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The Shelly Altman and Jean Passanante Interview – The Young and the Restless

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In their first joint interview with On-Air On-Soaps as co-head writers of The Young and the Restless, Shelly Altman and Jean Passanante discuss many of the hot button topics, and latest storylines that are playing out in Genoa City, and tease what to look for as we approach the summer months of drama on the CBS soap opera.

As soap fans know, Shelly was already at Y&R when she got the nod to replace Josh Griffith and became the number one soap’s co-head writer.  Then Jean joined her after finishing up her time on the writing team of ABC’s General Hospital.  The last daytime soap where Jean made her mark as head scribe was As the World Turns in its final years, and she is known in the industry as one of the top writers of character development.  This twosome’s collaboration really kicked-off in the late fall of last year (when we last spoke with Altman) and now viewers have begun to get a sense of this team’s style, pace of storytelling, and ebb and flow of crafting stories.

Since Shelly and Jean have been steering the script ship many casting changes, replacements, and departures have affected The Young and the Restless, where beloved favorites have left for various reasons, and certain characters such as Phyllis and Adam will be recast.  During our chat, Shelly and Jean reveal how, if at all, that impacted the plans for their long range stories.

So, what is the next reveal in the Mariah/Cassie look-alike story?  Do Sharon and Nick stand a chance at happiness with a comatose Phyllis looming with the knowledge of the “secret”?  How will Ian try to tear apart the lives of the denizens of GC?  Will Victor and Nikki’s rift grow wider?  Is it Billy and Victoria, or Victoria and Stitch that is the romantic end game?  Will Chelsea and Billy come to love each other only for Adam to walk back into Chelsea’s life?  Will Kevin be devastated upon the departure of Chloe?  Could Hilary be the most viable romantic pairing for Neil since Drucilla’s death?  Read on to find out the answers to these questions from the writers themselves.

So let’s start with The Young and the Restless garnering 26 Daytime Emmy nominations!  But I know since it was for the 2013 calendar year, Jean was over at General Hospital writing at that time for most of it.

SHELLY:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

We are very proud of the number of nominations!

JEAN:

I had nothing to do with it.  I would be very happy to take credit for it.

SHELLY:

You know, Jean was moral support nonetheless even before she joined the team. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Jean, how has this been for you coming over from GH to work with Shelly as co-head writer of Y&R?

JEAN:

Shelly and I worked very briefly together on Another World for two weeks and on One Life and General Hospital.  So we have always wanted to do something like this, and so it turned out to be a wonderful thing.  I can’t imagine a better partner.

MICHAEL:

How do you play off each other in the writing process in terms of ideas, stories, and character development?

SHELLY:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

We have a very similar story sensibility… which is good … but we bring different touches to different characters in certain stories.  I think we compliment each other very well.

JEAN:

We have slightly different styles of working.

SHELLY:

I am hysterical and you are calm! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Have you had a moment between the two of you over a difference of opinion of a direction of a character on the Genoa City canvas?

JEAN:

I don’t really think so.  We are very respectful, and so I think if one of us felt absolutely passionately about something we would both try hard to see it that way.  We don’t scream at each other.

SHELLY:

We listen to each other and that is big thing, and like Jean said, if there was something that she felt super strongly about, I would take a step back and listen to her and hear why it wasn’t working, and I would come around to agreeing.

MICHAEL:

Let’s talk about the current stories on Y&R beginning with the Cassie lookalike storyline, and the set-up.  In a recent interview with TV Guide, Jill Farren Phelps (executive producer, Y&R) revealed that Ian (Ray Wise) was originally not intended to be part of this story.

SHELLY:

That was the one addition to the story that came later.  Other than that, going back as far as last August, it was already in long story that Cassie would be exposed as a non-ghost, and in fact, she would turn out to be Mariah.

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

MICHAEL:

At what point did you decide to erase Sharon’s (Sharon Case) memory to keep her secret?  Jean, did you come up with that? (Laughs)

JEAN:

(Laughs) How could you say that?  It just seemed like there had to be way to bring Nick (Joshua Morrow) and Sharon together, and if she continued to lie about what happened that would have been very difficult.  Sharon is in much better shape now.

MICHAEL:

The character of Sharon had been ruined by different writing regimes.  She was the younger heroine for the show, and then it became hard to care about her when her antics were all over the place, even after giving her bipolar disorder.  Do you think this is your imprint on the history of Sharon now … to reset her?

SHELLY:

Yes. That, and that this was being done as much for Nick as it was with Sharon, that we needed some way to deal with what she had done.  Nick is a hero, and it didn’t seem right for him to be drawn more and more towards her while she was holding this enormous secret that affected him so deeply.  With the removal of that in her own mind, and in her own heart, she doesn’t know that she did anything, so she can be more purely Sharon, the Sharon that she was once, and therefore more viable a partner for Nick.

JEAN:

Courtesy/CBS

I totally agree, and it makes her be able to be loved by Nick.

MICHAEL:

Some fans remarked that this story with the Cassie lookalike (now Mariah) does not make sense, because when Cassie appeared before to Sharon she was a “ghost”, and now she is all of a sudden a real person who gaslighted her.

SHELLY:

That was true.  Sharon was having visions that Noah (Robert Adamson) knew about and told Victor (Eric Braeden) about.  Victor simply seized upon an opportunity to take it a step further.

JEAN:

When Mariah started appearing as Cassie, she made some mistakes.  She did not know what the figment of Sharon’s imagination found out as Sharon’s secret.  So Mariah does not know the secret.  The only piece of information she gleaned is that Phyllis also knows the secret.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

What do we know about the relationship between Ian and Mariah?  Is that a major mystery to this story?

SHELLY:

We have not yet revealed the full nature of their relationship.  But, it is clear that Ian cared for her differently than the way he relates to other people.

MICHAEL:

When you found out that you would be able to have Ray Wise (Ian) on longer than just several episodes, and through watching his performances, did it inform your story?

JEAN:

Sometimes the presence of an actor inspires storytelling.  Ray was so delicious and fun to watch.  It was an opportunity to pull him into more story.

SHELLY:

Seeing him triggers ideas for us as writers.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Everyone is betting that Sharon gave birth to twins, which explains why Mariah looks exactly like Cassie.  When do you see viewers getting more insight into who this character is?  Are you planning on revealing it? (Laughs)

JEAN:

We will reveal who this girl is.  I think that will be a lot of what this summer is about.  It has a lot of ramifications.

MICHAEL:

Camryn Grimes has really won over the fans of the show with her performance as tough gal Mariah.  What do you think about how she has handled the material … and were you surprised to see her that way?

SHELLY:

She is a revelation and wonderful.  I couldn’t be more pleased.  She has really delivered the many colors of this character.

JEAN:

I think it has been so much fun.  I wasn’t there from the beginning when she played the actual figment of Sharon’s imagination.  When I started watching, she was doing that and I thought, “Wow, what a sweet girl.  We are betting a lot on this sweet girl being a nasty critter.”  Then the minute you see her with Victor you could see that kind of edge.  It was startling and exciting, and there again, I think it’s a case of an actor inspiring story and where it might go.  It poses all sorts of possibilities given what the actress is capable of.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/SONY

JEAN:

You think?  (Laughs) ‘At some point’ are the operative words!

SHELLY:

I think it is clear that we have kept Phyllis alive as a character.  And even in her absence, she continues to be an extremely important player in Jack’s life, Summer’s life, and of course, in Sharon’s life.  But Sharon is unaware of how at the moment.

MICHAEL:

Do you have any reservations in recasting a character such as Phyllis?  Many times fans have knee-jerk reactions into seeing a different actor replace someone who has made their mark in the role, and until such time passes, they either come to accept them and like them, or reject them.

SHELLY:

Judy Blye Wilson (Casting Director, Y&R) is brilliant.  We do trust that she will find what we need and want for it.

JEAN:

I also think that we are in a sort of ‘Scarlett O’Hara mode’ where we will, “Think about that tomorrow!”  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Then you had Cynthia Watros leaving the role of Kelly, and Cady McClain coming in.  Was the impetus to keep Kelly on the canvas, because Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) needed a new love interest?

SHELLY:

The story was in place already.  Kelly was going to continue in becoming that love interest for Jack before we knew Cynthia got the pilot, which we are very happy about for her. 

MICHAEL:

Cady is a very different kind of an actress than Cynthia.

JEAN:

I think you do write with an actress in mind.  I have written for Cady on All My Children and As the World Turns, and I love her.  I love Cynthia too, but you are right.

MICHAEL:

I immediately thought of Cady’s time as conniving Rosanna on As the World Turns, when the decision was made to cast her as Kelly.   I have seen her play the complicated darker side to a character.

JEAN:

Photo Credit: Hutchins Photo

Exactly, and I think people were surprised by Cady that she could play that after playing the sweet Dixie for so long.  Cady is a very complicated actress, and very interesting.  I think we are going to see all of that and more with her as Kelly, who is a complicated character with a lot of baggage.

MICHAEL:

With the departure of Billy Miller, and the switch to bringing back David Tom as Billy Abbott, did that casting change prompt you to think, “What are we you going to do with Billy and Victoria now, since it’s a different vibe seeing David with Amelia on-screen together than Billy with Amelia?”  Billy Miller and Amelia Heinle (Victoria) had developed such a unique quirky couple as Billy and Victoria.  How did the decision come about to mess with all of that … and perhaps, change the course of who would end up with who?

SHELLY:

Again, that was the long story.  We certainly had the heads up for some time that Billy Miller was going to be leaving, and the story was designed that the exit of Billy and Adam coincided.  We knew the character of Billy would emerge on the other side of that.  In general, recasts happen in this genre quite a bit.  We try to stay true to our story and right for the characters as much as possible.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/Twitter/CBS

Nick and Sharon are star-crossed lovers on Y&R.  Recently Billy said to Stitch (Sean Carrigan), “There will always be something between me and Victoria!”  So are they really the couple to root for here?  And is Stitch’s ‘secret’ a vehicle to make him less than the wonderful doc?

JEAN:

What Billy said was true.  I think Billy and Victoria, to our audience and to us, will always be bonded.  There is something between them that we will want to see again, and we automatically want to see them happy again, but I think with the character of Stitch, he is a good guy.  It’s a horse race with a little caveat that there is something out there about Stitch that we don’t know about.

MICHAEL:

And … do you actually know what that ‘secret’ is?  (Laughs)  I remind myself of something along the lines of the movie Soap Dish, where the writers and the executives throw something in the script, but don’t really have any idea of where it’s going! (Laughs)

JEAN:

Oh, yeah!  I remember when I first started on soaps.  I was a network executive at ABC and completely naïve.  I went to one of the head writer’s office on one of the shows that I shall not name.  There was a big competition going on within the show between two characters and I said, “So who’s going to win?”  And he said, “I don’t know. Who do you think should win?” (Laughs)   I was completely stunned at writing in that kind of improvisatory way, which was just wild.

SHELLY:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Art imitates life, and we don’t necessarily know the outcome of our own dramas.

JEAN:

Right, but we tend to, Shelly and me, when we write.

SHELLY:

We do.  I think both of us tend to know the end of the story before we begin.  That doesn’t mean we don’t take side trips along the way, but it helps when you are headed towards a goal.

