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The Maria Arena Bell and Paul Rauch Interview – The Young and the Restless

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© JPI Studios

As of this week, with more than 9,330 episodes aired on network television, and having ranked as the #1 daytime drama for 21 consecutive years (that’s over 1,100 consecutive weeks, for anyone who is counting) in the soap genre, The Young and the Restless has set the standard for quality and excellence.  In a time where doomsday reports continue to signal that the soap genre is becoming an endangered species, Y&R is still going strong. The series will celebrate its 37th anniversary next month, on March 26th.  So what are the secrets to success that keep Genoa City on the map?  On-Air On-Soaps sat down with two of daytime’s greatest creative forces, Y&R Co-Executive Producers, Maria Arena-Bell and Paul Rauch, better known as “The Dream Team,” to get some answers.

But before we begin, let’s take a look at a bit of the background.  As many know, Maria Arena Bell, (daughter-in-law to Y&R’s late creator, Bill Bell) back in 2008, also took over the head writing reigns.  She began to restore the glory of Y&R without comprising the integrity of her cast, characters, and the history of the show.  Enter Rauch, who with tenures as head honcho at Another World, One Life to Live, Guiding Light and Santa Barbara, and whose classic soap values lends itself to Y&R’s on-screen culture, was a perfect match for Bell’s sensibilities.  So how do the duo work in synergy?  You’ll find out.  And, we discuss the topics that have been on many fans minds, the re-casting of Stephen Nichols in the role of Tucker McCall, and Darius McCrary in the role of Malcolm Winters… plus, the duo’s thoughts on the health and prosperity of the current state of the genre.
This is a must read for any long time viewer of The Young and the Restless, as we take a look from the inside at the inner-workings of the number one show on daytime.


Part of what the two of you have accomplished together, is that you seemed to have restored the historical value of Y&R, and continued where creator, Bill Bell, had left off.  Was that the plan?


When I came back it was during the strike, and it was fairly sudden that I stepped in.  The only way of storytelling that I really knew was what I learned from Bill Bell, when I was here before and when I was at B&B.  It was all about these character driven stories and rich characters. The minute I got here, it was those characters I knew as a fan and loved, that were brought to the forefront again because I knew the value of those characters and the history of them.  I knew by mining the history and really building story out of character that it was really going to be successful for the show, because that is how this show has always been done.


Can you give me an example when you came in and re-plotted the path of a legacy storyline?

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There were a few things I noticed immediately that seemed wrong to me or did not feel right.  One of those was Jill and Katherine relating as mother and daughter.  That was something that immediately felt false to me, and because I did not believe it, I kept thinking in my heart, “I just know they are not mother and daughter.”  And that was how that storyline was born, because watching them together felt false.  I had watched all of the 80’s with the two of them fighting viciously and the 90’s, too.  It was such an incredible relationship that I just don’t feel it or believe it on some intrinsic level.  I think there were a lot of people in the audience who did not feel it 100% true.


Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) in past interviews was vocal about it.  She had always spoken that she wished the relationship was switched back to Jill and Kay not being related. Does an actor’s preference or thoughts ever influence you or the writing?


I can tell you when I started feeling it, I did not know about Jeanne’s position on it.  However, I met with Jeanne and she was not shy about saying that it felt false to her, and in some ways I think it felt false to Jess Walton (Jill), too.  Not that they did not play the story beautifully and believably, it’s just those of us who knew their characters were like, “Really?  They are mother and daughter?   I don’t know about that.”  It was more of my gut instincts than anything.  But, Bill Bell would have told you in his era, that the actors had zero influence on the show and that was the Bill Bell way, to be honest with you.  It’s one of those things where people say, “Are you exactly like Bill or are you not?”  The truth is, I am not exactly like Bill because I do like talking to the actors, particularly the people who have been in these roles for so very long who understand the characters so very well.


I am sure the show veterans have great insight into their classic soap roles.

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There was a one time where Peter Bergman (Jack) was nominated for an Emmy and in reviewing his submission reels he would say, “You know, I can’t find anything I can really sink my teeth into here.”   He was not sure of what storyline to submit and we were talking about it and he said, “I just want the Abbott family together.”   Peter was talking about wanting the actors back together, but that is really true to who Jack Abbott is.  He has this vision of the Abbots being back together and owning Jabot, and that comment alone drove the storyline for me.  It clarified, of course, that that is intrinsic to the character and the actor, and that has been Jack’s guiding dilemma.  He gets really close and then it moves away.  It’s sort of been something we have done for the last two years, and that definitely came from Peter.


Paul, you have been at the helm of many a soap opera.  Did you come to Y&R and put the Paul Rauch stamp on it?  And what do you feel you contribute to the overall process?


No, the show had its own stamp and Maria has put her stamp on the show.  I think the single most important thing that I got accomplished when I came here, was to make good the relationship between writing and production and to establish proper communication, which there was a lack of.  Maria was having a hard time getting through to production and she needed to be way more involved than she was and consulted a lot more than she was.  I think we took care of that in pretty short order.  I think Maria has great taste in acting, and great taste in actors. I think she and I are in sync with everything we do.


What do you feel is the single most important element for Y&R’s success?


It all comes from the writing. Maria has the whole show in her head and in her hands, and it comes through every single week.  My job is to get the performances from the actors, get the nuances from the actors, realize the subtext, and give the writers back what they have given to me in large measure.

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Paul, we hear you are pretty hands-on at the set.   Are you in the production booth most of the time?


I am there, and I am in the control room all the time, and Maria is here in her office.  We communicate.  If she does not like something, she will let me know, or if I don’t like something I will let her know, and we take care of.  It’s good synergy.


Working with the actors and giving them a slight shift or note on their performance is something you are known for on the set.  Can you give me an example of how that works and helps the scenes?


First off, the actors have always been fabulous.  I haven’t made them better actors, but I can help them realize certain things.  For example, I was playing a scene with Tucker McCall, our new billionaire, and Jill Abbott.  They have had a sexual relationship, and it had morphed into a business relationship with sexual over and undertones.  Tucker said, “You can work anywhere you want and anywhere in my division.  I will even start a company up for you, if you want.”  She played it as if she wanted Jabot only.  Instead of realizing this man was really reaching out to her, because of the relationship they had…the personal relationship.  He was making an enormous offer, which for him was a tribute to their relationship, as well as everything else going on.  I asked Jess to play it, and she took her time with that, and Jill was gratified by the offer and she was pleased with him as a man.  So, we can get extra value in those moments just by me talking to the actors about that moment, in addition to what is on the page.


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Stephen Nichols was quickly recast as Tucker McCall, and William Russ who had just started, was let-go.  How did you come to make a decision like that, and why was the switch made so early on during Russ’s time with the show?


I think we wanted to play the character originally in a different direction.  This is an incredible cast and it’s all about the chemistry between everybody on the screen, and as much as I think William Russ is a fantastic actor, when I watched the scenes it was not exactly how I wanted Tucker to be.  It was not exactly how he was conceived to be, and rather than walk down the road where you are thinking, “Well, it’s not quite right, but maybe…”   It felt like it was going to be better to make a decisive move early on.  I figured the audience would accept it better, if it happened very quickly.


So, it’s not as much of a blow.


Honestly, in watching Stephen in the role, he is Tucker McCall.  He is the character we had created.  It was one of those things that was not fitting with what that character needed to be.  There is no accepting what is not quite right, and the way it was going to impact the storytelling was what is important to me.


Recently, you re-cast the role of Malcolm, played originally by Shemar Moore who was so identifiable in the role, with another actor, Darius McCray.  Fans have been unsure of why that choice was made.  He looks so different from Shemar.  How do you make these decisions to recast a major role like that, with someone who is a complete 180 from what the fans might expect?


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I remember I was here when we cast Shemar, and the role of Drucilla.  I was working for Bill then.  I remembered how those characters really popped.  What I remembered of the character of Malcolm was, he was conceived as a guy who had spent some time where he had been on the streets.  He was artistic, he was edgy, and Shemar was phenomenal. When we went to cast for it, we looked at what the original conception of the character was; not about casting an actor who would do an imitation of Shemar doing Malcolm, but an actor who would own the role, who would be Malcolm.  It’s a classic story of the brother who is the good guy who always achieved everything, and went to Stanford and got an MBA, and is now running a company, and the other brother who struggled and made something out of his life, but is more the creative type. It’s such a core of the show to bring that brother back and to have Malcolm come back, and be inhabited by a new actor, and have it go back to the origins of the character.  I think he can play this edgy, creative, young maverick that Malcolm should be.  I think Darius is going to pop off the screen in that role and be a very popular character.


When the two of you are in auditions together, do you know immediately when the right actor walks in for the part you are casting?


We have been really in sync, such as the character of Daisy.  When Yvonne Zima came in to read for that role, it was like, “Wow, did she pop!”  She made us go, “Oh, my gosh. She is fantastic!”  You just feel it…. that everything we have talked about in regards to that character, and then that person walks in, you know it.  It was also true of Darius.


The Darius McCray audition was one of the greatest the network had seen in 20 years.


The quality of the actors that were up for the role was extraordinarily high.  Everyone who came in for the final audition, and there were four in the finals, they were all fantastic.  They were all very different from one another, and in the end, it was about this kind of special quality that Darius had.  We just felt that “Star Quality”.

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Do you ever face challenges where you have a more difficult time writing for certain characters?


You have to be careful when you write story not to write them into a corner where it becomes difficult to play them.  I think one of the most challenging things to play is a happily married couple.  I think that is one of things that is a challenge for everybody in this business.  For instance, the fans love seeing Lauren and Michael together.  They are a couple people absolutely love.  So if you are going to tell a story with them, the jeopardy needs to be external and about something else.  They do not want to see them fighting or having marital problems, because that is a couple they can believe in.  So, it does not mean it’s less inspiring to write for them, because for one thing they are two of the more fantastic characters on the canvas on the show.  But it does mean you have to think about how you tell story a little bit differently, which is not a bad thing.  It challenges you and pushes you in a different way.


Do you use fan focus groups as input to how stories and characters are working with the audience and use their feedback to alter or determine story?


We do focus groups.  I think you can take certain things from focus groups but you cannot rely on them.  I know people from shows and executives who rely too much on them, but I don’t think that is the case here.  But it’s always good to get a taste of what the audience is feeling or thinking. You take what you can or want out of it.


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I think what is interesting is going back to how Bill thought about focus groups.  He thought it was old information because we have moved past that in storytelling, and the audience is actually commenting on what they are seeing now.  It was things like that, which made him feel it was inaccurate.  What has changed and has made it really interesting is the ability to poll people immediately online – the stuff and SONY has done on their websites to see immediate responses of what happened the day of air and that does make us more nimble.   Now that does mean we can sense how the audience is feeling.  I am not saying that I would pull a story totally out if it was not working, but I certainly see the negative feedback.


I will also know if something will work instinctively…. if I am on the floor.


So what happens if you are on the floor, and you go, “this is not working”?


Maria will know before I will.


It’s like I can tell when there is a story I need to segue out of because it’s been played out, or it’s not as strong a story as I had hoped, and it does happen.  It happens very rarely though on Y&R, because production is so strong and the actors are so incredibly strong. You write a storyline and it’s almost always better once it’s produced, even than it was in your own head, as opposed to having this great concept in this head, and going, “Oh, geez! That was not what I really had in mind.”  Instead, I am constantly astounded on this show on how the production is.  I am constantly going, “Wow, this is fantastic.  This is better than my draft.”


