Interview: The Young and the Restless’ Daniel Goddard

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The Young and the Restless’ Daniel Goddard (Cane) was in Toronto recently and spoke with The TV Watercooler while promoting the Aquaswiss watch line to discuss the current daytime soap climate, his previous work on Home and Away and BeastMaster and what’s coming up on Y&R.


In our Daytime Emmy’s wrap up, you posed the question that could General Hospital have swayed any of the voting in terms of outstanding drama series to send a message to ABC that daytime soaps should stick around and not be replaced by talk shows, which is what they did with All My Children and One Life to Live last year and were rumoured to be doing the same with General Hospital when they were looking to make room on their schedule for Katie Couric’s new talk show. As a working actor in the industry, what’s your take on the current daytime climate?

The state of daytime is very interesting at the moment. I’m sure that all the shows are trying to put out the best they can. I’ve always thought that if a show is in danger of being cancelled, you should try to turn it over to the audience and let them start being involved with storylines that they want to see. It could be very interesting to see the change in numbers. Once you have the audience say, “We like this person, break these people up and put these ones back together,” it would bring back viewers and also bring in new ones. I can go to Alaska, France or Australia and hear the same thing. It’s so indicative of human nature to want certain things and daytime is such a perfect template for that.

Three of the nominees from All My Children are on The Young and the Restless now (Debbi Morgan, Melissa Claire Egan, Darnell Williams), do you think the executives were trying to bring in some of the AMC viewers with those actors?

The casting director at Y&R now is the same from AMC. It’s interesting to hear people say, “We watch Y&R – that’s OUR show. We don’t want people from other shows coming in.” But then you see it from the network’s perspective, “Well, if we bring these people over, will they bring a fanbase over?” But at the same time, ABC vs. CBS is kind of like the east coast vs. west coast. You either like New York or you like L.A. I don’t know if they’ve brought in new viewers.

Even before AMC was cancelled, Y&R was bringing on big names including Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe; ex-Frankie/Maggie), Billy Miller (Billy; ex-Richie) and Eden Riegel (ex-Heather; ex-Bianca).

Billy Miller is very popular. Liz started out a bit rocky because she broke up Lily and Cane. I know that some people to this day do not like her character because of that story.

I’m a fan of Liz’s work and I think what added a new dimension to her was when they revealed Chloe to be Esther’s (Kate Linder) daughter, Kate.

Yeah.

The Billy and Chloe pairing was also quite popular but they decided to pair Billy with Mac again, but that didn’t work out.

And that’s the thing about the Billy and Chloe pairing, it had a lot of push/pull and it worked well on-screen. But then they went with Billy and Mac, and now Billy has found his way to Victoria, which is a very popular coupling as well. Both are very good actors and they’ve got good chemistry.

I’m a big believer in watching what works and to go with what works, not what I perceive will work. You’re talking about a show here that’s not like primetime where you hopefully get past the pilot, and then you hope to get past a few episodes and later hope to get a second-season pickup. As of June, Y&R has another two-year pickup that is already in effect, which means that you have time to watch what’s happening and listen to the audience give their opinion.

It’s also 2012 and not the 80s, and with people changing, you have to have a different mentality on how you craft and construct characters and stories. I don’t write the show and I couldn’t imagine a harder job than to constantly be delivering daily storylines that make an audience happy. It’s a tough job and I have great respect for our writers.

Do you feel that daytime soaps could benefit from some new writers?

Everyone’s got an opinion on that. My job is to act. Give me a story and I’ll make it work.

When you’ve got a show like ours that has been around for so many years, numbers start to drop and the fear factor kicks in and you start making drastic changes. We could all of a sudden lose 60% of our audience as oppose to 5% each year. I think it comes to a point of view where we just hope that we can hold on to them.

It’s like Zulu Dawn, the movie where you have thousands of Zulu warriors charging down at 200 soldiers. We know that if we can hold on a little longer, we may stand a chance, but everyone knows you’re doomed. Personally, if I was running a show that I knew was going to be terminated, I would start bringing in writers who are either young, worked in primetime, are cutting edge or have written for cable and ask how we could bring in the young crowd.

Is General Hospital staying or going?

Staying, for now. They’re actually going to test out Good Morning America in the afternoon for six weeks when The Revolution goes off the air and before Katie makes its debut.

Good Morning America in the afternoon?!

In September, the markets that get Katie on ABC will move GH up an hour. Essentially it’ll move from 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT to 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.

They’re changing the timeslot on GH? Ooh.

Daytime is habitual…that’s what they say. The kiss of death for daytime other than the rise of the Internet was the O.J. Simpson case, because the audience’s habit was broken. Going back to the soaps after the case was over had to be a conscious decision.

I’m a big fan of daytime. For what it does, it supplies a large audience. You have a lot of people getting a lot of joy from it. I had a lot of people tweet me when Lily (Christel Khalil) was going through the cancer storyline and say, “I have cancer and I watch this and it makes me realize that I’m not alone.”


Regarding audience reaction, there’s a big following for your character’s pairing with Lily.

