Exclusive

Exclusive: Hillary B. Smith Teases Bold New Role, Looks Back on OLTL's Emotional Series Finale

When TVLine spoke exclusively with Daytime Emmy winner Hillary B. Smith about her upcoming role on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful, she could hardly contain her excitement. “I could have gone on that show as a janitor and I would have been happy,” she gushed.

Fortunately, Smith – best known for her lengthy run as Nora Buchanan on the late One Life to Live — joins the CBS soap on March 8 as the far more integral Dr. Stacy Burton, who though not a custodian will still have some messes to clean up — seeing as she is a psychiatrist specializing in sex therapy.

Here, the daytime TV vet gives us a glimpse into her Bold new venture and reveals what she really thought of OLTL‘s swan song.

TVLINE | What drew you to the role of B&B‘s Dr. Stacy Burton, sex therapy specialist?
To be perfectly honest, what drew me to this role was the opportunity to work with [executive producer] Brad Bell… and that’s basically it. [Laughs] I also have a lot of friends that work on Bold and the Beautiful and [CBS sister soap] Young and the Restless, but I just have a great admiration for the Bell family and a great respect for Brad and what he does, and that for me was enough. I could have gone on that show as a janitor and I would have been happy to have the experience to work with him. [Laughs]

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TVLINE | Were you actively looking to return to work so quickly after One Life to Live wrapped?
I had no intention of really doing anything and just wanted some downtime. We wrapped [One Life to Live] on Nov. 18 and as you know we were supposed to continue online. But when that fell through I was kind of secretly relieved from a personal standpoint. I could actually spend the holidays not worrying about a schedule and then come out of the holiday not exhausted. It was really kind of lovely to have that opportunity! And then the call [to join B&B] came out of the blue — I wasn’t anticipating it. It was like, “Wow, yeah, this sounds like fun! I’ll do that.”

TVLINE | Can you pinpoint anything in particular about Dr. Stacy that appealed to you, after playing the same character for the better part of two decades?
I think any role would be a good fit for me after all those years playing Nora! [Laughs] However, I’m thrilled that she’s a doctor because I know [OLTL exec producer] Frank Valentini used to say that it was too bad Nora wasn’t a doctor because I know so much medical terminology. I started my soap career as a nurse [on The Doctors] and now I’ve graduated to a doctor — after being a lawyer! — so this is great.

TVLINE | Do you know who you’ll be working with on Bold and the Beautiful?
I have not seen a script yet, but Brad called and gave me a little thumbnail sketch of who I’d be working with and what I’d be doing. I’m going to be working very closely with a contract player and helping them deal with a crisis, so that works for me.

TVLINE | B&B seems to be the most sexual of the soaps, and you’re playing a sex therapist… That would seem to keep you pretty busy.
Hey, if they all need sexual therapy, I’m thrilled! I think they all need to have therapy, and they all need to come to Stacy Burton.

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TVLINE | What kind of feedback have you received from fans? I imagine they’re eager to follow wherever you go.
You know, I went on Twitter because I’m on a web series, Venice, and they wanted me to promote it there… and I’ve actually developed some fan friends, or “frans” as we call them. They were all very excited and thrilled that I was going to be back on the air, where they could tune in and see me. Isn’t that lovely? I’m very blessed with loving and encouraging fans.

TVLINE | Speaking of, will you be sticking with Venice during your new venture?
Yes, I will.

TVLINE | Did your previous experience with a web series make you more confident in One Life to Live‘s deal with Prospect Park?
I didn’t quite understand how they were going to do it. I don’t understand how you can raise money for something that doesn’t have a proven revenue point… but you know what? It’s none of my business how they were going to do that. Just give me the script, tell me when I’m going to show up and I’ll be there to bring that character to life. I was nervous and concerned about it at first, so it took awhile for a deal to be hammered out, and then when it all went away I was so sad. I was sad for the fans, that they had it cancelled again on them — that’s the hard part. So, it was very bittersweet saying goodbye. And then when this offer [for B&B] came through, it was like, I guess we all move on.

TVLINE | How were you feeling the day OLTL‘s finale aired?
I was in New York at [an Upper West Side sports bar] with a bunch of the cast and crew and there were times during the episode that I just started to cry, and others when I laughed out loud. At one point I had tears streaming down [my] face — especially when Woodsy [Robert S. Woods] and I say goodbye to each other [on camera]. That was really Woodsy saying goodbye to Hillary and Hillary saying goodbye to Woodsy, and that was tough. Just remembering the day we shot it all, you know, was sad. We just looked around the room and wished everyone well and hoped we’d see each other again. But lives move on. Actors are supposed to be nomadic by nature, but we found ourselves forming a family — dysfunctional albeit, but a family nonetheless — and then suddenly our family was gone.

One Life to Live Series Finale Photos

TVLINE | How do you feel about the way One Life to Live wrapped things up? Was it a fitting conclusion, in your eyes?
I think there was unfortunately a lot of running around and fixing things. They had an ending in mind and then Prospect Park bought the rights and they changed a lot of the ending so that it could continue… So, that was very difficult and was probably really hard for [headwriter] Ron [Carlivati]. And then when the rug got pulled out again [when Prospect Park canceled their plan], they had from Thanksgiving until it aired [in January] to move things around and try to get some sort of closure. I think they did a remarkable job considering how the ending was supposed to go and how it did go. I tip my hat to them.

TVLINE | So, there was supposed to be a different ending for Bo and Nora? They actually seemed to receive the most closure.
There was something else that we shot in case the show went on, but it was very easy to hack off — and so they did.

