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The Peter Bergman and Jason Thompson Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto/CourtesyCBS

On The Young and the Restless, Billy (Jason Thompson) and Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman), give new meaning to the phrase, “Oh, brother!” for there is a major scandalous affair that is sure to rock this loving and sometime contentious brotherhood.  At the epicenter of it all is Jack’s wife Phyllis (Gina Tognoni), who finds herself drawn into a passionate and deep connection with Billy.  Only, Billy and Phyllis are betraying Jack in the most personal and explosive way.  What will happen to these three central characters when the truth finally comes to light?  On Tuesday’s episode of the CBS daytime drama, viewers witnessed Billy’s mom, Jill (Jess Walton) stumble upon a romp between her son and Phyllis.  You can add Jill to the mix now, and conjure up just how she might leverage her knowledge in her attempt to get Billy away from the woman he protests to love.

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with two of daytime’s finest actors; Peter Bergman and Jason Thompson in their first joint interview together as the Abbott boys of Genoa City.  After his successful run on General Hospital, Thompson has come to the number one soap opera making the pivotal role of Billy Abbott his own.  As for Bergman, this icon is still a class act personified, and able to move audiences no matter what storyline comes his way.  Together their work ethic and on-screen scenes along with the sensational Gina Tognoni continue to deliver to Y&R fans plenty of emotional, suspenseful, and heartfelt drama.

So, what does Peter Bergman think of Jack’s current predicament?  Is Billy truly, deeply, madly in love with Phyllis?  What about his ex-wife Victoria (Amelia Heinle)?  And let’s not forget that Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson) is back in town and what that could mean for Billy!  As for Jack, can Phyllis ever love him in the same way after she feels destroyed and victimized by his doppelganger Marco and Victor Newman (Eric Braeden)?  Read on and you will find out the thoughts of two pros at the top of their game that understand their craft, and know the importance and meaning of “teamwork” in a one of a kind genre.

MICHAEL:

Peter, when you found out Jason was going to be the new Billy, what was your immediate reaction?

PETER:

Courtesy/CBS

My immediate reaction was … fantastic!  I have been aware of Jason’s work for years now.  You know, I’m a student of daytime, and so I know what people are doing on other shows.  I have long admired his work.  I was very happy about the news.

MICHAEL:

Jason, you were nominated against Peter at the Daytime Emmys a few times. Obviously, you were aware of who he was, and what he means to the legacy of Y&R, and how big of deal it was to come here to play his brother.  What were your initial thoughts?

JASON:

I was nominated along with Peter Bergman, I prefer to say (Laughs).  I was really excited and nervous, because I know what this role means to this show.  Peter and I have had a few moments over the years where we briefly talked about that it would be great to get to work together some day.  So, I was very, very excited to work with Peter, because the amount of work this man has accomplished over the years is extraordinary.  I was not at all surprised by, not only the level of integrity, but his talent since I got into the ring with him.  It’s been a blast ever since.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Peter, you have seen some great actors play the role of Billy Abbott.  In your opinion, what does Jason bring to the character that is different, and sets him apart?

PETER:

Jason brings a dark brooding color to it.  I think what Jason also brings is a new kind of intelligence to Billy.  He is too smart for his own good, this Billy, and Jason brings that. That is a cool color to have.

MICHAEL:

Jason, you obviously are aware and knew the other actors that have played Billy.  Going in to it, how have you tried to interpret it to perhaps make it different, and illustrate that the role belongs to you now?

JASON:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

I haven’t tried to make it any different, or interpret it a certain way, other than this is my interpretation of the character.  Unlike Peter, I don’t watch that much daytime.  I just try to come in here, and do my job.  On discussing the character over the last several months, I totally understand why Billy does what he does, because I learned a lot from Peter, because of him being a student of daytime.  So saying that, I wasn’t really sure what other people had done.  I did my research.  I talked to the writers for weeks.  I had notes, and notes, and notes.  I had emails from head writers and other people, and from talking with Peter, Amelia Heinle (Victoria) and Gina Tognoni (Phyllis).  Everybody had their own input to what Billy’s relationship would be, or is, to their character.  I kind of looked at where this character was when I took over, and took stock of what happened in the past, and somewhat of where he could be going in the next couple of months.  Further than that, I had no idea.  I just do what I do, and make it personal for myself, and for what I think this character would be going through.

PETER:

I am a replacement, Jason is a replacement, Gina is a replacement, and Jess Walton (Jill) is replacement.  I would work with these people any day of the week, and if there is a champion for replacements, his name is Peter Bergman.  I believe in that.  What Jason very humbly didn’t mention is: ‘that after you do all your studying, and find out where everybody has been – then you throw it out.’  Then you decide what story you want to tell.  It’s only actor’s of his stature that can do that.  They can say, “That Billy was this and that.  Now I’m here, and we’re going to go with a slightly different Billy.”  It’s been lovely to watch.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Jason, I have to echo Peter here.  It has been lovely to watch your work as Billy, and to watch you take the character on this path.  He is now your Billy.   Big kudos to you for that.

JASON:

I appreciate that.  I am sure everyone has their opinion which Billy they prefer along the way, but it doesn’t necessarily matter, because there is a bigger picture here, and that is the overall show.   I am just a small little spoke in the wheel.  My job is to come in here, and put my head down and tell the story, and have the show and the story evolve.  That’s the fun part.  If a new person coming in brings a different energy to the character that does change the story a little bit.  For me, it’s been really fun to come in, and mix it up with everybody and watch it happen, let alone in front of my own eyes, but for the audience.  I hope it’s enjoyable for them.

MICHAEL:

At what point did the two of you know that Billy would be having an affair with Phyllis?  Clearly, the audience could see it was heading in that direction for months.

PETER:

It wasn’t for a couple months after Jason joined the show.  Certainly there were some signs there.  I thought, “What a great idea!”  I think for Gina, I was so accepting of it.  She was a bit concerned. (Laughs)  That’s because it’s great story for all three of us!  Story is everything.  Gina just thought, “Uh, could you fight it a little bit?” (Laughs)  My investment thus far is that this will throw my relationship with Billy, and my relationship with Phyllis into a whole new thing, and that’s exciting as an actor.   You know, I have been around a long time.  I love it when I get to do something completely new.  Something that’s uncharted waters: Your own brother!  That’s wild stuff!

Courtesy/CBS

JASON:

Obviously, we could feel it happening in a way, but it wasn’t anything that was brought up to me when talking to the writers that this was the plan.

MICHAEL:

Jason, you have to play these hot passionate love scenes; and Billy is having a full on affair with his brother’s wife.  He says he loves Phyllis, but does he truly?

JASON:

Yes!   Flat out.  Billy is deep.  When it’s real for him, it’s deep.  But it’s hard for him to trust that depth because he’s been hurt; which gives the relationship with his mother so much energy.  The point is … Billy loves hard.  What I have learned, and enjoyed so much about this storyline is along the lines of what Peter said: ‘The personal relationships that are going to crumble, or whatever is going to happen, when the truth comes out.’  I have developed a fun relationship now with Ashley, played by Eileen Davidson.  There is Billy’s ex-wife Victoria, and the kids, his brother Jack, obviously, and Phyllis.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

But Billy is pushing this with Phyllis A LOT.  He keeps saying, “I know you love me! I know it!” (Laughs)

JASON:

Oh, yeah! (Laughs)  He is.  I think Billy is a guy who wants to win.  At the same time, I think he has a big heart inside of him, and that had been the interesting part for me, which is to try and expose that in a way.  Billy doesn’t obviously always make the right decisions when he leads from his heart, or from his groin (laughs), or wherever he is leaning from.  He goes for it.  I think that’s interesting as an actor to go there, and not know where the pieces are going to fall all of the time.  Then come up for air and be like, “Holy cow! What just happened?”

MICHAEL:

Does Jack have blinders on and not seeing the signs here?  There were a few clues, and a few times that he sort of dismissed when Phyllis was able to talk herself around his questioning.

PETER:

Courtesy/CBS

Blinders, no.  Nothing had been done right in front of him.  I am a very careful actor.  So if there are any glances going on in a room then I don’t see them.  Jack doesn’t see them, not because he has blinders on, but because he has a busy life, and he absolutely trusts his wife, and he loves and trusts his brother.  He has no reason not to.  They’re the two closest people to him, and you can add Ashley in there, too.  They are part of his inner circle, so there is no reason to mistrust them.  One of the things Jason elaborated on is these are two people that the world wanted to get on with it.  Yeah, you lost your daughter, get on with it.  We all feel bad for you; now let’s get back to life.  Phyllis had this God-awful experience with Marco, which went darker than dark.  She comes out of that, and finds out the entire town knows about it.  For the first time in her life she is a victim.  Phyllis?   Now she hates that.  Billy has been beaten up by life, and Phyllis has been beaten up by life.  When she is in Billy’s arms she doesn’t feel like a victim.  It’s really that simple, and for Billy she is the answer to everybody telling him, “You’re with Victoria.  Get over the loss; get on with your life.”  Phyllis doesn’t expect that of him at all, and so there has to be a giant comfort there.