Do you feel pressure to keep this show at number one?

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I provide my own pressure.  It’s more difficult when all of the shows are cutting back because of their financial situations.  I would say for Maria and myself, while we struggle with it, we are winning the battle.  Maria is winning the battle on the writing side, and I don’t think anybody is seeing a diminution of production values.  The pressure for us comes on trying to get the show done on time, get the performances that we want.  But we streamline it, and make it as efficient as we want. We still get it done and maintain the same value.


Y&R was known for those long arduous scenes back in its heyday, and now it seems to have quick shorter scenes or snippets.  Did you intentionally change the pace?


As far as that goes, look, the pacing is certainly different than it was 21 years ago, especially historically.  There were longer scenes.  If people watched it now they would be surprised at how long those scenes were.  The change is the pacing has evolved in a nice hybrid, and it’s not like we are attempting to be primetime and cut to that level and be a feature film.  We are still a daytime serial, and we are intimate, and it’s still about character, and sometimes you do create movement in a show through editing and the alignment of the scene.


Everyone would say and agree that the show has maintained its integrity and become more streamlined.  I think this show kind of rocks right now.


That is the goal to keep it as engaging as possible in this day and age.


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What are your feelings on the state of the genre and the stability of Y&R?   We know it’s been renewed for two more years, but CBS just cancelled in the same year both Guiding Light and As the World Turns.


I think it’s still a viable genre and still unique, and what we do here at Y&R sort of defies the odds; in that we led the year in every demographic, and primarily winning the youngest demographic, which is the most volatile.  Look, I think it’s a totally viable art form, and it’s totally unique, and it’s the only art form where you get into these characters to the extent you can.  Where else can you have this epic storytelling unless you are reading a Dickens novel?


With game shows and reality shows taking over television and daytime, it feels like we are losing must-see appointment television, which soaps are!


We were both saddened to see any daytime drama cancelled.  It’s really disappointing for all of us, because we want to see them all stay on the air.  That being said, we are very fortunate with this show to be in the position we are.  And we have shown it’s possible to have gains or hold your own, and stay viable with the audience.  And I think we have proved that.  So, when you ask about the pressure to be number one, I don’t think about it as I am telling the story or as I am doing my job.  Because at that point, I am thinking about doing the absolute best that I can do and am capable of, and bring my team together to do the best we can do, and it’s an incredible group effort.  We want to achieve the excellence we can for ourselves and for our fans.  The fact that we are number one is fantastic and it’s not to be taken for granted.

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One of the things Y&R does differently than the other soaps is truly hold back storyline shockers so they do not leak out too early to ruin the big surprise.  ABC lets some of their story out a month or so before it airs.  Is this part of the ingredients to your successes?


Sure. You have to tune in.  We have managed to keep some very must-see things a secret till it’s time to reveal them.  Really hard secrets to keep….we have blacked out names in scripts, changed names in scripts; brought in people after hours… we have done that.


We cast all contract parts by other names!


Sure, and even beyond that.  For instance, when we were bringing back the character of Phillip III with Thom Bierdz, Thom was just an incredibly beloved guy in that role when I was here in the 80’s.  To me, he always captured that spirit as to what that role was.  I still stand by that story.  I loved bringing him back and having him on the canvas.  I wanted to keep it a shocker surprise.  So, poor Thom was sworn to secrecy, and everyone in the building was sworn to secrecy.   I think Thom was a great partner in making it a surprise.  I remember meeting him to talk to him about the role at some coffee shop like, “I will meet you by the third pillar and we will talk about this.” (Laughs)  Because it’s about shocks and surprises… this is about what is going to happen next… this is about cliffhangers.   I think one of things I think I instilled back into the show was building towards that Friday tag, and wondering what’s going to happen over the weekend and having that burning curiosity of  “Oh, my God!”  And that goes back to the classic soaps and days of radio, and that is what soaps are about.


Now, don’t you also try to get big moments to happen during the week so they are not only in Friday tags?


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In the storytelling I try to do that, but my team is sort of addicted now to the Friday tags.  They are like, “But wait, should we do that at the end of the week?”  I am like, “No, you have to have surprises on other days, too.”   Everyday is a Friday is my motto, but I do like the idea of audiences on pins and needles over the weekend.”   I love what fans are doing on the message boards going, “OMG!  What’s going to happen?”


Do you read the message boards?


I do, of course.  And so does my writing team, and Paul does.  And is it sometime tough when there is negative feedback?  Yeah, it can be tough to read that.  But on top of it, not only do we read it and listen, but also we are not always dictated by what the fans say, because as you say, sometimes you do want to do something that pushes them to the edge.  And right now that is the character of Adam.  Is he a hate or love to hate?  People are obsessed with when is this guy is going to get his comeuppance!  They scream, “I can’t take it anymore!”  I get it and I understand, and I know it’s driving you crazy, but that is the point. We want you to like, “Argh, when is it going to unravel?”  Because, when it does, and it will, it will be huge!


Has there ever been a time where an actor comes to you and goes “I don’t like this. What is going on here”?


Sure, most often.  I have never had a meeting where actor does not walk out going, “Ok, now I get it.  I get that it’s a journey.”


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You don’t tell the actors their entire story because they have to play it in the moment and you don’t want them to anticipate the end of the story of what they are playing.  You need that degree of spontaneity from the actor, and the enthusiasm from the actor is important.  I had an actor come to me last night going, “Why won’t you tell me what is going on here?”  I looked at him and said, “You have got to play the moment and the spontaneity of it.”


What happens when actors want to know their storylines a year out so they know how to play something?  It seems some actors I have talked to say they know story quite in advance, and some don’t know at all.  Do you let them know?  Do they leave you alone on that since you are the writer?


Quite the opposite, I get grilled!   They go, “Am I going to be with so-so?”  I won’t answer!  I tell them, “I can’t tell you.”  I mean there are times when somebody is really concerned about a direction their character is going in and selectively we talk about it. But in general, that’s part of the ride and being on this side, and the group of people we have now, they have faith in the standards of the writing, and so they are not questioning a lot.


Victor/Nikki, Sharon/Nick are some of the true super couples of the show.  Don’t you think romance is a key ingredient to Y&R’s integral success?


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I think it’s not just the couples. Victor and Nikki is one of the most powerful love stories on the show and even through when they are not together they have this pull, and even when they are married to other people, there is this pull that will never end.  It’s an incredible larger than life, grand love story.  But I think as much as those relationships, it’s the family and friend relationships that are just as crucial.  I think that intense rivalry between Jack and Victor, and that incredible friendship between Victor and Katherine, and the links that she had to John Abbott and how that translates to Jack, if you really examine it.  It’s all these relationships that are pivotal.  It’s the families on the show.  I think that is something that is at the core of storytelling in the genre: their histories and their rivalries and their alliances.  One shining example of that was recently within the Victor and Jack rivalry, and then the Abbots facing that difficult decision of Colleen’s heart, and giving an absolute beloved child of that family to someone who has been their sworn enemy in many ways.  It really showed how those rivalries change and morph and are still there, and it sets up these incredibly strong dilemmas.  That is just as important.


Y&R has a legacy of great psycho and twisted characters like Sheila, and now Patty.


Stacy Haiduk as Patty/Emily has been great in every single one of the morphs she has had to play on the show.  I think you need catalysts that make things happen, which are a little twisted or a villainess perhaps, or a little off, or a little crazy, to inject into a grounded realistic group of characters and that does add some spice and excitement to it.


Social issues have been a big part of Y&R’s history, and in 2009 you tackled the gay issue with Phillip Chancellor returning some 20 years later, announcing he is gay to his family.  He is now off the canvas.  Will Y&R address same-sex relationships in the future?


I would absolutely like to do more with that, and I loved and love the character of Phillip, and his son, Chance, is still on the canvas.  Nina is on his canvas, his mother and grandmother are on the canvas, and he will be back.  The truth of the matter is I wanted to do those relationships in this very organic way.  So, I absolutely think there will be in the future, love for everyone in the show at some point.

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Your closing thoughts on why Y&R is so unique in the soap world?


The thing that has made this special is still these characters.  I think there is something magical about this show, and the magic is still there and I think that is why people are tuning in.


You’ve got to have magicians.  Well, two magicians! (Laughs)

For more on Y&R with Maria and Paul look for an upcoming issue of CBS Watch! Magazine.  You can subscribe here.

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I can’t believe a word out of their mouths, especially when they praised Yvonne Zima to the high heavens. That girl cannot act to save her life! She needs to be off Y&R, they should recast Lily, and for heaven’s sake, bring Victoria Rowell back as Dru.

There will never be another Nikki and Victor! Hell the Nikki and Victor we have now is no where near where they used to be!! He is abusive to her and she is submissive!! why would need another couple like that!! and Nick and Sharon are old school, old news and DIVORCED!!!! Why can’t they fade into the land of all of the other divorced couples in the soap world!!! They sucked as a couple for 10 TOXIC years!!! We don’t want them back together!! When will TPTB finally listen to the fans and move forward instead of trying to relive the past!

They need to bring romance back starting with Nick and Sharon, they truly are a supercouple. They don’t need to have stupid surprises every week the need better writing and more character driven storylines instead of stupid plot twists. They also need to stop dumbing down vetren characters to prop the stupid new ones ie..Daisy and Lauren, Adam and Sharon

Sharon IS a vertaran actress; NOT a “new character.” You must be new to the show.

What I think the post meant to do was give examples of how veteran characters have been twisted in order to accommodate new characters, Lauren being snowed by Daisy, and Sharon being tricked by Adam


I think they should bring back Dina!!!!

In Jan 2008, Y&R had almost 6,000,000 viewers, it’s now Feb 2010 and Y&R is just barely above 5,000,000. And this is called a success, pfttttt!!! I am not even going to comment on parts of this interview because it is clear MAB & PR believe in their “own brilliance” **rollseyes** while the viewership downturn and dissatisfaction says otherwise. It’s not worth it to comment. I am probably more embarassed for CBS really the #1 network for quality, (my favorite network aside from CNN), that they are scraping so far at the bottom and so desperate that they actually think this Y&R product is a good thing!!! It’s embarassing what passes for #1 these days – doesn’t say much for soaps, does it! Yvonne Zima got a WOW and she pops onscreen, Darius McCrary, the best audition the network has ever had, really Maria ?, really???? Sounds a bit more defensive and overcompensating for just how terrible those choices were/are.

But more than anything Michael being a a big fan of yours, the only thing that this interview caused was that you have a lost a lot of credibilty with me. I can’t believe you did not ask any tough questions here. It’s as if the soap press takes it easy on Y&R because they know the genre is dying off and don’t want to rock the boat further. The genre is full of recycled stories and recycled fans who move from soap to soap and they have no way of garnerning new viewers who can prolong it or writing for those longtime viewers who actually don’t mind the silliness now and then, but we are a lot smarter than you give us credit for and all this does in the long run is drive us away, bit by bit.

