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The Michelle Stafford Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

Photo Credit: Denice Duff

On The Young and the Restless, Phyllis Summers Newman has dealt with many an issue and conquered many a problem head on over the years, or in some cases, been pretty sneaky in the way she went about it.  But nothing has prepared her for this latest familial drama!  In recent months, on the number one CBS soap, the powers-that-be have been delving into the background of Phyllis’ family with the introduction of her sister, Avery, and with a return now of her dear old dad George, who Phyllis has no love lost. (And that’s putting it mildly.)  The corrupt and nefarious father figure is now on his deathbed at a hospice center, and Phyllis decides she will try to go see him to get some resolution to her tormented past due to her father’s misdeeds.  When she arrives, he insists to his daughter that she falsely accused him of stealing money from his investors, and of his crimes.  However, Phyllis demands the truth, and things take a dramatic turn from there!

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Daytime Award wining actress Michelle Stafford, to get her take on Phyllis’s daddy issues, the expansion of her on-screen family, and of course, the men in Phyllis’ life.  Will we finally have that “Phick” reunion that many Y&R fans are longing for?  Michelle fills us in!   Plus, she reveals what it has been like to work with Jessica Collins (Avery), Ken Howard (George), Joshua Morrow (Nick), and one of her new favorite co-stars, Jeff Branson (Ronan), who unfortunately has left the show!

Michelle, who is never one to mince words, cuts right to the heart of the matter on a myriad of subjects during our chat.  But one thing is for certain; this gal knows and understands how to act!  Through performance after performance, no one could refute that Michelle Stafford continues to be an acting force to be reckoned with, which always leaves daytime fans clamoring for.  Who can’t wait to see how Michelle serves up the delicious on-screen life of Ms. Newman every day?  We can’t!  So, here is our conversation with the one and only Michelle!

MICHAEL:

All of a sudden members of Phyllis’s family are sprouting up.  First up was her sister Avery.  And now with this recent storyline, Y&R is bringing back up the sins of the father, with Phyllis and Avery’s dad George, in the picture for just a brief time.  How is it for you as an established character when they bring in more of your family clan? (Although, we have seen the character of George before on Y&R!)

MICHELLE:

Photo Credit: Getty images

When they bring in a family member, I am always like, “Oh no,” for a second.  I get nervous, because I already created something for myself.  They actually created something that goes against something we had already played, and so we had to kind of do some shifting.  We have already seen the character of George, her father, and she had already had conversations with him, and we already had seen her mother, Lydia.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Ken Howard as your dad, in these pivotal scenes?

MICHELLE:

He is great, and as you know he is an Emmy and Tony Award winning actor!

MICHAEL:

… And he is the President of SAG!

MICHELLE:

And the President of SAG … and I talked to him about my insurance! (Laughs) We had a good conversation about my insurance.  (Laughs)  Ken had a great attitude and he is a great guy.  He knew he was there to serve a purpose for the story and he did that.  He knew the character was dying.  I actually wished we were playing lighter scenes!  We laughed a lot, and you know I can get people going! (Laughs)  He was awesome, though.

MICHAEL:

In story, Phyllis did not want to go see her dad in the hospice facility, even though he may not make it.  Why didn’t she want to go and try to make peace with him?

MICHELLE:

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

He is an asshole!  Why do you want to go see an ass?  He iced her from the family.  He is a criminal, and then turned it around and made it look like Phyllis was lying.  He made her the crazy one, and so she left!

MICHAEL:

Do you think this huge issue with her father is what made Phyllis such a damaged person?  She has shown great resiliency in her life, but she has also done some very bad and questionable things along the way.

MICHELLE:

I think every soap opera character is pretty damaged.  (Laughs)  There is not anybody who is not.  I think Phyllis is looking for something she decided must exist in life that maybe doesn’t.  She is looking for something she never had, which is a family unit and real love.  She is looking for that and she is thinking that it should be a certain way, because it is not what she had.  In truth, that thing that she is looking for might not even exist.  But she is trying to find it.

MICHAEL:

Do you think because of her relationship with her father, this has been a cause of many of the issues Phyllis has with the men in her life? 

MICHELLE:

I would say that makes some sense.  I would say she is looking for them to be something she never had.  That is why I say it may not exist, because she is looking for something that she decided must be, because she did not have it.  I will tell you a personal story.  Years ago, I had a lot of friends who were married.  I saw the loveliness of their relationships and how their husbands would do all these things.  I thought, “Wow!  The boyfriend I had at the time doesn’t do those things, so he must be a prick.”  I would end the relationship to find out that they had the same issues in their relationships, but they weren’t letting me see it.  Those kind of relationships that all of us “chicks” look for only exists in movies and TV, really.  In reality, there are differences in life and people have differences, and the key is how you make it work.  Things don’t just magically work. You are making compromises, and that is why relationships work.

