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Tracey E. Bregman Dishes & Looks Back On 35 Years As Y&R’s Lauren: The Hair, The Catfights, The Leading Men!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Photo Credit: CBS Monty Brinton

Last week, Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren Fenmore Baldwin) celebrated her 35-year milestone with The Young and the Restless, with an on set celebration in her honor.  Bregman, who has taken Lauren from bitchy bad girl, to wife and mother, to shrewd business women, and everything in between over three decades, is a beloved staple of the CBS Daytime drama series, and with her cast.

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with the Tracey to have her reflect back on those years featuring: big hairdos, catfights (yup, those Sheila Carter furniture slingers, hair-pullers, and steak knife accessory ones!), love stories, corporate backstabbing, and her on-screen love stories, especially the one that has stood the test of time between Michael (Christian LeBlanc) and Lauren.  One of the sexiest, effervescent, fun, and entertaining gals we know; what fun it was to take a quick trip down memory lane, and to gain some insight from Bregman herself on 35 years of life in Genoa City. 

Let’s talk historical Lauren! Starting with your big hair in that 35th anniversary clip package that went viral and was posted all over social media!  What are your thoughts when you see your vintage Lauren “dos”?

Courtesy/CBS

TRACEY:  I think it’s hilarious!  I always go, “How did I look in the mirror and think that looked good?” (Laughs)  But, you look at it back at that time.  Lisa Hartman (Ciji, Knots Landing) was wearing her hair the same way.  We all had this big hair! Quite frankly, I went to a dance class yesterday and my hair dried naturally and all curly, and I have this big hair today.  So, I am rivaling my 80’s hair!  I am like, “Oh, my God!  What happened?   I look like I stuck my finger in a light socket and it went poof! “(Laughs)

Lauren was such a vixen and troublemaker back in the day!  What do you think of those years now as you reflect back on them in 2018?

TRACEY:  Those were the years of being the femme fatale and the storylines were outrageous.  Somebody sent me the interviews the cast did for the 40th anniversary of Y&R, and I guess I was talking about Mary Williams and Paul’s centerfold! (Laughs) It was all so much fun.

Courtesy/CBS

Is there any character on daytime that has had more catfights than Lauren? 

TRACEY:  No, I don’t think so.  I said in my speech that I think I rival all the guys in the amount of fight scenes.

Lauren’s endless catfights with Sheila should be a compilation reel in any television academy hall of fame or archive!  Do you have one that stands out to you among the rest?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios/Courtesy Y&R

TRACEY:  I think it’s ironic, because it’s so crazy, but I would say the chemistry lab fight scene with Kimberlin Brow was right at the top of my list.  I was in bugle beads and heels and just slid across every table top!  And to think, I am the least physical person.  I remember, I had to slap Michael Damian and ten takes later I couldn’t do it.  My kids will tell you … all I would ever to do them is pinch their arm (laughs) that is like the worst thing I could do to anybody.  So for me, to then have to do all these fight scenes just goes against my grain.

So, what did you do when you read in the script, or you were told, “OK Tracey … here comes another catfight?” (Laughs)

TRACEY:  I was like “Oh, God.  It’s just not my favorite thing to do it all!”  However, Kimberlin and I had a trust between us when we had to get physical.  We were able to go farther and farther the more times we did catfights together.

Photo Credit: CBSCourtesy/CBS

And back in the day, Lauren got away with fat-shaming Traci Abbott (Beth Maitland).  I don’t think that would fly in the world today, and there would be immense blowback on social media for that!

TRACEY:  Oh, my God!   I was almost tarred and feathered back then.  Now, I would be toast.  I was toast for Lauren’s one kiss in the park with Cane (Daniel Goddard) … can you imagine?

With the cast, crew, and members of you family all in attendance at the celebration in honor of your 35th anniversary with Y&R, what were you most touched by during the festivities?

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

TRACEY:   I was so touched by everything – the people that were there, the people that spoke, the people that posted things across social media and what they said to me.   It was one of those extraordinary things where you kind of get a glimpse as to what people really think and you don’t always get to hear that, or know it.  I got the opportunity to have a whole day of it.  It was just so moving to me, and yes, it was celebrating 35 years on Y&R, and in fact, I opened my speech by saying, “I can’t believe I have been anywhere for 35 years!” It was hard for me to believe, but to hear people’s thoughts about me was such a gift.   It was such an extraordinary day filled with it, and that was really nice.

Did you ever think from your soap beginning as Donna Craig on DAYS that you would end up in a role for 35 years on another daytime drama? 

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

TRACEY:  I was hired in January 35 years ago on Y&R, and I thought this will be a great January to summer gig, period.  Never thought anything more, ever!

Let’s talk about your Y&R leading men!  You and Christian LeBlanc have created this enduring couple as Lauren and Michael.  Would you say, through your experiences working with Christian, that you have grown as an actor?

TRACEY:  Oh, how can you not grow working with someone like Christian?  The thing that I appreciate so much in our working relationship – and we talk about it a lot is – as actors you are at home and you do your homework. Then, when you come to the set you come to the table with what you have done at home.  What I love about how Christian and I work together is that we take all of that, and we throw it all out on the table and then we put the puzzle together.  It’s this collaboration.  It literally is us throwing up all the puzzles pieces and then putting together the puzzle.  There are times it’s almost impossible to try and act opposite Christian, because he is so good that I just want to watch him.  I want to be like a viewer!  Christian is so giving as a person and as an actor, and so funny.  The thing that he and I both spoke about in our speeches is how we love to dance together, and that we are true partners.  I said that, “He makes Lauren fall in love with Michael Baldwin on every single episode.”

Photo Credit: CBS

Then of course, there was Danny Romalotti and Lauren!  What was it like working with Michael Damian?

