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The Melody Thomas Scott Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Viewers of The Young and the Restless have begun to experience the grief, also felt by several of the residents of Genoa City, over the news of the passing of Katherine Chancellor, played by the late Jeanne Cooper.  Since Cooper’s death in May, the number-one soap had begun crafting a storyline that would have far reaching implications and impact on several key characters, which will also keep the legacy of Katherine, and honor the iconic Jeanne Cooper on the canvas for quite some time to come.

In story, Katherine has left letters for those close to her … some with instructions … and some with some heartfelt words with specific meaning to them, and more.  One of those most deeply affected is Nikki Newman, who upon trying to cope with the contents of Kay’s letter to her, wept out loud, “Katherine, why are you doing this to me?”  But what is she doing?  There has been much speculation from fans of the show all-abuzz on the Internet, just what is in the letter.  However, Y&R is keeping it close to the vest.   And, so too is Nikki’s portrayer, fan favorite and long time series star Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki)!

However, On-Air On-Soaps sat down with Melody in her dressing room at CBS, to not only get a preview and a tease of her upcoming story, but to get insight on what it was like filming with the cast, Katherine’s memorial episodes that will air on September 3rd and 4th in back-to-back episodes, and the devastating loss it is for Nikki to be without her best friend who was also like a “mother” to her.  Will Nikki need a drink to cope and fall off the wagon?  Melody fills us in.

While Josh Griffith is no longer the head writer of the number-one soap, from this interview, it is clear that Melody is extremely enthusiastic as to the story that was given to her from his regime, and the respect paid to Katherine (and Jeanne Cooper) with the upcoming five-hankie memorial.  Here’s what Mel had to say about it all!

MICHAEL:

The letter Nikki has received has greatly affected her!  How will she handle getting through the upcoming memorial service for Katherine?

MELODY:

Courtesy/CBS

I think that having received the letter probably alters Nikki thoughts while she is at the memorial service, because for her now, she is not just there to remember her dear friend as a person would at a memorial, but in the back of her mind is this letter that is all tangled up for Nikki.  She can’t think of Katherine without thinking about the letter and what that entails.  She has mixed feelings more than just sadness and grief.  She has got a whole other element going on … this letter.

MICHAEL:

How was the shooting of Katherine’s memorial on set with the cast?  Was it difficult and emotional for everyone, given their love for their long time co-star Jeanne Cooper?

MELODY:

I think, and we all said at the time, “We were still in shock and we didn’t believe it.” We needed to get through the taping of the show, but we’re still not used to Jeanne not being there.

MICHAEL:

Given that Nikki and Katherine were the dearest of friends, would Nikki start drinking again, especially given the drama surrounding the contents of the letter, and the death of her confidante?

MELODY:

Courtesy/CBS

Absolutely! And, that was one of my first thoughts when this whole thing started.  I said, “Whoa! This is an obvious point where she might pick up a drink.”  But she doesn’t, not yet.  She did admit to Victoria that she almost took a sip, but she didn’t.   She is still sober.

MICHAEL:

How did you play Nikki’s reaction to the content of the letter?  How does she feel about it?

MELODY:

Uncertainty, shock, ambiguity, unwillingness, yet knows deep down that she should do what Katherine is suggesting.  It’s a topic that Nikki probably felt would never be discussed, or dealt with in her lifetime.

MICHAEL:

Many fans had hoped that Katherine would end up being the biological mother of Nikki!  Was that something you wanted to have happen, as well?

MELODY:

I think it should have happened.  I was not happy when all of a sudden it was Jill who was Katherine’s daughter.  It should have been me, dammit!  (Laughs) Their relationship was very much mother/daughter, and I wish that had been true.  I did call Jeanne “mother” off set, and that is all I did call her.  And sometimes we would have visitors on set, and they would over hear me call Jeanne, “mother” and they would say, “Wait a minute?  Is Nikki Katherine’s daughter?”  And I went, “No, no, no.  I just call her that. Pay no attention to me.”  At least I called Jeanne “mother” in real life, even if I couldn’t on the show.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Nikki is devastated by the death of Katherine … and obviously the letter.  Initially, she turned to Jack for comfort, not Victor.  Will she truly let Victor comfort her in her grief?

MELODY:

Of course!  Victor is struck by the death of Katherine, but in a different way than Nikki.  He had a different relationship with her.  His was more business, and a lifetime friendship.  Nikki’s was more, as a girlfriend and as a mother.  I think if given the opportunity to satisfy Nikki’s hopes, Victor would comfort her.  But, she does not bring this up to Victor, and has not yet.  So he does not know the contents of the letter.  He does not know what Nikki is struggling with secretly.

MICHAEL:

When you found out what your upcoming story was going to be, what was your reaction?  Were you pleased?