MICHAEL:

There was a recent scene between you and Joshua Morrow (Nick) at the Crimson Lights Coffee Shop.  It was just a simple little exchange between the two characters, but you could tell they still really love each other!

Courtesy/CBS

MICHELLE:

Yeah, they do, but I hated that scene! (Laughs)  He gave me the peace sign, is what he did.  As Phyllis in the scene, I was going, “What are you giving me the peace sign for?” So I gave it back to him and I kind of made a face like, “What the hell is that?”  Look in relationships and in your marriage a guy will go, “Hey Dude”.  Dude?  So, it was kind of a real moment, but Phyllis’s reaction to it was, “What? What is this?”  But, Phyllis and Nick do love each other.

MICHAEL:

Why can’t these two get it together?

MICHELLE:

I think because she can’t really trust him and because he has given her reason not to trust him.  Also, I don’t think he trusts him! (Laughs)  I think Nick knows he can be a dog.  He is trying to win her back but she is not really going for it.  Nick is trying and he has his own issues and own demons where women are concerned, and where Sharon and where Avery are concerned, too.

MICHAEL:

I cannot believe that Phyllis would ever go back now to Nick after sleeping with her sister, Avery!  And then of course, there is the whole Sharon debacle!

MICHELLE:

Yeah, I know.   The cool thing is they are not having them jump back in together.  They realize we can’t have Phyllis this desperate for his love, although she is kind of desperate for his love, she really is.  She is not Zen when it comes to him or level headed when it comes to him.  It’s all based on emotion, her love for Nick.  She really, really loves him.  He really cares for her and he brings out a part of her that is seldom seen by others.  He sees her sweetness and a love that is a true part of her.

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

MICHAEL:

She has been vulnerable with Nick, and that has been hard on her.  Would you say she was vulnerable with Jack?

MICHELLE:

With Jack she did, and she didn’t.  He saw the tough Phyllis, and so she had to be kind of tough with him in the later years.  She always felt she was trying to one-up Jack, and she does not feel that way with Nick.  It’s a different relationship, although her relationship with Jack is very solid and beautiful, too.  She was in love with him, but there is just too much water under the bridge there.

MICHAEL:

I like how Phyllis visited Jack in the hospital the other day, since he is dealing with being paralyzed.  She seemed to care for him and be there to support him.

MICHELLE:

She is a good person for him when he is in trouble.  She will be tough for him.  He will be falling apart and she will be there, and that is their relationship.  Jack would do the same for her.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Jeff Branson (Ronan)?  The sparks really flew on-air with Ronan and Phyllis.  I think that’s putting it mildly! (Laughs)

MICHELLE:

Courtesy/IMDB

I love Jeff Branson so much, I cannot even tell you.  I really loved working with him! You know those scenes where we were making out and we were naked together, sometimes the guys can be pricky, although in my case I have never had that.  Joshua and Peter have always been gentlemen, but it can be an awkward situation for a woman, but it’s not awkward for me because I love to make out … seriously.  It can be weird when someone shuts himself off.  I am talking about when you are so naked with someone and so emotionally naked with somebody, they will put up some walls.  And that is normal; a lot of actors will put up walls.  It’s like, “Don’t get too close.”  Jeff and I did not do that with each other.  We talked about it before, and other actors do that, because they either have a wife at home or a girlfriend or a boyfriend, and they will get flack from them. Or personally, they will feel awkward.  So they will put up some walls.  I said to Jeff, “Let’s not do that.  Let’s be totally enveloped in this thing that we have together. Let’s just trust each other.”   I am not thinking, “You are going to make a move on me.”  We knew that we were not going to do that with each other and it was going to be a very open and vulnerable working situation where we trusted each other as actors.  It was really great.  It was so much fun, and that is what acting is about.

MICHAEL:

So you were aware that viewers thought it looked like you and Jeff were really going at it on air?

MICHELLE:

A lot of people thought we were banging each other.  They told me that!  I know it looked like I was banging Jeff.  I could see where people would think that because we were so open with each other.  A couple of fans said, “It’s so real.  I feel like I am watching you, too.”  And basically, they were watching us.  And that is the beauty and the cool thing about acting.  It’s just being so trusting to be there with that person and make it real and make it truthful.  And so, I loved, loved working with him.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Ronan and Phyllis would have been a good couple, if it could have lasted longer?

MICHELLE:

Yeah, I think they were a good couple. Ronan was really special to Phyllis because he treated her well.  Nick was bad to her, and she really was falling in love with Ronan and then he ended things with her so abruptly, but she did not believe him. She felt like he was just doing that to not get close, and because she was falling for him, she understood. At the end, she knew what he was doing.  I thought it would have been a really great triangle, but Jeff left the show.  I was bummed out that it was going to end, but Jeff wants to do film and I love him as a friend.  So I support anything he wants to do.  I think he is a really great actor.  I want really great things to happen for him.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

What do you think about the sister rivalry between Phyllis and Avery?

