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Y&R’s Jason Thompson Talks Billy Abbott & His Daytime Emmy Nomination: Will Sixth Time Be The Charm To Bring Home The Gold?

Photo: CBS.

Since making his daytime debut on General Hospital back in 2005, Jason Thompson quickly became one of soap operas most respected and critically-acclaimed actors, and after appearing on the ABC daytime drama for over 10 years, he racked up five Daytime Emmy nominations in a row for his role as Dr. Patrick Drake.

Fast-forward, Thompson came over to The Young and the Restless in 2016 to take on the highly-coveted role of Billy Abbott: a role that won its predecessors: David Tom and Billy Miller, Emmy gold.  Now in this year’s 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Jason is nominated for the first time for his work on Y&R in the Lead Actor category.  Will his long-awaited and deserved Daytime Emmy finally come his way on Emmy night?  Tune in to find out Friday night, June 26th on CBS (8 p. m. EST).

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Jason to get his thoughts on his shot this year in the Lead Actor race after his riveting, commanding and demanding performances in the 2019 season, as Billy came off the rails, faced his inner demons, and regained his center … but how long will that last with Billy’s often recklessness?

Always thoughtful, introspective and self-effacing, here Jason not only talks about his Emmy submission, (which included scenes from his incredible standalone episode), but his friendly competition, plus what he thinks of Billy’s storyline as it was left before the coronavirus shutdown working opposite Christel Khalil (Lily), and more.  Here’s Jason.

Photo: JPI

There was gum-chewing in this nomination, correct?  (Laughs)

JASON: There had to be some gum-chewing going on; I’m sure! (Laughs)

I know some of the scenes on your Emmy-nominated reel were from the standalone episode where Billy is fighting his demons against his gum chewing alter-ego.  Were there other scenes as well that you included?

JASON:  Yes.  I started the reel with one of the scenes where Billy woke up in the Chancellor living room not knowing how he got there, and then got back to the master bedroom with Victoria (Amelia Heinle), and she was asking him what was going on, and he was confused about everything.  Then it went into some of the standalone episode, and then I had a scene from the therapist’s office in there, as well.  I kind of switched it up a little bit.  I didn’t put in the whole standalone episode: but I tried to tell a little bit of a story through the process of putting together scenes.

Photo: JPI

You wanted to tell the story of Billy’s emotional downfall, correct?

JASON:  I tried to encompass how he got to a certain way and then, you transition out to a certain extent.  It wasn’t easy to pick scenes.  It never is, but I was very fortunate to have some good story last year which is really the main focus, and really fortunate to get that from the team at Y&R.

What moments from the standalone episode did you pick?  I know the part at the end where Billy is being choked by himself was in your submission.

JASON:  Yeah, it was of one of those things near the end where he was really struggling through everything, and then he has a flashback of everybody who has come to visit him, and it’s that battle within him.

Photo: JPI

How was that episode to actually film for you?  Was it daunting, or amazing, or both?

JASON:  It was a little bit of both.  It was actually done over two days just because of scheduling with everyone coming in and out.  It was great.  I really enjoyed it.  It was something different that I had ever done before, and it was somewhat all encompassing in where you kind of found Billy and him going through the whole range and coming out of it.  Anytime you get to work with all of the people that I did in one day is fantastic.  So, it was super fun, I think what was really enjoyable about it was that it was different.  I think Sally McDonald directed a lot of it.  We were talking back and forth about different background music and different sound structures and everything with the sound guys too.  It was fun to collaborate in a bigger, more elaborate way than a usual episode.

When Billy goes to the therapist, what do you remember about that scene that resonated with you to put it in your Emmy reel?

JASON:  For me, I found a lot of who Billy is in those scenes   – vulnerable, but strong, but still confused   – willing to put himself out there, but trying to figure out what makes him tick.  The actress who played the therapist was great and super comfortable to be around.  So, it helped those kinds of scenes, and again, I think it was just a different level than what you saw in the other scenes on my reel.

Photo: JPI

Your performances last year were gut-wrenching.  I think there is something unique in the humanity that you bring to the audience in your work that resonates with them.  

JASON:  We all know that feeling when it kind of rings true for you.  That is really the biggest challenge of my job, which is also why I love my job.  I’ve got to work hard to make it feel real.  I think for me it starts where I can relate it to my own life, and then it’s not fake emotions.  I think as audience member, I appreciate that when I see it done in the right way with one of my favorite actors.  So, to me, that is the challenge – just trying to see something in that character that you relate to, and it’s not easy to do; to allow yourself to go there a lot of times, but that’s what I enjoy doing.

I know this is your sixth Daytime Emmy nomination, and we’ve talked every year you’ve been nominated.  And I know I have said you were going to win before, too!

JASON:  No, ring-a-ding-dings yet!  You have been wrong a couple of times, but I appreciate that.  This is my fourth nomination in the Lead Actor category and I had two previously in the Supporting Actor category.

Photo: JPI

However, this is your first nomination for playing Billy on Y&R.

