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Y&R’s Jess Walton Remembers Jeanne Cooper, Classic Katherine & Jill, and Talks Life in Present Day GC

Photo: CBS

For over three decades, The Young and the Restless’ Jess Walton has been a force of nature to be reckoned as Jill Foster Abbott on the CBS Daytime Drama.  But couple that with the Grand Dame of Genoa City, Katherine Chancellor, played by the late great Jeanne Cooper and together these two Daytime-Emmy winning actresses on-screen chemistry was off the charts; delivering some of the most iconic and memorable scenes in soap history.

This week on Y&R, the show kicks-off its theme week of classic episodes starting with five memorable ones ranging from 1990 to 2009 with Katherine Chancellor front and center.  From Katherine meeting her doppelganger Marge, to turning the tables on an alcoholic intervention meant for her, to seeing ghosts from her past, to making a mess at Chloe (Elizabeth Hendrickson) and Billy’s (then, Billy Miller) nuptials (literally!), to marrying her beloved Murphy (Michael Fairman), once you watch all these rebroadcasts, viewers will be reminded just why Jeanne is a daytime legend.  And oh, yes! Look for Jill to figure prominently into the equation in several of them.  So, who better to kick-off Y&R’s celebration of Jeanne Cooper this week than her longtime scene partner and dear friend, Jess Walton!

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Jess where she shared: some remembrances of her time working with Jeanne, creating the Katherine/Jill dynamic, and what she recalls about taping some of the classic moments fans will see, plus the latest developments in Jill’s life.  Could Jill and Jack (Peter Bergman) rekindle the feelings they once had for each other, complex as they may be? Stay tuned.

It is always a treat to speak with Jess, and we always treasure getting a moment to shine a light on the unforgettable Mrs. C.  Here’s what she had to say.

Photo: JWaltonTwitter

Do you remember your very first day at Y&R back in 1987?

JESS:  I do remember when I got the job.  I had to start the very next day.  My very good friend was Nicholas Walker from Capitol, and he had worked temporarily on Y&R, and he was dating Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R) at the time.  So, he kind of had been on the set, and he had watched the Jill and Katherine scenes.  He came over and ran my lines with me.  The next day, everybody was coming up to me.  I had worked with many of these people on Capitol because we shot right across the hall, and they were all so welcoming – the cameramen, the wardrobe people, the makeup people, etc.   There was so much going on.   We had a casting director who had white hair, and he was about Bill Bell’s age at that time.  I thought he was Bill Bell.  (Laughs)  Every week, I’d go up to him and ask him how I was doing, and he’d go, “Well, are they saying anything?”  I said, “They’re saying it’s okay,” and he’d go, “Then, it’s okay.”  Finally, I said to him, “Your daughter (meaning Lauralee Bell) has been so wonderful to me.”  He said, “I don’t have a daughter!” (Laughs)  Oh, it was so funny.

Photo: CBS

What are your first recollections of meeting Jeanne Cooper, and working with her?

JESS:  We were in the thick of this storyline revolving around Rex Sterling (Quinn Redeker), and what I remember is that Jeanne was really helpful to me.  I had a tremendous amount of dialogue.  We were just working together so much.  I just grew to love her, and then I noticed how wonderful she was to everybody.  Every new person who came on the show, Jeanne would take them aside. She would show them the ropes, and would give them advice.  She was just fantastic.  Anyone who would ever have a baby, she would always have a baby gift for that person.  In her dressing room, there would be executives who would come in.  You’d walk into her dressing room, and there would be the head of Sony sitting there chatting with her.  I spoke to somebody last week about how she was always the first one to offer up her dressing room for AFTRA meetings.  Jeanne always knew everything that was going on.  She knew every rumor going around; she knew every truth going around.  She was the most amazing woman I ever met.

Photo: CBS

Was there a moment when you knew that the Katherine/Jill dynamic and rivalry was solid gold, and would have legs for you and Jeanne for years to come?