MICHELLE:

Jessica Collins and I are still working it out.  It’s interesting the relationship between the two sisters.  We had some scenes we taped recently where we wanted to make it a very complex and odd relationship, and even the scenes where we are at the facility with the dad at the end of the story arc are really interesting.  What I like about those scenes, and how they play out, is that nothing has been resolved.  Phyllis went there for some sort of answer to her life, and some sort of resolution for her life and nothing is resolved.  I think that is really cool.  I think it is very real.  I don’t think that is necessarily what the writers were going for, but I think that’s what turned out.  I think the group of writers we have are very cool.  They are not militant.  It’s not like “No, this is my writing; you have to say it like this.”  They are always in to seeing how something works out.  There is a bit of a soft spot that Phyllis feels for Avery after their father dies, but I think we are going to see this kind of go away and it’s going to go back and forth.  Phyllis is actually going to have a soft spot for her, because it’s her own guilt for not being there for her sister, and leaving her with those freaks!  She has her own guilt, and at the same time, Avery, does things to her that are wrong!

MICHAEL:

Really wrong!

MICHELLE:

It also reminds her of her parents.  Avery is just kind of a symbol to Phyllis of her horrible parents.  Every time Avery talks, Phyllis just hears her dad.

MICHAEL:

How is working with Jessica Collins?

MICHELLE:

Photo Credit: PR Photo

Jessica is amazing.  She is so professional and so great.  She is so willing to work scenes out.  We had this scene in the prison and it went on for a long time.  It was an eight or ten minute scene.  So we worked on deciding what is really going on in the scene besides our dialog.  We will sit down and work it out.  We talk about what we are to each other and the relationship. Again, it’s nice that someone is willing in a female/female relationship, to be there for each other emotionally, and asking, “What do you need?”  Let me tell you, Jessica is so great and amazing in these scenes coming up with the dad.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Phyllis is resentful of Avery in that she became a lawyer, while Phyllis had bounced around a bit to find herself and a career?

MICHELLE:

Yeah, I think Phyllis is jealous.  In this scene where they are talking inside their father’s room, at one point the nurse comes out and says, “Avery, you should come in now.”  It was so great, because I was thinking as Phyllis, “What the hell?  Why Avery?  Why not me?”  I thought it was an interesting element.  So in the scene, I am a bit disturbed by why that bitch just came out and said,  “Avery!”  I think Phyllis is resentful that Avery was the golden child and is like, “Why am I the bad one, because I had some integrity?”  Avery was the untouched little sister that did not have to see any of the evil of this family.  I think there is a resentment that Phyllis had, because Avery didn’t have to see it.  And Phyllis is like, “Why did I have to see it and she didn’t have to?”  I think it’s more like Phyllis had to see this with these people and Avery got to live a life of ignorance.  There is jealousy of; why did I not get to live a life with rose-colored glasses?

MICHAEL:

Phyllis definitely came from the school of hard knocks, after all the things she went through growing up with her dysfunctional family.

MICHELLE:

Right!  Phyllis leaves and is like a street person, and Avery becomes this big attorney.  I feel that Phyllis is jealous of that and Avery’s life. That is something that is untouched in the writing, but it is something Jessica and I have created.  Jessica is just a complete doll.  I don’t feel any weird “chick” dynamic with her.

MICHAEL:

We touched earlier on Y&R bringing in family members to beef up Phyllis’s on-air story or back-story.  What did you feel when Jessica came on the show as your sister?

Photo Credit: Denice Duff

MICHELLE:

If they bring in a good actor, it’s great.  And Jessica is a great actor, and so it only aids the long-standing character.  It only aids it unless they stop writing for my character and start writing everything for her character.  Then I will be like, “Hey, what is going on here?” (Laughs)  We had a long talk about the ebb and flow of our characters now.  We created something interesting and I don’t know how it will play out.  It’s fun to work with someone who really cares, and with another woman where I don’t have to avoid slings and arrows! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Deep down, would you say the two sisters love each other, or would you not go that far?

MICHELLE:

Yes, they do love each other because they are sisters and there is that family bond.

MICHAEL:

Did you have any hand in the casting of Jessica as your on-screen sis?  I remember Jessica as Dinah Lee on Loving decades ago!  She was terrific.

MICHELLE:

No, no.  Michael Muhney (Adam, Y&R) actually read with her.  I remember Jessica on Loving years ago, too!

MICHAEL:

Where would you like to see Phyllis go now?  What would you like to see happen to her as a result of all that she has recently endured?

