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Y&R 45 INTERVIEW: Janice Lynde and Jaime Lyn Bauer Reflect On Portraying The Brooks Sisters, Their Storylines, On-Screen Loves, & The Ups and Downs Of Being Soap-Famous!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

When The Young and the Restless make its unforgettable debut on CBS back on March 26, 1973, daytime audiences would soon be deeply entrenched in the perils, the loves, and the betrayals of two sisters from the wealthy Brooks clan – Leslie and Lorie Brooks.  Played to perfection by Janice Lynde (Leslie) and Jaime Lyn Bauer (Lorie), “sibling rivalry” was given a whole new name.

Leslie was the talented concert pianist, who found it difficult to open up, while her sister Lorie was more out-going and ruthless, determined to never play second fiddle.  These two were seemingly always in love with the same men, and Lorie even drove her sister to a mental breakdown, making Y&R must-see drama.

As part of Y&R’s 45 year anniversary celebration, Lynde and Bauer were asked back to the series to reprise their signature soap roles.  Janice had left the soap in 1977, while Jaime had stayed with the show through 1982, with a few reprisals along the way in 1984 and 2002.  In this candid, touching, and often humorous chat, the two powerhouse actress talk about what it was like being front and center on a new soap opera that took off like a rocket, shared some fond memories and backstage tidbits, reflected of their triumphs and struggles, gave us the real deal on their former leading men, including John McCook (Ex-Lance, Y&R, now Eric, B&B), plus how the late Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) impacted their lives and more.

What a treat it was to walk down memory lane with these two, who were a main part of the reason, we all fell in love with Y&R in the first place.  #YR45 begins for us here with this chat with Janice and Jaime.  

At the beginning of Y&R, you got cast as Leslie and Lorie Brooks.  How did you land the parts in the first place? What happened that led you to Genoa City?

Photo: CBS

JANICE:   I was cast in New York.  John Conboy (original executive producer, Y&R) flew me out on a Saturday, and Sunday morning at 2am, we made a deal.  Bob Fosse kept saying, “No, no.  You can’t do this.  Ask for more money!”  They had already started taping with someone else in the role, but I started on a Monday and taped five shows.  So it was all a whirlwind.

Were you like, “What did I get myself into?” (Laughs)

JANICE:  It’s terrible to admit it, but I had never had seen a soap.  I came up through classical music the opera, and theatre.  I had never watched television that much.  It was my first experience even seeing one, and it was thrilling.

JAIME:   For me, it was kind of wild.  I was coming out of a casting director’s office and it’s my third week in the business! I am walking down the hall and this other casting director says, “Would you come in here and read this? It’s not really anything.”  It was for The Young and the Restless, but he would not admit it was for the show.  So I read for him and I leave, and don’t think anything of it.  Now, I had already been cast to play this android sidekick for Gene Rodenberry’s show.  At that point, Universal had offered me one of the last player contracts, and then Y&R came about and I interviewed with John Conboy.  I had been a model, previously, He wanted me to do a screen test, and then I had a choice between three years on a soap, or seven years at Universal.  So I said to myself, “I will do the three years, because nobody watches the soaps so they would pay me to act and I would learn.”  The first six months of the show I was a wreck.  It was live to tape; you could not make it a mistake.

Courtesy/CBS

JANICE:  I was so awaiting her casting, because John kept teasing me with “You are going to have a sister, and then Leslie will have a breakdown…”

JAIME:   Instead, I was the one having the breakdown … (Laughs)

JANICE:  When Jaime came on the show, she was so gifted and lovely, but she hadn’t done a lot.  I use to take her home!  She would follow me up Laurel Canyon and I would make pasta, and I would say, “I’m going to make pasta, and we are going to rehearse.” That is how we worked out our scenes the first couple of months.

Everyone hated Lorie.  However, she was one of the first soap opera characters to go from ‘throw-something-at-the-TV-hated’ to a beloved heroine!  And along the way, poor Leslie suffered that mental breakdown, thanks to Lorie!

JANICE:  They did the story of her breakdown so well.  I’m very proud of it, because I went into a locked ward in LA and I did research, and I made notes.  The cast of women were extraordinary.