JESS:  Here’s the funny thing: Jeanne was coming off working for years with Brenda Dickson (Ex-Jill), and she and Brenda had tremendous success with this on-screen relationship.  They had crowds in the parking lot who would meet them after work.  There would be the Jill side and the Katherine side.  Jeanne would tell me the history of it.  It began to dawn on me how big it had been back then.  Then, we got such incredible fan mail from people on different sides of the fence.  Most of them were quite on Jeanne’s side, on Katherine’s side.  I did not care for that! (Laughs) There was nothing much I could do, but I think I knew from the very start how special this was.  But, I’ve got to tell you, we worked our asses off in the dressing room on our scenes.  We would set each other up for the punchlines of the jokes, we would accentuate their character flaws, we would accentuate how ridiculous Jill was, and we would laugh about it.  It was the most wonderful part of our time together.  Jeanne was the heart and the soul of the show.

Now, coming up on Thursday, Y&R will rebroadcast the classic Katherine/Jill cake fight from April of 2009, when Katherine and Jill steal the spotlight at Billy (then played by Billy Miler) and Chloe’s (Elizabeth Hendrickson) wedding.  What do you recall about taping the notorious cake fight?

JESS:  I remember I asked Sally McDonald, (who was directing the episode), if I could be drinking mimosas during the scenes to excuse the fact of Jill’s ridiculous behavior.  So, she let me always have a mimosa in my hand, and then, finally we went into the dining room, and Katherine told Jill, she wasn’t her daughter.  Jill was so hurt because she really did love Katherine and hated her at the same time.  I remember I had to hurl horrible insults at Murphy (Michael Fairman) and at Esther (Kate Linder), and then it culminated in the cake fight, which was a fan favorite, I’m sure.

Photo: JPI

Did you do that fight in one take, or did you have to redo it to get it just right?

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JESS:  Oh, we couldn’t have done it again.  We were covered!  Instead of trying to smear cake on me, Jeanne kept trying to lift the entire cake to put on me, (laughs) and we had people behind us. I asked Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) because she was kind of in the middle of it, “Do you mind if I get cake on your face,” and she was like, “No, go for it.”  So, I had Beau Kazer (Brock) behind me holding me up because my high heels were slipping, there was frosting all over the floor, and I kept falling down, and he kept holding me up. (Laughs) It was just hilarious.

Photo: JPI

Now this Tuesday, Y&R will air an episode from back in July of 2005.  In it, Katherine (Jeanne Cooper) surprises her loved ones when they attempt to stage an intervention about her drinking problem.  Obviously, Jeanne herself documented her battle with alcohol over the years in her memoir.  Were you ever concerned for her playing this kind of story that was close to things that she experienced in her own life?

JESS:  Never.  Not for an instant.  I knew her too well by that time.  She was so far from taking another drink and breaking her sobriety. I didn’t give it a second thought.   We just thought what a great story it was, and besides this, in the middle of that great story, she would never have been in the mood to take a drink because she was loving the story so much.  That’s the way she was and I will say; this was a fabulous episode the way they wrote it.

Photo: JPI

Another memorable episode is airing on Friday when Y&R rebroadcasts Katherine and Murphy’s wedding from May of 2009.  Jill caused some problems in it!

JESS:  I do remember being locked in a closet.  Somebody locked Jill in a coat closet because they thought I would ruin the wedding, and I got out of the closet, and Jill walked through the wedding being really snarky to Katherine. We did a lot of crazy things.  I always had to make a fool of myself.  I’d open up my scripts, and I’d go, “Oh no, Jill.  Please don’t do this.”

Photo: JPI

Would you and Jeanne ever go to the producers or writers; if there was something that you just would not do as they had written for the two of you in the scripts?

JESS:  I don’t think there was anything major.  There were things we disagreed with.  I remember one time she called me up.  We were working on our lines at night for the next day. Jeanne said, “Every single one of my lines, Jess, should be a Jill line, and every single one of your lines should be a Katherine line.”  So, we switched them all around, but we let the writers or producers know.  Jeanne was absolutely right.  The lines were all reversed.  I also know she never liked the story of Katherine being Jill’s mother, and I always loved it, because I thought it explained the love/hate relationship so well.  I think she thought it would damage their relationship, and it kind of did for a while.

