and I’m very happy with my decision and my life.  It’s sad in other respects, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve read things that people have said on Twitter, and I want everyone to know I’ve seen it all and it means a lot to me.  People have been beautiful to me.  I’m truly overwhelmed by the love.  I thought there would be more of, “Who cares?” when fans found out I left.   I must have done something right during the years I was at GH.

Did you think when you made the decision to leave they would kill-off Dante? 

DOMINIC:  No, not at all.  I don’t think killing off Dante would be a good idea, especially after they killed Nathan, and also because of the climate we live in with police involved shootings and violence, in general.  In a perfect world as an actor, you crave the opportunity to have one last moment with the other characters that have been important to your character over the years.  That’s all I would have wanted for myself, and Dante.  I’ll take what I got though.  It was extremely meaningful because of what Emme and I had and built.  I feel we got to the heart and soul of those two characters in a pretty short amount of time in our scenes.

Courtesy/ABC

Speaking of Nathan, I think thus far those funeral scenes, which you were wonderful in, and the story arc revolving around his death, are GH’s best bet for an Emmy in the Drama Series category next year. 

DOMINIC:  I agree.  It was so well-done.  We’d all would like to go out like that!  Tragic, but it made for great TV and great soap.  It was phenomenally well-acted across the board.  Lots of Emmy reel stuff for Michelle Stafford (Nina) and Kirsten Storms (Maxie), and Kathleen Gati (Liesl), and hopefully for our directors and crew, also.  They did an amazing job bringing that to life.

This now leaves Josh Swickard as the lone cop now by default on GH.   he PCPD is notorious for being the worst cop shop in the history of soaps! (Laughs) They can’t ever solve a crime.

DOMINIC: (Laughs) I know!  What is Josh is going to do?   Maybe between Chase and Jordan (Vienssa Antoine) they will solve crimes.  Maybe, they’ll bring on a new cop.  Josh is a great guy and I enjoyed working with him.  At the beginning, we had that contentious relationship between the two guys.  That would’ve been fun if it lasted longer, where they had this continual real dislike for one another.  Who knows?  With Dante gone, maybe they will start solving some crimes! (Laughs) Maybe now the PCPD will be the greatest police unit in the USA.

Courtesy/ABC

Over your nine years at GH, would you still consider that your best storyline was coming on to the show and then having Sonny shoot Dante, only for it to turn out that he just shot his own son?

DOMINIC:  Yes, I think you have to.  That was my intro.  They had this story planned eight months before they even cast the role.  To get to that moment, was a classic soap cliffhanger.  I grew up watching soap operas with my grandparents, and if they had been alive for that scene they would have lost it, because it was something that ‘old school’ soap fans would really dig.  For me, doing that story felt so special.  ABC also pumped it with the promotion, and the promos, and the TV spots, and amped it up.  I didn’t feel it disappointed.  It was actually the audition scene that I had to perform to get the part!  Then six months later you get to say these lines that got you the part, and you hope you don’t whiff on the softball.

While putting together and producing the GH 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys, I included that moment between Sonny and Dante.  I remember watching the complete scene before editing it and the dialog was so good.  It still holds up to this day.

DOMINIC:  My manager was at the Emmys that night, and said what a great moment that was.  I meant to thank you for that, because I really appreciated it being in there.

Courtesy/ABC

Are there any other scenes that come to mind that you are most proud of?

DOMINIC:  I also really loved the scenes with Max Gail (Mike). He is a special guy.  There was so much in our scenes; where Dante finds him with Avery in the stables.  Those moments are going to stick with me for a long time.

On June 28th, the airdate of your last episode, you posted a tweet to the fans that read: “The love you guys have given me over the years and continue to give is overwhelming.  It is I that must thank YOU!”  I thought that was extremely touching and very appreciated by the fans.

DOMINIC:  I was thinking, “Man, I have to thank you, because I would not legitimately be here if you hadn’t liked this guy, Dante.”  It was bringing tears to my eyes reading what people were saying, and seeing how much love I was receiving.

Tell me about your role in the British-Canadian production of Tin Star?