Photo: CBS

Both your characters seemed to have a penchant for falling in love with the same man.  Let’s start with Brad Eliot, played by Tom Hallick.  How was Tom to work with?

JANICE:  He was heaven to work with, easy to work with, and really solid.

JAIME:  He always had his lines down.

Lorie wanted Brad all to herself!

JANICE:  Lorie told Leslie that Brad wanted her, which destroyed me! (Laughs)

JAIME:  Well, of course, everyone wanted me! (Laughs)  Don’t be ridiculous. (Laughs)  Leslie was so insecure that she couldn’t believe the guy wanted her.  She was a child prodigy, but socially inept!  She did not know how beautiful and talented she was, and that she was the true rose.  But you got to give it to Lorie, because she was the second child, and the second child always has the rough times.

Photo: CBS

After Tom Hallick, the two of you worked in romantic storylines with the Prentiss brothers, Lance (John McCook) and Lucas (Tom Ligon).  How were those two to work with?

JANICE:  I worked with John first, and fell in love with John.

JAIME:  He was hard not to love!

JANICE:  At one point, I was in discussions about doing TV specials, and what the format would be like, and then John came on the show.  I did several scenes with him where Lance was running around the world following Leslie at every concert.  John is a great musician and so funny, so we were thinking about doing these specials together.

Courtesy/CBS

JAIME:   I loved both Tom and John and they were so different as people.  I remember a funny scene with Tom.  I am pregnant, and they are taping pencils on the floor because my belly is so big, and I can’t see my mark. Tom is supposed to pull me in his arms and kiss me passionately.  I said to him, “You need to feel my stomach,” and he pulls me to him with this big embrace, and bounces off me, and screams! (Laughs) We had to do the scene over again, obviously. (Laughs)

When you think back to your time on Y&R, what were some of your favorite scenes?

JAIME:  One of the dramatic ones for me was a scene that I did with the actor who played our father, Robert Colbert (Stuart Brooks).  He had started putting Lorie down, and Lorie started responding back.  It got really ugly between us.  I sat down afterwards and people came up to me and went, “Oh, my Gosh. That was brilliant.”  I was sitting on a bench, and I was shaking uncontrollably, and I am like, “Where did that come from? “ One of the funnier scenes, because we were doing live tape, was with John McCook (Ex-Lance, B&B, now Eric B&B).  We were jumping on this bed together, but we had no idea that it was actually two beds, and they separated, and the two of us went down right in the middle of it, and we just had to go with it. The two of us just started laughing and joking.

Photo: CBS

JANICE:  I would say … I did love the story of Leslie being in the mental institution.  I thought it would bring awareness, help some people, and not be such a stigma anymore.  There were so many interesting things within that.

JAIME:  Even though it’s nice doing comedic stuff, and John McCook was very funny, truly for actresses that are more serious, the best parts are playing the complex characters. You have to do the research, you have to think, and you have to study people all of the time. John McCook took me into the control room one day and he ran a tape of something I just had done, and he said, “See that! That was really sexy!”  I said, “What?” He said, “What were you thinking when you did that?”  Of course, I didn’t know.

Wait … but, Lorie was the sexy one!

JAIME:  But you know what I used to do?  I used to go to Hugh Hefner’s on Friday night’s because he had free meals there.  I was watching people on the stairs, and that is how I learned how to play Lorie.  I also knew watched this woman I knew just turn it on a dime with this sexual energy toward either a young man, or a very old man. So between her, and Hefner’s, that is how I developed Lorie.

Can you recall some of the fans reactions you received, or were on the other end of, if people would see you at personal appearances, or, out and about, or, via fan mail? Back then, there was no such thing as social media for everyone to let out their opinions and feelings.

Photo: CBS

JAIME:  I remember driving down Sunset Blvd one night and we were in a convertible, and another convertible is next to us, and they start shouting at me, “Oh, my God!  It’s Lorie! It’s Lorie. We hate you!”  Then they go, “No, no, no. We love hating you!”   There was another time where I was shooting a movie of the week with Leslie Nielsen, and he saved me.  I was sitting in the lobby in a building in Century City waiting to be called to set.  This woman comes up to me in the lobby and she literally puts her hand around my throat.  She must have just watched me on TV in her room upstairs.  Leslie helped me get her off of me.  People hated me, but it was a compliment.  What was so amazing for me as a human being is that I never knew what sexy was?