And not to make a bad analogy here, this entire interview reminds me so much of Toyota right now, it’s only a matter of time before the implosion occurs. We can only be strung along for so long. I thought perhaps maybe I was complaining too much about how poorly Y&R is being written and produced, a show I have watched and loved for over 30 years – MAB just confirmed for me that she hasn’t got a clue, she is NOT CREATIVE enough to think outside the box with her stories. For every story aside from the BRILLIANT CHIPMUNK malarkey **rollseyes**, I can go back in time and remember exactly how Bill Bell wrote it. And all she has done is go back into the archives, dig up his stories and made a MOCKERY out of them.

MAB & PR should stop trying to re-create the past because they suck at it..and it’s not healthy to live in the past anyway!!!!!!!!!

Great article. Although I may not agree with the progression of certain storylines and casting choices, it is nice to gain insight from the inside. Thank you.

Well, that was interesting. I believe they have often compromised the integrity of characters. Cane would never have let Lily suffer by thinking that the baby was his. That whole rewrite was the sloppiest thing I have ever seen and it was all done to bring back P3?Maria still stands by that horrible story? The scenes maybe shorter but the stories seem to drag on way past their prime. That chipmunk fiasco seemed never ending and this Sheila/no Sheila has lost my interest. I complain but all and all I still love the show. My main complaint is that we see some actors/characters 5x per week and others 1x and that seems unfair. Not everyone adores Billy Miller and at times it seems to be the Billy Miller show .

preity – we had 10 years of Nick and Sharon!! TPTB need to move forward with the show and not go backward! Nick and Sharon were NEVER a supercouple and never “romantic”! TOXIC yes!

MAB is her own worst enemy, she destroyed Nick and Phyllis to attempt to re-unite Romeo and Juliet, hey Maria!!!! Romeo and Juliet are DEAD!!! their story was never a romance, it was a TRAGEDY! just like SHICK!! dead and buried, please leave them in their casket.

I can’t believe that they read the message boards and listen to the fans but the fans still aren’t seeing a change. It’s one thing to be dictated by what the fans want, but it’s another thing when you’re reading the same things over and over and REFUSE to do anything about it. The way the fans feel about the show is reflected not only on the message boards but in the ratings as well. But I see that MAB and PR are not particularly invested in promoting romance with couples as they think and further stated that “But I think as much as those relationships, it’s the family and friend relationships that are just as crucial”. They put a lot more focus on the family/friend relationships/feuds than into romance which is, in my opinion, the basis of soaps – the romances, forbidden loves, affairs etc. Sure we like the business aspect of the show, the intrigue and so on, but it’s not what will take the show forward – it can’t.

I agree with TEXAS woman. While I am not a great fan of either pairing, Sharon and Nick were great in their day, but you have to admit that their marriage was less than solid. It was pretty empty and it seemed after a while when they continuously cheated on each other, that the love they had for each other in the beginning was not there anymore. It was pretty easy for either of them remain committed to the other.

Nick and Phyllis – I must admit I loved the way they came together. I loved that the writers took time to build on their relationship and they weren’t just shoved together. They showed immense passion when they were on opposite sides of the fence during the “Daniel on the run” storyline and that passion transcended and ignited when they both realized they were attracted to each other. This relationship has gone down the tubes now, thanks to MAB and her team and they aren’t even a couple worth rooting for anymore. The few times that Sharon and Nick were thrown together BOMBED in the ratings. What else is needed for these writers to get a clue that Nick and Sharon are old news?

I’m sorry I disagree I find Nick and Phyliss boring as hell. All they ever had between them is Sharon, she get’s both there motors running. Phyliss is better when she is the fiesty in the villian role, this stepford wife routine is so boring she should go back to her villanous ways at least then she would be interesting. Truthfully Nick is the one that is bringing down both women. But romeo and juliet story is the story that brings in the viewers. I believe they still have a lot of story to be told. If done properly, otherwise Sharon deserves way better.

Right on!

All I have to say is that Y&R is doomed! MAB is no William J Bell. That man was creative ,innovative and cared about the actors of the show as well as the fans. He wrote this show with intelligence and created storylines that involved romance, intrigue, social issues such as AIDS, bigotry, cancer, teen pregnancy, mental health and more. And most importantly he knew how to write for strong characters such as Drucilla Barber Winters and Neil Winters, it just goes to show you that it’s not necessary to have a black writer to created a well written story for afican-americans! W J Bell made that happen. Paul Rauch makes me utterly ill. He helped with contributing to the demise of Guiding Light back in 1997 that began with the firing of the late Michael Zaslow. He created the Reva clone and other bizzare SCI FI plots that don’t belong on a daytime lineup. MAB needs to listen to the fans! We are the ones that keep these show going by supporting them. Listen to the cast as well. Did Jess Walton and Eric Braeden almost leaving the canvas not teach you anything? If the remaining daytime shows don’t shape up they will meet the same fate as the proctor and gamble programs.

If MAB and PR continue the way that they have been they then Y&R is doomed. The reason that most of the viewers still tune in is because of the legacy left by Bill Bell he created such a rich tapestry of characters, families, friends, enemies and storyline and all it seems as if MAB has been doing is trading on those storylines and re-writing those storylines over and over and over and each times she re-creates that storyline she loses something in the process and the heart of the show beats a little more faintly.

Most of the fans from the show do not care if Victor and Nicki are EVER together again because we have seen it so many times and Victor Newman is one of the most abusive men that I have ever seen. He does not care anyone or anything and they have turned Nicki into someone who is mindless just to be able to tolerate him.

When the veiwers are asked about their favorites storylines or couples the ones that they name are not from the MAB era, they are from before that era and from the legacy that Bill Bell, and the other writers before MAB, created. MAB’s legacy is to re-use and milk Bill Bell’s storylines and to destroy every couple the fans have ever cared about because she has not been able to create a couple that the fans have cared about during her years on the show.

I agree, Mr. Bell would have never split sharon and nick up the way this writer is doing.HOW COULD YOU MAKE SHARON SEEM SLEEZY AND MAKE PHYLISS SEAM LIKE THE VOUNDERABLE ONE . Young and the restless should have left phyliss with jack . phyliss and nick just don’t fit. It is to fake. Sharon and nick will always be the number one couple under victor and nikki. I hate you new writers teasing us with nick and sharon .I guess it is the way phyliss stold nickwhile sharon was greiving the lost of cassie. Y ou have a lot of loyal fans that want to see their number one couple nick and sharon back together. THE NEW WRITERS WILL ONLY HAVE THEIR SELF TO BLAME FOR YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS LOOSING THE RATINGS AND THE SHOW GOING UNDER. I remember when i could not wait to see y&r now i can’t wait to see gh. Do you writers really expect for us to believe that nick love is not strong for sharon? I can not see no chemistry in phyliss and nick but all nick and sharon have to do is hug and you see all kind of chemistruy.. Put nick and sharon back together . Phyliss just seems like a third wheel.

This show has gone so far off the cliff that I don’t think they can save it now. What a crock that they read message boards and talk to the actors.

William Russ’ portrayal of Tucker was dead on and they got rid of him, and the “actor” (and I DO use that term loosely) they brought in to replace him is just a cold recycled attempt to make yet another Victor-like character.

The whole Scooby gang (Ryder/Daisy/Kevin/Jana/Amber) makes me switch the channel every time they are on.

However, it really doesn’t matter – TPTB are going to do what they want. You, as a viewer, have control though – switch off the set or make your comments known by writing them. But don’t write your comments on the message boards – posts are being deleted, and payoffs are probably being made to the moderators to make everything think everything is great in Y&R delusion land!!!

Are u 1of 30 or so people LOL that kept ruuning around all over the Message Boards calling Stephen names maybe that why your post our being Deleted its ok we the Stephen Nichold Fans still love u

Excellent post! ITA with everything you’ve said here. I’ve tuned out for several years and started to watch again off and on when they were suppose to reunite Shick. I’ve continued to tune out most often and once in a while watch now. Just like you, I’ve tuned out and watched other shows while the “Scooby gang” is on…lol It’s sad to see that this soap has gone down hill and it’s not what it use to be. Very sad in MO!!

I agree…the old Tucker was really really right on for the show, I LOVED that guy!!!! The need help with writing more romance, and Phyllis and Nick are so over-played, I am so sick of Phyllis Summer and Nick!! How about if when all this stuff hits the fan, a REAL ROMANCE BETWEEN TUCKER AND SHARON CAN DEVELOP?? That’s what I’m looking for, a REAL Princess wedding, and horse drawn carriage, NICK is not a good enough guy for Sharon…Once Tucker makes up with his mother, he can be a good guy.

Also I hope Drucilla is brought back soon. As for the Actress that plays Daisy I am not liking the character as all , but it’s nothing personal against the lovely youg lady that plays her. Ohh and before I go I just want to say that as much as I love the character of Shelia Carter, that storyline has been played out. With MAB writing it it will be a disaster. What will happen is that Shelia wont be played by the talented Kimberlin Brown it will be played by Melody Thomas Scott LOL. Tracey E Bregman is a wonderful actress she has proven that she can carry her own weight without the character of shelia carter involved. Okay I am done ranting LOL.

Yes, bring back Drucilla. The lady has some edge. Make the new Malcolm go away – he is a walking cliche.,

I find it sad that MAB said they read the message board, yet they don’t listen to the fans. What’s the sense in that? I disagree with those that say that Shick should be “dead”. Shick should have NEVER ended to prop up a sick couple such as Phick to begin with. Here’s some new flash….most fans don’t care to see a horny old woman sexing up a young man every second of the day and in every corner looking like a “dog in heat”. That is NOT romance, but simply lust and nothing more. You’ve dumb down Nick in order to make Phyllis look better….here’s a flash folks….Phyllis is a socio that will NEVER be BETTER. Don’t try to sell it to us, we find it sick and won’t buy it any more. I think if they were to put back Shick with their child Faith, this soap would be great once again. There are more Shick fans than there were ever Phicks and to keep dangling Shick in the fans face is silly. As for Victor and Nikki, they’ve lost the look of love due to his abuse over the years. Either pull them apart for good, or keep them together for the rest of their time on the show. MAB needs to do better than that!

The demise began when Kay Alden, Bill Bells right hand and protege was let go along with Jack Smith. They knew this show and had managed to keep it above where we are now. They knew the characters, they knew how to write character driven storylines. LML came in with a single vision of creating her own show, with her own couples. She destroyed Nick and Sharon to give us the cheapest couple that ever dis-graced TY&R. Whatever sexual chem Nick and Phyllis had was not enough to expound on and try to make into some sort of daytime couple and as a result it ruined Nick beyond measure. Phyllis should have been left with Jack or at the very least left to be the capable villain with a heart that she was moving towards under KA’s writing. Lauren has also been compromised and now she is nothing more than a prop to hold up Michael and the boring as hell Baldwin clan. MAB has no clue what she is doing and instead of correcting things that seriously hurt the show, she’s only focused on dong what doesn’t feel right to her. This show moves so fast now that beats aren’t played and the audience is treated as if we are all stupid. Go ahead and keep patting yourself on the back Maria, the late great WJB would not be pleased with any of this.

