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Y&R's Kristoff St. John Chats On Regime Change, His Lack Of Story, And Khalil's Contract Talks!

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

For many longtime fans of The Young and the Restless, it has been strange to not see the talented Daytime Award winning actor, Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters) not have a story he can really sink his teeth into.  Whether it be romantic entanglements that just never caught fire, being in the boardroom over support and not driving the story,  or dispensing fatherly advice to his children, Kristoff St.  John remains a prominent name associated with the legacy of Y&R.   We caught up with St. John late last week at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills which was honoring the series for its 10,000 episode milestone with a celebration and a panel discussion, in which St. John took part in.  On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Kristoff during the cast arrivals, and to ask him to weigh in on the regime change at Y&R,  how he feels currently about his status with the number one soap, and to get his thoughts on the contract battles going on with his on-screen daughter, Christel Khalil.   So here below is our “quickie” chat with Kristoff!

Over the last several years, you have not been utilized on Y&R to the extent you should, given that you are a Daytime Emmy Award winning actor and a fan favorite.  How do you feel about not being front and center?

KRISTOFF:  I have had a long run on this show and some years are slower than others. The last five years have been like molasses. As an actor in this genre, you always want to be involved.  You don’t want to be relegated to back-burner because that means you are non-existent and not important, to not necessarily to the audience, but the story at hand.  I would much rather be over-used then under-used.  I would much rather complain about being too tired from working then tired from lying out in the sun.

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Speaking of the sun … you recently made a Facebook post that had made the rounds about going to the beach, which seemed to indicate you feel some actors on the Y&R canvas should be given more time off to spend at the beach! (Laughs)

KRISTOFF:  Oh yes! I said something along the lines of:  “There are certain people that should be at the beach, and they are not.  They need a tan more than I do!” (Laughs)  But all things considered, it would be ungrateful and selfish for me to say I am not happy with where I am professionally. Being given time off has given me a lot of time to write,  create, and to think about what I am supposed to be doing outside of this show.  I have lovingly said in the past, and you know this, that this is the best part-time job I have ever had, because some days and some months go by and that is what it feels like, and I haven’t stepped foot at  the CBS Television City property. But that’s just fine with me right now, but let’s start the engine up again!

What do you think of the regime change of Jill Farren Phelps and Josh Griffith coming aboard at Y&R, and Maria Arena Bell exiting both as EP and head writer? What do you think it means for Neil Winters? 

KRISTOFF:  I am going to be very diplomatic and careful about saying anything about past regimes or new regimes. I can say that never have I worked less than in the last five years, and my angst to work and be a part of the story is very high at this point. So we shall see where my personal journey goes on the show.  But as far as Maria Arena Bell, cheers to a run that went by very quickly for some, and very slowly for others.  However, she is very creative lady who had a huge undertaking, and quite possibly underestimated the huge challenge that she faced.  She surrounded herself with a good team of people and continued to further The Young and the Restless cause.  I have to tip my hat to a lot that she accomplished while she was there. And I also have to say that there were a few disappointments.  The fans let everyone know.  If the head writers listen more to the fans, then the ratings might be a little higher.

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What are your thought on how your on-screen daughter Christel Khailil’s (Lily) contract talks are going down?  How would you feel if she were to be exit the show?

KRISTOFF: Christel is very dear to my heart. She is like my own daughter.    am very saddened to hear anything about her departure from The Young and the Restless.  If she does chose to leave, I wish her well, but I hope that is not the case.

So soapers, what do you think the new regime should do with the character of Neil Winters?  Who should be a solid love interest for him?  How do you feel about how he has been under-utilized, and his comments on the situation? Weigh-in!

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Scott
Scott

You can tell he’s pissed about MAB/JFP as a whole. MAB really destroyed Neil as a character for me. And I hope that JFP changes it.

sims
sims

He needs and the show REALLY needs Drucilla back ASAP! Victoria Rowell made him who he is today.