I think that the reason that Cane and Lily resonate so deeply with people is that in their own way, they’re the last bastions of romance on the show. We do also have Lauren and Michael, but other than them – except for maybe Katherine and Murphy – there are no other couples on the show that are faithful to each other and have family values.

You can have trials and tribulations in life and then you tune in to the show because you want to have something that is romantic, stable and assuring. There’s an escapist feel to it. You don’t want to watch the news because of all the horror stories. I have zero interest in watching the news because it’s always doom and gloom. I don’t want that. I like to escape. That’s why movies are so popular. It may not be the actual movie or story, it’s the escapism involved. You’re leaving your life to go into a dark room with a mass of people with a common mindset and are escaping for an hour and a half to two hours. You want to leave things behind for a bit. That’s what daytime is. It’s escapism. You need to let people escape.

The “Lane” supporters played a big role in bringing you back to the show last year when you were let go and your character was killed off. They launched a fan campaign to bring you and your character back and it was later revealed that Cane’s never before mentioned twin brother, Caleb, was the one killed on those church steps. What exactly went on? There were conflicting reports stating that this was the plan all along and you weren’t really let go.

All I know is that I’m really happy to have a job. I love the show. I was very sad, just really sad. I’m a huge fan of Y&R. I love the people and fans. I love everything about this [show]. It lets me do what I love to do everyday, to act. I’m just very happy to be there.

You’re here in Toronto to endorse the Aquaswiss watch line, how did this project come about?

Aquaswiss came about because the last time I was in Toronto, during TIFF last year, I stopped over to see Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren), who was promoting her jewellery line on The Shopping Channel. I went on camera to speak about some of her pieces and they sold out. What’s interesting about Tracey’s jewellery is that it’s about romance, joy and excitement. I think it’s a good analogy for daytime because when you want to wear jewellery, you want to feel glamorous and want to escape.

The Shopping Channel called me up and asked if I’d be interesting in doing something with them. I said sure, but it would have to be the right product and it’s got to be something that I believe in. We discussed fitness and watches, and they told me about a few watch companies. I met with the guys at Aquaswiss and really liked their product. They are good and affordable watches. I really like what they’re doing and told them that I’d like to be a part of this.

All the watches have a two-year warranty and are Swiss made. I’m wearing the Rugged XG series and it comes in white, red, blue, yellow, green and orange. It’s a man’s watch, but women can also wear it. It also comes in a rose-gold face, bezel and accents with a silicon band. It’s quite versatile. I really thought this line would appeal well to the viewers of The Shopping Channel. It was also very well received outside. I’ve got friends who work in marketing at Paramount and Universal and they loved the line, which gave me a lot of confidence in the ability to have it succeed.

What style of watch would Cane wear?

He’d probably wear the same. It’s interesting, over time, you end up becoming very similar with your character. A perfect example would be Eric Braeden and Victor Newman where you become symbiotic with your character because you play it so often that you start to fall into the rhythm of the character – or you fall into the rhythm of yourself.


Cane’s backstory has changed quite a bit since you first started.

I’m a big believer in family. It’s tough for Cane. Take a look at some of the things that have happened in his past and the secrets that he’s had to keep. I can justify them by saying, “Would you want your wife to know that your father is trying to steal your children? Or would you just try to deal with the problem yourself? Would you want to make your wife be fearful on a daily basis and worry? Now, if you can’t fix the problems, the should be aware of it, but if you can, why would you put her through that?”

I think that it [the lying]comes from a level of love. If you don’t love a person, you wouldn’t care about their psychological and emotional well-being. It would just be like, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that my dad is going to take the kids away.” Cane has a truthful and sincere love for Lily and the last thing he wanted to do is hurt her and make her live in fear, but at the same time, he had to make sure their children were safe. It was a very double-edged sword.

The Phillip Chancellor storyline, I think was interesting as well. Phillip basically told Cane, “Here’s my blood. Go and do this because my mother is mourning my loss.” But at the same time, I think you see that Cane wanted to the love that he didn’t get as a kid. It was very different from his brother Caleb.

I think that Cane is a good person with a good heart. Looking at the polls in soap magazines, you see that audiences generally want romance and love, but that can’t be for all the characters, so you’ll have a character like Adam (Michael Muhney), who does things that only that character can do. Some of the stuff Adam has done, I don’t think that’s Cane’s speed.

Do you think that CBS actually look at these fan polls?

I don’t know. What do you think?

Judging by the storylines, I’d say no.

Interesting. A lot of the drama that comes into the show is the inter-relationship drama. I don’t know if the show has always been like that or if it’s had relationships that have had drama but the majority would be the man would go to work and have business drama or you or you would have nemesis drama and he could retreat to his house and have a solid relationship which would then bring in the romance. I’m not up on how the shows have been in the past. If I were at home and was having problems with my spouse, I don’t know if I’d want to watch a show where everyone else is also having problems with their spouse.

You got your start on Home and Away (as Eric Phillips), one of Australia’s biggest soaps. What’s the difference you’d say between Australian soaps and American soaps?

