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News for the week of 17-Mar-2014

by Carol Banks Weber

Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) received a hero’s welcome at her 35th anniversary celebration. Everybody who meant anything to her was there to raise a glass and make a toast, including press, co-stars Eric Braeden (Victor) and Joshua Morrow (Nick), and co-creator Lee Phillip Bell.

Braeden admitted he found himself emotional when he thought about how much Thomas Scott meant to him as a screen partner for 34 years. Even though the two do not hang out often as off-screen friends, Braeden said he feels like he’s home when they film together. In his speech, he said, “I remember the first time that Bill Bell had written a scene where Nikki asks Victor about his childhood, and after doing that scene I knew I was going to stay at Y&R because it allowed me, and it allowed her, to show vulnerability. That is the secret to success in this business, pure and simple. I have never found that with anyone else on this show as much as with Melody.  So I want to thank you for over 30 years of wonderful working conditions. I think somewhere along the line … we love each other.”

Morrow discovered the mischievous mother in Thomas Scott early on in his Y&R career. He arrived on the show as green as any newcomer, when he got to see his on-screen mom in action playing a drunken mess. When he met her the next day, she messed with him a little but gave him her approval. “…she invited me into her dressing room to talk and to meet me. I, just straight off the bus from Oklahoma, did not realize how you should treat a woman in Hollywood, and I asked her how old she was! Melody said, ‘Why don’t you guess?’ I didn’t know how the game was played and so I guessed and nailed it! And she looked at me and said, ‘Most people guess much younger.’ There was like an uncomfortable nine seconds. So then she said, ‘I’m just messing with you.’” Thomas Scott would prove to be a very caring co-star who went above and beyond for her on-screen son. She offered to throw Morrow and his wife Tobe a baby shower, and went all out, much to the actor’s surprise. It was a lavish gesture he never forgot.

Thomas Scott gave a truly thankful speech, bestowing on Y&R credit for uplifting her life and providing her with a family—in more ways than one. She said Y&R quite literally gave her a family, husband Edward Scott and their two generations of progeny. “And most of all friends, who are most definitely my family. All the wonderful people standing here right now, you don’t know this, but you contribute to the joy that surges through me every time I walk through this building – everyone of you – cast mates, crew, staff, all of you. I might be tired or snappy, or worried that I haven’t learned my lines yet, but just your simple, ‘Morning Mel’ it warms my heart. Your love and support, and you humor, brightens my day in more ways that I can ever express. And as lovely as this celebration is for me, it’s for all of you and my wonderful fans. What you all have given me; I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, not even an Emmy. (Laughs) None of this would be possible without the continued love and support of CBS, Sony, and the Bell family. I must thank the ones who started it all the beloved Lee and Bill Bell. I am sure you were unaware at just how you changed my life that day. But you all … thank you for this life, a life, my life, and my family. I love you all so much!”

Michael Fairman, March 8, 2014

Another one heads for the exit. Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) confirmed last week that she will indeed leave Y&R after five years. The actress issued an official statement following rumors of her departure. Here’s part of it: “Even the most beautiful relationships need to go through changes in order for them to grow and evolve. This is where I find myself. I need to stretch my wings and fly into the unknown. The one thing that remains true and what I will hold close to my heart as I embark on this new adventure is that I will ALWAYS have you. If it weren't for all of your love, support and faith in me as an actress I wouldn't be able to make this bold move. Please know, this is not goodbye forever. This was a very amicable parting of ways. I will be working for a few more weeks and airing well into May. Y&R and especially Jill Farren Phelps made it very clear they did not want to see me go and plan to leave the door open for Chloe. I am beyond thankful for my career in daytime, the friends I have made along the way and especially for all of you. I hope to see you all soon. Let’s keep in touch. Maybe in another medium or simply another time slot. Regardless. I'll miss you. Love Lizzie.”

