melody thomas scott

Photo Credit: SONJA FLEMMING/CBS

By Susan Pocharski


Growing up, Natalie Morales enjoyed watching a good soap opera. “Because I mostly lived overseas (my father was in the Air Force), I got hooked on a lot of Brazilian and Latin American telenovelas,” says The Talk co-host. “And I was a huge Dallas and Dynasty fan.”

Now, she’s combining her passion for drama—and her background in journalism—with a story arc on The Young and the Restless, starting August 17, playing investigative reporter Talia Morgan.

She took time out of her busy schedule to talk with Watch about her foray into theatrics.

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Challenging Herself

Morales shown from the shoulders up wearing an orange sleeveless shirt and a gold necklace with a sun pendant.

A publicity shot of Morales for The Talk

Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

What inspired you to act on Y&R?

I love the opportunity to challenge myself. While I’m not an actress, I’ve played a reporter before for a few TV shows and movies, so this was a great opportunity to develop a character and appear on one of CBS’s most popular daytime soap operas. It’s a great opportunity for crossover promotion and synergy between our two daytime shows. The Young and the Restless audience is loyal and I hope they stick around and watch us on The Talk.

Oh, the Drama!

Morales as Talia sits at a table facing Nikki Neuman and Phyllis Summers in a scene from Y&R.

Talia (Morales) talks with Nikki Neuman (Melody Thomas Scott) and Phyllis Summers (Michelle Stafford)

Photo Credit: SONJA FLEMMING/CBS

Describe your character: In what ways is she different from you?

Talia is an investigative journalist who loves a good story and juicy characters, which of course there are plenty of in Genoa City. I would say I am like Talia in that sense. However, I do question her objectivity right now, as she is getting swept up in the complicated web of Diane Jenkins (Susan Walters), Nikki Neuman (Melody Thomas Scott), and Phyllis Summers (Michelle Stafford). As a journalist I would question each of their motives a little more intensely, but I do love a good drama.

Having Fun

The Talk hosts stand close together onset and smile for the camera.

Morales (left) with her fellow hosts on The Talk: (l. to r.) Amanda Kloots, Sheryl Underwood, Akbar Gbajabiamila, and Jerry O’Connell

Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

What’s the difference between acting and working as a reporter/host?

As a reporter and host I am just telling the story, fact finding, not embellishing the details. The similarity between the two is perhaps the skill needed to memorize a live shot while reporting (and because it’s live, there are no second takes, which can be challenging). Acting involves a lot of skill, memorization, and of course putting yourself out there in a more emotional sense. I’m having a great time trying to develop Talia and am excited to see what she turns up in her future reporting.

Line Breaks

Morales wearing a pink blazer and white shirt stands on set with her arms around the waists of Melody Thomas Scott in a black print dress and Michelle Stafford in an olive green dress.

Morales, with Melody Thomas Scott and Michelle Stafford, says she appreciates the Y&R cast’s patience with her onset.

Photo Credit: SONJA FLEMMING/CBS

Did you take acting lessons to prepare for the part?

I have taken acting lessons in the past, though a long time ago. Talia is not that different from me, so that makes it easier. However, I needed advice on how to learn my lines and figure out how to move and talk at the same time, and thankfully the Y&R cast and crew have been patient. Also, my friends’ daughter introduced me to a fantastic app, Scene Study, that allows me to learn my lines while listening for the right cues.

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Melody Thomas Scott in a dress by Alexander McQueen, short necklace and rings by Missoma, long necklace by Miranda Frye, and earrings by Simon G.

Photography by Andrew Eccles | Styled by Christina Pacelli

Watch spoke to cast members of The Young and the Restless past and present on what they think of their characters. Whether heroic or villainous, the residents of Genoa City are undeniably compelling—and complex. That's what makes actors (and fans) adore them. Robert Newman politely describes his own character Ashland Locke as “ethically challenged.” You could say that about a lot of Y&R characters!

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Melody Thomas Scott on Nikki Newman

Melody Thomas Scott in a yellow dress standing by a pool

Melody Thomas Scott in a dress by Alexander McQueen, short necklace and rings by Missoma, long necklace by Miranda Frye, and earrings by Simon G.

Photography by Andrew Eccles | Styled by Christina Pacelli

“She can be cunning. She can be so much worse than that. She can step up to the plate and be whoever she needs to be at that moment. She’s not anybody I would want to be friends with. I wouldn’t trust her for anything. She grew up in a very rough, abusive environment. Yes, of course, Victor [Eric Braeden] has taught her a lot. She’s catapulted into this whole other class of life and married well, but you still see the tough Nikki come through. I don’t think she’ll ever lose that.”

