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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

Watch the Replay: GH, DAYS, Y&R, B&B & OLTL Stars at Michael Fairman’s Virtual Birthday Party for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Relief Fund

Earlier this week on Monday night, several of the stars of General Hospital, Days of our Lives, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and One Life to Live, took part in a virtual livestream “party” for Michael Fairman’s 60th birthday.

The event was held virtually to help performers in need who have been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by letting viewers know where to make a donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Fund.

Photo: ABC, NBC, CBS

Participating throughout the 90 minute livestream were: The Young and the Restless, Jason Thompson, Sharon Case, and Christian LeBlanc, General Hospital’s Maurice Benard, Laura Wright, Wes Ramsey, and Chloe Lanier, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Katherine Kelly Lang, Days of our Lives’ Rob Scott Wilson, Eric Martsolf, Galen Gering, Arianne Zucker, Shawn Christian, Santa Barbara favorite, A Martinez, One Life to Live’s Kristen Alderson and Eddie Alderson, and Studio City’s Sean Kanan.

You can catch the replay of the birthday benefit event below or on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

Throughout the evening, the actors shared stories of how they got their SAG card, played a game of Michael’s trivia, and revealed stories about themselves and other “party” guests in a wonderful display of community and camaraderie at all went down live!

Since March of 2o2o, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has given out more than $6.2 million in emergency aid to over 6,500 SAG-AFTRA performers and their families facing hardship and uncertainty during this pandemic. Thousands of SAG-AFTRA artists have found themselves in dire need of assistance to help pay their rent, buy groceries, cover health care premiums and other bills.  You can still make a donation of any dollar amount to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 relief fund here. https://members.sagfoundation.org/donate 

Now, check it out below, and let us know if you enjoyed the virtual birthday party livestream via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH Co-Head Writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor Interview – “Soapmakers of the Year” Honors 2020

In a year which saw production of your favorite soaps shutdown for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone in daytime had to pivot.  As original episodes aired, they eventually ran out, giving way to rebroadcasts, while the audience eagerly awaited the return of the current stories.

At General Hospital, once production resumed over the summer, head writers, Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor had teed-up: surprising homecomings (Dante, Britt) shocking twists and revelations, the conclusion of what will become an all-time soap classic, the Alzheimer’s storyline, dipping into the rich 57-year history of the iconic soap to tie story to the present (Laura, Cyrus, Martin), and crafting stories for its A-list cast which gave 2020 some of its finest on-screen moments.  GH became can’t-miss television again, coming back even stronger than its pre-pandemic self; which also kicked the year off in high-style with the reveal of Nikolas to his family, alive and well, and the long-awaited truth about baby Wiley.

Chris and Dan’s depiction of Mike’s heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer’s gave viewers many tears through its unrelenting and realistic storytelling, plus their commitment to air the standalone episode to honor the passing of the 19th amendment of the women’s right to vote in November.  Both were noteworthy, and illustrated what daytime can do best.

 

Each year, Michael Fairman TV gives our highest honor to a creative or creatives who most delivered to its audience and whose quality of work continues to keep us engaged, on the edge of our seats, or reaching for the hankies. That is why this year’s Soapmkers of the Year honor goes to GH scribes: Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor.  Shortly after receiving their acknowledgement, the duo spoke to us about some of the 2020 highlights in Port Charles, and how they work so well together to bring their stories to life.  Here’s what they shared.

Courtesy/ABC

First, and foremost, I want to commend you for the Alzheimer’s storyline  As I’ve shared publicly, my mother died of Alzheimer’s, and I have seen the progression of this disease and the effects it has on a family and loved ones, and the person afflicted with it.  You did a beautiful job of telling every beat of the story within the context of what you could do within a soap opera.  What can you tell me about crafting that and seeing it through to the end?  You never abandoned the story, which at times, can happen on daytime.