MICHAEL:

It was interesting that viewers recently saw Billy in scenes with Victoria and their kids when they came to help paint his house.  There is a connection between the two of them still that is very apparent.  Does Billy still feel drawn to Victoria?

JASON:

Courtesy/CBS

It’s obviously there and they have history together and children.  But at the same time that was a moment, where there is a part of Billy that is really happy about spending this time with Phyllis.  She makes him feel really good.  There’s a lot that goes into that.  There’s a lot of deceit.  There’s a lot of lying, and a lot of planning that doesn’t necessarily feel good, but in those moments when they find themselves there, Billy cannot deny that he loves Phyllis.  It is the most freeing that he feels.  So, when he sees Victoria there is a certain amount of guilt there, but he is willing to risk all of that to continue to have that feeling that he has with Phyllis.  I think Billy and Victoria is a couple within the soap world that you never really say “no” to.   They will always be “Billy and Victoria” in a way, just like it will always be “Jack and Phyllis”.  But as for what is going to happen, and where it’s going to go, who knows?  That’s the exciting thing for me too, and for us. We don’t know where we are going with it, or how it’s going to explode, or fall apart, or how it’s going to be put back together again.

PETER:

Here’s the cool thing: you have three seasoned actors so we know the points we need to hit.  It is such fun playing scenes with Billy, where Jack tells him how grateful he is that he’s his brother, and that he has his back, and that he supports him, and he supports Phyllis, and that he is such a good friend to her.  Those scenes are a joy to play, because they set the stage.  I have such fun in scenes with Phyllis (Gina) where I say, “Keep an eye on my brother.  I worry about him all the time.  He doesn’t seem himself.   He seems weird with me.  There are lot of things that just seem off right now, so can you just keep an eye on him?”. “Make that work” is my credo at the top of any of those scenes, but that’s a fun challenge.

JASON:

Courtesy/CBS

Yes, and it’s not only the scenes, but I am kind of blown away by this relationship that we have been able to build, too.  It’s so fun.  I didn’t know that much about Peter and Gina.  But coming into it, they love the craft, and they love what they do.  So for me, and you have known me long enough that I enjoy getting in there and talking about the scenes.  I mean, I will talk about this stuff for hours for a two-page scene! (Laughs)  Peter and Gina are the same way.  We will talk about it, and intellectualize it, and get personal with it, so that when you go to do the work you just let it all go.  You just let the relationship tell the story, and you open your mouth and let the words come out.  You don’t have to do anything else.  That is such a huge, huge relief in a way.  That you can trust the people you are working with, and it’s a giant comfort.  You come back from doing a scene, and I will get a text message from Peter going, “I was just thinking about what we did today, and I had so much fun.  I’m having a blast.”  With Gina, the three of us will text back and forth!  We will be like, “Man, that stuff was so fun today.  Can’t wait to see what happens.”  I get home and I’m telling my wife the same thing, “What a great time it is right now at work.”

MICHAEL:

Peter, are you telling your wife Mariellen the same thing? 

PETER:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Yes!  Same thing.  She has seen me through happy times, and not so happy times, and this is a really happy time, Michael.

MICHAEL:

Have you guys thought of what that scene would be like when the reveal happens?

PETER:

I am in the process of opening every script that comes to my room as soon as I get it!  I thought the reveal of the affair was going to happen in a script that was in my room the other day … and it did not.

MICHAEL:

Does Billy want the truth of his affair, and love for Phyllis to come out?  He has intimated that a few times.  We saw today that Jill now knows the secret, and has the ammo to blow the whole thing wide open!

JASON:

Courtesy/CBS

There have been moments where Billy has said he wants it to come out.  But we are at the point now where it’s changed – the affair has totally changed for reasons that Billy has been told, but that he doesn’t necessarily believe, and that obviously isn’t true.  We know it’s going to come out at some point.  How it will?  I don’t know.

PETER:

We can’t wait to find out! There are all kinds of possibilities.

JASON:

In regards to what Peter was saying about how Jack is in the dark … it’s not like anyone else is thinking, “What is going on with those two?”  Up to now it’s been just Billy and Phyllis. Victoria doesn’t know, and Cane (Daniel Goddard) doesn’t know, either.

MICHAEL:

What does Jack think about how Phyllis is transfixed on bringing Victor down, and now she can’t stop her thirst for revenge where the moustache is concerned?

PETER:

Courtesy/CBS

In the time I have played Jack, he has changed and grown a lot.  He was quite a cad when I first got here.  He pretty much didn’t give a shit about anyone else.  Being the kind of defacto patriarch of the family is something he didn’t ask for.  His dad died.  So the job fell upon him.  There is a whole new kind of empathy in Jack that wasn’t there before, but more than that, Jack realizes now that hate and revenge ruled his life for decades.  He knows that’s a dead end, and he doesn’t want to see people he loves go down that road.  You never get even.   Does Jack think Victor is a swell guy?   No.  Does Jack want to go on a fishing trip with Victor?   Probably not.   But Jack doesn’t want the center of his life – his wife, his brother, or anyone deciding the center of their life is getting back at Victor. This was such a part of Jack’s life for decades!  He doesn’t want to do it.  At this moment, Jack is not planning on getting back at Victor anymore.  He doesn’t want that, doesn’t need that.  Jack thinks: let Victor bore everyone else to death.

MICHAEL:

Now in the business side of things, there is drama galore being set-up.  We see the Cane/Billy feud being sparked up again, thanks to Jill’s business decisions, and now Jack wants Billy to work with him and Phyllis at Jabot.  What does Billy want in all of this?  What a mess! (Laughs)

JASON:

I think he is going to play along with his mom a little bit, and see what’s going on here.  I don’t think he 100% trusts her.  That is another relationship I am just floored by, and that is mine with Jess Walton.  She has just been so magical.

PETER:

Courtesy/CBS

The Billy and Jill relationship is one that is a very complex.

JASON:

Yes, it is very complex.   I am so fond of Jess.  I have never been able to play a mother and son relationship on the soaps before.  Jess has said a few times about how I kind of look like her, and how she loves looking at me, because it feels different for her, and that is exciting for her, too.  It’s been an exciting relationship to unravel.  Billy does not trust a lot of people right now.  I think the only person he trusts is Jack at this moment, and he knows he is pulling the wool over his brother’s eye, very far down, too.  Billy knows it’s going to be devasting for his brother.  So when Billy talks about going back to work for Brash & Sassy, he is like “Let’s see what happens here.”  In terms of Jack asking Billy to come back to Jabot, it’s way too close for comfort.

PETER:

Yes.  Jack would like Billy to work with Phyllis.  He thinks they are a great team.  They were a great team before, so why shouldn’t they be a great team again?

MICHAEL:

And Billy is protesting this move!

JASON:

Courtesy/CBS

I just think we are playing on different teams right now! (Laughs)  I do think Jack, Phyllis, and Billy would be a great team, but not that team.   It is one of those things. Billy and Phyllis are good together.  Everybody says that, so in Billy’s mind let’s trust it and run off into the sunset!  The business angle is new for me to play, but it is such a great catalyst to spark story where you walk into a boardroom and an office and there is stuff going down all of the time.  At the end of the day, it’s really the emotional world that these characters live in, and the business is another setting for that to play out.  It’s constant!  You can’t walk into a room without something going down with everybody.

MICHAEL:

Elizabeth Hendrickson is back on Y&R as Chloe, and she may have had Billy’s child off-screen, which will provide plenty of story ahead, too!

JASON:

I have known Elizabeth for years.  I didn’t know if Chloe was ever going to come back on to the canvas, but that is exciting.  So now I get to explore: “What do we mean to each other?  What is going on here?”  Elizabeth is a lovely person, and we have had a few scenes together thus far, and they were great.  I mean, I felt good about them. (Laughs) We will see how they turned out on-air!

MICHAEL:

What can you guys say about working with Gina Tognoni?

