Soap Vet Gina Tognoni Takes Michelle Stafford's Place at The Young and the Restless

7th Annual ABC & SOAPnet Salute Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids Benefit Closing CelebrationOne popular daytime actress leaves a soap, another fills her role. So are the days of our — wait, wrong show.

Daytime Emmy winner Gina Tognoni has joined the cast of CBS’ The Young and the Restless in the plum role of Phyllis, TV Guide Magazine reports.

RELATED | Soaps Dish: James Scott Exits Days of Our Lives

Michelle Stafford played the character, on and off, from 1994 to 2013. While Y&R‘s comatose Phyllis has been hospitalized off-screen for a year, Stafford recently made her debut as General Hospital‘s Nina.

Tognoni is known for playing One Life to Live‘s Kelly and Guiding Light‘s Dinah. She’s also had roles on The SopranosLaw and Order: SVU and Fastlane.

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117 Comments
  1. Ava says:

    I was a viewer of OLTL during her run as Kelly and just don’t see her as Phyllis. I do wish her luck, though. Too bad Jamie Lunar wasn’ available. She would have made an awesome Phyllis.

  2. alistaircrane says:

    Terrible casting! She is way too young! I will never buy her as Daniel’s mother or Jack’s love interest. I had been hoping for Robin Christopher. I loved Gina as Kelly Cramer but just can’t see her as Phyllis. This is as bad as when they recast Diane Jenkins with the much-too-young Maura West. I hope Gina at least dyes her hair red.

    • Shazay says:

      Yes! I didn’t think of Robin Christopher either! She would have been a good choice too! Gina is too young but I think she’ll put her own stamp on in. Maybe she can play older? I just feel bad because GH has a habit of casting A+ soap vets in new roles, only to have them fizzle and leave after a short time. Remember Jensen Buchanan as Melissa? What a shame. I just hope that they can retain Michelle and Maura, while respecting/utilizing their awesome vets like Lynn Herring and Kristina Wagner because they are everything!

  3. Pamela says:

    I just can not see her as Phyllis. I will wait and see though

  4. TL says:

    I am NOT down with this!

  5. TW says:

    No one can replace Michelle Stafford in this role. Why are they even bothering to try?

  6. Eric7740 says:

    I don’t see her as Phyllis. Jamie Luner should have been the recast. It was a no-brainer. If anyone could’ve filled Michelle’s shoes and play Phyllis, it would have been Jamie.

  7. Tran says:

    Michelle Stafford will always be the perfect Phyllis on Y&R. Don’t know how the actress is going to fare on her new gig on GH.

  8. Antwon says:

    I think she is a good actress but I don’t see her as Phyllis. She looks too young to have been with Jack and given birth to Daniel. It should have been Robin Christopher who is a good actress and can play the blotch that Phyllis can be.

  9. TL says:

    So we rapidly age young characters to make them teens and 20-somethings and now we can Benjamin Button older characters to make them younger. GOT IT!

    • Shazay says:

      Classic!! So true!! They de-aged Diane twice, and aged Phyllis once with Sandra Nelson, then de-aged her when it was Michelle again, and now de-aging her some more with Gina.
      Having Marlena be a great grandmother, and Hope a grandmother on Days is crazy, they need to stop SORAS’ing and just let people age normally.

      • Diane says:

        they need to stop SORAS’ing and just let people age normally. I agree with this statement. Also Y&R’s needs to have their main actors to take their place in the story line like the story had in the beginning of the show. They have only Victor and Nikki any more. But they keep messing with their marriage and making Victor a bad guy. It’s time to let those two grow old together and live their life on the show as true grandparents. Before one of them die in real life and they try to recast Victor as a younger man, because there is only one Victor of Nikki, or and older Nikki for Victor.
        I feel Jack’s day and time has come to finally marry and have a family of his own and take his place as head man in the Abbot story line. The new generation needs to come in and play in the story line. Your older actors and actresses are soon to die or have health problems in real life and they will be gone. Y&R’s needs to let the young ones in the story take on their rolls. Stop sending them away or hiding them in the bedroom or going to college and never coming back . You know there are colleges they can go near home. They can live at home and still go to college near by. A collage storyline would also get the collage students to watch the story and they are Y&R’s new audience.

  10. Robert says:

    I would have never seen this casting coming! I love Gina but I have to agree with everyone who say she is to young, unless they plan to reduce Daniel’s age. I also agree with everyone who pictured Jamie in tge role, that was the first recasting thought that came to mind. I do wish Gina luck and I know she has the fire and passion to bring to the character of Phyllis. I guess the upside of her casting is now we get to see the end of nasty comments of Michelle being to old to wear some of Phyllis’s sexy clothing( which I thought Michelle always looked sexy and beautiful in Phyllis’ s outfits) Gina should be able to shine in the wardrobe. I wonder if it is safe to assume she will dye her hair?

