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Y&R’s Amelia Heinle Talks What’s Next For Victoria & Returning To Work With The Newman Clan

Photo: CBS

Fiftteen years, and two Daytime Emmys later, Amelia Heinle has become a mainstay of CBS’ The Young and the Restless as Victoria Newman; the on-screen daughter of the iconic Victor (Eric Braeden) and Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott).

In Genoa City, Victoria has certainly had her share of issues in the love department, and has battled back time and time again for respect as a formidable power player and businesswoman.

Now with Y&R being back this Monday with all-new episodes; following the production shutdown caused by COVID-19, viewers can expect to see a tougher-stance from Victoria as she fights for what she rightfully believes is hers … and she may just to it by any means possible.

Michael Fairman TV caught with Amelia to get the lowdown on: what’s ahead for Victoria, working with her co-stars, Victoria’s future in business and in affairs of the heart, and much more.  All we can say is “Better watch out Adam (Mark Grossman) and Victor!”  Here’s what Amelia shared.

Photo: JPI

How has it been going back to work at Y&R during the coronavirus pandemic?

AMELIA:  The first week was an adjustment.  There were a lot of different protocols to follow, but now I think we are in week five or so, and things are kind of normalizing a little bit with all of the precautions that we have to take and trying to get used to them.  So, it’s not much different than what’s going on in real life and how all of us are taking precautions to stay safe.  We are kind of coming back a little slower because they aren’t having a bunch of people at the studio at one time.  It’s nice.  It’s been a lot of two-person scenes, and it’s good.  I think it is going to be well-received by the fans when we start airing new episodes Monday.

Did you feel any hesitation going back into production? 

AMELIA:  No, I was glad to go back.  I was really missing everyone and missing the show and working and just the whole thing.  So, I was very anxious to get back.  It feels good.

Are the actors far apart in the scenes … as in six feet apart?

AMELIA:  Yes, I even think the first day we were back; we were like ten feet apart!  (Laughs)  They were very careful, and I respect that.  It’s not easy to do what they’re doing, and they’re pulling it off beautifully.  I’m proud of them, and I’m proud of all of us, because I think everybody wants to be back so badly and to make it work, so they’re just doing what they have to do.

Photo: JPI

So where we pick back up in story; Victoria is pretty upset with Victor and Adam.  How is she feeling about Adam after we learned he supposedly killed a guy when he was a child?

AMELIA:  It was so funny when we came back, I forgot where we were.  I couldn’t remember.  I just was like, “Wait… what happened?” because it was so long ago!

You were like “Who is AJ Montalvo?” (Laughs)

AMELIA:  Yeah!  I totally forgot about that.  I was like, “Was that where we left off?”  (Laughs) We all just kind of just jumped back into the story … and Victoria was pissed off with her father because he, again, gave Adam her position at Newman Enterprises, and made an excuse for why he did it.  So, she is mad again.   I think they thought about my character over the break and made her a little tougher.

Photo: JPI

Do you think Victoria will want payback and be a little more vindictive than we’ve seen her?

AMELIA:  Oh yeah, for sure.  She seems to be channeling Victor more and I am more than happy to play that.  Since I’ve been back, it’s been a lot of fun because they’ve given me a lot of material.

Glad to hear that Victoria will have more of an edge.  At times through the years, the various writers have waffled with her.  Isn’t Victoria supposed to be the most like Victor of all his children?

AMELIA: Yes, she’s supposed to be, and I really like it when they write her to be strong with her father, which sometimes I find that they don’t.  Sometimes, I find she is not as strong with him, and it just depends on the writers we have, or the executive producer at the time, but now they’ve written her holding her own with Victor and passionate about Newman Enterprises.  I’m hoping that they keep going in this direction.  I like playing her A-type personality.  It just makes me laugh.  I get a kick out of the character being so tightly wound and just all about business because it’s fun to play.

Photo: JPI

What does Victoria think about Adam?  Doesn’t she want to strangle him?  What is her modus operandi where he is involved?

AMELIA:  I find her to have this daddy issue, and she is highly jealous of Adam, because he’s always getting a second chance.  What Victor has done to Victoria is really cold-blooded.  He does really keep dissing her business-wise.  She’ll have an opportunity, and we had this great scene a long time ago where he finally gives makes Victoria the CEO at Newman, and it was really nice, and six months later, or whenever, he gives it back to Adam.  So she gets stabbed and then he just gives the position to Adam.  Victoria is always just getting the short end of the stick when it comes to the company.  I think that in several of the new episodes that are coming out soon, Victoria is going to fight for what she wants … finally.  She’s getting a lot wiser to her father and what he does, so I think that’s what you are going to see.