MELODY:

I love this story!  Now, I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out, but the premise, the people I get to work with, and the writing, has been spectacular.  That’s all you need; good actors performing a good script, and our fabulous new directing team, and I love them all.  I have not been this happy at work in a while.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Nikki went to Paul at the end of the episode today for help!  Would you say to your fans that you will be working with Doug Davidson (Paul) more often from this point on?

MELODY:

I have been working with Doug the last couple of weeks and enjoyed it, like I always do. So, I hope that the story keeps us together for a while.

MICHAEL:

On the air shows, Nikki is always concerned about Sharon (Sharon Case), and what she is up to. She does not trust her, especially around the Newman clan, and many times for good reason!  Do you enjoy this rivalry?

MELODY:

I love working with Sharon Case, and we love Sharon and Nikki fights!  And even if Sharon is innocent and up to nothing, Nikki always suspects that she is.  Oh yes, even if it weren’t true, Nikki walks into a room and sees her son and Sharon, and the antenna will go up and she is going to try to get rid of her! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

The classic bitch-fight between Nikki and Sharon was the one in the barn where you were dunked in that bucket of water!  Did you love that?  Or, hate it?

MELODY:

Courtesy/CBS

We loved it.  Our director was very gracious, and was very loose and not rigid about blocking, and let us do our own choreography.  So, if you look at it again, there are many elements of an “I Love Lucy” episode.  Guess where that came from?  But I couldn’t resist it.  I had to do it!  All the water and hair pulling and dunking in the bucket, that was all me, because that was “Lucy”!

MICHAEL:

Coming up with the heartbreak of Katherine’s passing, and the letters roaming around Genoa City, do you think Victor and Nikki are in for another bumpy road in their relationship?

MELODY:

Of course! I mean, what else could happen?  This cycle has been going on for 34 years.

MICHAEL:

Are you still amazed that Nikki and Victor are still, to this day, the true star-crossed lovers and central characters of the number one soap in America, and known worldwide?

MELODY:

Yes, and Eric Braeden (Victor) and I often, whether it be at photo shoots or different events, we are posed while the photographers are going crazy.   That always ceases to amaze me!  We were in Monte Carlo and they were screaming, “Oh, my God. Victor and Nikki.”  We would look at each other sometime and go, “We can’t believe after all these years, we are still here, baby!”  We are amazed, and we just thank God, and smile!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Do you have a favorite on-screen moment or scene with Jeanne Cooper, between the two of you as Nikki and Katherine?

MELODY:

The sincerity, and all of the rich history that was a part of Nikki and Katherine’s enduring friendship, is something that I know is very important to our audience.   That relationship has been deeply significant for Nikki for so many years.  I don’t think I could ever pick out just one favorite moment between us, but I’ve truly enjoyed every scene where Katherine supported Nikki through the worst parts of the battle with booze.

MICHAEL:

Will Nikki soldier on, even though she may be devastated by the contents of the letter Katherine wrote to her?

MELODY:

I think Nikki will always try to heed Katherine’s advice in life in general.  Certainly without Katherine this current storyline would not be happening.  It’s also a way of incorporating Katherine’s presence, even though you are not seeing her on-screen. Katherine is behind the whole thing in the letter.  So it is keeping Katherine alive, in a way.

MICHAEL:

Jess Walton (Jill) has delivered some amazing performances, upon Jill learning of Katherine’s passing.   Would you like to work more with Jess now?

MELODY:

Courtesy/CBS

I love working with Jess, and I adore her.  I got on my knees and begged her to get her ass out of Oregon and move back down to Los Angeles, and delay this damn retirement, because I want to work with her!  Now that Katherine is not physically on the canvas, the story just begs for Nikki and Jill to come together in some way in story.   Katherine’s death in a strange way has brought Nikki and Jill together, because all they have done is snipe for years.  But, there are some very poignant moments coming up where Jill and Nikki can almost laugh, like, “We have always hated each other, but I kind of like you right now, because we are all suffering together.”  It was sweet, because Nikki and Jill have never been sweet to each other!

MICHAEL:

Melody, do you feel the way Katherine’s death was handled on-screen was appropriate?

MELODY:

Absolutely, and some of it was just a fluke.  Who knew in real life how she would pass? The way it turned out, as we all know, we had that footage of Jeanne as Katherine going up the stairs, which was pretty freaky.  And do I think that Jeanne might have felt that it was her last scene?  Yes.  I think that is why she adlibbed, what she adlibbed.  And as far as the writers go, they had a difficult job, as they would never have chosen to kill Katherine, but because Jeanne’s health had been poor the last few years, it was always a possibility.  I felt for the writers.  They had a tough job to do, but Jeanne helped them with that staircase scene.  It worked out very well; in that the last time Nikki saw Katherine they were wheeling her into surgery.