MICHELLE:

Photo Credit: Steven Bergman

I believe we need to see Phyllis unravel a bit.  There has been a lot lately with Lucy and the Daisy thing, and Avery releasing Daisy from Prison, and Nick and his shenanigans with Sharon and Avery, and then the father dying.  I think that does affect her.  I think all of this is too much for her and I think we need to see her snap a bit.

MICHAEL:

I would love to see that! 

MICHELLE:

I am trying to work that out!  But as an actor, you can actually weave that in to the writing.  I don’t have to go and pitch it to them, and it serves a purpose.

MICHAEL:

Do you think that we are over with Sharon being a constant issue and thorn in  Phyllis’ side?  They seem to have gotten away from that for a bit, but I suppose it could rear its head at any moment!

MICHELLE:

I don’t know.  I want to say probably not, because Sharon was married to Nick and it’s an ex-wife of Nick’s.  If she was connected to Nick, she will be connected to Sharon in someway, but I think if we do see that again, it needs to be different.  As actors we need to play it differently and they need to write it differently, because the audience does not want to see the same thing.

MICHAEL:

As a Daytime Emmy winner, and one who always supports her fellow actors, how are you feeling about the new Daytime Emmy pre-nomination process?  Do you think on paper, this system seems a fairer way to conduct the first round of voting?

MICHELLE:

Honestly, no system makes perfect sense. It’s an award and there are some people who are always going to think it’s unfair.  I will say, it’s the fairest thing in the world when you get nominated, and it’s the fairest thing in the world when you win, but when you don’t get nominated, it’s so unfair, it’s so unfair.  I mean, really.  It’s the greatest night in the world when you win, but it’s not so fun when you lose. That’s just the bottom line.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Many actors feel that entering their name in competition for the Daytime Emmys is like playing a big game and trying to play it to win.  But so many talented performers have never won or have never had the opportunity to be nominated!

MICHELLE:

Just because somebody has three Emmys and somebody else has zero, in my eyes, it does not make that person a better actor.  It also doesn’t make the person who won, necessarily work a lot, or get a lot of storylines.  I judge and I don’t always pick the person who won.  It’s the way it is.   Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) and Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R) have zero.  It’s silly.

MICHAEL:

You just recently received the Media Awareness Award from a wonderful organization, Project Cuddle!  I saw a picture with you and John Stamos from the event!

MICHELLE:

Yes, I did receive an award because of my work with the organization.  John Stamos is the National Spokesman for Project Cuddle.  Debbie Magnusen saves abandoned babies and I have been working with her for five years.  She is a wonderful person.  She started a hotline where if you want to abandon your baby, and don’t want it, she will take the baby no questions asked, and find a home for it.  And also, if you are having problems, and a lot of people cannot afford pre-natal care, she takes them in and gives them care while they are pregnant and then finds a home for their baby when they have it.   I have been working with her to help her get the project known for the last several years.

MICHAEL:

Congrats on that, and how was the night for you?  I saw you brought your posse with you, too! (Laughs)

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

MICHELLE:

It was a dinner and we fundraised.  Christian LeBlanc (Michael, Y&R) came and Patty Denny, the Y&R make-up artist, and George Guzman, my friend Stacy Francis came who used to be on X-Factor, and some friends of hers.  Shannon Krause who does hair also came and I had my little entourage.  It was so awesome.

MICHAEL:

In closing, the scenes we will see play out on Monday’s upcoming episode, how do you think they turned out when all was said and done?

MICHELLE:

I never like judging myself, or will say, “I hit a home run.”  I will say, I thought Jessica was amazing because her whole world as Avery unravels before her eyes finding out her father was a liar.  I would definitely tune in to see how it all plays out though!

 

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Doe
Doe

Hey, Michael. Michelle is one gorgeous woman, plus being an outstanding actor. I loved her with Ronan. They were so hot! Too bad he left the show. I also like that Michelle is outspoken and tell it like it is. I thought she was excellant in trying to get her father to tell the truth about what nasty things he did way back that caused her to leave the family. Friday , after badgering him, she finally got him to tell the truth about money he stole. And with Avery hearing that, it should make a difference in their relationship. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. Good interview once again, Michael. I am looking forward to Monday’s episode….

delta24d
delta24d

Thanks Michael for the interview with Michelle, I am impressed as always by her honesty. She truly is one of the best actress on daytime. As a Phick fan i am waiting for the reunion. Not sure if it will happen, but I know alot of Phick fans would love it. And there is one thing we know, and it is that Nick and Phyllis loves each other.

So thank you again for highlighting her performance.

