Thursday, June 27, 2024

Presidential debates and TV

President Joe Biden will debate former President Donald Trump tonight.  TV certainly has changed drastically since the autumn of 1960, when Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Vice President Richard Nixon squared off in the first televised presidential debates in American history.  There was an excitement, a novelty to those initial televised debates that can never be replicated.  For the first time, millions of Americans could watch from their living rooms as the two candidates went toe to toe.  They noticed how Nixed perspired and how he seemed to have five o'clock shadow.  Meanwhile, Kennedy seemed cool and collected.  His father, Joseph Kennedy, had made sure that JFK was well-prepared for television.

1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate

The 1960 debate were in black and white.  Secondly, they were broadcast on traditional network television. They were fresh and exciting, a novelty.  There were no 24-hour cables stations back then.  In 1960, radio was still a factor, although its influence was waning.  Tens of millions watched the debates on TV, while only 17 million heard them over the radio. 

The four 1960 debates took place in television studios, but there were no live audiences. The first debate took place on September 26, 1960, after both the Republican and Democratic conventions were over. Tonight's debate will be broadcast on CNN, a 24-hour cable news network.  It will take place prior to the conventions of both parties.  As in 1960, there will be no live audience.  

JFK was a youthful 42 years old when he debated Nixon.  Although Nixon was only 47, JFK appeared  more energetic.  The 2024 candidates are much older than Kennedy and Nixon were.  Biden is 81 years of age,  while Trump is 78.  Both grew up watching black and white TV.. Joe Biden is a lawyer turned politician.  He served as a Senator from Delaware from 1973 until 2009.  He was Vice President of the United States, under Barack Obama, from  2009 to 20017.  On January 20, 2021, he became the 46th President of the United States 

Donald Trump had never held public office before he became president.  A real estate mogul, Trump made his mark on TV, as the host a reality show called The Apprentice.  His catchphrase on the show was "Your fired!"  Before entering the political arena, Trump hosted The Apprentice for 14 seasons, from  2004 to 2017,   Trump is creature of television, a manipulator of the media.  It can be argued that without his starring role on The Apprentice, he never would have become president.

Former president Trump's antics and his controversial behaviour have brought him much media attention.  The cable news networks are absolutely saturated with news and opinions about Trump.  Let's be frank.  Trump's rantings and ravings, his impeachments and his criminal trial have been massively covered by the media.  Sure, it's news because he his the presumptive Republican candidate for president.  Let's not forget, however, that the Trump circus has been godsend for the likes of CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.  He has boosted ratings and has helped them fill up space.

We will see what happens when Biden and Trump step on the stage tonight.  It could change the direction of the 2024 presidential race.

- Joanne

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Update on Heartland

It seems that Heartland, the longest running scripted drama on Canadian television, has been renewed for an 18th season. Information online indicates that show is in production, filming in the Calgary area.  However, there is no official confirmation that the show has been renewed on the CBC Heartland webpage.  Nor is there any official release date for the first episode of the new season.  Based on previous seasons,, however, the new episodes are likely to be aired at the beginning of October, perhaps Sunday, October 6th.  It is expected that there will be ten new episodes of the series.

Searching the internet for official updates on the status of Heartland is very confusing.  Everything should be clarified on Heartland' CBC webpage.  At the very least, there should be official confirmation that the series is returning.  It appears that the confusion is related to the fact that Heartland is shown on Netflix, and Netflix is behind in episodes.

There have been rumours and speculation online that Graham Wardle, who played Ty Borden, will be returning to the show.  I don't know how the writers would pull that off, since Ty died in Season 14..  It was a shock to Heartland fans, when Graham decided to leave the show and his character was killed off.  It was Graham's choice to depart, so there were few alternatives except to have his character die.  I don't think the fans would have accepted a new actor in the role.

Graham Wardle

Ty was a very popular character and many fans are eager for his return, and not in spectral form or in flashbacks.  Heartland viewers would not be satisfied with the ghost of Ty Borden, but would they accept some unlikely explanation for his return in the flesh?  I'm sure that some would.

 As much as I liked Ty, I am concerned that Graham's return to Heartland would be a mistake.  It may cheapen the show.  Oh, the writers could devise some crazy explanation.  Perhaps Ty had an identical twin that nobody knew about, not even Amy.  Graham could play the twin, but he would be playing Ty's brother, not Ty himself.  Another possibility is that Ty faked his death for some reason.  Would fans really want any of that to happen?  That's the stuff of daytime soaps.

