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The Melissa Claire Egan Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

It’s been a whirlwind week for Chelsea Lawson, and her portrayer, the previously Daytime Emmy nominated, Melissa Claire Egan on The Young and the Restless! Chelsea wandered into the dangerous ponds of Genoa City, almost died, gave birth to her baby (with a rescue and an assist from Adam Newman) and then gave up her baby boy to Billy and Victoria. From the looks of it, it sets Chelsea free to migrate into other stories while building a future bond or battle, and a continued history with Y&R’s favorite couple, Villy!  As many know on yesterday’s episode, Victoria decided she wanted to name the little boy, John, after Billy’s dad, in a truly heartwarming moment.

On-Air On-Soaps spoke to Melissa Claire Egan to get her thoughts on all of Chelsea’s antics, the riveting last few Y&R episodes with her front and center, if there is a romantic future with Adam, and the back-story of her parents!  We recently learned that Jeffrey Bardwell is Chelsea’s bio-dad.  And don’t forget mom, grifter extraordinaire, Anita!   With so many stories yet to play out, the Y&R writers and producers are certainly ready to put it in the more than capable hands of Egan.

Of course, many daytime fans know Melissa best from her work on All My Children as Annie, a woman who became so unglued that she became a resident whack-job.  But once again in the hands of Egan, Annie had so such depth, that you couldn’t at times feel bad for her desperation to hold on to the men she loved, or the future she wanted for herself and her daughter, Emma.  What is most sincere, as you will read, is Melissa’s memories of the show and revealing what she felt about the final episode.  And like most AMC fans, she is still not over the fact that the beloved soap is no longer on the air.  Always delightful and full of spunk, here is our conversation with Melissa!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Chelsea’s world has been unraveling and been very interesting this week.  However, it started last week when she fell into the icy ponds of Genoa City.   Did you like the drama of that?  Many residents of GC have not survived those waters!

MELISSA:

Of course, everyone falls into a pond in Genoa City, and then there is some danger. I think like, eight people have died in there.  So I didn’t know if I would make it! (Laughs) I knew about it when I read the script.  I was kind of intrigued and excited by it, because it was kind of my first catastrophic event to happen on Y&R.  And then when I found out she was going to go into labor, I was really excited about it to see how that was going to turn out.  Plus, I was kind of over being pregnant on the show.

MICHAEL:

You must have been over it, having to dress frumpy, when you are so beautiful in real life.  You probably get really tired of the whole pregnancy get-up!

MELISSA:

You do!  I mean I kind of enjoyed it, but it’s a pain wearing that padding and suit.  I was excited to see what would happen story-wise after Chelsea gave birth and how it would all go down.

MICHAEL:

You have had the opportunity to mix it up with some amazing actors on this show.  Now you can also add Michael Muhney (Adam) to the list.  There must be a potential now for an Adam and Chelsea pairing.  What are your thoughts on Michael and his Y&R alter-ego, Adam?

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MELISSA:

I love working with Michael.  I heard about him because my mom had watched Y&R before I joined.  So when I told her my character was going to be mixed-up with Adam, she went, “Oh! He is so good, but so bad!” (Laughs)  She told me he was a great character, but an evil one, so I was really excited.  And now knowing Michael, it has been so much fun.  Michael is such a pro.  He makes me look better, for sure.  It has just been fun for both of us to get to know each other’s acting styles and working together.  Everyone seems to think we have good on-screen chemistry, so it’s been awesome.  I think it’s an interesting energy between Chelsea and Adam being the “bad guys” in town.  

MICHAEL:

Adam delivered Chelsea’s baby and then Chelsea gave it up to Billy and Victoria! But is she really going to just let them have the little bundle of joy?

MELISSA:

Chelsea gave the baby up this week, and as of now it looks like she is keeping her word, although you never know.  Adam will be in the equation after all of this.  He has definitely been a support system for her, especially now.  Billy and Victoria now have the baby, and Chelsea is not going to live with them anymore.  She has to decide now what she is going to do with her life … like for her it’s an issue of “Well, what now?”

MICHAEL:

As an actress playing the character, do you think it was hard for her to give up her newborn baby boy? Did Chelsea have some very deep regrets?

MELISSA:

I think it was hard for her.  I mean, I have never had a baby in real life, but I can just imagine if you create this child and carry it for nine months and then go through this tumultuous labor.  I think at this point, she is really trying to be selfless, and do what is best for the baby, which is not to be with her.  She is such a grifter and irresponsible.  At this point, she is doing what is best for her baby boy.

MICHAEL:

At the beginning of the whole pregnancy mess, do you think Chelsea loved or was obsessed with Billy Abbott?  Or, was it all just a con for her?