TRACEY:  Michael was so adorable, and we each tried to make our hair bigger than the others! (Laughs)  He was so much fun, great, and really amazing to me during the whole singing storyline, which was different for me.  Michael was always so helpful, and fun, and yet, we were learning 30 pages of dialog a night, and on top of that then he and I were at Capitol Records recording till all hours of the night.  It was a lot of work, and we had so much fun doing it together, which made is so special.

And of course, Lauren and Paul!  Tell me about working with the one and only. Doug Davidson.

Photo: CBS

TRACEY:  They used to call Doug and me, “The Instigators”. (Laughs)  He was the fair-haired boy who would make me laugh, and then everybody would be screaming at me, because I was laughing at him.  As you know, Doug is hilarious, and absolutely no one would be upset with him, and everybody would be yelling at me! (Laughs) “You need to concentrate” they would yell on set.  I go, “Oh, my God.  I was just standing here minding my business, and he just said the funniest thing I ever heard in my entire life!” (Laughs)  Doug was an extraordinary partner, and such a good actor.  I got really lucky, and as I said in my speech, “I won the co-star lottery!”

Everybody always tells me when working on Y&R that all roads to what is going on at the show lead to Tracey Bregman,  and that you the “411” on everything happening on set and behind the scene.  Is that true? (Laughs)

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

TRACEY:  It’s true!  (Laughs)  They call me “411”.  This happened because I listen, and I take notes.  I am interested in things my cast members may want to know.   I also keep things to myself until somebody asks, but I will get a phone call from a cast member and I always answer the phone by saying, “What do you need?” (Laughs)

Currently on the air shows, there are problems going on with Lauren’s company where Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) is seemingly embezzling from right from under her. What do you think of that storyline which seems “au currant”?

TRACEY:  I will tell you what I love about what Mal Young (EP and head writer, Y&R) has been writing.  He is writing about very current topics.  I love the partnership with the character of Phyllis; played by the adorable Gina Tognoni.  I love that we are these powerful business women that don’t resort to being bitchy, or underhanded.  We do things in an up-and-up way, but no one is going to get anything over us.  I love that he is writing us that strong, and that smart.

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

I even liked when Tracey brought former flame Eric Forrester (John McCook) to Genoa City to help her business dealings with Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) and Jabot.  She was showing that she was no dummy in the world of corporate takeovers.

TRACEY:  They make Lauren laser sharp.  Christian and I sort of early on had this thing with our characters that some men might be intimated by a powerful woman, but when he sees her taking over and being this powerhouse, it is like a turn-on for him. The same goes for Lauren when she sees Michael in court being this strong powerhouse attorney.  It’s a turn-on for her.  You have these two powerful entities, who are together as a couple, which could cause some friction, but it is what ignites us.  It makes us even prouder and hotter for each other.

Daniel Hall has been written out as of now, as your grown up on-screen son, Scott Grainger.  How do you feel that storyline played out? 

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

TRACEY:   I wish they had written more of the family dynamic.  It’s a very interesting relationship between Lauren and Scott.  She had wanted to spend her whole life with him, but she hid him away to protect him for his whole life. There has to be repercussions from that, and I don’t think we ever saw that. So, I wish there would have been a deeper storyline.  And yes, of course, Scott would need to have a love story, but a lot of us are the way we are because we have a lot of pain, and we have a lot of blocks in our own life, because of our childhood, parenting, etc.  I would love to have seen that explored more.

Would you like to have Kimberlin Brown come over to Y&R, or you go back to B&B for a visit, since Sheila returned last year to the canvas causing trouble for the Forresters?  Everyone wanted to see her mix it up with Lauren and Scott given the history.  Aren’t you also the record-holder for the amount of crossovers to another show on the soaps, and on TV, period?

Courtesy/CBS

TRACEY:  Right!  Exactly!  It would be amazing as long as I don’t get duct taped to something. (Laughs)  That was my only beef with the Sheila story.  Lauren went from this ultra strong character that when they brought on this other strong character it was sort of  “Victimize Lauren” time, and I always had a problem with it.  So, if they were to do it I would hope, and I would be open to doing it, but doing it by showing that two strong women could go at it.  I loved the story we did a few years back with Christian and Marco Dapper as Carmine, which was ultimately about; how far would you go protect your family?  I think you have seen Lauren in protection mode; where she was protecting her family. She killed Sarah Smythe, and she killed what she thought was Phyllis, but it was Sheila pretending to be Phyllis. In that story, Lauren was torn between her best friend Phyllis, and the fake Phyllis. She has to make a split second decision to kill the right one.  These moments and stories illustrated that Lauren is a very strong woman.

Courtesy/CBS

Was the Carmine affair with Marco Dapper, one of Lauren’s top Y&R trysts of all-time?

TRACEY:  The other affairs she was having were when she was married to Scott Grainger, and she was having affairs with Paul, and she almost did not marry Scott.

Maybe you should also consider being the continuity director at Y&R in addition to acting on the show! (Laughs)

TRACEY:   I am not sure I would remember everything to be honest! (Laughs) People tell me stories from the past on Y&R, and I am like “Oh, right!” Sometimes I am sent old scenes, and I am watching them, and I am going, “I wonder what I do next?” (Laughs)

Photo Credit HutchinsPhoto.com

What would you like to say to your fans, who have supported you through the years, and who have continually invested in Lauren? They always want the best for her, and they love her when she is a little naughty, they love her when she is flirtatious, and they love her when she is a goof wife. 

TRACEY:  I would say to the audience how much I have appreciated them – that they have watched all of these years and made Y&R number one for 29 years in a row – and that they are the reason we are number one.  In addition, how much I appreciate all the support for all these years, and that how amazing that we have all grown up together!