I am a big fan of Heartland.  Its setting in the foothills of  the Rockies is entrancing.  However, as much as I enjoy Heartland, I think the show should end after its 20th season.  The CBC should be make it clear that its 20th season will be its last.   By that time, it will have run its course and there will be time to prepare for a really special final episode in 2026.  Heartline deserves a magnificent grand finale.

- Joanne

EDITOR'S UPDATE:  I spoke with someone at the CBC who confirmed to me that Heartland has been officially renewed for an 18th season for ten episodes.  She said that the CBC's Heartland website has not been recently updated.  The updated information is on the Heartland Facebook page.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Y&R Report (June 15, 2024): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV, which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet.  Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Hi fans, 

This is my last post before I take a summer break.  So, I will leave you with some thoughts until I return in September.

Victor Newman is behaving like a tyrant.  He's never been so ruthless in a long time.  Why are Michael Baldwin and Cole Howard so eager to please him.  These two accomplished men practically grovel at The Big Man's feet.  Whenever he summons them, they rush to the Newman ranch to await their orders from The Boss.  It's disgusting, especially on the part of Michael.  He doesn't need to work for Victor.  He could have many clients if he so desired.   

Victor Newman is on a rampage.  He has always been vindictive, but I have never seen him so thirsty for vengeance.  Jack Abbott is his target and he is determined to destroy Jabot.  Victor has his grimy hands everywhere. 

I was not surprised when it was revealed that Victor is the secret investor in Glissade, the company that Audra is trying to wrestle away from Tucker.  Tucker is certainly no angel, but I do have a twinge of sympathy for him right now, just a twinge.  He sincerely tried to help Ashley in Paris.  Yes, Audra has issues with him.  I can understand that she feels he never made her a priority when it mattered.  Nevertheless, I think Audra is being far too vindictive and selfish.  She's been rubbing salt in his wounds.

Audra made a deal with the devil when she allowed Victor to invest in Glissade.  She'll regret that deal.  However, everything is on hold because Tucker has apparently had some kind of medical emergency in Paris.  He claims that he is having trouble breathing.  Audra doesn't believe him.  She thinks he's faking it.  

Now that Faith's coming back (I hope for the summer), Y&R may lighten up a bit.  How about some barbeques and swimming parties!  How about some 4th of July celebrations!  Johnny Abbott is looking more grown up.  Maybe there will be a romance between him and Daniel and Heather's daughter, Lucy.


Special episode to pay tribute to Joshua Morrow (Nick Newman)

Josh Morrow made his first appearance as Nicholas Newman on June 21, 1994, as the son of Nikki and Victor Newman.  Nick returned to Genoa City from boarding school and he had experienced Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome.  With Josh in the role, Nick was no longer a child.  He was suddenly a teenager of high school age.  

Almost 30 years have passed and Joshua Morrow is still portraying Nick Newman on The Young and the Restless.   He is quite aware of his good fortune.  "If you would have told me that when I was a sophomore in high school in Oklahoma jus playing football, 'You will have had a 30-year career on a television show,' I would have thought you were joking," Josh told Soaps in Depth.  "This is an incredible accomplishment and one I never take for granted."

On June 21st (June 20th on Global TV in Canada), Y&R will pay tribute to Josh's 30 years on the show with a special stand-alone episode.  The episode will feature flashbacks and special moments from Nick's complex life.  Soon after Josh joined the cast, his character became romantically involved with classmate Sharon Collins (Sharon Case).  

Nikki was unhappy about her son's involvement with Sharon, whom she considered a gold digger from the wrong side of the tracks.  However, Nick and Sharon married at a young age.  Their marriage lasted about ten years, which is a very long time for a soap couple.  They had their ups and downs, but remained together until their 14-year-old daughter Cassie died in a tragic accident, and Nick turned to Phyllis.  Since then, Nick has been unlucky in love.  None of his relationships has lasted.  Many fans, including myself, would like to see him reunite with Sharon.  It may happen someday, but the problem is that there is a lack of storyline for a happy couple on a daytime drama.

I hope that Ashley's psychologist friend, Dr. Alan Laurent (Christopher Cousins), becomes a regular cast member.  By the way, do you sense some romantic feelings developing between Alan and Traci?  They seem quite comfortable with each other, and Alan asked her out to dinner.


