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THE JOSHUA MORROW INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

josh_mic_crop.jpg

This week on “Y&R”: Nick sleeps with Sharon again, Phyllis loses it and Sharon winds up in trouble with the law,

and Nick walks out on Phyllis. Just another week in the lives of three of Genoa City’s most notable citizens! With so many “Phick” and “Shick” fans defending the partnership they believe should win out and what woman should ultimately own Nick, I decided it’s time to chat with the man at the epicenter of the controversial story, actor Joshua Morrow.

This leading man certainly had his hands full these days playing opposite heavy hitters Michelle Stafford and Sharon Case. In this revealing interview: Joshua talks about his feelings about the storyline, working with his leading ladies, and how playing the not-so-upstanding Nicholas Newman these days, may come with a price from the fans. However he clarifies that that he is relishing this hot storyline.
Joshua also offers up some insight as
to who Nick should and will ultimately
end up with, this time.

One of the most underrated actors in daytime, who delivers real and honest performances day after day, no matter what the material… here is Joshua!

Listen to the audio:

[display_podcast]

MICHAEL:

This week Nick sleeps with Sharon again, and they went to the cabin, again and did it there, again! What is going on in Nick’s mind? I have so many “Phick” and “Shick” fans that want me to talk to the guy at the center of all of this.

JOSHUA:

Well honestly, he goes to the cabin just to find his son. I don’t think he had ulterior motives as far as sleeping with Sharon. Sharon calls to tell him that Noah went up to the Abbott cabin with Eden. They are trying to keep those two apart right now, and he literally goes up there just to find his son. When he doesn’t find his son there, then the two of them decide not to leave, which I am sure is very shocking to soap fans everywhere! (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

Is he feeling that Sharon is just falling apart and he has to save her? Or, does he really love her and knows it, and is conflicted?

JOSHUA:

I think there is story that was not finished with Sharon. Nick feels very responsible for the death of Cassie that led to the break-up of their marriage. Nick feels it’s entirely his fault. Then he helped break up the marriage by being with Phyllis, and he is really putting it all on his shoulders. It’s hard for him to let her go because he feels, “I am the one who messed this up.” Sharon has revealed to him that she is still in love with him and can’t really move on, and Nick can’t seem to let her go. With that said, he is very much in love with Phyllis. He is not like, “I have to get rid of this one to be with this one.” No, this is a sucker who is in love with two hot women, and I do not envy him.

MICHAEL:

He really is in love with two women at this point?

JOSHUA:

threesome.jpgYes. He is genuinely in love with two women and he can’t make a decision. That is causing problems for both women and it’s hurting everybody. Nick is not going into this with malicious intent to hurt these women. He does not know what to do. He can’t let go of Sharon, but he started this beautiful new family with Phyllis and he is crazy about her. He feels an allegiance to Phyllis. Nick was in a bad place and Phyllis helped him find his smile again, and let him know that life was great and
you can have a good time
again. He can’t just let her go.
Of course, there is his child,
Summer, and if he leaves
Phyllis then Summer pays
for it.

MICHAEL:

In a recent On-Air On-Soaps interview, Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) defended Phyllis’s point of view, because if you look at it, Nick cheated on her. Do you and Michelle have talks off screen about what the two of you really think of this story, and does the story make sense?

JOSHUA:

At times, we think it makes sense. I mean Phyllis is not making it easy for Nick to stay because she is doing all these stupid things that drive him crazy, which kind of is a testament to their relationship because he keeps going back to her. First, there was the Brad situation and these capers she has pulled to set Sharon up. He really does not approve of that. This story gets a little unbelievable at that point, but it’s what we do. We have to tell the stories to the best of our abilities. We don’t write it.

MICHAEL:

This week on-air Nick walks out on Phyllis!

phyllis_nick_summer.jpgJOSHUA:

I do walk out on her and I do leave, and there are a lot of things left unsaid. They kind of get to the point where they are, “We don’t know what we are going to do, and until Nick figures out who he wants to be with, we are just going to keep having this problem.” But they don’t ever have this conversation, where he
says, “I’m leaving,” till now.
He has just had it with what
Phyllis is doing. She is kind
of pushing him into Sharon’s
arms and Sharon is still
crazy! So who knows?