Photo: JPI

Why do you think you and Jeanne, as Jill and Katherine, became so beloved by the fans of Y&R and the entire soap genre?

JESS:  First of all, there was such fabulous writing and situations.  Then, you have these two characters.  You have this older woman, who is this fancy, shmancy dowager, and then, you have this haughty, arrogant upstart, and they were really well written in their backgrounds.  Then, all of the sudden they get down and dirty.  They were also so human with each other.  So, the audience could see Jill being knocked down a peg or two.  They’d see Katherine, who is this fancy lady also being super human.  You never knew what Katherine and Jill were going to do, and it was pretty hilarious when you think of it.  It was kind of the comedy part of the show, at times.  I think, that was appealing to the audience, and I think we handled it really well.  I mean, we rehearsed so long.  Back then, we were last up in the afternoon.  So, if the taping of the show would stretch out, we had hours and hours to prepare and get our lines down and figure out the beats that we could do with each other.  Maybe, that was why it worked.

Photo: CBS

I’ll never forget the last scene that Jeanne did with you. Katherine goes up the staircase and says, “Goodnight ” to Jill.  How did you get through that scene? (Watch the scene following this interview below)

JESS:  She was so frail at that time.  We had just done The Marie Osmond Show, and I remember she was just standing at the back of a chair just holding on, and I knew something was really wrong.  Then, every scene after that (which wasn’t that many), I kept thinking, “Is this going to be the last one she will be able to do?”  I didn’t really think that she would die.  I didn’t go that far.  I just thought that she would not be able to act anymore.  Even during that scene, it was just one of the many that I thought, “Is this the last time that I am going to be able to act with her?”  So, she went up the stairs, and she had that great dignity. Jeanne was very slow going up, and when she turned around, Jill asked if she could do anything for her.  I do remember there was a great deal of communication going on between her and me.  I definitely had it in my mind that this might be the last time.  It was something.

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Now, in the present day on Y&R, it looks like the show could be rekindling the Jack (Peter Bergman) and Jill relationship.  They certainly have had a complicated past.

JESS:  There is also a lot passion between the two of them.  They have a love/hate thing going too.  Anytime you have that kind of passion – one side or the other (and with them you have got it on both sides), that’s always a possibility.  There are some great old classic shows with us. Jack and Jill always have this tension.

Photo: JPI

Do you enjoy working with Peter Bergman?

JESS:  Oh, working with Peter is like falling off a log.  It really is.  It’s the easiest thing in the world because we both trust each other so much.  We know our characters; we know each other’s characters.  We have so much fun with it.  We love the idea of battling, especially when there’s a lot of history behind it.  It’s really fun.

Wouldn’t you love to see Jill have a romance that continues and is more long term?  Do you think that would be good for her?

JESS:  I’m not sure if it would be good or not for her.  I really thought that was going to be it with Colin (Tristan Rogers), because she met somebody who was so, so charming.  Then, that didn’t work out.  I remember I went to the producers years ago, and I said, “Please give Jill somebody.  I don’t just want to be an old maid running around town butting into other peoples’ business.  Give me a homelife.”  So, for a while, I felt like I had that with Colin, and it’s always so much more fun being in a partnership.  In soaps, that means you have a partner to go to parties with, to be in scenes with, to have a home with rather than being alone… so, I do prefer that.  I’d like to see that, whoever it might be with.

Photo: JPI

But, you’d be all-in for a Jack/Jill redo? 

JESS:  Well, I certainly wouldn’t be against it.  That’s for sure.

Jill recently got her son Billy (Jason Thompson) and Lily (Christel Khalil) to work together.  She gave them a shot at Chancellor Industries running the social media division.  Was she trying to set them up, romantically? What was Jill’s reasoning here?

JESS:  I think she still wants Billy with Victoria (Amelia Heinle) because of the grandchildren and because of the family dynamic. I think Jill was just doing that for business reasons.  She thought it would be really good for the media division because as she says in the show, “They’re so different, and they will play off of each other so well that it will be a successful division.”  She also was very fond of Lily because of when she and Cane were married.  Jill is very fond of both Victoria and Lily. I’m not quite sure Jill took into consideration that there was a danger if Billy and Lily got together, in that he’d never get back with his family.