PETER:

Courtesy/CBS

Here is my favorite thing about Gina:  She comes to work very prepared.  She knows her lines, and she is ready to go, but she hasn’t made any firm decisions yet on where she is going with them.  So we run the lines together, and then we do a run-through together.  She’s free to say something like, “If you play it that way, I can’t do this.”  I can do the same thing with her, but I will be in a run-through with her thinking going, “Oh!  So she’s not going to play that.”  We get to taping as they countdown, “Five-four-three-two …” and I don’t know what is going to come out.  It’s fantastic!  She is grounded, and she can’t fake it.  Gina won’t push.  What comes out is going to be honest, true, and I am challenged by that, because I have to watch her and listen, because I have not seen this today.  Now, not all of it is a surprise, because we rehearse, but she adds something while we are taping that always gets me more alert, and more in the scene, and more alive.

JASON:

You can’t say it any better than how Peter did.  Gina is just very professional, and knows the genre, and knows and trusts herself.   She knows when push comes to shove it’s going to be there and work.  To be in that situation, to not know what is going to happen, is actually the most exciting thing as an actor, because it not only makes you work harder and be prepared for it, so again you can just let go of everything, and just say the words and let the emotional life to the work.  When you have a partner that works similarly in the same way, you can trust it.  Trust does not mean complacent.  It means let’s see where this goes.  Afterwards it’s like: “Whoa!  That was different!  I didn’t expect that to happen!”   I don’t know how many times we have said that.  It’s then like, “Great! Moving on!”   When you get one take in a bunch of scenes, what you hope for is a bunch of moments that carry you through.  Being new here, there are a lot of people on that set you can trust and do that with, and that is very comforting to know.

MICHAEL:

Photo: DanielGoddardTwitter

Mal Young is the new executive producer of The Young and the Restless, what do you think he brings to the table?

PETER:

So often the producer job in the past has been about not upsetting the apple cart.  This has been a successful franchise for a very long time; let’s not try to do anything new.  Let’s just try to keep this baby, and keep the people who are watching continuing to tune-in.  That is not Mal’s thing.  Mal is looking to reinvent, revigorate, and to re-energize a medium he respects a lot, but he wants to try new things.  He wants to see if there’s another way we can push the envelope a little bit, and try something different.  He has a different future in mind than keeping just what we have.

MICHAEL:

Jason, obviously it is widely-known that one of the reasons you came to the show is your relationship with former EP Jill Farren Phelps.  How is it for you now working under Mal?

JASON:

Courtesy/CBS

Yes.  Jill was the executive producer when I got here, and that was a pretty big reason why I came here.  But at the same time, we are all grown-ups.  We know this is a part of the business.  At the same time, you just don’t know always know how solid you are.  There was a moment where I went home and talked to my wife and said, “Jill got let-go today.  I don’t know what that means for me, exactly.”  However, you just go do the work.  Mal and I started here rather closely at the same time.  I started in December of last year, and Mal started in January of this time.  We were able to build a little bit of a relationship from the start.  He was very supportive of us from the get-go.  He would come down from the booth, and he would say, “I love what you guys are doing.”  Mal was able to slowly integrate himself into our set life.  I think it goes without saying that he is very enthusiastic, and he sees a ton of potential.  I have confidence in Mal. Slowly, but surely there are some differences happening within the show.   We are taking a bit more time for our scenes, and there is some interesting stuff coming up we haven’t done before.

MICHAEL:

Peter, one of the classic quotes I recall you giving to me, and other reporters and journalists, is that you never want to presume that you have your job and your role even after all of these years on Y&R.   Does that still hold true?

PETER:

Courtesy/CBS

I never assume it’s all going to work out.   I know how quickly it can fall apart.  I know how quickly it all just doesn’t add up.  My mettle is not what it was last week.  So, I am constantly having to prove myself.

JASON:

That doesn’t go away, but that is also the thing that keeps you young, enthusiastic, excited and wanting to work hard.  It spreads that kind of energy.

PETER:

The last part of this is; if people like Jason and Gina keep going to the set and you are watching the monitor in your dressing room, and these people in one take are doing such amazing things, it gets everybody wanting to work like that.  And if everybody here works like that, wow!  We have a good thing.

JASON:

Courtesy/CBS

I could not be happier here at Y&R, across the board, from top to bottom.

PETER:

This is a guy who walked away from a really good thing.  So, I love hearing that!

So, what did you think of what Peter and Jason shared in this interview? How do you think Billy’s affair with Phyllis will finally come to the attention of Jack? Are you rooting for Jack and Phyllis or Billy and Phyllis to end up together? What have been your favorite scenes thus far between Peter and Jason? Share your thoughts in the comment section. (Note:  To make a comment, go to the top left side of the interview and click on “Leave a Comment”)

 

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Caitlin
Caitlin

This disgusting storyline has completely taken over the show and crashed Y&R’s ratings. I cannot wait until it’s over.

Jeanne
Jeanne

What about the Newman show propping rape?

Harry
Harry

It’s so disgusting, revolting and grotesque that must replay Phyllis and Billy’s love scenes over and over just to make sure I am right to feel that way.
All kidding aside, it’s not just about sex, it’s about how this affair is going to bring up all these feelings between two brothers and between a husband and his wife.
It’s going afford us viewers some good old fashioned soapy fun.

Meaghan
Meaghan

I never post but I have to say that Billy and Phyllis have the best chemistry I have seen in any soap pairing in years. This is the only storyline that I am currently enjoying. I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

Soaphound
Soaphound

I agree, Caitlin. Some plots are just soapy fun and we accept the terrible behavior. But, for me, when characters cross a line and deliberately hurt someone who has done nothing but love and support them, I tune out and grow to hate their conduct so much that I no longer care about them AT ALL. That’s where I’m at with Billy. I realize that he’s being written “darker” because Jason Thompson doesn’t have Billy Miller’s range or even Burgess Jenkins’ “aw-shucks” frat boy charm. But why does dark have to be mean and spiteful? To me, that’s lazy writing. The only bright spot will be watching the sublime Peter Bergman square off with powerhouse Gina Tognoni. Guess I’ll have to be happy with that.

Trudy
Trudy

I think that Jason Thompson is great as Billy and has been since day 1. Billy M’s range as an actor is mostly about charm and rom com, and he’s good at it, but not so much at drama. He’s really struggling on GH as Jason Morgan. JT can do everything that Billy M can do and drama, too. I’m loving JT as Billy A. Imo, JT owns the role now.

meg
meg

great interview Michael , I really hope MAL GIVES THEM BOTH GREAT S/LS

meg
meg

LUV WHAT PETER SAID ABOUT JACK WANTING TO LET VICTOR BORE OTHERS TO DEATH .LOL.

Harry
Harry

HA!!! Hilarious.

su0000
su0000

WHOOPIE!!
I am going to love it !
Hopefully he’ll bring us into the 21st century era of modern media!

Something new and exciting is always a good thing..
I hope Mal will send my screen into the WOW mode..

GO MAL !!! ….. Shake it up! Please, rock me baby !

elm1951
elm1951

fabulous interview michael………peter, gina & jason are all phenomenal actors!!

padange
padange

First of all, this triangle/affair storyline is one of the best (if not the very best) soap storylines in a very very long time (and I mean not only Y&R).
It’s pretty remarkable that even these days when everything on soaps happens in lightning speed, the show has managed to write a story with slow and suggestive buildup. When you now re-watch the scenes from January (or even last year) to July you can clearly see how carefully it was written and executed on-screen. It has so much depth to it and so many beats. The characters aren’t black or white. you van easily understand what everyone in this story is coming from and why they are acting like they are acting. I just hope they don’t destroy what they’ve so carefully build.
I’m a Phyllis/Billy (Philly) fan, and I became one because of the story, incredible chemistry and heartfelt performances. They’re such a joy to watch.

padange
padange

Can, not van, and built, not build.
I wish we had an edit feature here.

Jeanne
Jeanne

Team Philly!

I love Jason’s words about them.

Faithy
Faithy

The love triangle is over and done with. They have a tiny small fan base and no one is crawling over pews to see this foolishness.

Jeanne
Jeanne

A tiny small fan base? Just check Twitter.

Faithy
Faithy

All 10 people on Twitter only proves my point.

Jeanne
Jeanne

LMAO. You are delusional. Philly have a strong fan base on Twitter. Face it.

Faithy
Faithy

I’m delusional because I can use basic math to count… I was thank you for the compliment of being delusional.

padange
padange

Without representative research nobody can know how big/small the fan base (or any fan base, for that matter) is. All we can do, is express our opinion, so the use of words like “all”, “no one” is absolutely meaningless.

Faithy
Faithy

And as I said before, all 10 fans on Twitter.

padange
padange

I get that. You know 10 Philly fans on Twitter. Good for you, I guess. I know 2 who are strongly opposed. Does it say anything about the fan bases? No, it doesn’t.

Faithy
Faithy

So I take it and so you are one of those 10 fans… which is why you continue to reply covered something that is meaningless aa wasted oxygen.

