'Young & the Restless' Joshua Morrow Looks Back on 25 Years as Nick Newman

Michael Maloney
Q&A CBS

The Young and the Restless fan favorite Joshua Morrow is celebrating his 25th anniversary as Nick Newman, the son of Victor (Eric Braeden) and Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott).

He started out as a young leading man on the show as Nick fell in love with the girl of his dreams, Sharon (Sharon Case). Today, Nick’s a loving dad to his kids and while he’s currently apart from Sharon, their love for one another remains.

TV Insider spoke to Morrow about his quarter century in Genoa City, why he’s stayed, the story he couldn’t quite shake, why he no longer submits at the Daytime Emmys, if he’ll ever do his memoir, and much more. Plus, he talks about why he feels he shines in stories related to Nick and his kids – something Adam (Mark Grossman) will be reminded of tomorrow when the half-brothers go head-to-head over little Christian, the little boy they each consider to be their son.

Read on to get the scoop!

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You almost wound up as Jessica’s love interest Dylan on Bold and the Beautiful. Do you recall that audition?

Joshua Morrow: So clearly. It was exciting but stressful. You’re on the cusp of hopefully changing your life forever. I assumed all auditions were like mine for Dylan. We were there for all day and we did scenes in different combinations — Maitland Ward [ex-Jessica, B&B] and me, Brittany Daniel (The Game) and me, Dylan [Neal, ex-Dylan, B&B] and me. And then we’d do it all again. You want it so bad. You’re hungry and you see the possibilities. I got to audition with these beautiful, talented and sexy women. It couldn’t have been more heartbreaking when I didn’t get it. I thought I’d nailed it.

How long after that did you come in for Nick at Y&R?

Maybe a week to 10 days later. I got a call saying the network really liked me and they wanted me to read for [Y&R]. I assumed it was going to be the same process, going in four different times. It wasn’t. I read for [then casting director] Jill Newton and then I was sent into a room with [Y&R creator] Bill Bell, [then-executive producer] Ed Scott, and Heather Tom [then Victoria; now, Katie, B&B], did a reading and was offered the job right on the spot. Not getting Dylan was the greatest ‘failure’ of my life.

Joshua Morrow as Nick Newman, Melody Thomas Scott as Nikki Newman, and Eric Braeden as Victor Newman (CBS)

When did you realize Nick was so key to the show, being Victor and Nikki’s son?

Marnie [Saitta, then on Y&R’s  production staff, now, Days of Our Lives’ casting director] took me on a tour of the studio and introduced me to Eric and Melody. She said with this sly smile, and I instantly developed her the biggest crush in the world on her, ‘You have no idea how big this role is. You’re Victor and Nikki’s son.’

I met Eric. It was brief. He surveyed me up and down. Nick had been a little boy. He was shocked that I was playing his son. He had his eyebrow raised in that imposing way. I thought he doesn’t even like me! Melody said, ‘No, he’ll like you. Just give him the respect he deserves and everything will be fine.’ Outside of meeting my wife [Tobe], my wedding day, and the days my kids were born, this was one of the biggest days of my life.

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Had you ever entertained leaving the show to go for other roles, genres?  

I love this job. I couldn’t believe they asked me to do it. When you first join, you sign a three-year deal. The middle of my second year, they said we’d like to offer you an extension. I said, ‘Sure! I love this job! Let’s go!’ It was never a difficult decision. One time, I truly wanted to leave. I look back on that now and I think, ‘What was I thinking?’ This is the best job in the world – outside of sports, which was my dream. There are times you question [decisions], but this life that I’ve somehow earned, which I never feel I have, is the greatest thing that’s happened to me.

One of the showrunners observed that you treat everyone the same – from execs at the top to whoever is at what’s considered the bottom.  

I’d never heard that…I was just raised that way. I don’t treat people any differently despite their status on the show. I’m just as close to the crew members as I am to any of my co-stars. I care deeply about them. They’re easily the MVPs of our show. They work much longer hours than the actors do. I just wasn’t raised that way. I go out of my way to introduce myself to every crew member. I’m not trying to create this aura, rather I’m generally interested in people.

Nick (Joshua Morrow) and Sharon's (Sharon Case) first wedding in 1996 (CBS)

Everyone has something going on. This is a total team effort. I don’t care if you’re moving cables or pushing story. They’re all integral to this show being number one. It’s so much nicer to be warm and inviting to people…I don’t get people who don’t let people in. I want to know about people.