Trebor St. John as Tucker McCall

So, Tucker McCall seems to have had a medical emergency.  Is he faking it, as Audra claims, or is he really ill?  The timing of Tucker's collapse is very suspicious.  He is desperate, and he can be a scoundrel.  I wouldn't put it past him to pretend he's sick. Even though a doctor is checking him over, I can't entirely trust Tucker.  Maybe he's paid someone to pose as a doctor who will declare him to have some kind of illness or maybe even a minor heart attack.  On the other hand, Tucker has been upset and stressed.  If  he really is sick, Audra will have egg on her face.  What do you think, fans?  Is Tucker faking a heart attack in order to stop Audra?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Do you think that Tucker is faking a heart attack? free polls

I enjoyed the Daytime Emmys very much.  General Hospital led the pack with four awards, including Best Daytime Drama Series.  Y&R won two major awards.  Michelle Stafford (Phyllis Summers) received the Emmy for Lead Performance in a Daytime Drama Series: Actress.  
Courtney Hope (Sally Spectra) won for Best Supporting Performance in a Daytime Drama: Actress.  Her castmate Allison Lanier (Summer Newman) was nominated in the same category.  Two Y&R men, Eric Braeden (Victor Newman) and Bryton James (Devon Winters), did not win in their categories.  

98-year-old Dick Van Dyke became the oldest-ever winner of a Daytime Emmy for his guest performance on Days of Our Lives.  Dick quipped that if he had known that he was going to live so long, he would have taken better care of himself.  

The Young and the Restless' Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) looked radiant as she and her husband Edward Stott (supervising producer of The Bold and the Beautiful) received a lifetime achievement award.  Their daughters were in attendance.

I really need your feedback.  If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name.  I really need your input.  I really need to hear your opinion.  I want to know if you agree or disagree with me. 
My email address: 

That's all for now.  Have a great summer.  I will be back on Saturday, September 21, 2024 with a brand new post.  See in you in September with more Y&R news and comments.  Stay updated with breaking celebrity news, old and current television shows or old television shows news by reading my TV Banter blog.

Take care,


Thursday, June 6, 2024

Keeping up with Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon: PHOTO CREDIT  Angela George

Thomas Mark Harmon was born in Burbank, California on September 2, 1951, the youngest of three children.  His father was the celebrated football player and broadcaster Tom Harmon {1919-1990).  His mother was Elyse Knox (1917-2012), an actress, model and fashion designer.  Tom and Elyse married in August of a ceremony at St. Mary's student chapel at the University of Michigan.

Tom Harmon in 1938

Elyse Knox

Kristin Harmon (1945-2018), the eldest of  Mark's siblings, passed away from a heart attack at the age of 72.  Kristin, an artist, actress and author, married singer Ricky Nelson, of Ozzie and Harriet fame, in 1963.  She and Rick had four children - actress Tracy, musician twins Matthew and Gunnar Nelson and youngest sibling Sam Nelson, who started his own band, H is Orange.  Kristin and Rick Nelson divorced in 1982.  In 1988, Kristen married TV producer and director Mark Tinker.  After her divorce from Tinker in 2000, Kristen spent the remainder of her life as a painter in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Kristin in 1964

Kelly Harmon (born November 9, 1948), is the middle child.  She is an actress and model, known for her television commercials for TicTac mints.  In 1969, Kelly wed automotive executive John DeLorean (1925-2005).  The couple divorced in 1972, and Kelly married Bob Miller, a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur in 1984.  She runs an interior design company in L.A,


Mark Harmon played college football for the University of California, Los Angeles.  He started as quarterback for the UCLA Bruins in 1972 and 1973.  In 1974, he graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Communications.  After college, Mark considered a career in medicine, advertising or law, but eventually turned to acting.  Prior to his acting career, he worked as a roofer, carpenter and shoe salesman.

One of Mark's first national television appearances was in a TV commercial for Kellogg's Product 19, along with his dad, Tom.  In the 1980s, Mark appeared in several commercials for Coors beer.

Mark Harmon made his television acting debut as Mark Johnson in a 1973 episode of Ozzie's Girls, the spin-off of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.  Ozzie and Harriet Nelson being the in-laws of his sister Kristin, the Nelson and Harmon families began to connect.  One day, Ozzie approached Mark on the beach and the two had a conversation.  "We'd sit underneath my tower and we'd talk about big band music, as Ozzie started as a band leader and Harriet was a vocalist," Mark told Parade magazine.  Then, one day, when Ozzie needed an actor on short notice for Ozzie's Girls, Mark was the one he asked to be a replacement.  "That changed my course," declared Mark.  The fledging actor had never been on a set before.  He appeared on the show dressed in a gorilla suit and he aid, "My name's Harry King Kong.  Which way to the Empire State Building?"