MICHAEL:

Um, Sharon’s a clepto!

JOSHUA:

She is crazy! Nick is genuinely concerned about Sharon’s well being. Yes, he is still attracted to her, but a lot of this stems from Nicks’ need to protect her, because he sees her unraveling.

MICHAEL:

So, when Phyllis says “Sharon is a slut,” does it not register to him?

JOSHUA:

sharon_black.jpgIt registers to him in a bad way. He does not like that Phyllis is attacking Sharon in the state she is in. She seems kind of vulnerable and susceptible to people saying things about her. So, Nick feels he has to protect her, and how many times has Nick told Phyllis to back away from Sharon? It can’t be easy for Phyllis to hear. I totally understand why Phyllis would feel this way, because Nick is not making it easy for her to accept, because what he is saying to her is that he is totally with her. But then, he is always on the phone with Sharon and always wondering about how she is. It’s really difficult. Nick is caught in the middle and it’s really hard to play him where he doesn’t seem like a total jerk. He says all of these amazing beautiful things to Phyllis, and then he turns around and is sniffing around Sharon. It’s really hard to do.

MICHAEL:

When you are faced with this as an actor, how do you not make Nick look like a complete jerk?

JOSHUA:

It’s almost darn near impossible. Michelle told me, “You have the toughest job in this one, because it’s hard to get any sympathy from the viewers if you are going about it in this way.” It’s not very believable to have people seeing him saying, “I am committed to you Phyllis,” and on the other hand he is with Sharon. It’s not easy to do.

MICHAEL:

Are you concerned about viewer’s backlash towards Nick because of the predicament he finds himself in?

JOSHUA:

I am not concerned, because my job is not to be palatable to the audience. I want to tell a convincing story. I have never been a man in love with two women. I can only imagine what that must be like.

MICHAEL:

It’s difficult enough being in love with one woman!

JOSHUA:

I agree. But if I need to look like an ass and a bad guy, so be it. If that’s what it takes to keep people interested and to tell a good story, then I will do it. I’ve got big shoulders.

MICHAEL:

I don’t think its coming off that way. I think it’s coming off as he is confused.

smile_poker.jpgJOSHUA:

Michelle said, “It’s impossible for people to hate you. All you have to do is smile.” So now I smile a lot and I am going with Michelle on this one. I am going to keep smiling, even in non-smiling situations. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

Are you aware of the great debate between the “Phick” and “Shick” fans?

JOSHUA:

Yes I am. They are rabid!

MICHAEL:

Many fans feel Phyllis should have walked out on Nick before he walked out on her. Do you agree?

JOSHUA:

I do. I can’t see a scenario in real life where a woman would put up with this much crap from a donkey, like Nick has been. I am totally sympathetic to the Phyllis case. She has been through the ringer. She has put up with much more than any woman should ever have to. But Nick’s got something special that Phyllis just can’t get out of her system. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

I see! Speaking of something special… let’s talk about sex! Nick and Phyllis are sex-personified. That is what I always see from Nick and Phyllis. Isn’t that the main basis of their relationship?

JOSHUA:

It is, and it’s probably not the best basis to have. Michelle and I constantly say, “These two people cannot keep their hands off of each other and at the end of the day they go back to that.” We play back-story all the time, where they just come into a scene where they’ve finished having sex or they are getting ready to have sex. That’s what these characters do. It’s all about sex with these two. I think the audience responds to that, and I think it’s a great story. I don’t think they show it enough.

MICHAEL:

So, you think they have should have more sex scenes?

JOSHUA:

I do. I think they should have more sex scenes. I think it’s a cool quality that these characters have; that they are so totally turned on by each other.

MICHAEL:

What do you think is the basis of Sharon and Nick’s relationship?

sharon_josh_france.jpgJOSHUA:

Sharon and Nick are each other’s first loves. It’s Romeo and Juliet. They are star-crossed lovers who literally were meant to be together. Their story was interrupted by a tragic event and that led to other events with Phyllis, and it’s just an unfinished story. They were kids when they met and they fell in love. No one wanted them together, and no one thought they should be together. They beat all the odds, and then
it fell apart. So they will
never get each other out
of their systems.