MICHAEL:

Do you think we will need hankies for Katherine’s memorial service?  I hear Corbin Bernsen is presiding over it as Father Todd! 

MELODY:

Courtesy/CBS

I have to say it was odd to have the character of Father Todd being played by the real-life son of Jeanne Cooper, Corbin Bernsen.  It was weird, and he felt weird.  It was just a very unique situation.  I don’t think that has ever happened on a television show, nor would it again.  It was eerie.  I told him Corbin something the day we taped the memorial service, about the month before when Eric and I were in Monte Carlo.  We had to present an award at their film festival. And, who on earth would have orchestrated something like this? I know that Jeanne did it!  There we are in Monte Carlo backstage getting ready to be presenters, and they announce us, and we walk out … and on stage was Corbin Bernsen!  Little did we know he was on stage, because he was on the panel that voted at the festival!  So, at one point there was just the three of us on-stage in Monte Carlo.  It was just like, “Ok, I know what you are doing, Jeanne!”  That was the moment, and something she would do. The most unexpected place, people, and that gathering of the three of us, was definitely orchestrated by her!

MICHAEL:

Melody, you have been the leading lady of Y&R for decades, and many times you have been back-burnered, which your fans have never understood.  Should they feel confident that you will have plenty of screen time in the months ahead?

MELODY:

It’s a curious situation that I don’t know if we will ever know the answer.  There has been a lot of ebbing. (Laughs)  I have been working a lot, and you will see come September … “It’s Nikki month!”  So, I guess I will have to get t-shirt saying that! (Laughs)

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

What do you think the fallout will be from the content of Nikki’s letter, when people on the canvas begin to find out what this is all about?

MELODY:

I would imagine Nikki’s story will affect a lot of people, including her family, because eventually they are going to have to find out what is going on.  There is always a trickle down effect in soaps, where the whole town is affected by a situation.

MICHAEL:

Y&R suffered the loss of two of its most powerhouse actresses in the last few months.  Jeanne Cooper passed away in May, and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) decided to leave the show this summer.  Do you think it’s a huge hit for the show, that will be a noticeable for some time to come?

MELODY:

Its’ always difficult to say goodbye to our dear co-stars, but history has proven to us that this show will go on in true show business fashion.  Most of the time, when people leave it’s not our choice, or personal choice, and we are always upset to see that happen, as it does create a challenge for the writers.  But sometimes out of that situation, the writers come up with interesting story that never would have happened if this actor had not left.

Courtesy/CBS

MICHAEL:

Now the big and final question:  If Nikki finds out that Sharon switched the paternity test of Summer, and realizes Nick (Joshua Morrow) is actually the bio-dad; can we look forward to Nikki laying the smackdown on Sharon? (Laughs)

MELODY:

Oh, yeah!  Look out for a catfight extraordinaire for that one!  Forget shoving her in the pool!  It better be something better than that!  (Laughs)

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Doug
Doug

Never been happy the way Nikki has no right trashing Sharon when Nikki has been a stripper and an escort and a drunk and has shared 4 men with her own daughter and the character has been married a hundred times. Really got out of hand with the amount of hate she has for Sharon. She also murdered Diane and got a slap on the wrist. I wish they can make Nikki a better women like Mrs C. Victor also needs to chill and be kind in his golden years 🙂 Let us all hope for better writing and happy times and memories not the negativity

Matt
Matt

I would really just like to see Nikki and others like Chelsea and Phyllis before she left pay for her crimes seems like the one and only person who is blamed for every and anything is Sharon. Everyone steals her man and she is the one blamed for wanting them back . really last thing we need is Nikki with another off spring. Plus he has good in him. He can’t be Nikkis kid! I wanted him to be Sharons had brother! what happened to that story?

judith
judith

Who ‘stole’ her men ? First a person can’t be stolen..Nick chose to have this affair with Phylis and then HE chose to leave Sharon for Phylis (by the way at this time Sharon had no problem sexing up with Brad..you know a married man to her sister-in-law at this time , Victoria ! As for Adam, Sharon chose to dump him no the other way around..the guy after trying to get her back again and once again decided to MOVE ON ! She could have been happy with Adam if only she had wanted it, instead she dumped him and chose to be involved with her former father-in-law Victor Newman of all people. Sharon had it hard in some ways but she is not a saint either and lot’s of things happened from HER OWN doing.

CC
CC

OMG I fast forward all things Nikki and Victor because they are so evil and I can’t stand it after 30 years of the same abuse they spill ! I fast forward all things Chelsea I hate her and hate Avery and so unhappy with the new Kyle. I loved the old days with Neil and Dru and Sharon with Nick and even Sharon with Adam. I loved Malcolm I really miss Kay and Jill together. This is what we want. Please bring back Ashley I loved Brad and loved Amber with Daniel. loved Janna with Kevin. Chloe sucks. Can you tell I LOVED EVERYTHING PRIOR TO 2007! Lol 🙂

Wendy H. W.
Wendy H. W.

