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

© JPI Studios

© 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.

MICHAEL:

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?

MARIA:

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.

MICHAEL:

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

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MARIA:

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.

MICHAEL:

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?

MARIA:

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.

MICHAEL:

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

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MARIA:

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.

MICHAEL:

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?

PAUL:

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.

MICHAEL:

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

PAUL:

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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MICHAEL:

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

PAUL:

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.

MICHAEL:

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?

PAUL:

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.

MICHAEL:  

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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?

MARIA:

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.

PAUL:

So, it’s not as much of a blow.

MARIA:

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.

MICHAEL:

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?

MARIA:

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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.

MICHAEL:

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?

MARIA:

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.

PAUL:

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

MARIA:

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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MICHAEL:

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

MARIA:

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.

MICHAEL:

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?

PAUL:

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.

MARIA:

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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 CBS.com 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.

PAUL:

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

MICHAEL:

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

PAUL:

Maria will know before I will.

MARIA:

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.”

MICHAEL:

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

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PAUL:

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.

MICHAEL:

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?

MARIA:

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.

PAUL:

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.

MARIA:

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

MICHAEL:

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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.

MARIA:

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?

MICHAEL:

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

MARIA:

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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MICHAEL:

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?

MARIA:

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.

PAUL:

We cast all contract parts by other names!

MARIA:

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.

MICHAEL:

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

MARIA:

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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?”

MICHAEL:

Do you read the message boards?

MARIA:

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!

MICHAEL:

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

MARIA:

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.”

PAUL:

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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.”

MICHAEL:

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?

MARIA:

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.

MICHAEL:

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?

MARIA:

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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.

MICHAEL:

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

MARIA:

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.

MICHAEL:

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?

MARIA:

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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MICHAEL:

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

MARIA:

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.

PAUL:

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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Rob
Guest
Rob

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.

TEXAS woman
Guest
TEXAS woman

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… Read more »

preity
Guest
preity

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

Sadie
Guest
Sadie

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

gman
Guest
gman

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

preity
Guest
preity

THANKS GMAN THAT IS WHAT I MEANT

Bill
Guest
Bill

I think they should bring back Dina!!!!

JimTolkien
Guest
JimTolkien

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… Read more »

Fans of The Young and the Restless
Guest
Fans of The Young and the Restless

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.

Heidi
Guest
Heidi

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… Read more »

TEXAS woman
Guest
TEXAS woman

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.

amazed_at_this
Guest
amazed_at_this

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… Read more »

amazed_at_this
Guest
amazed_at_this

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… Read more »

preity
Guest
preity

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… Read more »

Perry
Guest
Perry

Right on!

HEATHER
Guest
HEATHER

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… Read more »

Whynot
Guest
Whynot

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… Read more »

Renaee2006
Guest
Renaee2006

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… Read more »

Disgusted in Denver
Guest
Disgusted in Denver

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… Read more »

StephenisTuckerMAB
Guest
StephenisTuckerMAB

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

isa2009
Guest
isa2009

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!!

melissa
Guest
melissa

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.

HEATHER
Guest
HEATHER

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… Read more »

Perry
Guest
Perry

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

isa2009
Guest
isa2009

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… Read more »

Lex
Guest
Lex

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… Read more »

20+Year Fan
Guest
20+Year Fan

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… Read more »

Sadie
Guest
Sadie

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.

Whynot
Guest
Whynot

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.

David Lightfoot
Guest
David Lightfoot

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… Read more »

isa2009
Guest
isa2009

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

pbannie
Guest
pbannie

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.

Mandy
Guest
Mandy

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.

Doe
Guest
Doe

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…….

isa2009
Guest
isa2009

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.… Read more »

Isla
Guest
Isla

Then stop watching so you can quit complaining.

isa2009
Guest
isa2009

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!!

David Lightfoot
Guest
David Lightfoot

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… Read more »

isa2009
Guest
isa2009

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… Read more »

webkitty
Guest
webkitty

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

k4lane
Guest
k4lane

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… Read more »

pbannie
Guest
pbannie

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

Trish
Guest
Trish

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.… Read more »

Heidi
Guest
Heidi

Bravo Trish! Bravo !!!!!