JEAN:

… And sometimes the goal changes.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

You have put Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) and Billy (David Tom) in each other’s orbit now.  What do you think of their on-screen chemistry when you watch back the episodes you have written?

JEAN:

I think there is a lot of fun there.  It’s surprising and unexpected.  These are two people that really shouldn’t be hanging out together.

MICHAEL:

There would be nothing worse for Adam than to walk back into Chelsea’s life, and who should she be with … Billy!

JEAN:

Exactly! What a great idea. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/MuhneyTwitterFanPop

So that brings us to the subject of Adam.  The Adam character is pivotal to the show.  You are planning on bringing the character back.   So, are you going to be, or have you been, heavily involved in the casting of the character?   And as the head writers, what qualities do you think the actor who plays the part has to have in order to pull this kind of role off?

JEAN:
We are in Tara again; theoretically.  We are in on all casting decisions involving roles as important as Adam.

SHELLY:

I think the actor would have to have an edge, and be the son of Victor Newman and all that entails.

MICHAEL:

Victor and Nikki are now having a huge rift, after Nick exposed Victor’s machinations with Mariah to try to get the secret out of Sharon.  Nikki then said to the mighty moustache that, “You are no better than Ian Ward!”  So is it major splitsville … again … for the most storied coupled in the history of Y&R?

JEAN:

Photo Credit: Jeremy Fraser/LA Exposures

I think Victor and Nikki are bonded no matter what, and she has been furious at him before, and he has been furious with her.  They never really throw in the towel for sure, but now we have thrown a huge obstacle in their path.  Over the summer, there will be another bombshell.

SHELLY:

Yes, their relationship will be challenged.  And as Jean said, they have certainly weathered storms before, but it remains to be seen whether this storm will be of biblical proportions! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Elizabeth Hendrickson has wrapped as Chloe, and fans will get to see her final episodes on-air later this month.  What can you say about losing a talent such as Elizabeth?

SHELLY:

She is terrific, and she did such an amazing job, in particular this past year with the emotion over the loss of Delia and her conflict.  We just wish her all the best, and again actors may leave but the characters will have left their imprint on the canvas, and Chloe will remain a factor even when she is gone.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Did you have ample time to write an exit story for her, once you found out she was officially departing the show?

JEAN:

I really liked how we wrote her off.  I think probably it is something we could have done over a longer period of time, but I don’t think it suffers the way we did it.

SHELLY:

I think it came to a very logical conclusion.

MICHAEL:

What are your plans now for the talented Greg Rikaart (Kevin), post-Chloe?  Kevin needs a story!

SHELLY:

I think in broad strokes we can say Kevin will go on a journey of self exploration.  Kevin’s computer skills will be called on by other characters in a major way.  He will be involved in big revelations.

JEAN:

We can add that he will be certainly shaken up by everything that has happened with Chloe and her departure, and that causes the self exploration that Shelly talks about.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Jean, you wrote and helmed the same-sex love story of Luke and Noah on As the World Turns.  And you and I have talked previously about how much I admired that story.  Can you now foresee Y&R tackling a same-sex romance between two men?  Isn’t it time that the number one daytime drama represents this part of the population?

JEAN:

I think this show has historically pretty much taken on everything.  I can say that it’s part of the world we live and the show has touched on everything, and the experiences that people go through in life in a sensitive way, and so anything is possible.

MICHAEL:

The Neil/Hilary/Devon story is starting to become interesting.   Everybody always wants Drucilla with Neil (Kristoff St. John), and there is no Drucilla.  Neil has been paired with so many women and all the romances have fizzled.  So speaking of fizzling, at what point did you decide to break Neil and Leslie (Angell Conwell) up in favor of Neil/Hilary?

JEAN:

It felt like it could be more interesting to leave Neil in his state of dull panic of: “What have I done … and why did I get treated this way?  How did I suddenly lose this woman that I loved? And what does this mean about me?”  It puts him in an interesting perceptive state, and it does some interesting things to Leslie, which you will see later.  Neil is vulnerable and open.  He is trying to figure out “where did I go wrong?”  And then there is this gorgeous woman who nearly destroyed his life, but he was able to forgive.

MICHAEL:

And so was she apparently!

JEAN:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Exactly!  He is kind to her and she is so susceptible!  She goes right from a crush on Jack to a crush on Neil.  Maybe she has a bit of a ‘daddy thing’ going on.   To add Devon (Bryton James) to the mix, there is a flirtation that we had already seen between Hilary (Mishael Morgan) and him.  Then add Lily (Christel Khalil) who despises this woman.  It just seemed like a great big mess, with much story opportunity.

MICHAEL:

Is there a couple to root for here?  Is it Neil and Hillary, or Devon and Hilary?

JEAN:

I think we will have to wait and see.  I think there will be some complications thrown into the mix that will turn the rooting-ness factor on its ear a bit.

MICHAEL:

Do you now see Leslie as a bad person for her ditching of Neil, and marrying the yet-to-be seen Barton (Terrell Tilford)?

JEAN:

No.  I think she is a little impulsive.  She thought she didn’t want to be married, but what that meant is she probably didn’t want to be married to Neil, for what ever reason.  I think she meant what she said when she said it, but I think then she met this other guy and felt differently.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

The Dylan/Avery cooking show storyline has some fans up in arms!  This has to be a set-up to something more, where Steve Burton (Dylan) will actually be given some meaty material other than tasting Avery’s (Jessica Collins) recipes? (Laughs)

JEAN:

I think it’s really a show about putting yourself in the public eye and the consequences, and also this blooms into a bigger and more global story with characters you probably wouldn’t obviously connect that are part of the story.

SHELLY:

It becomes a much bigger umbrella story.

MICHAEL:

So, you are touching on Internet crazed fans and obsession within this story that has become now part of pop culture?

SHELLY:

It certainly is an element of it, and all of us who work in the world today and are involved in social media know that there is a positive and a negative to that.  We are exploring that.

JEAN:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

But I would not say that is what the story is about.  It’s an element of it.

MICHAEL:

Is there a particular character, when you looked at the canvas, that you felt needed some propping up, or building up?

JEAN:

Yes.  I think in the summer you will see more of Summer (Hunter King).  She is a very important character and we get to put her in a completely new situation, and that is something we needed and wanted to do, and are glad we are doing that.

SHELLY:

I think that is true. We want to invest in the younger generation of the core families of Genoa City.

JEAN:

One of the things about this show that is so great is that the history of the show is so guarded and preserved, and so you do get to play younger characters in multi-generational stories, and being an important member of an important family.  We are planning ahead with something that will impact, Kevin, Michael and Lauren, Gloria and everyone else in their family.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

What is next for Michael (Christian LeBlanc) and Lauren (Tracey E. Bregman)?  Will Lauren’s false pregnancy dovetail into something that will come between this popular duo?

JEAN:

I think they came through that very well.

SHELLY:

They are in a better place than they have been in a long time, and yes, there will be more story for them on the horizon.  There is a lot of story being generated for many characters, and we hope fans will continue to tune-in to see what happens in the months ahead.

 

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I always have story ideas and I believe one of my ideas were used in the past. I will miss the Adam Newman character played by Michael Muhney and Phillis Newman played by Michelle Stafford. NOT THE SAME WITHOUT THESE ACTORS.

Bob,I am with you two brilliant actors and we need these characters in the present time not months and months from now.

Im ssssssssooooooooooo happy they are trying to make Sharon a better person. I loved all the Sharon days. Adam should brake up with Chelsea when they recast. i never seen them with chemistry . Adam needs a new leading lady or Sharon back

I watched Y&R to watch Michael Muhney. I’ve been reading how bad it is since he left. Now I know why after reading this interview. Glad I quit watching.

You and me both. Glad I took the Muhney Walk on Jan 30. My time is too precious to waste it on this garbage.

Sharon is my favorite character. i would love to see her married with a big wedding for summer and maybe a new baby 😀 I think Adam loves Sharon they also were great

I really dispise Victor and what he did to Sharon

My Lord, these two are running this show into the ground. The exodus of viewers is over 20% since the end of January. What does that say? It says the show is a true mess and the audience is leaving. When you hit all-time lows in the key demo of Women 18 to 49, these two should be shown the door.

David Tom’s nuBilly is a disaster. Now nuPhyllis and nuAdam are on the horizon. Just like Billy Miller, Michelle Stafford and Michael Muhney won’t be replaced either. So long Y&R.

Nu Billy was an awful decision. They should’ve found a way to keep Miller or written Billy Abbott off canvas for a bit

David Tom is not nearly as good in the role as Billy Miller was. As far as nuPhyllis is concerned, I think there is a plethora of great actresses in daytime that could do well in the role, like Robin Christopher or Sarah Brown. I’m with you on the Adam front, though. The only actor I could see doing well in the role is Trevor St. John, anyone else will likely fail, just as DT is doing as Billy now.

The show sure does suck with 2 headwriters. Y and R has not had an episode of interest in a while. The show is suffering from too many casting changes. The ratings have tied all time lows for 4 weeks in a row. Your audience is leaving y and r. Phelps, Altman, and Passanante should be fired. They are so delusional that they are actually thinking that the show is moving in a positive direction.

Sadly it sounds like these writers are going to completely ruin this show. With all the new characters plus re-casts of Phyllis & Adam & the departure of Billy Miller real fans do not even recognize Y&R. There is something to be said about popular characters. They keep people watching. The new writers & the producer care nothing about how important these characters are to the fans. There has been a mass exodus of really talented people from the show. Soon all the characters with a few exceptions will be newbies. There are so many actors that the show could do without, but these are the ones that are kept and that all the story lines written for. I watched Y&R for many years and was hoping against hope that the powers that be could see how bad the show has gotten & would get Y&R back on track. I see that that will not happen and Y&R will struggle to survive. I also noticed that Y&R received a lot of nominations for the daytime awards. I would just like to know who decides who is nominated. Some nominations are deserved and others absolutely are not. I guess in the end it really will not matter, because those awards don’t do much for an actors career, and the nominations will not turn Y&R around. Thank you for this interview, but it just confirms to me that the show will continue to feature mediocre actors and pathetic story lines.I am very sad to feel this way about a show that I once watched everyday.

The headwriter said their news would profoundly and
suprisingly effect those close to them. So we had
Chrstine and Paul considering trying for a baby after
talking to Like. Niw Chloe will ask Billy to have a
baby after talking to Lauren about babies. I wonder who
will be next? Kevin realizing he wants a family with a
woman who loves him after talking to Michael about
feeling sad about no baby? It does feel like salt in
the wound at this point, especially when that is all
they are being used for. Why are we not surprised we
always get the shaft one way or another they gave us a
story line yeah big BS all we saw was Lauren in Bed
with Carmine and yet we don’t get half of that amount of
time with Michael we saw her on a weekend getaway and
we NEVER got that with Michael although we have asked
for it for years. Should I go on at how we have been screwed over by the writers time and time again
It sucks and they have no respect or care about loyal Likey fans bring back Jack Smith and Kay Alden real writers DEE

Dee I hear you about the writing, But fans have to know is Not everybody is going to be “Pleased” BY what the writers write for example Jack smith when he wrote the on the run story Most Fans threw a Fit due to lack of Vets, He also got Thrown under the bus when he rewrote the Kay/Jill story of her being Kay’s daughter. I do think However Josh G was better then this two, He was doing well .