Toni Anne Longo
Toni Anne Longo

I Loved seeing Kristoff on Y&R today. I would like to see Drucilla come back to Neil, but I know that’s a far-fetched “miracle” that would have to happen. I actually reallly want Harmony and Tucker to be together. Neil needs a work project or something on the side that he’s passionate about, whether it be a new family member, new love, or an important cause (like the homeless shelter storyline they did, but something new). Also, I think there should be more family get togethers and more air-time with more in-depth conversations. I have always loved the pool-parties Y&R has had. Maybe there should be equal amounts of fun, hardship, “partying”, and “bonding” on the show. Please incorporate more Winters family interaction-Thanks so much!!! <3

sims
sims

Tony I agree1 Don’t give up on the Drucilla pray. Victoria Rowell has sooo many followers to this day wishing she would come back. I never so much support. Blog it on all the sites and call the CBS #. We need her back . She is larger than life and full of fab sexy sheik

randy
randy

this man is my favorite eye candy…unfortunately he only peaks my interest when hes bouncing basketballs,,as soon as they have him in a suit i lose interest,,,,storylines have ben a dud….neil as corporate is a bore to no end, id write him rougher and tougher maybe explore neils bisexual side,,whatever they write it has to be a wing dinger to shock people back to be interested in the character again

JAYMIE
JAYMIE

Oh “HELL NO” !
Don’t want Neil GAY or Bi.! Having Neil w Harmony works very well!! :-)- As for Tucker… ? A hitch hiker for him works for me!!!

randy
randy

also ive always wanted to see a jill and neil pairing ,,think that would be smokin

JAYMIE
JAYMIE

Yeah- that could work….?again??? Another bartender for lol Jill and one that has chemistry with her on/off cuz Its hard to lye to us out here.!! REALLY cuz WE can tell IT’S in your eyes so you “just cant fake it”

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

I really like Neil and KSJ. In my opinion Neil hasn’t had much good story since Dru went off the cliff. Lots of missed opportunities for the whole Winters clan. I will add I am not a Christel Kahlil fan, so I hope she chooses to leave.

JAYMIE
JAYMIE

F off on that comment on Christel. She IS the BEST Lily they have EVER had. ONLY thing you were right is ALL the stuff about Dru. I really wish she would’ve been found down stream even IF it would have been YEARS after going over the cliff. I’m sure a really good story-line would have come out of it for Neil and Lily. So I guess R.I.P Drucilla.! 🙂

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Have a nice day you Fing Fer 😉 I am only stating an opinion, which is what Mr Fairman asked for and this board is for. I hope and expect others will share differing opinions without hate. Chill.

sims
sims

Lily has always been boring but with other great stories and better actors than she in a scene with her she is okay. She is only an accessory but never will be a Drucilla A+ actress. The actress who play’s Lily is a B at best and Im being generous tonight.

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Oh, I wanted to add that KSJ is so right, if the writers and EP’s listened to the fans, the soaps wouldn’t be in the condition they are in today. I know you will never please all the fanbases, but these boards prove time and again the fans are there and do love “their stories”. LISTEN UP TPTB!

Christine
Christine

I love Kristoff. He is a riot on Twitter, but you have to “get” him in order to understand his humor.

He is a great actor and I feel bad that he has had so little to do over the years. I heard somewhere someone referred to the Winters family being out once a week as “Winters Wednesday.” It is so true. If you watch during the whole week, we are usually lucky if we see the Winters family for more than one day.

Toni Anne Longo
Toni Anne Longo

I totally agree. I would also like to mention that I wish Bryton didn’t leave, either. His character could have been utilized so much better, if he had other interests and relationships on the show.

kay/kay
kay/kay

Kristoff St John has not had a good leading lady since VR but in Phelps entire interview she said VR was a very hot button so I say just start looking. Debi Morgan has ZERO chemistry with KSJ get him back in the boardroom make him a player heck Victoria and Nick did they even graduate high school this guy should be playing against the big boys just do it.

Dru
Dru

Actually, what JFP said was “I only know it’s a hot-button issue but I don’t know the full history. I’m not going to make any comment.”