David Lightfoot
Guest
David Lightfoot

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… Read more »

Donna
Guest
Donna

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.”

Deb
Guest
Deb

Love your remarks! LOL!

Jill
Guest
Jill

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… Read more »

Heidi
Guest
Heidi

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 ?

LMac
Guest
LMac

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

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

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… Read more »

pbannie
Guest
pbannie

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

Ashang
Guest
Ashang

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

LMac
Guest
LMac

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… Read more »

SEAN
Guest
SEAN

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… Read more »

selma
Guest
selma

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.

Deb
Guest
Deb

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… Read more »

Emo
Guest
Emo

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 =)

Judy malatesta
Guest
Judy malatesta

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… Read more »

Wendy McGrattan
Guest
Wendy McGrattan

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?… Read more »

mmc
Guest
mmc

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 much.it’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!

Interviews

Y&R’s Amelia Heinle Talks What’s Next For Victoria & Returning To Work With The Newman Clan

Fiftteen years, and two Daytime Emmys later, Amelia Heinle has become a mainstay of CBS’ The Young and the Restless as Victoria Newman; the on-screen daughter of the iconic Victor (Eric Braeden) and Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott).

In Genoa City, Victoria has certainly had her share of issues in the love department, and has battled back time and time again for respect as a formidable power player and businesswoman.

Now with Y&R being back this Monday with all-new episodes; following the production shutdown caused by COVID-19, viewers can expect to see a tougher-stance from Victoria as she fights for what she rightfully believes is hers … and she may just to it by any means possible.

Michael Fairman TV caught with Amelia to get the lowdown on: what’s ahead for Victoria, working with her co-stars, Victoria’s future in business and in affairs of the heart, and much more.  All we can say is “Better watch out Adam (Mark Grossman) and Victor!”  Here’s what Amelia shared.

Photo: JPI

How has it been going back to work at Y&R during the coronavirus pandemic?

AMELIA:  The first week was an adjustment.  There were a lot of different protocols to follow, but now I think we are in week five or so, and things are kind of normalizing a little bit with all of the precautions that we have to take and trying to get used to them.  So, it’s not much different than what’s going on in real life and how all of us are taking precautions to stay safe.  We are kind of coming back a little slower because they aren’t having a bunch of people at the studio at one time.  It’s nice.  It’s been a lot of two-person scenes, and it’s good.  I think it is going to be well-received by the fans when we start airing new episodes Monday.

Did you feel any hesitation going back into production? 

AMELIA:  No, I was glad to go back.  I was really missing everyone and missing the show and working and just the whole thing.  So, I was very anxious to get back.  It feels good.

Are the actors far apart in the scenes … as in six feet apart?

AMELIA:  Yes, I even think the first day we were back; we were like ten feet apart!  (Laughs)  They were very careful, and I respect that.  It’s not easy to do what they’re doing, and they’re pulling it off beautifully.  I’m proud of them, and I’m proud of all of us, because I think everybody wants to be back so badly and to make it work, so they’re just doing what they have to do.

Photo: JPI

So where we pick back up in story; Victoria is pretty upset with Victor and Adam.  How is she feeling about Adam after we learned he supposedly killed a guy when he was a child?

AMELIA:  It was so funny when we came back, I forgot where we were.  I couldn’t remember.  I just was like, “Wait… what happened?” because it was so long ago!

You were like “Who is AJ Montalvo?” (Laughs)

AMELIA:  Yeah!  I totally forgot about that.  I was like, “Was that where we left off?”  (Laughs) We all just kind of just jumped back into the story … and Victoria was pissed off with her father because he, again, gave Adam her position at Newman Enterprises, and made an excuse for why he did it.  So, she is mad again.   I think they thought about my character over the break and made her a little tougher.

Photo: JPI

Do you think Victoria will want payback and be a little more vindictive than we’ve seen her?

AMELIA:  Oh yeah, for sure.  She seems to be channeling Victor more and I am more than happy to play that.  Since I’ve been back, it’s been a lot of fun because they’ve given me a lot of material.