    • Rhonda L. Howard says:

      aghhh….ALL wrong! In the first place Michelle was too old for Nick. This Gina looks like a man and also looks too old for Nick. Her and Nick will not go together well at all! Ugh….they both suck. I liked Michelle, but with Jack….not Nick.

      • Aarona Calamease says:

        Rhonda i am with. She looks like a woman on drugs. She has always been ugly to me, even when she played on One Life to Live!

  11. SuperChic says:

    Oh Hell NO!!! I always found her portrayal of Kelly so boring. There was never a spark there IMO. I just can’t see her as Phyllis. I would have rather seen the amazing and very versitle Robin Christopher in the role. The Phyllis character is scarry, angry, bitter, evil, vindictive and a slew of other adjectives. It requires someone with a diverse character skill set to play Phyllis….Gina doesn’t have it.

    • alistaircrane says:

      I’m assuming you only saw her 2010-2011 stint as Kelly and not her original 1995-2002 run. She was great.

      • SuperChic says:

        I was in a drunken stuper…..and kinda remember some good moments for Kelly. I will give her a chance and wish her the best in her new role. I still don’t see her as Phyllis, but hope she will bring something new to the role.

    • Mike H says:

      She was excellent as Kelly on OLTL; however, I cannot see her as Phyllis. She is 8 years younger than Stafford.

  12. MattArmando says:

    Gina Tognoni is perfect for Phyllis. Predicted it from the start.

  13. Anthony says:

    If you haven’t seen this woman’s talent and depth from her stint on Guiding Light than I feel bad for anyone whose naysaying this because she gave her all in the role of Dinah on that show and was phenomenal and has 2 Emmys to show for it so I have full faith in her with this role. Congrats Gina!

  14. Jackie Hillstock says:

    I am so glad that y&r are recasting Phyllis’s role, I want the truth to come out about Sharon’s lie, I think Gina will be great and I’m looking forward to seeing her do her thing, You go girl!

  15. Adora says:

    I have been a fan of the young and the restless for 28 years. Since I was 12. I still watch it and tape it so I can catch up on the. Week. I have seen it all the recast and so forth throughout the. Years as a true fan. As long. As the the show is doing great and well and with all the cast and crew. Doing their best job. As a fan it doesn’t matter as my soap I love throughout the years still. Makes me laugh cry. Etc.. As long as it. Makes me happy to watch and be a fan forever.

  16. T says:

    I love GT and am thrilled to see her on CBS again. She is gorgeous and tough and feminine and can kick butt and yet be so sensitive–she was fantastic as Dinah (and I won’t even mind if Y&R brings back Jeff Branson–Gina T and he were great together on GL). True, this younger-looking Phyllis could be problematic in that she has two very grown children (and she is now more petite than her daughter Summer), but in truth MS just didn’t look right anymore in scenes with JM. She only looked suitable with Jack. Phyl didn’t look like she could have been Nick’s wife/love interest. Now, as much as I love Sharon, I can see a Phick situation developing. I’m glad they’ve de-sorased Phyl. And because I like Gina T so much, if she starts flapping and screeching I’m sure I’ll be fine with it.

  17. Jenn says:

    I think Robin Christopher would have been perfect! I love Gina though, loved her as Kelly! She can do “b*tchy” well and she’s gorgeous but I too think she’s a bit young. I could see her as a love interest for Daniel not his mom.

  18. Ann says:

    I loved Gina as Kelly and think she can play the role. Btw, she’s just a couple years younger than Jamie, so it’s not like she’s that young.

  19. Amy DesChamp says:

    I’m sorry but Michelle Stafford IS Phyllis ! No one can play that character better then her ! Sorry, but that’s just me, I hate when soaps recast characters, stick with the original ! Unless they are aging up a kid to an teenager then recast, but after that, stick with the original !

    • Pearl says:

      I love Michelle as Phyllis and I am sad that she is NOT returning to the show. By the way, When did Jack get to be such a GOOD guy. Also why is it that everyone in that show hates Victor? They are getting on my nerves. I will be “HAPPY” when Sharon gets hers.

    • Mike H says:

      You have a point. nobody like the second Darrin on Bewitched. No one could fill Andrea Evans shoes on OLTL. BUT some recasts work–Jess Walton, Erika Slezak (she was Viki #3 on OLTL and lasted 40+ years), Elaine Princi (Robin Strasser’s replacement as Dorian on OLTL). I do not see Gina as Phyllis, though. She was great as kelly and Dinah (but DInah was recast several times too)

    • Yvonne says:

      Why don’t they just let Phyllis kick the bucket, send Billy to Australia, then we will all be happy.