Harry
Harry

Thank you, Mr Fairman, for asking the good and pointed questions which gets to the heart of the brothers’ story.
Peter Bergman is such a class act. For as long as I remember he’s been singing the praises of his co worker without showing even a glimmer of arrogance. He’s very generous in that way. I appreciated how he said Jason is bringing darker nuances to the characterization of Billy. He’s exactly right.
That was a fun and interesting interview.

omari
omari

jill has to tell jack about the affair if phyllis or billy doesn’t

Timmm
Timmm

Michael always does a fine job. You can tell by his questions he loves his job! I just wish he would have asked a little more about Mal’s vision with the show from the two actors. I love Peter Bergman. He IS Jack Abbott! Jason, well he was so good on GH, I’m not buying Billy Abbott yet! But with all the turmoil with trying to find the right Billy, I’m willing to wait it out a bit. He and Jess Walton do seem to click. Maybe this is a positive start?

Soaphound
Soaphound

I may not be happy about the story, but am grateful for this in-depth interview. I love the dedication of daytime actors and have said for decades that their concentration and professionalism is the best in the business. I’d put some of the work I’ve seen over the years from Jeanne Cooper, Billy Miller, Michelle Stafford, Peter Bergman, Sharon Case, Adrienne Frantz, and now Gina Tognoni as equal or superior to nighttime or feature film acting. It’s always fun to hear these actors’ thoughts on their craft and characters. THANKS!

Trudy
Trudy

Nice interview, Michael. Thanks. Seems like they are loving working together and I think that it shows on the screen.

Zandra
Zandra

I despise the Billy and Phylllis affair storyline. Billy should love his brother enough to tell him the truth. Everyday he is lying to his big brother. Phyllis is worried about what she might lose by leaving Jack. It is time she left Jack. She has abused his love for her and for Billy. Her affair with Billy is unforgivable. All three are on my favorite actor list.–GH, OLTL. I am just too tired of watching them in this story. And I must say Jack seems pathetically clueless. End this storyline now.

dmr
dmr

I don’t even watch the show; but, I do DVR it when I know Phyllis and Billy are on that day. I love this storyline. It’s what I remember daytime television to be-a tad scandalous, but believable. It reminds me of the storyline on All My Children, when Erica was having an affair with Jack, her husband Travis’ brother. The actors are doing a great job with the storyline. I agree with Peter, that his character is closest with Phyllis, Billy, and Ashley-I like Jack’s relationship with his sister, Ashley (and I love Eileen Davidson)!

Bart
Bart

The Jack Abbott character has become a wuss-puss under Chuck Pratt’s so-called writing – an emotionally castrated eunuch! Perhaps under a new writer, he’ll grow a pair, man up and be the Jack Abbott character the viewers USED to love!!

I don’t think much of Jason Thompson as Billy Abbott – all he does is brood and look down – that’s acting???

Jaime
Jaime

Im not a fan of the changes to billy.
And worse the hypocrisy of the cheater running to Victoria to denounce someone who slept with someone else. Does Billy think he deserves applause or a medal or even consideration?

Interviews

B&B’s Katherine Kelly Lang on That ‘Brill’ Kiss, 33 Years as Brooke, Her Co-Stars & International Success

Just when you think Brooke will finally score a moral victory in her vendetta with Thomas Forrester, (who’s manipulations almost destroyed her marriage to his father, Ridge), then she finds herself once again in hot water, and with a secret that in the wrong hands could cause a seismic shift to several relationships – that would he hers and her sister Katie’s – thanks to that ill-timed smooch with Bill!

But what else is new for Brooke? For 33 years, the character has captivated audiences with bold moves, questionable choices, enduring romances and plenty of gusto, all in the more than capable hands of her portrayer, the one and only Katherine Kelly Lang.

This week marks Katherine’s 33rd-year in the role of Brooke Logan Forrester, who along with John McCook (Eric Forrester), are the two original cast members since the very inception of the CBS daytime drama; which debuted back on March 23, 1987.  Now over three decades later, Lang is an international favorite. First, due to the success and broad appeal of B&B in foreign countries, but second, from her own entrepreneurship and hustle.  Always with multiple projects going on at once, Lang and her beau, Dom Zoida recently opened the American version of the Italian clothing and leather store in Beverly Hills, California, Benheart USA.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Katherine to get the lowdown on: Brooke’s line-up of nemesis’ which seems to be growing! (Yes, you can put Thomas, Quinn and Shauna on that list, for sure.) Plus, what she feels this B&B anniversary is truly about, how she and others in the cast are coping with the ‘stay at home’ orders in California during the coronavirus pandemic, the recent loss of B&B co-creator, Lee Phillip Bell, and those all-time classic Stephanie and Brooke scenes opposite Susan Flannery and more.  Here’s what this BOLD original had to share with all of you.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Brooke’s whole relationship with Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) and the tit-for-tat between them?  Brooke really stood up to him and his manipulations, and held her ground. Meanwhile, he was going to do everything he could do ruin her and cause so much trouble for Brooke’s marriage to Ridge (Thorsten Kaye).

KATHERINE: This is my feeling: she was so adamant and so trying to convince people about Thomas and that he was so out for himself;  and out for Brooke’s daughter, Hope (Annika Noelle), and very manipulative, and nobody would listen really.  Only a few people like Liam (Scott Clifton) did and her daughter finally agreed with her.  Then at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe (Kiara Barnes), it proved that Brooke was right all along.  I still don’t feel like Brooke got her due as far as what everybody was saying.

No, she didn’t!  No one really said to her in a grand way, “Oh, my God, Brooke!  You were right about Thomas all along.”

KATHERINE:  I know!  Ridge did say, “You were right,” and that’s great.  However, more people should have apologized and acknowledged her, and said, “Oh, we understand now where you were coming from,” and, “Hey!  Good intuition!”

Photo: JPI

That was must have been so frustrating to Brooke!  She knew the truth, and everybody was treating her so badly and painting her to be the bitch.

KATHERINE:  Yup!  They dubbed herthat crazy one” and the bitch.

Was all of this enjoyable to play?

KATHERINE:  It was enjoyable that it finally came out that Thomas is the manipulative person that he is, even though he is so good at it that he almost makes you feel sorry for him.  But he’s like a good sociopathThat’s why they’re so good at what they do.  They’re good at bringing real emotion into every situation and yet being very manipulative.  Kudos go to Matthew Atkinson for playing Thomas, really well.  He’s been great, and he brings something really different on to our show.

Photo: JPI

Brooke and Ridge’s relationship has been severely tested; almost tearing them apart over Ridge previously standing up for his son.  Now Brooke’s recent kiss with Bill (Don Diamont) threatens it, as that kiss was caught on tape, and landed in the wrong hands.  Is Brooke in freak-out mode yet?

KATHERINE:  I definitely think she is, and she wanted to take that kiss back from the second that it happened.  She allowed it to happen.  It’s a little bit of old Brooke resurfacing there.  Right away she was like, “What are we doing?   This is ridiculous.  You’re with Katie, and I’m with Ridge, and we’re both happy.”  Brooke has had underlying feelings for Bill, and she probably always will (and he for Brooke), but we know that’s not where we want things to be.  So, in Brooke’s mind, it’s “let’s forget about that and carry on, and don’t tell anybody.”  Of course, it comes out to some people, and it’s so embarrassing for Brooke.  Like, how does she explain herself?  I mean, at that point she can’t explain what happened … or why she did that.  She has to kind of succumb to it.

Right! And of course, Shauna (Denise Richards) and Quinn (Rena Sofer) want to take her down with this ammo.

KATHERINE:  Of course!  That’s what they live for. (Laughs)

Photo” JPI

Recently, Quinn spiked Brooke’s drink with some booze after they had quite the argument. Fans were on the edge of their seats that Brooke might start drinking again.  What did you think of the plot point?

KATHERINE:  I think it could have been interesting.  I have no idea if they will bring it up again.  That happens sometimes.  They’ll put in a little teaser and not run with it.  However, you never know if it’s going to resurface down the line, especially when Brooke is really down in the dumps for some reason.

I could see her being down in the dumps if she finally had no man in her life! (Laughs)

KATHERINE: (Laughs) That’s probably what she needs … not having a man in her life!

How is working with Rena Sofer and Denise Richards; especially when they are antagonists in scenes with Brooke?  Do you ever have a good laugh while trying to tape those scenes, as well?