MICHAEL:

Sharon gets in trouble with the law when they find all her stolen items in her hotel room, thanks to Phyllis. Does Sharon go to jail?

JOSHUA:

Sharon wants to turn herself in and confess and Nick does not want her to do that. He is telling her, “Going to jail is not good for anyone and you are not going there. We are getting you a lawyer.”

MICHAEL:

Phyllis told Nick that Sharon slept with Billy. You kind of did not react in the scene to that. Is Nick not jealous of that fact?

JOSHUA:

As an actor, I wanted it to kind of wash over me. I did not want it to become a big deal, because that wasn’t what that scene was about. That hurt him, and I think they should have gone into it, and never addressed it with any other character. I think that would have been cool to tell, but I just wanted to color him for a second and then move on. Right now, Nick’s purpose is to keep Sharon out of trouble and to help get her healthy. What she did on her own time, even though I pretend it’s none of my business, it is. But, I am not going to let anybody else see that.

MICHAEL:

Working with Michelle, what do you think she brings as an actress to your story?

michelle_nick_laugh.jpgJOSHUA:

She is one of the best actors I have ever seen in my life, and that includes any theater and any movie. I love her unpredictability.
I never know what she is going to do.

MICHAEL:

Does it ever bother you, that perhaps, you can’t ‘ping- pong’ back with her
in a scene?

JOSHUA:

I relish that opportunity. I look forward to that moment where I have no idea what she is going to do. Michelle is a whirling dervish of energy and spunk that is unmatched around here. Now, I have had very few acting jobs. I have done some theater and a couple small movies and “Y&R”, so my experience in working with actors is just with a small pool of them to draw from. Michelle is so incredible! The moments that take my breath away are when she says nothing. She does not have to say anything to convey the most impactful thing I have ever seen or witnessed. The scenes I have played where Nick has hurt Phyllis, are crushing to me as a human being. I see how it consumes her, like no other actor I have been around, and she is amazing. I could never say this to her face because I would get embarrassed and run away, but she has taught me more about acting than anyone in the world.

MICHAEL:

Michelle told me that you are not over-rehearsed and you are very real, and that is what is so unique about your performances.

JOSHUA:

I don’t want to run lines with people and have the material so perfect that I am delivering each line and being too locked in. People who have their lines down forward and back, and spot on, tend to give a similar performance. So, I really want to know my material when I go out there and hit the set, because nowadays you get one take, maybe two, and it’s not like the old days. I want it to be real, where in normal relationships maybe you don’t always know what the right thing to say is at the moment. It’s the way I approach it, and it’s free and easy and relaxed, which is how I live my life.

MICHAEL:

What about working with Sharon Case (Sharon)? Were you happy about this turn of events, possibly reuniting with Sharon from a story perspective? Or, do you prefer Nick with one woman or the other?

JOSHUA:

josh_main.jpgIt’s kind of difficult for me to do. I had ten years with Sharon. They were ten solid great years, but I felt I was ready for a change, or I am going to fall into a pit here. I need some movement. So they broke us up at a great time and did it in a good way. Now, I am kind of ambivalent about it because I love working with Michelle Stafford. I laugh with her all the time, and laughing is one of my favorite things in the world. Look, they are going to break us up. It’s going to happen, so I feel very sad about that. The alternative is I am going to go back with Sharon. I have said this many times, and unfortunately Sharon Case has taken this the wrong way, “I don’t want to get rushed back into another ten year romance with someone, whether it be Sharon or Farah Fawcett. It doesn’t matter who it is.” That being said, I look forward to working with Sharon again. We have told some great stories. Sharon has taken this the wrong way because I had said that in the press, so to clarify: “I am absolutely looking forward to working with Sharon. I just did not want to go to a happy marriage in the tack house where we are talking about what we are going to have for dinner and some cute things the baby did.” Happy sucks! I don’t want to go back and be happy now. Now, I will go back with Sharon in a heartbeat, where there is a messy, drawn out story where there are problems. That I will look forward to.

MICHAEL:

We talked about working with Michelle; now for equal time, tell me about working with Sharon?