CHRISNo, we didn’t abandon it.  Soap operas have a power that I am sure we have acknowledged before, to allow audiences to really get to know characters in a deeper and more profound way than I think most other mediums do.  We get to see characters’ lives day in and day out.  For us to tell a story about Alzheimer’s, which is a disease that is devastating in so many ways, not the least of which is the fact that it can take years to develop and years to finally claim a life, we felt that among our audience, there had to be many people who had experienced this in an up-close and personal way.  So that to tell the story too expeditiously would really deny their experience and would take away from their appreciation of the show as a reflection of reality.  Of course, soap operas don’t do that in every sense on every episode, but when you’re telling a story about a disease that people experience every day, you have an obligation to reflect the real-world experience.  So, by bringing it to a close too fast and by doing it in a way that didn’t honor what at times is the horror of the disease, felt like it would be a cop-out.  We wanted to do our best within the constrictions of the medium to depict that; while at the same time, of course, not wanting to leave people so depressed as to not want to tune back in.  It was a really delicate dance.  We are very grateful to have had the support of the network and Frank Valentini’s (executive producer, GH) ingenious production team as well as a great repertory of actors who were willing and able to give their all to this story.

Courtesy/ABC

Maurice Benard (Sonny) did some of his finest work of his career in this story, and you gave him the ball to do it, and Max Gail (Mike) was amazing.  Two standout episodes included: when Mike passed and was taken to heaven by Courtney (Alicia Leigh Willis) and Mike’s funeral episode.  Did you realize when you were writing it, the impact it would have on the audience?

DANAs for the funeral, I’d say that we knew as we were writing it that not only did we want to give the characters and the audience a chance to say goodbye to Mike, but we also wanted to give the performers a chance to say a goodbye to their relationship with the actor, Max Gail as well.  Max is a fantastic, phenomenal actor, and he formed close relationships with many of our performers.  So, when we wrote the episode, yes, we did want to give the audience a chance to say goodbye to the character, but we also knew that because of the close relationships that these performers have made with each other that the actors were going to bring their all, and it was going to provide the audience with some powerhouse performances.

Did you get emotional seeing it? 

CHRIS:  Oh, personally, I cried.

Courtesy/ABC

I know you both love and appreciate the soap genre and understand that the audience often wants a good cry and is invested in these characters.  So because of that; what’s it like for you when you see these emotional moments play out that start in your mind, go to the page, then to the stage, and now are out in the world for people to see and experience?

CHRIS:  I can’t speak for any of the other writers, but I’m not crying when I’m writing it, but I’m crying when I see it realized and how the actors, and the producers, and the directors realize it.  I personally am always surprised by the nuance and the beats that they find that we, in our first draft kind-of-lifestyle that we have as soap opera writers; where we are writing six or seven episodes per week, we don’t have the time or the luxury to really sit with an episode and mine it for every single beat and every emotion. That’s why we have great directors and great actors who take these scripts and find these extra moments.  So, it is really gratifying to watch – yes, to see something that we’ve imagined be produced and personified, but then to see how the production then takes it in other directions, that’s the best.  I think that’s the most gratifying part of writing for a show, not seeing what you’ve written produced, but seeing how it was parented into life.  When you have a baby, I think you have all sorts of ideas about what the baby will be, and then the baby becomes something else as the result of its environment and of the people who are influencing and guiding it along and that may be a bit of a stretched metaphor, but it kind of feels relative.

As co-head writers of General Hospital, how do you work together to come up with long-term story?  What is your process?

DAN:  Chris and I will meet regularly and discuss the long-term stories that we are telling, and plan to tell, and maybe some adjustments that we have to make along the way.  We get to meet with our writers several days every week as we figure out the best way to tell that story in the form of however many episodes we write a week.  Chris and I also write episodes along with our great breakdown script team, and every week we figure out the best way to either stay on the path of the story we are intending to tell, or find new opportunities or new twists and turns we can take along the way.