JASON:  First for Billy, and I am actually really excited about that.  I thought it was kind of a nice touch in an interesting time.  You know, this is my fourth year and first nomination on the show and with this character, and it just feels kind of nice.  It’s been such a great time at Y&R over these four years.  I’ve appreciated the people I’ve worked with.  It’s important for me to earn trust from cast members and from our crew, and obviously the writers and producers, and of course the network and everything.  That is something that I try to pride myself on.  When your number is called, you want to be ready and you want to be prepared to go the distance.  It isn’t easy what we do in daytime, and it takes a lot of energy to come up with story, and write it, and get it Okayed from everybody, and you want to do your best to make it lift off the page.  So, like I said before, getting those opportunities with our great cast, and getting a nomination with this character that other people have played in the past because it’s such a great character, feels good.

Do you feel like you have now put your stamp on the character of Billy Abbott?

JASON:  I feel like Billy is constantly evolving.  He is always learning, so I am always learning more about him.  He is always in new situations, so I am learning how he navigates those kinds of situations and those moments.  I mean, is he mine?  That’s not necessarily for me to decide.  All I can do is what I have tried to do from the beginning, which I felt like I tried to do at GH also, which is to continue to evolve with the character which is part of what I love about daytime; because it is ongoing.

Photo: JPI

It’s was interesting in 2019 to see the reaction of the fans on social media to Billy because of his behavior.  Some were negative, and some would say, “Grow up, Billy!” Did that at all color your performance an actor, or did you have to block it all out and not listen to the noise?

JASON:  I try to not let too much of that stuff affect me.  I can’t just pick and choose to listen to all of the great things people say, or all of the nice things people say.  It goes both ways.  At the same time, you’ve got to try and play the long game with your character as much as you can, and be in the moment with your character, because you’re doing him a disservice if you’re not playing the real emotions.  It doesn’t mean you don’t have an eye on where you want to end up or where you want to go, but at the same time, yes, he’s being a jerk in this scene or he’s not communicating very nicely, let’s say, there is a story that you’re playing.  There is hurt.  There is vulnerability.  There is elation in a lot of ways, and the way Billy is, he gets to kind of roam all over the place.  He zig-zags.  He’s not a straight A to B kind of guy.  He likes to wander a little bit, which I really appreciate in him.  He is full of life in a lot of ways, and that life can really make him buoyant, or sometimes it can make him heavy, but that’s fun for me.  I think that’s what people really like the character for, whether it was me or anybody else playing him.  Billy does have a sense of recklessness that I think most people can kind of admire. Does it get him in trouble?  Yeah, it does, but he’s got a big heart, and I think that’s what he leads with.

Photo: JPI

You’ve got some gentlemen I think you know very well in your category: Jon Lindstrom (Kevin/Ryan GH), Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B), Thaao Penghlis (Tony, DAYS), and Steve Burton (Jason, GH).  What do you think about being nominated with this group, and did any of them communicate with you; after receiving a nomination?

JASON:  Steve texted me a couple of minutes, and I kind of had another phone call coming through, so I kind of looked and saw he got nominated too.  That was great.  Steve was there when I first started on General Hospital as Patrick, and he was one of those guys who had been around a long time who still really enjoys his job and gets off on the acting part of it also.  Thorsten, I see all the time because we are across the hall from B&B.  Jon Lindstrom … I look up to Jon because I really admire his career.  He has been able to just keep working.  I see him pop up on HBO shows and then back at GH, and he is a very, very capable actor and nice gentleman.  Thaao, same thing.  I worked with him at GH also.  So, to come full circle and be in a group with the people who you are accustomed to working alongside and seeing them get accolades also is great.

Photo: JPI

Did you ever think, when you started at General Hospital years ago, you would now be a six-time Emmy nominee?

JASON:  Oh yeah, 100%.  I was just pissed it took me so long. (Laughs)  Truth be told, you don’t go play in the NHL if you don’t want to win MVP of the Stanley Cup.  You’d be lying if you said you wanted to be an actor and you haven’t given these speeches in the bathroom or your car before.  We have.  We all do.  So, yeah.  There is something about that.  That’s not the sole purpose of the work, but it does drive you to want to excel, and to me, that’s another one of those things.  One of the amazing things about this quarantine was being able to sit down and watch The Last Dance, the Michael Jordan documentary.  That is a powerful man right there with a psyche to go along with it, and a work ethic, and everything else.  Sometimes that’s hard to be around.  I’m nowhere near that, but what you can appreciate is that he finds his own little battles inside of him to power him, and those could be positive things, and those could be things that you want to overcome, and for me, you always want to try to be the best in your business.  That’s just what you want to do, and for me, I want to be along those lines.  The people who I look up to are: Tony Geary (Ex-Luke, GH) Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH), Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) and obviously Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), Jane Elliot (Tracy, GH) Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R), Jess Walton (Jill, Y&R).  They’re always at the top of their game.  So, you want to be among them.  You want to be in the same boat with those people, if you will.

I watched The Last Dance.  I thought it was riveting.  I thought it was so well done.

JASON:  Yeah, it was riveting.  My wife, Paloma has probably watched two basketball games in her life, and she couldn’t wait for the next episode to come on just because it’s about the psychology of it all.