So, what has been your favorite Lauren Fenmore Baldwin moment in Tracey E. Bregman’s 35 years on Y&R? Who has been your favorite all-tine leading man for Lauren? Would you like to see Kimberlin Brown’s Sheila Carter terrorize Lauren one more time? Send your congrats to Tracey on her Y&R milestone below, and more via the comment section below!

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Jimh
Jimh

She looks like a young Nikki Newman in that picture with Danny…liked her on Days as Donna Temple Craig!!!!!!!

Satan
Satan

She’s been on Y&R for 35 years??

Don’t even watch that show, but I still remember when she was Donna Craig on Days of Our Lives. She disappeared from Salem shortly before her dad went out to get the mail and was never heard from again.

Jimh
Jimh

She left town to live with Don’s mom-Grandma Craig…that was when Days started their mass firings and some actors quit!!!

ADAM
ADAM

Congrats on 35 years that is awesome! I love Lauren, but more love to Tracey E. Bregman, she is just awesome all the way. I wished they give her a storyline soon, she deserves it. I know her turn is coming soon. Right now it’s about the Ashley/Jack and the mystery with Chelsea Lawson. Bottom line SHE ROCKS! and she is one of my favorites on the show!

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Mr. Fairman thanks so much for including the picture featuring Marco Dapper! And, oh yeah, thanks for the interview of Tracey E. Bregman. 🙂

Soaphound
Soaphound

Hello, James. I wish they hadn’t trashed the Carmine character; Marco had gotten really good by the time of the affair and I had great fun imagining being Lauren (well, an unmarried Lauren maybe) in those boudoir scenes. And I’ve always loved Tracey; I get the same silly look of glee when Lauren is on that I get when Traci is.

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

I’m with you 100%, Soaphound! Take care, Friend.

Vasilis
Vasilis

Love Lauren! Brad Bell bring her back for a visit to Sheila!

Maca
Maca

I used to love when Lauren sang she was so good with Danny !

James R. Poissant
James R. Poissant

I have said quite a few times in this forum that Tracey is the most beautiful lady in all of television along with Kimberlin. This interview was so good and it was very nice to read about her feelings on the old storylines she had along with what she’s doing now. Lauren has always been an exciting character to me and I’m so glad Tracey chose to play her for all these years. TRACEY FOREVER!!!

Carol
Carol

I fondly remember all of these periods……but, the Danny Romalotti years will always be my favorite. I would love to see him return.

soapqueenforever
soapqueenforever

I agree with you Carol. The Traci, Danny, Lauren storyline is what got me hooked on Y&R to begin with. Not to mention the wonderful cat fight the two of them had over Brad while he was in the hospital. I believe the fight took place in the hospital and two nurses had to break it up. Ah, the good old days!!! Now if we could only see more of the love story of Michael and Lauren, I would be extremely happy. The chemistry between Ms. Bregman and Mr. Leblanc, to md is one of the best in daytime. The perfect soap opera couple. I would rather see more of their romantic side, than listening to Hilary whine about a pregnancy that might not even be yet. She is chalking her recent crazy spells up to her “pregnancy”. If she is like this now and she is not sure if she is or she isn’t, if and when it actually happens, she will need a straight jacket when her pregnancy hormones really do kick in. Happy viewing, and thanks for listening.

Soaphound
Soaphound

Oh, soapqueenforever, can you imagine the memories Tracey and others of many years on the show must have? The halcyon days of soaps, the great sets and costumes, working with Jeanne Cooper and other greats. What an amazing legacy Tracey is part of and I, for my part, am very grateful to these talented, dedicated artists.

Michael
Michael

What a great article! Congrats Tracey on 35 wonderful and fun filled years on Y&R!

Celia
Celia

Lauren Fenmore has not changed in 35 years…..amazing!!
I am so envious. LOL.

damien
damien

love lauren!
she is y n r royalty!
i think they have a tour bus with her picture on it in nyc if im not mistaken!
top 3 wishes for lauren on her 35th anniversary:
1. with all the Fenmore business affairs taking place , time to bring back an updated Fenmores store set on the ground floor of Jabot like the good ol days
2. Her and Paul need scenes together, maybe even all together with their loves Michael and Christine
3. BRING BACK Carmine and Sheila!… with no Graham, genoa city really needs a villian.

Celia
Celia

Carmine…oh, WOW, damien…..he and Lauren sizzled!!!!!

Ron
Ron

Great ideas here. And I’d like to add one more: bring back Danny Romalotti (and Gina!) and see how it all goes between Lauren and best buddy, Phyllis.

Celia
Celia

HaHa, Ron….good one. ….neither Lauren nor Phyllis has a pristine past. Bad girls, both of them.
Most of Lauren’s shenanigans are before my time….but, my Gran gave me Y&R classes , LOL, on all characters and storylines….she’s been watching since its inception.
Lauren was a meanie….especially to Tracy, always ‘picking’ on her about her weight. Suddenly, they have become the symbols of virtue and all that is righteous in the world.
And, Phyllis? What she did to Danny was dedpicable. I wish Patty Weaver would return….she had the most melodic, beautifully warm, silver-toned voice….loved her singing.
This feels like deja-vu…..did I write these same words before?

Marie-Claire
Marie-Claire

Thanks to Michael and Tracey for this great interview. I love Tracey Bregman and am a huge Lauren fan. She is the one who got me addicted to YR.
I loved a lot of the Lauren stories, Lauren & Paul were my first favorite couple but I’m a huge Likey fan right now. They have great chemistry and I don’t understand they never are on and MY doesn’t take advantage of their great chemistry.
And Lauren is underused, she rarely is on. I love Phyllis and I love her friendship with Lauren and she works for Lauren. But in the Chelsea story hacking Fenmore’s, I don’t mind Phyllis being involved but she shouldn’t be the major player, that should be Lauren. Even Il should be brought back in this story, she’s the Lauren sister and in control of Fenmore’s with Lauren. And Fenmore’s needs a set, they need to give back her office to Lauren and even the boutique.
They need to bring back the Lauren children. Scott was brought back for Sharon and the Newmans, it was a big failure. Tracey is right the relationship with his mother should be explored more, there is a huge story there. And Fen should be brought back in that, it should have jealousy of Scott towards Fen who grew around Lauren.
And they should bring back Joanna, the Lauren mom for a visit. I don’t understand why they didn’t take this opportunity when Fenmore’s was in trouble the last year, she could give her some advice.
The Baldwin/Fisher dynamic was great but Mal Young totally erased this family. Gloria, being so loyal to Jack is ridiculous, he treated her like dirty after the John death.