JOSHUA:

I have invested a large part of my real life with Sharon. The thing I take from Sharon is she gives me the most honest performance of anyone. It’s everyday, and it’s honest, and it’s from her heart. It’s totally believable, and I want to protect her and care for her in real life, and watch out for her. She is just that honest. I never see her on-screen and go “that’s acting”. For me, I see this beautiful person saying beautiful things.

MICHAEL:

I think there have been a lot of fans unhappy about Sharon’s breakdown and her actions and her sleeping around. Some are backlashing the character right now.

JOSHUA:

I think that’s unfair. I am speaking of the character of Sharon in real time. For somebody who would go through something like she has, they would tend to act irrationally. So, it does not make sense to me why people would attack this character that way.

MICHAEL:

How far ahead do you know what’s going to happen in this story?

JOSHUA:

We are three weeks ahead of shooting, and I have scripts a week in advance. So all I know is one month ahead. My role on the show is clearly defined. I show up, I generally take my shirt off and say my lines.

eric_melody.jpgMICHAEL:

What did you think about your on-air parents, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) and Eric Braeden (Victor), not receiving pre-Emmy nominations?

JOSHUA:

They are legends. I am not a fan of the Emmy process now. I don’t know what the solution is, but I don’t know how Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden don’t just have a permanent Emmy nomination stamp.

MICHAEL:

If we were to tease the audience, what’s coming up for Phyllis/Nick/Sharon?

JOSHUA:

Lots of problems! These three don’t mesh well together. It’s some crazy times ahead. The “Phick” fans are not going to be happy, and the “Shick” fans are not going to be happy. As far as who he chooses, Nick does not have a decision yet. At some point, the guy has to make a decision. I mean the story is gold, but how long can we keep telling it? I don’t want to sound ego-centric, but it’s so much fun telling it, and I know its working on TV. It’s been a blast and the most fun you could ever have.

MICHAEL:

The show is so on track right now. There was a year there under Lynn Latham (ex-head writer and executive producer, “Y&R”) where it felt derailed. Now it’s got its footing back. Did you notice a difference in the scripts with the dream writing team of Maria Arena Bell, Hogan Sheffer, et al?

JOSHUA:

Of course! The way we tell the story now fits what we did in the past. Our formula has worked for 36 years, and there is no sense to rewrite that. And Maria Arena Bell came in, cleaned it up and it’s back to telling stories like we normally do.

tobe_josh.jpgMICHAEL:

Is your wife, Tobe, rooting with you to be with Phyllis or Sharon?

JOSHUA:

Tobe does not care. She just wants me home by dinnertime to do bath time with the kids and read them books. If I can do that, it helps her with her day.

MICHAEL:

Just a final thought: What did you think about Guiding Light’s cancellation and the future of soaps?

JOSHUA:

I am not surprised. It’s a changing business and the model for some of
these lower rated shows is not like the
old days. People are kidding themselves
if they think all of them are going to last
forever. I would bet 3 or 4 might also
be gone soon.

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Jolene Beth MorganAnneLULULinda StevensKim Mathenge Recent comment authors
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Linda Stevens
Linda Stevens

I think you shoud always leave Nick in a turmoil he created this situation and he should have to live with always loving two women-Phyliss/Nick are so hot together Sharon/Nick no matter how you try to keep the scenes between them hot there’s always something missing- there’s something about phyl’nick when they are together They are totally hot. Makes me want to tune into the show.Love phyliss. Shaon is geat also but nick and phyliss are the best.But let nick run around always in Limbo about loving two totally different women

Dianne Chapman
Dianne Chapman

I love listening to Josh Morrow. Besides his sexy voice, we share the same views about many things. I love Nik 7 Sharon together, but it isn’t any fun if it isn’t “messy”!

Kim Mathenge
Kim Mathenge

What’s going on with sharon these days she shoots adam and still loves him What. love the actress/ actors but that makes nosense. She should have stayed with jack. they all lie to her who cares. Jack didn’t steal faith or terrorize anybody. 2 wrongs don’t make a right but if it’s about lying then. i prefer nick and sharon or phyllis and sharon . if phyllis is not with. it better then adam/sharon phyllis/sharon those 2 love each other.