DOMINIC:  It’s a recurring role,  I’ve been working on it since March.  It’s something very different from what I’ve been doing the last 9 years.  Can’t give much away, but I play a hired gun type of guy.  There are some great scenes and moments, and I was lucky enough to work with Christina Hendricks, John Lynch, and the legend, Tim Roth.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you feel now that you have had some time away now from GH, and have been playing another role, that the thought of playing Dante for you at this point is like: “Been there. Done that?”

DOMINIC:  I would never say Dante is done forever.  Right now for me, he is.  They left it open, hopefully they left it open for me, but every actor hopes that.  We want our cake and to eat it too!  I want to leave right now, but I want you to want me to come back some day.  No one wants their role to be recast.  But it’s an important character, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  Who knows what the future holds.  I left on good terms.  Just so everyone knows; I didn’t spring something on GH on the last day of my contract.  It’s important that I let people know that I didn’t just wake up one day and say, “See ya”.  This also wasn’t about money.  Sure, we want to be paid what we believe we’re worth.  But this in no way was about me asking for the moon, or I was going to leave.  It was a very, very difficult decision.

So, what do you think about how GH wrapped up Dante’s story for Dominic’s exit? Would you like him to return to GH sooner than later?  Do you think the role of Dante was problematic to write for?  What were your favorite scenes of Dom’s during his time at GH? Let us know via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Jonathan Jackson Talks Avery’s Love Quandary, Saying Goodbye To ‘Nashville’ & If He Would Return To General Hospital

With just three weeks before the series finale of CMT’s Nashville, Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson) finds himself in a major conundrum.  The woman he has loved and had a child with, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panetierre) has returned home after escaping a cult compound, just as Avery has opened himself up to the start of a new relationship with Alannah (Rainee Blake).  After not hearing from Juliette, added to the many times he felt she abandoned him and their child, will a betrayed and hurt Avery want to find a way to patch up their relationship … or try to keep Alannah by his side?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with five-time Daytime Emmy winner, Jonathan Jackson to get the lowdown on what transpired over the last few episodes and how it may end for Avery, as we inch closer and closer to having to say farewell to the Music City drama.

Since Nashville wrapped its sixth and final season a few months back, General Hospital fans have been wondering and hoping, if now is the time that Jackson would return to his role as the beloved Lucky Spencer, the son of Luke (Tony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis). Jackson originated the role in 1993 and stayed with the series till 1999.  He next returned in 2009 for a few years, then left again, and was cast on Nashville.  Jonathan made a special return in 2015 to appear in a storyline that reunited him on-screen with Geary one final time, before the soap icon retired from the show.  In this interview, Jackson addresses a return, some of his favorite moments of all-time on GH, what he learned from Tony and Genie, and more.

Those that follow Jackson are aware that his talent knows no bounds.  He is also focused on his music career, and his band Enation, which has been building on its success, playing recent sold out shows in Europe, while Jackson also had been on the final Nashville tour performing with the cast.  So, buckle up!  The next step in Jackson’s career will be one to watch.  Now, check out our insightful and heartfelt conversation below.

Avery is caught in a compromising position by Juliette, when she walks in while Avery is making out with Alannah, who has just has taken her top off.   What goes on in Avery’s mind at that point?  Is it, “Oh, no! I’m busted!” (Laughs)

JONATHAN:  It’s all sorts of things.  There is the visceral reaction, and then in his mind trying to figure what to do.  It’s sort of awkward, because they are in her house and her photos are everywhere (Laughs).  However clumsily and strange it is, he is trying to move on and get a life together with someone, and yet deep down he still has feeling for Juliette, which is mixed with anger and all of that.  He is having all different confusing conflicting emotions, all at the same time, and for Alannah as well.  It’s kind of a mess!

Courtesy/CMT

By the end of this week’s episode, viewers saw Avery and Juliette start to talk, with Avery letting her know just how he feels about her leaving him, and that he has decided to move out.  All Juliette is asking is that he keeps talking to her.  As Nashville moves toward its conclusion, the big question for the character of Avery will be … who is he going to end up with, if anyone?  I would assume many longtime fans would be rooting for Avery and Juliette, because they have gone through so much together.