I agree Josh had a lot more variety of actors on these writers seem to be stuck once again on the Whole freakin Newman Clan and I dont mind others being on I just want Likey on more then once every 3 weeks

What happen to Cane and Lily Ashby? and Colin and Jill Atkinson ? are they still on Y&R ??

No, they are not. Colin and Jill are too just run around talking about how/if they love each other. Cane and Lily are too just be support and filler for the Triangle from Hell.

No questions about Jill? She’s Y&R’s only original character that remains and some of us have followed her since the very beginning.

How about…. is Jill ever going to become rich and/or powerful? We’ve had 40 years of Jill attempting to make it. I still remember Jill’s first trip to the Chancellor mansion. It seems she’s still only half way ( if that) to her goals. I’m a little tired of the never ending quest always ending in failure. Katherine is gone and Y&R is in desperate need of a strong, powerful, and confident women. Jill has the business savvy and the strength, and we know and follow her- she should have the role. It’s time. Enough of chasing wealth it’s time for Jill to have the same problem as Katherine…..keeping it.

Jill’s story with Colin would have much more impact if Jill were truly rich and the owner & CEO of Chancellor Industries. Instead CI has disappeared into Newman & made no difference in the character of Victor, whereas it would have been a life-changer for Jill.

Not everyone can relate to a male dominated home life. I don’t live it, neither do my sister, brother, parents, or grandparents and neither does anyone of my husbands family. I can accept Victor & the Newman family as one type of family, but other types, and stronger women need to be represented. If that’s a problem for Victor (or Eric Braden) keep the story lines separate. The Chancellor’s used to have their own stories, so they don’t have to threaten Victor’s never ending predictable superiority in everything.

TOTALLY AGREE … Jill has been marginalized and this never ending jewelry box story and wedding to Colin who we all know is a cad and money sucker is beneath her at this point in her life! She has been single FOREVER and would never want a creepy old thing like Colin in her life–she’d rather be alone! And How about CBS NOT posting a portrait of Katherine in Chancellor Mansion? What’s up with THAT? Stephanie Forrester is over the mantel, JR Ewing’s portrait is at Ewing Enterprises, no KATHERINE CHANCELLOR??? She’s bigger than all of them! The fans of this show should be recruited to write this show …. instead of these idiots who bounce around from show to show and have no historical knowledge or vested interest! SMH!

I gotta disagree, the Jill and Colin pairing is about the best thing about the show right now, yes, Jill would be totally romantically involved with him because there’s true, true love there, it’s a pity that the writers can’t be bothers with given this pairing much care and at least talked about them in this interview. Jill should’ve had CI from the get go. They start up this musicbox and still doesn’t know what to do with it. That’s the problem..End this story with Jill getting CI, I don’t believe Katherine would’ve left CI for Victor anyway…But among the Rubbish? Jill and Colin are 1 bright spot on this otherwise dull show.

Wasn’t Jill supposed to challenge Victor for Chancellor when he inherited the company?? Wow was that dropped like a new york minute when these two became the new writers. Poor Jill is now stuck with Colin in this neverending sitcom, much ado about a music box.

Well Rita, I agree completely with every word you have written, I believe that my beloved Y & R is on a very slippery slop it is getting to me after 40 years I am thinking of leaving thank goodness for Peter, Eric, Melody and a few good acting youngsters is why I keep hoping the S/L will improve.
The S/L are pathetic ! With ll,due respect to both writers they have to wake up and give us some excitement
I can remember being so excited I couldn’t wait for the next days episode, I haven’t felt that for 3 years or so,there are so many new characters now who are really medioca a few exceptions have arrived this last few weeks thank heavens they are old soap actors and know the ropes !
I hope they hurry up and replace Phyliss and Adam because they are sorely missed in every way, Billy Miller is another wonderful actor gone I wonder how many more they will loose ?
Thank you Michael for your hard work trying to keep us up to date with things you are really much appreciated.

Again, YR is in big trouble….. Once again, we have a team who does not know what the hell they are doing.

Laurel, So true! I don’t think these so-called writers know anything about Y&R back stories..Y&R’s needs help soon!

TOTALLY AGREE ….. They should have this stuff mapped out to know where they are going … instead they are flying my the seat of their pants, and ruining the stories and the families!

I think what would help these writers would be to get some familiar faces back on y and r. Spice up the romance. Bring back the boardroom battles and bring back the Friday cliffhangers. It may not be the best but it sure would be more watchable than what we are getting.

Dylan is Paul’s son, Ivan can’t have kids….that’s the secret he told his lawyer. Now he’s setting Dylan up to get back at Nicky. Didn’t take a rocket scientist !! And who really killed Deedee ?? Adam didn’t hit anything….remember ??

I don’t even recognize YR anymore. It’s falling apart and if they don’t do something the show will be can
Canceled because they have torn apart everything that was good on YR
They need to change and bring back Kay . Kay knew what the fans wanted and she listened thats why YR was so fantastic. Fix YR and Save YR.

I agree, Kay Alden worked closely with William Bell and she understands the show’s history. Unfortunately delusional Angelica McDaniel will allow Phelps to remain at Y and r until it tanks and they can have reality programming all afternoon

Desiree…OH, YES!!!!! And…Kay Alden (1) respected us soap fans, (2) cared about what we wanted and (3) valued and appreciated ALL KINDS of opinions from fans. UNLIKE those very laughable 3 SOAP STOOGES JFP, SA and JP!!!!! Yep.

I want some Jess Walton on every day but her living in northeast wherever must make things hard. Glad I have what I have when she is on cuz nobody is better.

hopeful for the Kevin story and for goodness sake make him gay. It’s time and more Gloria too plz.

Need a business story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Michael I appreciate your interview with these new Y&R writers. It lets me know that after over 20+ years watching Y&R, I won’t continue. I loved Y&R’s fast moving and breathtaking episodes. Current stories are an insult to long-time viewers, especially since they make no sense. Favorite characters (smart, savvy, business people) are always victimized by new characters and written as clueless. That is ridiculous and old. Then these new writers make the characters behave in ways they would never behave. Plus, who wants to watch long-time couples always break up, as if they can’t do anything else.

I read that there are new Y&R viewers and ratings are higher. More recently I read that at least 111,000 viewers have stopped watching. It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that Michele Stafford (Phyllis), Billy Miller (Billy), etc., all have left Y&R and then turned up recently on a different soap opera! Y&R has become too confusing and depressing for me. I’m glad that the writers are happy with it, but many viewers are not!

Summer is definitely not a character I care to see more of.

This just seems like a bunch of mumbo jumbo and the same crap we’ve been seeing.

I don’t have any clue what these writers are thinking. The show has lost more than a fifth of its audience since Michael and Billy left and the demos get lower and lower.

Is there a plan in place to fix this? Because these two certainly are not the answer. Where is Jack Smith or Kay Alden or Sally Sussman Morina. JFP’s regime has become a failure.

Shick is so passe. Been there done that over and over and over. Everyone on the show is a pathetic loser. These writers are the worst of the bunch. I thought this was one of the lamest interviews every. Nothing was really said other than them trying to pay themselves on the back for destroying the best soap in the business.

That’s the impression I got! Trying to make themselves sound like geniuses when they have no clue what they are doing. They knew from the beginning that Mariah was fake Cassie? No way!! Not from what we saw and heard on screen.

Haha! I won’t tune in because they only use Cane and Lily as fillers! They deserve so much better than this! Seriously why did they fire MAB? I hated MAB but there was no need to fire her FOR THIS!!! Those 2 head writers are horrible and JFP is even worse! MAB had better ratings when she was fired so let’s hope JFP and all her friends are given the boot (very) soon! It can’t get worse at this point except JFP stays… SONY and CBS better take action now before it is too late!

Hey at least they get screentime and love scenes. They put Likey through hell and back last year and when they spoiled a “passionate” encounter for Likey which fans got excited about it ended up being them sadly hugging in bed for 20 seconds because they found out they weren’t having a baby. They are lucky if they get a one minute long love scene a year. Now they have been backburned and are shown once every couple weeks and their family members are on even less. The Baldwin stories garnered Y&R four emmy nominations this year, and as a reward all three Baldwin actors have been shoved to the backburner.

Well said friend I am so disgusted at the treatment of Likey since Josh left. I h had hoped we would see them in as many love scenes as Lauren had with that disgusting pig Carmine and yet NOTHING and I thought MAB was bad.

This interview only confirms my conclusion that neither CBS or Sony give a damn about the future of Y&R. These two writers don’t have a clue about the history of the show or respect for its audience. How insulting. They know nothing about the characters they are writing for. It’s just plot driven drivel. To think they would have any input in selecting the replacement actors for Michael Muhney’s Adam and Michelle Stafford’s Phyllis is scary. Their selection of David Tom for Billy Miller’s Billy Abbott just shows how incompetent this regime is.

These two failed writers’ track records says it all. Y&R is headed for the same fate as ATWT, OLTL, and AMC. Get rid of them or just cancel the show.

I agree with you 100%. The writers are only interested in current new characters and could give less of a damn about the show’s history. I can’t see how Passante is praised for character development when she did the exact opposite at ATWT

Another thing that should have been brought up,is that many fans think Paul is really Dylan’s dad,which I hope turns out to be true,would have great storynooortunities.. After watchibgbtheir scenes,I would actually like to see Billy and Chelsea together..

These two writers don’t have a clue as to what the hell this show is about. Their description of Nick as “the Hero” was astounding. The man is serial adulterer and lied about his being the father of Summer. The man is not a hero.

The interview gave real insight as to why they have been writing for shows that have folded, like AMC and ATWT. This is just so sad. Y&R is a wreck right now. Now I know why. These two, plus the Executive Producer that hired them, need to be shown the door.

Nick is such a loser, he and Sharon are FF stuff now. He is not a hero. He is a cheating scumbag. Lily and Cane.. really? All they do is screw like rabbits while old man cane leers at Lily and rubs her in public like they are 12. DT is not working as Billy. I can only imagine how bad the Phyllis and Adam recasts will be.

We want to invest in the younger generation of the core families of Genoa City.
I’m calling “BS on JEAN”: “One of the things about this show that is so great is that the history of the show is so guarded and preserved, and so you do get to play younger characters in multi-generational stories, and being an important member of an important family.” Then WHY IN THE HELL did you kill Delia? She was the ONLY blood-related granddaughter of Jill Foster Abbott, the ONLY Grandchild of Esther, the ONLY child of Chloe (who is the Goddaughter of Katherine), ONLY Daughter of Billy Abbott!) THESE ARE CORE MEMEBERS OF THE SHOW! So much for preserving the younger generation of the CORE! You could have killed Fen or Summer and No Fans would have cared!

Bull, many would have cared if Fen or Summer would have been killed off. I hated Delia being killed off but that doesn’t mean they should have killed off Michael and Lauren’s only child or Phyllis’ daughter instead. ME and HK, who play Fen and Summer, are arguably the two best young actors they have on the show.

Are these writers for real? I couldn’t believe how unknowledgeable they are about the characters. The long time fans of this show should be respected instead of making up stories out of thin air that defy the show’s history. It’s disrespectful and insulting.