JANICE:  I don’t buy that for one second! (Laughs)  For me, I had amazing reactions.  I was at a dinner one night and Dean Martin came up to me and said, “You are my favorite actress and singer.”  He then asked me to open for him in his nightclub act, and we became very close friends. Then, in either second or third year of Y&R, because we were all seen internationally there was this incident.  I was in the Sistine Chapel and trying to get away from it all, and needed a vacation.  All of a sudden I this place where you take a vow of silence before you enter it, someone yells, “Leslie!” Then everyone was crowding around me, and then the Vatican guard grabbed me and helped me out of the chapel. But then I was told the Pope wanted to meet me, and we did!   The scariest one was at the Farmer’s Market near CBS and these three women came up to me and said, “What are you doing out?  What can we do for you?  You need care!”  I swear, if they knew where to take me they would have taken me to some mental institution!”

In the mid 70’s, the most compelling story on the soaps was centered around Leslie and Lorie, and the other two Brooks sisters, Chris (Trish Stewart) and Peggy (Pam Peters).  But Jaime, what I want to know is … what did you think of K.T. Stevens (Vanessa) when Vanessa was always wearing that veil over half of her face? (Laughs)  I always wanted to just yank it off of her!  I know Vanessa’s  face was supposedly disfigured from a fire, but I didn’t understand why she was always wearing it! (Laughs)

Photo: CBS

JAIME:  Vanessa was really evil, but K.T. Stevens on her own was so sweet, loving, and supporting. Vanessa killed herself and blamed it on Lorie! Sometimes, I wanted to rip her veil off so bad, too! (Laughs)

Y&R always had the most beautiful cast, along with the exceptional writing, the singing, and the production values that set the bar high after it debuted in 1973.

JAIME:  We were one of the first soaps to also do important topics for the times.  We did storylines on: breast cancer, rape, and mental illness.

Janice, at one point did you decide to leave Y&R?

JANICE:  There was never time to have a vacation, and I was working so hard without a break.  If not for that, I would have stayed a long, long time.  Bill Bell (Y&R co-creator, and head writer) and John Conboy were great to work with, and were great about letting us out to do other projects, but the show was garnering a lot of ratings so the hours just became insane for me.

JAIME:   And remember in those days, daytime shows paid for primetime.  So we were so important to the network that we were not given a break.  I walked illegally, because I thought I just have to escape.  I got on a plane to Hawaii and I stayed at a girlfriend’s house there for two weeks.  I came back to Y&R and had a meeting. I said in my negotiations that I do want all the women to have their own dressing rooms, and this is before AFTRA had any strength at all as a union.

Jaime, what happened when you decided to exit Y&R?

Photo: CBS

JAIME:  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I am nine years in, and the only reason anyone replaced me was when I was on maternity leave and having babies. When I came back I was working five or six days a week, and had kids at home.  At one point, I could not even think of my own name, and I got scared.  I went to them and said, “I need you to put a ceiling on the number of episodes I work a week, unless it’s a big storyline.”   We were just so successful at the time that they couldn’t do it, and so I left.  Then, Bill Bell, God bless him, because I had said to him and John (in tears), “please don’t make me feel guilty’:, did something so unbelievably touching.   What Bill didn’t tell me was that he fired everyone to do with the Brooks’, and in our entire storyline, because I was his favorite character.  I think that was because I was named after his daughter, Lauralee, and he couldn’t envision the show without the character, so he had to change it and make it a whole new show. I will thank him forever for that, because if I had known I would have stayed.   I loved Bill and John, and I would have done anything that I could for them.

There was another tremendous actress when you started at Y&R, the incomparable and iconic, Jeanne Cooper (Katherine).  What was your relationship like with Jeanne?