There is a lot of other things I could say but Lauren is an iconic character, she shouldn’t be ignored or get so little.

Ron
Ron

Lauren should be on full contract. Beef up her storyline with Michael; they’ve been reduced to part-time-part-time players! I too miss Lauren’s mom– it would be a pleasant treat for the loyal fans.

Timmm
Timmm

EVERY woman out there can only hope and pray, what a beautiful mature women! I used go between her and Michelle Stafford but the gold medal has to go to Tracey!

Celia
Celia

LOL, Timmmy….I was being facetious….not envious, not one bit. Tracey is a beautiful woman…..but no woman is immune to aging. LOL.
Michelle Stafford is natural….she looks beautiful, naturally. I hope to keep my face and body as natural as she in twenty years or so…..
I am not averse to plastic surgery….I may change my mind when I start seeing a few wrinkles?
Never say never.

Mo
Mo

Congratulations Tracey!!! I’ve enjoyed watching you on Y&R. Just wish Lauren were on more!!!!

Dee
Dee

Michael and Lauren I have loved them since 2004. So many great stories and memories of this couple! Excellent actors and this is the perfect match! To bad mal Young is not using them to their potential. Nope he has to give us a double dose of Victoria constantly but My Likey I never see..always working those two. Guess they dont have sex or a life outside of work with Mal writing..I constantly ask the soap Gods to give us a writer is fair and balanced and not just for their favs..oh Well i dont miss YR but I sure do miss Lauren and Michael..Thank you for this wonderful interview Michael Fairman

k/kay
k/kay

Every ep has their favorites they don’t happen to be in his radar and a certain vet has less air time since MY took over but yet he was all over Twitter bitching about Sally . It took ten years of destruction and the idiots could not give Kay and Sally ten moths to try o put it back together. It takes times to rebuild

Grand Hotel

Denyse Tontz and Lincoln Younes Preview Forbidden Romance & Intrigue As ‘Grand Hotel’ Premieres

When Grand Hotel opens its doors to its audience tonight on ABC (10PMET/PT), it will have a very familiar feel to soap fans for several of its series regulars and its executive producer all come from the world of daytime or serialized storytelling.

Executive Producer, Eva Longoria (Ex-Y&R, Desperate Housewives, Devious Maids, Telenovela) brought to the screens a provocative drama with Miami Beach as its backdrop of the last family-owned hotel (by the Mendozas) with a contemporary take of an upstairs/downstairs story of 2019.

Former General Hospital’s Bryan Craig plays Javi, who is joined by two other soap notables; former All My Children reboot star, Denyse Tontz (Ex-Miranda Montgomery) and Australian-born actor, Lincoln Younes (Ex-Casey, Home and Away) who’s characters are interlocked in some very sexy and mysterious ways.

Tontz, plays Alicia Mendoza the strong-willed daughter of the Mendoza clan, who is fresh out of business school… and who will make a huge discovery about her dad, but is also set to embark on a romance with a new staff hire!  And that staff hire is Danny played by Younes, whose character Danny is not who he says he is at all … and he has one goal in my mind which brought him to the hotel … but things get complicated for him when he feels a massive attraction to the hotel owner’s daughter … Alicia!

Michael Fairman TV took part in a press roundtable discussion with Tontz and Younes to get some teasers of what’s to come when Grand Hotel premieres.  Here’s what they shared in some questions posed by us and others below.

Photo: ABC

Danny and Alicia definitely have an instant attraction in the season premiere. Where can you tease that it might go?

LINCOLN:  Well, it can go in a number of directions, but hopefully towards a positive one.  They each have their own motivations for why they’re at the hotel.

DENYSE:  Alicia’s main goal, or at least from the beginning, is to prove herself, just having graduated business school and sort of step into her mother’s shoes a little bit. She’s had a lot of pressure on her for most of her life to sort of fill that role and keep the family together.  I think it’s really tough to have to juggle that and the desire to explore this potential romance with this person who is so intriguing to her.

LINCOLN:  I think with Danny, his reasons are kind of unknown as to why he’s at the hotel.  He comes in as a new employee, but there is something off about him.  It is complicated by the arrival of Alicia and the chemistry the kind of ensues between them.  I think that’s kind of the interesting thing to watch is them navigating their priorities and their initial motivations with the inevitable chemistry and dynamic that has appeared.

Photo: ABC

The main family in Grand Hotel is Hispanic.  And what is intriguing about the premise is that their ethnicity is not the backdrop of the story, it’s just who they are.  Would you agree?

LINCOLN:  Eva is kind of a trailblazer in that way because this is about the story of a family, and a hotel, and the guests, and the employees, and the employers, and all of the different things these people go through.  It’s not so much the color of their skin and their background.  I think as soon as you take away the magnifying glass of how a person appears and really look at what is going on inside, that’s a step in the right direction.

DENYSE:  I think that even though we are really a diverse cast and crew, that really has nothing to do with the actual premise of the show, and I think that’s really cool even to just see that.  To just play a character who happens to be Hispanic, and that’s not the central theme of this character, I think there really are no stereotypes that are perpetuated in any way.