JONATHAN:  Yes.  However, I have been receiving messages from fans, and talking to fans on tour, and they are slightly conflicted, too.  There is a lot of love for Avery and Juliette, but there is also frustration around the whole thing, and that they want Avery to move on and be happy. 

Courtesy/CMT

Where is Avery at with his relationship with Alannah?  He was getting close to her, and now she is attempting to put distance between them since Juliette resurfaced.

JONATHAN:  It’s difficult to pinpoint where Avery is at right at this moment.  There is a lot going on, and a lot of it is rooted in the fact that he went to Bolivia to try and bring Juliette home, and when she refused him that was so devastating for him.  The Alannah relationship snuck up on him. In some sense his heart is still attached to Juliette, but his mind is telling him it’s over, and that she is gone.  Avery and Alannah are connected to each other on a certain level.  It surprised both of them.  I think he has genuine feelings for her, but it’s also him pushing himself to move on from Juliette, which is something he has not been able to do.

Without Alannah, the band flounders with Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Avery, and then there is the health situation with Will (Chris Carmack).  Alannah’s presence really put a kink in Gunnar and Avery’s friendship.  She stared out with one guy, and was on her way to being with another.

JONATHAN:  Gunnar and Avery are really good friends and care about each other a lot, and it is certainly an awkward moment in their friendship.   In terms of the band, they lose Will who has been through this health crisis, and then Alannah.  The music components are kind of imploding and they are just trying to hold on to their friendship, and not have that implode along with the band.

Courtesy/CMT

Brad (Jeff Nordling) is making advances towards Alannah, and she originally tells Avery about it.  What does he think of the situation?  Now, she may do whatever Jeff wants her to do to get ahead in the music biz, since Juliette came back into Avery’s life.

JONATHAN:  I think Avery is trying to be supportive of Alannah.  It was a little bit of a blow for her to leave the band, but he generally wants to support her.  Avery has this instinct to be protective, as well.  He kind of has to hold himself back a little bit and not complain too much. He knows Alannah is an independent person, and may not want his help.  With the situation with Brad, Avery is aware of it, but she is walking into that in her own way.  It’s a moment for Avery to sort of step back and trust her that this is how she wants to go about her career.

Did you know Rainee Blake was going to be your potential love interest this season? Did you screen-test with her?

JONATHAN:  We did not screen-test together.  I think relatively earlier on I heard that this might happen, but it is one of those things were you never really know.  Often times, the writers and the producers bide their time and see how things develop as a couple, and how the audience responds to the on-screen chemistry.  You never really know if it’s going to materialize.  I actually did like how Avery and Alannah started to connect on the tour bus several episodes ago. The audience got a tease of a different side of Alannah, and Avery kind of brought that out.  Rainee was great to work with.

Courtesy/CMT

You have gotten the opportunity as Avery to tug on the heartstrings, as a dad raising his little girl, Cadence, all by himself, with a the runaway mother who never shows up.  How was the journey working with Hayden Panetierre?  You two had to battle, bicker, fight, and had to play all these ups and downs together to make the story work over many seasons of Nashville.

JONATHAN:   It was really amazing, and for me that is one of the things I will miss most about working on the show, and that is working with Hayden.  It’s such an interesting thing when you work with people for so many years, and all of the emotional ups and downs that the characters go through.  Often times, we would be doing a lot of intense and emotional scenes, but for whatever reason, we would find a way to have a lot of fun and find the humor when we are doing those.  I have a lot of love and respect for Hayden.  I think she is incredibly talented. We both started off in soap operas (Hayden was Lizzie on Guiding Light) and thus had a certain approach to our work, and our work ethic.  For me, it’s always a highlight in my career when I get to work with somebody that the scene is already great, because of the person you are working with.  We would constantly share ideas back and forth between us.  The thing about working on Nashville was the friendships we developed in the cast, especially going on tour with the cast and to experience all of that with everybody else.

Courtesy/CMT

What happened when you found out that this sixth and final season of Nashville would be its last?  Did you have any idea that this was coming down the pike when you wrapped season 5? 

JONATHAN:  No.  I don’t think anybody knew when we wrapped season 5.  We did not know till right before everybody else that this was going to be the last season.  We were in production maybe halfway through season 6.  I think that it helped having that time to adjust, and it gave us some time for reflection.  It really did help in a sense, because you know other shows they might wrap a month, or two later, and it’s over.  You don’t get to say goodbye, but we really did.  We got to say our goodbyes.

