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The World Magic Award Soap Interviews – St. John, Goddard, Case, Hennesey & Frantz

Daniel Goddard and St. John Magic AwardsCirque du Soaps!

Where else could I find magicians and soap stars gathered in one place? I mean, the drama, the cliffhangers, sawing a woman in half! Saturday night at the Barkar Hanger in Santa Monica, ATI (the producers who brought you this year’s Daytime Emmys) brought in some of the best known from daytime drama to act as presenters to some of the best known magic acts in the world, who were recipients on prestidigitation’s biggest night.

I had the opportunity to chat with The Young and the Restless Kristoff St John (Neil) and Daniel Goddard (Cane) on the red carpet, and then sat down with Y&R’s Sharon Case and GH and Cougar Town’s, Carolyn Hennesy for a joint interview. Later, I met up at the after party dinner with Adrienne Frantz (Amber) and her boyfriend Scott Bailey (Ex-GL), who were sitting with the wonderful Shanelle Workman-Gray (Ex-Flash, OLTL and Gaby, B&B) and her husband, actor, David Barry Gray.

Y&R’s Eric Braeden (Victor), who presented the final award of the evening to the top magician of the year, Greg Frewin, was a no-show on the red carpet, snuck in during the taping of the show for his part in the show, and was in and out of the proceedings. He did not speak to press, hence his absence from this feature. Matt Borlenghi, who was reportedly on, then off, then expected back on General Hospital as a reported “Cassadine”, in late December, and his very pregnant and beautiful wife, Heather, also attended the event.

The World Magic Awards are set to air in November on MyNetworkTV affiliates around the country. Be on the lookout. And now, with the wave of my magic wand…here are the World Magic Award Interviews! Poof!

KRISTOFF ST. JOHN

MICHAEL:

So you are here presenting which Magic Award?

KRISTOFF:

Best Comedy Illusion Award with Goddard.

MICHAEL:

Are you going to ignite the Buzzworthy Radio drama again?

KRISTOFF:

Yes, that is correct. Laugh like me. (Laughs) I am a fan of this show and I have come back as a repeat presenter.

MICHAEL:

So Eric Braeden (Victor) who is a presenter here tonight is in a much publicized contract dispute with your show Y&R. What are your feelings on the situation that have Eric written off the show so far? His spokesperson has informed the media, “He may or he may not be back.”

KRISTOFF:

I think that no comment is the best policy to take when other actors are going through contract talks. I don’t believe Eric Braeden will leave the canvas as the character of Victor Newman, but if he does, it would be sad to see him go at such a critical time in the show’s history. We have a guaranteed two years left on network television. I think in order to survive and to get another contract and licensing agreement out of CBS, the wise decision would be to get him back. Is it the wisest decision for Eric to accept the terms of the contract? I don’t know, and I cannot comment on that. It would be a huge loss to the show and the audience worldwide.

MICHAEL:

Were you at the set a few weeks back, when Eric said his “goodbyes” to the cast and crew?

KRISTOFF:

I was not there, but I heard about it. You know my gut tells me that he will come back, but it is a standoff right now. I have been there in the same situation only it wasn’t much of a stand off. (Laughs) I came to the gunfight without a gun.

MICHAEL:

Now, what about the ongoing situation with a return to “Y&R” by Victoria Rowell (Drucilla)? Recently, comments were made that alluded to some people in the cast who were impeding her return, and seemed like it was aimed at Christel Khalil (Lily)?

KRISTOFF:

I don’t think Christel said anything bad about Victoria. There is this assumption that certain people don’t want to work with Victoria based on past history. I believe those were Victoria Rowell’s comments; that there were individuals in the cast that may not be pleased if she were to return, Christel being one of them. And that is why I believe Christel answered back, “Hey, look, I have not said anything.” So, it’s stirring the pot. And it would be wise to bring her back, too. And, if the powers-that-be could somehow figure things out, it would be great!

DANIEL GODDARD

Daniel GoddardMICHAEL:

Cane and Lily have been battling Lily’s cancer together. Coming up, are we going to see a change in Cane since he has been duplicitous in the past? Perhaps… something shifty?

DANIEL:

I have a scene with Billy Miller (Billy) that we shot yesterday that was a good scene and it puts the dynamic of Billy and Cane back in a point where it does well. People like the push and pull of these two, and Maria Bell (Head writer, and co-executive producer, Y&R) is doing a good job at that.

MICHAEL:

What are your feelings on the Eric Braeden situation? Things are in such a state of upheaval in the industry; with the way contract talks and the state that the industry is in regards to actors and their agreements with the series and networks.

DANIEL:

I don’t have an opinion on what is going on with it, but I am certain whoever is reading the contracts knows what they are doing, and so I don’t think they would do something that would be morally or ethically wrong.

MICHAEL:

How do you feel Lily’s cancer storyline is playing out? Do you feel the show is missing some beats or do you like the approach?

DANIEL:

I think it has played out well, and I like the fact that Lily will turn to Cane and be all ‘angst-y’ and Cane lets it roll off of him, because I think there is humanity in the way she does it. They have pulled us off being on everyday just sitting around the house going, “Oh, we are sick. We’re sick. We’re sick.” That can get a little boring.

MICHAEL:

As the person going through the cancer as the caretaker, do you think it’s being told well from the husband’s perspective?