KATHERINE: I think there’s a good chemistry between the three of us, and we have that rivalry going on.  So, I think it’s been working, and it’s been entertaining and interesting.  They’re fun to bounce off of.  Usually we are pretty serious when we do those scenes, especially if they’re more verbally combative.  So, we’ll just be really serious and stay in it.  Of course, sometimes things happen, and you laugh, but we sometimes don’t have the luxury to take the time to laugh and enjoy the moment, because we have to try to get the scene done in one take and move on.

Photo: JPI

There were a few months there that Brooke was slapping everybody! There were plenty of bitch-slaps that needed to go around. What did you think of those scenes?

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KATHERINE: I loved it, but then I felt like it was also maybe getting out of hand because it’s not really PC.  Nobody is supposed to hit people or slap people in anyway.  So, it worked more years and years ago in our genre, as times have changed in our world and culture.

Viewers saw this week that Donna (Jennifer Gareis) knows Brooke kissed Bill and that they have to make sure Katie (Heather Tom) does not find out, while others are out to expose Brooke!

KATHERINE:  I would imagine that everybody would want to see how Brooke unravels.  So, just keep watching!

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome another go round at a Brooke and Bill romance?

KATHERINE: Not when Bill’s with Katie and with everything that Katie’s gone through.  I couldn’t see that.  I don’t think it would be right.  That would mean that Brooke is completely selfish, you know?  There are so many other men.  Why does she have to go for her sister’s man?

Photo: JPI

In recent months, we have witnessed scenes where Brooke has been more confrontational and fighting back and not putting up with the shenanigans of others!  We have seen this in particular with Thomas, Shauna, and Quinn.  Did it seem like they ramped that up for Brooke?

KATHERINE:  Yes, because at some point it’s frustrating because nobody was listening to her.  It all started with the whole Thomas thing, and once she started fighting back, she wanted to fight back on everything.  She’s been lied to about a lot of things.  It’s not been fair.

Does Brooke still think Hope is too vulnerable to make wise decisions for herself; even after she stood up for herself at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe?

KATHERINE: Now. I think she feels much better, because there are moments where Hope is very vulnerable, but then she kicks herself in the butt, and stands up for herself and everybody else.  So, Brooke knows that Hope’s strong, but she also knows that she can be vulnerable.  At this moment, she is proving that she can handle things.

Photo: JPI

B&B turned 33-years-old this week as the show continues to remain so popular in the United States, and of course, is the most watched soap in the world. What can you say about still being with the series since its inception, and all that has happened to you in your life and career, because of playing Brooke, plus a nod to the fans?

KATHERINE: It’s been an amazing opportunity for me.  It’s been my life basically! 33 years on The Bold and the Beautiful, and the show has always kicked butt.  I mean, the show has been going strong ever since it started, and it still is going strong.  It’s just been an honor to be on the show, and remain on the show for so long as one of the original characters.  My heart really goes out to the fans, because honestly, so many of them tell me they’ve watched from day one.  We have a history with them raising their families.  Younger people come up and say, “I’ve been watching the show ever since I was little with my mom.”  So, there’s a wide range of different people who watch the show, and I appreciate them so much.  We all appreciate them so much because really, without them, there would be no show.  I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all of the fans.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Photo: JPI

Brooke is one of the most notable characters of all-time in soap operas and you are the actress playing her. That has to be a very good-feeling for you.

KATHERINE: I think there have been a lot of notable characters on soap operas, who have even been on the air a lot longer than me.  Look at Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) who just celebrated his 40th, and Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) who also reached a milestone recently.  What I have learned from all of this is; what matters is when you come on a show that your heart is in it 100%, and you come to your job and you try your hardest.  That to me is what matters and makes you an honorable person.  I’m very flattered that I’ve been on The Bold and the Beautiful for as long as I have.

Photo” JPI

When you look back at 33 years of your time on The Bold and the Beautiful, are your scenes with Susan Flannery and those epic moments between Stephanie and Brooke, the ones that still standout to you the most?

KATHERINE: Those scenes with Susan informed and formed the show and the characters for years.  I had a lot of memorable scenes with Susan.  I’m so lucky to have worked so closely with her.  She’s an amazing actress.  I learned so much from her, and just watching her.  I would hang on her every word – how she would talk about the business, how she would talk about acting, directing (because she loved to direct), and producing.  Susan was very knowledgeable, and she was very tough, but very fair, I thought.  I just loved her work ethic.

You and Thorsten Kaye have created your version of Brooke and Ridge. What do you think about working with Thorsten?  Is it fun? Challenging? How would you define it?

KATHERINE:  He’s very fun to work with.  Thorsten is very serious, very prepared all of the time, and he’s watching everything.  He’s got eagle eyes.  He’s just so on top of it and working with people like that makes you raise your bar.  It makes you want to try 110% to be there and put in the work.  Thorsten’s also so funny, and easy to work with, and so charming, and such a dear friend.   I love working with him.  I do think Brooke and Ridge have an interesting relationship even though some people say, “Oh, they should be over,” or whatever they want to say.  I do think they have created a good banter between them, and almost an understanding without having to say anything.  Thorsten’s a delight!

Photo: JPI

What is your takeaway when you travel overseas and internationally to places such as Italy, Dubai, Monaco or Australia where B&B is so widely popular and the reaction you receive from the fans?

KATHERINE:  Just seeing the overseas reactions in different countries and how popular or how loved The Bold and the Beautiful is truly special.  The fans really do love from their hearts.  They feel a part of it, and they are, but just their enthusiasm and their passion and their love, and they give their whole heart to you and to the show.  I just found that really interesting, and like I said earlier, we owe the success of B&B to the fans who love the show so much.

Photo: JPI

You recently were in Greece appearing for a multi-episode arc on the soap 8 Lexeis.  How was that experience?  I know Greek soap star, Andreas Georgiou, also came over to the States and appeared on B&B afterwards, too.

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KATHERINE:  It was an incredible opportunity.  I love working in other countries, and seeing how other people work, and how they make different projects and things.  8 Lexeis is their top TV show on their top network in Greece, so it was really exciting to go there and work on that.  I did 15 episodes in 5 days; something crazy like that.  We worked all morning through late at night every day, but it was fun.  It was amazing to see how creative they are and how they just run with it.  Everything was really chill on the set, but they still moved really fast and got everything done, and they were all so talented and so nice.  Then later, Andreas came over and did some shows here.  He was supposed to come to visit, but then the Coronavirus happened, so he had to postpone his trip, but we’ll see him soon.

Photo: JPI

B&B is on a production break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Have you stayed in touch with your co-stars during this time?

KATHERINE: A lot of us talk on Instagram all of the time, and then a lot of people have been going live on their as well.  So, we jump into each other’s live videos!  Have you seen Katrina Bowden (Flo) and Kelly Kruger (Mackenzie, Y&R) do their little workouts together? You should check those out! Ashley Jones (Bridget) is always on, and Annika Noelle, and then our Supervising Producer, Casey Kasprzyk, started doing Zoom.  He did a Zoom with some of the B&B people.  So, we’ve all been texting and keeping in touch and making sure that everybody is okay.  I know it’s very hard times and it can be scary for all.   Hopefully, if everybody does what they should be doing, it will flatten the curve and the Coronavirus will be a lot easier to deal with.

Photo: JPI

You are one of the busiest people I know! Recently, you went to Australia, you opened your new store Benheart USA in Beverly Hills, and you appear on B&B in a lead role.  Is there ever a moment when you’re like, “I can’t do one more thing?” or do you like the go-go-go of it all of the time?

KATHERINE: I like the go-go-go, but I felt that I was going too fast and too hard, and I’ve recently been thinking of what I can take out of our lives and our schedule, and then in thinking of that, I couldn’t really think of what I can take out.  Then, this all happened with life coming to a screeching halt, which I find very interesting because life is set up to go so fast.  Nobody can really enjoy anything.  We have to get up early, we have to go to work, we have to make money to pay for this, we’ve got to take care of the family, do this, do that, maybe just try to be motivated to be successful, whatever your dreams are, you’re going after them, etc.  It’s such a driven world all around that I think with having to self-quarantine that this is a chance to take a good look at what is going on in your life.  Now, we have a lot of down time.  We have time to think, go inside ourselves.  It gives you time to be kind, slow down, think of others.  What can you do for others?  What can you do for the world?  It’s been frightening for a lot of people; especially the ones who have gotten sick, or the ones who are scared of getting sick because they are immunocompromised.  But, at the same time, we need to try to not let that anxiety get to us and try to appreciate what we have.  Like, “Why is this happening?  What is this moment trying to tell us?”  I’m always trying to find the silver lining; or what is this trying to tell us in life?

Photo” JPI

B&B and Y&R co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away at the end of February, and it was so heartbreaking.  I know you were close with Lee.  What can you share on her passing?

