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Y&R’s Executive Producer Anthony Morina Talks On Daytime Emmy Drama Series Win For Neil’s Memorial & Honoring Kristoff St. John

Photo: JPI

Last Friday night, The Young and the Restless was named the Outstanding Drama Series at the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards broadcast on CBS. The show won on the strength of their submissions, which centered on the death of Neil Winters; including when the residents of Genoa City find out of his passing, and the subsequent heartbreaking memorial service in his honor.

However, what made those hours of television unlike anything seldom seen; were not only was Genoa City saying goodbye to Neil, but the cast was saying their goodbyes to their beloved friend and colleague, Kristoff St. John (Neil) who had passed away suddenly back in February of 2019.

Y&R’s executive producer, Anthony (Tony) Morina accepted the award for the top-rated CBS Daytime drama during the Emmy telecast, which now makes Morina a five-time Daytime Emmy winner himself!

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Tony on the series emotional Emmy win, and what it meant for him to win the gold for these incredibly moving and special episodes that were at its epicenter paying tribute to Kristoff in the best way the soap opera could. Here’s what Tony shared on the Y&R Drama Series victory and more.

Photo: JPI

Congratulations on your Outstanding Drama Series win. The episodes that you submitted were at every level, so gut-wrenching, sincere, and beautiful.  What did you think about the process that you went through to make these right for Kristoff and the character of Neil?

TONY:  Occasionally, when you are in this business, as you know, you work so hard to achieve certain things, sometimes you think you’re achieving something, and you’re not, and sometimes something shows up that surprises the heck out of you, and this was kind of it for me.  But what didn’t surprise me, of course, were the actors’ ability, the director’s ability, and the crews’ ability, and for these episodes it was at such a high level.  Sometimes there is an emotional element, or an otherworldliness thing that takes over.

Photo: CBS

Yes, because it was all so real and raw; in that we were watching the characters who loved Neil Winters mourn him, but we were also watching all the actors who loved their co-star.

TONY: When everybody was in that church set and were giving their eulogies, it felt like everybody was so behind each other, and everybody just cared for each other so much because they cared so much for Kristoff.  All the eulogies that people were doing were a page and a half to two pages.  They were really long, but you could feel the emotional tension, and you could feel how people just felt.  Kristoff was a very unique special person, who ended up going through some rough times, but he really was beloved.  Sometimes you love people, and sometimes you say somebody is beloved.  Whenever you saw him, he put a smile on your face.  He made you feel like he really cared about you.  Those shows came together really out of this feeling of love.  We did two whole shows that day.  We did that whole show and the show that came after it.  I don’t know how many hours of a day it was, but people had so much emotion attached to it that those shows really kind of took over themselves with everybody just trusting and letting go and supporting each other.  I got a text from Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R) saying how it was one of the greatest experiences he’d ever had in terms of how it all came together.  Those shows just meant a lot to us, and I really felt that if we didn’t win, I’d be perfectly fine with that, because I was just so glad that we were able to do these episodes, and people got to see it.

Photo: JPI

At what point did you decide, “We are going with this to submit for the Emmy!”

TONY:  I actually knew that day.  I think, I actually said to Josh Griffith (head writer and Co-EP Y&R), “This is going to be our Emmy show … or one of our Emmy shows.”  The other show when everybody finds out Neil died was an incredibly powerful show to me too, but I knew that day when we shot the funeral that you rarely see that kind of rawness.  When you get into this business, and you want to become an actor, it’s tough, but you know that in the end what you want is to get into a position where you can share who you are as a person in an artistic way.  I think the Neil memorial gave people a way to say, “This is why I do this because I get to really share myself, and I get to express how passionate I am and how much I care about other people.”

Photo: JPI

Shemar Moore (Ex-Malcolm) came back to honor his dear friend and on-screen Y&R brother.  How was it having him on set with you to share this experience?

TONY:  Shemar was amazing.  He was there until the bitter end of our tape day.  He could not have been kinder and more supportive of everybody, and really laid out his emotions, and it was like that with everybody.  I would say this was the the most amazing experience I have ever had.

What do you think Kristoff would say?  I think he would be very proud that you gave Neil a real proper sendoff.

TONY:  Absolutely.  I also think Kristoff, would have thought that Neil deserved it, and would have loved it, a, it’s an interesting question because you have got to say to yourself, “Does Kristoff feel he deserves it?” As a character, he’d definitely feel he deserved it.  He was a part of that community.  He was a part of Genoa City.  Those were his friends and his family.  Would Kristoff feel he deserves that?  I don’t know if he would have felt he deserved it, but I know he would have loved knowing how much people cared for him.  I think that would have meant the world to him.  I really do.

Photo: CBS

I loved your acceptance speech.  I thought it was one of the better ones of Emmy night. 

TONY:  Thanks so much.  Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) has been amazing.   He gave me a lot of guidance on where to go, and my wife, Sally (Sussman Morina) really helped write the speech because the rules were you’ve got 30 seconds.  I really believe in the notion that when you have an opportunity to speak in front of people about something, it has some meaning to you and to other people.  I think you have to put thought into it because how many opportunities do you get in life to share about yourself and how you feel about people?  So, I really appreciate you saying that.