Photo: JThompsonIG

It’s going to be a virtual Emmy’s.  Are you going to hang out with the family on Emmy night, or what are you going to do?

JASON:  It’ll probably be a little more spur-of-the-moment.  We’ll see.  We haven’t really started figuring out what we are going to do yet.  I’m assuming yes, I’ll be with my family and take it as it comes, and just enjoy the experience.  I’m stoked that CBS wants to do have the Daytime Emmys on network TV again.  I think it’s really, really cool for them to step up and want to do it, but let’s just hope that this is the last time that we do this kind of thing, virtually.  It is great to be together with people.  It is one of the things that I really love most about this time, especially when you are nominated, to get to go along the ride and kind of enjoy it, and get to talk to people like yourself and do the red carpet, and if your name gets called, you get to thank the people who helped you get there and all of the people who support you.  That’s an amazing thing.  So, I am going to miss not being with everybody and seeing old friends and making new ones, but at the same time this is a new experience like everybody has been having lately, so we will go for it and see what happens.

Do your children Bowie and Rome know; or understand, that their dad is an Emmy nominee?

JASON:  Well, I mean kind of, but no not at all. (Laughs)  We were on the beach when Y&R publicist, Matt Kane called us, and when I got off the phone, Paloma was like, “What was that?” and I said, “I got an Emmy nomination,” and she’s like, “Oh my God, great, great, congratulations!”  Bowie is like, “What’s an Emmy nomination?”  I’m like, “It’s kind of like… I don’t know… what is it?  I guess it’s kind of like potentially an award or something or whatever for doing good work.”   I was looking at a list of the nominees, and I said to him, “Oh, a couple of your favorite shows got nominated, Dino Dana,” which he loves watching.  So, he was more excited that Bubble Guppies and Dino Dana got nominated for Emmys along with his daddy. They don’t know what daddy does for a job yet or anything like that, so I don’t think it means much to them right now.

Photo: JPI

When we last saw new episodes of Y&R, prior to the production shutdown due to COVID-19, you had been working more in story with another Emmy nominee, Christel Khalil.  How do you feel where we left Billy when we last saw him? Are you enjoying that storyline?

JASON:  I think it’s great.  I’m excited to see where it goes.  Obviously, we’ve had a pretty decent break now too, so they’ve probably had time to think about things a little bit differently.  So, I really don’t know what’s to come, but I am really stoked that Christel is back.  I think she is an asset to our show.  She is a beautiful woman inside and out, and I think she is a very, very capable actress and she is really fun to work with.  I know Billy and Lily had a relationship in the past, but it’s new for me to explore.  So, anytime I get to do that, it’s always fun.  I think it is going to be exciting with working at Chancellor Industries.  Anytime I get to work with Jess Walton is great, and it starts to mix what I think Y&R does really, really well.  It’s love, family, and business.  I think those three worlds are really, really intertwined with Y&R, and I think that is when we are at our best, when those three things are working really well.

Photo: CBS

I just wanted to pass along: I was talking with Sally McDonald, and we were talking about the funeral episode for Neil, when Kristoff St. John had passed.  She said to me, “I just loved Jason Thompson in the memorial” because even though you weren’t speaking, when the camera would go to you in the pew you were just so in it.  She said, “I don’t know him as well as I know the other cast members because they’ve been here longer, but he is just amazing.”

JASON:  That was very kind of her, and that was a tricky day to shoot:  part celebration, part heartache, part all of those kinds of emotions everywhere. I just had the blessing of being a part of something like that, and to hear people speak so honestly about a friend that a lot of people had lost was so special.  Kristoff was very, very special to a lot of people, and had a long, long relationship on this show with the cast members and the crew.  I’d look at Christel and Bryton (Devon), and they were just incredible.  Eric Braeden got up there, and the honesty that was coming from him and everybody, I was so honored to be there.  So, there wasn’t really anything for me to do except sit there and listen, and nowadays we all could probably do that a bit better.  It’s a very natural reaction when you listen with compassion and empathy to people speak so highly of their friend.  I was glad to be a part of that episode.

Photo: JPI

Alright, Jason, I guess I should not conclude this interview with my pick of who I think will win Lead Actor. (Laughs)

JASON:  Only because you don’t want to be wrong!  Honestly, thank you for your support.  You’ve always been in my corner.  I appreciate that.

So, will you be rooting for Jason to take home the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Daytime Emmy this Friday night? What do you hope happens next for Billy Abbott when Y&R returns from its taping shutdown? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Maddy HayesClaudioPatricia WraggK:kayViolet Lemm Recent comment authors
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I’m sorry, but I don’t think Jason Thompson’s version of Billy Abbott deserves anything other than either a trip to the backburner or termination and replacement with someone better. Jason was excellent on GH as Patrick Drake, one of the most consistently dependable actors on what can be a very uneven show. But his turn as Billy Abbott on Y&R has been a disaster. His Billy is petulant, unpleasant, selfish, unpleasant, delusional, unpleasant, unkind, unattractive and worst of all, utterly humorless. I don’t know who he’s playing but it’s NOT Billy Abbott. It’s one thing to put your own stamp… Read more »

Violet Lemm
Violet Lemm

Of course I’ll be rooting for Jason. I think he can go toe to toe with any and all of the other gentlemen. Good luck Jason!