LINCOLN:  It’s the perfect melting pot of culture, and the fact that it is set in a hotel where anyone from any part of the world can come into, it creates this show that I don’t see anything like this on TV, and that’s very exciting.

Do you see Danny and Alicia as a duo to root for with their dysfunction and all throughout the series?

DENYSE:  I think there is this sort of allure to the forbidden romance aspect of it all.

LINCOLN:  They have these obstacles in front of them.

DENYSE:  But you want it to happen. (Laughs)

LINCOLN:  You want it to happen, and it’s just against all odds.  That complicates things.

Photo: ABC

You have such a great cast to work with; chief among them Demián Bichir, Roselyn Sanchez (Devious Maids)!

DENYSE:  Oh man, working with Demián and Roselyn and Eva Longoria was a dream.  They’re each so special in their own way.

LINCOLN:  Three powerhouses.

DENYSE:  Yeah, three powerhouses and very different.  They each have their own way of approaching a scene.  Demián is mostly a movie actor, and it really shows in the way he approaches scenes, and the way he is not glued to the lines, and it’s kind of cool to watch him and learn from him in that way.  He’s so funny too.  He makes it a really comfortable environment, and you feel safe to try stuff.   Eva … same thing.  She has a clear vision for what she wants.  She can direct in such a way that I think a lot of directors can’t, because she has been on the other side of the camera, and she has got a really good perspective.  I think she’s really great at articulating what she wants you to do.

LINCOLN:  Yeah, she’s very meticulous.  I think the thing about all of the people who you’ve just mentioned is that they all have levity.  They are all very specific, but they are all very authentic.  That carries through in both their acting and how they carry themselves off set.  That was really great to kind of learn from them.

Photo: ABC

Many in the cast are from daytime dramas, or soap operas previously, including both of you!  Was that a coincidence in the producers casting choices, you think?

LINCOLN: I think, just knowing Eva so well now, and Brian and Ben, the creators behind it, they searched long and hard for the people they wanted to play the roles.  So, it might just be a happy coincidence.

When the scripts came out, how did the cast handle the twists?

LINCOLN:  There was a lot of speculation going on.  There was a lot of gossiping on set and off set.

DENYSE:  Lots of gossiping, stealing scripts… a lot of bombshells though.  There really is no shortage of plot twists.  A lot of these characters you think are going to start out a certain way, and then you find yourself completely changing your opinion of them halfway through the season. Without giving too much away, nobody is really who they appear to be.

Photo: ABC

How do you both feel about the fact that the wait is over and Grand Hotel is finally premiering?

DENYSE:  It’s super exciting.

LINCOLN:  It’s very surreal.  This is my first American show, so I have no idea what to expect.  I just go to Denyse for advice.  I’m like, “What do I do?”  (Laughs).  It’s all very exciting.  I think when you love a project; there is another element when it is released to the public.  Everyone on the show loves it.  Everyone is so passionate about it.  So, I just hope that the audience feels the same and that we get to keep doing it.

So will you be checking out Denyse, Lincoln, Bryan, Eva and more on Grand Hotel?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below. But first check out this promo for the kick-off tonight!

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General Hospital

GH’s Cynthia Watros Talks On Taking Over The Role Of Nina & Ingo Rademacher Dishes Jax’s New Love Interest

Today on June 3rd, Daytime Emmy winner, Cynthia Watros is set to begin taping all-new episodes of General Hospital as she steps into the role of Nina Cassadine, last played by Michelle Stafford, who has left the ABC daytime drama series and headed back to The Young and the Restless to reprise her signature role of Phyllis Summers.

Watros, best-known for her delicious portrayal of Annie Dutton on Guiding Light, and who was last seen on daytime on Y&R, is back to the grind of the soaps taking on the complex Nina.  Add to that, it is clear that GH is setting up a potential love triangle, or new love interest for her, now that Jasper Jacks is back in Port Charles with GH fan favorite Ingo Rademacher returning to the show.

Last month on the recent GH Nurses’ Ball episodes, we saw Nina (then Stafford) lock eyes with Jax, and the two demonstrated an instant attraction to each other.  Add to that in story; Jax was revealed to be the new 50 percent owner of Aurora Media, which Nina’s Crimson Magazine falls under, putting them in each other’s path in more ways than one.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Cynthia and Ingo along with other members of the media at last week’s ABC Summer Press Roundtable junket, and here were some intriguing and insightful moments from the conversations below.

When we asked if Cynthia had a conversation with Michelle Stafford on taking over the role of Nina, Watros responded: “I did.  We had lunch together, and I have to say, Michelle is an amazing, lovely, giving woman.  Just to be able to sit across from her and talk about Nina and to talk about the show, I was just in awe of her generosity.  I will always be a fan of Michelle’s.  She actually reached out to me and said, ‘If you ever want to call or text…’ and I said, ‘Let’s have lunch!’  So, we found and afternoon and spent like three hours just talking about it.”

Photo Credit: ABC

Since Watros has brought the cray-cray to her best known role of Annie on GL and is so adept as an actress to go from that to playing grave reality, Cynthia weighed in on how she sees Nina and the challenges of being a recast in a soap role: “Nina has all of this stuff that I can’t wait to play.  She’s got stuff that she hasn’t explored for a long time because her life is going pretty well right now.  What happens though when your life doesn’t go really well?  You start exploring those things that you thought were sleeping a little bit, you know, that weren’t necessarily bubbling up to the surface.  So, I like it all: when a character’s life is going well and when a character’s life is not going well. Because I’m playing Nina now, it’s going to be different.  It’s going to be challenging.  It’s the first time I’ve ever taken over a role that someone else has played.  I don’t want to totally go off, so people go, “Wow.  Nina’s totally different,” but of course, I want to make it my own.  Again, I’m an actor who likes to use all of the tools.  I like it all … the funny, the not so funny, the playful, and the crazy.”