Mark's appearance on Ozzie's Girls was the first of several guest appearances he made on TV shows during the 1970s, including Emergency! (1975), Adam-12 (1975), Laverne & Shirley (1976), Police Woman (2 episodes (1975, 1976), Delvecchio (1976), Police Story (1976) and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977).

Mark Harmon earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years, a 1977 sequel to the television film Eleanor and Franklin (1976).  In the sequel, Mark played Robert Dunlap, a soldier.
In 1980, Mark was cast in a regular role as on Flamingo Road.  He played Fielding Carlisle, the husband of Morgan Fairchild's character, on the prime time soap.  However, the series was cancelled after two seasons.

From 1983 to 1986, Mark portrayed Dr. Robert Caldwell in the medical drama St. Elsewhere. He played the suave Dr. Caldwell in 64 episodes of the series.  Mark left the show because his character contracted HIV..  Since HIV was big news then, the storyline was both timely and controversial.  Caldwell's offscreen death from AIDS was mentioned onscreen two years later.

Mark on St. Elsewhere

Mark gave a chilling performance as serial killer Ted Bundy in The Deliberate Stranger, a two-part television movie that originally aired on NBC on May 4 and 5, 1986.  He also appeared as Sam Crawford in four 1987 episodes of Moonlighting, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willisa.

From 1991 to 1993, Mark played Chicago police detective Dickie Cobb on the NBC series Reasonable Doubts.  In 1996, Mark portrayed a private investigator in a short-lived ABC series called Charlie Grace.  Only nine episodes were produced.

From 1996 to 2000, Mark appeared in Chicago Hope, another medical drama.  He played Dr. Jack McNeil in 95 episodes of the series.

In May of 2002, Mark played Secret Service special agent Simon Donovan in a four-episode story arc of The West Wing.  He won an Emmy nomination for that role.  Donald P Bellisario, the creator of JAG and NCIS was impressed with Mark's work on The West Wing and had him appear in two episodes of JAG in April of 2003, in which the character of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs was introduced to TV audiences.  

On September 23, 2003, the NCIS television series premiered on CBS.  The series focuses on an American  military police procedural, It revolves around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a concept introduced in the April episodes of JAG.

At the time, Mark was not enthusiastic about joining NCIS.  He also opposed the idea of changing the name of his character.  "I read "Leroy Jethro Gibbs, and thought, "Wow, I like that name.  Then for a brief second, when I decided that I liked the idea of the project, the name changed . . .Bob Johnson or something like that.  I went,  "No, no, it's gotta be Leroy Jtthro Gibbs."  When Donald P. Bellisario said "No, you can't play a guy named Leroy Jethro Gibs, Mark replied "Why not?"  The name was changed back to Gibbs and Mark was pleased.

Mark has been married to actress Pam Dawber of Mork and Mindy and My Sister Sam fame since March 21, 1987 - over 37 years-- a rarity in Hollywood.  Of their show business marriage, Mark told Closer Weekly in 2019, "Pam and I have both made a living in this business, and still, there's a part of that that's just not natural."  Pam added, "I don't think two people can work all the time in show business and stay married."

Pam and Mark have two children - Sean Christian Harmon (born April 25, 1988) and Ty Harmon (born June 25, 1992).  Sean is an actor, while Ty is working as a screenwriter.

Mark and Pam

In October 2021, much to the chagrin of his fans, Mark lefts his role as Supervisory Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, after playing the character for 19 years.  Gibbs' farewell occurred in the fourth episode of season 19 when he decided to remain in Alaska indefinitely after solving a case.  

In 2023, Mark's book, Ghosts of Honolulu: A Japanese Spy Hunter and the Untold Story of Pearl Harbor, was published.. The book was co-authored by Leon Carroll, Jr., a retired NCIS agent.  It is a historical account of a U.S. counterintelligence officer working to safeguard Pearl Harbor, and a Japanese spy sent to Hawaii to obtain information on the American fleet.  Mark also relates the audio version of the book.