Glad to hear that Victoria will have more of an edge.  At times through the years, the various writers have waffled with her.  Isn’t Victoria supposed to be the most like Victor of all his children?

AMELIA: Yes, she’s supposed to be, and I really like it when they write her to be strong with her father, which sometimes I find that they don’t.  Sometimes, I find she is not as strong with him, and it just depends on the writers we have, or the executive producer at the time, but now they’ve written her holding her own with Victor and passionate about Newman Enterprises.  I’m hoping that they keep going in this direction.  I like playing her A-type personality.  It just makes me laugh.  I get a kick out of the character being so tightly wound and just all about business because it’s fun to play.

Photo: JPI

What does Victoria think about Adam?  Doesn’t she want to strangle him?  What is her modus operandi where he is involved?

AMELIA:  I find her to have this daddy issue, and she is highly jealous of Adam, because he’s always getting a second chance.  What Victor has done to Victoria is really cold-blooded.  He does really keep dissing her business-wise.  She’ll have an opportunity, and we had this great scene a long time ago where he finally gives makes Victoria the CEO at Newman, and it was really nice, and six months later, or whenever, he gives it back to Adam.  So she gets stabbed and then he just gives the position to Adam.  Victoria is always just getting the short end of the stick when it comes to the company.  I think that in several of the new episodes that are coming out soon, Victoria is going to fight for what she wants … finally.  She’s getting a lot wiser to her father and what he does, so I think that’s what you are going to see.

As we come back into the story, Victoria is the CEO, correct?

AMELIA:  Yes.  She is the CEO, and Victor is actually retired.  Before the break, I couldn’t remember who the CEO was when I got back then I realized… it’s me!

Will Victoria use the ammo that Adam supposedly killed somebody as a child, to get rid of him once and for all?

AMELIA:  I don’t know if she ever wants Adam to go to prison.  I don’t think she hates him that much.  I know they write that, but it’s her brother, and I think she is just super jealous of the relationship that her father has with him. Victoria wants to get Adam into trouble, and I think she wants to demoralize him a little bit, but I don’t think she wants him to go to prison or to leave town.  I think there has to be an element of love.  There’s got to be a little bit of love there because they’ve had moments; that is her brother.

How do you think Mark Grossman has been as Adam?  It’s been over a year now since he’s taken over the pivotal role.

AMELIA:  I think Mark’s done such a wonderful job, and he came in like most characters like that, with all of the dialogue, and all of that workload.  I really like him.  He’s a nice man.

Photo: JPI

Where do you think Victoria’s relationship is with her other brother Nick (Joshua Morrow)?  Are they on good terms at this point?

AMELIA:  They;re still in love!  Come on! (Laughs)  I’m just kidding.  We always joke and say, “Nick and Victoria … they’re in love.”  It’s very Game of Thrones.  I haven’t had a scene with Joshua in a while, but they’ve been on good terms for many, many years.  I don’t think they’ve had them be at odds in a while.

So, you don’t think Victoria might get into cahoots with Nick to bring down Adam?

AMELIA:  I don’t know.  That’s a good question.  I haven’t seen any scenes with them together.  I’m sure the show will find a way to loop in everyone when they tie together this story with AJ Montalvo.  But there are some very interesting family dynamics coming up.  There is something Victoria does with her mom, Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), that I’m not going to say, but something happens with her, and I like what they’ve written so far!

What about a man for Victoria?  Can she be okay without a guy? 

AMELIA:  She’s going to have to be; because I’m going to be six feet apart from whoever! (Laughs)  I don’t know how they’re going to do it.  I can’t wait to see.  They’re going to probably try some new loves, but not with a new character.  There might be some interaction with somebody coming up that I only know about, because I shot it last week. I think it is going to be cool. There’s some romance in Victoria’s future.

Photo: JPI

Okay, so it won’t be a loveless next six months for Victoria?

AMELIA:  No, I don’t think so.  I don’t think they’re going to do that to me.  I thought that too, but they’re teasing something right now, and I find it interesting.

What did you think of Jason Thompson (Billy) winning the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series back at the end of June?  I know you were in some of the scenes with him that won him the gold.