  20. romalotti jr says:

    I had read where Blair from OLTL might be the new Phyllis. Turns out it is Kelly Cramer instead. This Gina girl is very hot, I can tell you that. What a bod! Glad she got to Genoa City before bikini season is over.

  21. Faye Iser says:

    i say take the crazy show off the air with the other soaps. they are a waste of time. if they are considered such great actors get in the movies!!!

    • Mike H says:

      Because the lame-ass movies are so much better? 20,000 remakes and none are as good as the originals and the actors areworse.

  22. Mary says:

    Why couldn’t they just get Phyllis back. She was terrific and why let another soap grab her?

    • Mike H says:

      MIchelle Stafford did not want to continue playing the part–she said Phyllis was played out for her

  23. Kay Conley says:

    might as well start watching the other soaps sense all R&R people are going else where its starting to get boring with all new cast don’t like new Billy don’t like the girl Jack is with whos next to leave???

    • barbara says:

      I agree!!! Y&R needs to stop changing characters so much!! every time you get use to watching that character, they change it and the original ones are the best.. I am still trying to get use to them replacing Billy which was the first Billy when I started watching it when I was 12 and now I am 55 but have seen so many come and go.. There will only be on Michelle Stafford who is Phyllis, no one else.. I didn’t catch why she went off but I was hoping she would come back, just like they took Adam off, which I heard is suppose to be placed by some one else!!! They keep messing with replacing everyone, the show will not be interesting and not #1 anymore!!! They need to get rid of that woman that is in charge of the show now, not that Bell people as she doesn’t know what she is doing, only replacing characters and making the show not interesting anymore!!! Maybe if they get rid of her, then the show will remain #1 but not until!!!!! I like the show and was sorry to hear about Jean Cooper but that was something that couldn’t be helped, as she was TERRIFIC but if a person dies, then that is something that you can’t replace but like that girl Dillia, why replace her?!!!! STUPID!!! Keep your hands off the characters!!!! Don’t know how this other woman will be playing Phyllis but guess we will see and if not. I won’t keep watching it!!!!

      • Susan says:

        Life happens and people move on for many different reasons. I don’t agree with you that the producers “keep messing with replacing everyone.” They can’t do much about people abandoning their Y & R characters. They either have to replace them, let that character leave for a while, or die.

  24. Debbie Roman says:

    I am going to miss the original Phyllis it will be hard to get use to a new one especially one that was on the show for so long and was so good at what she did

  25. It is time for “The Young and the Reckless”, producers to make some moves towards getting their ratings back. Phylis was in a coma way too long, it was killing the story line.. I have the confidence that the new Phylis will work. Now, they must get Michael back as Adam, and fire some of their writers. I am so surprised to see that TYATR is no longer No. 1. That’s a spot they alone held for years. Get it right. I’ll be watching………..

  26. david tacie says:

    they dont need adam back. all the things he has done never had to pay for them. y and r are loosing their rateing in my opinon because a lot of times they never end the part of the story. i have been watching it since 92 love the show’ dont need adam. phylis she was the best. get back to solve the part about sharon changing dna papers thats getting old. dont need caseydrtacie

  27. Renae Essex says:

    No one can replace Michelle Stafford, but a close choice would have been Martha from Guiding Light or Kim Zimmer, but Gino no way.

  28. lindarehbock says:

    I wish Gina the best of luck. Taking over a role by a populor actress will be challenging for any actress. I say lets ai lest give her a chance, we may be in for a surprise.

  29. Frieda says:

    stop dragging on and on about Sharon and her secret re; who is father of
    Somer. Beginning to lose interest in story line.

  30. T says:

    Thing is. Michelle Stafford simply now seemed too old to play Phyl. People age differently. Regardless of anyone’s real-life age or soap age, for me it comes down to what my eyes will believe. Doesn’t matter how thin someone is–it’s about the face. MS was looking too old up against most of the other characters she was involved with. It’s just reality. Most of the pics you see of her on her website (that goes for months without any comments) are so air-brushed and show her with not a single wrinkle. When her online show started she was willing to let the bright light of day show her true complexion, but she soon changed her mind and had the camera work show it to its best advantage with filters. On the cover of SOD announcing her role on GH, she doesn’t even look like herself. They’ve done so much with makeup. She actually looks like one of the actors that once played Diane Jenkins, but with lighter hair.

  31. lana says:

    Gina – too young to play Phylis or Daniels mother Danny’s former love. NO way.
    She should have played Kelly, closer to that age and in between Billy/Stich and Jack.
    Cady could have played Phylis a little bit .

  32. LonelyT says:

    JAMIE LUNAR ??? … NO , NO , OH , HELL NO !!! ….