KATHERINE:  It was heartbreaking.  I always think, “Gosh, I wish I saw her one more time before she passed,” but she was around her family, who are so loving, and supportive, and always there for her.  Lee created an amazing life for herself and for her family, and she was a huge part of The Bold and the Beautiful, and of course, I thank her so much because she hired me.  Lee gave me my life, and this time on the show.  She was amazing.  She cared so much about the show and the people on it.  Lee was such a great mom and such a great friend.  It’s been special knowing her and spending all of that time with her that I was able to through the years.  My heart goes out to the Bell family as well.  I know this must be hard for them.

Photo: JPI

Then, it was so sad that Orson Bean died tragically before that.  Have you talked to Alley Mills (Pam)?

KATHERINE: Yes, a bunch of us went over and spent time with Alley and brought her food.  We brought her goodies, and we just hung out.  We just gave her lots of love, spent time, and that was before I had to run off to Australia as well, but she’s really strong.  That was just very tragic.  Two weeks before Orson died, we had seen them both in the play Bad Habits.  It was so, so funny, and they both had all of us who attended laughing so hard, and it was such a pleasure.

Photo: JPI

In closing, what are your hopes for Brooke moving forward into the future?

KATHERINE: I’ve been saying that I hope she’ll spend time by herself and be alone for a while and focus on her family.  I’ve said that for so long, but I don’t know what’s going to work for her! (Laughs)  However, I’m just so curious to see what will happen next for her.

So, what do you think of Brooke’s latest predicament after her kiss with Bill? Do you hope that Ridge and Brooke stay together? What have you thought of the more recent version of a feisty Brooke who fought back when no one believed her about Thomas? And finally, share your congrats to Katherine for 33 years as Brooke and let us know some of your favorite all-time scenes via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Eric Braeden Talks On 40 Years Of Life In Soaps As Victor Newman

Back in February, Eric Braeden added another milestone to his illustrious career – that of portraying the one and only Victor Newman for 40 years on the top-rated daytime drama, The Young and the Restless.  And boy was he celebrated!  First, there was a one-of-a-kind on set celebration at CBS Television City which was quite the star-studded affair.  That was followed by special episodes of Y&R, where Newman Enterprises turned 50 with a gala that also proved emotional with speeches and retrospective clips.

When you talk daytime dramas to anyone, you would be hard-pressed for the general public to not know the name “Victor Newman”- and that is because of the powerhouse performances and nuances that Braeden brings to his soap opera alter-ego.  For it was Y&R co-creator Bill Bell and Braeden who really shaped what viewers have come to know, expect, and love, forty years later.

Those who know Eric understand he can be at times outspoken, has a heart of gold, stands up for what he believes, can bring the drama, the suspense, the tension, the romance and the tears in any given scene when it is called upon, and that throughout the years he has earned the respect from his peers for an impressive job well-done.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric to take a look back at all that had gone down recently in his honor, and to get his thoughts on some major moments in time through over 40 years in Genoa City, and where things are at now.  Check out our special conversation below.

Photo: JPI

When I attended and saw you at your 40th anniversary on set celebration at Y&R last month, I cannot tell you what a special event that was.  I have never seen that for anybody else!  The amount of people who attended, and the love they showed for you, was so special. When you were sitting in that chair on the soundstage and watching and hearing what was being said about you, what was going on in your mind at that point?

ERIC:  Well, first of all, it was the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me in 40 years on that show, and secondly, in moments like that, you try to stay focused on who is giving the speeches, because if I then look around and see all of the people who I have known for so many years, it’s emotional.  There’s a saying in German, “he’s close to the water,” meaning it’s very moving.  I saw my son and my granddaughter there and obviously everyone else, and my old coach and players, and so many others that have been a part of my life.

Photo: JPI

There were some very special guests and speeches.  I loved that Justin Hartley (Ex-Adam, Y&R and now Kevin, This Is Us) came.  I thought that was sweet and cool, and also that ESPN sports personality, Stephen A. Smith was there calling you one of his good friends.  There were so many moments.  You knew who was going to speak, right?

ERIC:  Yes, I did.  We kept it to just family, and in other words, Y&R family, etc.  I want to thank Matt Kane (Publicist, Y&R), who had a lot to do with putting the event together.  I also wanted to thank Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R). The Y&R art department and David Hoffman (Production Designer) also did a fantastic job with those pictures they had created that was part of a set.  Thinking back on it, again, I would without a doubt say, that the celebration was the most moving moment in 40 years in the business and on that show.

Photo: JPI

A few weeks ago, Y&R and B&B co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away.  Obviously the late Bill Bell (co-creator, Y&R) and she were instrumental for you being at Y&R in the first place, and the creation of Victor Newman.  What can you say about Lee? 

ERIC:  We invited Lee to the event, and she apologized and said she was not in a position to attend, and then, shortly thereafter she passed.  In a sense, I’m glad Lee wasn’t there because when I would see her on some occasions, I just am moved to tears.  I would have not been able to really hold it together for long.  Obviously, she was co-responsible for a lot of stuff that happened on Y&R. co-responsible for that show still being number #1, and my heart goes out to her.  I know what I owe them, and she had a lot of influence on the storylines.  Lee was an incredibly smart and bright lady.  Her son, Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) did speak at the 40th event and I appreciated it enormously.

There were a lot of retro clips shown of you show in celebration of your 4oth anniversary from when you started on the show back in 1980 till now.  Did you remember all of those moments?

ERIC:  First of all, they put that together so beautifully.  That was done so extremely well.  When I see it, it comes right back, or in other words it evokes precise memories, but if I weren’t seeing it, it’s all a blur.

Photo: JPI

Y&R brought Meg Bennett (Ex-Julia) and Robert Parucha (Ex-Matt), for the on-screen episodes celebrating Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary.  Was it nice having them back and seeing them, or is it kind of weird, because it can be such a long time in-between since you have all been together?

ERIC:  It is both.  It is very nice to see old colleagues obviously, and very touching, but look, we are in a weird business.  When I saw Meg, you suddenly realize how the show has evolved in many ways.  So, I’m always very grateful to see those who I started out with on the show and of course, doubly grateful to those who are still there.  I think of Melody and Doug Davidson (Paul) for example.  Doug has been there for longer than I have, and what a great job he did emceeing the 40th anniversary event, and as for Melody, that her and my relationship still endues after all of these years is amazing.

Photo: JPI

Let’s talk about those Newman Children.  I thought Joshua Morrow (Nick) gave a hilarious speech and even Mark Grossman (Adam) spoke so sincerely from the heart to you.  You get a sense that the Newmans are a fun group to work with.

ERIC:  I obviously love working with Joshua.  Same for Amelia Heinle (Victoria), I adore her, and Melissa Ordway (Abby).  They all have a great sense of humor, and Mark Grossman, I think is doing a damned good job.  And there is Peter Bergman (Jack).  Peter has been a great nemesis for all of these years.  Of course, Peter was very funny in his speech, and Joshua was very funny, and Ed Scott’s (Producer, B&B) was very good.  Tony Morina also shared a very funny little antidote!

Photo: JPI

What came across loud and clear is what we already knew.  Everyone knows the name “Victor Newman”.  You know when they go, “Victor Newman … Y&R!”  It’s so synonymous, right?  I don’t know what it must be like for you knowing the public has that reaction to you … and you’re that guy.

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ERIC:  I’ll tell you very honestly, I have an ambivalent relationship to that fact.  I deny it on one hand, don’t want to know about it, don’t really want to know about it, and on the other hand, when I hear about it, I say, “Yeah, very happy to hear about it, but is it true?”  I am sort of strange that way.  I have not had a picture of myself or anyone else in my dressing room for these 40 years.  It’s barren, as you know.  I don’t have any pictures hanging up of me; there’s nothing.  Now, I was talking about taking the one picture that David Hoffman had designed beautifully, and I have it on one wall.  I thought, “I’ll be damned,” because the picture includes Melody and some scenes that went on.  I’ve always been funny that way with praise.  Do I like it?  Of course, but …

There’s an uncomfortableness about it, right?

ERIC:  Yes, but I’ve seen too much in this business.  I’ve seen too many extraordinary stars, where you wonder, “Where are they now”?  I take this business with a grain of salt.  I really do.  It’s so easy to succumb to it.   I’ve known many people, including on our show, who used to say, “Well, without me, this thing would go down the drain,” and I said, “Yeah?  No s**t,” and they’re not there anymore.  You have no idea what happens to some actors when they see themselves on the cover of soap magazine.  They go crazy.  I’ve seen it, and the worst thing you can do is to believe in that, and I’ve always been skeptical of that, very skeptical.  Get back to what counts in this business:  do a good job … do the best you can … and where is the money?  I mean really, let’s call a spade a spade, and that’s it.