AMELIA:  It’s about time!  He’s such a great actor.  I can’t believe Jason hasn’t won one till now. It was long overdue; in my opinion.

Do you enjoy the Billy/Victoria dynamic? It can get very messy between them when either they come together or grow apart in story?

AMELIA:  I like it a lot.  Jason is great whenever we have scenes together.  He’s super easy to act with.  He is so natural.  Right now, we are not romantically entangled on the show, so we had scenes a couple of weeks ago that were really nice.  Victoria involved Billy in her business with Newman, which you’ll see later, but now they have a new dynamic, and they have a kid.  I like playing us co-parenting.

Photo: JPI

But they could end up back together at some point, I would think.

AMELIA:  Oh, for sure, 100%.  You know we’re going to go there … forever and ever.  It’s an endless loop.

Y&R just aired a classic episode of J.T. and Victoria’s wedding.  Did you happen to see it?

AMELIA: People were sending me GIFS, and I was like, “Holy crap!  I was so young!” and so was Thad.  He looked like a baby!

Photo: JPI

Do you remember taping those scenes? 

AMELIA:  Yes, I remember wearing Melody’s old dress on the show, which was supposed to be Nikki’s old dress.  I remember that I had just had my son, Rowe, so he’s twleve now, so that was almost thirteen years ago, and I remember back then I was trying to lose a little baby weight.  I also remember laughing because my hair looked like I was going to a quinceañera, and I had bows in my hair.  It was so cool to see that.  It felt like it wasn’t that long ago, but it was.  Looking back, it was fun, but I still just can’t get over how young we looked.  Twelve years really ages you!  Maybe it’s the kids, I don’t know!

It’s so interesting, and I was saying this the other day to someone, that in daytime, we’ve all grown up with each other – the people who have worked in the medium, and the fans.  In no other medium can you truly follow an evolution of a person the way you can on daytime.

AMELIA:  It’s so true.  There’s nothing else like it in the whole world.  It’s so cool.

Speaking of Thad as J.T., they ultimately resolved the story of J.T.’s abusive behavior towards Victoria in that a brain tumor was the culprit. How did you feel about that?

AMELIA:  I liked that they did resolve it.  Actually, looking back, Thad did such great work he should have submitted himself for the Daytime Emmys in the Guest Performer category.  I know the wrap-up of the story was a little silly, but the way that it turned out was good because with the brain tumor, he can still come back.  J.T. went to prison for a little bit which is a hell of a lot better than him being buried in Chancellor Park!

When Thad was off the show, did he know that Victoria, Sharon, Nikki and Phyllis buried J.T. in Chancellor Park? (Laughs)

AMELIA:  Yeah, he knew that he was buried there.  We laughed about it.  When he came back, it had to be resolved somehow, and sometimes on daytime you have to suspend disbelief a little bit.

Do you know what was really good about it?  There was still great Victoria/J.T. chemistry.  It was still there through all of the craziness.

AMELIA:  I don’t know if they’d ever have him Thad back, but it would certainly be cool.  It would be nice to just have regular J.T. because he is such a good character.

Photo: JPI

The fans are very much looking forward to all new episodes of Y&R this week.  They’ve been so patient.  I think Y&R did such a great job of coming up with these classic episodes, many of them that people hadn’t seen in such a long time, instead of defaulting to more recent episodes and just re-airing those.  I’m sure you’re hearing that from the fans that they can’t wait to see you guys.

AMELIA:  I thought people would be super excited to have the classic episodes, and I think they were to a certain point.  However, it was also nice to hear that they wanted us to come back because my thinking was, “If they see the classic stuff, I wonder if they’re going to want us back,” and they do, and it’s nice.  They want to see the development of the storylines continue.  They had their fun with the reruns.  They were well-received.

Let’s talk about being part of the iconic Newman clan of Y&R.  Do you enjoy working with Eric Braeden (Victor)?

AMELIA:  If I see that I am working with him (I just thought about this the other day because we hadn’t seen each other), I know that it is always going to be good even if it isn’t the way I want it to be written.  It’s always good.  Eric is just fun to work with, and he usually brings his A-game.  Sometimes we laugh and make fun of the material if it’s silly, but he’s just always on point with being there for you, and being in the moment with you, and supportive of you, and offering ideas respectfully; because he still really cares after all these years.  You can see how much Eric cares about the show, and his character, and making it good.  It’s just always nice to work with him.

