Saturday, November 18, 2023

Y&R Report (November 18, 2023): 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, that was quite a cup of tea Nikki Newman had with Claire Grace, except that Claire didn't drink her cup and Nikki was drugged.  Claire has revealed herself as a villain, just as we suspected, but who is this mystery woman anyway?  We know that she despises the Newman family.  We also know that she is working with her "Aunt Jordan." Some important questions, however, still remain unanswered.  We don't know Aunt Jordan's identity.  We don't know why she and Claire are seeking revenge on Nikki and the Newman family.
There has been some online speculation as to the identity of Aunt Jordan.  It's been speculated that she may be a long-lost relative of Nikki and her sister, Casey.  This theory holds that Aunt Jordan may actually be their half-sister, the unknown daughter of their abusive father, Nick Reed, whom Nikki killed in self-defemce.  
Another theory holds  that Aunt Jordan is actually be Meggie McClaine  In 2010, Meggie was a bartender Victor met while searching for Adam in Canada.  She played a role in saving Victor from a thug name Shaw.  Meggie had a crush on Victor and she was jealous of Nikki.
The cat and mouse game between Nikki and Claire will continue for a while because the writers want to keep us guessing.  Claire enjoys tormenting Nikki.  She must have some medical background because she attached an IV to Nikki's arm.  She also knows about Nikki's battle with alcoholism and she is taking advantage of that knowledge. 
It seems that Y&R is full of romantic triangles lately.  There is the Daniel, Lily and Heather triangle. We also have Chance and Summer and Sharon.  Then there's Danny and Phyllis and Christine (aka Cricket), as well as Adam and Sally and Nick.  That is a total of five triangles.
As far as Chance is concerned, I think Summer has the edge.  Here's why.  I am sure that Nina, Chance's mother, will come out in favour Summer because Sharon has more baggage from her past.  Nina's opinion will carry some weight with Chance.  Furthermore, Phyllis has given her daughter, Summer, some important information regarding Sharon.  According to Phyllis, Nick is the one that Sharon has always really loved.  You can bet that Summer will use that information to her own advantage, unless her mother does that for her.  However, Phyllis seems too preoccupied with getting "The Bug" away from Danny.Romalotti.  My guess is that Summer herself will attempt to bring Nick and Sharon together again.  The interesting wrinkle is that Nick is Summer's own father.
Although Phyllis is trying to become a better person, expect her cat claws to come out soon.  She is irked by the sight of Danny with Cricket.  She can't help herself.  She can't stand the thought of Christine winning.  Those two are headed for a collision and poor Danny will be caught in the middle.
Daniel should take a deep breath and chill.  He's trying much to hard to show Lily that he's not interested in reconciling with Heather.  His attitude is only making things worse and leaving Lily wondering.  There are forces working against Lily.  Daniel's meddling mother, Phyllis, would love Daniel to reunite with Heather and daughter Lucy.  Lucy would also want her parents to reunite.  Speaking of Lucy, why don't the writers give her a storyline with characters her own age?  It might help draw some younger viewers to the show.  
There's no way that Heather is going to keep her distance from Daniel.  Since Lucy has her own room at Daniel's apartment, Heather has a perfect excuse for showing up there often.  This does not bode well for Lily.
As for Nick and Sally and Adam, it appears that Adam has won Sally's heart, at least for now.  He may do something to alienate her again.  
Dr. Elena hasn't been seen much for a while.  Since she broke up with Nate, she doesn't have much of a part anymore.  She shows up at the hospital when there is an emergency such as when Sally lost her baby or when Chance was recently shot.  Now that Nate has been fired from Newman Enterprises by Victor, he may try to win Elena back, although she does appear to be finished with him.
So, Victor Newman is in control again, exerting his authority and pointing fingers.  I had a problem with him accusing Nate of wanting to send him to the  "looney bin."  Y&R should really be much more sensitive about mental illness. That kind of language does not help.
Has Victor really alienated Princess Victoria for good?  He was very unfair in mentioning all her failed relationships - J.T., Billy and Ashland Locke.  Yes, Victoria hasn't made the best choices in men.  Don't forget Ryan and Cole.  However, Victor has also left a trail of failed relationships.  Let's see now.  There was Julia, Ashley, Hope . . .  He's finally settled down with Nikki, but he has broken up with her many times in the past.  I've lost count of how many times they've married, divorced and remarried.  Furthermore, Victor has always interfered in Victoria's relationships.  Maybe this time Victoria should cut herself loose from Daddy.  Somehow I don't that will ever happen, at least permanently.
It hasn't happened for Nick either.  He always tries to distance himself from Newman Enterprises.  He's tried to start his own ventures.  He ran a magazine called Restless Style.  He had a company called Dark Horse.  He owned and operated a restaurant called The Underground.  Still, he always returns to Newman Enterprises.
So Nina and Jill want Chance to enter the business world.  I can understand how Nina, as his mother, and Jill, as his grandmother, feel about him putting his life in danger all the time as a cop.  However, they shouldn't pressure him into working for Chancellor-Winters.  It's true that Chance doesn't seem too pleased with his position as Genoa City's police chief and he seems to want to try something new.  Yet, he doesn't appear to be the type for the corporate world.  I can't picture him wearing an expensive suit and sitting behind a desk.   I'm sure he's going to end up there anyway.  After all, Nate Hastings transformed himself from a surgeon to a business man, didn't he?  It happens so easily on Y&R.
Kyle must not be the sharpest knife in the drawer.  Why did it take him so long to recognize that Audra was just using him?  Duh!!  He should stay as far away as possible from that unscrupulous woman and her partner in crime, Tucker McCall.  But he won't.  
I'm looking forward to watching Y&R's Thanksgiving episode with the Baldwin/Fisher clan. The show did not have a Fourth of July episode this past summer.  Nor did it have a Halloween episode.  Holiday episodes are very popular with the fans, so Y&R's writers should include them.  According to an online spoiler, Michael and Gloria will return from Singapore with some shocking news.