Linda Stevens
Linda Stevens

It is kind of sad what the writers are doing to young and the restless. No storyline seems to make sense anymore.The jump so fast from scenes-its had to know what they really have in mind for the viewers-Since parting of Phyliss and Nick I do not tune in much anymore- But I would tune in ,in a heartbeat to see Josh and michelle doing theire thing together, both great actors and they do it naturally when they have scenes together-oh well just my opinion

LULU
LULU

Its just that it gets a bit irritating when the Sharon/Nick/Phillis story goes on forever.
Just make your final choice once and for all Nick! The Sharon being miss goody too shoes and Nick’s indecisiveness is very annoying.

Despite that,I think Josh,you’re a great actor.
(I totally agree with Linda Steven’s first sentence)

Anne
Anne

Well that kind of says it all. Tossing in my Shick fancard and including my JM fan card. What a jerk!!! He said something in the press that caused Phick fans to spread rumors that Sharon Case is difficult to work with and the best he can do is that? Sharon was really hurt by that and you’d think after she helped make him and the Shick pairing popular he’d be grateful. .Again what a jerk!! Michael doesn’t have a problem with her and pimps his joy at working with her all the time on twitter. JM sounds just like the character, full of himself. But nearly 2 years down the track and good ole Nick his humping the old broad Daddy wants. Sharon the character may look like a looney tune but Sharon Case has the juicy storyline. Karma is bitch JM wallow in it

Anne
Anne

Just have to add…soo happy she doesn’t have to work with him much anymore and with a bit of luck Sharon being with Adam will end Shick forever to the point where they never have to share a scene again. JM should be happy with that.

Jolene Beth Morgan
Jolene Beth Morgan

I love Joshua Morrow and Eric Braeden and Melody Thomas Scott and I loved when Heather Tom played Victoria, the Newman clan was perfect then. Amelia Heinle is probably a very dear person and a fair actress, but Heather Tom WAS Victoria. Would love to see Heather Tom return to the role of Victoria, but it most likely will not happen since she is so popular on the Bold and the Beautiful. I also loved it when Sharon Case and Eric Braeden acted together in a romantic story line, there was alot of chemistry between them on camera. Also love Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden togther.

Interviews

Melody Thomas Scott Chats On 40 Years As The Young and the Restless’ Incomparable Nikki: The Men, The Booze, The Drama

Today marks Y&R icon Melody Thomas Scott’s 40th anniversary with the top-rated daytime drama series.  While CBS plans to air a special standalone episode (Nikki is in the slammer for confessing to J.T.’s murder, and she will reflect on her life in an emotional look-back), Michael Fairman sat down with the popular and beloved star for a deep dive into four decades in the life of stripper-turned-socialite, Nikki Newman for The Michael Fairman Channel.

During the interview, Melody first addresses her sadness at the loss of her longtime friend and co-star Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters): “I adored him.  I love him to bits.  I loved working with him; such a wonderful actor.  I don’t even know if he knew how good he was.”

When discussing Nikki’s colorful past, and when Y&R planned to have Nikki strip again decades later, Melody revealed she did refuse to play it: “That’s right, and I very rarely put the kibosh on anything on this show,  I was 48-years-old.  The head writer called me and I was up in hair and make-up.  They heard me say, ‘I’m 48-years-old .. that’s just not happening.”‘

Photo: TheMichaelFairmanChannel

Over the years, Nikki has faced many battles, perils ,and demons including her addiction to alcohol which has provided many a juicy story for Thomas Scott.  As to the fans always loving to see a ‘boozy’ Nikki, Melody remarked;  “Yes!  They love it!  I have great fun with it and I think it’s wonderful.”

During a segment of the conversation, Michael shows Melody some photos of Nikki’s past loves, and gets her thoughts on why Nikki fell for those men, and what it was like working with her co-stars through the years: John Enos (Bobby), Doug Davidson (Paul), Heath Kizzier (Joshua), Wings Hauser (Greg), Don Diamont (Brad), Vincent Irizarry (David), Peter Bergman (Jack), Sean Kanan (Deacon, and of course, her longtime on-screen partner Eric Braeden (Victor).

