As I mentioned before I received a call from Y&R that Jeanne Cooper was disappointed she missed me on my previous visit and was hoping that I could stop by this week. Well, today was the day and I spent some really quality time with her. She is everything you can imagine. She’s saucy, funny, spiritual, and has a tremendous blue streak in her. She was thrilled that I came by as much as I was thrilled to meet her. She is very proud of Corbin who I also I had the pleasure to work with on one of my shows. She is the cornerstone of Y&R. She asked if there was anything she could do to help me and I said anytime she had the chance to promote the Emmys telecast in interviews or just in conversation to please do so. As Jerry Maguire once said, “help me help you.” The more support I get from daytime shows-producers, writers and actors in particular as they are mostly in the public eye and can sway opinion-the more support I am able to give them in return. Y&R couldn’t be any more accommodating as they truly are a class operation.
What I thought was going to be just a simple meeting with Jeanne turned into a day of several surprises. I happened to catch a taping of a July 4th episode in which 90% of the cast was in attendance. I met Jess Walton who is strikingly beautiful and gave me a very nice personal compliment which was totally unexpected (note to self…find out if Jess Walton is single…). Liz Hendrickson was cute, goofy, and I thoroughly enjoyed her company. Kate Linder was very gracious and very interested in what I had to bring to the table. My good buddy, Kristoff St. John was there as we’re working on other projects together. We also chatted up some Lakers, Bulls, Cubs and Dodgers news. Very good guy. Christel Khalil was very nice. Christian Leblanc was born for improv as he is a truly gifted funnyman. Could easily see him on a sitcom. Eric Braedon is as hilarious as Victor is serious. Quite a cut up and a real pro. Melody Thomas Scott was interesting because I knew she was a fan of Lucille Ball. In 2001, I produced a special called INSIDE TELEVISION'S GREATEST: I LOVE LUCY for Discovery Channel. It was for the 50th anniversary of the show and I had many of the original producers, directors, and writers. I was working with Both Lucie and Desi, Jr to make it a success. I had her quiz me thinking she was going to give me episodes to recall. But no. The very first question was to guess their address which I did not know. I was close, though. Below the belt shot, Mel! Her next question was probably going to be in guessing how many polka dots were on Lucy’s dress from episode 57. I mean all this affectionately as I really enjoyed meeting her and I promised her she would get a DVD. Then we’ll have a trivia rematch!
In the court of public opinion, we can safely say that Y&R is one of the best and most consistent soaps on television. Maria Arena Bell is steering that ship well. She has a dynamite cast, terrific writers, and well thought out stories and characters. Today was an even greater treat because the scenes I saw were nothing short of amazing. And I do not give spoilers so don’t expect any from me. But as an advocate for the promotion of daytime television, I’m telling you that if you miss the July 4th episode, you will have subjected yourself to the greatest injustice of the decade. And the performances were riveting! As a matter of fact, don’t miss that entire week as I don’t know how long July 4th will play out.
Now, it’s no secret that Y&R fans have felt some furor over the last few days with the Academy. I don’t know how the voting process works quite frankly. I didn’t know who got nominated until you did and I won’t know who wins until you do. We’re just the conduit. We just want to give you a great show. With that being said I really don’t care who wins as I see this as a platform to promote ALL of daytime. The fact that we got this son of a bitch off the ground and on television this year is a miracle. But it is happening. Daytime still has a platform. All banded together, right? We all win or we all lose. These aren’t the old days with one show beating up another for the win. Today, when you have a loss such as the cancellation of GUIDING LIGHT, EVERYONE feels it. It’s everyone’s loss. There are producers out there and industry people just waiting for the demise of soaps. Well not on our watch. Not this year. And not next year, God willing, when we put this behemoth together once again. And the shows themselves have no intention of quitting. If they don’t, then we don’t. We’re ready for 2010!
To quote another favorite movie phrase of mine (and forgive my use of dramatics but we are talking about the soaps after all), it was Jefferson Smith's (Jimmy Stewart) very last line in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington that said, “You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well, I am not licked! I'll stay and fight for this lost cause. Even if this room gets filled with lies like these - And the Taylors and all their armies come marching into this place. Somebody will listen to me.”
And you will.
I promise some more fun updates throughout the summer. One will be a first for daytime television if we pull it off.
I honestly can't remember a Daytime Emmy producer who ever cared as much about daytime soaps. The Y&R 4th of July episode sounds exciting to stay tuned!
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- ATI visis Y&R
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