Soap veteran Barbara Zenk appears as Claire's "Aunt Jordan"
The actress who plays Claire's "Aunt Jordan" is no stranger to soaps.  She is no newcomer either. Barbara Zenk portrayed Barbara Ryan on As the World Turns for 32 years.  She played the character from 1978 until the show's demise in September of 2010.  Since the cancellation of As the World Turns, she has appeared in episodes of Blue Bloods, American Criminal, Tainted Dreams and After Forever.  It will be interesting to see what Barbara does with her juicy new role.

Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki)
Well fans, no one realizes that Nikki is in trouble yet.  Will she get home in time for Thanksgiving, or will she return for Christmas?  Will her disappearance help to bring her family together?  Is it inevitable that Victor will rescue her?  What do you think?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.
Will Victor save Nikki from the clutches of Claire and her aunt? 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.  Please remember that the next will appear in this space on Saturday, December 2, 2023.  To my American readers, have a very Happy Thanksgiving 

Take care,


Mary Kay and Johnny: The earliest sitcom/reality show on television


Are you ready?  Let's go way back to a time when television was in its infancy and owning a TV set was a novelty.  You may not have heard of Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns, but they were trailblazers.  In the post-World War II era, they were ahead of their time.  If you think I Love Lucy was the first sitcom on network television, you'd be wrong  Before there was Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz or George Burns and Gracie Allen, there was Mary Kay and Johnny Stearns.  This real-life married couple were the stars of American television's first situation comedy.  Their show, Mary Kay and Johnny, ran from 1947 until 1950.  It finished its run before I Love Lucy premiered in October of 1951, and it paved the way for the famed Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz sitcom.  It was also an early version of a TV reality show.

