Today THE BAY celebrates the sixth season debut – technically the 10th Anniversary of the Gregori J. Martin creation. “It feels amazing,” Gregori – the executive producer, head writer, director and showrunner – proudly tells HollywoodHI. “I’m very grateful to be here right now – I love me THE BAY family,” he says. Clearly, his all-star cast feels the same, and their dozens of Daytime Emmy Awards back up the bravado THE BAY exudes.
The sixth season of THE BAY was shot during COVID-19 – with all the restrictions and precautions that entails – at a ranch on the outskirts of Los Angeles, and incorporating red hot topics of the day.
Check out the new season of THE BAY on PopStarTV! thebaytheseries.com
“The way the show has developed through the years, the fact that we continually strive to improve the show year after year makes me most proud,” Gregori states. One of those improvements was bringing on former General Hospital Executive Producer Wendy Riche – with her own five Daytime Emmy’s – to work with him. “I’m so proud of the relevancy of THE BAY,” Wendy says. “Relevancy is what I live for in my life and in my work. THE BAY has always been on target and especially in season six with our characters dealing with the pandemic, confronting racism and looking at their own personal choices. It’s a really a good season of THE BAY.”
Wendy appreciates the contribution Gregori is making to the art form. “I would not be doing THE BAY if not for Gregori,” she says. And the magic that the duo create is something the four network soaps might take note of. “Generally speaking, the daytime soaps could use a shot of adrenaline in the pace of their storytelling, which is challenging to maintain character development in the writing – but it is what inspires me about working with Gregori on THE BAY.”
Gregori, for his part, knows exactly where a great deal of the credit goes. “Most of these characters have been in my mind for many years. To have the right actors playing the part means so much to me. I’ve always been a very family-oriented guy. So I strive to keep that family essence in the casting of THE BAY. I feel we’ve achieved that and that’s most important to me.” That family includes the centrepiece of the show, sexy socialite Sara Garrett and her son Pete – played by multi-Daytime Emmy winners Mary Beth Evans and Kristos Andrews, respectively. Mary Beth (Days of Our Lives) is just one of more than a dozen daytime tv mainstays, including Jacklyn Zeman (General Hospital), Brandon Beemer (The Bold and the Beautiful and Days of Our Lives), A Martinez (Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, Santa Barbara), Tristan Rogers (General Hospital and The Young and The Restless), Jade Harlow (Passions), Alicia Leigh Willis (General Hospital), Brittany Underwood (One Life To Live) and on and on. Erik Fellows (Days of Our Lives), Eric Nelson (All My Children), and Mike Manning (currently Days of Our Lives) also have daytime soap experience – and dozens and dozens of film credits. “I truly love my cast,” Gregori confirms, as he got a slew of them together to reveal just what they think makes THE BAY a ten-year success story.
What’s your favorite part of being on THE BAY set?
Kristos Andrews: The good people who work on the show.
Brandon Beemer: Working with friends and getting a lot of different takes to make sure we get the right performance.
Mary Beth Evans: The collaborative atmosphere.
Erik Fellows: We’re all like family at this point. Most of us have been with THE BAY for many years and we’re friends, with bonds that have been made for life! It really couldn’t be more of a comfortable vibe.
Jade Harlow: The people. Our whole cast and crew have great relationships.
Mike Manning: Returning to THE BAY for Season 6 felt less like returning to a job and more like arriving at a family reunion. The cast and crew have become close over the years and there’s a level of kinship that I think is great.
A Martinez: I love the sense of camaraderie that runs through the whole operation of THE BAY. There’s so much easy social energy to the process –– which is crucial, given how hard we work. We don’t have the luxury of taking a lot of time, so we need to be efficient. We’re among friends, and we have each other’s backs.
Eric Nelsen: My favorite part of being on the THE BAY set is its family atmosphere. Gregori and Kristos do an incredible job of making every cast member feel as if they’re home when on set. It’s a very special feeling. There’s constant support, encouragement and an abundance of respect and appreciation for who we are and what we bring to the show. I consider myself very lucky to have been in the bay family for this many years.
Brittany Underwood: I love getting to work with people that I genuinely care about, respect as actors, and enjoy spending time with. It’s like the perfect recipe for a great time on any set.
Alicia Leigh Willis: My favorite part of bring on the bay is catching up with old friends. We’ve all known each other for years. It’s been amazing to see how much has changed in everyone’s lives.