Photo: JPI

Has Eric given you advice while on set with him throughout your time together on Y&R?

AMELIA:  We’ve talked about things every now and then.  Sometimes, I’ll just go talk about what’s going on in the show, and sit in his dressing room, and shoot the breeze about stuff.  He’s a really insightful guy, and he’s done a lot in his life, and it’s always interesting to hear his stories.  There’s just no one like him.  Eric is just such a unique man, and I respect him a lot.

And… your on-screen mom, Melody Thomas Scott has got her memoir, Always Young and Restless coming out in less than two weeks!

AMELIA:  I know!  I’m so excited.

Are you discussed in the book?

AMELIA:  I think so, because Melody said she needed a picture of me.  I can’t wait to read it!

Photo: JPI

Is this true that the Newman acting troupe knows their lines like nobody’s business and gets their scenes done quickly?

AMELIA:  It depends on the day.  Sometimes we are.  If people want to get done and get the show going and keep the ball rolling, everybody is on their A-game, and some days, we just come back from lunch and nobody can find their script or their lipstick, but it’s fun either way.  I love it.

Would you say that the Newmans can be an intimidating group on set; especially for newcomers to the show who have their first scenes with them?

AMELIA:  I would say that we are.  I’m not going to lie.  When we are all there, and it’s Eric, Melody, Josh, and me, and then there is somebody new it can be hard for them.  We’ve all been together for so long now that we have our inside jokes and everything.  When someone new comes in, and they’re just thinking they can kind of ease right into it with us, it can work or not work.  Mark Grossman was one that it worked with.  He held his own, but we are always kind, and we always make people feel comfortable and are always complimentary of new actors.  We really are.

Photo: CBS

So, a tough nut to crack those Newmans, but if you crack it, you’re good to go?

AMELIA:  Oh, once you crack it, it’s cracked. You’re “in like Flynn”.

So, excited to see what happens for Victoria in the coming months on Y&R? Who so you hope she is linked with romanitcally? Share your thoughts on our interview with Amelia via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Digital Drama Daytime Emmy Preview: Patrika Darbo Talks On Her Nominated Performance in ‘Studio City’

In Sunday night’s Digital Drama Daytime Emmys (9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST) former Days of our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful star, Patrika Darbo (Ex-Nancy, Ex-Shirley, respectively) is one of the notable nominees of the night for her powerhouse performance as Violet in Studio City.

Darbo is always working on projects in Hollywood, and her resume is long … whether it is in sitcoms like Seinfeld, series like Desperate Housewives, daytime dramas, the hottest digital drama, commercials, and more.

Having a complicated history with the Emmys; Patrika has won a Primetime Emmy for her work in Acting Dead, had her previous Daytime Emmy for The Bay rescinded, and now has a shot at another one when the winner is revealed in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category in which she is nominated.

Studio City was nominated for 8 Daytime Emmys this year including for Darbo, and series creator and star, Sean Kanan (Ex-GH, B&B, Y&R).  The show tells the tale of the cast of a fictional daytime drama as they navigate through the chaotic world of soap operas and their own very messy personal lives.  In it, Darbo delivers a tour de force monologue which just might have sealed the deal for Emmy voters.  She has already won, along with Studio City castmate, Carolyn Hennesy (Diane, GH), an Indie Series Award for her work, when the two actresses tied in their category.  They are both nominated together again for the Daytime Emmy.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Patrika to talk playing those heavy emotional moments in Studio City, longevity in Hollywood, and Emmy night.  To watch the first season of Studio City via Amazon Prime Video click here, and to watch the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys click here.  Now here’s what Patrika shared with us.

Photo; JPI

We all knew that your memorable scene in Studio City was so strong.  Your performance is really such a standout that I just thought, “Of course she is going to get nominated for this,” and you did!  How did you feel about this nomination?

