A Day at Y&R with Weekly's Deanna Barnert

The truth is, a large part of any set visit is spent standing in the enormous hall that separates YOUNG AND RESTLESS and BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL, waiting for actors and avoiding the huge props and deconstructed sets being rolled from storage to stage and back again. Always on hand is show publicist Charles Sherman. We chat with the crew members and the competition (a.k.a. other reporters — gasp!) and wait. And wait. And wait. And every once in a while, things get interesting.9:30: My destination is Television City stages 41 and 43, where the Y&R magic happens. Once I’ve cleared three guard stations and a metal detector, I stroll through CBS’ hall of fame, which boasts the network’s lineup with glossy, framed cast photos — from Y&R and B&B to JUDGING AMY and YES, DEAR.9:45: I find out who’s at the set by checking the call sheets outside the stages. On camera today are Jack/Phyllis; Phyllis/Neil, Doug/Christine/Baldwin and Nikki/Victor. I take up my position in the hall of waiting, under the stairs to 10:00: Christian LeBlanc (Michael) arrives, ready to run lines with Lauralee Bell (Christine) and Doug Davidson (Paul) before slipping into Baldwin’s duds. With THE PRICE IS RIGHT filming today, the hallway is overflowing with gifts — including a gorgeous steel-gray convertible Thunderbird. LeBlanc and I consider pulling a Thelma and Luis, leaving Y&R behind.10:15: One CBS diva spots me, waves hello without making eye-contact and continues onto her dressing room. Translation: not today.10:45: I catch Kristoff St. John (Neil) on his way to the stage. St. John and I make a tentative date for a quickie interview, once his scenes are shot.11:00: I head up to Peter Bergman’s (Jack) permanent dressing room. Newer cast members rotate rooms, depending on availability, but longtime local Bergman is quite at home in his corner of stage 44. Bergman fills me in on the family reunion he’s planning for later this summer (look for that story on soapoperaweekly.com soon!) and catches me up on Jack, Phyllis and the whole Newman situation. Needless to say, this actor is loving life in Genoa City.12:15: Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) stops for an off-the-record chat about the haps at B&B. She hasn’t yet hit hair, makeup or wardrobe, but it’s no surprise she’s still a knockout in jeans and a T-shirt. As we’re talking, THE PRICE IS RIGHT crew rolls up a 10 foot “Tahiti!” poster, blocking us in. I tease that this was my plan all along — to trap her for a real interview! But a higher duty calls: Lang’s got the kids waiting for her in her dressing room, so we have to break out of the trap.12:30: I get on set to watch LeBlanc, Bell and Davidson shoot the scene they’ve been rehearsing. (The show shoots at least a month ahead, so my lips are sealed.) After years of working together, the on-screen tension is magic, but once the cameras stop, the laughter starts. It’s amazing to watch this trio work!1:15: Back in the hallway, I find St. John, who’s ditched Neil’s suit and tie for the day. He’s thrilled to fill me in on the newest addition to his family, baby Lola, whose “getting bigger, darker, cuter.” St. John’s having a blast with the current espionage and drama in corporate Genoa City, but it’s the troubles with Lily, his on-screen daughter, that have him excited, these days. And, of course, there’s no one better than Dru to keep Neil on his toes.2:00: It’s time to go home, but the visit isn’t over until I pull out of the parking lot. In the past, I’ve spotted a daytimer or two from other networks. Those sightings warrant some investigation: Is there a new Y&R or B&B role on the market? Could that be a secret new cast member I’ve just spotted? Today, I wave to B&B’s Jen Finnigan (Bridget) as she cruises by in her adorable convertible Bug and catch late-night talk show host Craig Kilbourn trying to sneak into the studio unnoticed.I pull out of the gates, I remove the guest pass from my sweater and the parking pass from my dash. Now all I have to do is transcribe my interviews!

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