I agree 100% with your post. LML tried to turn Phick into something they could never be – a believable, viable, long-term couple that most fans could root for. Now MAB is still trying to hold onto this couple despite the fact that the many, many fans – both the volatile and stalwarts, prefer Shick over Phick. True romance is a staple of any soap and Phick just doesn’t have that crucial characteristic and is why many soap press do NOT consider Phick a true super couple. MAB says they read MBs and talk to the actors, but clearly she isn’t listening. Perhaps she and Paul need to go back and seriously study what the previous writing regimes from Bill Bell up until LML hijacked the show were doing because THEY obviously knew how to mix the ingredients for a successful show and MAB and her writing team clearly are still clueless about what is staring them in the face. So yeah, let lthem keep praising themselves while the ratings continue to drop compared to where they were a year or two ago.

I have watched Y&R from day one, but I have to say, if it wasn’t for Adam/Michael Muhney, I’m not sure I would still be watching. He is the best thing that’s every happened to Y&R. And pairing him with Sharon Case was genious! They are the best couple I’ve ever seen on Y&R; a true Supercouple.

I hope Michael stays with Y&R for years to come so I don’t have to give up my soap. Adam and Sharon are the only reason I tune in these days.

I liked Adam and Sharon at first and I find myself liking them once in awhile now. They are the first couple to come along in years that I could care about but the way their romance has been rushed for the sake of another storyline makes it harder to like them.

I do think that Adam is one of the few reasons to watch the show.

Michael, first of all, thank you for your e-mail on my reply to isa2009’s comments on Shick vs. Phick. Your reply came just as I started to type this. But please excuse me, for I am about to go into another rant mode. I am just here to set the record straight.

First off, I can’t even believe the worlds that have come out of the words of Maria Arena Bell and Paul Rauch! This is the most laughable interview I’ve ever read and it makes me wonder what kind of stuff these people are doing.

There are so many things wrong with that interview, I don’t know where to start. Ever since Maria Arena Bell came onto this show and Paul Rauch joined, this show has been worse than ever. While I’m not longing for Lynn Marie Latham to return to this show, (I at least hope she’s learned a few lessons on how to write a soap opera properly, but that may be wishful thinking) I must say Maria Arena Bell has had many chances to fix this mess, and she’s blown them all, AND have been given too many more chances to blow. In fact, she has ruined this show so badly, that I’ve come up with a new nickname for her, but I can’t reveal it out of fear that it may cause this post to fail modification. I’ve also spent more time at my volunteer work stint at a non-profit organization in hopes to avoid this show. I call tell you, I know what I’m missing. It’s pretty bad when all you care about on this show is which actors will be featured in the opening theme video.

To begin with, if Bell is stating that she is writing character-driven stories, then I seriously don’t believe her at all. I see this show as a bigger plot-driven disaster than it was when Lynn Marie Latham was writing. We’ve seen Adam become an egomaniac as he first tried to make life miserable for both Nick and Victoria, destroy his own sight by taking disapproved medication, torture the hell out of Ashley, and become so antagonistic to his own family, that even Victor is disgusted enough to disown him. We’ve seen Ashley go nutsoid, suffer a miscarriage, and then crazily think that Sharon’s baby (who may or may not be dead) is hers in the psychatric ward; this baby switch can count as the Top 3 Most Bizarre Y&R Storylines. We’ve seen Sharon go just as psycho as Ashley when Nick went back to Phyllis, sleeping with anything that moves, becoming a kleptomaniac, and suffering a bigger meltdown than Mariah Carey did as a result of “Glitter.” We’ve seen Nick going back and forth between Phyllis and Sharon, something which Phyllis/Phick fans are beyond tired of seeing. Lily’s cancer storyline was basically a slap in the face to actual cancer survivors and their families. Need I go on? I could be typing until the end of this month!

Every character, specifically the Y&R women, have been dumbed down. Phyllis acting as Suzie Homemaker all the while putting up with a womanizing husband in a marriage that has no hope, is the worst Ms. Bell has ever done. It’s heir apparent that Ms. Bell had learned nothing from WJB, who knew how to write a story. If William Bell were here, and saw what his daughter-in-law is doing to this show, he’d wish he were dead to begin with.

Still on the topic of Phyllis/Phick, I can’t even believe what MAB has done to this couple. This is my biggest problem with her. When Phyllis and Nick got together, it was like seeing fireworks on the Fourth of July (or in my case, the first of July, as I am Canadian… LOL!) I get that you’re a supporter of Phick and Joshua Morrow/Michelle Stafford, and I’m very pleased. Those two has chemistry, and Michelle Stafford’s acting talent brought out the best of Joshua Morrow, as Phyllis brought out the best of Nick. Why can’t Shick fans see that Joshua Morrow and Nick were nothing more than backburner material in the ten years he was with Sharon Case/Sharon Collins Newman Abbott? She’s screwed up the sole thing that Latham did correctly, as I see. It seems that a) Maria Arena Bell has a vendetta against Michelle Stafford, or b) Sharon Case was jealous that Michelle Stafford was the lead actress and getting the spotlight during the Latham era, and Maria Arena Bell was trying to help her feel better and/or get revenge. Either way, Ms. Bell is catering to Sharon Case when, in my very honest opinion, her acting skills are very questionable in comparison to Michelle Stafford. As a result, Michelle Stafford is getting the short end of the stick, while Sharon Case hogs the spotlight with crazy looking faces and bobbing her head about on camera, acting like a space case. (I’m sorry if you don’t approve of this kind of bashing, but this is what we’re seeing television and in screen caps.) Michelle Stafford deserves better than this, and I’ll bet it won’t be long before she decides she’s had enough and leaves the show. She needs to go to Barbara Bloom and demand that she have a serious meeting with both Bell and Rauch.

I can say the same for Christel Khalil, whose valleygirl attitude, baby voice, and running to Neil at the drop of a hat, has reduced Lily to a 12-year-old teenybopper who obsesses over “Twilight” and Justin Bieber. What is Cane doing with her; they look like an older man from a fundamentalist religious sect who married his child bride, for the love of Mike! I’m looking for a guest appearance from Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers to be paired with Lily come the next sweeps month; they seem better suited to her taste. I’d also suggest Taylor Swift, except I think even she’ll outshine Christel Khalil on this show. LMAO!

Your interview made it sound like Maria Arena Bell has it all together on this show, but the exact opposite is true. Despite still being at #1, viewers are complaining and kvetching about this show, and viewers from the 70’s and 80’s are starting to turn away. Columnists such as Kitty’s Colannade from Soaptown USA have had nothing nice to say about this show; read that particular column and it’s nothing but rants. Last year, this show was snubbed for Best Writing and Soap Opera of the Year under Ms. Bell’s direction; at least it wasn’t like that when Latham was writing. If she is doing fan focus groups and reading the message boards, then she’s not catering to all of the fans’ wishes. Contrary to “popular” belief, Nick, Phyllis, Daniel, Noah and Summer were the perfect soap family, and Bell seems to be catering to those who want the “Romeo and Juliet” story of Nick and Sharon, ignorant to the fact that this will end in a bigger tragedy, as Sharon Collins Newman Abbott has never been written as a woman who learns from her mistakes or strives for true independence. As I see, her chronic need for male company will never go away, and she’ll never be the mother that Noah wants to see. Like I said in my previous comment, I worry for Faith’s future if this Sharon keeps up her appearances – and she will.

Please do not get me into Daisy, Ryder, and all these other newbies. As for Daniel (Fred), Amber (Daphne), Jana (Velma) and Kevin (Shaggy – notice a pattern here?) – somebody tell the writers that “Scooby-Doo” was on CBS or ABC in the 70’s and 80’s, but in the 2000’s, that particular show moved to the Cartoon Network. Speaking of which, this show gets more cartoony with every passing day. And what were they saying of Darius McCray? He looks nothing like Malcolm to begin with (especially not the Malcolm that Phyllis remembered getting with, and this was said to be a hot pre-Phick relationship) and this is not meshing well with viewers. I could go on, but I think I’d be here all night.

Perhaps we’re asking for too much, but the point is this show is not very high in the popular opinion polls with Bell and Rauch. I think even Jackie Collins would shake her head at this, and refuse to work at CBS under these two. Believe me, if I were the head of CBS Daytime, I’d demand that Paul Rauch and Maria Arena Bell shape up or ship out! It’s one thing to recapture the rich history of the show and characters, but what they’re doing is recycling old storylines, and that’s something else entirely. Nowadays, while some soap opera fans do stay at home with the kids as mothers, many of them also have careers and are trying to make their mark in society and on the world. We even have grandmothers who have careers! We are not our parents’ generation who watched soap operas for “love in the afternoon.” I am very disappointed in what this show has become, and unlike “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns,” I fear the cancellation of this show will be less of a surprise. If Y&R stays on this track, it won’t be a matter of if, but when.

Thanks for letting me vent. I apologize for the book, but this interview had me itching to get a load off my back.

I’m sorry, am I missing something here, concerning your “response” to my post? I didn’t notice any reply to my post made.

I am so sorry I wasted my time reading half of your post. When I got to the part about Sharon Case being jealous of MS I realized I had wasted precious moments of my time reading drivel. And your saying ugly things about both Cane and Lily and dogging the church on top of that just made me rme. No wonder MB doesn’t listen to us posters when they go off on incoherent, unearthly rants such as yours.

This guy David’s obsessive hatred of Christel Khalil is crazy and scary. I hope she never meets him in a dark alley because this coward’s obsession is not reasonable and borders on insanity. He goes from message board to message board spewing hatred for a woman he doesn’t know all under the guise of pleasing Victoria Rowell. Another woman he probably has never met.

David… and your point is?….. You all are still watching the show like I am and yes I yell and scream at the TV when Y&R is on, but isn’t all of that and everyone’s complaints and vetting, part of the love and hate that all of us fans have have like our own mini soap? I don’t like many of the stories or characters, but I’m realistic with the fact that You and I don’t have any control what happens or with the writers either. I will still be watching tomorrow and after…….

I would rather watch a show that has story lines that amount to something rather than watch a show that looks like it’s intended for the purpose of soft porn material. YES, I’m talking about Phick/Phyllis. I know that most are upset that Phick is dead and has followed in the same fate of Shick in terms of lies and cheating, but that is what the writers intended when the did this to Phick. Shick isn’t any more “toxic” than Phick and IF that is what the writers intentions were when they mirror these two couples, then that was accomplished. As for MS not having the air time that some of her fans think she should have, that’s all hog wash. I’m quite thankful for little favors since all she does is SCREAM her lines, laugh through the whole thing and put her hands to her face/hair/mouth and annoy us fans. I don’t think MS needs a lot of air time, since Phyllis only reason for being on this show is to have sex 24/7 with her young stud. Sharon Case is a good actress, better than MS would or could ever be. I realize that the Sharon Case haters are not happy that MS hasn’t the same air time, but it’s obvious that SC has the bigger role since her character is the important one from the get go. I’d be totally fine if they got rid of MS, I have nothing against the actress, but I’m tired of watching her head flung from side to side, and her stuffing her face with donuts and eating like a pig on the show, I don’t watch for this, I watch for drama, action, love etc. Thanks.

Then stop watching so you can quit complaining.

Last time I checked this was a forum for comments and not to mention my freedom to write what I please, just like everyone else here. Thanks for coming out!! Maybe a better suggestion would be for you not to READ my post!!

isa2009, my first comment to you did not pass moderation, so here’s a more toned-down version for you.