DANIEL:

That is the thing that makes the most sense. It’s not about what Cane is going through, it’s about what Lily is going through. Then you see his perspective as well and you think, “How could he not be tolerant of what she is going through?” She lost her uterus, her chance at having a child, is faced with death, and her best friend, Colleen just died. I mean, most people in that situation in real life would be “kooky” about now…..

MICHAEL:

Unless, they had Cane with them…..

DANIEL:

….Something like that. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Now Cane’s Australia connection got dropped after Phillip III returned. Are we finally going to delve into this mystery man’s true past and what he is hiding? What’s up with that?

DANIEL:

I would say it was placed in a warm environment waiting to blossom. The soil was warm and moist but the seed needed time to nurture and when it comes, it will be worth it.

MICHAEL:

How is your new little one, Sebastian?

DANIEL:

Sebastian is 10 months old and is a pistol and an animal. He is so physically strong at 10 months old. He’ll drag the chair and he will throw a ball, and he will go down the stairs with my guidance on his hands first. He is so strong; he can take the weight on his upper body. He is just an amazing little guy.

SHARON CASE AND CAROLYN HENNESY

Carolyn Hennesy Magic AwardsMICHAEL:

I am sitting with Sharon Case and Carolyn Hennesy, and the two of you are presenting together tonight!

CAROLYN:

A magical pair at the Magic Awards!

SHARON:

We are not presenting the award to The Twins, we are introducing their act. They are these young European boys and they do this amazing magic act.

CAROLYN:

Young European boys? (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

From the Czech Republic?

CAROLYN:

Who Cares? I am going to try and stay on the stage so I can disappear with one of them as part of the act. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Sharon, its very upsetting and a bit twisted watching yet another soap baby switch whose next victim is poor Sharon. What did you think when you read or heard you were going to be the next actress in soap opera’s notorious baby-switch plot device?

Sharon Case Magic AwardsSHARON:

I have never had a baby switch story. I thought, “Wow, I have never had to play a baby switch story,” and if you are on the show long enough, everything happens to you. That is what I thought. I like that there is always a twist so things keep going. There is always some reason Nick and Sharon can’t be together, and yet they yearn for each other, and I like that we keep that going.

MICHAEL:

Is Sharon going to be crying many more tears before this one is over? One can only expect.

SHARON:

She is trying to come out of this strong and move on with her life, and take this as a sign. Sharon did spend a month in the psychiatric institution so she feels stronger now. She still has sad moments for sure.

MICHAEL:

Is Adam going to go after Sharon to make this really twisted?

SHARON:

I can’t say, because you are going to have to watch. You know Adam, he is trouble!

MICHAEL:

Are you familiar with Cougar Town? Would you like to play a cougar a la Ms. Hennesy?

SHARON:

I love Cougar Town and I would love to play a cougar!

CAROLYN:

Carolyn HennesyThere is nothing more liberating than playing a cougar, especially the kind of Cougar I play on Cougar Town. My cougar had no filter and no morals. Nothing!

MICHAEL:

Good news… the series got picked up by ABC!

CAROLYN:

It got picked up for the entire season.

MICHAEL:

And Sharon, you just wrapped a feature film.

SHARON:

Yes. I just wrapped it a few days ago. It’s a film whose working title was, Love Will Keep Us Together, but for some reason that did not work out, so they are now calling it Man of the House but now there is a conflict with that title. I don’t think it comes out till June 2010, so they have some time to figure that part out. It’s a romantic comedy and I play the lead with David James Elliot. It was fun, and working with David was great.

MICHAEL:

Sharon, Eric Braeden has left the building, so to speak, and for the moment is off Y&R due to contract negotiations. What are your thoughts on the Braeden situation and soap contracts for actors, as we move in 2010 in a tight economic climate and as the genre fights for survival?

SHARON:

It is tough for the actors and the shows, too. Because of the economy and how all the shows are doing on television, the shows are having to make a lot of budgets cuts, and they need to figure out where to make those cuts, and where not to. That is what is important. I think cuts need to be made, but I think where and how the cuts should be made is important to the show, but also keeps the people on the show that the fans want to see.

MICHAEL:

Carolyn, James Franco is coming to GH!

CAROLYN:

Who? Who? Who’s James Franco? Oh, my God! I am so excited! And you know, Max and Diane have broken up for now…

MICHAEL:

…Do I smell a cougar move?

CAROLYN:

So, one can only hope James Franco will find Ms. Miller in his path. I don’t know who he is going to be. I heard he is coming to Port Charles as a mystery person, and I am so excited. I mean, how yummy is James Franco?

MICHAEL:

Pretty yummy! Another yummy favorite for soap fans is Joshua Morrow (Nick), who you have worked with for so many years, Sharon. How do the two of you feel at this point in the story juncture? Do you two still go over material together and discuss what the writers are asking you to play?

Sharon CaseSHARON:

We have worked together a long time, so we know what we want to do in our scenes together and what each of us wants for our characters relationship, so we get it. Every once in awhile we will tell each other, “I want to go in this direction with it and I am just letting you know.” The writing is great and it plays out so naturally. We have done it so long. It used to be our characters were together so long. I mean, there was drama and things would happen, but we were always together. Then when things started to happen: Cassie’s death, Phyllis’s affair, and all these changes that were happening, such as I was working with Peter Bergman (Jack) and Don Diamont (Brad). And Josh and I would talk about it back then and say, “Oh, my God. How do you feel about all this?” Now we are used to it. Storylines change. We are used to working with other people, before we were not, because we would only work with each other.