JAIME:  Jeanne was a second mom to me.  The first play I did was Plaza Suite, and we were in the same play together, and it was a touring company.  I went to the director before we opened on opening night and I said, “I think you made a mistake.  I don’t think I can do this. I don’t think I’m funny.”  He goes, “Nope.  I haven’t made a mistake. You will be just fine.”  Well, I cried for two hours the day of opening night, because I was terrified.  But it was Jeanne Cooper who stood there, and had her arms around me saying, “You’re going to be fine.  You will see.”  My cue came and she is standing there, and she literally shoved me onto the stage.  Jeanne was an amazing, sweet, incredible woman and at a time I was dating her son, so I was over at ber house a lot of the time, so we were tight.

Courtesy/CBS

JANICE:   Jeanne was the cast mom.  It was such a joy, because we were all very collaborative. There were times I was given a script late on one day and had to do a big song and dance the next; like this one in Lance’s apartment, where he dares Leslie to come out of her shell so she can perform at this party. (Laughs)  I said to Jeanne, “How am I going to do this?  There is not even the staircase, or full set to work with up yet.” She said, “I have an event, but I will meet you at midnight.” We got Bob Fosse on speaker phone, because the number was “If You Could See Me Now” from Sweet Charity, and between Jeanne and Bob, and me, running up the stairs and landing on top of the piano, we got it figured out.  But Jeanne would do things like that. She would do anything for the work.  She was a great friend, and a brilliant talent, and had some demons, but she conquered them.

How did it come about that you are returning to Y&R on-air this week as part of their 45th anniversary episodes?

Photo: CBS

JAIME:  I was laying on the beach in Cancun, and I get a call.  I go, “What?  Who? The Young and the Restless? You want me to return for their anniversary? Sure … just let me know. “

JANICE:  I got a call while I was in a ballet class in New York.  I was at the ballet bar, and I get a call from my agent.  So, I thought I should go out in the hall and take this.   I ran out and I said, “Really?”  My agent said, “How do you feel about that?”  I said, “Absolutely, would love to do it.   It’s a reunion!”  But honestly, I didn’t believe it was going to happen, because I had gotten a lot of calls over the past years and decades and we could not work it out, for one reason or the other.  This time we did, and I was so excited to be back.

Did you think Y&R would have lasted this long, from when it began?

JAIME:   I am not surprised at that at all.  It has been number-one overall for a reason. The writing has been quite good.  They still have that great look and that great lightning.

What would you want to say to Y&R as it celebrates its 45th anniversary?

Courtesy/CBS

JANICE:  “You are the tops!  And 45 more …”

JAIME:  “45 more that would be brilliant … than we can actually show up at 90!” (Laughs)

So, what were your favorite memories and storylines of The Brooks sisters? Are you glad Y&R asked Janice and Jaime back for the anniversary episodes?  What did you think about Janice and Jaime recalling the beginning years of Y&R? Share your thoughts via the comment section below!

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Michael (not Fairman)MarieShayModiane Recent comment authors
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su0000
su0000

That was 1973 — the Brook Sisters..
I wasn’t yet born.
But– I’m looking forward to seeing them it will be interesting and even fun to go that far back..

Celia
Celia

Same here, SuzieQ…But, I am very familiar with all these characters….my Gran is a great storyteller—I feel as if I had been there 45 years ago watching with her…..looking forward “seeing” them again. LOL.
Aside: through all this, I must give praise to Marla, again….WOW!!!!…. gets better and better.
Dina’s disdain with Ashley is soooo pungent but a revelation at the same time. She resents her daughter because she’s a constant reminder, subconsciously, of what she did to John…..
It would be the greatest twist and sweet irony if Jack were the Pro’s son. HaHa….

Celia
Celia

PS…or, Jack is the issue of another affair. OOOOUUU-LALA!!!! Are any of Dina’s children John’s, su??

su0000
su0000

I am the one and only (both sides of family) that ever watched a soap..
ahaa I’m virgin soap family ..

Shay
Shay

Looks like Traci is going to be the only genuine article Abbott to spring from John’s loins and Dina’s womb, CeeCeeGirl! How ironic is that? From the beginning, this girl was always the awkward, odd child out, constantly paling in comparison to her handsome older brother Jack and glamorous big sis Ashley, and now both are apparently not even real Abbotts…what an identity crisis, eh???