As to the timing of Watros returning to the soaps at this time in her life … and how it went down that she landed her new gig at GH, she revealed: “It sounds not very dramatic, but I got a phone call.  Just a phone call asking, ‘Would you be interested?’  Guiding Light will always be in my heart because I had such a good time doing Annie, and I was on Young and the Restless and Another World for half of a second.  So, daytime has always been in my life and in my world.  My last show was in Atlanta, and my daughters were in high school in LA, and it’s hard to go back and forth for them, for me, and for my life as a mom.  So, I kind of took my acting and said, ‘Well, I’m going to slow it all down until they graduate high school.’  They graduate high school June 2nd and I start GH June 3rd.  So, it just seemed like it just made sense.”

Photo: ABC

As to what the future holds for Nina as she takes over the role, Watros shared: “I can tease that I get to play with this guy (Ingo) a lot, and Nina is trying to find a stronger role in the magazine where she is really going to step up in making that a success and her love for the magazine , and trying to navigate her relationship with Jax.”

Cynthia will also get to work with Nina’s present love interest, James Patrick Stuart (Valentin), which the actress is also excited about:“I have to say, I have not met him, but I have been watching the show, and he is just phenomenal.  I love his character.  I love how he is this sort of like bad guy, but it seems like the women really dig him.”

Watros says she is excited to work with Maura West (Ava), Laura Wright (Carly), and Billy Miller (Drew) from the cast.  She has previously worked with Laura and Billy in her soap career. As to her nerves for her first week at the ABC studios where GH is taped, Cynthia shared that she is: “Less nervous, more excited. I feel like a 20-year-old back in soaps.  I remember Kim Zimmer (Ex-Reva, Guiding Light) back in the rehearsal room, and I was off script, and she was on the show for a long time before me, and I was new. I was yelling my lines, and she goes, ‘Excuse me! Can you tell this actress not to act so early in the morning?’ (Laughs) I feel like I’m going to do that again.  So, I’ve got to tone it all down.” (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

For Ingo, he certainly has a view as to how Jax fits into the canvas of Port Charles: “Jax is to me, and I’ve only just been able to put it into words now that Captain America came out, but he’s ‘Captain America’.  He’s all about fairness.  If he sees a bully, he will stand up for the person who is being bullied.  So, that’s who he is.  He’s the white knight.  He’s the person who will always do the right thing.”

Now that Jax has big time ownership in Aurora Media and thus Crimson, does he see the sparks flying with Nina? Ingo reveals: “Yeah, basically he walks in, and she goes, ‘What are you doing in my office?’ and he goes, ‘Actually, it’s my office.’  When I heard about him doing that magazine, I was a little surprised because that’s usually much too small for Jax.  He’s more of a Richard Gere in Pretty Woman character, corporate leader, takes corporations apart, sells pieces … this is, I think really for his daughter, Josslyn (Eden McCoy).  He’s thinking about the future.  Also, to keep him busy in an actual job that he might be good at.   I think it’s a big change in lifestyle for him where before it was about businesses which were much more global.”

Photo: CBS

As to what is behind Jax’s attraction to Nina, Ingo summed it up by sharing: I think Jax is attracted to Nina the first time he sees her.  I have a feeling he already knew who she was the first time he sees her at the Nurses’ Ball, because he’s been studying Aurora Media before purchasing it.  He’s done his background work, and to piss off a Cassadine is just a bonus.  Also, I think what is interesting for Nina’s character is the two different guys.  She’s engaged to this more mysterious character, and then, you’ve got this jolly, upfront one going, ‘Hey!  How’s it going?  Everybody having a good day?’ (Laughs)  He’s very confident as well, but in a different way.  I think it’s nice for the story for Nina to be tugged between two completely different men.”

So, excited to see the debut of Cynthia in the role of Nina? Are you up for a triangle between Jax/Nina/Valentin? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.  But first, watch Cynthia’s Emmy-winning moment as Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on Guiding Light.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Arianne Zucker, Stacy Haiduk & Paul Telfer Talk On Masks, Villainy & Their Wildest Storyline Yet

Take three great actors, add a prosthetic mask into the equation, and let them have at it! That’s just what NBC’s Days of our Lives is in the midst of serving up to its fans with this latest plot device and twist.  Last week, it was revealed that the nefarious Kristen DiMera (Stacy Haiduk) is alive and well and pretending to be Nicole Walker (Arianne Zucker) donning a mask, a voice alternating device, and some other body tweaks!  The goal …  to be with Brady Black (Eric Martsolf) and she will do anything to accomplish that!

Enter Xander (Paul Telfer) who has been in the thick of the plot being the only one we know of, so far, who knows that Kristen is parading around as Nicole.  They hatch their next moves inside a room at the Salem Inn.  They even went so far as to set it up to appear that Nicole’s daughter, Holly was killed, so she could blame Eric (Greg Vaughan) and cause a break-up of the long-suffering lovebirds and play it off as she needs to be consoled by Brady!

Michael Fairman TV chatted in an entertaining and wickedly funny interview with Arianne Zucker, Stacy Haiduk, and Paul Telfer to get the lowdown on what happened when they learned they would be wearing or working with a mask, how they pulled off the emotions in the storyline twist, and what to look forward to from here.  Under the clever pen of head writer, Ron Carlivati looks for the hits and twists to keep coming as this storyline continues to rock the world of Salem for some time to come.  Here’s what Arianne, Stacy, and Paul had to say about their latest on-screen predicaments and schemes!

Ari, at what point did you know that you really weren’t Nicole … and that you were Kristen playing Nicole?