Jacklyn Zeman: Everyone connected to our Bay family brings something special to the set each and every time we shoot. Gregori J. Martin our Producer/Director always comes to the set with his vision and his plan for the scene. But he is always open to allowing the actors the freedom to play our parts as we wish. Every scene is always a ‘work in progress’ as Gregori expands and enhances the energy to bring the work and the emotion to an even higher level. He gives us as many takes as we need to make the scene the best it can be.
What is different about The Bay set from any daytime set you’ve worked on?
Kristos Andrews: I’d say the strong family atmosphere is pretty unmatchable.
Mary Beth Evans: It is far loser and you can shoot outside. Daytime is now so fast and completely inside.
Erik Fellows: The difference is that its more of a relaxed set and we film more in primetime TV manner/ film like setting. It makes for a non corporate feel.
Jade Harlow: We shoot 90% of our show on location and because we aren’t restricted by FCC guidelines, we can have dialogue that’s edgier… meaning we can cuss.
Mike Manning: I’ve been on THE BAY longer than other daytime shows, so the familiarity I have with my character and the chemistry I have with the other actors is something that we can continue to build on, to dig deeper into storylines that have been there for years.
A Martinez: Well, we shoot it like a movie. The camera moves through various setups, and we shoot scenes from various angles and distances –– in progression. That sense of performing live that you get on network soaps –– multiple cameras gliding on concrete, with the shots being cut in real time in the booth –– is absent.
Eric Nelsen: We don’t have a network which is very different from most other sets. So technically we can shoot and create however Gregori sees fit, without having to worry about a network’s restrictions or final say. Because of this, we can make our show a lot more edgy and spicy.
Tristan Rogers: There really isn’t one. Everyone on every set goes about their work in a similar way. They all come from similar backgrounds and in some cases worked the same shows. They all want to do good work.
Brittany Underwood: Well, we shoot on location and soaps mostly shoot inside a studio with some rare exceptions.
Alicia Leigh Willis: On The Bay we get to shoot on location. It’s nice when you switch things up a bit. Sometimes working in a studio nonstop you can go a little stir crazy.
Jacklyn Zeman: We can take more time to play with the scenes. On the Daytime shows that I have worked on we have always moved very fast. We do one rehearsal “run through” and then we shoot the scene. Then we move on. Daytime shows shoot 90+ pages every day. On The Bay we have the luxury of perfecting the scenes because we have less pages to shoot and more time to rehearse.
Is there an actor from a soap you’d seen over the years and when you met on The Bay set was especially impressed/excited/disappointed once you met them?
Kristos Andrews: I guess what comes to mind first is from the last shoot, not a soap actor but, it was cool to hang out with John Aprea who I knew from The Godfather trilogy. He was a really relaxed, kind person and I’m happy we got some time to connect.
Mary Beth Evans: I always loved Tristan Rogers but didn’t know him. We are such good friends now.
Erik Fellows: “I grew up watching Ronn Moss and being a fan of the infamous Ridge from B&B because my mother and grandma used to watch it. From his first day on The Bay, he couldn’t be nicer, so down to earth and easy going!”
Jade Harlow: The person that I was most excited to meet actually came from one of my favorite horror films, not daytime. I fan-girled out a bit when I met Heather Langenkamp (Nancy from “A Nightmare on Elm St.”) she was lovely, totally sweet.
Mike Manning: I’d say I was excited to work with Mary Beth Evans. From the first time we met, I’ve seen her be nothing but kind and gracious to everyone around her.
A Martinez: It’s been deeply rewarding to carry story with Jade Harlow. We share an appetite for activism in the world, and in the work, she’s brilliant and utterly fearless –– on the short list of actors with whom I feel an effortless kinship. We genuinely affect one another in scenes with sturdy stakes. Also –– it’s been amazing to witness the process of Brittany Underwood. She and I played family on One Life to Live, and I’ve long admired her work. But to watch her design the details of the comedic treasure that is Riley –– and then execute them with such precision –– has been really impressive.
Eric Nelsen: Ronn Moss. He was always a legend in my eyes and when I finally got to meet and work with him, he was just as great as I’d hoped he’d be. There’s not a nicer man.
Tristan Rogers: Can’t think of anyone that jumps out at me. I’ve worked with the same group for ten years and we’ve all evolved together. ‘No one’s greater than the sum.’
Brittany Underwood: Well I had already worked with him on One Life to Live but I was super happy to be working with A Martinez again on The Bay. He’s such a sweetheart, and so talented so that was one that I really was excited about.