Later, Melody reminisces about her time working with the late great Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) and when asked by Fairman what she thinks Jeanne would say about her 40th anniversary milestone, Melody replied: “She would say, ‘I’m (bleeping) proud of you Mel!”‘

Photo: CBS

Check out the entire interview with Melody below (make sure to also subscribe to the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube for more feature interviews), and following that the special CBS promo honoring Melody’s 40th anniversary with Y&R.  Then let us know, what has been your favorite Nikki Newman moment over the last 40 years? Share your thoughts via the comment section below,

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Interviews

Executive Producer Michael Levitt Previews The Adorable 2019 ‘American Rescue Dog Show’

Dog lovers everywhere get ready! Coming your way on Sunday, February 17th and Monday, February 18th, the good folks at the Hallmark Channel will air a two-night special event (8pmET/7pmCT) that puts a spin on the traditional competitive elite dog shows, while at the same time championing an important cause for man’s best friend.

The 2019 American Rescue Dog Show honors some of the cutest rescue dogs from around the country going paw-to-paw in categories that will tickle-your-funny-bone, bring a smile to your face, or, potentially shed a tear.  This marks the second year for this oh-so-heartwarming show, where in its first year, it beat the Westminster Dog Show in the ratings; much to the delight of rescue dogs and their families, who take these wonderful animals into their homes.

The brainchild behind the concept is the executive producer of the event. Michael Levitt (Skin Wars, Daytime Emmys, TV Land Awards), who spoke with Michael Fairman TV to give us all the inside dish and insight into why this dog show is so personally important to him, and how its goal is to create awareness about the plight of millions of abandoned dogs in shelters each year, and to inspire viewers to think about rescuing one of these loveable pups.

Levitt has a collection of notable hosts and judges along for the ride who bring this one-of-a-kind doggy competition to life from the world of TV, film, and animal advocacy.  So, for the lowdown on the competition and more, here’s what Michael shared.

Photo: Crown Media

For those who want to check out the two-night event, is the American Rescue Dog Show in the same vein as the Westminster Dog Show, where the dogs are competing? 

MICHAEL: The format of the show is similar to a fancy dog show, such as Westminster, however, on the American Rescue Dog Show, we aren’t “judging” the dog.  In our show, they all have to be rescue dogs that are spayed or neutered in order to compete, and we are not judging them based on their bloodlines, we are celebrating their cuteness in such categories as, “Best in Wiggle Butt,” “Best in Couch Potato,” “Best in Snoring,” “Best in Special Needs,” and  “Best in Senior Dog” – those are obviously some of the most important.   We have the fancy arena floor with the judges and the tuxedos.  We filmed it at the Pomona Fairplex, which is the same place that they film the Beverly Hills Dog Show.

And you have a bevy of dog-loving celebrity judges along for the ride, too!

MICHAEL: Yes, and this year we are lucky to have the support of celebrity animal advocates that include: Lisa Vanderpump, Debbie Gibson, Brandon McMillan, host of CBS’s Lucky Dog, Bill Berloni, who is the dog trainer to a lot of the dogs on Broadway, and Dirty Job’s Mike Rowe.  Our prerequisites for them to be a judge were: they all needed to be rescue-friendly.  So, they either needed to have a rescue dog of their own or support rescue in some way.  Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell are the hosts this year, along with Ross Matthews and Home & Family’s Larissa Wall, who served as co-hosts and cover all of the action ringside.

Photo: Crown Media

So, did the judges get along?  Did they differ on their top picks?

MICHAEL: The judges absolutely got along famously, but as a producer of the show, I was a fly on the wall listening to them when they were deliberating as they were picking a winner.  That was quite entertaining, because each of them had a strong point of view on the dog, or dogs that they thought should win the competition. We found ourselves throughout the filming just turning to each other and saying, “I don’t know how the judges are going to pick just one, because they are all just so incredibly special.”

How was Lisa Vanderpump? 