Courtesy/CMT

I can imagine that was heartbreaking.  When you think of the rollercoaster ride you and the cast had been through together which included: the cancellation by ABC, then the show coming back on CMT, only for it to be cancelled again, it’s quite a lot to deal with and not knowing if there is job security.  Do you recall your last day on the set?

JONATHAN:  I do remember it very well.  There were a lot of beautiful moments with people, and having so much love for the crew and so many amazing people that worked on the show.  We wrapped on April 10th and then we flew to the U.K. on the 12th   It was two days later that the tour started.  Even though filming was over, we were on a plane and then on a bus together, which was really good for all of us.  I know it was for me to have another ending.  In some ways, the end of the tour was even more emotional, because that really felt it was the end.

Photo Credit: CMT

Do you think there were more stories to tell on Nashville … or, do you think the series is going off the air when it should, as the stories can tend to get repetitive on any long-running series? Do you think this was the right time for Nashville to say goodbye?

JONATHAN:  I don’t know how other people’s perspectives are about it, but I know from my perspective, I think we told the story that was there to be told for these characters.  That is sort of the bittersweet reality of it.  It’s painful to say goodbye to a lot of people that I had become very close to, but at the same time, there was a sense of peace about it.  It really did feel like the right time.

What can you say tease about how Nashville concludes? The series finale airs on July 26.

JONATHAN:  One of the hardest things about being in a long form series; whether it be in the primetime format, or the daytime format, is often times the lack of resolution that takes place. You are pertually in Act 2 and in all the drama.  So, knowing that the show was over, allowed the writers to approach everything from the perspective of the end, and Act 3.  Certain storylines have resolution, and others are left open-ended.  There is a good overall balance from the writers of what the audience is going to experience with the end of the show.

Courtesy/ABC

I produced the General Hospital 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys.  I remember looking at some of your storylines and touching performances all over again that still hold up to this day.  One in particular was Lucky pulling tough love on Luke (Tony Geary) during his father’s intervention.  Lucky is such a valuable character on the canvas.  Would you consider going back to GH? 

JONATHAN:  My perspective on that is; I don’t really put that off the table.  I really don’t have plans to do that, because after coming off six years on a series, that is a lot.  I am definitely looking for other projects that have an Act 1, 2, and 3, that happen a little sooner than Nashville did.  I always have going back to GH on the table, because it’s like a family for me.  I have always said that that even when I left in the 90’s; that GH would be something I would come back to.  But, I am very committed and excited about what is happening with Enation, and excited about some other projects that are out there on the acting front. I don’t see going back to GH in the near future, but I never write it off.

When you last returned you did come back to be part of Tony Geary’s exit.

JONATHAN: Yes, yes, which I was really happy to be a part of.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Still years later, when you think of all the stories you portrayed as Lucky, is there one, or two that stand out to you among the rest?

JONATHAN:   There are many.  There were a lot of stories, and the writers wrote so much material, and that is a double-edged sword.  It’s great to have, but it was so much that I really couldn’t continue. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: ABC

I remember saying to you years ago, “You cry so well on camera. They are going to keep expecting you to cry, and they will be throwing scripts like that to you every day!”

JONATHAN:  And that is exactly what happened!   But for me, it’s the moments with the co-stars that I will always carry with me.  There are endless ones in my memory with Tony Geary. “The intervention” was certainly one of those moments.  I had those moments as well with Tyler Christopher (Ex-Nikolas, now Stefan, DAYS), and Becky Herbst (Elizabeth).  I remember having these scenes with Maurice Benard (Sonny) when scenes on the soaps were much longer.  And of course, earlier on, with Genie Francis (Laura) as well.  I feel like as an artist, I was really formed by Tony and Genie’s presence and observing them and watching how they worked.  I asked so many questions to them as I really wanted to learn.  They really protected me in so many ways, and yet gave me the freedom to try to find my own way through a whole process as well.  Those are the things that really jump out at me, as well as working through the scenes prior to filming, especially with Tony.  He and I would go pretty deep with what we were trying to figure out; what the scenes were, and what they were about, and how to approach it.  That part of the process was really memorable to me.  The unique thing I think in this industry for me was that I started at 11-years-old and got to come back to the show in my mid-20’s, and got to have that connection with another actor, and explore this father and son relationship.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I don’t think, and I really mean this, that there has been a father/son relationship on television like Luke and Lucky’s.   It was so multi-faceted.   Have you stayed in touch with Tony?