MICHAEL:

Carolyn, perhaps Diane could have a baby-switch in her future on GH. Every good actress needs one!

CAROLYN:

As long as that baby is Spinelli, I am just fine

MICHAEL:

Sharon, any tips you can give Carolyn on baby swaps on soaps?

SHARON:

Oh, don’t give up, and you will recognize your baby when you see it and probably, the neighbor had it! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And of course you will be drugged! Wasn’t Sharon?

CAROLYN:

First of all, Diane is not going to have a baby, because it would have to be by Immaculate Conception. However, I think this is one of the reason’s Spinelli drives her up a tree. I think, we as the cast are all trying to play it and focus the writers in on it; that if Spinelli were Diane’s son, it would explain so much.

ADRIENNE FRANTZ (After show interview)

Adrienne FrantzMICHAEL:

Adrienne, what did you think of all the magic acts?

ADRIENNE:

Some of them were really good. I liked the tiger act at the end, and I like the guy and the woman who kept changing her dresses, and the funny guys from Ireland. I felt they were good and fun, though. If you are going to see magic acts, you might as well go to the World Magic Awards.

MICHAEL:

Let’s talk about Y&R. It has been great watching you with Sean Kanan again and seeing Deacon and Amber fighting their attraction and Deacon’s skullduggery. The way your performance is coming across to the viewers is, you don’t know if she likes the guy or hates his guts. Was that intentional?

ADRIENNE:
Of course! It’s a fine line I am playing. We do have history and Deacon does know what Amber likes, and she does like sparkly diamonds. The other day she was wearing a diamond necklace. Amber does want to get money out of Deacon because he has put her though all this stuff. That is part of who she is, though.

MICHAEL:

Did you find those despicable hotel sex scenes that were degrading to Amber and to women, tough to play? It was tough for viewers to watch and quite sad.

ADRIENNE:

It was hard to play because you know she is doing it to save someone she loves, and at the same time it’s a horrible thing. That was the question going around the set. Would you do that? Would you sleep with someone just to save someone you love? That was the million-dollar question that was going around the set and most people said, “Yes, they would.”

MICHAEL:

Did you see those scenes back?

ADRIENNE:

We shot it twice and the first one was worse. We had to go back and reshoot it, and the second one was the one that aired.  The first one was way more degrading.

MICHAEL:

Michael Graziadei (Daniel) and you are good buddies, plus play love interests on the show. But it looks like…things might change between Daniel and Amber. Do you know where their the story is heading? I know you are not at liberty to divulge much.

ADRIENNE:

Yes, I do know where it’s heading.

Adrienne FrantzMICHAEL:

And when you found out where it was heading, how did it sit with you?

ADRIENNE:

Well, I do know one way it’s heading. I know super surprise twists that are going to happen. I am really excited to start playing this.

MICHAEL:

Will the audience still care for Amber when all is said and done?

ADRIENNE:

You will still feel for her, but you will also see why she struggles with the way she feels and understand what she is going through.

MICHAEL:

What did you think of the Terroni painting being part of the plot device to bring Deacon and Amber, Daniel, Kevin, Jana and Gloria into the fold?

ADRIENNE:

I think it’s interesting and creates an interesting arc. Deacon started making forgeries and so it all started from that. I think it’s an interesting loop that its taken and it’s not over yet.

MICHAEL:

Sean had nothing but complimentary things to say about you, when I interviewed him awhile back. Did you know before, that Sean was headed to Genoa City?

ADRIENNE:

I knew he was going to get it way before, and I was not allowed to say anything.

MICHAEL:

Did you put in a good word?

ADRIENNE:

Yeah, I talked to people. (Laughs) I did put the bug in some ears. When I found out it was for sure, I called him up. It’s cool and we have been friends for years and he is a great actor!

MICHAEL:

Eric Braeden has, for the moment, left Y&R during a contract dispute with SONY and the show. What are your thoughts on the hold-out and the stalemate between actor and the powers-that-be?

ADRIENNE:

They are cutting contracts all around. I mean everybody has to bite the bullet. It’s not like anyone gets special treatment. If you don’t want to play fair with everyone, then don’t play. If you want to step out…. everybody is dealing with the same stuff. So if anybody thinks they are better than anyone else, then they should leave if they want to. It’s a cast. We are all working together. We are all working our hardest to make it go, and if you don’t want to work with everyone than you are not helping.

Adrienne Frantz and Scott BailyMICHAEL:

Your former soap B&B won Best Drama Series at the Emmys!

ADRIENNE:

I was so thrilled for them! I went to their after-party and I said, “I should have gotten on stage with you,” to Brad Bell. And Brad said, “I know you should have!” I was there for so many years. They deserve it. I was thrilled for them!

MICHAEL:

In closing, give me a good teaser for Amber fans?

ADRIENNE:

I think you should watch. She is about to have a conflict that would break anybody’s heart in a billion pieces!