MELISSA:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I think at the time when they met and hooked up, I think Chelsea was probably a bad person.  She was trying to take advantage of him and his money.  He has a way with the ladies.  Billy Abbott makes them want to drug him and take advantage of him. (Laughs) I am sure she had feelings for Billy at the beginning, but now too much has happened.  She knows that she is not going to break up the marriage of Billy and Victoria.  I think she has moved on. I really don’t think at this point she has any interest in breaking up their marriage.  She sees how solid their marriage is and I think she realized, “Alright. They are both good people.  They are in love.  This is not going to happen.”   I say, “Go to Match.com, Chelsea!  (Laughs) Go find someone else to try to date.” (Laughs) I think Billy Miller as Billy Abbott kind of liked this commune-hippie fee to his living lifestyle.  There was kind of a “Big Love” thing going on at the Billy Abbott house. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

How is working with your dear friend, Billy Miller (Billy)?

MELISSA:

Terrible!  I will tell you the truth later, off the record (Laughs) It’s great.  We are buds from way back, of course, from our days on All My Children, and so we have been hanging out even before I came to Y&R.  Now being here with Billy I get to see him double!

MICHAEL:

Did the two of you talk before you came on board at Y&R, about if you should take the role of Chelsea?

MELISSA:

I did tell him I was going into a meeting at Y&R, but I knew the character would be involved with Billy and Victoria, and involved with Adam.  So I knew how exciting this was going to be, because in my mind they are three of the very best and most popular characters on the show.  We did not really talk about it too extensively because the whole thing happened so quickly.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of Billy and Victoria?  They are clearly one of the fan favorite couples of Y&R.

MELISSA:

They are my favorite couple on the show.  People would tweet me and say, “You better not be breaking up Billy and Victoria.”  I hope I am not, either.  I am glad that the couple persevered and got their baby and all that good stuff.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Melissa, what has been great to see is how the writers are building anchors for your character, which guarantee longevity for you and Chelsea.  There is your relationship with Billy and Victoria, your child, Adam, your mom Anita and now, your bio-dad has been revealed to be Jeffrey Bardwell, of all people!

MELISSA:

Yes, I agree.  It’s been a lot in a short amount time, but it’s great to have so many people to be intertwined with, if you will.

MICHAEL:

What did you think of the plot point that Jeffrey (Ted Shackelford) was Chelsea’s father?  That was kind of out of left field!

MELISSA:

You know, that came out of nowhere!  I did not know that was going to happen at all. Then, I thought it was really cool.  I knew about Catherine Bach coming on to Y&R as my mother, but I had no idea they were going to go for a “finding my father” storyline, too.  That was kind of put in there in the midst of everything while Chelsea was dealing with her baby.  So it came up and then went away rather quickly.  But I think it will be explored later.  But right now, the show has been so focused on her having the baby, the Billy/Victoria stuff and the Adam stuff.  It’s kind of on the sidelines right now.  I mean, Chelsea had a few busy weeks, there! (Laughs)  You know, falling through the lake, giving birth without having any drugs on board in a cabin, and almost dying.  But who knows?  I am certain they will go back and explore Jeffrey and Chelsea’s relationship at some point.  Right now, she has her hands full … this week! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Y&R’s executive producer and head writer, Maria Arena Bell, recently told me she thinks that you and Catherine Bach, look like mother and daughter in real life.  Do you think so?

MELISSA:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I agree!  My mom jokes that I look nothing like her, and I look my dad.  My mom has blonde hair and is the total opposite of me.  I do wear “Daisy Dukes”, though to bed! (Laughs)  No, I don’t.  I wish I could.  (Laughs)   My real mom keeps joking that Catherine Bach looks more like she could be my mom!  She does.  It’s pretty crazy … the hair… and her skin tone.  Catherine is beautiful.  I have not worn my own “Daisy Dukes” in a while, although I am going to Coachella this weekend, so I might bring them out for that.  We will see.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

It’s been “Grifter Central” in the Billy Abbott Home. (Laughs) You must have had fun with Catherine and Billy playing the absurdity of it all.  Were there some laugh riot moments?

MELISSA:

I think Billy and I always like to give each other a hard time.  We like to “Bust each others chops,” if you will.

MICHAEL:

From when you and Billy Miller started as the brother/sister act of Richie and Annie Novack on AMC , to your roles on Y&R, who knew this is how you would eventually interact on screen, and how your lives took you from New York City to Los Angeles.

MELISSA:

Courtesy/ABC

It’s pretty crazy how much has happened to us, and truthfully, I can’t believe it has been so many years now.  It’s amazing the friendships and relationships you make in this crazy business.

MICHAEL:

What has been your favorite Billy Miller scene from your time with him on All My Children, and from your time thus far with him on The Young and the Restless?