You blew people away with your performances in the story in which Cassie (Camryn Grimes, who now plays Mariah) died. The writers picked up on how Nick and Sharon each expressed their grief differently. What was your take on that story?

I thin it’s the greatest story our show has ever told. The material was difficult, but it’s a story we’re still telling today. It’s an impactful story that affected everyone. It’s both my favorite and my least favorite. The work that our show did on that day [that Cassie died] was so hard to do. People forget that she’s this little girl going through this sensitive storyline and she’s supposed to be in a coma. What it took for [Camryn] not to cry while everyone around her was [grieving Cassie was] amazing.

Josh Morrow, Camryn Grimes, and Sharon Case (Tony Esparza/CBS)

I can say honestly this story put me in a form of depression. Any other story you leave at the guard gate. I couldn’t shake this one. The story taught me a lot about showing emotion. I relied on my co-stars. I was proud of the work and honored that the show let me tell a story of that nature.

Did you call the police after…because you were robbed of a Daytime Emmy nomination!

Thank you. I did feel like I wanted consideration. [Not getting a nomination that year] took me out of the Emmy process forever. It hurt my feelings that people felt it wasn’t even under consideration. I’m not saying I deserved to win [but] it hurt that I couldn’t be considered. [The Emmys] aren’t for me.

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Do you gravitate more towards the stories that emphasize Nick’s fatherhood – like his current fight for custody of Christian?

I hear that a lot. Kathy Foster, a director we had on the show, said to me when I had my son Cooper, ‘You won’t believe what this will do for your career.’ There’s something that happens to me when I’m in stories that deal with children. I’m comfortable. Being a dad is my world. When I’m portraying a father on the show, it’s a comfortable easy place for me. It’s a role I feel I was made for.

These children on the show are like my real ones. I love Hunter [King, Summer], Camryn, Alyvia [Alyn Lind, Faith], and Robert [Adamson, ex-Noah] with all my heart. Most of them are adults now and so, the relationships have changed -- but I love them and I’d do anything for them. I felt that way [with all the kids who’ve played my children]. I love telling stories that revolve around Nick’s children. The material is difficult, but it’s easy if that makes sense.

Joshua Morrow as Nick, Sharon Case as Sharon (CBS)

How much fun did you have playing a self-absorbed soap star on Michelle Stafford’s (Phyllis) web series The Stafford Project?

So much fun. I asked Michelle how far can I go with this? She said you can go as far as you want. I was honored she let me do it. It was blistering fun, going through that and showing a side not many people get to see. I would kill to be able to play a character just like that.

Have you ever missed a day of work? I can’t recall any temporary Nick recasts.

No. I’ve only had a couple of physical mishaps. I had my tonsils taken out. It’s brutal in your 20s to have that done. I needed close to eight days off for it. I had tonsils the size of golf balls on my tongue. I could barely speak. The ripped those suckers out and it changed my job forever when they came out. Also, I snapped my leg in half after a brutal accident. I was out for a week and they wrote it in.

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Are Nick and Sharon the endgame?

I believe they’re star-crossed lovers, the Romeo and Juliet story. There’s zero chance they don’t end up together multiple times as long as these characters are on the show. It’d be a little disrespectful to the other ladies I work with [to say that there aren’t other women in Nick’s life]. The better answer for the ‘Shick’ diehards is that these characters [will] cross paths many more times in spectacular fashion. I don’t like to think about [an endgame], I don’t want to be close-minded about things. But I do believe the Victor and Nikki and Nick and Sharon paths resemble each other.

Joshua Morrow as Nick, Sharon Case as Sharon (CBS)

Any shout out to the fans who’ve watched you for the last – and hopefully next – 25 years?

The fans are everything to us. We definitely appreciate their diehard support. They can be passionate on both sides of the fence. They’re very comfortable letting you know when they don’t like something. We really appreciate everything they do for us. I’m not active on social media, but I still read what they say. It always makes my heart swell when they appreciate what we do because that’s who we do it for. We try our hardest to please everyone. If they’re not happy with something, hang in there because eventually we’ll get to where you will be — we hope!

Ever thought about doing a memoir as some of your co-stars have done?

I just don’t think I’m interesting enough. I haven’t read Mel’s yet, but she, Eric, and [the late] Jeanne [Cooper, ex-Katherine] have all had these incredible journeys about life. Can I spend 200 pages talking about sports, beer and fantasy football? I don’t think I’d be an interesting read. When my time on the show is done, I hope they said, ‘Cool dude. No drama. Loved working with him. We miss him.’ That’s all I’m asking for.

Young and the Restless, Weekdays, CBS