MICHAEL:  Lisa was wonderful!  When she was being interviewed by Rebecca and Jerry O’Connell, they asked her what she would say to a potential family that is about to buy a dog from a breeder, and it was such a profound moment, because as someone who comes from her socioeconomic level, from her privilege, to see that she has embraced rescue might be incredibly meaningful to someone who might think that rescue dogs are second-hand animals.  Lisa Vanderpump disproves that just by being there, and being a part of it.

Photo: Crown Media

How did you decide on Rebecca and Jerry as your hosts with the most?

MICHAE:  I have a long history with Rebecca from producing my show, Skin Wars, which she hosts.  I knew that she and Jerry had four rescue dogs of their own, and that she is incredibly passionate about rescue and shedding light and creating awareness about the plight of animals that are sheltered.  They were not only organic and authentic to the cause, but they were a lot of fun and clearly had a lot of natural chemistry.  They also brought their own rescue dogs to the show, as did Lisa Vanderpump.  So that was fun.

You have two wonderful dogs of your own.  So, this is your passion project!

MICHAEL: This is a true labor of love for me, because in 2011 when my sister, Jennifer was dying of cancer, my partner and I decided to rescue a dog, and we rescued a pit bull named Trooper, and Trooper rocked our world.  My sister met him four days before she died, and it’s that old adage of “Who rescued who.”  Trooper really was there for me during a really difficult time of my life. I learned first-hand how special not only rescue dogs are, but pit bulls, and that really was the beginning of my animal advocacy.  I ended up taking a year off from producing just to rescue dogs.  I realized at the end of that year, that as a rescuer, I am saving one dog at a time, but as a producer, I could do so much more to bring awareness to the plight of animals in our shelters by creating rescue-themed programming.

Pit bulls seem to always get a bad rap.  Do you feel that way?

MICHAEL:  They absolutely get a bad rap, and after we rescued Trooper, we rescued another pit bull named Nelson, and it was really the two of them who inspired me to get heavily involved in rescue and to be an advocate for pit bulls.  With pit bulls it is such a unique human-animal bond that you don’t find with any other breed.  All they really want to do is please their humans, and it is absolutely true that when you hear these horrific stories about pit bulls on the news, these are rare incidents of pit bulls who have fallen into the hands of bad people who have treated them badly.  It’s really unfair to profile and entire breed of dog, because all dog breeds have some dogs that have behavioral problems.  I have come in contact with thousands of pit bulls, and I have only met one that was human-aggressive, and that dog was severely, severely abused.  Every other pit bull I have come in contact with has been nothing but incredibly sweet.

Photo: Crown Media

So, last year’s American Rescue Dog Show is currently in the running to earn a Daytime Emmy nomination in the ‘Special Class Special’ programming category!

MICHAEL:  Yes, “Special Class Special”. (Laughs)

You obviously know who wins this weekend’s American Rescue Dog Show competition.  Were you happy with the winner? 

MICHAEL:  Yes, but you can imagine how difficult it is for the judges to pick a winner because every single dog in the competition is beyond adorable. It is really the dogs who deliver on the show, and that’s what makes the show so heartwarming.  The real purpose of the show is to inspire the viewers to rescue their next dog from their local shelter, or rescue organization, so that people who are watching turn to the person they are with and say, “Honey, I didn’t know you could get a pure-bred dog at a shelter!  Let’s rescue our next dog!”  We have really powerful segments in the show about the joy of adopting a senior dog, or a special-needs dog.  We do a segment on debunking the myths about pit bulls, and we have messaging on why it is important to spay and neuter your dog.  So, through this wonderfully entertaining program, we are also educating people and hopefully touching their heart and their soul and inspiring them to be a part of the solution by rescuing their next dog; instead of being a part of the problem by purchasing a dog from a pet store or breeder.

Photo: Crown Media

When you look at what you have to take on as a producer when you do this type of show; as opposed to any other type of production you have helmed, what are the major differences?

MICHAEL: The biggest distinction is that on this show we are dealing with living animals, so I take that responsibility very seriously.  First and foremost: is the safety and well-being of the dogs that are participating on the show.  We have to consider everything from making sure that the animals are up-to-date with their vaccinations to having veterinarians on hand, having production personal on-hand standing by with treats and pooper-scoopers. This also means that the dogs are being treated like VIPs.  So, we have a VIP room, but that stands for “Very Important Pooch”, and all of the dogs that are participating have their own dressing rooms with a star on it and their name.  There were over 130 dogs that actually participated from all over the country.  In addition, we had a gifting suite like they do on the Oscars and Golden Globes, but on this show, they didn’t get swag bags, they got “Wag Bags”.

