The Young and the Restless is doing the unthinkable this week: bringing former Genoa City staple Don Diamont back to the canvas as a completely different character than Y&R viewers watched him play for over two decades. Rather than stepping back into the shoes of Brad Carlton, the actor will be appearing as his longtime The Bold and the Beautiful character, Bill Spencer. Sound like a weird idea? Diamont tells Soap Central that he initially thought the same -- but worse!
Read on to find out why Diamont was initially hesitant to accept Y&R's offer to do a crossover; what fans can expect when B&B's Bill makes his GC appearance this Thursday, February 18; and whether or not viewers will see any hints of Brad while Bill is in town.
Soap Central: Very exciting stuff, you going back to Y&R! How did it feel to be back in your old stomping grounds?
Don Diamont: I keep saying that Marty McFly and Bill Spencer can go back to the future! [Laughs] But really, it was a bit odd, a bit uncomfortable walking over there. I've been on the set several times for various celebrations and anniversaries for some of the actors, but walking back there as an actor and as a different character eleven years later was just a little bit unsettling. It got more comfortable when we started shooting the scenes, but it's hard to explain. On the one hand, it was like eleven years had gone by, and on the other hand, like a day had passed -- or even no time had gone by. Once I started working with Tracey [Bregman, Lauren Fenmore] and Peter [Bergman, Jack Abbott], it was just really fun. I've known Tracey since high school, and Peter and I worked together for so many years on Y&R and are very dear friends, as I am with Tracey, so, in that way, I felt very much at home, and I really enjoyed it. They say you can't go back; well, I guess you can!
Soap Central: I know you expressed some surprise at this idea, because you have such a rich history as Y&R's Brad. Was there a part of you that didn't think it could work?
Diamont: Listen, if I'm to be completely honest, when this was initially brought up to me, there was a part of me that was like, "Not interested." [Laughs] I had been on Y&R for so many years and then left under such out-of-the-blue, unpleasant circumstances, due to things that were completely out of my control. At that point in time, it was very painful and intense and emotional. So, to then hear, "Hey, we'd like Don to come back over to the show," the "not interested" was my initial emotional reaction. And then my intellect thankfully took over, and then I just saw it as a complete positive, and I really started looking forward to it. It obviously really pointed to the success of Bill Spencer, of Dollar Bill. That character has created such an indelible mark on B&B and has become such a force that I was able to go back to a show that I had been a core character on for 23 years as a completely different character. I think that was just a credit to [B&B head writer and executive producer] Brad Bell for having created Bill Spencer Jr. I felt very validated in that he really gave me the ball and let me run with Bill -- which is what he pays me to do -- and really flesh him out. And eleven years later, there is a Spencer dynasty. So, yeah, the ability to go back there eleven years later as this character is just a real tribute to Brad and his belief in me and the character.
Soap Central: Equally so to you, I'd say! They really trusted you to bring Bill to life on both shows.
Diamont: Brad created Bill, and then Brad let me do what he pays me to do, and that was to really flesh him out. Brad is exceptional; he's the show runner, he is head writer, executive producer, and he is as collaborative as he is. It's really been a team effort over the years, and every time I've wanted to call him about something I liked, something I didn't like, something I wanted to try, something I wanted to change, he has always -- always, without fail -- been open to listening. So, it has certainly been a joint effort in making Dollar Bill as successful as he's been. And yeah, as we just talked about, he's a powerful enough character, and we have been successful enough with him, that I could go back to Y&R, where I played another character for 23 years, and make a mark over there. So, that's pretty cool and was really fun.
Soap Central: Did it feel to you that the writers at Y&R captured Bill's voice?
Diamont: I will give Josh Griffith and Tony Morina -- Josh is head writer and an executive producer, and Tony is an executive producer -- their credit. I was able to call both of them, because they're obviously not as familiar with the character as Brad Bell is or obviously as I am, but they were wonderfully collaborative, and we were able to really discuss who Bill is and who I wanted him to be, the Dollar Bill that we wanted to see come over. So, they were wonderful in letting me give my input. So, yeah, I am confident that you will see Dollar Bill strut his stuff like Dollar Bill does. He is marking his territory, as they say. [Laughs]
Soap Central: We saw a tease of that in the preview clip, where he is telling Sally [Courtney Hope] to stay the hell away from him and his family in L.A. Other than giving Sally his signature fire, what can you say about what Bill gets up to in Genoa City?