Photo: JPI

You and Jason Thompson seem to have a great relationship.  How is working with him as your son on Y&R?

JESS:  I flat-out adore that boy.  I love him so much.  What’s really interesting too is that he reminds me of my own son, Cole, and both of them have sons named Bowie.  So, I’ve got a real grandson named B-E-A-U, but they call him “Bowie”, and Jason’s son is B-O-W-I-E.  Anyway, I’ve never played with a Billy who had dark hair and dark eyes, and I don’t know why, but I love that about him; that he looks like Jill instead of an Abbott!  Jason is so damn good at what he does, and he is such a quick study.  He goes so deep into the character, and he even points out stuff to me in scenes that I haven’t thought of.  It’s really stimulating.  Billy loves Jill even though she makes him crazy.  He loves her, and I can feel it.  She, of course, adores him, even though he exasperates her sometimes.  I just love their relationship.  I love him as an actor.  I love him playing that character.

Photo: JPI

What do you think Jeanne would say if she knew there was this week-long tribute of episodes “Katherine the Great” airing on Y&R?

JESS:  Oh, she’d adore it!  Are you kidding?  Nobody would love that more than her!  She loved accolades.  There is no doubt.  She would be the first one to admit it, too.

Photos: JPI and ABC

Jeanne won the Daytime Emmy for Lead Actress in 2008 and you won in that category back in 1997.  Did the two of you ever talk about your Emmy wins? 

JESS:  Yes.  I won Best Actress before she did, and it always made me feel really weird, because I thought that was so unfair because Jeanne had been so wonderful for so long.  So, when she finally did win, I felt incredibly good about it.  I was so, so happy.  It was well-deserved and long-overdue, I thought.

Photo: JPI

Do you have some hopes for Jill in the future? Is there a story you would still love to get the opportunity to do?

JESS:  No, you know what?  The great thing about our show is that we are like a theatre company.  It always reminds of how I started out in repertory theatre, and that’s what we are, and the show as a whole.  I love the fact that I go around and play scenes with different people.  On Y&R, I have grandsons, I have sons, I have ex-stepdaughters, etc.  So, I love it the way it is.  I mean, if Jill had a romance in the future, I would love that, but whatever they have in store for me, I’ll take it with both hands, believe me.

So, are you excited to see some classic episodes of Y&R featuring Jeanne Cooper along with Jess Walton?  Would you say that Jeanne and Jess’ scenes over the years remain some of your enduring favorites? What are your hopes for Jill in 2020? Share your thoughts via the comment section.  But first, check out a preview for this week’s Y&R, Jess and Jeanne’s Lead Actress Emmy-winning moments, plus their final scene together below.

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leroy davidsonBarbara from AtlantaDamienLew S.Timmm Recent comment authors
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Kay
Kay

Sweet love to them all I am enjoying the oldies god bless them all those were the days ! Good luck to all of them

matt
matt

Plus we will see the house in its glory, unlike today.

Tez
Tez

❤Jess Walton she seem like a fun person in real life. . Miss Katherine & Jeanne..many viewers want to see 70s& 80s classic YR. Would love to see Brenda & Terry Jill & Jack. I feel YR should do a Jill throwback and have Brenda, Deborah Adair, Jess Walton show what Jill went through. Jess, has made the role of Jill hers, but classic are not anything from 2006- present. B.Bell YR is classic and current mess they have…Josh G…pls take notes

Timmm
Timmm

I loved Jeanne BUT they shouldnt have killed her off. She is too important of a character. I know, impossible to replace but they could have tried. She was the heart and soul of Y&R and I’m sure the cast has many many stories to tell!

Lew S.
Lew S.

Truly classic Y&R episodes! Take note EPs & HWs – THAT is how you write drama, mixed with suspense and a little bit of comedy! Last Friday’s episode had the Phyllis that I knew and loved. She was a hoot!