JONATHAN:  We definitely stay in touch.  Again, when I left General Hospital, I did not know if anything like that would happen again in my career where I would form sort of long-lasting friendships with people.  Most of the time you do a film and you get to know some people, and you go your separate ways, and that’s just how it is.  So I was really grateful for Nashville, because I feel like we were able to have those long-lasting relationships. I can’t really put into words my relationship with Tony.  It’s just a lot of love and gratitude, and respect that I have for him.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagram

Meanwhile, your music career is very exciting of late.  Last month, you played the Royal Albert Hall in London with your band, Enation.  How was that experience?

JONATHAN:  It was amazing.  I went overseas with the Nashville tour and then Enation did a couple of shows, and then we opened for Echo & the Bunnymen.  The last gig on that tour was at Royal Albert Hall.  I have loved Echo & the Bunnymen for such a long time, and so this was wonderful for us.

Will Enation be touring more coming up?  

JONATHAN:  We are looking to go back to Europe later this year, or the spring of next year, and are working out those details.  We are going to be touring in the United States later on this year.

Photo: JJacksonInstagram

Did your wife Lisa (Ex-Hannah, GH) meet up with you on this recent European tour?

JONATHAN: The Nashville tour ended in Ireland, and then my wife and kids came over for the last two shows there. Then, got to go around Ireland for a couple of weeks and drive around, and it was fun.

Did you notice a difference between the European music fans of Nashville as opposed to those in the U.S.?

JONATHAN:  Yes, and no.  One of the things I have noticed playing over there is that the distinction in musical genres isn’t quite as a sharp as it is in the U.S.  Over there, the radio seems to play a lot different kinds of music.  So, it was a pretty seamless transition for a lot of the people that came to the Nashville show.   We see a slight difference in the music fan base, and it mainly has to do with that they may go to a country show one week, and a couple of weeks later go to a rock concert, and not think twice about the genre.  It’s just they are looking for good music.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagramm

Hard to believe we are turning the page on another great character played by Jonathan Jackson as Nashville heads towards its finale.  What would you like to say to the fans, the #Nashies, who have loved, and have stuck with show every step of the way?

JONATHAN:  Just a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all the support, especially when the show was cancelled.  CMT saw the enthusiasm and support from the fans here and internationally, and that was a huge part for us to be able to get the last few seasons.  It has really meant a lot to us creatively to write that 3rd act, sort of speak, and have that sense of closure. I also would just say to the fans that have come out to the Nashville concerts as well, that it has meant so much.  We feel like we have had some beautiful moments with everybody, and so I am very grateful for that.

So, what do you think will happen to Avery at the end of Nashville?  Do you want him to end up with Juliette, Alannah, or by himself? Should GH try to lure Jonathan back to the his role as Lucky Spencer? Comment below!

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Interviews

Y&R’s Peter Bergman Talks On: Jack Finding His True Biological Father, His Co-Stars, And If He Would Like A New Love Interest

On The Young and the Restless turns out Ashley (Eileen Davidson) is not the only child raised as an Abbott; whose father is not John.  As viewers learned back at the end of March, Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) is not the biological son of the Abbott patriarch, either!  This has sent Jack on a pursuit to find out who he truly is, and who he truly belongs to, because being John Abbott’s (Jerry Douglas) son meant everything to him.

Once again, this story has given multi-Daytime Emmy winner, Peter Bergman an opportunity to play the complex layers of one of daytime’s best characters.  Recently, Jack had gone through his mother Dina’s (Marla Adams) old diary, where there was a key page missing out of it.  He then located a photo, which led him to believe that none other than late Phillip Chancellor II (played by the late Donnelly Rhodes) is his real father.  Is Jack a Chancellor?