BETTYEJ
BETTYEJ

I didn’t read the entire article because I got bored with the part I did read. I have never like the character of Phyllis or Brooke on Bold and Beautiful. The only thing these two bimbo’s have in common with Nick and Ridge are sex. Neither of the bozo’s show any respect for them because they never had too. And Phyllis and Deacon dumpster drive was gross beyond words. Just as bad as Brooke’s wall banger with another daughter’s boyfriend. Both of these bimbo’s are way too old for this trashy behavior.

leslie
leslie

This is a great interview. Michelle Stafford is the most natural actress in daytime. She can make any actor look hot. It would have been great to see a triangle with Nick and Ronan. Too bad he had to leave. I love her with Joshua so I’m happy where their characters are heading right now. I can’t wait to see the scenes on Monday. Michelle is always so humble about her performance. It is just another reason she is easy to love.

Patty
Patty

I loved the interview. Michelle and Josh Morrow are pure magic! I’m so happy with the storyline for Phyllis and Phick! As usual, The Stafford is rocking her scenes. MS is such a class act!

Thanks for the great interview Michael!

JimTolkien
JimTolkien

Michael, once again you did it – GREAT JOB!!! What a beautiful interview with Michelle, my favourite actress!! I just love her and her candor…that is all.

She plays my favourite character so well and the reason why I enjoy watching Phyllis. She makes Phyllis so real to a lot of us, flawed and human. And she has such a wonderful take on her character – I always enjoy listening, or reading what she says about Phyllis.

Her onscreen chemistry with Jessica Collins is absolutely terrific and the Phyllis/Avery relationship has become one of my second favourite to watch, behind Phick. Though I didn’t like the Nick/Avery thing..bad move by the writers but it’s a soap lol.

I am going to disagree with Michelle on something though and this will be a first ever lol. I did not enjoy the relationship with Ronan at all…..it came out of nowhere and the relationship came off as self-gratification without any depth. If they were supposed to be falling in love, I sure as heck didn’t buy it or feel it. Yes, they had chemistry between the characters but heck I have chemistry with my shampoo. So that doesn’t really mean anything. For me, the relationship came off as extremely forced and not genuine, and appeared as if they were trying too hard. Onscreen it did not come off as organic but gluttonous in a sleazy way. There is something to be said about having scenes be genuine.

I love the Phick relationship just for the fact that they love each other and they can’t quite get it together but they are always trying to—that’s the beauty of it. I enjoy watching Michelle and Joshua play that very much. The genuineness of a scene that I mentioned earlier is always there with Phick even when the s/l stinks. So my Phick heart wants them to take a chance and try again………………BUT NOT YET. I love that the writers have Phyllis be wary of Nick…it is the right call.

And I am with Michelle on this one….I so want to see Phyllis snap a bit too LOL!!!

Thanks again for a wonderful interview!! 🙂

Shelia
Shelia

Your response was perfectly worded. I agree with everything you wrote here. I wish this was facebook so I could like your post.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

Copy/Paste it and put it on Michael’s Facebook page and your’s.

Lorraine
Lorraine

What a great interview. Michelle is always so interesting and fun. Thank you.

Sauza
Sauza

Agree with your comments. I agree I did not see Phyllis & Ronan falling in love. Maybe scenes were cut, but I just saw Phyllis using Ronan to get over Nick & Ronan using Phyllis to get over Chloe.

I’ve can’t say I’m a die-hard Phick fan, but I love the complexity MS’s acting gives to that relationship. All the complexities & issues MS perceives in the Nick/Phyllis relationship really come through in her acting. Phyllis is such a soapy, interesting character, and that is SO much due to MS’s acting talents.

kay killgore
kay killgore

The only thing I am confused about is shenagians with Sharon? I beleive her character and Nick abandoned Sharon with Cassies death and Daniel in the middle of it so Ms. Stafford you are confused ! Personally I think she looks weak when she is paired with JM I don’t care I just wish Sharon would tell them all to go fish. And Ms. Stafford is much better on screen then stalking someone first Daniel, Michael and now Nick! Oh how I loved the days of her independence she was better suited with Jack.

Deltayvonne
Deltayvonne

I believe if I am reading the actress response and your confusion stems from how the “Phick ” pairing began over 6 years ago.

I think every fan knows the story by now, I think Michelle speaking for her character is of course wary and hesitant when it comes to the Nick/Sharon dynamics. He cheated on get with Sharon and got her pregnant, the same thing that happened with Sharon and Nick.

I personally enjoy the dynamics with Joshua and Michelle, the actors have great chemistry That leaps off the screen. I adore the “Phick relationship” because of it’s intensity and rawness.

I also enjoy the Jack pairing, I like them as Ex’s but bonded by their past.

Like Jim, I did not get the Ronan relationship, but it would have been interesting to see a triangle.

I don’t understand the stalking of Danny not “Daniel” comment, this happened over 15 years ago and she eventually paid for it by losing custody of her child and it would take years for a reunion. Phyllis and Michael a different story (?)