Photo: JPI

I was just going to say, the one person I so wished was at your 40th celebration was Jeanne Cooper (Ex-Katherine, Y&R).   I wish she could have been there with us, because she would have loved it.  I know she loved you.

ERIC:  She would have spoken, trust me!  She would have said, “Alright, you son of a bitch.  Alright, macho man let’s see what you’ve got!” and then she would grab me by the balls.  The first scene I ever had with her, Jeanne did that.  Absolutely hilarious!  Jeanne and I could not do a scene without laughing.  I’m serious.  We had to pull ourselves together.  She had such a great sense of humor, and we both looked at this, obviously, with an enormous grain of salt, because we’ve been there.  We’d seen it all.

set

Photo: JPI

Through the years, you obviously have been vocal on social media where you will call out things as you see them and as you truly feel, especially through various regime changes, or if there is a noticeable shift away, or focus, from core characters. What are your thoughts on what ultimately makes Y&R, the iconic soap that it is?

ERIC:  Let me put it very simply: the show is based on the comradery and enmity between the Newmans and the Abbotts, and I’ve included on that a go-between, if you will, a Chancellor … Jeanne Cooper.   That was sort of the plan, but the major triangle was sort of the Montagues and the Capulets in Romeo and Juliet.  That is what legendary stories are based on.  It’s family rivalries, and within those rivalries, we tell all kinds of fantastic stories.  It’s father-son, father-daughter, husband-wife, love affairs, disloyalties, ruthless business competition, and it goes on and on.  The scenes with Peter Bergman and me over the years have been legendary, wonderful, and they’re great scenes.  Now, to suddenly bring in whole new characters that no one knows about, which previously happened on our show, you have to ask, “What are you not getting?  You want to reinvent the wheel?”  Go with what is working.  It doesn’t often happen that you have the right cast and the right story.  That is what makes a show successful.  Imagine taking Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) out of Seinfeld.  You couldn’t.   It wouldn’t work.  In other words, when you have the right actors and the right storyline, you have a hit.  We’d been number #1 for over 30 years because of it

Photo: JPI

When you get a script, have there been those moments in the 40 years where you will say. “My character would never do this.  I’m not playing it!?”

ERIC:  Of course.  Not that I’m not playing it, but I will make certain adjustments here and there.  I always have, by the way, from the very beginning.  Bill Bell agreed with most of it.  I know my character, and I have and instinctive feel for what is emotionally touching and what is not.  Look, I have always said that I admire writers.  I don’t envy their job.  I really don’t.  I think it is the hardest job in the business, and writing for soaps is even harder.  So, I have great respect.  So therefore, I don’t even want to know who wrote what.  I don’t ever want to be in the position of insulting a writer because I know how difficult it is.  As in everything in this business, it is a cooperative business.  There are very few writer/directors who have earned the right (I’m talking about Martin Scorsese, I’m talking about Ingmar Bergman, I’m taking about a handful) to write and direct their own stuff.  Even they rely on the cooperation of their lead actors.  That’s what is so wonderful about this business in that it’s this precisely cooperative thing.  However, when there are some people who simply don’t listen to those of us who have been around for a while and we know, we really know, then, they’re being foolish.

Photo: JPI

Y&R taped the Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary gala, which was in essence, your on-screen 40th anniversary episodes.  That was another amazing part of this.  I love that they would go to a clip, and one of the characters would say something in speech, and then, they’d go back to a shot of you reacting.  Were you, you, or Victor at that point, because it seemed so genuine and emotional?

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ERIC:  You know, look, one thing sort of blends into the other.  I loved that show by the way.  It was brilliantly done, and they could have easily screwed that up, but they didn’t.  I thought Josh Griffith (head writer, and Co-EP, Y&R) did a hell of a job, and Tony Morina did a wonderful job, they really did.  So, I really can’t say enough about that.

Photo: CBS

When you look back on the enormity of scenes you have performed as Victor Newman; the ones that and you and I always come back to are the scenes between you and Dorothy McGuire as Victor’s mother; and the scenes with you and George Kennedy as Victor’s father.  Do you still consider those your all-time favorites?

ERIC:  I always think about them.  They are my top favorites, plus one other.   No question about it; because the scene with Dorothy McGuire laid the groundwork of what Victor Newman is all about.  That summarized all of his subsequent moments of anger, and upset, and mistrust, and etc.  It was the seminal scene for Victor Newman … period.  One other scene that one of my favorites was the one with Melody, on Christmas Eve where Nikki keeps on bugging Victor to tell her about his past, and he finally does.  It was about that orphanage experience, etc.  Actually, those two scenes early on were responsible for my really wanting to stay and realizing that now I had a chance to play some real emotions, some real feelings, some real conflict.   I remember after Victor told Nikki that story, a moment when I went to my dressing room, I called home, and I said, “Now, I’m going to stay.”  No two ways about that.  I called my wife, and I said, “I’m staying,” because I wasn’t sure if I was going to.  It happened because I had talked to Bill Bell and I said, “Bill, I’m so tired of playing bad guys.  I’ve done it for too many years.  I’m empty.  I’m burnt out.  It’s too dehumanizing.  Let’s imbue this character with a background,” and he did, brilliantly, and that’s the reason I stayed, and that’s the reason I’m here 40 years later, truly.

So, when you were feeding rats to Nick Benedict as Michael Scott, were you ready to leave? (Laughs)

ERIC:  Well, that was a little different story, but I looked at that, and I said, “Are you kidding me?” (Laughs)  Back then, I knew little about what works on soaps … and people still talk about it!  They loved it.

Photo: JPI

The scenes opposite George Kennedy were so emotional … and heavy-duty, too.  It was so sad watching Victor’s father reject him.

ERIC:  It was sad.  It was really, really sad, and George played it wonderfully.  I cannot say enough about that because here is an actor who comes from the outside of our genre.  George lived in Boise. Idaho and he traveled all the way by car to LA with his grandson to do the scenes He wouldn’t take a plane.  George was so damn prepared that we did those scenes in one take!  It’s stunning!  I can’t talk enough about him.  I just so admired and respected him.  George passed away about a year ago, but that’s why I had him in my film, The Man Who Came Back.

Photo: JPI

As a leading man, Victor has had many women in and out of his romantic life for years and of course, his constant, Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott).   You’ve been fortunate to work with so many wonderful actresses such as Eileen Davidson as Ashley.  Which standout to you? 

ERIC:  I have to say obviously Melody, but I have to also say the scenes with Eileen – they meant a lot to me.  I regret that she and I did not have more storylines together.

Photo: CBS

So, the coronavirus is shutting down the world, life in America, and has shut down production on the soaps.  How is everybody dealing with it at the show, and how do you feel it’s being handled?

ERIC:  Well, originally I wanted to continue working, but I said only if everyone was fully supplied with the proper wipes and antiseptics all of the time.  In other words, from the makeup department, from the props department, to someone wiping down all of the handles and all of that, but I completely understand now from a company point of view, they had to shut down because what if you work and someone gets sick because of it… and it goes on and on.  It’s a terrible thing, but I was willing to continue working.  Yes, perhaps stupidly so.  It’s going to be tough when we come back because a lot of work has to be made up, but I understand why we stopped.

What would you say to the fans who have stayed so invested in Victor Newman, and you, even 40 years after your Y&R debut? 

ERIC:  I’ve said it before, and I will happily say it again:  I am deeply grateful to the fans everywhere.  Without them, you and I would not be talking.  That’s really the long and the short of it.  The fans have really everything to do with it.  I’m glad that I am on social media because I am engaged with quite a few people very gladly, and I hear some interesting stories, and some very touching stories.  Y&R has taught me to really not look at that as a sort of nebulous audience.  I put faces behind it because I’ve seen them.  I’ve seen them in the last 30-odd years in public appearances.  I don’t forget them.  I don’t forget what it means to me.  It’s deeply touching.  I’m not at all anesthetized to it, no.  It touches me deeply, and whenever I do a PA, and receive the people’s reactions, I say, “Whoa,” and now I know why I’m in the business.

Courtesy/CBS

In closing, fans have been watching what looks to be another showdown brewing between Victor vs. Adam for control of Newman Enterprises.  Do you think still after all these years; Victor has it in him to out maneuver his black sheep son, as he has done in the past?

ERIC:  Hell, yes.  What do you think?  Bring him on, man.  Bring him on.  Victor’s still full of piss and vinegar.  Okay?  What people don’t know is that I’m a feisty son of a bitch.  I don’t give up.  I fight to the last.  I mean it.