Hell-bent on exhuming the body for DNA proof, Jack is getting massive pushback from just about everyone on Genoa City.  It is not helping the situation that Dina is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and her recollections of what transpired years ago when she had an affair, may not be accurate.  Now this week, Jack has a plan that may backfire and ends up involving his son, Kyle (Michael Mealor) in the process.  Will these two work together to get the proof of the truth?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with the actor’s actor, Peter Bergman to get his take on: the surprise story twist he never saw coming, if Jack has the purest of intentions, or if he is just chomping at the bit get his hands on Chancellor Industries, if he would like to see Jack have a new love interest, and more.  It’s always a treat to speak with Peter.  Here is what he had to say about Jack’s latest inner-turmoil.

Jack is not John’s Abbott’s son.  He is searching for the answer of who is his biological father.  Now, Jack believes he has found the answer in the photo he found that included Phillip Chancellor II, and then went to Dina to confirm the answer, even knowing his mother is battling Alzheimer’s disease.  Don’t you think he jumped on this notion of Phillip being his dad all too son?

PETER:  Jack has stumbled upon evidence that this is for real with the photo he found.  He went to Dina on what was a very lucid day for her, and she was pretty damn clear.  So, therefore it wasn’t just the ramblings of a lost woman.  Jack is very eager for an answer.  Could it be argued that he jumped on this as a possibility? Yes, and for a number of reasons.  First, he feels somewhat utter-less and needs to be connected to something, but he also knows his family, and the history of this family, and “Oh, my God” could that be a way out of this untethered feeling that he had.  So he is really grabbing on to this pretty quickly.  Second, it is not lost on Jack that part of inheriting all of Phillip’s traits might also bring him part of the Chancellor estate, which would belong to Jack and perhaps he could pick-up at the corporate level where he left off.  So that is exciting, but certainly not central to his thinking.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Everyone thinks from Cane (Daniel Goddard) to Jill (Jess Walton), to Billy (Jason Thompson) , that all Jack truly wants is to stake claim as an heir and to try to take control of Chancellor Industries.  Are they that far off from the truth?

PETER:  How honest is Jack being with himself?  We will find out!  He would want to stake his claim … and maybe a little bit more!

What was your reaction when you learned that Jack would be revealed to be the son of Phillip Chancellor II, when for decades you have been playing so much of what drives your character that he is the son of John Abbott?  Were you like, “What!??” (Laughs)

PETER:  I have been doing this much too long, to go “Why?”  I, quite frankly ask, “Where do you want to go with this?  Where do you want to take me?” The things that I have done in the past that I have fought the most have usually been the things that really led me somewhere.  I tell the story all the time of John Abbott dying.  They decided to bring him back as Jack’s conscious, and he would appear in scenes with Jack and talk to him.  I thought “C’mon. This is The Young and the Restless, and I am doing a ‘ghost’ storyline?”  I fought it and I didn’t like it, and I was wrong.  It was fantastic, and it worked great, and the audience liked it.  I learned from it.   I don’t go, “Whaaat?” that much anymore.  There have been a few of those including: the whole doppelganger story, while it confused me at times, and I thought this had gone a few steps too far, but it led us to Billy/Phyllis/Jack story. It was a direct line to that, and one of the most dynamic storylines I have ever been in.  So, I see this current story, and I go, “That is an interesting turn.”  Then, as an actor, I dig into it.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Jack wants to exhume Phillip’s body and everybody from Jill to Cane is objecting.  Esther (Kate Linder) is worried Mrs. C. will roll over in her grave if he does this move.  As we will see, Jack does not take “no” for answer.

PETER:  Jack eventually all but gives up, but then a door opens slightly for him to look at this a different way   Jack reluctantly walks through that door.

Do you think Jack has ever thought of the possibility of: “What if I am the son of someone from the circus … or the former pool boy at the country club?”

PETER:  I have thought it’s amusing when I have met people who have explored their past lives. They have always been a prince or a princess. They were never menial laborers.  I think he looks back and is kind of curious.  I think Jill points it out to him that he is not at all suspicious that he is the pool boy, or the golf pro’s offspring?  He knows the tryst happened at the country club, and so the first person you think of is one of the elite of the country club. 