MELISSA:

On AMC, I loved when Annie pretended to be shot and “died” and Richie got really scared.  On Y&R, I would have to say, when Chelsea and Billy were flirting at the bar.  I just love flirting with Billy Miller!  It’s so much fun.  Also, when Billy and I are being nasty to each other in scenes.  I have liked that, too!

MICHAEL:

Do you want to see Chelsea mellow out or continue to have a bitchy backbone?  You play the bitchy, crazy, and vulnerable gal so well!

MELISSA:

I really like the bitchy parts (Laughs).  I like that Chelsea has mellowed out a little bit, and she is not as nasty, but I really hope she does not lose her spunk.  She is a fun, bitchy character.  I like that she gives people a hard time and doesn’t care.  It’s fun to play.

MICHAEL:

Adam and Chelsea could really be a pair to be watchful of, if you are a citizen in Genoa City!  Quite the dangerous duo …  would you agree?

MELISSA:

I think so!  I see them causing trouble together in the future, but we shall see!

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I hope there is not another custody battle down the line on Y&R over a child, with the fight instigated by Chelsea to get her baby back from Billy and Victoria.  Enough is enough.  Do you think that could possibly happen?

MELISSA:

I don’t think so.  It seems Chelsea really wants the baby to be in a good place and in a strong family environment, which she certainly doesn’t have right now.  I don’t even think she has a house now.  Thanks to Billy, she is kind of on the street! (Laughs) 

MICHAEL:

How has it been working with Amelia Heinle (Victoria)?

MELISSA:

I love Amelia.  I am very impressed with her and she is awesomeness!  She is so lovely and such a great actress, and she is such a pleasure to work with.  It is especially fun when it’s me, Billy, and Amelia working in scenes together.  There is a lot of goofiness between us, and the best part of a long shoot day, is that the three of us can go have a glass of wine after!

MICHAEL:

Where are you at with All My Children being gone, and the legacy of the show, and putting it behind you?  You were such an integral part of its storytelling in the final years of the soap.  Do you still see many of your AMC pals and stay in touch with them?

MELISSA:

I see Chrishell Stause (Amanda) all the time.  She is my “Bestie”.  I talk with Cameron Mathison (Ryan), but he is New York a lot with Good Morning America, so he is kind of hard to pin down.  I saw Stephanie Gatschet (Madison), Christina Bennett Lind (Bianca), and Jill Larson (Opal) recently at this Yoga-thon.  It was so fun to see all those gals.  Especially in this business, you see them at auditions, or the gym, and all over. Luckily now, we are all in the same town for the most part.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Would you say that Pine Valley’s Annie Novak McDermott Lavery Chandler was one of your favorite roles of your career?

MELISSA:

All My Children changed my life in an amazing way.  I was playing that part from age 24 to Age 28, which are such important years of your life.  It was such an important job for me which took me to New York.  Then I got to have all these experiences in New York, and the benefits of having a great job at that age.  I saw a couple of episodes of All My Children on SOAPnet recently, and I am blonde on it!  So, to look back on that, and go, “Wow! That was six years ago,” and that is kind of insane.

MICHAEL:

What do you think about the final episode of AMC?  Many felt underwhelmed.  It was very upsetting to fans that wanted closure, when the writers had to leave things with a cliffhanger on the belief it was moving to the Internet and continuing on via Prospect Park. 

MELISSA:

I did watch it.  Of course I did.  I loved it because I have loved that show for so long.  I loved All My Children when I was growing up.  I was kind of bummed that they did not use the ending we all taped, which showed us all in the future.  I was kind of sad not to see that, because it tied it all up in a bow.  But, I understand also why they didn’t.  I am so proud of everyone involved, but it was so hard to end a show, when you think it could be possibly moving to the Internet.  It was hard.  It was hard for everyone. I think they did a great job.  I was sad to see it gone.  I am still in shock.  I think it’s such an iconic show, and it makes me very sad that it was the final episode last September.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

And as they say, when one door closes, another opens.  And for you, that was coming over to the number one soap, The Young and the Restless.  So, what would you say in a general sense to viewers to look forward to from Chelsea?  And, right now, what do you want for her?

MELISSA:

The viewers met Chelsea as a schemester and pregnant with child.  She did not have any friends.  And now, you will be able to see her personality.  We can see her finally in some hot clothes, maybe a skirt, and high heels.  She is no longer the beached whale at the bar.  (Laughs)  I would like to see her maybe more vixenish, and not just a baby mamma, but more of a young girl in a new town trying to make her way.  Maybe, since Chelsea did not get Billy the way she wanted to, maybe she will get some lovin’ in her life.  She has had a lot of hardship lately.  I definitely think she needs to get some lovin’!