First off, I’m tired of hearing about how fabulous Shick is and the “sickness” of Phick! Nothing is further from the truth! For ten whole years, we, the viewers, have had to put up with Sharon and Nick’s endless parade of lies, cheating, finger-pointing accusations, Sharon’s “woe is me” act, and her lusting after another man when she doesn’t get the upper hand in the many fights with Nick and the Newman family. We all know that Sharon grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in near poverty with a struggling single mother, and the only reason why she went after Nick (when he was dating her best friend, no less) was because she knew his family was wealthy with lots of cash and privilege. That is not a woman of class, that’s what we dignified people call a golddigging tramp. Is it any wonder this woman has had animosity with Nikki the entire time Shick was married?

And here’s a news flash for YOU… Sharon has cheated on Nick NUMEROUS TIMES during the ten years Sick was together! First there was Diego Gutteriez, whom Nick’s sister, Victoria was romantically interested in. Then there was Cameron Kiersten when Sharon just up and left her husband and kids for no apparent reason other than she “had to figure some things out.” Yeah right! She just left so she could have sex with some Playgirl model wannabe in a honky tonk bar in Denver! Then, there was the infamous mattress Macarena with Victoria’s HUSBAND (yes, I said HUSBAND), Brad, when the two were united in a hotel room in New York, followed by a heavy make-out session in a parking garage in which Nick caught them red-handed. We all knew Sharon wanted him from the get-go, the way she begged him to back out of marrying Victoria on their own wedding day. She even confessed her love for him over the intercom in the hearing of her second husband, Jack (whom she screwed one evening shortly after her dinner with Brad!) Oh, and let’s not forget her tounging Victor, which Nick also caught! And shall we get into the many men she had over at the ranch while sending Noah to all those sleepovers at Sam’s house, this so soon after Cassie died? Really, I’m surprised CPS didn’t intervene to take Cassie and Noah away. I worry that little Faith will suffer that very fate!

And how does Sharon justify her actions? By telling everyone she was hurt, lonely, confused, and blaming everyone around her – Phyllis definitely included – for her actions and acting as “motivation” for her to cheat. Nothing is ever this woman’s fault, she takes no responsibility for her actions, and we Phyllis fans can see this crystal clear! If Sharon and Nick reunite with Faith in the family that you and all the Shicks want, it’s going to end in a disaster worse than the Haiti earthquake. We will be subjected to the same lying, cheating, accusations, finger-pointing and “revenge sex” when they inevitably start fighting again, and Sharon will be blaming everyone but herself, shining off that halo every chance she gets! This is one of the major reasons why I can’t stand her.

Oh, sure, I WANTED to give her a chance, but then I saw all the aforementioned on my TV and computer screen and quickly decided for myself not to.

How can you call Phyllis a horny old woman sexing up a young man like a dog in heat, when Sharon isn’t any better! We’ve had to put up with Sharon sexing up every man within a 200-mile radius, especially when she was supposed to be committed to one man. And we are over it! Phyllis may be a psycho, but that’s the reason why we love her, and Michelle Stafford does a fantabulous portrayal of it. Phyllis may be a tramp in her own right, but at least she has the class to own up to her mistakes, unlike Saint Sharon. The Phyllis and Phick (former and current) fans are out there; we’re just tired of fighting with you like this.

And a word on Michelle Stafford’s acting, since you seem to take issue with her “screaming her lines,” so to speak. In the months when the Phick marriage was decaying like a rotten tooth, MS has been giving us regular folk acting lessons. When she acts on screen, she makes us get into her character. MS emotes how Phyllis feels about what’s happening around her, and she makes us want to reach out to her and give her a sympathy hug. She makes us hate Nick along with Phyllis, and we find ourselves cheering her on as she faces off with her enemies. I particularly loved it when she slapped Nick that one time. I wanted her to hit him again. Totally unlike Sharon Case, who, as I’ve said, bobs her head around, goes “duh” and acts like a cross between a space case and a porn star. Go to Michelle Stafford’s personal website, and download the video montage of her acting roles, including those in Y&R, and her part in the movie, “Double Jeopardy” where she plays a bidder at a bachelor auction. Seriously, MS NEEDS more air time, because with all the spotlight-hogging SC is doing… well, if it weren’t for my volunteer work, and I was watching this every day, I’d think I was watching “The Sharon Case Show.” This personally does not interest me.

You may want the “Romeo and Juliet” story that was Sick, but remember, that play was written as a tragedy for a reason. I may not be one of them, but many who read the play saw Romeo and Juliet as two idiot teenagers who wouldn’t listen to their parents. But at least they gave it their all to make love conquer all, which is more than I can say for Sick. Sick’s tragedy will be even worse in the long run. All that said, I do agree with you about Victor and Nikki. He was far too abusive to her in this modern era, and she deserves better. Keep them (and Sharon and Nick) apart!

LOL, I like that old saying. If you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say anything at all. That would help in the first place so the mods won’t block your post to me or anyone else. Just a word of wisdom for the future if you care to harken!

There was no need for you to write me a book in response, I get the point that you don’t like the show very much at this point in time. I also understand from your previous full page rant that you don’t like Shick and prefer Phick. I also understand that you like MS and not SC. That is all fine with me as each and everyone of us has an opinion and we are entitled to that!

We see things differently and you won’t change my mind and from the looks of things, you won’t be changing the writers mind either. They must have seen something in Shick to have them hold on to this s/l with Sharon and Nick over the past few years, while Phick is married. I like SC and I enjoy Sharon on the show. I think the writers see that SC is an outstanding actress and that is the reason they have given her such a huge role, that requires so much air time. I understand that you don’t like that and that’s cool too. Doesn’t change things one iota though!

There are many aspects of this show that I don’t like, but I realize that I have the option of watching or tuning out, which I have chosen to tune out for years. Shick and Phick marriage suffer from lies, cheating, deception etc, so for you to rant over Shick is senseless in MO. Phick is only SEX and nothing more. No love, no communication, no affection, no comparison to Shick that at least had a marriage that lasted for 10yrs regardless of the hurts and pains. That would explain why Nick wants that back and would leave Phyllis for it. Phick is made up of deception and not to mention a murderous socio that is obsessed over a man that she stole. Ain’t nothing entertaining about that for me. MS isn’t worth air time in MO, she screams her lines, bites her fingers, tosses her head from side to side, laughs through her scenes, don’t know what personal space is and nothing that is worth my time. I prefer Romeo and Juliet to Phickness porn, but thanks any how. As for Sharon being a porn star, I don’t see her jumping on any desks at the office and being called a “dog in heat” by anyone. I don’t see Sharon doing the nasty with anyone in every corner of office space and begging for a man to stay with her when he tells her he loves someone else. NO, that would be Phyllis, a low life, that is out of touch with reality, that is heartless and unkind, uncaring and a cross between a murderous psycho and hyena with rabies, if you get my drift! All said, I can respect that you don’t like Shick, now only if you can try and respect that I don’t like Phick, I don’t care for them, they make me sick and they annoy the living day lights out of me. Thanks!

As my grandfather would say: “What a bunch of hooey!”

Okay, I have read the interview – which I laughed out loud at in several areas and I have read everyones comments and I have to say that MAB and PR have their dellusional blinders firmly in place. The bells are tolling for the end of Y&R if these two remain at the helm!!

Let me just first comment on their stellar casting achievements of the girl who plays Daisy – next to the Scooby-Doo gang one of the most annoying and useless characters to hit Y&R. I’ll throw the Ryder character into that comment too – and she just ‘popped’ as Daisy, MAB??!! REALLY??!! And DM as NuMalcolm – ‘the best audition they have seen in twenty years’??!! REALLY??!! He is and always will be Eddie Winslow – no matter how low he tries to make his voice!! And his character is about to become a grandfather??!! Are you flipping kidding me??!! He looks and acts like he is barely older than twenty-one and he is supposed to be Lily’s bio-dad??!!! Sorry MAB and PR those were a couple of the worst casting decisions that you have made to date.

Old Vic and Strip-Nikki are a super couple of the highest romantic estemes??!! He wished her dead in a coffin just over a year ago and now she is giving lines like ‘Well the King does deserve to be in his castle’ in reference to him getting the ranch back from Ashley – again are you flipping kidding me!!

Adam pushes his then step-mother down the stairs killing her unborn child and as he is mopping up the remains he is plotting his next move – that was pretty sick IMO!! On top of that we have a LEGALLY BLIND CHARACTER reading the normal small print of a magazine – the latest edition of RS, without assisitance and being the key to discovering all the bids in the Jabot auction by breaking in opening all the envelopes in a way as to be undetected and reading scanning and then emailing them to dear old dad Vic – WOW he has better sight than I do and I’m 20/20!! (insert sarcasm there – LOL!!)

We got Sheila or someone associated with Sheila back again – YIPPEE!! Cause that’s not over done or anything. Crazy Patti/Mary-Jane/Doctor Emily Peterson was interesting at first but now it just feels like a different version of Sheila and I actually really like the actress who is playing those multi-characters and apparently TPTB do to since they keep reincarnating her into someone else who still – well looks just like her… And I just love how everyone who meets the latest version of Doc Emily freaks out for a second and then it’s all okay because it’s totally normal to see someone who looks exactly like someone else who happens to be evil and think nothing of it – LOL!

Now let me comment on MAB’s (in her mind anyways) ultimate coupe of bringing back TB as PCIII. That lackluster twist fell flat before he even came on the screen. The horrible rewrite of history that took place just mere months before hand was absolutely ridiculous. We were supposed to swallow the bitter joke of a rewrite of an upstanding character such as Cane – the good guy hero type character was suddenly hiding vials of blood in a freezer – for convenience sake, of course! And that this man would torcher the love of his life Lily with the lie of being Delia’s father to protect the I’m not really PCIII lie – would go through with marrying that useless troll like character Chloe to protect said lie – absolutely ridiculous. Yes MAB that was a coupe especially when TB was so full of botox he couldn’t express himself beyond a mumble to save his characters life??!! Thanks God for DG and CKH’s stellar performances so they could carry that character until he was once again off our screens!! But wait won’t he be coming back to deal with the ‘Cattle Mafia’ that will be coming to town – oh geez I can’t wait!!

Sorry for the book of rant all but I think MAB and PR and their ridiculous ‘praise us’ interview just brought it out in me. Thanks Michael for doing your best with what you were given to bring it to us, it was extremely enlightening!

Love it and your humor. Hopefully your post will be read by MAB and PR and they will take heed.

Ok, I read the interview and I have to comment. I have never in my entire life heard such delusional crap. They are even crazier than the characters they write, namely Patty and Sheila. And if they think that what they’re giving the audience is their BEST then Y&R is even closer to extinction than I thought!