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Interviews

Executive Producer Michael Levitt Previews The Adorable 2019 ‘American Rescue Dog Show’

Dog lovers everywhere get ready! Coming your way on Sunday, February 17th and Monday, February 18th, the good folks at the Hallmark Channel will air a two-night special event (8pmET/7pmCT) that puts a spin on the traditional competitive elite dog shows, while at the same time championing an important cause for man’s best friend.

The 2019 American Rescue Dog Show honors some of the cutest rescue dogs from around the country going paw-to-paw in categories that will tickle-your-funny-bone, bring a smile to your face, or, potentially shed a tear.  This marks the second year for this oh-so-heartwarming show, where in its first year, it beat the Westminster Dog Show in the ratings; much to the delight of rescue dogs and their families, who take these wonderful animals into their homes.

The brainchild behind the concept is the executive producer of the event. Michael Levitt (Skin Wars, Daytime Emmys, TV Land Awards), who spoke with Michael Fairman TV to give us all the inside dish and insight into why this dog show is so personally important to him, and how its goal is to create awareness about the plight of millions of abandoned dogs in shelters each year, and to inspire viewers to think about rescuing one of these loveable pups.

Levitt has a collection of notable hosts and judges along for the ride who bring this one-of-a-kind doggy competition to life from the world of TV, film, and animal advocacy.  So, for the lowdown on the competition and more, here’s what Michael shared.

Photo: Crown Media

For those who want to check out the two-night event, is the American Rescue Dog Show in the same vein as the Westminster Dog Show, where the dogs are competing? 

MICHAEL: The format of the show is similar to a fancy dog show, such as Westminster, however, on the American Rescue Dog Show, we aren’t “judging” the dog.  In our show, they all have to be rescue dogs that are spayed or neutered in order to compete, and we are not judging them based on their bloodlines, we are celebrating their cuteness in such categories as, “Best in Wiggle Butt,” “Best in Couch Potato,” “Best in Snoring,” “Best in Special Needs,” and  “Best in Senior Dog” – those are obviously some of the most important.   We have the fancy arena floor with the judges and the tuxedos.  We filmed it at the Pomona Fairplex, which is the same place that they film the Beverly Hills Dog Show.

And you have a bevy of dog-loving celebrity judges along for the ride, too!

MICHAEL: Yes, and this year we are lucky to have the support of celebrity animal advocates that include: Lisa Vanderpump, Debbie Gibson, Brandon McMillan, host of CBS’s Lucky Dog, Bill Berloni, who is the dog trainer to a lot of the dogs on Broadway, and Dirty Job’s Mike Rowe.  Our prerequisites for them to be a judge were: they all needed to be rescue-friendly.  So, they either needed to have a rescue dog of their own or support rescue in some way.  Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell are the hosts this year, along with Ross Matthews and Home & Family’s Larissa Wall, who served as co-hosts and cover all of the action ringside.

Photo: Crown Media

So, did the judges get along?  Did they differ on their top picks?

MICHAEL: The judges absolutely got along famously, but as a producer of the show, I was a fly on the wall listening to them when they were deliberating as they were picking a winner.  That was quite entertaining, because each of them had a strong point of view on the dog, or dogs that they thought should win the competition. We found ourselves throughout the filming just turning to each other and saying, “I don’t know how the judges are going to pick just one, because they are all just so incredibly special.”

How was Lisa Vanderpump? 

MICHAEL:  Lisa was wonderful!  When she was being interviewed by Rebecca and Jerry O’Connell, they asked her what she would say to a potential family that is about to buy a dog from a breeder, and it was such a profound moment, because as someone who comes from her socioeconomic level, from her privilege, to see that she has embraced rescue might be incredibly meaningful to someone who might think that rescue dogs are second-hand animals.  Lisa Vanderpump disproves that just by being there, and being a part of it.

Photo: Crown Media

How did you decide on Rebecca and Jerry as your hosts with the most?

MICHAE:  I have a long history with Rebecca from producing my show, Skin Wars, which she hosts.  I knew that she and Jerry had four rescue dogs of their own, and that she is incredibly passionate about rescue and shedding light and creating awareness about the plight of animals that are sheltered.  They were not only organic and authentic to the cause, but they were a lot of fun and clearly had a lot of natural chemistry.  They also brought their own rescue dogs to the show, as did Lisa Vanderpump.  So that was fun.

You have two wonderful dogs of your own.  So, this is your passion project!

MICHAEL: This is a true labor of love for me, because in 2011 when my sister, Jennifer was dying of cancer, my partner and I decided to rescue a dog, and we rescued a pit bull named Trooper, and Trooper rocked our world.  My sister met him four days before she died, and it’s that old adage of “Who rescued who.”  Trooper really was there for me during a really difficult time of my life. I learned first-hand how special not only rescue dogs are, but pit bulls, and that really was the beginning of my animal advocacy.  I ended up taking a year off from producing just to rescue dogs.  I realized at the end of that year, that as a rescuer, I am saving one dog at a time, but as a producer, I could do so much more to bring awareness to the plight of animals in our shelters by creating rescue-themed programming.

Pit bulls seem to always get a bad rap.  Do you feel that way?