Photo: CBS

What did you think of your Y&R actors: Bryton James’ (Devon) and Jason Thompson’s (Billy) major Emmy victories?

TONY:  Well, personally, I am enormous fans of both people.  I like when nice, good people have nice things happen to them, and you know them.  First off, I was so happy for Bryton because I know he and Kristoff were close, and I know he was deeply affected, as Christel Khalil (Lily, Y&R) was, as everybody was, but they were like family.  I love Bryton personally, and he laid his heart out there.  As for Jason Thompson, people think the world of him, and I think he is an unbelievable actor.  I taught for years, and I have worked with a lot of actors, and I think Jason has such control of his work.  I’m impressed by him.  I’m just as impressed by who Jason is.  I think he’s deserved it other times too, and this was his first win; which must be very special for him.

Photo: deCazotteFacebookPage

During the In-Memoriam tribute on the Emmy broadcast, former producer, Lisa de Cazotte was also featured.  What can you say about your time working with her at Y&R and over your career?

TONY: I’ve known Lisa De Cazotte since Santa Barbara when Paul Rauch (former executive producer) brought her there, and that’s where we first met. Lisa was probably my favorite producer to ever be in the booth with because she let you be yourself, and she let you do your job, and yet, she still had control over the room and the studio.  She was a great touchstone for me, because when you are in this position, you need someone to bounce stuff off of or just say, “Am I really being an idiot here?” because we were old friends, she could say, “Tony, you’re being an idiot.”  (Laughs)  We miss her terribly.  She was really a loved person, and she was just fantastic at what she did.  I just miss her as a friend.

Photo: JPI

And of course, the In-Memoriam featured the late Y&R co-creator, Lee Philip Bell who also passed recently. 

TONY:  Yes, and that’s what was interesting about that speech I gave, because you had to mention those three people: Lee, of course, Kristoff, and Lisa – three truly linchpin important people in daytime drama for many years. Losing all three made it a particularly rough year for The Young and the Restless family.

I also wanted to talk about Eve LaRue (Ex-Celeste Rosales), who had never won a Daytime Emmy but she did for her work on Y&R! She was very emotional and moved by her win as Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series.  What can you say about Eva?

TONY:  She is such a lovely person and she did a great job for us.  I’m just glad for her because I know she had ever won before.

Photo: JPI

One of the clips shown on the Emmy broadcast that Y&R chose for air from Neil’s memorial was Victor’s emotional eulogy; which Eric Braeden delivered so beautifully.   I know how found he was of Kristoff; so it made that on-screen moment all the more heartbreaking. What can you say about Eric?

TONY:  Eric feels as deeply as anybody who I have ever known.  Really, he can come across sometimes as a certain kind of image for people on-screen, but he cares deeply, and is the most supportive actor of every other actor.  Eric has a depth and is a fantastic actor, and he knows how to use his talent.  He actually called me last night and left a message.  He just said, “Hey, I saw you on TV,” and then he just laughed for 5 minutes.  It was really very funny.  He’s not used to seeing me on TV, and so he just laughed.  It was hilarious.

What did you think of Y&R’s win for Outstanding Drama Series knowing they submitted the episodes of Genoa City finding out Neil had passed, and his funeral? Share your thoughts on Tony’s remarks via the comment section below.

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Derrick WalkerRosiFreeman GriffinSharkeishaMichael Recent comment authors
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Derrick Walker
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Derrick Walker

Congratulations to Y&R on your win ❤️❤️❤️

Michael
Guest
Michael

Well deserved, well deserved, well deserved. #YR was the odds on favorite to win it again this year, Kudos to the entire cast, producers, directors, writers (Y&R was robbed of the Writing Emmy), camera people, make up, wardrobe, lighting and so on.

I can remember watching those episodes and bawling my eyes out, in the same way that the episodes for Jeanne Cooper (Katherine Chancellor) did.

Sharkeisha
Guest
Sharkeisha

Personally I think it’s pretty embarrassing that they submitted two episodes centered around their black characters to win an Emmy, but those characters were either let go or put on the back burner for the rest of the year. If they’re good enough for Emmys, they should be good enough to regularly lead story like the white characters.

Rosi
Guest
Rosi

I thought the reel Y&R submitted from Kristof‘s funeral, he portrayed Neil winters. He wasn’t terminated from the show, he passed away. They had to write the character in the same way to honor him and his legacy on the show, and how well loved and respected he is. So what black character are you talking about?

Freeman Griffin
Guest
Freeman Griffin

My problem was that Y&R wasn’t good hardly at all during 2019. The writing was mostly awful. It won because it submitted the right episodes but that doesn’t make it deserving. GH was the most consistent show in 2019 and deserved to win but it submitted one great episode and one poor choice (the Christmas Carol nonsense). Days was the 2nd best and submitted well. B&B had the one storyline about baby Beth but was otherwise repetitious and dull in 2019. I disagree that it was well-deserved; GH deserved to win for it’s entire year and simply made a mistake… Read more »

Derrick Walker
Guest
Derrick Walker

Freeman, the problem with you is you’re looking at the whole year’s work instead of the reels submitted.