Knowing you as I do, it seems a lot this creative from the categories in the competition, to the backstage VIP room, are very YOU!

MICHAEL:  I have an incredible team of producers who I collaborate with.  None of this would be possible without the good people at Hallmark being such incredible animal advocates.  Specifically, Bill Abbott, who is one of the few network executives in the industry who is really walking the walk and doing so much to be supportive of dogs and cats who need homes.  So, this is right up my alley, because creatively I am so passionate about it that it is so easy to come up with fun ideas that hopefully resonate with the viewers.

Photo: Crown Media

Are there any other fun moments that you can tease?

MICHAEL:  We are celebrating the perfectly imperfect.  So, we love when a dog decides to roll on his back in the middle of the arena and decide he wants to get a belly rub in the middle of the competition.  We had a dog decide that he had to go potty on the middle of a flower arrangement on the arena floor.  Those are the moments that give the show its heart and feel-good sensibility.  We had a couple of dogs in the “Best Wiggle Butt” category where one of their forever parent brings them out initially, and their other forever parent was on the other side of the area, and we removed their leash so that they can run from one parent to the other so that we can really see their butts moving, but … we had a few dogs get so excited that they ran right out of the arena! (Laughs)  They ran right through the tunnel off stage and come running back in, and the whole audience erupted into laughter.  It’s just magical.

How did you find these dogs to compete? 

MICHAEL:  We put out a call-to-action on social media, and we got thousands of responses. People submitted their rescue dogs in as many categories as they qualified for, and they submitted photos and videos. Then, we have a team of producers and rescue experts who go through all of the submissions, ultimately picking the top semi-finalists in each category who come to Los Angeles to compete.  We had a wonderful partnership with Pedigree Foundation in which they provided $100,000 in grant money for the dogs that win for the rescue that saved him or her.  So, in the ten semi-final categories, each winning dog received a $5,000 grant for the rescue that saved him or her, and then the ultimate winner of the competition, which is crowned the title, “Best in Rescue,” received an additional $30,000 for the rescue that saved him or her, again, courtesy of Pedigree Foundation.  We also had a partnership with adoptapet.com, which is the largest online resource for people to find rescue dogs in their own communities. Throughout the show, we have a call-to-action for people to go to hallmark.com/bestinrescue and look for the adopt a pet icon … they click it… then enter their zip code … and they are instantly linked to thousands of available dogs in their own community who are patiently waiting for a loving home.

Photo: Crown Media

The dog handlers are the owners of these pets?

MICHAEL:  Yes.  We call it a member of their “forever family”.  Several of the dogs on the show are service dogs now, or companion animals, working in senior homes or working with military service people suffering from PTSD.  We celebrate each and every one of them.

Is your hope to do a third annual show, and keep the dog rescue competition going?

MICHAEL:  Yes!  My hope is that this show continues to be on for many years to come and be a platform for the 8 million animals that enter our shelters each year and are patiently waiting for their forever home, and that we can continue to be a voice for these dogs that don’t have voices of their own.  Of all of the shows that I have produced over the years, this one is going to be the most meaningful to me, and is going to be my legacy, because it is such a beautiful thing that I can bring my work and my passion together to hopefully make a difference in the lives of all of these animals.  As a result of this show, we heard from numerous shelters across the country that there was a definite uptick in adoptions.  That warms my heart beyond compare.

In closing, you know what they say:  it’s easier to work with animals than humans! Thoughts? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:  Every show has its challenges, but I would much rather deal with a diva Chihuahua than a diva celebrity.  So, on that level, this show is pure joy to make.

So, will you be watching this heartwarming, creative two-night rescue dog event?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below, but first, check out this behind-the-scenes video of how the American Rescue Dog Show is put together with co-host, Ross Matthews.

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI Studios

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

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

Photo:” JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: JPI Studios

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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