Alicia Leigh Willis: Meeting Mary Beth was definitely a highlight. She is one of the warmest people I’ve met from daytime. I don’t think she has an egotistical bone in her body.
Jacklyn Zeman: This past summer John Aprea was cast to play the role of Jack Madison; Sofia’s husband on THE BAY. I had seen John in many roles, mostly in films, and have always thought that he is a fine actor. I was excited when Gregori called to tell me that he was thinking of offering the part to John. I had never met John in person and we only had one phone conversation, about 15 minutes, prior to meeting on the set to shoot in Santa Ynez. Since Jack and Sofia have been married for quite a few years it was important for us to make a strong enough connection for our viewers to believe that we were husband and wife. I had no doubt that Gregori and John and I would be able to make this happen. We all came prepared, we trusted one another and although the scenes were filled with drama, we had fun!
What made the Covid-19 shoot bearable?
Kristos Andrews: Everyone sticking to the protocol. And the variety of protein cookies.
Brandon Beemer: I’d say all the testing that was done, how strict they were while we were shooting in regards to masks and the location we were shooting at. We also had a very small crew on set when we were shooting.
Mary Beth Evans: Everyone really taking it seriously and following the protocols to keep everyone safe.
Erik Fellows: Well Gregori took control of the set like he always does and made us all feel safe and comfortable which helped us trust and respect one another during that time. It went pretty darn smoothly considering the circumstances. He gave everyone his best attention and directed us through the season with really no issues. It shows that, even in the toughest of times, his professionalism and work ethic was never compromised!
Jade Harlow: The feeling of safety that came from the top down. It was our largest priority to be safe and make everyone feel safe. And we all did our part to create that environment.
A Martinez: Our mutual joy at the opportunity to work. You don’t miss your water till the well runs dry, as the saying goes, and since our economy has been hobbled so badly, you have to wonder how you’re gonna keep the string of a career alive. And it’s important to acknowledge that the show has deepened as time has gone on, and I think the horrors of this year were nicely reflected in our writing. We have a lot to be proud of these days.
Eric Nelsen: The safety restrictions made me feel more comfortable and safe. Knowing we are not at risk and took every precautionary measure to avoid any of us contracting or spreading the virus was vital to shooting in COVID times.
Tristan Rogers: We were all in the same boat. We had a unique location which was like a bubble and using our own protocol, we got on with the job. It was just us. A great way to do it.
Brittany Underwood: I think knowing that we were all having to go through it, and the fact that everyone was super safe and respectful. I’m sure it was a challenge for Production to navigate, but I think they did a great job and I feel that overall this season felt very safe considering we were shooting during a Pandemic.
Alicia Leigh Willis: Shooting on the beautiful ranch made working during Covid times much better. It’s always been my dream to have a ranch with animals. I love horseback riding so hanging with the horse was special.
Jacklyn Zeman: We were shooting on a ranch in Santa Ynez so we felt safe since we were all tested and quarantined together. We had a nurse taking our temperatures every morning. We all wore masks, always except for the actual ‘take’, and we followed social distance guidelines. The ranch is beautiful. It it a wonderful location for shooting.
Did you show up at the remote location with any unnecessary apprehension?
Kristos Andrews: Not really – I just knew the plan was different and I was ready to roll with it and hope for the best.
Brandon Beemer: I didn’t. I was perfectly comfortable because I knew the location we were shooting at pretty well and I knew the producers were going to take Covid-19 very seriously.
Erik Fellows: Nope not at all! I was fully comfortable with the scenario and was ready to have fun and film.
Jade Harlow: I think that having apprehension when shooting during a pandemic is always necessary. It keeps you mindful of protecting yourself and others.
Mike Manning: Before traveling to location, I had a conversation with the producers about the safety protocols they were using to keep everyone safe, so by the time I got there I wasn’t nervous about filming.
A Martinez: I think all apprehension –– if reflected in smart behavior –– is the opposite of unnecessary. I treat Covid with the utmost respect. To do otherwise would be to play loose with life, and I’m way too deeply blessed to be doing that.
Eric Nelsen: No I did not. I knew we were going to have extremely strict rules and regulations that would be keeping us safe. Everyone had to be tested before coming and even while being on set. So there was nothing to be apprehensive about.
Tristan Rogers: No, it was just another day to me. I knew Gregori had a handle on it and so we just got on with it. I mean, no one got sick so it worked.
Brittany Underwood: Not really, when you’re working with people you already know and trust there’s already a calm and comfort that comes with that. So I think it was the perfect environment to shoot during Covid.