Michael we love your interviews. Please have one with if you can with Josh Griffith and find out why he and Jill promised the fans the first order was they would repair Sharon to make her happy again. We are so upset they nearly destroyed her and there will be no turning back. Is that why Josh is not there anymore? He did not fix Sharon? I sure hope Drucilla will come home. Amber also she was so awesome. I miss the old days.

judith
judith

Disagree.. Nikki has made mistakes and has her flaws but the major difference is she never did anything to Sharon.. Sharon on the other hand is destroying Nikki’s family with her schemes. So yep Nikki is not a saint and Sharon is not all ‘evil’ although right now she is really cray cray, almost in Patty’s area..But it doesn’t change the fact that Nikki has some REAL REASONS to be furious against Sharon. And when she will know about all Sharon’s schemes she better give her some big payback !

RUBY C.
RUBY C.

NO NO NO! PLEASE Niiki needs to leave Sharon alone! Sick of that abuse she gives her. Please no smack down NOOOOO! Nikki has no right with all she did in her own past.

Donna
Donna

I agree. Nikki seems to always forget that she has a very checkered past and her recent actions with alcoholism and Diane’s murder proves she is no saint. And yes, needs to back off on Sharon because she needs help, not hatred. I can’t wait to see the skeletons tap dancing out of Nikki’s closet soon. That will be worth watching.

judith
judith

euh..ok so with your logic poor little Sheila, Patty and Adam when he was vilified..deserved help not hatred..hello it is soap, when the characters do some really bad things they got punished then they are redeemed or not and life goes on ! By the way some other characters like Nick Newman or Victor Newman himself should pay a little..that is the real problem with some characters and writing : the whitewashing and insta forgive and forget. Characters can be forgiven and have a nice redemption arc but BEFORE there need to be some fallout and commeuppance..otherwise why bother ?!
Sharon has to face the music before being accepted again simple as that, Sharon lovers !

judith
judith

Nikki’s past HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH Sharon ! Sharon is not the innocent victim anymore, she deserve the commeuppance any scheming soap character get when they are caught !

Therea
Therea

Really really tired of watching Nikki get away with her crimes and sex with all these men now we have Chelsea coming a close second to Nikki. Why must Sharon always be everyones punching bag. I nearly gave up I stopped the show for a month after being loyal for 36 years. Leave Sharon alone or Im done like I did with B&B after 24 years now OVER But thanks michael for the heads up Nikki will never leave my Sharon alone BOOOOOOOO

judith
judith

Please Sharon got lot’s of pass actually over the years although some other characters got even more, far more pass i have to admit (Nick Newman, Victor Newman yep i am looking at you and many others..)..Now let’s hope after all her crazy awful last deeds, she get some real wake up call. And don’t use bipolar disease as an excuse..it is more than offensive, bipolar disease NEVER EVER make people do the things Sharon is doing right now..even soaps can’t mock a real and serious mental illness like that. Stop.

Kim H.
Kim H.

I really had hopes Nikki would leave Sharon to be happy. Why must everyone be happy but Sharon. So tired of having to defend all that has happened to the Sharon character. i think fans had enough of the attacks on Sharon. please don’t there be one single show with Nasty Nikki and sweet Sharon I can’t take much more I will stop watching this train wreck. Any way we can get a message to the writers Michael before we have to endure one more attack on Sharon? can’t we PLEASE PLEASE PLEEEEEASE have her best friend Drucilla back! 🙂

judith
judith

Right now Sharon is not sweet, she is pathetic and delusional. Ah and crazy and kind of nasty, Nikki has nothing to do with that. End of story.

k/kay
k/kay

The movie Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton shows scenes of Y&R when Nikki was pregnant with Victoria and it was Victors child but they all thought it was Kevin the guy she was married to they have been showing that movie on cable and it is a hoot to see the hair and listen to Michael Keaton’s character talk about Victor’s vasectomy not taking. And just listening to the theme music. I am pretty sure it is going to be a long lost son that Nikki had back in the day and gave up and I know why JFP is doing it she does need to try to bring SB into the fold and it will be worth it just to see Victor’s face. I mean let’s face it how many people has Nikki murdered now on this show she needs another kid! SB is here to stay I have finally accepted it I just hope MTS gets more story with this then she has the MS story!

Judy
Judy

Terrific interview! Love MTS aand am so happy to hear she has a big story coming up that she seems to love so much. She’s long overdue for that. I agree totally with her that we need Jill back in GC full time now and wish it would happen. I also love the Nikki and Sharon feud and am happy the actresses enjoy it so much too.

