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News for the week of 11-Mar-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Senior VP-CBS Daytime’s Angelica McDaniel faced a monumental challenge the moment she assumed her February 2012 position: Beef up Y&R’s ratings without alienating the veteran viewers or the cast. A soap fan herself, McDaniel wisely utilized her team, made creative updates, and took some promotional chances to include both the veteran and new viewers. With ratings higher than they’ve ever been in ages, McDaniel’s fan-based approach seems to be working. “It really was an instinct. It was just watching the show as a newer viewer,” she told Sara Bibel of Deep Soap [March 8th interview]. “I grew up watching soaps but I hadn’t been on a regular basis for a few years. So it really was about sitting down and watching hours and hours of each show and saying, ‘You know what? This is where we’re weak. This is where we’re strong. So we need to play up our strengths and build where we’re weak.’ And sitting down with Steve Kent at Sony and realizing we need to inject a new perspective, not just mine, but also a new head writer and a new executive producer. So we brought Jill and Josh on. We’re a really collaborative team where we all throw everything at the wall and figure out, ‘Where’s everything going to fit now?’” She and her team have made sure to maintain the fit multi-generationally, Y&R’s strength. There’s no sense alienating any one demo group, really. “The great thing about Y&R that they’ve always been successful at and that they will continue to push is telling multi-generational stories. So while today’s [event] is all about fresh, sexy, new, faces… it’s about telling those multi-generational stories. We have characters that are teens, grandparents. We can encompass all of them. We can’t just focus on one. We have to really be all encompassing and drive story with some of the new actors and infuse some new story because we have the new characters. After someone’s been in Genoa City for 20, 30, 40 years, maybe they’ve dated everyone, so you have to bring in someone new for them to date, or a rival or a nemesis. It’s really just about great story that we’re working on for characters of all ages.”

In celebration of Y&R’s upcoming 40th anniversary this month, a select group of actors will share their memories in three-minute video clips prior to each episode March 11-29. The 13 actors include all the veterans: Jeanne Cooper (Katherine), Eric Braeden (Victor), Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki), Joshua Morrow (Nick), Peter Bergman (Jack), Doug Davidson (Paul), Christian LeBlanc (Michael), Kristoff St. John (Neil), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), Sharon Case (Sharon), Michael Muhney (Adam), Daniel Goddard (Cane), and Billy Miller (Billy). The three-minute videos will be up on the CBS website too. Besides these, 16 more cast members recorded exclusive videos, which became available for viewing up at the CBS/Y&R site late last month.

Michael Muhney (Adam) will hit Toronto next month to meet fans at two special events. On April 5, noon, Muhney will host the VIP Intimate Gathering Of Fans at the Rosemont Water Room, 19 Toronto St. This VIP event is open to only the first 30 fans at $240 per. The $240 covers a catered, gourmet lunch, two autographed photos, a Q&A, a photo op with the actor, and a chance to bid in an auction for goodies like a script, set tour, and a rare keepsake. On April 6, 12:30 p.m., Muhney does it again. This event is only $80 for the first 100 fans.

Beth Maitland (Traci) returns for a spell. That’s what she Facebooked last week.

For Y&R’s 40th anniversary, Soap Opera Network’s Kambra Clifford [March 7] exclusively interviewed three hot hunks and found they’re really normal and sometimes dorky (just ask Hunter King/Summer). Robert Adamson (Noah), Marco Dapper (Carmine), and Lamon Archey (Mason) are all aware of the hunk label, but don’t really subscribe to it. Dapper described himself as a total geek, for sure. “I geek about movies, I geek about art, I geek about music. I’m not the guy who’s at the club every night going, ‘Oh heyyyy, ladies!’” Adamson simply goes to the studio, keeps his handsome head down, and focuses on the work, not letting the accolades get to him. Archey couldn’t even believe fans viewed him as a hunk. He’s thrown every time they tweet him that. “I have a Twitter account, and it’s still a little weird for me when people hit me up and say, ‘Oh, you’re so hot!’ I’m like, ‘Wow. You know about me?!’ [laughs] But it feels great. It’s a blessing and an honor.”