MICHAEL:  They absolutely get a bad rap, and after we rescued Trooper, we rescued another pit bull named Nelson, and it was really the two of them who inspired me to get heavily involved in rescue and to be an advocate for pit bulls.  With pit bulls it is such a unique human-animal bond that you don’t find with any other breed.  All they really want to do is please their humans, and it is absolutely true that when you hear these horrific stories about pit bulls on the news, these are rare incidents of pit bulls who have fallen into the hands of bad people who have treated them badly.  It’s really unfair to profile and entire breed of dog, because all dog breeds have some dogs that have behavioral problems.  I have come in contact with thousands of pit bulls, and I have only met one that was human-aggressive, and that dog was severely, severely abused.  Every other pit bull I have come in contact with has been nothing but incredibly sweet.

Photo: Crown Media

So, last year’s American Rescue Dog Show is currently in the running to earn a Daytime Emmy nomination in the ‘Special Class Special’ programming category!

MICHAEL:  Yes, “Special Class Special”. (Laughs)

You obviously know who wins this weekend’s American Rescue Dog Show competition.  Were you happy with the winner? 

MICHAEL:  Yes, but you can imagine how difficult it is for the judges to pick a winner because every single dog in the competition is beyond adorable. It is really the dogs who deliver on the show, and that’s what makes the show so heartwarming.  The real purpose of the show is to inspire the viewers to rescue their next dog from their local shelter, or rescue organization, so that people who are watching turn to the person they are with and say, “Honey, I didn’t know you could get a pure-bred dog at a shelter!  Let’s rescue our next dog!”  We have really powerful segments in the show about the joy of adopting a senior dog, or a special-needs dog.  We do a segment on debunking the myths about pit bulls, and we have messaging on why it is important to spay and neuter your dog.  So, through this wonderfully entertaining program, we are also educating people and hopefully touching their heart and their soul and inspiring them to be a part of the solution by rescuing their next dog; instead of being a part of the problem by purchasing a dog from a pet store or breeder.

Photo: Crown Media

When you look at what you have to take on as a producer when you do this type of show; as opposed to any other type of production you have helmed, what are the major differences?

MICHAEL: The biggest distinction is that on this show we are dealing with living animals, so I take that responsibility very seriously.  First and foremost: is the safety and well-being of the dogs that are participating on the show.  We have to consider everything from making sure that the animals are up-to-date with their vaccinations to having veterinarians on hand, having production personal on-hand standing by with treats and pooper-scoopers. This also means that the dogs are being treated like VIPs.  So, we have a VIP room, but that stands for “Very Important Pooch”, and all of the dogs that are participating have their own dressing rooms with a star on it and their name.  There were over 130 dogs that actually participated from all over the country.  In addition, we had a gifting suite like they do on the Oscars and Golden Globes, but on this show, they didn’t get swag bags, they got “Wag Bags”.

Knowing you as I do, it seems a lot this creative from the categories in the competition, to the backstage VIP room, are very YOU!

MICHAEL:  I have an incredible team of producers who I collaborate with.  None of this would be possible without the good people at Hallmark being such incredible animal advocates.  Specifically, Bill Abbott, who is one of the few network executives in the industry who is really walking the walk and doing so much to be supportive of dogs and cats who need homes.  So, this is right up my alley, because creatively I am so passionate about it that it is so easy to come up with fun ideas that hopefully resonate with the viewers.

Photo: Crown Media

Are there any other fun moments that you can tease?

MICHAEL:  We are celebrating the perfectly imperfect.  So, we love when a dog decides to roll on his back in the middle of the arena and decide he wants to get a belly rub in the middle of the competition.  We had a dog decide that he had to go potty on the middle of a flower arrangement on the arena floor.  Those are the moments that give the show its heart and feel-good sensibility.  We had a couple of dogs in the “Best Wiggle Butt” category where one of their forever parent brings them out initially, and their other forever parent was on the other side of the area, and we removed their leash so that they can run from one parent to the other so that we can really see their butts moving, but … we had a few dogs get so excited that they ran right out of the arena! (Laughs)  They ran right through the tunnel off stage and come running back in, and the whole audience erupted into laughter.  It’s just magical.

How did you find these dogs to compete? 

MICHAEL:  We put out a call-to-action on social media, and we got thousands of responses. People submitted their rescue dogs in as many categories as they qualified for, and they submitted photos and videos. Then, we have a team of producers and rescue experts who go through all of the submissions, ultimately picking the top semi-finalists in each category who come to Los Angeles to compete.  We had a wonderful partnership with Pedigree Foundation in which they provided $100,000 in grant money for the dogs that win for the rescue that saved him or her.  So, in the ten semi-final categories, each winning dog received a $5,000 grant for the rescue that saved him or her, and then the ultimate winner of the competition, which is crowned the title, “Best in Rescue,” received an additional $30,000 for the rescue that saved him or her, again, courtesy of Pedigree Foundation.  We also had a partnership with adoptapet.com, which is the largest online resource for people to find rescue dogs in their own communities. Throughout the show, we have a call-to-action for people to go to hallmark.com/bestinrescue and look for the adopt a pet icon … they click it… then enter their zip code … and they are instantly linked to thousands of available dogs in their own community who are patiently waiting for a loving home.

Photo: Crown Media

The dog handlers are the owners of these pets?