TVLINE | And now here you are, about to start shooting Bold and the Beautiful. Any nerves about stepping onto a new set after all these years?
You know, it’s not nerves as much as it is excitement. I can bring out the old jokes and they’ll have never heard them. [Laughs] I have great respect for the cast — I’ve worked with Scott Clifton (Liam; ex-Schuyler, OLTL) and Heather Tom (Katie; ex-Kelly, OLTL); I’ve known Don Diamont (Bill) and worked with Susan Flannery (Stephanie) as a director — and I can’t wait to get there and just do. It’s nervous anticipation. I’m thinking, “Oh my gosh, am I not going to know my lines?” [Laughs] I want to do justice to the show. It’s a great series and I’m very happy to be a part of it, especially to be a part of the Bell legacy.

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22 Comments
  1. Colleen says:

    Awesome interview Megan! Out of all the OLTL/AMC soap peeps moving to other shows I am looking forward to this one the most

  2. lipsticksocialism says:

    OMG, they’re sending Hope to sex therapy! That girl is going to have a sex breakdown, lol.

    But glad to have her on, and she’s right—everyone on that show needs sex therapy, lmao

    thanks for this interview :)

  3. JAmandaFan says:

    Great interview! I can’t wait to watch her on B&B! I loved the ending of OLTL, but would love to hear the alternate endings.

  4. Barb says:

    I am happy for Hillary but sad for us fans as we still want our OLTL to come back! I am glad she is able to move on and that is what she should do but I am not ready to do that! Still fighting for OLTL!! Hillary will be fantastic at whatever she does I would expect nothing less! Wishing her the best and I will watch B&B as she is one of may fav’s along witht the other ones that are now on B&B!

  5. Kaye says:

    So excited to see Hillary will be back on my screen. However, it is bittersweet because I really miss OLTL, especially Bo and his Red.

  6. Bina says:

    You are right about one thing Meagan!, Wherever Hillary goes, I go. I’ve watched & been a fan of Hillary’s since she portrayed Margo Hughes on ATWT & a loyal fan of OLTL the whole 20 years that she portrayed Nora on OLTL. She is indeed a great actress & good at what she does. I also watch her on Venice & Fumbling Thru The Pieces. I am so happy she found work on the Bold & the Beautiful. Can’t watch till March 8, to see her in action. Congrats!! Hillary you really deserve it. Maybe now she’ll get her well deserved EMMY that she so richly deserves.

  7. Mickey says:

    I will also follow HBS wherever she goes. Happy to see her on my TV soon.

    One more thing, does anyone know if Fumbling thru the pieces is going to continue?

  8. Karen says:

    Congratulation Hillary on the new gig! I will be watching too! Just like Rick and Lesley Webber (GH) and Jonathan and Jennifer Hart (Hart to Hart) Bo and Nora will always ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart. Best wishes always!

  9. Leila says:

    Each and every honor Hillary B. Smith has received is well deserved and hard earned. She is a tremendous talent and I am thankful to have been introduced to her work. Now others will be given the opportunity to witness her greatness and I hope this venture will lead her to even greater success.

  10. Rhonda says:

    I guess this means all the fighting to bring OLTL and AMC is really for nothing. All of the cast seems to be going to other soaps. I will just start watching where ever they go! I will be watching B&B since Hillary will be there! And I will be watching GH for the Mannings and McBain.

  11. Andrea says:

    Fumbling is about to film season 2. Yay for Hillary ! I will follow her anywhere and I am already watching B&B in anticipation of Dr. Stacey. OLTL kept her on the backburner. Hopefully this role will let her talent shine.

  12. Shirley Handy says:

    I’ve been watching B&B lately having a problem getting into it and GH but will keep watching as soon as Hillary gets on that show it will be great. I also watch DOOL but just have trouble getting into it. Jessie and Angie are on Y&R love that show. I will always miss OLYL and AMC they were my favorites. I can’t wait till the Mannings go to GH.

  13. Kisha glisson says:

    I wish Hilliary all the luck and success in her future career… She is a phonominal actress… I just can’t get over OLTL ending….

  14. lance says:

    Stephanie & Eric are going to sexy therapy to see the Doctor…Happy for Hillary…Maybe her ex-spouse could be none other Robert S. Woods

  15. Mel says:

    Haven’t watch B&B in years, but I will start watching again! Very excited and happy for Hillary!

  16. SF Gram says:

    I have watched and been a fan of OLTL since 1972. Hillary’s portrayal of Nora will be forever etched in my memory. She is a truly wonderful and dedicated actress. I am also enjoying her performances on Venice and Fumbling Thru The Pieces. I’m looking forward to watching her on The Bold and The Beautiful. Congratulations and best wishes to you. We, the fans, are so fortunate that you will continue to be a part of our lives. All the best to you as you embark on this new adventure!!!

  17. Tammy Grzenia says:

    Just want to say that my Heart is so Broken loosing my Day Time Family.but i am so happy for Hillary B.Smith i will be watching her on B&B.I HOPE AND PRAY THAT ONE DAY SOON WE WILL SEE AMC &OLTL AGAIN.

  18. Bina says:

    I know she won one in 94. She deserves more than one. She has gotten some of the best material & year after year she is overlooked.

  19. Madonna says:

    Wouldn it be a twist if they hired Robert S. Woods and he would up going to therapist and…..and…..and….OH MY….wink
    i relly hope GH and OLTL will find a Net Work that will re surface the shows…I have such an void now that their gone.
    I miss y’all…
    Madonna R Borromeo…Shasta Lake California

  20. Martha says:

    I really loved Hillary on OLTL and look forward to her on BB!!
    I will follow Hillary’s career wherever it goes. Hopefully OLTL
    and AMC will show up on another cable channel asap.

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