PATRIKA:  I have been through the many ways that Sean Kanan has put this show together.  I mean, he has worked on it for a long time.  I read for it with him, as his mom, being a comedy, and now we’ve gone all the way to the dramatic. I think Sean did some pretty good rewrites and gave me some great, meaty material. I so appreciate the fact that he recognized the fact that I am not just a comedic actress, that there is a dramatic part of me.  

Photo: StudioCity

The big moment in Studio City for your character was just so heartbreaking.  Did you deliver that performance in one take?

PATRIKA:  Yes, and then of course I had to do it a couple of times because we had to see it from Sean’s side for his reaction shots to what I was doing.  I come from the school that even though the camera is on my back, it is now on my partner’s front.  So, I tried to give Sean as much to react to when the camera was on him as when it was on me, and I got the same from him, so it was a very nice collaboration.

I watched Sean in that scene.  He was so good in it.  So, whatever you were doing, it triggered such honest reactions from him.

PATRIKA:  I think just as far as actors go; it is not that we always have to remember that it is not about us as an individual.  It is about the end product, and the end product is about who you are working with.  I got from Sean things to work with that made Violet’s emotion’s there, and then I wanted me to be able to take my emotions and give them back to him.

 

Photo: StudioCity

Was it hard to go there for you, to that deep emotional place; that Violent had been traumatized in her not so humble beginnings in Hollywood?

PATRIKA:  You know, I have great admiration for all of these women who have come forward in the whole #MeToo movement.  I have always been a short, round, fat, little character woman, who was never approached in those ways.  So, there were things I couldn’t relate to.  I had to go to my own personal darkness, which is mine to use when I need it, but to try to be sure that I made sure that women who had faced what I was talking about could appreciate that I was showing tribute to them, because that is a horrible thing, and any kind of situation when you are bullied into something that you don’t want to do or taken advantage of, those kind of situations.

For Violet, all of this stemmed from her desire to be in show business; that at an early age she found herself in a horrible situation with a scuzzy show biz type.

PATRIKA:  Yes, she got into town and it was like a dream come true. She got invited to parties, and everything was wonderful, and “Oh, he’s going to put me in the movies,” you know.  I think that’s what happens: Hollywood is so glorious, and kids come in and get off the bus to be a star, and the first thing you have to do is wait tables … and the second thing is sometimes when you are very pretty, and thin, and attractive, and bad things happen, and I’m not just saying it happens just to women.  It happens to young men as well, and it can happen to some older people.  It’s just a thing that we have now identified, and I think people are being made aware of it.

Photo: JPI

It almost seems like you get nominated for all sorts of things in you career: primetime, daytime, stage etc.  Have you ever figured out in your own mind, why you think you get the recognition? 

PATRIKA:  I think because people know me, and I try to give out what I want back.  You know, I treat people the way I want to be treated, which means that if there are a thousand things you’ve got to watch, and you go, “Oh, there’s Patrika, let’s see what she is doing now!  She’s always so nice to me,” they take a look at my work.  Do you know what I am saying?  It’s a numbers game.  We think about how many are in primetime at this moment, and even though there are only four soaps left on the major daytime calendar, there are still the new digital shows that are coming up.  I think I am very fortunate that people know my name, they know me, and they want to take a look and see what I am up to again, and the young actors and actresses that I mentor, and kids who I’ve work with, the most important thing, I always say, is to be nice.  No one should have to tell you that, but sometimes you have to reinforce it and say, “You know what?  The casting assistant today is the casting director tomorrow, the assistant director today is the director tomorrow.  The kid over here is the writer today, and tomorrow he is the show runner.”  I don’t think you should approach your life like “What’s in it for me?”

Photo: wireimage

What did you think of the whole of Studio City?  I think it’s a little gem.  I loved its look and feel, as well.

PATRIKA:  As we go along in this digital world, it is becoming more film-like, more real life looking.  We’ve kind of gotten away from the flat, three-camera take.  It’s bringing more things to life, and people are just enthralled with it. This is the new genre of the hour-long soap.  I think with the attention span of people these days; digital drama they may wind up enjoying more and because it looks more real, they will enjoy it more.