MICHAEL:  Yes.  We call it a member of their “forever family”.  Several of the dogs on the show are service dogs now, or companion animals, working in senior homes or working with military service people suffering from PTSD.  We celebrate each and every one of them.

Is your hope to do a third annual show, and keep the dog rescue competition going?

MICHAEL:  Yes!  My hope is that this show continues to be on for many years to come and be a platform for the 8 million animals that enter our shelters each year and are patiently waiting for their forever home, and that we can continue to be a voice for these dogs that don’t have voices of their own.  Of all of the shows that I have produced over the years, this one is going to be the most meaningful to me, and is going to be my legacy, because it is such a beautiful thing that I can bring my work and my passion together to hopefully make a difference in the lives of all of these animals.  As a result of this show, we heard from numerous shelters across the country that there was a definite uptick in adoptions.  That warms my heart beyond compare.

In closing, you know what they say:  it’s easier to work with animals than humans! Thoughts? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:  Every show has its challenges, but I would much rather deal with a diva Chihuahua than a diva celebrity.  So, on that level, this show is pure joy to make.

So, will you be watching this heartwarming, creative two-night rescue dog event?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below, but first, check out this behind-the-scenes video of how the American Rescue Dog Show is put together with co-host, Ross Matthews.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Jason Thompson Talks On: The Self-Destructive Billy Abbott, Victoria, Phyllis, And Katie’s Disappearance

As February sweeps kicks in to high gear on The Young and the Restless, Billy Abbott (Jason Thompson) and his ex-wife, Victoria Newman (Amelia Heinle) are once again in each other’s orbit.  First, Billy was not too happy to learn that his nemesis, Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard) shared some passionate kisses with her.  In fact, he went running to Cane’s imprisoned wife. Lily (Christel Khalil), to give her the lowdown.  Next, their child, Katie has gone MIA, but as viewers saw on Friday’s cliffhanger she is somehow heard singing through the walls at the Newman Ranch. Previously, Katie said she was playing with an imaginary friend, but someone is lurking around and watching the Newmans every move!

And let’s not forget, Summer (Hunter King) is back in Genoa City!  The last time she hit town she all but destroyed Billy – his gambling addiction returned, she tried to seduce him, and he slept with her as revenge against Phyllis for her having sex with Nick (Joshua Morrow), and we could go on!  After all the hurt, and the dissolution of their relationship, Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) and Billy are not seeing eye to eye on much, but saying they will try to work together.  Can they?

To fill us in on all the drama, Jason Thompson chatted with Michael Fairman TV and weighed-in on: the future for Villy, Philly, what he has learned from working on two major soaps; General Hospital, where he played the popular Dr. Patrick Drake, and Y&R, his thoughts on his recent Daytime Emmy Pre-Nomination in the Lead Actor category in what was a banner year of storyline for him in 2018, and much more.

Insightful, driven, and talented, Jason is one of the standouts in our genre.  Check out what he had to share below.

What did you think about the plot point that had Billy going to visit Lily in prison, and once there, he informs her that her husband, Cane has been kissing on Victoria!?

JASON:  What I think about it is somewhat irrelevant.  It wasn’t hard for me to rationalize it.  In the moment, Billy was hurt and pissed off.  He is irrational sometimes.  Once he got to the prison, I think he second-guessed himself.  Lily did a pretty good job of convincing him that she needs to know what is going on in order to just live in a certain amount of truth in this situation.  Billy felt that it would be worse for her wondering what was going on on the outside without knowing the truth.  I think that in that moment, he was convinced that telling her the truth was the right thing.  There was a part of him that wanted to get back at Cane, and when Billy gets hurt, he seems to lash out a bit and then sometimes he kind of recoils.  Could he have let it go?  Probably.  I think it’s an interesting thing for Lily and Billy’s relationship; to be honest.  Billy has always respected Lily.  I think that he’s always looked at Lily as someone who does the right thing, and was a good wife, and a good mother, and all of those things.  He thinks that she is in a rough place and wanted to offer her a little bit of support, and that’s the way that he did it.

Photo: JPI Studios

Where do you think the show can go now with his relationship with Cane?  They have been contentious all this time, anyway, and now this has happened.   How do you think this will resolve, or would it ever resolve?

JASON:  I think it’s one of the most interesting relationships Billy hasI don’t know that it will ever resolve.  I don’t know that Billy thinks too much about Cane either way, but in saying that,  there is still no one that can get under his skin and quickly!  In an instant, Cane can be Billy’s enemy and I think that’s great.  I always think there is story for Billy and Cane.  In our working relationship as well, I think we both get a different energy out of each other that inevitably ends up in the characters.  That’s always fun.

Photo:” JPI

How does Billy feel about Victoria now?  She’s been struggling since her relationship with J.T., making out with Cane, etc. 

JASON:  Billy does have feelings for VictoriaI think it’s a number of things that contributes to this.  I think it’s where he finds himself in his life.  He has been kind of hurt by the woman he loved (Phyllis).  He had everything for a moment that he wanted … he had the job, he had the girl, and if he had just done the right thing and had a little bit more self-control, he probably would have been in the best place of his life.  So, when all of those things get pulled away, the one constant is just when he goes to see his kids and they smile, and they don’t know what’s going on in the outside world.  I think the only people who don’t judge him are probably the kids.  There’s something really comfortable about that situation.  No matter what happens, there’s always going to be a little something with Victoria.  She’s always very supportive (not that she hasn’t been very, very upset with him, at times), but there is always something about their relationship that will keep him wondering if they should be together.  I think it will probably be like that for the rest of their lives.