 

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Dawn HesterMarie GrandeBrenda LeeKelpat coggins Recent comment authors
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Lynn
Guest
Lynn

Thanks for the great interview. MCE has already had a memorable soap history. I wish her lots more!

ricardo
Guest
ricardo

bravo michael fairman wonderful interview. i love melissa what a great actress. i hope she stays on the young and the restless for a long time. loved melissa as crazy annie on all my children. now all we need is cameron mathison to come to the young and the restless. that would be a dream come true.

Rhonda
Guest
Rhonda

“He has a way with the ladies. Billy Abbott makes them want to drug him and take advantage of him. (Laughs)” Wow, just wow.

Cindy
Guest
Cindy

I can not believe you did this interview and couldn’t ask one question about JR and Annie or possible crossover to LA for Chelsea. No further comments necessary Fairman.

Karina
Guest
Karina

I must say I agree! The chemistry between Jacob Young & Missy Egan was insane. I would have loved for those two to be together at the end of AMC. But since the writers left us fans in the ditch on that one, a Rick/Chelsea cross-over would be blissful!!!!

Leina
Guest
Leina

I just read this interview and was also bummed that the question wasn’t asked if she had any thoughts on a cross-over to B and B or Jacob crossing over to Yand R so they may again be paired together..They were on their way to supercouple status before she decided to leave AMC. Their chemistry was like no other. They were acting soulmates. Jacob could surely use her now as a love interest.

Reel Views
Guest
Reel Views

MCE definitely has chemistry with Michael Muhney, but I’ve never seen an actor have the ability to play off of other actors so well like MM does. He’s quite the hat trick: Good actor, great personality, and one hot dude.

MCE/MM’s Chadam pairing is something to look forward too, especially with Sharon’s jealousy of Adam’s attention to Chelsea looking on. I expect fireworks coming too.

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

I always liked Annie on All My Children. I think Melissa is gorgeous. She is ALSO the LOOKALIKE of Trista (Rehn) Sutter, the FIRST bachelorette that got married. They look like twins and have the same smile. I wonder if they have ever been told how that they lookalike? In writing this post, I looked up their birthdays to see how close they are in age. Go Trista! You look great! I would never believe that you are NINE year’s older than Melissa (maybe 2 or 3 but NOT nine). Another thing Melissa and Trista have in common is: They… Read more »

TnT 2.0 Forever
Guest
TnT 2.0 Forever

Thanks for the interview! MCE is an amazing actress. I am happy for her success and I wish her even greater success in her career.

brandy
Guest
brandy

leave shadamam alone.Chadam work good as friends. The ratings are bad enough. She and adam can be friends, with jealous sharon. I also want sharon to be pregnant with adam babt.eery friendship dont have to be romance, just like Michael and phyllis.

Simone
Guest
Simone

I am really starting to like the idea of Chelsea and Adam as a couple. I have never really been a fan of Adam, but I love his scenes with Chelsea. I hope that their relationship grows beyond friendship.

Juanita
Guest
Juanita

I really love the shirt Chelsea wore on Young and the restless today. Where can you get it. The open shoulder, tye dye look. Loved it.

ToddBlairStarrJack
Guest
ToddBlairStarrJack

I am loving the Chelsea/Adam pairing. MCE and MM play very well off each other, Cheldam are my favorite Y&R couple. Please tptb don’t wreck them too much!!

john gavert
Guest
john gavert

Y@R fan now for 2 years Think Michael And Melissa are fabulous acting talents.

pat coggins
Guest
pat coggins

Is Mellissa pregnant in real life this time around since they haveher pregnant again so soon.

Kel
Guest
Kel

I really hate the Adam with Chelsea . I loved loved Adam and Sharon as do sooo many miss Shadam , We can’t forgive Chelsea for giving away her baby just like that!

Brenda Lee
Guest
Brenda Lee

I hate Adam had taged up with the penis hungry Sharom. I wished he would get back with Chelsea/ Sharon needs to get her a viberter, she stays too host. I hope chelsea have a little girl and name her hope. If sharon become pregnate I hope she be forgotten and go away. I will not watch the young and the restless no more until they put adam with chelsea.

Marie Grande
Guest
Marie Grande

I love the Y&R, watch it during the day and night. I think Adam is gorgeous and a great actor. I hope Adam and Chelsea get back together, although I like Dylan also. I come from Winthrop, MA, it’s like the Y&R in a way. Keep up the great acting Adam.

Dawn Hester
Guest
Dawn Hester

I Love Chelsea, favorite actress on show…Everyday I watch to see what Chelsea is wearing (beautiful) and hated Chelsea at first “just proves what agreat actress you are”.

Days Of Our Lives

Watch the Replay: GH, DAYS, Y&R, B&B & OLTL Stars at Michael Fairman’s Virtual Birthday Party for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund

Earlier this week on Monday night, several of the stars of General Hospital, Days of our Lives, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and One Life to Live, took part in a virtual livestream “party” for Michael Fairman’s 60th birthday.