You were in a middle of a firestorm, in 2018, when your Daytime Emmy win for your wok in The Bay was revoked.  Did you at all think about that when you found out you got nominated For Studio City?

PATRIKA:  At first, you kind of go, “Are they giving me this nomination for this reason?” but then you kind of go, “You know what?  It really has nothing to do with NATAS.  It has to do with my peers appreciating my work.  So, I know even though I had some problems in the past, NATAS was so apologetic and they’ve made a lot of changes to try to make sure that things like that don’t happen to anyone else, which I am so appreciative of, but this nomination came from my peers.  So I feel I earned it, and I don’t think it has anything to do with what happened in the past except for the fact that there are changes that are for the good.

Photo: Studio City

Now, you are nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category along with your Studio City co-star, GH’s Carolyn Hennesy.  You both tied in this category at the recent 11th annual Indie Series Awards as well.

PATRIKA:  Carolyn is wonderful in anything that she does.  I wish Sarah Brown had been nominated for her work in Studio City, too.  She is a wonderful actress. You kind of go, “Oh, they didn’t acknowledge her this time,”  but it’s like she is still in the show, the show is going to keep going, so she will have another opportunity for people to recognize her work.  Listen, Carolyn and I could cancel each other out this time, because people know us and like us and appreciate our work.

Photo: JPI

As a working actress in Hollywood, how to you feel about production starting back now for several shows, and concerns amidst the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled the show business community with the loss of so many jobs over the last several months?

PATRIKA:  I think there are still going to be concerns.  Listen, my husband has a heart problem.  He’s had a couple of stints, so he is going to be a high-risk.  So, if I am asked to go to work, I want it to be very safe where I am going, so when I come home, I don’t bring something to him, or I don’t get anything.  I think we are all going to be a lot more careful, but I think what people have to realize in general is that it is not just the actors who did not have work.  There are the camera people, there’s the director, there’s props, there are the electricians, there are a lot of people involved to make a show, whether it’s a daytime show or it’s a film.  So, things will be a little different.  There are going to be a lot of changes, but I’m hoping that we will at least get back, and are safe, and that we take care of each other.

On virtual Emmy night this Sunday, will you be participating and watching from home?

PATRIKA:  I’ll be at home, absolutely.  I’ll be trying to figure out how to push the Zoom button or the what button, and trying to figure out the computers. I’m a dinosaur in a digital world, but I’ll be doing my best!

So, will you be rooting for Patrika in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Digital Drama Series category on tomorrow night’s Digital Drama Emmys? Did you see Studio City and if so, what did you think of it?  Do you hope Patrika comes back to daytime soon? Comment below.

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Digital Drama Daytime Emmys Preview: Graham Sibley Talks On His Nominated Performance In ‘Dark/Web’

In one of the hotly contested contests on Sunday night’s Digital Drama Daytime Emmys, Graham Sibley is going for gold for his riveting and tense performance in the 7-time nominated series, Dark/Web. Sibley’s work had been recognized in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series category.

In Dark/Web, Sibley plays Leland, a ride share driver who’s just trying to make it through the night when the app on his phone takes on a frightening intelligence and tells him he has to make the world a better place, even if it means he has to kill to do it.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Mr. Sibley to get his thoughts on: playing a ride share driver, being given this tour de force role in such a unique series which landed him an Emmy nod, and much more.

And, don’t miss the Digital Drama Daytime Emmys beginning at 9 pm EST/6 pm PST here, and you can watch the entire Emmy-nominated season of Dark/Web via Amazon Prime Video here.

Now here’s what Graham had to share with us below.

Photo: Dark/Web

In Dark/Web, you were in the first installment of the season, correct?

GRAHAM:  Yep, so it’s an anthology show, and there is a narrative through in that goes through it as well. I’m in the first episode.  It’s called, “Rideshare,” and it sort of explores this ride share driver named Leland Adler.

What can you share about your interpretation of what happens in your Emmy-nominated performance?