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

What a wonderful interview, Michael. So happy to see original veterans, such as Janice Lynde and Jaime Lyn Bauer back in Genoa City. What a beautiful way to celebrate The Young and the Restless‘ 45th anniversary! I’m hoping this might lead to more appearances, though, I don’t know if these two are the ones who might be making further appearances past the anniversary. Hearing them speak about their time on the soap, and even Bauer’s words about her asking to leave, were powerful. They helped change the face of daytime during a time when daytime was most powerful.

Patrick
Patrick

OMG: I feel for Jaime Lyn Bauer… she had two predicaments… CLOSE TO HER HEART. maintain her STAR reign… or go home to her children.

this is why I feel for women… who make the sacrifice.

for the heck of it…. I wonder how long she coulda woulda shoulda stayed … past her original 9 years. she committed to 6 more years past her 3 year contract.

“… We were just so successful at the time that they couldn’t do it, and so I left. ”

that’s a lot of tears … heart mind and soul ripped torn and tattered. The love of a mother…. hats off and salute.

I LOVE THIS WOMAN… only know … her work @DAYS of OUR LIVES. ALL the proof you need… she came back… conquered.. persevered.. and is loved that much more.

TAKEN from Wiki : “The one time Miss Phoenix beauty contest winner is best known for her two long-running soap roles: Lorie Brooks on The Young and the Restless, which she played from 1973 to 1982 with reprises in 1984 and 2002, and Dr. Laura Spencer Horton on Days of Our Lives.[1] The character of Laura, previously played by Susan Flannery and Rosemary Forsyth (among others), had not been seen in 13 years. She played Laura from 1993 to 1999 with reprises in 2003, 2010 and 2013.”

@DAYS NEEDS to bring Laura back… seeing as how her granddaughter ABS is using grandma Laura as one of 3 identities. HELP my Abs. Jaime Lyn as Laura always brought a warm familial vibe to all her foundlings…. when she had to… rear itself… she rose and culled from whatever it took…. and knowing her “fragile” state even then… made us , the audience cheer her on that much more… we cared about Laura.

it’s nice to salute you Ms. Bauer.

Shay
Shay

Jaime Lyn was one of daytime’s most quintessential soap goddesses! So sleek, slim, statuesque and drop-dead gorgeous in all of her designer finery! Her character was of a time and place when women each had their own highly-distinct looks, not the cookie-cutter botoxed features that we see today….how I miss those golden days when the soaps were an endless parade of exquisitely original beauties decked out in the latest and greatest fashions! What a feast for the eyes they were! Welcome back, Lorie Brooks!

Kevin C
Kevin C

I have yet to read the interview but I am so excited to have them back and wish they were back permanently for I loved Y&R from the beginning till 2006…I started watching again when Sally and Kay returned as headwriter and story consultant…I started to stop watching once Sally and Kay left but decided to stick with it through the 45th anniversary and I haven’t been impressed Mals writing until this past week and not I am interested in where it goes from here…

Kevin C
Kevin C

I failed to mention that I have the conversation on a cassette tape of when Leslie was asking Lorie to help her unlock the key to her past for Leslie didn’t know what happened to her for losing her memory….such a wonderful and very well acted storyline and oh how I miss those days…

Kevin C
Kevin C

I just finished reading the interview, LOVED IT and again how I miss these two beautiful ladies on this show…I loved all the storylines with Lorie and Leslie, they were all great…but the two that really come to mind is of course the sister rivalry and the Lorie and Vanessa storyline with Vanessa staging her own death and setting the stage to make it look like Lorie pushing Vanessa over the balcony, CRAZY WONDERFUL storyline…I remember Vanessa yelling, STOP LORIE, STOP and Vanessa KEPT on saying this LOUDLY and Lorie was wondering what on earth was going on with Vanessa and trying to calm her down and then Vanessa jumps off the balcony and Lorie is so distraught, it was SHOCKING and LOVED the DRAMA and then the trial and then Lucas blaming Lorie at Vanessa’s funeral…Lucas looking and screaming at Lorie, saying to Lorie, look Lorie, LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO MY MOTHER…with the dramatic and beautiful background music going, SO GUT WRENCHING and so miss these days of GREAT SOAP WRITING where you didn’t want to miss a DAY…

diane
diane

I was 11 when the show started and I would watch it at my sisters house when I was out of school, which was a lot!! I will always remember the Brooks family and Jill’s family. They are Y&R to me.