So, what has been your favorite all-time Y&R scenes featuring Eric Braeden? What do you hope happens next for Victor and the Newman clan? What do you think about the sentiments shared throughout our conversation on Eric’s 40th anniversary celebration? Comment below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Johnny Wactor Talks ‘Being Brando Corbin’

This week on General Hospital, viewers saw that Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) has set Port Charles newcomer Brando Corbin (Johnny Wactor) up with a mechanics garage for a place of business, that has left Brando concerned, but also thankful.

Brando came onto the scene when he saved Carly (Laura Wright) from gunfire. The once believed-to-be-dead son of Gladys Corbin (Bonnie Burroughs), has a checkered past, but has been trying to remain on the straight and narrow.  Sonny had previously put into motion protection for teenaged Dev (Ashton Arbab), that he will continue to be passed off as the biological son of Brando to keep him safe.  That, along with a back-story that includes: the Iraqi War, prison time, drug use, PTSD, familial issues, mob wars, and more, has loaded the deck for actor Johnny Wactor to show his acting chops and more within the daytime drama arena.

Since making his debut in the recurring role of Brando back in January of this year, in a short amount of time, Wactor has already displayed that he has solid leading man, and soap anti-hero potential, something that always serves one well amidst the romance, intrigue, and suspense of the genre’s storytelling.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Johnny to get his thoughts on becoming part of the iconic GH and where he hopes Brando’s journey goes from here.  Check out what he had to say below.

Photo: ABC

What do you think about your character’s name being “Brando”? Did GH tell you where the idea for the name came from?

JOHNNY:  Oh, I love it.   No, they didn’t tell me why, but I assume it was in some relation to Marlon Brando; when back in the day he was in a leather jacket … because I come onto the scene wearing a leather jacket as a badass!

What’s your experience been like coming onto a show like GH?  Previously, I know you’ve done a lot of primetime roles and series.  Were you shocked at the pace of shooting a daytime drama?

JOHNNY:  Oh, yeah.  I was made aware of the pace beforehand by my manager, as well as my buddy, Mark Grossman (Adam Newman) who works on The Young and the Restless.  He’s kicking ass over there.  In this genre, you get one rehearsal and one take pretty much, and then, they move on.  It’s definitely been a learning curve, and I’m still getting used to that at times where I’m just like, “Ah, I want one more take!”  I can get a bit obsessive and I’m a perfectionist.  It definitely has been challenging, but I enjoy it.  It’s fun to work at a fast pace.  It’s a lot like working in the theatre.

In story, Johnny is pretending to be Dev’s father.  Did you know that would be part of Brando’s story when you took on this gig?

JOHNNY:  I did not.   I didn’t know that until I read the first script that they sent me.  I’m like, “I also have a son?”   It was a lot to take in, but that’s where the imagination comes in.

What’s great for you, I would think, is that you’re getting to play in scenes with Maurice Benard and Laura Wright and major players who are a part of that core group.  What’s it been like working with them?

JOHNNY:  It’s been a Godsend, really.  Being my first time on a daytime show, for one, anytime you come onto a new project and one that’s been going on for some time, and you’re a newcomer, there’s always that concern like, “What will this set be like?  Is it like a familial atmosphere?  Am I going to be welcomed?”  They’ve made it super easy.  I’m just so lucky that I have people who have so much experience on this show and just daytime shows in general, where they’ve kind of taken me under their wings and are super helpful.  Anytime I have questions, they’re patient.  I’m sure I annoy them sometimes, but they don’t let on to it.   I’m grateful that they’ve sort of “teamed” me up with them to kind of ease me onto the show.

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The fans are seeing a spark between Brando and Carly.  Is Brando into Carly?

JOHNNY:  I’d like to say that he rescued her because she was a beautiful blonde, but that’s not what that was and why he did it … even though I’m not denying that she’s a beautiful blonde.  I think there’s something there, but how far Brando pursues that, I don’t know!  Sonny sets Brando up with the garage and a pretty sweet deal at that.  So, does Brando want to screw this up?  However, not everyone makes logical, levelheaded decisions.  We’ll see.  I’m not ruling it out as something that could possibly happen.

How are you playing Brando right now? Is he a good guy … or, are there secret ulterior motives going down that the audience may not know about, yet?

JOHNNY:  In my opinion, he is a guy who has got a good heart.  I don’t think he is infallible.  I think he is someone who is determined to be on the mend and make up for his decisions and his past, because he is someone who has made poor decisions.  I don’t think you can rule him as a good person who will never make a mistake, or won’t get into trouble, or won’t make some bad decisions.  “Does he have ulterior motives?”  Maybe, but I think that if he does, they might be a little unconscious.  I think he is a genuine good guy.

Photo: ABC

Are the fans swooning over you on social media now that you’ve made your GH debut?  When you get the, “Oh, he’s hot,” do you take those compliments well, or, is it uncomfortable for you, and you deflect that?

JOHNNY:  It’s always flattering to get those compliments.  I think when I was younger, like 22, first getting into this business; I was definitely pining for those compliments and put more weight into it.  I will say; it’s always good to have someone say something positive about you.  I will take, “Hey, he’s good-looking.”  I love the comments.  It’s great.

So, what would you love to see happen with Brando?  Is there anything that you’re seeing with your character that you wish you could do …or get to have the opportunity to be able to drive the direction in which he goes in?

JOHNNY:  That’s a great question.  I love when the writers put Brando on the scene and planted some seeds early on when he was revealing a little of his background to Carly.  He reveals he has PTSD and spent time in prison.  Brando also has got issues with drug addiction.  I would love for those to kind of resurface somehow.  Maybe Brando has a relapse and gets back on the sauce, or drugs, or maybe has some kind of other issues with PTSD, because those are the real things in the world that people deal.

Photo: ABC

What’s great about it is that they kind of loaded you up with a back-story that they can fill in, so that as a viewer, you ultimately root for the guy

JOHNNY:  Absolutely.  Yeah, nobody wants to root for the guy who has everything and just has the perfect life.  We’ve all made mistakes.  So, alright, he’s trying to get back on the horse and make a good life for himself.

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Did you get any pointers from GH vet Steve Burton (Jason), who you have also shared several scenes with since coming to GH?

JOHNNY:  The most pointers I’ve gotten from Steve are about preparation for the scenes.  Every time we have scenes together, he’s just always willing to work with you, and make sure that you’re prepared, and he’s prepared, and the scene is going to be the best that it can be.  Also, he’s been really invaluable with giving me more of a crash course on the background of these characters.  This show has been on for decades and it’s tough to get caught up in the short amount of time between when you find out you have the job, and you start filming, to really know who everybody is.  So, he explained to me who Jason is on the show and who the Corinthos family is and what they represent … these are dangerous guys!

Photo: ABC

Take me through what happened when you learned you got the part of Brando, and were joining the cast of General Hospital?

JOHNNY:  I was at my apartment.  I think it was probably two days after I went in for the producer’s session.  They brought in 4 or 5 guys to read in front of the producers, (at least that I saw) and I felt strong about my reading.  Then, I just kind of tried to forget about it after I left so I wouldn’t get all into my head about whether I got the part, or not.  Then the next day, I didn’t get a phone call.  So, I’m like, “Man, really?  I thought that might have been it.”   But the next day, I was with my girlfriend at the time and my agency was calling.  My manager was on the phone as well, and they shared with me that I got the part, and it was exciting.  It was a relief and an affirmation.  It’s always exciting when you book a job and then to book a major recurring role on a show with a character whose name is “Brando Corbin”, needless to say, was really cool.

Photo: ABC

I think it’s very apparent that you have the “It” factor.  You already have a shown a strong presence on the show and have a very bright future ahead of you.   I have seen a lot of actors come and go, and who launch their careers on daytime over the years, and I think you are going to be one to watch for quite some time to come.

JOHNNY:  First of all, thank you so much for saying that.  That’s really kind of you.  It’s really high praise.  Coming from someone who knows that show and who is a fan of it that means I passed the test!  Thank you, Michael!  I really appreciate that affirmation.  It’s good to get validation from someone whose opinion really matters.

Photo; ABC

Could you see a love interest for Brando coming up in the future?

JOHNNY:  I could definitely see a love interest for him coming up.  Maybe multiple love interests!  Who knows?

I think there are a lot of single ladies in Port Charles.

JOHNNY:  Yeah!  But, why do they have to be single?

Right! Or, they could be married!

JOHNNY:  It’s Port Charles!

Photo: ABC

So, have you been enjoying Johnny’s performances as Brando Corbin thus far?  Who do you hope he becomes involved with romantically on GH? Do you want to know more about his back-story and see what happens next now that Sonny has set him up with a garage? Comment below.

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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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Airdate:3-23-2020

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