The event was held virtually to help performers in need who have been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by letting viewers know where to make a donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Fund.

Photo: ABC, NBC, CBS

Participating throughout the 90 minute livestream were: The Young and the Restless, Jason Thompson, Sharon Case, and Christian LeBlanc, General Hospital’s Maurice Benard, Laura Wright, Wes Ramsey, and Chloe Lanier, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Katherine Kelly Lang, Days of our Lives’ Rob Scott Wilson, Eric Martsolf, Galen Gering, Arianne Zucker, Shawn Christian, Santa Barbara favorite, A Martinez, One Life to Live’s Kristen Alderson and Eddie Alderson, and Studio City’s Sean Kanan.

You can catch the replay of the birthday benefit event below or on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

Throughout the evening, the actors shared stories of how they got their SAG card, played a game of Michael’s trivia, and revealed stories about themselves and other “party” guests in a wonderful display of community and camaraderie at all went down live!

Since March of 2o2o, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has given out more than $6.2 million in emergency aid to over 6,500 SAG-AFTRA performers and their families facing hardship and uncertainty during this pandemic. Thousands of SAG-AFTRA artists have found themselves in dire need of assistance to help pay their rent, buy groceries, cover health care premiums and other bills.  You can still make a donation of any dollar amount to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 relief fund here. https://members.sagfoundation.org/donate 

Now, check it out below, and let us know if you enjoyed the virtual birthday party livestream via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH Co-Head Writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor Interview – “Soapmakers of the Year” Honors 2020

In a year which saw production of your favorite soaps shutdown for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone in daytime had to pivot.  As original episodes aired, they eventually ran out, giving way to rebroadcasts, while the audience eagerly awaited the return of the current stories.

At General Hospital, once production resumed over the summer, head writers, Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor had teed-up: surprising homecomings (Dante, Britt) shocking twists and revelations, the conclusion of what will become an all-time soap classic, the Alzheimer’s storyline, dipping into the rich 57-year history of the iconic soap to tie story to the present (Laura, Cyrus, Martin), and crafting stories for its A-list cast which gave 2020 some of its finest on-screen moments.  GH became can’t-miss television again, coming back even stronger than its pre-pandemic self; which also kicked the year off in high-style with the reveal of Nikolas to his family, alive and well, and the long-awaited truth about baby Wiley.

Chris and Dan’s depiction of Mike’s heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer’s gave viewers many tears through its unrelenting and realistic storytelling, plus their commitment to air the standalone episode to honor the passing of the 19th amendment of the women’s right to vote in November.  Both were noteworthy, and illustrated what daytime can do best.

 

Each year, Michael Fairman TV gives our highest honor to a creative or creatives who most delivered to its audience and whose quality of work continues to keep us engaged, on the edge of our seats, or reaching for the hankies. That is why this year’s Soapmkers of the Year honor goes to GH scribes: Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor.  Shortly after receiving their acknowledgement, the duo spoke to us about some of the 2020 highlights in Port Charles, and how they work so well together to bring their stories to life.  Here’s what they shared.

Courtesy/ABC

First, and foremost, I want to commend you for the Alzheimer’s storyline  As I’ve shared publicly, my mother died of Alzheimer’s, and I have seen the progression of this disease and the effects it has on a family and loved ones, and the person afflicted with it.  You did a beautiful job of telling every beat of the story within the context of what you could do within a soap opera.  What can you tell me about crafting that and seeing it through to the end?  You never abandoned the story, which at times, can happen on daytime.

CHRISNo, we didn’t abandon it.  Soap operas have a power that I am sure we have acknowledged before, to allow audiences to really get to know characters in a deeper and more profound way than I think most other mediums do.  We get to see characters’ lives day in and day out.  For us to tell a story about Alzheimer’s, which is a disease that is devastating in so many ways, not the least of which is the fact that it can take years to develop and years to finally claim a life, we felt that among our audience, there had to be many people who had experienced this in an up-close and personal way.  So that to tell the story too expeditiously would really deny their experience and would take away from their appreciation of the show as a reflection of reality.  Of course, soap operas don’t do that in every sense on every episode, but when you’re telling a story about a disease that people experience every day, you have an obligation to reflect the real-world experience.  So, by bringing it to a close too fast and by doing it in a way that didn’t honor what at times is the horror of the disease, felt like it would be a cop-out.  We wanted to do our best within the constrictions of the medium to depict that; while at the same time, of course, not wanting to leave people so depressed as to not want to tune back in.  It was a really delicate dance.  We are very grateful to have had the support of the network and Frank Valentini’s (executive producer, GH) ingenious production team as well as a great repertory of actors who were willing and able to give their all to this story.