I have tolerated a lot of garbage these past five years or so. My favorite actor, Michael Muhney, was treated like trash by the show and the cast, but I stayed with Y&R. Now, I think I’ve had it. These people don’t know what they are doing. Passanante ruined ATWT. She’s destroying Y&R with her little friend right now. No thanks.

This interview did not help. These people have no idea what they are doing. And don’t seem to care that they are failing. Now our Michelle S. is on General Hospital and I am still p…ed about Michael M. He is Adam Newman! No one can play that character like Michael! He was treated unfairly. With the loss of three irreplaceable actors and this writing I can’t …

No mention of any of the black characters. Are we supposed to believe the people talking in this interview know squat about Y&R when nothing about Jill, the Winters, Lily, Cane are mentioned. You people do remember at one time 25% of this shows audience was African American. Shame on you Michael Fairman for ignoring these characters and for the writers in this interview to completely sidestep them.

Goodness and enough about Billy/BM and Adam/MM. You’d think they were the only 2 characters recast on this show. How about recasting Kyle with someone with some presence and talent, a greyer character with some brains to stick it to Jack, Billy, and Victor. And for god sakes, give Jill Foster Abbott Chancellor and let her anchor a part of the canvas. It’s ridiculous.

They did talk about Neil, Leslie, Devon and Hilary. So I don’t understand this comment. Are they not black?

If they really want to beef up the African-American set, they need to bring back Drucilla and Malcolm, two characters with boat loads of history and several connections to the canvas. Neil hasn’t had a real relationship with anyone since Dru “died” and Malcolm was a very interesting character, albeit not when Darius McCrary played him (terrible recast decision!) I’m still hoping Leslie’s husband Barton turns out to be Malcolm, because Terrell Tilford would do well in the role, IMO.

if these two are the writers for Y&R. I don’t expect to start watching again..I’ve never seen such low=brow SLs…and the nuBILLY? I can’t imagine a daughter to VN even being remotely interested in the little creep….his facial contortions, when he speaks, are laughable……..where did you find this actor…JR-HIGH drama club??? and NICK is a HERO????? He is a serial adulterer….he has sex with anything he can put on a desk.!!

Fire them please , I want my old young and the restless back with the original music, this show is unwatchable!:)

Nick Newman a hero?!! Thanks for the laugh. If this spoiled, selfish, hypocritical caveman is a “hero”, then I guess Victor Newman is the Easter bunny. Cute and cuddly. But seriously, this is the misogynistic crap we get with 3 women in charge?!! Female characters always have to be redeemed to become worthy of controlling and unapologetic men who never pay for their misdeeds. (And by “pay”, I don’t necessarily mean go to jail, but have other characters come down on them hard and stay mad longer than a day.) I agree with other posters who feel that these writers, (and basically every HW/EP since Smith and Alden) just don’t get who these characters are at core. Too much plot-driven, let’s-make-the-character-do-whatever-we-feel-like-to fit-a-dumb-story, hack writing. It’s insulting and NOT entertaining to watch our faves be altered to prop other characters (e.g., Dylan, Avery, Chelsea) or fit agendas. This longtime viewer is finally done.

At this point my dear ladies/writers I am Rhett saying to you “Frankly my dear I don’t give a dam,” Please continue to think about the Adam & Phyllis recast tomorrow like never. Adam, Billy & Phyllis were hard hitters to replace them bad move. You just admitted that David Tom is not cutting it you just too naïve to realize it.

I want Sharon and Nick to stay together this time. Just let them be a family and give them drama, but let them stay together already! Enough of this make-up-to-break-up stuff!

I don’t miss MM’s Adam or MS’s Phyllis. Out with the old, in with the new!

“Out with the old, in with the new?” Take me to the water so I can be baptized! There are only very few actors that can do as well as MM and MS did in their respective roles. Look at what David Tom is doing to the role of Billy. Technically, he is the old, as he was on Y&R fifteen years ago as the first adult Billy. Billy Miller was so much better in the role, and I highly doubt the show will find an actor suitable enough to play Adam as devilishly good as MM did, or an actress that will play Phyllis as fiery and sexy as MS did.

I’m over Y&R after reading this interview. It’s been made clear the new HW don’t plan on having what Sharon did to Summer and Phyllis come out and I have much better things to do then watch this garbage.

Despite, what I see daily on my screen, I have had the hope that things would get better and time and stories would evolve for other characters. This interview has quashed all hope. IMO, The show is now worse than it was in the last days of Maria Arena Bell.
The show no longer attempts to show their disdain for the audience. I was told that the show owes nothing to the audience, so, apparently the audience owes the show nothing. It is time to let go and find something else.

Shelly and Jean, despite my reservations, have truly continued making Y&R a soap once again worth watching. They’ve been writing interesting and compelling storylines, and I cannot wait to see what the next three years has in store for them. I’d love for Y&R to truly have an LGBT storyline; Phillip could return and have a lover, or lovers. I think it’s the one sole thing missing from the series.

They don’t write perfect couples, which there should never be in soap operas. They are compelling writers, and I cannot wait to see what comes next for the residents of Genoa City!

Scott, sorry but I’ve got to laugh. Jean Passanante destroyed ATWT and now she’s doing the same to Y&R. You’re comments just cracked me up.

Sorry that you feel this way, TD, but I disagree with you on every account. She has been saving Y&R, It’s Maria whose reign utterly destroyed the show. It’s funny how people complained about her story-dictated characters, but now that they’re character-driven, y’all complain more. Why are you never happy with the show? It’s the best it has been since before Maria Arena took reign.

And Jean did amazing work on ATWT.

“And Jean did amazing work on ATWT”

Too bad that her Amazing work led to cancellation

“She has been saving Y&R”

To bad that her saving y and r has led to the show hitting lows in the target demo for the last 4 weeks.

I feel exactly the same as True Detective. I watched (“suffered” is probably a more accurate verb) the final years of ATWT pinned by alleged writer Jean Passanante. I will go to my grave thinking that woman’s writing killed ATWT.

So far, it seems that she is doing the SAME thing with Y&R —- bland, uninteresting plots that focus on new, uninteresting characters while inanely ignoring all the potential in the history of the show that could drive future plots.

The strange decision to revisit the minor plot from 30 years ago about Nikki in a cult in order to make Dylan her son (done thru Ian Ward, a character who NEVER appeared in that old plot!) reminds me of the type of things Jean did on ATWT —– revisiting Allison’s birth to reveal another fertilized egg that became her brother; constantly mentioning “Susan Hughes” during the Nancy Hughes funeral but NEVER mentioning Don or Penny, the only siblings of Bob that we actually knew. Meanwhile, she can’t seem to write enough for Dylan — who quickly is becoming the Janet Cicconi of Y&R.

Jean just completely is off the mark and, sadly, has absolutely NO clue what she is doing or that her writing is so godawful.

How does this woman remain employed writing for soaps??? She worked on AW when it was cancelled, was the head scribe for ATWT for several years until it was axed, then scurries over to OLTL to write just in time for it to get the hook. With a track record like that, who in the world would hire this woman to write for their show??

Is someone intentionally trying to get Y&R low ratings and cancelled??? It sure seems like that to me with the hiring of folks like alleged writer Passanante. She is producing the same quality of swill that she gave us on ATWT and we all saw where that ended.

I like this site. However, I would MUCH prefer if there were some hard-hitting questions for a writer like Jean Passanante, given her well-known background. This interview seems nothing more than a “puff”, PR piece.

LOL I had to laugh too Truth. This team of wack writers have ruined this show,.

You guys are ridiculous really…..I agree totally with Scott the show has been awesome lately and i feel the writing team has done a great job with character development and recovering from the mess of the previous regime….the show is now focusing back on character driven stories, lots of romance, intrigue and humour…..if you are such a YR fan then support the show through its highs and lows …right now it is on its high and very proud of the writers in making the show watchable again….Kudos to Jill, Jean and Shelly !!!!

Finally glad to hear a refreshing and positive take, such as yours TORONTO!

First of all, I want to say “Thank You” to Michael Fairman, for your interview with the headwriters of Y&R. I have to say after reading and gaining more insights or getting a feel of these two headwriters, I can finally heave a sigh of relief. I realized that as a whole, Y&R will never ever completely feel like Bill Bell’s Y&R again. Maria A. Bell and her headwriters left Y&R a complete mess and chaos. Character or characters were no longer recognizable and some destroyed and the Sharon character got the worst of this terrible writing. I am very happy that the headwriters realized that they have to clean up the previous regime’s writing in order to fix a character or characters so these characters can move forward or evolved. I think the writing team is finally hitting its stride at this point and I’ve been following all of their stories and now that the stories are coming full circles, the twists and turns, are very intriguing and full of surprises, and really been enjoying some of the acting chops of the younger generation, specifically, Camryn Grimes’s as a hallucination first, then a real lookalike, hired by Victor Newman, for example. I am invested in Ian, too, and how he is influencing the lives Genoa City folks, specifically Dylan and Avery, and the whole cooking show, and if Avery and Dylan are sitting ducks or being conned. So, it looks like there are going to be a lot of reveals coming up and who Mariah really is and what Ian is up to will have major effects on lives. Can’t wait to tune in for that.

I am loving Ray Wise as Ian Ward! They’ve definitely found gold in this very talented actor!

Are we ever going to find out who really hit Delia with their car? Most of us don’t buy that Adam was responsible.

And I really wished this show could have worked out something with Billy Miller. I believe he really wanted to stay, but Y&R didn’t seem to want to work things out. Big mistake because with Michael Muhney leaving too, this left a huge gap. David Tom was alright on the show all those years ago, but he definitely does not have the charm and amazing talent that Billy Miller had. And I used to love Billy and Victoria as a couple. But that magic is gone.

I am happy to see Sharon finally finding some peace and happiness. I never thought it would be with Nick, but I’m okay with this as long as Nick stands by Sharon and never hurts her the way he did after Cassie died when he cheated with Phyllis. And I know Phyllis will be waking up at some point, but maybe she won’t remember a darn thing. One can hope.

Y&R is failing on all fronts! Nothing in this interview is getting me excited about upcoming story. Just more of the same recycled stories we have already seen with the exception of Fassie becoming Mariah. How many stalkers can we have? How many baby daddy triangles can we have? WE already did these stories in 2013. Please give us something brand new!

I wish they would hurry and bring back Adam and Phyllis but they seem to be totally stalled. I wonder what actor will decide to leave next…that’s all they seem to do under JFP!

Failing on all fronts?
I so disagree!
Despite a few frustrations, I have confidence for
the future, am enjoying some of the current storylines,
characters, etc., too. I for one will never jump ship!

As for Adam, I think next week or the following week, he
will make his appearance. Hope so. Curious to see the new
guy, and how his return affects Chelsea, etc.

Michael, Thank you for a great interview of these two talented Head Writers. For those of you fans with limited space in your brains, it’s really time you should move on, stop watching Y&R, stop the hate, enough MM, is gone get over it already!!!!!You really don’t have a clue on what it takes to write a story….the story arch is great, and interesting, if only to me.unlike GH, which core family ties have been marginalized, and almost disappeared underneath the crime laced family ties, Sonny C……..his kids his connections…..the Young Restless is a great show

Funny thing Carlos, everybody has a right to their opinion and a lot of folks don’t like it right now. To insult those that disagree with you shows your own lack of respect for other’s and their views.