When Mark appeared on Entertainment Tonight to promote his book host Kevin Frazier asked him directly about whether his Gibbs character would be seen on screen again.  Mark replied, "You probably know more than I do, Kevin.  They left him (Gibbs) in a stream fishing, and that made sense to me - Is he going to get out of the stream.  I don's know.  But if he is, I don't know about it." 
Never say never, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Mark Harmon to return to his role on NCIS.  In February of 2023, however, The Hollywood Reporter broke the story that Mark had signed for future projects with the Gersh Agency, a prominent literary and talent agency.  This was the actor's first major career move since leaving NCIS.  It could mean that Mark will be back on our screens soon.


* Sean Harmon portrayed a younger version of his father's character, Gibbs, on NCIS.

* In 1987, Mark and Pam sued Mark's sister, Kristin Harmon, for custody of her and Rick Nelson's youngest son, Sam, claiming that Kristen was an unfit parent due to her drug addiction (Mark and Pam later dropped the custody bid for their nephew, and Kristin entered rehab.

* In 1996, Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber rescued a teenage boy involved in a car accident outside their Brentwood home.  The boy was trapped in a burning vehicle.  Mark used a sledgehammer to beak the window of the car and help him escape.  Pam, meanwhile, called emergency services.

* Mark Harmon is an avid woodworker.  In 2006, he told Sunset abut how he learned carpentry from his father, and enjoyed working with his hands.  "I used to hang out in my dad's workshop on weekends , , , Later when I was starting out as an actor, I became a roofer and framer to make money."  Mark incorporates his woodworking hobby into renovation projects for his home.  

* Going into NCIS's ninth season, Mark was promoted to executive producer of the show.  In the the 11th season of the show, Mark worked  with writer and producer Gary Glasberg on a  two-episode special that reunited Gibbs with an old colleague working on a case in New Orleans.  Those episodes became the pilot for NCIS: New Orleans.  Mark served as executive producer of the spin-off.

Mark's big screen credits include Summer School (1987), The Presido (1988). Freaky Friday (2003), Chasing Liberty (2004).

* On October 1, 2012, Mark received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

SOURCES Good Housekeeping; "'NCIS' Fans, Mark Harmon Spoke Out About the Possibility of Returning to the Show," by Adrianna Freedman, December 3, 2023;  Nicki Swift (, "How Mark Harmon Really Got His First Acting Job,", by Natalie Morris, February 3, 2023; The Hollywood Reporter, "Mark Harmon Signs With Gersh (Exclusive)," by Etan Vlessing, February 7, 2023; Page Six (Fox News), "Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber know how rare their Hollywood marriage is," by Stephanie Nolasco, March 29, 2019; Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

- Joanne

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Y&R Report (June 1, 2024): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV, which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet.  Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Hi fans, 

Well, I've never liked Brussels Sprouts, but after watching Victor Newman torturing Aunt Jordan with them, I dislike them even more.  It seems as if we have finally seen the last of that deranged woman.  She's supposedly in a maximum security prison.  If she escapes from there, Y&R will lose all credibility.  To be honest, Victor's behaviour hasn't been much better than Jordan's.  His lies and deceit about Jordan are going to catch up with him.

Jack Abbott is such a fool and I don't blame Diane for being so upset.  He is really putting his concern for Nikki ahead of his marriage.  Nikki has been to rehab.  She could always have another relapse. but does her sponsor have to be Jack?  

For Ashley Abbott, all  roads lead to Paris.  Ashley, Traci and Dr, Alan, as well as Tucker and Audra, are ready for a showdown in the City of Lights.  Unfortunately, Y&R is not filming on location in Paris because of the expense.  It seems, however, that we're finally going to find out what set off Ashley's mental meltdown.  I suspect that Alan has a twin brother, perhaps an evil twin brother, who traumatized Ashley.  It was likely Alan's brother who walked by Tucker and didn't show any signs of recognizing him.  

Alan claimed he was in Florence on the night Ashley started to have her breakdown.  Ashley remembered being in a bar drinking wine with Alan.  Alan denied ever being in that bar.  Either Alan has a twin or he is a liar who has played some role in Ashley's breakdown.  The good doctor knows more than he's letting on.  He's definitely hiding something.

Summer has decided the benefit of the doubt to two women she hasn't trusted, and still doesn't really trust.  She has finally agreed to allow her cousin Claire to be Harrison's nanny, even though she remains nervous about leaving the boy alone with Claire.  As for Claire, now that she's been hired as Harrison's nanny, she'll be spending more time at the Abbott home, which means more time with Kyle  I expect her to fall hard for him, which is gong to cause major complications for her.