Mary Kay and Johnny began as a 15-minute program on the old DuMont network on November 18, 1947, exactly 76 years ago today.  The sitcom aired on DuMont until August of 1948.  In subsequent years, however, it was broadcast on NBC (October 1948-February 1949), CBS (March 1949-June 1949) and then NBC again (August 1949-March 1950).  It ended its run as a 30-minute program.

The Stearns played fictional versions of themselves in a domestic comedy about the lives of a newly married couple in New York.  Johnny Stearns' character was employed at a bank and he and his zany wife, Mary Kay, resided in a Greenwich Village apartment.  Johnny, who wrote the episodes, often took his inspirations from the couple's real life experiences.  Unlike the more well-known Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, the Stearns' characters slept in the same bed, something that would become taboo in early television sitcoms.  However, it should be remembered that Mary Kay and Johnny was not constrained by the Code of Practices for Television Broadcasters, which came into effect in December of 1951.

Mary Kay and Johnny was filmed live in front of a New York studio audience.  Unfortunately, very little footage remains in existence.  It cannot be found on YouTube.  Unlike I Love Lucy, it is mostly recognized by TV trivia buffs.  When Mary Kay and Johnny was launched, television was a new medium and its future was uncertain.  As Mary Kay put it in a 1997 interview with The Associated Press for the 50th anniversary of Mary Kay and Johnny, "Television was just one of those things that your did to help pay the rent while you were looking for a real job in the theatre."

Mary Katherine Stearns (née Jones) was born on October 27, 1925 in Glendale, California.  Her father Walter, was employed by the Bank of America.  Her mother, Katherine Jones, was a homemaker.  Mary Kay, as she was called, was raised in Santa Monica and she graduated from North Hollywood High School.  She began her show business career at an early age.  At two and a half years old, Mary Kay appeared as an actress and singer at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California.  "I wore a bunny outfit," she recalled when she and Johnny sat down for an interview in 1999 with the American Television Academy as an oral history for the Archive of American Television 

Mary Kay made her made her film debut with a tiny part in the 1946 comedy Our Hearts Were Growing Up.  She then moved to New York in order to work in the theatre.  She was soon hired as an understudy in Dear Ruth, a comedy that had been appearing on Broadway since 1944.  It wasn't long before she became a replacement player.  In an attempt to improve her career prospects, Mary Kay had tea with Edith Bond Stearns, founder of of the Peterborough Players, a summer theatre based in Peterborough, New Hampshire.  Edith was Johnny's mother and during the tea, he showed up unexpectedly.  By the time the tea was over, Mary Kay was smitten with the young actor.

John Stearns was born in Billerica, Massachusetts on October 13, 1916 and he was a member of his mother's theatre troupe  which she founded in 1933..  Johnny began acting at the age of 14 at the Mariarden Theater in Peterborough.  He made his Broadway debut in Night Music with Group Theater.  He also performed in Broadway musical productions such as One Touch Venus with Mary Martin in 1943, On the Town in 1944 and Are You With It in 1945.

Inn 1946, Mary Kay Jones and Johnny Stearns were wed.  Mary Kay had been performing on Broadway when her agent suggested that she audition for a new television fashion show, actually a New York garment maker's. couple were not impressed.  Johnny told the American Television Academy the following: "What it consisted of is Mary Kay, looking 14 years old, wearing junior dresses and modelling them and telling about the belt and this and that."  

After making it clear that he disliked the fashion program, Johnny put forth a proposal.  "I said there are a lot of very successful domestic comedies on radio, but nothing had ever been done like that on TV, he told the Associated Press in 1997.  "We got the go-ahead to try one episode.  So I went back to our apartment in the (Greenwich Village, and I wrote a little script about a young married couple - and played it for comedy."

The Stearns needed a sponsor to back their fictional series based on a young newlywed couple, not unlike them.  That sponsor turned out to be Anacin, a pain relief medication whose executives feared they might be wasting money on a show with a sparse audience.  In those days, there were no Neilsen ratings (the measurement of ratings began in 1950).  However, Anacin found another way to gauge the popularity of the show.