Courtesy/ABC

Maurice Benard (Sonny) did some of his finest work of his career in this story, and you gave him the ball to do it, and Max Gail (Mike) was amazing.  Two standout episodes included: when Mike passed and was taken to heaven by Courtney (Alicia Leigh Willis) and Mike’s funeral episode.  Did you realize when you were writing it, the impact it would have on the audience?

DANAs for the funeral, I’d say that we knew as we were writing it that not only did we want to give the characters and the audience a chance to say goodbye to Mike, but we also wanted to give the performers a chance to say a goodbye to their relationship with the actor, Max Gail as well.  Max is a fantastic, phenomenal actor, and he formed close relationships with many of our performers.  So, when we wrote the episode, yes, we did want to give the audience a chance to say goodbye to the character, but we also knew that because of the close relationships that these performers have made with each other that the actors were going to bring their all, and it was going to provide the audience with some powerhouse performances.

Did you get emotional seeing it? 

CHRIS:  Oh, personally, I cried.

Courtesy/ABC

I know you both love and appreciate the soap genre and understand that the audience often wants a good cry and is invested in these characters.  So because of that; what’s it like for you when you see these emotional moments play out that start in your mind, go to the page, then to the stage, and now are out in the world for people to see and experience?

CHRIS:  I can’t speak for any of the other writers, but I’m not crying when I’m writing it, but I’m crying when I see it realized and how the actors, and the producers, and the directors realize it.  I personally am always surprised by the nuance and the beats that they find that we, in our first draft kind-of-lifestyle that we have as soap opera writers; where we are writing six or seven episodes per week, we don’t have the time or the luxury to really sit with an episode and mine it for every single beat and every emotion. That’s why we have great directors and great actors who take these scripts and find these extra moments.  So, it is really gratifying to watch – yes, to see something that we’ve imagined be produced and personified, but then to see how the production then takes it in other directions, that’s the best.  I think that’s the most gratifying part of writing for a show, not seeing what you’ve written produced, but seeing how it was parented into life.  When you have a baby, I think you have all sorts of ideas about what the baby will be, and then the baby becomes something else as the result of its environment and of the people who are influencing and guiding it along and that may be a bit of a stretched metaphor, but it kind of feels relative.

As co-head writers of General Hospital, how do you work together to come up with long-term story?  What is your process?

DAN:  Chris and I will meet regularly and discuss the long-term stories that we are telling, and plan to tell, and maybe some adjustments that we have to make along the way.  We get to meet with our writers several days every week as we figure out the best way to tell that story in the form of however many episodes we write a week.  Chris and I also write episodes along with our great breakdown script team, and every week we figure out the best way to either stay on the path of the story we are intending to tell, or find new opportunities or new twists and turns we can take along the way.

Photo: ABC

Do you get into friendly, creative disagreements? Is one of you more protective of a certain character than the other? 

DAN:  Chris and I have known each other for close to 15 years at this point, and we are not just colleagues, we are also friends.  There is a certain amount of shorthand that we have with each other which is just invaluable in telling story.  What’s great is that we sometimes come at the story from different angles or we have a different point of view, much like any two fans of the show wouldn’t agree on necessarily everything, but in our discussions about the show’s needs, wants, and haves, and the story trajectory, we ultimately get somewhere better than where either of us could have come up with on our own.  At the same time, there are those moments where we both come to the same idea at the same moment, and that’s definitely when we go, “Okay, we’re onto something good.”

CHRIS:  I can add as a partial translation that I can get really snippy, and Dan has the patience of a saint.  So, often times, I need 24 hours to go away, and sleep on something, and wake up, and say, “Oh Dan, you were totally right about that.  I’m so sorry I was snippy the other day,” and he doesn’t seem to hold it against me.

Do you ever get a writer’s block; as has to happen often with scribes in the unrelenting medium of daytime drama, and if so, I would think having a writing partner would be an asset during those times?

DAN:  I think it’s the nature of the beast.  At a certain point, you might hit a roadblock somewhere, but that’s why having a partner is so valuable that there is somebody else that you can bounce ideas along with, and just as, if not more importantly, our team of writers are always there to sometimes give us even better ideas than what we would have come up with on our own.

Courtesy/ABC

This year you utilized and delved back into a lot of GH history.  How did the idea come about to bring back the character of Jackie Templeton and have former All My Children and NYPD Blue favorite, Kim Delaney, take on the role?

DAN:  Jackie Templeton is a character who has been an Easter egg on the show for many years now.  Whenever we needed to namedrop a famous journalist, she was always our go-to.  It always felt like the character was in the ether of Port Charles for awhile, and we were excited to bring this take-no-prisoners character back and explore her history with Robert (Tristan Rogers), and at the same time, we were finally teed up to tell the story of Finn’s (Michael Easton) falling out with his father and step-mother, and we realized we had a great opportunity to have the character serve both stories and collide with not just Anna (Finola Hughes) and Finn, but Robert as well. Those three played wonderfully with each other. When we heard that Kim Delaney was interested in playing with us, we were just over the moon.  .

