Yesterday, I completed my promise to the shows and to the fans to visit every daytime drama with my visit to THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. The very first thing that comes to my mind with this show is pure fun! Even in its most dramatic moments, there’s still that sly crooked smile that comes through that in a way resembles the best black comedies. And there is a real sense of fun among the cast as well. Never a dull moment. I know you always hear about shows having casts that really enjoy one another, but that is certainly accentuated here.
When I arrived at The CBS Broadcast Center on Beverly Boulevard, I was immediately greeted by my new best buddy and one in charge of B&B publicity, Eva, and taken to the set where rehearsals were going on. I really was made to feel as if the red carpet was rolled out for me. Everybody was split into groups and it sounded like the murmur of an audience before the curtain goes up as each group was rehearsing their specific scenes. Kyle Lowder and Katherine Kelly Lang were the first two I met and they couldn’t have been nicer. Kyle is so much different than Rick that his upbeat enthusiasm almost threw me for a second. And KKL is just as beautiful as you see her on TV. I met Drew Tyler Bell who’s actually a very funny guy and a real asset to that show. Then I was whisked to a set where Susan Flannery and six-pack ab master Brandon Beemer were rehearsing. I mean that in a complimentary way as I’d love to get his exercise regimen. He also does a fine job on the show. More on Ms. Flannery later.
I briefly met Jacqueline Macinnes Wood who was in wardrobe and Lesli Kay who was on her way out. Let me tell you, the word “beautiful” in the show’s title really is an understatement here. Case in point, Ashley Jones had me at hello. Literally. A great face, great voice, gorgeous eyes. I really enjoyed meeting her as when she shook my hand, she cupped it with the other. I was briefly at a loss for words as I was just captivated by her beauty. A few moments later I had a feeling of royalty as I turned around and came face to face with Lesley-Anne Down. She is gorgeous, larger than life and really encompasses the joie de vive of THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. We went to Jack Wagner’s dressing room and he invited me to have a seat and tell him everything we had going on. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Jack twice before briefly. Once was in 1986 at GENERAL HOSPITAL when I was a guest of my friend and mentor, John Reilly (Sean Donely), and again in 1994 at a TCA event for The Sci-Fi Channel in which I was producing and co-hosting a series with Patrick Macnee called MYSTERIES, MAGIC, AND MIRACLES and he was starring in an original film called Trapped in Space. I’ve always enjoyed Jack’s work going back to the Frisco days on GH. In their dress rehearsals, he is especially funny as he likes to pepper the dialogue to a point that would make James Gandolfini blush. But it really gets the energy up and this show is all about energy. By the way, I won’t tell you what happened, but the stories coming up are going to be a lot of fun. Many surprises. I met Winsor Harmon and Heather Tom in the offices and Don Diamont outside the set. Ironically, B&B and Y&R share a lot of common space as I happened to see Peter Bergman just hanging out as well. And finally, I had the great pleasure of chatting with Hunter Tylo who is an incredible woman. She’s beautiful (would you really expect anything less by now?), engaging, and really seemed interested in what I had to say. I have a great amount of respect for her.
Before I forget, Brad Bell was extremely gracious with his time and was very excited about our being involved with the Daytime Emmys. I congratulated him on his show’s nomination. But the real surprise for me was in seeing Lee Phillip who is just as genuine and as friendly as you can imagine. Coming from Chicago myself, Lee was Oprah before Oprah and much of what you see through Oprah and other talk shows originated with Lee’s shows back in the day. She is a true television icon and I was completely humbled in her presence.
And Susan Flannery…what can I say? This is, in my opinion, one of the three top actresses in daytime television…no, strike that! One of the three top actresses…period! Every time she is on screen, the result is several notches higher than what is on the written page. She has that rare ability to bring out the very best in her co-stars, as wonderful as they are anyway, which is the mark of a great actor. A great actor plays the author’s intent even when their character is not the focal point of a scene. But her reaction to other actors is worth the price of gold. Acting is reacting, especially on television, and watching Susan Flannery is like attending a master acting class. She is a generous actor that allows her co-stars to shine. She always plays the truth! And that is the most important role for an actor. It was my privilege to meet to her, if I haven’t been obvious enough.
Well, that’s my trip folks. One thing I’ve learned is that daytime is one of the most passionate arenas I have ever witnessed. Sports is the only other genre that evokes the same passion. (Go Cubs!). You may not all agree on what’s the best show or the best actor. But the fact is that you care and that’s what’s important in keeping us in business. Without the fans, we’re out of business. These shows I have seen in the last few weeks have a solidarity you cannot define in just a few short sentences. As Susan Lucci said, “we must all band together”. Well, we HAVE all banded together. I want to thank all of the shows for their graciousness and we will do our very best to give you a great show on August 30th. The only thing I can promise is that you’ll get 125% effort from ATI, and especially David McKenzie, who made this all happen along with fine folks at NATAS-Frank, Carolyn, Brent, Paul and everyone else. And thank you CW, too!
And before I sign off, I just had a phone call from THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS that Jeanne Cooper would like to spend some time with me and chat next week. Do I have a great life or what?
Thanks, Jim, for these wonderful updates! The Daytime Emmys will air on The CW on August 30.
- ATI visis DAYS
- ATI visis GH
- ATI visis Y&R
- ATI visis ATWT/GL
- ATI visis AMC/OLTL