GRAHAM:  First, I have to say, Boman Modine, Matthew Modine’s son, is a real talent.  He’s just a really adept storyteller, and he wrote a fantastic script for “Rideshare”.  In Dark/Web, each one of these anthology episodes are written and directed by different people. There is an overarching narrative that goes through that, and there are these individual episodes which are directed by other artists, guest writers, and directors.  So, Boman wrote and directed our episode.  He wrote a really complex character who is a new husband and father, who loses his job and is forced to get into the ride share business, and he is kind of desperate, and he needs to provide for his family, and there is sort of dark web that starts to infiltrate this app.  Leland starts hearing a voice through his earbuds, and you don’t know if he is going crazy … or if he is really hearing these things.  You’re assuming he is really hearing these things.  This character is sort of victimized by this presence.  Over the episode, he starts to give into this because the messages he is getting through his earbuds, through this voice, through the dark web, is information about who these people are who are his passengers, and the terrible things that they have done.  He starts to get messages that he should maybe start to get rid of some of these people, and so he takes the leap and does, and that causes this reaction in him.

Photo: IMDB

Dark/Web in its totality is about a genius programmer whose disappearance leads to these strange stories that are interconnected.  When you speak of the ride share theme and episode, it harkens me back to the character of Travis Bickle played by Robert DeNiro in the classic, Scorsese film,Taxi Driver.

GRAHAM:  Oh yeah, of course.  I think as you go through the journey of “Rideshare,” at the beginning of it, you don’t think Leland is troubled.  He is okay, and then by the end of it, you’re like, “This guy is okay, but something is happening, and now he is on this mission, and now he has done these things that he can’t ever go back on.”  It’s interesting, and it’s interesting that you’re making a parallel with Taxi Driver because Travis was convinced what he was doing was right.  I don’t know if my character at first is.

Photo: Dark/Web

You have not been a ride share driver in real life at some point … or have you?

GRAHAM:  You know… I haven’t.  But, I did sign up when I booked this job.  I went through the process of it just so I would know what it was going to be like.

When you submitted your reel for the Daytime Emmys, did you submit a few scenes, or how did you put your submission together for the competition?

GRAHAM:  I had so much material to choose from.  I was so fortunate to be the lead in this episode, and the episode I think is 25 minutes. It was really hard to pare it down, but I got it down to about 9 or 10 minutes that I felt told the arc of his story.

It’s always important to tell an arc because it does feel like, for the most part, the winning reels are the ones where somebody who doesn’t know the show or your character, could literally follow from point A to point B, if they’re a judge.  You have some solid competition in your category as well! 

GRAHAM:  There are some really amazing performances and some really great actors in the guest performer category, so I’m just honored to be in with their names. Rene Hagler had a couple of different episodes in Dark/Web, so we did not share any scenes together, but he is great.  Lin Shaye and I did a movie together a couple of years ago called Grow House, and then I’ve seen Scott Turner Schofield’s work in Studio City, who is amazing, and Mary Beth Pell, … she’s a legend!

Photo: GSibleyInstagram

Of course, you end up nominated the year that it’s the virtual Emmys. So, what will you wear to the virtual Digital Drama Emmys?

GRAHAM:  I don’t know!  I’ll send you a picture! (Laughs)  If you look on my Instagram, my wife. Marilyn and I staged a picture, because we were like, “Well, we are never going to be able to go to the Emmys,” so we staged a picture with our boys in our backyard with a kiddie pool and us lounging with drinks, and I was in a tuxedo, and she was in this beautiful yellow dress.

What are the names of your boys?

GRAHAM:  They are twins, Lyon and KP, and they just had their first birthday on July 2nd.

Photo: GettyImages

Now, let me ask you this. If they say, “The Emmy goes to Graham Sibley,” what would it mean to you if you were awarded a Daytime Emmy? 

GRAHAM:  I think what it would mean to me is that it would sort of be a pat on the back to say, “You did something that made someone else feel something.”  I hope that’s what we are all aspiring to is to either, be in our own lives trying to make someone feel something, or in cinema or in television or the web.  I’d just be like, “I was honored for being truthful, and that’s cool!”

So, intrigued to see Graham’s performance in Dark/Web?  Who do you think will take home the gold in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series on Sunday night? Comment below.

But first check out this promo for the Dark/Web series featuring Graham which has been nominated in multiple Digital Drama categories for the Daytime Emmys.

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

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