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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
Guest
Caitlin

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

Jeanne
Guest
Jeanne

What about the Newman show propping rape?

Harry
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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.… Read more »

Trudy
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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
Guest
meg

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

meg
Guest
meg

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

Harry
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Harry

HA!!! Hilarious.

su0000
Guest
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
Guest
elm1951

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

padange
Guest
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… Read more »

padange
Guest
padange

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

Jeanne
Guest
Jeanne

Team Philly!

I love Jason’s words about them.

Faithy
Guest
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
Guest
Jeanne

A tiny small fan base? Just check Twitter.

Faithy
Guest
Faithy

All 10 people on Twitter only proves my point.

Jeanne
Guest
Jeanne

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

Faithy
Guest
Faithy

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

padange
Guest
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
Guest
Faithy

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

padange
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
omari

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

Timmm
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Trudy

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

Zandra
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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?

Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kin Shriner Talks on Franco’s Demise, Scott’s Budding Romance with Obrecht, and His Enduring On-Screen Partnership with Genie Francis

One of the most beloved actors in the history of General Hospital, Kin Shriner, currently finds his alter-ego, Scott Baldwin, in a new budding on-screen romance with none other than Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).

This comes on the heels of Scott learning the devastating news that his son, Franco Baldwin was shot and killed, thus writing-off the ABC daytime drama series, for now, popular actor, Roger Howarth.

Photo: JPI

Throughout his now almost 44-year-run on the ABC daytime drama series, Kin Shriner has brought his unique acting chops that helped mold the character of legal eagle Scott Baldwin into the humorous, at times cutthroat, endearing and many times heartbreaking character we have all come to love.’

 

In a brand new exclusive virtual sit-down interview with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel, Shriner opens up about his history with GH and the times he stepped away to take on roles on Texas and As the World Turns, and then back again to the town of Port Charles and GH.

Photo: ABC

As well, Kin reveals his reaction to learning the news that Roger Howarth would be exiting the show as his TV son and how he shot the key emotional scene where Laura (Genie Francis) tells Scott that Franco had died.  Shriner shares that he does not see how when Howarth returns to the show in as a yet-to-be-revealed character, that it would be a stretch if the two were some how related, but that he will miss working with the talented Howarth as a scene-partner.

Photo: JPI

As to the women in Scott’s life, Kin addresses each of them from: Lucy (Lynn Herring), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Dominque (Shell Danielson), Laura (Francis), Ava (Maura West) – to which the character could never get that close to – and now Liesl (Gati), and working opposite all the powerhouse actresses who portray them.

Photo: ABC

For fans of General Hospital who have watched the series for decades, Kin also shares memories of working with his late TV parents, Peter Hansen (Lee), Susan Brown (Gail) and his friend and former GH castmate John Reilly (Sean), plus backstage stories with his longtime scene partner, Genie Francis.

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

Now let us know, are you all for the Scott and Liesl romance? Will you miss scenes between Scott and Franco?  Would you ever want to see Scott and Laura reunite romantically? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Newman Kids Talk 48th Anniversary, Storylines, Camaraderie, and Take the Trivia Challenge

On Friday, to celebrate the 48th anniversary of The Young and the Restless (which premiered back on March 26th,1973) Michael Fairman chatted virtually with the actors who comprise the adult Newman family children; Joshua Morrow (Nick), Amelia Heinle (Victoria), Mark Grossman (Adam), Hunter King (Summer) and Melissa Ordway (Abby).

During the conversation, on You Tube’s the Michael Fairman Channel, the actors discussed what it was like coming into the iconic Newman clan when they first debuted, behind-the-scenes moments and laughs they share working with each other, and what it has been like for them to share scenes with their iconic TV father, Eric Braeden (Victor) and for some of the kids, their on-screen mother, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki).

In addition, each touch upon their current Y&R storyline where:Nick is involved with Phyllis again, Adam is on to Chelsea, Victoria is trying to be in the woman in charge of the company and she finds herself boyfriend-less, Summer has her hands full with the arrival of Tara Locke and Sally Spectra who may all destroy her relationship with Kyle, and Abby wanting to have a baby via surrogacy with the sperm donor being Devon.

Later, Michael plays a round of “Stump the Newman” trivia where the actors are put to the test to see just who knows the history of the Newman clan best. Watch what happens when the mention of the notorious and ill-fated reliquary storyline is brought up!

Joshua, Amelia, Mark, Hunter, and Melissa also express what it has meant to them to be a part of the legacy of The Young and the Restless, and still later Joshua’s daughter, Charlie, even makes a special guest appearance.

Now watch the conversation in full with the Newman kids below. 

Then let us know, what was your favorite moment of the interview? How do you hope their current storylines resolve? What was your favorite and least favorite storyline of all-time for Nick, Victoria, Adam, Abby, and Summer? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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