MEK
MEK

Sharon is an absolute horror and has done one vile thing after another for years. Nikki hopefully will wipe up the floor with Sharon when the truth comes out about Summer. Then Sharon can be carted off to a mental hospital never to be heard from again.

Love that Nikki will be front and center again. It is about time.

mary jonas
mary jonas

adore Nikki. very happy Mel is working a lot. Y&R sounds like its getting good coming up.

Allison
Allison

Nikki having a long lost kid is a load of crap (really hope that rumor isn’t true!) but I love her feud with Sharon. The great thing about it is that they’re more alike than either of them want to admit. Hahaha. I root for both of them at different times! Always love Nikki and Victor together too. Just wish would stay together now.

glenda alford vaughn
glenda alford vaughn

I want it to come out that Sharon did the awful, and Nick marries Avery. I hope Nikki stays w/Victor!

Diane T
Diane T

I hope Sharon ends up happy and with Adam inspite of selfish Nikki and Victor

judith
judith

WTF ? Sharon can ends up happy with Adam and Nikki with Victor like she is actually..lol the problem right now is Sharon and Sharon alone ! She is cray cray and pathetic. That is all.

KELLY&MICHAEL FAN
KELLY&MICHAEL FAN

Is she Dylan (SB) mother on the show?

That,s a twist!!

Beacon
Beacon

Dylan will turn out to be Nikki and Paul’s son. This is JFP’s way of making Dylan the central character on Y&R. Eric Braeden will be blowing smoke out of his ears no doubt.

judith
judith

Great that MTS will have a full fronter story at least for few months ! I don’t really like Y&R right now, i find most of the stories boring or awful..but Nikki on-screen is always a good thing, just give her an interestint story and i will watch.

tim
tim

Niki has another child, one no one knew about…. hardly creative is it?

jaybird369
jaybird369

Let me see…
1. Sharon is getting more and more STUPIDER by the minute.
2. Victor and Nikki are back together for the umpteenth time (blah blah blah blah).
3. Y and R (and especially that Jill Farren Phelps) totally ruined the end of Katherine’s beautiful memorial service by horribly tacking on Paul and Christine’s stupid nitwit nuptials at the last minute (more blah blah blah blah).
4. Summer’s, um, crying about Jack and Victor’s feuding and fighting over her is BEYOND ANNOYING!!!!!
5. The WONDERFUL AND FABULOUS Jess Walton is on recurring status…WHAT THE HELL????? No.
6. Arrogant Adam is on a DUMB AS HELL rampage because of Chelsea’s baby. Who cares if Adam is Chelsea’s baby daddy??? Adam is NOT fatherhood material!!!!! No.
7. That Hilary chick is so fake and one-dimensional. No thank you.
8. Neil and Leslie (as a soap couple) are starting to bore me. Not good.
9. Lastly, Y and R needs to bring back the character of Sarge so Sarge himself can knock some much-needed sense into his idiot nephew Mason (aka Hilary’s chump-filled puppet).
The moral of all this: As a so-called executive producer, Jill Farren Phelps did nothing but antagonize and alienate A LOT of other actors and actresses on previous soaps from long ago. Trust me…her tenure (or whatever) at Y and R will be no different. The absolute pits!!!!!

dottie covey
dottie covey

I think that Sharon needs to be put in nut house, she needs to get a life and a job. All the men she has slept with how can she call the kettle black.

dorothy
dorothy

I think Sharon should be put in a nut house
Nick will hate Her when.He found out what She did..I’ll be glad when He do.He don’t love Her she needed to get a life.

denise sutherland
denise sutherland

I am so upset you are taking Delia out like that. I don’t like when kids die like that in a show for the purpose of someone else life. very mush sure that you could have found someone else.
why is the reason I sure don’t no.
once I use to wash An Other World some child die because they made it look like the gangster kill her. This child was only 4 years old I was so up set also. Front that days I never watch that episode. just like I do not like Days of Our Live to phonies of a daytime show. now I have been watching the Do not like it when children end up like that.

Sandra
Sandra

I hope Victoria & Bill always stay together I really like the both of them they both seem to fit together and it nice watching 2 people been happy for once on the Y&R. I used to like Lauren & Michael put I have turned of her now I didn’t think she would ever do that to Michael
I do like Adam hope him & Chelsea work things out Don’t like Sharon & Avery

Interviews

B&B’s Annika Noelle Chats On Her First Daytime Emmy Nomination For Hope’s Emotional Journey Back to Beth

The Supporting Actor and Actress in a Drama Series are often the highly-competitive categories in the annual Daytime Emmys, because they usually contain the most entrance vying for the final 5 or 6 coveted spots.