Home and Away has exterior sets. You’d be filming outdoors. What’s interesting is the crop of Australian actors who came from Home and Away: Chris Hemsworth, Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts and Melissa George. From Neighbours: Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Kylie Minogue. Isla Fisher was actually my love interest on Home and Away. She then did an episode of BeastMaster with me. She’s a sweetheart!

Home and Away is a very similar yet different show. It’s not as bedroom/boardroom. It’s more young angst with your elder people who are the core people that hold the show together. A trend that I see here with American soaps is having people like Victor Newman’s age being paired with a younger character like Sharon (Sharon Case).

Yeah, that’s not a real popular pairing at all.

Are you surprised?

What would American soaps have to do to stay as relevant as the ones in the UK and Australia? Coronation Street and EastEndeers also air in the early evenings while Y&R does great as a late afternoon show in Canada.

I’m not the one to judge [the content of the shows], but if you watch those other shows, you can make your own assumptions.


You got do some writing during your time on BeastMaster.

It was cool. A really good experience with a great group of people.

That show came to an end because Endemol was having financial problems. We already had 66 episodes, which we could globally syndicate, so it was a fiscal decision based upon a lack of finance, not a lack of ratings. We were consistently at our top in our timeslot in New York, Chicago, Miami and L.A.

The things about BeastMaster that I can talk about now in hindsight is that our first head writer and creator of the show, Steve Feke, came in the first season and left in the beginning of the second season. It became an arduous battle for him to consistently get the storylines he wanted. The first season was the truest to the vision that he had. He had a show bible planned over a couple of years where there was an evolution of metallurgy which we saw in the second season then the Nords came in.

We then had this meeting with this gentleman who was an executive involved with the show. He was high up on the food chain and wanted to make some changes to the show. He mainly wanted to attract more male viewers so that they could sell more ad space. I felt that the problem was that our show aired at the same time as sports. A man’s not going to watch a dude run around in a loin cloth when he can be watching a bunch of dues playing football. He also wanted to give my character, Dar, a sword. I didn’t understand why they’d give Dar a sword because he was a pacifist who didn’t believe in killing. What was I going to do with a sword? He also added chicks running around.

If you look at the ratings for season three, they were still strong but you could see that women were starting to turn it off. It makes you ask yourself, “Did he watch the show in season one? Did he watch the show in season two? What was he thinking?” Now, this guy got fired and hasn’t really done anything since.

It’s funny when you’re on the inside. It’s kind of like the guy who builds a car on the factory floor or assembles something. He knows what’s wrong. He knows what’s wrong. He could tell you how to fix it but no one is going to listen to him because he’s just the guy who puts them together, you know? It’s like the sergeant in Vietnam who knows the right way to take the hill but the lieutenant from West Point, who has never taken a hill, is going to tell him how to do it. I don’t follow that ideology. I believe that you ask the viewers, as the people on the front line, “Is it working? What should we do?” I understand that too many cooks spoil the broth but at the same time, you know there’s good knowledge to be taken from that. This guy with BeastMaster, it became a joke amongst the people out set, “Let’s get the sword!”


If you got to write for Y&R, where would you want your character’s story to go?

I’m not a writer, so I can’t think about it. I can’t start thinking that way because it makes me question things that I have no control over.

With Cane’s recent storyline, is his sister alive?

It seems that way. If you add up the numbers and get clues like with the toys or how the person knew the password to the bank account. Seems to be the way it’ll pan out, but who knows? I have no idea. It would be interesting if it were Samantha because she took the bullet from Caleb that saved Cane. There’s a myriad of opportunities there to create something powerful. I have a lot of faith with [head writer]Maria Arena Bell to craft something wonderful for me.

You tweeted that they’re updating the opening credits awhile back. Are we getting brand new credits, or is this just an update?

They’re just updating. I shot my portion. It’s only been…what, 10 years since the update?

Thank you for your time. Is there any special message you’d like to say to the fans?

I am the luckiest man to have the fan base that I have. I genuinely have a great appreciation and love for every single person who has written, rallied, cheered or booed for the character of Cane. I’m just grateful. I’m at Twitter, @DanielGoddard, and have my Facebook page. We have fan events that we put together. I truly believe that it’s important to let your fans know, I mean they’re just so devoted, and I’m devoted to them.


The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS and Global. Canadian fans can also catch up with the series online at GlobalTV.com, on demand or on their mobile devices. Check out Aquaswiss on The Shopping Channel.

For the latest in television and pop culture, follow Jeevan on Twitter, @JeevanBrar.

Recent Y&R interviews:
Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki)
Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren)
Michael Muhney (Adam)

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Jeevan Brar is a digital content producer and freelance entertainment writer based in Toronto. Jeevan has managed The TV Watercooler since 2008, the Canadian blog has focused on daytime soaps, primetime hits and reality TV guilty pleasures. The blog has also connected Canadian soap fans with exclusive interviews with the cast of enduring daytime dramas The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives, General Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful. 'Like' The TV Watercooler on Facebook. You can also follow Jeevan on Twitter and Google+.

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