Jason had the chops for this storyline to have been brilliant unfortunately Douglas Marland was not alive to write it ! My glorious Terry Lester was brilliant with the DID storyline on ATWT that Doug wrote then he passed away and poof the story went to hell! I would love if we had some of those brilliant minds back again not sure we will ever get back to the glory days ! Bottom line if Jason wins I will not have a problem he is a good actor just had some crap writing !i have major heartburn on what GH… Read more »

Patricia Wragg
Patricia Wragg

I love Jason as Billy Abbott!! I truly hope that he wins

Maddy Hayes
Maddy Hayes

Team Jason


I love Jason, he deserves to win the Daytime Emmy. Jason is a wonderful actor.

Days Of Our Lives

Peter Porte, Miranda Wilson and Colton Little Tease Dimitri’s Love Interest, Who’s the Daddy & The Future of Andrew & Paul

Following recent revelations on Days of our Lives, which include that Dimitri Von Leushner (Peter Porte) is the biological son of Megan Hathaway (Miranda Wilson), thus making him a DiMera, Megan moving back into the DiMera mansion after her prison term, and Andrew (Colton Little) being kidnapped, the performers who take on these roles chatted with Michael Fairman on Friday during a livestream conversation on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel.


During the live chat a myriad of subjects and upcoming story teases came up including: if there might be the love interest for Dimitri. Peter Porte shared, “Yes, there certainly will be. There will be two. One, out of perhaps, we’ll say necessity, and one out of heart’s desire.”  As to if ‘said’ relationship will show Dimitri’s obsessive side, Porte expressed: “I think he goes through a full journey of emotions. I don’t think he fully reaches obsession. I would say he reaches a level of extreme devotion.”  When Porte found out who the character would be that Dimitri seemingly falls for, the actor said, “I was certainly surprised.”

When we posed the question to the DAYS fans in the live chat, as to who they think will be Dimitri’s love interest or interests, guesses ranged from Gwen (Emily O’Brien) to Sloan (Jessica Serfaty) to Leo (Greg Rikaart). Could any, or two, of those be right?

Miranda Wilson and Porte weighed-in on the mother/son bond and troublemaking duo of Megan and Dimitri.  Wilson shared: “I think it’s fair to say that Dimitri is a grown man and probably has his own mustache twisting to be doing without Megan to be involved.  I just think that what is going to be coming up now is a beautiful relationship between the two.”  Porte followed with, “At the heart of it, Dimitri would do anything for his mother, anything.”

Photo: Peacock

Another mystery on DAYS fans minds is just who is the bio-dad of Dimitri? Is it someone on the canvas? Someone from the past? Porte previewed, “He certainly has a name and a title, but I don’t know if we’ve met him yet.” Wilson added, “I don’t believe he has been on the show.”

Many DAYS fans are also hoping that there be will be more to the burgeoning love story of Andrew and Paul (Christopher Sean). Colton revealed, “I have a real-life love and affinity for Christoper Sean, because he is just a ball of light and energy and a good human. I don’t think my success on the show would be anything if he hadn’t taken me under his wing and showed me the ropes. So much kudos and love to him. Getting to play opposite of someone like that as a love interest, is a treat and a joy. I think it’s really sweet, a lot of it is happening off-screen. I know the fans have expressed they want to see it on-screen.”  However, Little teased, ‘There is some good stuff coming up with Andrew and Paul. Stay tuned.”

Photo: NBC

When Miranda Wilson first appeared on Days of our Lives, it was back in 1984 as Megan was revealed to be the daughter of Stefano DiMera, played by the late, great Joseph Mascolo.  This week, Megan made her way back to the DiMera mansion and Miranda weighed-in on her relationship with her late on-screen father, and more. “Joe was a very dear friend,” she detailed. “When we worked together in the past, he was truly a father figure for me. DAYS was my first professional job in Los Angeles. The fact that Joe was there for me and we worked together so frequently, and he had a lot of time for me, meant the world to me. So, it was bittersweet being back (in the DiMera mansion), and him not being there. It still touches me, but at the same time, the character of Megan has her edge and she doesn’t let this show. As the actress, there was a lot of tenderness, that the character didn’t necessarily display. The whole ‘being back’ thing was amazing.”


You can watch the entire livestream featuring Peter, Miranda and Colton below.  The talented trio also chat on working with Steve Burton (Harris, DAYS) and Colton’s opportunity to work with the one and only Dick Van Dyke who is making a guest appearance this fall on the soap.

Now weigh-in: Who do you think will be the love interest or interests for Dimitri? Who do you think will turn out to be Dimitri’s father? Are you hoping for more Andrew and Paul? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Melissa Claire Egan Chats On Tackling Chelsea’s Depression Storyline, and Being the “SuLu” of The Daytime Emmy Nominations

While the 50th annual Daytime Emmy Awards have currently been put on hold until there is a resolution of the WGA Writers Strike, that doesn’t mean we can’t continue our series of spotlighting the nominees who will be going for gold when the ceremonies are rescheduled.