First of all let’s start with some of the characters they have brought on since MAB has been at the helm: Jeffery Bardwell (Mr. Magoo) – what were they thinking? There was no need to bring TS back to play the twin brother. He was killed off for a reason. Then there’s the sarcastic unemotional Troll, Chloe who serves no purpose other than to annoy. I have to ask, when is she going to pay for all that she’s done? She was allowed to almost destroy two lives and what punishment did she get? NONE! Everything was swept under the rug as if it had never happened. Now we have Ryder and Daisy – two of the worst, most useless characters in daytime history. And we are to believe that the girl who play Daisy just “popped” in her casting. Popped out of what? A birthday cake! BUT their coup d’etat is DM as nu-Malcolm??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!!! We’re expected to believe he is Lily’s biological father and soon-to-be grandfather to her and Cane’s children. HE IS NOT MALCOLM!!!!! He can’t even play the character as he was advertised. It’s like the great build-up to a new restaurant and you go expecting the chef’s best of steak and potatoes only to be served some dry gravy free piece of chicken. Seriously, he was touted as suave, smooth, charismatic and a ladies man – well I’m still waiting for him to show up. Then there was Karen who many thought blended well with the Winters family but what the MAB and her henchmen do? They chose Tyrone over her and sent her packing. Where is Tyrone now? That’s right! After sleeping with the father then the son they sent her packing too. YAY!! And don’t even get me started on hair model sr. (Heather) and hair model jr. (Abby)!

Let’s talk super couples. The black knight and the stripper are a super couple of the highest romantic esteems? Seriously?!! Really?!! Well get out of here. OMG! Where have I been that I did not know this? Oh, I’m forgetting I DON’T LIVE IN DELUSIONALVILLE WITH MAB AND PR!! So let’s move on, shall we?
The whole bringing TB as P3, MAB’s ultimate coupe, has got to be the biggest flop in daytime history. First of all, we were led to believe that Cane who had been portrayed as an upstanding young man who went looking for his family, found them and in the process the love of his life in Lily, was nothing but a liar. And for what? So MAB could bring back TB. He has so much botox in him it’s a wonder he even manages to part his lips. Can we say DULL?!! His character was killed off 20 years ago. LET IT GO! MOVE ON!! The only saving grace was that daytime’s newest super couple LANE as played by Daniel Goddard (Cane) and Christel Khalil Henley (Lily) gave such stellar performances that they kept much of the audience from bolting. Thankfully, TB was written out but guess what MAB and her henchmen DID NOT, I repeat, DID NOT learn from their mistake; TB is slated to return shortly. I can only offer my condolences for this round of the debacle that is to come.

Then there’s Adam, who we are to believe will get what’s coming to him. LOL…I seriously doubt that. Come on, he tormented his step-mother until she had a miscarriage, cleans up without blinking an eye then continued that delusion until he could steal his brother’s child and give it to her. WHY??!! All so he can get revenge on his father? Then he turns around and marry the mother of the child he took, his brother’s ex-wife. What?? Now, he’s trying to help said father by being a spy? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!! Plus he’s supposed to be almost blind!! He should not be able to read fine print like magazines and contracts!!!

And so much for not recycling storylines! What do you call poisoning Lauren so you could bringing back Sheila for the umpteenth time? IT’S BEEN DONE!! GET OVER IT!!! Oh, the Mary Jane/Patty/ Doc Emily fiasco has been done on television before too. You might want to rethink those and DUMP them now.

But wait!!! The biggest lie of all is: we’re to believe that these are examples of character driven storylines. REALLY???!!! Where are they character driven? All I’ve seen are characters being and doing total opposite of what we’ve seen and known them to be over the years. Neil sleep with Tyra after he’d just married Karen. No! The character of Neil would not have done that. Could it have been written as him struggling to come to terms with his feelings? Yes! Absolutely!! But would he have acted on those feelings? No. Cane purposefully and knowingly hurting Lily? Nope. Totally out of character. Jill and Katherine rolling over and playing dead to Chloe? Not in a million years! Not these characters who over the years would have gone to hell and back to protect their family. Then this girl comes in and marry both of Jill’s sons and Katherine’s grandsons within months and nothing. Nope! But it was welcome to the family with no ramifications? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Character driven? Character driven my ass!! MAB and her henchmen wouldn’t know a character driven storyline if they saw one.

Oh, to add insult to injury, MAB claims they read the message boards but don’t listen to the fans. That’s just plain stupidity right there. The fans are the ones watching the show and keeping it at #1!!! WITHOUT THE FANS YOU HAVE NOTHING!!! With idiots like her it’s no wonder soap operas have become a dying genre. She fails to see that the fans if not the storylines themselves are one of the most important ingredients when it comes to this genre of television. I can only hope the studio will realize it’s mistake in hiring them before it’s too late.

Sorry for the rant but I could not sit idly by and say nothing. Thanks Michael for bringing this to our attention. How you manage to sit there and listen while MAB and PR spouted all that drivel is beyond me.

Bravo Trish! Bravo !!!!!

The black knight and the stripper are a super couple of the highest romantic esteems? Seriously?!! Really?!! Well get out of here. OMG! Where have I been that I did not know this? Oh, I’m forgetting I DON’T LIVE IN DELUSIONALVILLE WITH MAB AND PR!! So let’s move on, shall we?

If by this, you’re talking about Nick and Sharon, I just want you to know that I love you already. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m glad Texas Woman and I aren’t the only ones on here who don’t fall for this “Romeo and Juliet” nonsense, unlike their fans whom I have lots of names for, but will keep to myself for moderation purposes… LOL!

Hilarious post, Trish.

I was surprised by how semi-literate MAB appears to be in this article. Shouldn’t a “head writer” have a decent command of English, at the very least! I suppose that isn’t required if your last name is “Bell.”

Love your remarks! LOL!

If only they would quit shoving thier favorites in the fans face all the time and give equal viewing to all cast memebers, maybe, just maybe the show can be enjoyed by more viewers. Billly Abbot is on entirely tooooo much. As welll as Victor Newman. And now you are trying to showcast the filler character Chloe everyday as if she matters.

Please, please get a clue and fast. Adam is just, well sickening. Aren’t the FANS the ones given you all a paycheck. Well quit trying to make fans like what you want. It is not working. You can fudge numbers all you want but the truth will knock in the face someday.

What they did to Lily’s character was down right low down and dirty. Yeah, I said it, it needed to be said. COWARDS! of the lowest of caliber.

Get rid of Paul Rauch, Marie Bell and Hogie Scheffer, and then maybe the show can be saved.

ICAM! Do we really need to see Billy Abbott everday and involved in every story? I understand that he is the darling of MAB and company but their promotion of him should not push other characters/actors to 5minutes and one day per week.

IA that the sterlization of Lily was heavyhanded. Give her cancer and remove an ovary and make her odds of getting pregnant next to nil so that her eventual pregnancy would be a miracle but why render a 22 year old barren ?

and sadly the actress is pregnant in real life, which makes the whole sl dumb, you can SEE her hair sticking out of those God awful uh hats. And for someone that is only 22, Lily has lived at least 10 different lives. Agian more crimes agianst woman who BTW are your veiwers

Thanks Michael for the interview, but I would have to agree with others their proclamations sounded delusional. I do think that they DO need to listen to the feedback from their viewers. Obviously viewers have favorites but underneath that we all seem to have a common thread — we are tired of the recycled and we are looking for some new life to breathed into Y&R along with other soaps. Y&R seems to be missing the love in the afternoon part along with a good portion of adventure, humor and just plain old good storytelling! Y&R needs balance. Also, Victor is not the end all be all… Y&R was quite enjoyable when there was no Victor except for the Scooby Doo Gang. If Y&R keeps trying to hold on the past, I fear there will not be a future and that would be a terrible thing!

Excellent post, I really wish they would listen to your commom sense. Good writing for all Characters, equal screentime and balance please!

Bravo to your post, k4lane & Trish… MAB & PR are unbelievable.

I’m new to your site, but I really wanted to see what crap these 2 had to say. I’ve been a veiwer of Y&R for well since the begining, and I’m disappointed in the state OF ALL THE SOAPS right now. Everyone pretty much agrees that this particular mode, or phase the soaps are in currently will ensure that soaps will be gone in 2-4 yrs at best. Most of the coroperate heads seem to believe that people only want reality shows or God forbid game shows. I realize that part of this is due to the cost of the soaps, loss of veiwers and to some extent car companies no longer spending big $$$$$$ on ads. I’ve been reporting on soaps from my early days in radio to now. Not only did I report on the soaps I got to meet and interview several soap stars that are friends to this day….even they are disapointed in the state of soaps today. I see Y&R repeating the same stories, rewriting history on a whim, and how they Y&R are treating the female characters are just horrible. All the women are dumbed down, and act as if they are NOTHING without a man. Plus where is the ROMANCE? All this baby kidnapping, bed hopping, etc are not enjoyable to watch at all. It’s bad enough that society treats women like crap, but we have to watch it one our soaps which are SUPPOSED to be an escape. These 2 knuckleheads don’t have a clue as to what their viewers what, and they act like they don’t care….and considering who MAB’s father in law was/is I’m sure Bill Bell is rolling in his grave. All of this becomes glaringly obvious when they show those holiday episodes. And they don’t want to listen to the FOCUS groups, which means they don’t give a rat’s azz what the veiwers think either. It’s really sad for those of us that watched with our mothers, grandmothers etc. And it’s is becoming clearer eachand everyday that NONE of our opinions EVEN MATTER…..Still good interview, at least now we KNOW they don’t care about the fans….so why watch?

I find this interview to be a complete joke and a bad one at that MAB/PR are a dream team but only if the dream is a nightmare the s/l are terrible and the characters that they are pushing on the viewers are just as bad…Daisy is not the hit she makes her out to be….ppl are getting tired of the scoby gang….along with a blind man that can scale walls put on a dress to scare a woman out of her mind causing said woman to miscarry among his other crimes….then have said woman to continue to think she is still pregnant and give birth..HUH….and the woman never suspect that she did not give birth….seriously….the once great love story between Nikki/Vicktor was ruined when he told her he wished that she was dead instead of his newest wife of the minute Sabrina by having Nikki go back to him after the way he treated her on top of David Chow makes her look (fill in the blank)……then we have the horrific rewrite of P3 is alive even JC said that story was not nesscary….and do not get me started on the Lily ovarian cancer s/l this is the story that made me stop watching……it was not well written or researched and why would they give a diesase that is more common to older women to a 22 year old then proceed to give her a full hysterectomy……the last child of colour to be born on the show how many years ago…..and they do that! The whole Winters family have been writen as extras….why can’t Niel have his own company……and why do they write Lily to be so submissive…..I will never understand how a woman with a super model for a mother who grew up in Paris going with her mom to her fashion shows and photo shots needed someone like Chole to teach her how to be a model……what about Sharon look at how she is written or Nick or who ever he is either sleeping with or married too….then there is Billy no matter if you like him or hate him you got to wonder why some characters can’t get one s/l but he can get at least four…..and if they are reading the mbs they would know that in fact on one of the boards they were asking for MAB/HS to be fired

In response much later than others I can’t wait to see the magic of writing transform the fabulous Michael Muhney into the character he was meant to be when he first introduced himself to two very jealous siblings. Can’t wait for Sharon to come to his assistance and turn Genoa City on it’s self serving crown. Love your interviews Michael. I choose to look for love in the most unusual and well concealed places. Wonderful acting!! I challenge these terrific writers to keep me watching.