Michael
Michael

The show was such a gem in the 70’s and so forward-thinking. I note the ladies mention the lighting – it was so flattering compared to other shows of the time. And the cast was already an attractive group! And Leslie-Lorie-Lance-Lucas – the Alliterative Quadrangle! Easy to poke fun at – but a riveting story, thanks to the actors. Looking forward to seeing this week’s reunion!

Mo
Mo

Didn’t watch then. I have seen Jamie on Days so I’m familiar with her, but not on Y&R.

Looking forward to seeing them and what brings them to town.

Marilyn
Marilyn

I was 9 when Y&R started and I remember it vividly still. I was so bummed when the Brooks family was gone that I stopped watching. I started again for a bit when Lily and Daniel were together and Cassie died. Still a great show though not one I regularly watch. What a blast from the past though. Great interview1

vinman
vinman

GREATNESS @Y/R….LESLIE,LORIE,CHRIS&AMY BROOKS…ALSO MR.&MRS.BROOKS;along with the FOSTER’S and PRENTICE BROTHERS LANCE&LUCAS…mother Vanessa.Brad,Sally and Robert.And the DUCHESS MRS.C…JEANNE COOPER.#@Y&RHAPPY45.

Max
Max

I was about 15 when they went on the air and was so impressed by the production values. It was the first Hollywood daytime drama I watched. I loved the Brooks family and now I know why they were written out. Thanks for the interview, Michael. I was thrilled when Janice Lynde showed up on my favorite soap One Life To Live. One other thing that I enjoyed on early Y&R was the use of music and songs. If I recall, Leslie’s song was “If A Picture Paints A Thousand Words”, loved when they used the song “Bless The Beasts And The Children” I think it was played for the character of Chris. So many good memories of the first 20 years of this show.

Kevin C
Kevin C

Hey Max, you are right on with the music and the song that Leslie sing, a Bread song, IF…and I loved when the played Bless the Beast and the Children…and like you said such good/great memories of the first 20 years of Y&R…

Farhan
Farhan

It’s so great to have the Brooks sisters back again! I remember their rivalry over men and when Dennis Cole played Lance. Vanessa hated Laurie and I remember when she jumped off the balcony to her death and made it look like Laurie pushed her. A definite jaw dropping moment for that show. I also loved the episodes featuring Leslie’s concerts. Incredible moments. It would be nice to have Y and R revisit some of the history with these old characters again including the Fosters. Its great to have them back and I hope to see more of them in the near future! Happy 45th Y and R!

Ron
Ron

THANK YOU FOR THE INTERVIEW! It was great to read what a couple of the original cast members thought of the show, their characters, and the trend they set for daytime programming.

My favorite Brookes family storyline was Jennifer Brookes’ breat cancer– the reaction of Stuart, how each daughter struggled with it, and the beautiful and agonizing depiction given by the actress who played their mother… as Kevin and Max noted in earlier posts, THE MUSIC brought the great acting and the great dialogue together.

Also, loved the courtroom scenes regarding Lorie being accused of Vanessa’s death– great drama, especially when she was found innocent– her lawyer was great and she played the role to perfection… again, the MUSIC made it all pop!

Hope the new writing regime respects the efforts of those original cast members and pays homage to them throughout the year! Would love to see others return for a brief stay.

beacon
beacon

They should bring Lorie back permanently and give us a new generation of Brooks characters. Surely Lorie has kids?

Mo
Mo

I didn’t think much of Janice’s acting yesterday. A little blah. Maybe she has been out of practice.

I didn’t know all the history with the Brooks and Jill so it was nice to get to find out. I thought, Jill sure likes wealthy older men and then Billy said it! Yes!