Courtesy/CBS

It would be such a huge devastating fall for Jack if something like that turned out to be true!  Jack so wants to belong to a family that has wealth and prestige that goes along with their name.  I wonder what it would be like if he had to say, “Yes. It’s true.  I am the pool boy’s son!” (Laughs)

PETER:  I don’t know how that would fit Jack.

How is working with the latest Kyle, you’re on-screen son, played by Michael Mealor? The part had been recast multiple times and the actor didn’t stick.

PETER:  I cannot say enough good things about Michael.  This is an extremely disciplined, very talented, and very professional guy.  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him.  I think he is doing a great job.  Michael gets looser every show.  He likes to take big chances and try a lot of things.  We have had a lot of young actors on the show and what they do is try to project that they are cool.  They don’t go outside of the, “I’m going to be cool, and honest, and real.”  They say, “I am going to be solid, and make simple choices.”  Michael takes big chances doing large stuff, and going overboard  That’s scary do to as an actor, but I watch him in scenes with Hunter King (Summer) where he is trying to appear cool, but just her physical prescience gets to him.  You can see it in his performances and it’s wonderful to watch.   It’s lovely to see in a 26-year-old and it’s fantastic.  I have high hopes for Michael.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

This version of Kyle seems to be a bit of a chip-off-the-old-block.  He can play dirty just like his dad!

PETER:  As far as where Kyle is at … he is like Jack Abbott.  He is not a good guy, nor a bad guy.  Kyle is a bit of an opportunist with a heart, who wants to feel a part of things, but he also takes advantage of the situation, in a way that sometimes works against that. 

We saw Jack stumble and drink again as he fights his addiction when learning the news that John is not is biological father.  Do you see him stumbling again, and going back to popping pills and booze, if Phillip Chancellor II were not to wind up being his dad?

PETER:  I don’t know if he will see him spiraling, but it is worth saying for someone who is a constant and has a had guiding light of  ‘what’s right, and what’s wrong” and that now has been taken away from him essentially when John Abbot goes “Jack!”, that is a game-changer.  What we can expect from Jack now may change.  Jack isn’t as bound by “what would dad do” as he once was.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, we may be surprised with a turn in attitude from Jack?

PETER:  You may be surprised.  So much of his life, and certainly so much of what I play is that Jack has spent his whole life trying to be like John Abbott, because John Abbott is his father.   Now that is not so. So, how much effort should Jack be putting in to being like John Abbott?

Good point!

PETER:  It will be interesting to see where that goes!

We have seen many actors in the soaps portray drug and alcohol addiction. When Jack’s played itself out originally, it was one of the most harrowing to watch.

PETER:  He got to a dark place very fast.  It was out of control.  It was an important part of the Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) and Jack story, because he honestly did not have the strength to do it by himself, and he had somebody to help him through it   As it turned out, it was a formative experience for Jack and for Phyllis; one that they carry with them for the rest of their lives. They know things about each other that the rest of the world does not know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Billy recently read Jack the riot act, when Jack told his brother about being Phillip Chancellor’s son.  Having had it with Jack, Billy threw him out of his office.  Where do you think the relationship stands between the brothers at this point?

PETER:  It’s really hard for Jack.  He is still on the board at Jabot.  He has family ties there, and he still gets the checks, but it feels so weird for him, it really does.  He is trying to be a bigger man and let Billy do what Billy is going to do.  Deep down inside Jack has known Billy for a really long time, and when Billy sort of combusts, boy, does he go! Jack hates that Billy is holding the reins of Jabot, if things fall apart for Billy.

Viewers are seeing Billy turning to gambling again.  What would Jack do if he finds out what is happening to his brother?

PETER:  I don’t know what he could do.  I am not sure what he could do to stop the CEO of the company as things currently stand.  It’s hard for Jack to relax around Billy. It’s not a promising situation.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you think the Jack and Bill will ultimately be there for each other when the chips are down moving forward?

PETER:  Jack has a soft place in his heart for addicts for reasons we both know, and a soft spot for family.  It will be interesting to see how well Jack’s patience holds up, if Billy should go down that particular rabbit hole.

Do you think Jack might visit Chancellor Park and have a chat with the late Katherine about the revelation about Phillip and Dina?