Alicia Leigh Willis: I knew that the producing team on The Bay was being super careful. I never felt unsafe at all.
Who had the best face mask throughout the shoot?
Kristos Andrews: I had some fun trying on different bane-esque masks throughout filming so I’d like to say me but I’ll hand it to makeup artist Ren who rocked a big smile design on her mask which helped keep the vibe up
Brandon Beemer: Kristos always had something big and cool on.
Jade Harlow: So, I adore the character “Daniel” on our show and when I was mask shopping one day, I found a mask that was PERFECT for that character! It was a murder hornet carrying away a roll of toilet paper. I asked Gregori & our wardrobe stylist Gabi if they wanted to maybe use it. They loved it! So, I look forward to seeing that make an appearance in the new episodes.
Mike Manning: Haha, Kristos definitely had the best facemask. There would be a different one for each day.
A Martinez: Erik Fellows, hands down. It was fire red. Appropriate color for the occasion.
Eric Nelsen: Kristos! He had a new mask it seemed for every day. You never knew what you were going to get!
Brittany Underwood: I Think Kristos and Gregori had really intense masks! I don’t remember if they both wore them on the shoot but they had like a double filter so it was pretty big and legit. I was like, wow, definitely no Covid getting through that! I hadn’t seen those before, so that was pretty cool.
Alicia Leigh Willis: Kristos definitely has the best mask!! It looked like something you’d see in a sci-fi movie
Did you pick up any new interests during any downtime on the ranch?
Kristos Andrews: Barely had any downtime but I would say I developed an admiration for tiny frogs; they were all over the place and very cute.
Erik Fellows: Yes, alone time – and taking that time to find my inner peace!
Jade Harlow: I developed an interest in llamas! Lol. There are all these adorable llamas at the ranch.
Mike Manning: I became friends with the horses and llamas at the ranch. Each day I would walk to their spot on the fence and feed them treats. There was a llama with a weird crooked smile. I called him “Chip.” He was my favorite.
A Martinez: No. But I did make myself pick up my guitar in my room at night, even though I was busted ass tired. The whole experience of the shoot felt like grace.
Eric Nelsen: I didn’t really have any downtown on the ranch. They packed all my scenes into three shoot days so it was very full and packed days for me. I was basically in the first shot all the way through the last every day.
Tristan Rogers: I can’t say I did. I took a book or two becasue there’s a lot of down time. Keeping your brain active has always been important.
Brittany Underwood: Totally! I’m a big llama watcher now, super loved checking out the zebras they had there. I’m kidding haha but only partially, because they did have lots of animals there so that was pretty cool, but honestly there wasn’t that much down time because they did a very good job of working the schedule out so that everyone was only there for whatever days were absolutely necessary.
Alicia Leigh Willis: I was shooting another project in Georgia so I was in and out pretty quick. No new hobbies that I can think of.
Jacklyn Zeman: I am an animal lover. So I would get up early to take a long walk in the morning to meet and greet the animals on the ranch. It was my morning ‘walking meditation’. Great for the body, mind and soul.
Did you make a friend, become closer to anyone in the cast, during the shoot?
Kristos Andrews: Got closer to my friends Meadow and Swen, as well as Najee and another friend I knew from high school, Andrew, who booked a part for some of the action scenes. It felt like a full circle since he was one who initially encouraged me to give acting a shot.
Erik Fellows: Yes. Najee De- Tiege.. He’s a good dude!
Jade Harlow: I had the opportunity to become closer with a former cast mate of mine from Passions. Andrea Evens and I got to spend more time together and she’s such a lovely person. So professional and down to earth.
Mike Manning: I became closer to a handful of people on set because we were spending so much time together. I got to know Randy Wayne, Alicia Leigh Willis, and Erik Fellows a little better. And of course, would spend time with Kristos Andrews, Gregori Martin, Eric Nelsen.
Eric Nelsen: I did get to make a great new friendship in Mike Manning! This was the first time we had spent this much time together. We had a blast.
Tristan Rogers: Can’t say as I formed any new friends. I walked a lot around the property.
Brittany Underwood: I don’t really feel I got ‘closer’ to anyone because I already feel so close to most of the people on this show, which is awesome. It’s always a bit of a reunion and a fun time.
Alicia Leigh Willis: I’m already friends with everybody I work with there but I did get to reconnect with John Aprea. He played my father in another show years ago. It was so lovely seeing him again.