During one commercial spot on Mary Kay and Johnny, Anacin offered a free pocket mirror to the first 200 viewers who requested one  To be on the safe side, the company purchased 400 mirrors, in case the requests were twice as large as they anticipated.  Although the ad was only shown once, they received almost 9,000 requests for mirrors.

According to Mary Kay, the show was "tremendously popular actually at the time, because there was little else on TV."  The couple received a high volume of mail, Mary Kay explained, "because people had never seen a husband and wife in real life doing skits that were based on what really happened in our marriage.  So people became tremendously identified with us as people, and they did all sorts of wonderful things, like knitting Christmas stockings for our children." 

In December of 1948, the real Mary Kay Stearns gave birth to the couple's son, Christopher William Stearns.  Mary Kay's pregnancy and the child's birth was incorporated into the script.  The birth was worked into an episode on the exact day that Mary Kay delivered the baby.  Since the show was done live, Mary Kay had to be absent.

On the day of Christopher's birth, the episode that night featured the fictional Johnny anxiously pacing the waiting room floor.  Days later, the infant, also named Christopher, was displayed on the show.  He joined the cast less than one month after his birth, appearing in his bassinet.  According to Ripley's Believe it or Not, he was the youngest cast member of any show in television history.

Christopher's 1948 birth predated the January 1953 birth of Desi Arnaz Jr./"Little Ricky" by about 4 years.   In 1952 and early 1953, Lucy's real-life pregnancy stirred up controversy over whether it should be incorporated into the show.  There was no such apprehension for Mary Kay and Johnny.  They easily wove the pregnancy into the show.  "I decoded, well, Mary Kay and Johnny is about us, and Mary Kay is pregnant, so I just wrote it into the script," Johnny said in the interview for American Television Academy.  

Mary Kay accepted a couple of  TV roles after the series ended.  She appeared in a 1951 episode of Armstrong Circle Theatre entitled "Danny's Tune" (Season 2, Episode 2, Air Date: September 25, 1951) and she played the role of Cinderella in a 1952 episode of Kraft Theatre, alongside Leslie Nielsen's Prince Charming.  In 1951 and 1952, Mary Kay hosted Mary Kay's Nightcap, in which she informed NBC viewers of the next day's schedule on the network.  However, she mostly retired from acting after Mary Kay and Johnny.  Johnny went on to become one of the original producers of  the precursor to The Tonight Show with Steve Allen on WNBC in New York.  He also produced and directed The Arthur Murray Party, a musical variety show.

When the Stearns family moved to California, Johnny continued to pursue work as a television producer, director and host.  In 1961, he began a lengthy career in public affairs television as producer and host of NBC's Agriculture U.S.A. (later known as AG-USA), which aired on the network until 1990.

Johnny Stearns passed away on December 5, 2001 after complications from a fall.  He was 85 years old at the time of his death in a Newport Beach, California hospital.  Mary Kay died on November 17, 2018, five years ago yesterday.  She died in Newport Beach at the age of 93.  Her death was not reported until two months later.       

Mary Kay and Johnny are largely forgotten today, but they were truly television pioneers.  They hold an important place in TV history.


* Mary Kay and Johnny had three children together: sons Christopher and Jonathan, and daughter. Melinda.  It was Jonathan who reported Mary Kay's death to The New York Times for an obituary.

* The supporting cast on Mary Kay and Johnny consisted of Hoard Thomas, who played Johnny's best friend Howie, and Nydia Westman, who portrayed Mary Kay's mother.

*In the early 1950s, Mary Kay and Johnny appeared in live commercials for the U.S. Steel Hour.  The couple promoted U.S, Steel around the United States.