Damien
Damien

Great interview Michael, thank you!
What a treat this week will be!
I d love if Mac returned for a brief visit with Katherines son Brock and for Brock and Jill to have a quick soulful love affair until Brock has to leave again for one of his volunteer works overseas and for Jill to all of a sudden try to follow along but realise that they re just too different. I ‘d love for Jill to find a different type of love even for a brief while!!

Barbara from Atlanta
Barbara from Atlanta

The writers need to “undo” the inane Jill Fenmore business and return the character to where she properly belongs, as the biological daughter of Bill and Liz Foster.

It also wouldn’t hurt if Jill returned to the show on a more permanent basis. The random scenes that Walton performs where we will go months on end without seeing Jill is doing the character no favors. How exactly would the writers craft a decent romance between Jill and Jack, when the woman is never around?

leroy davidson
leroy davidson

I can never forget when Jess Walton took the role of Jill. She was outstanding from the very start. She was true to the character right down the line.
I think the flashback and repeat episodes are so wonderful to see again. And I think of the people that have joined the show recently get a great insight about the past of favorite characters. And to us longtime viewers, to see those who have departed for real or for story or other purposes. I’ll surely be watching until we can get new episodes again.

Interviews

B&B’s Annika Noelle Chats On Her First Daytime Emmy Nomination For Hope’s Emotional Journey Back to Beth

The Supporting Actor and Actress in a Drama Series are often the highly-competitive categories in the annual Daytime Emmys, because they usually contain the most entrance vying for the final 5 or 6 coveted spots.

This year, after all of her soap alter-egos sturm and drang, Annika Noelle found herself with a nomination for her riveting work as Hope Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful.

As fans of the CBS Daytime drama know, Hope went through hell and back and hell again as she was led to believe that her baby girl had died, only to later find out that the little bundle of joy was adopted by Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) in a heinous scheme put in motion by Dr. Buckingham (Wayne Brady). As the story unraveled, more and more people found out about the switch and kept it from Hope, chief among them Thomas (Matthew Atkinson), but all’s well that ends well when Liam (Scott Clifton) with a big assist from Douglas (Henry Joseph Samiri) figured out that Beth was Phoebe … and that set the stage for even more emotional drama.

Following the news of her nomination, Michael Fairman TV chatted with Annika Noelle, to get all the feels of this defining moment in her daytime career – cracking the glass ceiling and getting into a select group of actresses for the first time whose work has been deemed “Outstanding”. Here’s what Annika shared on her reaction to that great Emmy news!

Photo: JPI

Were you shocked and surprised when you learned of your Supporting Actress in a Drama Series nomination?

ANNIKA:  Yes!  I’m over the moon and so eternally grateful for it.  It means a lot to have the work I’ve done this last year get recognized by everyone.  It’s my first Daytime Emmy nomination, and now I get to say that.  It’s just a cool thing.

I can’t think of anyone who cried more in last year’s TV season than you as Hope.  That whole year was so heavy with the baby switch storyline and Hope’s journey back to her biological daughter.

ANNIKA:  It was.  Honestly, it took a lot out of me, and it was a lot to go through, and it really was a marathon.  I’ve never had to go through something like that as an actor, but I’m just glad that I made it out to the other side to get to experience this.

Photo: JPI

I was worried someone was going to have to pick you up off the floor from all the weeping! It must have been draining.

ANNIKA:  I can’t tell you how many times I was just like, “Do I have to cry? Do I have to though?”  I’m just really grateful that Hope finally got her baby back.  It was so funny when the fans would be like, “When is she getting her baby back?” and I’m like, “Trust me, no one wants it more than me.”

Were you watching the nominations unfold on The Talk?  How did you find out you were officially a nominee?

ANNIKA:  I went for a walk around the LaBrea Tar Pits because I didn’t want to be focusing on that, but I have family in Boston who were going to watch The Talk and let me know.  However, I guess the Mayor of Boston interrupted right before they started reading the nominations.  They were so pissed.  So, I was like, “Okay, I guess I’m not going to find out for a while,” and then the phone started ringing, and it was Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B).  Your heart kind of goes up in your throat when you see his name on the caller ID! I picked up and he said, “Congratulations,” and I proceeded to probably make him deaf because I was so excited. (Laughs)

Scott Clifton was your scene partner in so much of the arc of this storyline.  Did he say anything to you once you got nominated?