PETER:  I think Jack is really trying to be realistic about all of this.  It could clearly be proven, but he is impatient.  He could wait for Chance and Phillip III to come back from their Himalayan trip, but he does not want to wait.  It’s just so easy if everyone would be practical about this, and get some fragment of Phillip’s remains, and there would be a DNA test.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Jack’s nemesis, Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) is having a lot of issues, too.  This includes his mysterious health diagnosis …

PETER:  Oh, damn! (Laughs)

How does Jack feel about Victor these days and the plight that he is in?

PETER:  Jack has such contempt for Victor.  However, Jack can occasionally see that Victor is important to some people, but Victor to Jack is everything that is wrong in the world.  As to the fact that he is struggling right now, does Jack wish bad physical health on him, or anybody?  No. However, if things didn’t go easily for Victor, Jack would not lose any sleep over it.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Don’t you think it’s time for Jack to have a real, honest-to-goodness, love interest?

PETER:  Jack should have a new love interest.  I think the writers and the producers of The Young and the Restless are paying me a lot for half of what I do.

Jack should find true love.  Someone who will be with him and whom he loves with all his heart, and someone who loves him back, flaws and all.  A romance where he is not manipulating her, or she is not manipulating him, for financial or corporate gain.   Do you think at this point that is even possible?

PETER:  I think that would be a swell thing, but that would be a daytime show investing in an actress that is over 40-years-old.  They have done it, but it’s a rare thing.  But yes, I do feel like we are seeing two-thirds of Jack.  There is another third of him that is completely unexplored and that’s a shame.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

We saw those heartbreaking scenes that aired last year where Jack had to admit to Ashley that his mother has Alzheimer’s.  How is he going to continue in his relationship with Dina knowing she has had multiple affairs throughout her life, and when married to John?

PETER:  This is a real difficult place for Jack.  Obviously, he has his mother back in his life in one sense, but his mother has been responsible for pretty much everything that has gone wrong in his life over the last two years.  It’s just one thing after another.  Had his mother been faithful to John, Jack would not be in this situation.  Had his mother not returned, we could have gone on with life as it was, and now all this mess is in part Dina’s doing.  Now, Jack has moved out of the house and so his mother is slipping away by the minute, and Jack is not around for it.  He keeps visiting, and he keeps stopping by, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough.  Jack struggles with that a lot.  He should be more in Dina’s life and be around for that, but being around for that means being in the Abbott house.  Everywhere he looks are reminders that he is not who he told himself he is for his entire life.

One of the more endearing moments came at this year’s Daytime Emmys, after Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R) took to the stage to accept her award for Outstanding Lead Actress.  She thanked you while you were in the audience.

PETER:  This is in keeping with my new plan for the Emmys each year,  What I do is: I try to get a nomination so that I can sit in the audience after I have lost and hear the winner for Lead Actress thank me personally. (Laughs)  I am two for two in the last two years! (Laughs) Gina Tognoni had won that category the year prior.  Eileen Davidson is the greatest, and she has been for all intent and purposes my leading lady on Y&R.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Now, Eileen Davidson has announced, and made the decision to leave her role as Ashley.

PETER:   I can’t say enough things about her.  I adore her … I adored working with her. She is every bit as good as everybody thinks she is.  She comes to work prepared   She never needs hand- holding or spoon-feeding.  Eileen is the real deal; had she been one of Jack’s lovers that would have been over a long time ago.  The fact that she is his sister is fantastic.  Now with her exiting the show, I will miss her terribly.

In closing, viewers should watch for Jack’s next move?

PETER:  Jack is not leaving any stone unturned.  He has to figure out who he is, and desperate times call for desperate measures.

So, do you think Phillip Chancellor II is truly Jack’s biological father?  If not, who do you think is?  What have you thought of Peter Bergman’s performance in the storyline? Would you like to see Jack have a new love interest?  If so, who would you like to see the series bring onto the show to play opposite him? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Next week on Y&R, Hilary is fighting for her life, but the prognosis is not good. Friends and loved ones come to the hospital and ask for forgiveness and to tell her to fight. But how can she? Watch the latest promo from CBS Daytime below. Leave A Comment

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