Y&R has damaged itself with its audience. Jill Farren Phelps has allowed this show to sink into a mess and they blame her for the exits of several big actors, including Stafford, Miller, and Muhney. Any you know what Carlos? A lot of people aren’t going to get over it, so you just need to deal with it.

The show is lousy and these two women write it. Well, they stink and so does Y&R.

“Y&R has damaged itself with its audience.”
What does that mean??

Amen to this. We all have the right to our views without some jerk trying to tell us we don’t. This show is failing and failing in a big way to obviously MOST of us. Count the comments here and you can see way more are unhappy then are happy. I also think this was a real puff of an interview with very weak questions. I think there is a real lack in the leading lady department. All of the women are written as weak and needy and that is not why I tune in. We need some strong female characters . SHARON the wackjob is not it. The show is boring.. that is the worst part about it.. B O R I N G

Wow, I’d hate to be married to you Carlos. How insulting can you get?

Deal with this: I miss MIchael Muhney A LOT! I WANT HIM BACK!

I think the show STINKS.

That’s my opinion…you can deal with it.

I agree about the challenge of writing a soap.
Day after day. Pretty much every day of every year.
No summers off, like primetime. Gotta keep the
drama going, the ideas flowing…constantly…all the
while dealing with actors suddenly needing time
off, or deciding to quit altogether to pursue other things,
and having to switch gears to work around these changes,
etc. etc.

But having said that, that doesn’t mean the networks don’t
have a responsibility, in my opinion, to stay on top of hired
writers and keep them accountable. If the ball is dropped
too often, then obviously the whole show suffers and viewers
walk. I will never walk away, but the current writing does need
some improvement. For now I will focus on all that I still love
about Y&R.

Dear Jean and Shelly

Thank you for the “reset” on both Sharon and Nick. Both of them were trashed by the previous regimes and I am just so happy to finally see them both return to the wonderful characters they were.

Now, if it could just come out that Sharon never changed anything about Summers paternity and it was all just a hallucination on her part.
Summer fits in as an Abbott much better than as another entitled Newman brat like Abby. I love seeing her mentored by her daddy Jack and hope to see more of her at Jabot as an executive in training..

I think it would be interesting to make Sharon Ian’s daughter, and bring her mother, Doris back to the canvas – played by Kim Zimmer! There would be so many story possibilities there, like maybe Stitch helping Doris recover from her injury and allowing her to walk again. Plus, it would bring a powerhouse actress to the show, and start a new storyline for Sharon, which she is in desperate need of. The interaction with Sharon and Dylan as brother/sister would be interesting, and seeing KZ and RW go head to head as Doris and Ian would be fantastic!

As far as recasts go, I think Robin Christopher would be a great choice as Phyllis, and the only actor I could see remotely replicating what Michael Muhney had as Adam is Trevor St. John. Obviously, I would love to see MS and MM return to their roles instead, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

As far as Billy goes… I don’t even know what to say other than David Tom is ruining the character. Some people say he’s the “real” Billy and the show made a good choice bringing him back, but Billy Miller was so much better in the role. Billy and Victoria were my favourite couple, and now I don’t want them together anymore because DT and AH do not have the same chemistry she had with BM.

OK–I agree Summer is a great actress, and the character, as annoying as she has been in the past, needs to be made more likable. BUT–as so many have said in the past, I hate when soaps in general focus more on the younger cast (in the summer months), and the core players become background for the stupid woes of the younger cast. We need to remain focused on the core characters, while having the younger cast woven into their stories. And PLEASE–I want to see Fen in a same-sex relationship!

I do believe these two writers are doing the best job since since the failed LML/MAB eras, but that’s not saying much, unfortunately. LML came in like a bull toward a china cabinet, and MAB was plain clueless. I guess that Bell name didn’t mean much after all, because she ruined this show like no one could. The best person to write Y&R, frankly, is I. I have watched this show since the 1970’s, and I understand its history and its rich character palette like only a handful of other people do. I would push to bring back Ashley Bashioum (Mac), Eileen Davidson (Ashley), Thad Luckinbill (JT), Greg Vaughan (Diego), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), and Heather Tom (Victoria). I would purge this show of all its excess baggage and return it to its legacy of cross generational character driven drama. New characters would be established slowly before integrated fully into the canvas. Old characters would remain true to their personalities and histories. I have storyline arcs for each of the main characters, and I’m ready to go. 🙂

Michael, great questions, terrible answers! These two women gave ZERO insight! A waste of your time and the readers time!

What I don’t understand is that iff these women are such terrible head writers, why were they hired? You can look up anyone on the Internet these days – see their history – see what their strengths and weaknesses are. Is there such a dearth of good head writers? These women gave non-answers. I am not amused.

These two have ruined soaps all over the dial. How did they get their jobs? Phelps hired them, so they must be two of her FOJ’s. It certainly isn’t talent that got them these jobs.

Look at how many soaps they wrote are gone. Passanate wrecked ATWT and snuffed it out. Altman nearly killed General Hospital until she got the boot with Phelps. Things look bad for Y&R.

They are bad.. GH is doing so much better now those 2 idiots are gone.. Y&R is tanking in a BIG way.

Sometimes I think that a cartoon writer will have more insight and creativity than these writers

Lawrence…your comment made my day…LOL!!!!! I agree. Also…ANY cartoon writer would do WAY BETTER than those clueless Shelly and Jean chicks. Yep.

I only have one or two things to say: bring back Michael Muhney! Reunite Adam & Sharon so they can be a family with Faith and Connor (little ‘Peanut’), take their revenge on Victor, the Newmans and the entire Genoa City hypocrites, rule Genoa City, and take on the entire world!

They are trying to “reset” Sharon, not further destroy her.

Bring back Michael Muhney and Billy Miller. Big big mistake to let them go.

I have an idea… have a contest (Sony and CBS) and let fans submit scripts. Can’t possibly be worse than what these two ladies are coming up with. They do not know the show; they do not care about the fans. Sad. This show was classy. Kind of an embarrassment now. Bring back Michael Muhney and Billy Miller.

The truth of the matter is they aren’t going to bring MM or BM back so what is the real reason they fired them because the fans are not happy at all and most of them are not watching the show anymore so then another soap gets taken off the air because of one jerk who don’t look into things before she starts firing somebody and then they need to get rid of her instead I wish they never let her get into this soap it has be on top for how long now and now it is going down hill because of her and her alone get her OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Y&R needs a total *Reset* not just a single character! Its a complete and utter mess obviously with the penmanship of these writers and JFP. Reading this interview and their history explains volumes. The 26 Daytime Emmys nominations? They had categories to fill. I just do not understand all the recasts, firings of key actors, story lines that are going nowhere and frankly don’t care anymore to watch. This fiasco has gone on too long for this former viewer. I would rather watch my clothes dry in the drier…it would be more interesting than Y&R now.

“I think it’s really…about putting yourself in the public eye and the consequences, and also this blooms into a bigger and more global story with characters you probably wouldn’t obviously connect that are part of the story.”

I’ll be very surprised if the cooking show yawn-fest doesn’t end up being nothing more than Austin the camera-man becoming Summer’s first boyfriend and then turning out to be a stalker obsessed with Avery.

Good God. The last thing we need is MORE Summer Newman/Abbott. Blech. Zzzzz.

The show has lost alot of excitement. Sharon has been raised way higher than she should be. To write about Sharon, you have to remember all the things she did and said before she is considered the person we are supposed to except as the best person.
Sharon has been convining her whole time on Y&R. We viewers that have been watching for the full time remember all and hate to see it slip by the writers that have been added to the show.
Phyllis fans are at great numbers and want her to come back and settle the score with Sharon. Phyllis should be the hero of this storyline. Phyllis should be the one to get Ian out of Summer’s life. Phyllis is the one that needs to protect her child. Many of Phyllis’ fans are wanting to see Phyllis put Sharon in her place. Let Nick keep sucking up to Sharon because he has always been to her rescue. She will never be able to stand on her own. Now, when the writers try to get her to stand alone and pass over her muddy past, the Y&R fans really don’t like it.
Just let Y&R come back to the dark side it was on. Loved it when the show went off one day and you sat on the edge of your seat to see what was really going to happen. Finger bitting endings. I, along with many others would love to see that type of excitement return. Another thing is the show needs to end the storyline before moving on. Who killed Hightower?, who really killed Delia? ETC. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to express myself here. I love the show the way it was. I am now beginning to not care if I watch it today or not. 🙁

Huh??? Are these two chicks for real??? This is, like, the most LAUGHABLE interview ever!!!!! Also…Nick is a hero and Sharon is in much better shape now?!?!? Oh, really…on what planet?!?!? Gimme a break already!!!!! Nick is acting like a clueless and lovesick college frat dude in heat and Sharon is becoming more and more dim-witted each day. It makes me sad that the character of Chloe is now off the Y&R canvas. But…I DO NOT blame Elizabeth Hendrickson for abandoning the sinking Y&R ship. At all. I APPLAUD her!!!!! EH did the right/sensible thing by leaving Y&R. Bottom Line Here: Shelly and Jean DID NOT answer any questions at all. All they did was give answers that were BLECH AND EVEN MORE INSULTING!!!!! No wonder Y&R continues to sink further and further!!!!!

TOTAL LAMENESS ALL THE WAY!!!!!

General Hospital

(INTERVIEW) William deVry Talks on His Roles in Hallmark’s ‘A Whitewater Romance’, New Film ‘Pocket of Hope’ and His Time on the Soaps

For soap favorite, William deVry life-after-daytime has been reinvigorating, filled with new projects and new directions. This Saturday, May 11th he can be seen in the latest rom-com from Hallmark, A Whitewater Romance (8pm ET/PT) starring Cindy Busby as Maya and Ben Hollingsworth as Matt who play intense business rivals, and featuring Will as Jim Burdett, set against the backdrop of the outdoors and Canada.

In addition, Wil has been busy prepping other projects in which he is executive producing and starring including: Colt & McQueen and Christmas in Bordeaux, and producing and starring in a very dramatic departure for deVry, as the lead in the new true-life story feature film, Pocket of Hope.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Wil to get the lowdown on his latest and upcoming roles, his expanding career aspirations, and to get his reflections on his three main soap roles: Julian Jerome on General Hospital, Storm Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful and Michael Cambias on All My Children. Read on for what deVry has been up to of late and his reflections of the past.

Courtesy/Hallmark

In A Whitewater Romance, you play the character of Jim Burdett, tell me about him?

WIL: My character runs this whitewater rafting company and the deal is that there’s a corporate retreat that is organized at my company. Jim is sort of old school. He’s been running the company for quite a lot of years. Jim’s not social media savvy. In the story, Maya and Matt get there, and they end up obviously enjoying themselves at this corporate bonding retreat. They discover that Jim was going to close down the company. He stayed open specifically to accommodate this corporate retreat. And then, of course, Cindy Busby’s character, and Ben Hollingsworth character do this little online thing for Jim and get business booming. Before he knows it, the entire summer is booked with clients and they basically saved his company. It’s a feel-good movie with beautiful, stunning locations.

And, are you a good guy in this?

