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News for the week of 25-Feb-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Right now, Eileen Davidson (Ashley) will pull double-duty, continuing on as DOOL’s Kristen and making a few important appearances to solidify the Abbott clan over at Y&R. Watch for Ashley to gather the troops—and have to deal with a protective, irate Phyllis over abandoning Jack—just in time for the Nikki/Victor nuptials, March 18, and the show’s 40th. So far, her Y&R return is only for a few shows. But she sounded open to doing more in her February 20th TV Guide interview with Michael Logan. It certainly helps to feel welcome, which the actress acknowledged. “There's been a big changing of the guard since I left Y&R and everyone was so welcoming. [CBS Daytime chief] Angelica McDaniel came down to the set and so did [head writer] Josh [Griffith] and [Y&R exec producer] Jill Farren Phelps. They all made a point of telling me how great it was to have me back. Things seem to be working out really well there. There's an incredible vibrancy on the set.”

Y&R’s writing team won this year’s Writers Guild of America (WGA) award for outstanding achievement in daytime dramas — a surprise upset over the favored OLTL. Y&R’s winning submission included Phyllis and Kevin hilariously trying to dispense with the dead body of Dr. Tim Reid. That won over OLTL’s final episodes. The award ceremony happened February 17 in L.A.

Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea; ex-Annie, AMC) tweeted early last week a photo of herself covering her face with an engagement ring on her hand and the caption, “Said yes.” She will marry boyfriend Matt Katrosar, reportedly the CBS Interactive director of West Coast Sales.

CBS celebrates Y&R’s March 26th 40th anniversary with interviews of the soap’s veteran stars, including Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren) and Jess Walton (Jill). Bregman went over how thrilling and odd it was to play a villain early on (the actress is so totally the opposite, and joked that she was a lightweight in fighting scenes), and how her character evolved into a wife and mother, with a former, reformed rapist, Michael Baldwin. Back when they first entered each other’s orbit, the actors agreed to “play sex” in their platonic scenes, whether it was in the script or not (it was not). TPTB picked up on the sexual vibe, and went with it.

Walton extoled the virtues of working opposite Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) in her interview, while laying out a playful vice as well. The two of them have played together on Y&R for so long, they’ve developed an innate trust that’s been invaluable and safe. “On the good side, there’s nobody I’d rather work with, ‘cause we trust each other so much,” Walton described. “[Cooper] can see in my eyes and I can see in her eyes, it’s really symbiotic. When we have emotional scenes, we feel safe with each other, we can trust each other, we can totally open up because we’ve done it so, so long. On the bad side, you never wanna tell Jeanne anything. When I was going through the change of life, she would announce it to the entire crew I was having a hot flash.”

Did you know Melissa Claire Egan auditioned in 2005 to be Colleen? She didn’t get the role, but she did eventually get to come back as Chelsea, “this surfer chick hipster girl messing with Billy.” She said, “I’m in!” Any time she can mess with her friend Billy Miller (Billy; ex-Ritchie, AMC) — they met playing brother and sister on AMC — she said she’s all for it, LOL. She talked about this, being the town’s Fertile Myrtle, and more (“I don’t think [the people in Genoa City] know about contraception”) for the 40th Y&R anniversary interview series.

CBS Daytime Senior Vice President Angelica McDaniel always intended to keep Marcy Rylan (Abby) on, the character she played was too intrinsic to the show as an Abbott and a Newman. The reason TPTB had to let Rylan go in the first place was because there weren’t any stories for her character, yet. “Jack’s family was getting smaller. That was a real concern, and at the moment, we had Marcy’s contract up, but we didn’t have story for her in the next few months, so to keep her under contract when we weren’t really going to use her would’ve cost the show. So we had to make a decision to exit Abby …  but there was always the knowledge that we’d bring Abby back and we would have to figure out what her story was as soon as we figured out other stories first. Once we were ready to bring back that character, we wanted to get Marcy right back because she brought a great energy to that role. [Michael Fairman interview, February 16, 2013]”

Both The Talk’s Sharon Osbourne’s son Jack and Melody Thomas Scott’s Nikki were diagnosed with MS, Multiple Sclerosis. The difference is, Jack’s real and Nikki’s a soap opera character. But the aim of their cooperative PSA campaign is the same: to educate, enlighten, and comfort (it’s not a death sentence) those struggling with the diagnosis. The PSA — featuring Sharon and Jack Osbourne — began airing last Friday and will continue to shed light on the illness and tie in with Nikki’s story. The National MS Society PSAs, which will also air during primetime programming, will inform viewers about resources. It was actually Jack Osbourne’s MS diagnosis which inspired Nikki’s storyline, revealed Angelica McDaniel, senior vice president of CBS Daytime.

Gossip for the week of 25-Feb-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Soap Opera Uncensored’s Nelson Branco leaked the Daytime Emmy pre-noms for best supporting actor last week. (The real announcement will come from NATAS February 27.) The following are the Y&R actors who submitted themselves for consideration: Billy Miller (Billy), Greg Rikaart (Kevin), Jeff Branson (ex-Ronan), Peter Porte (ex-Ricky), and Robert Adamson (Noah).

Word on the street (wishful fans’ thinking?) is that Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea; ex-Annie, AMC) will leave her Y&R role to return to AMC online, so she can live back on the East Coast with her fiancÚ. She recently got engaged to Matt Katrosar, CBS Interactive director-West Coast Sales. And, apparently Skye will return for Adam, with a child in tow—thanks to Victor’s machinations. Was Michael Muhney (Adam) disenchanted with the Chelsea-Adam pairing, too? Ask him on Twitter. He’s the Flux Capacitor now.

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