ANNIKA:  Oh yeah! We exchanged quite a few text messages with each other.  I thought he should have submitted himself this year.

Photo: JPI

I was so surprised when I found out that he didn’t enter the competition, because he did some incredible work.

ANNIKA:  It’s amazing the work that he did, and he was right by my side every step of the way during this incredibly difficult storyline, and honestly, I could not have done it without him … or Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, because they honestly were such great support systems for me as an actor and also as friends.  Honestly, I feel like this nomination is everyone’s.  It was such an ensemble effort.

Photo: JPI

What scenes did you submit that landed you the nomination?

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B&B's Annika Noelle Chats On Her First Daytime Emmy Nomination For Hope's Emotional Journey Back to Beth

ANNIKA:  I submitted as the initial scene when Hope finds out about Beth (where Liam tells her that Beth didn’t make it) and she starts out thinking that Beth is still alive and then gradually the denial fades away and the reality sets in.  Then, the second scene I submitted was where she is kind of emotionally checked out, and then, Sally (Courtney Hope) comes in with that poor puppy dog to try to cheer her up, and obviously that backfires on Sally.  That was actually a very difficult scene to shoot because here was this little puppy dog looking up at me, and I had to just freak out.  The third scene was on the rooftop where Hope finally finds out that Beth is indeed alive, and that Thomas has been lying to her.  Then, the fourth scene was the hardest one to pick, but I’m really glad that I went with it.  It’s just this really quiet, intimate moment between Liam and Hope when they’re alone with Beth again for the first time as a family.  Then, Liam and Hope share their first kiss as a family again.  The final scene was where Hope gets to slap Flo (Katrina Bowden) and you get to see the momma bear come out.  I really tried to tell a story.  I really tried to show an arc of that 8-9-month saga, and luckily, I had the material to choose from to do so.

You played the Emmy game very smartly, because the reels that work, in my experience, have been the ones that tell the arc of the story, so that anyone who doesn’t know the show can follow beat to beat to beat.  I think those are always the reels that ultimately grab the voters.

ANNIKA:  I think that’s something that I had to learn too from other actors, and the advice that I had gotten, and getting to actually watch and vote last year.  I thought of it more as an actor’s reel.  I tried to do show versatility as an actor.  So, hopefully we will see what happens.

Photo: JPI

Are you familiar with the work of any of the other actresses nominated in your category …Tamara Braun (Ex-Kim, GH), Rebecca Budig (Ex-Hayden GH), Christel Khalil (Lily, Y&R), and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie, DAYS)?

ANNIKA:  Oh, yes, and I am nothing but honored to be in a category with such amazing performers.  It takes so much in general to be a daytime actor, and to even be in this category with these other performers, it’s huge.  .

Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke), your on-screen mom is nominated for Lead Actress this year too!

ANNIKA:  I know!  I’m praying it’s her year, and Heather Tom (Katie) also did such beautiful work with the kidney storyline, and Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) just broke my heart with the divorce and the Thomas storylines.  It’s kind of all in the family in a way with our characters, but everyone did such beautiful work, and I’m rooting everyone on.  It’s nice that Katherine and I as an on-screen momma/daughter got to celebrate that together.

Photo: JPI

Did Katherine give you a call, or did you communicate, after the nominations were announced?

ANNIKA:  Yes, we talked, and then, ironically for about a year and a half, I had saved a bottle of Dom Perignon that I had received as a gift from her boyfriend, Dom Zoida.  I was always just saving it for a special occasion.  When I told her that, she was like, “I can’t believe you’ve been saving it this long!  We are going to have a toast tonight and celebrate!”  I was like, “Are you sure we don’t want to save it in case there’s other good news … maybe?”  and she was just like, “No!  We’ll get you another bottle.  We are toasting tonight.”  So, that was just a really beautiful moment because she really brought me in and showed me the ropes as a veteran on the show, and as someone who knows B&B and the dynamics so well.  I’ve learned a lot from Katherine, and I have nothing but respect for her.  She is one of the hardest workers I know; she does not stop, and I have such admiration.  I wish I were in half as good shape as she is!  It’s a special feeling to be able to share this with her.

