For many longtime fans of The Young and the Restless, it has been strange to not see the talented Daytime Award winning actor, Kristoff St. John (Neil Winters) not have a story he can really sink his teeth into. Whether it be romantic entanglements that just never caught fire, being in the boardroom over support and not driving the story, or dispensing fatherly advice to his children, Kristoff St. John remains a prominent name associated with the legacy of Y&R. We caught up with St. John late last week at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills which was honoring the series for its 10,000 episode milestone with a celebration and a panel discussion, in which St. John took part in. On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Kristoff during the cast arrivals, and to ask him to weigh in on the regime change at Y&R, how he feels currently about his status with the number one soap, and to get his thoughts on the contract battles going on with his on-screen daughter, Christel Khalil. So here below is our “quickie” chat with Kristoff!
Over the last several years, you have not been utilized on Y&R to the extent you should, given that you are a Daytime Emmy Award winning actor and a fan favorite. How do you feel about not being front and center?
KRISTOFF: I have had a long run on this show and some years are slower than others. The last five years have been like molasses. As an actor in this genre, you always want to be involved. You don’t want to be relegated to back-burner because that means you are non-existent and not important, to not necessarily to the audience, but the story at hand. I would much rather be over-used then under-used. I would much rather complain about being too tired from working then tired from lying out in the sun.
Speaking of the sun … you recently made a Facebook post that had made the rounds about going to the beach, which seemed to indicate you feel some actors on the Y&R canvas should be given more time off to spend at the beach! (Laughs)
KRISTOFF: Oh yes! I said something along the lines of: “There are certain people that should be at the beach, and they are not. They need a tan more than I do!” (Laughs) But all things considered, it would be ungrateful and selfish for me to say I am not happy with where I am professionally. Being given time off has given me a lot of time to write, create, and to think about what I am supposed to be doing outside of this show. I have lovingly said in the past, and you know this, that this is the best part-time job I have ever had, because some days and some months go by and that is what it feels like, and I haven’t stepped foot at the CBS Television City property. But that’s just fine with me right now, but let’s start the engine up again!
What do you think of the regime change of Jill Farren Phelps and Josh Griffith coming aboard at Y&R, and Maria Arena Bell exiting both as EP and head writer? What do you think it means for Neil Winters?
KRISTOFF: I am going to be very diplomatic and careful about saying anything about past regimes or new regimes. I can say that never have I worked less than in the last five years, and my angst to work and be a part of the story is very high at this point. So we shall see where my personal journey goes on the show. But as far as Maria Arena Bell, cheers to a run that went by very quickly for some, and very slowly for others. However, she is very creative lady who had a huge undertaking, and quite possibly underestimated the huge challenge that she faced. She surrounded herself with a good team of people and continued to further The Young and the Restless cause. I have to tip my hat to a lot that she accomplished while she was there. And I also have to say that there were a few disappointments. The fans let everyone know. If the head writers listen more to the fans, then the ratings might be a little higher.
What are your thought on how your on-screen daughter Christel Khailil’s (Lily) contract talks are going down? How would you feel if she were to be exit the show?
KRISTOFF: Christel is very dear to my heart. She is like my own daughter. am very saddened to hear anything about her departure from The Young and the Restless. If she does chose to leave, I wish her well, but I hope that is not the case.
So soapers, what do you think the new regime should do with the character of Neil Winters? Who should be a solid love interest for him? How do you feel about how he has been under-utilized, and his comments on the situation? Weigh-in!