Stalking of Nick..this one is new. I never saw it..so I cannot comment.

I think Phyllis has always been independent she has been that and more. She has never played the lady of the Manor. She has always worked and supported self. Her weakness that some see is her because of get love for Nick we are finally seeing as we get her backstory from the story nuggets.

PhyllisFan1st
PhyllisFan1st

Sharon abandoned Nick first by having an emotional affair with Brad before Nick came home with Daniel in custody for Cassie’s death. Phyllis was not ever responsible for Sharon’s “peace of mind”, Nick and Sharon could not mourn Cassie together, by the time Nick came home Sharon was no longer mourning.

Phyllis and Nick (before Paris) completed each other, they were pure magic. MAB for me ruined that with the whole Paris debacle and the stupid carousel crap and the using of Cassie as foreplay for SHICK. I am no longer a Nick fan, and will not be until he admits to both Phyllis and Sharon that he was wrong for the SHICK affair and leaving Phyllis and Summer for a re-do on SHICK that sucked.

Phyllis never stalked Daniel, her son, if you mean Danny, she fell in love with him and wanted the best father possible for the baby she was carrying, the new information we have about “George” makes the whole “Danny” thing make more sense! The Phyllis and Michael relationship then is not the same as the relationship now, since MS was not playing Phyllis at the time, I get how she plays the relationship, it is a part of their past but it does not define them now. AS for “stalking” Nick, I think you have it backwards, Nick stalked Phyllis during the affair, after Nick and Sharon mutually decided to divorce it was Nick that stalked Phyllis and it was Nick that showed up at her penthouse with a rolling suitcase, not the other way around.

Never was a Phyllis and Jack fan, he can never love anyone more then he hates Victor.

RC
RC

Right. tricking someone with a baby is love alright. Phyllis is and has always been a lying, scheming strumpet and I really don’t know what to make of people who defend or minimize the bad things she’s done. She broke up Christine and Danny’s marriage with a lie. How do you excuse that? How do you justify it? “She wanted the best father possible for the baby she was carrying.” Really? So you trap a man because you’re in love with him? GMAFB!

Tess
Tess

I can totally appreciate when an actor has to sell their story and even defend the actions of their character, but I’m a bit disappointed in you Mr. Fairman that you don’t come out swinging a bit more. How about calling it like it is? None of this with Phyllis confronting her father makes sense. I respect that Ms. Stafford acknowledged that it is a total rewrite of her character’s history and that is why I have not enjoyed it at all. Why does it need to be rewritten? Is Phyllis being whitewashed for some purpose? To be better suited to Nick? Why can’t she just be an insecure woman with issues? It’s hypocritical of her character to blame all of her own criminal choices on the behavior of her father and it makes me cringe as I’m sure it did other fans. How would putting her own father in prison then result in her doing the things Phyllis had done? It makes no sense and has been a total fail for this character. I would agree with Ms. Stafford though that she had much better chemistry with Jeff Branson. Do I dare infer that she is diplomatically implying she herself is tired of it Phick too? Not all of the Phyllis fans enjoy phick. The romance with Ronan however seemed real and it could have been the first relationship she had that was all hers, something she desperately needs. It seemed real and I do believe his character is the better match for Phyllis. I would also disagree on the shenanigans comment regarding Sharon. Let’s not forget how phick started which is exactly why the relationship is bitter. Phyllis is second best with Nick and he’ll never commit 100% to either woman. Bring back Jeff Branson or a new man. Like Sharon, it’s time for Phyllis to move on from the immature waffling Nick.

PhyllisFan1st
PhyllisFan1st

what “whitewashing” Phyllis is still PHYLLIS, she knows what she has done in the past, I doubt she has forgotten about the attempt to mow down that dastardly inept bug! to me, that is the only so called “crime” I have SEEN Phyllis commit!

The PHICK affair last 3 months and was over for 5 months with absolutely no sex until after Nick and Sharon mutually decided to divorce. The PHICK relationship began that night Nick came knocking on her door with his rolling suitcase. And don’t forget Sharon was having wet dreams of a life with her lover BIL Brad at that time, she assumed as soon as she got rid of Nick, Brad would leave Victoria!

I will never say Phyllis was “second best” for Nick, she was the best thing for him and with him before MAB tried to channel her inner Bill Bell, which failed on all storyline fronts (JIll as Katherine’s daughter/not Katherine’s daughter, Victor and Ashley, Nikki and the bottle, the Silver Chipmunk, Michael’s father and new sister, and yes the SHICK re-do and the so called prophecy child.