Jacklyn Zeman: Not counting your own, who is your favorite character on THE BAY? Every one is special. I couldn’t choose just one. But I have to say that I really enjoy working and playing with Brittany Underwood. My daughter Riley on THE BAY, Britt brings a positive, sunny, happy energy to her character and to the scenes. She has great timing and she is always prepared. She is a joy to work with and our scenes always seem to unfold in a very natural ‘mother/daughter’ way.
Not counting your own, who is your favorite character on The Bay?
Kristos Andrews: It’s too hard to say. Each character on The Bay is so great in their own way and each actor on the show is so talented. I can’t decide on one.
Brandon Beemer: Blackwell.
Mary Beth Evans: Steve Jensen, I always think Matt Ashford is so interesting to watch.
Erik Fellows: I love the way Eric Nelsen has developed the Daniel character. From the journey and rollercoaster of his personal demons, coming out and being accepted and feeling proud of who he is. Eric really embodies the character and it shows in his performance.
Jade Harlow: Daniel – hands down.
Mike Manning: I really like Jade Harlow’s character of “Lianna Ramos.” I think Jade is a fantastic actress and has an emotional depth to her scenes that I enjoy watching.
Eric Nelsen: Probably Pete.
Brittany Underwood: I think it’s gotta be Lianna, she’s captivating and has gone through so much and is so resilient, it’s hard not to watch her scenes.
Alicia Leigh Willis: My favorite character is my onscreen brother Daniel. Eric Nelson is hilarious!! I also love working with Erik Fellows. When the three of us get together it’s a giggle fest.
Jacklyn Zeman: It’s always the next one that hasn’t been written yet. I like to believe that the best is always next to come.
Favorite storyline that you’re not in?
Kristos Andrews: I like the storyline RJ’s character is going through, as well as what’s going on at the hospital with all the real-time intensity. Also, there’s some crazy stuff on the underbelly side of the show that’s going on, which keeps me intrigued and wanting to know what’s going to happen.
Brandon Beemer: I’m happy with my storyline. I like playing the district attorney that isn’t afraid to do the right thing even if it’s difficult.
Erik Fellows: Any storyline that Jade and Alicia are in. One is my characters girlfriend at the moment and the other is my ex, so it’s fun to see where the story takes both characters.
Jade Harlow: Again, watching “Daniel’s” growth from spinning out of control in adult adolescence, to finding himself and coming out and now… potentially finding love. It’s been a beautiful and powerful journey to watch. And Eric Nelson has nailed every nuance of the human condition.
Mike Manning: This season, I think the audience will REALLY like “Pete Garrett’s” storyline, played by Kristos Andrews. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s a wild ride. It was a lot of fun watching Kristos dive into the complexities of his character and what he has to go through on the show. It’s so good!
Eric Nelsen: Kristos upcoming storyline! I don’t want to give anything away though.
Brittany Underwood: I mean, I’m kind of tied to Pete’s story line, but does that still count as not mine? He’s one of the main characters so I don’t think there’s anyone he’s not tied to.
Alicia Leigh Willis: I love when they sent Mary Beth’s character to jail.
Jacklyn Zeman: It’s always the next one that hasn’t been written yet. I like to believe that the best is always next to come.
What storyline will a new viewer of The Bay find most fascinating?
Kristos Andrews: There’s a lot of danger, steaminess and taboo on the show, between the crime, the shameless love; a mother and daughter sharing the same man, a blackmailed marriage, and the all kinds of principle-bending being explored between all the characters. Additionally, there’s a mysterious undercurrent of the supernatural, which keeps a nice layer of the vastly unknown continually unfolding.
Erik Fellows: Mine!
Jade Harlow: Our show didn’t ignore the painful realities of 2020. We dealt with them head on. From Covid, to social justice, our characters lived in the same world as our viewers, and we get to connect with them in that shared experience.
Mike Manning: I’m going to be selfish here and say that I think new viewers will really like the scenes between Daniel Garrett and Caleb McKinnon – my character – this season. The storyline goes in a direction I think people will enjoy watching and we really gave the performances our all.
Tristan Rogers: I think the current storyline is good because the show keeps on evolving and getting better. That’s the one to watch.
Brittany Underwood: I think there’s a little something in there for everyone which is what makes it so great!
Alicia Leigh Willis: I think all the storylines are fun and interesting in their own way. Something for everyone!!!
Jacklyn Zeman: I hope our Bay viewers will tune and decide for themselve