WIL: It’s almost like, wait!  Will is playing good guy? It’s funny because our director, Jason Bourque knows I’ve been playing bad guys for so long. Even the Christmas movie that I did with Terry Hatcher, Christmas at the Chalet, I went through such an arc. My character was so focused in his business and kind of unhappy because he was living his life for other people, and you don’t really realize that you might be slightly unhappy because you don’t take time to do inventory for yourself. In A Whitewater Romance, Jason had this idea that I was this really kind of ‘happy-go-lucky’ guy. And by the second day of shooting, he goes, “I think maybe Jim is a former military …” We both laughed because it was a subtle joke, because you know, I can be a little bit serious.

Photo: Willdevry

How was it to work with Ben and Cindy?

WIL: Great. Cindy being a lead, they set an example for everybody. Cindy is so low key and very friendly, and basically the trailer door is open if you want to discuss anything. Ben was also a producer on this. He might have had a little more stress on him than just sort of acting. But honestly, you couldn’t tell. Both of them had a good sense of humor. I would work with either one of them in a heartbeat again.

You have some exciting news to share; as you are about to be the lead in a new film?

WIL: Yes, I’m the lead in a new film called Pocket of Hope. It’s based on the true story of Chad Gaines, and I am playing Chad. It’s a beautiful movie. It’s in the present day with Chad talking with his daughter. He’s always been reluctant to share his past with her, and because there was a lot of trauma involved, he didn’t really want to put her through that. She’s no longer a young lady and so he feels now is the time to share that. There are a lot of strong flashbacks in the movie. It goes back between the past and the present, which I think is really engaging. The budget is well over a million dollars. We start filming at the end of May in Los Angeles, and then we will go on location in August to shoot the remaining scenes.

Courtesy/Willdevry

How do you feel about tackling a dramatic role such as this with tough subject matter?

WIL: It’s a heavy-duty role. There’s a lot of responsibility. I’ve prepared my whole life for these kinds of roles. It’s really exciting to play a true life individual, who has a story to tell. I think it’s a great honor for me and for the director/producer David Kohner Zuckerman, as well. David is wanting to do Chad’s story justice. We’ve got a good team for this. Robert Altman Jr’s, Cora Atlman, is playing my daughter. When you find a troupe that you like to work with and you can collaborate with, you stick together. So, we have David, as I mentioned and also Deran Sarafian, who is consulting on the project. Deran and I have been working on my other project together, Colt & McQueen. We are the luckiest people in the business right now to be working with Deran. He has had a lot of successful pilots that he’s done for Fox, ABC, and NBC and also Marvel and Netflix shows. He was also a producer on House for Fox.

Photo: Willdevry

In Colt & McQueen, you play a former LAPD detective, right?

WIL: Correct. He was basically dishonorably discharged for something that he didn’t do. He is going be trying to clear his name of any wrongdoings. However, in order to make a living, he sort of does these unsanctioned assignments for the captain of the LAPD, who is also on his way out. He’s a good guy. Kin Shriner (Scott, GH) is in it and he kind of plays a man of the streets who goes by “The Professor.” Rebecca Staab (Elizabeth, Port Charles, et al) is in it, and she plays the character with the code name “Leather Jacket” within the LAPD system. We go into production on it in July.

You’re doing your own projects now. That must be liberating in some ways and harder in others.

WIL: I just said, “Look, if I’m going to stay in this business, I have to have some control over my career now as opposed to just auditioning blindly.” That can be a frustrating process. I am learning a lot because I’ve never produced before or executive produced, but the effort is there, and the will to do so is there.

Photo: RStaabIG

Speaking of projects, you have another one you are working on, a romantic comedy called Christmas in Bordeaux. What is the theme of that one?

WIL: It’s a tale of family traditions, renewed passions, for love and life and spiritual and cultural awakenings. Finding value in the time we have left. And of course, a happy ending for all involved.

As an actor, when you finally get to the point where you get to act you probably really enjoy that. It’s just the challenges of all the things it takes to get there that can be daunting for a performer.

WIL: As an actor, you have to be so good and so comfortable and embrace the rejection. The rejection has to feed you. It can’t defeat you. However, I kind of do take everything personally. If a casting director doesn’t want to bring me in for something that’s their prerogative. I don’t really get angry about it, but I take it personally because I kind of feel like, they should bring me. I can’t just sit back and accept my fate based on other people’s ideas of what I’m capable of or not capable of. Sometimes my resume is a benefit, and sometimes it’s a detriment. It’s up to me to change the narrative.

Photo: JPI

What would you want to say to the GH fans who had been so supportive of you through the years?

WIL: It blows me away how loyal they are, and their passion. I want them to be of aware that. I’m excited to work for myself, and if that doesn’t work out, I am very comfortable going on to do something else with my life. Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH) and I had talked about it at one point, and how she absolutely loves the business. I have other things that interest me and move me. I hope every single fan of Julian Jerome comes along on this journey with me.

Photo: JPI

Looking back, do you think your best role on the soaps was Michael Cambias on All My Children?

WIL: I think with Michael Cambias that All My Children destroyed the character. I sat down with the executive producer at the time, Jean Dadario Burke, and she said, “You’ll be here as long as you want. We did a focus group and you’ve got a 96% approval rating. That’s through the roof.” Two days later, I was called back into her office as they had fired the head writer. I was told Megan McTavish was coming back and they were going to make my character irredeemable, which as everybody knows, Michael Cambias went on to do horrible things to Erica Kane’s (Susan Lucci) family and then he was off the show.

Photo: JPI

Then, you went on to portray Storm Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful and the heartbreaking suicide storyline which saved Katie’s (Heather Tom) life, but cost Storm his.

WIL: Storm had a lot of potential. When you’re going through such a beautiful, heart-wrenching, horrific story like that, I wanted to give the audience a lot of credit. Soaps have a smart audience. I wanted them to go on the journey with me. I didn’t want to ruin it for them by playing the problem. I didn’t want to create the drama before it was time to pay the price, if you know what I mean. I allowed it to play out on-screen without any foreshadowing. I think that’s why it worked and that’s why it broke everybody’s heart, and I think that’s why it won a Daytime Emmy for Best Drama Series. Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) trusted me with a vehicle that ended up being the Ferrari for that year. I’m eternally grateful to him.

Photo: JPI

Do you ever check out General Hospital nowadays to see how your old castmates are doing and what is happening in Port Charles?

WIL:  I like to check in. I like to see what Kin Shriner (Scott) is up to, and I like to see who’s showing up and who’s going. I like to see Maura West (Ava) who is such a terrific actress and who played my on-screen sister. We had such a good working relationship and I hope she is on the show forever.  I was happy with my eight years on the show. I knew for 18 months it was time for me to leave. I knew in my heart the character was done. Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) was thrilled with how I left the show. Those six and a half years on General Hospital were a lot of fun. I really loved going to work.

So, will you be watching William deVry in ‘A Whitewater Romance’ this weekend on Hallmark? What do you think about his upcoming projects and roles? Miss him on daytime? Comment below.

 

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Interviews

(INTERVIEW) Y&R’s Peter Bergman Deconstructs Jack’s Desperate Move to Sober Up Nikki, the Repercussions Ahead, and the Loss of TV Mom, Marla Adams

This week on The Young and the Restless, the top-rated soap deliver first in its five decades. An episode aired involving only two characters; Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) and Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott).

At its epicenter was Jack trying to stage his own intervention, of sorts, to get Nikki to stop drinking herself into oblivion as her battle with alcoholism escalated to a whole new level. Alone in a suite at the GCAC, Nikki has bottles of booze everywhere.

Jack, who is Nikki’s sponsor, finds her and for most of an entire episode tries everything he can think of to make her sober up, but she continues to hit rock bottom and doesn’t want to be saved. After she ridicules him in a drunken stupor, about how he failed her as her sponsor, it sends Jack, an addict himself, over the edge. Next thing you know, Jack is drinking with Nikki, and then takes it one step further and orders some pills from his dealer. And from there, things take a deadly turn.

Photo: JPI

Peter Bergman and Melody Thomas Scott have a long history on Y&R together, plus she was instrumental in bringing him to Genoa City in the first place. In story, Jack and Nikki were married from 1990-1994, but things came crashing down between them due to alcohol. Years later, in a case of history almost repeating itself, it once again almost destroyed their bond, but instead, the powerful moments bonded them together for life.

It is without question, that Peter Bergman and Melody Thomas Scott are Michael Fairman TV’s picks for the Power Performance of the Week, and for Bergman, who has already nabbed 24 Daytime Emmy nominations in his storied career with 3 previous wins, this performance surely will land him his 25th next year and maybe even Emmy gold.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Peter shortly after the heartbreaking episodes aired to get his thoughts on: Jack’s motivations throughout the key scenes, what will happen to Jack now, and the passing of his on-screen mother, Marla Adams (ex-Dina), who passed away on April 25th at the age of 85. Here’s what this iconic actor, who is known for the excellence of execution in his craft, had to share in our conversation below.

Photo: JPI

Well, my mouth dropped. I just could not believe how gut-wrenching this episode was. It was like a twist on the classic motion picture, Days of Wine and Roses, but on steroids.

PETER: That was a wild trip, I’ll tell you. As it was presented to me, it was the story of Jack going too far to help Nikki. When I got the script and saw that it was one of those great, ‘the tables turn,’ suddenly you’re on the receiving end. And normally in daytime television, the table doesn’t turn for about four days. And, in one episode, this giant shift happens. It was really rewarding to do that stuff with Melody with whom I have so much history. Some of my first scenes on the show were with Melody. My first couple years I was glued to Melody. So, it was pretty powerful for me. It really was. 

When you saw the script and you saw that Jack put his sobriety in jeopardy for Nikki, you’re left with all these questions, because it’s such a severe turn. I’ve been kind of tracking the response on social media, and some people are like, “Oh, that would never happen.” But we also have to take into account the dramatic license Y&R is taking here. What are your thoughts?

PETER: I think we have to give dramatic license. But I think too, Jack kept appealing to the goodness in her. It was covered by all of this addiction and alcohol. And the best way he could find her kindness, her goodness, was by putting himself in jeopardy and watching her come alive.

So, Jack knew what he was doing?

PETER: Yes. He knew what he was starting, and then it went too far. Jack knew he wanted to shock her into sobriety, shock her into clarity and he went too far and he’s going to pay for it.

Photo: JPI

Peter, this is an Emmy-performance! I’m calling it now.

PETER: Oh, well, it’s very, very, kind of you to say. Maybe I can get my 91st nomination. (Laughs) It was a crazy journey in so many ways. I found out about this episode, strangely enough, when one of the audio guys said to me, “Hey, I heard about your show next week with Melody?” I go. “What show is that?” And the sound guy said to me, “They were talking in the booth yesterday. It’s like an episode with only the two of you in it.” I thought he had to have heard that wrong. We’ve never, ever done that. Turns out, he was right. It was a day later that Josh Griffith (EP and head writer, Y&R) came to me and said, “Well, you ready?” I said, “Ready for what?” And, off we went …

The episode was like watching a two-person play in many ways.

