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Soap Opera Digest|November 16, 2020
PETER BERGMAN Reflects On Some Of His Most Memorable Storylines As Y&R’s Jack Abbott
Devin Owens

LET’S MAKE A DEAL, 1989

You took over the role of Jack from Terry Lester and your first major story was with Nikki. Did then-Head Writer William J. Bell outline that story to you? “No. I wasn’t told anything but it became clear in the script that Jack was going after Nikki, so I filled in where there were blanks and it became a pretty good story.”

It didn’t take long for the fans to fall in love with your rendition of Jack. Did that surprise you? “Yes. I thought I would only be around for six months. It was a testament to the audience that they were able to make the adjustment. Getting used to somebody else playing a role is the toughest thing we ask our audience to do and I’m so glad that they accepted me.”

Jack basically used Nikki, which wasn’t very nice. “That’s right. Jack made a bargain with the devil. He told Victor, ‘I’ll give you back your wife, if you give me back Jabot.’ Jack set out to make Nikki fall for him and he succeeded, although Victor was always a presence there. Just when Jack was ready to work out the deal with Victor, he realized that he was truly in love with Nikki. Jack lost out in the bargain and walked away with nothing. He lost Nikki and Jabot and thus began 30 years of losing to Victor Newman.”

What is your take on Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) as your longtime co-star? “I adored working with Melody when I first came on the show and I still do. We always had this depth of so much experience between our characters. Nikki was reckless like Jack and had to grow up to become the head of a family. Those two have both taken some parallel journeys and they both know, even though they don’t talk about it, they respect that in each other. And they have always stayed friends. Jack learned more of life’s lessons with Nikki.”

VICTOR-Y LAPS, 1989-PRESENT

Victor and Jack have gone around and around with each other as bitter enemies. “In the three decades of me playing Jack, the absolute constant, regardless of storylines and his personal growth, was his enmity with Victor Newman, which has shaped him in a really significant way. No matter how much Jack opens up and no matter how noble he becomes, there will never be a place in his life for Victor Newman. And that has been a wonderful gift. No matter how far afield we take Jack, no matter what quality each writer wants to bring out in him, there is one thing that cannot be erased, and that is Victor is everything that Jack doesn’t want to be.”

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