As we come back into the story, Victoria is the CEO, correct?

AMELIA:  Yes.  She is the CEO, and Victor is actually retired.  Before the break, I couldn’t remember who the CEO was when I got back then I realized… it’s me!

Will Victoria use the ammo that Adam supposedly killed somebody as a child, to get rid of him once and for all?

AMELIA:  I don’t know if she ever wants Adam to go to prison.  I don’t think she hates him that much.  I know they write that, but it’s her brother, and I think she is just super jealous of the relationship that her father has with him. Victoria wants to get Adam into trouble, and I think she wants to demoralize him a little bit, but I don’t think she wants him to go to prison or to leave town.  I think there has to be an element of love.  There’s got to be a little bit of love there because they’ve had moments; that is her brother.

How do you think Mark Grossman has been as Adam?  It’s been over a year now since he’s taken over the pivotal role.

AMELIA:  I think Mark’s done such a wonderful job, and he came in like most characters like that, with all of the dialogue, and all of that workload.  I really like him.  He’s a nice man.

Photo: JPI

Where do you think Victoria’s relationship is with her other brother Nick (Joshua Morrow)?  Are they on good terms at this point?

AMELIA:  They;re still in love!  Come on! (Laughs)  I’m just kidding.  We always joke and say, “Nick and Victoria … they’re in love.”  It’s very Game of Thrones.  I haven’t had a scene with Joshua in a while, but they’ve been on good terms for many, many years.  I don’t think they’ve had them be at odds in a while.

So, you don’t think Victoria might get into cahoots with Nick to bring down Adam?

AMELIA:  I don’t know.  That’s a good question.  I haven’t seen any scenes with them together.  I’m sure the show will find a way to loop in everyone when they tie together this story with AJ Montalvo.  But there are some very interesting family dynamics coming up.  There is something Victoria does with her mom, Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), that I’m not going to say, but something happens with her, and I like what they’ve written so far!

What about a man for Victoria?  Can she be okay without a guy? 

AMELIA:  She’s going to have to be; because I’m going to be six feet apart from whoever! (Laughs)  I don’t know how they’re going to do it.  I can’t wait to see.  They’re going to probably try some new loves, but not with a new character.  There might be some interaction with somebody coming up that I only know about, because I shot it last week. I think it is going to be cool. There’s some romance in Victoria’s future.

Photo: JPI

Okay, so it won’t be a loveless next six months for Victoria?

AMELIA:  No, I don’t think so.  I don’t think they’re going to do that to me.  I thought that too, but they’re teasing something right now, and I find it interesting.

What did you think of Jason Thompson (Billy) winning the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series back at the end of June?  I know you were in some of the scenes with him that won him the gold.

AMELIA:  It’s about time!  He’s such a great actor.  I can’t believe Jason hasn’t won one till now. It was long overdue; in my opinion.

Do you enjoy the Billy/Victoria dynamic? It can get very messy between them when either they come together or grow apart in story?

AMELIA:  I like it a lot.  Jason is great whenever we have scenes together.  He’s super easy to act with.  He is so natural.  Right now, we are not romantically entangled on the show, so we had scenes a couple of weeks ago that were really nice.  Victoria involved Billy in her business with Newman, which you’ll see later, but now they have a new dynamic, and they have a kid.  I like playing us co-parenting.

Photo: JPI

But they could end up back together at some point, I would think.

AMELIA:  Oh, for sure, 100%.  You know we’re going to go there … forever and ever.  It’s an endless loop.

Y&R just aired a classic episode of J.T. and Victoria’s wedding.  Did you happen to see it?

AMELIA: People were sending me GIFS, and I was like, “Holy crap!  I was so young!” and so was Thad.  He looked like a baby!

Photo: JPI

Do you remember taping those scenes? 

AMELIA:  Yes, I remember wearing Melody’s old dress on the show, which was supposed to be Nikki’s old dress.  I remember that I had just had my son, Rowe, so he’s twleve now, so that was almost thirteen years ago, and I remember back then I was trying to lose a little baby weight.  I also remember laughing because my hair looked like I was going to a quinceañera, and I had bows in my hair.  It was so cool to see that.  It felt like it wasn’t that long ago, but it was.  Looking back, it was fun, but I still just can’t get over how young we looked.  Twelve years really ages you!  Maybe it’s the kids, I don’t know!

It’s so interesting, and I was saying this the other day to someone, that in daytime, we’ve all grown up with each other – the people who have worked in the medium, and the fans.  In no other medium can you truly follow an evolution of a person the way you can on daytime.

AMELIA:  It’s so true.  There’s nothing else like it in the whole world.  It’s so cool.