The Young and the Restless’ Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) delivered what was one of the most gut-wrenching performances in recent memory, when Chelsea attempted to end her life via suicide, only to be saved at the last minute by an astute Billy (played by Lead Actor Daytime Emmy nominee, Jason Thompson). The conversations and intensity of that moment, and the scenes that followed, had an impact on so many viewers and shed a light on mental illness and people battling with depression. Clearly, something that many in this country have been grappling with, especially during and coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For Egan, this marks her seventh Daytime Emmy nomination, and her second in the Lead Actress in a Drama Series category, in a soap career that started in Pine Valley as All My Children’s troubled Annie Lavery, before coming to Genoa City as grifter, Chelsea Lawson.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Missy, who is an expectant mom-to-be with her second child, to discuss portraying her harrowing nominated scenes, and being the current ‘Susan Lucci’ of the Daytime Emmy Nominations. However, for Susan, it was 19 tries before her iconic Emmy victory in 1999. Let’s hope it doesn’t have to last that long for the talented Egan!


Congratulations. I knew this nomination was in the cards for you. What scenes did you end up deciding to go with on your reel? I assume, it would be from Chelsea’s suicide attempt and her battle with depression?

MELISSA: I did. I put in two episodes worth of everything that happened: on the ledge, and the aftermath, the next episode that followed. It was when Chelsea and Billy are in the hotel room and she’s still going through the stages and she’s angry at him for stopping her. She’s like, “You had no right to stop me on that ledge. That was my choice. You had no right. You don’t get to tell me what to do in my life.”  I like that those scenes showed kind of the levels of it. I talked to Dr. Dan Reidenberg (Managing Director at National Council for Suicide Prevention) a lot in preparing for the scenes about what happens after. i.e., “You’re in shock, and then in anger if you get stuck. You had emotionally planned to die and come to terms with that, and then what happens after that, if it doesn’t happen.” So, I really liked that episode as well, so I put in both of those.

Is it hard for you to watch your work, or are you good with it?

MELISSA: You know, it depends. I don’t watch my work all the time. I did watch these episodes because I wanted to see how they turned out. They were so important to the story, and it’s definitely hard to watch yourself with a critical eye. I don’t always watch, but I did watch these.


You know, this story resonated with so many people. I follow how and what people are reacting to, as part of being a journalist. This was one of those transcendent performances of the nominations. It felt so real, as I’ve told you before. It was really hard to watch, which I think was good. It put people in an uncomfortable place they don’t like to be. Jason Thompson plays the other part of it with the, “Oh, my God” of it all, and the, “What do you do when you’re faced with somebody that’s about to try to end their life?” What reaction did you get from viewers, or people that reached out to you after these performances aired?

MELISSA: Oh, gosh. It was so profound. It was so beyond words. The fans are always supportive, but I couldn’t believe the reaction of just people sharing on Instagram, on Twitter DM’ing me saying, “This was me, ” or saying, “This was my daughter, this was my aunt, this was my mom, this is my son. This was my cousin.”  Some people shared things like, “This happened to my cousin two weeks ago.” I just couldn’t believe how much it resonated with people.  I was so moved and so touched that people were willing to share and that it got a conversation started. It truly meant the world to me. I know for all of us at the show, it’s all you can hope for, is to hopefully help people feel less alone, and feel seen, and feel that it’s hopefully done properly. Like you said, that it is maybe uncomfortable to watch, but maybe in a good way.  It was pretty profound, and I will forever be grateful for that.


I had talked with Jason Thompson about how the two of you approached the emotional scenes together. What happened to get the two of you to the place you were able to deliver these performances? Did you prepare together before hitting the soundstage to tape?

MELISSA: We didn’t really, Obviously, Jason is such an amazing actor. We rehearsed it the way we always do. You know, we ran the lines and then we did each scene in one take, which is the norm there, too. If in the booth and the director, and Josh Griffith (EP and Head Writer, Y&R) who was watching, weren’t happy, obviously, we would’ve done it again. We did every single one of those scenes one time. We ran lines before and then did it. Actually, because of the director’s schedule, we had to shoot out of order. We shot the scenes in the hotel the day before we shot the ones on the ledge. There were definitely challenges involved.  At first, I remember thinking, “Oh gosh, we can’t do this. We have to shoot it in order.” But then, I was like, “You know what? We can, we can do this.” It just becomes a different challenge. We shot the scene in the hotel on a Thursday. We shot the scenes on the ledge late on a Friday night.  Jason did his research on his own. I did mine, but we came together. Obviously, we talked a lot about the scenes leading up to it for week.

Photo: ABC

Now, I remember when you and I have talked in the past and would kid, that you are the “SuLu” of the Daytime Emmy Nominations. Currently, this is your seventh Daytime Emmy nominations, with yet, a win.

MELISSA: I’m the Sulu!  I’ll take it anytime I can be compared to Susan Lucci. I know it’s wild, right? Number seven.