Karen R
Karen R

I was watching back then, loved the Brooks family and the Fosters. Jill, her mom and brothers. Been watching it throuout the years And it is still my favorite.

Judith
Judith

I miss the Brooks family.

dmr
dmr

I am not familiar with the past storyline; and although I found the scene to be funny, I also found it to be awkward. I’m not a “Jill” fan, so I wasn’t too keen on this, but it was funny and “catish.”

Mo
Mo

I thought it was a bit awkward too. The two sisters sitting at the bar and then Jill. It looked weird.

diane
diane

I was hoping they would share more of the 45 year old history through flashbacks this week!! I was also hoping to see the Brooks sisters for more then 2 whole minutes!!! The other storylines can wait till next week!

Marie
Marie

I don’t remember this Leslie. I remember the one with the dark hair and the porcelain complexion. That said, this was a great interview.

Jess Walton still drives me up the wall. I’ve always thought she was a terrible Jill – she’s always so miserable. Being a villain should be fun! At least the other Jill thought it was.

Michael (not Fairman)
Michael (not Fairman)

That was Victoria Mallory, Marie. She took over the role when Janice Lynde left and played it for four or five years. I liked her a lot; probably one of Y&R’s best recasts.

Interviews

Melody Thomas Scott Chats On 40 Years As The Young and the Restless’ Incomparable Nikki: The Men, The Booze, The Drama

Today marks Y&R icon Melody Thomas Scott’s 40th anniversary with the top-rated daytime drama series.  While CBS plans to air a special standalone episode (Nikki is in the slammer for confessing to J.T.’s murder, and she will reflect on her life in an emotional look-back), Michael Fairman sat down with the popular and beloved star for a deep dive into four decades in the life of stripper-turned-socialite, Nikki Newman for The Michael Fairman Channel.

During the interview, Melody first addresses her sadness at the loss of her longtime friend and co-star Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters): “I adored him.  I love him to bits.  I loved working with him; such a wonderful actor.  I don’t even know if he knew how good he was.”

When discussing Nikki’s colorful past, and when Y&R planned to have Nikki strip again decades later, Melody revealed she did refuse to play it: “That’s right, and I very rarely put the kibosh on anything on this show,  I was 48-years-old.  The head writer called me and I was up in hair and make-up.  They heard me say, ‘I’m 48-years-old .. that’s just not happening.”‘

Photo: TheMichaelFairmanChannel

Over the years, Nikki has faced many battles, perils ,and demons including her addiction to alcohol which has provided many a juicy story for Thomas Scott.  As to the fans always loving to see a ‘boozy’ Nikki, Melody remarked;  “Yes!  They love it!  I have great fun with it and I think it’s wonderful.”

During a segment of the conversation, Michael shows Melody some photos of Nikki’s past loves, and gets her thoughts on why Nikki fell for those men, and what it was like working with her co-stars through the years: John Enos (Bobby), Doug Davidson (Paul), Heath Kizzier (Joshua), Wings Hauser (Greg), Don Diamont (Brad), Vincent Irizarry (David), Peter Bergman (Jack), Sean Kanan (Deacon, and of course, her longtime on-screen partner Eric Braeden (Victor).

Later, Melody reminisces about her time working with the late great Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) and when asked by Fairman what she thinks Jeanne would say about her 40th anniversary milestone, Melody replied: “She would say, ‘I’m (bleeping) proud of you Mel!”‘

Photo: CBS

Check out the entire interview with Melody below (make sure to also subscribe to the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube for more feature interviews), and following that the special CBS promo honoring Melody’s 40th anniversary with Y&R.  Then let us know, what has been your favorite Nikki Newman moment over the last 40 years? Share your thoughts via the comment section below,

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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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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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  • Celia: “For sure, Sonniosorlita.....yet, as the media describes his actions....... ( paraphrasing)...."yes, what Smollett did was not right, of course.... but…
  • James R. Poissant: “I loved all the flashbacks.
  • Michael Teale: “This was a beautifully done episode! Loved it!
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Power Performance

Kate Mansi as Abigail

Days of our Lives

Airdate:12-24-2018

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