SOURCESDeadline (, "Mary Kay Stearns Dies: Star of Pioneering 1940s Sitcom Was 93," by Greg Evans, January 10, 2019; Los Angeles Times, "Johnny Stearns: 85: Paired With Wife in Trailblazing TV Sitcom of the Late '40s," by Dennis McLellan, December 9, 2001, Wikipedia; Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

- Joanne

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Y&R Report (November 4, 2023): 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,  
Cricket . . .er Christine. . .poured her heart out to Danny Romalotti about the collapse of her marriage to Paul Williams.  Here's what bothered me.  Cricket claimed that she and Paul had differences of opinions and issues.  Yet, she never spelled those issues out.  She never told Danny what was the cause of the tension between her and Paul.
Speaking of the Cricketmeister, I must say I enjoyed the special episode that paid tribute to Lauralee Bell's 40 years on the show.  I enjoyed the flashbacks, especially the ones with Paul (Doug Davidson).  I really miss Doug on the show.
Cricket is still feuding with Phyllis after all these years.  Although Phyllis claims that she wants to make peace with Christine, she'll be up to her old tricks to prevent Cricket and Danny from getting together.  That's bound to happen because it seems as if she has her heart set on a romance with Danny.  She invited him to have dinner with him, but he hemmed and hawed when Cricket entered the room.  
Kyle Abbott has to be the biggest fool in Genoa City.  He is a spoiled rich kid.  What makes him think he is more entitled to the Jabot CEO job than Billy.  Billy is the son of John Abbott, the founder of Jabot, not someone outside of the family.  Jabot is just as much Billy's birthright as Kyles's.  Why should he be pushed out of the company for Kyle's sake?  Kyle is simply arrogant.  Where would he be if his last name wasn't Abbott?  His unholy alliance with Audra and Tucker is doomed to failure and he is headed for a big fall.  It might be the best thing for him.  He is certainly in need of some humility.
Good for Mamie for standing up to that snake-in-the-grass, Tucker McCall.  She told him exactly what she thinks of his behaviour.  I'm glad she put him in his place.  Devon also called him out after catching him in one of his many lies.  
It's hard to believe that someone like Ashley would still have feelings for Tucker McCall after all he's done to her and her family.  Tucker may shed a tear over Ashley, but he never stops all his lying and scheming and cheating.  

Christian LeBlanc battles cancer
Christian LeBlanc has not appeared in his onscreen role as Michael Baldwin for months.  The 65-year-old actor has been battling a blood cancer called multiple myeloma.  Christian first portrayed lawyer Michael Baldwin on The Young and the Restless from 1991 to 1993.  He returned to the role in 1997 and has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award eight times and won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2005, 2007 and 2009.
Christian revealed to New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL-TV that Y&R viewers alerted him to a sign of the disease after noticing a change in one of his eyes,  If it hadn't been for the fans, he wouldn't have caught it as soon.  He explained that the cancer may have progressed further if he had not had an eye exam. "It's a very fast cancer, and that is the danger of it, but it's also because the speed of which a cell reproduces is a signifier of cancer," he told the TV affiliate.  
Eventually, Christian was informed that there was a tumour in his sinus cavity.  He said he was diagnosed in June.  "I'd never spent a day in the hospital in my 65 years, until this year,' he stated.  Christian lost a great deal of weight and he experienced symptoms of the disease on the set such as nose bleeds. He underwent surgery and immunotherapy treatment in hospital.  The cancer is now in remission and Christian will return to the show on the Thanksgiving episode, which will air on November 23rd on CBS and November 22nd on Global TV.
On a personal note, I have met Christian a few times at Y&R teas for the March of Dimes charity,  He is very friendly and has a good sense of humour.  He is one of my favourite actors on Y&R and I wish him well.  