PETER: It was just that, and it kind of came out of nowhere, but certainly didn’t come out of nowhere history-wise with these two characters. Obviously, Jack’s been Nikki’s sponsor here for a while. I think what I’m happiest about is this undercurrent that was there all along – that Jack really wanted to be there for her. Jack and Nikki were married once, and it really fell apart around alcohol. Jack was not the right person to be there for her. Back then, he was an enabler. He could not help her. Everything ended because of that and eventually, Victor (Eric Braeden) stepped in to take over Nikki’s sobriety and everything went. I think Jack has seen this opportunity to redeem himself. It meant the world to him. And suddenly that’s on the line, and it’s “Oh, God. I failed her again.”

That was the gut-wrenching part. You could see that there was a shift in Jack the moment Nikki went in on him and how he failed her as a sponsor.

PETER: I’m very glad to hear you say that. That really was the turning point. That was when Jack came up with this wacky, crazy, dangerous idea.

Photo: JPI

Does Jack believe what he said, when he started to drink, and says, “I’m Mr. Uptight?”

PETER: In fairness, it’s something she called him. They had to cut parts of this thing. Nikki was just tired of laced up, uptight Jack. She said it in those terms, and we ended up kind of keeping it in there as “Mr. Uptight” because it is kind of true. Jack’s gotten awfully straight-laced and buttoned up. And, well, you saw how he loosened up a bit. Wow!

What did you think about the story point that Jack has his drug dealer’s number on his phone?

PETER: That’s what addicts do. They tempt themselves. “You see, I’m stronger than my addiction. There’s a bottle of vodka in this house, and I am beating it.” That was Jack’s bottle of vodka in essence, in his phone.

Courtesy/CBS

So, when he started taking the pills, did he literally lose control of himself by taking them, or, was he just doing it to keep proving a point to Nikki?

PETER: Oh, no. The first one was very strategic and very carefully planned. The problem is once you fail, once you cross that line, you’re tempted to see what else is over here on the dark side. Before he knew it, he’d had three of them and then more, and then another after that and mixed with the alcohol. It pretty much did him in.

Courtesy/CBS

I’ve seen people in that kind of state, and you nailed it. There was the moment that was heartbreaking. His teeth were clenched from the drugs, he was so high on the pills combined with alcohol and he was asking Nikki to dance with him.

PETER: I have, too. I’m sad to say, I too, have been in that position. Going to help a friend out who ended up dying for all his bad choices.

Courtesy/CBS

Later, Jack gets resuscitated by the paramedics and then later Victor shows up. How is Jack feeling after his arch-nemesis walks in on the aftermath of this traumatic scene with his wife and Jack?

PETER: When the paramedics show up, frankly, Jack isn’t sure what they did. They gave him an injection to counteract the drugs in his system. Jack didn’t come around for quite a while. And when he does, Nikki is just shocked sober, trying to get help for Jack, Eventually, Victor shows up. Jack kind of has no leg to stand on, and he eventually makes it home. His son, Kyle (Michael Mealor) is the first person to see him in the house, and there’s clearly something very wrong with Jack. He’s trying to get back on track, but he’s just had a near-death experience.

Courtesy/CBS

And now of course, it’s going to be what will happen when Diane finds out what happened with Jack and Nikki.

PETER: Oh, God. The next thing is Diane walks in, and I mean this poor woman, he never called her. He never called her to say “I’m safe.” She spent a whole night worrying, and then she gets to find out where he actually was. Oh, that’s got to be reassuring – he was in hotel room holed up with Nikki – that should comfort her.

Photo: JPI

Originally, Diane warned Jack that is was a bad idea for him to be Nikki’s sponsor.

PETER: Oh, yeah. That’s the worst part. She saw this coming. Diane literally meets the Jack she never knew and her argument is, “Wait! You’re capable of this? Did you once think of me? Where do I fit into any of this?” It’s a pretty powerful argument. Jack didn’t call her to say, “I’m in a weird situation. I will be home as soon as I can. I am safe. I am fine.” He could have been dead as far as she was concerned. And she comes home and he wants to get back on track. Yeah. It’s bad. He’s like, “I’m sorry about that. And let’s get back to our life.” Is she not ready for that!

With what he just experienced, and taking pills again, do you think Jack is very worried that he won’t be able to help himself and he will go down a path like Nikki just did, where he can’t help himself and fight off his demons?  

PETER: I think Jack has convinced himself this is a one-off. This happened once, and it went way too far, and it’s not going to happen again. And, you know how dangerous that talk is.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Melody’s performance when Nikki hit rock bottom and was stinking drunk in the GCAC suite with Jack?

PETER: It was just stunning. I got to tell you, as an actor, the hardest thing in that sloppiness is you’ve got to keep the scene moving. She was just spectacular.

Courtesy/CBS

I know you don’t often get more than one take on the soaps, but what was the approach to taping this episode?

PETER: No, we don’t get a lot of takes, but for this, it was broken up a little bit such as, “Once we get to this point, we will move the cameras upstage, and we will pick up on that line. We will pick up there.” There was an 11-page scene and I think we did that in one or two takes. It was quite a lot. Incidentally, that week I had three other episodes to tape. Is that incredible? I had so many words in my head. I’m not complaining. They decided to do something that’s never been done before. They decided, “I want do it with Peter Bergman.” Of course, I am honored and flattered and really happy that it went as well as it did. I said to my wife, Mariellen, “What did you think of the episode?” She saw it before I did. She said, “Here’s what I think. I think it was very well- written.” You’ve got a drunk character there. She could say all kinds of stupid things, and she was still kind of sparky and snotty underneath that slurring and everything. She was also acerbic and sarcastic. There was a point at which, as you said, you watched Jack and everything just changed and that’s good writing.

As a viewer, to make this make sense to us, Jack had to do something drastic to stop Nikki from drinking because nothing else was working.

PETER: Yep, and then, he has all of that substance in him and alcohol, and he says, in the most clear terms, “I would do anything for you.” And it’s just, “yikes.” What just happened?

Photo: JPI

Eric Braeden was touting your performances on social media. He said, “Watched scenes between MELODY and PETER , NIKKI and JACK, and they were brilliant! Their scenes in the hotel! Performers of the damn year!!! It was very difficult to keep this up, scene after scene and not hit a bad note! You don’t realize how many pages of dialogue that was!” Did you happen to see that?

PETER: I didn’t know that. That’s very, very generous. I am beyond respectful to what Eric and Melody had built together, so that is giant generosity on his part to do that.

What do you think this means for Jack and Nikki? Do you think they could ever be together again as a couple given all they have been through together?

PETER: It’s hard for me to imagine they could be together. They’ve been through too much. She’s in rehab, and Jack will be answering to everyone’s vitriol about his bad choices. I think, when he sees Nikki again, she will be the only person that understands what they went through. It’s hard to define, this isn’t romantic. This is shared experience, shared trauma. This was such destructive behavior and desperation.

Courtesy/ABC

It was Melody who originally recommend you for the part of Jack Abbott, and here the two of you are decades later tearing up the screen and the scenes.

PETER: Yes, absolutely. Melody did recommend me for the part. As story goes, I was on All My Children. That job had come to an end. Back then, there were 12 or so daytime television magazines. I seemed to be on the cover of all of them, because everybody seemed a little surprised that All My Children decided to let Peter Bergman go. Melody was on a flight with Ed Scott, who was then executive producer of the show. She saw my picture on the cover and she pointed to him. They’d been looking for somebody to replace Terry Lester for months. And she said, “That’s Jack Abbott.” How she got that from what I did as Cliff I’ll never know. So, Ed called the casting people and put that in motion.

Photo: JPI

Here you are together years later in this exceptional episode.

PETER: And here we are! My first day of work at Y&R, I worked with Jess Walton (Jill) and Jerry Douglas (ex-John). My second day, I worked with Melody at the old Newman Set.

Photo: JPI

I wanted to get your thoughts on the passing of your on-screen mother, Marla Adams (ex-Dina).

PETER: The passing of Marla Adams is bittersweet. She was so happy to return to The Young and The Restless. I had a hand in it all happening. Tony Morina (former Co-EP, Y&R) had asked me one day, “Is there anything you haven’t played on this show?” And I said, “You know what? Jack has a mother out there somewhere who did more damage to him. Every woman who’s been with Jack has paid for her crimes. I think it would be interesting if we found his mom.” That kind of set it in motion. Tony asked me to call Marla to see if she was interested, and that’s how it all began. So, Marla showed up and was delighted to be there, and so eager to do great work. She was so ready to tell this powerful story of Alzheimer’s and dementia. And partway into this story, it was clear that she was struggling with some of that herself. So, when people were judging Best Supporting Actress the year that she won, they saw this woman who was clearly just on a different plane than all those characters in that scene. It was stunning. Marla was a sweet, sweet woman who brought me the story that for so long we forgot to tell about Jack.

Photo: JPI

If you were to tease what’s coming up next here with Jack, what would you say?

PETER: I’m really fascinated to see how Jack and Diane survive this. I hope we have established enough of a real relationship between these two that we can dig deep. I love those types of scenes, and that’s what I look forward to. If I can do those digging deep scenes with Susan Walters, I’d be thrilled. In story, Jack has got to keep his eye on Kyle. There’s a growing resentment, a growing discomfort. I’m not sure what it is, but Jack can see it in Kyle and it could spell trouble. He is, in fact, Jack Abbott’s son.

Photo: JPI

Should we be worried about Jack? Perhaps, another slip might be around the corner and he could be headed to rehab?

PETER: No. I think we’ve established pretty strongly that this was a one-time thing. Thank, God! He had to pay such a heavy price for one slip. There is just no one who thinks he made the right move there. So, it pulls him up short at the right time before we’re into a real dangerous territory. I think Jack’s going to be all right. However, the damage he did that night to the trust with his wife, to his relationship with Victor, to his son’s belief in him, he did some real damage. And cumulatively all of these things, Ashley’s (Eileen Davidson) mental issues, then Nikki, and Diane and Kyle, and all these things are weighing really heavily on Jack. I hope he’s strong enough to survive it.

What did you think of Peter Bergman’s performance in the two-person episode where Jack literally put his entire life on the line for Nikki, but went too far? What did you think will happen to Jack’s marriage to Diane? Will he be tempted to pop pills again and suffer a similar fate as his ex-wife, Nikki has with booze?

Share your thoughts via the comment section, but first check out a few of the scenes from Melody Thomas Scott’s and Peter’s work in the back-to-back episodes on this story.

 

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General Hospital

(INTERVIEW) Adam Huss Talks on His Latest GH Return, Maura West, Nicholas Chavez, and Being a Swiftie

This week, General Hospital fans were in for a surprise appearance when Adam Huss reappeared as Nikolas Cassadine while serving jail time in Pentonville. He also had a very intriguing visitor, his ex, Ava Jerome (Maura West)!

In the key scenes, Ava seemingly tells Nikolas, who can do nothing about the situation, how she is getting closer to Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and within his inner-sanctum, much to Nikolas’ chagrin. For Huss, those scenes were difficult to shoot, because in real-life he has just lost his beloved grandmother, but he soldiered through and delivered an effective performance.