Courtesy/ABC

You have also been delving back into Laura’s childhood past and her history. I love that you brought up the death of David Hamilton and her teenage years, which hasn’t been discussed for a very long time on the show while tying it into the present.

DAN:  We were always aware of the story just because we love General Hospital and we love the character of Laura, and there is nothing else like daytime drama, and one of the great things about it is that you can reach decades into the past and expand on stories and themes that the audience actually witnessed. Long reaching history is a tool in our toolbox that not many other series have.  Chris and I love honoring and using our characters’ histories to propel the show into the future with some serious momentum.

Photo: ABC

You created and brought the character of  Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober) on to the canvas. Was it originally a case of, “We need an uber-villain to come and shake things up,” and then you decided to connect him to Laura?  It’s been an intriguing shocker for viewers.  Jeff is playing the multi-levels of Cyrus with great finesse, and whenever you give Genie something, the fans go nuts, and she, in turn, delivers every time.

CHRIS:  The story of Cyrus has a couple of phases to it.  We wanted to bring on a villain who would not only be an adversary to Sonny, but someone who we could use to really test Jordan (Briana Nicole Henry) and Curtis (Donnell Turner), and we knew going in that the first phase of this story would really hit the Corinthos family and also the Ashfords, and as we developed it, we thought about what the act two would be, and we knew that we had an opportunity to really engage Genie Francis and to expand her sphere and expand her footprint on the show, and by connecting her to Cyrus, who is not your typical face or presence for a soap, but is also not your typical person who I think Laura would encounter in her daily life.  So, we knew, as we really developed Cyrus as a villain, that for Laura to find out that this man is her brother, would really allow us to play with Laura in a different context and in a different light and really give Genie a new kind of challenge.

Speaking of Genie, what did you think when you watched back her performance in the episode where you wrote that Laura has to say goodbye to her comatose daughter, Lulu (Emme Rylan), before she was sent off the canvas to a long-term care facility?

CHRIS:  I mean to me, that’s vintage Laura.  I came to General Hospital personally in the late 80s to early 90s, so my experience of Laura really only begins with her, and Luke (Tony Geary), and Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) at the Triple L Diner.  I think that what we’ve gotten to see with Genie is really reflective of the high emotion that she is capable of delivering.  At the same time as the high emotion, you’re also seeing really small human moments that she really breathes a lot of life into.  I can speak for Dan and myself when we say that we are just really thrilled with what she has been able to bring to the screen.  Thrilled, but I guess not surprised.

Coutesy/ABC

Nelle (Chloe Lanier) was such a great interloper and threat throughout the year in story; whether it’s hatching plots to gain custody of baby Wiley, or her “death” scene and confrontations with Carly (Laura Wright).  However, through all of this, when was it decided to make Nina (Cynthia Watros), Nelle’s biological mother?

DAN:  There are very few things that are as exciting on a soap as a character that makes you wonder what they are going to do next, and Chloe and Nelle provided that role with just gusto.  The truth is, the idea that Nelle was Nina’s daughter has been a part of the conception of that character, and over the last few years, the story evolved, and we ultimately got to reveal the truth to the audience.

Courtesy/ABC

As writers, there has to be characters that are just so delicious and treacherous to write for that you have to get a kick out of it! Chloe Lanier is so good that she makes the audience want to slap Nelle when she takes the dialog and then brings it to the screen.  

CHRIS:  It is tremendous fun.  Yes, yes, we love writing for these characters who are willing to do and say anything to get what they want.  We are constrained when writing for characters who have morality.  It takes a moral character a lot of really difficult circumstances for them to make a decision that might go against the grain, but when you have a character like Nelle, who is not shackled by certain societal norms, then you really get to live out the worst impulses that a person could have, and it’s really fun, especially when you take a really great performer like Chloe and see her as Nelle unleash all of the poison that she’s capable of.  At the same time, she can turn on a dime and rip your heart out a little bit when she turns on the water works.

Photo :ABC

Ava Jerome’s (Maura West) story this year had her moving into a relationship with Nikolas (Marcus Coloma).  We, the audience, didn’t know how that was going to go – if they were just going to use each other, or ultimately fall in love.  Was that the plan all along … that they would develop deep feelings for each other, or did you want to see how it progressed and played out on-screen, and then make that determination?