She never said VR was a hot button, she was referring to the situation. If Sony/CBS truly want the ratings to go up, they need to bring Dru back. It would be completely foolish on their part to ignore all of the fans that VR has on her side. I understand that she bad mouthed co-workers, and that was deemed by most as unprofessional, but it’s time to bury the hatchet….and who knows, maybe by JFP saying that she’s not going to make a comment will lead us to about a month or so seeing Josh Griffith post on Twitter saying, “The air show on Monday is not to be missed! We’ve been keeping a huge surprise under wraps. #YR” and we’ll see a Dru return, kind of like Frank Valentini just did for GH with the return of Duke Lavery 😉

kay/kay
kay/kay

You are right I worded it wrong read it right just said it wrong. LOL! As far as I am concerned letting actors run rough shod tends to ruin a soap. Bill Bell did not put up with nonsense when PB & EB got into their scuffle he made them knock it off or they were both gone.

sims
sims

he needs Drucilla. The fans will go crazy for this. They will bring so many viewers back if she comes back.

RICKIE
RICKIE

I genuinely like Kristoff St. John and appreciate his frustration with lack of storyline. I’ve watched soaps for eons, and was always disappointed with the general lack of substantial story or character development for truly outstanding African-American actors. In addition to the great Al Freeman, Jr., so many others were wasted: Ellen Holly, Lillian Hayman, Vera Moore, Terry Alexander, Rosetta LeNoire, Petronia Paley, Michele Shay, Keith Hamilton Cobb, Micki Grant, James Preston, Jr., Lee Chamberlain, Maidie Norman, Carol Speed, Christopher Joy, Ketty Lester, Tina Andrews, Lawrence Cook, Marguerite Ray… the list is endless. At least NBC’s “Generations” and “Passions” put African-American actors front and center. For that, I’m still grateful…

Torrey
Torrey

I agree with you…Minorities as a whole have always been pushed to the back burner, when it comes to soaps…I would like to see a show that looks more like the world that we live in…Asians, African-Americans, Middle Easterners, Native Americans, Caucasians, Hispanics…and for all people equally featured on the show. But I know that will never happen.

Toni Anne Longo
Toni Anne Longo

That Can happen! I’m sure Y&R is taking this into consideration. It just feels like the right direction to move in, so maybe they will incorporate a wider variety of nationalities .

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Actually, the story with Al Freeman, Jr., Ellen Holly & Lillian Hayman et, al (The Clara/Carla storyline) drew me in and was one of THE stories that started my lifelong love of soaps. I was around 6 years old and watched with my mom. We’re white, but the story and the acting was so compelling and groundbreaking in its time, I was completely mesmermized.

I hear what you are saying about the importance of diversity, but to me race really doesn’t factor into which characters I enjoy. However they do need to be relateable on some level to develop their fanbase. Passions truly embraced diversity; black, white, hispanic, and so on.

RICKIE
RICKIE

Actually, the OLTL “Imitation of Life” storyline involved Peter DeAnda (Price Trainor). Al Freeman, Jr. came in a couple of years later after Carla accepted her African heritage and after her dead-end relationship with Bert Skelly (Herb Davis).

Also, I should clarify: I had a love/hate relationship with “Passions” (my biggest gripe was the excrutiating amount of expulsionary and recap dialogue that trademarked not only the first few months of the show, but its entire run). But at least we had actors in leading roles whose storylines weren’t “ghettoized” — these African-American and Latin-American characters actually interacted in meaningful ways with other families and characters.

Despite the show’s cartoonish (yet sometimes entertaining) quality, it was in stark contrast with the show it replaced, “Another World.” I remember as far back as the early 1970s, black nurse Linda Metcalf (the competent Vera Moore) did little more than listen to colleague Alice Frame’s romantic troubles and carry on a rather bland courtship with reformed criminal-turned-cop Zach Richards. Unfortunately, when that show expanded to 60 minutes, instead of finally developing these characters more fully and diversifying Bay City, Linda & Zach were rarely seen again (it may have helped if these performers weren’t kept on recurring status during their run). Similarly, once Carla Gray Hall Scott left the canvas on OLTL at the end of the 1970s, Ed Hall became a sympathetic ear to tragic Karen Wolek (that is, until Ellen Holly returned in 1983).