Photo: ABC

Do you get into friendly, creative disagreements? Is one of you more protective of a certain character than the other? 

DAN:  Chris and I have known each other for close to 15 years at this point, and we are not just colleagues, we are also friends.  There is a certain amount of shorthand that we have with each other which is just invaluable in telling story.  What’s great is that we sometimes come at the story from different angles or we have a different point of view, much like any two fans of the show wouldn’t agree on necessarily everything, but in our discussions about the show’s needs, wants, and haves, and the story trajectory, we ultimately get somewhere better than where either of us could have come up with on our own.  At the same time, there are those moments where we both come to the same idea at the same moment, and that’s definitely when we go, “Okay, we’re onto something good.”

CHRIS:  I can add as a partial translation that I can get really snippy, and Dan has the patience of a saint.  So, often times, I need 24 hours to go away, and sleep on something, and wake up, and say, “Oh Dan, you were totally right about that.  I’m so sorry I was snippy the other day,” and he doesn’t seem to hold it against me.

Do you ever get a writer’s block; as has to happen often with scribes in the unrelenting medium of daytime drama, and if so, I would think having a writing partner would be an asset during those times?

DAN:  I think it’s the nature of the beast.  At a certain point, you might hit a roadblock somewhere, but that’s why having a partner is so valuable that there is somebody else that you can bounce ideas along with, and just as, if not more importantly, our team of writers are always there to sometimes give us even better ideas than what we would have come up with on our own.

Courtesy/ABC

This year you utilized and delved back into a lot of GH history.  How did the idea come about to bring back the character of Jackie Templeton and have former All My Children and NYPD Blue favorite, Kim Delaney, take on the role?

DAN:  Jackie Templeton is a character who has been an Easter egg on the show for many years now.  Whenever we needed to namedrop a famous journalist, she was always our go-to.  It always felt like the character was in the ether of Port Charles for awhile, and we were excited to bring this take-no-prisoners character back and explore her history with Robert (Tristan Rogers), and at the same time, we were finally teed up to tell the story of Finn’s (Michael Easton) falling out with his father and step-mother, and we realized we had a great opportunity to have the character serve both stories and collide with not just Anna (Finola Hughes) and Finn, but Robert as well. Those three played wonderfully with each other. When we heard that Kim Delaney was interested in playing with us, we were just over the moon.  .

Courtesy/ABC

You have also been delving back into Laura’s childhood past and her history. I love that you brought up the death of David Hamilton and her teenage years, which hasn’t been discussed for a very long time on the show while tying it into the present.

DAN:  We were always aware of the story just because we love General Hospital and we love the character of Laura, and there is nothing else like daytime drama, and one of the great things about it is that you can reach decades into the past and expand on stories and themes that the audience actually witnessed. Long reaching history is a tool in our toolbox that not many other series have.  Chris and I love honoring and using our characters’ histories to propel the show into the future with some serious momentum.

Photo: ABC

You created and brought the character of  Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober) on to the canvas. Was it originally a case of, “We need an uber-villain to come and shake things up,” and then you decided to connect him to Laura?  It’s been an intriguing shocker for viewers.  Jeff is playing the multi-levels of Cyrus with great finesse, and whenever you give Genie something, the fans go nuts, and she, in turn, delivers every time.

CHRIS:  The story of Cyrus has a couple of phases to it.  We wanted to bring on a villain who would not only be an adversary to Sonny, but someone who we could use to really test Jordan (Briana Nicole Henry) and Curtis (Donnell Turner), and we knew going in that the first phase of this story would really hit the Corinthos family and also the Ashfords, and as we developed it, we thought about what the act two would be, and we knew that we had an opportunity to really engage Genie Francis and to expand her sphere and expand her footprint on the show, and by connecting her to Cyrus, who is not your typical face or presence for a soap, but is also not your typical person who I think Laura would encounter in her daily life.  So, we knew, as we really developed Cyrus as a villain, that for Laura to find out that this man is her brother, would really allow us to play with Laura in a different context and in a different light and really give Genie a new kind of challenge.