CHRIS:  I think that once we saw the chemistry between the two actors, we knew we had gold. So, we wanted to take our time, especially the way that it was constructed.  These were two people who had little use for each other emotionally, and in fact, probably wanted to see one another’s downfall, and that’s what makes it so great to write – that these are people who, in a similar vein as Nelle, don’t live by the same rules as most of the rest of us, and therefore, they might do things to each other that the rest of us would not do to anyone let alone whether we like them or not.  That’s what makes Ava and Nikolas so delicious is that from one moment to the next, you don’t know if they’re going to hatch a plot against each other or fall into bed and ravish each other. That’s what I think we hope to continue to play as we go forward because they certainly have very strong, passionate feelings for one another.  When you’re talking about Ava and Nikolas, these are two people who do not have a lot of fans necessarily in Port Charles, and there are a lot of people who don’t necessarily want to see them achieve happily ever after.  Knowing that there was so much initial mistrust and suspicion between the two of them could really provide the foundation for their own undoing or their undoing from someone who does not want to see them happy.

Photo: ABC

Back in November, GH made good use of a standalone episode spotlighting the history of the women’s right to vote and the suffrage movement; just as the presidential election was happening.  What made you decide to write this special show, and how do you feel it turned out as it also spotlighted the female cast?

CHRIS:  We had long intended to honor the one hundred years of American women’s suffrage with a special episode to air on the anniversary of the 19th amendment’s passage, but we missed the date due to the pause in production.  We realized we had a second chance as the election neared.  Going forward was a no-brainer. The biggest challenge was in distilling such an epic story into one episode. We think ABC would do well to consider a spinoff: “Port Charles, 1920”

Courtesy/ABC

You have such a powerhouse cast to write for.  It’s loaded.  It’s got to be a challenge for you to construct the story for GH when you’ve got to front burner people and back burner people, and then you’ve got these huge daytime stars all in one show.

DAN:  It’s an embarrassment of riches to have a cast as talented as we do quite frankly.  We are fortunate enough that we know that we have these amazing performers that we can trust with whatever stories that we throw their way.

CHRIS:  I will say that we do have a great cast.  They’re all wonderful, and when you have a show that is only approximately 35 minutes of airtime on any day, it’s a real balancing act to make sure that everybody gets a story that really is worthy of their talents, and we’ve got one for everybody.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of which story takes precedence in which moment, which is why occasionally some characters aren’t featured on a daily basis, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be.  If you were to ask me, “Who are the standouts?”  I would say all of them.  You saw this year: Maurice Benard, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), Maura West, Genie Francis, and Laura Wright (Carly) to name but just a few.  They’ve all done such fantastic work, and we can’t wait to give them more material to give them more moments to shine.

DAN:  A priority of ours is every week, we meet up and look (well, it’s virtual now during Covid-19) at the big board of our cast photos and we go through each character and always make sure that they have some story percolating even if it’s not on the air at the moment.

Photo: ABC

As we close out 2020, and look forward to 2021, any parting thoughts, and perhaps a tease of what GH fans can look forward to in the New Year?

CHRIS:  In general, I would just say that despite all of the challenges of the year, we are really grateful to our cast and the crew back in Los Angeles for realizing and improving the show that we imagined, and we are so excited for everything that is coming in 2021.  We hope to continue to throw a lot of surprises at the audience, and at the same time give them a lot of moments and stories of heart and love and excitement.

So, what did you think of the year in story on General Hospital in 2020? Share your thoughts on Chris and Dan’s comments and their year-end honors via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Stephen Nichols and Lucas Adams Talk Salem Longevity, Tripp’s Predicament and Their Co-Stars

Days of our Lives stars Stephen Nichols (Steve “Patch” Johnson) and his on-screen son, Lucas Adams (Tripp Dalton) are in the middle of plenty of drama on the long-running NBC daytime drama, which recently celebrated its 55th anniversary in November and its 14,000 episode milestone in December.

In a new chat with Michael Fairman on the Michael Fairman Channel, Stephen reveals his surprise at still being with the iconic show. while Lucas talks about how his first run on DAYS came to an abrupt end, but now he is deep in-story involving Allie (Lindsay Arnold) and the brother he is yet-to-know he has, Charlie (Mike Manning), who is Allie’s actual rapist.

Both Stephen and Lucas discuss having the opportunity to work with Daytime Emmy winner Tamara Braun (Ava) again, as well as James Lastovic (Joey) in recently aired scenes. In story, Ava has returned back-from-the-dead and realizes she has major trouble brewing with her two sons, Tripp and Charlie.  How will it all play itself out?

 

Check out what Stephen and Lucas shared below.  Then, be on the lookout beginning this week, as Steve and John (Drake Hogestyn) work together to figure out who is responsible for Allie’s rape and just who is the biological father to her child, when it is not Tripp!

Share your thoughts on the sentiments shared by Stephen and Lucas in the interview via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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