Billy is still unaware that Victoria, Nikki, Phyllis and Sharon are all part of a cover-up in J.T.’s murder.  How aware is Billy in the depths of the abuse Victoria suffered at the hands of J.T.?

JASON:  There was never really a big realization about how dramatic, hurtful, and volatile the whole situation was.  It was a shock to hear all of that obviously, but he has no idea about the depths of it all.

Photo: CBS

If he found out, how do you think he would react knowing what Victoria had gone through?

JASON:  I think he would probably want to kick him again and then re-bury him. Billy has got a lot of flaws, but there is one thing that he will do, and that is always stand up for his family, and that includes Victoria.

Currently, it is just devastating for Billy when Katie goes missing.   He’s like, “I can’t go through this again after what happened with Delia,” and I know you didn’t play the Delia material, because you weren’t on the show at that time.  However, this does give you the opportunity to tap into all of that.

JASON:  Yes!  I mean, that is his biggest fear … going through all of that again.  I think that he would rather not be on the planet than go through all of that again.  What happened to Delia is never going to ever leave him.  I can’t imagine that something like that ever really does.  You just deal with it on a daily basis probably, and things come up, and you feel it all over again, and this is one of those moments.

Courtesy/CBS

I think that you being a father of two children now in your own life; really gives you a perspective when you play these things types of emotions and scenes out.

JASON:  Definitely.  Peter Bergman (Jack) and I were having a conversation about how much life and living, and trying to live a full life, really helps you with your acting.  I work really hard on my craft, but the most important thing that I can do for my work and my career is live a full life.  With the kids and everything else in my personal life, that to me is something that I can always draw upon.  It’s hard to even let myself go there sometimes, because of how scary it would be.  But yeah, I think Billy is not far off from that.  That character has a lot of life and is tied to this volcano and it’s just waiting to erupt, and that eruption is good and full of liveliness fear, and anger.  Some of that comes from hurt, and some of that comes from pain, and some of that comes from a good time, and some of that comes from addiction, and it makes it fun for me because there’s always something to play.  When I talk about what I think of a particular story line, I don’t think of it as, “Oh, I would never do this,” or “I would never do that.  That doesn’t make any sense.”  I try and make sense of everything.  That’s my job.  I just try to find a reason why Billy would be in that situation; instead of trying to find a reason why he wouldn’t be.

Photo: JPI Studios

Would you say that the situation with Katie will draw Victoria and Billy closer together?  At the end of Friday’s episode, they hear Katie’s voice in the wall, so they know she is alive.

JASON:  I think so.  One step up is often two steps back with them, but they are always connected in that way.  The kids do that, and what they’ve been through in the past, and like you said, I wasn’t necessarily there for a lot of that, but it’s in this character.  I would never say never with Victoria.

Photo: CBS

So, where is Billy at with Phyllis?  You and Gina Tognoni played that coupling to the hilt and the show separated them.  Major romances are never really ‘done, done’ on soaps.

JASON:  I mean, it only gets worse with Phyllis.  I’ll say that.  They’re not in a good place.   We have gone through some changes behind the scenes.  So, I have no idea what is happening as far as storyline.  I think there is always going to be something unresolved with Phyllis, but that’s the good thing about this kind of stuff.  You can put these two people together when you have two actors who kind of embrace it, and work at it, and have a natural chemistry, which in turn helps the characters have chemistry.  When Gina and I talk about what we did and accomplished with our characters, to be honest, it’s a little bit of a bummer that they are kind of apart right now, because we had a lot of fun.  We really enjoyed working with each other.  We felt like there was a lot more there to continue to explore, but like you said, it’s never over.  As far as the way that he sees Phyllis … it’s interesting.  I think as an outsider, he kind of looks at her as a selfish person who is going to get and grab whatever she wants, but I feel like he does understand her differently than other people do.  I think he’s looking at Nick and Phyllis and shaking his head like, “You can’t be serious.” (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI

You have had quite a gold mine of leading ladies in your daytime career from: Kimberly McCullough (Robin) to Kelly Monaco (Sam) while you portrayed Dr, Patrick Drake on General Hospital, to Gina and Amelia at Y&R.  I have to say that of all of the leading men on daytime, I think you’ve had consistently some major romantic kickass scene partners.  What are your thoughts on that?

JASON:  Yeah, I have been very fortunate.  I can go back thirteen years now and talk about how much Kimberly helped me out in the beginning, and how patient, and impatient (laughs) she was in a lot of ways.  Kimberly taught me a lot about how the business is, and to hold onto your values, and that it is very important to collaborate with your directors, and your writers, and your producers, and with other people that you work with.  You then see new things.  I’m constantly seeing things in other characters where I’m like, “That would be really interesting to shine a light on.”   I think there’s something really interesting about Sharon (Sharon Case) and Billy.  I think Billy could bring something out in Sharon that somebody else can’t.  That’s what is exciting for me as an actor – trying to find something different and trying to bring life that is not necessarily there yet.  I have had a lot of trust from writers, from producers, and from networks.  I have been very fortunate in that way.