Speaking of Thad as J.T., they ultimately resolved the story of J.T.’s abusive behavior towards Victoria in that a brain tumor was the culprit. How did you feel about that?

AMELIA:  I liked that they did resolve it.  Actually, looking back, Thad did such great work he should have submitted himself for the Daytime Emmys in the Guest Performer category.  I know the wrap-up of the story was a little silly, but the way that it turned out was good because with the brain tumor, he can still come back.  J.T. went to prison for a little bit which is a hell of a lot better than him being buried in Chancellor Park!

When Thad was off the show, did he know that Victoria, Sharon, Nikki and Phyllis buried J.T. in Chancellor Park? (Laughs)

AMELIA:  Yeah, he knew that he was buried there.  We laughed about it.  When he came back, it had to be resolved somehow, and sometimes on daytime you have to suspend disbelief a little bit.

Do you know what was really good about it?  There was still great Victoria/J.T. chemistry.  It was still there through all of the craziness.

AMELIA:  I don’t know if they’d ever have him Thad back, but it would certainly be cool.  It would be nice to just have regular J.T. because he is such a good character.

Photo: JPI

The fans are very much looking forward to all new episodes of Y&R this week.  They’ve been so patient.  I think Y&R did such a great job of coming up with these classic episodes, many of them that people hadn’t seen in such a long time, instead of defaulting to more recent episodes and just re-airing those.  I’m sure you’re hearing that from the fans that they can’t wait to see you guys.

AMELIA:  I thought people would be super excited to have the classic episodes, and I think they were to a certain point.  However, it was also nice to hear that they wanted us to come back because my thinking was, “If they see the classic stuff, I wonder if they’re going to want us back,” and they do, and it’s nice.  They want to see the development of the storylines continue.  They had their fun with the reruns.  They were well-received.

Let’s talk about being part of the iconic Newman clan of Y&R.  Do you enjoy working with Eric Braeden (Victor)?

AMELIA:  If I see that I am working with him (I just thought about this the other day because we hadn’t seen each other), I know that it is always going to be good even if it isn’t the way I want it to be written.  It’s always good.  Eric is just fun to work with, and he usually brings his A-game.  Sometimes we laugh and make fun of the material if it’s silly, but he’s just always on point with being there for you, and being in the moment with you, and supportive of you, and offering ideas respectfully; because he still really cares after all these years.  You can see how much Eric cares about the show, and his character, and making it good.  It’s just always nice to work with him.

Photo: JPI

Has Eric given you advice while on set with him throughout your time together on Y&R?

AMELIA:  We’ve talked about things every now and then.  Sometimes, I’ll just go talk about what’s going on in the show, and sit in his dressing room, and shoot the breeze about stuff.  He’s a really insightful guy, and he’s done a lot in his life, and it’s always interesting to hear his stories.  There’s just no one like him.  Eric is just such a unique man, and I respect him a lot.

And… your on-screen mom, Melody Thomas Scott has got her memoir, Always Young and Restless coming out in less than two weeks!

AMELIA:  I know!  I’m so excited.

Are you discussed in the book?

AMELIA:  I think so, because Melody said she needed a picture of me.  I can’t wait to read it!

Photo: JPI

Is this true that the Newman acting troupe knows their lines like nobody’s business and gets their scenes done quickly?

AMELIA:  It depends on the day.  Sometimes we are.  If people want to get done and get the show going and keep the ball rolling, everybody is on their A-game, and some days, we just come back from lunch and nobody can find their script or their lipstick, but it’s fun either way.  I love it.

Would you say that the Newmans can be an intimidating group on set; especially for newcomers to the show who have their first scenes with them?

AMELIA:  I would say that we are.  I’m not going to lie.  When we are all there, and it’s Eric, Melody, Josh, and me, and then there is somebody new it can be hard for them.  We’ve all been together for so long now that we have our inside jokes and everything.  When someone new comes in, and they’re just thinking they can kind of ease right into it with us, it can work or not work.  Mark Grossman was one that it worked with.  He held his own, but we are always kind, and we always make people feel comfortable and are always complimentary of new actors.  We really are.

Photo: CBS

So, a tough nut to crack those Newmans, but if you crack it, you’re good to go?

AMELIA:  Oh, once you crack it, it’s cracked. You’re “in like Flynn”.

So, excited to see what happens for Victoria in the coming months on Y&R? Who so you hope she is linked with romanitcally? Share your thoughts on our interview with Amelia via the comment section below.

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CeliaViolet LemmBoopsonniorsolitaCaroline Recent comment authors
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Kelsey M.
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Kelsey M.

Love this girl. She is all class and grace.