Speaking of Genie, what did you think when you watched back her performance in the episode where you wrote that Laura has to say goodbye to her comatose daughter, Lulu (Emme Rylan), before she was sent off the canvas to a long-term care facility?

CHRIS:  I mean to me, that’s vintage Laura.  I came to General Hospital personally in the late 80s to early 90s, so my experience of Laura really only begins with her, and Luke (Tony Geary), and Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) at the Triple L Diner.  I think that what we’ve gotten to see with Genie is really reflective of the high emotion that she is capable of delivering.  At the same time as the high emotion, you’re also seeing really small human moments that she really breathes a lot of life into.  I can speak for Dan and myself when we say that we are just really thrilled with what she has been able to bring to the screen.  Thrilled, but I guess not surprised.

Coutesy/ABC

Nelle (Chloe Lanier) was such a great interloper and threat throughout the year in story; whether it’s hatching plots to gain custody of baby Wiley, or her “death” scene and confrontations with Carly (Laura Wright).  However, through all of this, when was it decided to make Nina (Cynthia Watros), Nelle’s biological mother?

DAN:  There are very few things that are as exciting on a soap as a character that makes you wonder what they are going to do next, and Chloe and Nelle provided that role with just gusto.  The truth is, the idea that Nelle was Nina’s daughter has been a part of the conception of that character, and over the last few years, the story evolved, and we ultimately got to reveal the truth to the audience.

Courtesy/ABC

As writers, there has to be characters that are just so delicious and treacherous to write for that you have to get a kick out of it! Chloe Lanier is so good that she makes the audience want to slap Nelle when she takes the dialog and then brings it to the screen.  

CHRIS:  It is tremendous fun.  Yes, yes, we love writing for these characters who are willing to do and say anything to get what they want.  We are constrained when writing for characters who have morality.  It takes a moral character a lot of really difficult circumstances for them to make a decision that might go against the grain, but when you have a character like Nelle, who is not shackled by certain societal norms, then you really get to live out the worst impulses that a person could have, and it’s really fun, especially when you take a really great performer like Chloe and see her as Nelle unleash all of the poison that she’s capable of.  At the same time, she can turn on a dime and rip your heart out a little bit when she turns on the water works.

Photo :ABC

Ava Jerome’s (Maura West) story this year had her moving into a relationship with Nikolas (Marcus Coloma).  We, the audience, didn’t know how that was going to go – if they were just going to use each other, or ultimately fall in love.  Was that the plan all along … that they would develop deep feelings for each other, or did you want to see how it progressed and played out on-screen, and then make that determination?

CHRIS:  I think that once we saw the chemistry between the two actors, we knew we had gold. So, we wanted to take our time, especially the way that it was constructed.  These were two people who had little use for each other emotionally, and in fact, probably wanted to see one another’s downfall, and that’s what makes it so great to write – that these are people who, in a similar vein as Nelle, don’t live by the same rules as most of the rest of us, and therefore, they might do things to each other that the rest of us would not do to anyone let alone whether we like them or not.  That’s what makes Ava and Nikolas so delicious is that from one moment to the next, you don’t know if they’re going to hatch a plot against each other or fall into bed and ravish each other. That’s what I think we hope to continue to play as we go forward because they certainly have very strong, passionate feelings for one another.  When you’re talking about Ava and Nikolas, these are two people who do not have a lot of fans necessarily in Port Charles, and there are a lot of people who don’t necessarily want to see them achieve happily ever after.  Knowing that there was so much initial mistrust and suspicion between the two of them could really provide the foundation for their own undoing or their undoing from someone who does not want to see them happy.