Hunter King has returned to Y&R as Summer.  She played havoc in Billy’s life her last go-round.  I know now she is currently after Kyle (Michael Mealor) and not after Billy, but does Billy blame her at all for his spiral back into his gambling addiction?

JASON:  Realistically, if  Billy were really being dead honest about it and trying to really work soberly in his life, he would say there’s nobody to blame but himself.  There’s definitely that conversation that could be had between them about the situation that they found themselves in.  They both hurt each other pretty badly, and the people surrounding them.  I think there is probably a little bit of blame that can go around on both of them, but I don’t think he really sits back and blames her for falling back into addiction.  She might have been one of the triggers, but I think that he was really responsible for that.

Congratulations on your Daytime Emmy Pre-Nom in the Lead Actor category!  It’s quite a talented group of ten actors that made it through to the final round of competition. You certainly had a stellar year of material!

JASON:  I had a ton of great storylines last year, and it just kind of kept going, and kept going One thing I will say that really helped me out is my relationship with Mal Young (Ex- EP and head writer, Y&R).  We got along really well.  He helped me out by letting me know six months ahead of time where we planned on going with the story.  So, I was able to understand and slowly build the depths of hurt, and the gambling, and how it got further along, and the lies.   I was able to understand where we were going and the plateau that we needed to get to, which was very helpful for me. I worked with amazing people constantly; every day was like something different.  The hard part in this next round of voting is trying to find something that represents the whole year.  When I look at that list of pre-nominees, I’m proud of the work that daytime actors do … everybody from a little bit of a younger guy like Billy Flynn (Chad, DAYS) to icons like Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) , and Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH).  What Maurice brought to my life as an actor and still does has been wonderful, and on the other side of that you’ve got Peter Bergman, who is like a real brother to me now, and we’re really close.  It’s a nice comradery between everybody in the category.  It’s a great group of people to be included with, and aside from the competition part of it, that’s the really cool part.

Photo Credit: JPI

So, let’s talk about your on-screen, mom, Jess Walton (Jill).  I’ve heard you say publicly how much you really like working with her, and she with you.  What can you say about when you do get some scenes with Jess, and get to play that mother-son relationship?

JASON:  That’s another one that you can loop in with all of the other women I’ve worked with.  It’s a different kind of relationship, but talk about a soap icon! Jess Walton is right up there.  She’s a pro, and she’s got this little girl inside that is the sweetest thing alive, and her little giggle.  I can say that relationship is just there with her.  I would love for her to be there more.  If there’s one person that can tell Billy to just, you know what, she’s somebody that can give him a little whipping, and he’d be like, “Okay mom, you’re right.” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Finally, you are on this juggernaut of a show that just celebrated yet another milestone, 30 years at #1.  You go from a historic show like GH, to another here at Y&R that keeps celebrating these milestones that nobody will ever overtake.  All of this has to be a ‘pinch yourself’ moment for you?

JASON:  Yeah, I definitely pinch myself.  I think at this moment, all four soaps that are left are having monumental anniversaries and celebrations, because the truth of it is, it’s really incredible what soaps have done in our history.  With playing Patrick on General Hospital, I still look back on that time and that character, and am just so grateful that I was able to bring him to life.  Every once and awhile I wonder what Patrick’s doing.  On the other end of that, to come over to Y&R with a show that is now 30 years at number #1, and the pride that they have, and the support that they have from the network, there’s a real kind of challenge that we have in order to keep that up.  It is not about the slogans, or the glitzy ad campaigns in the magazines that say, “Hey!  We are #1 for 30 years.”  While that’s very important, what’s more important are the people who have gotten us there for the last thirty years.  We have to show them respect by doing the best that we can and continue that. That’s what drives us. You can feel it in the building.  To take on a character like Billy, who has been a part of that for a very long time, there is a pressure that comes with that, but at the same time, there is an excitement of taking on this character and continuing to make him relevant, and a part of this great soap’s history.

So, do you want Billy to end up with Victoria, Phyllis, perhaps Sharon, or someone else? Who do you think has got Katie and is watching the Newmans?  Are you rooting for Jason to receive a Lead Actor nomination for his work on Y&R in 2018?  What do you think about the other sentiments shared by Jason in this interview, and what was your favorite part of our discussion? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey Interview – Day of Days 2018

Days of our Lives stars Freddie Smith (Sonny) and Chandler Massey (Will) chat with Michael Fairman at NBC’s Day of Days 2018 celebrating the 53rd anniversary of the long-running daytime drama series.

During the interview, the duo tease what’s to come for #WilSon with Paul’s (Christopher) departure from the canvas, Will getting his memory back, and the trouble that will soon arise when a certain someone is “back from the dead”.

Freddie and Chandler also talk about being a soap power couple on-screen, and reveal some of their favorite scenes, and chat up the new DOOL app and their fun content within it.

Watch below our latest chat with Freddie and Chandler.  Make sure to check out all the Day of Days 2018 interviews with the cast of DAYS on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube,  Make sure to “subscribe” to view all the features and videos/

Now, let us know what you thought of the conversation with Freddie and Chandler below, and what was your favorite part of it, via the comment section below.

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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Kate Mansi as Abigail

Days of our Lives

Airdate:12-24-2018

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