This year, after all of her soap alter-egos sturm and drang, Annika Noelle found herself with a nomination for her riveting work as Hope Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful.

As fans of the CBS Daytime drama know, Hope went through hell and back and hell again as she was led to believe that her baby girl had died, only to later find out that the little bundle of joy was adopted by Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) in a heinous scheme put in motion by Dr. Buckingham (Wayne Brady). As the story unraveled, more and more people found out about the switch and kept it from Hope, chief among them Thomas (Matthew Atkinson), but all’s well that ends well when Liam (Scott Clifton) with a big assist from Douglas (Henry Joseph Samiri) figured out that Beth was Phoebe … and that set the stage for even more emotional drama.

Following the news of her nomination, Michael Fairman TV chatted with Annika Noelle, to get all the feels of this defining moment in her daytime career – cracking the glass ceiling and getting into a select group of actresses for the first time whose work has been deemed “Outstanding”. Here’s what Annika shared on her reaction to that great Emmy news!

Photo: JPI

Were you shocked and surprised when you learned of your Supporting Actress in a Drama Series nomination?

ANNIKA:  Yes!  I’m over the moon and so eternally grateful for it.  It means a lot to have the work I’ve done this last year get recognized by everyone.  It’s my first Daytime Emmy nomination, and now I get to say that.  It’s just a cool thing.

I can’t think of anyone who cried more in last year’s TV season than you as Hope.  That whole year was so heavy with the baby switch storyline and Hope’s journey back to her biological daughter.

ANNIKA:  It was.  Honestly, it took a lot out of me, and it was a lot to go through, and it really was a marathon.  I’ve never had to go through something like that as an actor, but I’m just glad that I made it out to the other side to get to experience this.

Photo: JPI

I was worried someone was going to have to pick you up off the floor from all the weeping! It must have been draining.

ANNIKA:  I can’t tell you how many times I was just like, “Do I have to cry? Do I have to though?”  I’m just really grateful that Hope finally got her baby back.  It was so funny when the fans would be like, “When is she getting her baby back?” and I’m like, “Trust me, no one wants it more than me.”

Were you watching the nominations unfold on The Talk?  How did you find out you were officially a nominee?

ANNIKA:  I went for a walk around the LaBrea Tar Pits because I didn’t want to be focusing on that, but I have family in Boston who were going to watch The Talk and let me know.  However, I guess the Mayor of Boston interrupted right before they started reading the nominations.  They were so pissed.  So, I was like, “Okay, I guess I’m not going to find out for a while,” and then the phone started ringing, and it was Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B).  Your heart kind of goes up in your throat when you see his name on the caller ID! I picked up and he said, “Congratulations,” and I proceeded to probably make him deaf because I was so excited. (Laughs)

Scott Clifton was your scene partner in so much of the arc of this storyline.  Did he say anything to you once you got nominated?

ANNIKA:  Oh yeah! We exchanged quite a few text messages with each other.  I thought he should have submitted himself this year.

Photo: JPI

I was so surprised when I found out that he didn’t enter the competition, because he did some incredible work.

ANNIKA:  It’s amazing the work that he did, and he was right by my side every step of the way during this incredibly difficult storyline, and honestly, I could not have done it without him … or Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, because they honestly were such great support systems for me as an actor and also as friends.  Honestly, I feel like this nomination is everyone’s.  It was such an ensemble effort.

Photo: JPI

What scenes did you submit that landed you the nomination?

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ANNIKA:  I submitted as the initial scene when Hope finds out about Beth (where Liam tells her that Beth didn’t make it) and she starts out thinking that Beth is still alive and then gradually the denial fades away and the reality sets in.  Then, the second scene I submitted was where she is kind of emotionally checked out, and then, Sally (Courtney Hope) comes in with that poor puppy dog to try to cheer her up, and obviously that backfires on Sally.  That was actually a very difficult scene to shoot because here was this little puppy dog looking up at me, and I had to just freak out.  The third scene was on the rooftop where Hope finally finds out that Beth is indeed alive, and that Thomas has been lying to her.  Then, the fourth scene was the hardest one to pick, but I’m really glad that I went with it.  It’s just this really quiet, intimate moment between Liam and Hope when they’re alone with Beth again for the first time as a family.  Then, Liam and Hope share their first kiss as a family again.  The final scene was where Hope gets to slap Flo (Katrina Bowden) and you get to see the momma bear come out.  I really tried to tell a story.  I really tried to show an arc of that 8-9-month saga, and luckily, I had the material to choose from to do so.

You played the Emmy game very smartly, because the reels that work, in my experience, have been the ones that tell the arc of the story, so that anyone who doesn’t know the show can follow beat to beat to beat.  I think those are always the reels that ultimately grab the voters.