Baldwin/Fisher family Thanksgiving

Greg Rikkart (Kevin)
The Baldwin/Fisher family will be reunited for Thanksgiving.  Christian LeBlanc as Michael Baldwin will appear with Greg Rikkart (Kevin Fisher). Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren Fenmore), Judith Chapman (Gloria Fisher) and Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe Mitchell).  
Greg Rikkart hasn't appeared as Kevin since January for the special episode marking Tracey Bregman's 40 years on Y&R.  He's been busy playing Leo Stark on Days of our Lives.  He has a major role in a storyline and there is no indication that he will be leaving Days anytime soon.
As for Judith Chapman, she too hasn't been seen in her role as Gloria since Tracey Bregman's anniversary episode.  Back in July, it was revealed that Gloria was in Singamore and that Michael was going to help her out of some legal mess.
Eizabeth Hendrickson has made some appearances as Chloe, but she hasn't had much to do except warn Sally Spectra, her friend and business partner, against the evils of hooking up with Adam Newman again.  Chloe also serves as Nick Newman's cheerleader, constantly telling Sally what a great guy he is.


Trevor St; Joh (Tucker McCall)

Michael Mealor (Kyle Abbott)

Who is the most unlikeable male character currently on The Young and The Restless?  Is it terrible Tucker McCall or spoiled Kyle Abbott? They are both scoundrels.   Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Who is the most unlikeable male character on Y&R right now, Tucker McCall or Kyle Abbott? 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.  Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, November 18, 2023.  Keep in mind that's it's the November sweeps.  

Tale care.


What to expect in Season 6 of The Crown


The Crown debuted on Netflix in November of 2016.  Its first season, consisting of ten episodes, focused on the early days of the marriage of Princess Elizabeth (played by Claire Foy) and Philip Mountbatten (played by Matt Smith).  Four other ten-episode seasons followed, chronicling the saga of the British royal family, 

I recently finished watching the first five seasons of The Crown, which means that I have viewed a total of 50 episodes.  However, there will be an additional ten-episode season in this royal soap opera.  Netflix has announced that the sixth and final season of The Crown will be released in two parts.  The first part is comprised of four episodes and will be available on November 16, 2023, while the second part, comprised of six episodes, will be available on December 14th.  Part one will be mainly about Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed.  Part two will focus on Prince William, Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee, and Charles and Camilla.  

Of course, the sixth season of The Crown will deal with the shocking death of Princess Diana and its aftermath in 1997.  Elizabeth Debicki will return as Princess Diana, and Dominic West will continue in his role as Prince Charles.  In September, Netflix hinted that the final season will depict the 2005 wedding of Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles.

In April, photos from the show's last season were released featuring Ed McVey as Prince William and Meg Bellamy as  Kate Middleton when they met as students at the University of St. Andrews  in Scotland in the early 2000s.

It is understandable that the royal family would be deeply offended by some of the scenes in The  Crown.  I was not particularly pleased to learn that the ghost of Princess Diana will appear in the sixth season.  It bothers me and I don't think it's necessary.

The Crown is not a documentary and it can't be expected to be historically accurate.  In fact, it is laden with historical inaccuracies.  I had to remind myself that the conversations are scripted.  Most of the events actually happened, but not without some embellishment for dramatic effect.

Nevertheless, Andrew Morton, the journalist who wrote the 1972 bestselling book Diana: Her True Story, based on audio recordings provided by the Princess of Wales, was left "shaken" about watching the portrayal of his association with Diana on The Crown.  In an interview with Good Morning America, he commented on Season 5, where Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) is seen recording answers to his interview questions at her home in Kensington Palace.  "When you see Diana talking," he said, "you're really seeing what happened, and she's using many of the words which she sent me through tape recordings."

The sixth season of The Crown covers the years 1997 to 2005.  Therefore, it will not depict the wedding of Prince William and to Kate Middleton in 2011, nor the births of their three children.  Nor will it touch upon Prince Harry's marriage to Meghan Markle, their move to California, their Oprah interview and Harry's book.  There could be a seventh season focusing on Harry and Meghan's exploits and how they affected the rest of the royal family.  However, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would likely sue Netflix for enormous amounts of money.

- Joanne