Shortly after GH nabbed Emme Marcy Rylan (Abby) to play Lulu, taking over for Julie Marie Berman, Y&R replaced her with another Nick at Nite/Hollywood Heights [executive producer Jill Farren Phelps’ baby] actress, Melissa Ordway. Ordway (Chloe Carter, Hollywood Heights; Ted) appears as the recast Abby April 22. Rylan ends on-screen after April 10.

Tony Todd (Smallville, Chuck, Candyman, Sleepwalk) will play Leslie and Tyler’s abusive dad, Gus Rogan. So far, the actor filmed four Y&R episodes, set for 20 total. His first scene will be with on-screen daughter Leslie next week, when she confronts him. The horror movie actor dug the new soap opera gig, but wished Y&R catered free food for its actors. Nope. Check out what he told TMZ March 9th about having to buy his own lunch at the nearby commissary.

Ignacio Serricchio (Alex; ex-Diego, GH) achieved a dream late in his teens simply by answering a question his father posed for him: “What do you like?” After some thought, Serricchio—post-high school in Mexico City—replied, “I like people, and I like making people laugh and having fun.” It was his father’s acting suggestion, based on this answer, that got Serricchio started, at first in New York’s Syracuse University. “I came to this country when I was 19, so my story is really about success and going through all of the bureaucratic hurdles. I want to represent Latinos all over the world,” Serricchio told Kambra Clifford in her March 7th Soap Opera Network interview. Three months ago, the actor make his U.S. citizenship official. He also hinted that his character may soon have to deal with a crazy, incoming mom.

The Talk co-host and Y&R fan, Sheryl Underwood, returns as the Justice of the Peace, Clarice Collins, to officiate Victor and Nikki’s hospital wedding in the next two weeks.

Marco Dapper (Carmine) knows he’s got a target on his back for sexing up Lauren and breaking up her marital bond with Michael, storyline-dictated of course. Michael and Lauren are Y&R’s golden couple. Fans don’t take too kindly to messing with any of their golden supercouples. Dapper said that he is forever joking around with Lauren and Michael’s portrayers at the studio that he’s a most wanted man, and not in a good way. He even joked around in an MSN/TVDeeva Deanna Barnert, March 7th interview that “…bullet's got to be coming my way.” But hey, bring it on. Playing the romantic spoiler is way better than playing nothing at all, which is how he started off—with Abby. “I want to play games,” he said. “People keep asking if I'm worried about my character, because something might happen. I implore it, because that means more fun to me. I'd rather get as crazy and creative as I can for five months and sell something really cool than do 10 years of boring nothing. That's why I'm in this business.” Dapper added that Christian LeBlanc (Michael) and Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren) are on the same page and are having fun with this conflict too.

For the March 18-19 episodes, B&B’s John McCook (Eric) will cross over, bringing his designer wedding gown for Nikki to wear to her nuptials. McCook described the gown as very befitting for the mature bride, complete with a train. While the gown must’ve been gorgeous, McCook said he hardly noticed during the filming of the scenes, because he was roasting to death by the real fire in the fireplace. Seemed nobody in the cast wanted to sit by that fire, so he was designated. “I was too busy sweating my ass off to notice anything else. They sat me next to a roaring fireplace during the ceremony. I'm, like, ‘What the f--k? Couldn't you put somebody else by the fire...like somebody under 60?’” McCook joked with TV Guide’s Michael Logan [March 8, 2013 interview].

Gossip for the week of 11-Mar-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Who is the surprising new woman in Dylan’s life? Not Phyllis. Maybe Chelsea.

Since Prospect Park’s online version of AMC gained notoriety with its viral video of “The Harlem Shake” — its cast was shown dancing goofily to the music — CBS might follow suit with its own versions.

Adam’s getting funnier. I like it.

The revelation of Avery’s adultery with Dylan was supposed to shed Phyllis in a better, deeper light as the continually misunderstood sister. The intense confrontation scenes from two weeks ago were also supposed to give Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) meaty material to act through after suffering for too long in the grinning sociopath role, and heighten Avery’s incredibly obtuse, self-centered hypocrisy and lack of compassion. It worked. Unfortunately, Stafford so outshone Jessica Collins (Avery) that many viewers were left scratching their heads as to why this miscast, mismatched younger sister was still around. Time for a recast, someone equal to Stafford’s Emmy caliber, please.

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