ANNIKA:  I think that’s something that I had to learn too from other actors, and the advice that I had gotten, and getting to actually watch and vote last year.  I thought of it more as an actor’s reel.  I tried to do show versatility as an actor.  So, hopefully we will see what happens.

Photo: JPI

Are you familiar with the work of any of the other actresses nominated in your category …Tamara Braun (Ex-Kim, GH), Rebecca Budig (Ex-Hayden GH), Christel Khalil (Lily, Y&R), and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie, DAYS)?

ANNIKA:  Oh, yes, and I am nothing but honored to be in a category with such amazing performers.  It takes so much in general to be a daytime actor, and to even be in this category with these other performers, it’s huge.  .

Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke), your on-screen mom is nominated for Lead Actress this year too!

ANNIKA:  I know!  I’m praying it’s her year, and Heather Tom (Katie) also did such beautiful work with the kidney storyline, and Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) just broke my heart with the divorce and the Thomas storylines.  It’s kind of all in the family in a way with our characters, but everyone did such beautiful work, and I’m rooting everyone on.  It’s nice that Katherine and I as an on-screen momma/daughter got to celebrate that together.

Photo: JPI

Did Katherine give you a call, or did you communicate, after the nominations were announced?

ANNIKA:  Yes, we talked, and then, ironically for about a year and a half, I had saved a bottle of Dom Perignon that I had received as a gift from her boyfriend, Dom Zoida.  I was always just saving it for a special occasion.  When I told her that, she was like, “I can’t believe you’ve been saving it this long!  We are going to have a toast tonight and celebrate!”  I was like, “Are you sure we don’t want to save it in case there’s other good news … maybe?”  and she was just like, “No!  We’ll get you another bottle.  We are toasting tonight.”  So, that was just a really beautiful moment because she really brought me in and showed me the ropes as a veteran on the show, and as someone who knows B&B and the dynamics so well.  I’ve learned a lot from Katherine, and I have nothing but respect for her.  She is one of the hardest workers I know; she does not stop, and I have such admiration.  I wish I were in half as good shape as she is!  It’s a special feeling to be able to share this with her.

You followed in Kim Matula’s (Ex-Hope) footsteps on the show.  That was no easy feat, and to make the role your own was beautifully done.  That has to feel good.  It’s not easy to play a role that someone else made ‘soap-famous’.

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ANNIKA:  It’s funny, because Mark Grossman (Adam, Y&R) and I started around the same time – him on Y&R and me on The Bold and the Beautiful, and even Matthew Atkinson as Thomas – everyone has kind of left their own mark on these characters as recasts, and it’s a challenging thing to do, stepping into someone’s role, especially with someone who originated the character. It’s a nice validation that you’re doing something right.

You and I will remember your humble beginnings on Venice the Series.

ANNIKA:  It’s such a crazy full circle too, because Hillary B. Smith (Ex-Nora, OLTL and Guya, Venice the Series) was my mentor in high school.  I would look up to her and be like. “She’s been nominated and won Daytime Emmys! Well, maybe one day I could …” Hillary was someone who I called and talked to for a long time before submitting.  I also have to give thanks to Crystal Chappell (Ex-GL, Days and Venice the Series), for seeing something in me and taking a chance on me when I was green as an actress.

I remember us talking on the set of Venice, and I remember you shooting your scenes as a recast in that show too at an apartment!  They threw you right into the fire.

ANNIKA:  Yep, and Susan Flannery (Ex-Stephanie, B&B) was directing a few of those episodes!  So, it was like… who would have thought that years later…?

Photo: JPI

I would ask you, what you are going to wear, but there is no red carpet that I know of, for a virtual Emmys this year!

ANNIKA:  I am so conflicted.  I’m like, “Do I wear PJs, or do I get glammed up and wear a beautiful gown?” (Laughs) I am the most comfortable in flannel and no makeup, so I’m like, “Okay, if I have to get glammed up, how on earth am I going to do my own hair because I don’t even know where to begin with that.” So, we’ll see, I guess, we’ll see!

It will be interesting to see what the virtual ceremony will look like.

ANNIKA:  I have a feeling that my cat might be a part of the awards ceremony.  He is going to try to steal the spotlight, a little.  Like an All About Eve moment happening here with Henry who I call “Burrito Man”.  He has his own Instagram.  It’s @theburritomankitty, and if there is a camera, let me tell you, he will try to interrupt.  That’s Burrito Man for you.  He’s a little diva.

Photo: IG

How have you and ‘Burrito Man’ been doing during the coronavirus pandemic?  How are your spirits? 

ANNIKA:  Well, this nomination has certainly been a silver lining.  It certainly has brightened the mood a little bit. It’s been pretty difficult feeling a little isolated, but The Bold and the Beautiful has been having Zoom happy hour every Friday where we will all get on in the late afternoon and catch up with everyone and have a little drink.  So, it’s been nice because I miss everyone.  We really do become like family.  That’s helped a lot, and then just… puzzles.  I’m doing a lot of puzzles, Michael.