You followed in Kim Matula’s (Ex-Hope) footsteps on the show.  That was no easy feat, and to make the role your own was beautifully done.  That has to feel good.  It’s not easy to play a role that someone else made ‘soap-famous’.

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ANNIKA:  It’s funny, because Mark Grossman (Adam, Y&R) and I started around the same time – him on Y&R and me on The Bold and the Beautiful, and even Matthew Atkinson as Thomas – everyone has kind of left their own mark on these characters as recasts, and it’s a challenging thing to do, stepping into someone’s role, especially with someone who originated the character. It’s a nice validation that you’re doing something right.

You and I will remember your humble beginnings on Venice the Series.

ANNIKA:  It’s such a crazy full circle too, because Hillary B. Smith (Ex-Nora, OLTL and Guya, Venice the Series) was my mentor in high school.  I would look up to her and be like. “She’s been nominated and won Daytime Emmys! Well, maybe one day I could …” Hillary was someone who I called and talked to for a long time before submitting.  I also have to give thanks to Crystal Chappell (Ex-GL, Days and Venice the Series), for seeing something in me and taking a chance on me when I was green as an actress.

I remember us talking on the set of Venice, and I remember you shooting your scenes as a recast in that show too at an apartment!  They threw you right into the fire.

ANNIKA:  Yep, and Susan Flannery (Ex-Stephanie, B&B) was directing a few of those episodes!  So, it was like… who would have thought that years later…?

Photo: JPI

I would ask you, what you are going to wear, but there is no red carpet that I know of, for a virtual Emmys this year!

ANNIKA:  I am so conflicted.  I’m like, “Do I wear PJs, or do I get glammed up and wear a beautiful gown?” (Laughs) I am the most comfortable in flannel and no makeup, so I’m like, “Okay, if I have to get glammed up, how on earth am I going to do my own hair because I don’t even know where to begin with that.” So, we’ll see, I guess, we’ll see!

It will be interesting to see what the virtual ceremony will look like.

ANNIKA:  I have a feeling that my cat might be a part of the awards ceremony.  He is going to try to steal the spotlight, a little.  Like an All About Eve moment happening here with Henry who I call “Burrito Man”.  He has his own Instagram.  It’s @theburritomankitty, and if there is a camera, let me tell you, he will try to interrupt.  That’s Burrito Man for you.  He’s a little diva.

Photo: IG

How have you and ‘Burrito Man’ been doing during the coronavirus pandemic?  How are your spirits? 

ANNIKA:  Well, this nomination has certainly been a silver lining.  It certainly has brightened the mood a little bit. It’s been pretty difficult feeling a little isolated, but The Bold and the Beautiful has been having Zoom happy hour every Friday where we will all get on in the late afternoon and catch up with everyone and have a little drink.  So, it’s been nice because I miss everyone.  We really do become like family.  That’s helped a lot, and then just… puzzles.  I’m doing a lot of puzzles, Michael.

Photo: JPI

In closing, many times you see a lot of the same names nominated in the acting categories at the Daytime Emmys, so it’s nice to see when someone new breaks through.  Kudos to you!

ANNIKA:  Honestly, that means a lot.  It was a lot, especially as a newcomer to daytime.  It really was sink or swim, but luckily, I have an amazing cast there supporting me and holding me up on those days where it was stressful, or where I would break down just because it was so demanding.  I can’t tell you how many people were there for me like: John McCook (Eric, B&B), Katherine Kelly Lang, Heather Tom, Jacqui, and Scott, these people championed me, urged me on, and believed in me.  I also have realized that I am a bit more of a method actor than I thought I was. (Laughs)  I might have taken some of the work home with me.  Queer Eye and RuPaul were cheering me up because it was a lot. (Laughs)  I just want to express my utmost gratitude for this honor and wish all the best of luck to the other nominees.  I have so much respect for everyone in this industry from the directors and our crews, all the way down to us actors. It’s a lot to do what we do in daytime with the budget and the time constraints that we have.  It really is a team effort.