Y&R, however, really hit its stride with the Drucilla/Neil/Malcolm/Olivia characters in the mid- to late 1990s. All actors — especially the divine Victoria Rowell — really made these characters their own. Hopefully, the show will return to that soon.

Torrey
Torrey

I guess what I really meant to say was, Minorities on the majority of soaps aren’t given a long-standing opportunity to grow….Overall. I remember being taken in by Angie & Jessie on ALL MY CHILDREN….and was happy to see Drucilla, Neil, Malcom & Olivia on Y&R, then again with Noah pairing up with Julia on AMC….and I can’t forget Derrick & Mimi on AMC…one of my favorite couples that I think never really materialized like they could have. I understand in the soap world there has to be a rotation of characters with stories, but it always seems that the minorities stories are few and far between. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t get that tied up in race. I enjoy watching all of the characters….white, black or whatever… Cause what it all boils down to is good storytelling. I would just like to see stories even distributed amongst everyone.

Joy
Joy

Neil is a great character that has been given nothing to do since I can’t remember when. I see no chemistry between him and Harmony. Find him a hot new romance and also send him back to work. He is supposed to be Kay’s right hand at Chanceller. When did we last see them even meeting each other. Don’t waste such a fine actor.

JAYMIE
JAYMIE

YES! I agree on the working at Chancellor,People do work outside the board room. But I have not seen a office or desk with paper work like we see at Newman. RIGHT!.
Oh as for the chemistry with Neil and Harmony they had it before they had to put on the breaks! Why can’t they turn it back on the screen and go back to “getting busy”? I think IF you all leave Neil and Harmony’s character go the extra mile it would be more interesting to watch. I never liked the one that Neil was married to. I wish she would just take that job in NY. and go away.(she is a bad actor) Moss will prob be in high school or going to the Army after a month not seeing him.

JT
JT

Im sorry Neil has been a bore for many years. His rise at one time was due more to the power of the Dru character and Shemar’s charisma. Neil never had the spark. Sorry but I wish storyline for others more than Neil.

eva
eva

Great interview with KSJ. I really would like the winters family to have more storylines. And storlylines that deal with todays issues of black families. Why not hire a writer who can write especially for this black family, Someone like Tyler perry. Just an idea.

JustSaying
JustSaying

Neil should go. Seriously, he should go. Not that I don’t like the actor. I just don’t like the character. There’s no more character development for him and he was an ass to begin with.

As for Dru, she’s dead. Don’t bother bringing her back. Bygones will not be bygones with her character, so let her stay dead. Devon and Lily could probably stay, but they need a better storyline. And Olivia would be nice to have back. But the rest can go.

Brian Greene
Brian Greene

I hope Kristoff finally gets the character-driven storylines that he has deserved for many, many years now–Please! 😀

Cheryl Markowitz
Cheryl Markowitz

The comments about changing the Winters family is wrong.

Sue Sweeney
Sue Sweeney

I FAST FORWARD EVERY scene with Neil or Harmony in it!!!!! I’m tired of doing that, so PLEASE new writers…let them just fade into the sunset! I will NEVER accept the miraculous change from a crackhead/uneducated/unsociable/woman who abandoned her children to this woman who destroyed 2 marriages & is now educated & sociable!!! NEVER!!!!! So, so many others who’ve watched Y&R since it’s beginning feel the same!!!! PLEASE get rid of Neil & Harmony….Don’t insult fans’ intelligence anymore!!!! Away with those two!

Sue Sweeney
Sue Sweeney

oh…and PLEASE give us more of Sophia!!!! Let her find the love she deserves with someone else….maybe Sarge? 🙂

Peaches
Peaches

I think Sarge will be good.

lanefanforever
lanefanforever

ck is the one and only lily she irreplaceable and she and dg have supercouple chemistry no on y&r has ever had that much chemistry to me since sharon and nick

aderuil
aderuil

what a perfect time to give neil a make over. hair cut, etc. make him hot!

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