It is wild. However, I feel like this is the strongest reel you have had to enter into the Emmys.  It’s a game.  It’s being judged by people. It’s a competition. And unfortunately, you have to play the game, which is usually about the strategy of, “How does this reel connect to people, and how can people understand what’s going on it if they don’t know the show?” How do you feel about how this submission stacks up with the six previous ones for you?

MELISSA: I’ve always been proud of my reels and I’m so proud of the seven nominations in 17 years of doing soaps. However, because the material is so important and the material is so relevant, and it’s touched people in such a different way, it’s become the work I’m most proud of, for sure. The truth is: I’m so excited to be nominated again, but the real reward has been being able to affect people and touch people and help people. There’s nothing that can compare or compete with that. So, I feel like no matter what happens, I feel like the real reward is being able to tell the story and help people feel less alone. It really is.

Photos: ABC, CBS,

What a “Lead Actress” group to be nominated with.  Two of your castmates, Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) and Sharon Case, (Sharon, Y&R) along with Finola Hughes (Anna, GH) and Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy, B&B), are all in the category with you.

MELISSA: I know! It’s so exciting. It’s such a great group of women and great group of actors. And of course, having Michelle and Sharon on there is just icing on the cake. It’s so cool and so special.

You know, Finola Hughes, right?

MELISSA: Yes. I got to know Finola for our girl’s nominee luncheon, two years ago. We were both nominated together two years ago along with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, too.  She won that year. So, three of us were in this together two years ago, which is weird and fun. I was pregnant then, too. There’s like a lot of similarities. It’s all been these very ‘pinch me’ moments. I’m just so excited and so grateful no matter what happens.

Photo: JPI

If you get the opportunity to give an acceptance speech, will you have something written down if your name is called, or will you just wing?

MELISSA: No. I’ve never written anything down. But again, I haven’t had to. I always kind of think about it in my brain, in my thoughts, of what I would say, but I’ve never put a pen to paper, ever, which is probably not smart. I’m sure I would end up forgetting somebody very important. I just never have written it down. It’s just not my way.

Jason Thompson made a comment to me when he was a special guest on my Daytime Emmy nomination special.  He mentioned, like so many actors have to me in the past, that even as a kid, he would practice in the mirror, winning in Oscar and giving an acceptance speech.  Did you ever do that?

MELISSA: I will say the cool thing about the Emmy is … two years ago, we all got to ‘pretend’ win, and walk on that stage and a hold an Emmy and thank our parents, and then of course, four out of five of us did not win.  However, you got to experience what it would kind of feel like.  I’ll always have that in my back pocket if I continue to be the “SuLu” of my generation.

Photo: NATAS

If for some reason you continue to be the ‘Sulu,’ you’ll have to call Susan Lucci for advice!

MELISSA:  The next time I see her, I will definitely tell her. I mean, I can’t compare it to the ‘Queen’, but, you know, I’ll take any kind of comparison, for sure!

Photo: ABC

Will you be rooting for Melissa Claire Egan to win this year’s Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series? Were you affected and touched by Y&R’s suicide prevention storyline which featured Melissa’s performances as Chelsea, front and center? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Maurice Benard Talks On His Daytime Emmy Nomination, Sonny’s Journey with Bipolar Disorder, and His Advocacy for Mental Health

General Hospital’s Maurice Benard has often tapped into his harrowing real-life experience with bipolar disorder and manic episodes, and brought that to the inner life of the character of Sonny Corinthos. Over the years, Benard has been very open with his struggles with mental illness while becoming an advocate and shedding light on mental health through his You Tube series, State of Mind, his autobiography Nothing General About It: How Love (and Lithium) Saved Me On and Off General Hospital, and his numerous talk show and personal appearances.

In the early part of 2022, GH’s Sonny was on a downward spiral, off his meds, and in the throes of having his relationship with Carly (Laura Wright) hit the skids, while turning to Nina (Cynthia Watros) for comfort, help, and much more. Those moments and others, gave Benard powerful scenes to play, and it landed him a Daytime Emmy nomination this year in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series category. This marks the 10th time Maurice has been nominated. He has already racked up three Lead Actor Emmys previously: in 2003, 2019, and 2021.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with the popular star to get his take on: what this Daytime Emmy nomination means to him, how he sees the category in which he is included with four other talented actors, and how he hopes his road, and Sonny’s road to a better emotional place has helped others. We also reminisce on Maurice’s seismic first Emmy victory at Radio City Music Hall in 2003, and the lessons he’s learned for himself along the way, and come Emmy time.

Make sure to watch the 50th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Friday night June 16th live on CBS (9 pm EST) and streaming on Paramount+.  Now, here’s what Maurice had to say.

Photo: ABC

Congratulations on this Lead Actor Emmy nomination. I understand that you submitted scenes dealing with Sonny’s battle with bipolar disorder. Can you tell me what was on your reel?

