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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

Melody Thomas Scott Chats On 40 Years As The Young and the Restless’ Incomparable Nikki: The Men, The Booze, The Drama

Today marks Y&R icon Melody Thomas Scott’s 40th anniversary with the top-rated daytime drama series.  While CBS plans to air a special standalone episode (Nikki is in the slammer for confessing to J.T.’s murder, and she will reflect on her life in an emotional look-back), Michael Fairman sat down with the popular and beloved star for a deep dive into four decades in the life of stripper-turned-socialite, Nikki Newman for The Michael Fairman Channel.

During the interview, Melody first addresses her sadness at the loss of her longtime friend and co-star Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters): “I adored him.  I love him to bits.  I loved working with him; such a wonderful actor.  I don’t even know if he knew how good he was.”

When discussing Nikki’s colorful past, and when Y&R planned to have Nikki strip again decades later, Melody revealed she did refuse to play it: “That’s right, and I very rarely put the kibosh on anything on this show,  I was 48-years-old.  The head writer called me and I was up in hair and make-up.  They heard me say, ‘I’m 48-years-old .. that’s just not happening.”‘

Photo: TheMichaelFairmanChannel

Over the years, Nikki has faced many battles, perils ,and demons including her addiction to alcohol which has provided many a juicy story for Thomas Scott.  As to the fans always loving to see a ‘boozy’ Nikki, Melody remarked;  “Yes!  They love it!  I have great fun with it and I think it’s wonderful.”

During a segment of the conversation, Michael shows Melody some photos of Nikki’s past loves, and gets her thoughts on why Nikki fell for those men, and what it was like working with her co-stars through the years: John Enos (Bobby), Doug Davidson (Paul), Heath Kizzier (Joshua), Wings Hauser (Greg), Don Diamont (Brad), Vincent Irizarry (David), Peter Bergman (Jack), Sean Kanan (Deacon, and of course, her longtime on-screen partner Eric Braeden (Victor).

Later, Melody reminisces about her time working with the late great Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) and when asked by Fairman what she thinks Jeanne would say about her 40th anniversary milestone, Melody replied: “She would say, ‘I’m (bleeping) proud of you Mel!”‘

Photo: CBS

Check out the entire interview with Melody below (make sure to also subscribe to the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube for more feature interviews), and following that the special CBS promo honoring Melody’s 40th anniversary with Y&R.  Then let us know, what has been your favorite Nikki Newman moment over the last 40 years? Share your thoughts via the comment section below,

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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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