Sauza
Sauza

I LOVE Michelle & Phyllis, but I don’t think she has much to worry about regarding people thinking she and Jeff Branson were actually “banging.” Michelle & Jeff are both beautiful & sexy, but those Ronan & Phyllis hook-ups were trying so hard to be sexy & real that they were anything but. That pairing was SO rushed & forced & TRY-hard that they were almost embarrassingly bad to me. I DON’T blame that on the actors but rather the cheesy, plot-point writing. Nonetheless–rest assured Michelle, I didn’t think from your scenes with JB’s Ronan that anything was going on with you guy’s in real life. Those scenes were just awkward.

I DO absolutely love how much thought MS puts into the motivation of her character. It really comes through in her acting (even when I may not agree with said motivation). And I love that she admits that sometimes the actors have to add motivation & inspiration into their characters when the writers haven’t. MS keeps Phyllis a viable, exciting soap character even when the writing fails her.

gina
gina

Michelle is amzing as always. I love her humility & straightforwardness. She is an asset to the show. Loved the interview! I also love the sister s/l. IMO though they ruined it with the quad. Avery is backburned now bc of it. Their relationship could’ve been more purely unraveled instead of having the character sleep with Nick only bc they wanted to try Phonan. I like JC but her character has weakend due to this quad.
As for Phick, they are constantly full of surprises. They are so controversial it’ s great to watch. Thats why they need no support from others, they do perfect on their own. Josh & Michelle bring a trmendous pairing on screen with Phick. They are the future of Y&R & they damn sure have proved it.

Deltayvonne
Deltayvonne

I wanted to thank you Michael for Michelle’s interview. Well done. I must tell you I giggled non stop at her banging reference. As always she is re-freshing and insightful. As a Phick fan I do hope I get that story.

I am enjoying the slow pace that is been taken with them.

(ignore my spelling errors typing on my blackberry is painful).

heidi
heidi

Great interview Michael… thanks! She is so talented and seems like a great person.

DeeDee
DeeDee

I love how honest MS always is in her interviews. She knows the character she plays, that is for sure. I cannot say I am a fan of blatant rewrites of a characters history but I will give it a go and see where this one takes me.

I am hoping Nick and Phyllis will utlimately get it together. I am enjoying where they are at right now as too much has happened. It needs to build. I love that Phyllis is hesitant.

Good read

sorelle
sorelle

Great interview Michael thanks ! Michelle Stafford is my favorite actress , i love how she portrayed Phyllis, you always feel Phyllis emotion. Phick is my Favorite Couple on daytime , Nick and Phyllis are Magic together i hope they do reunite this time , i love the chemistry Michelle Stafford share with Josh Morrow they are Phenomenal together . i also love the Phyllis Avery dynamic , i think Michelle Stafford and Jessica Collins chemistry is absolutely one of the best i have ever see

Lacey
Lacey

Great interview! Phyllis and Ronan are my favorite Phyllis pairing. In fact, they are my favorite pairing ever on Y&R. In the short amount of time they were together, they slayed. Jeff Branson brought out so much in Michelle. Usually, it’s all about what Michelle brings out of other actors but with “Phonan”, they were both at their best and made the other even more incredible. I have never seen a couple that fit every criteria as amazingly as they did. They connected sexually, emotionally, visually, acting-wise. Just an awesome duo. I love that Michelle continues to state the obvious: that Phyllis was in love with Ronan. That is definitely how it played on screen. Phyllis never glowed as much as she did with Ronan. Michelle was lit from inside when she was around Ronan. I love them and I will be ecstatic if Jeff returns so Phyllis can be that way again. Love, love, love how they created such a remarkable pairing and really collaborated to make it so special. Kudos. 🙂

Terri
Terri

What an awesome interview. Thanks Michael. She is so warm and sincere and so funny. Michelle is my fave actor on Y&R and Phyllis is my all time fave character ever.. she has it all. I loved Phick in the beginning but hated how MAB destroyed the, then I totally fell for Phonan but now JB is gone and I am sad.,.. not feeling phick again.. Nick still has way too much making up to do.

Racheebee
Racheebee

There was zero evidence to back up the claim that Phyllis or Ronan were falling in love with each other. It was nothing more than sleazy random forced trashy bootycalls cause she was pissed at Nick and he got the brushoff from Chloe. The only falling they did was on the top of a desk, floor, or a bed. There was a no chance of this brief fling ending up being something real for many reasons but most of all Phyllis will never stop loving Nick. The entire thing was based on sex with a young horny man who needed a distraction from the murder case and a older angry woman who only went to him cause of something Nick did with Avery that ticked her off.