What I truly hate is that Bill Bell is no doubt rolling over in his grave. Paul Rauch has a history not unlike any other Nazi General. His reputation is not one you’d expect to be accepted by Y&R. Maybe he’s a long time friend of Maria’s father. He’s old enough to be. MAB is a liar, she does not care about the fans. If she did, DRU would have been back long before Lily’s babies were born. Writing sucks, and certain cast members should be gone. I’m sick to death of Adam. Kill him off, and bring his mama back. Tucker and his toupee’ are sickening. Hell, have him shave his head. It would be more believable. No wonder Bold and Beautiful won for best soap. Y& R is now Doom & Gloom. Depressing!

I really think so too=P I have been surfing around the internet for a while today, and its kinda hard to find something interesting to read on blogs:P Maybe its because there are too much of those around =) But this place actually keeps catching my attention. Great stories, and kawai design ^__^. Ill be sure to give it more visits now =)

I have been watching Yand R since the day it started, My son was born the day before so I watched it starting then. I just have to write, are you all crazy. This story line with Sharon going back to Adam is stupid and nuts, Never in a million years would that ever happen. We were all so happy seeing Sharon and Nick finding their way back together as Casseys gift, that is what ALL the fans want. Your making Sharon out to be a nut case and that is not where we want to see her go. I am hoping that this is all a plan of Sharon’s to secretly bring Adams down and hurt him as much as she and Nick were hurt. In fact that should be your storyline… that this is all a well engineered plan of Sharons to make Adam pay for all the evil he has done and how evil he is. This way Nick will understand why she did what she did and welcome her back with all the love that two people could ever have with each other. There are a lot of story lines that are interesting and exciting and can be developed into a even greater show, just let Sharon and Nick be happy. I am so upset I don’t even taped the show when I work now as the story lines are just dumb. Do you think that the fans are stupid? Phyllis is a nut tired to kill Chris now she is so wonderful. I never liked her with Nick. She is mean and shelfish. There is nothing wrong with stories about happy people, Now that their are a lot of children around there is more that could be written about them that could give you the so called excitement you think we need. Also I think that you should have not had Nicki sleep with the jurk as that was part of the plan to destroy Victor, why would you stop them from being together. You have really messed up a great soap and you should all be ashamed of yourselves. I could write a better storyline then you. I am so sad your making me not care for this wonderful show anymore, Shame on you all.

I have been watching the Young and Restless with my mother and father for years now and I am so disappointed with the way the story lines are going now. I have really noticed a big difference from the old writers to the new writers. Big mistake on letting Cane go from the young and restless – the majority of your fans tuned in because of Cane. I have not watched the show since he left. Story line did not even make sense. It sickened people. Lily finally gets over cancer and what do you do? Kill off her husband? Good bye young and restless after watching the show since 1975. It used to be the best soap ever.

After ATWT went off I’ve tried watching other soaps….i tried Y&R .i watched it once in awhile off and on but even off and on is too’s horrible….even B&B has gotten better….solution? Make B&B an hour and cut Y&R to 1/2.OR bring back my beloved ATWT and be done with all the rest!

Days Of Our Lives

Matthew Ashford and Melissa Reeves Talk Return to DAYS for Doug’s Funeral, Susan Seaforth Hayes, and Their Enduring Friendship

Last week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode which is tentatively scheduled to air on December 3rd. The story will feature emotional and heart-tugging scenes of Doug Williams funeral and honor his portrayer, the beloved Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th at the age of 98.

While the actors, producers, and crew took a lunch time break to pose for some pictures and speak with the press, they knew they would have to get back to taping the funeral, which was going to make it a tough day, but also cathartic for all who loved Bill Hayes.

Several returns have thus far been announced including; Melissa Reeves reprising her signature role of Jennifer Horton (a part she first played in 1985), and Matthew Ashford as Jack Deveraux. Reeves had last appeared on the show back in 2021, and she was replaced by Emmy-winner Cady McClain in her absence when Jennifer was in storylines. In real-life, Melissa had moved full-time to Tennessee along with her husband, Scott Reeves (ex-DAYS, GH, Y&R). Now, and as previously reported, Reeves will first appear back on DAYS for the Thanksgiving episodes with the Hortons.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Matt and Melissa during the 15,000th episode celebration to get their take on: being back for these special episodes, how it has been working with and watching Susan Seaforth Hayes portray Julie’s grief over losing Doug, and how they have supported each other through the years. Check out what they shared below.

Melissa, you are back on the set of Days of our Lives for this very emotional and special moment in the series history. How does it feel?

MELISSA: Oh, my goodness. I am honored. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but to be here for Bill. He was like my real-life dance partner. He taught me how to ballroom dance. And to be here for Susan, of course, who’s just been our sweet hero this whole week. We’re just following her lead. She’s just been this incredibly strong example for us in the midst of this trial and season of her life. She is like just lifting us all up with her. It’s been incredible.

I was at Bill Hayes memorial service which was truly incredible and I know at the time you were in Tennessee. It was moving and celebratory of his life, all at the same time.

MELISSA: That’s all I have heard. I have to watch it on You Tube. They said it was just a real celebration of his life and I love that.

Photo: JPI

This must be difficult for Susan Seaforth Hayes depicting the death of Doug, when she is still grieving the loss of her beloved husband. (Susan pictured above with the returning Stephen Schnetzer who plays her on-screen brother, Steve Olson).

MELISSA: I’m sure Susan has those moments at home by herself, but she’s so good at being a leader and leading all of us. We’re following her, you know, and she’s like, “This is how I want to feel today.” And we’re just going along with her, you know? It’s so sweet.

Photo: JPI

How is it to see Matt Ashford again live and in-person?

MELISSA: You know, Matt and I can go years without talking, or seeing each other, and then the minute we see each other we’re chatting away.

MATT: Melissa was out on set doing a scene yesterday on the phone talking to a stage manager; as she was telling some really tough news on the phone. I’m like crying in the background, literally, I’m off-stage crying.

MELISSA: And then we get like back into normal life, and we’re like, okay, “What’s happening? What’s happening with this … or what’s happening with that?”

I had read, Melissa, that you were in touch with Matt about if there night be a possibility for you to reprise your role as Jennifer for these special episodes?

MELISSA: Yes. Well, Matt was like, “Hey! Would you want to come back? “And I was like, “Matt, you know, I would always come back. ”

MATT:  Every time I come here to Days of our Lives, they ask, “Where’s Missy? How’s Missy?” Everybody backstage says, “I miss her.” All of the crew is asking about her and saying, “It would be nice to see Missy. Nothing wrong with you Matt, but …”  They said, “Where is she?” I said, “She wants to come!”

Photo: JPI

There are some beautiful photos of Missy and Bill and Susan thorough the years that I found. It just reminded me of just the deep and entrenched history we all have had with the show, personally and professionally.

MATT: Missy is roughly the age where Francis Reid (ex-Alice Horton) was when she started the show, which is just crazy.

Photo: JPI

I’ve always said Missy was going to be the next generation Alice. Do you feel that Jennifer is the heir apparent matriarch of the Horton family?

MELISSA: Yes. I mean, this has been greatest blessing of my life, and that would be great. I told Ken Corday (executive producer, Days of our Lives) when I was 17 that this show would be my life. Ken always told me, “This is your home,” and I’ve always felt like that.

How have gotten through the scenes watching Susan Seaforth Hayes as Julie go through the loss of Doug?

MATT: Susan is bringing her best performance life for her and Bill. I mean, she’s a showbiz baby. She always has been one hundred percent, and she’s doing it for him, and this is who they’ve always been. So, you’re seeing this amazing performance colored by her life. She has her private life as Susan, but she has enough plugged into Julie that she’s done amazing work. The director, producers and writers are giving her room to live in these moments and it’s quite wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Have you already broken down in tears during the taping?

MELISSA: Yesterday, but today’s taping of the actual funeral I think they want us to try and be just more celebratory.

MATT: I mean, it is a beautiful long life for Bill Hayes and his character of Doug Williams, and so it will be about that. Then, you get a bunch of us together in the church pews, and there’s going to be hijinks.

MELISSA: We all have been through the waves of grief. You have that awful cry and then all of a sudden you feel okay.  There are those family situations we are portraying where you’re like, “What do we do? What do we do now? You know, no one knows what to do. But, it’s so sweet. I’m looking forward to seeing how the scenes all turn out.

So, are you glad that Matt and Melissa are back for the 15K episode and Doug’s funeral? From what we can tell, it’s going to be quite an emotional journey for Days of our Lives fans, and especially the performance of Susan Seaforth Hayes, 

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Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Talks on Decision to Make Days of our Lives 15000th Episode About Doug’s Funeral, and Previews Chances for WGA Award

This week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode. In of it itself, that is an incredible accomplishment for the long-running soap opera currently streaming on Peacock.

However, this on set gathering was a bit different. Though the show is celebrating their achievement, they are also in the middle of taping scenes surrounding the death and the funeral of Doug Williams, played by the late Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th of this year at the age of 98.

As previously revealed many longtime favorites are back to honor Bill and the character of Doug including: Gloria Loring (Liz), Melissa Reeves (Jennifer), Matthew Ashford (Jack), Maree Cheatham (Marie), Victoria Konefal (Ciara) and Stephen Schnetzer (Steve) to name but a few.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV was in attendance and spoke with Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati to gain some insight into how the 15,000 episode was crafted and the decision to honor the character of Doug Williams and Bill Hayes as its epicenter. In addition, Ron weighed-in on this Sunday’s April 14th WGA (Writers Guild of America) Awards, where he and his writing team are facing off with General Hospital for the daytime drama prize. Here’s what Ron shared below.

Was this your idea to make the 15,000th episode centered around Doug’s funeral and passing?

RON: It was. When you’re looking at it, and laying out the calendar for the whole year and you see 15,000 is coming up, we’re like, “What are we going to do?” And then, we got the news that Bill had passed away and something kind of clicked. I was like, “We should honor Doug on that show.” So then, we started to kind of build around that … when does he pass away? How does he pass away? Who could come back? You know, it’s a lot.  I’m very pleased with the returns that we got as there’s so much that you could do. We wanted everybody we could get. So, we put together a wish list and Janet Drucker (co-executive producer, Days of our Lives) made it happen.

Photo: JPI

You have Melissa Reeves back as Jennifer, when the role was last played by Cady McClain. What has it meant to have Missy back for these shows?

RON: It was so nice to see Missy Reeves. I think Cady has done such a good job, but on the 15,000th episode to see Missy as Jennifer, it’s a big deal. So having her was great, and overall, the milestone was a big undertaking, because you want to live up to it. You want the 15,000th episode to be good. Now, it has a lot of real emotion that you’re playing. because for the cast and the crew they’re honoring Bill Hayes just as much as we’re honoring Doug Williams.

Photo: JPI

Was it hard for you and the team to write this episode?

RON: Yes. I’ll tell you why it was hard to write.  When I wrote, for example, Asa’s (Phillip Carey) death on One Life to Live or Victor’s (John Aniston) on DAYS, Asa is a different type of character. Like, you could have characters going, “Oh! I’m glad he is dead.” You could have different points of view, but with Doug, you’re not having that. Every person loves this man. No one had a bad relationship with him. So, you’re challenge as a writer is how do you make it that not everybody’s saying the same thing and doing the same thing. And so, we tried to find ways to make the episode about all the familial relationships and yet, how do you make it about Doug and yet broaden the scope.

Photo: JPI

I had spoken to Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), a week after Bill’s memorial, for an interview. She said that she felt very fortunate that you did include her on discussions of how you would tackle Doug’s passing. How did that conversation go?