Adam has had quite the adventure as GH’s dark prince of the Cassadine clan. Having first subbed for former Nikolas, Marcus Coloma, a few times and over a few years time, then taking over the role and being instrumental in moving story forward, but yet not always physically on the canvas. Since taking over the role, Huss has put his own spin on Nikolas, while delivering some top-notch performances. Look no further than in scenes with the exited Nicholas Chavez (Spencer), the aforementioned West, GH icon Genie Francis (Laura), or the twins that the play Baby Ace (Joey Clay, who shares the role with twin brother Jay) to name but a few.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Adam to get his thoughts on: Nikolas’ emotional state now, where he thinks the storyline may head in the future, his co-stars, reflecting on what the late Tyler Christopher (ex-Nikolas) brought to the role, and yes, some banter with us about Taylor Swift!  Check out what Adam had to say below.

Courtesy/ABC

Nikolas is kind of the gift that keeps on giving, as you keep popping back up on GH. Just when you think the show literally has written him off, he makes a return. Look no further than on Monday’s April 29th episode when he gets a visit from Ava while in prison.

ADAM: Listen, I’ve really fallen in love with playing the character. I’ve stated that I’m super passionate about it. I really like that the more I delve into his backstory, I learn about the layers of who he is. Watching Tyler Christopher’s (ex-Nikolas) work, because he really originated that character, I become even more enthusiastic about it. I have so much respect for this medium as it is. I’m a fan of TV and film. I am coming in to the story sometimes not knowing where Nikolas may be mentally. So, it’s been nice to be guided once you’re on set. You can’t come in with just your ideas and you have to be open to the collaboration. It’s been a challenge, but a lot of fun.

In the scenes that just aired opposite Maura West, it seemed you could tell that Nikolas still cared for Ava.

ADAM: I thought that was a happy surprise. I am so fond of Maura as a person. I could say that we’ve mutually grown closer each time I come in and play the part. I don’t think Ava knew what she was going to really get when she came to see Nikolas. When he saw her, I think he was just taken with her. It was interesting. There was one moment when she’s talking about Sonny. I felt as if Nikolas didn’t want to hear this, but I was advised by our director, Allison Reames Smith and Frank Valentini (EP, GH), “Remember, Nikolas hasn’t seen her in months and this is really exciting for him to be sitting across from her. ” So that really fed the motivation.

Courtesy/ABC

Nikolas gets an earful from Ava, and he is left with her secret, which is the dose of medication in Sonny’s (Maurice Benard) pills are causing him to act erratic. Ava kind of admitted to Nikolas what was going on and what she was planning.

ADAM: She did, and you’re right. I think she told him because it was safe, and in her mind he’s not going anywhere.

However, Nikolas isn’t always on the up and up, either.

ADAM:  No, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get what he wants. This is all speculation, but maybe to get her away from Sonny he uses the information she shared. I think Nikolas is thinking that he doesn’t want to see her get hurt, and, “I cannot lose another person right now. I lost my newborn son,” in that, he is not going to raise him. And even bigger, he lost his son Spencer who he believes is gone. So, imagine then losing the love of his life. Their last interactions around New Year’s Eve showed that he still had feelings for her.

Photo: ABC

So, when you first met Maura, what was your reaction to this daytime dynamo?

ADAM: From day one, she was so lovely to me. I tested with her. I got to know her in that moment. She was just so welcoming and wanted me to succeed. Then, when I did fill in for Marcus Coloma, the first time, she and Ken Shriner (Scott) were super lovely. It was like, “You’re my scene partner today. You are Nikolas today. Let’s have fun.” Each time I came in to work, I got the same thing, if not more – more trust, more openness and kindness. Then, as you’re aware, my grandma passed right before these most recent scenes. Maura was so lovely about it. We were running lines, but she just wanted to stop and talk about it for a second. I almost didn’t want to come to work. I just wanted to get home. Maura really got me focused. It was something you wanted to get off your chest with somebody. Then we filmed, and she called me after, and just made sure I was doing alright. I said to Maura, “You are a class act, you know that. Thank you so much.”  I am so glad I didn’t have to miss the funeral and I still got to film at General Hospital, which my grandma loved to watch me on.

Courtesy/AHussIG

Now. did you have any context when you started that your on-screen mother was Genie Francis (Laura)?

ADAM: I did. In the nineties, when I was on Long Island in college and working as a DJ in the summers, I just remember seeing soap opera magazine covers. I’d see that triangle between Nikolas, Lucky and Elizabeth. So, I very much knew of the world that those people were part of. I knew how big the Luke (Tony Geary) and Laura wedding was and all of that. I definitely knew the legacy I was coming into. When I read these sides for the role, I was like, “I think this is Nikolas Cassadine!” Later, when I was on the show, and doing scenes with Genie, where Laura was warning Nikolas about making up with Spencer, she said, “You’re doing wonderful work.” To hear that from her was a big sigh of relief for me. I love connecting with actors in the eyes. I know when things are cooking when you almost feel like magnets in your eyes with another actor, because you’re drawing that emotion through them. The eyes are the windows of the soul, right? I felt that with Genie, Maura and Nicholas Chavez, too. You feel that magnet pull and it’s so beautiful.

Photo: ABC

I’m going over your gut-wrenching scenes in my head. There was obviously when Spencer hands baby Ace  to Nikolas, and then the baby is so taken with you, and the scenes where Spencer tells Nikolas how much he loved him as a young boy and vice-versa.

ADAM: The three scenes you just mentioned are highlights for me in shooting the show thus far. Those moments felt so authentic to me. As soon as Spencer got Ace in my arms, I just would melt, and it made me emotional just to hold him. And then, he really took to me. His mom was like,”I think you kind of remind him of his father,” because there is a similar energy. He’s just a great little actor and a great little empath. The moment with him laying his head on my chest was so emotional. In the one scene with Nicholas Chavez, he’s supposed to not hand me Ace till the end, but as soon as we started the scene, the baby reached out to me with this smile. Nick is like, “OK, here you go.” We sort of had to improv around it a little bit, but it was amazing.

Courtesy/ABC

However, then there is the scene where Spencer cries about how Nikolas meant everything to him, too.

ADAM: I think Nikolas went to Spencer with the intention of like, “I’m taking this baby no matter what. And if I have to get through my son, I’m going, too.” There was so much power in the words that those writers chose especially when Spencer goes, “You were my whole world” as a child. Nikolas was saying how I loved him fiercely as a kid. I was watching a lot of those scenes between Nicolas Bechtel (ex-Spencer) and Tyler Christopher. That kid was such a dynamo, too, and he was so cute. Their bond stuck with me.

Courtesy/ABC

You are one busy actor. I check in on your Instagram and you are either in one town or the other shooting a horror film or other projects.

ADAM: Not just horror films, there’s a mix of Hallmark, too. I’m super excited about an indie film I did called Pieces of Lilo. It’s about an estranged father and son. In it, my father gets sick and I get stuck basically taking care of him. And then he passes and when I’m burying him, all these memories start flooding back. It’s this sort of flashback of basically trauma and how this trauma affected, my character, Jerry, in the present day. I fought for this part and I got it. We just wrapped in March. I’m excited about that. Next week, I am off to Long Island to do a rom-com called The Wedding Bell.

Don’t you also have a role in an upcoming Melrose Place-type streaming soap?

ADAM: Oh yes. I wish it was the Melrose Place reboot! I did work with Daphne Zuniga on a Lifetime movie, though. She was awesome, and we’re friends, so who knows? It’s called The BLVD and I’ve taped it already. There’s supposedly five more episodes they’re going to shoot soon. So, we finished the pilot and I play one of the one of the clients of the PR firm. It’s all about  cutthroat PR in Hollywood.

Photo: JPI

I know the fans really enjoy you in the part of Nikolas. However, the worst thing in soaps, I think, for any actor is having to replace a very well-known actor in a part; whether they’re good, bad, or indifferent. People just don’t like change. As a recast, you have to kind of go through that difficult part of waiting to be accepted by the audience. They often say how they don’t like the actor and then somewhere along the way, they are like “Oh! I love him in the part.” How has it been for you to ride that wave of, you’re not Tyler Christopher, you’re not Marcus Coloma, but now it’s you playing Nikolas?

ADAM: I get it. You want your original person to be the person, and sometimes they just can’t, and in soap operas, it’s more common. I also know it’s always polarizing. There were days in the beginning where I was like, “Oh, my God! Look at all these wonderful comments.”  Then it’s, “Oh, my God.” and as you’re scrolling, you see “I’m a hideous monster” to these people. I think you just have to have a very healthy perspective. Thankfully, I do have tools in my life to secure my foundation of who I am. And sure, on those vulnerable days or those ambiguous days where you don’t know your future at work, it could weigh on you. You could think of every, “Oh, my God! Everybody hates me.” I am so glad and grateful that people have come around. You’re not going to please everybody. It’s just the nature of what we live in now. I will say, the warm embrace and the acceptance, and people who have really come around, has moved me and then they’re feeling the same way about my performances. When I say I’m humbled by it, I’m blown away, it’s true.  I used to get annoyed at Taylor Swift when she would always say that. I’m like, “All right, honey, you’re selling millions of copies. Accept it.” But it is humbling, because you know how critical people can be, and for it to really start to change overtime, helps me every time I hear it.

Photo: DisneyPlus

Speaking of Taylor Swift, are you a Swiftie?

ADAM: I am a Swiftie, sure. I didn’t go to Taylor’s concert. I wanted to. But then, when my friend showed me The Eras Tour on Disney Plus, I was like, “That was amazing. That was like the best time.” I’d have a smile on my face for three and a half hours if I was at her concert. So, yes.

Did you listen to Taylor’s new album, Tortured Poets Department yet?

ADAM: Yes. I’ve been bouncing around in there. There are a lot of songs.

It’s a lot of songs. It took me a little bit to warm up to it. And now, just like in true Taylor Swift fashion, I’m like, “You know what? This track or that track is really good.”

ADAM: Yeah, at first they all sound the same for a minute.

So I wonder, how does Taylor Swift manage to suck us in all the time? 

ADAM: I know. I think it works whenever someone’s just raw and honest. Taylor gets a lot of flak for talking about her exes and stuff in her songs, but that’s her life experience. We feel that and we resonate with that, especially younger girls, or anyone really, can relate to these like breakups and this heartache. I think that’s where she gets you.

Courtesy/ABC

Hopefully soon, it’d be nice to see Nikolas not in prison orange. So, he gets out of jail and where does he go then?

ADAM: I don’t want him on the run because that’s the whole reason he came to prison, you know, to reform himself. So, for me, that was a nice sign of like, “Hey, maybe the reformation comes and you finally get to be free.” Maybe Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) gets her law degree back and then she’ll help him get out. Wyndemere’s gone. It’s out of his hands. I think it’s a good time for him to start a different life and for us to see Nikolas in different stories. Let’s see a different person trying to put his family back together and falling in love again. If it’s Ava, wonderful, would love that. I’d love to see a really great, big epic love story like he had in the past. I try to infuse that when Nikolas is sitting across from Ava. The last thing I want to say is, I wish I was there at GH more, too. However, I really trust in the process and the writers, and the way things unfold. So, I’m hoping that it all leads to a beautiful place.

What did you think about the scenes this week on GH between Ava and Nikolas? Do you hope Adam Huss is back on-screen sooner than later? What are some of your favorite scenes with him thus far? Comment below, but ICYMI, below are the touching scenes between Spencer, Ace and Nikolas that GH fans are still buzzing about.

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