So, were you happy to see that Annika scored a Daytime Emmy nomination for her hard work and being at the epicenter of the baby switch storyline on B&B? Comment below.

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Interviews

OLTL Icon, Erika Slezak Talks On Her 42-Year Run As Viki, Her Llanview Co-Stars & Husbands, and Life Now

As a precursor to, and now post-script to last night’s The Story of Soaps special on ABC, One Life to Live’s leading lady and six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Erika Slezak, chatted with Michael Fairman in a very special virtual conversation on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel  prior to the airing of the two-hour event that look into the history and the world of daytime and primetime soaps.

Erika appeared within the primetime special along with many other notables from the world of daytime.

Photo: JPI

Chatting from her home in Connecticut, Erika talked candidly about her beginnings on the ABC soap when she was first cast as Viki, and how her early castmates helped her through that challenging time. She also discussed the importance and challenges of playing Viki’s DID storyline where she played multiple alters, and, of course, her longstanding on-screen rivalry with frenemy Dorian Cramer Lord played by Robin Strasser.

As fans of One Life know, Viki certainly had her share of husbands over the years, and you will learn Erika’s thoughts on working with several of them from: Mark Derwin (Ex-Ben), to Brian Kerwin (Ex-Charlie), to Roy Thinnes (Ex-Sloan) and more.

Photo: JPI

But what was life like for Erika, playing the moral center of One Life day in and day out for over 42 years and the responsibility that comes with that? She weighs-in on that as well.  Later, the discussion turns to her emotional final day of taping at ABC’s OLTL following its cancellation, the move to Prospect Park, and if she would ever consider working on another one of the four remaining daytime soaps.

Photo: JPI

Slezak has won the most Daytime Emmys of any actress, and she recalls the time she was nominated with 7 other actresses in the Lead Actress category and the start of the annual “Ladies Lunch” with the nominees via Susan Flannery.

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Soap Vet Debbi Morgan's Emotional Words On How COVID-19 Has Affected the Black Community

For a deep-dive conversation into the genre with this soap legend, check it out below.

Then let us know if you were thrilled to see Erika, and hear what she had to say via the comment section.

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Breaking News

Y&R’s Eileen Davidson, Knots’ Donna Mills & GH’s Laura Wright Talk On Life in the Soaps

Three of the most recognizable names in the soap opera genre, Eileen Davidson (Y&R, Ex-Days, Ex-B&B, Ex-Santa Barbara). Donna Mills (Knots Landing, Ex-Love is a Many Splendored Thing, Ex-Secret Storm) and Laura Wright (General Hospital, Ex-Guiding Light, Ex-Loving, Ex-The City), chat with Michael Fairman in this virtual conversation about their careers working in front of the camera on daytime and primetime soaps.

Each of the actresses appear on ABC’s “The Story of Soaps” two-hour special airing on Tuesday night May 19th (9 p.m. EST). to which this interview is a prelude.

From her role as Abby Cunningham Ewing on Knots Landing to her role as GH’s Madeline Reeves, Donna Mills shares memorable stories from her career, and from her role as Y&R’s Ashley Abbott to playing five roles on Days of our Lives from Kristen DiMera to Susan Banks, Eileen Davidson recalls her start and the time she played five roles at one time, while bringing to life Carly Corinthos on General Hospital every day is a joy shares Laura Wright from her early start on ABC’s Loving which changed the trajectory of her life.

We hope you enjoy this exclusive on The Michael Fairman Channel.

Watch Eileen, Donna and Laura below!  Then let us know what was your favorite moment or tidbit from the conversation via the comment section

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Stacy Haiduk On DAYS Exit: "Let’s Not Write Kristen DiMera Off Quite Yet! Is Anyone Really Gone in Salem?"
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It’s “Villains Week” on Y&R an that means some Sheila Carter, David Kimball, and Isabella Brana, Check out the promo from CBS Daytime here.  Leave A Comment

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