RON: First, I attended Bill’s funeral, which was incredible. I said to so many people it was an emotional service, but it was hard to be sad at this. The guy had an incredible life and it was an incredible celebration. And so, you’re sitting there watching this knowing that you now have to write something similar. And how do you write something that lives up to what you just witnessed? I wanted to talk to Susan to get her thoughts about, you know, how much do you want this to be about keeping Bill separate from Doug. How comfortable are you sharing your grief. She was incredible to talk to. It was a great chat.

You’re in the middle of taping these major scenes for the 15,000 episode to air in December. How do you think it’s going? Have you seen any of the scenes?

RON:  I haven’t seeing anything. I mean, we were still making changes to the script up till this morning!

Photo: JPI

The Writers Guild Awards are this Sunday, April 14th and once again this year there are two daytime drama nominees, General Hospital and Days of our Lives. How are you feeling about your chances this year?

RON: It is often just GH and us in the category. I’ve won three years in a row, so I’m kind of feeling like it’s their turn.

Photo: JPI

What episodes did you submit for contention? If I recall, they had to do with Victor’s memorial.

RON: The episodes we submitted were centered around Victor’s funeral. I think one has story with Vivian (Louise Sorel). We had some fun stuff, we had some emotional stuff at Victor’s death, and I am pretty sure that our submission was three episodes right around that time.

Did you make the decision to go with those episodes because there was a mix of humor and drama?

RON: I like to have some humor, but it was also the funeral, then there’s Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) giving birth, and then Vivian’s crashing the reading of the will. So, we had a lot of fun and it’s hard sometimes to pick three that tell a story, as opposed to submitting for the Daytime Emmys, where the writing team only submits two shows. So, we shall see how it goes on Sunday.


So, are you looking forward to the emotional 15,000th episode of Days of our Lives? Do you think DAYS will take home the WGA writing award for daytime dramas for the 4th year in a row? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

(INTERVIEW) Eric Martsolf Previews DAYS Stars on ‘Weakest Link’, How He Fared in the Game, Plus Welcoming New Tate, Leo Howard

Tuesday night on NBC’s Weakest Link (9 p.m. ET/PT), the stars of Days our of Lives test their knowledge, and try to win big money for the charity of their choice on the newest season of the popular game show hosted by Jane Lynch. In case you miss it, you can also catch the episode on Wednesday streaming on Peacock.

The question on everyone’s mind is … who will be revealed as Salem’s weakest link? Who will be left standing at the end of the game? DAYS favorites: Eric Martsolf (Brady) Brynn Dattilo (Lucas), Galen Gering (Rafe), Martha Madison (Belle), Victoria Konefal (ex-Ciara), Zach Tinker (Sonny), Tina Huang (Melinda) and Lindsay Arnold (ex-Allie) play while literally having the task of throwing their co-stars under the bus. The contestant who receives the highest number of votes leaves the game throughout, as Lynch declares their exit with the now iconic phrase, “You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.” 

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric Martsolf, who daytime fans know is great as a host in his own right and oh-so-fun at playing any trivia game you throw at him. Martsolf gave us the inside scoop of what it was like to be on the set and backstage in a rather nerve-wracking environment, and trying to come off as smart while Jane Lynch roasts you at the same time!

Photo: NBC

In addition, Eric shared his thoughts on the new Tate, as Leo Howard takes over the role of his on-screen son from Jamie Martin Mann on the April 5th episode of Days of our Lives, plus working with Emily O’Brien as Theresa, and the loss of the legendary Bill Hayes. Check out what Eric had to say below.

Did you know about the game before? Had you watched the original version of the Weakest Link, or this latest incarnation?

ERIC: I was very, very familiar with the game because I found, as someone who enjoys hosting, that has to be one of the best hosting gigs out there because they just have extreme liberties in belittling the contestants, and it’s all done in jest of course, but it’s great. Jane Lynch is a master.

Did you get to meet Jane Lynch before she hit the stage for the taping?

ERIC: I don’t think any of us met her prior to being on the set. So, we’re standing there behind our podiums and these cyber lights just point all in one direction. At one point when we’re out there, it was kind of a hurry up and wait thing. We’re just like, “When is this going to start?” Then, here Jane comes and in all her glory in a beautiful navy-blue suit. She just prances onto stage and just glares over at us, and starts making fun of a silly soap opera actors like you wouldn’t believe. It was just great. I’ll let the public see what how she crucified us. But it was all done in fun.

Photo: NBC

Did she crucify you?

ERIC: I don’t think anybody got out unscathed to be honest with you.

For those that don’t know the game, you try to eliminate those that are the weakest in answering questions.

ERIC: Correct, and therein lies the problem. Historically, I think the Weakest Link is comprised of contestants that don’t really know each other, and in this case, you have not only coworkers, but almost family members because we all know each other very, very well. It’s a tight circle and even more so when you’re on the same show. So, we all went in into it pretty nervous because the premise of the game is to expose the inadequacy of people’s knowledge of general facts and information. So, essentially, you’re voting each other off because you don’t think they’re as smart as you are and that they’re the least smart in the group. So, I mean, that in itself is pretty, pretty tough to swallow. It was really hard, because you have to look at your friends in the eye and go, “yeah, I don’t think you’re going to get the next couple questions. You’re not the smartest, you’re not the crispiest chip in the bag. I’m going to let you go. ”

Did you feel bad about some of the eliminations?

ERIC: At one point, without giving away any spoilers, I voted off someone that without a doubt, has more smarts and education than I do. I just felt silly. But, you know, the way the game was going, I just felt it was the right. There is a bit of strategy involved. I’m worried about the airing of this particular episode because I did fumble some questions that people are going to turn their heads and go, “Really? You didn’t get that one?” It’s so much easier to answer these questions at home in your pajamas than it is, you know, looking at Jane Lynch in the eye with 6,000 lights at your face in front of cameras. Your brain tends to wander. So yes, we all had had some answers that we couldn’t believe we didn’t get at the time!

Photo: NBC

Did it get very competitive?

ERIC: There was little competition there. If I recall, it’s Galen and Bryan that went at it a little bit and had some laughs. But again, I can’t stress this enough, it was all done with fun. At the end of the day, every one of us wanted to win. I think the smartest person did actually come out victorious.

Now in the game, for those that have never seen it, you’re on your podium, and then Jane gives a question, right?

ERIC:  It’s a firing squad of questions. You only have a certain amount of time to answer. If you get the correct answer or the wrong answer, you immediately, go to the next contestant and you have a certain amount of time. And then, at the end of that line of questioning, everyone gets to vote as to who they believed was the biggest dummy in the group. (Laughs) Some questions are simple. You know, “What color is Santa Claus’ suit?” And then, the next question is “What is 648,000 times 14?” or what’s the population of some obscure country? So, that was the biggest challenge. Someone else might get, “What is the main ingredient of a banana split?” And my question could be like, “How much is 9,430 times x 59 million?” There’s an intimidation factor that Jane Lynch brings to it when she’s staring you down.

Photo: NBC

When the cast finished the entire game, what happened backstage?

ERIC:  The best part was there were these post interviews that the Weakest Link conducts where you have to go into a dark black room. I think my first question was, “How did you feel about that wrong answer?” They don’t let up. They just keep jabbing at you. “Did you feel ridiculous getting the wrong answer to that fourth-grade level question?” (Laughs) There was also a lot of trash talk with that happened after the show. It got so competitive. If I recall, we were all supposed to go out together and get a meal with everybody, and that never happened. They’re like, “I’m not eating lasagna with you right now. You just voted me off!” Now, even the first person that gets voted off, you’re going to be shocked, because I thought this person would probably win it. In the game, you want the best people to remain on the panel because that’s what drives up the money.

Photo: JPI

Later this week on DAYS, we will see the debut of your new on-screen son, Leo Howard, taking over from Jamie Martin Mann as Tate.

ERIC: How about that?  I just did a post on Instagram, because I saw that Jamie Martin Mann had liked and hearted a post about Leo Howard coming on the show. I just thought that was so classy of him. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, “This is the new guy. Embrace him. He’s good. I’ve met him. He is a good guy.” It’s about handing off the character baton sometimes, sort to speak. I was really proud of those guys. I reached out to Jamie. He just wants to go to college and be a student. I understand that. That’s important.

Photo: JPI

Is that challenging for you as an actor since you’ve built this relationship with the one guy as your son, and now you’ve got to pivot and create a different kind of energy with someone else taking on the part?

ERIC: Leo Howard has been in the industry for a while, with some very good credits to his name. He brings a certain charisma to this role that I think people are really going to love. And yes, he’s older, but he plays younger, and he has that ability and he’s pulling it off brilliantly. I can’t wait for people to see him, but of course I miss Jamie. Emily O’Brien (Theresa) and I really grew to love him very quickly because the storyline got so deep, so quickly, with the drug intervention and then him getting beat up in in prison. I mean, as a father, that’s the kind of stuff that you have nightmares about, you know, your kids being in pain.

Photo: JPI

I still love the fact that Emily O’Brien is still noticeably wearing a blonde wig as Theresa. What are your thoughts on how the transition has been for you, and for her pivoting to a completely different role?

ERIC: I hadn’t worked with Emily much before, because Gwen and Brady never really crossed paths. We all saw the transition that she had to make. When I became Brady, the character hadn’t been on the map for three years.  When she became Theresa, she walks out one gate and comes through the other as Theresa. We all had a good giggle about it. That’s hard to ask an audience to go,  OK, I’m Gwen, now I’m Theresa.” I was scrolling through X (formerly Twitter) and I saw a couple posts from fans that said how they were really weary, at first, about accepting Emily O’Brien as Theresa. But after today’s episode, they shared, “I’m loving her as Tate’s mom, and the chemistry she has with the family.” I texted Emily and I said, “I just want to let you know that you’re just bringing it home really brilliantly, and people are starting to come around.” I think they’ll do that with Leo Howard too.

Photo: JPI

What had it been like without the iconic Bill Hayes (Doug Williams) coming to work and being part of the Days of our Lives cast since his passing?

ERIC: You really do miss that presence in the hallways. He was a song and dance guy and I am a song and dance guy. as well. I kind of find myself the lone singer in the makeup room sometimes, but I could always count on Bill. He’d be humming some old tune from the sixties. I’d start humming along and he’d just kind of lean over and take a look at me, and give a little smile. Everyone else was probably irritated at us, but we just kept singing along. and it’s like 6:30 in the morning. I think Bill was a lot like the late John Aniston (ex-Victor), in the sense that I don’t really feel like he felt he was working. He was just always having fun right up until the end. That little number he did with his wife, Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), and Dick Van Dyke (guest starring as Timothy Robicheaux), where he was singing along, he was just living it. It was so cute and so adorable to watch.

Photo: JPI

Your final tease for the Weakest Link tonight is, “Fans should watch because …”

ERIC: Fans should watch it because if they thought we were smart before, wait till they see the show.

You can check out the cold open for tonight’s Weakest Link “Days of our Lives special” below.

Now let us know, will you be watching Eric and his co-stars, past and present, attempting to showcase their knowledge on the ‘Weakest Link? Intrigued to see Leo Howard and Eric in scenes as new Tate and his father, Brady? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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