Next week on Thursday March 8th, soap fans will welcome home a very familiar face to the daytime scene, when Lisa Rinna makes her return as Billie Reed on Days of our Lives! As many know, Rinna got her big break starring as the complex Billie, and her romance with the uber-popular Bo Brady back in 1992. Lisa stayed with the series for three years before going off to create an amazing brand for herself from appearing on Melrose Place, co-hosting SOAPnet’s Soap Talk, her clothing stores, Belle Gray, her appearance on Dancing with the Stars, her books including the best-selling, Rinovation, and the list goes on and on.
So what brings Rinna and Billie back to Salem after all these years in 2012? On-Air On-Soaps was part of a conference call with the dazzling Rinna asking several questions of her along with a host of journalists. Below were some of her most interesting answers to the burning questions posed!
Lisa on what was discussed with the powers-that-be at DAYS to entice her back, and what will Billie be like in 2012: “I come to the table with a pretty full life and so you talk about everything, and how it would work, and what it would look like. Billie’s a great character. And, they’ve never killed her off. Obviously they’ve had three different actresses play her. I think there’s a lot of value in that family and Billie as a character. And, she will absolutely have her spunk and her fire. So she definitely didn’t lose that, nor did I. I still have mine. So I guess I bring that definitely! But again, she’s matured and she’s in a different place in her life right now. So I think what you’ll find interesting, and what I find interesting is some tables have turned and some roles have kind of shifted between some of the characters. So maybe where Austin — being my big brother — used to take care of me, and now I may be taking more care of him and even more care of my mother right now. That’s a role reversal which I think is an interesting road to take.”
Lisa on if she would like to see Billie revisit her drug-addicted past! “Billie took a big old acid trip, thanks to her father, and oh my gosh! I’ll never forget that. That was so much fun. I mean, come on, as an actress, that’s just juicy to play all of that. You know, you never know. People can slip up and certainly, we watch it in the news all the time. I think that would be a really interesting story to play out and follow. Maybe she slips up. Maybe if there’s some serious pain and she slips up, then all of a sudden she’s an addict again. Oh I would love that. That would be fantastic to play.”
Lisa on what brings Billie back to Salem: “She comes back to do something with her mother. So you will first me with Kate. Billie created Countess Wilhelmina Cosmetics, so we’ll see how that plays out!”
Lisa on if they will revisit a Bo Brady romance for Billie one more time! “I believe from what I’m seeing that is going to be a ‘been there, done that.’ And Billie has a child with Bo, obviously, but we are in a platonic relationship. So the fans will probably be very relieved to hear that!”
Lisa on the rumor that Billie might be paired with Dr. Daniel Jonas romantically, even though the good doc has romanced both her mother and her daughter, Chelsea!: “You know, feelings are very powerful. And I think complete conflict would definitely be in the mix if that were to happen. But again, when you’re passionate about somebody it can override many, many things. So we’ll see. I love that there’s that kind of obstacle – a huge obstacle. It’s never easy in soaps.”
Lisa on what she thinks of the current daytime landscape after so many long-time soaps were canceled in favor of reality/makeover programming: “I was flipping through the channels and went “Okay, what’s the difference between The Chew and The Revolution?” You know, there is none. T he real estate has changed dramatically and that we can all see I think. It’s sad to lose such great shows. But the shows that are left are great, very strong soap operas I think. What I’ve personally seen change is the budgets and the way they’re run. They’re very efficient now so that they can stay on the air.”
Lisa on coming back to DAYS and checking out some of the new talent on the show: “It’s so much fun for me to work with such good actors. These people are real good. I come home and I tell my husband Harry (Hamlin), probably nightly, “You cannot believe – let me tell you about this scene today. And let me tell you, Chandler Massey (Will) and these kids are unreal.”
Lisa on working again with Lauren Koslow (Kate) and Patrick Muldoon (Austin) as her on-screen mother and brother: “Lauren could never be my mother in real life because she’s not old enough to be my mom! There’s a really nice friendship and connection with both of them. They feel like family to me, and that’s really special to have. I haven’t seen Lauren probably in ten years. I had seen Patrick about a year ago and I started running into him. And he’s one of the reasons why I decided to go back to the show. He kind of put the bug in my ear when he told me he was going back. And I thought, ‘Oh, that could be fun. That could be an interesting thing.”’
Lisa on if she feels pressure to drive the ratings up on DAYS when the soaps are in need of more viewer eyeballs! “Oh, well I think that you always feel pressure in this business, don’t you? I mean, we always feel pressure. But I’m not really thinking about that, to be honest with you. I mean, I hope to be able to keep the show on the air! It would be really nice to bring enough viewership and attention to it and bring people back so that we can keep soaps on the air. And if I were able to help in that way in some way, that would really make me feel good and be great. But you can’t put that kind of pressure on yourself because people either want to watch or they don’t, you know. But hopefully they’ll be curious enough to tune in. And, you know, of course I would love for, a million people to tune in. I mean, that would be a nice coup, wouldn’t it?”
Lisa on how long she may be sticking around at DAYS: “I don’t know if I can talk about it exactly. As long as we’re all having fun we’re going to keep doing it. We’ll see. But I think it’s not super short-term, no.”
Lisa on if she would prefer to be in a cop uniform or dressed as a cosmetic executive, when in the past fans heard reports she did not like putting on the Salem PD wear: “Well it’s funny because it was more my husband who felt that. It was really more Harry. He just hated the fact that they put me in that cop uniform. You know, I really didn’t care because it was actually easy. You didn’t have to do wardrobe, you just get in that cop uniform and you don’t put much makeup on. I actually didn’t mind it. He was just furious about it, which is so funny! So yes, it’s nice to be going back to work in that area. I mean, I have been a business woman over the past nine years running my store Belle Gray, so I had some experience there too. So that felt right. It felt nice to go back into Countess Wilhelmina mode.”
Lisa on if she feels that Soap Talk got diluted down from its original intent (which was to be a talk show about the soaps) and if SOAPnet made a key marketing mistake that eventually canceled the show for her and co-host Ty Treadway: “You know, it’s hard to answer that question. I think it evolved with the times. And I really didn’t have control over that. It was more a production and a network decision. Unfortunately, that was what was going on and has gone on in the times. But it was great to be a part of it. It was a great fun, and I loved working with Ty. It was a great show. We had a great time. I’ve met every single person that’s ever done a soap opera, I think!”
Lisa on if she will be watching the new season of Dancing with the Stars: “Of course I keep up with the show. I love that show. You know, it has a very special place in my heart. It’s fun because every season now I have friends -that end up doing it. I was just thinking, about the new season. My friend Maria Menounos, my friend Jack Wagner and my friend Melissa Gilbert are on it. So those are three people that, I know quite well … certainly working with Jack on Melrose Place. I’ve run into him from time-to-time over the years, but haven’t seen a whole lot of him. I think this season is going to be fun and wacky and is going to be delicious like it always is.”
Make sure to also check out Lisa when she appears with Andy Cohen as a special guest on the Tuesday, March 6th edition of his hit Bravo talk series, Watch What Happen Live.
So soapers after reading Lisa’s comments, are you excited about her return to DAYS? Let us know your thoughts and who you would like to see Billie romantically linked with!