Diamont: Without giving it away, you will see a bit of the sort of swashbuckling, charming, sarcastic Bill in his interplay with the other characters, as well, with Lauren and with Jack. You'll see him firing on all cylinders with his interactions with all the characters, not just Sally. But it's in a more fun way with the other characters. Bill likes to keep people off balance, right? And what would make him go to Genoa City in the first place, when he could just do it by a phone call or a Zoom call or send Wyatt [Darin Brooks] or Liam [Scott Clifton] over there? I think if he's going to be doing some business, he wanted to go over there and mark his territory and be the alpha dog that he is by nature. You'll see how it plays out!
Soap Central: What was it like for you to work with Peter Bergman and Tracey Bregman as a completely different character than you were before?
Diamont: It was just a joy. Again, that's when I got comfortable... Even though it was a different character, in terms of working with them, it was like putting some slippers back on, a comfortable pair of shoes. Just wonderful. A total joy. They're dear friends, and we worked together for so many years. It was really just a complete blast to be working with them again.
Soap Central: Were there any moments when you were on the set where you felt like Brad Carlton was itching to burst out of you?
Diamont: No! [Laughs] Actually, not at all. I was just very focused on bringing Bill Spencer over there and letting him make his mark and do his thing and being who he needed to be in those scenes. But, yeah, funny -- no, I didn't harken back at all, in that regard, to the former character, to Brad. And it's funny, too, with Peter, we used to joke that we were the supercouple on Y&R, because there was a time when we were on the cover of every soap magazine, repeatedly! Just over and over and over again, it was us on the cover of these magazines. So, it was funny. We were like, "Here we go. The supercouple rides again."
Soap Central: When you posted about going back to Y&R, a lot of fans came up with some really fun story ideas, like, "Is it possible that Brad is alive and he's been pretending to be Bill Spencer all these years?!" They really let their imaginations run wild. How do you feel about that kind of fan love and support that you still get for Brad?
Diamont: [Laughs] I am completely flattered. Really flattered. Brad certainly made his mark on that show, and I still hear about it today, as you just pointed out. And I think it's very sweet. Some fans are just all about Dollar Bill going over, but some of the fans, as you've just pointed out, are looking for some sort of connection to Brad Carlton. But there isn't one, I promise! It's very sweet, though.
Soap Central: Some of the Y&R fans who are going to see you don't watch B&B, so what would you say to them about why they might want to be tuning in to see you on B&B, as well?
Diamont: That kind of harkens back to what I said before. I was so focused on giving the Y&R fans a real taste of who Bill is -- the swashbuckler that Bill is, how fun he is, how entertaining he is as a character -- and I think just that in and of itself could certainly and should certainly bring some pure Y&R fans over to B&B. He has been such a blessing for me. He is the character of a lifetime, and he is just a very entertaining guy. You never know what you're going to get with him. He's fun to watch, and I hope some Y&R folks will want to come over and check Bill out on B&B.
Soap Central: Is there anything else that you'd like to add about the crossover that I didn't ask about?
Diamont: It was a wonderful opportunity and certainly something I didn't expect, but it just turned out to be a real joy and a wonderful experience. As I said, it was my absolute pleasure to have another chance in my career to work with Tracey and Peter again. It was great.
Soap Central: So, is it safe to say that if they asked you to do it again, you'd give it another go in the future?
Diamont: Yeah, yes. Sure! I'm very protective of my character, though! [Laughs] As long as it's in keeping with who Bill is, if we keep the integrity of Bill, then for sure, I'd love to do it. Absolutely.
In case you missed it, Don also talked about love, romance, and Valentine's Day with us. To check out what he had to say, continue reading here.
What do you think about our interview with Don Diamont? How do you feel about Y&R bringing B&B's Bill Spencer to Genoa City? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.