Days Of Our Lives

(WATCH) 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Red Carpet Interviews

Last Friday, the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards were broadcast on CBS and streamed on Paramount+, but before the ceremonies many of your favorites from daytime including the stars from: Days of our Lives, General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful, and The Young and the Restless walked the red carpet and stopped to chat with the press in attendance.

Michael Fairman was on-hand reporting for Michael Fairman TV, and his You Tube channel, The Michael Fairman Channel  and now all of the video interviews can be viewed there.

From the nominees, to the presenters, cast members and executive producers and writers, daytime came together for the first time in-person since the Covid-19 pandemic changed all of our lives and halted live events for over 2 and a half years.

Check out these red carpet interviews and moments by clicking on the hyperlinks below:

General Hospital

Kelly Monaco

Nancy Lee Grahn

Laura Wright

Cynthia Watros

Cameron Mathison

Dominic Zamprogna and Lisa LoCicero

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William Lipton

Kelly Thiebaud

Days of our Lives

Deidre Hall and Galen Gering

Greg Vaughan

Eric Martsolf

Ron Carlivati

The Bold and the Beautiful

Kimberlin Brown

Lawrence Saint-Victor

Tanner Novlan

John and Laurette McCook

Naomi Matsuda

Matthew Atkinson

Cassandra Creech

The Young and the Restless

Mishael Morgan

Cait Fairbanks

Elizabeth Hendrickson

Alyvia Alyn Lind

So, who was your favorite person we chatted with on the red carpet at this year’s Daytime Emmys? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Breaking News

(WATCH) 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Award Winners Interviews: Reactions and Heartfelt Moments

Last Friday night at the 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Michael Fairman was in the Winner’s Walk and had the opportunity to get real time reactions and thoughts as the night’s big winners chatted for a few minutes following their Emmy victories.  All of the winners, as well as the red carpet interviews will be posted all through this week on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel.

Talking with Michael, immediately following taking home the gold, were General Hospital winners including: Outstanding Younger Performer in a Drama Series winner, Nicholas Alexander Chavez (Spencer Cassadine), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series winner, Kelly Thiebaud (Britt Westbourne), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series winner, Jeff Kober (Cyrus Renault), Outstanding Drama Series winner (Executive Producer, Frank Valentini) and Outstanding Directing Team for a Drama Series winners, Allison Reames Smith and Phideaux Xavier.

Sharing in her historic Emmy-winning moment was The Young and the Restless’ Outstanding Lead Actress winner Mishael Morgan (Amanda Sinclair), as well as Outstanding Lead Actor winner The Bold and the Beautiful’s John McCook (Eric Forrester).

Days of our Lives head scribe, Ron Carlivati and writer, Ryan Quan also talked with Fairman on their win for the Outstanding Writing Team for a Drama Series, as did talk show host, Tamron Hall, who took home gold for the Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host.

While Kelly Clarkson was not present to pick up her awards, her series executive producers, Alex Duda and Kareen Gunning spoke on winning Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show, while the cast and producers of The Price is Right stopped by to celebrate the game shows 50th anniversary milestone.

You can check out several of our 49th Annual Daytime Emmy winners interviews below.

Let us know what were your some of your favorite moments from our Emmy victory chats via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Finola Hughes, Marcus Coloma & Josh Swickard Talk On 15,000th Episode Milestone

The juggernaut that is ABC’s General Hospital, is marking yet another accomplishment in its storied 59-year-history.  The iconic soap opera is set to air on Wednesday, June 22nd (unless preempted), its 15,000th episode.

As part of the celebration, General Hospital’s Finola Hughes (Anna Devane), Marcus Coloma (Nikolas Cassadine) and Josh Swickard (Chase), who all appear in the standalone episode, chat with Michael Fairman to mark the occasion.

During the conversation now on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Finola and Marcus, and later Josh, who logged on later while at Disneyland, discuss: their beginnings on GH from landing their respective roles, who in the cast perhaps most intimated them, at first, and what it has meant to be part of the legacy of General Hospital.  In addition, Finola, Marcus, and Josh reveal some of their more challenging storylines, and more.

Photo: ABC

Later, the trio each gives us a tease of what’s to come now that Nikolas has slept with Esme (Avery Pohl), what lies ahead for Anna and her love-interest Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), and Josh talks on working with his on-screen love-interest, Amanda Setton (Brook Lynn Quartermaine).

Watch for a special appearance by GH’s Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) within the interview, as we do a deep-dive of being part of the ensemble cast.

We also take a moment to send out our condolences to Kristina (Felicia) and Jack Wagner (Ex-Frisco) on the passing of their son, Harrison, and how you can donate to the scholarship fund in his honor.

Check out our GH 15K interview with Finola, Marcus, and Josh below, and make sure to ‘subscribe’ to the Michael Fairman Channel for more upcoming features, interviews, and upcoming Daytime Emmy red carpet coverage.

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GH’s Nicholas Alexander Chavez (Spencer) talks with Michael Fairman immediately following his Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Younger Performer in Drama Series. Leave A Comment
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