Summer has also mended fences with Sally Spectra.  She has agreed to hire Sally to fill in for Chelsea at Marchetti.  Chelsea is on a leave of absence to deal with her son Connor's issues  By the way, I have no idea where this Connor story is going.  It seems to be heading toward a dead end.  I don't see how Connor  can suddenly overcome his  obsessive-compulsive behaviour and come home.  Are Chelsea and Adam just going to keep visiting him and fretting over his condition?  

Victor Newman has fired Michael Baldwin.  That is the best thing for Michael.  He is a good lawyer and he doesn't need to be Victor's lackey.  He doesn't need to come running whenever Victor summons him.  


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name. 

My email address:
I received an email from longtime Y&R fan, Carly in Barhaven, Ontario.  Carly wrote the following:

As for Y&R, I watch it for pure enjoyment to take away the problems of life and the world.  But the storylines are either dumber than dumb or stupider than stupid.  Nikki and her alcoholism. Jordan a killer, Connor suffering from OCD and now Ashley with multiple personality disorder.  This is not entertainment.  I think that the writers are all suffering from depression and it's coming out in the storylines.  I do like Ashley's psychologist friend a whole lot more Tucker.

I have to agree with you, Carly, about the storylines.  As I've pointed out before in this column, the show needs to lighten up.  It is in need of some fun and humour to balance all the tension and the mental issues.  The storylines are much too depressing and I think head writer Josh Griffith should be aware of this.  

By the way, Carly, I also like Ashley's friend, Alan, a whole lot more than Tucker.


Are Sharon and Nick's family set to return?

Reylynn Carter (Faith Newman)

As many viewers have noticed, Sharon's character has been in the background for a while.  She's not involved in any storyline.  She's only been seen infrequently, handing  our advice about Conor and Ashley's mental health problems.  However, there are indications that things are about to change.  It seems that new pictures have emerged of Sharon and Nick and their daughters on the set of Y&R.  Reylynn Caster, who plays Faith Newman, is seen in the photos, along with Camryn Grimes (Mariah) and  Cait Fairbank (Tessa).  Conspicuously absent is Nick and Sharon's son, Noah, who is off somewhere in Europe.

In the photo, the family is posing in Sharon's living room, and appears dressed for a happy event.  Something is definitely brewing.  We'll soon find out what it is.  I hope this is a signal that Y&R is going to lighten up a bit.  How about some summer barbeques and swimming parties?


Head writer Josh Griffith

As regular readers know, I have been critical of the way Y&R is being written.  The storylines seem to be going around in circles.  The plots are convoluted.  There is very little comic relief and lightheartedness.   There is no escapism for viewers.  Fans, do you you feel the same way?  In the past year, do you think the show's writing has improved or gotten worse?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Do you think Y&R's writing has improved or gotten worse over the past year? free polls

This is a reminder that the 51st Annual Daytime Emmys will take place on Friday, June 7, 2024 on CBS.  Y&R's Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) and her husband, daytime television  producer Edward J. Scott, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony in Los Angeles.  The couple has a combined service of more than 90 years in daytime television.

That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, June 15, 2024, after which I will be taking a summer break.  

Take care,


Saturday, May 18, 2024

Y&R Report (May 18, 2024) The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV, which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet.  Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Hi fans, 

The Jordan storyline has gone too far.  Jordan is a sick, demented person.  However, I'm not pleased that Victor Newman is engaging in torture.  What he's doing to Jordan is torture, pure and simple.  It is sick and disgusting.  I watch Y&R to be entertained, not to watch someone be physically and mentally tortured.  Victor seems to be enjoying himself greatly.  He seems to be revelling in his cruelty.  His behaviour is just as sick and twisted as Jordan's.  He's gone down to her level.  I wonder how Eric Braeden, who plays Victor, feels about the storyline.  

According to an online spoiler, Jordan is going to devise and escape plan, but Victor realizes she is up to something.  The Genoa City Police must be very incompetent. since they haven't been able to deal with one mad woman.  The GC residents don't seem to trust their law enforcement.  Victor has his own security force and he likes to take matters into his own hands.  He wants vigilante justice

Cole is obviously going to find out that Victor has locked up Jordan.  I wonder what he will do with the information.  Will he keep it to himself or tell Victoria and other members of the Newman family?

Although Summer seems adamant that Claire will never be Harrison's nanny,  I still think it will happen.  It also appears that there will eventually be a romance between Kyle and Claire.  I'm afraid that Claire will be left with a broken heart, given Kyle's track record with women.  Kyle is not the most admirable character.  He overstepped his own mother, Diane, by making a business deal behind her back.  Yet, Kyle was the one who wanted Diane to have the co-CEO position at Jabot.  He willingly stepped aside for her, and now he wants his former position back.   Kyle is a spoiled, entitled heartbreaker.