ARIANNE:  I actually didn’t find out until a little bit after the van went off the road in the storyline; thinking it was Holly who was killed.  Sometimes, the less I know makes it fresher, and I think if I had known before those scenes, and the scenes with Eric (Greg Vaughan), and when I first came back, I would have had a little too much Kristen on my mind, and I don’t know if I could have been as raw as I felt in those scenes.  So, anyway that’s my long explanation.  I found out after I started back on the show! (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Additionally, did you have a conversation with Stacy about certain mannerisms hat Kristen has if you’re “masquerading” as Nicole?

ARIANNE:  Our co-executive producer, Albert Alaar had talked to me about watching Stacy because everything was happening fast.  Stacy and I really hadn’t had a chance to even talk to each other even from the last round of me being thereI remember Stacy was inundated with dialogue up the wazoo when I came back for that twelve-episode arc.  So, because of all of that, Albert said, “Watch Stacy! Watch her mannerisms, watch what she does,” and then I’ll throw a little Ari in it.  I just hope that I do as good of a job as Stacy does.

Paul, you and I talked about this on the NBC ‘Inside Salem’ podcast, when we played back for you (for the first time) the clip of Kristen taking off her Nicole mask.  Xander had the perfect set-up line for the reveal: “The part of Nicole Walker is being played by Kristen DiMera!”  Did you not have a good laugh doing that scene?  How did you get through doing that moment?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

PAUL:  Oh, yeah, I was laughing my ass off the whole time.  This is an insane storyline with masks and doppelgängers.  But, it looks great on-screen, and that way it’s edited.  So, I was really happy.

STACY:  There was one moment when Nicole would hold steady to unfold the neck.   So, Ari started that to the point where I’m pulling it off completely.  I think it’s cool.  It’s “Mission Impossible”.  How nice!

PAUL:  That’s what I going to say.  If Tom Cruise can make a hundred million dollars doing this stuff …

STACY:  … then, we can do it!

ARIANNE:  Right?  We can make a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of a quarter of that.

STACY:  We’ll make it look good!

What is the real deal between Xander and Kristen?  They are conspiring and in cahoots, but there’s this underlying sexual tension between them.  I think Xander respects Kristen in a way, because she can one-up him!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

PAUL:  I think every character who Xander has interacted with who isn’t a member of his family, he’s trying to either get something from, or get into bed with, and he can’t really do either with Kristen, because she’s crazier and more dangerous that he is up until this point.  That’s certainly the way that it feels.  The way Stacy plays it, she is not to be messed around with. Honestly, I think that turns him on.

STACY:  Yeah, there you go.  That sounds good. (Laughs)

PAUL:  I mean, it makes sense.  Just like, “Wait a minute.  This is a bit spicier than I’m used to,” so, he’s excited, but at the same time he knows which side his bread is buttered on, and he doesn’t want her to murder him!  (Laughs)

STACY:  Well said.  I like that. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what does Kristen think of Xander at this point?

PAUL:  That, he’s a useful idiot.

STACY:  She actually needs him to go out into the world because she can’t leave.  When she does, she has to leave as Nicole, and then it becomes a whole other storyline.

PAUL:  It’s fun because Kristen is actually the boss, and Xander is convinced that they’re actually partners and that becomes our whole dynamic where she’s treating him as her lackey, but he’s like, “No, we’re partners, because I know your secret.”  Then, it becomes kind of a bargaining chip between the mask and all of that.  It’s so crazy because certain evil characters when they come back, they have to come back in disguise; whereas Xander’s always quite happy to be just jogging through town square with his shirt off after holding someone ransom or kidnapping a baby like, “Ah, whatever.”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Arianne, it’s been awhile since you got to play the villainess side of Nicole, and with this return to DAYS you get to play that side of her as well, even though it’s really Kristen. Do you enjoy playing the bad girl?

ARIANNE:  Stacy and I were just saying today that you have these conversations about the villain character, (and Paul, I’m sure you’ve felt a lot of this too) people hate you or they love to hate you, and you’re like, “Hey, it’s a good thing because I’m doing my job if you hate me,” but in order for the storyline to move, you’ve got to have a villain.  Nicole used to be kind of villain-ish but playing someone like Kristen who is such a valued villain on this show is just … oh, my God!

Stacy and Paul, what do you think is the most heinous thing your characters have done so far?

STACY:  The most heinous?  (Laughs). Wow.  You know what’s funny is that she’s done all of these things, and I don’t think she thinks what she does is bad.

PAUL:  It’s so funny because you totally would expect her to be like, “The other characters are evil.  We’re the good guys!”

STACY:  I mean honestly, so she kidnapped Nicole, and took her baby.  There’s Marlena and the window.  I mean, it’s hard when she’s done all of these crazy, horrible things.  I’ve just really enjoyed playing her because she’s smart, she’s sassy, she’s this brilliant, deviant person who just wants one thing, and there’s one thing on her mind, and everything else gets in her way.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Is the one thing Brady?

STACY:  Brady, Brady, Brady, and I think even Xander has to repeat it over and over again.  We were playing in rehearsal, and I think I had him do that.  I don’t remember the line, but I said something, and he goes, “Brady Black,” and I go, “Say it again,” just because I want to hear him say it again.  That’s her driving force.

What did Greg Vaughan and Eric Martsolf say when they found out about what the twist was?  Did you tell them?  How did they find out?

ARIANNE:  Well, Eric Martsolf always has a great chuckle.  He has a great laugh, and I think Greg Vaughan just stared at me for a minute.  Then, I told him about the mask process … about making the mask …. and how I thought I was going to pass out and die.  (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Is putting on the mask an extremely weird experience?  How long does it take to put on? 

STACY:  About an hour?  It’s quick, and I thought we were going to suffocate when we were under that because I’ve never done my whole face before, but I’ve done body things. Make-up department is like, “You’re going to be fine.”  It was heavy too, really heavy.