Caitline
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Caitline

What a gem of a human. Happy for her and Thad too.

Rick
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Rick

Amelia is the reason I watch the show she is incredible her acting is incredible she always leaves me wanting more of her scenes. She just so happens to be unfairly beautiful and so well spoken I follow her on social media as well I think I must be her biggest fan I always enjoy what she has to say when she does interviews such as this and I’m beyond happy she did this one – in my option she doesn’t get enough screen time she’s the real deal let’s face it she’s perfect

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

okay …. !?!? who’s minding the store i’m aghast … gaping that i’ve got competition on being Amelia biggest fan I have trotted her from day one… from the time , thank god, that other one, left the show, who’s now one emmy from being the best their is in all of daytime. Heather Tom to – ta da – Ms. Heinle’ Amelia hotted out she’s simply the best she’s emmy with Billy Miller, Michael Muhney, Jason Thompson, ETC… NO SMALL FEAT she’s the mainstay and the only Newman I will always care no matter how propped dear ole dead… Read more »

Jennifer Wardle
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Jennifer Wardle

Nice interview. Love Amelia (and Victoria) and her enthusiasm for the show and being back at work. I would still like to see Victoria & Billy back together at some point.

Lew S.
Guest
Lew S.

She is the best!

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Wow! She is really insightful. I loved hearing her take on Victoria and the writing and she’s so right about all of it. Thanks for this and thanks Amelia for your talent and grace and kindness towards others. Lots of love to you, Thad, August, Rowe and Georgia.

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

IAM glad the show is back, and it seems Amelia is also. I love how she speaks of her co-workers with such admiration and loyalty. I have always loved her relationship with Nick and how they have always stood together against daddy when necessary. I sure can understand their jealously and mistrust of Adam. Victor has always cared and taken care of Adam even though Hope asked him to stay awày, but somehow Victor carries this guilt of not having done enough for “the boy”.I have gotten to like Mark Grossman especially after Justin Hartley turned out to be such… Read more »

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

Why hasn’t anyone proposed hypnosis for Adam, and would it be good or worse for his memories?

Boop
Guest
Boop

I don’t care about the Newman children except Adam ; such ingrates. Factually , the only member of that family I like is Victor. To have that group for siblings would drive a sane person insane. That’s a family of siblings who I could stand more than a six feet distance. I guarantee you that if I had a conversation with any of those siblings and Nikki , none of them would ever want to talk to me again! That’s a promise!

sonniorsolita
Guest
sonniorsolita

So funny, Boop, because the only member of that family I dislike is Victor. The way he treats all the others … he made his children the way they are and then blames them for it. Sanctimonious hypocrite! At least the Abbotts try to deal with their emotional scars, the Newman storylines just run in circles.

Boop
Guest
Boop

Two different opinions ; if we all agreed with each other, this world would be dull. I’m glad that you shared your thoughts.

Celia
Guest
Celia

My favorite soap of all time has shot me straight through the heart!! I can’t seem to get into it—-no one and nothing—-well, none of it seems familiar. Something’s awry.
And, why is Melody wearing a wig?—–it’s so obvious —her forehead has been lifted way up high and her eyebrows are about to take off—The lift on the rest of her face looks great–very natural.
Also, where is Victoria going? Is Adam turning into the perfect, reliable, tortured and haunted son; where Victoria welcomes her possible evil streak? I am confused —I guess I haven’t been attentive…..

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

Hi Celia, how have you been? hope you and family have been staying well. What you mentioned about Melody did not even dawn on me. I knew I liked her new hair color and style, but dummy me never thought of it being a wig.I guess a lot of the stars were not able to take advantage of their hair and makeup people while at home and had to resort to other beauty inhancers. You watch GH, don’t you? What got me rolling on the floor was Julian’s hair when they came back. It looked like some big furry animal… Read more »

Celia
Guest
Celia

Hello, Miss Violet—-happy to hear from you. We are doing well, thank—wish you the same, my friend—-Sadly, many lives were lost—We Vikings are a tough breed. This virus is insidious, targeting those with underlying ailments. Thank goodness it did not affect sixty million as the swine flu did—-caution should always be in place. Let’s pray we have seen the worst. As far as Nikki, I noticed the wig right off—personally not into fake hair or fake anything– i do not rely on others for hair and makeup . All I do with my hair is wash it and let it… Read more »

Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

Photo: ABC, NBC, CBS

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

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

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

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

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

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General Hospital

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

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

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

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

 

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

Did you get emotional seeing it? 

CHRIS:  Oh, personally, I cried.

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Coutesy/ABC

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

Photo :ABC

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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Days Of Our Lives

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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