Camryn Grimes (faux-Cassie; ex-Cassie) may not have known about the dramatic gaslighting plot turn — making her current lookalike a flesh & blood tool of Victor’s — until the last possible moment. But she believes she’s one of the only ones associated with Y&R to know what else is up. She likes how TPTB dropped this twist and hopes this soap does it more often. Another twist she suspects is that her faux-Cassie might not be such a bitch after all, but someone harboring growing misgivings about gaslighting Sharon. “I think everybody has a heart. I think you are going to see a more dimensional character than everybody would think. And I hope they keep doing this big shocker stuff, because that was so cool! Nobody knew except the day of that this ‘Cassie’ figment was actually going to be a real person.  I think Y&R is going for more primetime-esque shockers now!” Just don’t ask her to play the romantic opposite of the actor who has played her on-screen dad for so long. The idea of pairing up with Joshua Morrow’s Nick was too weird for her. –Michael Fairman On-Air On-Soaps, March 13, 2014

When Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson came out as a diehard soap fan, people who knew him from football were incredulous. But he said he got hooked on Y&R watching Divorce Court as a five/six-year-old in his babysitter’s care, hoping he could get his divorced parents on the show and put them back together. Divorce Court came on right before the CBS soap, so naturally, he hung around, loving the diversity — Y&R is one of the few soaps out there who consistently features black families as core regulars — and the calm from watching these characters. Robinson was at a press conference to talk about his guest soap spot, one he hoped would lead to more acting opportunities. When he first appeared last week, it was with one of his favorite Y&R characters, Victor Newman. He studied his lines, rehearsed them aloud everywhere—even when people had no idea what he was talking about, and lived his dream. Keeping up with Victor’s Eric Braeden was quite a challenge, since the actor improvises, but Robinson said “I thought I did well.” To stay on in any capacity would be an even bigger dream realized. Robinson got to musing about his current character’s future possibilities: “I think I would want my character to be a good guy. (Laughs) But I play football, I’m big, so he’d probably be a bad guy. But it wouldn’t matter. I’d just want to be a part of the team. It was like being part of the family being at Y&R. And definitely, I would love to be a part of something like that ongoing. I would hope that the Super Bowl win and this Y&R opportunity will be able to open doors for me in acting; because that’s something I would love to continue to do.” –Michael Fairman On-Air On-Soaps, March 12, 2014

It may be impossible for a lot of football fans to see Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson as a Y&R fan. But Robinson says watching the soap opera relaxes him after a hard day’s work getting his aggressions out on the gridiron. “But I do think that the stories, especially ‘Y&R,’ but I just think daytime drama in general, has more of a calming effect. I think we always have to be high wired and high strung and aggressive and all of those things on the football field, so it’s always nice to kind of come home, relax, kind of ease your mind and watch the drama on the TV.” Robinson and his wife Shameka watch Y&R together, not just getting lost in the stories but trying to predict what will happen next, like a game between them.

When Robinson learned Y&R wanted him on as a guest star, he thought he was dreaming. His mom “almost hit the deck!” she’s such a fan, too. And to appear with one of his favorite characters, Victor Newman, was almost too much to take. One of Robinson’s favorite storylines was Victor’s romance with Hope, so filming with the great man was a huge deal. Robinson made sure he learned his lines inside and out, obsessively going over them with his wife, before bed, practically in his sleep. When he had time to talk with Eric Braeden (Victor), that’s what he told him. Braeden was sufficiently impressed by Robinson’s preparation, as well as the football player’s team turnout at the SuperBowl. “He’s so smooth,” Robinson enthused about filming with Braeden. “We did it all on Friday, and I got the script that Wednesday, and I had memorized them Wednesday night, I was so excited. When I told him I memorized it, he kind of looked like, ‘Wow, that’s pretty impressive!’”

Robinson would’ve liked to see other favorites, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki), for one. But it wasn’t to be. He also missed the late Jeanne Cooper (Katherine), another major fave. He did get a feel for her tremendous contribution to the show by talking up the crew. “I loved her character, and I got a chance to talk to some of the producers, and they really expressed to me how much Jeanne meant to ‘Y&R’ and how good of a person she was… I really, really loved the character. She brought so much [to the show], from what I’ve heard, she was super professional… and was definitely one of the greats in soap opera television.”

Robinson indicated a wish to pursue acting. Before landing this guest spot, he hosted his own Real Rob Report show when he used to play for the 49ers. “[Y&R] invited me back whenever I’m in L.A. and I have time, and that’s definitely something that I want to do,” he told Soap Opera Network InSESSION’s Kambra Clifford. “I want to be back on ‘Y&R,’ and I would hope that the Super Bowl and this ‘Y&R’ opportunity will be able to open doors in acting, because that’s something I would love to do.”

Gossip for the week of 17-Mar-2014

by Carol Banks Weber

With Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) flying the coop for greener pastures, who’s next in the mass exodus? It doesn’t stop with her. This show — despite healthy ratings — is sinking fast.

How long must we endure the bitch that is Lily? Please take Hilary out of that juvenile mess and give her a real storyline with real people.

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