Melody Thomas Scott Previews Nikki’s Intervention on Y&R

The Young and the Restless
Sean Smith/
The Young and the Restless

It’s a problem so big it needs its own episode. Nearly 25 years ago, The Young and the Restless‘ Nikki Newman–played by Melody Thomas Scott–had a horseback-riding accident that left her hooked on booze and painkillers. But it has taken her until now to bottom out. In the May 19 episode, the drama-queen matriarch decides to get away from her shifty husband, Victor, and takes a room at the GCAC so she can cozy up to her vodka bottle in peace. On May 23, she gets about as low as a drunk can go. Then, on May 28, Y&R airs an epic standalone episode in which Nikki’s friends and family stage an intervention. Will it work? Not if Thomas Scott has anything to say about it!

Just how bad do things get for our Nikki? And why is Y&R keeping it under wraps?
Because it’s shocking. I can’t reveal what happens but Nikki hits the skids in a way that neither the fans or anyone in Genoa City has ever seen. It’s bad. It’s low.

Lower than when she shacked up with her stud-boy Deacon in that seedy motel a while back?
Deacon was slimy and unsavory but this is worse! Nikki has battled the bottle on and off for years but now her distrust of Victor is exploding in her face. She’s lost control. It seems to be this contract with the phony signature that finally makes her crack but, really, it could have been anything. Nikki always has an excuse. This whole addiction thing started when she fell off a horse, but it was her torment over Ashley that kept her drinking. [Laughs] I’m blaming the whole damn thing on Ashley!

Melody Thomas Scott
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

What triggers the intervention?
Nikki is always trying to cover up her drinking with an excuse. “Oh, it’s my multiple sclerosis acting up.” “Oh, I’m just really tired.” “Oops, sorry, I almost dropped your baby!” But now her kids, Nicholas and Victoria, have seen her sloppy drunk with their own eyes. So they lie and say there’s going to be a family dinner. They claim Victor really misses everybody and that he doesn’t like seeing how we’re treating each other. Nikki wants none of it. She wants to stay in her room with her cocktails and her pajamas. But she finally gives in and, when she gets to this so-called dinner, she sees Dylan and is immediately suspicious. Then other people start showing up. It turns out to be an intervention and, needless to say, Nikki’s not happy. The walls go up.

This poses a problem for those of us who love Drunk Nikki, one of the true joys of Y&R. Do we really want her to kick the habit?
I don’t know where [head writer] Chuck Pratt is taking this but, as a selfish actor, I do not want this intervention to be successful. I have too much fun playing her as a drunk. There is a lot of humor in Nikki’s sloppiness. And her drinking creates conflict. It’s a soap! The fans don’t want to see happiness. If Nikki sobers up and becomes June Cleaver, where is the drama in that? The intervention is as tragic and as real as it gets on TV, but it’s also pretty funny. People who don’t watch the show might not understand how that’s possible, but it is. Drunk Nikki is funny!

What about Nikki and Neil? It seemed like they were on the verge of romance—or at least hot sex—when they were sneak-drinking at the dive bar on the outskirts of town.
Don’t give up on that! You may get your wish. Kristoff St. John and I are so hoping for a romance. It would be the most unlikely pairing, yet it also makes sense because they share the same addiction and they’ve known each other forever. If it does happen, the s—t will hit the fan with Victor. [Laughs] And wouldn’t that be fun?

So, then, you’re happy with this new writing regime?
We were all a little worried by Chuck’s first two weeks on the show with all the disasters—the plane crash, the ceiling falling, the fire. “My God, is this what we’re going to turn into now? Just one catastrophe after another?” No, that was just Chuck getting our attention. We knew he can do disaster. And now we know he can do romance and intrigue and comedy. I like him a lot. He’s the kind of guy you want to invite over and be silly and giggle with. I was the last one in the cast to be introduced to him, because I was out sick for quite a while. He and all the other actors had become best friends and I hadn’t even met the guy! Finally, we had a meeting and it went on for an hour and a half. He said, “What do you want to do on the show that you haven’t done?” And the intervention came out of that.

Were you surprised it got an episode all its own?
I had no idea Chuck and [executive producer] Jill Phelps were going to make it a standalone hour until I got the script. I was stunned! So I really like Chuck. And I love Jill. All this bulls–t about her being evil and wicked and whatever is ridiculous. Believe me, this cast is happier than we’ve been in years!