ARIANNE:  Yeah, and because it’s so heavy, after a while, it starts to pull your skin down a little bit, and you’re like, “No, no!” (Laughs)

Did anybody else go running around with the mask on?

PAUL:  Oh yeah.  Everybody!

I knew it!

ARIANNE:  How could you not?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, what is the relationship between the real Nicole and Xander, which we saw play out before her death?

PAUL:  She’s my wife!

So, Xander sees Nicole as his wife?

PAUL:  I’m happy to give Xander’s perspective on Nicole, and then Arianne can feel free to correct it.  (Laughs)

ARIANNE:  Alright, that sounds good.

Photo Credit JPI Studios

PAUL:  The way I’ve tried to handle it over the years in our ins and outs of this failed romance is that they’ve saddled poor Arianne with: this psycho chasing after her, and kidnapping her and her baby, and whisking her off to foreign lands – and also to Nashville.  When Xander first came into town, before they decided to make him a total psychopath, it was all working nicely, and Nicole wasn’t really on the up and up with Xander, and she wasn’t really honest about what her intentions were.  Meanwhile, Xander was involved in all of this chicanery with Serena, so once that metastasized into full-blown evil, and Nicole was aware of this, it shifted from, “I just really wanted to take this girl to the movies,” to, “Well, I guess I have to kill her now.”  (Laughs)  So, I think he’s just been playing that out ever since.  “Well, if I can’t date her, and if she won’t love me, then I guess I just have to torture her for the rest of her days.”  I think now on the other side of her supposed death, I think Xander has probably reconciled that his twisted romantic notions, or torture, or whatever he was doing with Nicole, is probably over, and he’s moving on to greener, more alive pastures like Sarah.  To be fair, I do think they’ve purposely made it confusing.  Not just for the audience, but for us.  There’s a real sense of, “Am I playing this to Nicole as Kristen, or do you want me to play this just to Nicole?”  Very often they just go, “No, just play it to Nicole,” because it’s funnier if for Xander it just occasionally slips his mind because she looks just like Nicole.  I’m kissing her… like he’s just enjoying the fact that he can.  “I never really got to kiss Nicole much, but this is Nicole’s face, so I’m going to.”  (Laughs)

ARIANNE:  That’s hilarious.

Ari, what would you say is their relationship?

ARIANNE:  Well, I’m certainly not as long-winded as that.  (Laughs)

PAUL:  He’s a creep!

ARIANNE:  He is a creep.  What cracks me up coming from Nicole is, “Ew, what a jerk.  He’s so gross.  Yuck, yuck!”  Like, really?  You’re not going to make that one work, huh Nicole?  When you reach that far back to the history of Xander and Nicole, it doesn’t have a lot of depth for the two characters because the next thing you know he’s trying to kill her and Eric.  It’s like that scary online dating when you go on one date and it didn’t work out because that guy is going to kill you.

PAUL:  Xander is like the ultimate bad Tinder date.

ARIANNE:  Totally. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

That is classic.  The bad Tinder date.  That’s basically it.  Xander also apparently feels bad for Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) as she is having her bout with alcoholism.  Is that correct?

PAUL:  Yeah, I’m actually excited to see some of that stuff.  It was great doing it because I love Suzanne to bits.  I was very afraid of ruining Xander by making him too nice, but at the same time when I was first brought on to Days, I wasn’t offered a villain role originally.  Xander morphed into a more severe villain than I’d been led to believe he would be, and it happened quite quickly.  So, I’m actually quite happy to right the ship a little bit back towards he’s bad but he has some occasional glimmers of goodness in him.  So, Maggie really represents that because she’s actually quite nice to him and nurturing in a way that no other character on the show is.  When she has her dalliance with alcohol, he’s one of the few people who doesn’t judge her for it, and we finally get a little bit of Xander’s back story.  I’m actually excited to see those scenes because they felt nice to do, so hopefully they come across well.

Stacy, how did you track this storyline, when Arianne would be playing Kristen as Nicole? 

STACY:  Well if I didn’t get the script, I didn’t know about it.  So, if I wasn’t in the script that time, then I would be looking at Paul going, “What are we talking about?” and then, Ari had obviously already shot those scenes, so they were written for me, so I’m like, “What did I do?  What did I do?” It’s just scenes between Xander and Kristen at the Salem Inn.  Occasionally, you’d get somebody knocking at the door, but then I’d have to quickly put on my mask. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, Ari did you ever have to go to Stacy to get tips about Kristen’s past or anything?

ARIANNE:  It was all about the future moving forward.  I think old, former Nicole had some crazy similarities with current Kristen because it felt kind the same as pulling some things from what she used to do … you know, just a couple of crazy chicks in one crazy character. (Laughs).

The other big part of this is Rolf’s diary that Xander has in his possession.  Is Kristen in cahoots with him on that?  Is she trying to get that from him?

STACY:  I think she is.

PAUL:  Yeah, that’s when she starts to get mad at him; when she realizes that he’s not just being her underling and he’s off scurrying around with his own agenda in the meantime.

ARIANNE:  He’s manipulating and doing his own thing.

PAUL:  I use it to start manipulating Eve (Kassie DePaiva).

So, what would you say to the fans to look forward to?  “You never know who you’re talking to on DAYS?” “Gird your masks?”

ARIANNE:  I definitely think fans know that’s not Nicole the way she is.  And, you never know who is going to give you a shot in the butt and turn you into somebody else.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Well, that’s true.  You never know.  One day they’re going to tell you that you’re playing Julie today! (Laughs)

ARIANNE: “Today the character of Julie will be played by…”

STACY: “… you will never guess by whom!”

PAUL:  This was fun.  This is a fun way to do it.  Let’s all do all of our interviews together moving forward!

So, what have you thought of the plot twist? What do you think of the Nicole mask and the performances and comments made here by Arianne, Stacy, and Paul? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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