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News for the week of 18-Feb-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

GH has a 50th anniversary in April. But Y&R has its 40th March 26. It’s not too late to play in the 40th Anniversary Sweepstakes. Go here and test your Y&R knowledge with trivia questions. If you win, pack your bags for L.A. to meet the cast and crew on-set and celebrate Y&R’s 40th with them.

Peter Bergman (Jack; ex-Cliff, AMC) thought he had the inside track on AMC’s longevity. He was as surprised as everybody else when ABC Daytime chose to yank that soap from programming in 2011. Even so, the veteran actor seems to have a handle on what makes successful programming, whether it’s Y&R, Downton Abbey or Mad Men. They’re all soap operas, really. And they focus on the meaty main characters fans have come to love, or love to hate. With the surge in popularity of Downton Abbey, Bergman feels a renewed sense of hope for his soap opera genre. In particular, he believes Y&R is committed to keep its focus on the characters fans have come to associate with the #1 soap (hint: it’s not newbies). “They're not going to be asked to be part of a giant transition. When people tune into our show, they'll find Jack and Nikki and Victor and Katherine ... and I'm very lucky to be playing one of those names.” Bergman, along with the rest of his soap colleagues, are paying close attention to Prospect Park’s AMC/OLTL, with nothing but hope. Zap2it, “‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ revivals have a fan in ‘The Young and the Restless’’ Peter Bergman” by Jay Bobbin, February 13, 2013

It wasn’t the scripted MS diagnosis that threw Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) so much as having to play piano again on the show — to show the first symptoms in the shaky hands. But Thomas Scott is fully on board with giving Nikki MS, because it can inform the audience and show that it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. At least, the actress hopes not. She’s been down that road before. Ever since executive producer Jill Farren Phelps and head writer Josh Griffith told Thomas Scott about the impending storyline turn, the actress has turned to resources to learn more about the disease, including watching old West Wing episodes where Martin Sheen’s character suffered from it. (Watching got her hooked on the show, which she never watched the first time.) She also learned that a long-time crew member has been living successfully with MS. “We actually have a girl on our crew — I've said good morning to her every day for years and years — and I only just found out she has MS. She's a perfect example of people living normal lives with the disease, so that's very encouraging.” –TV Guide, Michael Logan interview, February 14, 2013

Gossip for the week of 18-Feb-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Michael Muhney (Adam), who expressed dissatisfaction with the Daytime Emmy voting process last year, after Tony Geary (Luke, GH) won again as Lead Actor, submitted himself for consideration this year. Muhney, Peter Bergman (Jack), Doug Davidson (Paul), Christian LeBlanc (Michael), and Stephen Nichols (ex-Tucker) all submitted themselves for pre-noms. The official pre-nom list will come out February 27.

Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) had heard the awful rumors about executive producer Jill Farren Phelps. But when JFP took over Y&R, Thomas Scott found her immensely delightful as a boss, very interactive. The proof is in the ratings, which have gone up, and in the stories and characters, which have undergone a nearly miraculous transformation. JFP and head writer Josh Griffith have transformed Y&R into a watchable show. Maybe not as watchable as the outrageous GH, but far better and more compelling than the shell it used to be under the dreadful Maria Arena Bell. Now, if we could just lose the extraneous characters like Carmine and what’s her face smooching Noah…

Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) sorely needs a character transplant. Based on upcoming February Sweeps spoilers, she may just get it in the form of a revelatory, life-changing storyline turn. When Stafford embodies the role of a mom, who understands all too well what it’s like to regret her bullying ways — as she did last week for a repentant Summer — the road back from hell looks almost feasible. More of this, less of the unrepentant psycho who sing-songs smiley faces to Nick, Avery, Christine, and 3/4ths of the rest of the town. Bring out the hero in this misunderstood vixen to save her—or throw her away.

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