There are some serious problems with the way Y&R is being written.  The writing is very uneven and at times some storylines seem to written as they go along, without long term planning.  Other storylines are gong nowhere and several characters have been painted into a corner.  Sharon is a perfect example.  She has been seldom seen onscreen lately and has no storyline.  Mariah and Tessa have no storyline either.  They have no conflict.  The story about baby Aria's hearing could only go so far.  Tessa is managing Society restaurant, but that's about all.  Why doesn't she sing there?  Sally Spectra doesn't have much of a story either, except for giving advice and support to Adam and to her new friend, Audra.

Speaking of Audra, I expected her to get involved with Nate Hastings.  I also expected Tucker to be very jealous of them.  He will be very dangerous when he's angry or upset.  He's a lose canon.  He's capable of almost anything, and now a mentally unstable Ashley is thinking about killing him.

Y&R head writer Josh Griffith seems focused on mental health issues.  I wondered why he chose to write a storyline about Connor Newman having obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  I've found the answer.  Griffith's daughter was diagnosed with OCD when she was 26 years old.  So, it's very personal for him.  Griffith feels that there is a great deal of misunderstanding and stigma attached to OCD.  He wants to tell the story right.  That's why Y&R has partnered with The Kids Mental Health foundation to present it properly.  Once again, I have to say that Y&R needs some lighter moments and some comic relief in order to counterbalance all the tension and mental health issues in Genoa City.  Some singing and music would also be nice.


Christopher Cousins (Dr. Alan Laurent) will be staying longer in Genoa City

There is some good news for fans of Christopher Cousins, who plays Ashley Abbott's psychologist friend, Dr. Alan Laurent.  Christopher's stint on Y&R has been extended, so he'll be sticking around in order to assess Ashley's mental health situation. This is a pleasant surprise for the actor, who thought he was hired for about ten episodes. "They're keeping me on, which I'm grateful," he told Soaps in Depth.  "I don't know for how long or what, but I'm doing at least some episodes through May, it looks like."  Christopher must be getting positive response from fans of the show.  

As we all know, Ashley is suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder.  One of her multiple personalities, a Scarlett O'Hara type known as Belle, has been hitting on the good doctor.  Will he be able to resist?

Zuleyka Silver (Audra Charles) is engaged

Zuleka Silver (Audra)

Audra Charles may have turned down Tucker McCall's proposal on Y&R, but Zuleyka Silver is engaged to be married in real life.  Zuleyka recently posted photos of herself and her fiancé, Nate Peterson (interesting that his name should be Nate), hiking.  She showed off her rock, using the hashtag "#Happiest" on her post.


Well fans, what is your favourite Y&R storyline?  Reply to the poll below and let me know.

What is your favourite storyline on Y&R? free polls
I really need your feedback.  If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name.  I really need your input.  I really need to hear your opinion.  I want to know if you agree or disagree with me. 
My email address: 

That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R will appear in this space on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

Take care,


Thursday, May 16, 2024

Whatever happened to Michael Cole of The Mod Squad?

Michael Cole in 1973

In the late 1960s and early 1970s. Michael Cole was part of a famous television crime fighting trio.  He played undercover cop Pete Cochran on The Mod Squad.  Billed as "One black, one white, one blonde," the hip trio wore stylish sunglasses.  One critic described them as "the hippest and first young undercover cops on TV."  

Michael Cole was the white guy of the group.  Peggy Lipton was the blonde.  Peggy played flower child Julie Barnes, the sole female member, while Clarence Williams III, portrayed Lincoln Hayes, the cool Black guy.  Peggy and Clarence have both passed way, and Michael is the last survivor of the original cast.  

Peggy died of colon cancer in Los Angelis on May 11, 2019.  She was 72 at the time of her passing.  Clarence died in L.A. on June 4, 2021 at the age of 81, also of colon cancer.

Peggy Lipton in 1968

Clarence Williams III in 1971

Tige Andrews, who portrayed Captain Adam Greer on The Mod Squad, died of cardiac arrest on January 27, 2007.  He was 86.

