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News for the week of 16-Sep-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Eric Braeden (Victor) isn’t like most soap opera actors. He actually knows his history and politics, and seems interested in more than promoting the latest hair gel and jewelry line, or gabbing vacuously about scene motivation and fan love. When Smashing Interviews’ Melissa Parker spoke with the veteran actor again (she initially conducted an interview with him years ago) for a September 12th piece, she got into his brain on current events: the problem with Syria, guns, and bullying. She and the magazine’s readers discovered that Braeden knew his stuff, based on vast education and as a result of living part of history himself back in Germany during WWII.

The Syria problem isn’t simply a matter of wiping out President Bashar al-Assad. It helps to understand the long, convoluted “mess” in the Middle East with so many warring factions since almost time began, Braeden explained. There isn’t one clear-cut solution, either.

“You have the Alawites who are minority Shiites who control the government. They’re a minority. Assad is another Alawite, and then you have the Sunnis and the Christians. You have so many elements in that country vying for power.

“In the advent of the rebellion against them, all kinds of sundry groups from Nusra and who the hell knows where they all come from want to have a piece of Syria and want to establish a kind of religious dictatorship. That’s the last thing we need in that area. However, Assad obviously governs so brutally that many people began to rebel against him, so how any president can distinguish between the various groups in Syria is beyond me. I think it’s extremely difficult, and I think Obama did a very good thing, a very smart thing by buying some time now.

“The threat is still there, our warships are still off the coast of Syria and Lebanon and ready to attack if we need to. I think that’s a good idea. It’s different than it was years and years ago. Nowadays anything that happens on the battlefield becomes news practically instantaneously, and we cannot allow the use of chemical weapons in any kind of revolution. If we allow that, then all kinds of dictatorial governments and groups that are not interested in civil contact and have access to those kinds of weapons may use them. That’s going to be very bad.”

Check his extensive interview out for a lot more. Braeden makes a solid case for dispensing with guns in favor of fighting fisticuffs like a real man, standing up to bullies, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, and so much more. He should really consider following through with his own memoir and running for president.

Hartley Sawyer (Kyle) is a huge advocate for pit bulls. He believes the breed has been unfairly pegged as violent, when they make great pets for everyone, even families. He recently lent his name participating in the September 15th “Strut Your Mutt” fundraiser in Van Nuys’ Woodley Park, as a volunteer with Angel City Pit Bulls. “This event [was] not focused just on pit bulls, but [was] a multi-city nationwide event involving dozens of rescue groups all in an effort to raise funds for dogs of every breed – so we can get our animals spayed, neutered, into good homes, and drastically reduce the horrifically high kill rates in our major cities’ shelters,” Sawyer said. –Soap Opera Network, September 13, 2013 interview with Errol Lewis

Michael Muhney (Adam) previewed what’s next to come for his character and Victor Newman, like it was the Second Coming. Using words like “part of history,” “critical point,” and “the whole look of the show is going to become a part of history and things will be talked about,” Muhney spoke with Soap Opera Network’s West Coast Editor Kambra Clifford [September 13, 2013] about Adam finally severing ties with his father, Victor, in order to become a better father himself. “What we’re doing now is becoming a part of history. There were critical moments in our show’s history from 10, 15, 20 years ago that changed the tone of the show and made it evolve and [grow up] and find more wings. Over the years, there were those very distinctive moments where it wasn’t the storylines [that caused this]; it was the show itself redefining itself and changing and broadening, and that is what is happening right now. We’re at a critical point in the show, where the whole look of the show is going to become a part of history and things will be talked about. [We’ll be referencing] back to this era for many, many years.” This history-changing momentous occasion will happen when Adam faces off with Victor this coming week. Adam will finally remember his gonads and strike out, forever throwing down the gauntlet, rejecting Victor as any sort of father figure in order to save himself for Connor. “He’s realizing that in order to be a good father, he has to be everything that his own father is not. He’s having to look at his father as a very, very flawed, cruel man who has played all of his siblings like puppets, caused his own sister to miscarry at her own wedding, just all of awful things that he’s done and the control and manipulative games that he’s played, and how he’s used his children as pawns over the years. So Adam knows that every move that Victor has made are moves that he won’t make, and he’ll do things differently to be a father to his son. And he’s going to tell Victor that to his face and realize what Victor is not and will never be as a human being.” Once Adam firmly rejects Victor, the battle is on. The show will have changed as a result of this, too, contended Muhney. “There’s going to be a very old-fashioned and a very beautiful, dramatic, and yet unique and new kind of look to the show that has nothing to do with the show visually, it’s just the dynamic between these people. We see a lot of growing and changing happening. There’s going to be an entirely different tune sung by the audience than what we’ve heard sung for the last several years. I can’t predict the future, and it doesn’t mean I’m right, but I feel like we’re at this precipice, and this show has a chance to be great again. And I think it’s going to be. I cannot wait to hear the conversations that are happening online, what critics are saying, what the fans are saying. I’m really excited about it. And that’s the worst part of my job, being patient and waiting on that delay when you’ve read some amazing scripts, and you’ve performed some brilliant scenes with partners that just pulled the best out of you and made those scenes shine, and then you have to wait for two months to see them coming out, and we are now upon that moment.” Wait a minute. All this happens just because Adam talks back to Victor? Okay…

Unlike Michael Muhney’s Y&R character Adam, the actor respects and listens to his real-life dad, a software genius who invented ACT! CRM before retiring as a professional speaker. When Muhney won a high school school state championship for a University Interscholastic League one-act play in Texas, his dad advised him to stay the course in college, get a degree in something he could fall back on, then pursue acting. “The cool thing is my dad was right,” Muhney told’s Paulette Cohn. “I had a degree, which is something I always know that I did. I have tried to do my best to balance my life in both the artistic, fluid, irresponsible actor world and then the responsible, pragmatic businessman world.” Eventually, Muhney desires to branch out into directing, perhaps even add that to his Y&R contract. However, he does not plan to do Y&R all his life.

Casting’s looking for the right actor in his 30s to play Andrew Abbott, an ambitious, educated, and attractive new cousin to the clan.

Gossip for the week of 16-Sep-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) and Steve Burton (Jason Dylan) recently spoke to a Soap Opera Digest writer, promoting their pairing and their story, which has heated up in light of the paternity revelation. Burton acknowledged that he needed to beef up his Y&R character with more personality, while Egan pronounced her character as being so deeply in love with this decent man, a first for Chelsea perhaps. Let the games begin!

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