MAURICE: First, I have scenes with Michael (Chad Duell) where Sonny wants to reconcile with him, and we talk about how many people have died. You can tell something’s off with Sonny. Then, he has scenes with Carly, where Sonny wants to get back with her and she didn’t want to, and then he’s very emotional, and he leaves, goes to the nightclub and he’s manic. I love those scenes. He goes home with Nina and she has to deal with someone who’s manic. Those scenes happened earlier in the year, and I think it was kind of forgotten about, but I felt really good about them, plus it was dealing with bipolar disorder. So, I’m very proud of the work and the writing was phenomenal.

Photo: ABC

There is this scene where Sonny is sitting with Nina on a bench and he leans his head on her shoulder admitting he needs help. Is that on the reel?

MAURICE: Yes, that’s at the end of my reel.


I remember when I saw it.  It was an episode that aired at the end of January of 2022.  I wrote it up and I gave props to you and Cynthia, because that was such an amazing scene. Sonny was really lost and off his meds, and Nina had never seen him like this and didn’t really know what to do.

MAURICE: Yeah, he had grabbed her really hard before that on the wrist, and it scared her and scared him that he did that. Then, Sonny admitted right after that, he needed help.  They sat on the bench and he was crying.

So, was that a difficult scene to play for you … or are those easy when you have to go into playing the manic-version of Sonny?

MAURICE: Yes, but it’s only hard in terms of what it does to me. I honestly think, if I didn’t have a mental illness, I wouldn’t have as much fear, because I don’t want to have another anxiety attack.  So, that’s the reason when I do those scenes afterwards sometimes, I’m feeling like, “Oh, God. Why did I do this?”

Wasn’t there a time years ago that you couldn’t play those types of scenes at all?

MAURICE: There was a time when I did a bipolar story where the show had it last too long. My wife called them and said, “Stop this already.” I was hearing my mom and dad in the scenes, and I knew I was in trouble.

Photo: ABC

Based on the subject matter of your reel, and where we are in the world today with mental illness, plus how you use your platform on ‘State of Mind’, this kind of would close the loop on your entire journey if you were to receive the Emmy this year.

MAURICE: Yes, It would. I don’t really anticipate trying to win Emmys and this and that. I’m just so proud of the story, that after this I’m not sure I’ll get this kind of story again.

Photo: ABC

Winning the Emmy for these performances, would afford you the opportunity in an acceptance speech, to address mental illness.

MAURICE: Yes! Look, the only thing that made me happy was getting things, and that’s a false happiness. You have to find the happiness within yourself, then everything makes you happy.  I couldn’t do that for 58 years.  Now, this is the first time I got nominated where my initial feeling was like a normal person. Of course, it’s great to be nominated, but I don’t get overly happy, because what happens is when you get overly happy or whatever, you’re gonna fall if things don’t go your way.  So, this time I’m feeling so good either way, but I would love to speak on mental illness. That’s why I would really love to win.

It’s all so prevalent and topical in society today what you are speaking about. In recent weeks, the news cycles have been talking about studies on loneliness that is gripping America right now. People are suffering from loneliness and depression. It has been difficult since Covid, and coming out of that, for so many people. 

MAURICE: Yeah, and I think now is the time that it’s really getting tough because sometimes it takes a while for it to hit and kick in. They say after two years is when it kind of starts kicking in.


And this nomination, like you just spoke to, is different. The last two times you were nominated and won was for the Alzheimer’s storyline. Those were difficult for you to play too, because your dad was going through the same thing at the time. Correct?

MAURICE: Yes. Anything I do that has mental illness or anything like that is very close to my heart.  I was very proud of those two Emmys because of the Alzheimer’s story and because my dad died of it.

Photos: ABC, CBS, NBC

So, what do you think about the actors nominated with you for Lead Actor? You’ve got Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), Jason Thompson (Billy, Y&R) Billy Flynn (Chad, DAYS), and Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B).

MAURICE: I respect all those actors. I really do. I’m not just saying that. I think they’re all damn good actors. I watch their work, each of ’em. I remember, I watched Thorsten Kaye with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy, B&B), and it was about drug addiction, if I recall, and they were just nailing those scenes. I watched Billy because he was on my show, State of Mind. Peter’s always, you know, Peter, and Jason is Jason, you know …fantastic! So, I’m into it, man.

When we had my annual Daytime Emmy Nominations Special last month, Jason shared he was stoked to be in the category with you. Did you mentor him at all while he was at GH?

MAURICE: No, no, we just had great talks. I didn’t do what I do with the younger actors. He was a little older, and he’s a hard worker. Jason has talent and it’s amazing. You know, I told him on the State of Mind that it’s not easy to go from being popular in one role and then go to another show and be very popular also. That’s not done very often. So, my hat’s off to him.

Photo: ABC

I also was talking with Finola Hughes (Anna, GH) and the two of you were all over mainstream press representing General Hospital for their 60th anniversary.  How was it for you to go to New York and then do the all of the guest appearances in support of the show? I know it’s hard for you to fly and you flew alone.

MAURICE: Yeah, and I almost got off that plane, but thank God I didn’t.  It’s amazing. I never thought I’d get to a place where people talk to me as much about mental health as they do about General Hospital.  I love it.