C hris
C hris

I totally agree with most of this statement,Racheebee, I saw absolutely no way that they would have stayed together, Phyliss is a user, she even said so to Nick ,she called Ronan a diversion, is that what she calls falling for him , Putting Ronan with her was a major major mistake, Love Jeff though ,hope he does come back ,but not to be with Phyliss . She is a great actress though. If JB does come back don’t put him with her. More back story needs to be told with him,and a connection with Nina,even he wanted that.

serena
serena

Great interviews Michael. i love Michelle Stafford she is my favorite actress on daytime tv. Phick is my favorite couple on daytime tv , i hope they do reunite this time ,they light up my screen everytime they are on

Lorraine
Lorraine

What a great interview. I just love Michelle. She is always interesting and fun. And I just adore Phick. Looking forward to their reunion. But I love any story Michelle is in. She is so talented. Y&R would never be the same without her.

kay killgore
kay killgore

I have just watched the episodes and I hate MAB no way would the Phyllis we know have issues over a Fathers ponzzi scheme when she was just a kid! And now we are gearing up for killing Daisy who cares Blah,Blah,Blah. Why do these women need men to make their life she MAB has ruined the character of Sharon and now Phyllis. And fellow readers I am discussing the characters not attacking the actors. You got that!!!

gloria
gloria

Has anyone else noticed that Phyllis repeats her lines at least twice & sometimes 3 or 4 times & a lot of times repeats back the lines of the actor she is speaking to? This drives me nuts. Yesterday during a scene with Daniel he said “I am an adult”-she said “if you are such an adult, an adult, such an adult” “if you are such an adult” She’ll say, “wait” 4 or 5 times & for example Nick could say “I just saw Sharon” she’ll say “you just saw Sharon, Sharon, you just saw Sharon, I can’t believe you just saw Sharon” & on & on. To Daisy-“do you know how to be a mother, do you know how to be a mother” like she is just stuck or something. I do not like this at all & wonder if they write her that way or is this just something she does thinking WHAT? Very annoying.

1MALLOYFAN
1MALLOYFAN

love Michelle Stafford! She is sooo awesome in this role, I don’t care if she is being sneaky or up front (as Phyliss) she is one character that I will root for no matter what. Loved her with JB but since he left, I think Phyliss should get a new guy with not ties to anyone in GC! Great interview Mr. Fairman!

Lisa
Lisa

great interview but WTF with this ‘banging’ business ? Hey Michelle Stafford..people can watch porn if they want to watch actors banging each others on-screen..what about great acting and deep connection about emotional issues between the characters ? geeezzz i mean i am not prude but come on banging is not acting otherwise porn stars would have oscars right now..lol no wonder soaps are mocked for their so called soft porn scenes..reality check it is not interesting guys and can be gross when forced with a no real chemistry ‘we try too hard to be sexy together’ kind of way and it happens often on daytime soaps..
Michelle, talk to your writers to write interesting character-driven scenes for you not some silly nasty ‘banging’ scenes..lol

2Much
2Much

I wish the writers would just leave Phick dead and buried once and for all. They were not a believeable couple “in love” from the start and I still don’t see it. I think Nick just looks like a tool when he’s in scenes with Phyllis. I think the writers just need to let Phyllis and Nick move on and just co-parent Summer. That’s all. Sorry, but I just don’t like anything about Phyllis and her self-serving, self-absorbed, self-righteous attitutde. The character is eating the show and she’s making it unwatcheable for me. JMO.

Cherokeegirl226 (Steph)
Cherokeegirl226 (Steph)

This is a GREAT interview. I’m glad I stumbled upon it. I follow Michelle and Michael on twitter. 🙂

Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Crown Media

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

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

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

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

Photo: Crown Media

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

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

How was Lisa Vanderpump? 

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

Photo: Crown Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Crown Media

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

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

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

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

Photo: Crown Media

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

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

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

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

Photo: Crown Media

Are there any other fun moments that you can tease?

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

How did you find these dogs to compete? 

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

Photo: Crown Media

The dog handlers are the owners of these pets?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI Studios

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

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

Photo:” JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: JPI Studios

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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Days Of Our Lives

Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey Interview – Day of Days 2018

Days of our Lives stars Freddie Smith (Sonny) and Chandler Massey (Will) chat with Michael Fairman at NBC’s Day of Days 2018 celebrating the 53rd anniversary of the long-running daytime drama series.

During the interview, the duo tease what’s to come for #WilSon with Paul’s (Christopher) departure from the canvas, Will getting his memory back, and the trouble that will soon arise when a certain someone is “back from the dead”.

Freddie and Chandler also talk about being a soap power couple on-screen, and reveal some of their favorite scenes, and chat up the new DOOL app and their fun content within it.

Watch below our latest chat with Freddie and Chandler.  Make sure to check out all the Day of Days 2018 interviews with the cast of DAYS on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube,  Make sure to “subscribe” to view all the features and videos/

Now, let us know what you thought of the conversation with Freddie and Chandler below, and what was your favorite part of it, via the comment section below.

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

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Airdate:12-24-2018

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