Photo: ABC

Back in November, GH made good use of a standalone episode spotlighting the history of the women’s right to vote and the suffrage movement; just as the presidential election was happening.  What made you decide to write this special show, and how do you feel it turned out as it also spotlighted the female cast?

CHRIS:  We had long intended to honor the one hundred years of American women’s suffrage with a special episode to air on the anniversary of the 19th amendment’s passage, but we missed the date due to the pause in production.  We realized we had a second chance as the election neared.  Going forward was a no-brainer. The biggest challenge was in distilling such an epic story into one episode. We think ABC would do well to consider a spinoff: “Port Charles, 1920”

Courtesy/ABC

You have such a powerhouse cast to write for.  It’s loaded.  It’s got to be a challenge for you to construct the story for GH when you’ve got to front burner people and back burner people, and then you’ve got these huge daytime stars all in one show.

DAN:  It’s an embarrassment of riches to have a cast as talented as we do quite frankly.  We are fortunate enough that we know that we have these amazing performers that we can trust with whatever stories that we throw their way.

CHRIS:  I will say that we do have a great cast.  They’re all wonderful, and when you have a show that is only approximately 35 minutes of airtime on any day, it’s a real balancing act to make sure that everybody gets a story that really is worthy of their talents, and we’ve got one for everybody.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of which story takes precedence in which moment, which is why occasionally some characters aren’t featured on a daily basis, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be.  If you were to ask me, “Who are the standouts?”  I would say all of them.  You saw this year: Maurice Benard, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), Maura West, Genie Francis, and Laura Wright (Carly) to name but just a few.  They’ve all done such fantastic work, and we can’t wait to give them more material to give them more moments to shine.

DAN:  A priority of ours is every week, we meet up and look (well, it’s virtual now during Covid-19) at the big board of our cast photos and we go through each character and always make sure that they have some story percolating even if it’s not on the air at the moment.

Photo: ABC

As we close out 2020, and look forward to 2021, any parting thoughts, and perhaps a tease of what GH fans can look forward to in the New Year?

CHRIS:  In general, I would just say that despite all of the challenges of the year, we are really grateful to our cast and the crew back in Los Angeles for realizing and improving the show that we imagined, and we are so excited for everything that is coming in 2021.  We hope to continue to throw a lot of surprises at the audience, and at the same time give them a lot of moments and stories of heart and love and excitement.

So, what did you think of the year in story on General Hospital in 2020? Share your thoughts on Chris and Dan’s comments and their year-end honors via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Stephen Nichols and Lucas Adams Talk Salem Longevity, Tripp’s Predicament and Their Co-Stars

Days of our Lives stars Stephen Nichols (Steve “Patch” Johnson) and his on-screen son, Lucas Adams (Tripp Dalton) are in the middle of plenty of drama on the long-running NBC daytime drama, which recently celebrated its 55th anniversary in November and its 14,000 episode milestone in December.

In a new chat with Michael Fairman on the Michael Fairman Channel, Stephen reveals his surprise at still being with the iconic show. while Lucas talks about how his first run on DAYS came to an abrupt end, but now he is deep in-story involving Allie (Lindsay Arnold) and the brother he is yet-to-know he has, Charlie (Mike Manning), who is Allie’s actual rapist.

Both Stephen and Lucas discuss having the opportunity to work with Daytime Emmy winner Tamara Braun (Ava) again, as well as James Lastovic (Joey) in recently aired scenes. In story, Ava has returned back-from-the-dead and realizes she has major trouble brewing with her two sons, Tripp and Charlie.  How will it all play itself out?

 

Check out what Stephen and Lucas shared below.  Then, be on the lookout beginning this week, as Steve and John (Drake Hogestyn) work together to figure out who is responsible for Allie’s rape and just who is the biological father to her child, when it is not Tripp!

Share your thoughts on the sentiments shared by Stephen and Lucas in the interview via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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Jason Thompson as Billy

The Young and the Restless

Airdate: 12-16-2020

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