Photo: JPI

In closing, many times you see a lot of the same names nominated in the acting categories at the Daytime Emmys, so it’s nice to see when someone new breaks through.  Kudos to you!

ANNIKA:  Honestly, that means a lot.  It was a lot, especially as a newcomer to daytime.  It really was sink or swim, but luckily, I have an amazing cast there supporting me and holding me up on those days where it was stressful, or where I would break down just because it was so demanding.  I can’t tell you how many people were there for me like: John McCook (Eric, B&B), Katherine Kelly Lang, Heather Tom, Jacqui, and Scott, these people championed me, urged me on, and believed in me.  I also have realized that I am a bit more of a method actor than I thought I was. (Laughs)  I might have taken some of the work home with me.  Queer Eye and RuPaul were cheering me up because it was a lot. (Laughs)  I just want to express my utmost gratitude for this honor and wish all the best of luck to the other nominees.  I have so much respect for everyone in this industry from the directors and our crews, all the way down to us actors. It’s a lot to do what we do in daytime with the budget and the time constraints that we have.  It really is a team effort.

So, were you happy to see that Annika scored a Daytime Emmy nomination for her hard work and being at the epicenter of the baby switch storyline on B&B? Comment below.

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Interviews

OLTL Icon, Erika Slezak Talks On Her 42-Year Run As Viki, Her Llanview Co-Stars & Husbands, and Life Now

As a precursor to, and now post-script to last night’s The Story of Soaps special on ABC, One Life to Live’s leading lady and six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Erika Slezak, chatted with Michael Fairman in a very special virtual conversation on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel  prior to the airing of the two-hour event that look into the history and the world of daytime and primetime soaps.

Erika appeared within the primetime special along with many other notables from the world of daytime.

Photo: JPI

Chatting from her home in Connecticut, Erika talked candidly about her beginnings on the ABC soap when she was first cast as Viki, and how her early castmates helped her through that challenging time. She also discussed the importance and challenges of playing Viki’s DID storyline where she played multiple alters, and, of course, her longstanding on-screen rivalry with frenemy Dorian Cramer Lord played by Robin Strasser.

As fans of One Life know, Viki certainly had her share of husbands over the years, and you will learn Erika’s thoughts on working with several of them from: Mark Derwin (Ex-Ben), to Brian Kerwin (Ex-Charlie), to Roy Thinnes (Ex-Sloan) and more.

Photo: JPI

But what was life like for Erika, playing the moral center of One Life day in and day out for over 42 years and the responsibility that comes with that? She weighs-in on that as well.  Later, the discussion turns to her emotional final day of taping at ABC’s OLTL following its cancellation, the move to Prospect Park, and if she would ever consider working on another one of the four remaining daytime soaps.

Photo: JPI

Slezak has won the most Daytime Emmys of any actress, and she recalls the time she was nominated with 7 other actresses in the Lead Actress category and the start of the annual “Ladies Lunch” with the nominees via Susan Flannery.

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For a deep-dive conversation into the genre with this soap legend, check it out below.

Then let us know if you were thrilled to see Erika, and hear what she had to say via the comment section.

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Breaking News

Y&R’s Eileen Davidson, Knots’ Donna Mills & GH’s Laura Wright Talk On Life in the Soaps

Three of the most recognizable names in the soap opera genre, Eileen Davidson (Y&R, Ex-Days, Ex-B&B, Ex-Santa Barbara). Donna Mills (Knots Landing, Ex-Love is a Many Splendored Thing, Ex-Secret Storm) and Laura Wright (General Hospital, Ex-Guiding Light, Ex-Loving, Ex-The City), chat with Michael Fairman in this virtual conversation about their careers working in front of the camera on daytime and primetime soaps.

Each of the actresses appear on ABC’s “The Story of Soaps” two-hour special airing on Tuesday night May 19th (9 p.m. EST). to which this interview is a prelude.

From her role as Abby Cunningham Ewing on Knots Landing to her role as GH’s Madeline Reeves, Donna Mills shares memorable stories from her career, and from her role as Y&R’s Ashley Abbott to playing five roles on Days of our Lives from Kristen DiMera to Susan Banks, Eileen Davidson recalls her start and the time she played five roles at one time, while bringing to life Carly Corinthos on General Hospital every day is a joy shares Laura Wright from her early start on ABC’s Loving which changed the trajectory of her life.

We hope you enjoy this exclusive on The Michael Fairman Channel.

Watch Eileen, Donna and Laura below!  Then let us know what was your favorite moment or tidbit from the conversation via the comment section

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