Robert Newman on Ashland Locke

Robert Newman sitting at a desk in a suit with his hand on his leg

Robert Newman as Ashland in business attire

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

“I don’t want to characterize Ashland exclusively as a bad guy. I don’t really believe in that idea. I always talked to the writers at Guiding Light [Newman’s previous Daytime role] about not putting Josh in the box of a good guy because it’s not interesting, and it’s not real life. With Ashland, I think he’s more ethically challenged than Josh ever was, but I think he’s a good businessman who is very driven to get the result he wants.”

Richard Burgi on Ashland Locke

Richard Burgi in a white button down shirt with his arms folded

Richard Burgi in his Y&R days

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Richard Burgi

Before Robert Newman took over playing the character of Ashland Locke, Richard Burgi played the character. Here's what he had to say about Ashland:

“He’s cagey. He’s worked hard. He’s gone through some tribulations and trials in his life, and I think he’s arrived at a place where he’s enjoying the fruits of his labors and the little quiver of arrows that he can throw at people insofar as psychological manipulations in his world of big business.

“He’s a terrific, personable, charming, intelligent, kind person … who, like many characters that have been labeled as nefarious, is just misguided. I think Victor Newman was castigated as a bad guy for a while. He’s just misunderstood!”

Jason Thompson on Billy Abbott

Jason Thompson in a gray suit and maroon polo shirt

Jason Thompson suits up for The Young and the Restless.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

“Billy is a pretty reckless dude. He’s kind of all over the place all the time, which is super fun to play. I’m excited to go to work every day. My character has had a big couple of years. He has a gambling addiction, then fell off the wagon, and had to get his life back!”

“He lives on the edge and is reckless at times with his heart, but I don’t think he wants to be a bad guy.”

Courtney Hope as Sally Spectra

Courtney Hope as Sally Spectra in a leopard coat posing in front of a Spectra sign

Courtney Hope as Sally Spectra, circa January 2017

Photo Credit: John Paschal/JPI Studios.

“Sally is very feisty, very determined, and very artistic. But given her last name, people have a tendency to not expect a lot from her. She and her family have quite a patchy reputation of being tricksters and causing a little bit of … what’s the word? Nonsense! So people don’t totally take Sally seriously, which makes for fun, but also makes her want to try harder to prove herself and get people to like her.”

Joshua Morrow on Nick Newman

Joshua Morrow in swim trunks

Joshua Morrow shows off his physique.

Photo credit: Ed McGowan/CBS

“Nick has always had a real eye for the ladies and a real lack of judgment.”

Brytni Sarpy on Elena Dawson and Devon Hamilton

Brytni Sarpy smiling over her shoulder at the camera in a white dress

Brytni Sarpy flashes a megawatt smile.

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS.

“Elena met Devon when he was going through so much tragedy. Everyone was rooting for him to finally have something positive. Elena’s character represented that. Still, I didn’t think people would fall that hard for them, because I saw what a strong fanship there was for Devon and [his late wife] Hilary.

“In a way, Elena could have been just another distraction before Devon ended up with [Hilary’s doppelganger] Amanda. But there’s an honesty and a true connection there. There was so much drama surrounding Devon and Hilary, which was great. But it was a lot! With Elena, it feels like a seamless love story.”

Melody Thomas Scott on Nikki and Victor Newman

Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden posing on an ottoman

Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

“[Nikki and Victor] did indeed have … something. That very rare spark that, for the lack of a better term, entices our souls into dancing together.”

"Together, our souls become one. May the two of us always be one."

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Traditional rich reds and greens make Christmas at the Newmans' spectacularly homey.

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

By Michelle Darrisaw


Set decorator Justine Mercado is such a creative force at making the homes on The Young and the Restless merry and bright for the holiday season that her colleagues christened her as the “Christmas Queen.” Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until the week of Christmas to feast your eyes on the holiday décor while watching Y&R on CBS.

Ahead, a sneak peek of what’s to come this season and how Mercado and the team rose to this year’s design challenge. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t take a Newman-style takeover or a Chancellor fortune to reimagine these decorations in your own home.

Watch The Young and the Restless weekdays on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

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Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) and Eric Braeden (Victor Newman) dazzle in formalwear for Ashland and Victoria's wedding.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

By Meirav Devash

And we thought picking out something to wear was challenging. At 250 episodes per season, CBS's The Young and the Restless costume designer David Zyla is responsible for dressing a huge, beloved cast of characters—approximately 2,000 outfits a year. Every character has their own color palette, their clothes are tailored for a custom fit, and they never—ever—repeat outfits.

Watch The Young and the Restless weekdays on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

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