Michael Cole was born July 3, 1940 in Madison, Wisconsin.  According to his 2018 autobiography I Played the White Guy, Michael never knew his biological father, who abandoned his family when Michael was born.  His mother was left alone and penniless to raise Michael and his brother, Ted, a year and a half older.  "I've had a very emotional, up-and-down life," Michael explained in a 2016 interview with Closer Weekly.  "We never had a dad - well, we did for a while, but he passed."

Michael's TV career began when he appeared as Kipp in a 1966 episode of Gunsmoke entitled "Snap Decision" (Season 12, Episode 1, Air Date: September 17, 1966).  He then guest-starred in a 1967 episode of the TV drama Run for Your Life, starring Ben Gazzara.  

In 1968, Michael's life change forever when TV tycoon Aaron Spelling auditioned him for a starring role on The Mod Squad.  He was cast as Pete Cochran, a young rebel who was kicked out of his Beverly Hills home by his wealthy parents for stealing a car.  After being arrested and placed on probation, Pete became an undercover cop.

According to TV Guide, Michael was reluctant to take on the role of an undercover coop.  After reading the script, however, he changed his mind.  The Mod Squad became a huge hit because it was very timely in the Vietnam War/hippy era.  The show ran for five seasons, from 1968 to 1973, on the ABC network.  Michael appeared in all 123 episodes of the series.

The Mod Squad in 1971

During the 1970s, Michael made guest appearances on numerous television series including Police Story (two episodes 1974, 1975), Wonder Woman (1978), The Love Boat (two episodes, 1979 )and CHiPs (two episodes 1979, 1981).  He also appeared in the 1978 TV mini-series, a thriller called Evening in Byzantium. Michael reprised the role of Pete Cochran in a 1979 Mod Squad TV reunion movie called The Return of the Mod Squad.  The entire original cast is reunited as the three former undercover cops are called back to the force after several attempts are made on the life of their old boss and mentor, Adam Greer.  Pete is now a divorced, stressed-out CEO, while Julie has become a horse trainer, wife and mother.  Linc is a teacher and adopted father to a boy played by Todd Bridges.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Michael guest-starred in two episodes of  The Littlest Hobo (1980), Fantasy Island (1981), Vega$ (1981) Murder, She Wrote (1987, 1990), Good Sports (1991) and Diagnosis Murder (1996)

Michael portrayed Henry Bowers in the 1990 TV mini-series It, based on Stephen King's horror novel. In 1991, Michael joined the cast of General Hospital  He played the role of Harlan Barrett in 64 episodes of the daytime drama.

Michael guest-starred as Charles Hadley in a 2006 episode of the medical drama ER.  In 2006, he also appeared alongside Clarence Williams III in Mystery Woman: At First Sight, an episode of the Mystery Women film series on the Hallmark Channel.  In the 2007 feature film Mr. Brooks, Michael played the attorney for Demi Moore's character, Detective Tracy Atwood.

Michael Cole has had a long battle with alcoholism.  In his 2016 interview with Closer Weekly, he opened up about his addiction.   He said that he started drinking at 12 or 13 years of age.  "There were many times we didn't have a place live and we'd stay with aunts and uncles" and he "really started to get in a lot of trouble drinking."  At 14 or 15, Michael ended up in Dayton County Jail after passing out in a gutter.  "My locker at school was just full of old wine bottles.  I was married at 16, became a father and quit school." he told Closer.

In 1994, the actor finally underwent treatment for his drinking problem at the Betty Ford Clinic.  "My wife Shelley said, "You better go the the Betty Ford Center." he revealed to Closer.  "And I wound up there within two days.  I didn't want to lose her - and she was right."

Michael Cole has been married three times and divorced twice.  He is the father of two children from his first marriage as a teenager, and a daughter from his second marriage.  

Michael's second wife, Paula Kelly (Junior), whom he married in 1971, was the daughter of Paula Kelly and Harold Dickinson of the vocal group The Modernaires.  Paula (Jr.) also sang with the Modernaires at one time.  Michael and Paula (Jr.) had a daughter, Jennifer Holly Cole, born 1972.   Paula (Jr.) passed away in 2012.

Paula Kelly Jr.

Michel has been married to Shelley Funes since 1996,  Shelley helped organize an intervention to help Michael with his alcoholism. He credits her for saving his life.

Michael and Shelley

SOURCES: Closer Weekly, "The Mod Squad's Michael Cole Opens Up About His Past Struggles With Alcohol - "I Started Drinking at Age 12," by Closer Staff, April 8, 2016; Interview with Australian morning TV talk show Studio Ten, Wikipedia, Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

- Joanne