So, you have experienced walking down the street, for instance, and people stopping you to discuss mental illness over asking what’s going down on GH?

MAURICE: Yes. The driver that drove me to the airport, you know, it’s just about mental health. Then, in New York on the streets. I love it, obviously, although it can be a little draining. I was just about to get on the plane and this guy was telling me his brother is bipolar, and he’s worried he’s going to commit suicide. I’m thinking, “Oh, man.” But, it’s all good.  I’m proud of Sonny … I’m proud of everything I do with mental health … State of Mind … and everything.

Photo: ABC

I remember your first Emmy win in 2003 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The fans were going crazy for you – it was so loud in there. The only other time I ever recall anything that loud was when Susan Lucci finally won her Emmy after 19 tries. The entire Felt Forum erupted.  Do you remember going on stage to accept the Emmy, and where you were at that point in your life and taking that all in? Everyone was so excited and happy for you.

MAURICE: That one felt like catching the ball in the end zone and we’re all just celebrating. That was a different feeling. I will never feel that again, obviously, it’s your first one. You’ve been waiting 10 years and then ‘boom’ it hits, and it’s at Radio City Musical Hall. I remember my dad was there. Then, the other two wins were a little more subdued, but the second win was difficult because I didn’t have any speech prepared. I thought I was gonna lose for sure, because nobody picked me to win.  So, I was like, “I’m good” And then ‘bam,’ it happens. I’m like, “Oh, man. I don’t have a speech!”

And to your point, I asked all the nominees if they think it’s better to have a speech prepared and or just wing it? How would you respond to that knowing what you went through?

MAURICE: It’s never good to wing it. Somebody said to me, “Well, you didn’t have a speech, but it was great.” I said, “But you could still be great with a speech and it’s not so hard on you.” When you have a speech, at least you have stuff that you can say, and it’s ready to go.

Photo: NATSS

Are you going to attend this year’s Daytime Emmy ceremony?

MAURICE:  Oh yeah, I’m all good. I’m good, win or lose, I don’t care. I’m in a different place. I can have fun now and not feel nervous, or whatever, inside.

That’s amazing. That has to be a relief where you don’t feel that kind of weight coming down on you.  I can only imagine that it makes you feel lighter, emotionally.

MAURICE: There’s no better feeling than where I’m at inside my myself right now. I used to get nervous going to the supermarket, and I couldn’t talk to people. I put my head down. It’s such a different vibe for me now.

Photo: ABC

How did you find out you were Emmy-nominated this year?

MAURICE:  I found out, I think, on Twitter. It’s not like it used to be for me, because I was more intense with it. You have to understand something. I was so crazy that the night before the nominations, I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep at all. That’s where I was, and then if I get nominated or not, I’d have to go through that.

I know we all want some form of validation. I mean, let’s be honest. Of course, we all want to be validated for the work we do, especially in a creative industry.  I think everybody would love to win an Emmy, but as you were figuring out in your journey, it did not define you.

MAURICE: It’s like my friend.  He’s a billionaire, right?  I said, “What’s it like being a billionaire?” He goes, “Listen, I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.”  That’s the way it is, right?  Of course, you want to get nominated, then not nominated, but it’s just a different feeling that I have now about it from what I used to have.


I was so touched to see Sonya Eddy’s (ex-Epiphany) name in the list of nominees for Outstanding Supporting Actress posthumously. I know you worked with Sonya over the years. What did you think about her receiving this nomination and what can you say about the loss of your colleague?

MAURICE: Sonya was just a ball of happiness. I mean, she was always laughing, always smiling. We had a relationship where I’d make her smile and then I’d kid with her. She was just a beautiful, beautiful person.

Sonny and Epiphany would have some run-ins, but she fought with her feelings.  She liked her friendship with Sonny, and even those he was a mobster, she found the good in him.

MAURICE: Exactly. It was just sweet. It was just nice. And you know, that’s the thing, in life sometimes only the good die young.

Photo: ABC

Lastly, the late Nneka Garland, former producer at GH, was so pivotal to these Emmy nominations and the reels, and working on them for the cast and the show.  I know you worked with her for many years and her passing has been hard on everyone.

MAURICE: That’s a tough one. Nneka was very close to my wife, Paula.  They talked all the time. It’s sad, another one gone, and it’s these people who are just good people. It’s interesting what life brings, but it’s part of life. Nneka cared for all of us at General Hospital.

Photo: ABC

Please note: Jackie Zeman (Bobbie, GH) passed away a few days after our interview with Maurice was conducted, which is why it was not addressed directly in this interview. However, Maurice did take to Instagram to share his grief on the loss of his beloved co-star, expressing: “This hit me really hard, a gut punch. I think because Jackie was such a sweet, delicate soul. And I got to know her really well in the later years, I just loved her spirit I keep telling people life is not fair, we just have to except what is. I will miss you, Jackie we all will✝️”

What do you think about the scenes Maurice chose for his Emmy-nominated reel? Showing Sonny being manic and being off his meds? How Maurice hopes this potential Emmy win might afford him the opportunity to speak to others who live with mental illness? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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