    YOU ARE CRAZY !!!… I CANNOT STAND HER , I ALSO THINK , SHE CANNOT ACT !!!…

    ANYBODY BUT … LUNAR !!!…

  33. Karen says:

    Well, with all the casting changes, Y & R has tanked for me. So many great people leaving? Do you ever ask why?

  34. Christopher says:

    I gave up on Y and R a number of years ago, maybe 10?- but since Yahoo makes this such a big headline story – why not join in? I remember the first time Michelle left many years ago to do a prime time show which fizzled after 1 or 2 seasons, and the replacement at that time- (Sandra Nelson? did not double check), did a beautiful job. The storyline at the time moved along great- and I did not see her being gone the first time as a big loss to the show. The 2nd replacement now, Gina T., is a wonderful actress- on One Life to Live she was just terrific. So I offer the suggestion you give her a chance and see what happens. For me, Michelle as Phylils had an extra extra edge to her that some people like and others not as much.
    Gina may actually offer a new perspective/angle that takes the character in a direction which allows for good storyline telling. Y and R had a history back in the “olden days” of actually developing storylines around the actors and how they portrayed the characters when they first joined the show.- meaning the writers saw what the actors did and then wrote the long term storylines. A character who may have been initially brought into a story for 6 months to a year would expand into several years or even longer. A wonderful concept.
    I do not plan to be watching- Y and R is not the incredible show it was in the 1980s,1990s wow- what a show it was and it spoiled me with a level of quality for all time-but try supporting Gina and see what happens.

  35. Kimberley Ervin says:

    I’m not sure if anyone can fill Michelle’s character Phyllis’ shoes. They will not have the bite and the drive that Michelle gives Phyllis. I will miss Michelle as Phyllis, and I wish Gina all the luck( I did love her as Dinah and I do miss OLTL). I’m just not happy and adjusting well to all the main actors and actresses who created the characters leaving. The characters never have the powerful drive with the new actors/actresses. Oh well…..lets see how this works…..umph.

  36. Verna Wagner says:

    The second Billy, David Tom, has been fired. Don’t know who his replacement is but – please bring back the original Billy.

  37. Anna says:

    I think Gina Tognoni wold have made a better Nina on GH…

  38. Chris H says:

    How many more of the new directors past actors will replace our loved actors. We have watched this show for the people who have starred and made this show shine. She said they have went as far as their characters will go, I don’t think so. She just brings one of her friends to continue the story line. We want our Y & R back, we’ve won awards for years without her. Do your loyal watchers a favor and get rid of this f ing bi h. Your loyal watchers.

  39. Brenda says:

    I still can’t believe they are replacing Michelle Stafford. Get her back the show needs here great acting as Phyllis

  40. Erlinda says:

    As an original follower of Y and R, the past 6-12 months have been such a disappointment. The directing/EDITING really annoying almost making me want to no longer watch and it has been decades that I have followed. I have begun to read the posts to see what the comings and goings are to find out why it has been so poor.The loss of Stafford is big, the new (old) Billy just doesn’t have the chops. I really still enjoy the ‘old guard’ that is left and hope they continue to stay for awhile. Ms new leader of Y and R are you watching this show?
    Did you EVER watch it in past years, you have not done it a service, in my humble opinion.

  41. McKay says:

    I liked Phyllis better in a coma. Now she’s messing up Gen. Hosp.?????

  42. Should not have replaced Stafford.

  43. Christi says:

    I like Michelle Stafford and No One can fill her shoes!!!!! Bad Trade…… Y&R has made quiet a bit of “not so good choices” lately!

  44. Georgie says:

    know one can play Phyllis like Michelle . I will have to change shows.

  45. j metcalf says:

    I hope Y&R doesn’t become like GH…where rejected soap persons go to die…It nearly destroy Gh…I think this is a REALLY POOR CHOICE…and Michelle Stafford’s debut on GH was Horrible…HORRIBLE…jm

    • Drea321 says:

      You ain’t lying about that. I do not like Michelle Stafford as this “Nina” character. Her debut was indeed horrible!

  46. suzanne says:

    This nuts,taking shows off and changes actors is just messing with us now,just STOP the MADNESS….ROFL

  47. jules bryant says:

    THEY NEED TO GET PHYLLIS, ADAM, BILLY BACK THIS SHOW SUCKS NOW.

  48. yiayiam says:

    Leave Phiyllis in a coma. I like Jacks new girl friend! Your writers should be fired.
    You should have kept Adam & the old Billy!
    I don’t like Stitch!

  49. emeraldwater says:

    Well I seen Michelle Stafford on GH and she should had stayed at Y&R as Phyllis. The part she is playing on GH is weak. Maybe in forthcoming episodes the part she is playing will get stronger, but for now she seem so out of place. Just saying. good luck

  50. mmsolis1106 says:

    Sorry, Gina won’t make me watch..

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